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The Grisly Eye

Ric Wood's Blog

Say He's a Fighter

Say one thing for Logen Ninefingers, say he’s a fighter. Joe Abercrombie, Before They Are Hanged.

Ah, to be strong of limb, firm of body. To be wrapped in a thick armour of vascular flesh. To slash, hammer, or stab all before you. To be mighty. To be a fighter!

This article elaborates on the design for my generalised fighter class for Three Meet, The Mighty. I'm designing Three Meet as a low-powered 5E hack, and wanted to make lower-levels more interesting. In this case, by giving all players interesting subclass choices at 1st level.

Subclass: Defender

For The Mighty, I'm using the 5E fighter class as a base, and looking for some obvious seams there. The objective is to re-work the fighter into a more generalised class, and create at least one subclass.

I offered my players several prototypes subclasses, including the Brawler (specialising in unarmed combat), and the Berserker (a barbarian-like subclass). In the end, they went with the Defender which specialises in protecting allies.

Illustration of Might Attribute
Fighting Style

An easy win is to cleave off the 1st level fighting styles. Trivially, each style could work as the basis for a new subclass. Dueling for a Dueller subclass, etc. In this case, I will be using the Protection fighting style for the Defender.

Second Wind

Second Wind is a 1st-level Fight, short-rest feature that allows you to regain 1d10 hit points (plus your level). It’s pretty useful and powerful on its own, but I wanted more choice here.

My first real design is to have a Second Wind-like option for all the Mighty subclasses. Similar to the cleric’s Channel Divinity feature, that gives you a spell-like slot that you can spend on other abilities.

I’m calling this feature Surge, and these abilities Surges.

The Defender subclass gives you the Block surge: you can use your Reaction to reduce the damage from an attack that targets an ally by 1d10 Damage.

I'm not sure this Surge design will work for all potential subclasses. For the prototype Berserker subclass, I created a Rage Surge, based off the barbarian's Rage feature. I'm uncertain this balances with Second Wind: barbarian rage gives a lot of bonuses, including a hefty resistance to all non-magical, weapon damage.


So far, my players seem to be enjoying the Defender. The appeal is the ability to intercept attacks against weaker allies. This has lots of interesting flavour potential. The block surge is yet to be used in anger, though. My instinct is that it will feel powerful for a Defender, but might be too similar to the Protection fighting style. The true test will be whether my players will use it more often than the second wind surge.

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