Why the Fighter is the best-designed class

Hi all,
The recent thread "What's the point of the Fighter" got me thinking about the Fighter's role in the game, and I realized that to me, the Fighter is easily the best class in D&DN.
I don't play particularly often, but I do enjoy rolling up characters - not necessarily calculating everything about them, but creating character "concepts." By far, I've created the most coneptual characters using Fighter mechanics, because the fighter offers so many options and archetypes
As things stand now, it would be fairly easy to have a party of only Fighters and enjoy an interesting game. There could be the longbow sharpshooter, the "mighty warrior" in the vein of Herakles, the sword-and-shield guardian knight, the swashbuckling action hero, the axe-wielding berserker, and the spearhunting tracker, for example, and all those characters would feel very different - they'd be using different maneuvers and fulfilling different roles in combat, and chances are they'd all be able to perform well. A part of all Wizards, Rogues, or Clerics? The same could potentially be said, but overall they'd probably end up fulfilling closer roles. Of course, once we get to more specific classes like the Monk, you'd be hard-pressed to have a party with two of them and have them feel different.
In previous editions, that didn't seem to be the case (note, by the way, that in general I liked the editions I refer to; I simply feel 5E is superior in this regard). 1E's fighters, were, by-and-large, practically the same thing every time. Perhaps they'd have a few differences in polearm selection or flavor, but nothing explicitly supported by the game system. 3E may have allowed for customization, but for me, wading through the chapters of feats felt annoying, and there was a good chance I'd create a vastly underpowered character anyway by making suboptimal choices. 4E seemed to pidgeonhole the fighter class into a specific role - there wasn't much chance of making an archer fighter, for example.
The maneuver system allows me to take one base class and create many character archetypes. It's something to keep in mind when designing the base classes, especially broad ones like the "core four" - assuming a party of the same class, how diverse can that party be?

tl;dr: The Fighter is good because it allows players to create many different archetypes from the same class. How can we apply this success to other classes?
The maneuver system allows me to take one base class and create many character archetypes.

And only more so once you mix and match fighting style with an open choice of background and specialty (or theme).

Agreed.

What's the point of having classes at all, if the best class is the one that has the most archetypes within it?

The answer is there isn't a point.  The function of classes is to provide specificity, not breadth.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I actually feel the fighter is the worst designed class right now.  The maneuevers don't actually make the class play differently, quite the opposite actually.  Everything fighter A does is the same as fighter B.  Sure you can call your fighter a swashbuckler, a ranger, an archer, a berserker, etc but chances are you use deadly strike to deal damage and parry to protect yourself and are 90% an exact copy of any other players fighter.

Also, remember when people complained that all classes were the same in 4e because they all had AEDU.  Well no every type of fighter, every rogue, every monk, and presumably every ranger and barbarian will actually have this issue.  It is even worse because those classes had features that made them play very differently and had maneuevers that were very different as well.  
Mand12:

And yet...

Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster, etc. are all being portrayed by the Rogue class.

Academic, Battle Mage, Illusionist, Fire Mage, Storm Mage, Diviner, Transmuter, etc. are all Wizards.

[Insert near infinite deities and their wildly differing spheres of influence and power here] for Clerics.

Seeing a theme here? I know I am.
Mand12:

And yet...

Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster, etc. are all being portrayed by the Rogue class.

Academic, Battle Mage, Illusionist, Fire Mage, Storm Mage, Diviner, Transmuter, etc. are all Wizards.

[Insert near infinite deities and their wildly differing spheres of influence and power here] for Clerics.

Seeing a theme here? I know I am.



You do realize that defeats the OP's point equally, right?  If everyone stuffs a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics, then the fighter isn't better for fitting a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics.  

In point of fact, I would argue that spies/thugs sun/war clerics, and illusionists/battlemages are using quite substantially more differentiated mechanics than swashbucklers/berserkers.  So if fighters aren't beating the other three on breadth of support for different archetypes (ie sheer number of archetypes allowed), they're losing on depth of support for different archetypes (ie having different archetypes feel different).
What's the point of having classes at all, if the best class is the one that has the most archetypes within it?

The answer is there isn't a point.  The function of classes is to provide specificity, not breadth.



I disagree. A class is only one thing that defines a character within a game - we have backgrounds for a character's pasts and specialties for their "focuses" (often either reinforcing an element of their class, e.g. Endurance Specialist for a Protector Fighter or dipping into the domain of another e.g. Skill Specialist to gain a rogue-y element).

I actually feel the fighter is the worst designed class right now.  The maneuvers don't actually make the class play differently, quite the opposite actually.  Everything fighter A does is the same as fighter B.  Sure you can call your fighter a swashbuckler, a ranger, an archer, a berserker, etc but chances are you use deadly strike to deal damage and parry to protect yourself and are 90% an exact copy of any other players fighter.

Also, remember when people complained that all classes were the same in 4e because they all had AEDU.  Well no every type of fighter, every rogue, every monk, and presumably every ranger and barbarian will actually have this issue.  It is even worse because those classes had features that made them play very differently and had maneuevers that were very different as well.  



That hasn't been my experience in play. I currently have a Protector Fighter, concepted as a Knight, and a Sharpshooter Fighter, concepted as a special-ops soldier. Both have played quite differently. The Protector has been all about splitting her dice between damage-dealing and protection, while the Sharpshooter has been using Spring Attack, Precise Shot, and Deadly Strike combined with his Ambush Speciality, to snipe enemies.
It seems like there's also room for a combat-trick based Fighter using Mighty Exertion to power up Disarm, Knock Down, etc, a damage-based Fighter using Glancing Blow, Cleave, and Whirlwind Attack to efficiently kill enemies, and a maneuverability-based Fighter using Tumbling Dodge and Spring Attack to move around the battlefield while Parrying attacks, plus an old-style Fighter who Deadly Strikes for extra damage, Bends Bars and Lifts Gates with his/her Mighty Exertion, and has good saving throws all around. Once we see more maneuvers (as I'm sure we will, much like spells), there will likely be more playstyles.

Mand12:

And yet...

Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster, etc. are all being portrayed by the Rogue class.

Academic, Battle Mage, Illusionist, Fire Mage, Storm Mage, Diviner, Transmuter, etc. are all Wizards.

[Insert near infinite deities and their wildly differing spheres of influence and power here] for Clerics.

Seeing a theme here? I know I am.



Agreed. I like the effort those classes make, but to me it seems like the Fighter is doing the best job of it so far, although I haven't seen a party with two of any other class yet. The Wizard doesn't have enough divergent spells to make a big difference in role over several levels (one can't go straight Enchanter, for example), the Cleric still seems to do basically the same things no matter what Deity is picked (there's a cleric of my homebrewed Prophet in my game, but he still feels like any other Cleric except for some fluff), and the Rogue, I think we can all agree, needs work.
You do realize that defeats the OP's point equally, right?  If everyone stuffs a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics, then the fighter isn't better for fitting a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics. 

I disagree with your assessment that my point somehow defeats the OP's point. I contend the opposite to be true.

He is showing a preference for classes (like the fighter) that allow for varying sub-archtypes within the general class. And that each subtype feels unique enough and interesting enough without having to be broken out as its own "creature".

He goes on to state that fighter is doing it right, now the other classes should follow suit. That the cleric, rogue and wizard need to be held to the same standard, provide the same interesting choices.

Thus, I agreed with him. Not so much with you. ;)

And again, why should we separate out the cleric and the wizard, and the rogue and the fighter?  The first two both cast spells, why aren't they the same class?  The latter two both use XD, why aren't they the same class?

And even with those two, why have the separation at all?  Why not just not have class?

What does class do if "more completely disparate archetypes are included in it" makes a class better?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You do realize that defeats the OP's point equally, right?  If everyone stuffs a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics, then the fighter isn't better for fitting a lot of archetypes into the same mechanics. 

I disagree with your assessment that my point somehow defeats the OP's point. I contend the opposite to be true.

He is showing a preference for classes (like the fighter) that allow for varying sub-archtypes within the general class. And that each subtype feels unique enough and interesting enough without having to be broken out as its own "creature".

He goes on to state that fighter is doing it right, now the other classes should follow suit. That the cleric, rogue and wizard need to be held to the same standard, provide the same interesting choices.

Thus, I agreed with him. Not so much with you. ;)



Thank you! That is exactly what I was saying!
Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster, etc. are all being portrayed by the Rogue class.

Academic, Battle Mage, Illusionist, Fire Mage, Storm Mage, Diviner, Transmuter, etc. are all Wizards.

[Insert near infinite deities and their wildly differing spheres of influence and power here] for Clerics.

Seeing a theme here? I know I am.


Don't confuse effects with causes.

We portray the Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, and Trickster with the Rogue class because we don't have any other choice in the core four classes.  If Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster existed as their own classes, we wouldn't use the Rogue to portray them, and you wouldn't be making the point that it'd be better if we collapsed them all into one concept.  Just in the same way that you're not making the point that it'd be better if we collapsed the core four into fewer classes, either.

For the wizard and cleric, it's a different situation.  Clerics are all the same class because they all have the same relationship with their deity of choice.  That their deity might grant them different powers does not change the core of what it means to be a Cleric.  For the wizard, everything about the ones you've listed is exactly the same except for which spells they choose to learn.  Nothing about the identity of what it means to be a wizard changes when you study transmutation magic instead of illusion magic.  You're still learning it the same way, having the same relationship with your spellbook, have the same requirement for intense study and interest in tracking down long-forgotten knowledge to increase your abilities.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
And again, why should we separate out the cleric and the wizard,

Because there are fundamental differences in the way they gain and cast spells?

and the rogue and the fighter?

Because there are (er, should be... ;)) fundamental differences in the way they use their XD pool?


The first two both cast spells

In *fundamentally* different ways...


The latter two both use XD

In *fundamentally* different ways...

And even with those two, why have the separation at all?  Why not just not have class?

Because fighters, wizards, rogues and clerics all do different things? Have different approaches to task resolution?

What does class do if "more completely disparate archetypes are included in it" makes a class better?

All the fighter variants still *fight* as their primary method of expression. They just do it in slightly different ways.

And again, why should we separate out the cleric and the wizard,

Because there are fundamental differences in the way they gain and cast spells?

Not really.  Gain?  Sure, but it's all fluff.  Cast?  Not in the slightest.  And if fluff is enough to justify a class separation, then how are the various archetypes you've described not different enough to be their own classes?
and the rogue and the fighter?

Because there are fundamental differences in the way they use their XD pool?

No, not fundamental differences.  They have different maneuvers, yes, but they still use the dice in the same way.
The first two both cast spells

In *fundamentally* different ways...

No they don't.  Spells take one of three forms, one that affects self or allies, one that is a magic attack against a target, and one that causes a target to be required to make a saving throw.  They're the exact same.  If you're referring to the spell lists being different, if you're trying to tell me that the presence of different spells makes different classes, then you've already proved my point.
The latter two both use XD

In *fundamentally* different ways...

No they don't.  They have a XD pool that refreshes in the same way, at the same time, and requires the same kind of decision-making.  Yes, the maneuvers are different, but if you're trying to tell me that the presence of different maneuvers makes different classes, then you've already proved my point.
And even with those two, why have the separation at all?  Why not just not have class?

Because fighters, wizards, rogues and clerics all do different things? Have different approaches to task resolution?

And the archetypes contained with the fighter don't also do that...how?  You have the archer wearing leather and the sword&board in full plate - aren't they doing different things?  Don't they have different approaches to task resolution?  One will be evasive and attempt to maintain range, the other will close immediately and attempt to outlast the enemy.
What does class do if "more completely disparate archetypes are included in it" makes a class better?

All the fighter variants still *fight* as their primary method of expression. They just do it in slightly different ways.

Doesn't a Cleric *fight* in a slightly different way?  Before you say no, consider how many turns a Cleric whacks something with a mace - how is this different?

Your position is completely self-contradictory and inconsistent, top to bottom.  You're attempting to make broad points that you then cram into the assertion that the Four Core must be the best way to do it, even though Four Core goes completely against every single one of your broad points.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Perhaps that's what you meant, but it's only a fraction of what you said.  What you said was that fighters were the best, as in, better than everyone else, because of this factor that you value.  I took ChrisCarlson's post to be pointing out that other classes have this factor also without suggesting that they do it less well, and without that premise it does run contrary to the point in the original post that fighters are best for supporting most archetypes.  I apologise for not reading ChrisCarlson's mind to deduce his belief that the other classes are less successful at supporting multiple archetypes with disparate mechanics.  If you add that particular opinion, then no, his post does not defeat the original post's point.  I believe that opinion is false, so I did not assume he ascribed to it.  

Wizards and clerics get very different spells to support different archetypes, while an archer, a swashbuckler, and a berserker all use exactly the same maneuvers.  There are indeed a variety of different maneuvers, but I don't really associate any one of them as being the domain of one archetype or another (with the exception of precise strike being only for snipers, but frankly it's a trap choice even for them, and arguably parry doesn't fit berserkers but apparently that's getting moved off the maneuver list so they'll have it anyway).  There's nothing against-type about any one of those archetypes using any one of those maneuvers.  Not one of those maneuvers actually supports a given archetype so much as given activities any archetype might wish to do.  Whereas spells quite obviously do support very different archetypes.  Even rogues support very different archetypes with very different mechanics, although I'll grant a lot of that was shunted into specialties e.g. ambusher.
I agree too.  But then, the fighter is, at least by the numbers, far and away the best class at this point.
This thread has generated a lot of interesting discussion!

And again, why should we separate out the cleric and the wizard, and the rogue and the fighter?  The first two both cast spells, why aren't they the same class?  The latter two both use XD, why aren't they the same class?

And even with those two, why have the separation at all?  Why not just not have class?

What does class do if "more completely disparate archetypes are included in it" makes a class better?



Yes, the Cleric and the Wizard both cast spells, and even if this edition changes up the manner in which they do it (moreso than 1-3E, where their methods were even closer), the way in which they do so is remarkably similar. However, they're still fundamentally different classes, and here's why:


  • They occupy different conceptual space. The cleric serves a god (or occasionally a concept/philosophy) and gains his/her magic from that god, while the Wizard learns magic through study.

  • The spells they can learn are different. Wizards have a wide repertoire of damage-dealing spells (Fireball, Melf's Acid Arrow), charms (Dominate Person, Sleep), illusions (Phantasmal Force, Shadow Monsters), transmutations (Polymorph, Jump), and other spells, while clerics tend to stick to divination (Augury, True Seeing), healing (Cure Wounds, Lesser Restoration), and blessings (Prayer, Aid). These different foci are largely determined by the archetypical role of magic-users versus divine representatives in fantasy.

  • Their game statistics are different. Clerics have access to heavy armor and more weapons and are more durable, and have additional abilities such as Turn Undead. Wizards have no armor, a very limited selection of weapons, and typically rely only on spells and knowledge.

  • They have different roles in combat. The Cleric can fight on the front line while buffing his/her allies, while the Wizard often stays back and uses his/her spells to deal with large groups of enemies.


Note that none of these are set-in-stone, but most Cleric or Wizard characters embody enough of these differences that they can each be a separate class. The archetypes they include are not completely disparate, but do occupy a large amount of conceptual space.
Can you make a Cleric-y Wizard or a Wizard-y Cleric? I hope so!
The same thing applies to the Rogue and the Fighter, really. Both are martial classes that use expertise dice, but their differences are widespread. They occupy different conceptual space (the Rogue relies on guile and skill to solve problems, while the Fighter is someone specifically trained in martial fighting), use different maneuvers (Fighter maneuvers are mostly about skill at fighting in various ways, or power/toughness gained through combat training, while rogue maneuvers - while they certainly need work - are mostly about being skillful, evading attacks, sneaking, and maneuverability), have different game statistics (hit die size, armor and weapon proficiencies), and have different roles in combat (the fighter can be, and usually is, on the front lines, while the rogue largely can't).
What does class do? It provides a framework to build a character. Personally, I enjoy being able to build a wide variety of characters, so it's important to me that the base classes allow me to do that.
Wizards and clerics get very different spells to support different archetypes, while an archer, a swashbuckler, and a berserker all use exactly the same maneuvers.  There are indeed a variety of different maneuvers, but I don't really associate any one of them as being the domain of one archetype or another (with the exception of precise strike being only for snipers, but frankly it's a trap choice even for them, and arguably parry doesn't fit berserkers but apparently that's getting moved off the maneuver list so they'll have it anyway).  There's nothing against-type about any one of those archetypes using any one of those maneuvers.  Not one of those maneuvers actually supports a given archetype so much as given activities any archetype might wish to do.  Whereas spells quite obviously do support very different archetypes.  Even rogues support very different archetypes with very different mechanics, although I'll grant a lot of that was shunted into specialties e.g. ambusher.



I disagree. While in theory a fighter could take a hodgepodge of maneuvers that didn't really fit any specific theme (just as a Wizard could learn all kinds of non-themed spells), many of them are clearly meant for a specific archetype. Spring Attack and Tumbling Dodge are useful for maneuverability, Protect and Opportunist support the "Defender" role of the 4E fighter, Glancing Blow and Cleave are for damage dealing, and Precise Shot and Volley are specifically useful to ranged Fighters, to name a few.

Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster, etc. are all being portrayed by the Rogue class.

Academic, Battle Mage, Illusionist, Fire Mage, Storm Mage, Diviner, Transmuter, etc. are all Wizards.

[Insert near infinite deities and their wildly differing spheres of influence and power here] for Clerics.

Seeing a theme here? I know I am.


Don't confuse effects with causes.

We portray the Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, and Trickster with the Rogue class because we don't have any other choice in the core four classes.  If Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, Trickster existed as their own classes, we wouldn't use the Rogue to portray them, and you wouldn't be making the point that it'd be better if we collapsed them all into one concept.  Just in the same way that you're not making the point that it'd be better if we collapsed the core four into fewer classes, either.



Sure, you could have a Thief, Acrobat, Spy, Rake, Thug, Enforcer, and Trickster class. What if I wanted to make an acrobatic thief? How about a spy good at infiltration (picking locks and sneaking) rather than diplomacy (or vice versa depending on how the class is presented)? Sure, I could multiclass, but putting these somewhat different (though similar in aims and means) archetypes under the umbrella of the Rogue lets me create whatever hybrid of the concepts I wish, while still having a fairly clear, easy-to-define role.
However, they're still fundamentally different classes, and here's why:


  • They occupy different conceptual space. The cleric serves a god (or occasionally a concept/philosophy) and gains his/her magic from that god, while the Wizard learns magic through study.

  • The spells they can learn are different. Wizards have a wide repertoire of damage-dealing spells (Fireball, Melf's Acid Arrow), charms (Dominate Person, Sleep), illusions (Phantasmal Force, Shadow Monsters), transmutations (Polymorph, Jump), and other spells, while clerics tend to stick to divination (Augury, True Seeing), healing (Cure Wounds, Lesser Restoration), and blessings (Prayer, Aid). These different foci are largely determined by the archetypical role of magic-users versus divine representatives in fantasy.

  • Their game statistics are different. Clerics have access to heavy armor and more weapons and are more durable, and have additional abilities such as Turn Undead. Wizards have no armor, a very limited selection of weapons, and typically rely only on spells and knowledge.

  • They have different roles in combat. The Cleric can fight on the front line while buffing his/her allies, while the Wizard often stays back and uses his/her spells to deal with large groups of enemies.



Ok, so let's look at two things you can do with a fighter:  archer wearing leather, and sword&board defender wearing plate.



  • They occupy different conceptual space.  Sure, they both kill things, but one is geared toward offense and killing things before they reach people, the other is geared toward getting in the baddie's face and preventing it from hurting anyone on your team.

  • The maneuvers they learn are different.  The archer is going to have bow-specific maneuvers, the sword&board shield-specific ones.  The archer is going to emphasize mobility, the sword&board defense and protection.

  • Their game statistics are different.  The archer will have high Dex, but probably not high Str.  The sword&board will have high Str, but probably not high Dex.  One wears light armor, another wears heavy armor.  One has a high speed, the other suffers speed reduction.  Sure, they may happen to have a few game statistics in common, but so do other classes.

  • They have different roles in combat.  One is a dedicated killer:  it has one goal, to inflict the "dead" status condition as quickly as possible.  It does so from range, and uses mobility effects to avoid getting locked down.  The other is a protector:  it engages the enemy at the front lines, making it difficult for them to reach the squishies.  It directly disrupts attacks and disrupts damage.


So, clearly, according to your criteria, these are two fundamentally different classes.

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I'm glad that the fighter has interesting mechanics and can represent a lot of different concepts with manouvers. In that sense, they're very well designed. And a party of all fighters would be balanced out of combat. But, I don't like the current fighter because it has so little out of combat utility. Once he runs across someone who has more armies than he can attack, what does he do? I'd love it if all classes had the option of being balanced against all pillars - you could will allow those who wanted to their ability to unbalance. So for me, right now the wizard is the best class since it can be balanced across all pillars.
However, they're still fundamentally different classes, and here's why:


  • They occupy different conceptual space. The cleric serves a god (or occasionally a concept/philosophy) and gains his/her magic from that god, while the Wizard learns magic through study.

  • The spells they can learn are different. Wizards have a wide repertoire of damage-dealing spells (Fireball, Melf's Acid Arrow), charms (Dominate Person, Sleep), illusions (Phantasmal Force, Shadow Monsters), transmutations (Polymorph, Jump), and other spells, while clerics tend to stick to divination (Augury, True Seeing), healing (Cure Wounds, Lesser Restoration), and blessings (Prayer, Aid). These different foci are largely determined by the archetypical role of magic-users versus divine representatives in fantasy.

  • Their game statistics are different. Clerics have access to heavy armor and more weapons and are more durable, and have additional abilities such as Turn Undead. Wizards have no armor, a very limited selection of weapons, and typically rely only on spells and knowledge.

  • They have different roles in combat. The Cleric can fight on the front line while buffing his/her allies, while the Wizard often stays back and uses his/her spells to deal with large groups of enemies.



Ok, so let's look at two things you can do with a fighter:  archer wearing leather, and sword&board defender wearing plate.



  • They occupy different conceptual space.  Sure, they both kill things, but one is geared toward offense and killing things before they reach people, the other is geared toward getting in the baddie's face and preventing it from hurting anyone on your team.

  • The maneuvers they learn are different.  The archer is going to have bow-specific maneuvers, the sword&board shield-specific ones.  The archer is going to emphasize mobility, the sword&board defense and protection.

  • Their game statistics are different.  The archer will have high Dex, but probably not high Str.  The sword&board will have high Str, but probably not high Dex.  One wears light armor, another wears heavy armor.  One has a high speed, the other suffers speed reduction.  Sure, they may happen to have a few game statistics in common, but so do other classes.

  • They have different roles in combat.  One is a dedicated killer:  it has one goal, to inflict the "dead" status condition as quickly as possible.  It does so from range, and uses mobility effects to avoid getting locked down.  The other is a protector:  it engages the enemy at the front lines, making it difficult for them to reach the squishies.  It directly disrupts attacks and disrupts damage.


So, clearly, according to your criteria, these are two fundamentally different classes.



That's an interesting point, but I disagree, specifically on the "they occupy different conceptual space" point. As I said above, classes can certainly vary quite a bit across the spectrum, and I'm happy for that variation, because it means that class is not a restriction.
I believe the examples you mentioned fall into the "fighter" conceptual space because they're both people who have devoted martial training to learning a fighting style. This separates them from the Rogue et al. because the Rogue has spend some of his/her time focusing on skills instead of combat training, and thus has less combat-focused maneuvers, a smaller hit die, and less proficiencies.
The next question, probably, is "where does this leave the Ranger, Barbarian, etc?" I'm of the opinion that these classes absolutely deserve the right to exist, but that since they are basically more specific versions of the Fighter, there should be a Fighter build that can approximate a Ranger. The Ranger is basically a subclass tailored toward that more woodsy archetype, and perhaps ought to offer some options that the Fighter can't in minor nature spells or exceptional tracking/hunting prowess. Of course, more hybrid classes like the Paladin can branch out a bit more into the territory of "Gish" - a Paladin, in my opinion, is more or less a warrior that champions his/her god or gods, and thus can be allowed access to Cleric-y powers. Maybe a Paladin could use the Expertise mechanic in the same way the Monk does, with mystically powered abilities being unlocked as more dice are spent.

I'm glad that the fighter has interesting mechanics and can represent a lot of different concepts with manouvers. In that sense, they're very well designed. And a party of all fighters would be balanced out of combat. But, I don't like the current fighter because it has so little out of combat utility. Once he runs across someone who has more armies than he can attack, what does he do? I'd love it if all classes had the option of being balanced against all pillars - you could will allow those who wanted to their ability to unbalance. So for me, right now the wizard is the best class since it can be balanced across all pillars.


That's also a good point. My games haven't typically had that many problems with out-of-combat utility for any class, because characters tend to lean on their backgrounds for social and exploration skills. Explicitly, I've seen our Wizard cast exactly one utility spell (Comprehend Languages) over about 8 sessions.
This probably isn't typical, though - I imagine many groups rely on classes for out-of-combat utility, especially with the traditional thief rogue, a tracking ranger, and a "utility wizard." This raises the question: what can a Fighter do out of combat?
To me, that depends on the type of Fighter and his background. If this is a heroic nobleman, he/she could easily be the face of the party with a decent Charisma and the Persuade skill (a Knight fighter in my game plays this exact role). A veteran soldier or mercenary would be skilled in perception (detecting an ambush) or knowledge of tactics and maybe heraldry, allowing for a minor leadership role.
How could this be wrapped into the class? Perhaps, like the Wizard/Cleric's free skill training, the Fighter could gain skills as well. Spot/Listen seems like it ought to be common to anyone skilled in combat, but perhaps Knowlege: Warfare could be an option. Ride, Survival, Heal, Sense Motive, and Intimidate could all be argued for as well. The average Fighting-Man ought to know something relating to his or her trade, and this would provide a vehicle for the class to contribute out-of-combat, even outside of background.
That's an interesting point, but I disagree, specifically on the "they occupy different conceptual space" point.


Of course, and that's actually the most important point - people will disagree on the conceptual space.  Which means that some people will be fine with a more restrictive set of classes, and others will be happier if the class list is expanded.  And I can't agree that limiting classes to a restricted set, with each individual piece very broad in itself - particularly with these four classes, which aren't really the best four to cover the entire conceptual space of characters.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

I disagree. While in theory a fighter could take a hodgepodge of maneuvers that didn't really fit any specific theme (just as a Wizard could learn all kinds of non-themed spells), many of them are clearly meant for a specific archetype. Spring Attack and Tumbling Dodge are useful for maneuverability, Protect and Opportunist support the "Defender" role of the 4E fighter, Glancing Blow and Cleave are for damage dealing, and Precise Shot and Volley are specifically useful to ranged Fighters, to name a few.



I still don't think you're correct.  Spring attack and Tumbling Dodge are useful for maneuverability, but there's no real reason a heavy armor, sword and board knight conceived of as a protector shouldn't be able to take a parting blow against his current foe as he runs off to defend an ally (spring attack), or be able to parry aside blows with ease as he does so (tumbling dodge).  Mechanically, that's what those maneuvers do, irrespective of their name.  Protect and Opportunist support the defender role, but a rake might equally want to defend his allies or punish someone foolish enough to turn their back, as might a berserker.  Glancing blow and cleave are for damage dealing, but which of those archetypes doesn't care about doing damage?  I'll grant some of them can only be used by archers, and thus by default support only the "archer" archetype, but frankly there's no reason a rake or a knight shouldn't be good with a bow and I don't really see those things supporting "archetypes" so much as just being options that make you better with a bow.  And ultimately volley is identical to whirlwind attack while precise shot is a pure and simple trap choice.  So mechanically, archetypes aren't being supported.  Roles are, options are, but not archetypes.  I could build a swashbuckler and a guardian knight with exactly the same maneuvers (parry, protect, deadly strike, tumbling dodge, opportunist).  I could build two berserkers that didn't share a single one (Cleave, glancing blow, deadly strike, mighty exertion, opportunist, tumbling dodge, vault, whirlwind attack, great fortitude, lightning reflexes, pick any half, they all fit that archetype just fine).  The class allows you to build these various archetypes, but it does nothing to make them feel different from one another because ultimately they're all using the same mechanics, refluffed.
That's an interesting point, but I disagree, specifically on the "they occupy different conceptual space" point.


Of course, and that's actually the most important point - people will disagree on the conceptual space.  Which means that some people will be fine with a more restrictive set of classes, and others will be happier if the class list is expanded.  And I can't agree that limiting classes to a restricted set, with each individual piece very broad in itself - particularly with these four classes, which aren't really the best four to cover the entire conceptual space of characters.


Absolutely! I do support having quite a few classes. I also feel that those classes should be broad to allow for different archetypes. I have no problem with the character, of, say, Odysseus (who came up quite a lot in the discussion of which iconic characters fitting in which classes), being able to be built as either a Fighter, Warlord, or Rogue, or some hybrid of them.
I do feel like if I was to pick a set of four classes we've seen in the past to represent the broadest variety of archetypes in D&D, then I would probably go with the current "core four" classes. You and others might disagree, and that's fine - because we will almost definitely see many more than four classes in the final product.
What I don't want to see is the final product, including, say, eight or twelve classes that each represent a very narrow archetype. Since many players will likely only use the basic rulebooks, those rulebooks should cover as much conceptual ground as possible. I don't think it's realistic to include 20 or 30 narrower classes in the basic Player's Handbook, because given issues of space that wouldn't leave much room for each class to be defined well. So what we'll most likely see is eight or twelve or fifteen classes (I personally gravitate toward the 11 in 3.5E plus the Warlord and Warlock). It's important to me that those classes cover as much ground as possible, without sacrificing their identity completely. Is that possible? I think it is.

I disagree. While in theory a fighter could take a hodgepodge of maneuvers that didn't really fit any specific theme (just as a Wizard could learn all kinds of non-themed spells), many of them are clearly meant for a specific archetype. Spring Attack and Tumbling Dodge are useful for maneuverability, Protect and Opportunist support the "Defender" role of the 4E fighter, Glancing Blow and Cleave are for damage dealing, and Precise Shot and Volley are specifically useful to ranged Fighters, to name a few.



I still don't think you're correct.  Spring attack and Tumbling Dodge are useful for maneuverability, but there's no real reason a heavy armor, sword and board knight conceived of as a protector shouldn't be able to take a parting blow against his current foe as he runs off to defend an ally (spring attack), or be able to parry aside blows with ease as he does so (tumbling dodge).  Mechanically, that's what those maneuvers do, irrespective of their name.  Protect and Opportunist support the defender role, but a rake might equally want to defend his allies or punish someone foolish enough to turn their back, as might a berserker.  Glancing blow and cleave are for damage dealing, but which of those archetypes doesn't care about doing damage?  I'll grant some of them can only be used by archers, and thus by default support only the "archer" archetype, but frankly there's no reason a rake or a knight shouldn't be good with a bow and I don't really see those things supporting "archetypes" so much as just being options that make you better with a bow.  And ultimately volley is identical to whirlwind attack while precise shot is a pure and simple trap choice.  So mechanically, archetypes aren't being supported.  Roles are, options are, but not archetypes.  I could build a swashbuckler and a guardian knight with exactly the same maneuvers (parry, protect, deadly strike, tumbling dodge, opportunist).  I could build two berserkers that didn't share a single one (Cleave, glancing blow, deadly strike, mighty exertion, opportunist, tumbling dodge, vault, whirlwind attack, great fortitude, lightning reflexes, pick any half, they all fit that archetype just fine).  The class allows you to build these various archetypes, but it does nothing to make them feel different from one another because ultimately they're all using the same mechanics, refluffed.


You make some good points. My experience in play is that two fighters felt very different, but they actually fell into the disparate sword-and-board knight and sniper archetypes, so it's hard to say how that might translate to the closer swashbuckler/knight archetypes. We're using Fighting Styles, though, and we're only playing at level four. I think that at lower levels, with only a few maneuvers available, the fighting styles tend to feel more different, but they might start to mesh together at higher levels. How do we solve this problem? More maneuvers for each archetype might be one answer, but I'm ultimately unsure.
Koga - I agree that the backgrounds give good out of combat utility. And, maybe if that was beefed up, then the difference between fighter and wizard out of combat would feel so jarring.
Sign In to post comments