View Full Version : Homebrew Balancing Act for Fighters (3.5)

2013-02-19, 06:58 PM
Hello, OotS forum. I've been a long time reader of the comic but have only been playing actual DND for the past 6 months (verson 3.5). This is, by the way, my first forum post here so if I am breaking any rules or posting this in the wrong place, then bear with me, please.

I've read and heard a lot about Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards and I understand that 3.5 follows this straight as an arrow. 4.0 from what I hear is much more balanced but suffers from feeling like it's an MMO rather than a tabletop. The first character I made was a fighter (easy learning curve, I was told) but soon came to be deeply disappointed by how quickly I was overshadowed by all my other teammates. This was, admittedly, because I didn't know jack what to take to optimize - I took a weapon focus feat, for Tempus' sakes - but simply it seemed impossible even if I'd taken the correct feats.

I've got a few issues I want to discuss, specifically revolving around fighters and a few revolving on other stuff such as skill-based feats that I know won't be ''homebrewed'' but that I feel would make the game enjoyable for all classes (though I remain aware that a lot of people like fighters specifically because they're hard to master, but to each his own).

1 - Fighter feats, specifically weapon focus. First time I took this I didn't know it was a crippling overspecialization that shoehorned you into a single weapon. I thought it'd put me on a single weapon type like a polearm or sword or mace, not specific weapons like falchions, glaives, and the like. I'd like to know how broadening the scope of weapon focus feats to encompass wider categories would result in greater options for players.

2 - Fighter skill points. It seemed really, really strange to me that fighters only get 2 + int skill points per level while barbarians - the one class that can't even read by default - gets 4. It's possible that barbarians get more to offset their low int, but int is a dump stat for fighters, too. Furthermore, I always picture fighers as professional soldiers, generals, mercenaries, and other professions of the sword that, while requiring a lot of effort to perfect their martial skill, nevertheless would also supplement their swordsmanship with other skills and have time to improve on those skills, limited as the fighter's class skill options may be when compared to others. For instance, Romance of the Three Kingdoms describes Guan Yu, who is pictured as a god of war and celebrated hero in several Chinese artwork, as also being adept with music, poetry, etc. Perhaps I'm missing something in the logic here, but it just makes more sense that fighters would have more or equal skill points to barbarians.

3 - Empty Fighter levels. Every even level, Fighters get zilch. No special abilities, no further bonuses, nothing. Just basic increase in attack, save, HD, and skill points, maybe a regular feat or ability point if it's time. The main thing about Fighters is the bonus feat every odd level. This issue was actually addressed in Pathfinder (aka 3.75) and while I did not select a fighter for that, one of my friends did and so far he's enjoying it quite a lot. We're only level 4, though, so we'll see how it goes.

4 - Skill feats. An absolute waste of time for just about anyone who wants to kick some ass in a fight with little return for those who want to be the skill monkey of the party. A basic skill feat like Persuasive will only give a +2 in two different skills (Buff and Intimidate). I have never heard of anyone opting for these feats. I imagine that if we were to bump the bonus to +5 for both (or +7 or even +10 to a single skill) then they would really make the choice between kicking more ass in combat and taking bigger names out of it much more meaningful.

*cough* I apologize for the long post in advance. It's a bad habit of mine. Have not yet broken it.

2013-02-19, 09:33 PM
Welcome to the Giant in the Playground Forums, Farus-Ashan! In regards to the rules, I did not see anything rule-breaking in your post, but they can be found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/announcement.php?a=1) for review and reference.

First off, I would like to say that there are too many 'fighter fixes' on these forums to count, if you would like to look through some and find one you like (many of them address these issues), but fresh content is always welcome. Also, while a fighter's advancement may not be up to par with most other 3.5 classes, it is still useful and practical in it's SRD form, just more difficult to play and optimize well and general utility depends on your DM and setting. Now to your points:

1.) Fighter feats are a nice little oddity put there to make the fighter a very versatile class, but not to the point that anyone can just jump right in and grab some extra feats of whatever they want. Weapon Focus is generally for specializing characters who like to use a weapon to trip or disarm scarily well. However, there is a variant rule in Unearthed Arcana that lets you take groups of weapons as proficiencies and for feats, called Weapon Group Feats (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/UA:Weapon_Group_Feats). You should check it out, see if you like it, and consult with your DM to see if they will allow it in the campaign.

2.) In regards to the fighter's skill points, I think the original train of thought was along the lines of 'Fighters are stuffy, proud warriors that sit around in a guard barrack all day and play dice; Barbarians have to have survival skills to live in their natural environment'. However, I do agree that this needs a buff. Also take a look at the skills available to a Fighter - there's not much there, even in the physical and dexterous skills. Maybe adding a few might help the class out.

3.) Yeah, the expression 'fighters are only useful up to level 2' is a common one, and makes them pretty much solely useful for feat dipping. If feats were more useful, this might be balanced, but as of right now they give static bonuses. However, please realize that all other classes don't necessarily have more abilities because more of their levels are full; this just means their abilities increase with level, as they should. Maybe think about adding a defense bonus (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/UA:Defense_Bonus) exclusive to the fighter class, improve their reflex saves, or give them some weapon-oriented class features.

4.) Oh, skill feats. They give you a bonus equal to a synergy, 4 ability points, a circumstance bonus, or a +1 magic item (always have masterwork). The main problem with these, and feats in general, are the issue of scale. As you gain levels in a class, you obtain or improve abilities, linearly for mundane classes and quadratic for casters. Skills increase with an arbitrary increasing scale (except for qualifying for prestige). Feats just accumulate, sometimes. If feats were made to scale with CL (Character Level), then taking a skill feat might be useful. Except of course the skill system is often secondary to everything else in the game. Eh, way of life, I suppose.

As for length, do not worry- length of post is usually an indicator of the amount of thought you put into this before posting, and the general quality of the post. Also, trust me- if you think this is a long post, you haven't been to too many forums :smallbiggrin:

2013-02-19, 10:13 PM
Xech, thanks a lot for the reply! I'm glad there are others who would agree with the changes. Even better, I'm glad to see there's a sourcebook that would actually support weapon group feats.

As for the skill feats, it'd be easy to get them to scale with level. There are already some feats that do that (with bonuses increasing when you reach a certain level). By level 20, it's possible the feat increases the bonus to +20 or even +30, if it's not to ridiculous.

2013-02-19, 10:41 PM
Hm, I was not aware of any scaling feats (toughness doesn't count, it is just a fake buff to con mod.). A quick search got me nothing core, but I did find this (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/3.5e_Scaling_Feats) little piece of homebrew that might interest you. I didn't have much time to look it over to determine the balance of it, but it seems to have a column listing each feat's general balance level.

As for +20 and +30 skill bonuses from feats, well... I am not too familiar with high-level gameplay; because of the balance issues, I like to stick to 1-10, although 6 is a preferable max. However, from what I know about the epic level border, there is no such thing as balance that you need worry about, and an extra +30 over your 23 + Ability mod. + Magic items + Spell buffs wouldn't even make you succeed more often. Although I may be wrong.

2013-02-19, 10:48 PM
As for the skill feats, it'd be easy to get them to scale with level. There are already some feats that do that (with bonuses increasing when you reach a certain level). By level 20, it's possible the feat increases the bonus to +20 or even +30, if it's not to ridiculous.

It sort of depends on the skill. For pretty much any of the physical skills (balance, climb, what have you) you can increase the modifier pretty much arbitrarily high and it won't matter much-- spells like flight can do everything they can and more. Even something like Hide isn't going to be hugely disruptive, although I'd certainly be wary of a huge modifier. It's mostly only the social skills-- Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate-- where skill optimization is an issue.

Also, welcome to the forum!

2013-02-19, 11:40 PM
Welcome to the forum!

As stated above, there are many fighter fixes you can take your pick from (my signature has a bunch, and other fixes too). However in saying that don't be afraid to do your own if you want.

On the points you've raised:
1) Feats like that are ok (not good, ok) but the problem is that they don't scale, nor do they give you anything new to play with. They are a small statistical bonus and thus are used as stepping stones for feats actually worth taking (And most people agree that feat taxes are a bad idea)
2) Yes, the fighter really needs those two skill points, and a few more class skills to pick from too. Your average fighter should have at least as much 'free time' as say a barbarian or possibly ranger to learn and practice out of combat things.
3) It is a sign of bad class design, and often the first victim of power creep. Empty levels arent bad in small numbers but the fighter has a whopping 10 (PF aside, they at least made an effort)! Thats just criminal.
4) See response to point 1, but these feats are rarely used as pre-reqs for other feats, making them an even bigger trap.

That ain't a long post. Have a look around, there are a great many people that will write essays to respond to small paragraph posts :smallbiggrin: