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The 3.5 Fighter Class

Originally Posted by TheFred View Post
Quite true, but Fighters are one of if not the worst classes when it comes to this. Maybe Swashbucklers, actually, but at least your Paladins and Rangers get class features and some small number of spells and things.
Sure, but in my opinion the problem isn't just having a lack of class abilities. It's also about looking at a battle, then your character sheet and going “What should my approach be here? What cool things can I do here?” Rogues still get the “How can I use my sneak attack?” strategy, which is why they still feel fun to play sometimes, even if they're not that effective. Rangers get more tactics when they get a companion. Paladins, monks, barbarians and other martial classes though don't get much more than “I run up to the nearest enemy and whack them!” I'd even say that a “well-built” fighter (being somewhat sarcastic here), like a reach-tripper or dungeon-crasher might be even more fun to play than a monk or paladin.

It's not so much martials vs magic, it's damage vs non-damaging effects. Of course, most martials can only deal damage, which is kind of the problem in the first place.
That was kinda my point. Martial rules are abstracted into one, simplified “Your ability to survive has been reduced by X” mechanic, while magic works on the “What should a spell that makes shiny sparkles rain from the sky do to the enemies?” They do play by different rules, in that way most of the time.

Well, looks like most people are in agreement in this thread. Anyway, I found my houserules and posted them in a separate thread here. They're a bit long, and I didn't want to hijack the discussion with them.

a sword, armor, a tower shield, a good spell resistance item with a few other anti caster based things and you should still have some gold to spend...depending on your level anyway. nevermind the other members in the party.

so what we fighting next?

Perhaps we're not being entirely fair here. A decent combat will still have a tactical element even for the Figther - positioning matters, because it affects when you can full-attack, when you can charge, when you're close enough to move-and-attack, when you can't do either, where difficult terrain is, whether your targets can 5ft step away from you, whether they get (soft) cover and whether you're flanking (Fighters don't get Sneak Attack but do get the +2 to AB, still).

This is why I'm not a fan of the "full-attack as a standard action" houserule (or easy ways of getting Pounce) - power-wise, this isn't crazy, but it removes one of the few tactical elements that martials have to consider.

If you then add in the options to bull rush and trip and so on, actually, there's potentially a lot going on in a fight. You only really see this though at the lower levels (after which a lot of this becomes trivialised), possibly after people get an iterative, and in fights where there's a lot going on (where there actually is difficult terrain or where obstructions exists, where there are multiple, mixed enemies, and so on) which is quite situational. Worse, most of these trip and disarm options are pretty weak unless you've invested in them a lot already.

Damage is certainly abstracted away. Maybe some kind of called shots/wounds system might help there. You do risk overcomplicating it, though, and my point was that magic behaves the same way. I can get hit by 100 Scorching Rays and not catch fire (and there's already even a mechanic for that!) and so on... which is why blasters are so poor, because they're turning themselves into flashy archers. And most spells are abstracted down to a single saving throw, too. The main discrepancy is probably how difficult it is for martials to inflict conditions compared with casters.


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