Beefing Up the Fighter — Option I

Many people seem to think the D&D Fighter class is too weak, especially at higher levels. While I think this is less true in TSR versions of D&D, many people disagree. I’ve come up with two simple options for beefing up the damage a Fighter does, especially at higher levels. Neither has been playtested, but both look good on paper. If you feel the fighter needs beefing up, you might want to give one of these options a try. Both options are designed with old school D&D in mind, they would probably need modification to work in 3.x and might not even make sense in 4e.

Today’s option is Weapon Mastery.

Weapon Mastery: At 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level a fighter may select one specific type of weapon (e.g. dagger/knife, short sword, long sword, spear, short bow, etc) that he has mastered. When the fighter successful attacks with a weapon he has mastered he adds his level (but no more that his Strength attribute) to the damage the weapon does. Assuming critical hits (doing double damage) normally occur when a character rolls a natural 20 that would hit, a fighter using a weapon he has mastered does a critical hit on a natural 19 or a natural 20 (again, provided the roll would hit). A fighter always hits on a natural 20 with a mastered weapon even if that roll would not normally hit.

Note: Only the Fighter class should get Weapon Mastery. Fighter sub-classes or other fighter-like classes should not.

This has the effect of ramping up the damage a Fighter can do as his level increases and gives the Fighter a 10% of a possible critical hit (double the standard 5% chance), at least when the fighter is using a type of weapon he has mastered. This also means that a fighter, when using a weapon he’s mastered, always has at least a 5% chance to hit any target, even if the fighter is first level and is attacking some demon with an AC of -7 (26 Ascending AC).

Tomorrow, another option.

Randall Stukey

Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund.

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Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. Gates & Glamours RSS Feed

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JB
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Hmm…in B/X a natural 20 always hits anyway, and BECMI has a lot of "high level options" for fighters that make them a tastier treat. Not sure if this is geared more to the OD&D crowd?

I'll wait for Option 2.

JB
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Hmm…in B/X a natural 20 always hits anyway, and BECMI has a lot of "high level options" for fighters that make them a tastier treat. Not sure if this is geared more to the OD&D crowd?

I'll wait for Option 2.

Randall
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JB: I run a M74 campaign (think modified OD&D) so must of what I do will probably work better in OD&D and may need slight modifications for other systems. If I were beefing up the fighter in B/X, I would drop the natural 20 always hits for all but fighters. BECMI fighters (even more so that other TSR D&D fighters) do not need beefing up IMHO — at least if the weapon mastery rules are used. However, many people do not seem to use them as they are fairly complex. These rules were an attempt to do something like BECMI… Read more »

Nick Wright
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There was a pretty good post on the abilities that a Fighting Man would have in oD&D if you used Chainmail rather than the original "alternate rules."

I'll see if I can't dredge it up and post it here. The gist is that Fighting Men were pretty strong; a lot stronger than they ended up in a lot of later editions. Multiple attacks a round (against anybody, no less), immune to fear, that sort of deal.

Randall
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Nick: If you find that post, please do post a link. I've never been a fan of the Chainmail combat system for D&D, it's a bit fiddly (and requires more dice to attack) for me. However, it robably does give fighters a boost.

Koren nRhys
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I like it. I essentially play BX, but use some of the options from BECMI/RC as well. I don't use Weapon Mastery as written, but offer fighters the option of WM (add a new weapon or up one mastery level in an existing) at 1/4/8/12 as you've done.
I also use the 1 attack per level vs. foes 1HD or less.

I like your version here though, and will be adding it to my S&W:WhiteBox game. It's quite neat – I like the crit on 19 or 20 rule!