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Be a Knight, Samurai or More With These New D&D Fighter Archetypes

Be a Knight, Samurai or More With These New D&D Fighter Archetypes

The folks at Dungeons & Dragons clearly want us rolling new characters to play over the holidays because they’ve just released another batch of new options, this time for Fighter characters. Four new Martial Archetypes give players depth both in roleplay options and in combat, and help diversify the options out for players who want more specific options that also gain better and more style-specific benefits beyond those offered by Fighting Style options. Let’s break them down:

ARCANE ARCHER

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This Martial Archetype plays off the notion that Elvish archers have been able to imbue magic into their arrows and even create magical arrows. While not casters themselves (allowing them to do things that fighters do, like wear heavy armour and parkour) those who study these techniques can similarly imbue their arrows with magical damage, making fighters who don’t have a battle cleric in their party the ability to still do damage to creatures that can only take magical damage.

Within the Archetype, you gain Archer’s Lore, which gives proficiency in a number of skills. Conceivably, you could be playing a fighter who, because of their archetype, can pass Arcana tests with proficiency and, say, find and use magical weaponry.

If you’ve ever been looking to roleplay as Oliver Queen, this new archetype is for you.  Learning to use Arcane Arrows gives players the ability to fire seeker arrows, piercing arrows, arrows that obscure vision, arrows that charm (like cupid’s arrows) and a host of other magical abilities that would make any Green Arrow jealous.

KNIGHT

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Who kills dragons in storybook lore? Knight do, that’s who. Channeling our pop-culture notions of mythical Knighthood (rather than historical ones), Knights not only offer the benefits of heavily armored damage dealers at early levels, but they also have great ways to defend a party (particularly useful when you need an armored tank-type character to round out a group) at later levels.  Affinity and comfort in using horses is also a benefit (including moving off of their mount losing only 5 feet of movement rather than half, and landing on his feet when knocked off of their trusty steed), both generally as well as in the world of D&D when that sort of skill can become useful in combat.

For example, a Knight may take a fighting style different from Protection, but with Implacable Mark at level 3 the Knight essentially has a better version of Protection on top of an additional fighting style, which can compliment a player’s ability to do damage as well as effectively tank for the party.

SAMURAI

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Born of the noble classes, the Samurai offers great options for roleplaying as well as many fighter benefits. Fighting Spirit at 3rd level has massive combat benefits, particularly at encounters at that lower level, and then at the higher level can pay dividends when combined with the Fighter native benefit Extra Attack and Rapid Strike (specific to Samurai & Knight archetypes). Where the Knight offers incredible protective ability to the group, the Samurai can dish out the damage reliably quite early on.

An additional benefit of the Samurai is the roleplaying options as well. Elegant Courtier gained at 7th level basically allows a Samurai to interact as seamlessly with the upper crust of society as Inara did, despite hanging out with society’s scrubs on that tiny spaceship.

SHARPSHOOTER

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It would be hard to believe that the only great bow wielders in the Forgotten Realms are only Rangers and Rogues. If there is any place where a fighter might want to be an expertise with a bow, it’s a world where dragons exist: Throwing a sword and hoping it lands in the dragon’s heart to kill it seems an unseemly gamble to any strategically-minded fighter. This is the world where you’d think someone can wear full-plate armor and also kill a goblin at 120 feet in a split second. Using bows is a martial skill, and having a dedicated archer who can not only reliably hit a target but also kill it seems like something the Fighter Class of D&D should also be able to do. Arguably with sufficient martial training you would be able to get benefits from training a bow beyond simply taking the Archery Fighting Style (which endows a +2 bonus to attack rolls from the get-go, but nothing else in later levels).

Between Steady Aim, Careful Eyes, and Close-Quarter shooting; a fighter can be very skilled with a bow and still be very much in the fray. From a play perspective, I’m not exactly sure if this option is as enticing as Arcane Archer, but if you’re roleplaying an orphan whose parents were killed by some mage, an abhorrence to magic doesn’t mean you can’t be a meaningful ranged weapon fighter. If you’ve ever wanted to play Deadshot in your D&D campaign (who likely has his own founded reasons for mistrusting magic) this is the option for you.

As with all their playtesting rules, the folks at D&D are taking your opinions on these rules, so let them know what you think. While you’re at it, let us know what you think in the comments below!

Featured & Blog Image Credits: Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering)


Teri Litorco likes fighting, but finds armor a hindrance when trying to bathe in the blood of your enemies, so she prefers Barbarians. She has also written a book called the Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming, a survival book for gamers lauded by The New York Times. She also overshares on social media: FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube

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