Author Topic: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats  (Read 1073 times)

Offline Amechra

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A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« on: August 18, 2016, 02:35:49 PM »
Alright, it's not a secret that one of the reasons that the Fighter is particularly bad is that Fighter feats don't scale very well. When you hit the end of one particular tree, you have to go back and start another one from the beginning. It's what makes the Fighter a really nice class to dip, though - you can pick up that one feat tree you really like, and to hell with the rest.

So why don't they scale well?

I think part of the reason is that, somewhere along the line, someone decided that the Fighter doesn't deserve to start with nice things. Note that I didn't say that they don't get nice things - you have cool, fun stuff you can grab like Kharmic Strike, Improved Cleave, and Improved Trip, but you can't really start with them.

So the question becomes "but do those powers scale"? My answer to that is yes. Let's look at Improved Cleave - at 1st level, you're unlikely to be dealing a consistent amount of damage that would let you take out whole crowds. Normally, you're going to be petering out after one or two extra attacks. Flash-forward to level 8, where triggering the extra attacks is going to be more reliable simply because you're attacking more often and dealing more damage.

Another reason Improved Cleave scales is because it piggybacks off attacking, rather than being it's own thing. As a result, Improved Cleave works with anything that makes a melee attack - compare that to Spring Attack, which falls behind hard once you start getting more attacks in a Full Attack.

Improved Cleave also saves itself from obsolescence since it doesn't give you a static, numerical bonus. By giving you an attack, it expands what you can do.

=---=

The problem with the Fighter in terms of why it lags behind other melee classes is because all it gets is feats. Feats that, may I remind you, don't scale, don't synergise, and don't do anything fun. Heck, that's why mundane characters are kinda dull to play.

So why not rewrite the feats to be more interesting? Why not rewrite Spring Attack so it works off charging? Or Combat Expertise so it triggers off of Fighting Defensively? Hell, maybe even replace Weapon Focus with Weapon Supremacy?
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Offline Kethrian

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 05:07:47 PM »
I tried doing just that.  I could not figure out what to do with Spring Attack yet, but mostly because I've been rewriting many classes and giving martial classes each a unique way to move and full attack, so Spring Attack really got overshadowed.

As for Combat Expertise, it does stack with Fighting Defensively.  You can do both if you don't mind having an attack penalty greater than your BAB in order to get a fairly massive bonus to AC.

If you've got ideas to make my feat rewrites potentially better, I'd love to hear them!
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 05:27:56 PM »
Fly By Attack  =  Swim By Attack  =  Spring Attack  =  normal 5e melee combat.

So 3 feats = 1 feat with 3d movement , or 3 feats = no feats needed.
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Offline Chemus

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2016, 02:14:24 AM »
This has merit. However don't give Fighters toys away; give them to Fighter.

Fighters should get flexibility; weapon focus is neat and all, but one weapon? Wizards specialize in an entire school of magic. Honestly, the weapon group rules are made to fix this minor issue.

The fighter should be the best at using weapons. All of them. Thus:
(note that these are not bonus feats that can be DCFS'd, but do count toward prerequisites for feats, or requirements for PrC's):

•At every odd Fighter level after 1st Fighter gets the benefits of Wp Foc in a whole group he's proficient with, for free. If he already has Wp Foc for a weapon of that group, he gets a bonus feat of the same type as he spent on the Wp Foc (General or Fighter, usually).

•Wp Spec at Ftr5, counts for all his Focused Groups, current and future, and if he took it at 4th (why not?) replacement feat time.

•Greater Wp foc in all his Groups at 7th. (This is early, so no replacement)

•Melee or Ranged Weapon Mastery at 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th (1 for each damage type, and each attack type), or replacement feats for each effective 'feat'.

•Greater Wp Spec in groups at 13th, as well. Replacement feat, again if needed.

•All the way up the chain through the requirements for Weapon Supremacy, which he gets for all weapons at 20th. (He qualifies to take the feat at 18th, and can again replace the feat if he took it then. Honestly, why wouldn't he?)

Thus a 20th Fighter gets about +4 to hit, +6 to damage, the ability to add +5 to hit to one iterative, full attack with any weapon in a grapple, take 10 on one attack per round, shoot 20' farther, and, via Wp Spec mostly, and qualify for a lot of other feats he might want. For all weapons.

All from dead levels.

His bonus feats would then give some actual options. Maybe he could afford the TWF tree or something.

Might keep a character in through fighter 20. But still have to fix 900+ damage charging, IMO.

I'd need to review the Wp Grp rules to see if I'm missing something obvious, of course.

Edit: If you do make Weapon Focus into the Weapon Supremacy tree for all characters, consider at least keeping the 'non-feat' Group Wp Foc's at odd levels for Fighter.

Edit 2: The Editing Actually, my edited idea (giving more of the better feats to folks who dip fighter) would only make Fighter more dippable. Carry on.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2016, 02:51:25 AM by Chemus »
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Offline Nifft

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2016, 10:04:56 AM »
Hmm. I like the idea of the Fighter being better at all the weapons. So, how about:

Weapon Focus
Prereq: BAB +2
Benefit: Blah blah just like core.
Special: Fighters get Weapon Focus in every weapon at level 2.

Weapon Specialization
Prereq: BAB +4, Weapon Focus
Benefit: Blah blah just like core.
Special: Fighters get Weapon Specialization in every weapon at level 4.

Greater Weapon Focus
Prereq: BAB +8, Weapon Focus
Benefit: Blah blah just like core.
Special: Fighters get Greater Weapon Focus in every weapon at level 8.

Greater Weapon Specialization
Prereq: BAB +12, Weapon Specialization
Benefit: Blah blah just like core.
Special: Fighters get Greater Weapon Specialization in every weapon at level 12.

... and so on.

Basically, give Fighters all the boring numerical speed-bump feats for free, and let them pick feats from the fun stuff.

Maybe give them free Toughness and Dodge at level 1, too. Not instead of their L1 bonus feat, but rather as a way of getting the boring stuff out of the way.

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 11:45:36 AM »
Another option is to simply remove the boring stuff, especially from the prerequisites of other feats. Nobody actually likes the Dodge feat, for example, since it is tedious to track the +1 AC vs 1 opponent. The Toughness feat is just a number: the feats with Toughness as a prerequisite aren't that great*, and if the goal was to give the Fighter more HP you could easily give Fighters a d12 hit die like a barbarian or a warblade. While the Designers did not want the good stuff to come right away, we don't have to follow that. While removing boring feats from prerequisites would benefit everyone and not just the Fighter, it would benefit the Fighter and his mundane buddies more, since spellcasters don't usually care about combat feats.

*the exception to the shoddiness of Toughness feat chains is Troll Blooded, but that one is so good it should cost more than one feat by itself.

In addition to shortening feat chains by removing the boring parts, you could give the Fighter ToB manoeuvers and Ranger-level skill points, or even Rogue-level skill points and skills, since skills are mostly used out of combat. Then you have feats which are not boring, fancy tricks for combat, AND something to do out of combat as well.

Offline Nifft

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2016, 12:07:16 PM »
Another option is to simply remove the boring stuff, especially from the prerequisites of other feats. Nobody actually likes the Dodge feat, for example, since it is tedious to track the +1 AC vs 1 opponent. The Toughness feat is just a number: the feats with Toughness as a prerequisite aren't that great
Yeah, that's also a good idea.

But still, having some speed bumps which the Fighter can ignore is a nice thing for the Fighter.

So, the key would be figuring out some kind of minimum speed-bump quotient for the good Feat chains to keep Feats a valuable resource with a high opportunity cost while allowing Fighters to ignore some of that cost.

and if the goal was to give the Fighter more HP you could easily give Fighters a d12 hit die like a barbarian or a warblade.
Nope, there should be a space for classes like the Barbarian where their thing is "the most HP but easy to hit".

IMHO Fighter should be "hard to hit and a lot of HP".

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2016, 12:41:52 PM »
The trouble with HP is that it barely qualifies as a "thing" at all. Hardly two people agree on what exactly HP represents, and no-one will see one more or one less HP per level as a highlighting, character-defining difference. That's all d12 vs d10 is: 1 HP per level. Equivalent to a single feat. A feat that is on the Fighter feat list no less, so a Fighter who takes it has already taken that "thing".

The Barbarian's HP total is not its thing, because the HP total is only an unmemorable number. When you ask someone what a Barbarian is in D&D, they won't tell you "its that one with the biggest hit die!" They'll tell you it is the one with Rage.

I think that's why they made the Warblade (which is a Fighter replacement in all but name) d12. At first, they thought the same as what you said: that there should be space for classes with the most HP but easy to hit. Then, as the game progressed, they realised that passive numeric bonuses to a defence can never define a class.

Offline Nifft

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2016, 12:47:13 PM »
The trouble with HP is that it barely qualifies as a "thing" at all. Hardly two people agree on what exactly HP represents, and no-one will see one more or one less HP per level as a highlighting, character-defining difference. That's all d12 vs d10 is: 1 HP per level. Equivalent to a single feat. A feat that is on the Fighter feat list no less, so a Fighter who takes it has already taken that "thing".

The Barbarian's HP total is not its thing, because the HP total is only an unmemorable number. When you ask someone what a Barbarian is in D&D, they won't tell you "its that one with the biggest hit die!" They'll tell you it is the one with Rage.

I think that's why they made the Warblade (which is a Fighter replacement in all but name) d12. At first, they thought the same as what you said: that there should be space for classes with the most HP but easy to hit. Then, as the game progressed, they realised that passive numeric bonuses to a defence can never define a class.

So, wait.

I just want to get this straight.

You're saying that Rage is separate from "the most HP", and Rage is important while "the most HP" is somehow untrue.

Is that accurate?

Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 12:58:01 PM »
Rage is separate from "the most HP": there are more than one class that has or can get Rage, and not all of them have the most HP, so clearly they're two different features that may be applied to the same class.

The point isn't "the barbarian does not really have the most HP" (though of course he does not). Rather, it was "the barbarian is not defined by having the most HP, and having the most hp is not important."

Offline Nifft

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2016, 01:36:17 PM »
Rage is separate from "the most HP": there are more than one class that has or can get Rage, and not all of them have the most HP, so clearly they're two different features that may be applied to the same class.

The point isn't "the barbarian does not really have the most HP" (though of course he does not). Rather, it was "the barbarian is not defined by having the most HP, and having the most hp is not important."
Barbarian does have the most HP, and Rage is part of why.

Barbarian is easier to hit than usual, and Rage is part of why.

Everything that I'm saying about the Barbarian's niche -- "the most HP but easy to hit" -- is, in part, due to Rage.

Rage reduces AC. What does this mean? "Easy to hit".

Rage increases Con. What does this mean? More HP.

High HD + bonus Con => "the most HP".

So, basically, if you see Rage as the core of the Barbarian, you are focusing on a class feature which supports my characterization.

But you're trying to use it to contradict the characterization (which it actually supports), and that tells me you either didn't think about what Rage means in mechanical terms, or you didn't understand what I was saying.

Hopefully now that's cleared up, and you can stop with this derail.

Offline Amechra

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2016, 01:40:53 PM »
Rage is a source of extra attacks, damage, and (if you do it right) some immunities. It's a lot more thing-y than HP.

Heck, if you do it right, it makes you harder to hit.

=---=

Kethrian, I looked at those, and they aren't really what I'm looking for.

My point is that, say, Great Cleave with no prereqs besides Power Attack would still be completely balanced at 1st level, since you only have so much reach and damage. The things that make Great Cleave "good" (damage and increased reach) happen naturally as you get more levels - Great Cleave remains a viable means to clear out mooks at all levels.

Or Whirlwind Attack - it's another good mook remover that wouldn't be amiss at 2nd level. It's only a shitty feat because it's buried behind three other feats. It's iconic for the damn Fighter, let it be easier to grab.

Or Two-Weapon Fighting - it's actually not that bad of a feat (other than "it's worse at Power Attack than two-handed"). If you rolled Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting into it, you're looking at a solid feat (it would turn two-weapon fighting into the equivalent of using Rapid Shot, which is about where you want to be when it comes to bonus attacks from feats.)

Or Uncanny Dodge - it "scales" with your Dexterity score. So why not replace the benefits of the Dodge feat with Uncanny Dodge?

So...

1. No number bumps - if it just adds +NUMBERS without adding choice, it's a no.
2. Every Fighter feat that does go NUMBERS should base it off of your ability scores. Makes the Fighter a better buff target for one.
3. Built-in scaling is kludgy - fighter feats should scale due to synergy with each-other and the raw improvements you get at each level.
4. Fighter feats should piggy-back off pre-existing actions, improve pre-existing actions, or should be at the base of the tree.
5. Don't be afraid to give mundane characters nice things.
6. The Fighter should be more than just feats.
7. Smooth out Power Attack - crank the power down a notch, just to get everything on a nice even level┬╣.

To explain #4: basically, you should never see "As a [foo] action, [bar]" on a Fighter feat that has any other feat as a pre-req (except maybe Tactical feats).

┬╣ I like replacing Power Attack's benefits with "you may, as a free action before making any attacks this turn, forgo your Strength bonus to attack rolls with melee attacks. If you do so, double your Strength modifier when determining your damage with melee attacks. This feat cannot be combined with Weapon Finesse."

This actually scales pretty well - you're rolling d20+BAB, but you're getting the equivalent of an extra +4~+9 to damage on 1~2 attacks at first level (depends on how much you cranked your Strength). Meanwhile, you're looking at +10 or more damage per attack at higher levels.

Synergies would be stuff like a fixed Monkey Grip (also increases your Strength multiplier when using oversized weapons), Shock Trooper (revised to "you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC instead of your Strength bonus to attack rolls").
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Offline Maelphaxerazz

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2016, 03:44:41 PM »
My point is that, say, Great Cleave with no prereqs besides Power Attack would still be completely balanced at 1st level, since you only have so much reach and damage.
You could remove Power Attack from its prerequisites as well. I would recommend having Power Attack as prerequisite only for feats that directly reference Power Attack (the way Shock Trooper does). Power Attack is a damage bonus that works best for people who like to do calculus on the table, and isn't in itself a particularly interesting feat. Everybody takes it because it is a prerequisite for other feats, but if you remove it from the prerequisites, then the only people who will take it are people who want the Power Attack feat itself, and not people who want all those other feats.

Offline Chemus

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 04:32:53 PM »
Uh, dumb idea, but to make the fighter more viable without rewriting the feats, why not just kinda do what you're saying:

Get rid of prereqs for fighter only, or give them to him free (as nifft suggested). Something like:
Quote
Any feat that has no feat prereqs of its own that is a prereq for a fighter feat is waived (or granted) when the fighter takes that feat as a bonus feat or for leveling up in fighter. (In the case of granting the feats, stat minimums might or might not be enforced)

Do that, and dodge, mobility, combat expertise, power attack, weapon focus, et al., all become either superfluous or just part of the feats that they normally chain to.
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Offline Kethrian

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Re: A Question vis-a-vis Fighter Feats
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 08:30:56 PM »
@Amechra: What you're really looking for, then, is a homebrew fighter that actually has fun stuff in the class, not just a series of bonus feats.  Got you covered.  Some of the class ability choices just give +Numbers, but most give new options and abilities, greatly expanding a fighter's combat choices beyond "I attack".
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