Delver Evolution: Fighter part 1

Alright folks, while I do some mechanical tweaking on my other projects, here’s a look at where the fighter came from. It’s interesting to note that early on the fighter seems to have some anti-mook and crowd control ability in addition to their signature durability.

Chainmail – Hero Unit

  • 4 times the fighting ability and durability of a normal unit.
  • Immunity to morale checks
  • Boosts morale of allies.
  • Can shoot down dragons.

As mentioned earlier, the hero unit in Chainmail is probably the ancestor of the fighter class. After factoring out it’s squad dependent abilities, we’re left is the ability to fight with the strength and endurance of several normal men, great courage, the ability to inspire allies, and the ability to perform an exceptional feat.

Original D&D – Fighting-Men

  • Can use all magical weapons.
  • Limit access to other magic items.
  • At 9th level gains the title of “Baron” and income source if they build a castle.
    • This income can be improved with further investment.
  • Highest maximum hit die total.
  • Best fighting ability progression.
  • Best Save: Death Ray or Poison
  • Worst Save: Staves & Spells
  • Moderate starting xp requirements, roughly doubling every level
  • Gains extra xp for high Strength

The fighting man is basically high in combat prowess and durability but low in special abilities. Their access to magic weapons can bring more of these abilities to the table, but the other classes will gain a similar edge through their items. However, the fighting man’s high accuracy does make pulling off improvised attacks and combat stunts easier.

Their ability to invest in their holdings is an interesting point. The cleric can build holdings as well, but has no mention of being able to develop them further.

Basic D&D – Fighter

  • Hit die increases from d6 to d8.
  • The ability to use all weapons and armor (both normal and magical) becomes a class feature
  • Fighters begin with 2 special maneuvers and gains more at higher levels:
    • 1st Level: Lance Attack (mounted lance charge) and Set Spear vs Charge
    • 9th Level: Smash (accuracy penalty to add Strength score to damage), Parry, and Disarm
    • 12th Level: Multiple Attacks (only against enemies hit on a roll of 2+)
  • 9th level Fighters who choose not to build a castle can become paladins (lawful), knights (neutral), or avengers (chaotic).

The class description emphasizes this being the most survivable and solo friendly class, as well a being more front line types. It also says “fighters protect the weaker characters”, so the idea of the fighter as “meat shield” or defender may already be forming.

It’s also makes mention that fighters are intended to be masters of all weapons. Being a specialist in a single weapon is more a roleplaying limitation at this point.

While all weapons in the original set did the same damage, by the basic set we’ve got different damage for each weapon. As such, the fighter’s ability to use all weapons becomes more significant.

If optional weapon mastery rules are used, fighters get an few extra slot as they progress. However, by the time this kick in any character will have enough slots to max out mastery of at least one weapon.

Their special maneuver are interesting as a lot of them would continue on in later editions of the game. In fact, all but the weapon specific 1st level tricks would go all the way 3E in one form or another.

It’s interesting that multi-attacks are limited to enemies the fighter could nearly auto-hit anyway. This actually reminds me of some of the anti-mook abilities of the Hero from Chainmail. It does fit in nicely with cinematic fighters as they’re often portrayed as dropping mooks left and right.

The name level options are also a nice touch. The character is given a choice between developing a stronghold with it’s corresponding political power or entering a specialty sub class based on their alignment.

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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