A comment over at Micah’s place has me thinking about the fighter and how to make the fighter “better”. I’m not sure there’s an adequate way to give the fighter a cool list of moves without degenerating into a 4e “every class feels the same” mess, but a variant mentioned in that comment got me thinking.
What if instead of daily spells, fighters got daily battle control slots. Recognizing that the one thing a fighter should be absolutely bar none the best at is fighting, what if we gave the fighter a limited ability to constantly tip the battle in his favor. Mechanically the way this would play out is a fighter has a limited number of battle control slots per day, like a wizard or cleric has spells per day. But unlike a wizard who has to memorize his spells to create supernatural effects, the fighter simply gets to spend his control slots where he needs them most, at the time he needs them. Once per control slot, the fighter can replace a die roll for any physical effort, whether it’s a to hit roll, a damage roll, a save, a dodge whatever, with a declared number from that die. So for example, it’s a battle against the BBEG, and things are looking grim for the party, and the fighter really needs this next attack to hit. Rather than roll his d20 and hope he gets that 15 or better, the fighter instead burns a control slot, declaring a 19, and thus ensuring the hit. My only limit to this would be that declared 20’s would not be critical hits. They can still be auto-hits, but the fighter should have to roll damage. The reason I say this is to prevent the use of this ability to declare both a hit and max damage in a single slot burn. That doesn’t prevent the fighter from burning another slot to ensure max damage though.
Additionally, let’s give the fighter (exclusively) the house rule that I stole from Zack a while back, the fighter can choose to expand his critical range up to a value equal to half his level round up. In exchange, his critical mis range is increased by the same amount. So a level 1 fighter can choose to attack with a crit range of 19-20 and a fail range of 1-2, while the 4th level fighter can attack with a ranger of 18-20 and 1-3.
What do you think? Will this help fix the fighter?