Monday, December 12, 2022

Call Me What You Will (GLOG Classes: 5e Fighters Conversion)

    Woof. This is my fourth post for 5e classes and subclasses converted to GLOG. I've done my favorite guys already: the almighty Rogue, so perhaps it's time to tackle one of my least favorite: the venerable Fighter.

Source: Hans Holbein

    Why do I dislike 5e's Fighter so much? Do I need a reason? Must they occupy the prized-place at the beginning of my story, as well as the end? I suppose, in a sentence; I don't like that they aren't the best at fighting. Barbarians are pretty good at fighting. Rogues are pretty good at fighting. Paladins are great at fighting. Rangers fight good. Did you know that 5e Bards are proficient in all martial weapons? I'm a little surprised every time I hear that. Monks are good at fighting. Clerics can fight pretty well. Most Druids are pretty good in a melee. You see what I'm getting at here? Most of the classes are pretty good at fighting! That's the majority! A strong majority! Fighters don't deal the most damage, and don't take the most beating, and aren't the scariest, and aren't the physically strongest, and aren't the most skilled with weapons, and aren't any good in a barfight or an ambush. Fighter isn't the "Good at Fighting" class, they're the "Capable of Fighting" class.

    "5e has a problem with focus, and being a martial sucks" isn't an original complaint, but when it comes to complaints I don't feel the need to be original. G. K. Chesterton said something along the lines of, it's good to be innocent, and it's a shame when you becomes so old and jaded that you can see evil without being immediately horrified and disgusted. Ladies and gentlemen: I just reread a bunch of 5e and it still gets tree-sap stuck in my armhairs.

    Anyway, here's the thesis: being a Fighter should rule, and you should be the best at Fighting. You should be so good at fighting that it basically occupies the whole Fighting tippy tip of the Fighting-Cunning-Spelling triangle, and anyone else who gets to be good at fighting has to carefully navigate around you and your toes in the design space.

Source: Rich Longmore


    You are a Fighter, with all that that entails.

    All Fighting-Men can parry like a sword-shepherd (subtract their to-hit bonus from the damage of an incoming melee attack once per turn), get an extra attack at 1st level, and never fumble with any conventional weapon (no promises about zapguns or razor-whip-swords). Additionally, they choose a fighting style from the list at the bottom.

Arcane Archer

    Arcane Archery began as an elfish tradition of weaving magic into arrowheads to achieve supernatural results. Arcane Archers are some of the most revered warriors among the elfs. These elite craftsmen can spend weeks or months on a single piece of ammunition, painstakingly carving the shaft, selecting the feathers, and shaping the arrowhead from rare materials. The arrows they produce are not merely weapons, but works of art, things of beauty. They can slay demons and dragons, or inspire a bard's epic. With them, the artificer can change the course of a battle or the hard heart of a king. Their arrows carry the light of the sun, their personal history, their hope for the future.
    Seeing you shoot a bomb arrow up a goblin's bunghole would probably break their hearts.

Skills: 1. Arcana 2. Bowyer 3. Bardic performance.
Starting Equipment: Heavy longbow, kidskin quiver with 20 arrows, Lincoln-green Robin Hood costume (as leather).
  • A Arcane Shot
  • B Magic Arrow
  • C Curving Shot
  • D Everready Arrow
Arcane Shot
    With an hour of preparation, you may enchant an arrow with an arcane effect you know. You may maintain two such arrows at once. Choose two arcane arrows now from the list below.
Magic Arrow
    When you fire a normal arrow, you may choose to have it count as magic for the purpose of overcoming resistances. Choose an additional arcane arrow, and replace one you already know if you wish.
Curving Shot
    Once per turn, an arcane arrow that would miss its target turns mid-air to attack a different target. Choose an additional arcane arrow, and replace one you already know if you wish.
Everready Arrow
    If initiative is rolled and you don't have any arcane arrows prepared, you may draw one from your quiver anyway. Choose an additional arcane arrow now, and replace one you already know if you wish.

Arcane Arrows:
  1. Banishing Arrow.
    Struck target saves or is banished back to their plane of origin. If this is their plane of origin, they are thrust into the ethereal momentarily, and reappear after a turn in the position they were when they left. If that position is now occupied they are shunted to unoccupied space and take 1d8 force damage.
  2. Beguiling Arrow.
    Struck target saves or is convinced that you are its friend. The big stonking arrow sticking out of it may be evidence otherwise, but if you talk fast you might be able to profit somehow before anyone objects.
  3. Bursting Arrow.
    Immediately after the arrow strikes a target, it explodes for 2d6 damage in a 10' radius.
  4. Enfeebling Arrow.
    Necromantic magics weaved into the arrow weaken and sicken the struck target, causing them to deal half-damage with melee weapons until the curse is lifted.
  5. Grasping Arrow.
    This arrow conjures grasping, poisonous brambles which wrap around the struck target. Targets must pass a strength check to remove the brambles. Each time they fail, and each turn they move without removing the brambles, they take 1d6 poison damage.
  6. Piercing Arrow.
    The arrow partially phases out of this reality and into the ethereal, and moves in a straight line 1' wide and 30' long before fading entirely. Struck targets in its path must save or take normal damage from the arrow. This attack can hit through walls, armor, and most protective spells.
  7. Seeking Arrow.
    The arrow seeks out a target you have seen within the past minute unerringly, navigating around corners and through all but complete cover. Target must pass a save; if they fail they take normal damage from the arrow and you are alerted to their exact position. If they succeed, they take half damage and you are not alerted.
  8. Shadow Arrow.
    This semi-illusory arrow cannot be seen as it flies or as it strikes. Struck targets are blinded for a minute, perceiving a world of darkness and great moving shapes.


    You may not have heard this, but "wizard" is the rank above "master" in swordsmanship. Perhaps you are a master, and perhaps not — by tradition that title is only given to those 30 years of age, and most wizards die before then. But long after you die, old men will enchant their grandchildren with tales of watching you fight. There will never be another quite exactly like you.

Skills: 1. Colosseum performance 2. Alcoholism 3. Seamanship.
Starting Equipment: medium rapier, traveling clothes (as leather), jeroboam of cheap Spanish red (3 doses).
  • A Student of War
  • B Know Your Enemy
  • C Improved Superiority
  • D Relentless Blade
Student of War
    You have studied for many long hours, and at this level may choose two maneuvers from the list below. Unless specified otherwise, these maneuvers can only be used once per combat against intelligent enemies (mindless undead and wild animals probably aren't smart enough to catch on to your tricks). You develop another maneuver with each [template] in this class, and may be able to learn others or invent new ones through play.
Know Your Enemy
    With a minute of study, you can learn one of a target's Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, AC, HD, or number of Fighting-Man templates (if any). You can study them for another minute to learn more things.
Combat Superiority
    You may teach up to [level] of your companions a single maneuver of their choice. This requires constant training to maintain, and they lose the maneuver quickly if separated from you.
Relentless Blade
    You always have advantage when attacking with a sword.

Combat Maneuvers:
  1. Caizo's Stratagem.
    You may forgo one of your own attacks to give it to your ally.
  2. Kreussler's Disarmament.
    When you strike a target, you may forcibly disarm them. Fighters get a save against this.
  3. Marozzo's Distracting Blow.
    All attacks against struck target have advantage until the start of your next turn.
  4. Evasive Footwork after the Style of Matthaus.
    Dodge a single melee attack with a quick backstep.
  5. Giganti's Feint.
    After a missed attack, immediately make another with advantage.
  6. de Jarnac's Goad.
    Struck target has disadvantage on attacks against targets other than you until your next turn.
  7. Liancour's Flying Lunge.
    You may make an attack against a target you otherwise could not reach, for reasons of footing, distance, or the presence of bodyguards.
  8. Skirmisour's Menacing Onslaught.
    Target immediately makes a morale check. If they fail, they flee on their turn for at least one round. If the creature wouldn't normally be scared of you, it gets another morale check after that round.
  9. Vom Tag.
    Struck target is shoved away up to 15'.
  10. The Capo Ferro.
    When a creature misses an attack against you, immediately make an attack against them.
  11. Miracolo's Sweep.
    If an attack's result beats the AC of a creature adjacent to struck target, hit them for normal damage.
  12. Trip de Joie.
    Struck target saves or falls prone.


    And David said to Saul: "Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and when there came a lion or a bear that took a lamb out of the midst of the flock, I pursued after them, and delivered the lamb from their mouth; and if they turned on me, I caught them by the throat, and I strangled and killed them. Thy servant has killed the lion and the bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be also as one of them". And Saul said: "Cool."

Skills: 1. Hunting 2. Bardic performance 3. Military history.
Starting Equipment: Monstrous bronze sword (massive), medium shepherd's sling and pouch for stones, sandals and loincloth (as unarmored), thick sheepskin cloak.
  • A Improved Critical,
  • B Remarkable Athlete
  • C Superior
  • D Survivor
Improved Critical
    You score a critical hit on an attack roll of 19 or 20. If your system doesn't have critical hits, too bad for the DM, because you deal double damage on a 19 or 20 still. Show them this rules text and chide them for not reading more carefully before they approve a class.
Remarkable Athlete
    Add your [level] to any rolls you can argue are based on strength, dexterity or constitution. Gaps a human could leap with a movement check can be leapt by you without one. Surfaces a human could climb with equipment and preparation you can climb with your fingers and toes.
    You score a critical hit on an attack roll of 18. Add another fighting style.
    If you are below half your maximum hitpoints when a fight is initiated, heal to half your maximum hitpoints. Do not round.

Echo Knight

    Legends tell of the first Echo Knights and how they gained their powers, but you don't care. If you cared about anything besides yourself, anything at all, then you wouldn't be an Echo Knight.

Skills: 1. Hunting 2. Classical art 3. Pasta science.
Starting Equipment: Broadsword (medium), scale armor (as chain), kite shield, high-quality hand mirror, tin of pomade, switchblade comb.
  • A Manifest Echo
  • B Echo Avatar
  • C Reclaim Attention
  • D Legion of One
Manifest Echo
    You have an Echo you can summon with about six seconds of concentration. She is a double of you, your stats and your equipment, except she has 1HP and is a ghastly, wan thing. On your turn she may make an attack in your stead, move 30', or swap places with you with a thought. If your Echo is ever more than 30' from you, she and all her copies of your equipment will vanish with a pop. If she ever takes damage, ditto. Twice per day at this [level], and once more for every additional, your Echo may take her own turn in combat
Echo Avatar
    You may transfer your mind into your Echo, seeing through her eyes, hearing through her ears &c. While you are doing this your real body is dead to the world. She may move 1,000' away from you while this is happening.
Reclaim Attention
    As one of her turns, your Echo can throw herself in front of an attack that occurs within 30' of you. The attack is made against her AC instead. Additionally, you can choose to pop your Echo and spend one of her turns to grant yourself 4 temporary HP
Legion of One
    You may control two Echos at once. If initiative is rolled and your Echos don't have additional turns, they get one.

Eldritch Knight

    Not everyone has the patience for real wizardry, for arcana and drafty towers and studying ancient manuscripts by the light of a candle. Some mousers turn to petty theft to keep the wolf from the door, and some turn their sights to higher things — like combat, conquest, and the crown.

Skills: 1. Arcana 2. Smithing 3. Ancient history.
Starting Equipment: Longsword (medium), lamellar with black cloak and hood (as chain), thieves' lantern, empty spellbook (dog-eared pages, scuffed bronze head- and corner-caps).
  • A Careless Study
  • B Eldritch Strike
  • C Arcane Charge
  • D War Wizard
Careless Study
    Your wizardry is irregular, and mostly consists of a few sorcerous tricks which still give you a significant advantage over mundane combatants. You have a spell slot (though you don't start with any spells). You can parry spells and arrows. You may conjure a bolt of fire, frost or lightning, and throw it like a knife. Finally, you may bond with up to two weapons. Bonded weapons cannot be torn from your grasp, and you may summon them to your hand with a thought if you are on the same plane of existence.
Eldritch Strike
    When you deal damage to a creature, you may mark it. A creature marked in this way is automatically struck by the next spell cast on it, without a save or an attack being rolled.
Arcane Charge
    Once per minute, you may blink 30' to a location you could have reached by hovering in a straight line.
War Wizard
   You gain an MD in a color of your choice.

Source: the cover of Nine Princes in Amber, painted by Tim White

Psi Knight

    The Soul Knife is so secret he isn't even visible in the rogue post. Damn, that's secrecy! Like him, you're a secret psychic hitman in the cloak-and-dagger interplanar war between the bigfeet and the lizardmen. Unlike him, you're a well-designed class who is fun to play and does something and has mechanics. Good for you.

Skills: 1. Advanced planar calculus 2. Psychiatry 3. Psychology (this one is different).
Starting Equipment: Weird metal totem thing, black kung-fu robes (as unarmored),
  • A Psionic Power, +1 Mind Die
  • B Telekinetic Adept, +1 MD
  • C Guarded Mind, +1 MD
  • D Telekinetic Master, +1 MD
Psionic Power
    You have a pool of Mind Dice. They operate exactly like Magic Dice but aren't those. You can roll them to reduce the damage of an attack you can see by [sum], extend a 3' flaming blade from your weird metal totem thing, or manifest a circular, horizontal plane of force, 3' in diameter and 1" thick. The flaming blade lasts for [dice] rounds and deals [best] damage on a hit. It can be used to burn holes through material, about 1' a round for wood or earth, half that for stone or metal. The plane moves in any direction you choose at a slow walking speed, and dissipates after [dice] minutes or immediately upon bearing more than 100kg of mass. If used as a crushing tool the plane can deal [sum] damage before popping.
Telekinetic Adept
    You can roll your MD to leap [sum]*5', or force a [dice] HD creature to save or fly back 15' and fall prone.
Guarded Mind
    You are immune to Charm and Fear effects, and may roll MD to give a creature a reroll with a +[sum] bonus against such an effects.
Telekinetic Master
    You may roll MD to levitate up to [sum] slots of objects, in any arrangement, from their current position to a spot or spots you can see. If you use this to bean a mountain of rocks and large frogs in a general direction, it deals [sum] damage, save for half.


Fierce, stern, haughty, and bold,
were the lords of the realm in days of old.
None had a sharper sword in fight
to vanquish the wrong, and strike for the right;
none had higher and wilder blood,
to spur them from evil, and guide them to good.
Brave, proud, reckless, and bold,
fit to be one of the barons of old!
Skills: 1. Ancient history 2. Gardening 3. Tax extraction/evasion.
Starting equipment: Decent horse, lance (massive), longsword (medium), jousting armor (as plate), pale and feeble squire, great shield with your family's design upon it.
  • A Rallying Cry
  • B Restriction on Knighthood
  • C Bulwark
  • D Inspiring Figure
Rallying Cry
    Once per day, you can deliver a rallying speech and give allies who can hear you [level] points of temporary HP. If you charge into a fight while screaming your battle-cry (take the opportunity to come up with a good one now), you may add your [level] to you and your allies' initiative rolls.
Restriction on Knighthood
    You may make an oath to another character, swearing on your own name. You are bound to such oaths to the death and everyone knows it.
    You may mark a single enemy. If the marked enemy attacks someone other than you while in your reach, you may immediately make an attack against them.
Inspiring Figure
    Allies in your presence have advantage on all saves.

Rune Knight

    Rune Knights employ an ancient supernatural practice that originated among the giants. Whether you learned second-hand from a giant's abandoned scribbling on a cave wall, or third-hand from a scholar who studied such things, or first-hand at a gigantic artisan's knee, you can apply these runes and use their power.

Skills: 1. Smithing 2. Ancient history 3. Outdoor survival
Starting Equipment: Warhammer (medium), heavy winter clothing (as leather), great clomping boots, sonorous and fruity voice.
  • A Rune Carver
  • B Runic Shield
  • C Great Stature
  • D Master of Runes
Rune Carver
    You can speak and read the language of Gigantes. You know two runes from the list below. During a ritual at dawn you may place a rune that you know on a piece of equipment. You may only apply each rune once, and you may only apply one rune to a piece of equipment. Additionally, once per dawn you can choose to make you and your equipment gigantic for 60 seconds, increasing the damage dice of all weapons by one step and granting you an effective Strength of 24.
Runic Shield
    When a visible ally wearing one of your runes is struck, you can undo that rune to force the attacker to reroll. Choose an additional rune now, and replace one you already know if you wish.
Great Stature
    You permanently grow 3d4 inches taller. While gigantic, your damage dice are upped twice. Choose an additional rune now, and replace one you already know if you wish
Master of Runes
    You may apply each rune you know twice, and may put more than one rune on a single piece of equipment. Choose an additional rune now, and replace one you already know if you wish.

Giant Runes:
  1. Cloud Rune.
    This rune means "Cloud Giant", and also "Cunning". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune may add +1 to all cipher rolls (enabling normal folk to make cipher checks). They may also choose to undo the rune to choose a new target for any attack they see made within 30' of them. The chosen target is struck by the attack if the original roll beats their AC.
  2. Fire Rune.
    This rune means "Fire Giant", and also "Skill". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune may add 1 to all d20 rolls. They may also choose to undo the rune upon hitting a creature with an attack. If they do, fiery chains burst from the ground and seize struck target. They may make a save at the beginning of every round to wrench free; otherwise, they take 1d6 fire damage and cannot move from their position.
  3. Frost Rune.
    This rune means "Frost Giant", and also "Survival". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune inflicts a -1 penalty to enemy morale checks, and grants a +1 bonus to friendly morale checks. They may also choose to undo the rune to grant a +10 bonus to a strength- or constitution-related check.
  4. Hill Rune.
    This rune means "Hill Giant", and also "Reliability". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune has advantage on saves vs. poison and takes half damage from sources of poison. They may also choose to undo the rune to negate up to 12 points of weapon damage from a single source.
  5. Stone Rune.
    This rune means "Stone Giant", and also "Judgement". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune can see up to 120' in grainy black-and-red infravision. They may also choose to undo the rune to charm a target they can see into a dreamy and pliant stupor. Save negates.
  6. Storm Rune.
    This rune means "Storm Giant", and also "Possible Future". The wearer or wielder of an item inscribed with this rune cannot be surprised. They may also choose to undo the rune to gain a brief glimpse of the near future, which applies advantage or disadvantage to any related check.

Brass Man

    Where do Brass Men come from? Wizards' workshops? Nightmare-forges of the deep elfs? Space? Space? Is it space? When they're underwater, do they get wet? Or does water get them? And why do they hide their eyes beneath frosted-glass face-shields?

Skills: 1. Modern history 2. Small unit tactics 3. Arcana
Starting Equipment: Heavy arbalest, exosuit with attached air supply (as plate, with 8 hours of oxygen) which you may not remove, 200' of extremely durable wire, can opener.
  • A Fighting Spirit, +2 Steam
  • B Elegant Courtier, +1 Steam
  • C Rapid Strike, +1 Steam
  • D Strength Before Death, +1 Steam
Fighting Spirit
    You have a pool a tank of Steam. On your turn in combat, you may spend a point of Steam to gain advantage on your next attack and 4 temporary hitpoints. You regain 1 point of Steam when you eat a ration and snooze for an hour — if you eat your supper before you go to sleep for the night you regain as many points of Steam as you ate rations.
Elegant Courtier
     You have advantage on initiative rolls. If a fight initiates and you have no Steam, regain 1.
Rapid Strike
    When you would have advantage on an attack, you may attack twice instead.
Strength Before Death
    You may spend Steam in response to gaining a fatal wound or otherwise falling unconscious. You remain conscious and active for one round per point of Steam spent this way.

Fighting Styles:
  1. Archery.
    You gain +2 to-hit with ranged weapons.
  2. Blind Fighting.
    You have 10' of blindsight. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn't behind total cover, even if you're blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see invisible creatures within that range, unless the creature is fully concealed from you.
  3. Defense.
    You gain a +1 bonus to AC.
  4. Dueling.
    When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand with an empty offhand, you gain a +2 bonus to damage.
  5. Massive Weapon Fighting.
    When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll that damage die.
  6. Interception.
    You have a +1 bonus to parries, and can use your parry on attacks against adjacent allies.
  7. Mariner.
    While wearing medium armor or less and while not carrying a shield, you can swim and climb as fast as you can run, and you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
  8. Simple Sorcery
    You know how to do two of the following hedge-mage tricks with a few seconds of mumbling and finger-waggling:
    1. Light a flammable object at a touch
    2. Bless a fist-sized stone, that it can be thrown with the range of an arrow for 1d6 damage.
    3. Bless a club or staff, that its base damage dice bump up one size.
    4. Produce a terrifying thunderclap with a snap of your fingers
    5. Produce a fistful of maddened, stinging, biting insects
    6. Freeze up to a liter of water
    7. Project your voice through a fire that you can see
    8. Bind a subdued or non-resisting person with tight vines
  9. Superior Technique.
    You learn one maneuver of your choice from among those available to the Wizard archetype.
  10. Thrown Weapon Fighting.
    You can draw and throw a light weapon, even if hidden, with one motion. You gain a +2 bonus to damage with thrown weapons.
  11. Two-Weapon Fighting.
    When holding two weapons, you gain a +1 bonus to melee damage and +1 to AC.
  12. Unarmed Fighting.
    Your hands are medium weapons, which you can "wield" one-handed or two-handed.
    You can automatically bite, strangle and tear a creature you have grappled for 1d6 damage once per turn without using an attack.

(if you were expecting that Brass Man to be a samurai, well, 5e already made a pretty decent samurai. He's at the top of the Barbarian post under the name of "Ancestral Guardian")


  1. Good observation about 5ed Fighter, and thank you for more interesting glogs.
    Would gunslinger be a fighter too?

    1. I think Matt Mercer's gunslinger is a fighter archetype, who could be easily converted just by turning his subclass features into 4 GLOG templates. I'm not a big fan of that gunslinger, though, or most attempts at making "gunslingers" in d20 systems. The length of the rounds, and the vagaries of what exactly hitpoints represent, make them kind of clash for me. I like to stick to black powder horse pistols and muskets and so forth, which have a much simpler usecase.

  2. Nice job on the Princess Bride reference

  3. Clearly the "solution" to this is that the Fighter class gets a single ability at level 1 of some kind, and from then can take any level from any class that gives that class Fight-y powers. e.g. Paladins can Smite, Heal, Summon Horse and Be Holy. Fighters just yoink that Smite and keep on Fighting. Fight Fight Fight!

    1. I'm locked into this 5e business now, converting subclasses and so forth, but that route is increasingly tempting. Vayra (at The Mad Queen's Court on my sidebar) has a Fighter classis that would pretty easily fit into that paradigm. Thank you for your comment.

  4. this series of yours is what I wish 5e was like. abilities that are useful and cool instead of "wait forever for a boring, weak tea ability you can use once per day".

    I'm sure these are how first timers imagine d&d is played. they shouldn't be wrong.

    1. Yes, just by cutting out the cruft that nobody wants or needs (and patching here and there with a few new ideas) we reveal a basically functional heroic-fantasy system. I don't want more features for 5e, I want /fewer/. Perfection isn't when you can't add any more, it's when you can't take any more away. I'd like to run some new players through a 5e-ified GLOG and see how they'd respond.

      Thank you for your comment.