DM: You've been following this tunnel for about 120 yards. The water on the floor is ankle deep and very cold. Now and then you feel something brush against your foot. The smell of decay is getting stronger. The tunnel is gradually filling with a cold mist.
Fighter 1: I don't like this at all. Can we see anything up ahead that looks like a doorway, or a branch in the tunnel?
The Classic Fighter recreates the fighting man in the classic D&D image - the guy or gal who kicks in the door, the party frontline in the face of the monster, the one to take the hits and chop at the beasties while the wizard prepares his spells, the cleric heals and the rogue sneaks around the back.
In the words of D&D, "The fighter is a warrior, an expert in weapons and, if he is clever, tactics and strategy. There are many famous fighter from legend: Hercules, Perseus, Hiawatha, Beowulf, Siegfried, Cuchulain, Little John, Tristan, and Sinbad. History is crowded with great generals and warriors: El Cid, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Spartacus, Richard the Lionheart, and Belisarius. Your fighter could be modeled after any of these, or he could be unique. A visit to your local library can uncover many heroic fighters."
Version 0.4, 2 Dec 2016
Play Style: There are classes who can fight, and there is The Fighter. You don't cast spells. You don't sneak around, you bash in the door and roll for initiative. You pick up a sword, or an axe, or a bow, and you fight. Because that's what you're good at, that's what you do. Get into the face of monsters and chop them to pieces.
With this variant, you don't need to worry about a complex maneuver flowchart. Just pick your weapon, pick your style, and attack. Your combat style is a passive bonus that shapes your combat style based on your weapon choice.
Ability Scores: Traditional fighters need Strength to bash in skulls and Constitution to stay alive. With this writeup, you also have the option of using a different ability score for your melee attacks.
Fighters gain a +2 bonus to Strength or Constitution, as long as it is not the same ability score you chose for your racial bonus.
Races: All races have bred fighters, but humans, dwarves, half-orcs and warforged are particularly known for them.
Backgrounds: kicked out of the night watch, wrestled a dragon once, feisty Amazon, king of the tavern brawl, studied unter Felathiir the fencing master, farm boy born under a twin moon
Icons: Fighters serve any icon that fields ground troops. The mercenary types among them don't care, they serve whoever pays best (usually the Shadow Prince, if he is involved), but others have loyalties and convictions. The Emperor is a major employer for humans, while dwarves, elves and orcs follow their leader. The Three employ fighters to keep order in Drakkenhall, while the many faiths in Santa Cora have temple guards, although their elite is often Paladins. The Crusader takes anyone brave enought to venture into a hellhole. The Lich King prefers minor undead as infantry.
Fighters who have seen real battle prefer simple but practical and robust gear. Their personal weapon and armor of choice become almost extensions of themselves, to the point that they give them names.
In your pockets, you start with 25 gp, or 1d6 x 10 gp if you have been up and down on your luck lately.
Unless you have the Too Ripped for a Shirt talent, you'll want to get the heaviest armor you can get your hands on.
|Type||Base AC||Attack Penalty|
You excel with any type of weapon, as is expected of a Fighter. Your Weapon Mastery class feature increases your damage die with any type of weapon by one step, compared to other classes.
|Unarmed||1d4 fists, kicks*||-|
|Small||1d6 knife||1d8 staff|
|Light or Simple||1d8 short sword||1d10 spear|
|Heavy or Martial||1d10 longsword, scimitar||1d12 greatsword|
* Unlike other classes, you do not take a -2 attack penalty for fighting unarmed.
|Small||1d4 dagger||1d4 hand crossbow||-|
|Light or Simple||1d6 javelin, axe||1d6 light crossbow||1d6 shortbow|
|Heavy||-||1d8 heavy crossbow||1d8 longbow|
Real (Fighting) Men don't deal miss damage.
Target: One enemy
Attack: Strength + Level vs. AC
Hit: Weapon + Strength damage
Target: One enemy
Attack: Dexterity + Level vs. AC
Hit: Weapon + Dexterity damage
Fighter Level Progression
|Total Hit Points||Total Feats||Talents||Combat Styles||Pool Available||Level-up Ability Bonuses||Damage Bonus from Ability Score|
|Level 1 multiclass||Half of both classes||As 1st level PC||1 or 2||1||1st level||Not affected||ability modifier|
|Level 1||(8 + CON mod) x 3||1 adventurer||3||2||1st level||ability modifier|
|Level 2||(8 + CON mod) x 4||2 adventurer||3||3||1st level||ability modifier|
|Level 3||(8 + CON mod) x 5||3 adventurer||3||3||3rd level||ability modifier|
|Level 4||(8 + CON mod) x 6||4 adventurer||3||4||3rd level||+1 to 3 abilities||ability modifier|
|Level 5||(8 + CON mod) x 8||4 adventurer 1 champion||4||4||5th level||2 x ability modifier|
|Level 6||(8 + CON mod) x 10||4 adventurer 2 champion||4||4||5th level||2 x ability modifier|
|Level 7||(8 + CON mod) x 12||4 adventurer 3 champion||4||5||7th level||+1 to 3 abilities||2 x ability modifier|
|Level 8||(8 + CON mod) x 16||4 adventurer 3 champion 1 epic||5||5||7th level||3 x ability modifier|
|Level 9||(8 + CON mod) x 20||4 adventurer 3 champion 2 epic||5||5||9th level||3 x ability modifier|
|Level 10||(8 + CON mod) x 24||4 adventurer 3 champion 3 epic||5||6||9th level||+1 to 3 abilities||3 x ability modifier|
Initiative, AC, PD, MD, Hit Points, Recovery Dice, Feats, and some Talents are level dependent.
|Ability Bonus||+2 Strength or Constitution (different from racial bonus)|
|Initiative||Dex mod + Level|
|Armor Class (heavy armor)||15 + middle mod of Con/Dex/Wis + Level|
|Physical Defense||11 + middle mod of Str/Con/Dex + Level|
|Mental Defense||10 + middle mod of Int/Wis/Cha + Level|
|Hit Points||(8 + Con mod) x Level modifier (see level progression chart)|
|Recovery Dice||(1d10 x Level) + Con mod|
|Backgrounds||8 points, max 5 in any one background|
|Icon Relationships||3 points (4 at 5th level, 5 at 8th)|
|Talents||3 (4 at 5th level, 5 at 8th)|
|Feats||1 per level|
Kick in the Door
Whenever you make a Strength-based skill check, roll twice and take the better result.
Adventurer feat: When you start a combat by kicking in the door, or generally charge onto the battlefield weapons drawn and shouting, you gain a free move action in the first round of combat which you can take before any turns according to regular initiative are resolved.
Your powers are called Combat Styles. Combat styles give you a bonus when fighting with a certain type of weapon or shield. Even though you can learn several combat styles, you can only use one at a time.
You choose one style when you roll initiative. During combat, you can switch your style to a different one you know as a quick action. With that same quick action, you can also switch the weapons you use, for example from a bow to sword and shield or double daggers.
The bonus your combat style grants is usually passive, although some trigger when your attack roll is high enough (or similar). Some combat styles have a fixed effect, while others depend on your ability scores.
Adventurer feat: Choose one combat style you know. You can use this combat style with any weapon combination, ignoring the requirements.
Epic feat: Once per battle, when the escalation die is 3+, you can activate a second combat style and benefit from two at the same time until the end of your turn.
As a move action, you can move next to a nearby ally to shield him or her. While shielding the ally, all attacks against the ally with a natural odd roll target you instead.
While you are next to the ally, you both engage the same enemies. If either of you disengages, the effect ends.
Adventurer feat: Once per battle, grant an ally you shield a bonus to his or her AC equal to your Wisdom modifier until the end of your next turn.
Grit your Teeth
You charge headfirst into battle, and even though you can take a beating, you're on the floor more often than the cowards in the back row. But you'll pull through, because the enemy will always underestimate your will to live.
Whenever a d20 skill check decides over your life or death, add your Constitution modifier to the roll.
Adventurer feat: Add your Constitution modifier to last gap saves and death saves.
Champion feat: Once per battle, when an attack would reduce you below zero hit points, you can spend a recovery as an interrupt to negate all damage from the attack. Narrate how you avoided certain death.
Enemies you are engaged with take a -2 penalty to attacks that target your allies.
Adventurer feat: If the enemy's level is equal to yours or lower, that penalty is 2 or your Charisma modifier, whichever is higher.
Adventurer feat: Your attacks against enemies of a higher level than you deal bonus damage equal to your Charisma modifier. Double this bonus at 5th level, triple it at 8th.
Not Defeated Yet
The first time you rally in a battle, it is a quick action.
Adventurer feat: Each time you rally, gain a cumulative +1 bonus to your critical threat range until the end of the battle.
Champion feat: Rally is always a quick action for you.
Protected Weak Spots
You are not so naive to wade into combat using just a few decorative pieces of metal to enhance your physique. You cover yourself in heavy plates from head to toe, leaving just a few slits to look out.
While wearing heavy armor, reduce all damage from attacks by non-mook enemies by your level.
Adventurer feat: When you wear heavy armor, you are immune to critical hits.
Champion feat: Gain a +1 bonus to PD while in heavy armor.
Epic feat: You gain a +1 bonus to AC while in heavy armor.
Proud of My Scars
You're in the front line, you take the brunt of attacks. Scratches, ripped flesh, torn skin, broken bones, arrows in your spleen, you've had it all. And you're still here.
At the start of your turn, make a saving throw against one condition that a save can end. If you successfully save against stun, you can act normally that turn.
Champion feat: Add your Constitution modifier to saves against ongoing damage.
Epic feat: Increase your number of recoveries by 1 (usually to 9).
You tell yourself that you can defeat a Mindflayer in a mental duel because, behind all that steel and muscles, there is a misunderstood genius. Or maybe repeated hits to the head have just numbed your mind to the point that magic can't find an attack vector.
Whenever an effect causes you to be weakened, you are dazed instead. Whenever you are stunned or dominated, you are weakened instead (but this is not reduced to dazed).
Champion feat: You gain a +1 bonus to MD.
Too Ripped for a Shirt
Like all fighters in classic fantasy art, you battle the deadliest creatures in as little as a loin cloth or a few scraps of chain. You repel attacks with nothing but your well-oiled physique.
Your armor class is equal to your Charisma score plus level, regardless how much or how little armor you wear. So at level 1 with a Charisma 16, your AC is 17.
Adventurer feat: When you don't wear armor, you are immune to fear.
When you use the shield ally class feature, you redirect an enemy's attack to target you and the attack misses, you can make a melee attack against that enemy as an interrupt action.
You rely on your other four senses to locate enemies and fight them successfully. You ignore invisibility and any illusion that affects vision.
1st Level Combat Styles
The Attention Seeker (two-weapon fighting)
You like to remind your enemies that you are the biggest threat on the battlefield.
When an enemy you are engaged with makes an attack against one of your allies, deal damage to that enemy equal to your Dexterity modifier. Double the damage at 5th level, triple it at 8th.
The Legolas (ranged)
No matter how thick the battle, you're never without your bow, and shoot arrows left and right.
You don't provoke opportunity attacks with ranged weapon attacks.
The Odysseus (any melee weapon)
With a few deceptive sidesteps and swings of your blade, you leave your opponent wide open to your allies' attacks.
When you hit with a natural 18+ on a melee attack roll, the next ally who attacks the target gains a bonus to his attack roll equal to your Intelligence modifier.
Adventurer feat: Grant the bonus on 15+.
Champion feat: Grant the bonus on any hit.
The Finisher (two-handed)
Battered and bruised enemies make a great target. They stop dodging and swerving, and allow you to aim for the kill.
When you hit a staggered enemy with a melee attack, deal an extra WEAPON die of damage.
Champion feat: Increase to two extra dice.
Epic feat: Increase to three extra dice.
The Turtle (shield)
You keep your shield in front, facing the enemy, even if that takes the punch out of your swings.
Increase the AC bonus from your shield to +2, but lower your damage dice by one step.
Adventurer feat: Increase the AC bonus to +3.
3rd Level Combat Styles
The Boulder (shield)
You raise your shield as cover as you rush across the battlefield where you are needed, bashing enemies out of the way as needed.
Add your Strength modifier to disengage checks.
Adventurer feat: If you succeed at a disengage check, deal your Strength modifier in damage to the enemy. Double at 5th level, triple at 8th.
The Eagle-Eye (ranged)
You know how to place an arrow in the unarmored spots, like joints.
When making a ranged attack against a nearby enemy, target the lower of AC and PD of your enemy.
Adventurer feat: You can use this ability against far away enemies.
The Death of a Thousand Cuts (two-weapon fighting)
You whirl at the enemy in a torrent of slashes.
When your natural attack roll is 15+, deal extra 5 ongoing damage. Increase to 10 at 5th level and 20 at 8th level.
Adventurer feat: The ongoing damage requires a hard save (15+).
The Red Curtain (two-handed)
For others, beating monsters to a bloody pulp is a profession, to be executed in deadly precision. You are in it because you enjoy smashing up stuff.
When a damage die shows maximum damage, roll it again and add the result. You can reroll the same die multiple times.
Adventurer feat: Whenever you reroll a die, gain a temporary hit point.
The Rocky Balboa (unarmed)
Who needs weapons when you have two healthy fists, hard as steel?
On a natural 15+ attack roll, you daze your target until the end of its next turn.
Champion feat: On a natural 20, you stun it instead.
The Walls of Sparta (polearm)
Your extended reach makes it really hard to get out of your danger zone.
Enemies must succeed at a hard save (15+) to disengage from you.
Adventurer feat: Enemies who roll a natural 5 or lower on a disengage check against you are dazed until the end of their turn.
The Chopper (Any axe)
Once per round, when you reduce a non-mook enemy below zero hp with a melee attack, immediately make another melee attack against a different nearby enemy as a free action.
The Hulk (Any two-handed)
Requirement: Use Strength for melee attacks.
Add double your Strength modifier to the damage with melee attacks.
Champion feat: Add triple your Strength modifier to damage instead of double. Increase this to four times at level 8.
Epic feat: Increase the Strength ability multiplier to five.
The Untouchable (any melee)
If no enemy lands a hit on you between the end of your turn and the start of your next turn, add the escalation die to damage when you hit with a melee attack. Double the damage bonus at 5th level, and triple it at 8th.
Adventurer feat: Also add your Charisma modifier.
5th Level Combat Styles
The Dirty Trick (any small weapon)
You've picked up a trick or two in the seedier parts of town.
When your natural attack roll is 15+, you hamper the enemy until the end of his or her next turn.
Champion feat: The hamper effect is (save ends).
The Drizzt (two weapons)
You gain the ability to make a second attack with a basic melee attack during your turn. The second attack has a -5 penalty to the attack.
Champion feat: The penalty is reduced by -1 at each following level. At 10th level, you make the second attack at no penalty.
Epic feat: After the first attack of your full attack, you can pop free and engage a different nearby enemy.
The Eagle-Eye (ranged)
Your bow, arm and eye become one as you aim right for the eye of the dragon.
Spend a standard action to aim your arrow and end your turn. On your next turn, if you hit with your first ranged attack against the target, you deal double damage.
Champion feat: Add your Wisdom modifier to the attack roll.
The Punisher (any one-handed)
When you are nearby, enemies must pay their full attention to you, or they will immediately regret it.
When an enemy you are engaged with makes a melee attack against an ally without attacking you first that turn, that enemy provokes an opportunity attack from you.
The Long Shaft (polearm)
It's easy to get shafted when you misjudge the right melee distance against a halberd.
When an enemy engages you and misses with the subsequent melee attack, make an opportunity attack against that enemy.
The Great Wall (shield)
With your big shield right in their face, enemies can't execute their attacks at full force.
You gain resist all damage 12+ from enemies engaged with you.
Champion feat: Increase the resistance to 15+.
Epic feat: Increase the resistance to 18+.
7th Level Combat Styles
The Reaper (any)
The elegant circles of your blade hide the fact that not a single swing is left to chance. You are in it for the kill.
Against staggered targets, increase your critical threat range by 2.
Epic feat: Increase the critical threat range by your Dexterity modifier instead.
The Whirling Death (two-weapon fighting)
You are a moving, breathing blade barrier.
At the start of your turn, you can use free action to force a mook engaged with you to make a normal save (11+) or be killed.
Epic feat: You can use this action a number of times each turn equal to your Dexterity modifier.
9th Level Combat Styles
The Porcupine (any)
When a nearby enemy makes a melee attack against you, deal 10 damage to that enemy. You deal the damage before the attack resolves.
Epic feat: Deal 10 + three times your Strength modifier instead.
The Shadow (any one-handed melee)
Once per round, when an enemy disengages from you, you can engage a different nearby enemy as a free action.
Epic feat: Deal damage to the enemy who disengaged equal to three times your Wisdom modifier.
The Windmill (two-weapon fighting)
Once per round, when you miss an opponent with a melee attack, make a second melee attack against a different nearby enemy as a free action
Epic feat: You can use this action a number of times each turn equal to your Dexterity modifier.
Larry Elmore: Chicks in Chainmail
Clyde Caldwell: Selene, Guardian of the Sanctuary
Jeff Easley - Guerriers
Charles Keegan - The Exiles Return