Fighter 1.0

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Oh, look at that, a dragon....

Few heroes are as versatile as a fighter. A fighter can be a nearly indestructible tank, drawing enemy attacks upon himself and serving as a living shield for his allies. A fighter can be a strong-armed thug, wielding his weapon with great precision and deadly force. A fighter can be a master of thrown or ranged weapons, achieving a mastery greater than even a Ranger. A fighter can master combat maneuvers, becoming a deadly grappler or a battlefield controller that shoves enemies into positions where they can be easily cut down by his friends. Above all, however, a fighter is a specialist. He can be any one of these things, but not all of them. The path to these roles is complex and requires endless training, constantly challenging oneself to perform better in each encounter.

A fighter's words and behavior are seldom the most refined, his lack of subtlety is often noteworthy, and his magics are embodied in his person, not spun out through elaborate gestures and exerted will. However, on the battlefield, his mere presence draws the attention and ire of his enemies. In his element, he is a force which cannot be ignored.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d10

Starting Wealth: 250 gp

Skill Ranks Per Level: 6 + Int modifier

Recommended Ability Score Priority:

  • Strength: primary; used for melee to-hit and damage. Drops to tertiary if focusing on ranged attacks.
  • Constitution: secondary; used to improve durability in close combat.
  • Dexterity: tertiary; used to improve AC, reflex saves, and ranged to-hit. Increases to primary if focusing on ranged attacks.
  • Intelligence: quaternary (optional); can be useful for Combat Expertise (Feat) and its related feats.
  • Wisdom: low priority.
  • Charisma: low priority.

Favored Class: Fighter

If the Fighter class is your favored class, you gain the following benefits at level 1. This is in addition to those benefits and class features listed for level 1 in the Class Progression: Fighter table, below.

Level To-Hit Fort Ref Will Base AC Class Bailiwick Linked Skill
BAB Full Attack
Fav +0 4 attacks +2 +0 +0 10 Warfare Knowledge (Engineering)

Class Progression: Fighter

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Combat Edge Special
Δ Total Δ Total Δ Total Δ Total
1st +1 +1/-4/-10/-14 - +2 - +0 - +0 +1 Fighting Technique, Martial Prowess, Combat Tactic
2nd +1 +2/-3/-9/-13 +1 +3 - +0 - +0 +1 Bonus Feat
3rd +1 +3/-2/-8/-12 - +3 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 Combat Tactic
4th +1 +4/-1/-7/-11 +1 +4 - +1 - +1 +2 Bonus Feat
5th +1 +5/0/-6/-10 - +4 - +1 - +1 +2 Combat Tactic
6th +1 +6/+1/-4/-9 +1 +5 +1 +2 +1 +2 +2 Bonus Feat
7th +1 +7/+2/-3/-8 - +5 - +2 - +2 +3 Combat Tactic
8th +1 +8/+3/-2/-7 +1 +6 - +2 - +2 +3 Bonus Feat
9th +1 +9/+4/-1/-6 - +6 +1 +3 +1 +3 +3 Combat Tactic
10th +1 +10/+5/0/-5 +1 +7 - +3 - +3 +4 Bonus Feat
11th +1 +11/+6/+1/-4 - +7 - +3 - +3 +4 Advanced Combat Tactic
12th +1 +12/+7/+2/-3 +1 +8 +1 +4 +1 +4 +4 Bonus Feat
13th +1 +13/+8/+3/-2 - +8 - +4 - +4 +5 Advanced Combat Tactic
14th +1 +14/+9/+4/-1 +1 +9 - +4 - +4 +5 Bonus Feat
15th +1 +15/+10/+5/0 - +9 +1 +5 +1 +5 +5 Advanced Combat Tactic
16th +1 +16/+11/+6/+1 +1 +10 - +5 - +5 +6 Bonus Feat
17th +1 +17/+12/+7/+2 - +10 - +5 - +5 +6 Advanced Combat Tactic
18th +1 +18/+13/+8/+3 +1 +11 +1 +6 +1 +6 +6 Bonus Feat
19th +1 +19/+14/+9/+4 - +11 - +6 - +6 +7 Advanced Combat Tactic
20th +1 +20/+15/+10/+5 +1 +12 - +6 - +6 +7 Weapon Mastery, Bonus Feat
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Combat Edge Special
Δ Total Δ Total Δ Total Δ Total
21st +1 +21/+16/+11/+6 +1 +13 +1 +7 +1 +7 +7 Epic Combat Tactic, Exacting Strikes Rank 1
22nd - +21/+16/+11/+6 - +13 - +7 - +7 +8 Bonus Feat
23rd +1 +22/+17/+12/+7 +1 +14 +1 +8 +1 +8 +8 Epic Combat Tactic
24th - +22/+17/+12/+7 - +14 - +8 - +8 +8 Bonus Feat
25th +1 +23/+18/+13/+8 +1 +15 +1 +9 +1 +9 +9 Epic Combat Tactic, Exacting Strikes Rank 2
26th - +23/+18/+13/+8 - +15 - +9 - +9 +9 Bonus Feat
27th +1 +24/+19/+14/+9 +1 +16 +1 +10 +1 +10 +9 Epic Combat Tactic
28th - +24/+19/+14/+9 - +16 - +10 - +10 +10 Bonus Feat
29th +1 +25/+20/+15/+10 +1 +17 +1 +11 +1 +11 +10 Epic Combat Tactic, Exacting Strikes Rank 3
30th - +25/+20/+15/+10 - +17 - +11 - +11 +10 Bonus Feat
31st +1 +26/+21/+16/+11 +1 +18 +1 +12 +1 +12 +11 Epic Combat Tactic
32nd - +26/+21/+16/+11 - +18 - +12 - +12 +11 Bonus Feat
33rd +1 +27/+22/+17/+12 +1 +19 +1 +13 +1 +13 +11 Epic Combat Tactic, Exacting Strikes Rank 4
34th - +27/+22/+17/+12 - +19 - +13 - +13 +12 Bonus Feat
35th +1 +28/+23/+18/+13 +1 +20 +1 +14 +1 +14 +12 Epic Combat Tactic
36th Apotheosis!

Class Abilities

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A Fighter is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and heavy armor, and light and heavy shields.

Natural Talent (Ex)

At 1st level, all characters receive two natural Natural Talent skills: one in their bailiwick skill, and one in any other skill of their choice. Natural talent allows you to re-map a skill to use any ability score you wish, rather than the ability score it normally uses. You may not select a skill for natural talent that you cannot put ranks into (such as a bailiwick skill not available to your class). Natural talent skills never suffer an armor check penalty, even if the chosen ability modifier is STR or DEX.

All characters receive an additional natural talent skill at character (not class) levels 11, 21, and 31. Additional natural talents may also be gained through Self-Improvement.

Combat Edge (Ex)

Combat Edge represents a fighter's unrivaled grasp of combat. Other classes fight, but a Fighter LIVES for battle. Fighters exude a palpable menace simply by existing, a leashed deadly love of conflict that shows as unmistakably as any wizard's arcane might. Every move, every action, every thought, is tinged by their constant wary alertness, their readiness for strife, always planning how to defeat everyone they see, eyes roving ceaselessly, hungry for the next fight.

Combat Edge begins as a +1 bonus and increases every three levels, as laid out in Class Progression: Fighter, above. This bonus is applied to numerous fighter abilities, as described below.

Fighting Technique (Ex)

Fighters have distinctive moves and styles in combat, preferred equipment and footwork and strikes, that all add up to become their Fighting Technique.

Beginning at 1st level, during combat, any time the Fighter rolls an attack and hits an opponent he can perceive that is within 30 feet, the opponent is Challenged by the fighter. The maximum number of Challenges that can be laid by a single Fighter at the same time are equal to the number of attacks granted by their BAB. A Fighter's Challenge can do many things, depending upon the Fighting Technique that governs the way the fighter battles. The principal effect of the Fighter's Challenge is to penalize his Challenged foe for attacking any target other than the Fighter. On top of that, the Challenge may grant the Fighter and his allies various Assists. Assists are buffs to the Fighters abilities and possibly his allies, depending upon the exact Fighting Technique the fighter chooses.

General Rules on Challenges and Assists

Note that a Challenge does not grant a fighter any knowledge of a foe's location in any circumstance, the fighter must perceive his target as normal. The Challenge and Assists are automatic, and cannot be 'turned off' by the Fighter. If you don't want to apply a Challenge and gain Assists against a foe, don't hit it. The core utility of the Fighter's Challenge ability is simple: Once a Fighter has struck a target once, that target is penalized for attacking anyone other than the fighter. The core utility of Fighter's Assists are to aid him and his allies in battles. Assists and Challenges never stack, but Assists usually persist until the beginning of the Fighter's next round.

The number of targets that can be affected by a Fighter's Challenge each round is limited by the number of attacks a fighter can make due to their BAB (1 to 4, never higher). Assist are calculated per Challenged foe, but do not stack. Fighter's Challenges and Assists can be applied via attacks of opportunity, and attacks against multiple targets (such as Whirlwind Attack), as long as this does not cause the number of challenged foes to exceed the maximum for the fighter's BAB. If the fighter ever marks more targets than their maximum, they choose whether to remove an existing mark, or not place a new one.

The effects of a Challenge end at the start of the fighter's next turn. Challenges never stack, even from multiple fighters. The newest challenge is always the current (and only) challenge on a creature. Challenges have no effect on other class abilities, such as the Ranger's Quarry, which aren't identified as a "Challenge". Assists usually persist until the beginning of the Fighter's next round, depending on the technique chosen.

Challenged foes suffer a penalty on all attack rolls (including ranged, and ranged touch) equal to the Challenge rating defined by the Fighting Technique, unless the attack specifically targets, or includes as a target, the fighter who issued the challenge. If the challenged foe makes an area-effect attack, or an attack which targets multiple opponents and the fighter is among the targets, the entire attack suffers no penalty to its attack rolls. If such an attack does not include the fighter among its targets, all of its to-hit rolls suffer the penalty.

Bonus Attacks on Inattentive Foes

If a challenged foe takes a 5-foot step away from the fighter (it may move around the fighter at will, it is only movement away which triggers this ability), performs a withdrawal maneuver, or makes an attack which does not include the fighter, the fighter may make a bonus attack against the challenged foe due to their lack of attention to the fighter. This bonus attack is a free action granted by ALL Fighting Techniques, which is resolved before the challenged foe's triggering action is completed. Remember: If the challenged foe targets the fighter or includes the fighter in his attack, the fighter's challenge provides no benefits to the fighter nor penalties to the challenged foe.

The bonus attack granted by an Inattentive Challenged foe does not use up any of the fighter's attacks of opportunity or immediate actions for the round. However, the fighter can never make more than one bonus attack against the same challenged foe in a single round, no matter how many times this ability could be triggered.

An action by a challenged foe cannot trigger both a bonus attack and an attack of opportunity. The fighter may choose which of these attacks he wishes to use against the target in these circumstances. Since both attacks of opportunity and the Challenge's bonus attack are resolved before the triggering action, only one is possible.

A Challenge is not a Condition

A fighter's challenge is not considered a "condition" to which roles, such as tanks and threats, are partially immune.

Fighting Techniques

At character creation, a Fighter must choose one of five Fighting Techniques. These are sometimes called 'The Five Rings" or 'The Five Ways of War.' Once chosen, this Fighting Technique may not be changed. Each Fighting Technique grants the fighter a Challenge and some number of Assists, which are applied every time a Fighter makes an attack against an enemy either in melee or within thirty feet.

There are four Fighting Techniques that are predefined. Those Techniques require the Fighter to wear a certain class of armor, and grant the Fighter a Challenge and three Assists. These Techniques are named Wall of Steel Technique, Knight of Stone Technique, Terra-Cotta Soldier Technique, and Saint of Battle Technique. A fighter must be wearing the armor specified by the technique (or no armor at all), or he cannot lay a Challenge or gain the benefits of his Assist abilities.

If a Fighter does not wish to follow one of these four predefined Techniques, they may instead select the Heterodox Warrior Technique. The Heterodox Warrior Fighting Technique allows them to build their own unique Fighting Technique by wearing any armor they wish, choosing any one Challenge, and any two Assists, from any of the other Techniques.

In detail, the five defined Fighting Techniques are:


Wall of Steel Technique

Fighters who use the Wall of Steel technique must wear heavy armor or no armor. While wearing heavy (or no) armor, each attack applies the following effects:

  • Challenge: A foe which has been Challenged by the fighter suffers a -3 penalty with any attacks not made against or including the fighter.
  • Assist: The fighter adds Combat Edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) to ER/- against attacks from any foe(s). (+1 to +4)
  • Assist: The fighter adds Combat Edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) to DR/- against attacks from any foe(s). (+1 to +4)
  • Assist: resists Combat Edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) squares of forced move from any foe while maintaining a Challenge. (-1 to -4)

Knight of Stone Technique

Fighters who use the Knight of Stone technique must wear medium armor or no armor. While wearing medium (or no) armor, each attack applies the following effects:

  • Challenge: A foe which has been Challenged by the fighter suffers a -3 penalty with any attacks not made against or including the fighter.
  • Assist: The Fighter adds Combat Edge/5 + 1 (drop fractions) as an untyped bonus to their own AC against all attacks while maintaining a Challenge. This bonus is lost if the Fighter is rendered flat-footed, wobbly, or helpless. (+1 to +3)
  • Assist: The Fighter adds Combat Edge as an untyped bonus to the damage of any combat maneuvers made against a Challenged foe. (+1 to +12)
  • Assist: The Fighter adds Combat Edge/5 + 1 (drop fractions) to any forced movement the fighter inflicts to a challenged foe. (+1 to +3)

Terra Cotta Soldier Technique

Fighters who use the Terra Cotta Soldier technique must wear light armor or no armor. While wearing light (or no) armor, each attack applies the following effects:

  • Challenge: A foe which has been Challenged by the fighter suffers a -2 penalty with any attacks not made against or including the fighter.
  • Assist: Grants Combat Edge/5 + 1 (drop fractions) as an untyped bonus to-hit to the first attack made by a single ally when attacking a Challenged foe. (+1 to +3)
  • Assist: The Fighter may ignore combat edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) squares of rough terrain while at least one foe is Challenged (+1 to +4 squares). This bonus persists only as long as at least one foe is Challenged.
  • Assist: While a foe is Challenged by the Fighter, they still threaten squares but they may not make attacks of opportunity on anyone except the Fighter. This Assist may apply to up to Combat Edge/5 + 1 (drop fractions) Challenged foes (1 to 3 foes).

Saint of Battle Technique

Fighters who use the Saint of Battle technique must not wear armor. While wearing no armor, each attack applies the following effects:

  • Challenge: A foe which has been Challenged by the fighter suffers a -2 penalty with any attacks not made against or including the fighter.
  • Assist: When you are flanking a Challenged foe, both you and any flanking allies gain a +1 untyped bonus to hit that foe, and deal bonus damage equal to your Combat Edge (+1 to +12). This is in addition to the traditional +2 bonus to-hit for flanking an opponent.
  • Assist: Add Combat Edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) to DR/- when flanking a Challenged foe, to both the Fighter and any allies who are flanking the Challenged foe.
  • Assist: Add Combat Edge/4 + 1 (drop fractions) squares of bonus movement to all of the Fighter's move speeds while at least one foe is Challenged (+1 to +4 squares). This bonus persists only as long as at least one foe is Challenged. This does not increase the distance of 5-foot steps.

Heterodox Warrior Technique

Fighters who use the Heterodox Warrior technique may wear any armor they wish. All of their Challenges and Assists work regardless of which armor they are wearing.

  • A Heterodox Warrior MUST choose any one Challenge ability from the above techniques.
  • A Heterodox Warrior may choose any two Assist abilities from the above techniques.

Once selected, these cannot be changed.

Martial Prowess (Ex)

Beginning at 1st level, the fighter adds the Combat Edge bonus to his to-hit rolls, damage rolls, and his armor's and shield's Max Dex Bonus. He subtracts the Combat Edge bonus from his armor's and shield's Armor Check Penalty (to a maximum of 0 Armor Check Penalty for both armor and shield). All of these bonuses are untyped.

Combat Tactic

Beginning at 1st Level the fighter learns a Combat Tactic, and gains an additional Tactic at each odd fighter level thereafter. Beginning at 11th level, the fighter may choose from the Advanced Combat Tactics. Unless specifically noted, no Tactic may be taken more than once.

Bonus Feat

At 2nd level, and at every even level thereafter, a fighter gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. This means that the fighter gains a feat at each level. The fighter may only select feats that he qualifies for, and he must meet any prerequisites required at the time the feat is selected.

Advanced Combat Tactic

Fighters gain an Advanced Combat Tactic beginning at 11th level and every second level thereafter. This Advanced Combat Tactic pick may be traded down to a basic Combat Tactic pick, if the fighter prefers. Unless specifically noted, no Combat Tactic may be taken more than once.

Weapon Mastery (Ex)

At 20th level, a fighter automatically confirms all critical threats and has his critical damage multiplier increased by 1 (x2 becomes x3, for example) for whichever weapon he is using at the time. In addition, the fighter cannot be disarmed. Ever.

Exacting Strikes (Ex)

Once a Fighter reaches Epic levels, his Fighting Technique gains a deadly new dimension. All Techniques grant Exacting Strikes. Exacting Strikes is a reflection of a Fighter's incredible skill in combat. As a Fighter hits a Challenged foe more and more often, he learns more and more about that foe's strengths, weaknesses, fighting style, movement, everything. As a result, the Fighter's attacks get stronger and stronger.

Each time a fighter successfully strikes a foe, he gains an Exacting Strike against that foe. At the beginning of every combat round, the Fighter adds up the total number of Exacting Strikes he has made against each of the foes he is attacking, multiplies that total on each foe by the Rank of his Exacting Strikes ability, and adds that number as bonus damage (not precision damage) to every successful attack he makes that round against each of those foes.

When the fighter accumulates Exacting Strikes against multiple opponents, he records each successful strike separately for each opponent. Attacks against an opponent only benefit from the Exacting Strikes inflicted in previous rounds on that particular enemy. Furthermore, if the fighter ever ends his turn without placing a Fighter's Challenge on a foe (by attacking or any other means), any Exacting Strikes on that foe are lost.

Note that Exacting Strikes are only summed at the beginning of each round, so this class ability provides no benefit in the first round (or surprise round, if any) of combat. Each successive round after the first uses the sum of all Exacting Strikes made at any point during this combat (as long as a Fighter's Challenge is applied to the foe in question each round). Needless to say, a fighter with this ability can dish out some amazing damage as a fight wears on, if he is willing to put his full attention on just one or two foes.

A 29th level Fighter with Exacting Strikes 3 is attacking a foe five times a round with his Longsword of Speed.
At the beginning of the first round, he has struck his opponent zero times, and so gains no damage from his Exacting Strikes. During the first round he hits the foe five times, Challenging it and gaining five Exacting Strikes.
At the beginning of the second round, he has struck his foe five times and so gains three points of damage times five Strikes, or fifteen points of bonus damage which is added to his total damage with each attack of his weapon made against that foe. This bonus damage is the same type of damage as that done by his weapon (i.e. slashing), and is added to his normal damage for purposes of overcoming DR. During the second round he hits the foe an additional four times (he missed once) and gains four more Exacting Strikes against it, for a total of nine.
At the beginning of the third round, he has struck his foe nine times and so gains twenty-seven points of bonus damage with every attack he makes against that foe. Sadly, he cannot keep attacking that foe, as he must break off to distract a monster which has the hapless rogue in its mouth. Since he does not attack the foe, his does not Challenge it, and the Exacting Strikes are lost.

Note that it is possible, if the Fighter has area of effect attacks, or Cleave, or ranged weapons, or reach weapons, to stack and maintain Exacting Strikes against as many foes as he can manage. It is left to the player to decide how best to use this ability in every situation.

Epic Combat Tactic

Fighters gain an Epic Combat Tactic beginning at 21st level and every second level thereafter. Fighters may choose a lower level Tactic of any sort with an Epic Tactic selection. Unless specifically noted, no Epic Combat Tactic may be taken more than once.