FrankenFourth: Meet the Fighter

If you want to see more details on what I'm talking about in this blog post, check out the FrankenFourth alpha document. It's got all the fighter stuff, plus a bunch of other stuff.

So, as in basically every fantasy role-playing game fighters are one of the toughest classes, and are capable of using a variety of weapons and armor better than many of the others.

In terms of complexity, if you were to compare them to fighters from other editions I'd say 5th Edition comes the closest: you start with a couple of abilities and choose another, but you don't deal with saving throw "proficiencies" or backgrounds.

Wounds & Vitality
Wounds are your "meat points", while Vitality is more like your fatigue or ability to avoid grievous injury. Wounds comes back slowly, while Vitality is replenished during a short rest (which is about 30 minutes of rest).

Fighters start with 6+Constitution Wounds, and 4 Vitality. I should point out that ability scores are just modifiers. For example, you don't have Constitution 14 (+2), you just have Constitution +2. This works out to a grand total of 10 "hit points" at 1st-level, plus your Constitution, just as you'd have in more recent editions.

When you level up, you get 4+Constitution Wounds, and 2 Vitality. This is basically the average of a d10, rounded up (what 5th Edition does if you wanna take the average). The split favors Wounds, because playtests have shown that if you have too many Vitality points and/or really good Armor the game isn't nearly as dangerous.

Proficiencies & Skills
You can use any weapon, wear any armor, and carry any shield. You also pick any three skills you want (some classes give you automatic access to a skill). Initially we considered doing something like 3rd or 4th Edition, where your skills are limited or restricted by class, but then 4th Edition added in backgrounds (one of several things 5th Edition also used).

Backgrounds mostly gave you a bonus to a skill, or let you choose a trained skill that you normally couldn't. So, rather than have players bullshit up a background to get a skill that they want (which seems to be a common theme in 5th Edition), we're just going to let you pick whatever, and you can explain why your character has it if you really want to.

Class Features
You start the game with armored mobility, weapon master, and your choice of defender or slayer. (We'll probably add more 1st-level options, so if you wanna use two weapons, or a bow or some other ranged weapons, you can do that, too.)

Armored mobility reduces Speed penalties from wearing some types of armor by 5 feet, weapon master gives you a +1 bonus to hit with all weapons (which scales at certain levels), defender gives you a +1 bonus to Reflex while you carry a shield (which helps put you on par with lightly armored, high-Dex characters), and slayer gives you a +2 bonus to damage when wielding a two-handed weapon.

At Higher Levels
At 2nd- and 3rd-level, you get to upgrade a talent you already have, or choose a new one. Talents currently must be from your class or race, which is how we're catering to people that want to do race-as-class. There will be something for those that want to do multiclassing, but when you choose a talent from another class you gain its Wounds and Vitality, which for the fighter probably means you'll be getting less than normal.

This better allows the player to control how complex their character is. If you just want to hit things and deal lots of damage, you can stick to the slayer tree (for a total of +6 to damage once it's maxed out), and then go down the sundering strikes tree so you can also start ignoring Armor points. Finally, the weapon specialization tree is generally useful to all weapons. Of course, if you decide you want special attacks later, you can do that: you don't choose a thing early on that locks you in for the rest of the game.

4th- and 5th-level are different in that we give you preset abilities (levels 9 and 10 will be similar). At 4th-level you get weapon focus, which makes you deal +1d6 damage with weapon attacks, and at 5th-level you can make two attacks per round, and weapon master gets bumped up by +1, so now all of your attacks gain a +2 bonus to hit.

This is because we feel that fighters should get some sort of automatic damage scaling and multiple attacks, but we didn't want to make it something you could take any time you wanted to, or even had to choose (because like +x to hit/Defense feats in 3rd and 4th Edition, you basically always would). This way you get the stuff you need, and can instead focus on building a character that fits your concept without having to worry about mapping out character builds or hitting up character optimization forums.

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Paladin is out, and we're holding the next Dungeon World class vote now!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).


  1. Interesting. We seem to have arrived at many of the same design decisions - you with FrankenFourth, me with Dragon Heresy. And at roughly the same time, as well - my "I should do something about this" post was the end of January 2016. Cool parallel evolution!

    1. @Douglas: Do you have any documents/drafts for people to look at? Are you using armor as damage resistance? If so, how's that working out?

    2. I have a whole bunch of posts on my blog, including one from today. Here's the history of the project:

      But yeah - DR as armor, subtracts from damage. Vigor and wounds as a developed subsystem. I'm not sending out public drafts, but interested parties can join the playtest. Fair warning: the characters+campaign book is probably 330,000 words. :-)


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