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Creative Class Constructs II: Fighters

Written by Paul Rehac - Published on January 2, 2014

From my thoughts to your screen to your table, welcome back to Creative Class Constructs; an article series in which we discuss alternatives to the cliche class models that we all know. Hopefully these suggestions will inspire you, and your players, to make diverse NPC’s and PC’s to bring extra flavor to your game. This week we’re going to break down the fighter into three new forms. The stereotypical fighter is a trusty, dim-witted fellow with sword-and-shield, plus a stockpile of hitpoints. My hope is that I can provide new play-styles for the fighter that utilize a few of the abilities that are generally ignored on the fighter character sheet.

The Tactician: Clever and quick, the Tactician relies, above all else, on intelligence. He also uses his senses and speed, making important stats Wisdom, Intelligence, and Dexterity — unlike the cliche Str/Con. The Tactician’s primary function in combat is to advise the rest of the party, guiding where to place shots, spells, and themselves for maximum efficiency. Combat Expertise and Weapon Finesse can help make up for the lack in typical tank wear, and there are a number of other feats to maximize their role as the party’s strategist. Teamwork Feats require two party members to take the same feat, but with planning (or when designing your NPC, planning ahead) they can enhance the experience of playing a tactician immensely, creating gambits and synergies that add layers to strategy.

The Battlerager: While not unique, it isn’t often you find this in an average party. The Battlerager is a close combat specialist to the point of barbaric. They focus on grapples and carnage — grabbing foes and grating them against armor spikes. The Battlerager is an interesting fighter alternative because, unlike the typical battleturtle, Intelligence can’t be the dump stat because a vital feat for this build is Combat Expertise. This feat tax allows for further sub feats down the tree like Grapple and Improved Grapple. Battleragers also are more novel when it comes to equipment.  Instead of magic swords, they’ll want things like Boots of Striding and Springing or

The Captain: Perhaps he was a Marshall in his youth, or the leader of a gang — maybe a Militia Captain, or he’s just always had a knack for persuasion. Whatever his past or explanation, the Captain has always found that a healthy mix between tongue and steel is the best way to go. After all, isn’t every fight easier when you’ve good men willing to stand with you? The Captain’s main role is to act as the face of the party, meaning that he will be working heavily in Diplomacy. His most important stat is his Charisma, which will allow him to not only talk his way out of fights, but talk others into them. The best feat for a Captain to take is Leadership, which provides a small group of loyal followers. Beyond that, Feint is a good option, as it will allow him to put his Charisma to use in combat. Also any feats that weaponize Intimidate or Diplomacy are very helpful.

Here is where I feel it would be best to bring it back to you, as the DM. These alternatives are as viable for NPC’s as PC’s. However, they’re primarily meant for your players who might be losing interest in the same-old-same-old. It’s important to make the game more enjoyable. I know this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. If a player would like to try out something new, try to work with them. It doesn’t have to be anything major — tweak the treasure a bit for the Battlerager, or if there’s a Tactician make the environment more tactics friendly with flanking positions, cover, and natural high ground. Let the Captain use his Charisma in and out of combat.  Maybe add house rules to provide these forms more use. It’s your game, ultimately, so do what you can to make everyone want to come back!

Until next time, I’m Paul, your trusty DM Advisor. Leave comments, thoughts, and opinions to let me know how I’m doing, and stick around for more!

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Written by Paul Rehac

Paul Rehac

Hey! Paul here. I’m a writer and a gamer — have been for almost ten years now! As a dungeonmaster I focus primarily on storytelling and immersion, and do my best to make every game as captivating as possible. As a player I’m all about the character and the roleplay, and I’m more than content to never roll a die.

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