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D&D -- Warriors vs. Fighters


Registered User
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professional versus career

I look at the distinction as between profession versus career.

A medieval blacksmith has to make horseshoes that are good enough that they dont' fall apart. Yet I would bet he didn't make significantly better horse shoes as a master than he did as a journeyman... you acquire a certain level of competence, and that is sufficient.

So I would declare that a Warrior (or Expert, or Adept) puts in the amount of practice and effort to be proficient at a task, and then more or less takes it easy. If they gain experience by being forced to employ their talents (e.g. actually go to war, or use spells in combat, etc...) that doesn't hurt, but they won't go seeking it.

A Fighter, on the other hand, wants to be the best combat machine in the world, and she should practice with her chosen weapons every day with that goal in mind. She actively seeks skilled tutors and new techniques. A Wizard isn't content to handle fortune telling like the local psychic hotline, he wants to master his skills to the point of shapechanging to Dragon form. A Cleric doesn't want to simply administer to the local parish, she burns to seek an unbreakable bond to the divine of her deity.

If I were GM, and I had depicted the warrior as interested in payment and then going home for a beer, I would award the next level as warrior. If I had depicted the character as eagerly returning for more work and actively honing their skills above and beyond basic competence, they would become a fighter.

I also think it would be creative to retroactively switch Warrior levels to Fighter levels. Once the mindset changes, the previous experience might become more useful. (Instead of "Thank God I survived that battle" it becomes "You know, the guy next to me in that battle must have killed four guys with that neat counterstroke before somebody got him. I wonder....")


vs. snake
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This is a fascinating discussion.

Personally, I think the NPC classes are almost the most important innovation* in the DMG, more important than Prestige Classes** and pretty much anything else in that excellent book.

I also think they are profoundly broken.

The purpose of these classes, surely, was to create a framework for presenting the kinds of NPCs one meets in a game, in the same classes-and-levels form used for PC adventurers.

Previously, NPCs were often just guessed-up - 'they should have about this level of this skill, and this many hit points...' or shoehorned into inappropriate adventuring classes.

But the class-and-level format is fine to represent all kinds of people, in and of itself. The main problem with non-adventuring classes (hypothetical ones, not the specific DMG ones, mind) is: improvement. Adventurers get Xp through adventuring, so there are rules for that. Non-adventurers... well, there aren't any clear rules. And if you suggest XP is gained for doing your job - which makes sense, you become a kick-arse blacksmith by working as a blacksmith - then what's to stop a PC using that experience to get a new level in their adventuring class?

Unfortunately, the DMG doesn't solve this problem at all. Not even a little bit.

Furthermore, they wimped out. You *can't use* the presented system to represent the kinds of NPCs that must exist in a game world - people who excel in their field but are useless in combat, for example. At least, you can't use it without tweaking extensively. So, to model those NPCs, you're back to guessing them up. "I want them to have high skills but no combat ability and low hp.. so I have to just make them up myself".

I present no solutions to these problems, although I have two that I think are viable. This is just to provoke more comment, I guess.


* actually they were birthed in Sages & Specialists about five years ago
** which were around in OD&D in the mid-80s


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Epoch said:
Er, yeah, I think we're on the same page. I mean, I know the mechanical differences between a Warrior and a Fighter, but I'm interested in, mechanically, what distinguishes their advancement.
Ok, now I see a bit clearer what you are getting at. I wasn't implying that you didn't know the mechanical differences, just that you had a hard time justifying them, as do I.

More from the prophecies of Epoch
And, of course the Warrior and the Fighter have the same job. IC, nobody is ever going to look at a Warrior and a Fighter and think of them as fundamentally different things -- they might think of the Warrior as a little less talented.
What you are responding to with this is a little off your original topic, but I can see where it supports your point anyway. :)

I was on a rant about multi-classing, but I think your point is valid here as well. If a Warrior is happy with their status as a Warrior, then why would they want to multi-class as a Fighter, except for OOC mechanical reasons? They are virtually the same, excepting as you said, the Warrior is a bit less talented, or at least seen to be so. Even if the Warrior was unhappy with their lot in life, choosing to be a Fighter instead isn't really changing anything significant. If one is unhappy with being a Programmer, switching over from Games to Bank Software probably isn't going to help things much.

Wherein the Endtimes are predicted by Epoch
You could argue that the Adept is meant to be a junior Wizard/Priest, as you could argue that Experts can be junior Rogues/Bards, but the parallels aren't nearly as clear as for Warrior-Fighter. The Expert, after all, is clearly (also?) meant to be the lawyer, the merchant, the artisan, and all those other skilled professionals who aren't adventure-suited. And Adepts seem primarily focused on being shamans and such for primitive areas/races
True, there are some provisions for "light" versions of the other classes. But they are fairly weak explanations. I think the point here isn't "why don't you make up your own versions of what you want?", but rather, "why did they make such a clear distinction between Warrior and Fighter, then drop the issue for other classes?"

I could very easily write up a Hedge Wizard, approximately halve the spell advancement, and drop the Item Creation feats by a level or so. This would probably work fairly well for something like an Alchemist as well. Or even a variant Expert class that has no combat advancement. Aside from the extremely vague differences between Warriors and Fighters, I have a problem in that these simply weren't included, when they should have been. If the designers were of the "PCs glow" style, then they should have included "civilian" versions of the other classes as well. They could have easily reclaimed the space wasted by the Noble class to do this. It seems that it would have been even simpler to describe in game terms, actually, since the other classes are a good deal more knowledge based than Fighters. Wizards, Priests, and Rogues all have very specialized, and very technical training. Not that all Fighters (or soldiers) are dumb brutes, but their training is a good deal more physical, and generally more "on the job" than the others. A Rogue could just learn as they go, but a few hours learning pickpocketing can mean the difference between a purse of gold, or having one's hands cut off. Priests need the consent of their deity to cast spells, and most of all, Wizards virtually can't do anything without schooling. Justifying a "light" version of the other classes would have been a no-brainer, since they have to learn as they are able, which means they will be generally less competent than the specific classes themselves. A Wizard goes out and finds the ancient spell books to study, whereas a Hedge Wizard putters around, and hopes a few tattered scrolls turn up at some point.

Perhaps that is the difference Epoch is looking for. A passive/aggressive dichotomy. I don't neccessarily agree that the aggressive PC classes are therefore, by definition, more competent, however. One look at the failed dreams of our own real-life hyper-aggressive, ultra-ambitious world leaders from history should demonstrate that. A certain amount of ambition can be helpful, but I think it's not the only think that seperates the successful from the un-successful. I know it is from a Western perspective, however.

Warrior=passive, Fighter=aggressive? Maybe?
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