When players roleplay a fighter in DnD players rely upon their background and don’t let their class shape them. The fighter class has its own merits for roleplay, but most people focus on mechanical shortcomings.
When you roleplay a fighter in DnD you should focus on what type of fighter you are. Are you a tactician, melee, ranged, what? Find out and use it!
This may seem basic, but there are a lot of factors that people do not consider when they play a fighter.
Your weakness is a strength
Many people say that fighters are weak. They also say that fighters are a boring class since it doesn’t have inbuilt roleplay like a warlock or cleric. Fighters are considered weak because if they rely upon themselves, they don’t have the power of wizards. They can’t do everything and are weak compared to others.
That weakness is where the strength of a fighter lies.
Fighters don’t have a ton of abilities to pour over when making decisions. They don’t have a spellbook to spend 5 minutes in-between rounds looking at to find out which is a better option. They don’t have to worry about exhausting their best spells, or consider if this is the right time to use them.
You know what you are good at. It isn’t much compared to other classes, but you are always ready to shoot or swing with nearly unlimited uses. Yes, you have some abilities, but the main strength that you have is everything else.
We just stated how casters are always stuck in their spellbooks, but you get to look at the environment. You also know what your party members can do. You are not looking at what you can do, but instead what can be done with what you have. This may involve your party or the environment.
You may have noticed that most parties are not led by casters. They are too wrapped up in their spells, and this leaves co-ordination to you. You understand how powerful a gaseous cloud from 1 caster and a fireball from another can be. You realized that the ground has a drop-off, so you are going to have the barbarian throw a rock to knock someone off the cliff.
What is more, you can focus on who you are as a person. This lets you make the most creative way to roleplay a fighter in DnD. Roleplay your character’s backstory, but let others and the environment shape your growth.
First, you need to know what type of fighter you are.
Why did you choose a fighter?
Seriously, why did you choose to play a fighter? Was it just because you don’t like magic? Did you have a specific interest when picking a fighter?
Once you answer why you chose to play a fighter, you will be able to roleplay a fighter in DnD. It may sound dumb, but many people choose a fighter because it has good stats, or they just want to not use magic. But a barbarian is too primal, so they went with a fighter.
If the answer was something like you didn’t want to be a barbarian, that is a good start. You know why you didn’t want to be a barbarian, so factor that into your character. Make them more than just a brain dead hacking machine. Give some depth to your fighter.
If your fighter uses a bow, why not be a ranger? Is it because the ranger has spells and you didn’t want to focus on magic? Did you want to be more focused on combat and not care too much about nature? You can make your fighter a ranged ace instead. Make them someone who wants to be the best archer there was. Only focus on archery and ignore the miscellaneous.
There are many different ways to roleplay a fighter in DnD, but you need to figure out why you chose a fighter and why you chose this specific fighting style.
If you want to be more intelligent, why not be a tactician?
The tactician is my favorite way to roleplay a fighter in DnD. We talked about this a little bit above, but the tactician is a fighter who unifies the party and utilizes their strengths. They look at the environment, find ways to win, and are trusted leaders.
Tacticians are always trying to learn. They are the polar opposite of the big dumb fighter. Instead of considering intelligence a dump stat, tacticians might consider intelligence as important as constitution. You can instead of going drinking every night for a week have some fun, but spend the rest of the time reading, learning, and helping the team.
This way you advance the story more than any spellcaster and fill the function of a rogue or bard. In fact, you can work with the rogues and bards to co-ordinate what you know and make a decision.
If you don’t want to spend your time being the leader, you can be a student of war. You chose to be a fighter over the other classes because you are interested in how regular combat works. Magic is a part of that, but figuring out the most efficient way to fight is important.
You are the 1 who will write Sun Tzu’s art of war. Someone who will be a great general or a great warrior who can teach others how to fight. And 1 way to win a fight is to use the environment.
Knowing how to win a battle is fine, but what about winning the battle before a sword is drawn?
These fighters are always craftily coming up with plans. They desire information about the enemy and end up being cautious heroes. In order to be a planner, you need to have a focus on information gathering.
You can do this through the rogues’ subterfuge, the bard’s charm, or the rangers tracking. Of course, you can always direct how to use magic if need be, but most casters will try to help when pouring over their books. Once you have the information you need, a plan is hatched that hopefully has a high chance of success.
This doesn’t mean that everything will go according to plan. When you roleplay a fighter in DnD as a planner, you need to be adaptable. This will have traces of the tactician in the paragraph above, but you need to be able to make a plan on the fly. Use what the tactician is using, and make a plan in order to keep everyone alive.
This is a hard role to pull off since nothing goes according to plan, but gathering information and keeping constant communication will boost your party’s survival rate more than any cleric can.
But you don’t always want to roleplay a smart person. We are not barbarians, but we are also not wizards. So what about more dextrous avenues of a fighter?
The dextrous fighter
You use a bow as a fighter. Everyone is confused about why this person in plate is in the back. They always ask ‘why didn’t you pick a ranger?’ You have to answer that you a ranger doesn’t interest you, a fighter does. The next question is ‘why does a bow fighter interest you more than a ranger?’ Luckily, there are many answers to that!
You chose to focus on weapons. A ranger is more diverse, but they will never be as good with a bow as you. You get more feats, more attacks, and just focus more on your bow than a ranger ever could. You are interested in being the best archer that there is. This is a great way to roleplay a fighter in DnD. Your love of weaponry outmatches anything else.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can only use bows. When people get up to you as a fighter you can pull out shields, 2h weapons, or anything you want. This way, you are not as vulnerable as a ranger is. You are a student of weapons and warefare. You don’t have to solely rely upon a bow as a ranger would.
If you duel wield as a dextrous fighter, you can be stealthy. Not quite as stealthy as a rogue, but pretty good at it. In fact, people could mistake you for a rogue if you want. But as a fighter, you are more focused on combat.
Rogues want to extort and make money most of the time. They are low lifes who are focused on themselves. You don’t have to be. You can be someone who is focused on protecting their allies through stealth. The less enemies they have to fight, the less hurt they will be. If you have to engage in combat, you can duel wield like a ranger but be better than them.
A dextrous fighter is someone who uses their natural strengths to the best of their abilities. You could be focused on preventing harm instead of taking a beating. Even if you weren’t the smartest out there, you are 1 of the most dextrous.
The most common type of fighter is the strength-based fighter. They don’t think and when people roleplay a fighter in DnD like this, it isn’t very great. Usually, people decide to make their fighter more of a damage sponge or aggressive meathead. Someone who is only concerned about making their enemies bleed and doesn’t think much beyond that.
There is so much more you can do with a strength-based fighter.
Combat is a very descriptive event. If you want to get an idea of you can enjoy descriptive combat, then check out our article on it. If you are able, ask your DM to let you do more in combat. These extra actions can help give you an insight into who your character is.
If you shy away from maiming your enemies, you might view combat as a way to defend your friends. You take the damage because you would rather take the pain than have others feel it. There are many people like this is in real life. Would you want to suffer some pain so that a friend would not? These are the feelings that you might find out.
On the opposite end, if you want to fight to dominate you are trying to become the best you can be. There is no shame in admitting that your life goal is to be the best. It may seem shallow, but it is almost impossible. Martial perfection is what a lot of fighters try to attain. You are 1 of those fighters.
Finding out why you put yourself in harm’s way, why you are the 1 who wants to engage people in bloody melee combat, that is something that needs to be answered.
There is 1 last way to roleplay a fighter in DnD that needs to be discussed.
Fighters are just normal people who have decided to fight using weapons. They might want glory, have to defend their home, or have an interest in the art of fighting. Your reasoning is important, but how effective you are with others is just as important. At least, that is what charismatic fighters think.
We talked about the tactician and planner telling your party what to do, but you need some charisma to do that. If no one listens to you, why would they follow what you say? Furthermore, why should they follow you as a leader?
Charismatic fighters are warlords who can give speeches, inspire their allies, and win a battle with words rather than weapons.
Not using a weapon does not make you a fighter. If you can win a battle of wits and gain something from it, you have a greater victory than you would if you lost half of what you would gain from bloody combat.
These are cunning individuals who can be politicians, generals, and more. You just need to figure out what captures your character’s interest. Seducing who you are attracted to is also an option that doesn’t just have to be for bards.
The end result of this is that you can roleplay a fighter in DnD however you want. You are just a normal person who has chosen to fight with weapons for whatever reason. Furthermore, you have chosen a fighting style that will help you in your journeys.
Ask why you chose to roleplay a fighter in DnD and why you chose that fighting style. Once you have the answer, you will have a place to start. From there, let those choices influence who you are as a fighter and as a person.
I know that being a fighter is intimidating. It is extremely diverse and has the most potential roleplay out of all the classes. Fighter also has the hardest time since there is no focus on how to roleplay. You don’t have a god, patron, or a good stereotype to work off.
Just figure out why your normal person became a fighter, and work with it from there. I hope that this has helped you create an interesting fighter to roleplay with!
Also, if you want to check out our other guides on how to roleplay different classes then check out our theory blogs here!
This has been Wizo and keep rolling!