Posted by : David Guyll April 02, 2014

I uh, I am not entirely sure if this is an April Fool's joke, and not just because it actually mentions something approaching a mechanic.

I want to say that it is nice how Mike credits 4th Edition as the first edition to give the fighter a truly unique mechanic, but that is not entirely accurate. It was certainly the first edition to make them viable across the level spread, but their marking mechanic was not only shared at least in part by the paladin, but also by every defender that followed.

Yeah, unlike the paladin they could mark multiple targets and could deal more damage (though they had to make an attack roll), but it still followed the general concept of punishing monsters that ignored you in the form of an attack penalty and potential out-of-turn-damage.

He does not credit 4th Edition further down, where he talks about how the class design philosophy of 5th Edition is to make sure that the basic functionality needed to make your character work takes up few, if any choices. That was also a 4th Edition thing, where unless you were deliberately trying to make a broken character you could basically choose any race, class, powers feats, skills, etc you wanted and end up with a perfectly functional character.

It just had the added benefit of allowing you to make choices.

Additionally, 3rd Edition did not "create lots of options for the fighter that were available to other classes as well". 3rd Edition had feats, and fighters just got bonus feats as a class feature, which allowed them to pick from specific types of feats. In reality that fighter had exclusive access to like, three, though other books (namely Player's Handbook 2) provided more fighter-only options for end-game play. The problem was that none of them were anywhere near on par with what even mid-level spellcasters could do.

Hell, none of them even scaled: you had to keep burning more feats to get minor incremental bonuses.

For example, Weapon Focus gives you +1 to hit with all of one individual weapon, and any anyone with a Base Attack Bonus of at least +1 can take it. If you are a fighter? Eventually, at 8th-level, you can burn another feat on Greater Weapon Focus, which gives you another +1 to attack rolls with that exact same weapon. If you manage to hold out until 21st-level and are using Epic Level Handbook, you can take Epic Weapon Focus, which bucks the trend by giving you all of a plus +2 with the exact same weapon.

Spellcasters on the other hand did not have to spend feats: their magic not only automatically scaled, it scaled at a much, much faster and more frequent rate. They did not have to take Improved Fireball to increase its damage by 1d6 (which would still be better than Weapon Specialization), it got another 1d6 every time they leveled up. Yeah it capped out at 10d6 damage, but there were other, higher level spells to take its place, or rather the wizard got on top of everything else.

Plus there is the fact that the adventuring day was basically fueled by spell slots.

Anywho, I guess now you can opt for a Battle Master archetype...which gets maneuvers and superiority dice...which already exist in the Weaponmaster path. I am not sure why he is presenting this as if it was anything new, instead of just indicating how existing mechanics have changed.

In a nutshell the dice start out bigger (d8 instead of d6) and there are more options: he mentions a set of swashbuckler and warlord maneuvers, unfortunately none of which sound like they offer healing. Really the only possible highlight is that it kind of maybe sounds like you can actually pick your own maneuvers (as opposed to unnecessarily locking in your options early on), and that they apparently can "build more encounter-based abilities into the core game".

Choices (maybe)? Encounter powers? Could it be that more 4th Edition-isms are creeping back in?

Eh, maybe it is just an April Fool's joke.

{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Actually in 3e there was the Tomb of Battle that added maneuvers for martial classes. Star Wars Saga Edition used it extensively for Force Powers and other mechanics that would be the test bed for 4e. The ideas in this book paved the way for all the classes to gain maneuvers.

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  2. I am not sure why you bring this up, but I would like to point out that Tome of Battle did not add martial maneuvers for martial classes, it added three classes that had access to abilities referred to as maneuvers.

    This might sound like nitpicking, but it did not allow fighters and rogues to swap out class features for other class features that would actually put them feasibly on par with spellcasters.

    Plus not all of the maneuvers were "martial" or, rather, extraordinary: a number were explicitly magical, unlike martial exploits from 4th Edition (which were not magical despite the wild claims of some of its detractors).

    Finally, they also differed in that you could only ready a limited number that you knew, and could regain them all in the middle of combat.

    I have heard that Tome of Battle and Star Wars inspired some of the mechanics in 4th Edition, but I did not even say that 4th Edition was where they originated from at any rate: I said that 4th Edition was when the fighter finally became a viable class option at any level, and that they might use more per-encounter resources.

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  3. This is funny. The first thing I checked with the playtest package was the fighter's sheet for this exact same reason. This is when I got the first bad feeling about 5th where I had been excited before.

    They were the most tedious to play and mediocre characters in 3rd ed. It is one of the things I liked of 4th, that they made each class equally interesting!

    Come back to 5th, I see the fighter sheet is barely a one-pager, the wizard sheet has three pages full of stuff. Sure, it is level 1 but it doesn't get much better.

    That is just one thing, then there's the fact that customization is basically a matter of a couple of choices and urgghghh

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