# Thread: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

1. ## A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

THE FIGHTER

Introductory Stuff
Spoiler
So… the fighter. Everyone out there knows what’s wrong, has seen the fixes, and there’s a good chance that you’ve made a fix or two of your own. I know that I have and my fix was generally well-received at the time.

Even so, I suppose I now know why some people keep making similar fixes over time. No matter how you try to fix something, there will almost always be regrets on how you didn’t fix it or on what you perceive to be problems that you’ve left behind.

This fix, in a whole lot of ways, is meant to differ from my previous class, taking completely different matters into consideration. The mechanics were developed to be pretty easy for both DMs and players to learn on the fly, to avoid adding excess dice rolls and complex math where it could be avoided, and to not only work with multiclassing/PrCs but actually reward such approaches while still remaining tempting for a long dip and not punishing players who stay for the full 20 levels. I’ve tried to keep the class pretty simple and down to earth as well. As a result, it is only fair to say that this class lacks the uber-ness of my previous fix (though some of that power can be regained through alternate class features if desired). I really haven’t viewed this class as any sort of push for tier 3 but I hope that it at least rests in tier 4 without relying on weird alternate class features (though I have made a series of alternate class features for those needing small changes).

Without further to say, here is the LME Fighter

Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d10

Class Skills:
The fighter’s class skills (and key ability score for each skill) are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Yeah, some of you are probably shaking your head in disappointment. Only 2 + Int modifier skill points for level? Have I learned nothing from the great proliferation of fighter fixes on this forum? The thing, though, is that this is not quite true. As early as 2nd level, the fighter becomes a bit more skilled (see the next post for details).

The Fighter

1st|+1|+2|+0|+0|Combat Prowess, Fighting Styles (2, 1 feat)

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+0|Applied Experience, Path (Skills)

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+1|Active Defense

4th|+4|+4|+1|+1|Fighting Styles (2, 2 feats)

5th|+5|+4|+1|+1|Path (Training)

6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|+2|Quick Assault

7th|+7/+2|+5|+2|+2|Fighting Styles (4, 2 feats)

8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|+2|Path (Ally)

9th|+9/+4|+6|+3|+3|Improved Active Defense

10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|+3|Fighting Styles (4, 3 feats)

11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+3|Path (Discovery)

13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+4|Fighting Styles, (6, 3 feats)

14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+4|Path (Miscellanea)

15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+5|Superior Active Defense

16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+5|Fighting Styles (6, 4 feats)

17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Path (Mastery)

18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+6|Infallible Strike

19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+6|Fighting Styles (8, 4 feats)

20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Path (Capstone)

[/table]

Armor and Weapon Proficiencies: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, along with all forms of armor and shields (including tower shields).

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Nothing changed here. Moving right along.

Fighting Styles: Possessing a good deal of experience on the battlefield, you know that no one set of skills and abilities that can see you through any combat. At 1st level, you gain access to two fighting styles. At 7th, 13th, and 19th levels, you gain access to two additional fighting styles.

Each fighting style consists of a certain set of bonus feats, one or two of which must simply be bonus fighter feats and all others of which must possess at least one of those two feats as a prerequisite. At 1st level, a fighting style consists of a single feat. At 4th, 10th, and 16th level, each fighting style gains an additional feat. You must meet the prerequisites for all feats selected in this way.

Despite all of the skill you possess as a fighter, however, putting all of your training and experience into every fight would be almost impossible. At any given time, you only gain the benefits from half of your fighting styles. You may switch one fighting style with another at the start of each encounter and can spend 10 minutes practicing and exercising to switch any number of active fighting styles.

You may use feats obtained in a fighting style to meet the prerequisites of other feats (including those chosen in other fighting styles) and prestige classes even if that fighting style isn’t active when you level up but you only gain the associated benefits while all feats used as prerequisites in this way are active.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
While perhaps a bit close to the ranger approach for bonus feats, I do indeed have a number of reasons for doing things in this way.

First of all, let me say that I’ve seen lots of similar strategies. I’ve seen plenty of fixes that give out tons of bonus feats and I’ve seen plenty of fixes that essentially let you reselect your feats at will. I personally think that the latter creates an unrealistic expectation on the DM to memorize every feat that could be used while the former is still taxing to the memory. This strategy, however, essentially clusters feats into feat chains and gives you a few at a time, making it easier to remember what a player has active. I personally believe that it’s far easier to remember that a player has his “mounted feats” and “archery feats” active than it is to remember that they have Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Trample, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, and Precise Shot, for example.

Also, I ended up doing things in this way in part because the fighter would eventually gain access to all 8 fighter feat chains in the PHB (combat expertise, power attack, dodge + 1 feat, mounted combat, point blank shot, improved unarmed strike, two-weapon fighting, and weapon focus), albeit incompletely, which seemed to be a nice way to show it at least could incorporate all basic areas of combat.

Another thing I like about the system is that you end up getting most of your feats later on (you get 8 at 19th level, for example), giving a good incentive to stay into later levels while still technically outpacing the PHB fighter pretty consistently in terms of raw numbers of feats.

Finally, I allow for one fighting style to use feats form another as prerequisites (letting you complete longer chains like getting weapon supremacy), though doing so kind of forces you to use both styles at once, so that element of the original fighter isn’t lost.

The one “downside” to this system that I can see is that it is technically capable of trapping yourself (if your first two feat selections for a style are weapon finesse and quick draw, for example, you really don’t have anywhere left to go if just using the PHB), though such traps should be pretty easy to avoid with any degree of planning. I would give an altered feat list of feats that have others as prerequisites but that list would change depending on what sourcebooks are allowed so I’ll leave things as they are for now.

Combat Prowess (Ex): You may not be the fastest, the smartest, or the prettiest combatant but you have honed your skills in combat to the point where you can fulfill and adapt almost any technique. For the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites (and for no other purpose), all of your ability scores are increased by +2, +1 for every 4 fighter levels you possess.

Furthermore, with one hour of exercise and training, you may change any decisions made for any number of feats within a single fighting style you possess (such as changing the weapon granted a bonus with your weapon focus feat).

Finally, you may gain proficiency with any specific weapon (but not others of its kind) by spending 1 hour practicing with it.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Similar abilities have proliferated through fighter fix after fighter fix and so I feel most of you should all be pretty familiar with much of the above. Just a way to use and specialize in what weapons you find and qualify for more feats without suffering the ravages of MAD.

Applied Experience (Ex): While you focus most of your efforts out on the battlefield, every fighter picks up a certain degree of experience on their journeys that they can call upon in general. A fighter selects one of the following at 2nd level, plus one additional option for every 4 fighter levels he or she possesses.
Skills of War: Select one ability in which you possess a score of 10 or more. You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of your ranks in all skills dependant on that ability and/or in place of your normal modifier for Ability Checks made using that ability score unless the normal bonuses would otherwise be higher. You may select this ability multiple times, selecting a new ability score each time.
Honed Defenses: Select one saving throw. You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of the base saving throw for the chosen save and/or in place of your saving throw bonus for the chosen saving throw unless the normal bonuses would otherwise be higher. You may select this ability multiple times, selecting a new saving throw each time.
Steady Blade: You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of your base attack bonus for each iterative attack you make (this does not grant additional iterative attacks) and/or in place of your attack bonus unless the normal bonuses would otherwise be higher.
Practiced Strike: You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of the damage bonus to each attack you make and/or in place of the minimum amount of damage you deal to a foe after applying damage reduction unless the normal amounts would otherwise be higher.
Routine Wariness: You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of your initiative bonus unless the normal bonus would otherwise be higher.
Perfected Guard: You may use half of your base attack bonus as a dodge bonus to your AC. This bonus may not exceed the maximum Dex bonus of any armor you wear.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Out of this entire class, this is the one thing that I’m most proud of. It’s an ability that scales if you multiclass and allows the fighter to make up for flaws and deficiencies. If you want an intelligent fighter, choose skills of war for intelligence and you are suddenly dabbling in all knowledge skills and more. If you are scared of mind-control, go with honed defenses and give yourself an almost good progression. I love this ability for what it allows in characters, even if one or two options are clearly more or less “optimal” than others. Even so, I suppose that I should set some potentially ambiguous matters clear.

When an ability like honed defenses or steady blade lets you use half of your BAB in place of a final bonus, you first apply any penalties and bonuses (magical, circumstance, or other) to your original bonus and then replace that value with half of your BAB (a value that takes no penalties or bonuses) if it is higher. This means that you apply effects like combat expertise or power attack before you substitute in this minimum bonus rather than having such abilities able to provide endless bonuses or reducing their cap.

Path: While all fighters are strong and capable combatants, that is rarely the sum of all that they are. At 2nd level, select a single path from the list in the following post. You gain an ability from that path at 2nd level and every 3 levels afterwards. Once you have chosen a path, you may not later change that decision

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
The one biggest (and potentially most controversial) change I made to fighters will probably be how I handled the “generic-ness” of the class. I personally don’t believe that too much can be accomplished with purely generic class features and that feats (at least as they are made right now) can only take one so far so the fighter is in need of non-generic class features if the fighter wants to do anything resembling specialization in combat (let alone help outside of combat). To handle this and the multiple different definitions of fighter that people seem to have, I have turned the fighter into a generic chassis of bonus feats and good generic abilities that is fleshed out by a single path that they take, making the fighter generic in and of itself but having each player using the fighter end up with something less than generic.

I have anticipated that some might not like this change, however, and the battlefield path (along with the weapons master alternate class feature) provide some more vanilla power to those who are looking for it and additional ACFs replace these paths with maneuvers or the gambits of my previous fighter feat if more raw power/complexity is desired without staining the pristine generic-ness of the class.

Active Defense (Ex): Whether parrying the blows of enemies or using all of your guile to simply avoid attacks, you can fend off most forms of assault with relative ease. Starting at 3rd level, whenever you are attacked by an attack you are aware of, you may add a bonus of up to half of your fighter level to your AC against that attack. The sum of all such bonuses you grant yourself in a single round may not exceed your base attack bonus. You may wait until the success or failure of the attack roll have declared before using this ability but this ability does not inform you by how much you were hit. You gain no benefits from Active Defense while helpless or flat-footed.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
One of the more common concepts to worm their ways into fighter fixes (and swashbuckler fixes) is the concept of parrying. Especially popular since the ToB introduced Wall of Blades, the concept of stopping one attack with another attack seems to be quite popular. Even so, the concept has always held a few problems for me. The ability only really seems to make sense if you are using a melee weapon (completely locking out all ranged combatants) and the additional die rolls are rarely deemed to be a good thing. Even so, the concept of putting up an active defense seems really appealing and so I developed exactly that, a non-specific parry mechanic that doesn’t use dice rolls (though it does still require some strategy). The fact that it partially scales with multiclassing is just a bonus.

Quick Assault (Ex): While others require more time and coordination to release a volley or onslaught of attacks, you possess the presence of mind and readiness of body to do so in a moment’s notice. Starting at 6th level, you may make a full attack as a standard action or at the end of a charge.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Because it is accepted as fact that everyone with full BAB needs pouncing capability in order to make full BAB worthwhile, here it is. No really too much to say.

Improved Active Defense (Ex): In the field of battle, far more than simple swords and arrows decide the fates of kingdoms. Everything from an enchanter’s magic to a dragon’s breath may be encountered and must be prepared for. Starting at 9th level, you may use your active defense class feature to add bonuses to your saving throws as well as your AC. These bonuses count towards the same maximum and may be added after success or failure of the original roll is announced, though the amount by which you have failed need not be made clear. You may not use this ability when helpless or flat-footed.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
In the past, I’ve seen lots of fixes with specific defenses against death effects or mind-affecting effects or illusions or the ability to shake off “ailments”. Expanding upon the mechanics and idea of active defense, I decided to cut out the middle-man and simply let the fighter protect his/her saving throws.

Readied Responsiveness (Ex): Always thinking one step ahead, you are always ready for what lies around the next corner. Starting at 12th level, at the end of your actions each round, you may ready a single standard or move action as a free action. Such a readied action can only be triggered by an action at least as long as an immediate action.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
One of the things that all fighter fixes without exception seem to require is some manner of ability that stretches action economy. In my personal opinion, the way in which many fixes do this (you gain one swift action and one immediate action and one swift or immediate action each round and can spend a swift or immediate action to take a move action which you can use to take a standard action 2/encounter which of course can be used for a full attack which acts as a full two full attacks if using your favored weapon, each attack of which allows an ally to make an attack or move up to their speed [/hyperbole]) is a bit unintuitive and lacks immersion so I tried to stay within the bounds of existing actions rather than stretching action economy into knots. In fact, I have tried to avoid making any reference to swift/immediate actions within this class to the best of my ability as I’ve never viewed them to be too relevant to a fighter (just because they exist doesn’t mean that everyone should abuse them, ImO). This is my strategy for action economy abuse that doesn’t need to go beyond basics and I think that it gets the job done.

Superior Active Defense (Ex): By the time that you approach the pinnacle of your art, you have learned from experience how much effort it takes to fend off most attacks. Starting at 15th level, you may learn the amount by which you failed your saving throw or by which your foe succeeded on its attack roll before you decide whether to use your active defense class feature. Furthermore, you no longer automatically fail saving throws with a natural 1 and attacks made against you no longer automatically succeed with a natural 20.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Finishing off the active defense line, you get the ability to know if you have any chance of saving yourself, to give yourself a sporting chance even with the worst rolls possible, and to use no more than what you need to save yourself. A bit boring for level 15, perhaps, but still useful in my estimation.

Infallible Strike (Ex): By the time you reach 18th level, combat is second nature to you, allowing you to strike down opponents with unimaginable speed. Whenever you make a full attack or an attack of opportunity, you may make an additional attack, stacking with similar effects such as haste. This attack is made at your full base attack bonus and is treated as if you had rolled a natural 20, though it doesn’t automatically hit, doesn’t threaten a critical hit, and fails to activate vorpal effects and similar abilities or qualities.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Following the pattern of mild action economy every 6 levels (pounce at level 6 and readied actions at level 12), it only seemed to put something here as well. Extra attacks seemed like a no-brainer but I wanted to minimize extra rolls. As a result, the idea of an additional optimal attack seemed to strike a chord. While it still requires damage rolls, this is about as point-and-click as a martial character could really be and serves as a nice surrogate “capstone” for the main chassis.

2. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Fighter Paths

And now we reach the flexible flavor for this fix, the set of abilities known as Paths. The following 6 paths simply provide examples of what paths may look like, though I personally encourage the creation of more on this thread for consideration and commentary as this is a solid area in which the options of a fighter can be expanded if an entire area seems lacking. A rough fusion of flavor and fighting style, the following spoilered notes are on creating new paths for any who need something new. If you don’t appreciate the feel of fighter paths in general, the battlefield fighter (last in this post) was made for a more generic combat-based feel and several ACFs (including the similar Weapons Master) in the following post take the place of paths. If abilities from two paths seem as though they should be crammed together, there’s an ACF for that, too.

Making New Paths
Spoiler

Each path consists of 7 abilities gained at levels 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 20.

At 2nd level, the fighter gains 4 new class skills appropriate for the path and 10 skill points to spend on those skills, plus an additional 2 such skill points at each class level. It is perfectly acceptable to list a skill already on the fighter skill list if only to allow the extra skill points to be applied towards that skill. Furthermore, the fighter gains another small ability roughly equivalent to a static level 1-2 class feature (trapfinding, for example) or a 0-1st level spell.

At 5th level, the fighter gains 2 of 3 class features directly linked to the path, each of which is suggested to scale with BAB in some fashion. I personally wrote them up so one would use BAB for a limit of foes effected, one would use the result of attack rolls for some other purpose, and a third would more directly use your BAB for some benefit. This exact set-up is not necessary. At levels 11 and 17, the benefits from each of the two chosen class features increase.

At 8th level, the fighter gains an ability that either grants an ally or pet or that allow greater coordination with allies. Keep in mind how much time the ability will add to each round of combat before trying to lend more than one ally or a more complex ally.

At 14th level, the fighter gains a single class feature, whatever is judged to be appropriate for the level and path (combat-based or no), a chance to flesh out the path a bit more fully.

At 20th level, the fighter gains a capstone ability. Most of these abilities don’t qualify as “going nuts” or being the form of capstone so powerful that it treats level 20 as a theoretical ideal but rather the aim is for more sane capstones.

With all of that said, let’s go through the paths one at a time.

Spoiler

Mageblade Skills: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Concentration, Knowledge (Arcana), Spellcraft, Use Magic Device. All skill points you are unable to spend are lost. At each additional fighter level, you gain 2 more skill points to spend on these skills. Finally, you may use Detect Magic at will as a spell-like ability with a caster level equal to your fighter level.

Mageblade Training: At 5th level, you learn many of the basic techniques that mageblades acquire, selecting two of the following three benefits:
Mystic Counter (Ex): You may attempt to counter spells much as a caster can, even without possessing spells of your own. Doing so follows the normal process except that your base attack bonus must at least equal the caster level of the spell to be countered.
Unraveling Strike (Sp): Your have learned how to unravel magic with an attack, quickly undoing most forms of magical defenses. The first attack you make during each of your actions also treats your attack roll is as a dispel check result against active spell effects on your target, even if you miss. This dispel check is made immediately after the attack.
Enchanted Weaponry (Su): While formal spells remain beyond you, you have picked up a trick or two for when you lack your choice of equipment. Any weapon you wield possesses an enhancement bonus equal to one-fourth of your base attack bonus. This bonus doesn’t stack with any enhancement bonus that the weapon may already have.

Mystic Familiar: Calling on loose bits of arcane knowledge, you can create a familiar exactly like a wizard or sorcerer at 8th level and gain improved familiar as a bonus feat, treating your wizard level as your fighter level for the purpose of determining statistics and what familiars you can obtain. You may not share spells or deliver touch spells with your familiar. Instead, the familiar gains a +4 bonus to its Strength and Dexterity scores and gains Damage Reduction 5/magic.

Mageblade Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Mystic Counter (Ex): Whenever you ready an action to counterspell, you may use that action up to twice within the next round and may counter spells cast as swift or immediate actions.
Unraveling Strike (Sp): The dispel check also acts to suppress magic items on the person of the target for 1d4 rounds if the check is successful.
Enchanted Weaponry (Su): All weaponry you wield deals damage as if they were force effects, ignoring damage reduction and hardness and harming both incorporeal and ethereal targets reliably.

Mageblade Crafter: Starting at 14th level, you possess enough arcane knowhow to enchant items to help you in battle. In effect, you gain Craft Magic Arms and Armor. You may use your base attack bonus instead of a caster level and you need not provide spells normally needed to craft such items. All other resources must be provides as normal.

Mageblade Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Mystic Counter (Ex): Whenever you successfully counter a spellcaster’s spell, it can’t cast any further spells for 1 round.
Unraveling Strike (Sp): The effects of the dispel check are calculated immediately before the attack is made, rather than after as normal.
Enchanted Weaponry (Su): All attacks you make with weaponry you wield are treated as touch attacks.

Mageblade Lord: By the time you have perfected your art, you have finally picked up a bit of mystical protection. At 20th level, You are protected by a True Seeing effect at all times and you gain spell resistance 10 + your Fighter level.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Well, here we have the mageblade fighter, probably the most “powerful” of the six initial builds if only through its relation to magic and its potential to become a genuine mage-killer. I consider the HD limit on mystic counter to be a balancing point (and it IS intended to combine with readied responsiveness) as a CL boost or simply fighting a superior mage turns it off, though this guy is in a very good place when taking on weaker spellcasters. Also, it has become clear when writing the three scaling features for each path that two of the three will almost always seem to synergize a bit better than any other combination. I’m not sure how much of a problem this really is, though, as the different abilities frequently lead to different playstyles (which are themselves subject to personal taste).

Tactical Fighter
Spoiler

Tactical Training: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering), Knowledge (Dungeoneering), Knowledge (History), and Knowledge (Geography). skill points you are unable to spend are lost. At each additional fighter level, you gain 2 more skill points to spend on these skills. Furthermore, you may use the aid another action as a move action.

Tactical Training: At 5th level, you gain a decent amount of experience in implementing different strategies, allowing you to select two of the following three benefits:
Guerrilla Warfare (Ex): Utilizing quick ambushes and retreats, you and your allies can wipe out opponents before they even know what hit them. Any enemies harmed by you or allies within a surprise round take a penalty equal to half of your base attack bonus to initiative rolls and to all attack rolls made for attacks of opportunity for 1 round.
Mobile Skirmish (Ex): Taking advantage of open areas, each strike against an opponent serves as an opening for another to retreat to safety. Whenever an opponent is successfully attacked by an ally you can see or hear (including yourself), you may enable a different ally (including yourself) within 10 feet of the attacked creature to move up to half of its speed, treating the attack roll as a tumble check result (apply armor check penalty to the result if the moving character wears armor). No creature can move more than once per round in this way and accelerated tumbling may not be performed.
Stable Formation (Ex): Whether still or moving, keeping large numbers of allies grouped together can grant some manner of defensive fortification. You and all allies you can see and hear gain cover while adjacent to at least two other allies. Furthermore, whenever a creature with HD up to your base attack bonus successfully attacks you or an ally, a single adjacent ally of the attacked creature’s choice may make an attack of opportunity against the attacker.

Perfect Unity (Ex): Starting at 8th level, you can join yourself and your allies into a well-oiled machine of combat, perfectly acting off of one another in the battlefield. You and all allies to gain this benefit must spend 24 hours training to initially gain the benefit and thereafter maintain the benefits permanently (new members may be added by repeating the process). The bonuses from flanking and using the aid another action now equal one-fourth of your fighter level and anyone getting this benefit can lend another such creature within 30 feet the benefit of any feat they possess and that the receiver meets all prerequisites of for one round as a standard action. Finally, all creatures joined by this ability can communicate most basic concepts and tactics of any complexity with other such creatures without the use of spoken language so long as they are capable of seeing one another.

Tactical Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Guerrilla Warfare (Ex): Whenever you would act during a surprise round, you and all allies also acting in that surprise round may take a full round of actions.
Mobile Skirmish (Ex): You and allies who can see and hear you may ignore the effects of difficult terrain in their environment and may move up to 10 feet at the end of their action.
Stable Formation (Ex): Whenever two or more adjacent allies (including yourself) make a saving throw against a single effect, all such creatures use the highest result rolled.

Diverging Strategies (Ex): Starting at 14th level, you learn how to prepare for just about any eventuality. When you use your readied responsiveness class feature or spend an action to ready an action, you may instead ready two different actions of the same type (move, standard, etc.), giving each of them different triggers. For each set of two readied actions, however, only one may be taken.

Tactical Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Guerrilla Warfare (Ex): If at least 3 rounds pass without you and your allies attacking, being attacked, or being seen by your opponents, you may attack an opponent to start another surprise round.
Mobile Skirmish (Ex): You and all allies who can see and hear you function as if affected by an extraordinary freedom of movement effect.
Stable Formation (Ex): Whenever an allied creature (including yourself) successfully hits an opponent with an attack other than an attack of opportunity, one adjacent ally of its choice may make an attack of opportunity against the same creature.

Lord of Tactics (Ex): Starting at 20th level, you are always one step ahead on the battlefield, well aware of what is about to happen. As a full-round action, you may learn what any one creature you possess a line of sight with intends to do during their next action (no save), barring outside interference, before readying a move or standard action (this readied action benefits from diverging strategies and is in addition to the action granted through readied responsiveness).

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
One thing that you may notice is that each of the first six paths I’ve produced is veeeeery loosely based off of an ability score, with the mageblade fighter standing in for Wisdom, the “default” battlefield fighter representing strength, and this guy representing Intelligence (the others should be easy enough to sort out). So, here you’ve got a somewhat tactical fighter who actually cares about how the party fights in rough terms. No auras of inspiration here (that’s being saved for elsewhere) but if you view fighters as tacticians, this should be right up your alley.

Guardian Fighter
Spoiler

Guardian’s Skills: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Heal, Listen, Sense Motive, and Spot. Skill points you are unable to spend are lost. At each additional fighter level, you gain 2 more skill points to spend on these skills. Furthermore, you no longer lose your Dexterity bonus (if any) to attacks when caught flat-footed (unless you are unconscious or otherwise helpless).

Guardian’s Training: At 5th level, you gain a decent amount of experience protecting those around you in various ways, allowing you to select two of the following three benefits:
Stalwart Interposition (Ex): Whenever you successfully attack a creature, all attacks that creature makes with a lower attack roll result than yours target you if possible, even if doing so would increase the attack roll result. If you make multiple attacks against the same creature, use only the highest attack roll result for this purpose.
Impassable Bulwark (Ex): Creatures with HD up to your base attack bonus can’t use the tumble skill to move through squares you threaten (or adjacent squares if you don’t threaten the area around you).
Tend to the Wounded (Ex): As a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, you can cure an adjacent living and corporeal creature other than yourself of hit points up to half of your base attack. No creature may be healed past half of his or her maximum hit points in this way.

Guardian’s Scorn (Ex): Starting at 8th level, you can ensure that you can protect those around you stay safe. After staying in the company of another creature for at least 8 hours out of single day, you may select it as your chosen ally. For every 4 class levels over 8th, you may possess an additional chosen ally at a given time. Any creature with a line of sight towards you takes a penalty to attack rolls against your chosen allies equal to half of your class level as they feel your presence and scorn. Mindless creatures are immune to this penalty. Whenever you attack a creature who has taken an aggressive action against at least one chosen ally in the past round, double your threat range on all such attacks. This effect stacks with similar effects.

Guardian’s Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Stalwart Interposition (Ex): This class feature no longer applies simply to the enemies you’ve attacked but to any enemy who has witnessed your attack. As always, use your highest attack result for this purpose. Targets aren't affected in this way if making the attack would require the creature to spend an additional action (such as a move action to get within range/reach).
Impassable Bulwark (Ex): Enemies treat the area out to your threatened area plus an additional 5 feet to be difficult terrain, preventing 5-foot steps as appropriate.
Tend to the Wounded (Ex): When you use healing, you may choose to heal 1 point of ability damage in place of two hit points and/or 1 point of ability drain in place of four hit points. Any number of such exchanges can be made as part of a single action.

Shared Defense: Starting at 14th level, you can help your allies better protect themselves. You may use your active defense and improved active defense class features to aid allies who are either adjacent to you or who can see and hear you. Bonuses added in this way count towards your maximum for the round. If you possess or obtain the superior active defense class feature, it does not apply to such uses of your class features.

Guardian’s Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Stalwart Interposition (Ex): Whenever an ally within your threatened area (or within an adjacent square if you don’t threaten the area around you) would take hit point damage, you may elect to take up to half of it instead. Other effects from the same source (including ability score damage) isn’t split in this way, however.
Impassable Bulwark (Ex): Creatures within your threatened area (or within adjacent squares if you don’t threaten the area around you) can’t move away from you if you have damaged them within the past round. This ability fails to function while you are unconscious or immobile.
Tend to the Wounded (Ex): You may target a creature with this ability within 1 round of its death, doubling the amount of hit points you could heal for such a purpose. If you can raise the target’s hit points above -10 and Constitution score above 0, the creature returns back to life without losing a level or spells prepared. Death from other sources (such as death effects) can’t be undone in this way.

Guardian of Lords (Ex): Starting at 20th level, you cannot fall on the battlefield while your allies remain in immediate danger, kept alive through sheer determination. If your hit points are reduced below 0, you remain conscious and continue to act normally for as long as you have witnessed an aggressive action being directed towards at least one ally by an enemy within the past 5 rounds. You remain conscious and active in this way even if lowered below -10 hit points, though you succumb to your wounds at the end of this ability. Forms of death other than hit point loss still affect you normally, however, and your hit points can’t be raised by any source while under -10 hit points.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Because no fighter would feel complete without some way to tank, here is a path that roughly takes on that role. While it can’t do its role perfectly, I personally feel that it does the job well enough for most encounters one would expect.

Regal Fighter
Spoiler

Regal Skills: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Diplomacy, Knowledge (Royalty and Nobility), Sense Motive, and Speak Language. Skill points you are unable to spend are lost. At each additional fighter level, you gain 2 more skill points to spend on these skills. Furthermore, you may spend 1d4 hours searching through any community within your nation or origin or in any nation where you have accomplished great deeds (DM’s discretion) in order to find someone familiar with and friendly towards your name, deeds, mission, or family. Treat this person as a contact (Cityscape). You may only use this ability once per community.

Regal Training: At 5th level, you gain a decent amount of experience protecting those around you in various ways, allowing you to select two of the following three benefits:
Battlefield Inspiration (Ex): You may lend all allies within 30 feet who can hear and see you the bonuses of one of your applied experience bonuses as a character with a base attack bonus equal to your own. You may switch which benefit is granted in this way at the start of each round.
Coerce Surrender (Ex): Whenever you would normally deal sufficient damage to fell a creature (reduce it to 0 or fewer hit points) with HD up to your base attack bonus, you may choose to instead deal no damage. Resources spent on that attack (such as class features or projectiles) aren’t spent as you effectively talk the creature into surrender instead of making the attack at all. The creature’s attitude towards you is increased to helpful, as if through use of the intimidate skill. The creature must be capable of both hearing and understanding you in order to be affected by this ability.
Dedicated Combatant (Ex): Once you find yourself in combat, you can focus your full might and attention on the battlefield. You may use your active defense class feature to add to your attack rolls, counting towards the normal maximum sum of bonuses each round. You may use this ability after learning whether you have hit or miss but you do not learn by how much unless you possess the superior active defense class feature.

Loyal Retainer: Starting at 8th level, you can find a loyal minion of your race to act and fight on your behalf. You effectively gain a cohort of your race with levels only in warrior, as if you possessed the leadership feat. You use your fighter level in place of your character level to determine your leadership score for this purpose. If you lose this cohort, you may replace it in the normal method. This cohort stacks with any you may obtain if you select the leadership feat.

Regal Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Battlefield Inspiration (Ex): You may now lend all allies within 60 feet who can hear and see you the bonuses of two of your applied experience bonuses. You may switch one or both of these granted bonuses at the start of each round.
Coerce Surrender (Ex): All creatures who are made to surrender act helpful instead of merely friendly, giving up their treasure, submitting to being bound, and revealing knowledge that could get them in trouble (though they will still refrain from actions that would put their lives in danger if at all possible).
Dedicated Combatant (Ex): Whenever you apply a bonus to your attack roll with dedicated combatant, you may negate the next enchantment spell or effect to target you within the next round with a spell level up to the size of the bonus. You may only negate one spell or effect per round in this way.

Inspire Action (Ex): Starting at 14th level, you are adept at finding openings for your allies to act. Instead of readying an action with your readied responsiveness class feature, you may allow any number of allies who can see and hear you to ready actions of their own. These readied actions may not be used to cast spells or spell-like abilities or to activate supernatural abilities or magic items. Only the first ally to have this readied action triggered may actually take this action, however.

Regal Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Battlefield Inspiration (Ex): You may now lend all allies who can hear and see you the bonuses of three of your applied experience bonuses. You may switch any number of them at the start of each round.
Coerce Surrender (Ex): Once you have coerced a target into surrendering, all of its allies with fewer HD who witness the surrender also surrender themselves.
Dedicated Combatant (Ex): You may use dedicated combatant on the behalf of allies you can see and hear. Bonuses added in this way count towards the normal maximum and you can’t add bonuses to AC or Saving Throws using active defense in this way.

Lord of Lords: Starting at 20th level, you possess what it takes to control others. You may choose to either gain another cohort as your loyal retainer class feature or to gain followers as appropriate for the same leadership score, all of which must have levels in nothing but warrior. Once more, this cohort or contingent of followers is in addition to any gained from the leadership feat.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Here is where you get inspiration and more social abilities. Originally called the noble (the adjective) fighter, I changed it because I realized people would accuse me of saying that all Noble (adjective) fighters were Nobles (the noun), which might be somewhat accurate with elite warriors in a few cultures but still wouldn’t look good over all. So, yeah, they are merely regal.

Wild Fighter
Spoiler

Wild Skills: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Handle Animal, Hide, Move Silently, Survival. Furthermore, you gain wild empathy as a druid of your fighter level.

Wild Training: At 5th level, you gain a decent amount of experience protecting those around you in various ways, allowing you to select two of the following three benefits:
Stalking Shadow (Ex): So long as you are hiding and moving silently (requiring cover and/or concealment as appropriate), creatures with HD up to your base attack bonus are not entitled to opposed listen or spot checks against you except when you run, charge, or attack from hiding. This ability does not permit you to hide while observed and does not conceal you from creatures you have no concealment or cover from.
Eagle Eye (Ex): Adept at picking out weak points from a distance, your ranged attacks pack a far greater punch. All ranged attacks you make deal extra damage equal to half of your base attack bonus. For every full range increment away the target is, this extra damage is reduced by -2 (to a minimum of +0).
Hunt Quarry (Ex): Whenever you succeed at hitting a target with an attack, you may choose to make that creature your quarry. That creature remains your quarry and this class feature can’t be used again until the first is slain or 24 hours pass (whichever comes first). During this time, you gain the benefit of the tracking feat for the purpose of tracking that creature and you may use your attack result in place of making survival checks to hunt it down (before applying penalties for fast movement). Finally, you ignore all miss chances when attacking your quarry.

Animal Companion: Starting at 8th level, you can find a loyal minion of your race to act and fight on your behalf. You gain an animal companion, as a druid of your fighter level - 4. Instead of sharing spells, you may use your active defense class feature (and improved active defense and/or superior active defense class features, if you possess them) on your companion’s behalf, counting bonuses added in this way towards your normal maximum for the round.

Wild Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Stalking Shadow (Ex): If you can get to cover and/or concealment on the round after being discovered or revealing yourself while hiding, you can spend a move action in order move up to half of your speed and hide yourself, though you must remain concealed and/or behind cover at all times during this movement.
Eagle Eye (Ex): If a creature has moved at least 10 feet towards you since its last action, your first successful ranged attack against it doubles the damage bonus from this class feature.
Hunt Quarry (Ex): While hunting your quarry, you may use your attack result in place of spot or listen checks made to detect your quarry. Furthermore, you may ignore any damage reduction or regeneration that your quarry possesses.

Environmental Master (Ex): Starting at 14th level, you are well-skilled at using your environment to your advantage. You gain a climb speed and swim speed equal to your land speed and you ignore natural forms of difficult terrain. You are unaffected by hot weather up to severe heat, cold weather up to severe cold, and by winds up to severe in strength. Finally, you gain immunity to all forms of poison.

Wild Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Stalking Shadow (Ex): If you make a successful attack against a creature who is denied its Dexterity bonus (if any) to AC, your attack automatically threatens a critical hit.
Eagle Eye (Ex): Whenever a creature would move to put you into its threatened area, you may make an attack of opportunity against it with a ranged weapon. If successful, your movement doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity from that creature for 1 round.
Hunt Quarry (Ex): Against your quarry, you may use the results of your attacks roll in place of any opposed skill check or ability check you would make. Furthermore, all allies who can hear and see you ignore all miss chances, damage reduction, and/or regeneration that the quarry possesses.

Lord of the Wild (Ex): By 20th level, you have become attuned to every snapping twig, shifting grain of sand, and creature of the natural world. You gain blindsight out to 30 feet, gain acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic resistance 20, and all animals and magical beasts start with an initial attitude of friendly towards you unless they oppose your alignment on at least one axis.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
This was definitely the hardest of the paths for me to create (as might yet be obvious) but I feel that it has come together pretty nicely (especially relative to earlier drafts). I am happy about how Stalking Shadow and Hunt Quarry both revolve around skills in a sense without actually requiring ranks in the related skill. I’m not too sure about the level 14 and 20 abilities, however (especially the latter). If you share my hesitation and I’m not just overthinking things, any suggestions would be welcome.

Battlefield Fighter
Spoiler

Battlefield Skills: At 2nd level, all of the following skills become class skills for the fighter and you gain 10 skill points to spend on them; Balance, Listen, Spot, and Tumble. Skill points you are unable to spend are lost. At each additional fighter level, you gain 2 more skill points to spend on these skills. Furthermore, you gain any bonus fighter feat you meet all prerequisites of

Battlefield Training: At 5th level, you gain a decent amount of experience protecting those around you in various ways, allowing you to select two of the following three benefits:
Powerful Blow (Ex): Whenever you make an attack, you may make it a powerful blow, taking a penalty up to half of your Base Attack Bonus to the next attack you make within the current round in return for ignoring up to an equal amount of damage reduction or hardness with the attack.
Handle the Masses (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws for every 2 enemies adjacent to you with HD up to your Base Attack Bonus
Engage Foe (Ex): The first time each round you make a successful attack against a creature, you may choose to use your attack result in place of your AC (unless your AC would otherwise be higher) against the next attack made against you by the attacked creature within the next round.

Joint Battalion: Starting at 8th level, you can train with your allies in order to help them out on the battlefield. Doing so requires 10 minutes of drills with all allies to receive these benefits each day. At the start of each encounter, you may lend the benefits of all feats in a single fighting style to all allies who can see and hear you, so long as they meet all prerequisites for such feats.

Battlefield Discovery: Practicing your chosen craft, you eventually make further progress and discoveries of your own. At 11th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level improve:
Powerful Blow (Ex): Whenever you make a powerful blow and hit while imposing at least half of the maximum possible penalty, you may instantly make a sunder, trip, or bull rush attempt against the target without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Handle the Masses (Ex): You cannot be flanked except by a rogue with a class level at least 4 higher than your base attack bonus. Furthermore, you can move through squares occupied by enemies without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Engage Foe (Ex): If the target you have engaged doesn’t attack you at least once before your next action, you may instead use your attack result in place of making an attack roll for your first attack of the round if it is directed at the same creature.

Flexible Style: Starting at 14th level, you may convert one of your fighting styles into a flexible style. With 1 hour of training, you may switch any or all feats in a flexible style for new ones, though the style must still meet all restrictions of what feats can be selected.

Battlefield Mastery: With enough time and practice, you master your chosen means of combat. At 17th level, each of the two abilities you selected at 5th level reach their peak:
Powerful Blow (Ex): Whenever you make at least two powerful blows and hit the same target while imposing the maximum penalty or you hit with one such blow and score a critical hit, the target of the attack is staggered for 1 round (No save).
Handle the Masses (Ex): Whenever a creature misses you with a melee attack, you may temporarily drag it into your square long enough for to make another adjacent enemy of your choice to make an attack of opportunity against it.
Engage Foe (Ex): You may choose to use the attack result in place of a saving throw you would make against a spell or ability used by the creature you have engaged. Doing so counts as being attacked and ends this class feature instantly.

Lord of the Battlefield: Starting at 20th level, you possess enough canny to respond to the changing demands of battle almost immediately. You receive one bonus fighter feat for which you meet all prerequisites. At the start of each round, you may switch this feat with another such feat and you may switch out one of your fighting styles for another.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
While I have expected from the beginning that there would be those who hate the idea of paths for a fighter and would just want to trade it away, I decided to form at least one “generic” path for anyone who just wants to be a plain-old fighter. Dealing with little other than straight-up combat and bonus feats, this class represents versatility and adaptability.

One final Note on Simplicity and Keeping Track of Dice Rolls:
Spoiler
After claiming to avoid difficult math and extra rolls, it is only fair that a few people would point out that keeping track of dice rolls would fall into a similar category. I personally don't think that it actually involves much in the way of work or memorization (though it is certainly a novel mechanic for D&D) but I trust you to let me know if you disagree.

3. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Alternate Class Features, Part 1

Although I have a good amount of faith in the fighter I’ve written above and I believe that the creation of more fighter feats and paths can do a lot to help it fit into new areas, people may have certain needs from the fighter that simply can’t be met using the means above or that require deeper alteration. As so many people have such different ideas of what a fighter should be, I for one believe that alternate class features should be treated as a healthy and essential part of making a fighter for mass use instead of the peripheral afterthoughts that they’ve so often been in the past. Below is a list of eight alternate class features, between which it should hopefully be possible to find something that would tweak the fighter to your liking if it currently seems lacking.

Student of Warfare
Spoiler

While many fighters pick up a certain degree of incidental skill between battles, a few have received far more in the way of teachings, training themselves in all manner of skills. Unfortunately, many of these learned soldiers have a harder time adapting to the quick and unpredictable nature of combat.
Class: Fighter
Level: 1st
Replaces: You take a -1 penalty to attack rolls at 1st level. This penalty increases by -1 at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th levels. If you spend a move action observing your surroundings, you may negate this penalty until the end of your action.
Benefit: The skill points granted per level increase to 4 + Int modifier, multiplied at 1st level as normal. Furthermore, you may add any two skills of your choice to the list of fighter class skills.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Even with paths adding additional skill points and with the potential to dabble in skills that applied experience provides, some players may still feel that they are overly starved for skill points. If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of martial power, however, this alternate class feature grants you to ability to overcome that weakness. As it is possible to overcome the penalty (albeit at an action cost) and iterative attacks are not delayed, it might prove to be a palatable option for many fighters out there.

Entwined Paths
Spoiler

Most fighters follow a given road of development, learning one primary approach to combat. For every rule, however, there is an exception, and you have managed to seamlessly marry two different approaches together in the midst of combat.
Level: 2nd
Replaces: This ability alters your path class features and replaces the applied experience abilities you would normally gain at 4th, 12th, and 20th levels.
Benefit: Select two different paths. At 2nd level, 8th level, 14th level, and 20th level, you gain the appropriate class feature from one of the two paths of your choice. At 5th level, you select one ability from each of the two paths, each of which advance as normal at 11th and 17th level.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
Along with the complaint of simply not liking paths, I realized the moment I put clusters of 7 abilities together that some people wouldn’t be satisfied unless they could combine two paths together. Thus, I made sure to provide a means that is relatively easy and painless to take (and I ensured that it leaves you with just enough applied experience abilities to lend to others if you end up with battlefield inspiration from the regal fighter path). I’m trusting you guys to tip me off to any obvious broken combinations that I’ve missed.

Defensive Style
Spoiler

Just as there are hundreds of ways to harm opponents, so too are there a myriad of ways to protect oneself from harm. While most fighters concentrate on the more aggressive aspects of combat, you have specialized yourself for defense.
Class: Fighter
Level: 1st
Replaces: Combat Prowess, Some or all proficiency with armor and shields.
Benefits: At first level, you may choose to specialize in wearing no armor, light armor, medium armor, or heavy armor, gaining an immediate benefit depending on your choice. Furthermore, whenever you would gain applied experience, you may instead select two different defensive traits from the list below. Your decisions made for this ability can’t be changed afterwards and defensive traits stack with themselves.

Defensive Specializations:
Spoiler

Unarmored:
Not relying on armor, you possess a good deal of mobility do dodge around attacks.
Proficiencies: The fighter class grants you no proficiencies with armor or shields.
Benefit: You may add your highest ability score as a bonus to your AC so long as you wear no armor or shield, carry no more than a light load, and are capable of movement. This does not stack with similar bonuses such as the bonus monks, ninjas, and swordsages receive to their AC.

Light Armor:
Though you gain a bit of aid from armor, you still retain a good deal of mobility.
Proficiencies: The fighter class grants you proficiency with light armor and shields (but not tower shields).
Benefit: You ignore the armor check penalty and maximum Dexterity bonus of any light armor you wear.

Medium Armor:
Despite your reliance on armor to protect you, you have yet to fully surrender mobility.
Proficiencies: The fighter class grants you proficiency with light and medium armor and shields (but not tower shields)
Benefit: You ignore any speed penalty from wearing medium armor and can sleep in medium armor without penalty.

Heavy Armor:
Giving up on mobility, you make the most of your armor to absorb punishment.
Proficiencies: The fighter class grants you all normal proficiencies with armor and shields.
Bonus: You can sleep in medium and heavy armor without penalty. If you obtain this ability as your 1st character level, you begin play with a free suit of banded mail armor that you have inherited, earned, crafted, or found.

Defensive Traits:
Spoiler
• +1 Dodge bonus to AC. Heavy armor fighters may not select this bonus and unarmored fighters double the benefit.
• DR 1/-. Unarmored fighters may not select this bonus and heavy armor fighters double the benefit.
• +1 bonus to touch AC, up to a maximum of your full AC. Unarmored fighters may not select this bonus and heavy armor fighters double the benefit.
• +1 bonus to flat-footed AC, up to a maximum of your full AC. Heavy armor fighters may not select this bonus and unarmored fighters double the benefit.
• +1 bonus to will saves. Heavy armor fighters also gain a +1 bonus to Fortitude saves while Unarmored fighters instead gain a +1 bonus to Reflex saves. Light armor and medium armor fighters may choose to add the second +1 bonus to either Fortitude or Reflex saves each time this benefit is chosen.
• +5 foot to your speed for all modes of movement. Heavy armor fighters may not select this bonus while unarmored fighters double the benefit.
• All allies within your reach gain a +1 bonus to their AC. The bonus may not exceed your summed armor and shield bonuses to AC. Unarmored fighters may not select this ability while heavy armor fighters grant double the benefits.
• You gain a +2 bonus on all opposed rolls made to avoid being bull rushed, overrun, grappled, tripped, or disarmed and to your AC against critical confirmation rolls.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
One thing that I’ve always been surprised about in fighter fixes is that a good deal of them seem to assume full plate and greatsword (or at least heavy armor and melee weapon), while the concept of “fighter” seems quite a bit broader. If you don’t care too much about broadening your horizons and want to establish yourself as a less-armored fighter, here is a class feature specifically for you. The original idea was taken from my first fighter fix but I think I’ve improved it, giving nice flexibility to the advancement rather than sticking each advancement path that gives heavily armored players an overpowered defensive ability and the lightly armored a good offensive ability that doesn’t come up until 6th level. Choose Unarmored or Heavily armored if you want to maximize the benefits you select in specific areas or light/medium armor if you want to combine them (getting both AC bonuses and damage reduction, for example). Also, I know that giving out equipment with a class feature is typically frowned upon but most heavy armor is so expensive that nobody would actually be able to even afford it at 1st level in most cases.

Favored Stratagems
Spoiler

Some soldiers and warriors pick up on ways to use the skills they’ve acquired outside of combat. Others focus solely on the combat itself, finding new ways to claim any advantage over their opponents.
Class: Fighter
Level: 2nd
Replaces: Applied Experience benefit at level 2.
Benefit: Choose light weaponry, one-handed weaponry, two-handed weaponry, or ranged weaponry. Whenever you make an attack with the chosen form of weaponry, you may add a bonus to your attack roll (and threat confirmation roll, if appropriate) of up to +2, adding twice the remainder to your damage roll if you hit (allowing you to add +2 to your attack roll, +1 to the attack roll and +2 to the damage roll, or +4 to the damage roll).

Furthermore, whenever you would be allowed to select a new applied experience bonus, you may instead select one of the circumstances from the list below. For each chosen circumstance describing your current situation, you may add a bonus to your attack roll (and threat confirmation roll, if appropriate) of up to +2, adding twice the remainder to your damage roll if you hit. When you obtain your second and subsequence circumstances in this way, you may also exchange a previously selected circumstance for another from the list. None of the extra damage dealt through this class feature is multiplied with a successful critical hit.

Circumstances
Spoiler

• Adjacent to a single enemy
• Adjacent to two or more enemies
• Adjacent to two or more allies
• Enemy is flanked
• Enemy is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC.
• Target is two or more size categories larger than you
• Target is two or more size categories smaller than you
• The enemy has injured you within the last round
• The enemy has yet to injure you in this encounter
• The enemy is unarmed and possesses no natural weaponry
• You are unarmed and possess no natural weaponry
• You did not attack during the previous round
• The enemy did not attack during the previous round
• You are making an attack of opportunity
• You are making a readied attack
• You have moved at least 10 feet before making the attack
• You have not moved more than five feet since the start of the last round
• You are prone
• Enemy is prone
• You have yet to hit an enemy with an attack in this encounter
• You have yet to miss an enemy with an attack in this encounter
• You are on higher ground than your enemy
• You have downed a creature within the past round
• You have yet to down a creature in this encounter
• Enemy has attacked an ally in this encounter
• Enemy has yet to attack an ally in this encounter
• You are at over half of your total hit points
• You are at under half of your total hit points

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Some people, rather than wanting to branch out and fill in weaknesses with applied experience, may (understandably) want to stay focused on the fighting aspect of the fighter. To react to this demand, I have ported over this class feature from my previous fighter fix and fixed it up so that it no longer adds extra damage rolls and actually requires some level of thought beyond getting yourself into position.

For those who haven’t seen this class feature before, the entire idea was to get people to work some degree of tactics into their approach to fighting rather than simply full attacking each round without end. There’s no harm in taking “easy” ones but players should find that having enough of them should kind of shape how the player fights even then.

Also take note that this list of circumstances is by no means complete. Feel free to suggest new ones if you see something that you feel should be there.

4. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Alternate Class Features, Part 2

Field Training
Spoiler

While most fighters apply their experience in fairly standard ways, a few work to master truly novel skills that might help them on the battlefield. Learning these skills, however, may put the target behind on the rest of its training, a trade-off that only some are willing to take.
Class: Fighter
Levels: 2nd, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and/or 20th
Replaces: Applied Experience benefit at the chosen level. Furthermore, for each field training benefit you possess, you reduce your base attack bonus by -2 for the purpose of your applied experience class features and all benefits it provides.
Benefits: You may select one of the following benefits, though none may be selected more than once unless specifically noted to the contrary.

Field Training Options:
Spoiler

Bonus Feat: You gain a bonus fighter feat that you meet all prerequisites for.

Careful Planner: You may put away or take objects out of a backpack, sack, or similar container on your person as a move action. With 1 hour of work in a community at least the size of a small town, you may spend money up to the gp limit of the community. At any point until you next use this ability, you can take out any nonmagical object worth up to the gp spent so long as it fits within the container it is pulled from, the container hasn’t been searched by others (either physically or through divination) since the money was paid, and the weight of the item is insufficient to increase the load you are carrying (raising you from a light to medium load, for example).

Demolitions Expert: You add your fighter level to all strength checks made to break objects and all splash weapons you wield ignore all hardness of objects they are thrown at.

Identify Magic Arms and Armor: With 2d4 hours of examination, you can identify all magical properties of a single suit of magical armor, a single magical shield, or a magical weapon. This ability does not reveal which such items are magical in the first place.

Incredible Toughness: You can function normally with half as much sleep or meditation as normal and the minimum number of hit points you can reach before dying is reduced by –10.

Intuitive Thinker: You can work out most matters with a bit of thought and patience. In effect, you may use the aid another action to aid in your own skill checks. The skill check must be started within 1 round of making the roll.

Keen Senses: All penalties to spot and listen checks from any source (such as weather or distance) are halved for you.

Master of Poison: You do not risk poisoning yourself when applying poison to a weapon.

Nimble Movement: All penalties to balance, climb, hide, jump, move silently, swim, and tumble checks made for quick movement are halved for you.

Pack Mule: Your carrying capacity is doubled from a normal creature of your size and strength score. Furthermore, increase the maximum Dex bonus and decrease the armor check penalty for carrying a medium or heavy load by 1 each

Physical Paragon: Through extensive training, you are particularly prepared for the rigors of battle. You may increase either your Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution score by +2.

Shrug Off: Select one saving throw. Whenever you make a saving throw of the chosen type against a spell or effect that normally has a halved or partial effect with a successful saving throw, you instead negate the effect entirely if you succeed on your saving throw. You do not benefit from shrug off while bound, unconscious, or otherwise helpless.

Special Dispensation: Within your nation or origin and any nation in which you have gained renown (DM’s discretion), you aren’t punished or halted for possessing or wearing armor, weaponry, or magic items. Other illegal items are responded to naturally.

Temporary Enlistment: While in an encounter, you can talk neutral parties into temporarily taking your side. You may spend a standard action (not provoking attacks of opportunity) to speak with a creature neutral or better towards you who can hear and understand you. You effectively make a diplomacy check against that creature, using half of your base attack bonus in place of your ranks in diplomacy if it is higher. Any resulting change in attitude lasts until the end of the encounter.

Trapmaster: Whenever a trap with a CR up to your base attack bonus makes an attack roll against you, you gain a 20% miss chance against it.

Versatile Training: Select a single extraordinary class feature that a base class obtains at 1st level other than maneuvers. You gain that class feature as if you possessed 1 level in that class.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
As one last replacement for applied experience, I realized that some people may like the idea of expanding their boundaries but dislike doing so by simply having numbers where they otherwise wouldn’t. If you actually want abilities instead of bonuses, this is the type of thing that was made for you. Most of these are static or weak scaling abilities, meaning that replacing all of your applied experience with these abilities might not be the best move from an optimization standpoint. Take too many of these, however, and whatever applied experience abilities you do possess will be weaker than they should be (perhaps too weak to be of any real use). Therefore, taking these abilities is a bit of a balancing act.

Weapons Master
Spoiler

Rather than following any specific path, you have spent your days training with every form of weapon imaginable, training yourself how to make the most use out of whatever tools you have at hand. Though others may have more intricate strategies, few could hope to match the breadth of your martial talents.
Fighter
Level: 2nd
Replaces: Path abilities.
Benefits:At 2nd level, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls with any form of weapon wielded and your attacks count as magical for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction and incorporeality. Furthermore, increase both the armor bonus of any armor you wear and the shield bonus of any shield you wield by +1 each. At 5th level and every 3 levels afterwards, increase the size of each of these bonuses by +1. These bonuses don’t stack with the enhancement bonuses of magical weaponry, armor, and shields that you wield or with the masterwork property. Also at 2nd level, you may add any two skills of your choice to your list of fighter class skills and gain 10 extra skill points to spend however you see fit. At every subsequent fighter level, you gain 2 extra skill points.

At 5th level, you gain proficiency with all forms of weaponry (including unarmed attacks and improvised weaponry) and you gain the weapon focus feat for all forms of weaponry you are currently wielding (you count as possessing all such feats for the purpose of meeting prerequisites)

At 8th level, you may stow and/or draw weapons as a free action (even in the midst of a full attack) and gain weapon specialization for all forms of weaponry you are currently wielding (you count as possessing all such feats for the purpose of meeting prerequisites).

At 11th level, your attacks bypass damage reduction as if possessing your alignment and you gain improved weapon focus for all forms of weaponry you are currently wielding (you count as possessing all such feats for the purpose of meeting prerequisites).

At 14th level, you gain improved weapon specialization and improved critical for all forms of weaponry you are currently wielding (you count as possessing all such feats for the purpose of meeting prerequisites).

At 17th level, you gain crushing strike, driving attack, and slashing flurry as bonus feats even if you don’t meet their prerequisites.

At 20th level, you gain weapon supremacy for all forms of weaponry you are currently wielding even if you don’t meet the prerequisites and your attacks with weaponry are treated as epic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
If the battlefield fighter wasn’t vanilla enough for you, I doubt that it is possible to get more basic than this alternate class feature. This class feature… isn’t all too exciting. By level 20, it grants +8 to attack rolls, +10 to damage rolls, and a +6 enhancement to armors and shields plus a couple of very minor abilities and skills. By all accounts, this falls perfectly into the camp of ability that simply gives the fighter more numbers (seen in lots of other fixes out there).

The complaints about this type of ability are numerous. The fighter already has enough numbers. You aren’t saving the fighter money on the stuff they really need to buy (immunities or flying, for example). The ability doesn’t really do anything. Even so, I feel that it was necessary to include this type of thing as an option for a couple of reasons:

1. The weapon focus line of feats is readily recognizable and pretty universal with fighters. The traditional “4-level dip” into fighter is supposedly only done to reach weapon expertise, after all. Weapon supremacy is pretty awesome as well and turning such a universal chain into a line of abilities allows for a very generic line, which was one of the goals here.
2. In 3.5, the role of “weapons master” just isn’t feasible without this class feature and I feel that role is one that players might want to fill. Even by 20th level, having a “level-appropriate” weapon costs you about 1/4 of everything you own. If you want an alchemic silver weapon and an adamantine weapon, you pretty much require a metalline weapon. If you want versatility in type of damage or want benefits from different types of weapons (like charging with a lance or reach of a spiked chain), you pretty much need a morphing weapon. If you want both melee and ranged options, you’re pretty much looking at a returning throwing weapon. With the sheer amount of money that has to be spent elsewhere simply to be deemed capable, most characters simply lack the funds to pull off the role anywhere near convincingly. Being a weapons master, on the other hand, lets a player purchase a good variety of weapons for different occasions for maybe a few thousand gp and have all of them become serviceable in the battlefield.
3. Also, this class feature does mix with a lot of specific magic items (+6 luckblade, anyone?) if the DM believes in giving out items rather than having the party build their own. Combining that feature with universal weapon proficiency, this is the one fighter ability that would allow the fighter to function even if treasure is randomly determined (not that doing so becomes any less terrible of an idea in general).

On a less positive note, this ACF does stomp on the toes of the soulknife (at least as written). Many soulknife fixes I’ve seen have given the soulknife something other than just a weapon (such as incarnum, combat tricks, or psionics) but this class feature definitely conflicts with the base soulknife if you are in the type of game where that class is used.

Martial Initiator
Spoiler

Having studied unorthodox manners of combat, you can utilize maneuvers in combat.
Class: Fighter
Level: 2nd
Replaces: Path Abilities
Benefits: At 2nd level, select 2 martial disciplines. You gain proficiency with all of their related weapons if you don’t possess them already and add both of their key skills to your list of class skills if they aren’t already. You gain two skill points at 2nd level and all subsequent fighter levels to spend on those two skills.

More impressively, you learn one maneuver from each discipline at 2nd level and every 3 levels afterwards with an initiator level equal to your fighter level. The save DC against these maneuvers equals 10 + Maneuver Level + your highest mental ability score modifier. At 5th, 11th, and 17th level, you also learn a stance from one of the two disciplines. At any given time, all of your maneuvers from one of the two disciplines are treated as being readied. At the start of each encounter, you may choose to switch which discipline you possess readied maneuvers from. At the end of any round in which you did not activate any maneuver, you may recover a single spent maneuver.

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler

To a certain extent, this ability is probably redundant. As many would tell you, a fighter with the ability to use maneuvers is called a warblade. Even so, I believe that I have come up with good mechanics for implementing maneuvers for this fighter and that they allow for a good amount of flexibility. Besides, with the sheer number of homebrew disciplines out there and the flexibility that the system allows, it would be foolish not to allow maneuvers as at least an option as it allows the fighter to play in somewhat more powerful games. As this ability was designed in part to increase the power level of the fighter, take note of what campaigns you try to bring it into or allow it in.

Gambit Fighter
Spoiler

Having taken part in more battles and more training than you could ever hope to remember, you can pull off even the most difficult and exact of attacks at a moment’s notice.
Class: Fighter
Level: 1st
Replaces: Combat Prowess, Path Abilities
Benefit: At 1st level, you possess enough ease and presence of mind within the battlefield to hit far more reliably or to focus on other tasks without pressure. You may add a bonus of up to half of your fighter level (maximum of +1 at 1st level) to any attack roll or skill check you make while in an encounter. The sum of all such bonuses added in a single round may not exceed your base attack bonus and bonuses from your active defense class feature and subsequent class features (if you possess them) count towards this same maximum. When adding a bonus to skill checks in this way, the sum of the bonus and dice result may not exceed 20 (essentially, the fighter is able to pay more attention to the other task, coming closer to “taking 20”).

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to make certain called shots with your attacks. Whenever you make a weapon attack roll, you may turn it into a called shot as a free action. To make a called shot, you apply the attack roll penalties of one or more special abilities called gambits. If the attack succeeds, all utilized gambits function normally. If you miss, nothing happens as normal.

When making a called shot, a natural 20 is not an automatic hit (although it may still threaten a critical hit) and either a natural 1 or 2 is an automatic miss. All gambits to be used with a called shot must be declared before making the attack roll and all penalties stack. Unless otherwise stated, assume that no gambit may be applied to a single attack multiple times but that the effects of all gambits stack with themselves.

Gambits come in four distinct ranks based on difficulty to perform, Minor, Moderate, Masterful, and Perfect. At 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, and 14th select two minor gambits. At 17th and 20th level, select two minor and/or moderate gambits. You may only use gambits selected in this way.

Gambit List
Spoiler

Minor Gambits
Spoiler

Calling Card: -2 attack roll
Your attack leaves a mark or scar of your choice upon your opponent. The mark remains even after the target has healed to full hit points, although the regeneration spell can remove all such marks from a target.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Whether you want to be a murderer leaving a calling card, a slaver marking your merchandise, or if you want to play as Zorro, this is the easiest of all gambits to pull off so have fun with it.

Subduing Strike: -4 attack roll
You strike your opponent without intending to kill them. All damage dealt by your attack becomes nonlethal damage. For every 4 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, you deal 1d6 extra points of nonlethal damage.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This gambit basically takes the place of the normal penalty to use nonlethal damage. Note, however, that any feat or ability that negates the normal penalty does not negate the penalty of this gambit. This one is fairly easy to use early on.

Defensive Posture: -4 attack roll
Your attack better prepares you to defend against your target. You gain a +2 dodge bonus to your AC against the attacks of your target until the start of your next round. For every 4 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, your dodge bonus increases by +1. Such bonuses gained from attacking different foes are tracked separately.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is what fighting defensively looks like when used by a duelist, pretty much. The fact that it improves over time hopefully makes up for the fact that fighting defensively normally defends you against everyone.

Inspirational Attack: -5 attack roll
Your attack inspires your allies onwards to greater success. All allies within 60 feet who can see and hear you gain a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws against fear effects until the end of the encounter. These bonuses remain in place even if a target moves out of range. For every 10 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the morale bonus increases by +1. This gambit does not stack with itself. This gambit is a mind-affecting effect.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Yeah, this kind of messes with the mojo of the bard and martial class but it also kind of makes sense. It probably won’t be used too often after early levels (and won’t be used much even then unless there is another main combatant in the party) so there Isn’t too much of a problem.

Demoralizing Blow: -5 attack roll
Your attack crushes the confidence of your enemies. All enemies within 60 feet who can see and hear me gain a –1 penalty to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws against fear effects until the end of the encounter. These penalties remain in place even if a target moves out of range. For every 10 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the penalty increases by –1. This gambit does not stack with itself. This gambit is a mind-affecting effect.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Just the reverse of Inspirational Strike. This is likely the superior ability, protecting your allies from harm and increasing the odds of an allied spellcaster using Phantasmal Killer (or some other fear effect) successfully. Still, this ability is likely not that big of a deal, just a useful tool to use once at the beginning of combat.

Disfiguring Assault: -5 attack roll
Your attack leaves your opponent with a terrible injury or disfigurement. The target takes a –2 penalty on skill checks with a skill of your choice (chosen as you make the attack). For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, increase the penalty by –2. The wound remains even after the target has healed to full hit points, although the regeneration spell can remove all such wounds from a target. This gambit may be applied to a single attack multiple times, targeting a new skill each time.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is basically a better version of that first gambit, letting you wound enemies in a way that actually penalizes them. At the DM’s option, players may be required to explain what kind of wound would cause the chosen skill penalty.

Create Opening: -10 attack roll
Your attack forces your enemy to open a gap in its offense, preventing it from making attacks of opportunity for 1 round. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, this gambit lasts 1 additional round. This gambit does not stack with itself.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is gambit may or may not be worth using every now and again, depending on the composition of your party. It really does help you act as a tank on the battlefield so that makes things a-okay.

Your flashy attack or loud boasts and threats attract the attention of all those around you. Creatures within 10 feet concentrate their attacks and other aggressive actions on you (if capable of doing so) for 1 round. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, creatures up to 10 feet further away are affected. Targets must be able to see or hear you to be affected. This gambit does not stack with itself.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

The quintessential tank ability. I know that there is no saving throw here and that is something that you should get used to seeing here. No gambit allows a saving throw, regardless of what it does. The fighter knows what he’s doing (or is just plum lucky enough) to pull off what it wants to pull off. An attack roll should be enough for this guy. If not allowing a saving throw makes this fighter exceptionally powerful, I say it’s about time that mundane players got nice things.

Slow Opponent: -10 attack roll
Your wound manages to harm the target’s means of locomotion. Reduce the target’s speed in one mode of your choice by –5 feet for 1 hour (minimum 0 feet). Creatures with a fly speed reduced to 0 feet cannot fly and fall if they were already flying. Creatures that have their climb or swim speed reduced to 0 feet lose the benefits of having such a speed but don’t fall or sink unless their land speed is also reduced to 0 (or if they don’t have such a speed). Burrowing creatures cannot longer burrow. A creature whose land speed is reduced to 0 falls prone on land and can drag itself 5 feet as a move action that provokes attacks of opportunity. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, increase the penalty by –5 feet. If you pass the target’s AC by at least 10 points, this penalty lasts for 24 hours. The speed reduction is ended early if the target is restored to full hit points by any means. This gambit can be applied to a single attack multiple times, targeting a different movement speed each time.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Okay, this is one of the wordier abilities but it hopefully does its job well. Creatures with fast healing and regeneration limit the use of this ability but I couldn’t think of any way to overcome this limitation and still let the ability make sense (I toyed around with the idea of this gambit working via pain rather than actual damage but then you wouldn’t be able to target constructs and undead).
This wording is probably for the best.

Distracting Blow: -15 attack roll
You make an attack focused on distracting your foe from the task at hand. The target takes a –5 penalty to concentration checks for 1 round. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, increase the penalty by –5.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Behold the first of a small handful of gambits made to fight against spellcasters. It doesn’t do much but it does what it does pretty well.

Encompassing Strike: -15 attack roll
Your attack is wild enough to make it difficult to pass by you. All squares that you threaten require 2 squares of movement to enter for 1 round. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, entering a threatened square requires one additional square of movement. This effect does not stack with itself.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Out of all of my gambits, this is probably one of the most “anime”, which is certainly a good sign as it isn’t hard to imagine this ability being used in reality. For those who can’t picture it, imagine that part of this gambit relies more upon the fighter’s stance and footwork than upon their actual attack. In reality, it would be hard to pull off and suicidal to use in combat unless you knew exactly what you were doing. Hence, the fighter can do it.

Lasting Wounds: -15 attack roll (-20 if targeting Constitution)
Your attack delivers serious wounds to your enemy. You deal 1d4 ability damage to an ability score of your choice (chosen as you attack). For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, deal 1 extra ability damage. This gambit may be applied multiple times to a single attack, targeting a different ability score each time.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Not much to say here. I know that damaging certain abilities of certain creatures (like the intelligence of animals) leads to an easy win. I, however, see no problem with giving the fighter a couple of situational win buttons.

Moderate Gambits
Spoiler

Inspire Fear: -20 attack roll
The target(s) of your attack is shaken until the end of the encounter. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, up to one addition creature who sees the attack is also shaken. For every 20 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, all targeted creatures are panicked for 1 round (no saving throw). This effect does not stack with itself. This gambit is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Now we arrive at the –20 gambits, gambits that I calculated to be the extent of what could be accomplished in reality with few problems. Once again, there is no saving throw. Rendering your opponents shaken is hardly an overpowered maneuver and a very temporary means to put enemies out of commission is very powerful but by the time you can use it regularly, many enemies will possess immunity to mind-affecting effects.

Inspire Exhaustion: -20 attack roll
Your attack knocks the wind out of your enemy. The target is fatigued for 10 minutes. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, this condition lasts for an additional 10 minutes. If your attack passes the target’s AC by at least 20 points, the target is instead exhausted. This effect does not stack with itself.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Compared with inspire fear (above) and inspire nausea (below), this ability may seem a little weak. I do believe that it has its place, however, such as exhausting a powerful foe so you (or at least your allies) can run away to safety. Very situational in use but the long duration makes me think that there should be some use for it, if you look long enough.

Inspire Nausea: -20 attack roll
Your attack is particularly sickening to those around you. All creatures within 10 feet who can see the target (not including the target) are sickened for 1 round. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, foes up to 5 feet further away are affected. If your attack passes the target’s AC by at least 20 points, foes are nauseated for 1 round (no saving throw). Creatures cannot be affected by a single fighter’s use of this gambit more than once in a 24 hour period.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

One of the few gambits that does not affect the target of your attack. Sickening targets (even a large number of them) for 1 round is a decent combat trick (and useful in a large battlefield) and nauseating them really swings things in your favor. That you can’t affect a single creature twice in a row keeps this thing balanced, I think.

Special Maneuver: -25 attack roll
You may immediately make a bull rush, overrun, trip, disarm, sunder, feint, or grapple check against the foe following the attack. This attempt takes no extra action and provokes no extra attacks of opportunity. Furthermore, you need not make an additional attack roll if one would normally be required. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, you gain a +2 bonus on any relevant opposed rolls. You may only initiate a grapple check if your opponent is within your reach. You may only make a bull rush or overrun attempt if you still possess a move action for the round (making the attempt uses this action as you move).
Only one called attack using this gambit can be made each round.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

We have now passed the realm of what a warrior could realistically hope to do on purpose in combat and have moved onto theoretically possible attacks that are borderline impossible in real combat. This one is fairly self-explanatory.

Past the Armor: -25 attack roll
Your attack passes through weaknesses in your enemy’s armor and reveals such weaknesses to others. Your attack is made as a touch attack. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the target gains a –2 penalty to its normal and flat-footed AC, to a minimum value of its touch AC or its flat-footed touch AC, respectively. This penalty lasts until the end of the encounter.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

For the record, I am well aware that this gambit actually ends up providing attack bonuses in the long run. By the time it does so, however, the fighter is likely in need of another boost just to remain relevant in combat.

Knock off Center: -25 attack roll
Your attack catches your opponent off guard and keeps them guessing. Your attack treats the target as flat-footed. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the target is treated as flat-footed against all attacks for 1 round. This effect does not stack.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

Not as useful as past the armor but it does allow you to set up enemies for an ally’s sneak attack or sudden strike. Teamwork is the name of the game hear and this gambit does its job well.

Tricky Shot: -30 attack roll
Your attack can overcome almost any obstacle. So long as you can draw an uninterrupted path between you and your target, ignore any cover that the target may have (even total cover). You suffer from ranged penalties according to how far your opponent is away from you, rather than tracking the path of your projectiles. If you cannot pinpoint your target’s location, you can attempt to attack a square that they may occupy. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, you gain a +2 bonus to your damage roll. This gambit does not stack and may only be used with ranged weapons and thrown weapons.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is the only gambit that can actually add to your damage roll, making it somewhat unique in that regard. Note that the path your weapon takes to reach your target may include any number of arcs and turns, relying of the spinning of your ammunition and banks off of objects in order to reach the target.

Invigorating Strike: -30 attack roll
Your attack awakens a bit of bloodlust or determination in you, allowing you to better withstand attacks. You gain temporary hit points equal to your Base Attack Bonus until the end of the encounter. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, you gain an additional +5 temporary hit points.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is probably the closest that a gambit gets to simulating the feeling of a barbarian’s rage, and it does a pretty poor job at doing so. Still, this technique really helps keeps the fighter alive and will probably be a favorite of tanks.
I’ll take this moment to say that I know well that several of these gambits seem more advantageous if you use them on a random caged cat or summoned elemental (which has less AC than your foe). I could change this but it actually seems to make more sense in most circumstances. In this case, I find it a bit more believable that reducing a cat into a red stain on the floor would pump you up more than making a scratch on a golem. Similarly, if you don’t need your full talent to hit an enemy, you can use more of your energy making the attack horrific, disgusting, flashy, etc.
I know that I’m sending a veritable army of kittens and celestial monkeys to their grave by saying this but I’m inclined to say that such tactics are ok unless the DM specifically prohibits them.

Great Inertia: -30 attack roll
Using your attack for inertia or to make an opportunity, you can make a quick movement. After making the attack, you may move up to 5 feet. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, move up to 5 feet further. You can’t move further in one round than your speed using this gambit.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This attack is a pretty big help to all fighters. Fighters in light or no armor gain an even greater boost to their mobility when they use it and those in heavier armor can use full attacks and still move a bit into a more tactical location. Good times.

Absolute Aim: -35 attack roll
You take careful aim with your attack, illustrating how best to hit the opponent. Ignore any miss chance that a creature possesses against you (if you attack the right square). For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the miss chance of the target decreases by –5% for all that can hear or see you until the end of the encounter.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This is another feat that at first glance seems to press the limits of reality. Allow me to rationalize it to some degree. You make your attack in a very wide arc so that regardless of where they may be standing, they’d have to actively dodge your attack. As for providing the benefit to allies, this really depends on whether the target has simply faded from view (via blur, displacement, or invisibility) or if the miss chance comes from ambient conditions. If the target has faded from view, a spout of blood, chipped rock, or running ichor leaks from the creature, giving the allies a better idea of where it is. If ambient conditions such as fog or darkness provide the miss chance (but your allies can still see you, as they must in order to benefit), seeing you make the attack successfully helps their senses become more discerning in order to find the target.

Disabling Attack: -35 attack roll
You deprive the target of a vital ability. The target is rendered either blind, deaf, or mute for 1 hour. For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, the effect lasts for 1 hour longer. If your attack passes the target’s AC by at least 20, the effect is permanent. This gambit can be applied more than once to a single attack, choosing a different effect each time.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

I honestly almost named this gambit “no evil” but the joke would be lost on many and it would sound too much like a maneuver from tome of battle. Needless to say, this is another gambit that helps to take care of pesky spellcasters.

Knock Back: -35 attack roll
Your attack pushes your target away from you. Your target is pushed 5 feet away from you, provoking attacks of opportunity from others (but not from you). For every 5 points by which your attack roll passes the target’s AC, increase the distance by 5 feet. If the target runs into an obstacle, it falls prone and stops its movement. This gambit does not stack with itself.

Notes and Explanation
Spoiler

This gambit is powerful but it is hard for me to gauge exactly how powerful. Provoking attacks of opportunity definitely makes it another “teamwork” gambit. As another note, realize that if an attack of opportunity is provoked from another fighter by this movement, that fighter may use the exact same gambit with his/her attack of opportunity (as the gambit does not stack, the previous effect ends as the new movement begins).

Notes and Explanation:
Spoiler
If you’ve never seen my first fighter fix. There might be some questions that I have to answer for this one such as who gets masterful and perfect gambits and where those gambits are. Well, my first class has them so you could look there. As that first class was built to pump attack bonuses through the roof and never miss anyone ever, giving abilities that gave -70 penalties to the attack roll actually made sense at the time. As this class was built more down-to-earth, however, it only gets a small taste of what the gambits were capable of in more extreme situations. Even so, I couldn’t resist giving the option of called shots as I still feel as though it does make sense to a certain degree for most of them and because it grants combat an extra level of complexity for those who really want it.

With that said, I should address one of the big things that was noticed the previous time around, something that some people didn’t like but that I didn’t and still don’t mind. No gambit offers a saving throw. Ever. Even when they seem to be controlling how others act, I am operating under the assumption that the attack penalty included your efforts to prevent just about every other action. As there are plenty of touch attack effects out there that rely on attacks rather than saves to get some pretty weird effects done, this was meant to be the direct equivalent for martial characters. It might just be because I haven’t heard the right argument, however, so I’m open to your thoughts on the matter. As I’ve said, this trend may not jive with some (there’s a reason why it’s not the default class feature) but I still thought that some people would like what the system has to offer and so here it is.

Focused Styles

Spoiler
While most fighters choose to gain a large variety of talents out on the battlefield, you have chosen to specialize yourself in your chosen forms of combat.
Class: Fighter
Levels: 7th, 13th, and/or 19th level
Replaces: You only gain one fighting style at the indicated level instead of two and that fighting style can't be switched out.
Benefits: Each of your fighting styles gains an additional feat. This feat need not follow the normal restrictions of fighting styles and need not even be a bonus fighter feat.

5. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Finishing Thoughts

So, here is my new fighter class. Above and beyond that, however, this has been a repository for all of my general thoughts on fighter fixes. This was a presentation of a diceless parry mechanic and applied experience (which I am personally proud of even if I’m the only one who likes it). This was using “feat clusters” in a fighter with lots of feats to make memorization easier. This was an experiment in using a generic chassis and applying flavor afterwards to have a “generic” fighter that can go several different ways. This was a use of alternate class features to try and anticipate what people would want and to allow players to add or subtract simplicity. Whether you like individual ideas within it or you like the entirety of the final result, I hope to hear what you think of the class and to hear your own ideas.

Before I finish writing, however, I guess that I should answer one question that people might ask:

Why stay in this class?
Spoiler
In my experience in D&D forums, people refer to dip-ability as a mostly undesirable thing and the goal of most homebrew base classes is to make people take all 20 levels as nothing else would go better with it. Unless you introduce a magic system or strictly necessary mechanic that nothing else advances, un-dip-ability isn’t really a problem for most.

For the fighter, however, I feel that the case and expectations are kind of backwards. There are tons of PrCs and multiclass options out there that rely on the fighter leaving his/her class to specialize so trying to keep a fighter on a tight advancement leash like you would with a more specialized base class seems to be kind of missing the point.

I kind of approached the fighter from the opposite direction, aiming to entice players into longer dips and trying to avoid punishing those who stay for 20 levels without making that an expectation. For an example of what I mean, consider the traditional 4-level dip. With 4 levels in this class, this fighter has much more than the original bonus fighter and is set to go off and do something else… except that they would get two semi-scaling class features if they stay until 5th level. Once you get to 5th level, you might as well get the 6th as well as you need pounce from somewhere. You could duck out then but you’d miss doubling your bonus feats at 7th level and a pet (or similar ability) at 8th. After that point, the class gives them a bit of breathing room so they can leave the class free of guilt (though improved active defense is by no means bad). I consider an 8-level dip to be pretty big when you consider that many PrCs have 10 levels to work with. The fighter isn’t penalized for staying but they are allowed to leave the class as well and are actually rewarded for doing so in some ways.

FAQ
Nothing so far.

Change History
Removed a duplicated ability in field training

6. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

With a preliminary glance, I'm liking it, though I haven't looked at all the Paths too hard.

But I shall do that, and do my best to report!

EDIT: In Field Training, you have Intuitive Thinker twice.

7. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Every time Realm of Chaos posts a homebrew, I squeal with glee .

Looks good like always. Haven't read all the paths and ACFs yet though.

Its a bit odd seeing dodge bonus that does not stack with armor bonus (perfected guard).

Some clarification on Infallible Strike and AoO, do you mean LMEF got an extra AoO per round or he get to make two attacks for each and every AoO?

Can A Guardian fighter use Tend to the Wounded to himself? 3rd Level Stalwart Interpositon is interesting new take on 'aggro' mechanic (or whatever they usually called) but I'm not to keen on the 11 level upgrade. It makes potentially every enemy must attack the fighter, even the lurking mages behind (how it interacts with touch attack by the way?) or those in melee with someone else on the other side of the battlefield. It may be better if you limit to it to creature withing reach, for melee attack at least. Dunno what should be done about ranged attack.

Somehow, I keep remembering this class name as Lean Meat Fighter..

8. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

...I'm going to see about getting a playtest of this thing.

9. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Steady Blade: You may use half of your base attack bonus in place of your base iterative attack bonus for each iterative attack you make ...
Just to avoid confusion.

10. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by nonsi
Just to avoid confusion.
I don't think that was his intent; I think it's supposed to just give you a minimum of +10 on all your attacks at BAB 20, on all of your iterative attacks.

Is that assumption OK, Realms?

11. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Salbazier: Fixed honed defenses so that it simply can't exceed the max dex bonus, which was more or less the main idea.

Guardian fighter cannot tend to own wounds (may switch this back later, depending on how people feel).

Infallible strike grants two attacks per AoO (as the words "whenever" and "additional" should make clear. Is there a better way to word this?)

The second advancement of the tanking ability isn't quite as full proof as it looks as it only redirects the attack after the mode of attack is selected, the attack roll has been rolled, and only if such a redirection is possible. As such, making a melee attack against an ally half-way across the battlefield can't really be stopped, though a lurking mage firing rays (but not melee touch attacks) would probably be affected. Also, touch affects are affected just like everything else (making the tank a bit of a ray-magnet). Still, tried to make that a bit more clear.

Nonsi: I've don't think I've heard of the term iterative attack bonus (or haven't heard it too often). Where is it used?
Edit: Just did google search and a search of the hypertext SRD and I'm seeing no use of the term "iterative attack bonus" outside of forums, though I might be missing it.
Amechra: The intention was also to raise the level 20 fighter's BAB to +20/+15/+10/+10 in addition to giving a minimum attack bonus in general.

12. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Nonsi: I've don't think I've heard of the term iterative attack bonus (or haven't heard it too often). Where is it used?
Edit: Just did google search and a search of the hypertext SRD and I'm seeing no use of the term "iterative attack bonus" outside of forums, though I might be missing it.
The term "iterative attack" is put to use now and then.
If I were to say something about a 13th level fighter's 3rd iterative attack, I figure you'll know I'm referring to the one made with base attack bonus +3.
The reason I applied strikeout to "base" is because "base attack bonus" usually refer's to the attack bonus of a character's first attack in an attack action.
Maybe a better term could be: "You may replace your attack's unmodified bonus with half of your base attack bonus, if it would improve your attack roll".
Btw, notice that the bonus is far more significant at level 16, where +16/+11/+6/+1 become +16/+11/+8/+8

13. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Three Changes I'd Make:

To Active Defense, this seems a little too awesome with no penalty--I think it'd be better if, for example, every time you applied the AC bonus you lost the attack at your lowest base attack bonus (so, at level 16, if you used this ability, you would only be able to make 3 attacks at 16/11/6) OR having it cost an attack of opportunity. Alternatively, make it cost an immediate action.

For skills of War, you should limit it to either class skills or skills in which you have at least 1 rank, or just find some way to limit it. For example, if I chose not to dump Intelligence, I'm suddenly trained in all Knowledge skills, Appraise, Craft, etc... Hell, if the fighter took this three times, he'd be a better jack of all trades (though master of none) than a rogue or bard (if he took Dex, Int, and Cha--coming out with effectively 10 ranks in all of those related skills by level 20).

Finally, I'd make the character take a swift action to use Quick Assault and Readied Responsiveness; Rapid Responsiveness could also work as an immediate action. That way, they still get access to the action economy, but have to pay the price.

14. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Salbazier: Fixed honed defenses so that it simply can't exceed the max dex bonus, which was more or less the main idea.
OK, this is good
Guardian fighter cannot tend to own wounds (may switch this back later, depending on how people feel).
Maybe not while the fighter is too busy hacking mosters/fending attacks, but it just odd that someone who can patch other wounds can do the same for himself.

Infallible strike grants two attacks per AoO (as the words "whenever" and "additional" should make clear. Is there a better way to word this?)
It's clear enough I think. Just want to make sure
The second advancement of the tanking ability isn't quite as full proof as it looks as it only redirects the attack after the mode of attack is selected, the attack roll has been rolled, and only if such a redirection is possible. As such, making a melee attack against an ally half-way across the battlefield can't really be stopped, though a lurking mage firing rays (but not melee touch attacks) would probably be affected. Also, touch affects are affected just like everything else (making the tank a bit of a ray-magnet). Still, tried to make that a bit more clear.
Hmm, better I guess but I still feel a bit off with this. I mean the tanking gambit I can take. Coerce Surrender is good too. But, save-bypassing-wide-area-mindhack (Yes, I know it limited by attack roll instead of save but Gambit has penalty cost to them and its area doesn't encompass the whole battlefield by default) feel a bit too much for me. Maybe. Also, can the Guardian fighter shut off this ability? Even if you are a dedicated tank, there would be times when you do not want to be targeted.

By the way, in 5th level description of Coerce Surrender, I think it should be 'increased to friendly' (since at 11th level it upgrades to helpful)

Originally Posted by genericwit
To Active Defense, this seems a little too awesome with no penalty--I think it'd be better if, for example, every time you applied the AC bonus you lost the attack at your lowest base attack bonus (so, at level 16, if you used this ability, you would only be able to make 3 attacks at 16/11/6) OR having it cost an attack of opportunity.
I think the total bonus cap per round is good enough for a limitation and losing an iterative attack is too high for cost. AoO cost would be fairer, but I think the way it is encourage more tactical thinking and flexibility (spend just 2-3 bonus against several low danger attacks or just spend all of them to block a single most dangerous attack)

Originally Posted by genericwit
For skills of War, you should limit it to either class skills or skills in which you have at least 1 rank, or just find some way to limit it. For example, if I chose not to dump Intelligence, I'm suddenly trained in all Knowledge skills, Appraise, Craft, etc... Hell, if the fighter took this three times, he'd be a better jack of all trades (though master of none) than a rogue or bard (if he took Dex, Int, and Cha--coming out with effectively 10 ranks in all of those related skills by level 20).
Not the bard, as long he got bardic knack anyway (IMO, I don't see any point whatsoever with 3.5 bardic knowledge). Arguably, when you are using fixed martial class, other non-magic classes like Rogue should got some boost as well.

If Skills of war should be nerfed, I'll do it by giving the same limitation with Bardic Knack: no untrained skill check unless you have an actual skill rank. Limiting it to class skills only is against its purpose.

15. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by nonsi
The term "iterative attack" is put to use now and then.
If I were to say something about a 13th level fighter's 3rd iterative attack, I figure you'll know I'm referring to the one made with base attack bonus +3.
The reason I applied strikeout to "base" is because "base attack bonus" usually refer's to the attack bonus of a character's first attack in an attack action.
Maybe a better term could be: "You may replace your attack's unmodified bonus with half of your base attack bonus, if it would improve your attack roll".
Btw, notice that the bonus is far more significant at level 16, where +16/+11/+6/+1 become +16/+11/+8/+8
Wait, I think that I might have gotten it right the first time. The bonuses to iterative attacks also seem to be referred to as being your Base Attack Bonus in D&D, as evidenced by effects that reference your full base attack bonus like haste. I... think?

Also, I am aware that the benefits of the ability kind of oscillate. Don't see anything too wrong with that, though.

Salbazier: Will change tend wounds so it can't target self while in an encounter. I still don't see the problem with the tanking as it basically attracts the attention of creatures right next to you and ranged attacks and that's about it. I don't know, maybe I'm missing something. I will allow for the tank to not use this ability if desired, however.

genericwit: Well, Salbazier pretty much much explained my thoughts on active defense.

As far as skills of war, the entire point was to allow the fighter to become a skillmonkey of sorts if that's what a player really wanted it to become (one of the more popular fixes to fighters basically turns all of them into skill monkeys and this is an optional ability that doesn't allow for mastery). Also, being a jack-of-all trades and master of none doesn't really count for as much as you'd suspect. I personally view skill monkeys as "masters of many", seeing as DCs tend to scale with levels and being a Jack-of-all-trades is simply terrible more often than not.

As for swift and immediate actions... I really don't see what it would add to the class. There seems to be a big push to have class features use swift/immediate actions whenever possible as everyone has them but there are no default actions using them. I can understand this. Even so, pounce doesn't require an action for anyone else so I don't know why I'd give it a cost here and if someone really spends 12 levels getting readied responsiveness before they multiclass to get swift/immediate options (seeing as the fighter currently gets NONE), I'd say they deserve that extra action (I am trying to encourage/reward multiclassing, after all).

Yes, there are opportunities to put swift/immediate action costs. What I don't see is why I'd do so.

16. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Yes, there are opportunities to put swift/immediate action costs. What I don't see is why I'd do so.
I think the reason to add them is, conceivably, lots of the abilities act like boost maneuvers or counters; I think requiring a swift or immediate action would preclude them from being used in the same round as other boosts/counters or something like that, to lower potential for abuse/brokenness. Especially for Readied Responsiveness, 'cuz as it is, it basically gives them a free attack of opportunity that can't be denied by tumbles, five foot steps, etc every round. To me, that should require an action cost higher than "free."

As for skills of war, I think requiring ranks for trained only skills would be a sufficient fix.

And as for Active Defense, I misunderstood the mechanic--I read it as applying the full bonus on ALL attacks, which would obviously be ridiculously over powered. As it stands, it looks good to me.

17. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Still not quite on board with random swift/immediate action stuff. Many fixes I've seen involve giving bigger actions in place of smaller actions that they couldn't otherwise use so I just cut out the middle man and said "okay, 1 extra standard/move action each round", which doesn't seem too insane unless there's some specific boosts/counters you're worrying about. It's unprecedented, perhaps, but I don't quite see how it overpowers anything except as it is designed to. I'll wait and see if anyone else has any thoughts on the matter.

Also a bit confused at precisely how I'd reword skills of war. There are only a handful of skills in existence you'd benefit from 10 ranks in at 20th level (even if made usable untrained) so I'm not quite sure how allowing untrained makes such a bit difference, either. Could you provide an example?

18. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

For one, this fighter remake seems to do what you set up for it to do. On that part you seem to have scored success.
Also, I see nothing mandatory about swift/immediate actions. You use them when they promote the concept and mechanics of your proposed class.
You're also absolutely right about parrying not being productive. This is the first time someone has actually convinced me of that fact.

As for what I would change...

Styles, to begin with.
First, they don't mesh with general feats.
Second, feats that were available at low levels are suddenly pushed away way forward (Whirlwind Attack for instance, coming no sooner that 16th (Spring Attack no sooner than 10th) without putting 4 (3) general feats into it - doesn't seem reasonable to me).
I'd switch them at least to be less paths, more feats.
Something like this:
- (2 , 1 feat)
- (2 , 2 feats)
- (3 , 3 feats)
- (3 , 4 feats)
- (4 , 5 feats)
- (4 , 6 feats)
- (5 , 7 feats)
Yes, I know that there are no feat chains with 7 feats other than archery, weapon focus, TWF and shields.
You can deal with this by allowing completed feat chains to be supplemented with general feats, but requiring a feat chain to be at least 3 feats long before doing so.
I'd also go as far as allowing a fighter to count a single general feat for all lacking styles.
This will give your Fighter a lot of customization mileage.

Then there are paths.
What if I wanted to change direction at some point?
I should be able to take another path from the start and move one step from the old one to the new one at each level where I don't get path progression.
This will allow for customization and change of heart that make sense and without too much zigzagging.
You could also allow someone to choose not to retrain, trading focus for diversity.

I'd also make Infallible Strike that one big move that poses an Infallible Strike.
Instead of speed, make it count as a natural 20 for all intent and purpose.

19. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

In this case, I actually do have reasons for all of the things that I've done here, I think.

Originally Posted by nonsi
Styles, to begin with.
First, they don't mesh with general feats.
Not quite sure what that means.

Originally Posted by nonsi
Second, feats that were available at low levels are suddenly pushed away way forward (Whirlwind Attack for instance, coming no sooner that 16th (Spring Attack no sooner than 10th) without putting 4 (3) general feats into it - doesn't seem reasonable to me).
It's actually not quite as bad as you make it sound. You can get spring attack as soon as 7th level and Whirlwind attack by 10th (if you have combat expertise in a separate combat style). Also, there are few feat chains that go on for that long without BAB requirements so I have an idea that whirlwind attack is more of the exception than the norm.

Originally Posted by nonsi
I'd switch them at least to be less paths, more feats.
Something like this:
- (2 , 1 feat)
- (2 , 2 feats)
- (3 , 3 feats)
- (3 , 4 feats)
- (4 , 5 feats)
- (4 , 6 feats)
- (5 , 7 feats)
Yes, I know that there are no feat chains with 7 feats other than archery, weapon focus, TWF and shields.
You can deal with this by allowing completed feat chains to be supplemented with general feats, but requiring a feat chain to be at least 3 feats long before doing so.
I'd also go as far as allowing a fighter to count a single general feat for all lacking styles.
This will give your Fighter a lot of customization mileage.
The purpose of the combat styles was to put far more emphasis on versatility in play (giving you only half of your talents at each time but letting you have 8 different talents) than versatility in build. Not to mention that it kind of hurts memorization by the DM. If you really wanted to build on a big chain, it is possible to have one feat chain grow off of another (putting two-weapon fighting in one style and greater/improved two-weapon fighting in another, for example) so long as you are dealing with actual vertical chains instead of horizontal feat galleries.

That said, I'm surprised that I didn't put up an option for fighters who want to be a bit more specialized in their feat chains. I'll put something up in the ACF post allowing players to trade getting extra paths in exchange for more feats in each path.

Originally Posted by nonsi
Then there are paths.
What if I wanted to change direction at some point?
I should be able to take another path from the start and move one step from the old one to the new one at each level where I don't get path progression.
This will allow for customization and change of heart that make sense and without too much zigzagging.
You could also allow someone to choose not to retrain, trading focus for diversity.
The paths were specifically designed with not this in mind. Seriously, while it does push for extra customization, this sounds like it would make far more headaches than it would solve. Every ability was made under the assumption that you gain one 2nd level ability (so you don't go overboard on skills relative to skillmonkeys), one 5th level ability (as getting too many of those class features all tied to BAB can be confusing for the very players this was made for), one 8th level ability (getting multiple minions is a large jump in power and slows down combat), etc. The path system was not made for backpedaling.

Come to think of it, it's a bit unfair to expect backpedaling from this mechanic in particular as there's next to none of it anywhere else in the game (the only place I can think of it would be a Ranger's Favored enemies). Retraining exists, you can combo two paths, and I don't really see why anyone would suddenly need to change everything on a dime.

Originally Posted by nonsi
I'd also make Infallible Strike that one big move that poses an Infallible Strike.
Instead of speed, make it count as a natural 20 for all intent and purpose.
As I'm against unconditional auto-successes and am even more against auto-vorpal, I don't see how this could possibly be a good idea, even as a pseudo-capstone.

20. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Not quite sure what that means.
It means you can't take a general feat with prereqs from one of the fighter's styles without compromising its unconditional availability (when you switch out of that style, your general feat suddenly becomes inaccessible).

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
It's actually not quite as bad as you make it sound. You can get spring attack as soon as 7th level and Whirlwind attack by 10th (if you have combat expertise in a separate combat style). Also, there are few feat chains that go on for that long without BAB requirements so I have an idea that whirlwind attack is more of the exception than the norm.
Not the norm, but not all that rare.
I already listed 4 other long chains: archery, weapon focus, TWF and shields.
This would be the 5th (if you also count Bounding Assault & Rapid Blitz) and I'm sure I missed one or two.

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
The purpose of the combat styles was to put far more emphasis on versatility in play (giving you only half of your talents at each time but letting you have 8 different talents) than versatility in build. Not to mention that it kind of hurts memorization by the DM. If you really wanted to build on a big chain, it is possible to have one feat chain grow off of another (putting two-weapon fighting in one style and greater/improved two-weapon fighting in another, for example) so long as you are dealing with actual vertical chains instead of horizontal feat galleries.
If one feat chain grows off of another, then it becomes lacking once the other is swapped.
Also, mix-matching styles is a headache in and on itself.
Also, the total number of feats according to my suggested progression is even greater than yours 3 times out of 7 (and identical the other 4). Skip the swapping notion and with my proposed progression and usage of general feats you get at least the same level of in-game versatility.

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Retraining exists, you can combo two paths, and I don't really see why anyone would suddenly need to change everything on a dime.
I don't see how level based retraining (one at a time) could be tagged "on a dime".

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
As I'm against unconditional auto-successes and am even more against auto-vorpal, I don't see how this could possibly be a good idea, even as a pseudo-capstone.
At 18th level - I see no problem there.
I mean, how many times does an average smart bomb miss? (assuming the laser is pointed at the right target).
Think of it. An 18th level fighter is someone that has transcended the realm of mortals to the power 3, doing mostly one thing - fight. What's so crazy about the one class dedicated to combat being able to nail one solid strike in a combat round . . . assuming he could actually get into position and make an uninterrupted full attack to achieve this endeavor?

21. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Regarding Fighting Styles: There is now an ACF that all but eliminates switching. Switching was never really intended to be combined with long feat chains (instead promoting several feat chains), even though it does kind of work for those willing to surrender versatility for their specialization. You switch 1 style at the start of combat and can switch any number with a quick break (doesn't seem too difficult unless you're pursuing those big chains). The suggested alteration does increase gross bonus feats but I set things up as they are so that they're easier to remember (Players and DMs who haven't memorized tons of bonus feats will likely have an easier time with 4 active groups of 4 related feats than a constant assortment of 35 feats). I fail to see how the current default system is so "inferior" or "wrong" that the ACF should be made into the main feature. Could you point out how this would be the case?

Regarding the Switching of Paths: Looking back, I finally understand what you mean. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure how I'd word it and a couple of things with the paths (such as the 10 skill-point boost or discovery/mastery abilities that rely on training) would be really weird. Do you have any suggestions that wouldn't involve intensive rewrites?

Regarding Infallible Strike: My logic goes something like this. If a player couldn't hit an opponent with anything but a natural 20, they probably have no business fighting that opponent in the first place (I personally feel this is true at all levels). I already give the fighter the maximum numeric result on their attack roll so if that's insufficient, the player is likely fighting some godly (or ungodly) entity that they really shouldn't be hitting (or even encountering) in the first place. Due to this and vorpal worries, I'm shying away from true auto-20s.

22. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
The suggested alteration does increase gross bonus feats but I set things up as they are so that they're easier to remember (Players and DMs who haven't memorized tons of bonus feats will likely have an easier time with 4 active groups of 4 related feats than a constant assortment of 35 feats). I fail to see how the current default system is so "inferior" or "wrong" that the ACF should be made into the main feature. Could you point out how this would be the case?
Since each of us on this world sees things a bit different, I'l guess that it's just me, but as far as my grasp goes, categorizing 4 long feat chains is easier than rotating 4 out of 8 short ones routinely.
Plus, I want more kick with less hassle (i.e. mix-matching styles to get what I want and when my level says I deserve it).

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Regarding the Switching of Paths: Looking back, I finally understand what you mean. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure how I'd word it and a couple of things with the paths (such as the 10 skill-point boost or discovery/mastery abilities that rely on training) would be really weird. Do you have any suggestions that wouldn't involve intensive rewrites?
Yes, wording is a tough one and is practically the biggest set back to me for posting new stuff.
Sorry, but you've got your paths better figured out than me (haven't dove into them too deeply), and I feel like I'd only mess things up ATM.

Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos
Regarding Infallible Strike: My logic goes something like this. If a player couldn't hit an opponent with anything but a natural 20, they probably have no business fighting that opponent in the first place (I personally feel this is true at all levels). I already give the fighter the maximum numeric result on their attack roll so if that's insufficient, the player is likely fighting some godly (or ungodly) entity that they really shouldn't be hitting (or even encountering) in the first place. Due to this and vorpal worries, I'm shying away from true auto-20s.
If the odds are that drastic, then that godly(ungodly) entity probably doesn't auto-fail on a roll of 1 and is most likely immune to vorpal effects.
In any rate, someone who stays true to the most intensely martial role for 18 levels should indeed kick ass.
Casters and somesuch would be the ones bombarding Mr. martial most of the time, but if he gets to them, it's probably curtain time. I'm cool with that notion.

23. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

What does Steady Blade do? The description that was given to it makes it look like a waste of a slot.

And with Student of Warfare replacing a weakness instead of a strength/an advantage, whom take that as is?

24. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Steady blade helps with iterative attacks. At 16th level, your full attack would be +16/+11/+8/+8 instead of +16/+11/+6/+1, for example. In addition, it protects your attack bonus from debuffs from a certain extent if they would otherwise be extreme (less likely but still possible).

As for student of warfare, some people really want skills, enough so that they'd eat an attack penalty (especially if it can be overcome and doesn't cost you iterative attacks). Nothing optimal but it was something I felt would be in demand if not provided otherwise, kind of letting you switch full BAB to Mid-BAB for extra skill points.

25. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

This really seems to stretch the word "fighter". When I picture the fighter, only a few of the themes you've written in the fighter paths come to mind.

A class worth reading, I'm sure (I've got nothing to do this weekend!), but it really doesn't look like it should be named "The Fighter".

26. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

What do you mean? I can see all of the things in the paths as being a "fighter."

Because Fighter is a uselessly wide term.

I like the class, though. As you probably already know.

27. ## Re: A Lean, Mean, and Effective Fighter Fix (PEACH)

Right, and so is "sorcerer" and "druid". But in D&D, those things have developed slightly stricter definitions. One of the things I've always had in mind about the fighter is that it isn't magical--in fact, I think a lot of people go with that--and some of the archetypes and abilities like those from Wild Fighter and Mageblade feel to me very dissonant with the developed theme.

And to preempt criticism, I don't mean to say that classes shouldn't go that way, or that a fighting class doesn't deserve to use animal companions, it just seems abnormal to use a word that has developed such a standard connotation with nonstandard abilities.

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