The clashing of steel as two swordsmen fight on the deck of the sinking ship is drowned by the crashing of waves against the splintered wood of the vessel. An arrow flashes through the tree line of the forest. A wood elf female notches a second arrow as she follows the orc tribe slowly knocking one out at a time. A knight donning iron armor rides his rusty steed through the mountains with his word and shield at the ready.
One of the first classes in D&D, the fighter is one of the easier starting classes for new players to the tabletop roleplaying game. From welding a sword and shield like a knight of the Round Table, to whipping a rapier with one hand like Fandral of the Warriors Three in the Thor comics, the fighter class is a great one for players new and old.
Features of the Fighter
Fighting Style – Choose Your Weapon!
Right off the bat at first level, your fighter character must decide what style of fighting they would specialize in. There are six different styles that each have a different feature to them. Those fighting styles are:
- Archery: Shoot arrows better with a +2 to attack rolls
- Defense: You’re a beefy boy (or gal) with an addition +1 to armor class while wearing armor
- Dueling: Your ability to whip around a single weapon with one hand is very impressive, with a +2 bonus to damage rolls
- Great Weapon Fighting: Carry a huge two handed weapon and roll poop (a one or a two) on the damage? Roll again big dawg and take your new damage roll even if the new damage roll is poop (again my qualifications for a “poop” roll is a one or two).
- Protection: You like Captain America? Well with the protection fighting style you can *kinda* play like Cap. When one of your friends get attack 5 feet away from you, you can use your shield to cause the opponent troll disadvantage to possibly save your pal!
- Two-Weapon Fighting: Carrying one sword is cool but you know what is cooler? Carrying two swords! With this fighting style, you can do that but ALSO add your ability modifiers to the damage of the second attack.
Second Wind – Breathe In, Breath Out
Got smashed up pretty bad by that beholder? Need to take a second and regain some health? With Second Wind at level one for the fighter class, you can take a bonus action to regain 1d10 + your fighter level for some sweet sweet health.
Action Surge – Attack More and More
Enjoyed beating that puny goblin to near death but didn’t get the kill? A fighter at level two can push themselves to feed that blood lust to use an action again which, at later levels, it is possible for your fighter to pummel that punk ass goblin eight times with you club. Eight. Times. You know you love it you murder hobos.
Champion – As Tough as a Three-Legged Pit Bull
Raw, unforgiving, brute strength is the pinnacle of the champion subclass. If I could categorize one human being into the champion subclass it would Dwanye Johnson without a doubt. While reading the rest of this section please imagine The Rock in your mind.
The Champion can smell what’s cooking with their improved critical feature where an 18, and 19 now counts as a critical hit in addition to a nature 20. They can also bust up on your candy ass with able to jump farther than most other classes, choosing a second fighting style, and able to regain more hit points shrugging of the attacks of their enemies.
Battle Master – WhileYou Partied, I Studied the Blade
Where the champion subclass is a more brute strength, tip-toeing with the barbarian class, the battle master is a classically trained fighter. This subclass is based in a more tactically minded fighter with maneuvers that can be learned that each have different uses in combat such as; adding to your AC as you move, disarming opponents, and causing opponents to roll with disadvantage by goading (annoying, yeah I had to look up goading) them.
Eldritch Knight – Clang Clang + Pew Pew = Eldritch Knights
While your fighter is swinging their weapon during combat and watches with envious eyes the wizard shooting lightning bolts, and think, “Man, I wish I could shoot lighting too.” Well, never fear diligent reader! With the Eldritch Knight sub-class, fighters can access evocation and abjuration spells! Eldritch knights also can bond with up to to to weapons which can be summoned to you as long as you’re on the same plane of existence, think Thor and his hammer, Mjolnir.
When creating an optimal fighter, the most important stat to think about is strength. Depending on which archetype you choose, constitution is great for champion and battle master while intelligence is better for the eldritch knight.
Boasting a +2 to BOTH strength and constitution, the mountain variety of dwarf make wonderful fighters. Short but sturdy, your mountain dwarf runs (slowly) into the fray with heavy armor and their trusty battle-axe.
Dragonborns have a natural +2 to strength and a +1 to charisma scores. That obvious boost to strength makes a strong choice for fighters and the charisma bonus could make your scaled warrior charming as they swing their sword and shield and breath fire, or ice, or poison.
Strong and unwilling to die, a half-orc can make a great fighter with their natural +2 strength and +1 to constitution scores. Choosing this race gains access to their savage attack and relentless endurance features where they can roll additional damage dice in a critical hit and refusing to die when knocked to zero hit points.
When choosing a fighter, here are some role-playing concepts that could be the creative spark for those who are in need of ideas.
- A stalwart dwarf traveling the mountains in search of monsters to slay to keep the world a safer place
- A young city guard who’s spear is possessed by the spirit of a fallen warrior decades ago, which give the young man magical abilities. (This is my eldritch knight character in my Curse of Strand game named Spear Spearenson, yeah that’s right)
- A young woman who carries her father’s shield in memory of him, rather than attacking with a traditional weapon, she uses the shield as a means of defense. This could be semi-done with adding the Shield Master feat found in the PHB.