What Happens When I Level Up – Fighter (D&D 5e)

This guide only presents the Traits, Feats, and additional Abilities that your character will acquire when they gain a level. The character progression is broken down per level to facilitate the tracking of incremental changes that can be made for a character. This is to help avoid repeatedly jumping through different sections of the Player’s Handbook every time an additional level is gained.

Before using this guide, please take note of any and all applicable feats, racial traits or background bonuses that your character might gain before choosing a class. Most of these are one time numerical bonuses to Ability Scores or are persistent abilities that your character can use all throughout their adventuring life. Use the level advancement table for the Fighter/Eldritch Knight below as quick reference. Traits/bonuses/features gained by Eldritch Knights are marked with EK Only.

The Fighter Class Advancement Table

Fighter New
Increasingly efficient at… fighting. Higher res image here.

General rules for Fighters:

  • Fighters with the Eldritch Knight Archetype gradually acquire additional spells and spell slots through level advancement just like regular spellcasters. Whenever you gain a level as an Arcane Trickster, you can replace a current spell with any Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list. This magic school limitation does not apply to spells gained at 8th, 14th, and 20th level.
  • Different Martial Archetypes gain different effects and bonuses. Make sure to check out details for the archetype that you choose for your Fighter.
  • The Fighter is extremely versatile in combat situations. Keep in mind factors like terrain, layout, distance and other environmental features during combat interactions. Remember that Fighters are also proficient in Thrown and Ranged Weapons.

Martial Archetypes

*Featured in expansions, homebrew material and Unearthed Arcana. Ask your DM for permission if they’ll allow the use of these Archetypes for your campaign. These options may have additional requirements and/or special features/bonuses when chosen.

Character Advancement – Gaining Levels

1st Level Fighter

  • Initial HP = 10 + Constitution (CON) Modifier
  • Armor Proficiency: All armor, shields
  • Weapon Proficiency: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
  • Tool Proficiency: None
  • One (1) 1d10 Hit Die
  • +2 Proficiency Bonus
  • Proficiency Bonus added to STR and CON saving throws
  • Choice of Proficiency Bonus to Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival (Choose two)
  • Fighting Style
  • Second Wind

2nd Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Action Surge

3rd Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Martial Archetype

EK Only

  • Two (2) cantrips from the Wizard spell list
  • Three (3) 1st level Abjuration or Evocation spells from the Wizard spell list
  • Two (2) 1st level spell slots

4th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score improvement (additional 2 points for one ability or 1 point for two abilities) OR a Feat of your choice

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) additional 1st level spell slot

5th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Extra Attack (can attack again if the Attack action was used)
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

6th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

7th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • New Martial Archetype Feature

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 2nd level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) additional 1st level spell slot
  • Two (2) 2nd level spell slots

8th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 2nd level spell (any school) from the Wizard spell list

9th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Indomitable
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

10th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • New Martial Archetype Feature

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 2nd level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) additional cantrip from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) additional 2nd level spell slot

11th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Extra Attack +1 (can attack as an action 3 times)

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 2nd level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list

12th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

13th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Indomitable +1 (number of uses increased to 2)
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 3rd level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • Two (2) 3rd level spell slots

14th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 3nd level spell (any school) from the Wizard spell list

15th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • New Martial Archetype Feature

16th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 3nd level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) additional 3rd level spell slot

17th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Action Surge +1 (now two uses)
  • Indomitable +1 (now three uses)
  • Proficiency Bonus is increased by 1

18th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • New Martial Archetype Feature

19th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Ability Score Improvement OR a Feat of your choice

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 4th level Abjuration or Evocation spell from the Wizard spell list
  • One (1) 4th level spell slot

20th Level Fighter

  • Max HP increase. Add 1d10 + CON Modifier to the current total Max HP
  • One (1) additional 1d10 Hit Die
  • Extra Attack +1 (can attack as an action 4 times)

EK Only

  • One (1) additional 1st – 4th level spell (any school) from the Wizard spell list

Please take note of all ability score and bonus increases as your Fighter gains levels and experience. These changes must be properly reflected on your character sheet for proper attribute adjustment. Make sure to update the character’s armor class, hit points, bonus initiative, passive perception and other skills that they are proficient with whenever any relevant changes allow you to do so.

Make sure to read more about the different Martial Archetypes and the features they can unlock as your Fighter gains levels. Refer to the resources like the Player’s Handbook or Xanathar’s Guide to Everything to get a feel of which particular archetype is the ideal for you or the character you want to roleplay.

– D

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