Monday, May 9, 2022

D&D Class Breakdown: Fighter

 For new players, it can be hard to choose your first class. For veteran players, it can be hard to choose a class and not fall into stereotypes everyone's seen a thousand times. So now I'm going to deconstruct the 5E Player's Handbook classes (Sorry Artificer, you'll come later) and talk about what works, what doesn't, and some interesting ways to play the classes. 

I won't be going into game mechanics as much as I'll be going into roleplay. 

Let's talk about Fighters! 

What is a Fighter? 
...What isn't a fighter? Historically a fighter is just anyone who makes a career out of knowing how to fight another human. Soldiers, mercenaries, guards, militiamen, cops, bouncers... The list goes on. Every society has needed someone who knows how to use a weapon to defend or attack. Specialized fighters, like the Spartans or samurai, are fighters but are focused on a specific form of fighting. The biggest focus is that the fighter is set to combat other humans, as opposed to animals, who they can still take on, or supernatural threats, which they can try and help but are usually left up to more spiritual leaders. 

In the Game

Dungeons and Dragons fighters are the same way. They represent career warriors who are fighting for whatever reason. Usually the fighter is the class chosen by players who want to be in the combat without the complications of spells or a ton of special abilities, like sneak attack or transforming powers. Some fighter subclasses, like the eldrich knight or the arcane archer, utilize some spells and magic in their combat, but this is usually little more than extra defense or giving attacks specific energy enhancements to break through more specialized monsters. 

The typical fighter player is some sort of ex soldier turned mercenary, out for vengeance against whatever or whoever killed his (insert relationship here). Occasionally you get the grizzled Ronin who wanders with a sword and a need to set right what's wrong with the world, or the grizzled world-weary traveler whose been in the game long enough to know that adventuring isn't about saving the day, sometimes it's just about saving your skin as they light up another cigar and stare into the distance. 

Breaking the Trope

For a class with so much variation in real life, it's surprising that it usually only gets played as grizzled and ornery, like they all have to be stock cowboys. With the range of motivation people have to fight throughout history, here are a few ideas to make the fighter more than the soldier of fortune. 

Dad Fighter
Usually adventurers in general only have families to either die tragically before the game starts or to show up as a bad guy Darth Vader style later on. What if the fighter has a happy family somewhere-wife, kids, mom, whatever, and the adventurer life is a way to bring in money? There's good money to be found in dungeons and random monsters, and this is just his 9-5 job. He sends gold and trinkets back to the wife and kids, and bugs anyone he can with stories about how little Susanna loves carrots while he stops the big bad guy from flooding the world with evil. 

Geek Fighter
This fighter's goal is to see if they can fight one of everything in the Monster Manual. They are constantly out for that last piece of bone or that trinket to complete their collection. They have a bag full of swords from all the bandits they've killed, and a necklace full of teeth from all the wolves they've taken down. Saving the world is great and all but if they could just get that red dragon tooth, and hay, if they kill the thing the world is saved so win-win. 

To go down in legend, to be part of the bard's song, to be known throughout the world as a great champion, this is what the hero aspires to. They want to be admired, they want to be remembered, and they want to be a legend. They will do whatever they can to do so. Think Joxer the Mighty from Xena, Warrior Princess and for those not in their mid 30's think of Hercules from Disney's Hercules. 

Famous Fighters

Porter Rockwell
I don't think I've ever had a real life example on this series! Porter Rockwell was the bodyguard of Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young. He's quoted as saying "I never killed anyone that didn't need killing", and he reportedly killed a lot of people as the protector of the prophets. He knew what he was good at and did it to serve. 

Chewbacca (Star Wars) 
Anytime we see Chewie in a fight he's either driving something, shooting his laser crossbow, or yeeting people off the nearest cliff. While some may argue barbarian, he's never in a wild uncontrollable fury like his fellow countryman, Krrsantan from Book of Boba Fett, who got drunk, lost control, and tore a guy's arms off. Chewbacca has more control. 

Jayne Cobb (Firefly)
Jayne is the muscle of the Serenity. A thug who works for the highest bidder, his only skill he brings to any table is his ability to fight anybody he's pointed at. Jayne is an excellent marksman, knows how to brawl in hand-to-hand, and can take a hit without barely batting an eye, just by being meaner than whatever hit him. 


Check out the other D&D Classes as well: BarbarianBardClericDruid

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