Image used by permission of Yama Orce.
Some take up arms for glory, wealth, or revenge. Others do battle to prove themselves, to protect others, or because they know nothing else. Still others learn the ways of weaponcraft to hone their bodies in battle and prove their mettle in the forge of war. Lords of the battlefield, fighters are a disparate lot, training with many weapons or just one, perfecting the uses of armor, learning the fighting techniques of exotic masters, and studying the art of combat, all to shape themselves into living weapons. Far more than mere thugs, these skilled warriors reveal the true deadliness of their weapons, turning hunks of metal into arms capable of taming kingdoms, slaughtering monsters, and rousing the hearts of armies. Soldiers, knights, hunters, and artists of war, fighters are unparalleled champions, and woe to those who dare stand against them.
Role: Fighters excel at combat—defeating their enemies, controlling the flow of battle, and surviving such sorties themselves. While their specific weapons and methods grant them a wide variety of tactics, few can match fighters for sheer battle prowess.
Hit Die: d10.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
The fighter's class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
The following are class features of the fighter.
A fighter is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with all armor (heavy, light, and medium) and shields (including tower shields).
At 1st level, and at every even level thereafter, a fighter gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement (meaning that the fighter gains a feat at every level). These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as Combat Feats, sometimes also called “fighter bonus feats.”
Upon reaching 4th level, and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, and so on), a fighter can choose to learn a new bonus feat in place of a bonus feat he has already learned. In effect, the fighter loses the bonus feat in exchange for the new one. The old feat cannot be one that was used as a prerequisite for another feat, prestige class, or other ability. A fighter can only change one feat at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the feat at the time he gains a new bonus feat for the level.
Starting at 2nd level, a fighter gains a +1 bonus on Will saves against fear. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.
Starting at 3rd level, a fighter learns to be more maneuverable while wearing armor. Whenever he is wearing armor, he reduces the armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by his armor by 1. Every four levels thereafter (7th, 11th, and 15th), these bonuses increase by +1 each time, to a maximum –4 reduction of the armor check penalty and a +4 increase of the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed.
In addition, a fighter can also move at his normal speed while wearing medium armor. At 7th level, a fighter can move at his normal speed while wearing heavy armor.
Starting at 5th level, a fighter can select one group of weapons, as noted below. Whenever he attacks with a weapon from this group, he gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls.
Every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, and 17th), a fighter becomes further trained in another group of weapons. He gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls when using a weapon from this group. In addition, the bonuses granted by previous weapon groups increase by +1 each. For example, when a fighter reaches 9th level, he receives a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls with one weapon group and a +2 bonus on attack and damage rolls with the weapon group selected at 5th level. Bonuses granted from overlapping groups do not stack. Take the highest bonus granted for a weapon if it resides in two or more groups.
A fighter also adds this bonus to any combat maneuver checks made with weapons from this group. This bonus also applies to the fighter's Combat Maneuver Defense when defending against disarm and sunder attempts made against weapons from this group.
Blades, Heavy: dueling sword, bastard sword, chakram, double chicken saber, double walking stick katana, elven curve blade, falcata, falchion, flambard, greatsword, great terbutje , katana, khopesh, klar, longsword, nine-ring broadsword, nodachi, scimitar, scythe, seven-branched sword, shotel, temple sword, terbutje, and two-bladed sword.
Blades, Light: bayonet, butterfly knife, butterfly sword, chakram, dagger, gladius, hunga munga, kama, katar, kerambit, kukri, madu, pata, quadrens, rapier, sawtooth sabre, scizore, shortsword, sica, sickle, starknife, swordbreaker dagger, sword cane, wakizashi, and war razor.
Close: bayonet, brass knuckles, cestus, dan bong, emei piercer, fighting fan, gauntlet, heavy shield, iron brush, katar, light shield, madu, mere club, punching dagger, rope gauntlet, sap, scizore, spiked armor, spiked gauntlet, spiked shield, tekko-kagi, tonfa, unarmed strike, wooden stake, and wushu dart.
Firearms: all one-handed, two-handed, and siege firearms.
Flails: battle poi, bladed scarf, chain spear, dire flail, double chained kama, flail, flying blade, heavy flail, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, meteor hammer, morningstar, nine-section whip, nunchaku, sansetsukon, scorpion whip, spiked chain, urumi, and whip.
Monk: bo staff, brass knuckles, butterfly sword, cestus, dan bong, double chained kama, double chicken saber, emei piercer, fighting fan, hanbo, jutte, kama, kusarigama, kyoketsu shoge, lungshuan tamo, monk's spade, nine-ring broadsword, nine-section whip, nunchaku, quarterstaff, rope dart, sai, sansetsukon, seven-branched sword, shang gou, shuriken, siangham, temple sword, tiger fork, tonfa, tri-point double-edged sword, unarmed strike, urumi, and wushu dart.
Polearms: bardiche, bec de corbin, bill, glaive, glaive-guisarme, guisarme, halberd, hooked lance, lucerne hammer, mancatcher, monk's spade, naginata, nodachi, ranseur, rhomphaia, tepoztopilli, and tiger fork.
Siege engines: Ballista, bombard, catapult, corvus, firedrake, firewyrm, gallery, ram, siege tower, springal, trebuchet, and all other siege engines.
Thrown: aklys, amentum, atlatl, blowgun, bolas, boomerang, chakram, club, dagger, dart, halfling sling staff, harpoon, hunga munga, javelin, lasso, kestros, light hammer, net, poisoned sand tube, rope dart, Shoanti bolas, shortspear, shuriken, sling, sling glove, spear, starknife, throwing axe, throwing shield, trident, and wushu dart.
At 19th level, a fighter gains Damage Reduction 5/— whenever he is wearing armor or using a shield.
At 20th level, a fighter chooses one weapon, such as the longsword, greataxe, or longbow. Any attacks made with that weapon automatically confirm all critical threats and have their damage multiplier increased by 1 (×2 becomes ×3, for example). In addition, he cannot be disarmed while wielding a weapon of this type.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have fighters as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Presented below are several classic fighter archetypes and alternate class features to help you in building your character.