Fighters & Combat Superiority
One of the cooler ideas yet from D&D Next: an iconic fighter ability called Combat Superiority.
As presented it’s got a lot of potential. Essentially the fighter has some dice that scale with level and depending on their choices they can apply those dice different places: a defensive fighter might be able to apply them to damage reduction, etc.
Here’s a few uses Mike mentions:
- Added damage
- Damage reduction for the fighter
- Spend for damage reduction to someone else
- Spend to make an attack out of turn
The best part about this mechanic is how many other uses it inspires. Off the top of my head:
- Added movement distance
- Added attack range
- Skill bonus
- Attack/damage bonus to someone else
- Initiative bonus
Listing the bonus to be applied as dice is really cool as well. It opens up the possibility of using the total roll, splitting the dice into multiple bonuses, or using the number of dice. A 2d6 bonus to a skill roll, for example, would be kind of insane. But if it’s a +2 bonus instead (your number of dice) or if for each dice you add a stat bonus or if you spend a die to add your stat it’s in line with other abilities. It’s a nice flexible mechanic that allows the fighter to actively be better at things instead of just having a higher passive bonus.
My only complaint is that while it’s a great mechanic it’s very much a mechanic: there’s not a great tie to the fiction of what’s happening in the game. Using the example from the post, if my fighter adds his dice to damage reduction, what does that look like? What’s happening in the world of the game when I move my dice from damage reduction for me to damage reduction to someone else?
Luckily it’s a really solid mechanic to start with, so I imagine they can tie it to the fiction without too much trouble. Without that tie it’s a great mechanic but not all that much roleplaying, much like fighter powers in 4E. Like those powers, without a tie to the fiction it makes great mechanical sense but seems out of place in the world of the game.