Fighters are everywhere in adventure stories:
To mythology (Beowulf, King Arthur)...
To history (El Cid, Joan of Arc)...
To literature (D'Artagnan, Robin Hood)...
To comics and sci-fi (Wonder Woman, Captain Kirk)...
These are the four types of D&D players that would love to play a Fighter Player Character.
Players That Are VERY New to D&D 5e
Are you new to DnD?
Like… EXTREMELY new?
So new that you don’t know that “dnd” is shorthand for Dungeons and Dragons?
If so… have no fear… the fighter class is here!
The designers of D&D 5e wanted to expand the world's greatest tabletop role playing game to a whole new generation of players. And they realized that in order to do that they needed to reduce any barriers to entry; they needed to make it as easy as possible for anyone to get involved.
The biggest hurdle was complex classes…can’t play D&D if you have no idea how your character works, right?
So they created the Fighter Class to be as straightforward and simple as possible…
No confusing spell casting
No rule bending special abilities.
No complex combat strategy.
The Fighter is the simplest character class in Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, making it the perfect class for anyone still learning the game.
And don’t worry… just because it is simple does not mean that it is weak. Case and point: Fighters level up and increase their ability scores SEVEN (7) times… more than any other class in the game!
Players That Want to FIGHT…With Everything
Hey… you reading this… tell me something:
Want to swing a sword?
How about loose an arrow from a bow?
Skewer an orc with a lance or horseback?
Crush rib cages with a heavy mace?
Rip knights from their mounts with a polearm?
Actually, better question: do you want to do ALL THE ABOVE?
Well you’re in luck… the fighter can do it all!
Like Paladins and Barbarians, the fighter is proficient in any simple, ranged, or marital weapon. Which means that if a weapon exists your fighter PC is a master with that weapon. Doesn’t matter if your fighter character is inspired by vikings… they will know how to use nunchucks.
But there are two things that separate fighters from Paladin’s and Barbarians:
And I mean that “flexibility” LITERALLY… Fighters can have high DEX scores and still be effective. Paladin’s, with their heavy armor, usually have Dex as a dump stat (their lowest stat) and Barbarian’s can only use Rage (their big special thing) with Strength Attacks. But as a fighter you have the freedom to choose if you want your Fighter to be more effective dodging attacks in leather armor or smashing into enemy lines with a shield and chain mail. The world is your oyster!
2. More Fighting Styles
Speaking of “fighting however you want”... the fighter has WAY more options on how they want to specialize in battle. In D&D, martial classes can choose a “Fighting Style”, providing you with a little bonus when you fight that particular way. Most martial classes have 7 to choose from… the fighter can choose from 11! Furthermore, certain fighter subclasses can choose multiple fighting styles, allowing them to mix and match depending on the monster’s strengths and weaknesses!
Players That Can Take Care of Themselves
Every D&D campaign is meant to involve a party of adventurers. A well balanced team of experts: one person with spells, another person heals, another person's steals, and someone who can cause evil a lot of pain. After all, each class comes with strengths and weaknesses that are intended to complement each other.
But some classes are more “self sufficient” than others… and the fighter is DEFINITELY self sufficient!
Let’s start with the combat part, specifically with something called action economy. Long story short, action economy is important because the side that takes the most actions per round tends to win a combat encounter.
Guess how many times a fighter can thrust their spear, or swing their sword?
Answer: more than anyone else!
By 20th level, their “extra attack” means they can attack three times… but that’s not all. They also have an Action Surge ability, which means they get to take an entire additional action. Not another attack… another ACTION… which means that in a single round they can attack SIX (6) times!!!
So clearly a fighter character can deal an insane amount of damage… but what about healing?
While unable to heal their friends, the fighter can take care of themselves. At 2nd level they get the Second Wind ability, which means they can get a burst of adrenaline that allows them to push through some wounds (regain health).
But even more important is their ability to succeed saving throws. In D&D the consequences of failing a saving throw can range from being poisoned to losing a turn to being petrified into a statue that will decorate an evil monster’s garden.
Players Who Are Ready for Complex Subclasses
The basic fighter is a very simple class, especially when they choose the Champion subclass (the best option for the new-new player).
But because the base class is so simple, most of the complexity is found in its subclasses, which create a colorful rainbow of different fighters. Some of these offer more than enough complexity to capture the attention of a long-time D&D player.
Arcane Archer: Remember Green Arrow’s trick shots? Well, instead of a punching glove, your arrow can curve around corners and even banish enemies to demi-planes.
Battle Master: If all fighters are experts of combat techniques, this fighter is the MASTER. Able to use “maneuvers” to add complexity and strategy to combat, able to parry, riposte, and defend allies.
Cavalier: The “knight” of the fighter class whose job is to protect the people of the realm. Advantage and increased movements when mounting a steed, but even more important are the “area control” abilities, which protect your allies by forcing enemies to attack you.
Champion: The Fighty-est Fighter that ever fought. The simplest version of the fighter, and able to deal critical hits on rolls of 19 and 20, and later on even 18!
Echo Knight: Use alternate timelines to gain even more attacks and “teleport” across the battlefield. Def make sure your DM reads the fine print… this class has potential to be WAY over powered!
Eldritch Knight: What if a fighter had some brains and hung out with a wizard, and got some magic? A more complex class that augments melee attacks with spells from the Abjuration and Evocation schools of magic.
Psi Warrior: Similar to the battlemaster, but swap out “combat techniques” with “psionic abilities”. Be a jedi and use your “midichlorians” (Psionic Energy dice) to create energy shields, enhance attacks, and heal. Regardless, you are NOT using magic (just ask the Illithids…).
Purple Dragon Knight (“Banneret”): Specific to the Eberron campaign setting and the fighter that is the most comfortable rubbing shoulders among those in the highest levels of society. Some social (Charisma) abilities and using heroic deeds to inspire your allies in battle.
Rune Knight: Fuel your attacks with the magic of giants! Etch magic runes into your gear for passive and active bonuses. Best suited for Dexterity based builds.
Samurai: An offensive focused fighter, with abilities geared to those that charge headfirst into the fray. The big ability is “fighting spirit” which gives you health and advantage on ALL your attacks for a turn.
For incredibly detailed information on how each of these Fighter subclasses work, please refer to this RPGBOT link.
Liked this blog, but think you want to try something more complex?
Check out some of our other posts on the D&D character classes:
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Based out of Spokane, Riley is a freelance copywriter that combines his love of reading, writing, and people into something useful! He is thankful to be applying his passion for imaginative role-playing to help DnD related businesses communicate their value in the best way possible. He's kinda like a bard giving inspiration, except without the annoying pop covers!