There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.
How wide are line-shaped breath weapons?
Unless stated otherwise, a line-shaped area of effect is 5 feet wide, enough to catch all of the space for a Medium character.
Should finding spells as treasure (in the form of scrolls and spellbooks) be a part of the game since they increase a wizard's power at increments unrelated to level advancement?
Sure! Treasure is treasure, and it all flows from the adventure. A wizard finding a new spell in a spellbook isn’t that much different from finding a sword that shoots lightning, or a helm that gives you telepathic powers. In fact, in many ways a wizard finding a new spell is less impactful than finding one of those magic items, since the wizard needs to spend spell slots to cast that spell. Most other magic items are purely additive, but having wizards find new spells in the wizard spellbooks of enemies is a longstanding tradition in D&D that is fun for the player and well within the bounds of what we expect a DM to be comfortable handing out as treasure.
Fighters have always seemed to lack an identity beyond "best at combat"; can this be fixed with mechanics or is the fighter's purpose to be a broad umbrella under which many concepts can fit?
Part of building a good fighter is meeting expectations, and players expect a fighter to be good at combat; if we had a diplomat class, the expectation would be that it was the best at diplomacy. The reason for this is simple: The warrior is an identity—a fantasy archetype that players seek out when building characters. Yes, many people engage in combat and fight monsters, but the warrior archetype that the fighter represents is big and important in fantasy in the same way that wizards and rogues are. Characters like Gimli, Lan Mandragoran, Leonidas, Madmartigan (yeah, that’s right, I made a Willow reference), the eponymous Seven Samurai, and King Arthur are all examples of fighters who typify the warrior archetype from fantasy.
Being a fighter isn’t just about punching or stabbing (or shooting) someone really hard; it’s about adhering to the warrior archetype. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The Way of the Warrior;” it’s a term coined to describe not just combat competence, but a lifestyle dedicated to prowess and the application of the lessons learned in battle to the rest of his or her life. The fighter class cleaves closest to this archetype, and it’s very easy to see how the philosophy of the warrior emerges through the fighter class. The warrior archetype is based on skill, aggression, purpose, adaptability, self-reliance and discipline, not just on the battlefield but also in life. Think about how the warrior character in your favorite fantasy story behaves even outside of combat and you can probably see those characteristics shine through. Now look at the fighter class; it’s built with the tools it needs to exercise all of those principles on the battlefield.
Outside of the battlefield, the warrior expresses these principles through attitude and decisions, two things that fall firmly into the camp of roleplaying and background. We’re taking a lot of steps in the game to make sure that everyone has access to all of the major pillars of the game in some capacity; for example, we’ve standardized the number of skills most people get, and, though some classes give out bonus skills, even that is something we’re constantly evaluating. Likewise, we don’t take steps to restrict certain backgrounds to certain classes, allowing the playeras to choose how they express the archetype. That way, even if you’ve chosen the mythic archetype of the warrior—typified by the fighter—you have the tools you need to build his or her story, personality, and destiny in a way that lets you put your own spin on it.
How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?
Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to email@example.com. So, if you’d like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!