I am trying to create my own RPG system, similar to 4e and 3e, and hopefully a happy merger of both.

For casting classes, there are 4 tiers of spells per 10 levels, totaling 12 tiers of spells (similar in effect to spell levels in 3e). I am having a problem with developing a system for the fighter class. I want him to have abilities as well, but I don't thing spells/abilities per day would work well for a fighter.

I feel as though the fighter class was too bland in the editions previous to 4e, only being able to do basic melee attacks and such. How can I set up the fighter's abilities and what kind of powers should he have? I considered stances, and some techniques that buff the basic melee attack, such as a thrust technique increasing range by 1.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're keeping encounter powers, you might just give fighters more encounter powers instead of daily powers. Call them something like "tricks" to explain why they only work once in a fight. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2013 at 17:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I added the dungeons-and-dragons tag as this is a mash-up of 3e and 4e. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Apr 26, 2013 at 18:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you looked at 13th Age? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2013 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ How are you differentiating yourself from Next and Pathfinder? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2013 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like the mechanics to be more simple but not dumbed down. Each class will definitely have a unique feel to all of them and will be different than in other editions. Magic items will be handeled differently and I want to add professions such as enchanting, spell craft, alchemy and so on. It will also be a campaign setting of my own design. I have looked at pathfinder but not DnD next. Like I said , its a happy medium between 3.Xe and 4e. I've been reading criticism about each edition and want to design something utilizing that input. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 27, 2013 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


In 3.x/4e, fighters tend to deliver a more constant damage output than magic-users (who focus on 'spike damage', or short powerful bursts). To keep this flavour, you should probably try to offer abilities that give steady enhancements instead of short-term boosts.

To have meaningful tactical choices, you'd need to disallow all abilities being active at once. A +1 attack and AC is good but doesn't offer as much choice as deciding between the attack or AC boost.

Stances sound like a good way of doing this, as well as maybe a 'fighting style' or something like that. You could offer a range of stances that build on each other in a chain (so that taking weaker powers is still worthwhile, as they enable more powerful abilities). Also, you should consider having some actions (like a trip or stun) that can be used only in certain styles, so fighters can use 'special attacks', as it were, while still following the basic principles of changing stances/styles/whatever.

Just my two cp's :)


Here are my thoughts, some of them are similar to some of the other suggestions already given. These are in no particular order though I think 2 is my favorite, but I like 3 a lot as well:

1) More Encounter Powers should be given to martial characters (fighters, knights, rogues, etc.). Instead of dailies give them 2 or more encounter powers to choose from of roughly equivalent value if they were combined into one power. This ensures fighters will have lots of interesting attacks to deal out throughout the course of an encounter.

2) Create a system similar to power strikes or psionic power points where martial characters have a set number of points to spend on actions that can be used after a hit. For example, Essentials martial classes all have the power strike encounter power instead of dailies. I think power strike as-is is actually very dull, but a lot of the options for power strike if you spend feats on them (i.e. a waste in most builds due to them crowding out other more useful feats if taken) you can use your power strike to do all sorts of additional maneuvers and attacks on a hit. For example Heavy Blade Power Strike (FEAT) lets you spend a power strike when you hit an enemy to roll your power strike damage die (1w) against another enemy adjacent (similar to how cleave used to work prior to 4e).

To improve on this have a list of maneuvers that fighters can preform after a successful attack by spending a point. They can use them as much as they like without any limit other than the number of points available each encounter and them needing to successfully land an attack first.

3) Create a group of At-will minor actions for fighters to use as this would give greater utility to the martial classes and help to separate them from the magic classes. In 4e minor action attacks and utility powers exist but mostly as dailies or encounters and even then most characters only have a few throughout their adventuring career. Giving martial powers at-will minor actions helps to mechanically and flavor-wise set them apart from magic classes. Fighters are men of action, looking for openings in their opponents and never letting up, this would help simulate that.

4) Create a combo system fighters and other martial classes are able to chain attacks together much like fighting games on video game consoles. A successful initial hit on an attack allows a followup attack. These follow up attacks in the combo could be totally different attacks and indeed ones only useable after the first combo starter hit.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much! I had considered a combo system in which an at will would stagger, or knock prone, or some similar effect, and from there, encounters could be used to do special follow up attacks. I figured that this would be a good idea for a more agile class such as the rogue, and the ranger could have the normal at will, encounter, daily sytem. I like suggestions 1 and 2 the best, and perhaps in place of dailies, have power points (stamina points?) that can augment a basic attack, say a shield bash, to follow up with a sword slash, or second bash that knocks them down further. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2013 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes call them whatever you like. Stamina I think does sound particularly well since it is something that naturally wears away in any fight until combats are left making the most basic and efficient attacks they knew due to fatigue. Adding effects like prone, big pushes, dazing, or getting a free attack using these points is exactly what I was thinking. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2013 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also look at Tome of Battle for maneuvers \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Apr 26, 2013 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ yes ToB is the best 3.5 example of maneuvers and encounter style powers. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 26, 2013 at 19:29

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