The high level fighter

Discussing the plausibility of a mundane fighter killing a dragon with Steely Dan in another thread I realized that there are probably different opinions about how to narrate high level fighter exploits. What is according to you the archetype of a 20 th level fighter (30th for those who play 4e)? For me it's Thomas from the Riftwar saga: no super-sayan power, but superman strength, speed, stamina and mobility.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Superman with a lowecase s, intentionally, I presume? 
If you mean they should have Charles Atlas Superpowers, I agree. Also, I think in cases where the game is an abstraction, they shouldn't be limited. Such as hit points, hitting, defending and such. 

One of the things in the unfairly disparaged Tome of Battle, was Iron Heart Surge - at least, when you interpreted it in a sane fashion, instead of sticking to RAW, too much. I always thought it was the sort of a thing an action hero should get for free at around level 10 or so.  
Superman with a lowecase s, intentionally, I presume? 
If you mean they should have Charles Atlas Superpowers, I agree. Also, I think in cases where the game is an abstraction, they shouldn't be limited. Such as hit points, hitting, defending and such. 

One of the things in the unfairly disparaged Tome of Battle, was Iron Heart Surge - at least, when you interpreted it in a sane fashion, instead of sticking to RAW, too much. I always thought it was the sort of a thing an action hero should get for free at around level 10 or so.  




I'm not sure about Superman buuut the idea is sound. Fighters don't really translate well into modern "super heros"... More classical heros I guess..

Sadly so many people hate Tome of Battle before they read it since it is "magical mundane" to them. I love the idea of a hero or antagonist that can shrug off anything in order to save their allies or the person they are trying to protect.

Classic...

Really the only problems with Iron Heart Surge is that there are things that they called "effects" when they shouldn't have. Like gravity... Yeah or the Sun...

A level 20 fighter should be the deadliest person alive when they have a weapon (or random item) in their hands. A level 20 fighter shouldn't have to worry about hit points or being dominated. Sure the Fighter may not be able to fly or to summon a creature... He should be so badass that he is what is summoned and instead of flying he just jumps (or if there is something in the top of building... He just knocks the building down).

The way this game progess. Once you are a 20lv fighter, you pretty much a super sayian. 
Really the only problems with Iron Heart Surge is that there are things that they called "effects" when they shouldn't have. Like gravity... Yeah or the Sun...



That's only half of the problem. It's the half that's easier to ridicule, but the half that matters in play is the OTHER half.

It takes an action to use. So you can't use it when stunned, dominated, or dazed. You can't use it to fight off petrification by pure force of will, because you'd need to be able to use it as a reaction to do so, and you can't.

Basically, Iron Heart Surge is a good idea, with a completely screwed up implementation. The idea is fine, but the implementation makes it work against things it shouldn't work on, and stops if from working on the exact things it should be BEST against (like domination).
I want to see MDD capped at 3d6 or maybe 4d6 max and the fighters be given encounter powers instead.
Honestly erleni, I think Tomas Ashen-Shugar isn't a straight fighter, no way, no how, he's clearly a Gish of great power channeled through his martial elements (as opposed to Pug). Now his son Calis (IIRC) is a straighter example of an epic fighter or a couple of the mercenaries mentioned in the Hall between worlds although we don't get direct demonstrations of their capabilities. Regretably, neither Arutha nor Guy du-Bas Tyra reach the heights we require although Gorath might?

Personally, when I look for examples of what I consider the height of Fighter excellence, I look to mythical heroes such as Achilles, Heracles, Beowulf, Cu Chulain, Roland, Lancelot, Gawain, Cei (Sir Kay in his original Welsh form, look that bad boy up). From Fiction, Conan (REH original only baby, try to imagine what some of his feats of strength truly require). Regrettably Kane, Elric and *blech*Rand al-Thor don't fit but Naga (Heather Gladney's work), Tempus (thieve's World), Jubal (same), and Mandorallan (David Eddings) come to mind.  
Discussing the plausibility of a mundane fighter killing a dragon with Steely Dan in another thread I realized that there are probably different opinions about how to narrate high level fighter exploits. What is according to you the archetype of a 20 th level fighter (30th for those who play 4e)? For me it's Thomas from the Riftwar saga: no super-sayan power, but superman strength, speed, stamina and mobility.




Ahh Ashen-Shugar. One of my favorites personalities from any fiction wiriting.
All you need to kill a dragon is a magic sword and a good placement. Sigurd showed us.

And then warriors killing supernatural creatures aquire supernatural qualities. 
Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)

Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)




The Valheru were the original inhabitants of the world, who rode and controlled dragons and travelled to other worlds by planewaliking to loot them and destroy anything that got in their way. A pretty powerful bunch. IIRC eventually humans came along, bringing their gods. The Valheru decided they should beat up the gods and take their stuff, as they did with everyone else. Ashen-Shugar sat it out, which is why he survived when the rest of the Valheru got beat and banished from the world. Eventually he died of old age, and left his armour and weapons in a tomb. Which Tomas found and put on.

There is a reason why you don't put on the weapons and armour of ancient demigods and then listen when someone starts talking in your head. Fortunately by the Power of Protagonist eventually Tomas decided he was Tomas, and not Ashen-Shugar, restorer of the Valheru empire and semi-retired world reaver. Without that actually reducing the amount of power he had, his ability to talk to dragons, bellow people into respecting him, survive battle against scores of enemies, and that sort of thing. He reminds me of a Dawn-caste exalted quite strongly. How much of that is magic, how much is due to transforming into a race with powerful abilities, and how much is due to massive amounts of experience is hard to say.

These, in the day when heaven was falling, The hour when earth's foundations fled, Followed their mercenary calling, And took their wages, and are dead. Playing: Legendof Five Rings, The One Ring, Fate Core. Planning: Lords in the Eastern Marches, Runequest in Glorantha. 

how much is due to transforming into a race with powerful abilities, and how much is due to massive amounts of experience is hard to say.

I think this is the crux of the difficulty in expressing the fighter mechanically.

I agree that Thomas is a really good example of an understated giant in the playground. He's bloody scary but apart from cutting an imposing figure and some odd features as a side effect of his old one magic exposure he's just this guy, you know?


The real trick is to give the game an ability set that can be pitched in a variety of ways without actually changing the mechanics around. Stuff that demands Street Fighter-like description is too garish, stuff that can't accomodate garish description is too gritty. The maneuvers must be fanciful and ordinary at the same time.


Good luck with that.


EDIT: course I think really we all just want to play Kargoth when we roll up a fighter, right?

A level 20 fighter should be a whirling engine of destruction. The rogue may get more situational damage, but the fighter should get the most consistent damage. He should also, a that level, be able to apply several effects to his hits.

The problem becomes how to make him deadly at range without overlapping with the rogue or ranger. I mean, really, some us (like me) wouldn't want a fighter that can jump on/harpoon/teleport to/dragonshout the beast out of the sky. So what to do?
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

In fairness, even in the Hobbit, an commonly used example of low fantasy, Smaug is killed by the equivalent of a high level fighter with a mildly enchanted arrow.  I'm of the opinion that a mighty hero throwing something at the dragon's wing, forcing it to fight on more equal terms on the ground, is the stuff great stories are made of.  It's exactly the kind of exertion you expect from a high level fighter if you don't like the supernatural stuff;  its just throwing a spear really well, and to devastating effect.
Well, I still think cutting a dragon in half with a dagger (!) after you break your named sword Naegling on its head and your only loyal (well brave) carl stabs it in the belly is pretty epic. Getting bit in the neck with its poisoned fangs before you do it and suffering a mortal wound, not so much fun though but the hero was in his elder years (Beowulf).
Well, I still think cutting a dragon in half with a dagger (!) after you break your named sword Naegling on its head and your only loyal (well brave) carl stabs it in the belly is pretty epic.

 Beowulf in general is very persistantly symbolic of the unreliability tools... how the man needs to have potence that goes beyond the items he carries and ofcourse every Batman needs robin...Even Lancelot for a bit had a fighting squire.

Getting bit in the neck with its poisoned fangs before you do it and suffering a mortal wound, not so much fun though but the hero was in his elder years (Beowulf).


He needed a climactic finale.. dying face down in your stew is just not awesome.


  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

True. Hmm, I totally forgot about Svipdag from Hrolf Kraki's Saga. Axe carry badass and basically the Lancelot of that tale (although Bjarni Bear Shape was considered the slightly better warrior due to his Spirit Bear attack). Elk - Frodhi to. Chaotic Evil if ever there was one but he hopped a ship with his brother to avenge Bjarni and straight scared the hell out of everyone on the Witch Queen's side and personally saw to sending her off.
In fairness, even in the Hobbit, an commonly used example of low fantasy, Smaug is killed by the equivalent of a high level fighter with a mildly enchanted arrow

Where is the spoiler alert ?!!!

to me, the art of war is not infinite to have pefect fight, so a high-level fighter will eventually gain 100% hit and damage, and learn some magic at some point (just because 100% will bore him at some point)
In fairness, even in the Hobbit, an commonly used example of low fantasy, Smaug is killed by the equivalent of a high level fighter with a mildly enchanted arrow

Where is the spoiler alert ?!!!


Smaug is Keiser Soze.

to me, the art of war is not infinite 


Yeh its moronically simplistic so ofcourse you run out of things to learn... them dumb jocks dont want anything actually dificult or sophisticated to do... i hit it with my sword.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

to me, the art of war is not infinite 


Yeh its moronically simplistic so ofcourse you run out of things to learn... them dumb jocks dont want anything actually dificult or sophisticated to do... i hit it with my sword.



yep but when you have learned all that has to be learned then you will perhaps prefer strategy and using tactics to avoid being hit while coming very near your opponent and laugh inocently; if you manage to exhaust your opponent without launching a blow at him then perhaps you will come nearer to a more neutral status...
Except that the art of war is infinite. You can never learn it all. Same for the art of magic.
Color me flattered.

LIFE CYCLE OF A RULES THREAD

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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)




I think the bolded part actually IS a good example of a high level fighter, though maybe not max level.

He's a great tactician, is super strong, super fast, and hits things really hard.
Granted he can fall into the previous editions faults of boring mechanics and his big thing is he carries a "magic" shield.

But I still think he's a good example

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)




I think the bolded part actually IS a good example of a high level fighter, though maybe not max level.

He's a great tactician, is super strong, super fast, and hits things really hard.
Granted he can fall into the previous editions faults of boring mechanics and his big thing is he carries a "magic" shield.

But I still think he's a good example



Makes a fine Warlord (even emphasizing small team leader) and with no boring mechanics involved... his leadership and inspirational aspect is a fundamental character concept even.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Except that the art of war is infinite. You can never learn it all. Same for the art of magic.



When its only allowed to accomplish trivialities it ends up not feeling that way.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

to me, the art of war is not infinite 


Yeh its moronically simplistic so ofcourse you run out of things to learn... them dumb jocks dont want anything actually dificult or sophisticated to do... i hit it with my sword.



yep but when you have learned all that has to be learned then you will perhaps prefer strategy and using tactics  .



Fighting includes deceptions and intimidation and out maneuvering enemies from the very beginning... its not something you suddenly start doing because you ran out of everything else.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Whacky idea, but bear with me till the end.

Start with the assumption that after about lvl 3 fighters ARE tapping into some sort of mystical/arcane/liquidawesome sorce. This isn't just "training" a la the real world, this is something supernatural.  Build the fighter based on that (like for instance the diference in damage from a spoon to a zweihander being eclipsed by martial damage dice, or skin and bone so tough that a 60 foot fall is "shrugged off")

However: at some point fighters get to pick a "schtick" package from a list of arcane, mythic, mundane or whatever. This provides a couple of very minor abilities that change the fluff for what the fighter is doing, but noit the mechanics. So a level 1 level 4 fighter might take the "arcane" pack, which means that when he swings a sword, he can wreath it in flames by spending a MDD, and does 1d6 extra fire (or ice, or acid or whatever) damage. The lvl 4 fighter, on the other hand, gets an ability that lets him spend a MDD and add 1d6 un-typed damage to a weapon attack that bypasses non-elemental damage resistance.

At level 20, when faced with a flying dragon, the arcane fighter might use their "chains of the Titans" ability, which shoots out crackaling chains of eldritch energy that pull the dragon into melee range. The mundane fighter doesn't go in for that at all, and instead uses his "Martial Hautiness" ability. He yells at the dragon, making fun of it having a cloaca. This insenses the dragon so much that it looses all reason and imediately moves to melee range.

Really, my idea is : Accept that there is nothing "realistic" or "mundane" about fighters, and that any attempt to make them like that will just continue the problem of caster dominance. Once you have done this, make mechanics that work, and have a few different "fluff" packages for people that want to PRETEND that their fighter can do an aditional 10d6 due to "skill" , while alowing the guy who wants flaming swords and bulletproof skin to enjoy that, without having to worry about how the mechanics of each will work (because they are using the same mechanics)
Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)




I think the bolded part actually IS a good example of a high level fighter, though maybe not max level.

He's a great tactician, is super strong, super fast, and hits things really hard.
Granted he can fall into the previous editions faults of boring mechanics and his big thing is he carries a "magic" shield.

But I still think he's a good example



Makes a fine Warlord (even emphasizing small team leader) and with no boring mechanics involved... his leadership and inspirational aspect is a fundamental character concept even.


A warlord without a party is useless, almost all his powers need at least one person to work with that isn't him.  A 4e fighter without a party can still use his Encounters and Dailies to do his job.

Ergo, Captain America is a Fighter.

The Warlord is not only a misnamed class, but a bad idea in general.
Thomas from the Riftwar saga



Don't know him.
Can you explain what he do? (for me he looks like the Captain America)




I think the bolded part actually IS a good example of a high level fighter, though maybe not max level.

He's a great tactician, is super strong, super fast, and hits things really hard.
Granted he can fall into the previous editions faults of boring mechanics and his big thing is he carries a "magic" shield.

But I still think he's a good example



Makes a fine Warlord (even emphasizing small team leader) and with no boring mechanics involved... his leadership and inspirational aspect is a fundamental character concept even.


A warlord without a party is useless 


Nope, not unless you build it that way, not everyones a LazyLord, also its very easy to get yourself a set of henchmen and a side kick is pretty much a trope of all heros including Captain A. (Why would you tell stories that arent about the things the character is about.. a character about team work.. should always have a team, unless you want them rolling around in angst and misery that is).
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Whatever is decided for fighters should apply to monsters, so we can determine how boring and realistic the game world may be. With the exceptions of magical abiltiies, or special abilties, monsters should be limited to how many attacks they make, just attacking AC, have a limited skill set, etc.