View Full Version : What should a fighter be able to do out of combat/special combat maneuvers [3.5]

Teapot Salty
2014-09-01, 04:52 PM
Hey guys. I'm working on a fighter fix, but all the new abilities that I've come up with so far are all pretty much: "You get a bonus to damage equal to X" or "when X happens, you gain a bonus to X" as well as a sudden block clone.
So what should the fighter be able to do out of combat? Plan stuff? I don't know.
Also, what are some special things that a fighter should be able to do in combat?
Thanks, and as always, go nuts.

2014-09-02, 12:20 AM
A fighter doesn't do much outside of combat, and isn't supposed to. He's not a ranger, or a bard, or anything else that's good at non-combat; he's a fighter... one who fights. A wizard masters magic, and magic can do anything; ergo, the wizard can do anything. A rogue masters skills, and skills can do a lot; ergo, the rogue can do a lot. A fighter masters fighting, and fighting can do one thing; ergo, the fighter can do one thing. Any fix that makes the fighter able to do things other than fight make him into another class, and calling him a fighter at that point is misleading. For example, if you give him survival abilities, you'd name him a hunter. If you gave him leadership abilities, you might call him a commander.
Fighters are for people who plan to fight a lot. If they want to be useful when there's not a hit-point-based-problem, then they should play a different class, or at least multiclass or use non-traditional skills and equipment.

Now, that being said, there are some ways that you can tweak the fighter so that he can do things outside of combat, that still benefit him in combat. Because, again, he's a fighter, not a non-fighter.

A common ability to give fighters and fighter fixes is a daily training mechanic. Each day, he can train for one hour, and in doing so gain the benefits of combat feats for that day. Kinda' like preparing spells, but he prepares combat feats. I understand there's something similar in the Tome of Battle - maneuvers, or somesuch - which are along this line of thinking.
Allow him to impart teamwork feats (a PF mechanic, I believe, that would be easy to port over) if he spends time explaining the concept to his allies. Or possibly, to grant the benefits of his combat feats to his allies. The problem with sharing your perks is that it further dilutes your contributions when it does come to something you're good at. If you've spent half the day making the wizard a better fighter, then when a fight starts the wizard steals a little of your thunder. He might thank you for the service, but it still hurts a little deep inside.
Allow him to modify his weapon, adding weights or a sharper edge to moderately improve its qualities, or good-luck charms or personal talismans to increase morale benefits.
Give him an ability to repair arms and armors, and later to craft them himself. PF has a feat (master craftsman, I think) that lets you make magical gear simply because you're so F'ing good at crafting, even if you can't cast spells.
Give him guard-themed benefits, like better perception, Initiative checks, reflex saves, and the ability to wake more easily from slumber.
Give him an ability to shrug off conditions and penalties faster than others.
Mettle (like Evasion for Fort and Will saves) is a good perk, and he should have.
Improve the game mechanics that you expect the fighter to use; make defensive fighting scale with BAB, combine feat trees, balance the combat maneuver rules, etc.
Give him the ability to make more attacks as a standard or attack action (ie at the end of a charge or something).

2014-09-02, 04:41 PM
One of the things I've been considering giving fighters is a way to "Pull Rank", I haven't gotten further than; something along the lines of giving him a bonus to either intimidate or diplomacy (their choice) when dealing with people with less HD or a lower CR than himself.

And for in combat, I thought he should have guarding abilities that let him block for his team, an aura of feats and bonuses (similar to gr8artist's suggestion), re-pickable feats, letting him apply feats that are for any specifically chosen weapon to several at once (such as weapon focusing three weapons with a single feat) as well as weapon enchantments (to encourage a more diverse selection of weapons without having to pay big bucks to keep them all relevant), and the last thing was a kind of small-super mode where he stops giving bonuses to the team to increases his own for when he's fighting alone or for the final blow.

2014-09-02, 04:57 PM
Regarding weapon specific feats: A houserule that I really enjoy is to use PF's "weapon groups" and make weapon-specific feats apply to all weapons in that group. For added flavor and fighter-buffing goodness, double the benefits for a specific weapon from that group.
Example: Light blades include daggers, kukri, rapiers, starknives, etc. A fighter taking "Weapon Focus (light blades)" gets a +1 bonus on attack rolls with daggers, kukri, rapiers, starknives, and anything else from that category. If you're using the aforementioned buff, then he might choose "Weapon Focus (dagger)" and gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls with daggers, and a +1 bonus on attack rolls with other light blades.

Another idea for a fighter ability: give him some way to spend his swift actions, since they always just go unspent. Spend a swift to double a feat bonus, or take 10 on his next attack, perhaps?

2014-09-03, 11:05 AM
Never forget the role playing. Clerics and Pallys are literally holier than thou. Rogues and Assassin types are creepy. Bards are so flighty. Barbarians are so angry. Rangers brood. Sorcerers are just weird. Everybody understands the fighter. Every tavern keeper, stable boy, guard, smith, constable, nobleman, EVERYBODY. This usually translates to an automatic +5 or so on Cha based skill checks for me. Its not a lot, but it does help make them more relevant outside combat.

2014-09-04, 02:33 PM
Another idea for a fighter ability: give him some way to spend his swift actions, since they always just go unspent. Spend a swift to double a feat bonus, or take 10 on his next attack, perhaps?Aid Another is a Standard Action that is useful at low levels and usually completely disappears after people get iterative attacks. Take gr8artist's suggestion, and give the Fighter Aid Another as a Swift Action (Guiding Voice?).

Everybody understands the fighter. Every tavern keeper, stable boy, guard, smith, constable, nobleman, EVERYBODY. This usually translates to an automatic +5 or so on Cha based skill checks for me. Its not a lot, but it does help make them more relevant outside combat.
I like this. Call it One of the Crowd, maybe, give him +5 to Diplomacy and Gather Information in taverns and among the ignoble, unwashed masses. +10 with guards and military. I'd say 0 among nobles, but that's me.

2014-09-05, 11:49 AM
The fighter fights. Everything the fighter can do should be about fighting. However, things useful in fighting are useful in a lot of things other than fighting. A few examples that by no means exhaust the possibilities;

DnD fighters have the strength of a giant. Picking up someone and throwing them thirty feet should be easy - this includes "helping" party members across trapped corridors, over moats and up walls, lifting gates that can't be unlocked, carrying heavy loads and so on. A fighter with a +5 strength modifier could put his bare fingers through wood, one with +7 modifier can do the same for stone and one with +10 modifier can do the same for steel; they should effectively have handholds in any surface. Jumping, swimming and physical challenges in general should be easy for them.

DnD fighters should be able to attack better and faster than any class that isn't a dedicated meleer. Bashing in doors, locked chests, barriers and walls should be the primary use of this ability. A fighter with Pierce Magical Protection can also defeat any magic that gives bonuses to AC with his attacks. Almost all shape-changing modifies AC so a fighter can end polymorph effects by attacking the affected creature - from forcing wizards and druids back to their natural forms, to saving party members from baleful polymorph. Not to mention simply ending standard protections of various types. Ditto for Pierce Magical Concealment and breaking many illusions.
Also, a fighter equipped with a 10-foot longspear rather than a 10-foot pole can destroy traps rather than just trigger them - most traps are pretty delicate. Once they got an item that can see magic auras, they can rapidly destroy even magical traps that normally only rogues can disable simply by attacking the surface they're on.

Fighters should be able to move and act fast. If you change anything about the class, it should be this; even the most epic warriors are only half as slow as real-life sprinters and can barely jump as far as real-life athletes, despite being many times stronger, tougher and more agile. You'd expect a 20th level character who can lift three tons without temporary buffs to be able to jump several times further than any normal human and someone who can dodge arrows or bullets while wearing armor to use the same kind of speed when running - but that simply doesn't happen.

As is, fighters are the weakest class other than rogue defense-wise in high levels. This is all kinds of wrong. If you change anything, I suggest you significantly increase the rate a fighter's defensive ability scales with level so they can still be the tougher guy in a group with CoDzillas and contingency-wielding wizards. You don't have to do this by boosting them numerically; a high-level fighter that can avoid a targeted effect or interpose his shield to get total cover the same way he could deflect arrows at lower levels is a happy fighter. A fighter who can exploit his enemy's inexperience to negate enemy magical bonuses to attack rolls up to a point is good too. A fighter who has trained enough with his armor to use it to deflect attacks it normally would not, like touch effects and targeted spells is also good.

The guards at the gate. The sentries in an enemy camp. The lookouts in an army. Those fighter types display one of the cornerstone abilities of the archetype that sadly does not exist in the class mechanics; situational awareness. Even obscenely powerful fighters with access to a galore of epic artifact weapons like Kratos won many of their fights because they saw enemy weaknesses, the best path to follow and how to avoid enemy tricks and deceptions.
If you're going to rebuild the class, give the fighter some perception-related abilities. Not the tracking of hunters or the investigation of rogues but direct awareness of a situation; defeating illusions, anticipating how the situation might change, avoid being tricked or deceived, getting that intuitive warning that something is wrong. Those things are useful in ANY situation, not just combat and army stuff.

Every fighter is a tactician to some extent. Not a leader - that takes charisma - but using his sheer experience in fights, fighting styles, analysis of enemies, examination of terrain, to get situational advantages. A sufficiently experienced fighter should be able to;
Know an opponent's general combat proficiency (BAB) by watching them.
Know an opponent's strength, dexterity and possibly constitution by how they walk and move.
Know an opponent's general intentions, esp if they're being aggressive, defensive, condescending or deceptive.
Get hints as to why an opponent has a given intention.
Get a read on the support, alliances and enmities among people in a group, or their mood.
Get hints on how to use the terrain or situation to get circumstance bonus on specific actions.
Get hints on what type of conduct (aggression, defense, deception and the like) is more likely to work in a conflict.
Get a hint on whether an action is likely to prove disastrous in a conflict and for which side.

Battles and conflicts are not only direct, physical combat. Clashes between people of authority, social disputes, even magical duels are conflicts. The battle-hardened fighter is likely to know far better than the bookish wizard how the right spell could help in a fight, even if he can't cast it himself - because he's seen, heard of or read accounts of battles where magic was used and his combat training could read the situation and results better than the casters.

Gracht Grabmaw
2014-09-05, 12:00 PM
A fighter should be able to

-take care of arms, armor, important equipment and vehicles (as well as horses and dogs in a preindustrial setting)
-build at least rudimentary shelters
-live off the land
-administer first aid
-read and write
-gather basic intelligence on his surroundings and the people who live there
-navigate without a map and compass

2014-09-06, 01:36 PM
My advice? Don't make a fighter. I understand that base classes in core are supposed to be vague but homebrew classes are far more exciting when they are grounded on a theme. Decide what kind of fighter you want first. The ranger hunts, this translate into out of combat tracking and in combat archery excellence. The paladin fights corruption, this translate to out of combat detecting evil and in combat evil smitting. Both of these are fighters in my mind.

The fighter that fights is boring and will never leave you satisfied with out of combat abilities. Want ideas really close to the fighter that fights?

The Master of Arms: knows how to use weapons, traditional and exotic, in combat. Also knows how to maintain the weapons, even magical ones, of his allies and provide training benefits.

The Gladiator: User of exotic weapons. Knows how to entertain a crowd and inspire terror in his enemies. Can intimidate a king out of combat or inspire the masses to take up arms against the king.

The Knight: can afford the heaviest armour and a horse. Knows a lot about politics and managing an estate. Expert status when it comes to logistics. Knows how to speak with authority, even when outside his land.

The Tactician: knows how to utilize everybody in the party. Can predict enemy movement. Taking a page from Sun Tzu, he may also dabble in espionage and learn to love his opponent so he can accept them, understand them and best them.

Of course, these concepts could conceivably all be put into a single, clunky base class with a lot of choices to make but again....I wouldn't suggest that.

Best of luck!

Teapot Salty
2014-09-07, 08:47 PM
Alright a few new mechanics, very up for tweaking and rewriting.


A fighter has a dice pool called heroics. At level 1 a fighter has 1 dice in his heroics pool. every two levels thereafter a fighter adds a dice to the pool. A heroics dice is a d6 unless increased with feats. (first to d8, then d10, then d12) A fighter may use a heroics dice in two ways: First, a fighter may spend any number of heroics dice at the start of their turn. If they do, they roll the dice and add the result to any dice roll they make in that round. Or a fighter may spend any number of dice on any dice. If they do they roll the dice and add the result to the original roll.

(second ability may seem redundant, but it's there for the versatility. "crap I though I could make that save")

A fighter knows the strength, dexterity, and constitution scores of any creature with a discernible anatomy.

A fighter gains a competence bonus equal to his fighter level to AC, jump checks, climb checks, swim checks, heal checks, and tumble checks.

Tumble is a class skill.

A fighter chooses between two abilities: dex twice to ac, or con to ac.

A fighter has spell resistance equal to his wisdom modifier times half his level.

A fighter has damage reduction equal to his wisdom modifier+half his level.

A fighter may spend his swift action to do any of the fallowing: Give an ally or himself a competence bonus their next attack roll, damage roll, save or skill check (fighters choice) equal to the fighters wisdom modifier. Take 5ft steps equal to the fighters dexterity modifier. Gain temporary hit points equal to the fighters constitution modifier. Make an addition attack, with each weapon that the fighter is wielding (so I fighter with two weapons gets to make an extra attack with each weapon, the two attacks are considered part of the same "set") equal to his wisdom modifier, with a cumulative -5 penalty for set of attacks. (So a the fighters first set of attacks with this ability take a -5 penalty, then a -10 penalty and so on.) Move one half his speed. Or make a skill check to do an action (I.E make a jump check to jump, heal to bind a wound) Any one of these abilities that use an ability score use twice the ability score at level five, thrice at level 10, times four at level 15 and times 5 at level 20.