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Playtest (A5E) Level Up Advanced 5E Playtest Document #9: Warlord

Welcome to the 9th Level Up: Advanced 5E playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the game’s warlord class. The warlord is a new class and — like our spell-less ranger — we have allocated two playtest slots for it. This is the first document; a revised playtest version may appear next week based on your feedback.

Note that this class references two rules elements which have not yet been previewed -- followers, and strongholds. Those will be revealed at a later date.


warlord.jpg


Download the playtest document here!

And take the playtest survey here:

 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Rouse the troops mentions removing one level of exhaustion or resolve. Since it doesn't seem to be a phb or dmg thing & isn't mentioned again in the warlord thing, what is resolve?
 




As someone who most DMs using theater of the mind 5' movement differences are generally meaningless. I mention this because of Fast Feet, which is part of my favorite archetype from the playtest
 

dave2008

Legend
ok, thank you for sharing. I've had a quick look and in generally I like it, but there are two issues IMO:

1. Commanding Presence Starting at 1st level, you have a Commanding Presence which extends from you in a 10-foot radius. Your allies can attack at your command. When you take the Attack action, you can forgo making one attack to allow a friendly creature within range of your Commanding Presence to make an attack instead.

IMO, this is biggest issue and why it doesn't seem like a 4e "warlord" to me. The 4e version could pretty much always doing something and provide support / inspiration. You were never giving anything up to do cool things. The cool things were on top of your attack / action. However, the A5e design means I always feel like I'm loosing something since I have to: "...forgo making one attack..."

My suggestion: Build the warlord off the paladin smite paradigm. The warlord gets its attacks, but can use a bonus action to do cool things. And don't limit it to just attacks.

2. Followers At 5th level, you gain one follower. You gain an additional follower at 10th, 15th, and 20th level.

My issue with this is that I may not want to play with "followers." It is possible that this is more fluff, but I wouldn't want to loose useful things for me (the warlord) and my group to gain followers because I (the player) don't want to manage followers. Now, if it can be ignored with no negative impact or was archtype specific (and thus I can choose a different archtype) than I would be fine with it. I just don't want to loose something more interesting and useful to gain followers.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
ok, thank you for sharing. I've had a quick look and in generally I like it, but there are two issues IMO:

1. Commanding Presence Starting at 1st level, you have a Commanding Presence which extends from you in a 10-foot radius. Your allies can attack at your command. When you take the Attack action, you can forgo making one attack to allow a friendly creature within range of your Commanding Presence to make an attack instead.

IMO, this is biggest issue and why it doesn't seem like a 4e "warlord" to me. The 4e version could pretty much always doing something and provide support / inspiration. You were never giving anything up to do cool things. The cool things were on top of your attack / action. However, the A5e design means I always feel like I'm loosing something since I have to: "...forgo making one attack..."

My suggestion: Build the warlord off the paladin smite paradigm. The warlord gets its attacks, but can use a bonus action to do cool things. And don't limit it to just attacks.

2. Followers At 5th level, you gain one follower. You gain an additional follower at 10th, 15th, and 20th level.

My issue with this is that I may not want to play with "followers." It is possible that this is more fluff, but I wouldn't want to loose useful things for me (the warlord) and my group to gain followers because I (the player) don't want to manage followers. Now, if it can be ignored with no negative impact or was archtype specific (and thus I can choose a different archtype) than I would be fine with it. I just don't want to loose something more interesting and useful to gain followers.
We’re not ready to share the rules yet (because they’re still in early draft form) but ‘followers’ are mechanically not NPCs so much as they are daily abilities you can use. They fade into the background until you use that ability, and then they fade right back again. You can almost think of them as spells. The basic idea is similar to the way its handled in Handwork Games’ Beowulf game, although the details are different. So there’s no follower management involved.
 

dave2008

Legend
We’re not ready to share the rules yet (because they’re still in early draft form) but ‘followers’ are mechanically not NPCs so much as they are daily abilities you can use. They fade into the background until you use that ability, and then they fade right back again. You can almost think of them as spells. The basic idea is similar to the way its handled in Handwork Games’ Beowulf game, although the details are different. So there’s no follower management involved.
OK, that sounds intriguing. Thank you for the clarification.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
The wording posted for Commanding Presence (I have only read this thread, not the document) seems like the same poor choice the beast master ranger had...except you won't even be rolling for your ally much of the time if you are picking another PC.

I wouldn't be interested in that as a major class feature. As a small occasional benefit it would be fine.

Note: I'm on hiatus from gaming while Covid looms so cannot actually playtest.
 

Augreth

Villager
ok, thank you for sharing. I've had a quick look and in generally I like it, but there are two issues IMO:

1. Commanding Presence Starting at 1st level, you have a Commanding Presence which extends from you in a 10-foot radius. Your allies can attack at your command. When you take the Attack action, you can forgo making one attack to allow a friendly creature within range of your Commanding Presence to make an attack instead.

IMO, this is biggest issue and why it doesn't seem like a 4e "warlord" to me. The 4e version could pretty much always doing something and provide support / inspiration. You were never giving anything up to do cool things. The cool things were on top of your attack / action. However, the A5e design means I always feel like I'm loosing something since I have to: "...forgo making one attack..."

My suggestion: Build the warlord off the paladin smite paradigm. The warlord gets its attacks, but can use a bonus action to do cool things. And don't limit it to just attacks.

2. Followers At 5th level, you gain one follower. You gain an additional follower at 10th, 15th, and 20th level.

My issue with this is that I may not want to play with "followers." It is possible that this is more fluff, but I wouldn't want to loose useful things for me (the warlord) and my group to gain followers because I (the player) don't want to manage followers. Now, if it can be ignored with no negative impact or was archtype specific (and thus I can choose a different archtype) than I would be fine with it. I just don't want to loose something more interesting and useful to gain followers.
I agree, skipping your own attack so that someone else can attack might come in handy sometimes, but doesn’t strike me as an interesting class feature.
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
If one class can use a bonus action to grant an attack for a buddy the game is now Warlords & Warlords (because why would you not build the party to have double the usual action economy?) Using a bonus action for your buddy to attack sounds great as a player but it is nightmare town for game balance.
 


glass

(he, him)
I agree, skipping your own attack so that someone else can attack might come in handy sometimes, but doesn’t strike me as an interesting class feature.
Contrary to what @dave2008 said, it is consistant with the 4e Warlord. They had a lot of powers which allowed a character from trading their own ability to attack to give an ally an attack (often with some kind of bonus). It was quite possible to build a Warlord that never made an attack roll themselves; the so called "lazy-lord" builds. While I would not quite go that far myself, and I am not sure how popular they are as actually played characters rather than theoretical exercises. But I did play a 4e Bard and I have seen another player play a Warlord who made extensive use of Direct the Strike and similar, and I can vouch for being able to say "I hit him with my Barbarian" on a regular basis is a lot of fun. YMMV.

_
glass.
 

dave2008

Legend
Contrary to what @dave2008 said, it is consistant with the 4e Warlord. They had a lot of powers which allowed a character from trading their own ability to attack to give an ally an attack (often with some kind of bonus). It was quite possible to build a Warlord that never made an attack roll themselves; the so called "lazy-lord" builds. While I would not quite go that far myself, and I am not sure how popular they are as actually played characters rather than theoretical exercises. But I did play a 4e Bard and I have seen another player play a Warlord who made extensive use of Direct the Strike and similar, and I can vouch for being able to say "I hit him with my Barbarian" on a regular basis is a lot of fun. YMMV.

_
glass.
Thank you for the clarification, my memory must be biased (or we played differently).

However, my point still remains: psychologically it is better to always gain something than trade / give up something, even if in the end it has the same result.

For example: during the Next playtest the original design of maneuvers required you to give up damage to do something interesting. This didn't go over well in the surveys. So when 5e came out, maneuvers became you always get a damage boost and something interesting. You didn't have to trade on for the other. I think that philosophy would work best for the Warlord too.
 

dave2008

Legend
If one class can use a bonus action to grant an attack for a buddy the game is now Warlords & Warlords (because why would you not build the party to have double the usual action economy?) Using a bonus action for your buddy to attack sounds great as a player but it is nightmare town for game balance.
The concept works for paladin smites, I think similar model could work for the warlord.

EDIT: to be honest, class design is not my thing, so I could easily be making something that is extremely difficult sound trivial.
 

Mike Myler

www.epic5e.com/ <-- New Project!
The concept works for paladin smites, I think similar model could work for the warlord.

EDIT: to be honest, class design is not my thing, so I could easily be making something that is extremely difficult sound trivial.
You can't smite infinitely, you can smite a few times by drawing on a limited resource, and feedback so far (particularly with the ranger) has been that people don't like having to spend things (like exertion points for example) to do things/deal extra damage/etc. It's a little bit of a cake situation. 🍰
 

dave2008

Legend
You can't smite infinitely, you can smite a few times by drawing on a limited resource, and feedback so far (particularly with the ranger) has been that people don't like having to spend things (like exertion points for example) to do things/deal extra damage/etc. It's a little bit of a cake situation. 🍰
OK, I was unaware that there was already feedback involved. I personally don't have any issue with using a limited resource to give you a boost. It makes sense to me as a short rest mechanic (or possibly the new paradigm of # of uses per long rest).

I just remember the Next playtest where people did not like trading damage (an attack in this case) to get something else. People would just chose to do the damage.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
The class suffers from too many pools and dice of different values. Too many abilities are individually limited and recovered via resting. Some unifying mechanic or pool used to power all abilities would be better IMHO.

Class Features: I am not aware of the norms of Level Up, but for a class like the Warlord to only have two skills seems very low.

Rallying Surge should affect all allies and grant temporary hit points. This is about as good (since not all allies will take damage) and requires less suspension of disbelief.

Commanding presence should perhaps include some movement for the ally, even if very little.

Rouse the Troop should come much earlier than level 10, perhaps as early as level 1.

The entire followers/stronghold/reputation notion is hard to comment on this early, but I don't think the warlord should get freebies here beyond those other classes get.

Advantageous Action - the part of doing Help as a bonus action - should come much earlier. It could be in a rogue-oriented archetype.

Exploration Knacks
Exacting - note that you don't get proficiency with Navigator's Tools.
Lay of the Land - I think it should give an advantage to do this from a point with a good view. As written, you can be lost in a hole and do it.

Gambling General My experience is that this kind of chance rarely pays of - but then I am not a gambler.

Peasant Lieutenant I love the concept, but armor class is king. Also, abilities like Get Them Out imply you are better than your compatriots, which is relatively unlikely in a typical 5E situation.

Tactical Commander - Notice what I said first, about too many different pools and die types?
 
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Starfox

Adventurer
Contrary to what @dave2008 said, it is consistant with the 4e Warlord. They had a lot of powers which allowed a character from trading their own ability to attack to give an ally an attack (often with some kind of bonus). It was quite possible to build a Warlord that never made an attack roll themselves; the so called "lazy-lord" builds. While I would not quite go that far myself, and I am not sure how popular they are as actually played characters rather than theoretical exercises. But I did play a 4e Bard and I have seen another player play a Warlord who made extensive use of Direct the Strike and similar, and I can vouch for being able to say "I hit him with my Barbarian" on a regular basis is a lot of fun. YMMV.

_
glass.
Maybe this kind of play is better channeled in an archetype than in ability all warlords have?
 

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