D&D Next Classes – Fighter Preview

By Ken Wai Lau

d&d next fighter

At least he looks the part.
Artwork © by Stephen Garrett Rusk

The fighter is one of the D&D Next classes that I am interested in trying out. As strange as it sounds, ever since I started playing Baldur’s Gate I, the class I would most commonly pick was the fighter or a fighter variant.

I’ve been a fan of swords and sorcery since I was 10 years old, with a preference for the ‘swords’ part (even when playing a wizard :D). For me, nothing paints a more heroic image than a noble warrior with a sword.

That image was challenged when I switched to a cleric when I played Neverwinter Nights and began wiping the floor with all that stood in the way.

Bring a Sword to a Magic Fight

Those of you who are familiar with D&D 3.5 might be familiar with the phrase, ‘linear warriors, quadratic wizards’, a phrase that describes the disparity in power between a mundane sword wielding warrior and a specialist magic user. Clerics who empower themselves using divine magic can fight in close combat far more effectively than the fighter.

On top of this, the spell options available to each spellcaster meant they were incredibly versatile outside of combat, making the warrior classes appear irrelevant.

Many fans of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 were not happy with this gulf in power, so it would be interesting to see how these problems have been addressed for Dungeons and Dragons 5e – if at all.

Rank and File

The premise behind the fighter was that he was a warrior, soldier or mercenary for hire. He excelled at close combat and can usually keep the fiercest monsters at bay – or best them in combat. His advanced military training allows him to use any weapon, armour or shield to a far higher degree of proficiency than the other classes.

They are expected to take the brunt of the damage and as a result, are stronger and hardier than most of his companions. Their excellent physical conditioning allows them to accomplish feats of athleticism.

If they must deal with a situation using words, it might consist of encouraging enemies to drop weapons by talking about the various ways in which a liver can be extracted.

Each fighter will focus on a particular fighting style above all others, including skill with the bow, greater defensive awareness, two handed weapon combat or dual wielding.

As he progresses, the fighter gains the ability to draw into his inner reserves to perform feats of toughness and resolve. He can catch his second wind more readily than those around him, push himself beyond his limits, stave off severe injuries to continue fighting and increase his resistance to harmful effects through sheer power of will alone.

Path to Glory

d&d classes

“Is this all I get for being your meat shield?!”
Artwork © by Stefan Ristic

By now, you should be able to see that paths are a feature of all D&D Next classes and the fighter is no different.There are two reasons why a fighter may choose to fight.

Typically, a warrior fights out of necessity to protect someone dear to him or a community he is part of – or for money. This group might consist of soldiers in an army, town guards or mercenaries that live from paycheck to paycheck.

If you belong to this class of warrior, you are typically taught to end a fight as quickly as possible to reduce the possibility of any harm befalling you or your allies. The best way to achieve this would be to land a well aimed attack that drops your opponent in one hit.

As you become more experienced, you become more adept at finding your opponent’s vital areas and when you near the peak of your career, a side effect of this ability is your uncanny ability to hinder the mobility of your opponent.

Once you achieve the status of veteran, your focus on survival means you have a far greater will to live than your peers. When you are in dire straits, your hidden reserve of energy allows you to keep pushing on past the pain barriers.

Another faction of warriors live for the glory of the battlefield, making superior weapon mastery their ultimate goal.

As a weapon master, you learn advanced maneuvers that grant an edge in close combat, catching your opponents opponents off guard, leaping away from your opponent or knocking them to the ground. As you gain more experience, you learn more advanced maneuvers, knocking opponents senseless and impairing his combat ability as well as driving your opponents back and cutting hamstrings in order to impede movement.

As you become more proficient with these maneuvers, your success rate in performing the maneuvers increase and once you reach the peak of your career, you can perform these maneuvers more often without pause.

The above image was created by Stephen Garrett Rusk. Click here to discover more.

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