If you’ve come to tabletop RPGs for crunchy combat, the Pathfinder Fighter class was ready-made for you. These armoured attackers are experts in all things weaponry. And while they don’t have the vast customisation of their spellcasting cousins, there’s still a wide range of cool and clever builds to choose from. Perhaps you’ll dance your way across the battlefield, nimbly piercing and parrying. Or perhaps you’re looking to cut foes down with the biggest Zweihänder you can find.
Whatever floats your Pathfinder 2e Fighter boat, you’ll need to know the basics of the fightiest of Pathfinder classes to get started. Here you’ll find all the core info to jot down on your Pathfinder character sheets (after other details like Pathfinder races, and all that).
Here’s everything you need to know about the Pathfinder Fighter class:
- Pathfinder Fighter stats and proficiencies
- Pathfinder Fighter class features
- Pathfinder Fighter feats
Pathfinder Fighter stats and proficiencies
Fighters choose Strength or Dexterity as their key ability, and their choice gets a first-level stat boost. This is the first choice that defines your Fighter, so decide early on whether you want to use brute force or agility in combat.
Fighters are naturally pretty beefy, so they begin with a hit point maximum of ten plus their Constitution modifier. This is the number your Fighter’s HP max will increase by at level ups.
Here are the starting proficiencies for the 2e Fighter class:
|Skill||Acrobatics or Athletics||Trained|
Fighters also start out with skill proficiencies equal to their Intelligence modifier plus three. On top of that, they’re also trained in the Fighter class DC.
Pathfinder Fighter class features
Here are all the class-specific features a Fighter gains as they level up. The 2e Core Rulebook has more details on the generic features all classes can access.
|1||Attack of Opportunity, Fighter Feat, Shield Block|
|5||Fighter Weapon Mastery|
|7||Battlefield Surveyor, Weapon Specialisation|
|9||Combat Flexibility, Juggernaut|
|11||Armour Expertise, Fighter Expertise|
|15||Evasion, Greater Weapon Specialisation, Improved Flexibility|
Attack of Opportunity
Fighters can use the Attack of Opportunity reaction. Any time a creature within reach (typically around five feet, but not always) does one of the following, your Fighter can make a melee strike. These triggers are:
- Make a manipulate action
- Make a move action
- Make a ranged attack
- Leave its square during a move action
Any manipulate action can be disrupted if the Attack of Opportunity rolls a critical hit. The strike also isn’t impacted by the multiple attack penalty, and it doesn’t count towards the multiple attack penalty in future.
As a Fighter, you get the Shield Block feat for free. This means, if your shield is raised and you take damage from an attack, your shield prevents an amount of damage equal to its Hardness. Any leftover damage is doled out between you and the shield.
This feature increases your proficiency rank for Will saving throws to expert. Additionally, if you roll a successful Will save, it now automatically becomes a critical success. And that’s not all – you can now reduce the value of any frightened condition that affects you by one.
Fighter Weapon Mastery
You can choose one weapon group, and the proficiency ranks for simple weapons, martial weapons, and unarmed attacks in that group increase to master level. Your proficiency for advanced weapons in the same group also increases to expert. Any weapon and unarmed attacks you have master proficiency in now also benefit from critical specialisation effects.
At this level, your proficiency rank for Perception is now at master level. You also gain plus two to Perception checks to determine initiative order.
Your Fighter now deals two extra damage with weapons and unarmed attacks at expert proficiency level. At master level, you deal three extra damage, and four at legendary level.
During daily preparations, your Fighter gains a feat they don’t already have, which can be used until the next day’s preparations. The feat can be up to level eight, and you must meet any prerequisites to use it.
This feature increases your Fortitude saving throw proficiency rank to master level, and all successful rolls for Fortitude saves become automatic critical successes.
Your Fighter’s proficiency in light, medium, and heavy armour increases to expert level. The same goes for unarmoured defence. Additionally, medium and heavy armour gain their armour specialisation effects.
This feature increases your Fighter class DC proficiency rank to expert.
Your Fighter’s proficiency ranks for simple weapons, martial weapons, and unarmed attacks are now at master level. Meanwhile, your advanced weapons proficiency reaches expert rank.
Weapon Legend also lets you choose a weapon group and increase the proficiency ranks associated with it to legendary level. This means legendary proficiency in that group’s simple weapons, martial weapons, and unarmed attacks – though advanced weapons proficiency only reaches master level.
Remember those Reflex saving throws? Evasion increases your proficiency for them to master level, and all successful Reflex saves become critical successes.
Greater Weapon Specialisation
Your weapon specialisation damage for weapons and unarmed attacks with expert proficiency increases to four. If you’re using attacks with an associated master proficiency, that number becomes six, and then eight at legendary level.
This feature is a boost to the previous Combat Flexibility feature. When using that feature during your daily preparations, you can now choose two fighter feats instead of one. The second feat can be of any level up to 14. You still need to meet all prerequisites, but the first feat you choose can be used to fulfil the prerequisites of the second feat. For example, you could take the Dueling Parry feat and the Dueling Riposte feat.
Armour Mastery increases the proficiency ranks for light, medium, and heavy armour, as well as unarmoured defence. These each reach master rank.
Finally, your proficiency for simple weapons, martial weapons, and unarmed attacks reaches legendary level. Advanced weapon proficiency is also boosted to master level, along with the proficiency rank for your Fighter class DC.
Pathfinder Fighter feats
The 2e feats available to Fighters mean a huge range of character builds are possible. There are 60 feats to choose from in the Core Rulebook alone. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll list the feats available in the core rules below, then look at some of our favourite feats in more detail.
|1||Double Slice, Exacting Strike, Point-Blank Shot, Power Attack, Reactive Shield, Snagging Strike, Sudden Charge|
|2||Aggressive Block, Assisting Shot, Brutish Shove, Combat Grab, Dueling Parry, Intimidating Strike, Lunge|
|4||Double Shot, Dual-Handed Assault, Knockdown, Powerful Shove, Quick Reversal, Shielded Stride, Swipe, Twin Parry|
|6||Advanced Weapon Training, Advantageous Assault, Disarming Stance, Furious Focus, Guardian’s Deflection, Reflexive Shield, Revealing Stab, Shatter Defenses, Shield Warden, Triple Shot|
|8||Blind-Fight, Dueling Riposte, Felling Strike, Incredible Aim, Mobile Shot Stance, Positioning Assault, Quick Shield Block, Sudden Leap|
|10||Agile Grace, Certain Strike, Combat Reflexes, Debilitating Shot, Disarming Twist, Disruptive Stance, Fearsome Brute, Improved Knockdown, Mirror Shield, Twin Riposte|
|12||Brutal Finish, Dueling Dance, Flinging Shove, Improved Dueling Riposte, Incredible Ricochet, Lunging Stance, Paragon’s Guard, Spring Attack|
|14||Desperate Finisher, Determination, Guiding Finish, Guiding Riposte, Improved Twin Riposte, Stance Savant, Two-Weapon Flurry, Whirlwind Strike|
|16||Graceful Poise, Improved Reflexive Shield, Multishot Stance, Twinned Defence|
|18||Impossible Volley, Savage Critical|
|20||Boundless Reprisals, Weapon Supremacy|
Here are a few of our favourite Fighter feats. We’ve picked some fairly general feats, so these will be useable in a variety of builds. However, bear in mind our picks aren’t made with specific weapons or builds in mind; you may want to further specialise your Fighter rather than going for generally cool effects.
Feat level: Four
Prerequisites: Trained in Athletics
Knockdown means, after successfully dealing melee damage, you can immediately make an Athletics check to Trip your target. It’s a classic one-two: slash ‘em with a sword, then go for the leg sweep. This works for two-handed melee weapons as well as single-handed ones, and the multiple attack penalty for both actions isn’t increased until after both have resolved. Picking up Improved Knockdown later down the line only serves to buff this more.
Feat level: Eight
This is a great feat for dealing with airborne enemies, as it’s an easy way to ground them. The feat lets you make a strike against a flying target, with a successful hit causing them to fall up to 120 feet. It’s a slow descent, so it won’t hurt them to hit the ground, but they’ll be easier to aim at. The target also can’t leave the ground until the end of your next turn if you scored a critical hit.
Quick Shield Block
Feat level: Eight
Prerequisites: Shield Block, Reactive Shield
Not every Fighter uses a shield, but if yours does, this is pretty essential. Quick Shield Block gives you an additional reaction at the start of every turn, and this can exclusively be used to Shield Block. It’s a limited reaction, but it frees you up to focus your other reaction elsewhere.
Feat level: Ten
Disruptive Stance widens the scope of your Attack of Opportunity, allowing you to activate it when a creature within reach uses a concentration action. If you successfully hit your target, you can also disrupt a concentrate or manipulate action they’re performing, making you that bit more effective against pesky magic users.
Feat level: Level 14
Ever just wanted to go nuts and hit everything? Enter Whirlwind Strike, a feat that lets you attack every enemy within melee reach at the same time. Each attack may add to your multiple attack penalty, but only after you’re done swinging. It goes without saying this one works best with the Reach weapon group.