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Level Up (A5E) Help me understand the Marshal

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I think the Marshal is undertuned at the moment. To me it feels balanced for O5e, but martial classes in A5e are substantially boosted. For example, handing a sneak attack out to the rogue is great, but a rogue in A5e has an easier time triggering a reaction attack through maneuvers. Moreover, the boost to martials in general raises the opportunity cost against running a marshal instead of a fighter, berserker, or even just a second rogue. I’d be open to persuasion, though, and certainly the marshal has a fun role play niche. A cool concept, but I think it could use a boost. (A caveat: the 10th level ability is cool and potentially extremely good in high level campaigns, when you can hand out maneuvers as a reaction that allow multiple attacks but aren’t limited by Extra Attack’s requirement that it be “on your turn.”)

My best use case for a marshal is a cheesy 1 level dip on a eldritch-scythe thirsting-blade Pact-of-the-Blade warlock, which lets you hand off a reaction weapon attack to a friend and use eldritch scythe with no trade off.


The Marshal does seem to have fewer features than some of the other classes, but I’m planning on playing one shortly (as a minotaur!) so I’ll soon see for myself what the class can do.


I do feel as if the writer of the Marshall class was more concerned for balanced than many of the other writers were. (no judgement here, I can see the value in power fantasies as well as balance)
However I am currently playing a Marshal in a campaign with a (quite well optimised) rogue and a barbarian and I definitely do not feel underpowered. Allowing the rogue (which is generally balanced for having only attack per round) to attack another time feels very powerful indeed. But granted in an average party he probably gets less power than other classes. Although a thorough read of his level 5 feature does seem to allow you to grant an attack and a maneuver simultaneously, this gives attack and utility at once. Even better at level 10 you can use any maneuver you know with this. I havent fully explored this yet since I've only recently gotten to level 5 but this sounds very powerful especially since some maneuvers allow the user to attack their full amount of attacks. Now I'm not sure if this is rules as intended but it seems to be that RAW that means you can allow an ally to attack AND use a maneuver that allows them to use their full amount of attacks.
Combat directives wording that I base that assumption on:

"In addition, when a creature uses your Commanding Presence to make an attack, it can simultaneously use one Sanguine Knot combat maneuver that you know."

Keywords being "in addition" and "simultaneously".
(the level 10 feat changes the sanguine knot requirement to include any maneuver that you know, with martial scholar or a level in fighter your choice is quite broad)

An oddity that I find is that the marshal can not normally take maneuvers from the adamant mountain school since that is the one that most aids tanks and Marshal seems like a good supporting, tanking class.
However that is easily fixed by taking the martial scholar feat, now you will perhaps say "but my ASI!!" however Marshall does not really have a main stat: charisma, yeah nice for flavour but is actually only used in your level 14 and level 20 skills. Other than that a primary attack skill is nice, but not required, if you are not good at attacking yourself, just let your allies do it. So taking a feat instead of an ASI becomes very tempting.

BTW if you want to minmax the marshal, go with gambling general probably, Talented tactician is nice but kind of overkill since you already get to hand out attack bonuses with mark foe (level 3). I've chosen Talented tactician and while it feels pretty good to be able to give bonuses to attack from 2 sources it kind of becomes overkill a lot of the time. Better to exchange some of that accuracy for damage.

(also Talented Tactician, Swift Strategist, Gambling General, nice alliteration there Mike Myler, which is also alliteration, are you an avid alliteration appreciator?)
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Combat directives wording that I base that assumption on:

"In addition, when a creature uses your Commanding Presence to make an attack, it can simultaneously use one Sanguine Knot combat maneuver that you know."

Keywords being "in addition" and "simultaneously".
the "in addition" here is referring to the previous paragraph. it's "In addition (to gaining a Sanguine Knot combat maneuver, since that's basically all the previous paragraph amounts to)", not "In addition (to making an attack)". that said, i think the "simultaneously" means your reading here is still correct. keep in mind the target's the one spending exertion points though...but yeah, this reads pretty powerful to me.


A5E Designer and third-party publisher
IMHO, a lot of the Marshal's value shows up in the social and exploration pillars; it's spread more evenly across the three than something like the fighter.

They start getting followers for free at level 5. Their knacks can let their companions march further or carry more than they could otherwise. They do eventually get a third attack (at the same time as a fighter), a free stronghold, the ability to hand out saving throw rerolls, etc.

But they're an officer; they won't be as good as straight-up fighting as an enlisted man (fighter) because that's not the entirety of their job.


All I can add to this: Wielding a Rogue is better than any weapon a Fighter could hope for, and being Valrei's Rogue weapon is fun and very strong indeed. Being nigh unable to miss attacks due to Mark Foe and the Tactician die is great for high-damage single attacks. We did mock him when he wanted to buy a mace as an alternative to his spear, because he basically never attacks anyways. Also the constant: "Hey, how about you shoot that one again?" "Oh, of course! How did I not think of that?" Never gets old.

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