Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mentzer Cover to Cover: Fighters

The Cleric class took four pages (2.5 of class description, 1.5 of First Level Spells), but the Fighter class takes only one.  And doesn't really need more.

As the descriptive text tells us, every party of adventurers should have at least one Fighter, with more being better.  Fighters don't have special abilities, but their normal abilities (to hit and damage monsters, to take hits and damage, to use a variety of weapons, their generally high Strength) make them self-sufficient and more likely to survive than other classes, especially in solo or small group adventures.

I can agree with that.  And the advice also dovetails nicely with some other advice to new players - Fighters are a simple yet effective class.  As a veteran gamer, I can appreciate efforts like 3E and 4E D&D to give the Fighter more options (I do a bit myself with my current set of house rules, and Flying Swordsmen/Chanbara are all about options to customize your fighting style).  *And now I'm failing in my Google search to find the artifact I'm looking for.  There was an ad from Dragon or Dungeon magazine or some such, giving advice to beginner players to ignore what the group says about needing such and such class to fill a gap, in your first game insist on playing a Fighter.  Maybe someone out there can help with a link, I'm not finding it.*

Anyway, Fighters are simple to play yet effective for a reason.  I like that.  They're also the fantasy trope most likely to be familiar to new players.  We all have heard stories of King Arthur and his Knights, or Greek heroes like Theseus and Hercules, or Conan, John Carter, and other pulp heroes, not to mention that aside from Gandalf the Company of Thorin Oakenshield and the Fellowship of the Ring are mostly made up of what in D&D would be Fighters.  Swords & Sorcery and High Fantasy/Romance alike tend to feature the guys with swords as the heroes and the guys with sorcery as the villains.

On the text itself, one thing that jumped out at me on reading this that didn't upon reading the Cleric entry is in the "XP" section.  When you collect the listed number of XP, you automatically move up to the next level.  Again, this is a point of the rules that became ingrained in me from the start.  I've never liked the "training" rules in AD&D.  Yes, it's more realistic to need to train (and it can siphon off excess cash), but I'm not sure that I find those rules to be fun.  Much better to just let the characters level up when they have the points, and stick to the adventure, IMO.

Another interesting tidbit is at the end of the description.  It advises players of Fighters to seek out magical weapons, and also especially potions of healing, since they're more likely to need them.  Funny that the other Basic Set potion that is most useful to Fighters, the Potion of Growth, is not mentioned.  Magic armor is also not mentioned.

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