|Art by Wayne Reynolds|
Because of its mechanical lacking, I've been contemplating a few different variants for the class that might make it a stronger class and more interesting mechanically. Currently, these variants are still just ideas and I haven't actually tested them at the gaming table. I just want to see what other people thought of them.
1. Challenging Fighter: This fighter variant gives the class the cavalier's Challenge ability. For those of you who aren't familiar with the cavalier, I'll elaborate. Fighters with this ability would be able to issue a challenge to a single opponent. When attacking that opponent, the fighter would deal extra damage equal to the fighter's level. However, the fighter receives a -2 penalty to Armor Class against any opponent that isn't the subject of their challenge due to the amount of concentration needed to keep up the challenge. Fighters with this ability can use it once per day at 1st level, and an additional time per day every three levels beyond that. The fighter would also receive the demanding challenge ability at 12th level, and probably a few other abilities that could add additional affects to his challenge in the place of bonus feats. This would probably be the fighter variant with the least amount of changes, except loosing the occasional bonus feat and gaining the challenge ability.
2. Gritty Fighter: This fighter variant possesses a point-based mechanic similar to the gunslinger's grit mechanic. The fighter would gain a number of points equal to their Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) which they spend to perform a number of interesting abilities called "deeds." These deeds would obviously be more melee combat focused than the gunslinger's deeds. Honestly, this is the variant I'm most interested in and I might actually take this beyond the idea stage. However, I might change the name of the point pool. I think "Mettle" might be a nice fit.
3. Talented Fighter: This fighter variant would replace all of its bonus feats with the ability to select a number of talents that mirror a ninja's tricks or a rogue's talents, but more combat focused. However, unlike the rogue, they'd be able to select certain ones multiple times (like the Combat Talent). Next to the Challenging Fighter, this would probably be the easiest to build.
4. Fighter With Style: This fighter variant would require the player to choose a "fighter style" at 1st level. This fighter style would be similar to a sorcerer's bloodline, granting them special abilities, feats, and skills that match their chosen approach to combat. Mechanically, this would bake certain fighter archetypes right into the class, giving you that archetype's abilities at certain levels.
While each could be interesting in their own way, I'm particularly smitten with the Gritty Fighter. I think it would be incredibly fun to play and I can already imagine some cool deeds to give it. Which variant do you guys and gals like? Do you have an idea of your own to make fighters more mechanically interesting? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.