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Fighters need to be set apart from other "Warrior" type classes...


Races & Classes


I really like the alpha 3 remix of races and classes. Simply beautiful, Pathfinder has a much better foundation of core classes than 3.0 or 3.5 dnd did. I do, however, want to make some suggestions for the fighter class, an old favorite of mine who often finds himself relegated to the role of "splash class" - the prevailing attitide in dnd 3e was that you might take a few levels in fighter, but most other paths are optimal for end-game "careers."

The Paladin can heal and turn undead... the Barbarian can rage, has a host of new rage powers, gets more hp and can soak damage like no other... the Monk does INSANE damage with his martial arts and ki powered-fists... and, what does the fighter do, exactly? Well, he fights with weapons... he should be the MASTER of weaponcraft.

I think fighters should do more damage with a given weapon as they level up, much the way monks do with unarmed damage. A simple 2 handed sword in the hands of a 20th level fighter is MUCH deadlier than a keen +5 2 handed sword in the hands of a first level fighter. Mind and body of a master fighter make a far greater difference than allbut the mightiest of enchantments. I've got a few ideas on this, so please tell me what you think.

Now, before I continue, consider that I've been playing d&d since 2nd ed., and seen how fighters changed with each ed. In 3e, they became more of a "splash class" and I think we need to step up the sheer power of the fighter class to make them attractive as a single-class career.

Think of the "career-defining powers" of the other warrior classes: Paladins get a host of powerful supernatural abilities that make them far more useful to a party and far more effective against certain types of enemies. Barbarians get rage, and rage points to buy many useful powers they can use. Monks get incredible damage dealing power with their unarmed attacks, as well as feats that let them further enchance their damage and number of attacks per round, and ki pool powers that make them even more outstanding. Rangers get free dual wield or ranged feats, favored enemies, tracking abilities etc...

And fighters? well... there used to be Weapon Specializations and masteries, and those used to mean something.

There used to be a book for 2nd ed called "combat and tactics" that gave optional rules for weapon mastery. level 1 - proficient, can use a weapon normally. level 2 - specialized, +1 to hit, +2 dmg. level 3 - master, +3 to hit and damage total. level 4 - high master, gain an additional attack per round, do even more damage, and weapon speed improves. level 5 - grand master, this one gave a greater crit range, more damage, and weapon speed improved 2 categories. Also, if the fighter is using his grand mastered weapon AND is fighting someone who is ALSO using his favorite weapon, he gets some ac bonus and adittional to-hit bonus. Now, I'm not saying pathfinder should use an "exact copy" of those rules but it's a good place to get the "feel" for how a fighter improves as he masters his weapons.

Now, let's consider another fighting class for a moment, the monk. Largely considered a power gamer class, the monk deals more damage unarmed than most fighters with two handed weapons, and gets as many attacks per round with greater flurry of blows as a dual wielder. Larger monks do more damage, and monks can get "virtual size increases" through feats like Improved Natural Attack, and Empty Hand Mastery. A 20th level monk with both of these feats deals 6d8 damage plus str bonuses, and he can get other bonuses and items to boost it further. I LIKE the monk this way, and I think we should bring fighters UP to that kind of power level.

(On a side note, I have house ruled that no character can benefit from more than two "virtual size increases" at the same time. There are some builds that use 8 prestige classes (you can do a search for them) and get something like 28d8 damage or something ridiculous that no dm would allow. So, with this rule, there's no reason to try to find some perfect combination of monk, fighter, or prestige classes that would give 3, 4, or more "dice increases" because you can only go up 2 steps from your natural size from feats, class features, racial features etc., unless magic is actually used to give you a LITERAL size icnrease, such as an "enlarge" spell).

Now, on to my idea...

Just as the monk's unarmed damage improves with level and he can take "improved natural attack," and "empty hand mastery," the fighter should get a damage die increase on weapons he uses at certain levels and/or with certain fighter-only feats. For example, a greatsword may do 2d6 in the hands of a level 1 fighter, but a level 10 fighter gets a damage die increase if he, for example, used his "weapon training" class feature on "blades" and takes a certain feat, and he gets another damage die increse when he gets "weapon mastery" at 20th level. Or, one could make weapon mastery a selectable feat with steep requirements, so he wouldn't necessarily have to wait until 20th level to get it.

There should be fighter feats that work with class features (so they're available anytime after a certain level, to fighters only) that increase his offensive power directly.

Another thing that bugged me in 3e: Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Specialization provided damage bonuses, but whatabout the extra attack per round granted to specialist fighters? That was a big reason to specialize in 2e. A lot of 3e players didn't necessarily think Weapon Specs were a great investment of feats. Weapon specializations and masteries should be a class-defining feature for fighters, much the way unamred damge is for monks, and rage is for barbarians. Nobody else can do what the fighter does, with his swords and his wits.

For example, let's redefine weapon specialization in the following way:

Weapon Specialization (fighter) - when a fighter chooses weapon sepcialization, he selects a weapon group that he has taken his Weapon Training class feature in. All weapons from that group now deal damage as if they were increased by one size category (damage dice increase). In addition, he does +2 damage.

Greater Weapon Specialization (fighter): Requirements: weapon training (in chosen weapon group), Weapon Specialization (in chosen weapon group) Weapon Mastery (in chosen weapon).

When a fighter selects his chosen weapon for Weapon Mastery at level 20 and gets the associative benefits, he can now use a feat to gain Greater Weapon Specialization, which provides another +2 to damage (total +4) that stacks with Weapon Specialization, Weapon training cumulative bonuses, AND another damage dice increase as if the weapon were one more size category larger.

Furthermore, whenever he is using that chosen weapon, he gets one more attack per round at his highest attack value.

Note that the new "weapon specialization" applies to a whole group of weapons, and the "weapon mastery" and new "greater weapon specialization" apply only to a single weapon from that group. All bonuses from feats, fighter weapon training, weapon mastery, weapon specialization and greater weapon specialization all stack.

He now gets 5 attacks per round at level 20 - the same number as a flurrying monk, and his base attack bonus is higher. A perfect two-weapon fighting master dual-wielding his weapon mastered/greater specialized weapons is now a lot more formidable than a monk flurrying with magical kamas, as he should be.

An INT or WIS requirement for weapon spec. and greater weapon spec. could be implemented, just like for certain combat maneuvers. This rewards fighters who choose brains over brawn only, so for example the cliche'd "borderline nonsentient half-orc point-buy fighter" is not necessarily the best way to go, if you're planning on making a great end-game fighter.

Fighters should be able to master more than one weapon, I believe, but they will have to spend additoinal feats to do so. One weapon mastery feat is free at 20th level. This also eliminates the need for the "weapon master" prestige class, which was basically a fighter who got bonus weapon powers and maneuvers. I thought that's what a fighter was supposed to be, anyway.

A fighter so specced with a 2 handed sword would do a lot more damage with each attack, so let's say 4d6 plus str, plus weapon training cumulative bonuses, plus weapon specialization and greater weapon specialization bonuses, plus he's now doing an extra attack per round +20/+20/+15/+10/+5... that's 5 per round. 6 with haste. A lot of damage potential, especially for wiping out minions, when you consider extra attacks granted from feats like Cleave and Great Cleave. Plus, there's improved power attack, extra attacks from dual wielding skills (perfect two weapon fighting), Two-weapon Rend...

With these changes implemented, a level 20 fighter Weapon Master/Greater Weapon Specialist could undoubtedly become one of the most powerful single combatants in the game WITHOUT having to take 2 or more prestige classes, WITHOUT having to compromise his fighter-ness for something another class does better, and WITHOUT having to be dependent on clerics or wizards.

If you think these changes are extreme, let's not forget that compared to other characters at 20th level (and even way earlier than that), 3e dnd fighters can be "simulated" or "outclassed" at melee combat. Remember how clerics can cast a spell that gives them the base attack of a "high base attack class" of similar level, and can cast "greater magic weapon" to give them +5 gear. They can also get damage dice increases by elarging their size magically.

With the rules changes I suggest, they cannot duplicate the pure martial weapon skill of the master fighter, which is reflected in the inherent damage dice increases (2 steps at level 20) and extra attack per round even over other combat classes, which even other weapon-using warrior-types such as the barbarian and paladin can't do. This further sets the fighter apart from both his magical peers AND warrior bretheren.

Clerics being clerics, raging-feated barbarians, smiting/divine might Paladins, and monks using Unarmed attack mastery no longer make swordsmanship necessarily "obsolete" in the raw damage department, since weapon damage for fighters will scale (with certain feats) and get an extra attack like unarmed damage does for monks.

If we bring back meaningful weapon specializations, the fighter will have his own "flavor" and mystique about him, and we won't need to invent pseudo-magic to make him competitive at high levels. Perhaps the most significant impact is that he won't be a "splash class" anymore - that's the one thing that truly irritated me about 3e fighters.

Anyone else feel the same way?


I'd sort of like the fighter to be able to match the rogue's sneak attack, except without being sneaky. Paizo's "Vital Strike" feat is a start, but doesn't quite do it. Something like, "whenever you have a combat advantage (you flank your opponent, or catch him flat-footed, or parry his attack, or intercept his movement), you deal +Xd6 damage." Dunno, just thinking out loud. Heck, maybe just give him +1 damage/class level and be done with it. But a fighter with a 2-by-4 should still be scary; I don't buy into the whole "specialization tree" thing.


Does anyone feel the same way? Yes and No.

I think that as a all around fighter he's awesome. He the most versatile warrior around. you can build him into almost anything.

Today I posted something in the "Races and Classes" alpha 3 section that you may appreciate.

Go to: http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderR PG/feedback/alpha3/racesClasses/issuesWithTheFighterClass61wws

If you noticed I suggested changing some names as we already use a Weapon Mastery feat, (from 2e Combat and tactics) as an example.

Our house rules go as follows:

1) Weapon focus automatically changes to greater weapon focus for free (when reaching a BAB of +8) for dedicated class fighters in the game (mutli-classing forces you to take the actual feat).

Weapon specialization works the same way with a BAB of +12). This is a big boon for fighters as it frees up 2 feat slots at later levels and boost the classes abilities.

Eample:

Spoiler:
Weapon Focus [Fighter, General]
Choose one type of weapon, such as greataxe. You can also choose unarmed strike or grapple (or ray, if you are a spellcaster) as your weapon for purposes of this feat. You are especially good at using this weapon. (If you have chosen ray, you are especially good with rays, such as the one produced by the ray of frost spell.)
Prerequisites: Proficiency with chosen weapon, base attack bonus +1
Benefit: The character adds a +1 bonus to all attack rolls he makes using the selected weapon.
Special: A character can choose “unarmed strike,” “bite,” or “grapple” as a weapon for the purposes of this feat. She also can choose “ray,” which makes her good at hitting targets with ray spells. A character can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time she takes the feat, it applies to a new weapon.
Improvement: Fighters with a base attack bonus of +8 or higher automatically gain an additional +1 bonus to attack (+2 bonus to attack in total), with their chosen weapon. Treat fighters as having the Greater Weapon Focus feat for prerequisite purposes.

2) We also have a Weapon Mastery Feat (a fighter class only feat, that can be taken at 14th level or higher) though he needs to have Great Wpn focus and Spesicalization and imptoved critical to take it.

With a name change suggested, at 20th regardless a fighter gets "Weapon Grand Mastery" as presented as Weapon Mastery per Pathfinder.

Eventually i'll post all my feat ideas/house rules but I am currently modifing some of them.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

As far as adding the extra attack and all...it would be to much I think. With pathfinder...at 20th level a fighter would have a +24 to hit, +4 with his chosen weapon, auto critical and +1 damage mutiplier.

Add in the feats (not including our Weapon master) you have +26, +8 and a -2 bonus to your critical range, auto critical and +1 damage mutiplier.
Add our Weapon Mastery (taken at 14th level) you add another +1 to hit and +2 to damage.

You could do some serios damage in a round and you dont have to smite or rage to do it with your chosen weapon.

House rule: (Weapon Mastery)

Spoiler:
Weapon Mastery [Fighter]
Choose one type of weapon (such as a long sword), for which you have already selected Greater Weapon Specialization. You have mastered the use of your chosen weapon.
Prerequisite: Greater Weapon Specialization, fighter of 14th level.
Benefit: The character receives an additional +2 attack bonus and +2 to damage. In addition, he cannot be disarmed while wielding a weapon of this type.

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Kirth Gersen wrote:
I'd sort of like the fighter to be able to match the rogue's sneak attack, except without being sneaky. Paizo's "Vital Strike" feat is a start, but doesn't quite do it. Something like, "whenever you have a combat advantage (you flank your opponent, or catch him flat-footed, or parry his attack, or intercept his movement), you deal +Xd6 damage." Dunno, just thinking out loud. Heck, maybe just give him +1 damage/class level and be done with it. But a fighter with a 2-by-4 should still be scary; I don't buy into the whole "specialization tree" thing.

auto criticals and +1 dmg multiplier kind of make them equal at upper levels...

imagine a scimitar with improved critical 15-20/x3 and auto critical, pretty much guarantees 1 of his 5 attacks will be a critical.

A rogue still loses his sneak attack against heavy fortification. A rogue also has a lot more misses.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:


imagine a scimitar with improved critical 15-20/x3 and auto critical, pretty much guarantees 1 of his 5 attacks will be a critical.

A rogue still loses his sneak attack against heavy fortification. A rogue also has a lot more misses.

So does a fighter with that impressive 15-20 crit range.

Robert


Monks have high base unarmed damage to keep them on par with fighters who have magic weapons. A monk should not be allowed to enchant his unarmed strikes in any way, as this breaks what is otherwise a balanced system. A 20th level fighter can do 7d6+mods or so with a +5 weapon depending on weapon enhancements and monster type. Add Vital Strike and Improved Vital Strike (the second of which non-multiclassed monks can't take!) and you're talking in the area of 11d6+mods

A fighter's attacks will also be +9 higher than the monks at 20th level... 4 points for weapon training and 5 points for simply having a higher BAB. That's a huge difference. That's why you really have to be careful when giving the fighter bonus damage, he's going to hit 45% more of the time than the monk is! So if the monk needs an 10 to hit, the fighter can't miss except on a natural 1. This is why I'm against basically anything other than what has already been done to give the fighter additional damage. If having an easy time hitting, a fighter can go ahead and power attack. At 20th level having a +9 strength mod is not out of the question, so the figher can go ahead and power attack for 9, bringing his attack mod down to the monks level, and deal another +13 damage per hit with a two handed weapon.

In effect, fighters already have a ton of damage bonuses, you just have to think about where to look for them.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
S W wrote:

With the rules changes I suggest, they cannot duplicate the pure martial weapon skill of the master fighter, which is reflected in the inherent damage dice increases (2 steps at level 20) and extra attack per round even over other combat classes, which even other weapon-using warrior-types such as the barbarian and paladin can't do. This further sets the fighter apart from both his magical peers AND warrior bretheren.

Anyone else feel the same way?

I do feel the fighter as is, is still a "splash class" in most people's minds.

I don't think an additional attack is the way to go. The PF fighter already gets bonuses to hit and damage a la combat training and mastery etc.

I solved the problem by creating Fighter talents - which work like feats - but only fighters can take them, and they typically enhance regular feats or fighting styles that make the fighter simply better than his counterparts in doing the same things.

My players unanimously agree that the fighter is no longer "just a splash-class."

Robert


Robert Brambley wrote:
S W wrote:

With the rules changes I suggest, they cannot duplicate the pure martial weapon skill of the master fighter, which is reflected in the inherent damage dice increases (2 steps at level 20) and extra attack per round even over other combat classes, which even other weapon-using warrior-types such as the barbarian and paladin can't do. This further sets the fighter apart from both his magical peers AND warrior bretheren.

Anyone else feel the same way?

I do feel the fighter as is, is still a "splash class" in most people's minds.

I don't think an additional attack is the way to go. The PF fighter already gets bonuses to hit and damage a la combat training and mastery etc.

I solved the problem by creating Fighter talents - which work like feats - but only fighters can take them, and they typically enhance regular feats or fighting styles that make the fighter simply better than his counterparts in doing the same things.

My players unanimously agree that the fighter is no longer "just a splash-class."

Robert

Any chance you can elaborate on the Talents that you've created?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
ProsSteve wrote:
Robert Brambley wrote:


I solved the problem by creating Fighter talents - which work like feats - but only fighters can take them, and they typically enhance regular feats or fighting styles that make the fighter simply better than his counterparts in doing the same things.

My players unanimously agree that the fighter is no longer "just a splash-class."

Robert

Any chance you can elaborate on the Talents that you've created?

The Think Tank thread that I originally shared it is Here .

Robert

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