One of the phrases I’ve heard countless times since I’ve started playing Pathfinder (and before that, 3.5) is, “Fighters don’t get nice things”. It’s a true statement. Fighter’s tend to be the benchmark by which most classes are compared or built upon. Yet as a class, Fighter is amazingly unremarkable. 1 Good Save, d10 hit dice, 4 class features and 2(+int) skills per level. And the feats. To make up for no class features, fighters get 11 extra feats over everyone else, Awesome, right? Wrong. The list of “fighter only” feats is short which means there’s really no reason to be a fighter unless a player wants or needs the feats for some reason and even then a player is often better served with a 2 level dip. Now if the fighter only feats were better, fighter could be an amazing class (or if the class features didn’t suck). Imagine if power attack had the prerequisite “Fighter 1”. Or if there was an “Improved Power Attack” feat that was fighter only. As it stands however, fighters largely suck and are outclassed by every single class (even rogues, at a later date I’ll crunch out a comparison between Fighter and Rogue to examine the difference in class features, hit dice, etc).
So now it’s time for the meat of this post, building a better fighter! Obviously I’m no fan of fighter beyond a fast n easy way to grab a few extra feats (and there are some builds that need that, see Thunder, Fang and Monolith). This build was in some competition with spawn in terms of mechanical difficulty and system mastery to put together (at some point I’ll get a ranking system together to evaluate things like; ease of play, rule interaction, and source material diversification).
The core of this build revolves around making a character that fulfills the same party role as a fighter, while possessing class some actual class features. To accomplish this, I’m planning a level split of Fighter 2/Ranger 2/Inquisitor 3/Stalwart Defender. Inquisitor is the key to making a fighter that not only feels good to play, but gets some nice class features that, and here’s the important bit, stay relevant from level 1 to end game! Inquisitor also brings some other niceties to the build; skills, spells, spell list, being important things. The other very important thing that Inquisitor does, is enable the taking of the Spellbreaker Archetype (unlike Spawn, archetypes are key in this build).
-From Ultimate Combat
Strong-Willed (Ex): At 1st level, a spellbreaker is able to stand strong against magical effects that seek to control, compel, or persuade her. The spellbreaker rolls twice and takes the best result when making a Will saving throw against a mind-affecting effect. This ability replaces monster lore.
Defense against Magic (Ex): At 3rd level, a spellbreaker picks a single wizard school. She gains a +1 bonus on saving throws against arcane spells of that school. Every four levels beyond 3rd, the spellbreaker picks a new school and gains this bonus against arcane spells of that school (to a maximum of five schools of magic at 19th level). Furthermore, each time the spellbreaker picks a new school, the bonuses for the schools she has already chosen increase by 1. This ability replaces all bonus teamwork feats.
Foil Casting (Su): At 3rd level, when an opponent tries to cast an arcane spell within a spellbreaker’s threatened area, the DC for that caster to cast defensively increases by 2. This increase stacks with the effects of the Disruptive feat. Furthermore, the spellbreaker knows where to hit foes to foil casting from a distance. Each time she hits an arcane spellcaster or a creature that uses spell-like abilities with a ranged weapon attack, the DC of any Concentration checks the caster makes increases by 2 for 1 round. This ability replaces solo tactics.
This takes a couple of class features of the Inquisitor that I don’t particularly care for and trades them for AMAZING ones. Strong-Willed would be worth a feat or two (and in my opinion is how bravery should’ve been). Defense Against Magic is solid, you can stack it with Strong-Will by picking Enchantment or help cover weak points by grabbing Evocation or Conjuration. Foil Casting is just icing on the cake and has wonderful synergy with certain feats.
To be continued!