First, let's leave full-blown fighter fixes aside; and let's just acknowledge that if one is using ToB one could just use Warblade and call it a day.
Let me preface a bit.
Fighters are weak because they only get feats without any interesting class feature. This is the consensus.
Splats help, as does ToB. You can get some limited spellcasting and new movement options with just feats.
Both 3.5 and PF fighter do the same thing, with PF fighter hitting harder
Once upon a time, I got a phonecall
--- a player wanted to join a young epic game (25th level, I think), and do so with the usual Dwarven Fighter. The players were starting chargen then...
--- I had to sigh, every other player was a full caster, and the only one not, was a CO-aware powergamer playing a monk with exceptional stats, improved NA and TWF tree, and a bought-off winged template. So I gave him a feat at every level. They sort of boggled at that - perhaps, due to the fact I just doubled the amount of work they had to do on character creation.
Never-the-less, individual feats are sort of weak, for the most part --- some exceptions exist --- and even out of those, a fighter is limited to a subset.Tweak:
--- What if fighters just got more feats? Like, a lot
more? Instead of giving them a single feat, give them, oh, three, and let's relax the restrictions a bit - effectively giving them a generic feat instead, as long as they qualify for it.
Now, fighters do fine at low levels, and a 2-level fighter-dip is a time-honored tradition. So, start this alteration from level six onwards.
And if that's not enough, just give them more. Hm. One pattern would be to give them .... hm.
- 2 feats at 4th, 3 at 6th and so forth... let me put that in table:
|level:||# bonus feats|
10 feats --- how's that for a capstone?
Now, this MAY be unreasonable in a core-only environment, but in a game with a bunch of completes, PHB2, whatnot, I think it should work.
The effect this has is that feats - the only thing a fighter gets, become CHEAP. Aelryinth's analysis of Fighter vs. Warblade (which prompted this, actually) shows that a Warblade gets 30+ feats in their careers - exactly so, as you can learn a maneuver with a feat - probably close to 40. Now, actual feats don't scale that well, so unless one wants to go all Tome - which is a bit of a waste if one already has books with hundreds and hundreds of feats - so getting more of them might not be all that troublesome.ToB:
--- If it's in use, I would suggest giving fighter an IL equal to their level, and relaxing the "can pick only three maneuvers" limitation of martial study.Digression:
ToB introduced feats which grant Maneuvers and Stances - what is your opinion on a 'Dabbler' feat which would grant a caster level of half HD on non-casting classes, and access to a single slot and a single spell known?
Now, how strong are feats actually, at bulk? I'm not entirely sure here. What CAN you do with a bunch of feats?
- learn the entire focus/spec line for a weapon all at once
- pick a bunch of exotic weapons
- get a surprising amount of bonus HP
- become immediately quite proficient with unarmed combat
- at level 10, go from zero to whirlwind attack immediately
- net +2 to every save
and so forth. In a way, getting multiple feats at once is sort-of similar to getting a single strong feat.
As a problem, though, it may add even more character building fatigue... well, sort of. You could just put in a bunch of Toughness feats, if you're lazy, which would actually really start to make you quite tough in combat.
Now, as said, this is a TWEAK. I doubt it breaks the game, and unless the player's really clever, it doesn't really fix the fighter's basic problem --- well, except it's not so much the fighter's problem as it is full-casting classes problem, but that's not here nor there.