Fighters are skilled damage dealers in the DnD world. They’re usually the first character that most players start with. The standard Fighter won’t have magic or gods on their side, but who needs them when you have a sharp blade and the knowledge to use it? Today, we’re looking at why Fighters are one of the most popular DnD classes to play with our detailed guide to DnD 5E’s Fighter.
The 1st day of spring, my favorite time of the year. New recruit day.
The youths come from all over to join the city watch. It’s respectable pay, honest work, and one of the few avenues to a better life that most of the poor can easily reach.
It’s not for everyone though, and we drill that into them from day one. Each year I meet the new recruits and set up all the training weapons for a little contest. The first recruit to land a hit on me gets a silver coin.
They always swing like hellcats. All fury and no discipline. I like to fight them with one hand behind my back to drill into them what they could become with practice and discipline.
There was one promising new recruit. He didn’t swing like an enraged rhino. He was quick, focused, and you could see it in the boy’s eyes. He was a fighter down to his soul.
We get lads like that every now and then. Fire in the soul. Usually, their village gets raided one too many times or someone they love gets cut down. They can go either way at that point, become a destroyer or a protector.
I’ll keep an eye on the lad. He’s going to go far in the watch. Little scamp even won a silver coin that day.—From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 1st of Ches, 1382.
Read our detailed class guide to DnD Fighter 5e below.
Overview of 5e Fighter
Fighters can have a wide variety of backgrounds and specializations. There’s no one-size-fits-all for fighters. They can be gladiators, master swordsmen, elite guards, weapon specialists, or anything in between.
There’s a lot of room to fill in a backstory of a fighter. Where they come from, what weapons they use, and why they fight, leave a lot of room for roleplaying as well as giving the party a fierce ally in combat.
As characters, they’re probably one of the easiest character classes for newer players. This is why new players tend to gravitate towards fighters when they first start out. There aren’t intimidating spells or rules and players can focus on roleplaying and coming up with creative ways to get out of situations that the DM throws at them.
Notable Fighters in DnD
Bruenor Battlehammer was one of the Companions of the Hall and friends to Wulfgar and Drizzt Do’Urden. After being driven out of Mithral Hall, he later would return to drive out the Duregar inside and become the king of the ancient dwarven stronghold.
Class Features and Abilities 5e Fighter
Hit Dice: d10
- Proficiencies: All armor, shields, and simple and martial weapons.
- Primary Ability: Strength & Constitution
GameCows Ranking System
There are a lot of abilities and class features, and it can get rather confusing. Here at Gamecows, we’re going to use a simple ranking system.
- GameCows Ranking: 1
- This ability or feature is extremely useful and a must-have ability.
- GameCows Ranking: 2
- This ability is ok and generally useful in most situations.
- GameCows Ranking: 3
- This ability is only going to be useful in certain situations. Only get it if you think it’s cool.
GameCows Ranking: 3
Level: 1 – At level 1, the Fighter is already an expert at a particular style of combat. The Fighter can choose from 1/6 of the different options below.
Archery: +2 to attack rolls when using a ranged weapon.
Defense: +1 AC when wearing armor.
Dueling: +2 damage bonus when using a melee weapon in one hand. They can still have a shield or a spell focus in the other hand and still get the bonus.
Great Weapon Fighting: Can reroll damage rolls on a 1 or 2 when using a 2-handed attack with a weapon with the versatile or 2-handed trait. The 2nd roll must be used.
Protection: When an enemy attacks an ally that the Fighter can see within 5ft. The Paladin can use a reaction to force the roll to have disadvantage.
Two-Weapon Fighting: When using two weapons to fight in melee, the Fighter can add their ability modifier to the 2nd attack as well.
GameCows Ranking: 1
Level: 1 – As a Fighter, you’re going to take hits, and having a boost of stamina and hitpoints is going to be essential. As a bonus action, the Fighter can heal 1d10 + Fighter Level worth of hitpoints. This can only be done once per long or short rest.
GameCows Ranking: 1
Level: 2 – The Fighter learns to make use of all their time on the battlefield. Every second counts and the Fighter can now use an Action Surge on their turn. When using the Action Surge on their turn, the Fighter can take another action and has another bonus action if applicable. This can be used once per long or short rest.
Level: 17 – The Fighter can use Action Surge twice per long or short rest.
Level: 3 – At level 3 the Fighter gains access to their Martial Archetype which counts as their subclass.
Ability Score Improvement
GameCows Ranking: 2
Like most of the other classes, Fighter gets 2 points to add to any of their ability scores (max 20). This happens at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19th level.
GameCows Ranking: 1
Level: 5 – The Fighter makes 2 attacks when using the attack action on their turn.
Level: 11 – The Fighter makes 3 attacks when using the attack action on their turn.
Level: 20 – The Fighter makes 4 attacks when using the attack action on their turn.
GameCows Ranking: 3
Level: 9 – The Fighter can reroll Saving Throws that they fail. They must use the 2nd roll. This can only be done once per long rest.
Level: 13 – Indomitable can be used twice per long rest.
Level: 17 – Indomitable can be used 3 times per long rest.
Fighter 5e Subclasses
- Combat Superiority
- Student of War
- Know Your Enemy
- Improved Critical
- Remarkable Athlete
- Additional Fighting Style
- Superior Critical
- Weapon Bond
- War Magic
- Eldritch Strike
- Arcane Charge
- Improved War Magic
- Arcane Archer Lore
- Arcane Shot
- Magic Arrow
- Curving Shot
- Ever-Ready Shot
- Born to the Saddle
- Unwavering Mark
- Warding Maneuver
- Hold the Line
- Ferocious Charger
- Vigilant Defender
- Fighting Spirit
- Elegant Courtier
- Tireless Spirit
- Rapid Strike
- Strength Before Death
- Psionic Power
- Telekinetic Adept
- Guarded Mind
- Bulwark of Force
- Telekinetic Master
- Rune Carver
- Giant Might
- Runic Shield
- Great Stature
- Runic Juggernaut
- Rallying Cry
- Royal Envoy
- Inspiring Surge
- Manifest Echo
- Echo Avatar
- Shadow Martyr
- Reclaim Potential
- Legion of One
Playing as a Fighter in 5e
The Fighter is the weapons master and damage dealer of the party. These types of characters are professional soldiers or warriors that know their way around the battlefield.
The reason why the Fighter is one of the most popular classes to play is that it’s extremely user-friendly for beginners. It’s one of the easiest classes to create. It throws new players into a fantasy world, but still a familiar one. Fighters trust their weapons and armor and therefore, don’t have too many crazy rules or spell lists that they’ll have to deal with.
That isn’t to say that the Fighter is an easy or boring class. Fighters are useful to have in any party, and for roleplaying purposes, there are limitless options on how the Fighter came to know their craft. Veteran DnD players will also have fun with the various subclasses to create a truly unique and interesting character.
There are options for Psionic Fighters that can attack the mind as well as the body, Arcane Archers that infuse their attacks with magic, and (my personal favorite) the Cavalier. There’s really nothing cooler than charging into battle as a mounted warrior.
Fighters are the Han Solo character of DnD. In a world of crazy magic, grand plots, and intrigue, sometimes the only thing you can truly trust and rely on is a solid weapon in hand.