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Gideon Falcon
2017-06-19, 04:25 AM
I've been a big fan of trying to make martial classes a more viable option through Homebrew for a while, eagerly reading and writing (if not posting) various Fighter fixes and other warrior class fixes and martial systems all over the place. The biggest question I have is about one of the major problems people immediately bring up with almost any fighter fix is "It still doesn't have anything to do out of combat." I don't really understand this complaint.
See, I was always under the impression that out of combat was mostly a matter of role-play. Once you had a good bonus in social skills, a matter of ranks rather than class features, the only difference between a fighter and a wizard is the lack of mind control spells, and if you wanted mind control, you wouldn't play a warrior- it's not a question of effectiveness, but of playstyle.
So, the main point I'm trying to make is, if one were to create a warrior class fix, what does it need to have in order to have 'out of combat options?'

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-19, 04:28 AM
If you're asking about doing things out of combat in D&D it's not really a question of fixing the fighter, it's a question of fixing the system (or playing a different system).

khadgar567
2017-06-19, 06:00 AM
Only fix fighter needs is spheres of might and skill books from drop dead studios rest is un needed garbage

Mutazoia
2017-06-19, 06:06 AM
Fighters don't need a fix...casters do. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: When WOTC copy-pasta'd AD&D stuff into their pre-existing D20 engine, they threw out a lot of the balance with the bathwater, especially where casters were concerned. Casters used to be glass cannons....They could do some damage, but they were pretty squishy. Now they are just cannons (or Tac-Nukes at higher levels). They tried to make up for it by giving fighters extra feats but you and I know just how well that worked.

Darth Ultron
2017-06-19, 06:44 AM
So, the main point I'm trying to make is, if one were to create a warrior class fix, what does it need to have in order to have 'out of combat options?'

Something to DO out of combat.

Take any spellcaster or class with abilities and skills. Outside of combat they can do a ton of stuff. D&D has roughly 1,000 Utility spells so spellcasters can do things outside of combat. Lots of classes have abilities and skills that can be used out of combat.

The fighter has none. If there is nothing to fight, the fighter can't do anything.

Think of even just 1st level. A spellcaster can pick from at least 30 (maybe more like 100) spells that let them do all sorts of non combat things. Even a cantrip, like mage hand, has billions of non-combat, but still useful and important uses. The characters need to move something, like say a key ring, presto the spellcaster can move it with mage hand. The fighter just sits back and waits for something to fight.

What to add, well my fighter fix has this gem: Action Points-The fighter gets one action point per level. Each action point can be spent each round to take an additional action each round. A move action costs one point, a standard action costs two points and a full round action costs three points.

I can say after years of playtesting the action points work out great. It's a beautiful thing to watch a 6th level fighter take four standard actions a round, or one full round action and six move actions or anything in between. It really, really, really gives fighters a very ''action move heroics/legendary feel''. While other characters do one action, a fighter is doing half a dozen. And best of all, it's very useful outside of combat too.

hymer
2017-06-19, 06:44 AM
See, I was always under the impression that out of combat was mostly a matter of role-play. Once you had a good bonus in social skills, a matter of ranks rather than class features, the only difference between a fighter and a wizard is the lack of mind control spells, and if you wanted mind control, you wouldn't play a warrior- it's not a question of effectiveness, but of playstyle.
So, the main point I'm trying to make is, if one were to create a warrior class fix, what does it need to have in order to have 'out of combat options?'

Well, some of this will depend on what edition we're talking about. 'Nothing to do outside combat' might actually mean 'nothing to do outside combat that the CoDzilla and the wizard can't also do just as well'. The fighter can tend to fall into the role of fetch-and-carry, though anyone could do those things. The rogue is shadowing an NPC or using Thieves' Cant to check on news at the guild. The bard is putting her/his finger on the pulse of the town, gathering all the rumours that could hold important intelligence for the next assignment, and at the same time improving the party's popularity around town. Meanwhile the full casters are using divination spells to ascertain the exact nature of the foe they are about to face, or making or preparing magical stuff to use in the fight.
And the fighter is probably just providing security for the bard, just in case - not that the bard won't be the first of the two to notice trouble brewing, and likely to be able to evade or quell it before it becomes violence, and do it better than the fighter.
Those are all things the characters can do given their skills and abilities. And the fighter's options are very limited in comparison. Fighters tend to be likewise hindered in scouting, dealing with dangerous or obstructing mechanisms, getting rid of sticky effects like curses and poison, and so on and on.

So what you're looking for seems to be some stuff the fighter can do, which relies on a mechanical ability provided by the class. In 3.5, I've (among other stuff) given the fighter two additional skill points per level, and two extra class skills of their own choice.

gkathellar
2017-06-19, 07:09 AM
See, I was always under the impression that out of combat was mostly a matter of role-play. Once you had a good bonus in social skills, a matter of ranks rather than class features, the only difference between a fighter and a wizard is the lack of mind control spells, and if you wanted mind control, you wouldn't play a warrior- it's not a question of effectiveness, but of playstyle.

Take another look through the PHB's spells. Spellcasters can bless places and objects, raise the dead, create extra-dimensional spaces, manipulate the weather, put people to sleep, drive them insane, inflict all sorts of illnesses and ailments, summon or create vast amounts of material, turn one material into another, create life, reshape a wide variety of materials to their will, call planar beings to carry out tasks, utilize various forms of telekinesis, fly, teleport, be in multiple places simultaneously, repair broken objects instantaneously, determine the truthfulness of a speaker with perfect accuracy, walk on water, breathe water, create food and water, send messages vast distances in an instant, access the entire schools of divination and illusion, and man this isn't even the whole PHB. Also there's that whole near-monopoly on item crafting.

Hell, on its own, the humble alter self can wreck whole stories.


So, the main point I'm trying to make is, if one were to create a warrior class fix, what does it need to have in order to have 'out of combat options?'

See above. It needs to have tools with which to affect the story beyond merely the ability to make things dead (which everybody can do) and be successful on difficult ability checks.

Keltest
2017-06-19, 07:09 AM
Fighters need more skill points, at the least. 4+int minimum. Open up all the social skills (sands bluff) as fighter class skills, because theyre often seen as leaders of men.

Other than that, its largely a question of creating obstacles that the fighter can overcome with strength or dexterity.

Cosi
2017-06-19, 07:11 AM
\See, I was always under the impression that out of combat was mostly a matter of role-play. Once you had a good bonus in social skills, a matter of ranks rather than class features, the only difference between a fighter and a wizard is the lack of mind control spells, and if you wanted mind control, you wouldn't play a warrior- it's not a question of effectiveness, but of playstyle.

I think the whole "if you wanted <X magic ability>, you wouldn't play a Fighter" line is bunk. Jedi are Fighters (in combat), but they have mind control. People want the baskets of abilities they want, and excluding things for reasons like "you made a sword guy when you should have made a staff guy" is dumb and bad. If someone wants to kill things with a sword and also have teleport there's no conceptual reason they shouldn't be able to do that.

Of course, the idea that non-combat is "mostly roleplaying" misses the point too. Part of the appeal of high level abilities like teleport or plane shift is the ability to move the story without having to justify the move to the DM. Is the effect of "I cast teleport" the same as roleplaying out finding a Wizard, paying him for his services, and being teleported? Sure, in a bluntly mechanical sense, but looking at it from the perspective the narrative, it's radically different.


If you're asking about doing things out of combat in D&D it's not really a question of fixing the fighter, it's a question of fixing the system (or playing a different system).

I mean, D&D has a bunch of stuff that does things out of combat. People do campaigns that aren't just dungeon crawling fine.


Fighters don't need a fix...casters do. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: When WOTC copy-pasta'd AD&D stuff into their pre-existing D20 engine, they threw out a lot of the balance with the bathwater, especially where casters were concerned. Casters used to be glass cannons....They could do some damage, but they were pretty squishy. Now they are just cannons (or Tac-Nukes at higher levels). They tried to make up for it by giving fighters extra feats but you and I know just how well that worked.

Whenever possible, balance should be achieved by buffs rather than nerfs. If you think AD&D/BECMI/whatever did it right, feel free to go play that instead of crapping over threads where people try to fix problems with the paradigms those games foisted on us.

AceOfFools
2017-06-19, 07:12 AM
Things casters can do outside of combat:
*Bypass barriers using spells that open locks, warp wood, etc.
* Avoid hazards using invisibility, flight, protection spells, etc.
* Create allies through summoning, binding, or "unseen servant" type spells, etc.
* Trick NPC using a variety of illusions
* Heal debilitating conditions such as paralysis, disease, curses, death, etc.
* Travel with teleportation, planar travel, etc.
* Figure out impossible things with divinations of all sorts.
* Defend against a variety of magical threats that can only be defended using magic (e.g. using nondetection to defend against detect alignment)
* Create magical items

This is a sampling of the utility of spellcasters with which the mundane classes simply cannot compete.

I don't have a fix, but hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the scope of the problem.

Cluedrew
2017-06-19, 07:42 AM
A couple of ideas:
First aid, because people getting hurt is something that happens around the fighter.
Survival skills, or at least encamping skills, depending on the exact background. An army fighter might not know how to forage for food, but they could probably make some defences for a camp.
Social skills, there are few human beings who do not interact with other human beings. Plus they might have additional clout with the local guards and mercenaries.
Odd jobs, this applies to all characters, but there is work for them that probably doesn't require the entire party.
Gear repair, its their stuff, why wouldn't they know how to take care of it (although gear damage isn't really a factor in many systems).
Background profession, whatever they did before they were an adventurer, if not one of the above.

Eldan
2017-06-19, 07:52 AM
My test for a character class is usually this: make a list of 10 or so general categories of out of combat encounters/hazards and then think about how the character can contribute to those at low, medium and high level. Things like:

*Convince someone to help you
*Organize funds for an expedition
*Getting some sort of helper, cohort or similar to assist in your adventuring
*Getting your hands on a guarded object, without killing everyone involved
*Getting into a place unnoticed.
*Finding someone who doesn't want to be found.
*Get past an environmental obstacle
*Do research about a thing.

Now, many of these can be solved by just roleplaying. However, I do think a hero should be better at at least some of these than your average level 2 expert. Most casters sure are. Now, a character doesn't have to be good at all of those, but he should sure be good at some.

Then, well, I do think a character should have not just a role in the combat subgame on the battlemat, but a role in the wider game. Here's the challenge: describe your character's job, without mentioning his character class. A wizard could be an alchemist, an academic, a scribe, a teacher, a royal advisor. Similarly, you can describe your fighter as a guardsman, landed noble, mercenary leader, tribal warrior. Or at higher levels, a wandering demigod, king, mystic hero.

So, think of what they should be able to do for those roles. Then you know what you should have your fighter do, at the very least. If he's a guardsman, he should have some basic social and perception skills at low levels. And since the game goes to high levels, he should be able to deal with magical stealth and mind control, perhaps? As a landed noble, he should, even at low levels, know the history of the region, politics, his family line, plus courtly manners, maybe basic accounting, taxes, diplomacy, a few languages?

Logosloki
2017-06-19, 08:38 AM
One of the over arching problems with D&D martial classes is the lack of shared metasystem. Spellcasters have spells, which can be used in combat, exploration and social situations. Psions have Psionics. Martials have a hodge-podge of various ideas, most of which are either mutually exclusive or lack in synergy. Technically feats in 3.5 but feats never had the same freedom of choice that spells and psionics had, or power, or exclusivity, or built in escape from choice measures.

CharonsHelper
2017-06-19, 08:38 AM
Fighters don't need a fix...casters do. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: When WOTC copy-pasta'd AD&D stuff into their pre-existing D20 engine, they threw out a lot of the balance with the bathwater, especially where casters were concerned. Casters used to be glass cannons....They could do some damage, but they were pretty squishy. Now they are just cannons (or Tac-Nukes at higher levels). They tried to make up for it by giving fighters extra feats but you and I know just how well that worked.

While I actually think that 3.x (especially Pathfinder) balance is pretty decent until you get into double digits (a few issues earlier), this is pretty much the gist.

Frankly - people who choose to play a Fighter often don't WANT to do much outside of combat. There are plenty of options to choose from for martials who already have plenty of skills. Slayer is a great option if you want to do that.

Logosloki
2017-06-19, 08:46 AM
One of the over arching problems with D&D martial classes is the lack of shared metasystem. Spellcasters have spells, which can be used in combat, exploration and social situations. Psions have Psionics. Martials have a hodge-podge of various ideas, most of which are either mutually exclusive or lack in synergy. Technically feats in 3.5 but feats never had the same freedom of choice that spells and psionics had, or power, or exclusivity, or built in escape from choice measures.

Eldan
2017-06-19, 09:09 AM
While I actually think that 3.x (especially Pathfinder) balance is pretty decent until you get into double digits (a few issues earlier), this is pretty much the gist.

Frankly - people who choose to play a Fighter often don't WANT to do much outside of combat. There are plenty of options to choose from for martials who already have plenty of skills. Slayer is a great option if you want to do that.

I increasingly question why "Fighter" is even a class, to be honest. Fighter is the most bare bone description of a combat role, on the level of Spellcaster. It's up there with Fighting Man. From at least 3.0 onwards, and partially even in AD&D 2nd, there have been more classes than just the basic roles (Skillmonkey,

We've gone from Spellcaster to Wizard, Sorcerer, Binder, Psion, Archivist, Warlock, Truenamer. Why not the same for the Fighter?

I'd suggest losing the Fighter class entirely. Make a Knight, a Templar, a Paladin, a Barbarian, a Monk, a Duelist. Each of those suggests a role in the world. Fighter doesn't.

Keltest
2017-06-19, 11:10 AM
I increasingly question why "Fighter" is even a class, to be honest. Fighter is the most bare bone description of a combat role, on the level of Spellcaster. It's up there with Fighting Man. From at least 3.0 onwards, and partially even in AD&D 2nd, there have been more classes than just the basic roles (Skillmonkey,

We've gone from Spellcaster to Wizard, Sorcerer, Binder, Psion, Archivist, Warlock, Truenamer. Why not the same for the Fighter?

I'd suggest losing the Fighter class entirely. Make a Knight, a Templar, a Paladin, a Barbarian, a Monk, a Duelist. Each of those suggests a role in the world. Fighter doesn't.

I think you are vastly overestimating the degrees of meaning many of those caster names have to people not already inherently familiar with the system and what it does.

If anything, I think several of the fighter-type classes need to be combined into one. Why is the barbarian a separate class from the fighter rather than a result of picking specific feats to enhance your offensive ability?

Mark Hall
2017-06-19, 11:23 AM
This is HIGHLY game-specific, to the point of being practically meaningless outside of that specific context.

Telonius
2017-06-19, 11:37 AM
What Fighters should be able to do outside of combat:

- Provide basic, competent sentry duty (while not being quite as good at it as something like a Ranger)
- Have some chance of noticing that the "health and safety inspectors" are actually Rogues in disguise
- Find out what local figures might be in need of sellswords or bodyguards
- Serve as an instructor to the local nobility and/or criminal element in the use of weaponry

Beyond that, it depends on what sort of character you want. Fighter is kind of a blank slate, more than most classes. It's hard to put generally-useful non-combat abilities to an archetype as broad as "guy who's good at swinging weapons." (Not every fighter is going to be cozying up to the nobles, or be a sergeant in the army).

Telok
2017-06-19, 11:41 AM
Re: What should a Fighter fix do out of combat?
Use skills.

No skills? Use a system that is more than combat rules.

Eldan
2017-06-19, 12:30 PM
I think you are vastly overestimating the degrees of meaning many of those caster names have to people not already inherently familiar with the system and what it does.

If anything, I think several of the fighter-type classes need to be combined into one. Why is the barbarian a separate class from the fighter rather than a result of picking specific feats to enhance your offensive ability?

Certainly. I was speaking game-specific.

Okay, let me be more broad. In D&D, some archetypes (spellcaster) have a dozen variants that are mechanically different. However, there is still a sort of broad general class that tries to be an entire archetype (fighter).

What I'm saying is, it is bad for a game if some archetypes have a lot of diverse classes with interesting and detailed mechanics, while others have a broad "overview" class that tries to cover everything generally and in not much detail.

If you have a dozen spellcasters who are specific in both fluff and mechanics, your fighters should do the same.

AceOfFools
2017-06-19, 01:02 PM
What I'm saying is, it is bad for a game if some archetypes have a lot of diverse classes with interesting and detailed mechanics, while others have a broad "overview" class that tries to cover everything generally and in not much detail.


I actually think that's not true. Having both simple streamlined characters that have to make fewer choices both in their build and in the round by round combat allows players with different preferences for complexity to play together.

Some of the people I play with don't have the patience (or time) to read through lists of hundreds of spells to pick what is optimal. This isn't a matter of intelligence, but of intetest. Even if they didn't have obligations they'd get bored by the task. These players choose to play fighters, rogues, etc. BECAUSE they enjoy the simpler play experience. Conversely, some of the people I play with adore the search, the customization and the optimization that comes with playing casters.

With a system with opt-in complexity, like 3.x DnD and derivatives, players with these diverse prefects can sit down and play together. It also gives simpler options for players new to either your game or the hobby. This grows your player base, and increases longevity of the gameline. I believe contributes to the popularity of DnD and derivatives.

This doesn't mean that the staggering power differential between simple and compex options found in those games is healthy for a game. It's not, as the number of threads like this one shows. But throwing out opt-in complexity as a concept does not automatically improve a game.

Cosi
2017-06-19, 01:09 PM
I think you are vastly overestimating the degrees of meaning many of those caster names have to people not already inherently familiar with the system and what it does.

Those names specifically aren't all great, but you can clearly imagine Priests, Elementalists, Mindbenders, Illusionists, Necromancers, Warlocks, or any number of other archetypes where people can clearly identify what a magic class is doing from a name.


If anything, I think several of the fighter-type classes need to be combined into one. Why is the barbarian a separate class from the fighter rather than a result of picking specific feats to enhance your offensive ability?

Fighter is a bad place to do this, because as has been mentioned, it is vacuous to the point of meaninglessness. Nothing is different from the Fighter, because everything fights. Not the Barbarian, not the Paladin, not the Marshal. But all those classes are clearly different from each other, so it seems to me our solution ought to be "remove the Fighter".

Lemmy
2017-06-19, 01:33 PM
To me, Fighters (who should be called Champions and be actually given level-appropriate abilities past 6th level) should at very least excel at:

- Physical skills (Acrobatics/Climb/Swim/whatever) and other feats of physical power and endurance.
- Identifying weaknesses of enemies/fortresses/armies/military organizations.
- Craft/identifying magical weapons and armor.
- Leadership.
- Intimidation.
- Knowledge of war and military history/organizations.

Mendicant
2017-06-19, 01:35 PM
Set the "fighter" on fire and farm out its combat functions to rogues, rangers, marshals, barbarians and the like. A "fighting man" is conceptually barren. It represents few characters in fiction outside of extras and sidekicks, and those it does could still be represented by more interesting martial classes.

Keltest
2017-06-19, 02:12 PM
Set the "fighter" on fire and farm out its combat functions to rogues, rangers, marshals, barbarians and the like. A "fighting man" is conceptually barren. It represents few characters in fiction outside of extras and sidekicks, and those it does could still be represented by more interesting martial classes.

So if somebody wants to play, say, a knight, what will you tell them to play? A paladin, maybe, but what if they don't want to cast spells? How about a norse Jarl? Are they going to be an illiterate barbarian who lives to throw themselves into battle and channels animal spirits? Perhaps a roman gladiator? And what would Achiles be? He's explicitly magic, and he still works best as a fighter, because the various warrior type legends simply don't distinguish themselves enough mechanically to be an entirely different class.

So borrow from Eldan for a minute, whats the difference between a Knight and a Templar, mechanically? or a Templar and a Paladin? How do you make them distinct enough to justify being their own class?

A wide variety of martial characters differ far more in the fluff than in the crunch.

Rabidmuskrat
2017-06-19, 02:49 PM
Skillpoints! More skillpoints! The fighter should be a skill monkey on par with the rogue, the only exception being that whereas a rogue focuses on sneaky, lockpicky, etc-ey skills, a fighter should focus on swimming, jumping, running, etc'ing skills. But for some reason in DnD 3.5 fighters have a whole 2 base skill points per level. Seriously? That's the same as the wizard, who gets a metric ton of bonus ones due to Int and ends up dumping the stuff in knowledge because the bugger has cheap spells that make it so that he does not have to sully his hands doing all of the crap the fighter has to.

Have you ever heard of any character in any story that can be considered a 'fighter' being basically unable to do anything 'fightery'? You know, run and jump onto the back of the dragon... oh wait what's your acrobatics skill? A 3? Nope, sorry mate.

Meanwhile the wizard goes "Look, I know I got a -2 strength penalty, but I didn't know where to put all these 12 extra points I get per level, so I just shoved them in acrobatics for the laugh of it. Yeah. And I got a 10 in it now. Also, spell, so +20. Sorry fighter!"

Note that this is not the sole extent of what is required, I'm just adding to the list.

Roderick_BR
2017-06-19, 03:43 PM
What Fighters should be able to do outside of combat:

- Provide basic, competent sentry duty (while not being quite as good at it as something like a Ranger)
- Have some chance of noticing that the "health and safety inspectors" are actually Rogues in disguise
- Find out what local figures might be in need of sellswords or bodyguards
- Serve as an instructor to the local nobility and/or criminal element in the use of weaponry

Beyond that, it depends on what sort of character you want. Fighter is kind of a blank slate, more than most classes. It's hard to put generally-useful non-combat abilities to an archetype as broad as "guy who's good at swinging weapons." (Not every fighter is going to be cozying up to the nobles, or be a sergeant in the army).

The more I think about it, having the fighter be a sort of "minor rogue", works well. Not as big skill points or list as a rogue, but a few skill points more and a few more class skills lets him catch up at least with the other martials, and not feel so useless.

As for the many spellcasters thing, I think wizard(and cleric) still defines a generalist spellcaster (arcane and divine, respectivelly) in the way that fighter defines generalist martials. Only All martials are screwed up rules-wise, and fighter gets the short shaft on that, while almost all spellcasters are full of utility and powerful abilities, and wizard is among the most broken class in the game.

Karl Aegis
2017-06-19, 04:26 PM
Just tossing out some ideas:

Recover hit points for 3 party members whenever moving closer to an objective. Fighter recovers hit points equal to total amount of hit points party member recovers. Could extend to spells at higher levels.
Recover all hit points and use per day abilities for all party members when an objective is complete.
Gain bonus experience points and loot for percent of enemies not slain on way to completing objective.
Can bypass obstacles everyone else can bypass.

Mendicant
2017-06-19, 08:53 PM
So if somebody wants to play, say, a knight, what will you tell them to play? A paladin, maybe, but what if they don't want to cast spells?

Since I'd have to fix the fighter in order cover that base as is, I'd probably put my effort into upgrading the marshal, samurai or, well, knight classes.


How about a norse Jarl? Are they going to be an illiterate barbarian who lives to throw themselves into battle and channels animal spirits?

A marshal, rogue, ranger, barbarian or paladin could all do this job, depending on what they want their jarl to look like.


Perhaps a roman gladiator? A rogue, swashbuckler, Pathfinder's slayer, barbarian, ranger with some ACFs...


And what would Achiles be? He's explicitly magic, and he still works best as a fighter, because the various warrior type legends simply don't distinguish themselves enough mechanically to be an entirely different class.

Achilles is a barbarian with some kind of dip, archetype, ACF, or PrC that gives him some bardic abilities, and a custom magic tattoo that imparts really high DR and natural armor.


So borrow from Eldan for a minute, whats the difference between a Knight and a Templar, mechanically? or a Templar and a Paladin? How do you make them distinct enough to justify being their own class?

A wide variety of martial characters differ far more in the fluff than in the crunch.

Which is not really a problem for me, since I don't think every possible martial concept needs its own class. Depending on how you want your templar to play and feel, it could be built with quite a few different classes. If it's just a knight with a religious backstory and motivation, you could just play it as a knight (http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Knight,_Tome_(3.5e_Class)#Knightly_Order).

Nifft
2017-06-19, 09:57 PM
Back in 1e, a Fighter got level titles like Hero, Champion, and Lord.

Here's an idea based on that:

- During downtime, the magic-focused classes are busy with research and/or prayers.
- During downtime, the skill-focused classes are busy with training and coming up with new tricks.
- During downtime, the combat-oriented classes are out carousing & hobnobbing with the locals, including the local nobility.

Fighters (and Warblades and Crusaders and ...) get some sort of political power tokens when the party takes downtime to level up. This represents the time they spend building trust with the locals.

Gideon Falcon
2017-06-19, 11:20 PM
I think the whole "if you wanted <X magic ability>, you wouldn't play a Fighter" line is bunk. Jedi are Fighters (in combat), but they have mind control. People want the baskets of abilities they want, and excluding things for reasons like "you made a sword guy when you should have made a staff guy" is dumb and bad. If someone wants to kill things with a sword and also have teleport there's no conceptual reason they shouldn't be able to do that.

Of course, the idea that non-combat is "mostly roleplaying" misses the point too. Part of the appeal of high level abilities like teleport or plane shift is the ability to move the story without having to justify the move to the DM. Is the effect of "I cast teleport" the same as roleplaying out finding a Wizard, paying him for his services, and being teleported? Sure, in a bluntly mechanical sense, but looking at it from the perspective the narrative, it's radically different.

Jedi aren't Fighters. They're warriors, but not fighters. There have been at least as many Gish or spellsword classes as fighter fixes, so that provides what people who want to teleport while swordfighting need. Those classes are also much easier to balance with casters, because they are casters themselves.
Thing is, not everyone who wants to play a warrior- wants to play a Jedi. A lot of them want to play Batman, or Aragorn, or other characters that don't use magic at all. So I'm asking what out of combat options are in line with that sort of image?

Gideon Falcon
2017-06-19, 11:24 PM
Something to DO out of combat.

Take any spellcaster or class with abilities and skills. Outside of combat they can do a ton of stuff. D&D has roughly 1,000 Utility spells so spellcasters can do things outside of combat. Lots of classes have abilities and skills that can be used out of combat.

The fighter has none. If there is nothing to fight, the fighter can't do anything.

Think of even just 1st level. A spellcaster can pick from at least 30 (maybe more like 100) spells that let them do all sorts of non combat things. Even a cantrip, like mage hand, has billions of non-combat, but still useful and important uses. The characters need to move something, like say a key ring, presto the spellcaster can move it with mage hand. The fighter just sits back and waits for something to fight.

What to add, well my fighter fix has this gem: Action Points-The fighter gets one action point per level. Each action point can be spent each round to take an additional action each round. A move action costs one point, a standard action costs two points and a full round action costs three points.

I can say after years of playtesting the action points work out great. It's a beautiful thing to watch a 6th level fighter take four standard actions a round, or one full round action and six move actions or anything in between. It really, really, really gives fighters a very ''action move heroics/legendary feel''. While other characters do one action, a fighter is doing half a dozen. And best of all, it's very useful outside of combat too.

What exactly does it do out of combat, if, as you've said, they still don't have anything to do with those extra actions? Utility spells aren't useful because they give you extra actions, they're useful because they have varied uses. That's what I'm asking for- what would be a similar ability that doesn't break the desired image of a nonmagical warrior?

lightningcat
2017-06-19, 11:37 PM
The pathfinder fighter fixed almost everything that made the 3.5 fighter useless as a fighter.
That said, I agree they need more out of combat options. My personal fix is to give them 4 skill points per level, and all the skills of an aristocrat except Appraise and Disguise. Specific Knowledge skills may also be removed, but I don't do so often.
Forgery is also removed for actual 3.x games, while I remove Linguistics in PF.

Martin Greywolf
2017-06-20, 02:35 AM
One of the problems is that fighter is a stupid concept in the first place. If you really look into any other class, they have a social role assumed in them, something that makes them a very particular part of their world/society/kingdom. Druid or cleric are the clearest ones, but even wizards is assumed to be scholarly, rogue is supposed to be sneaky and steal-y, and so on. Even if your particular character isn't one of these, these archetypes give you something to play (both RP and mechanically) against.

Fighter has no such thing - he's a dude who fights.

If you look at real world examples of people like this, you find out there's quite a variety to them. Even limiting ourselves to medieval Europe, you could be a knight, a mercenary/professional soldier (in medieval Europe, these two are basically the same) or a pugil (people hire you to fight for them in trials by combat). What these three have in common is contact with the nobility, and in the latter two cases, certain degree of business savvy.

So, assuming that even if you are a knight, you're the 99-percenter knight who doesn't have all that much money, a "fighter" should actually be better at negotiating a price than rogue. Where rogue has underworld contacts, fighter has high society contacts. Need to get an invitation to the ball? Rogue can steal it, but fighter knows a guy who owes him a favour, and that guy also saved one of the noblemen's life, so he owes him a favour and soon enough, you have a legit invitation.

As for how to implement this in DnD 3.5, well, it's not easy. This conversion of d20 is a bad system for anything that isn't combat, so you may well be limited to SP, bonuses and associated feats. Another possibility is to use Influence/Favor metacurrency to do stuff with, but that needs a lot of bookkeeping. A lot can be solved by DM roleplaying NPCs accordingly, e.g. "Who the hell is this cither-playing hobo? Oh, he's with you, sir Robin? That was a good show at that last siege, good show indeed, do come in."

Of course, once you change the setting, the role of fighter changes with it. While Japanese ashigaru or Scandinavian viking are similar, a Chinese career soldier may not be, and tribal warrior in Polynesia most definitely won't be.

Murk
2017-06-20, 04:41 AM
Fighters fight. It's in their name. It's what they do.
When they aren't fighting? They are preparing their next fight!!

- They train. Soldiers train more than anything else. If they train their steps the night before, they will get bonuses the day after. If they have the discipline to train the same thing every day, they will get even bigger bonuses.
- Once they are experienced enough, they might even train party members. When the ranger gets back from his scouting, a fighter might say "Hey, I saw you have some trouble with your underhand parries. I can give you a few pointers, if you like?", giving the ranger bonuses the day after.
- They prepare their surroundings. Sure, every adventurer knows how to dig a ditch, but fighters know about defenses: a simple palisade at the back of the tents, the crates of supplies stacked strategically next to the entrance of the valley, clearing rocks for an easy escape route. If your party gets ambushed after the fighter has prepared camp, they're in a much better position.
- They do maintenance on all kinds of gear. Their sword is like a third arm, they need it in pristine condition, expanding its lifespan and maybe even making it more effective.
- They observe potential enemies. They might not be as sociable in a town as the bard is, but they can just sit down on a park bench and watch the NPC's pass by, learning something about them. This noble slightly favours his left leg. That farmer seems to be hungry. The shield of that guard has a small crack in the upper right corner. If it turns out the fighter has to fight any of them, he'll know about their weaknesses.
- He analyses the surroundings. Fighters know tactics, and they know how to move and where to move. While the rogue is messing with the trap near the door, the fighter is preparing for when the rogue messes up. If that trap goes off, the fighter know which door to run through, or behind which barrel to take cover. He has spotted every bump in the floor, making sure he won't trip up. Maybe he even shares this information with the party, giving them all bonuses to saves or initiative.
- The fighter thinks of a strategy. Sure, the rogue might do the sneaking, but the fighter makes the plan. Who else knows more about distances, about timing, about the behaviour of guards, about coordination between party members? No one! When the party has to heist the famous ruby from the duchess, the bard distracts, the rogue sneaks, the wizard scries, and the fighter coordinates it all behind the scenes. He has years of experience with giving (or taking) orders, and just as many years of experience with complex battle scenarios.
- He gets them the best weapons. The sorcerer with her sky-high charisma does the haggling, but the fighter knows weapons. Just as you need a mage to distinguish magic items, you need a fighter to distinguish between really good deals and rip-offs for mundane weapons. Even more, he knows fighting styles. He can tell the black smith "Our cleric has a strong right shoulder. Can you give that mace a slight balance off-set to the left?" - something the cleric herself would never know.

All in all, the fighter always fights. When there is no battle, the fighter's mind is already at the next battle, making sure he and the party are in the best environment, with the best gear, perfect coordination and knowledge, to take on the foe. He sees opportunities and weaknesses and is able to make the most of it.

And if you now think: "Huh, that fighter actually has a lot to do, where will he find the time?", there is one more thing that fighters are better at, which is staying awake. His former drill master Paulson was especially infamous for his midnight drills. The fighter will sleep when the world is saved.

Cazero
2017-06-20, 05:56 AM
One of the problems is that fighter is a stupid concept in the first place. If you really look into any other class, they have a social role assumed in them, something that makes them a very particular part of their world/society/kingdom. Druid or cleric are the clearest ones, but even wizards is assumed to be scholarly, rogue is supposed to be sneaky and steal-y, and so on. Even if your particular character isn't one of these, these archetypes give you something to play (both RP and mechanically) against.

Fighter has no such thing - he's a dude who fights.He's the dude who's so damn good at fighting that it's what defines him. He beats everyone else at pure fighting - and don't bull**** your way out of that with CoDzilla style magic that make actual fighting skill irrelevant. Just because D&D numbers of some editions failed at the basic task of making that true doesn't mean the concept is stupid.


If you look at real world examples of people like this, you find out there's quite a variety to them. Even limiting ourselves to medieval Europe, you could be a knight, a mercenary/professional soldier (in medieval Europe, these two are basically the same) or a pugil (people hire you to fight for them in trials by combat). What these three have in common is contact with the nobility, and in the latter two cases, certain degree of business savvy.The common point being contact with the nobility is a natural consequence of nobility being the only people who can afford hiring mercs. A fighter not interested in politics or money has no reason to ever speak with nobles. He might even be hated by them for killing a tyrant or five.
Even then, mercenary pikeman #36 had no contact whatsoever with the nobility, the business owners and negociators had. And those guys were harder to replace and less involved in the actual fighting.


In short, forcing the fighter to do politics is similar to forcing the rogue to be an immoral pickpocket thief : undesirable. Maybe you should make all others classes less stupidly specific in concept instead of trying to fix the part of fighter that isn't broken.

Darth Ultron
2017-06-20, 06:38 AM
What exactly does it do out of combat, if, as you've said, they still don't have anything to do with those extra actions? Utility spells aren't useful because they give you extra actions, they're useful because they have varied uses. That's what I'm asking for- what would be a similar ability that doesn't break the desired image of a nonmagical warrior?

Well, more actions is very mundane. It's just a fighter reacting quicker. And you can do a lot with more actions.

First off the fighter can take several move actions to cover huge distances. Then they can take several move actions to do things, even a standard action or two. Everyone else can do only one or two actions a round, a fighter with this ability can do many more. Everyone can move and take an action....the fighter can move and take several actions. Like move 60 feet, drink a potion, long jump over a pit trap, move another 20 feet and then open a door....all in one round.

This fix is just one of my fighter fixes, but it's still a great one. It lets fighters do a lot in a round....way beyond all others. And you can do it with no additional house rules

Another of mine is fighters get a bonus magic craft feat every three levels, just like the spellcaster ones, except they use a ritual and not spells (it's other wise just like normal magic item creation). Fluff wise a fighter would cover a sword with inks and runes and put it up in a tree during a thunderstorm to make a Sword+ 1 of Shocking.

Quertus
2017-06-20, 08:00 AM
I've been a big fan of trying to make martial classes a more viable option through Homebrew for a while, eagerly reading and writing (if not posting) various Fighter fixes and other warrior class fixes and martial systems all over the place. The biggest question I have is about one of the major problems people immediately bring up with almost any fighter fix is "It still doesn't have anything to do out of combat." I don't really understand this complaint.
See, I was always under the impression that out of combat was mostly a matter of role-play. Once you had a good bonus in social skills, a matter of ranks rather than class features, the only difference between a fighter and a wizard is the lack of mind control spells, and if you wanted mind control, you wouldn't play a warrior- it's not a question of effectiveness, but of playstyle.
So, the main point I'm trying to make is, if one were to create a warrior class fix, what does it need to have in order to have 'out of combat options?'

Ok, I think the first thing I have to ask is, when you say "role-play", do you actually mean "player skills"? This may sound pedantic, but it is actually quite relevant to the types of solution that will benefit your game.

Let's say that, due to an unfortunately worded wish, a Djinni has taken the princess back to the Elemental Plane of Air. The party has decided to rescue said princess. Problem is, the Wizard doesn't know Plane Shift.

Do you allow the rogue to steal the local sage's notes in order to learn where the nearest portal to the Elemental Plane of Air is located? When the party decides that a month journey to the portal is too slow, do you allow the Paladin to go to the home in which he placed the orphan who once tried to pick his pocket in order to set up a meeting with the local thieves' guild in the hopes that they have or know of some relic that might get them there faster?

If you allow players to leverage the abilities and history they have to accomplish their goals, then the Fighter really doesn't need much to accomplish things out of combat beyond a good player. The player's complaints at this point are merely, "I'm not any good at the game". Getting them to see this without being a **** isn't easy, but may be necessary.

However, if that's not the issue, I suppose the question you need to ask is, what can characters do out of combat, and give everyone the tools to do that.

Personally, I like the idea of making all characters a form of Gestalt - you pick your combat chassis, and your non-combat role independently. Want to be a Tank / Sage? No problem. You get lots of skill points and knowledge skills to go with your HP and ability to draw aggro. Want to be a Martial Artist / Item Crafter? No problem. When you're not beating face, you can use your knowledge of medicine and alchemy to brew potions, channel your ki into holy seals, or forge a blade that sings as it cuts through the air itself. Etc etc.

Before I conclude my Wall of Text spell, let me go off on yet another tangent.

You seem to focus a bit on social skills. Well, back in my day, social skills were your Charisma stat. And I once had a party whose lowest Charisma, in a rolled 3d6 game, was a 15! The NPCs all responded very well whenever this party attempted diplomacy. IMO, the most important part of role-playing there was for me to take into account the characters' skill at talking, not just what specific words and intonation the players were delivering. And they insisted on collecting allies, often dragging them along on their adventures. I believe, at one point, this party had more than twice as many NPCs as it did PCs - most of whom were originally among their opposition.

It sounds to me like what you have is a difference in expectation of the efficacy of social skills. I'm going to fall back to another of my standard responses, and say, talk to your players. Work to get on the same page as to exactly how social skills should work.

From there, it should be much easier to determine / discuss with your players what fixes the Fighter actually requires.

Yora
2017-06-20, 09:21 AM
Fighters should be doing what everyone else is doing: Watch, listen, search, think, plan, talk, poke.

Exploration and talking are something everyone can do and doesn't depend on special abilities.

Mark Hall
2017-06-20, 12:01 PM
Fighters should be doing what everyone else is doing: Watch, listen, search, think, plan, talk, poke.

Exploration and talking are something everyone can do and doesn't depend on special abilities.

Depends on your system. What's your Bluff score? Diplomacy? Sense Motive?

Once the mechanical effects of these got defined as skills, it does start to depend on abilities.

(Mind you, I think there's a good case for social abilities having concrete mechanical costs, if they're going to have concrete mechanical effects).

In a way, I think this does hearken back somewhat to 2e's Kits. While the classes defined one's abilities, kits went a long way to defining social role. My fighter has the Myrmidion kit. I am a professional soldier. He has the Gladiator kit. He is a show-soldier. Our abilities are very similar (both of us have a bonus weapon specialization, back when that meant something, and both of us have "NPCs are annoying" as a limiting factor), but our social role and concept are very different, as will be our approach to different.

The Fury
2017-06-20, 01:16 PM
Depends on your system. What's your Bluff score? Diplomacy? Sense Motive?

Once the mechanical effects of these got defined as skills, it does start to depend on abilities.



Yes and no. If you're a Fighter you're already sort of pigeonholed as dumb muscle and in most editions of D&D, the skills are given seem to support this notion. That fact doesn't necessarily prevent you from being the character that notices that one NPC's alibi doesn't add up and confronting them over it.

Yora
2017-06-20, 02:54 PM
if the skill system prevents players from meaningfully contributing to the game even though they have the right ideas, then there's something seriously messed up with the design.

Mark Hall
2017-06-20, 03:17 PM
if the skill system prevents players from meaningfully contributing to the game even though they have the right ideas, then there's something seriously messed up with the design.

Yes and no.

To use WEG d6 as an example, if you choose not to invest in Willpower and face someone with a high Intimidation skill, that choice should have consequences; likewise, if I choose to invest in Willpower, it should give me a meaningful advantage when facing interrogation over Bob, who has no Willpower... Bob shouldn't be able to say "Well, my character wouldn't be scared, no matter what the dice say!" and then do as Bob pleases anyway. I paid for my character to not be scared; Bob is just declaring his immunity by fiat.

If you choose not to invest in Bluff, or Sense Motive, or whatever your game's equivalents are, and then try to engage in actions covered by those skills, even if you've got a good idea, then your character is mechanically unable to do what you know how to do, much like your 6 Intelligence Barbarian can't invent gunpowder because you, the player, know how to do it.

Gideon Falcon
2017-06-20, 11:18 PM
Well, more actions is very mundane. It's just a fighter reacting quicker. And you can do a lot with more actions.

First off the fighter can take several move actions to cover huge distances. Then they can take several move actions to do things, even a standard action or two. Everyone else can do only one or two actions a round, a fighter with this ability can do many more. Everyone can move and take an action....the fighter can move and take several actions. Like move 60 feet, drink a potion, long jump over a pit trap, move another 20 feet and then open a door....all in one round.

This fix is just one of my fighter fixes, but it's still a great one. It lets fighters do a lot in a round....way beyond all others. And you can do it with no additional house rules

Another of mine is fighters get a bonus magic craft feat every three levels, just like the spellcaster ones, except they use a ritual and not spells (it's other wise just like normal magic item creation). Fluff wise a fighter would cover a sword with inks and runes and put it up in a tree during a thunderstorm to make a Sword+ 1 of Shocking.

Once again, those are all combat actions. Out of combat, rounds don't matter, and all he can do with those extra actions is move way far ahead, which is the job of the skillmonkey looking for traps, or craft magic items, which is the job of the magic person. It's not that extra actions aren't mundane, its that they don't actually give extra options.

So far, I'm grateful to everyone that's pointed out what the difficulties actually are. Spellcasters have meaningful abilities to mechanically benefit the party out of combat, up to and including preparing for more combat.

Others, however, seem to be misinterpreting the question- I am not asking for roleplaying ideas. Scouting, planning, watching, and such are all roleplaying concepts that don't factor into this. As I just said, and as has been pointed out, Spellcasters have much more varied and much more meaningful options to do than the lists you've been giving of 'what everyone else is doing.' Saying that a fighter should be training and planning and observing really doesn't actually give him an option, because nobody is going to want to listen to him roleplay his training regimen, chances are he's not going to be automatically given the lead in planning unless the player is already good at it, and the DM doesn't want to come up with a dozen little traits for you to take advantage of in any upcoming encounter. Out of combat options for a specific class means abilities that mechanically contribute regardless of how good of a roleplayer the player or DM is.

Knaight
2017-06-20, 11:27 PM
Fundamentally a fighter is a character with a set of combat skills at a very high level. The conceptual space they cover is covered in most classless systems which use skills* by putting your fighting skills at a high level. This might mean weapon specific skills, it might mean some particular talents/edges/advantages/gifts/whatever, it might mean assigning a general skill like "Fight" to a high rank, whatever. There's then usually a whole bunch of room left for other skills which vary by character. Later D&D editions tend to take that away from the fighter to some extent (particularly 3.x) compared to these other systems, while also having a lot more magic that makes these skills obsolete. Putting skill style competencies back in that aren't rendered obsolete by magic would cover this nicely.

*I'm excluding a lot of more experimental stuff, profession based systems, and a few other things.

Mechalich
2017-06-21, 12:38 AM
Without being system specific, purely military characters always have trouble outside of combat. Such characters (and people in the real world) represent fairly extreme degrees of specialization. They have devoted themselves to a particular skill set that is only in use a very small amount of time to the point that even during a war, a soldier is not likely to be engaged in actual combat, or even active sentry duty, the majority of the time and in fact if they try they will rapidly burn out and have to be sent to the rear for a while. True warrior types are notorious for having real problems fitting into society when not at war and getting into all kinds of trouble.

So most narrative true combat specialists are either stuck in storylines where 'there is only war!' or they spend a lot of time sitting around - and are often pressed into a comic relief role as a result. A good example is the Hulk. The Hulk basically just wins at combat - he's the Hulk - but when he's not fighting he does...not much. Mostly he has some antics involving food or gets into argument with Thor and generally behaves like an amusing bozo and none of this is useful. In fact, the Hulk's out-of-combat problem is so severe that he gets to shift back into Bruce Banner when there's no immediate need for smashing and utilize an entirely different character sheet instead.

Given this, the real solution is don't build true combat specialist concepts. If such characters are necessary they can usually be provided by NPCs. This is a good role for an occasional guest player, or even to let the PCs swap into new roles for a mission. For example, if you ran a game about a bunch of CIA operatives and there came a time where they really needed to raid a compound in Afganistan for some reason, rather than send the PCs, you can just let the party play as Seal Team Six for a session.

Combat heavy characters, however, are something that needs to remain viable. Now, modern and futuristic settings have this covered, as the combat specialist turns seamlessly into the security specialist or something similar. So a character like Worf - to use another notable example - is a really good fighter but he has a whole pile of fighting-adjacent skills that are part of being a security operative int he Federation and he uses those all the time. Communications, demolitions, electronics, sensor equipment, and so forth are all part of that skill set. So is piloting, which is also a useful thing for the military type to do - ex. Agent May in Agents of Shield. Star Wars Saga, built more or less on the d20 chassis, gives the soldier class access to all this stuff.

Unfortunately, pre-industrial combat meant that characters who specialized in combat focused on a bunch of physical training skills, weapon skills, and other traits that might have little application outside of warfare. Miyamoto Musashi - perhaps the greatest example of a combat purist to ever live - practiced painting, poetry, and small crafts, which aren't exactly utilitarian out-of-combat abilities for gameplay purposes. In fact the very idea of having skills that were not directly related to combat or purely aesthetic in nature is almost antithetical to the idea of being a samurai and to a slightly lesser extent a feudal knight.

A possible solution is to make the combat specialist translate into a field specialist - meaning giving them access to the barbarian or ranger's skill set and some other abilities, which many traditionally combat-focused RPG inspiration characters had (ie. Aragorn, Conan, Fafhrd), or giving them an aristocratic skill set symbolic of being a member of the elite military caste and giving them those skills (the d20 aristocrat skill list is vastly preferable to the fighter's) and possibly some abilities related to them. Of course this is dependent upon such abilities being useful - in 3.X D&D and many other systems magic simply outclasses all 'mundane' skills fairly early on, making even the deliberately skill-monkey classes largely useless out of combat.

Dr_Dinosaur
2017-06-21, 11:06 PM
I would do one of two things, both involving "removing" the Fighter.

Option 1: Combine Fighter and Ranger, removing spells in favor of those totally-not-magic tricks the Ranger gets from ACFs and sprinkling in some of their 5e abilities like being able to detect the presence of the enemies they've trained most against and adding bonuses to all their physical skill checks so they can get away with investing more in social stuff.

Option 2: Combine Fighter, Brawler, Factotum, Ranger, and Warblade into two classes, the Champion and the Armsmaster.

The Champion is the master of feats and adaptability, gaining Martial Flexibility, a feat every level, Inspiration (with abilities chosen from a list like Rogue Talents that use it), and an increasing ability to mimic the extraordinary abilities of other classes briefly. This guy is the quintessential action hero, able to change his fighting style on the fly and overcome any skill-based obstacle with a little prep, or even pick up Arcane Dilettante as a Champion Talent to use a little magic. The martial Wizard class, essentially.

Meanwhile, the Armsmaster is what the Fighter always dreamed of being. Weapon Aptitude is shared with the Champion, allowing him to train for an hour and swap all his feats and features to the new weapon he just picked up. He adds Int to an increasing number of things as he levels up and gets a Fighting Style and Favored Enemies to represent being really dang good (even more than usual) with a certain weapon type and against certain foes. Overall, he just gets really good at Fighting with a reason to invest in Int for skill points and that's it. There's your "guy who just fights."

The Insanity
2017-06-22, 02:59 AM
Nothing. IMO Fighters should be the best at fighting by having great combat abilities as well as abilities that will allow them be able to use those combat abilities.

Dragonexx
2017-06-22, 05:23 AM
Let's nip this in the bud before it grows out of control. The problem with a fighter is that it's a fighter.

This is focused on D&D, so let's go with that. D&D draws it's original influence from a lot of fantasy literature like Tolkein, Moorcook and so forth. Hell, since also fantasy, let's throw Star Wars in there as well. In a lot of fantasy settings fighters and wizards are distinctly not balanced with each other. Casters are Better Than YouTM. Jedi are Better Than YouTM. Wizards and Witches are Better Than YouTM. Hell, mutants are Better Than YouTM. Any given magic person is in general worth more than any given fighter. They're generally capable of the same things the muggles can, and have magic on top of that.

Balance is achieved at the setting level. Generally by there being far fewer magic users than muggles, and also usually having them be secluded in towers (or hidden behind a masquerade, hated and persecuted, whatever). So while magic is the big mover and shaker of the world, mundanes still have the ability to take center stage.

The problem of course arises, is that setting balance means little in the context of most RPGs which are about individuals. So when a magic user a muggle can and have magic on top of that, a problem arises. At the conceptual level, magicians are capable of the same things as mundanes, meaning that fighters don't really have anything unique or special they can contribute (lead armies? Even if your game allows leadership, it's keyed off charisma so sorcerers and especially bards are Better Than YouTM). While this stuff is fine for single author fiction where the author can give characters as much or as little screen time as they want, it's bad for cooperative storytelling, when partipants are by default expected to contribute equally.

People want fighter improvements, but then there's this really weird cognitive dissonance where anything you propose is countered with the arguement makes them not a fighter. The fighter can't get stealth and stealing, because those are "rogue skills". This even applies to other abilities. Fighters can't contribute at higher levels because they seem to be married to the concept of Gimli who is basically a 4th-5th level character. One solution is to give them more power and dramatic abilities, but then it becomes "anime". You could give the fighter better numbers, but it turns into Captain Hobo.

Another solution in this thread was to divide the fighter concept. I think that's a completely terrible idea. You can do it to magic users because magic is a functionally infinite concept, so even if they're divided into things like storm mage, time mage, death mage, and so forth, those are still broad concepts that can scale a long way. The fighter can't do that. It's barely a concept already and splitting it further just makes it even worse. The honest solution I feel is to just get rid of the concept of fighter, and martials as a whole. It's not a concept that can really be expanded or advanced well without straining suspension of disbelief (see Guy at the Gym fallacy) or betraying it's concept (probably should be called the Gimli fallacy).

Dr_Dinosaur
2017-06-22, 03:23 PM
Another solution in this thread was to divide the fighter concept. I think that's a completely terrible idea. You can do it to magic users because magic is a functionally infinite concept, so even if they're divided into things like storm mage, time mage, death mage, and so forth, those are still broad concepts that can scale a long way. The fighter can't do that. It's barely a concept already and splitting it further just makes it even worse. The honest solution I feel is to just get rid of the concept of fighter, and martials as a whole. It's not a concept that can really be expanded or advanced well without straining suspension of disbelief (see Guy at the Gym fallacy) or betraying it's concept (probably should be called the Gimli fallacy).
If you're talking about my suggestions above, I agree that the Fighter can't really be divided. I believe it needs to die off as a class entirely, the handful of things it gets (in Pathfinder) divvied out among classes that actually have a concept beyond "Guy who does that thing everyone does in this game." Ranger+Warblade+Weapon/Armor Training and Bravery makes the Armsmaster very, very good at fighting and also incentivizes Int investment for skills while combating feat taxes. Factotum+Brawler+Bonus Feats makes a hellaciously versatile martial with bonus feats, skills, and features out the wazoo. These are classes that can keep up outside of combat, either through skills, a bit of wilderness tricks, and martial know-how (Armsmaster) or all the things Factotum can already do (Champion).

Frozen_Feet
2017-06-22, 03:51 PM
This thread gives me an aneurysm.

First of all, people place too much emphasis on distinquishing roleplay from mechanics. The decision to, say, go to town and ask locals about rumours may be a mechanical decision (such as a Gather Information check in d20), but it is also always a roleplaying decision!

So the first step to deciding what a fighter should be able of outside combat is to not be stupid about the role you're playing. Yes, it does not make sense for a grunt in a mercenary company to know nobles. But when that same grunt achieves greater skill and fame and is promoted to company Captain, now it does. I mean, good grief, people! Soldiers are the archetypical fighters and the way soldiers go through military ranks is one of the few things in real life which actually resembles leveling up! You can literally look at career progression of any famous soldier for ideas on what sorts of abilities you could give them.

Second, in the context of "fixing" a fighter, presumably for D&D/d20, you should also look at what fighters can already do out of combat. A fighter has Intimidate. He could frighten people to do favors for him. He has Craft. He could be making any mundane items usefull to himself or others, ranging from weaponry, armor and ammunition to spoons, horse shoes, clothes or backpacks. He has Ride and Handle Animal. He could be rearing and training horses or more exotic beasts, selling them for profit or using them for quick transportation to deliver messages, goods, whatever. He has Climb, Swim and Jump. He could be competing athletically or help his party to get into places they otherwise couldn't.

It's a lackluster skillset compared to most real professional soldiers, nevermind Wizards or other fantastic classes who get to do anything via author fiat. But it's a start. If you want to "fix" fighters, it's among the most basic steps to make them better at doing what they're already intended to do.

Next step is to add the obvious missing parts. Pretty much all militaries have interest in their soldiers having basic Survival skills. They all expect you to pull guard duty, so you ought to be decent at Spotting and Listening. Logistics and fortifications require construction, so some Knowledge of Architechture is also warranted. All but the lowliest grunts are taught at least some tactics, strategy and military History. Higher ranking personnel are expexted to deal with politically important people such as Nobles, so knowledge of them and the ability for basic Diplomacy and ability to Sense their Motives would be nice. And what kind of an army has no medics to Heal their troops and no military police to Gather Information for investigations???

An individual fighter might not possess all these skills to a remarkable level, but that's you know, already covered by skill point limits. Any individual fighter can opt out of having some or all these skills, but they absolutely should be on their class skill list.

Then you just expand the feat system to allow worthwhile specialization in any of them. Fighter Feats absolutely are class features. Feats were always intended to be class features, as evidenced by how several iconic abilities from earlier editions (such as Monk's stunning fist) were made into feats. That feats are so lackluster is a failure of design on its own. Fix them feats, you are more than halfway to fixing the fighter.

AceOfFools
2017-06-22, 04:18 PM
Brainstorming things fighters can do:
* Be or grant immunity to conditions that would otherwise require magic to resist (e.g. disease, poison or death effects to represent health, fear, etc). This may have more combat application than you want, but it is replicating spells that are ideally cast out of combat.
* Heal themselves from damage or conditions. Especially in systems where hp is abstract, I would expect the dedictated fighter to be ready for combat more quickly than others.
* Resist social influence. These guys have the self discipline to through themselves into danger, they should be hard to talk into doing things they don't want. This doesn't work in DnD since social skills don't impact PCS in any mechanical way, but I've seen socoal tanks work in other systems.
* Gain fame, reknown, and fans more easily. Spellcasters are scary to the common man, but they sure do idealize that shining knight. This us close to older editions giving fighters more followers and a keep.
* Relatedly, the ability to inspire friendship in similarly aligned warriors who know what it's like to shoulder your burdens. This could function like charm pression or suggestion spells, but with a very limited target pool.
* Battle-based insights such as detecting hostile intent or knowing BaB by looking at someone. Information gathering can be quite useful.
* Exclusive or automatic access to fantastic mounts like nightmares or griffins to expand their lit of possible actions (although this only works on campaigns where mounts are useful).
* Weapons or armor that grants proficiant users additional abilities especially if they spend combat feats, like armor that grants a charm affect on all that see you in it, or swords that can portals to other dimensions. Probably should tie caster level to BAB to make them more attractive to fighter-toes.
Like if Roy's sword had a utility spell instead of seating light as an unlock. An obvious cheat, sure, but one that could acomplished your goals.

scalyfreak
2017-06-22, 07:19 PM
This thread gives me an aneurysm.

First of all, people place too much emphasis on distinquishing roleplay from mechanics. The decision to, say, go to town and ask locals about rumours may be a mechanical decision (such as a Gather Information check in d20), but it is also always a roleplaying decision!

So the first step to deciding what a fighter should be able of outside combat is to not be stupid about the role you're playing.

Thank you!

This thread reminds me of trying to explain to someone who doesn't follow sports what NFL players do when they don't play football. You mean besides studying football, practicing football, and preparing to play football? Hmmm.... they probably do what they enjoy doing and are good at, aside from football. What that is varies from player to player. Or in our case, from character to character, depending on the players who created them.

Of course, I take issue with the idea that the Fighter needs "fixing", but that's a separate discussion that might not belong here.

Shinimasu
2017-06-22, 11:12 PM
I personally like the idea of fighters getting some kind of ability or bonus to help with other character's skill checks. It would make time between fights focused on building a deeper sense of camaraderie.

But I think most of it boils down to "find more things to do with the athletic skills" because fighters get few skills mostly geared towards being good at sports which is largely less useful than being good at not dying in the wilderness, or being good at covincing the duke not to throw you in jail.

scalyfreak
2017-06-22, 11:35 PM
You can do all sorts of fun things with athletics skills. A fighter probably wants to stay in shape and keep her skills honed during long stretches of downtime... find the local militia/city watch/palace guards and talk them into letting you train with them. Offer to teach them your best trick in exchange for learning one of theirs (and convince your GM to let you get a bonus of some kind to melee attacks or skills as a result of what you learned during your three months spent training with the King's elite). Make friends with the guards while sparring with them. Listen to gossip about the nobles and their servants, learn which merchants are the best ones to go to for buying or repairing equipment.

On your days off, follow your less fighter-inclined friends around and help them carry heavy stuff. Intimidate the people they negotiate with to give them advantage on Persuasion rolls. Teach your fragile sorcerer friend how to fight effectively with that dagger he carries around.

Earn extra income by working as a bouncer in the tavern down the street. If you impress the owner enough you can probably get free food and drinks out of the deal as well, and you hear tons of news and gossip from your spot by the door. You can see and hear anything when all you do all night long is observe the crowd, looking for troublemakers.

Buy a horse, if you have Animal Handling. Then train your horse. A war horse is just a big riding horse that has been trained a certain way... maybe if you're lucky you can talk your sparring friends in the militia into helping you train your new riding horse for combat?

And of course, don't forget to relax. If you can read, explore the city's library. They probably have books on battle tactics and strategy that you can learn all sorts of things from. And manuals on swordsmanship are always fun.

Take long walks in the beautiful hills around town... you probably have more than enough in Constitution to go for long hikes every day if you want to. Notice weird things in the countryside and ask the locals about them. Save Peter from the wolf and become a local hero.

But when you do all these things, remember who you are and the way of life you have chosen. You are not a bard, or a wizard, sorcerer, chef, palace guard, groom, or a thug for hire. You are a fighter, and fighting is what you do. It is what you are most passionate about, and in a sense it is what your life is all about. It's what you are all about.

One of the reasons I don't like discussions about how to "fix" fighters is that too often, the suggested fixes make the fighter less focused on fighting, which kind of defeats the point. A creative player who has spent time and effort on fleshing out their character should be able to think of things for that character to do when there is no fighting going on. (If they can't... I'm inclined to think the class that player choose may not be the problem.)The challenge is to make the fighter less one-dimensional, while still a narrowly specialized character, and ultimately, a lot of that is in the fluff, which in turn is the responsibility of the player of the fighter.

ijon
2017-06-23, 01:31 AM
on the non-combat side of things, I think just giving fighters more skill points (and also spot/listen as class skills because really now) is enough. if I wanted a significant non-combat focus, I'd be playing a factotum or rogue or something.

give the rogues more skill points too, while you're at it. how about 6+INT and 12+INT, respectively?

Mechalich
2017-06-23, 01:52 AM
Giving fighters more skill points (or whatever the equivalent capability might be depending on system) only matters so long as skills remain relevant throughout the power curve for the purpose of conducting non-combat actions. 3.X D&D has the far greater problem that, past a level as low as 8, the ideal solution for any out of combat problem is spells, not skills - which is a problem faced by every non-caster class and even some of the partial casters when compared with 'magic solves everything' type characters.

Solutions like giving fighters more skill points and a better list of class skills - while still things worth doing - are merely tinkering at the edges. They'll make a difference in E6, but it's not going to matter in core 3.X in which spells are the answer to everything.

ijon
2017-06-23, 02:44 AM
Giving fighters more skill points (or whatever the equivalent capability might be depending on system) only matters so long as skills remain relevant throughout the power curve for the purpose of conducting non-combat actions. 3.X D&D has the far greater problem that, past a level as low as 8, the ideal solution for any out of combat problem is spells, not skills - which is a problem faced by every non-caster class and even some of the partial casters when compared with 'magic solves everything' type characters.

thing is, I can live with that so long as I can still be the best at fighting dudes

yeah, it irks me a little that the climb and jump skills get almost completely obviated by flight, but climbing up some massive beast and cracking its skull open with a greataxe makes for a better story than "the wizard wizarded it again"

it's when it encroaches upon actually fighting that it starts really annoying me, but there was a whole thread recently about that (and like 5000 before that), and at this point the topic's so well-worn that you could mistake it for the grand canyon

but yeah, I don't want to optimize effectiveness so much as I want to optimize my character feeling like he was ripped straight out of a death metal album

Scots Dragon
2017-06-23, 04:28 AM
yeah, it irks me a little that the climb and jump skills get almost completely obviated by flight, but climbing up some massive beast and cracking its skull open with a greataxe makes for a better story than "the wizard wizarded it again"

I'd also point out that, like the knock spell, how many of those things does the wizard have prepared? Yes the wizard can bypass a locked door or an open chasm, but they get to do that maybe once or twice a day at most due to the fact that they also have to devote resources to other spells. Every instance of knock is a spell slot that could have prepared web or glitterdust, and every instance of fly is a spell slot that could have prepared haste or dispel magic.

And are we all adventuring in dungeons where there's only ever one locked door now?

Cluedrew
2017-06-23, 06:49 AM
Considering some other things people have said I think the complete answer might have two parts:
They should do fighter-y things outside of combat.
They should do non-fighter-y things outside of combat.
That is, there should be support for a fighter to do the "standard" fighter things, taking care of weapons and so on, but there should also be enough flexibility that you can express the variations of your particular character.

This includes some completely random things like cross-class ranks in architecture. But also background things like a fighter who came from the military would have different skills than an independent mercenary who is different from the apprentice blacksmith who picked up a mace after defending the town with their hammer. That last one might fall under the random section, but the first in particular might have some non-standard features.

Frozen_Feet
2017-06-23, 07:33 AM
True warrior types are notorious for having real problems fitting into society when not at war and getting into all kinds of trouble.

So when you're out of combat, you're John Rambo from First Blood. That's a perfectly serviceable answer for a roleplaying game.



Unfortunately, pre-industrial combat meant that characters who specialized in combat focused on a bunch of physical training skills, weapon skills, and other traits that might have little application outside of warfare. Miyamoto Musashi - perhaps the greatest example of a combat purist to ever live - practiced painting, poetry, and small crafts, which aren't exactly utilitarian out-of-combat abilities for gameplay purposes.

Hold on. Do you know the primary reason you know of Miyamoto Musashi? He used his poetry and calligraphy skills to write a book.

I'd say you're underselling the utility of "purely aesthetic" skills. In days of old and even today, they are a ticket to fame and wealth, they signify status above common people. It'd be totally thematic for a samurai to sway a crowd by reciting a beautifull Haiku or attract attention from an important political figure by making an awesome painting.


Of course this is dependent upon such abilities being useful - in 3.X D&D and many other systems magic simply outclasses all 'mundane' skills fairly early on, making even the deliberately skill-monkey classes largely useless out of combat.

Yeah, but here's a thing: magic being overpowered is a separate problem. For everyday purposes of game play, we're not interested in classes competing against each other. We're interested in:

1) the fighter class's ability to model actual fighters, as seen in reality and fiction.
2) a fighter's ability to contribute to specific game scenario he's in.

Now, I've already talked extensively about 1). In d20 at least, the fighter plainly lacks features which ought to be there.

2) might take more explaining. So here's the thing: no set of player characters has to include characters with do-all magic, and no set of in-game events has to include challenges which require do-all magic.

So now ask yourself: how large is the design space for games like this? How many different groups of player characters could you create with,say, just fighters, rogues, rangers, paladins and monks? How many different game scenarios can you run such groups through?

The answer is "arbitrarily large". Seriously. There is an arbitrarily large design space for games where there are no full casters in sight.

So when "fixing" a fighter, you can really just forget magic for a moment. You can forget any pretense of trying to fix "balance" between classes by fixing the fighter. Just focus on what the fighter itself can or cannot do.

For example: imagine a game scenario where all player characters are recruits in an army, fresh out of training. They're all modeled by d20 system as 1st level fighters. They're sent out as a recon squad to villages near the border. On the way, they might have to trek through the wilderness or scout the woods for enemies. Once there, they may need to interrogate locals.

Can this group succeed? Can the players look at the rules and go "hey, I could do this, and you could do that, and here's how it all will come together!" ?

D20 fails this test on the class design front and only barely passes as a whole, because fighter and warrior classes plain aren't given enough skills on their class skill lists. You can make such a group work if you invest in cross-class skills and non-fighter feats. But it should be alarming that being a 1st level fighter doesn't make you any better for classic 1st level fighter missions.

---

For all those who say "the fighter's concept doesn't scale".

You're all wrong.

First of all, fighter isn't a single concept. It is a broad class of concepts and archetypes. It covers people from a common soldier in Swedish-Finnish army during the 30 years war, to Inigo Montoya, to Roronoa Zoro, to Ares.

Even a singe concept under the fighter class, such a swordsman, can go from being a good at dueling to defeating armies with a twig, or go from slicing a bamboo stick to slicing apart mountains.

The scaling problem is an illusion caused by misunderstanding of a simple fact:

There are people who dislike the shift in genre and mood caused by ever-increasing character power.

As the swordsman goes from dueling to defeating armies and from cutting bamboo to cutting mountains, the sort of story his actions are creating goes from realistic to wuxia to superhero to deific mythology.

It's not any different for any other character class. A wizard can be Gandalf or he can Dr. Stephen Strange. But if I want to play Tolkienian fantasy, I don't want Gandalf to turn into Strange, especially not by accident.

The solution to this is simple and has nothing at all to do with class balance or superiority of magic over non-magic. It's to simply stop advancing when you have your character the way you like them.

Meanwhile, there is no special problem for crafting a fighter class which can cover ground all the way from realistic to deific when desired to. Even the default d20 system is perfectly fine with allowing a fighter to break Adamantium with his bare hands, falling from orbit and walking it off, or diving to the bottom of the ocean, or throwing a pebble from the ground to hit someone on the Moon. It doesn't even pretend such feats need to be supernatural or magic, extraordinary abilities exist, people. The actual problem, as pertains to class balance or what have you, is that for whatever reason fighters get these fantastic abilities at level 21 while some other classes get equivalent abilities at level 10.

Gideon Falcon
2017-06-23, 12:56 PM
The honest solution I feel is to just get rid of the concept of fighter, and martials as a whole. It's not a concept that can really be expanded or advanced well without straining suspension of disbelief (see Guy at the Gym fallacy) or betraying it's concept (probably should be called the Gimli fallacy).

So... You think nobody should be able to play a warrior? You can't just get rid of a major character concept and call it a solution. There are always going to be people who want to play a nonmagical warrior- otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion. There's a reason that, until more modern times, the protagonist was never the magician, it was the warrior.

Mendicant
2017-06-23, 11:24 PM
So... You think nobody should be able to play a warrior? You can't just get rid of a major character concept and call it a solution. There are always going to be people who want to play a nonmagical warrior- otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion. There's a reason that, until more modern times, the protagonist was never the magician, it was the warrior.

No one is saying you shouldn't be able to play a warrior, just that warriors are already divided into much more evocative classes with concepts that have more scale and more depth. It's not just that you can't satisfactorily make Conan or Fafhrd with a fighter, it's that "fighter" isnt a good name for those characters in the first place, because they do more than fight.

If you then insist that they live in a world with people who *are* fighters, you either have to demote Conan to 2nd-tier in the fight'n man sweepstakes, which is lame, or live with a bunch of fighters who aren't better at fighting than he is, and arent better at anything else, either.

In a game where everybody fights, getting rid of "fighter" as a category and letting rangers and rogues take Critical Mastery should be the solution. Expanding the fighter's skillset is a contradiction in terms, because the only characters he simulates ok are largely 1-note guys like Roland who are never really shown doing much outside of combat.

scalyfreak
2017-06-23, 11:31 PM
No one is saying you shouldn't be able to play a warrior, just that warriors are already divided into much more evocative classes with concepts that have more scale and more depth. It's not just that you can't satisfactorily make Conan or Fafhrd with a fighter, it's that "fighter" isnt a good name for those characters in the first place, because they do more than fight.

I hereby officially rename the Fighter class to the Uncomplicated Weapons User & Battle Badass class.

Problem solved. :smallbiggrin:

Cazero
2017-06-24, 12:18 AM
In a game where everybody fights, getting rid of "fighter" as a category and letting rangers and rogues take Critical Mastery should be the solution. Expanding the fighter's skillset is a contradiction in terms, because the only characters he simulates ok are largely 1-note guys like Roland who are never really shown doing much outside of combat.
So, dividing the Generic Fighter in Nature Fighter with his nature themed magic and abilities and Backstabby Dude with his limited ability to stand up in a straight fight seem appropriate to you? I feel like we're axing nine tenths of what the Generic Fighter ought to cover. Maybe if you added a Barbarian in there, made the Barbarian having no Rage and heavy armor by default, and made the Ranger having zero spell slots, favored enemies or that kind of stupidly specific stuff by default. But then the Barbarian and Ranger are plain regular Fighters, just with an implicit emphasis in STR or DEX. Might as well design better feats for the Generic Fighter to take.

Cluedrew
2017-06-24, 07:14 AM
If the name "Fighter" is not interesting enough maybe "Weapons-master"? If the fighter has a trick it is being able to use simple straightforward things like swords really well. Although maybe folding in the other "pure martial" classes and having a single main martial class (opposite the wizard & clerk) might be a better idea.

This might also help with the out of combat stuff because you have a slightly broader set of concepts to draw from. Customization should still allow you to pick a subset of those but it gives you more options and more chances to hit the concept of a particular character.

Mendicant
2017-06-24, 02:52 PM
So, dividing the Generic Fighter in Nature Fighter with his nature themed magic and abilities and Backstabby Dude with his limited ability to stand up in a straight fight seem appropriate to you? I feel like we're axing nine tenths of what the Generic Fighter ought to cover. Maybe if you added a Barbarian in there, made the Barbarian having no Rage and heavy armor by default, and made the Ranger having zero spell slots, favored enemies or that kind of stupidly specific stuff by default. But then the Barbarian and Ranger are plain regular Fighters, just with an implicit emphasis in STR or DEX. Might as well design better feats for the Generic Fighter to take.

Yeah, it's almost like I half a page ago I already stated that warblades and barbarians and marshals and samurai and swashbucklers and a dozen other homebrew and official classes do whatever version of the fighter you want better than the fighter does, and if they have problems they're a more rewarding field to furrow than "guy who fights." I'm not going to repeat the litany every time I make this point. At this point, the fighter is a god of the gaps, and I think those gaps are better fixed with archtypes, ACFs, and improvements to other classes.

FWIW, the PF rogue/ranger hybrid satisfies about 80% of everything I've ever used a fighter to build.

The fighter's existence is really bad for, say, the samurai or the marshal because letting them fight at peak efficiency makes him feel bad. So you get foolishness where weapon specialization is not allowed for paladins, even though there's no compelling reason a paladin can't be specialized inoa weapon.

Dragonexx
2017-06-24, 08:17 PM
So... You think nobody should be able to play a warrior? You can't just get rid of a major character concept and call it a solution. There are always going to be people who want to play a nonmagical warrior- otherwise, we wouldn't be having this discussion. There's a reason that, until more modern times, the protagonist was never the magician, it was the warrior.

No, the warrior is a that as people imagine it doesn't scale. Thus, the solution is to not try to make it scale. One of the few things 4e did right was have tiers of play. So after the low levels, you'd have to take a prestige class. This could probably be done for most classes.

Dr paradox
2017-06-24, 10:22 PM
I'm gonna second a couple of the ideas I've heard already.

Fighters need more skill points, and they need more to mark their status in a pseudo medieval setting. An important thing to remember is that even Mercenary work was seen as a fairly prestigious like of work, and anything from soldiering to tourney fighting marked a person as a valuable member of society. Conversely, subterfuge and witchcraft were foul crimes, and it makes sense that even if wizards become vital to the functioning of a fantasy kingdom, they should be seen as dangerous, unpredictable, and intensely self-involved.

I'd also like to address the divide between mechanical and role-playing tasks. Personally, I've always liked that fighters don't usually have much to do mechanically during town or downtime, since it frees me up to go and do things around town while the rogue is brewing poisons and the wizard is scribing scrolls and the cleric is tithing.

I always return to the fighter as the most interesting class to role-play, because they have the broadest canvas of opportunity for it. I've played naive would-be knights, con-men, hit-men, monster-slayers, escaped chain-gangers, disgraced body guards, and feral pit fighters. Some of those might bring to mind other classes, but I appreciate the openness of a fighter in terms of allowing character growth, and allowing a character to be defined by more than their class features.

Keltest
2017-06-24, 10:32 PM
No, the warrior is a that as people imagine it doesn't scale. Thus, the solution is to not try to make it scale. One of the few things 4e did right was have tiers of play. So after the low levels, you'd have to take a prestige class. This could probably be done for most classes.

It scaled perfectly well in earlier editions. The problem with 3.5 is that they changed the way a lot of things scaled so that they ramped up faster and had a higher peak, but left the fighter alone, or made it worse, not that the fighter as a concept cant scale at all.

Take saving throws for example. Fighters used to have great saving throws all around, and it was hard to make your saving throws more difficult to resist. Now, fighters have one moderately good save, and wizards can buff the crap out of their ability to get through your other saves, so anybody with a spell that targets will saves can take you out with a single action.

scalyfreak
2017-06-24, 10:40 PM
I always return to the fighter as the most interesting class to role-play, because they have the broadest canvas of opportunity for it. I've played naive would-be knights, con-men, hit-men, monster-slayers, escaped chain-gangers, disgraced body guards, and feral pit fighters. Some of those might bring to mind other classes, but I appreciate the openness of a fighter in terms of allowing character growth, and allowing a character to be defined by more than their class features.

This.

To me, the lack of "other skills" are what makes the Fighter interesting, since I can put whatever I want on that blank canvas.

BeerMug Paladin
2017-06-25, 04:42 AM
I'm not generally of the opinion that a fighter really needs a boost. Uncomplicated weapon-user alone is going to appeal to some play styles. And for some types of characters, it's just going to be a better fit.

Dragonexx
2017-06-25, 10:08 PM
This.

To me, the lack of "other skills" are what makes the Fighter interesting, since I can put whatever I want on that blank canvas.

You can do that with any class (and honestly I'd recommend just doing away with the concept of class skills).

scalyfreak
2017-06-25, 10:15 PM
You can do that with any class (and honestly I'd recommend just doing away with the concept of class skills).

True. But with the other ones I spend so much time micromanaging their spells, resources, abilities, and everything else about the here and now, that there is no time and energy left for the fluff that makes role playing enjoyable.

And that is the appeal of the less complicated classes. :smallsmile:

AceOfFools
2017-06-26, 06:54 AM
Yeah, but here's a thing: magic being overpowered is a separate problem. For everyday purposes of game play, we're not interested in classes competing against each other.
"How can I change the fighter so fighter players aren't bored and useless outside of combat?" is literally the thesis of this thread. It is the exact problem fir which solutions were requested.

It's really hard to start with 3.x and end up with a satisfying answer because so much of the games challenges at higher levels are based around PCs having access to magic like align weapon, fly, and death ward, which is both conceptually at odds with the fighter's concept and mechanically difficult to achieve without sacraficing the simplicity that is one of the fighter's selling points.

scalyfreak
2017-06-26, 08:15 AM
"How can I change the fighter so fighter players aren't bored and useless outside of combat?" is literally the thesis of this thread. It is the exact problem fir which solutions were requested.

For one, you make sure they know what they're getting into before the campaign starts, so they don't expect the fighter class to be anything other than what it is, and that's a lot less likely to happen.

Though honestly, that particular thesis is flawed. It assumes that all of us are bored, which isn't the case.

As for useless, that's also very subjective, and often entirely up to the player and the roleplaying part of the game. The character sheet doesn't dictate what we can and can't do, it's just a starting point. If the player of a wizard or bard can't think of something to do outside combat, a conversation like this would never happen, but with the fighter class it's automatically assumed it's the class that is at fault, and not the player who's either lacking in imagination or flat out lazy. If someone doesn't know what their character would do if given the option to do whatever they want, then the player and to some extent the character are the problem that needs fixing, not the class they've chosen to try to play.

goto124
2017-06-26, 08:27 AM
If the player of a wizard or bard can't think of something to do outside combat, a conversation like this would never happen, but with the fighter class it's automatically assumed it's the class that is at fault, and not the player who's either lacking in imagination or flat out lazy.

The first post of this thread immediately rattles off a long list of mechnically-supported actions a Wizard and only a Wizard (or spellcasting classes in general) can perform in downtime, while the Fighter can't do anything that isn't roleplay stuff already available to pretty much everyone regardless of class.

Replace "in downtime" with "outside combat" for similar effect.

scalyfreak
2017-06-26, 08:32 AM
The first post of this thread immediately rattles off a long list of mechnically-supported actions a Wizard and only a Wizard (or spellcasting classes in general) can perform in downtime, while the Fighter can't do anything that isn't roleplay stuff already available to pretty much everyone regardless of class.

And that's a problem because...?

(It's also incorrect. I made a post earlier in this thread about things fighters can do with their skills and class abilities, that non-fighters aren't as good at. But we can continue to ignore that part o the argument, if you prefer.)

Frozen_Feet
2017-06-26, 08:37 AM
Which is all fine and dandy, but my point in the post AceOfFools quoted was that d20's fighter class fails to provide basic fightery non-combat actions even in a party of low-level fighters where there are no casters in sight.

Yeah, magic at high levels overshadows non-magic in d20. We all know that. You can forget all about that and still notice the fighter class has problems. So giving them enough skills and skillpoints (etc.) solves those, even if it does nothing to "magic is OP!" problem.

Friv
2017-06-26, 12:33 PM
And that's a problem because...?

(It's also incorrect. I made a post earlier in this thread about things fighters can do with their skills and class abilities, that non-fighters aren't as good at. But we can continue to ignore that part o the argument, if you prefer.)

You kind of didn't, though?

You wrote an essay about things that a fighter can do with their time, but everything you listed was just "things any character can do with their time if they have the skills". You don't need to be a Fighter to be a bouncer, or to take long walks, or to teach people things. In fact, any martial class is better at those things than fighters are, because they have more skills and are just as tough and also have a wider range of abilities, and a lot of the non-martial classes are better at most of the list.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-06-26, 01:04 PM
Which is all fine and dandy, but my point in the post AceOfFools quoted was that d20's fighter class fails to provide basic fightery non-combat actions even in a party of low-level fighters where there are no casters in sight.

Yeah, magic at high levels overshadows non-magic in d20. We all know that. You can forget all about that and still notice the fighter class has problems. So giving them enough skills and skillpoints (etc.) solves those, even if it does nothing to "magic is OP!" problem.

I agree. If I had to run 3.X (which I don't), I'd probably give all classes a certain number (varying by class and from set lists) of "tagged" skills that get max skill points (for that particular class level) for free in addition to the regular skill points per level. This lets the martials still do their thing while having skill points left over to customize. Non-casters would get fewer and from a more restricted list. That and probably destroy the class-skill/cross-class skill distinction. Adding skill tricks that come for free at certain skill point levels and are equivalent to weaker spells (because they're at-will) would also help.

scalyfreak
2017-06-26, 06:53 PM
You kind of didn't, though?

You wrote an essay about things that a fighter can do with their time, but everything you listed was just "things any character can do with their time if they have the skills". You don't need to be a Fighter to be a bouncer, or to take long walks, or to teach people things. In fact, any martial class is better at those things than fighters are, because they have more skills and are just as tough and also have a wider range of abilities, and a lot of the non-martial classes are better at most of the list.

That applies to any other class as well though.

Which varies by system, but we're not talking system specifics, not really. We're talking about how somehow the fact that some players can't find things for their fighter characters to do when they're not fighting, means the class is broken. Which isn't even logical, let alone makes sense.

Dragonexx
2017-06-26, 07:04 PM
The reason is that classes should provide problem solving abilities for both in combat and outside of combat. Whatever character fluff you come up with is on your own.

AMFV
2017-06-26, 08:41 PM
Well one option is to look at the sort of things that soldiers and military personnel have had to do outside of combat. Exploration, sentry duty, gathering food, building defensive structures. Those are all options and areas where fighters should excell. Training themselves and other personnel to operate as a better team.

Hell, you even have some social options, boozing it up, for example, going out on the town. Most soldiers I've met could put D&D bards to shame, and that's not even getting into Marines. Getting sloppy drunk and increasing unit cohesion is definitely one thing they could do, and something that's enjoyable to roleplay.

Cosi
2017-06-26, 09:23 PM
mechanically difficult to achieve without sacraficing the simplicity that is one of the fighter's selling points.

The Fighter is not simple. The Fighter is simple to explain but it anything but simple to use. At a conservative estimate, there are 100 Fighter feats, of which the Fighter picks 11. Making the simplifying assumption that the Fighter can pick the same feat twice and can pick any feat at any time (far from true, but there are far more than 100 Fighter feats), there are 10^22 possible sets of Fighter class features. That's a staggering large number. It's less than the number of possible Wizards or Bards, but it's vastly huger than the number of possible Knights, Barbarians, or Monks. Any simplicity you get from reducing a class to a list to choose options from is immediately drowned in the staggering immensity of combinatoric explosion.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-06-27, 06:25 AM
The Fighter is not simple. The Fighter is simple to explain but it anything but simple to use. At a conservative estimate, there are 100 Fighter feats, of which the Fighter picks 11. Making the simplifying assumption that the Fighter can pick the same feat twice and can pick any feat at any time (far from true, but there are far more than 100 Fighter feats), there are 10^22 possible sets of Fighter class features. That's a staggering large number. It's less than the number of possible Wizards or Bards, but it's vastly huger than the number of possible Knights, Barbarians, or Monks. Any simplicity you get from reducing a class to a list to choose options from is immediately drowned in the staggering immensity of combinatoric explosion.

And 99% (made-up number) of those choices are traps. And it's not usually obvious which ones are traps until a while later.

AceOfFools
2017-06-27, 10:01 AM
The Fighter is not simple. The Fighter is simple to explain but it anything but simple to use. At a conservative estimate, there are 100 Fighter feats, of which the Fighter picks 11...

Withough looking it up, I'm confidant that there are more than 100 published first level wizard spells across all sources, of which their player has to choose 8~10 to know of by level 2 (and have to review how many of which spells they want every in-game day). The number of choices they have to make does not go down as they gain levels.

Even monks, who have fewer decision points in character building, have a laundry list of abilities that are situational and and hinge on details easy to forget.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-06-27, 10:09 AM
Withough looking it up, I'm confidant that there are more than 100 published first level wizard spells across all sources, of which their player has to choose 8~10 to know of by level 2 (and have to review how many of which spells they want every in-game day). The number of choices they have to make does not go down as they gain levels.

Even monks, who have fewer decision points in character building, have a laundry list of abilities that are situational and and hinge on details easy to forget.

But wizards can (with minor cost) get new spells if they made a mistake. Feat choice is permanent and can have large consequences. Failure to plan every level can easily lead to being completely ineffectual. Choosing the wrong spells just makes you less effective that day.

Mutazoia
2017-06-29, 05:59 AM
Again, this is probably more of an issue needing a "Caster" nerf, rather than a Fighter "fix".

In previous editions (read 2nd ed), casters had a limited number of spells they could memorize for the day, and the list they had was limited by their Int. score, and the old % to learn spell stat. Combine this with the fact that casters had to rest for a day to re-gain access to expended spells, or to swap them out for new ones, meant that casters had to be very picky-choosey when deciding on a combat, or "out of combat" spell.

With 3.X plus, that limitation goes out the window, epsecially when you look at the Sorc. who spontaneously casts any [level appropriate] spell in the game. This gives the casters a greater opportunity to monopolize the "out of combat" situations as well as being a walking tac-nuke in combat. This, in turn, leaves the martial characers, especially the Fighter, with little to do out of combat, but stand around polishing his longsword.

goto124
2017-06-29, 06:48 AM
Again, this is probably more of an issue needing a "Caster" nerf, rather than a Fighter "fix".

In previous editions (read 2nd ed), casters had a limited number of spells they could memorize for the day, and the list they had was limited by their Int. score, and the old % to learn spell stat. Combine this with the fact that casters had to rest for a day to re-gain access to expended spells, or to swap them out for new ones, meant that casters had to be very picky-choosey when deciding on a combat, or "out of combat" spell.

With 3.X plus, that limitation goes out the window, epsecially when you look at the Sorc. who spontaneously casts any [level appropriate] spell in the game. This gives the casters a greater opportunity to monopolize the "out of combat" situations as well as being a walking tac-nuke in combat. This, in turn, leaves the martial characers, especially the Fighter, with little to do out of combat, but stand around polishing his longsword.


but stand around polishing his longsword.

The last 2 panels of this OotS strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1045.html).

Back on topic, would the Tomb of Battle be a good example of a 'Fighter fix'?

Logosloki
2017-06-29, 08:31 AM
Maybe. Tome of Battle tried to make a third pillar for the 3.5 combat system (spell slots, power points and with the tome Stances/maneuvers). The problem with tome of battle, other than the weeaboo fightan magic meme (which mostly comes from the swordsage, I don't hear too many issues with Crusader and Warblade in terms of weebness) was that it was released late in the cycle, completely obsoleted the previous martial classes and (my issue here) it didn't try and fix other martial archetypes.

HidesHisEyes
2017-06-29, 08:50 AM
I think you are vastly overestimating the degrees of meaning many of those caster names have to people not already inherently familiar with the system and what it does.

If anything, I think several of the fighter-type classes need to be combined into one. Why is the barbarian a separate class from the fighter rather than a result of picking specific feats to enhance your offensive ability?

God yes. I started a thread along these lines recently but there wasn't much interest. The D&D I want to play has four classes: warrior, rogue, priest and mage. And it probably only has a ten-level progression and five spell levels.

Eldan
2017-06-29, 09:39 AM
Tome of Battle [...] didn't try and fix other martial archetypes.

Eh... you can do a decent monk or ninja from a swordsage, a decent barbarian or ranger from a warblade and a quite good paladin from a crusader. It covers quite a variety of martial archetypes, just missing archery.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-06-29, 09:55 AM
God yes. I started a thread along these lines recently but there wasn't much interest. The D&D I want to play has four classes: warrior, rogue, priest and mage. And it probably only has a ten-level progression and five spell levels.

You're literally describing Torchbearer right now. Except the rogue is a halfling, and there's also an elven ranger and a dwarven adventurer. Everything else is identical, though.

AMFV
2017-06-29, 10:01 AM
You're literally describing Torchbearer right now. Except the rogue is a halfling, and there's also an elven ranger and a dwarven adventurer. Everything else is identical, though.

Having played Torchbearer I would say that it is NOTHING like classic D&D, with the exception of the classes. The experience the planning, the actual gameplay is utterly different which if that's what you want is fine, but if it's not then it's going to be an issue.

Vogie
2017-06-29, 11:33 AM
I don't think that obliterating the utility of casters through nerfs will help this. The idea is raising up the utility of fighters when they're not actively fighting.

Some ideas:

Limitless learning- Fighters continue to train and thus can change their feats over time. You could rebuild the feat system, or a portion of the feat system so it more closely resembles a Spell list, then restrict the fighters to only use those over the course of the day. You could have them shift their feats around daily, after a long rest, so they have to spend an hour in training to keep their senses sharp, or only allow shifts each level.
The Bourne Legacy - the Fighter has a massive passive perception, far above what would be available for their stats. It could be gated by # of times/day or short rest, but the fighter will automatically glean large amounts of information in an area. Your survival skills increase when you are fatigue, are bloodied/low on health, or are low on rations.
Swords AND Plowshares - while normal PCs may tangentially be related to their backstories, professions and social traits, fighters are still that when not actively fighting. They get an additional Social trait for free, and that trait's bonus is increased by 50-100%. They also gain additional benefits while in environments populated by that profession, gaining information without use of diplomacy, bluff, or intimidation checks, and can find local work faster than Players of other classes.
The Man They Call Jayne - Fighters gain a passive leadership feat while staying in an area for a period of time, and they will be actively sought out by the community as a person of help, more than the other classes. They attract people who wish to learn from them, but can only pay in favors. The longer a fighter stays in an area, he or she will accrue more one-use benefits from the locals, such as use of horses, carts, locksmiths, crafters, and the like, and can use these network of favors to gain knowledge similar to a spell, such as divination, Suggestion, charm person, comprehend language or commune, or just add NPC allies to the group for a period of time.
With Maximum Effort - When studying a difficult problem, a fighter can gain a class skill for an encounter and using their intelligence or wisdom modifier as the value. This allows a fighter to suddenly gain skills such as Acrobatics, Swim, Animal Handling, Climb, Use Rope, et cetera, for a brief period. This could also manifest as self-only castings of Spiderclimb* (*like a heavily intoxicated spider), Feather fall* (*but only when against a wall), Rope Trick* (*without the extra-dimensional part), and so on.
Suck it up, you Big Baby - Being a fighter has fighting right on the tin, and because of that, a fighter gains the ability to bandage the wounds of him and others. While not channeling positive energy, the fighter gains the ability to cast Stabilize, detect poison, and Cure light wounds... although the somatic component is putting on a bandage, and the verbal component is muttering under your breath or cursing.
Utility Belt - The fighter gains a small pouch of trinkets that come in handy from time to time. These trinkets are mundane, but act in the same manner as the cantrips Ghost sound, flare, light/produce flame, know direction and open/close.
Portal Combat - It just so happens that fighting beings with the ability to blink and teleport is something that fighters have to do on occasion, and fighters are trained to battle these foes. This could be a device that allows them to Side-Along follow a teleportation spell, a strike that acts as a small dimensional lock on a target, a bonus to shooting ranged weapons through the "gate scar" behind the teleporter, or a Grappling weapon that teleports with the target (similar to the Paladin's weapons in the forgettable movie Jumper)

AMFV
2017-06-29, 12:10 PM
I don't think that obliterating the utility of casters through nerfs will help this. The idea is raising up the utility of fighters when they're not actively fighting.

Some ideas:
<snipped for brevity>

These are definitely good ideas, and ones I've had similar to, I think that as far as looking at noncombat utility for fighters, comics are a really good place. I mean you've added a bunch of batman's aspects to the fighter, which I think it makes sense to do. I mean if a 17th level Wizard is practically a literal God, then a 17th level fighter should be Batman, or Sergeant Rock.