Make D&D Better, Remove Fighters From the Game

by Bauxtehude (Liam Gallagher) on January 5, 2011

Defenders suck. Well, maybe not ALL defenders. There are those rare exceptions where a player has come up with a particularly imaginative build like a Warden/Druid hybrid that turns into a swarm of bees and embraces the primal forces of nature. The defenders I’ve got a real beef with are Fighters, specifically any Fighter built like our good friend Conscore McSwordy.

Today we let Bauxtehude off the reigns. He’s got some very strong opinions about defenders. After listening to his ranting at the game table for the past year I buckled and let him have his say on Dungeon’s Master. I may not agree with everything he says in this article but I wanted to give him a chance to rant about it. I leave it to you, the readers, to put him in his place and let him know just how wrong he is about his stance on Fighters. – Ameron

I think we all have a Conscore McSwordy at our gaming table. You’ll recognize him by his heavy armor and shield (giving him an incredibly high AC), a starting Constitution score of 20 or higher and very little going on upstairs. Fighters built like Conscore McSwordy are simply annoying. I particularly hate that they can lock down combat with abilities like “if you attack anyone but me, I get to stop your attack, stop your movement and then pound you for 1W damage” and “I have the highest defenses and hit points, smash my skull all day, Int was my dump stat so I wont even notice.” Fighters are ruining D&D. I say we just get rid of them all together.

Too Sticky

If you’re looking for a way to make D&D combat intentionally boring just add a Fighter to the party. When hostile combatants move around the map the party has to cope with the new tactical positioning. Fighters prevent this kind of movement, keeping combat stationary and boring.

Why even have controllers at all if there are Fighters in the game. The Fighter wants all the monsters surrounding him and once he’s got them marked he doesn’t want them going anywhere. Defender who lock down opponents (again, the Fighter being the prime culprit) all but eliminate the controllers forced movement powers making these classes feel particularly useless.

Strikers built to jump from the shadows and hit unaware opponents moving past them must give up the advantages that come from stealth once the Fighter marks everyone and keeps them in place.

The leader’s role becomes trivialized as well. Not only is their expertise as a battlefield commander inconsequential, but any tactical choices about who to heal are completely removed. With Conscore McSwordy taking all the punishment it’s safe to say we know who’s getting all of the Inspiring Words.

As an RPG, D&D at its best is high flying and explosive. Characters can swing dramatically from the brink of death to making a heroic, tide-turning, daily-using, action-point-spending surge to victory unlike any other game. However, without major alterations it’s not the best game system for political intrigue (if you want that play Houses of the Blooded) nor is it ideal for cloak & dagger (if you want that play L5R). Where 4e D&D does excel is in its combat mechanics which rely heavily on the grid. Dynamic tactical movement is a huge part of what makes D&D combat great. The defenders (Fighters) are the antithesis of what D&D does well. Remove Fighters from the combat equation and things will get a lot more interesting and likely a lot more fun.

Hogging the Spotlight

The Fighter begins his turn by marking everyone, but then further hogs the spotlight as he continues to act and react on everyone else’s turn. Your gaming table becomes the Conscore McSwordy show. The Fighter keeps jumping in to remind you about the penalties affecting each opponent. This slows down combat and makes the monster’s turn very boring. DMs find that their best course of actions for the monsters is to just say “I use ‘nothing happens this round.’ Oh look, I got a 12 does that hit your insanely high AC?”

TPK? Not While I’m Here

With a Fighter in the party there is almost no chance of the PCs even facing a truly desperate situation. The Fighter easily soaks up damage that might otherwise decimate any other PC involved in the combat.

The only solution is to have every monster use blasts and close bursts that include the Fighter in the attack. But this gets boring and is overly punitive to everyone not playing a Fighter. It’s like using a shotgun to kill a fly. It may solve the problem but it’s not going to be pretty.

Strong Defense, Weak Offense

In order to try and maintain some kind of balance between classes and roles, defenders have really high defenses and comparatively low damage output. This combination makes standard combat encounter drag on forever.

Add to this that fact that monsters in general tend to lack danger and any sense of dramatic flare in 4e D&D. Fighting the biggest and baddest opponent becomes a long drawn out combat against a docile creature. I can’t tell you how often a one attack per round solo monster is stunned or dazed for the first half of the encounter and then fails to hit the defender for the second half.

Even the players find this kind of encounter boring. I sometimes wish that the rest of the party would just join forces with the solo monster and gang up on the Fighter. He’d be caught unaware and you may even pull off a coup de grace. Once he’s down the rest of the party can actually play D&D and have some fun.

What’s Role-Playing?

Have you ever seen a Fighter actually try role-playing his character? Defenders in general offer very limited range in role-playing possibility. The classes themselves encourage a min/max mentality when assigning ability scores. They practically demand competitive feat selection. Players running Fighters can always just say “To hell with what’s on paper, I’ll role-play the character I want to role play!” but that’s a very rare exception to what I’ve seen in practice.

If you build your Fighter competitively, min/maxing his defenses and ability scores, you don’t have the points to spare to round out his non-fighting abilities. He’ll lack the Charisma to form words, the Intelligence to actually have anything to say or the Wisdom to notice that anything is going on around him. From a mechanics perspective, most of his skills will be so awful he’ll hurt the party every time he’s forced to make a skill check.

Reality Check

People like playing Fighters. I don’t get it myself, but they are certainly popular. So even as I rant on about all of the reasons for removing Fighters from D&D I know that many people will ignore me and keep on playing their own Conscore McSwordy. That’s your call.

In these cases I hope that you’ve got a great DM who has found clever things for your character to do or you may have found an exciting way to redefine the role in combat that is a hip manifestation of your character concept. But I plead with all of the Fighter-lovers out there to try playing other classes and other roles. Stop slowing down the game and just build a striker already. Be the envy of the table and roll the big damage dice for once in your life.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 froth January 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

love yalls blog but this is terrible. does the author know that fighters can only combat challenge once a round? hated this

2 Azanhour Axebearer January 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

This is one reason why I have players give me their character sheets. I find opponents that attack something other than their AC. AC 20, great. How’s your reflex, 12? Looks like you’re going to take a bad beating here!
It’s funny to see how fast the players want a magic item or some way to boost their low defense!

3 froth January 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

arggh ill stop replying but the ac comments, paladins have better ac. the marking comments, fighters cant just ‘mark’ they have to hit or miss on an attack. it doesnt sound like the author knows how fighters play and that is probably the reason for their disdain

4 Captain Spud January 5, 2011 at 9:27 am

Err… what?

1. The only way for a Fighter to start with 20 CON is to also start with 14 or 16 STR, which means his accuracy will suck. Considering that all those punishments you’re complaining about depend on him hitting, a 20CON Fighter is pretty awful.

2. “The Fighter begins his turn by marking everyone”. Err.. what? Fighters mark one person, or two if they have one of two specific at-wills. Everyone else around the Fighter is unmarked and can Shift away whenever they like.

3. It’s the DM’s fault if he’s sending the entire enemy roster into melee with the Fighter. If your DM isn’t completely stupid, the bad guys should send one Brute or Soldier after the Fighter to keep him busy, and then have all the rest of the melee forces run around him to punch the soft back row.

4. Fighters aren’t THAT hard to kill. Two rounds of focused fire should plant one into the dirt without any major issues. Three if they’re completely defense-oriented (like the one I play).

5. “Fighters don’t roleplay”..? WTF?! Tendency to roleplay has almost no connection at all to character class. I’ve played with Bards who never say a word, and Fighters who never break character. Roleplaying comes down to the player, not the character.

This is the stupidest and whiniest blog article I’ve read in a really long time. It has lowered my opinion of this normally-excellent blog– why the hell was this allowed to see the green light? Don’t you guys have some kind of editorial figurehead to keep garbage like this off the front page?
Captain Spud´s last blog post ..Paint The Target- Jan 2011

5 Ameron January 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

I’ve been playing D&D with Bauxtehude for over a year and since day one he’s been complaining about defenders (Fighters specifically). Every couple of weeks he’s brought up his dislike of the defender classes. Finally I said “If you feel that strongly about it, write a blog post and share your discontent.” This was the end result.

I see this article as his way to rant and rave and be done with it once and for all. I also expected that a lot of people would come out and defend the merits of the defenders (which I see is already happening in the comments above).

I happen to be a big fan of the defenders, especially the Paladin class which I’ve played for over 10 levels. I agree that the sticky Fighters can be a real pain for the DM, but otherwise I think they do exactly what they’re supposed to do – defend the other PCs. Sorry, Bauxtehude we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

6 Captain Spud January 5, 2011 at 9:56 am

You might want to slap a “this post does not reflect the opinions of the blog as a whole” disclaimer at the top, because right now this is reflecting VERY poorly on you and your team.
Captain Spud´s last blog post ..Paint The Target- Jan 2011

7 ronin_randy January 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

Seriously? I’d rather run a game without a leader than without a defender. I feel way too cruel wailing on the softy strikers and running past them to smack down the ranged folks that want to be in the back if there isn’t someone at least trying to stop me.

While the fighter is the best defender out there at his particular mode of defense (mark, punish and prevent), they’re ultimately not the stickiest builds out there (they need to hit to get the “punishment” part). Way to alienate 20%+ of the players out there with something that’s clearly rules-ignorant.
ronin_randy´s last blog post ..RAVE- The Pitch Meeting

8 Zyberst January 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

@ Captain Spud
Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Also I dare the writer of this post to play a campaign through 5 – 10 levels, using the standard monsters compared to a game with a fighter and see how long the group lasts (Fighter is switched out with a striker.)

9 Bauxtehude January 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

@Froth: it seems your not the only person who is in a froth over the position I take in this article. The fighter can use the combat challenge once a round but they can use combat superiority on every monster’s turn that forces the table to wait for a resolution of an attack that will do minimal damage and stop the creature’s movement.

There’s lots of ways for a fighter to get more than one attack in per round so I wont list them, but there are tricks that span item selection all the way to race choice. Remember that the fighter only needs roll the attack die. There’s lots of people I know who keep a bundle of javlins with them just to mark enemies they can’t get in melee with knowing they they’ll never hit them.

@Azanhour Axebearer: This is one of the easiest ways to force a character with a two dimensional to grow. As a DM you can target at character’s strengths or weaknesses. If you target their strengths often times they just overcome and reassert their qualities, but if you target their weaknesses and beat them you force them to rethink their lot in life.

@Captian Spud: a fighter with a Con score of 20 actually fills the defender role quite well; the higher the con score the higher the hit points, surge value and number of surges. Sure this types of fighter has a bad attack score but if you wanted a good swing and damage dice there are a wide range of strikers out there to play.

There’s lots of ways that fighters can get their hands on bursts, blasts and multiple attacks per round. Right now I am playing in a group that has a dragonborn that can use it’s breath attack up to four times an encounter up to a blast 5 or in burst.

Where are you quoting “Fighters don’t roleplay” from? That’s not even in the article, nor is any such claim made. If someone where to make that claim I would be like: “No! You are wrong, stop that.”

@Ronin Randy: Seriously? Nope. You got me. That being said, I’ll agree with you that the fighter is not the stickiest defender out there, but it is the most accessable sticky fighter, it’s iconic and a likley choice and it has been around the longest so you see it the most.

I’m interested to see where you get your figures from though, I am surpised to learn that 20%+ D&D players identify as fighters. Care to cite your source?

@All: Lets think about magnitude. I am more than content to have you rag on me all day, and I wrote the piece so I will defend it but I encourage a humorous or even satrical reading of this article. You might want to look over it a think “Is this really worth fighting about?”.

10 Chris January 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

Thank-you… finally someone had the courage to point out the elephant in the living room. I know this position might anger a certain percentage of people, but I believe there is a percentage who agree with the argument. However, they just may not be as vocal about it as this author.

11 R.F. January 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

This post is an embarrassment to the entire website. I actually had to click through while asking myself “Why am I subscribed to the feed for this site again?” I have a lowered opinion of the place just for having seen it on the front page. Even if it was originally meant in jest (which I really doubt), it’s so poorly done that it calls the judgment of the poster and the rest of the site into question.

What a mess.

12 newbiedm January 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

There’s one thing that this article does highlight for me, and it’s a thing that bothers me about D&D and what it’s become. It really is a game now where most people are playing it as a numbers game, made up of builds, min maxing and milking the char. creation process as much as possible to generate the most effective combatant out there. If the character isnt effective in combat, he’s just not worth playing.

Gone are the days of the 2e quote “sometimes characters with low ability scores are the most interesting to play”.

Oh well. :)

13 froth January 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

a fighter gets to use combat superiority every turn if you are provoking oas every turn. again, that would be YOUR problem. also with your javelin marking comment, the fighter is not in range to punish that mark so its a -2 penalty for one round. big whooppedeedoo, you want to REALLY cry about defenders, watch my wifes warden mark with dragonfear. judging by your blog post, yould be crying like a baby ripping up your campaign.

14 justaguy January 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

@ Bauxtehude “You might want to look over it a think “Is this really worth fighting about?”.”

Only if it’s worth ranting about… I mean, come on, did you expect to attack something on the internet and not have people react to you strongly?

“Where are you quoting “Fighters don’t roleplay” from? That’s not even in the article, nor is any such claim made.”

Actually, you imply it with your question of “Have you ever seen a Fighter actually try role-playing his character?”. Given the tone of your article, and the wording, I (as well as others it seems) assume that you feel fighters /don’t/ rp their character. If that was not the intent, then you chose your phrasing poorly to convey what you wanted to convey.

I played a dragonborn fighter in our groups first 4E game… and while we only got to 3rd or 4th level I never fealt particularly sticky… Sure, I could blast a 3×3 square once an encounter but that required the creatures being lined up right. And yeah I had some javelins for cases where I needed to attack an opponent far away, but that’s only one opponent. And all they would get is a -2 to hit. In our current game we have a warden, and I love that she can mark everything near her easily… so, while I sympathize that your particular situation has been bad for your own enjoyment, I don’t think that really translates to most groups out there. I mean… what is more disruptive to the fun and flow of a session… the defender defending, or you ranting about how defenders should play another class because it’s not fun for you?

15 hbunny January 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Each of the situations you mention can theoretically happen, but if they’re coming up that often I have to wonder who is designing your encounters. We would have to go out of our way to design and play an encounter that made the Fighter so influential on how it played out. In two years of playing 4e with a Fighter in virtually every group, we haven’t seen anything like this kind of dominance of the encounters.

I agree with some of what you’re saying in principal. While roles (Leader/Defender/Striker/Controller) make it easier to design and play encounters, they do become self-limiting pretty quickly. There’s a really good blog post over on the Guild Wars 2 site about getting rid of the dedicated healer class and thinking of defenders (the “tanks”) as battlefield controllers. It’s good food for thought.

As far as removing Fighters completely from the game – if they’re causing this many problems for you I suspect there’s something else broken in the encounters.
hbunny´s last blog post ..Northward

16 Ameron January 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I’m hear you. D&D 4e has regrettably become more about the numbers and a lot less about the role-playing. At least that is what I’m seeing when I play at my FLGS, D&D Game Day and GenCon. Bauxtehude does a fantastic job as the DM by encouraging and rewarding strong character concepts more than the number crunching. It’s gamers that embrace the flavour more than the mechanics (like Bauxtehude) that seem to view min/maxing as such an affront to the game. I’ve just come to accept it as the way some people want to play the game. If it works for them, so be it.

17 DreadGazebo January 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

This article is 100% awful.
DreadGazebo´s last blog post ..Dreadful Deeds- Wintery Doom Edition

18 froth January 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm

i tend to laugh my ass off when i read people try to inisinuate that you cant optimize a pc and roleplay at the same time. by a billion miles the best roleplayers i have gamed with also have the most grasp of the rules and pc optimization. it is a total myth to say otherwise, and i am sorry to tell some of you whiny crybabies that you can put a 20 in a starting stat and still make believe. its extremely irritating and usually comes from people that cant build a pc worth a flip OR roleplay, so they need something to complain about to make them feel better. this blog post is bad enough but lets just go ahead and nip the whole ‘optimizers cant roleplay’ line of bs in the bud. its really beneath the standards of this blog

19 Captain Spud January 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Ugh, I’m done with this ridiculous argument. Beaux, you’re an awful DM if you’re letting the Fighter mess things up this badly.

<– out
Captain Spud´s last blog post ..Paint The Target- Jan 2011

20 Robert Miiller January 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm


I think the author has a point. I have seem a similar pattern of encounter dynamics with my level 21 Paladin. He divine sanctions a lot, drives bunches of creatures to bounce off him and his high defenses, or applies some walloping penalties to their attacks against his party (-4 to -8 for their attacks is pretty common).

He doesn’t stagnate movement, but I think he does stagnate encounters. The GM misses a lot more, my party takes less damage, and there is far less feeling that there is any real threat to the party. Every round I reminding folks of a bonus to defense or a penalty to attack rolls I am handing out.

You may say, Awesome job! Which is the point. A defender’s job is to stagnate the game. I think the author is right about this point. Some of that gets lost in the Roar, make my point, Eat it suckers, style of presentation….


21 Brian Engard January 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

My home game has both a fighter and a paladin in it. They’re both combat monsters, able to dish out striker-level damage with relative frequency. The fighter soaks up damage like it’s going out of style because he constantly has temporary hit points, and the paladin has an AC so high that he only gets hit one out of every four attacks.

This does not, however, cause the same problems stated in this article. I think any problems you’re having with defenders dominating the battlefield can be pretty easily overcome simply by using monsters that target the defenders’ weak points, and by using terrain that makes the defenders work a little harder to be effective.

That isn’t to say that the players don’t trounce the occasional fight. They do. And you know what? I’m fine with it, because this isn’t an adversarial game. I’d argue that if you’re upset because you’re not getting TPKs, or not dropping the players often enough, you’ve got two problems. The first is that maybe your encounters aren’t designed that well. The second is that maybe you’re playing this game for the wrong reasons. It’s okay for the players to feel like badasses sometimes. They’re supposed to.
Brian Engard´s last blog post ..Gamma World Character Generation Table

22 Ekeraath January 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I think some people are missing some good nuggets in this article. You’ll need to get past the hyperbole but it’s there.

I play a dragonborn Conscore McHammery, with con as my second highest score to strength. Our combats usually start with the monsters spread out. I usually either wait for them to come close enough for Come and Get It or the wizard and I herd them together with Thunderwave and Tide of Iron. Then I have enough bursts and blasts to keep those guys marked for 3-4 rounds. If there’s any left after that I can use Threatening Rush to mark everything. While I’m doing that, our wizard is dropping bursts and blasts on us, while the warlord and rogue pick off anything that’s loose, and the burn down the pile I made one by one. The priest keeps me from falling over and tries to do these cool attacks, but usually rolls miserably and misses. This must get boring for our DM. Sure he could make encounters with all artillery and controllers on 30 foot high ledges, but is that any more fun? I kind of feel bad for the catch-22 he’s in.

As for stealing the spotlight, it doesn’t happen all the time but is does happen often enough. When I have an action point, I can do 2 Dragon’s Breaths and 2 of my other close bursts. It takes a long time to resolve those 12 hit rolls if I hit only 3 creatures with each attack. I usually tell the rest of the table that it’s a good time go to the bathroom, get a drink, shop for car insurance online, etc. when I do this.

Maybe we have a killer party comp, or maybe we just happen to take the right mix of abilites to enable this. Either way, why do we put up with this? Because at this point were at level 20 in a campaign that we expect to last for 30 levels, and it’s effective. we kill bad guys dead. Would you change your character or tactics after so much success? I’m not about to.

23 Ameron January 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I think you’re absolutely correct that the best role-players often have the greatest understanding of the rules and will optimize their characters in the most creative ways, including a 20 stat from level 1. I find that the same is not usually true for the flip-side of that point and that most (not all) of the die-hard min/maxers I’ve met are terrible role-players. They just want to roll dice and kill monsters. For me, that’s not the be-all and end-all of D&D. I believe that the best games have balance between role-playing and combat. But a little power gaming never hurts either, as long as it’s an exception and not the norm.

24 Bauxtehude January 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

@Chris: Thanks for the kind words, and yeah the point is made with some ice in the veins but “I Don’t Like Fighters, Some Times… I Guess” doesn’t make for much of a read.

@ R.F.: I hope you read this site because it offers a large selection of information and points of view on the hobby from people who consider what they have to say with care and then stand behind it. I am sorry you don’t like the article but I am not out to befriend the whole internet. If you’ve got any questions about why I hold the stance that I do (even if it’s presented in jest) I would love to have them. I wrote the article and I promise to explain it to the site’s audience to the best of my ability.

@newbiedm: It all comes down to what your table is like and what kind of game they want to play. When I DM I don’t really have much interest in the whole “lumpy metal things” treasure hunt type of game, but there are tables where Conscore McSword fits in really well and everyone present has a lot of fun. The problem isn’t so much that people play D&D like a board game but more in the presentation of the game, which tends to encourage new players into a purely mechanical way of thinking. One of my players is a consistant reader of the character optimization boards but I am ok with it because even though his character is effective, he has a well fleshed out background that motivates the choices he makes. He doesn’t walk into town and say “fight me or give me a quest.”

@ justaguy: My comments about role playing your fighter are based in the idea that you can either apply a character concept based on the stats of your PC or one not based on the stats of your PC. If you do the later it doesn’t matter what you play so that approach is in the clear. If you are building your character concept off of your stats as huge AC fighter there’s little room to build upon. It’s fun to play the brain dead fighter and it’s always good for a laugh but I seldom see anyone bring any other type of fighter to the table.

Your comment about me “attacking something on the internet” does bring up something that I am surpised about though. It seems as though I have personally offended some people which is something I never expected to do. I am sorry if I insulted anyone by not likeing a D&D class.

The fighter that you described is different than the one I described, which might explain why you did not experience the same problems I have.

@ hbunny: In the end the quality of encounters is something each group needs to deal with as a table. The problem encountered, as discussed, was emphasized so that the article would be worth a laugh but would still bring up valid points. Rather than being funny some people seem to have taken the issue very personally as it has struck a nerve with them.

I think that as 4th ed. class design progressed and as new classes were brought out (including new fighter builds) the game got more fun to play because it was easier to make just the character you want and their where fewer obvious choices to be made, Twin Strike notwithstanding. In PHB1 it made sense for the classes presented to be archetypal and well defined. Now with hybrids and super multiclassings people can impliment (with greater ease) the kinds of changes that you speak about in guild wars into their own game.

@froth: I have a tendency to think it is foolish when people try to say that people who Min./Max. can’t RP well. Please direct me to where one of the blog’s authors said such a thing.

@Captian Spud: I agree, if I were to let one of my players ruin my game I would be a pretty bad DM.

25 Bauxtehude January 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

@Robert Miiller: I am glad we can see eye to eye on the issue. What matters in the end is that you’re getting out of the game what you want to. You’ve built a good defender and he keeps combat nice a safe, good one you. Hope it was worth at least a chuckle.

@Brian Engard: I think that something people have missed that maybe should have been made more clear is that Conscore Mcsword is my character. I am not the DM in this case. When I talk about TPKs, I a talking about me and my party being killed. To me the game is really missing something if I am in a fight and there is no chance of my character getting killed. to me the stakes are just not high enough, I would rather just play foosball.

Beyond with that I understand and agree with your take completely. It can be fun to build a combat monster and see it go to work and work as planned.

@ Ekeraath: His long lost brother! Again these situations come down to what kind of game you want to play. You can DM like John Wick and try to cause your players as much well placed agony as possible, ala Play Dirty, or you can impresonally randomize numbers all day and everything in between. What makes D&D a good game is that it can almost be what each person needs it to be, unless you don’t want to play high fantasy.

@all : feel free to visit and listen to the actual plays of me DMing before you pass your final judgement. Also I’m on twitter if you want to really tell me what you think of me @ShatteredSea.
Bauxtehude´s last blog post ..Pantheon 0001- The Game Where Gods Play

26 froth January 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

though i wasnt specifically talking about your post, im not about to stand corrected on matters of roleplay from the author of such drivel as

“Defenders in general offer very limited range in role-playing possibility.”

27 Alton January 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Seems this article has caused quite a stir.

@ Baux

Good article. I did note the sarcasm and the frustration in article. Some people I guess took it the wrong way. At first I thought this was a character builder forum thread. A lot of negative feedback with no possible solution or point of view. Anyways…

@ the comment

I think fighters have always had their limitations in all the editions of D&D. It seems to be the character class that everyone uses as an introductory character. It seems the one that is the easiest and the most straitforward to play.
I think the reason most “do not roleplay” is in my experience, the newbies who play them. We have a fighter in the party who roleplays OK. More often than not he is out of commission within the first 4 rounds. He is either immobilized, dazed, stunned etc… and gets pummelled by the adversary. He gets really frustrated.

I find though that the new builds do allow for a wider range of classes of fighters. I find though that most people who have fighters are the ones that love combat. Not everyone (as you have mentioned) likes to roleplay and they only want the min/max aspect of the game.

As a DM if find getting around fighters is somewhat easy and fun to do. I either set them up to be dazed and I try not provoke opportunity attacks so that he would only get the combat challenge as an immediate interrupt and not the combat superiority as an opportunity action. My monster then does not fall prone and as a second move action retreat once out of his threat range, and the other fodder of the encounter that delayed his turn runs in to engage the fighter leaving the big guys to continue his rampage against the Strikers, Leaders and the Controllers.

I do find that, compared to any other edition, all classes in 4th have an equal opportunity to be stellar in their own way. As someone mentioned already, the ability has nothing to do with the system itself, but the players who play this character.

I do agree that fighter can sure slow play down. With the little damage output they have the fight can continue forever. That is why the party should have max 1 fighter or 2 defenders.

I currently play a 16th level Goliath Warden. I will admit he is a tank @ 154 HP. I love to roleplay. I have made him a healing Warden. I have taken up to 375 pts of damage in one encounter. Did that stop my DM from circumventing me and getting to the other party members? Heck no. He had me running around like a Lawful Good fool. Every time I thought I had contained the monsters, they would get around me and pummel the party. There are sometimes that I slowed the creatures so much that we trounced the monsters. But hey, that is part of the game right?

Anyways good article, and for anyone not happy out there: Everyone is allowed their opinion!!! Good or bad, it make for good reading.

Continue the good work Dungeon’s Master!!!

28 Blinkey January 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I enjoyed this article and can sympathize with many of the sentiments. I run a fairly new (to the game) group and my players take long enough to make their own (planned) turns… spontaneous interruptions to punish mark transgression etc just drags things out longer than it ever should. I also agree that with a sticky defender you get some degree of ‘Look at me!’ and hogs the spotlight because they can (and do because lets face it, its how you play the role) intercede fairly often if they play smart.

I’ve run a lot of encounters now where it was simply the defender’s high AC and damage soaking that got them through it (due to bad play etc). A lot of the time the defender seems to actually make bad play acceptable because its harder to punish the poor players around him for their stupidity and this is really my issue with things.

This all said, in a strategic tactical game that 4E is, the defender role is important and a clever addition. While there are obvious drawbacks, I think being able to field a piece that performs these functions (gives the DM/monster headaches) *should* exist. If players enjoy playing it then that’s enough for me. The defender fits its role in that it does literally defend the other characters. While they might render a controller somewhat ineffective at times, the controller can’t really fit the same niche.

Yes the defender bugs me as a DM because it locks up encounters. Yes it bugs some players because the defender is always interrupting flow but these don’t really matter a lot of the time. I still have fun as a DM, my players still (usually) have fun, they accept that without the defender they’d take more pain so they see this as good teamwork and balance rather than someone stealing the show.

A couple of ways around this I’ve found is to hit the defender with status effects (most can shrug these off but not forever usually), forced movement from the monsters disrupts their positioning (dwarves kinda prevent this) and as already mentioned AoE and targeting their weaker NADs. It’d be wrong to constantly throw this kind of stuff at the defender player though, by the focus on their role they should be allowed to make some combat trivial by their strengths. It’d be like never throwing an ice creature at a pyromancer just to kick them for specializing (but not all encounters should likewise contain ice monsters).

On the RP front, our ‘sword and board’ player simply CAN’T RP. Its actually hilarious at times. He has min/maxed (in his eyes anyway) and I’m pretty confident he sees his guy’s low intelligence/charisma as sort of ‘RP get-out clause’. We enjoy having him in the game and we knew he wouldn’t be great at playing anybody other than ‘himself’. If he’s comfortable like that and the other players have no issue then I don’t really see any reason to complain at him.

Aaaaaaaanyway, Good article Baux! =) It engaged my brain and stopped me lurking. Nothing like something slightly controversial to get the discussion going. Articles like this round out a blog, they in no way detract from it. Airing unusual or generally seldom-discussed opinions adds credibility (some responses have unbelievably implied the opposite). Don’t let some of the more vocal detractors bug you. People take some articles far too seriously ;)


Blinkey ;)

29 Gormal January 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I just started play again after years of being away fI agree figters are a one shot deal. Mark defend soak rinse and repeat. and maybe die. Defenders suck. :)

30 Gormal January 5, 2011 at 9:53 pm

One thing to point out is that the article is well written. It creates discusion and moves everyone to have an opinion good job.

31 Flaime January 5, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Where are you quoting “Fighters don’t roleplay” from?

What’s Role-Playing?

Have you ever seen a Fighter actually try role-playing his character? Defenders in general offer very limited range in role-playing possibility. The classes themselves encourage a min/max mentality when assigning ability scores. They practically demand competitive feat selection. Players running Fighters can always just say “To hell with what’s on paper, I’ll role-play the character I want to role play!” but that’s a very rare exception to what I’ve seen in practice.

If you build your Fighter competitively, min/maxing his defenses and ability scores, you don’t have the points to spare to round out his non-fighting abilities. He’ll lack the Charisma to form words, the Intelligence to actually have anything to say or the Wisdom to notice that anything is going on around him. From a mechanics perspective, most of his skills will be so awful he’ll hurt the party every time he’s forced to make a skill check.

You said it. Then you denied saying it.

Aside from that, your real problem is that 4th Ed was designed to play like WoW. So just say that.

32 RPG Ike January 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Boom! Internet rage! Good times. ;)

I also noted your hyperbole and frustration, Baux, and while I don’t agree with everything in your article (especially not that fighters are limited in RP opportunities or “should” be removed from the game), I also feel that it can be boring as anything to DM defenders for many of the reasons you cited. They certainly contributed indirectly to my decision to stop running 4E—I just felt the encounters dragged, and I always had a highly effective defender or two rooting my critters in place.

Anyway, great linkbait, guys. Don’t be down about the vitriolic response. It’s your blog, and as Gormal points out you’re creating discussion.

33 Uberdungeon January 6, 2011 at 2:45 am

I have the utmost respect for dungeons and dragons…
but if you really wanna play a game where fighters don’t get a billion and a half things to do per round (same forother classes) then man up and play 3E or better, 3.5E
sorry guys, but you all need to recognize when WotC is just out for some cash and some new people…….. make a wisdom check

34 bigwill January 6, 2011 at 4:40 am

The only thing thats wrong with Defenders is that they can mark only one creature at a time, more only if they use a Daily power of some sort.

in my group i have a Battlemind wich is does it great.
i play in a different group and we have 2 fighters, 1 normal 2 handed weapon master, and a Icon class fighter Slayer build.

The slayer does massive damage 1d10 +16 at lvl 2.
the normal fighter has high hitpoints and uses cleave alot, but for the rest he can mark only one creature, to make that fighter good i have a Warlord Archery build, with a lot of provoking attacks to help the fighter with his marks.

My oppinion Defenders do not suck, but there weak against multiple targets, they cannot hold each enemy at bay all the time, the Defender works best with .
A – provoking characters
B – AoE Controllers.

35 Mike January 6, 2011 at 6:35 am

@ bigwill – This is off topic, but I’m dying of curiosity: Please break down the damage for the level 2 slayer. I just can’t figure out the +16 even with dex bonuses and other mods.

36 froth January 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

yes and while youre at it please explain where you got the idea a defender can only mark one creature at a time, thats just wrong

37 Robert Miiller January 6, 2011 at 10:03 am

After thinking about this article over night, I was reminded of a Making Magic column by Mark Rosewater. He was answering the question, why does WotC make bad Magic Cards. There were several reasons, but the one that will always exist, no matter the game system, is relevant to this topic.

In any game system, at least ones that have meaningful play, there has to always be good decisions and bad decisions. Otherwise there is no meaningful choice involved. If, in your game design, you eliminate the “bad” choices, you only demote the next rank of choices, the “not quite as good as the best choice” to the bad choices.

It occurs to me that if the author were to have his way, and Fighters were eliminated from the game, the role of the game element that tends to stagnate play would shift up to the next game element on the ladder. If that was eliminated, then the next game element would assume its place, and ever onward up, until there was one game element left, at which point (and probably much sooner) the game itself would be stagnant and no longer fun to play because meaningful choice would have been eliminated.

Likewise, if Fighters are the hardest to role play, eliminating them isn’t going to cure the “this guy can’t role play” problem. It will just shift to the next class, and then the next and so on.

In other words, eliminating the Fighter isn’t going to solve the author’s problems with the game, and will instead diminish the game as whole.

38 alton January 6, 2011 at 10:46 am

@ froth

I think bigwill meant Fighters and not Defenders. Common mistake.

39 froth January 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm

thats still wrong, a fighter can mark any creature he hits or misses, on a close burst he can mark every creature

40 skallawag January 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I remember about a year ago there was a poll about which class a party could most do without. I think the Controller was the most chosen, but I picked Defender for my own personal reasons.

While I don’t agree with some of the finer points of Bauxtehude’s article, I do see the linkage between 4E and World of Warcraft (and someone brought this to light in one of their comments and apologies for not remembering who). The 4E defender is like a tank class in WoW — holding the attention of mobs and getting beat on, but doing less damage. I miss the days of 3.5E where fighters resembled fighters from those fantasy novels we all love, and could dish out some sweet damage (i.e.Caramon Majere from Dragonlance).

In my own mind, true fighters are already removed from the game.

41 Wimwick January 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

@ Robert Miiller
Thanks for taking the time to add some extra thought to the discussion. You make an interesting point about their needing to be a bad choice.

@ Skallawag
Just to toss a wrench into the whole arguement, consider the Essentials Fighter. One build is the Slayer, a Fighter which is a Striker and can’t mark. Of course that’s an arguement we made a year and half ago The Fighter As A Striker.

42 bigwill January 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm

@ MIke

Sorry i went a bit of topic i do that sometins…….or a lot :)

well i will breack it down for ya.

A Slayer works on Basic Attacks (icon class / essentials)
Dex score 20 = a +5 mod.
Feat : Melee training (other ability then strength on basic attacks)
so choose Dexterity (+5)
Slayer active ability is that you also gain your Dex to damage extra
so 5+5=10.
then slayer Stance Battle Wrath = +2 on basic attack (5+5+2=12)
+1 Bracers of Mighty Striking = +2 dam on basic attacks (5+5+2+2=14)
+1 Bloodclaw 2handed weapon = take 1 dam, deal 2 dam (5+5+2+2+2=16)
you can also increase ith 17 with the feat weapon focus

i hope this has been breacking down enough for ya :)

43 Soklemon January 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Wow…. very thought-provoking article!
And, spot on. The tongue-in-cheek made it an enjoyable article (I dont like Fighters….Some times…) but the ideas were right where they needed to be.

@all of you who are having NerdRage

Calm down. Its @Bauxtehude ‘s opinion. Please, discuss civilly.

Great Job Dungeons Master! Great Dnd Article. One of the best Ive read in a while.

44 Skallawag January 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Based on the DDI Compendium, Slayer is considered a class and not a modification of, paragon path, or epic destiny the Fighter class. The true “Fighter” I’m referring to is still gone from 4E. I understand why Wizards changed the Fighter class the way it did, and I don’t think I ever liked it.

45 Mike January 7, 2011 at 6:38 am

@bigwill: I might be missing something, but the melee training feat (in the online character builder) says you only get to add HALF your alternate mod (in this case DEX (+5 )would become + 2) to the damage role. Check it out and let me know what you think.

46 froth January 7, 2011 at 6:58 am

yeah some people havent noticed that got nerfed yet apparently

47 Alton January 7, 2011 at 7:40 am

@ froth

Thanks for the clarification on the fighter marking multiple enemies at once. You learn something new every day.

BTW what does “yeah some people havent noticed that got nerfed yet apparently” mean.

48 froth January 7, 2011 at 8:24 am

well, they nerfed melee training. interestingly most wizards conspiracy types think it is all a result of essentials since there are classes reliant on mbas, though wizards has said they have not made any changes they wouldnt have otherwise. but basically as mike lays out above, you only do half your mod additional damage now. i cant recall which exact rules update its in, either the november one or one of the ones they put out in a seperate pdf as ‘changes coming with essentials’. so when bigwill was calculating damage above, he wasnt taking it into consideration. i didnt mean it to sound harsh, im sure thousands of people havent noticed or been made aware of all of the rules updates

49 chase_dagger January 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

About the role playing thing, maybe there are limited options but the fighter in my group does a good job of being an “I’ll jump in head first” kind of guy. This leads to humorous situations. I think the key is to role play not like “some really dumb guy”, but instead role play as if you are a ‘courage wolf’ meme.

50 Rory January 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’ve run games with fighter in them, and in my experience their potency varies combat to combat. In a melee heavy combat with a big powerful elite who targets AC, they tend to be more powerful since they can get the elite swinging away at them. Honestly they probably do best in a situation where they’ve got 2-3 people swigning at them and then 1-2 guys engaged with other melee folks, such as a tough Barbarian striker. Few builds can actually soak up 5 monsters targeting them for more than a couple of rounds, after all, and you want to be spreading the damage around anyway.

In a combat with a line of brutes and soldiers and some cleverly placed artillery and controllers, fighters aren’t nearly as powerful, since monsters still have free reign to target leaders, controllers, and the occasional striker as desired.

Also, the layout of the combat on the battle grid counts for a lot. If a group can bunch together in a defensive position with the fighter in front and not be punished for it, that counts for a lot. If they are forced to spread out for a variety of reasons (damaging terrain, AOE attacks, auras, multiple flanks), that can diminish the fighters effectiveness.

Every class in D&D needs to min max in order to be really effective. At least, that’s my experience. Sure, you can make a viable character without min maxing, but if you want them to be really good at what they do you should min max. D&D has ALWAYS been like this, as far as I can tell, though in early D&D Min Maxing was basically impossible because of all the randomness :). The fighter is no exception.

Finally, I should note that the fighter needs to up their damage output considerably in order to even be a threat. Aside from a -2 to hit (or maybe -3 with a feat), the only thing stopping one or more enemies from ignoring the fighter and doing a solid shift-charge at the party leader, is the threat of the fighters counter attack. If that counter attack + the attack they do on their turn isn’t more damaging than a well built strikers damage, then the fighter poses virtually no threat at all, since at the very least, killing the party ranger or rogue becomes a higher priority. I think a fighter can reach those levels of damage by focussing on damage items and feats like a striker would, but even then a savvy DM is always aware of the tension between focussing on the high AC fighter or switching to a more tender and dangerous target, which works pretty well, I think.

Side note to NewbieDM: I’ve never enjoyed playing a character with a really low primary stat. In my experience D&D has always been a mostly combat centric game (in that the rules are primarily designed with combat in mind). Frankly, I have never enjoyed playing a character that is knocked unconscious after the 2nd round of combat or that never hits, even in 2e, when I got into the game, or those 1e games I have participated in. I do enjoy playing characters with low stats in areas not essential to their build, such as a low charisma rogue I played who focussed on Dex and Int based skills, but was hapless in social situations, since combat is still fun, they’re not totally incompetent in non combat situations, but there are amusing or interesting consequences for their low stat in roleplaying.

51 Matthew Arcilla January 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

More than one person has already stated how I feel before I could — the broad generalizations, the lack of a definitive causal relationship between the encounter problems and the fighter class itself, that min-maxing is not mutually exclusive of good RP, etc. — but my biggest problem is the complete lack of empathy towards the people who play the Fighters themselves.

It’s as if you concluded that all Fighter players are RP-opposed, spotlight hogging douchebags, and that means that either your encounters are poorly designed, your players are douchebags or you’re just an unfriendly insensitive DM. Either one of those three possibilities would still put you in the losing camp.
Matthew Arcilla´s last blog post ..The Art of 4th Edition- Ralph Horsley

52 R Redlund January 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

For those of you who think this article is terrible, look at the number of responses it got. I applaud the article, not because I agree with it (which I don’t), but because it garnered such an amazing response from the public.

Bravo Dungeon’s Master, post more articles like this!

53 Brian January 31, 2011 at 12:27 am

@bigwill: In addition to Melee Training only granting 1/2 your ability mod to damage, the Bloodclaw weapon was nerfed a long time ago. It’s now an ENCOUNTER power that allows you to take damage equal to the enhancement bonus to gain double (or triple) enhancement bonus to damage.

Here is a link to the official rules updates:

@Bauxtehude: I appreciated the perspective that your article offers. However, it’s just not something I’ve seen in my games. Fighters are definitely a strong class, no denying that, but there’s always a way around them. If the monsters really want to attack a squishy PC, they can always eat the mark punishment and shift+charge. The dynamic nature of 4e combat is preserved that way (indeed, the Fighter may have to keep chasing down his priority target), and it speeds combat up if monsters willingly provoke from you.

Also, most Fighters I’ve seen don’t neglect damage. I ran a Dwarf Hammer and Board Fighter a while back and even with a defensive slant, Brash Strike with Dwarven Weapon Training (Craghammer) made this guy a force to be reckoned with.

54 Dorian Woldrim Bane April 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

I must say that as I finished reading this article, I felt a confusion about this negative opinion thrown towards the second most helpful class in the 4th edition system. I would like to express that every negative point detailed in this article are the good points of defenders. Do you not want your fighter to stop the enemies from going for your strikers and controllers? In my experience those type of characters go down within three or four hits. Is taking damage and protecting your allies really such a bad thing? I am simply confused. All of the “issues” that have been raised can simply be fixed by the DM playing with tactics ( you might want to look up tactics 101 in the player’s strategy guide ) and well thought out plans involving the use of your Defender. What is there not to say about the iron clad warrior duking it out toe to toe? When you say there is no personality involved, that’s simply rubbish. PERSONALITY COMES FROM THE PLAYER NOT THE CLASS! I could just as easily say that every striker is a boring rogue who wants to stealthily backstab everyone and be incredibly acrobatic. What you have done my friend, Bauxtehude, is stereotyped a class. Congradualations, you can’t look past the spredsheet version of this game. In my groups everyone wants to be the stealthy bastard, we need defenders to balance out the party. Don’t even get me started on the need for a Leader. Out of stupidity, frustration or sloth you are blaming something that is faultless. I feel that the issues you have raised here should be discussed with your DM, if they are a good DM they will take the time to realize the problem and try to adjust his play-style to aid the situation. There is also the matter of players. As a player I believe your party, AS A GROUP, discuss your characters before they’re made. Create bonds with one another, create NPC’s you know and give yourself GOALS. Discuss how you want your group to treat encounters, how will your group adapt? What tactics will you implement? At the very least I think you owe it to yourself, your playing group and your DM to go out, buy and read/re-read the Player’s Strategy Guide.

55 rob March 12, 2012 at 1:02 am

Fighters aren’t the problem at all it’s the creation of stupid multi-class that take the fighters job away from them that is the problem. Ever see a real fighter? Heck no, they all want to be a “swordmage” or whatever buzz word they make up for someone who impossibly has the time to study magic AND weapon arts — it’s ABSURD. Original D&D had it right by saying if you wanted to be a fighter and have spells then you’re an ELF – they have the lifespan to actually study both disciplines. AD&D1 added multi-classing and dual classing but it was reasonably limited. Things got way the heck out of hand with 3x which also stole the thief’s job by making her skills ones anyone can learn now – try doing that to the Paladin lay on hands and you’ll see a hissy fit thrown. 4e comes along and tosses all reality out the window. Now magic doesn’t require study at all, it’s just some all powerful force that comes to you from the ether as do your melee skills. Get rid of all these ridiculous quasi classes and you won’t have to add these crazy fighter skills you’ve finished that you think is the problem – those skills like “marking” etc… was brought along because WoTC knew they took away their job via hybrid/multi line so had to throw them a bone of some kind.

56 Gnarsh April 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Fighters are great. They are every bit as vital as a every other member. Strikers can get extra damage by flanking so his point is moot there. Controllers forcing te opponent to move away from the party allows the fighter to get near and mark them while putting the enemy away from squishier allies. Leaders don’t need to heal the fighter as much if his AC is high. Obviously this guy doesn’t know how to utilize his party. Fighters aren’t strikers, they are defenders. Their role is to DEFEND THE PARTY. And if your fighter is doing his job right, he is playing to the strengths that wizards of the coast built for him. What a whiner.

57 DT August 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

At this point I am wondering what he was talking about.

I have a level 15 Sword and board Fighter and I get a good draw for a couple of rounds with come and get it and then the crowd control is over. The scale has increased in 4e so badly that combat takes f o r e v e r.
Are you allowed repeated use of encounters and daily powers?
I am not.

In 2e the big bad was more dependent on AC than hit points.
In 4e everyone’s hit points have hit the roof and beyond. It is like going to a reunion and seeing how fat everyone got over the last 40 years.
As for role playing..its not worth debating as it applies directly to the player and not the player character. It appears you are actually ranting about a specific person and not a character.

Damage for my fighter is the least of anyone in the party and I can keep one guy marked the rest of tactical combat. I do carry one javelin in case I need to mark someone out of reach but once again that is one mob. As for crowd pleasers….. Please observe the flying barbarian dishing out the 80ish points of damage with a high critical roll.

Please post your described super fighter build at level 15 so I can check it out and perhaps copy it. If you do not have one then I propose you build one for your own benefit.

I have not added a magic item in about 5 levels so the base build would be awesome.



58 Ravi January 5, 2013 at 3:52 am

I’m not really sure what Bauxtehude is complaining about. Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the ‘problems’ he has with defenders are easily addressed by having a DM that doesn’t suck at designing encounters. Here are a few ideas on how to properly play against defenders.

1. Target NADs – Sure, Conscore McSwordy has a lot of HP and high AC, but it comes at the cost of very low NADs. The example fighter given with 20 Con is going to have 12 Reflex and 10 Will at level 1. The average equal level monster will hit those defenses ~70% and ~80% of the time respectively. Those numbers will only get worse for the fighter as the party levels. By level 10, a monster targeting Will should hit ~90% of the time. This leads me to my next point.

2. Inflict daze/stun/dominate – Conscore McSwordy’s abysmal Will defense leaves him wide open to the most frustrating status effects in the game. He can’t take any out of turn actions while afflicted, and if he’s been dominated, then he’ll spend his turn marking his allies. Even worse, if it ISN’T (save ends), then it’s much harder to get rid of the effect until it naturally expires (as opposed to having a leader grant him a save before his turn).

3. Shift + charge – Fighters can only attack one target per round with Combat Challenge, and that doesn’t even stop movement (Combat Superiority ONLY affects Opportunity Attacks, which Combat Challenge is not). This leaves the monster with a -2 penalty (which is slightly mitigated by the +1 bonus to attack from charging) to attack a less armored, lower HP member of the party.

4. Teleport – While you won’t see this often at low levels, it becomes more and more prevalent as you level up. This is the bane of most defenders, and even those that have tools to deal with it do so by adding/reducing damage to the enemy/ally instead of keeping the enemy away from the ally. There very few ways to stop a teleporting enemy from getting to the squishy members of the party (short of Feyslaughter Weapons which DMs can limit access to).

5. Forced movement – Moving a fighter a measly 1 square completely negates his ability to enforce his mark. Without the threat of punishment, monsters can act freely, treating the mark as a +2 defensive bonus to the party (a bonus which will still leave most members of the party squishier than the fighter).

In the end, being the DM requires just as much tactical consideration as being a player. Conscore McSwordy has seen the strengths of his class and plays it accordingly. DMs playing into the strengths of a class are not indicative of imbalance in that class. While I focused on fighters to counter the pretty fallacious arguments made in this article, my points are to address the common mistake of misusing monsters thus giving players the false appearance of potency. A far more realistic complaint, is that strikers are so powerful that entire encounters can be wiped out in the first round. A well optimized party can blow through an entire level’s worth of XP in a single encounter without any real danger to the party.

All that being said, the point made about solos is quite valid and totally irrelevant to defenders. They are too weak, and at the very least need a way to reduce the impact of status effects.

59 R. Jackman January 9, 2013 at 5:16 am

And welcome to why IMO 4th Ed is no more D&D than WoW is. It’s a MMO on paper, plays precisely the same way, and was designed that way to try and hook gamers hooked on WoW. This rant, point for point, is a MMO description. Defender. Controller. Striker.

Should come as no shock that it plays exactly how it was designed to.

Maybe 5th Ed will undo this travesty.

60 Sierra109 January 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

While is disagree completely with this boneheads position on fighters, I do agree that D&D has been polymorphed into a WoW clone numbers game by the evil Wizard who lives on the Coast. I wanted roleplaying in my games, so I turned to the 3e Rokugan setting. A superb backstory, and roleplaying is required to succeed. I would shift completely to L5R, but d10 is just too weird to me after 10 years of d20.

Also, I really disliked the move to 4e, and wouldn’t touch a 4e game unless my life depended on it.

61 Renting May 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

Lol, finally an edition where the Fighter can actually be useful, and people complain about it.

62 Geeknamese August 14, 2013 at 12:25 am

Hehe, I enjoyed the article and the presentation. You made your opinion known with a lot of flare and gusto and it shows in the response that its garnered.

Nothing in this article bothered. The only thing that bothers me are the responses that use the D&D comparison to MMOs as if its something derogatory. D&D is the original MMO. I’ve played D&D since AD&D and the roles have always been the same even if they were never named as such. The Fighter was always the heavily armed warrior with good AC and HPs that ran out to face the enemy to protect his weaker party members. The wizard was always the one with the unusual spells area spells and strange debilitating effects. The rogue/thief wad always the one maneuvering for better position to do big damage. The cleric was always the one to heal the party and bless and apply bonuses. Even if the terms Defender, Striker, Controller and Leader didn’t exist back then, the roles definitely did. The people who stubbornly cling to the old games without even giving the new game a test run are cheating themselves out of a good experience. As if its cool to bash 4e or something. Ooh, you’re so O.G.! There have been many staunch 3/3.5e people I’ve met who’ve “settled” for 4e just to find a game who’ve become converts to the dynamic and tactical play of 4e. And just face the facts :), you’re playing in an MMO like I am :p

63 Idisagree November 10, 2013 at 3:39 am

Way to generalize fighters and ignore the fact that gamers who play them aren’t a bunch of clones. Not everyone plays their fighter as a tank. The editors should never have allowed you to post this article.

64 Rush Wingate November 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

I guess it depends heavily on the quality of the player and DM. If a player wishes to use Int as a dumpstat, the DM should let him know that he will be expected to roleplay that characters dimwittedness. The DM should also make sure to not allow that character to things that his reduced Int wouldnt let him.

Also, if the Int score is low, take away some fo the fighters abilities. A warrior requires intelligence to be able to see his companion being attacked, process that information fast enough to be able to move to intercept. A fighter with low intelligence is nothing but a goon, and should be no more useful to his party than that. Make him really suffer the true consequences of having a character that is an idiot, and he will start thinking very seriously about Con scores more in the 16-17 range, thus reducing his overpowering nature, and the group and DM as a whole will have a better experience.

65 KDLiam May 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm

What about this?
After level 6 a fighter can take up sub classes of a non clerical non magical nature.
It would not be multiclassing as you could limit the number of feats and skills they gain access to yet still retain them as fighters.

Ex. Bob is a level 6 fighter who takes up a subclass of Ranger so can have an improved search/survival/hunt feat or skill (bear with me I have been out of the 3.5e realm for several years and I am writing this out of memory)
or subclass as a barbarian and have rage and so on.

The point of all this blabbering on my part is that a fighter, not matter the realm or reality, can learn other things to make them a better fighter.

Have the fighter gain a max of two subclasses of a nonmagical/clerical nature (so as to maintain that disconnection to spells and rituals, again I am writing this from memory so be gentle with me).

if you can have multiclass PCs (half/half), why not have single class-subclass PCs (half/quarter/guarter).

So long as they retain their core fighter stats, why not have them dabble in ranger/barbarian/rogue feats and skills (limited access of course) so they may advance with the other classes in level/ability opportunities.

Think adding chocolate to milk and putting a touch of malt into the mix and voila malt chocolate milk!

How does that sound?

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