Fighter (Dungeons & Dragons)
|A Dungeons & Dragons character class|
|First appearance||Dungeons & Dragons (1974)|
|(as a standard class)||All|
The fighter is one of the standard playable character classes in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. A fighter is a versatile, weapons-oriented warrior who fights using skill, strategy and tactics.
Fighter is a generic and broad class; individual fighters have diverse backgrounds and different styles. Bodyguards, adventurers, former soldiers, invading bandit kings, or master swordsmen are all fighters, yet they come from all walks of life and backgrounds and often find themselves on very different alignments, goals, and sides in a conflict.
Dungeons & Dragons
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition
The fighter was one of the standard character classes available in the original Player's Handbook.:84–85 The fighter was presented as one of the five core classes in the original Players Handbook.:145 In the 1st edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, fighters were the class best suited for physical combat, balanced by the weakness of not having any other ability. Fighters did not typically greatly benefit from high intelligence, wisdom or charisma ability scores; the character could obtain higher scores in strength, dexterity and constitution, which increased combat ability. High hit points (HP), the ability to equip strong armors, and easily the fastest THAC0 progression also helped them in combat. As an optional and very commonly used rule, fighters could also take Weapon Specialization, which offered further bonuses to hit and damage.
Basic Dungeons & Dragons
The fighter was available as a character class in the game's "Basic" edition.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition
The fighter, as part of the "warrior" group, was one of the standard character classes available in the second edition Player's Handbook.:84–85 The second edition Player's Handbook gives several examples of famous fighters from legend: Hercules, Perseus, Hiawatha, Beowulf, Siegfried, Cuchulain, Little John, Tristan, and Sinbad. The book also cites a number of great generals and warriors: El Cid, Hannibal, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Spartacus, Richard the Lionheart, and Belisarius.
The Complete Fighter's Handbook detailed the fighter class, and several subclasses.:109 The book made an attempt to compensate for this class' lack of special abilities. In addition to offering a variety of kits such as the Swashbuckler, Gladiator, and Noble Warrior the handbook introduced several skills that allowed players to customize their warriors' combative abilities. New rules included group weapon proficiencies, continuing specialization, additional rules for unarmed combat, and the introduction of four different fighting styles (Single Weapon, Two Weapon, Weapon and Shield, and Two Handed Weapon).
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition
In the 3rd edition of the game, the mechanics behind fighters were significantly changed by turning most of their abilities into combat feats from which the fighter could choose some as bonus feats, allowing fighters to choose between a variety of combat techniques more specialized than brute force. Typical fighters in 3/3.5 D&D are sophisticated warriors with a variety of tactics.
Fighters did not undergo major overhaul in the 3.5 revision of Dungeons & Dragons compared to 3rd edition. The main change was the addition of the Greater Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Specialization feats (which both increase their attack power with the selected weapons) becoming exclusively available to fighters. 3.5 has seen additional focus on increasing the depth of the fighter's feat trees, as these are the primary (indeed, only) class feature of fighters.
In 2006 the Player's Handbook II greatly increased the number of feats available to fighters as well as provided a number of abilities, similar to the Weapon Specialization ability, that were only available to higher level fighters.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition
The fighter is a core class in 4th edition, and like all other classes uses the new power system where they are classified as having a martial power source. The fighter's role is that of a defender, which involves high hit points, good defensive capabilities and the ability to protect other party members from enemies. Unlike the other core defender, the paladin, the fighter cannot heal allies and has more limited ranged combat capabilities, but has greater damage dealing and mobility control abilities.
Two fighter builds are presented in the Player's Handbook: the Great Weapon Fighter, which focuses on offense, and the Guardian Fighter, which focuses on defense. Martial Power presents two more builds: the Tempest Fighter, which uses two light weapons, and the Battlerager Fighter, which uses axes and hammers and has greatly enhanced resilience in the form of temporary hit points. Fighter attack powers are generally weapon-based and use Strength for attack rolls, although they also have a number of powers which benefit from Dexterity, Wisdom or Constitution. Some fighter attacks have an additional benefit if used with weapons from a specific group, such as axes, spears or light blades.
Dungeons & Dragons Essentials
The Essentials rulebook Heroes of the Fallen Lands presented two alternate versions of the Fighter, the Knight and the Slayer. The Knight focuses on defense, while the Slayer focuses on both offense and defense.
Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition
The fighter has been included as a character class in the 5th edition Player's Handbook. Players may choose from one of three Martial Archetypes at third level: Champion, Battle Master, and Eldritch Knight. Each is intended to provide a different flavour to the base fighter class: the Champion archetype focuses on simplistic power, the Battle Master focuses on a unique resource that is used to empower weapon flourishes known as maneuvers, and the Eldritch Knight offers limited access to magic.
Later published sourcebooks have expanded upon the fighter class by granting additional subclass options. Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015) added the Purple Dragon Knight to the Martial Archetype options, which focuses upon assisting and supporting allies. Xanathar's Guide to Everything (2017) added the Arcane Archer, Cavalier, and Samurai as player options. The Arcane Archer uses a unique resource of magically-empowered trick shots, the Cavalier focuses on mounted combat, defending their allies and marking foes for engagement, and the Samurai focuses on resilience, swift strikes, and social interaction. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (2020) added the Echo Knight. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (2020) added two new options: Psi Warrior and Rune Knight.
The Gamer rated the 5th edition fighter subclass Samurai as the 10th most awesome subclass out of the 32 new character options in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Gus Wezerek, for FiveThirtyEight, reported that of the 5th edition "class and race combinations per 100,000 characters that players created on D&D Beyond from" August 15 to September 15, 2017, fighters were the most created at 13,906 total. Human (4,888) was the most common racial combination followed by dwarf (2,009) and then dragonborn (1,335). Wezerek wrote "when I started playing 'Dungeons & Dragons' five years ago, I never would have chosen the game’s most popular match: the human fighter. There are already enough human fighters in movies, TV and books — my first character was an albino dragonborn sorcerer. But these days I can get behind the combo’s simplicity".
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