PDA

View Full Version : Bumping up a fighter.



Coy
2010-03-18, 03:41 PM
It goes without saying that fighters are low tier, something that stops some experienced players (those that have played a wizards through the levels and enjoyed it) playing them for reasons other than the party needs one.

But surely something exists out there in the 3.5 source books that helps?

For example, the ACF's for a fighter in the PHB2 atleast look like they could be decent (assuming the full round single attack allows all of them to come into play at the same time), and i know that dungeoncrasher helps.

But without really making a whole different character, how can you make a quintissential, mundane, gritty fighter seem more exciting, and up a tier or two in the process.

Heck, maybe a ToB dip?

EDIT: Make that the ACF's in the PHB2.

Yukitsu
2010-03-18, 03:46 PM
No. The tier system doesn't say how powerful an individual character will be, but rather the class itself. I can, in theory make a fighter who is as powerful or as good as my freinds cleric or wizard, but I'd still be a lower tier class than he. Even a very well crafted samurai tier 6 ubercharger can overpower some very poorly built wizards and clerics.

What I can manage is making a fighter as powerful as the typical (read "non forum") wizard. The most common methods are chain trippers (or a variant) or uber chargers. Archery also doles out very good damage with fewer limiting factors, though that method is by far the most gear dependant.

DragoonWraith
2010-03-18, 03:49 PM
Heck, maybe a ToB dip?
Why a dip? The Warblade is the answer to your question.

Greenish
2010-03-18, 03:50 PM
It goes without saying that fighters are low tier, something that stops some experienced players (those that have played a wizards through the levels and enjoyed it) playing them for reasons other than the party needs one.Party never needs a fighter.

But surely something exists out there in the 3.5 source books that helps?

For example, the ACF's for a fighter in the PHB atleast look like they could be decent (assuming the full round single attack allows all of them to come into play at the same time), and i know that dungeoncrasher helps.

But without really making a whole different character, how can you make a quintissential, mundane, gritty fighter seem more exciting, and up a tier or two in the process.Dungeoncrasher is pretty much what there is. There are tons of AFCs for fighters, but most of them are just gimmicks. (Yay, pugilist gets Imp. Unarmed Strike and DR for non-lethal damage!)

Heck, maybe a ToB dip?Two levels of fighter in a warblade build is pretty good. :smallamused:

Boci
2010-03-18, 03:51 PM
It goes without saying that fighters are low tier, something that stops some experienced players (those that have played a wizards through the levels and enjoyed it) playing them for reasons other than the party needs one.

But surely something exists out there in the 3.5 source books that helps?

For example, the ACF's for a fighter in the PHB atleast look like they could be decent (assuming the full round single attack allows all of them to come into play at the same time), and i know that dungeoncrasher helps.

But without really making a whole different character, how can you make a quintissential, mundane, gritty fighter seem more exciting, and up a tier or two in the process.

Heck, maybe a ToB dip?

If you're going to be dipping into ToB why bother with the fighter? IMO, the only real build that 'works' as a tier 3 build is the lock down build, since only the fighter has enough feats to cover the many areas. Otherwise just play a warblade, using homebred schools if you want archery.

lsfreak
2010-03-18, 03:55 PM
Also keep in mind that the Tier system is not primarily about the 'power' of a character. There are plenty of T5-class-driven builds that can drop over 1000 damage a round at mid levels. The problem is that's all it can do, and in the wrong situation they can't even do that. Higher tiers can do more, and are therefore more useful overall because you're going to face different types of encounters.

Also: agree with DragoonWraith. Just cross out 'warblade' and scribble in 'fighter.' Problem solved. Seriously, read the fighter's fluff in the PHB. The warblade fits the fighter's fluff better than the fighter does.

Coy
2010-03-18, 04:14 PM
Also keep in mind that the Tier system is not primarily about the 'power' of a character. There are plenty of T5-class-driven builds that can drop over 1000 damage a round at mid levels. The problem is that's all it can do, and in the wrong situation they can't even do that. Higher tiers can do more, and are therefore more useful overall because you're going to face different types of encounters.

Something I, you, and as mentioned any forum reader or 3.5 player with experience is all too aware of. It's just a shame that there is nothing out there that is, as said, is beyond a gimmick.

It is fun to play a fighter, but you could play any character and have fun for the same reasons (roleplay). But mechanically, they are weaker for all around roll-play assuming all is equal. That was my assumption, but i just wanted to check.


Two levels of fighter in a warblade build is pretty good. :smallamused:

See what you did there :smallwink:

I guess i got the suggestions i was expecting. So i guess i think its time i home-brewed some mechanics that are worth a damn.

PinkysBrain
2010-03-18, 04:27 PM
is beyond a gimmick.
Either the fighter has an overpowered gimmick, or he has lots of options (from magic items or martial manoeuvres).

For everything he can't do, what he can do has to get stronger ... and if there is very little he can do except hit stuff, well he has to one shot everything.

Greenish
2010-03-18, 05:13 PM
I guess i got the suggestions i was expecting. So i guess i think its time i home-brewed some mechanics that are worth a damn.What are you looking for in your ideal fighter then?

If you want mundane and gritty, just finding another game system entirely would probably work better than excessive amounts of homebrewing.

AslanCross
2010-03-18, 06:15 PM
Two levels of fighter in a warblade build is pretty good. :smallamused:

Amen. Heck, even six levels if you're a Dungeoncrasher.

I don't subscribe to the fighter, +warblade school of thought. I think the two classes work extremely well together.

Runestar
2010-03-18, 07:23 PM
For example, the ACF's for a fighter in the PHB2 atleast look like they could be decent (assuming the full round single attack allows all of them to come into play at the same time)

I am pretty sure they are mutually exclusive. They actually represent a powering-down of the fighter, IMO, because you are essentially trading damage for ease of play.

For example, these ACFs do not benefit from haste (though they do appear mathematically equivalent to a full attack at that lv), but gameplay is faster because you roll fewer attacks.

In addition, they still require use of the full-round action, so that doesn't quite resolve one problem of the fighter (lack of mobility).

A fighter is great if you like dishing out good damage, but be prepared to have to rely heavily on spells and gear to help mitigate your shortcomings.

Greenish
2010-03-18, 07:27 PM
I don't subscribe to the fighter, +warblade school of thought. I think the two classes work extremely well together.Except fighter isn't a class, it's extra feats.

lsfreak
2010-03-18, 07:28 PM
I am pretty sure they are mutually exclusive. They actually represent a powering-down of the fighter, IMO, because you are essentially trading damage for ease of play.

AoO builds love the 16th-level ACF. Though you are, of course, right that the ACF's do nothing to really help the fighter's fundamental problems.

Draz74
2010-03-18, 07:29 PM
While I love the Warblade and Tome of Battle, I don't think these responses are answering your real question.

So here's the answer: with appropriate picking and choosing from splatbooks, such as Dungeoncrasher and PHB2 ACFs, it's pretty easy to get Fighter up to "Tier 4" -- that is, where it will feel useful and powerful in a party of typical Tier 4-class characters. Maybe even the upper reaches of Tier 4. And to do this, you don't even have to uber-specialize and turn yourself into a one-trick pony like the Ubercharger. Heck, you don't even need Dungeoncrasher, as long as you more or less just avoid crappy feats.

Tier 3, though, is much harder.

Feats or dips from Tome of Battle help a lot, of course.

Runestar
2010-03-18, 07:37 PM
Actually, when people say "useful", what exactly are they expecting out of a fighter?

I always assumed that if one was in the party, the tacit understanding was that the spellcasters would help lock down the foes, while the fighter's job is to dish out lots of damage (which he has a comparative advantage in, since attacks don't use up spell slots).

So they do have their place. Maybe just not a very glamourous one. :smallyuk:

Something like this scenario.

Another really funny party was Fighter, Wizard, Wizard, Nymph. Both of the wizards focused on control spells, with one favoring summons and the other favoring defensive stuff. Basically, this party was the exact opposite (even though the fighter in this party was one of the fighters in the other party) of the other. They simply did not so any damage, instead completely looking up the fight with stunning gaze, acid fog, wall of ________, trips, summoned elementals, etc. while slowly chipping the opponent away. Every combat took a long time to resolve, but usually it was a forgone conclusion early on. The opponents would get seperated and stalled while the fighter individually pounded them. For a powerful single opponent would be subjected to repeated save-or-abilities from behind barriers of spell created obstacles and the fighter. Probably the most "professional" party I'd ever been in, from the perspective that they always were able to solve every encounter they faced with a clear, efficient strategy that was often ad-libbed and always effective.

It also helped convinve me that the game is less fun with two wizards, because you really, really always have a solution to every problem as a standard action, even when both wizards are intentionally limiting their spell lists for thematic and balance concerns.

Lycanthromancer
2010-03-18, 08:49 PM
I always assumed that if one was in the party, the tacit understanding was that the spellcasters would help lock down the foes, while the fighter's job is to dish out lots of damage (which he has a comparative advantage in, since attacks don't use up spell slots).Undead and planar bound minions don't take up spell-slots either, and they're often considerably more crazy-go-powerful than the fighter, too.

Before that, just get a riding dog or three. They don't take up spell slots either, and are considerably cheaper to keep around than someone who eats up your XP and takes a share of the loot.

Geiger Counter
2010-03-18, 08:53 PM
Check out the crafty fighter Variant in my signature.

Thurbane
2010-03-18, 09:00 PM
Actually, when people say "useful", what exactly are they expecting out of a fighter?

I always assumed that if one was in the party, the tacit understanding was that the spellcasters would help lock down the foes, while the fighter's job is to dish out lots of damage (which he has a comparative advantage in, since attacks don't use up spell slots).

So they do have their place. Maybe just not a very glamourous one. :smallyuk:

Something like this scenario.
Agreed. Just because a Fighter isn't exactly a Swiss Army Knife, does not render him useless. Yes, maybe there are whizzbang classes out there that do what a Fighter can do, only better; but for a feat intensive full BAB build, not many classes can match them.

Sure, bonus feats as a class ability is not exactly exciting, but with the right feat combos, a Fighter can be a pretty effective melee combatant.

Demons_eye
2010-03-18, 09:03 PM
IMO make him more interesting.

Give him +5 Bab for a total of +25 at level 20. He gets another attack every 5 Bab and can use as many attacks as he has but one/two for a standard action.

Increase skill points to 4/level

Increase HD to a d12

Give him class features

Good capstone: DR 10/-, Magic immunity, When-I-Die-I-Blow-Up attack, Supermagical weapon supremacy.

Thurbane
2010-03-18, 09:07 PM
Spot on about the skill points. 4 skills/level plus a less sucktacular skill list would be very nice.

Why the hell don't fighters have Spot & Listen on their class list anyways? In the "traditional" 4 man party, who usually ends up pulling the bulk of sentry duty???

Dusk Eclipse
2010-03-18, 09:11 PM
Spot on about the skill points. 4 skills/level plus a less sucktacular skill list would be very nice.

Why the hell don't fighters have Spot & Listen on their class list anyways? In the "traditional" 4 man party, who usually ends up pulling the bulk of sentry duty???


My first instinct is rogue, but thats mainly becuase in our usual games the rogue is the usual sentry (the only one who actually puts skill points in those skills)

Thurbane
2010-03-18, 09:15 PM
My first instinct is rogue, but thats mainly becuase in our usual games the rogue is the usual sentry (the only one who actually puts skill points in those skills)
Oh yeah, in actual gameplay first choice will be someone with those skills on his list (Rogue, Ranger etc.) but the archetypal Fighter seems the logical fit for guard/sentry to me. You know how WotC love their archetypes, even if the crunch basically renders them useless (damage dealing Wizards, healbot Clerics etc.). :smalltongue:

...not to mention the Fighter's basic role - he doesn't have to worry about learning spells, picking locks, learning scripture or anything else, just concentrate on his skill at arms and killing monsters. One would imagine that that particualr role would also involve not constantly letting monsters get the drop on you by sneaking up undetected. :smallyuk:

Runestar
2010-03-18, 09:16 PM
Who need sentry duty when you are sleeping in extended rope tricks at lv5+? :smallamused:

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-03-18, 09:27 PM
When someone in my party absolutely, positively wants to play a fighter-the-class character to focus on feat trees instead of maneuvers, I generally take aim at the fighter's main problem--all it gets is feats, and feats generally suck. The solution I came up with (or as close to a solution as I can come) is twofold: ignoring prerequisites and taking feat trees in one go.

At 3rd level, the fighter gets the ability to ignore a single prerequisite when taking a feat, so an Int 10 fighter can pick up the Combat Expertise line, any fighter can get Improved Critical at 3rd level, etc. Later, he gets the ability to use a feat he skipped with Ignore Prerequisites in a limited fashion (e.g. if he went straight to Cleave without taking Power Attack for whatever reason, he can use Power Attack a few times per day/per encounter). He gets a few more abilities in this vein, culminating in the ability to take an entire feat tree with one feat slot (e.g. you can pick up Melee Weapon Mastery without any of the prereqs, and in doing so you also gain the relevant Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, etc.).

It doesn't fix the fighter's problems, but it does address the issue that most fun/interesting/useful feats have way too many prereqs and thus never see play.

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-18, 10:06 PM
I think the fighter should be a real "master of all weapons" type, instead of focusing on one style. Unfortunately in D&D that's how you end up sucking... :smallfrown:

Boci
2010-03-18, 10:40 PM
When someone in my party absolutely, positively wants to play a fighter-the-class character to focus on feat trees instead of maneuvers, I generally take aim at the fighter's main problem--all it gets is feats, and feats generally suck. The solution I came up with (or as close to a solution as I can come) is twofold: ignoring prerequisites and taking feat trees in one go.

At 3rd level, the fighter gets the ability to ignore a single prerequisite when taking a feat, so an Int 10 fighter can pick up the Combat Expertise line, any fighter can get Improved Critical at 3rd level, etc. Later, he gets the ability to use a feat he skipped with Ignore Prerequisites in a limited fashion (e.g. if he went straight to Cleave without taking Power Attack for whatever reason, he can use Power Attack a few times per day/per encounter). He gets a few more abilities in this vein, culminating in the ability to take an entire feat tree with one feat slot (e.g. you can pick up Melee Weapon Mastery without any of the prereqs, and in doing so you also gain the relevant Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, etc.).

It doesn't fix the fighter's problems, but it does address the issue that most fun/interesting/useful feats have way too many prereqs and thus never see play.

I always liked the floating feats idea, allowing to swap out feats mid combat as a swift action. More book keeping, but does add some much needed versatility.

Sinfire Titan
2010-03-18, 11:08 PM
It goes without saying that fighters are low tier, something that stops some experienced players (those that have played a wizards through the levels and enjoyed it) playing them for reasons other than the party needs one.

But surely something exists out there in the 3.5 source books that helps?

For example, the ACF's for a fighter in the PHB2 atleast look like they could be decent (assuming the full round single attack allows all of them to come into play at the same time), and i know that dungeoncrasher helps.

But without really making a whole different character, how can you make a quintissential, mundane, gritty fighter seem more exciting, and up a tier or two in the process.

Heck, maybe a ToB dip?

EDIT: Make that the ACF's in the PHB2.

The easiest way is to dip into Warblade for 18 levels.


The hardest way is to completely redesign the Fighter Bonus Feats so that there are enough GOOD feats that Fighter 20 has enough different uses for his Standard/Move/Swift/Immediate actions that it doesn't feel like you are a one-trick pony anymore.


Putting it into perspective, if Tome of Battle maneuvers were Fighter Bonus Feats instead of maneuvers, why would anyone take Weapon Specialization over Punishing Stance? The answer is simple: When Weapon Spec offers something more useful than a +2 bonus to damage, such as a new use for your Swift action.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-03-19, 12:08 AM
I always liked the floating feats idea, allowing to swap out feats mid combat as a swift action. More book keeping, but does add some much needed versatility.

Yeah, that fighter has one or two floating feats too--one choosable 1/day and one you can gain mid-combat for Int mod rounds, I think? I should really dig that out and post it for review sometime.

Eclipse
2010-03-19, 09:03 AM
Use the Pathfinder fighter whenever possible. See if your GM will let you use it in 3.5. He actually gets some class features. They aren't epic awesome, but they do give the fighter a much needed boost in ability to do his job. One lets you take weapon groups (such as all bows, or heavy swords) that give bonuses to attack and damage. These scale with level much like ranger favored enemies do, but are way better since they apply to weapon groups. Your top pick maxes out at +4 to each. You can also move at full speed in medium and heavy armor eventually. As you level, you progressively get to use more of your dex bonus with armor, making dex useful if you happen to have it and still want your full plate.

In addition, see if your GM will allow the Pathfinder line of critical feats to be available at high level play. You don't get to start using them until around level 11, but that's only a few levels after casters start really outstripping the fighter. I would say when casters have 3rd level spells, it's pretty balanced, 4th level spells casters start to pull ahead (or dominate when cheese is being used), and 5th level spells they've pulled ahead pretty far, which happpens at 9th level. However, the critical line of feats gives the fighter something good, though somewhat luck dependent: the ability to use critical hits to deliver status effects. If you can get the Pathfinder version of cleave and great cleave (less likely if you're playing 3.5, but maybe make it fighter exclusive?), you can wade into melee and AOE with your physical attacks so long as you keep hitting. And any crit (use a scimitar/rapier with improved crit for 15-20, otherwise anything you can get 17-20 on) becomes a status effect. Some allow saves for lesser effects, but they're reasonably high.

While the crit feats aren't ideal, since they only work well for a crit build, they are a way to add some much needed battlefield control to a fighter. He still won't be doing a whole lot out of battle, but in battle, he won't be completely outshone by the casters as long as you get yourself some flight and true seeing.

Hand_of_Vecna
2010-03-19, 11:48 AM
For the record the Zhentarim Soldier substitution levels actually moves fighter up a tier making it available without evil fluff would be nice.

A Zhentarim Soldier fighter has the same selection of
class skills as a standard fighter does, plus Bluff and
Diplomacy.
Skill Po i nts at Each Level : 2 + Int modifier.
Zhentarim Soldier Substitution Levels
Base
Attack Fort Ref Will
Level Bonus Save Save Save Special
3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Bonus feat
5th +5 +4 +1 +1 Extended intimidation
9th +9 +6 +3 +3 Swift demoralization
Class Features
All the following are features of the Zhentarim Soldier
substitution levels.
Bonus Fe a t : A Zhentarim Soldier gains Skill
Focus (Intimidation) as a bonus feat at 3rd level.
Extended Intimidation (Ex): A target successfully
intimidated by a 5th-level Zhentarim Soldier suffers
lasting effects. Instead of ending when the
Zhentarim Soldier leaves, as is normal for the Intimidate
skill, the intimidation effect lasts for 24 hours after
his departure. Thereafter, the targetís attitude toward
the Zhentarim Soldier shifts to unfriendly, but a lingering
fear remains. Whenever the Zhentarim Soldier
returns to someone he has previously intimidated, he
gains a +4 bonus on his Intimidate check to re-establish
the effect.
Swift Demoralization (Ex): A 9th-level Zhentarim
Soldier can use the demoralize opponent aspect
of the Intimidate skill as a swift action rather than as a
standard action

Free content by the way it's from the champions of valor web enhancement. Also all of these are odd levels meaning that fighter is getting abilities in it's dead levels and it stacks with most other ACF's and sustitution levels.

The inspire courage paladin fro the same source also has alot of potential.

Draz74
2010-03-19, 02:21 PM
The hardest way is to completely redesign the Fighter Bonus Feats so that there are enough GOOD feats that Fighter 20 has enough different uses for his Standard/Move/Swift/Immediate actions that it doesn't feel like you are a one-trick pony anymore.

Putting it into perspective, if Tome of Battle maneuvers were Fighter Bonus Feats instead of maneuvers, why would anyone take Weapon Specialization over Punishing Stance? The answer is simple: When Weapon Spec offers something more useful than a +2 bonus to damage, such as a new use for your Swift action.

Hey, that sounds like the Bears With Lasers Fighter Fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30692)!

AslanCross
2010-03-19, 06:13 PM
Except fighter isn't a class, it's extra feats.

Substitution levels exist. It is indeed a class.