THE FIGHTER AS BASE COMBAT MECHANICS
|Just flesh and steel, someday to be bones and rust, with no authorial intent to save them from inevitable death|
Thoughts that stem from this are as follows-
- Trap Option- The obvious first problem becomes 'nobody will play a fighter*.' If fighting sucks, well, let's all be Magic-User/Thieves casting Charm and Sleep and Invisibility and enjoy being able to sprint and climb and swim and sneak and if the reaction tables are used RAW unavoidable fights will be incredibly rare, so why be a fighter at all?
* People might play fighters anyway, you never know
- Swords Suck- Why waste those bonuses to hit on rubbish like melee combat when you can swagger around with a torch and a bandolier of molotovs? You are le grenadier, and no longer will damage over time and crowd control be the domain of wizardry! Or perhaps grappling rules are forgiving, and becoming some sort of iron-clad sumo wrestler allows you to stunlock and debuff enemies while your friends slap the enemies with their daggers or whatever. This is quite system dependent, of course, but in BFRPG molotovs and grappling and wardogs tend to be considerably better than sword-slapping, a paradigm of combat that I can't say I hate, but is neither what anyone really pictures when they imagine 'fighter' nor is it particularly class-exclusive, so if niche protection is a concern this further erodes the fighter having anything going for them.
THE FIGHTER AS KING
The fighter establishes a keep at level 9 or so, and the idea of the Fighter as 'the leader,' even before that point is a concept that seems to have some genre momentum to it. And it makes sense too- hirelings can trust the slow, armored fighter probably will fight to protect them instead of sprinting away at the first sign of trouble like the thief, no religious hangups like the cleric, and no skeevy consorting with forbidden powers and unethical spell-use like the wizard. But then...
- Humans Suck- 'master of minions' is both not fighter exclusive, and worse yet, fighters seem to get the worst minions. Clerics and Wizards get undead and monsters to command around, and having a charmed dragon at Wizard 7 makes '3d20 level 0 human infantry' seem a lot less cool. And a full army just means
- Being King Is Perpendicular To Adventure A fighter whose strength is a bunch of high morale NPC hirelings is both a pain to keep track of, and the more their men do, the less impact their personal presence has, until they're practically an NPC themselves, just a source of orders for the mass of mercenaries and retainers, sending companies of horsemen hither and yon, hither and yon, but probably not into a dungeon lest it result in a wraith-splosion of undead conversion or similar awfulness.
- Game of Thrones Sucks- But okay, lets say you clawed your way up to 'domain level' and now officiate skirmishes between your troops and wicked barons and feud for control of resource-rich legions and try to arrange marriages to nobles and so on and it's real proper Domain Level™ adventures, but
That's probably not what anyone signed up for and was hype about if you started as a beer-n-pretzels hex/dungeoncrawler. I'm sure some groups have survived the transition, but in my experience, interest in building castles and managing mini-kingdoms quickly withers after initial interest dies down and people realize they're playing for personal stakes and problem-solving and roleplaying and the entire rulebook is based on spells and gear and monsters, not officiating bureaucracy and social engineering. But I'm getting on a tangent away from fighters specifically, and worse yet, a tangent in which my experience is limited anyway.
THE FIGHTER AS KUNG FU ACTION BADASS
|Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, in case you didn't know|
if you didn't know never speak to me again you ignoramus churl
- When All You Have is A Hammer... So if you have mastered the Five Point Exploding Heart Palm, when confronted with problems, you are naturally inclined to consider solving those problem with the FPEHP. And the more cool fightan powers the fighter has, the more the idea that the game is about cool kung fu action becomes prominent, and, at least in my mind, while combat is certainly an important tool, it is absolutely not the point of playing in OSR style. I believe that combat in OSR is thrilling because the stakes are high and unpredictable, not because RPG games are all that good at simulating the spectacle of an action movie or mathematical optimization like a videogame.
- Whose Genre Is It Anyway- One of my secret kung fu techniques floating around the world is the Void Cut, where warriors can slap people 30' feet away with anime-esque slashes of wind or vacuum or blood flicked off the blade or ground-pounds with hammers or whatever. Mechanically speaking, this is pretty equivalent to just having a single volley of thrown javelins, and probably inferior to a molotov. Perhaps a more mundane description (quickdraw daggers) might be more appropriate to keep the tone gritty and dangerous. But maybe it's a good thing to give fighters these abilities to feel like badasses. But tone and immersion are important for keeping people invested and 'on the same page'
- Everyone is Wizards- On the one hand there's a nice equivalency to having fighters who roam the world collecting secret techniques just like a wizard collects spells. On the other hand, there is a little bit of, well...
|Being able to kill someone by stabbing their shadow or whatever, is, in my opinion, less cool when it's not a one-of-a-kind weirdness|
Leaning far, far into GM fiat and narrativist rather than abstract combat, could be a fighter who can defeat a giant with a rusty spoon at level 1 by incredibly detailed descriptions of combat. Like
GM- The giant raises his club above his head...
Player- I scramble a little left, so the raised club tracking my movements will be caught in the rafters!
GM- Ok, the giant's attack fails this round.
Or a more in-depth example
GM- The dragon leaves its lair, scaled belly dragging across the ground as it approaches the goat you tied up...
Player- And when it slides over the concealed pit trap that I'm hiding in, I strike with my poisoned spear up into its belly
GM- Roll damage, you've hit automatically, and the beast must take a round to reposition itself so its claws and jaws might reach you
Player- While its turning around, I leap from the pit and seize the tail so it can't attack me without menacing its own tail, and whistle for my attack dogs to rush from the nearby forest to help harry its flanks. They should buy me time to climb the beast's back and attack its wings to prevent it flying away, and after that, its eyes are next, all the while it bleeds from its belly wound and...
Finding where to draw the line for stuff like this can make combat interesting in a storygamey narrative sense and break away from 'I roll to hit' 'Goblin A rolls to hit' 'I roll to hit.' But at a certain level of fiat, you're just playing pretend, and victories no longer feel earned. The fiction is exposed as nothing but idle whimsy and immersion and emotional investment plummets.
This breaking of the facade is why people tend to dislike 'It was all a dream!' endings- not because a fictional dream is any more fictional than a fictional adventure, but because it calls out the absurdity of caring about fictive people and places, and by calling it out, it belittles the real emotions that the false world created.
IN CONCLUSIONclasses🤔🤔🤔 more like asses lmao😹😹😹, tl;dr light ur bad and dumb class-based sys.//T3M on fire & run Die Trying instead B-cuz D&D is 👏c a n c e l e d👏 'k bye