Fighter 5e – DnD Class Guide

Learn all about D&D’s warrior class, the fighter

Fighters are trained warriors and students of combat. They’re versatile combatants capable with a range of weaponry and fighting styles. Fighters are certainly in their element while in the thick of battle, and while they have their uses elsewhere (need to intimidate an uncooperative guard for example, or bash down a door?), they are certainly at their best when fighting.

How to play as a fighter

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Get into the thick of combat! While they are great with ranged weapons, most parties will want their fighters in the heat of the melee, soaking up damage for squishier characters. This may all seem a little 1 dimensional, but it does make for a great class where players want to keep things simple, especially at early levels. That’s not to say there isn’t variety. Once you hit level 3, you’ll open a bunch of subclasses that add some new tricks to the fighter’s repertoire whether that be the battle master’s combat maneuvers or a bit of spellcasting from the Eldritch knight. You’ll definitely want to go big on Strength and Constitution for a fighter, Dexterity is also your friend here too.

Fighter Strengths

Well, I guess a fighter is good at fighting! But what you get is a tough, tanky character that can soak up damage and with extra attacks at 5th, 11th and 20th levels, you also have a major damage dealer. Add to that the ability heal themselves plus some handy subclass features, the fighter is a straightforward, but highly-effective character class.

Fighter Weaknesses

The main issue with fighters is their usefulness outside of combat. This is due to their need for high Strength, Dexterity and Constitution at the sacrifice of things like Charisma and Wisdom. Fighters also lack the versatility that spellcasters and other classes gain from their abilities.

Fighter class features

Party RoleTank, Melee Damage Dealer, Ranged Damage Dealer
Main AbilityStrength or Dexterity
Saving ThrowsStrength, Constitution
Hit Dice1d10 + Consitution modifier per level
HP at 1st Level10 + Constitution Modifier
Spell Casting AbilityN/A
Armour ProficiencyAll armour, shields
Weapon ProficiencySimple weapons, martial weapons

Fighter Abilities

LevelProficiency BonusFeatures
1st+2Fighting Style, Second Wind
2nd+2Action Surge (x1)
3rd+2Martial Archetype
4th+2Ability Score Improvement
5th+3Extra Attack (x1)
6th+3Ability Score Improvement
7th+3Martial Archetype Feature
8th+3Ability Score Improvement
9th+4Indomitable (x1)
10th+4Martial Archetype Feature
11th+4Extra Attack (x2
12th+4Ability Score Improvement
13th+5Indomitable (x2)
14th+5Ability Score Improvement
15th+5Martial Archetype Feature
16th+5Ability Score Improvement
17th+6Action Surge (x2), Indomitable (x3)
18th+6Martial Archetype Feature
19th+6Ability Score Improvement
20th+6Extra Attack x3

Fighter subclasses in D&D 5e

Rogue SubclassSubclass AbilitiesSource BookDescription
ChampionImproved Critical, Remarkable Athlete, Additional Fighting Style, Superior Critical, SurvivorPlayer’s HandbookParticularly deadly fighters that enhance their critical strikes.
Battle MasterCombat Superiority, Student of War, Know your Enemy, Improved Combat Superiority, RelentlessPlayer’s HandbookHighly trained warriors that use battle maneuveurs to gain the upper hand in combat.
Eldritch KnightSpellcasting, Weapon Bond, War Magic, Eldritch Strike, Arcane Charge, Improved War MagicPlayer’s HandbookUse magic to supplement their martial prowess.
Purple Dragon KnightRallying Cry, Royal Envoy, Inspiring Surge, BulwarkSword Coast Adventurer’s GuideA particularly brave and inspiring warrior.
Arcane ArcherArcane Archer Lore, Arcane Shot, Magic Arrow, Curving Shot, Ever-Ready ShotXanathar’s Guide to EverythingA warrior that specialises in long range combat mixing magical means with their projectiles.
CavalierBonus Proficiency, Born to the Saddle, Unwavering Mark, Warding Maneuver, Hold the Line, Ferocious Charger, Vigilant DefenderXanathar’s Guide to EverythingA warrior that excels in mounted combat.
SamuraiBonus Proficiency, Fighting Spirit, Elegant Courtier, Tireless Spirit, Rapid Strike, Strength before DeathXanathar’s Guide to EverythingA warrior capable of defeating does in a flurry of blows.
Echo KnightManifest Echo, Unleash Incarnation, Echo Avatar, Shadow Martyr, Reclaim Potential, Legion of OneExplorer’s Guide to WildemontAble to create an echo to support in combat.
Psi WarriorPsionic Power, Telekinetic Adept, Guarded Mind, Bulwark of Force, Telekinetic MasterTasha’s Cauldron of EverythingA warrior that fights with their muscle and psychic powers.
Rune KnightBonus Proficiencies, Rune Carver, Giant Might, Runic Shield, Great Stature, Master of Runes, Runic JuggernautTasha’s Cauldron of EverythingA warrior that attunes the might of giants and their runes in combat.

Published by DM Ben

Ben is an experienced dungeon master and player who's been immersed in the D&D universe since he was a teenager over 20 years ago. When he's not writing for Dungeon Mister, Ben loves creating fiendish puzzles and devious dungeons for his players. He's an especially big fan of the Ravenloft and Dragonlance settings.

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