Fighters get new character options in this week’s Unearthed Arcana, and the differences are Knight and day!
Hey folks, it’s time to grab your glaive, guisarme, glaive-guisarme, pike, awl, lucerne hammer, voulge, guisarme-voulge, guisarme-guisarme, spear, and/or bill, because Fighters got FOUR new character options in the latest Unearthed Arcana: the Arcane Archer, the Knight, the Samurai, and the Sharpshooter.
An Arcane Archer studies a unique elven method of archery that weaves magic into attacks to produce supernatural effects. These archers stand watch over the fringes of elven domains, keeping a keen eye out for trespassers and using magic – infused arrows to defeat monsters and invaders before they can reach elven settlements.
- The Knight is a colossus on the battlefield who can shrug off attacks and protect allies from harm. On adventures, they are the unarmored bulwark that strives to keep the rest of the party safe.
- The Samurai is a fighter who draws on an implacable fighting spirit to overcome enemies. A samurai’s willpower is nearly unbreakable, and the enemies in a Samurai’s path have two choices: yield or die fighting.
- The Sharpshooter is a master of ranged combat. An excellent sniper and eagle-eyed scout, this fighter is a perilous foe who can defeat an entire war band so long as they are kept at range.
So whether you want to kill your enemies up close or from far away, these new Archetypes have got you covered. Let’s take a look:
Originally a prestige class in 3rd Edition, Arcane Archer makes a triumphant return as a Fighter archetype in 5th edition. I really like what they’ve done here: twice per rest, as a bonus action, you can create an arcane arrow that deals 2d6 extra force damage and an extra effect, depending on which option you take–and there’s a surprising amount of utility in these options. You can pull a Green Arrow or Hawkeye with some of them: there’s an arrow that penalizes opponents’ speed and damages them if they move, there’s an arrow that blinds, an arrow that curves around corners, an arrow that explodes. All that’s missing is a boxing glove arrow.
The rest of the Archetype goes all in on this class feature. You get two skills at 3rd (actually all of the fighter Archetypes have at least one level that grants access to a skill or changes something about their nonviolent interactions, which I really like–it brings out their flavor more and gives you something unique to do when the rest of the party says you don’t want to kill these guys for whatever reason), but other than that, the rest of the archetype either gives you more options or makes your arcane arrows hit harder. There’s a lot of breadth to what you can do with the Arcane shot, but, if you pick this Archetype, your Arcane Shot is going to be your primary mode of interaction.
The Knight is all about protection and battlefield control. If you want to harangue your foes and keep them from going where you don’t want them to, this is the Archetype for you.
The main feature of the Knight is the ability to mark a foe–it’s a new take on a mechanic they tried in 4th edition. Now, you menace one of your foes and it has disadvantage against any target other than you. But. It also lets you use your reaction to make an attack (with advantage no less) against a foe who moves or attacks a not-you target while they’re within five feet of you. But wait there’s more! For five easy payments of 19.95* you can ALSO deal extra damage with it. AND you can make this attack even if you’ve already used your reaction during the round (but not the turn, so you can’t take a reaction on more than one turn, which is probably for the best). What’s more, you can make this attack even if you’ve already used your reaction in a round (but not the turn). So, you can theoretically make an opportunity attack and then also this attack–or take another reaction if you need (conveniently enough this Archetype gives you another reaction at 10th level). A little complicated at first glance, but still, it gives you a good way to incentivize monsters to focus on you.
The rest of the Archetype is much less complex. You get some skills, you can use your reaction to stop an enemy from moving, and you can trade in advantage for an extra attack as a bonus action. Pretty solid all around, if you can get through that wall of text up there.
Sorry. That should probably be in all caps with like, seven exclamation points. At least.
UNLEASH YOUR FIGHTING SPIRIT! THE SAMURAI IS AN INDOMITABLE FIGHTER THAT IS ALL ABOUT AN UNBREAKABLE WILL THAT CARRIES YOU ON AGAINST ALL ODDS! EVEN DEFYING DEATH IF NEED BE, FOR A TRUE WARRIOR KNOWS NO DEFEAT!
Oh that’s much better. And that is the theme of the Archetype. You get Fighting Spirit as your first Archetype feature, and it’s pretty great. Thrice a rest, you can give yourself advantage on all attacks and resistance to weapon damage for a turn. And that’s where it starts.
This may be the most general of the archetypes. You gain proficiency in Wisdom saves (or Int or Cha if you have that already), you pick up some extra social benefits because of your IRON DISCIPLINE. Much like the knight, you can trade advantage for an extra attack (UNLEASH YOUR SPIRIIIIIIIIIT!) and at 18th level, whenever you are about to take damage that would reduce you to 0 hit points, you get an immediate extra turn before you take the damage to do something awesome, or you could drink a healing potion too I guess.
As you might expect from the name, this Archetype is also all about the ranged attacks. The Sharpshooter gains a number of abilities that make them better at fighting with their ranged weapons. Including the ability to ignore cover and deal extra damage (as a bonus action), the ability to shoot unimpeded at close range–better in fact, targets you hit are unable to take reactions. So you could, theoretically, really ruin a Knight’s day. And both of the high level features give you more attacks, situationally.
All in all, pretty straightforward, and pretty effective.
So there you have it. A bunch of new fighter options to play around with. If you’ve been playing along at home, then you know by now that there’s a new survey up about the Druid archetypes Wizards offered last week. And be sure to tune in next week for Monks.
Check out the New Fighter Options
Take the Druid Survey
Looks like a new look on some older ideas. Got an opinion about some of the mechanics (re)introduced here? Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments.