Assessing the Direction of the Fighter, Version 6.0

So...I really didn't like the 11/13 packet, in which Rogues, Fighters, and Monks were all going to get maneuvers, and it looked like the same thing was going to happen for all martial classes. As a result, I kind of gave up on D&D Next and didn't really pay attention for a few months, and when I came back things had really changed, and for the better. I'm not as worried as I was back in November that D&D Next was going to screw up the Fighter, so let's talk about the class' direction (for previous pieces of this series, see here).

The Fighter As a Unique Class:
 
As far as being a class with unique mechanics, things are somewhat improved. While it's true that other martial classes like Monks, Rogues, Barbarians, and Clerics have access to "Martial Damage Dice" (formerly Expertise Dice, formerly Combat Superiority Dice), maneuvers have been pulled back to just the Fighter and the Monk as the two "formally trained" martial classes, and the other martial classes now have their own niches. Rogues have Skill Tricks that give them a whole host of non-combat and combat-useful abilities that still leave the special attacks to Fighters, and the Barbarian class is a great example of how to create a martial class with its own style of play. The Barbarian's Rages really structure how a Barbarian plays from everything from positioning and movement to the Advantage system to HP management, etc. all without using Maneuvers. Even the Monk class, which still has maneuvers, at least has its own unique set of Maneuvers, and Ki abilities and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff that set them apart. 

On a level of feel, I think things are back on track - Barbarians, Monks, and Fighters are all martial classes, but they have an instantly different feel: the Barbarian is this risky roller-coaster of death, trying to keep the Rage streak going; the Monk drips supernatural craziness, throwing fire around, teleporting, etc.; the Fighter is the tactical, weapon-skilled, versatile one. 

The Fighter as Best at Fighting:

Here, I'm not so sure on. The Fighter has the same progression on Weapon Attack bonuses, Martial Damage dice, and Martial Damage bonsues as the other martial classes. Likewise, when it comes to class features, the Fighter has 5 Maneuvers, 4 Combat Surges, and Parry, whereas the Monk has 5 maneuvers (I'll get into these in a bit), 3 ki abilities, and (not counting their AC and fist damage abilities, which are needed to bring them up to par) 12 class features. Barbarians don't get maneuvers, but (not counting their AC and Rage abilities, which are needed to bring them up to par), they have 13 class features. 

I don't think strict numerical parity is necessary - I think the Monk's crazy mystical powers are very suited to the class, and the Barbarian needs class features to make up for the lack of maneuvers - but given the progression, I'm not seeing where the Fighter is that much better than the Monk or Barbarian at fighting, which is supposed to be their schtick, especially since the Fighter doesn't get the same out-of-combat features that the others have. I could see this not being an issue if the Fighter had better raw damage numbers or if the Fighter's maneuvers were that much better, but, well, we'll get into that.

The Fighter's Class Mechanics:
 
Comparing the 1/28 Fighter to the 11/18 Fighter, I think we can see some subtle but significant improvements to the Fighter's core mechanics. For one thing, the Fighter gets more but smaller dice - 5d6 compared to 3d10; this is a good change, since it orients the Fighter more towards making choices between investing their dice in different Maneuvers and makes it easier to come up with combos. Likewise, the addition of the flat Melee Damage Bonus frees up Fighters to use dice for something other than "Deadly Strike." Deadly Strike and Parry have been folded into the base class, which means the Fighter has a net +2 maneuvers. Attack bonus progression has been made more gradual, which makes sense, given that the 11/18 Fighter could very easily start off the game with a +7 to hit, which made it very difficult for the Fighter to miss most monsters. The extra attack has been replaced with Combat Surge, which is the Fighter's daily resource to manage, just like Ki, Rage, Ace in the Hole, etc. 

The one thing I'm not so sure about is MDD regeneration - dice regeneration has shifted from "regenerates at the start of your turn," to "renegerates at the end of your turn," to (if I'm reading the rules right) regenerating at the start of every player/npc's turn in a round. In essence, a Fighter is never without dice to throw - and while I like the idea of being able to use my dice on my turn to be active, and then having dice to use to Parry or react with, I don't know if the Fighter should have constant refreshes. Might make the Fighter a bit too hard of a tank to drop.

Fighter Maneuvers: 

So a couple of standard combat actions got turned into generic maneuvers (as did Fighter Maneuvers like Precise Shot, Rapid Shot) that any class has access to through Feats, while the Fighter can choose between using their 5 maneuvers to grab a generic maneuver or a fighter-only maneuver. That's fine by me - feats represent training, fighters aren't subject to a relative feat tax, and since we get Deady Strike and Parry without them taking up a slot, I think the Fighter is well-set-up. 

A bunch of Fighter Maneuvers got turned into Feats or eliminated - Cleave, Danger Sense, Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Mighty Exertion, Shove Away, and Vault. Part of this has to do with the change to the Skills and Saves, and part of it to greater class distinction, and I'm feeling a bit ambivalent. 11 Maneuvers (10 unique) to choose from isn't a whole lot, but it is better than the Monk, so there's something. 

Changes to Old Maneuvers:


  • Composed Attack has been much improved. Instead of more dice rolls, additional dice invested just means you just cancel the condition.

  • Defensive Roll now allows a successful save to grant you a move bonus, which is nice.

  • Glancing Blow is still hamstrung by the "if roll is 10 or higher." Now, it's true that the reduction in Melee Attack bonuses means there's actually a chance that the Fighter could roll a 10 and still miss, but a level 1 Fighter could easily have +5 to hit, meaning that Glancing Blow would only be used on something with Scale Leather/Chain Mail or better AC, which makes it pretty situational. Situational isn't inherently a bad thing, but we're taling about 20% of the Maneuvers you have. Still something of a trap choice.

  • Opportunist is still hamstrung by two things: one, it's situational, and two, chance to hit is less of an issue with the Fighter, given high to hit bonuses. 

  • Protect is the same.

  • Spring Attack is much improved; now instead of just damage dice, you're doing a full attack as well as moving. 

  • Volley has changed dramatically; it's now a short-ranged burst attack, instead of an all-incompassing AOE, and you can't retract dice for missed attacks. Overall, a fair change.

  • Whirlwind Attack - slight change on the 5-foot versus melee range thing, but I think that's just an accidental error. 


New Maneuvers: 


  • Disarm is brand new - it lets you do damage and take away someone's weapon, and it shows a nice understanding of how to handle progressive investments of dice: one dice gets you a 1h weapon, 2 dice gets you a 2h weapon. (I'd like the Fighter to be able to resist by counter-spending dice, just to make things more interesting, but that's a minor issue)

  • Lunge I really like - an extra square of reach is handy, especially for the heavily-armored fighter with the movement penalties. However, it doesn't really have much beyond that; something like a single-target version of the Barbarian's Reckless Assault would work really well here, simulating the risk and reward of over-extending your attack. Also, it doesn't have any scalability, unlike Disarm. 

  • Shove Away is basically a restored Push, but I think it really lacks scalability. Compare it to Bull Rush, where potentially a Fighter can bowl along an opponent up to 6 squares away, which is a big deal in terms of battlefield control (or to Hurricane Strike, which just blows it out of the water). Shove Away, you're limited to 5 feet, and adding additional dice only helps you affect bigger targets. This is a pretty simple fix though, simply have multiple dice add an additional 5 feet of shoving as well as the larger size to give the Fighter solid battlefield control. 



What's Wrong With This Picture?

On balance, I think the maneuvers as they are, are moving in the right direction although there's still some things to fix. The major thing that's lacking is...pizzaz. These maneuvers are the #1 thing that makes the Fighter class a unique class, but in terms of their actual power, or versatility, they feel underpowered in comparison to the Monk. Shove Away is much less useful than Hurricane Strike, and Step of the Wind is much better than Springing Attack. The Fighter certainly has nothing to put up against Flames of the Phoenix or Heart-Stopping Strike or Hurricane Defense or Stunning Strike. 

What I think the Fighter is missing right now is High-End Maneuvers. If the problem with the 4e Fighter was umpteen luridly-named powers, the problem with the Next Fighter at the moment is that they've got the meat-and-potatoes - they're good tanks and solid damage machines - but no spices, nothing that really grabs the spotlight. 



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They need to look at the barbarian, monk, and fighter to determine what overlaps and where each on specializes. The fighter is missing the extra oomph. I believe part of the problem is some of the features were taken by the rogue. So you should add that to the comparison as well.
They need to look at the barbarian, monk, and fighter to determine what overlaps and where each on specializes. The fighter is missing the extra oomph. I believe part of the problem is some of the features were taken by the rogue. So you should add that to the comparison as well.




I do agree that the fighter is still in search of an identity.  The maneuvers are a great start - but they just have too few of them and they require the fighter to sacrifice damage output to do them.

I'd like to see more maneuvers (and I'd like to see the fighter able to learn them during gameplay just as a wizard can learn new spells) and I'd like to see them be able to use at least one maneuver during their turn without having to sacrifice any of their damage (although on the other hand I'd also like to see their damage reduced).  

I also think they need some exploration/ interaction pillar abilities not unlike the Skill Tricks - but uniquely different and appropriate for the fighter.  I.e., perhaps focused on strength, intimidation and survival. 

Carl
OP:

You're running into trouble comparing number of class features. Feral instinct and Parry are not even on the same plane of existence, and that's what currently puts the fighter unequivocally in the "best at fighting" role.  He has the best AC short of a high level monk (and even that he can swing if he's sword and board dwarf, and step ahead even without that if they continue to not provide magic cloth armor, and he has more HP).  Barbarians get the same two-stat system, but they add a tertiary stat instead of a rimary one, so they're behind to the end (although they do get more HP).  But throw on parry?  It's hard to measure precisely how much they get out of parry, because it depends how many people are attacking them every round and how often they're using non-melee attacks, but MDD+skill dice adds up to a lot more damage than most at-level monsters can manage.  It makes fighters more or less invincible against single melee targets, without giving up any of their damage because MDD refresh every turn.  They are far and away the most durable class out there, while their damage falls only slightly behind the monk (by virtue of flurry allowing multi-attacks v the same target) and the barbarian (by virtue of advantage and bonus).  That means, in terms of the kinds of foes they can defeat, and the combat contribution they can make to the party by reducing enemy DPR (both by soaking it and by killing it before it comes), they are the indisputable kings of combat.  Mind you, I hate that they are the kings of combat, I hate the concept that they should be, and I think parry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to stop being so ridiculously powerful in so boring and time consuming a fashion, but as it stands they are the kings.  
I must dispute your assertion that the fighter is the indisputable king of combat. They are "around as good as everybody else" in combat (the monk and barbarian as is may both be better). In fact, the barbarian is inherently more accurate (can always have advantage).

In terms of being the "best at fighting," the fighter has enough perks to make that claim. It gets the best armor proficiencies, second best hit points, top-end weapon proficiencies (which will become that much better in the next playtest packet), and parry. Parry is the king of survivability functions in this game. It allows the fighter to be an upfront in your face combatant unlike any other class in the game.


 
I must dispute your assertion that the fighter is the indisputable king of combat. They are "around as good as everybody else" in combat (the monk and barbarian as is may both be better). In fact, the barbarian is inherently more accurate (can always have advantage).



Neither the monk nor the barbarian have the survivability of the fighter. They compare in damage, but that is it. 

Well, Iron Root Defense does a pretty good impression of the Fighter's toughness, and unlike Parry, it works against multiple opponents and against any type of damage (melee, ranged, or magical). At a significant tradeoff, of course, since it costs an action and has movement limitations.


I do agree that the fighter is still in search of an identity.  The maneuvers are a great start - but they just have too few of them and they require the fighter to sacrifice damage output to do them.

I'd like to see more maneuvers (and I'd like to see the fighter able to learn them during gameplay just as a wizard can learn new spells) and I'd like to see them be able to use at least one maneuver during their turn without having to sacrifice any of their damage (although on the other hand I'd also like to see their damage reduced).  

I also think they need some exploration/ interaction pillar abilities not unlike the Skill Tricks - but uniquely different and appropriate for the fighter.  I.e., perhaps focused on strength, intimidation and survival. 

Carl



I agree on the other pillars. 

Regarding the maneuvers, I agree that Fighters should be able to learn new ones. In terms of maneuvers vs. damage output, I think there are a number of fixes:


  • Stagger progression - there's no need or reason why the Cleric, Monk, and Barbarian should have the same progression as the Fighter. You could easily bump the Fighter ahead, so that they can sacrifice damage without falling behind on what they're supposed to be best at.

  • Powerful Multi-Dice Maneuvers - there's no reason why high-level maneuvers can't do plenty of damage and have effects. I could see maneuvers like the Tome of Battle strikes operating such that, if you dump all of your dice into say a Charge Attack, you get to Charge and you do X MDD for each square traveled, etc. 

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OP:

You're running into trouble comparing number of class features. Feral instinct and Parry are not even on the same plane of existence, and that's what currently puts the fighter unequivocally in the "best at fighting" role.  He has the best AC short of a high level monk (and even that he can swing if he's sword and board dwarf, and step ahead even without that if they continue to not provide magic cloth armor, and he has more HP).  Barbarians get the same two-stat system, but they add a tertiary stat instead of a rimary one, so they're behind to the end (although they do get more HP).  But throw on parry?  It's hard to measure precisely how much they get out of parry, because it depends how many people are attacking them every round and how often they're using non-melee attacks, but MDD+skill dice adds up to a lot more damage than most at-level monsters can manage.  It makes fighters more or less invincible against single melee targets, without giving up any of their damage because MDD refresh every turn.  They are far and away the most durable class out there, while their damage falls only slightly behind the monk (by virtue of flurry allowing multi-attacks v the same target) and the barbarian (by virtue of advantage and bonus).  That means, in terms of the kinds of foes they can defeat, and the combat contribution they can make to the party by reducing enemy DPR (both by soaking it and by killing it before it comes), they are the indisputable kings of combat.  Mind you, I hate that they are the kings of combat, I hate the concept that they should be, and I think parry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to stop being so ridiculously powerful in so boring and time consuming a fashion, but as it stands they are the kings.  



I agree that mere counting isn't accurate, hence "I don't think strict numerical parity is necessary."

It's more that, given the equal progression, the numerical lopsidedness makes me worry.  
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Realized I forgot something:

One of the few things I liked about the 11/13 Fighter build was that Danger Sense (roll MDD to boost initiative), Great Fortitude (roll MDD to boost Str/Con saving throws), Mighty Exertion (roll MDD to boost Strength check), and Vault (roll MDD to boost jumping) gave the Fighter some good non-combat utility.  

They've since been taken out and cannibalized by other classes. The Barbarian's Rage/Primal Might ate Mighty Exertion and half of Great Fortitude, and arguably Feral Instinct ate Danger Sense. The Rogue's skill tricks ate Great Fortitude, Vault, and Danger Sense. 

Now, I like the new rogue skill tricks much better than earlier builds, and I think the Barbarian's abilities make sense for the class. But the Devs really need to sit down and think: what non-combat things is the Fighter better at than the other classes? What non-combat things are iconic for Fighters, which for Rogues, which for Barbarians, etc.? 
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Yeah, the total lack of out-of-combat ability in the Next Fighter is amusing.

Given how many people whine about 4th Edition being too combat focused.

Every Fighter I've seen in 4th has had 200%+ more out-of-combat choices than you can EVER have in Next. 
To me, this is relatively easily solved: look at the list of skills/checks, decide what the Fighter should be better at (smashing down doors, opening gates, swimming, jumping, running, social interactions with soldiers, knowledge of military tactics) and let the Fighter throw their Skill dice at those checks.
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A little more than that is likely necessary.

Though that AT LEAST would be a start. 
A little more than that is likely necessary.

Though that AT LEAST would be a start. 



You get the idea - it can certainly be toned down. Maybe 1MDD?
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Well, that'd be ok for low level Fighters.

But I'd want to see some "auto-win" buttons in there at lvl 11+. 
Well, that'd be ok for low level Fighters.

But I'd want to see some "auto-win" buttons in there at lvl 11+. 



So a scaling bonus, then. 
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Too many of the maneuvers make no sense being better when performed using a two handed axe.

So I'm not a fan of Weapon Dice replacing Martial Damage Dice.

Bringing back extra attacks, say at 6 and 16, would be good.

As would Maneuvers and Martial Damage Dice not both arbitrarily capping at 11. 
That only works if MDD continue to scale up after 11.

If not the extra attacks need to be just that, extra. 
That only works if MDD continue to scale up after 11.



I would like MDD to scale slower, and over 20 levels.



Start with 2, scale slightly slower and go all the way to 20 and you'd have me.

Well... we'd need Maneuvers to go past 10 and "higher level" Maneuver options too.

But we'd be getting somewhere at last. 
At some point in the character level progression, the MDD dice should be traded out for the entire encounter to gain a semi-permanent effect. The dice that are remove from play can be regained after a short rest. I would prefer this over daily resource use. This can be use for rages, stances, forms, etc.
I was initially a fan of "encounter powers" that expend your mdd for the encounter till a rest. But, I'm not sure that could be balanced - with combats as fast as they are, you're really just giving it up for 2 turns. So, it'd be underpowered, to keep balance, I fear.

As for the "fighter is the best at fighting" - when they started down that road, they quickly found the pothole - it means there's no way for other martial classes to have niches in combat. You want the barbarian to trade some defense (light armor) for some offense (bigger burst damage), but if the fighter is "best at combat" then the burst damage of the barbarian needs to be lower than the damage of the fighter at will. Which pretty much stinks for class design. Which is why they've made parry the fighter thing - without announcing it, they've changed the fighter from "best at combat" to "best at taking damage against solos". Which is an identity and should be embraced.

And, if they announced it, we'd stop having arguments like Jonathan stating whether the barbarian might be stronger due to accuracy. And, if we gave the fighter and identity around durability, we could also give them out of combat, since they're specializing in a type of combat, not "in combat".

Admitedly, the "archer fighter" is a causality of this reorg. The archer, without any reason for extra durability, would drift towards ranger, since the ranger will give better goodie. Not a perfect solution, and will have backlash, but maybe sufficiently good?
Then change the period to an hour, or something similar. We are not bound to just daily, ritual, encounter and at-will.
     Personally (meaning my opinion and that's all it is), I've always felt that the Fighter should be less tough than a Barbarian (read less HP), as well as less damaging than both the Barbarian and the Monk (Barbarian naturally and the Monk due to multi-attacking).  A Rogue should maybe be able to own the single target single round damage title when circumstances are on it's side, but never out DPR a Fighter.  Additionally Rogues and Monks (and Rangers for that matter) should probably be more mobile than Fighters.  Fighters, in my mind, get greater defenses (or should) than everyone else (save maybe Paladins).  Parry and a good AC allow them that niche.  I would say thematically though, they're the only class that I've mentioned that should have tactics baked in.  Sure, a Monk and Rogue (also Paladin and Ranger) should be capable of tactical thinking, but this  I'd think would be more of a roleplay decision than something that might be a class feature.  My vote for increasing the flavor of the fight and expanding it's place is to give it some kind of class feature towards this end.  Preferably, one that doesn't require MDD, and is not just some passive bonus. 
     I realize that not everyone is on board with tactical combat.  I also sort of expect that the tactical combat module may include such a class feature or something else to expand the Fighters tactical presence.  That being said, I'd like to think there would be something we can do for the more basic version as well.  My current thoughts are mostly things from 4E such as Combat Challenge minus the mark (more the pick a target and you can attack them if they target someone else or try to disengage), or maybe an increased threat range for oportunity attacks.  I'm no game designer, but i feel like something like this would make the Fighter feel more unique. 
    Now for the Combat Surge thing.  I would prefer more MDD and higher costing Maneuvers (think more dice to activate so not usable until hight levels).  I suppose there is nothing actually wrong with the Combat Surge thing.  It's just kind of boring and uninspired.
     Personally (meaning my opinion and that's all it is), I've always felt that the Fighter should be less tough than a Barbarian (read less HP), as well as less damaging than both the Barbarian and the Monk (Barbarian naturally and the Monk due to multi-attacking).  A Rogue should maybe be able to own the single target single round damage title when circumstances are on it's side, but never out DPR a Fighter.  Additionally Rogues and Monks (and Rangers for that matter) should probably be more mobile than Fighters.  Fighters, in my mind, get greater defenses (or should) than everyone else (save maybe Paladins).  Parry and a good AC allow them that niche.  I would say thematically though, they're the only class that I've mentioned that should have tactics baked in.  Sure, a Monk and Rogue (also Paladin and Ranger) should be capable of tactical thinking, but this  I'd think would be more of a roleplay decision than something that might be a class feature.  My vote for increasing the flavor of the fight and expanding it's place is to give it some kind of class feature towards this end.  Preferably, one that doesn't require MDD, and is not just some passive bonus. 
     I realize that not everyone is on board with tactical combat.  I also sort of expect that the tactical combat module may include such a class feature or something else to expand the Fighters tactical presence.  That being said, I'd like to think there would be something we can do for the more basic version as well.  My current thoughts are mostly things from 4E such as Combat Challenge minus the mark (more the pick a target and you can attack them if they target someone else or try to disengage), or maybe an increased threat range for oportunity attacks.  I'm no game designer, but i feel like something like this would make the Fighter feel more unique. 
    Now for the Combat Surge thing.  I would prefer more MDD and higher costing Maneuvers (think more dice to activate so not usable until hight levels).  I suppose there is nothing actually wrong with the Combat Surge thing.  It's just kind of boring and uninspired.



+1

Fighters, in my mind, get greater defenses (or should) than everyone else (save maybe Paladins).  Parry and a good AC allow them that niche.  I would say thematically though, they're the only class that I've mentioned that should have tactics baked in.  Sure, a Monk and Rogue (also Paladin and Ranger) should be capable of tactical thinking, but this  I'd think would be more of a roleplay decision than something that might be a class feature.  My vote for increasing the flavor of the fight and expanding it's place is to give it some kind of class feature towards this end.

Making the fighter more tactics-focused might tread a lot on the warlord's turf, but I could it working out like thus: fighters get solo tactics (maneuvers) focused around themselves, where warlords get teamwork maneuvers that require party involvement to pull off.

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Hi,

I popped some numbers into a human Barbarian and Human Fighter at 20th level. I used the playtest Barbarian and changed the Dwarf fighter by boosting the character stats. The results were suprising to me.

Bob the Barbarian AC 19 (loincloth and shield) Hit points  245

Bill the Fighter AC 19 (plate and shield) Hit points 224

The argument often given is that Parry is so powerful that it compensates. However this is not the case. 

Bob hits Bill for: 1d8 +5 +20+ 14 +6d6 - 6d6 (Parry) =43 damage. So At 20th level Parry lets you ignore on average 21 points of damage

Compare this to the Barbarian simple half damage when raging (and they can aways Rage at 20th level). Bill hits Bob for 1d8 +5 +20 +6d6 x1/2= 25 points of damage. So the Barbarian Rage power protect for 25 points of Damage or 50 points of Damage if the Fighter attacks twice with Combat focus and hits twice.

As the Barbarian has; more hit points, takes half damage from attacks, gets to regenerate 5 hit points  per round at below half hit points,  and make a Fortitude save to go below 0 hits, they overall have much more resilience. 

The Barbarian offence is also more powerful with Advantage on all attacks, an extra +14 damage, and a free unarmed attack if they miss even with advantage.

I have played out 10 combats to try to get an accurate feel and the Barbarian won in every single case. Indeed on two occasions the Barbarian did not get to use the 5 point regenerate ability, because they were not even below half hit points when they won. 

Of course don't just believe me, try it out for yourselves.

Fighters are not the best at fighting (at least at 20th level). They are not even the best at taking damage as the Parry ability tops out at about 21 points of damage, so that if an attack does more than 42 points of damage (or multiple attacks do more than 42 points of damage) it is inferior to the defensive component of the Rage ability alone. 
I still think 'dice' should just become 'points' or 'tokens' so that the way each is spent on a maneuver can be varied. This way a strictly damage-based maneuver such as Deadly Strike can reflect your weapon, whereas something like Disarm or Trip doesn't even require a dice.

I also wonder if maneuvers could be given keywords or categories (like schools of magic) so that certain weapons could synergise with a class of maneuvers. You could have 'Polearm' as a maneuver keyword that makes it cheaper or better to use when you wield a polearm, and so on. 
I still think 'dice' should just become 'points' or 'tokens' so that the way each is spent on a maneuver can be varied. This way a strictly damage-based maneuver such as Deadly Strike can reflect your weapon, whereas something like Disarm or Trip doesn't even require a dice.

I also wonder if maneuvers could be given keywords or categories (like schools of magic) so that certain weapons could synergise with a class of maneuvers. You could have 'Polearm' as a maneuver keyword that makes it cheaper or better to use when you wield a polearm, and so on. 


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

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I still think 'dice' should just become 'points' or 'tokens' so that the way each is spent on a maneuver can be varied. This way a strictly damage-based maneuver such as Deadly Strike can reflect your weapon, whereas something like Disarm or Trip doesn't even require a dice.

I also wonder if maneuvers could be given keywords or categories (like schools of magic) so that certain weapons could synergise with a class of maneuvers. You could have 'Polearm' as a maneuver keyword that makes it cheaper or better to use when you wield a polearm, and so on. 



1. That seems counter-productive. The thing everyone liked about Combat Expertise was that using the dice was very intuitive. Why go from that to bookkeeping, when there are easier ways to fix the problem of weapons having meaning?

2. We'd need a lot more maneuvers for that to work. Not that I'm objecting... 
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Perhaps MDD should continue to scale from 11+ at exactly the same rate they do before 10.

But a "per maneuver per use" restriction (5 perhaps) could be put on so we don't end up with "fistfulls of dice" effect.

It'd also help keep down total damage per target... possibly allowing for a return of multiple attacks. 
Making the fighter more tactics-focused might tread a lot on the warlord's turf, but I could it working out like thus: fighters get solo tactics (maneuvers) focused around themselves, where warlords get teamwork maneuvers that require party involvement to pull off.




I think my answer from the other thread works here: 


I really, really do not get the argument that the 5e Fighter is not a class - certainly, I think one could argue that the Fighter started to lose identity from editions 1-3.5, but the current 5e Fighter is pretty damn close to the Warblade in mechanics (you have a set of maneuvers you can use and a resource mechanism for when and how you can use them) and concept: the 5e fighter is a combat artist, someone who can pull off maneuvers with weapons that no one else can do, because they've devoted their lives to the study and practice of martial arts. The Monk is essentially an unarmed specialist Fighter who got religion. 

The issue right now with the Fighter isn't that the class doesn't have a soul - the soul of the class is maneuvers - but that the maneuvers right now are not up to par in how evocative they are.



What makes the Fighter unique is that they are masters of technique with weapons. The Ranger is more focused on environment, the Barbarian relies on sheer physicality. So all you need to do is raise Fighter maneuvers to the distinctiveness and utility of Monk abilities (minus the mystic elements), and you're good to go. 
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Perhaps MDD should continue to scale from 11+ at exactly the same rate they do before 10.

But a "per maneuver per use" restriction (5 perhaps) could be put on so we don't end up with "fistfulls of dice" effect.

It'd also help keep down total damage per target... possibly allowing for a return of multiple attacks. 



I think the solution to scale problems and fistful of dice is to be found within maneuvers. Create high-level maneuvers that have non-linear returns to investment  and you've created effective dice in terms of power without having to physically manipulate them.

Likewise, high-end maneuevrs that trade-off multiple-dice/all-your-dice requirements for greater effects allows for a finer modulation of damage, or even multiple attacks, without having to screw around with the dice pool. 
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I still think 'dice' should just become 'points' or 'tokens' so that the way each is spent on a maneuver can be varied. This way a strictly damage-based maneuver such as Deadly Strike can reflect your weapon, whereas something like Disarm or Trip doesn't even require a dice.

I also wonder if maneuvers could be given keywords or categories (like schools of magic) so that certain weapons could synergise with a class of maneuvers. You could have 'Polearm' as a maneuver keyword that makes it cheaper or better to use when you wield a polearm, and so on. 



1. That seems counter-productive. The thing everyone liked about Combat Expertise was that using the dice was very intuitive. Why go from that to bookkeeping, when there are easier ways to fix the problem of weapons having meaning?

2. We'd need a lot more maneuvers for that to work. Not that I'm objecting... 



We've seen a couple of versions of Combat Expertise - the first had a progression of both the number of dice and the size of the dice, the more recent one uses a uniform dice size. Many people have suggested equated dice size to weapon damage dice.

In the first approach, the use of the dice as a bonus was limited, because when it reached d12 the sort of bonus you could have to your AC or saving throw was rather overwhelming compared with any other. Additionally, if you spent a dice to achieve an effect without considering its size, then the balance of a maneuver when compared to just dealing damage changed as you increased in level - a d6 is worth tripping someone perhaps, but a d12 is a lot more damage. Given that all maneuvers were being balanced against damage anyway (which I still don't think is a good system), this made maneuver design even more difficult.

In the more recent approach, the use of the dice as a bonus has been constrained, and the usefulness of a given maneuver when compared to damage doesn't change with respect to level. However, we've seen more of a 'spend a dice' approach than 'roll a dice and use the number' approach - I suspect this is because it's worth spending a dice for an effect, but spending multiple dice and picking the highest is a bit wasteful compared to damage, and the bonus you actually get is variable. For instance, there was a maneuver that gave you extra movement based on your dice roll - this is terrible to use in combat because it might be worthless to you, but spending a dice and just getting an extra 10 foot is worth it - you can see exactly how to use that extra movement.

Finally, using the weapon damage dice has problems because if you ever do want to use it as a bonus again, there's not really a good reason for a greatsword to give you a better bonus than a longsword for maneuvers other than big, damaging, sweeping effects. This means you can't design sneaky, stabby maneuvers that use the actual roll of the dice (not that we'll see that mechanic return anyway).

I propose to use tokens because we're not actually rolling the dice any more, unless we want additional damage. Tokens give you a known measure of what you can do - you can move this much further, you can have this bonus to your saving throw, you can trip this medium guy but not this large guy. The use of dice adds very little to the maneuver system, and to be honest I dispute the idea that they are intuitive - they don't have any physical representation, they equate to nothing in particular in the game. Each weapon uses a dice for damage, this represents a range of hits from scratches to full on hits, and it's really not clear why your variable skill in dealing an extra 1-6 damage can be turned directly into a +1-6 to hit when you have disadvantage (Composed Attack). Tokens are just as abstract - but they don't pretend to be otherwise. 
I'm still not sure why they don't just keep MDD as a flat number, with no dice assigned. Then, just have each maneuver provide the die rolled. This would allow some to use a fixed die size, others the weapon die, and still others might use a ability modifier. More variety, and should be easy enough to record on the char sheet: Maneuver X (dY).

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After trying out the maneuvers in play, and also with ten simulated combats between a melee Fighter and a Barbarian, I found that the dice mechanisms was a bit clunky and slowed down play. This effect was worse at high level

So for example when the Barbarian was hit it was simple to go; 50 points of damage halved = 25 points of damage. Whilst with the Fighter you had to go 50 points of damage - Parry (3+4+2+5+1+6=21) = 29. This is at least one more mathematical operation, and halving damage automatically scales better. There is already a feat that anyone can take that does this for light weapons, so it cannot be unbalanced for the Fighter?

In general we seem to have five pseudo "Parry" abilities that are scattered around; feats, maneuvers and  class abilities:

Artful Dodger - impose disadvantage if attacking Rogue

Deflect - half damage if wielding at least one light weapon

Parry - - martial damage dice if attacking Fighter

Protect - - martial damage dice if attacking a friend within 5 feet

Shield bash - impose disadvantage if attacking a friend within 5 feet

I think that these could probably be rationalized into a smaller set of maneuvers or feats that worked in a more unified fashion and stacked with one another. 

Such as:  

Parry - impose disadvantage if attacking warrior 

Protect - impose disadvantage if attacking a friend within 5 feet

Deflect - half damage if you have used Parry or Protect and have still been hit. 


 
Perhaps MDD should continue to scale from 11+ at exactly the same rate they do before 10.

But a "per maneuver per use" restriction (5 perhaps) could be put on so we don't end up with "fistfulls of dice" effect.

It'd also help keep down total damage per target... possibly allowing for a return of multiple attacks. 




Did you miss the "known issues" in the last playtest packet?  They know they need to tone down damage, not increase it.
What I would really like to see is styles implemented similar to domains or traditions, where specializing in a certain type of weapon and/or armor grants certain abilities. You will still have the MDD to keep up with overall damage for the class, but the figher would trade out sheer damage for versatility. I don't even mind overall if other classes like barbarian, monk or rogue may exceed the fighter in damage, but the fighter should be able to adapt to a wide range of combat situations. The only question left would be similar to the wizard discussions, is what can a generalist fighter do in comparison to a specialist fighter.

For comparison of MDD pools versus tokens or point system, they are essentially the same, but the MDD pool also serves as a baseline to keep the fighter damage in the ballpark of spell damage. But they could trade out needing an excessive amount of MDD, if they offered a mechanism to increase weapon damage. e.g. 2[W]. This would highlight the difference of a fighter using a weapon versus other classes.
I'd like to see options for fighters to go "armorless", similar to the monk and barbarian. Maybe have their MDD count as armor AC if it is higher?

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Hi,

I popped some numbers into a human Barbarian and Human Fighter at 20th level. I used the playtest Barbarian and changed the Dwarf fighter by boosting the character stats. The results were suprising to me.

Bob the Barbarian AC 19 (loincloth and shield) Hit points  245

Bill the Fighter AC 19 (plate and shield) Hit points 224

The argument often given is that Parry is so powerful that it compensates. However this is not the case. 

Bob hits Bill for: 1d8 +5 +20+ 14 +6d6 - 6d6 (Parry) =43 damage. So At 20th level Parry lets you ignore on average 21 points of damage

Compare this to the Barbarian simple half damage when raging (and they can aways Rage at 20th level). Bill hits Bob for 1d8 +5 +20 +6d6 x1/2= 25 points of damage. So the Barbarian Rage power protect for 25 points of Damage or 50 points of Damage if the Fighter attacks twice with Combat focus and hits twice.

As the Barbarian has; more hit points, takes half damage from attacks, gets to regenerate 5 hit points  per round at below half hit points,  and make a Fortitude save to go below 0 hits, they overall have much more resilience. 

The Barbarian offence is also more powerful with Advantage on all attacks, an extra +14 damage, and a free unarmed attack if they miss even with advantage.

I have played out 10 combats to try to get an accurate feel and the Barbarian won in every single case. Indeed on two occasions the Barbarian did not get to use the 5 point regenerate ability, because they were not even below half hit points when they won. 

Of course don't just believe me, try it out for yourselves.

Fighters are not the best at fighting (at least at 20th level). They are not even the best at taking damage as the Parry ability tops out at about 21 points of damage, so that if an attack does more than 42 points of damage (or multiple attacks do more than 42 points of damage) it is inferior to the defensive component of the Rage ability alone. 



Few things.
1)  I think this reveals that the fighter is (probably) the best at fighting against groups whereas the barbarian is best at fighting 1v1s
2) Did you consider using the fighter's maneuvers to try to derail the barbarian? Doing something like tripping, pinning, etc. to keep the barbarian from attacking every round (ending his rage)? It would not bother me if the barbarian outpaced the fighter in a 1v1 heavyweight slugfest where he was allowed to rage and not be interupted or outmaneuvered (pun only kind of intended)

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I'd like to see options for fighters to go "armorless", similar to the monk and barbarian. Maybe have their MDD count as armor AC if it is higher?




I say give them a feature almost synonymous to that of barbarians (it is different from monks in one distinct and awesome way) with two caveats:

1. In standard theirs is variable.  They can select any ability score they wish to add as the secondary bonus to AC.  I would say restricting the use of double dex in some way is required only because it would be full on broken.  Possibly just simply state choose any ability mod other than dex and add it to your unarmored AC (though if fighting styles get more fleshed out open up double dex to the duelist fighting style).    

2. At higher level, say around 10 they get to add it to their armored ac, though they only get to select one grade of armor.  So at 10th youd select light, medium, or heavy armor and be able to add your second modifier to your ac while wearing one of those types of armor.