Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Level Titles: Fighter


It has always bothered me that the level title for a first level fighter is “Veteran” considering that this is exactly what a 1st level fighter is not. I've never served in the military, but I do know that the term veteran is reserved for those who've actually seen some action. Sure, veteran isn't as awe-inspiring as terms like hero, champion or–ahem—Myrmidon, but it still deserves more respect than 1st level accords it. For that reason, until someone comes up with a better term I am doctoring my PHB to look like this:


That is all.

12 comments:

Talysman said...

But that's exactly what a 1st level Fighter *is*: someone whose been to war and learned how to fight. Non-veterans are 0-level. Just like a Magic-User has to have successfully cast a spell.

Timrod said...

Yeah, I get that, though I don't buy that all 1st level fighters have necessarily seen action. Especially since in AD&D all men-at-arms and mercenaries beneath the officer class are assumed to be 0-level regardless of their actual combat experience.

In your example, it is not necessary that the MU has cast a spell in an adventure setting, only that s/he has learned to cast a spell. Likewise, a 1st level fighter has learned how to fight, but has not necessarily been in actual combat.

When you think of the term, especially as applied to athletes, you're still a rookie after your first game. Eventually you achieve non-rookie status--once the first season is over, but a 2nd year athlete is still not really considered a veteran. Such status is conferred on those with certain amount of experience on the job, not just the bare minimum of qualifications.

Aaron E. Steele said...

It actually bothered me as well, although i wonder if recruit or enlistee might be more appropriate. Still, what to do with "Veteran" if you remove it from first level?

Timrod said...

I've never particularly cared for Myrmidon...

Actually, maybe 3rd level level would be a good spot for veteran. "Swordsman" has always seemed a bit too weapon-specific especially considering the number of axe-wielding dwarven fighters out there. By 3rd level you've seen enough combat to have developed a gritty demeanor and workmanlike competence, but the flamboyance of a hero or swashbuckler has yet to come.

Will Mistretta said...

"In your example, it is not necessary that the MU has cast a spell in an adventure setting, only that s/he has learned to cast a spell. Likewise, a 1st level fighter has learned how to fight, but has not necessarily been in actual combat."

I think you're putting the cart before the horse, somewhat. A first level fighter that hasn't seen combat already has a title: Normal Man! The elite few fighting men that ever see first level have already been tempered in the flames of mortal combat. Magic-users? Apples and oranges!

Will Mistretta said...

I guess what I'm getting at is that an elite, classed fighter that has only had practice sessions is like a gymnast at the Olympics that read a book about how to do a flip once. :)

Timrod said...

Except your "elite few" warriors have only a 5% better chance of hitting their opponent than the non-elite "normal man." Anybody with combat training who hasn't seen actual combat is going to be substantially better off their first time in the thick of it than someone with no combat training--at least 5% better I would think. Otherwise armies wouldn't bother training their troops before throwing them into combat.

And besides, I've worked under the assumption that 1st level fighters are newbies fresh out of the academy for 30+ years now, do you think reasonable arguments are going to change my trajectory now? Freakin' Brezhnev was in office when I first came to this conclusion and you want to change my mind with chatter about Gymnasts and flip books?! HA!

Will Mistretta said...

"Otherwise armies wouldn't bother training their troops before throwing them into combat."

They frequently didn't. Peasant levies, "cannon fodder", etc.

But I digress. It's perfectly cool that you have your own interpretation of what it means to be a member of the fighter class. It's not in line with the game's default assumptions, but that's alright. To each his own.

Timrod said...

Where are these "default assumptions" listed? I don't think I've ever seen them.

Scott said...

I've long used "shield bearer" instead of veteran.

Timrod said...

Shieldbearer definitely puts novice fighters in their place.

Depending on the setting, here are some others I'd consider: ensign, cadet, squire, plebe, grunt, bantam, punk,

Anonymous said...

We made a change long ago when our ex-military buddy suggested changes.
1st Armsman
2nd Veteran
3rd Swordsman
4th Swashbuckler
5th Hero
6th Myrmidon
7th Champion
8th Superhero
9th Lord
10+ Lord
etc