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The Fighter

This document provides suggestions and insights into how to translate the ideas of the Fighter class from the source material into Pathfinder Fate Accelerated.

"Fighters excel at combat—defeating their enemies, controlling the flow of battle, and surviving such sorties themselves. While their specific weapons and methods grant them a wide variety of tactics, few can match fighters for sheer battle prowess. Soldiers, knights, hunters, and artists of war, fighters are unparalleled champions, and woe to those who dare stand against them."

Archetype Considerations

The only Archetype a fighter has to concern themselves with is Combatives; everything else is optional. To be considered a fighter (and not some other hybrid concept), a character should start with at least Combatives +3.

For a standard starting character, this leaves only the decision of where to put the final +1.

A hyper-specialized, dedicated fighter will go all in on Combatives +4, but putting a +1 into one of the other Archetypes goes a long way towards suggesting a more interesting background for the character. Focused is probably the most common secondary Archetype splash for fighters, and Roguish is a close second.

Focused +1 is a very solid and safe choice for a fighter who is sharp of wit, physically fit, perceptive, and quick on their toes.

Roguish +1 is a great choice for a street savvy fighter who lives in a big city or that can benefit from some people skills.

Primal +1 is a reasonable choice for a fighter originating from a remote outpost or trained as a scout or who grew up in the country before becoming a soldier. However care should be taken to not veer over into more of a ranger.

Arcane +1 is a more fringe choice but could make sense for a fighter who was well educated at a university and studied magical theory (arcana), or dead languages, or other esoteric subjects as a scholastic exercise.

It would also make sense for a fighter who once worked as a guard for a magic oriented individual or organization.

Dabbling in Arcane now at the "basic knowledge" level also opens the door to later progression as a spell sword or magus.

Finally, remember that a Archetype can always defend against itself; thus a fighter with Arcane +1 effectively has an "improved save" vs arcane magic.

Sample Iconics

Dwyth, Farwyn, Hessia

Starting Archetype Sets

Weaponmaster

Combative +4

Hero

Combative +3, Focused +1

Wily Warrior

Combative +3, Roguish +1

Strikers

They fight, they fight. Fighty fight fight.

It's relatively uninspiring and no-frills, but regardless of the straightforwardness of it Fighters are the defacto vanilla full martial melee class in the source material.

The source material offers fighters as dedicated combat focused characters who learn how to hit more and harder as well as gaining a lot of feats as they level up.

Tanks

Fighters learn to make better use of armor and get tougher as they level up, and are able to serve as damage sponges for a party of adventurers..

Diverging From Source Material

The source material has an unfortunate tendency to reduce Fighters to little more than weapon and armor platforms, with combat maneuvers as icing, leaving a player to manufacture their own "flavor" with little support from the mechanics beyond whatever can be pieced together with feat chains and "archetypes" (as defined in the Pathfinder rule books).

The good news is that in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated this is not the case; warriors gain a huge uplift both in richness of concept and in a more even footing with casters thanks in part to the elegant design of the Fate system, and due to the possibilities of the create advantage action in particular.

So, just imagine the bold warrior you always wanted to play, and pick Aspects and Stunts accordingly. Hopefully you will be impressed with how interesting and dynamic the resulting character turns out to be.

Divine +1 is perhaps the most unusual choice but not inappropriate for a fighter who gained his education from a priest or a learning institution affiliated with an organized church. Even if the fighter is not a devout follower of some deity and does not intend to become a paladin or war priest, knowledge of the forces of good and evil or of cosmological concerns or of church politics might come in handy at some point.

Approach Considerations

Fighters are often Careful and rarely Sneaky.

Many, perhaps most, fighters are Forceful, but some more flamboyant fighters trend towards Flashy. And many fighters are often passably Quick with a blade, as it can often mean the difference in which side of a fight draws first blood.

Most fighters, the rank and file, meat-shields, grunts, and the like, have no need to be Clever; but there are educated and intelligent men and women who follow the way of the blade...officers, leaders, tacticians, champions...and they can be quite erudite and sharp of wit.

What Kind Of Fighter, Exactly?

Generally speaking, when defining a character in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated that you envision falling into the "fighter" category, you might start out by asking yourself the following questions:

Self-taught or Trained?

How did your character became a fighter? Did they just pick up a sword, toss on a chain shirt, and proceed to figure it out as they went? Were they mentored by an older fighter? Or were they accepted or forced into formal instruction such as in an army training program? And so on.

Brute Force or Finesse?

Some fighters rely on strength and power, others on speed and precision, and others are somewhere in between. Deciding where your Fighter falls on this spectrum will help you choose your Approaches at a minimum; a brute force fighter will tend to favor Forceful or Flashy, while a more finesseful fighter will tend towards Quick and / or Clever, and a more defensive fighter will tend towards Careful.

It will also probably be reflected in at least one of your Aspects, and possibly a Stunt.

Hessia is a heavily armored but aggressive fighter who likes to strike first, strike hardest, and strike last. Used to dirty fights, she wears spiked armor that quickly dissuades anyone trying to grapple her, and her fearsome demeanor can set the knees of her enemies to quaking. Press ganged and trained to serve in the now fallen order of the Grey Maidens, Hessia has added a collection of rough and ready dirty tricks, low blows, and vicious hackery to her original training. Hessia prefers the longsword, but she's skilled in all variety of standard weaponry.

Weapon Specialist or All-Arounder?

As weapons are just trappings in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated, with no special intrinsic benefits, deciding what sort of weapons your fighter prefers is ostensibly a fluff question, primarily influencing cosmetic details and portrayal. But if you really want your fighter to be a weapon specialist vs a generalist, you'll want to incorporate the idea into at least one of your Aspects and / or at least one of your Stunts.

The main benefit to incorporating a preferred weapon into your character's concept is that it can become a focal point for the character and help anchor the persona in people's minds. Generic Fighter Guy is boring and thus forgetable, but "Renaldo...master of the twirling hand axes!", will tend to stand out a little more.

Farwyn is a no nonsense fighter capable of laying waste to all who come near him. Drilled and honed into a warrior for many years by a famous champion, he now seeks fame and fortune in the harsh crucible of combat.

Farwyn's weapon of choice is the glaive, and he excels at striking down all who stand against him in a whirlwind of precise violence.

Heavily Armored or Lightly Nimble?

Some fighters pile on the armor, while others prefer to stay light on their feet. Similar to choosing your preferred weapons, as armor is just a trapping in Pathfinder Fate Accelerated with no special intrinsic benefits the decision doesn't matter mechanically.

However your character's choice of armor might say something about their personality and feelings about risk vs. reward. For instance does your heavily armored fighter wear so much steel because they are conservative and risk-averse, or do they throw themselves into the thickest part of the fray with confidence in their metal shell's ability to protect them from harm?

Does your lightly armored swordsman dart and circle around the edges of a conflict looking for the best place to strike, or do they dance through the melee with graceful lethality confident of their ability to block and evade their foes' clumsy attacks?

Thinking about these sorts of things will affect your portrayal at a minimum, and might influence your Aspects and Stunts.

Dwyth is a sturdy defense oriented heavily armored fighter, able to turn a momentary success in battle into a lasting defensive edge, and to see a hard fight through to the bitter end. Trained as a Dwarven Armorine in his youth, Dwyth did his time as a solider, then as a mercenary, and most recently as a bounty hunter, but the iron discipline drilled into him years ago holds true. Dwyth prefers his Dwarven Axe, but he'll kill with whatever is handy.

Stunts

Fighter characters might find the following Stunt categories of interest: Warrior, Durability, Competence.

The following Stunts are offered as samples that might be relevant for some fighters. However, the best Stunts are those that are tailor made to fit your concept, so don't hesitate to come up with your own or work with your GM to define something that is "just right" for your character. See the Stunt options document for ideas on how to do this.

Defensive

Fighters that intend to live another day typically develop their defensive options.

Alertness: Because I am unusually alert and perceptive I gain +2 while Focused to notice things.

Canny Guard: Because of my skill and experience as a warrior it is difficult to catch me off guard. When I am defending against physical attacks and tie, my opponent does not get a boost.

Combative Aegis: Because I have developed my defensive form to a high degree of skill, when I am Carefully Combative and appropriately equipped, if someone else in my zone is physically attacked I may defend on their behalf. However I take any shifts of damage that get past my defenses, rather than the intended target.

Defensive Posture: Because I am trained in a defensive fighting style, if I get a boost when I am Carefully Combative while attacking I may use it to create the situational Aspect Defensive Posture on myself with two (2) invokes.

Heavy Armor Training: Because I have trained to wear heavy armor extensively, I gain +1 to Combatives to defend when I am heavily armored.

Improved Disarm: Because I like to disarm others, I get +1 when I am Quick and attempt to create advantage to attach the situational Aspect Disarmed to other people who weild weapons.

Indomitable: Because I refuse to give in and I always vigorously protect myself, I get +1 when I am Forceful and defend if I am aware that I am in danger.

Just Roll With It: Because I excel at avoiding harm and rolling with whatever comes my way, I can use more than one stress box to absorb stress from an attack (normally, only one stress box may be used to offset stress from a single attack).

Light Armor Training: Because I have trained to wear light armor extensively, I gain +1 to Combatives to defend when I am lightly armored.

Medium Armor Training: Because I have trained to wear medium armor extensively, I gain +1 to Combatives to defend when I am appropriately armored.

Resilience: Because of my impressive resilience, once per session if I would take a Consequence I may instead spend a Fate point.

Stalwart Resistance: Because my innate fortitude and intrinsic vitality protects me, I gain +1 to defend against magical and unusual attacks without needing special narrative justification or first creating an advantage to invoke.

Offensive

A fighter that never goes on the offensive would be a strange duck. Most fighters have one or more techniques for making foes sorry to have crossed their path.

Acrobatic Fighting: Because I am excellent at acrobatically flipping around and tumbling to good advantage while in combat, when I am engaged in a conflict I may add my Focused bonus to Combatives when I am able to make my acrobatics relevant.

Aggressive Assault: Because I am driven to extreme aggression, when I am Forcefully Combative and attack I may add from one to four additional Fate dice to my 4dF attack roll and choose the four best dice as my result. However, until my next exchange whenever I defend I add the same number of Fate dice to my defend rolls and choose the four worst dice as my result.

Barehanded Fighting: Because my fighting skills include barehanded combat, I may use Combative instead of Focused when fighting barehanded or grappling.

Bums Rush: Because I like to overwhelm others, I get +2 when I am Forceful and attempt to tackle or bowl over an opponent.

Combat Veteran: Because I have engaged in so much combat, I gain +1 when I am Combative and attack.

Combat Veteran (-2): Because I have engaged in so much combat, I gain +1 when I am Combative and attack or defend.

Forbidding Presence: Because I present a very intimidating and stern visage while emanating a frightenting aura, I gain +1 when being Flashy and attempting to frighten or demoralize.

Forcefully Aggressive: Because I am so physically powerful, I get +1 when I am Forceful and attack.

Lightning Draw: Because I have mastered the art of the lightning draw, I gain an automatic boost when I am Quick and draw my blade for the first time in an exchange. Additionally, if I opt to do this at the beginning of a conflict I gain +2 to determine who goes first.

Making It Count: Because I am able to make my attacks really matter, on an attack that succeeds with style I may spend a fate point to prevent the target from checking a stress box to reduce the stress of the attack. The target may still take consequences.

Passing Strike: Because I have a fast-moving agile fighting style, whenever I am Quickly Combative and attack, if I choose to reduce the damage I inflict to get a boost I may use that boost to immediately move one (1) zone away, as a free action. If I also spend a Fate point I may move an additional zone further away.

Pounce!: Because I excel at leaping into combat in a startling burst of aggression, I gain +4 on my first attack in a conflict if I act first and can charge, lunge at, or pounce upon an opponent.

Powerful Attack: Because I am so skilled at delivering forceful attacks, I gain +2 when I am Forcefully Combative and attack while armed with a weapon.

Two Weapon Fighting (-2): Because I am so skilled at dual-wielding two weapons, I gain +1 when I am Combative and attack or defend while armed appropriately. Additionally if I make a physical attack while armed appropriately and split shifts between exactly two opponents, I inflict +1 shift of additional damage to each target.

Quick Strike: Because I am fast and accurate, I get +3 when I am Quickly Combative and attack an opponent that has not yet gone in this exchange.

Weapon Mastery (-3): Because I have spent many years mastering a type of weapon, I gain +1 to Combatives when I attack, defend, create advantage, or overcome while using any weapon of that type.

Multi-attacker

Some fighters are so skilled at laying about themselves with lethal force that they may simultaneously engage multiple opponents in their vicinity.

This sort of ability can take many forms to suit an individual character's style. The below example of Whirlwind Attack is provided to illustrate how such a Stunt can be structured to allow a fighter to do this more than once per session by committing more than one Stunt slot to the ability; this might be done at character creation or over time as a character progresses.

Whirlwind Attack: Because I am a potent warrior once per session when I am Flashily Combative and attack with a suitable weapon, I may affect all enemy targets in my zone without having to split my shifts between them.

Whirlwind Attack (-2): Because I am a potent warrior once per scene when I am Flashily Combative and attack with a suitable weapon, I may affect all enemy targets in my zone without having to split my shifts between them.

Whirlwind Attack (-3): Because I am a potent warrior, when I am Flashily Combative and attack with a suitable weapon I may affect all enemy targets in my zone without having to split my shifts between them. However if I use this ability more than once per conflict I take a cumulative -1 penalty to my 4dF attack roll for each time I've previously used the ability in the current conflict.