A dragonborn fighter
Fighter is a descriptive term for a combat expert skilled with a variety of weapons and trained to protect other members of a group. A skilled fighter defines the front line of any battle, holding it while their allies maneuver. Any individual fighter can use almost any armor and weapon they choose and benefits from the ability to quickly learn more and more tactical maneuvers. With the proper time and training, fighters become capable of mastering their weapons to the point of killing opponents in a single blow.
Artemis Entreri, Bruenor Battlehammer, Drizzt Do'Urden and Azoun IV are all well-known fighters from Toril's history. Two even more powerful fighters of old were Zaknafein Do'Urden (though it was mentioned that his son surpassed him), Weapons Master of the House Do'Urden, and the ancient gold elf Coronal Eltargrim Irithyl.
Among the most common adventurers, fighters come from an innumerable set of backgrounds. Some are knights in the service of a quest or elite foot soldiers whilst others are ambitious would-be overlords or hardened mercenaries. What brings fighters together, however, is their common roots as warriors who put themselves in the thick of battle, between their allies or minions and harm and while many fighters could be called disreputable, few, if any, are true physical cowards.
All fighters draw on a wealth of experience built by others who've come before them, though some are more formal about it than others. Many fighters come to their profession through formal training as members of a militia or army, some having been trained within formal academies. Others are more or less self-educated, their skills hardened through self-experience rather than formal instruction. Some fighters are brought to the ways of martial combat by a threat to their home and others are a part of a long family tradition. Regardless, fighters, while commonly sharing a bond with those whom they've fought beside personally, do not see themselves as a whole to be brothers in arms, at least not typically. Instead, fighters are united by the heat of battle and the skills they carry with them.
Fighters are common in nearly every part of Faerûn and though they are sometimes overlooked due to their widespread nature, truly skilled fighters are well-respected for their abilities. While many fighters operate on their own or as parts of informally organized groups, others hold themselves to a higher ideal and are part of knightly orders. These include such renowned groups as the Purple Dragons of Cormyr, the Knights Kuldar of Barakmordin, or, in the past, the Champions Vigilant of Helm.
Likewise, fighters come from a wide variety of races. Amongst humans, dwarves, eladrin,, particularly moon elves, halfling, most often lightfoot or strongheart halflings, and dragonborn fighters are particularly common, drawing on military traditions and often serving as agents of the ancient kingdoms ruled over by each of these races. Half-orc fighters are also common, though less so, and are typically outcasts of both lineages who've taken their hardships and channeled it into a force for discipline and martial skill. Amongst the goblinoid races, hobgoblins are most commonly fighters, the other races typically lacking the discipline for a strong martial tradition. Drow and duergar fighters are also common.
Fighters of all varieties are skilled in the use of most commonly used weapons and armor, making them highly proficient in the ways of battle. All fighters are adept at both melee and ranged combat, though the training of fighters puts its emphasis on melee. Fighters of most kinds, with the exceptions of the Battlerager and tempest fighters, favor either one-handed or two-handed weapons and are particularly adept with their favored weapon, though they remain skilled in the other style. Most fighters prefer melee to ranged combat, though a few are experts in bows and other ranged weapons, specializing in these, instead of melee weapons, at close range. Fighters also have a high morale and are hardened to take blows that would kill lesser beings, making them archetypically durable during prolonged combat.
As a whole, fighters work best among others and are trained to protect the flanks of allies. When an enemy attacks a friend or ally of a fighter, the fighter is prepared to leap to the ally's defense and distract the foe, decreasing the effectiveness of their attacks. Fighters are also better able to take advantage of flaws in an enemy's defense than warriors of other types.
The qualities and skills of a fighter often vary depending on the precise training each fighter receives. Most fighters belong to one of the following martial traditions.
- Main article: Battlerager
Battlerager fighters are an uncommon variety of fighter who prefers to trust their instincts and the thrills of battle to pull them through danger. Thrill seekers who love the heat of battle, battleragers seem to only grow more powerful the more they are injured. More so than other fighters, battleragers rely on their strength, which they use to make powerful strikes with their favored weapons such as axes or hammers. However, most also have a strong constitution as well as good instincts, needing both in order to survive the many battles they endure.
Most battleragers, instead of focusing their skills on either one-handed or two-weapon fighters like most fighters, have the ability to ride enemy attacks, channeling their pain into a violent fury. This extraordinary vigor not only allows them to endure heavy blows longer than most fighters, but also can be channeled into their own attacks, particularly when they are wearing chainmail or lighter armors or are using axes, hammers, maces, or picks, the favored weapons of most battlerager fighters. Those who devote themselves to the enhancing of these skills might become ravagers.
Great weapon fighterEdit
Great weapon fighters focus their training on the use of large, two-handed weapons such as greatswords and are better equipped to deal heavy damage than most fighters. Great weapon fighters are hardier than most fighters, though they tend to be less nimble. Most exploits used by great weapon fighters trade finesse for sheer power, with the focus being on subduing a foe as quickly as possible before they can do significant harm to a fighter's allies.
Guardian fighters take the normally defensive position of fighters to its extremes, making their shield an integral part of their fighting style. These fighters invariably use one-handed weapons such as longswords or flails, leaving their off-hand free for holding a shield. To these fighters, avoiding damage is as important as dealing it and most are more dexterous than their fellow fighters. Guardian fighters also tend to favor exploits that are either more accurate than those of other fighters or which have additional, debilitating effects for the foes they strike.
While most fighters prefer to use either large, two-handed weapons or a smaller weapon and a shield, tempest fighters are unusual in that they choose to use two smaller weapons together, one in each hand. This makes tempest fighters uniquely versatile, able to deal more damage than most guardian fighters but able to defend themselves better than most great weapon fighters. For these individuals strength remains important but quick instincts and battlefield awareness takes on a newfound importance, as does speed and maneuverability. As a result, fewer tempest fighters train their bodies to the same physical limits of endurance that other fighters usually do.
While not all tempest fighters abandon the one-handed or two-handed focus that most fighters embrace, most do, and take on training in the so-called “tempest technique,” an expert style of two-weapon fighting. These tempest fighters are adept at defending themselves with dual weapons and find themselves at their best when using chainmail or lighter armors, which give them a stronger ability to maneuver and deal deadly, two-pronged attacks.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition, p. 75. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, p. 24. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition, p. 35. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition, p. 36. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition, p. 77. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition, p. 76-77. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition, p. 76. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- ↑ Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (August 2000). Player's Handbook 3rd edition, p. 37. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1551-4.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Rob Heinsoo, David Noonan, Robert J. Schwalb, Chris Sims (November 2008). Martial Power, p. 6. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4981-6.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, David Noonan, Robert J. Schwalb, Chris Sims (November 2008). Martial Power, p. 32. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4981-6.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition, p. 76-78. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- ↑ Rob Heinsoo, David Noonan, Robert J. Schwalb, Chris Sims (November 2008). Martial Power, p. 7. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4981-6.