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D&D 5E Need new eyes on my homebrewed Warlord (v4)

Undrave

Hero
So recent threads that shall remain nameless have gotten me interested in revisiting my homebrewed Warlord class for fun and giggles... But it's been WAY too long and I feel like I need some new perspectives before getting into revisions. I did make a few tiny changes here and there (and fixed some typos) since I last posted this, but nothing major.

Here is Version 4: The Warlord V4 - The Homebrewery
(the Homebrewery is best viewed on Chrome or Firefox)

It uses the Rogue as its basis as I really want the Warlord to be able to BE a Warlord every turn. Plus I thought it was a neat challenge to use the Rogue chassis since it's so unique in 5e you know?

Does this feel like too much? It feels like the base class is maybe too much? Am I trying too hard to cram too much stuff into it and I could cannibalize it for some more subclasses and streamline the base some more? Are the subclasses interesting? Anything I could cover better? Are the weapon proficiency stupid or just flavorful enough? I kinda wanted to limit them to flavorful d8 weapons (and lower) and threw in the pike as a reach option.

I'm thinking of ditching the bonus action focused 'Exposed Weakness' and 'Advanced Signal' features and maybe having some maneuvers that deplete your Insight dice pool as proper Standard Actions. It just felt right to have a Bonus Action class feature, since the Rogue has one... but it feels like it would get to be too much to be able to attack, then use a Shout and THEN use the bonus action Exposed Weakness every turn, and THEN get a reaction on your off turn. I think I can come up with something more focused by folding it all into the standard action. But I also want a way to build a Lazylord so maybe I can take the Exposed Weakness bonus action thing and move it to a Subclass?

Also, I want more out of combat stuff but that'll have to wait for v5 I think. Any ideas?
 

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Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
I skimmed it, but will check it out later in greater detail. For now, all I can say is I am stealing your thread title as the name of an NPC.

Ned 'New Eyes' has a good ring to it.
 


MattW

Explorer
It looks like you're trying for a charismatic general. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon. That kind of thing. Am I right?

Alexander = "Chosen One"
Julius = "White Raven Tactician"
Napoleon = "Ballisterius"? with the "Pull of Destiny"

I think you may have a valid fear about putting too much into one class. IMHO, the "Steel Protector" seems both unnecessary and inappropriate for a Rogue. Likewise, "Borderland Marshal" seems more like a Ranger than a mighty general and Silverblades or Ardent Souls might be good Paladins....

Having said that, I really liked the "Rabble Rouser" as a basis for Robin Hood, or someone like Alfred the Great.

In further nitpicking and suggestions...
1. I'd be tempted to swap around "Veteran Poise" and "Seasoned Instructor" (ie: Seasoned Instructor at level 6 and Veteran Poise at level 11)
2. The Warlord Presence is a fixed 30 feet radius at every level up to 13 and then - for the White Raven ONLY - it becomes 60 feet. Is that correct? Why not make it scale with Levels for ALL the types? (maybe 5 feet per level?). This would reflect an improving ability to command bigger and bigger units.
3. Remove "Peerless Insight" at 20th level. Change it to an improved Warlord Presence called something like "Athena's Blessing": a version of Warlord Presence that will affect any ally/subordinate that can SEE the Warlord.

Anyway, that's just my 10cents. It looks like a very interesting idea that's taken a lot of work to create.
 



Yaarel

Mind Mage
When thinking about the 4e Warlord ...

I wonder if the closest way to create it in 5e is to use the Paladin as the chassis.

The Paladin is competent warrior and healer. Swap out smites for granting ally actions. Swap out the spell list to cast martial spells, sotospeak.
 


Stalker0

Legend
So I read through the main class (haven't look at the subclasses yet). Here is my overall.

General: I like the feeling of this class, and I am generally pretty anti-warlord. There is some good stuff here, and I think the mechanics are well designed (the insight pool is a cool concept, the shouts work well, etc). Most of my feedback is tweaks, I don't think we need fundamentally changes here.

Skills: I guess it depends on what flavor you go for, but it seems a weird that the "battlefield general" would have nature or herbalism. Minor thing though.

Battlefield Insight: My only note here is the range. You use 30 feet in a lot of places, which I think is a good and fine range. So why 15 feet here? I think its forces your allies too tightly to you, and it just adds extra confusion (oh wait that ability was that 15 or 30 ft....um, let me look it up). I would just make 30 feet your core range for basically everything....its smoother, and its cooler.

I throw this out there, is there a strong reason it needs to be the attack action to refresh insight? As warlords seem like helper characters, I can see them often foregoing attacks to perform help actions and other less directly combative stuff. I don't see any balance reason off hand this couldn't be used with any action, I don't think it breaks anything.

Shouts: I would shift the prone power from Rise UP to MOVE. Technically getting up from prone is a form of movement, so a person should be able to do that using your MOVE shout. So I would add it there just to reinforce that you can, and remove it from Rise Up. I am a little loathe that you have shouts for three ability scores here. I see why....but that is just not something classes generally do. Classes generally have your main stat, and your secondary. Intelligence and Charisma both have long standing history with Warlords (and both make sense for the class), so I respect the inclusion of both. Wisdom feels like overkill and dilutes the class too much. I would consider maybe a subclass for the wisdom focused warlord, but remove this from your core.

I want to note how I like that Rise Up is similar but distinctive from the paladin save aura (I see far too often warlord classes just become paladin wannabes). Its not as protective as the paladin aura, but with the added flexibility that you can move to a target and give them the boost, compared with a paladin where you must be in the very tight aura to get the bonus. that's a solid differentiator.

Expose Weakness: The saves on these are going to be a bit weak, but considering they are bonus actions and they only consume resources that regenerate fairly often I don't think that's a bad thing. My only note is on Wrong Angle. The text is weird, it suggest I roll a d6 but at minimum it should be 2d6 right? I would do a little editing there for clarity.

Warlord Presence: This is WAY too much at 2nd level.... you already have a solid class before you introduce this, but this takes it over the top. I would move these ability to 6th, right now 6th has no meat in your class (it has only a ribbon right now), so I think this is a good place to put it. Even at 6th, I am a bit worried for some of these abilities. 8-9 temp Hp every round, ~+6 to AC, ~3 to all damage....those are some strong numbers. You may want to implement an insight cost for those boosts.

Oh lastly, you need to define how long the temporary hitpoints last.

Extra Attack: Move the note about the Insight Pool boost to a new ability (and I am happy you are boosting it, I think that's perfect for 5th level). Extra Attack is such a common and standard ability that I never read the text for it, I had no idea that was there on my first two reads. Keep your changes separate as its own thing, its cleaner that way and plays nicer with multiclassing.

Continued Education: Its probably harmless enough, but I also question if it really belongs in this class. As written, this is not some cosmopolitan skill guy, he is a tactical general. It feels like you just want to give this guy some skill love because he's often smart and smart people should get skills, but that's just not how 5e works. As the old saying goes "a designer has achieved perfection, not when he has anything left to add, but when he has nothing left to take away". So I would just toss it, and see if the class feels like its missing something then.... my gut says it will look just fine.

Advanced Signals: For the most part this is fine, some of them are really niche but the fact that I can choose what I want when I need it means its fine if they are niche. The flight muscles one....you could consider just proning the target, that's probably reasonable for that level of power.

Improved Insight: So confirming, we go from 1d6 base straight to 3d6....there is no ability that takes us to 2d6 base correct? That feels strange, I kept looking for one expecting to find it.
 

Undrave

Hero
I think you may have a valid fear about putting too much into one class. IMHO, the "Steel Protector" seems both unnecessary and inappropriate for a Rogue. Likewise, "Borderland Marshal" seems more like a Ranger than a mighty general and Silverblades or Ardent Souls might be good Paladins....
Steel Protector is like the 'Multiclass Fighter' subclass, hence why it gets the heavy armor and additional attack. I like the concept of these MC subclasses (like how the Eldritch Knight is Fighter/Wizard or the Divine Soul Sorcerer is Sorcerer/Cleric ya know?) I just thought it would be nice to have a subclass that gets the 'Healer' feat on it own so I just designed a Combat Medic... But maybe it would work better as a Fighter Subclass instead. I don't mind having too many subclasses, it's fun to create them and the Rogue chassis doesn't give you a lot of pieces to come up with, so they're actually easy to do once you have a good concept. The core class, and its gameplay loop at the table, is the thing I worry is 'too much'.

Borderland Marshal IS meant to feel like a Ranger. The name is a reference to a 4e Paragon Path that could be acessed by either a Warlord of a Ranger. It's meant to be the 'Multiclass Ranger' subclass. The kind of guy who would command regular rangers (even if real Rangers use martial weapons).

Similarly, the Ardent Soul is the designated Psionic subclass, though I designed it before we got Psy Dice mechanic so I could always just rework it with that in mind? I just thought it was neat to have a support character who lets Martials vary their damage types and uses Temp HP as a ressource to gain advantage.

Silverblade Captain is like the Eldtrich Knight/Arcane Trickster subclass, but I didn't want to just give them regular ol' spell slots so I just made them witch hunters/inquisitors. I figured it would make sense for armies in the D&D world to develop special counter mesures to squads of spell slingers and that these guys would need some sort of role beyond the battlefield. I considered naming them 'Silverblade Inquisitor' but that felt a little too... dark? Loaded? of a term.

Also Chosen One is also a little bit Divine. It was mostly created to allow the LazyLord/Princess build but I gave it some mild 'demi-god all along!" flavoring and didn't lock it entirely in the LazyLord playstyle..

Having said that, I really liked the "Rabble Rouser" as a basis for Robin Hood, or someone like Alfred the Great.
Thank you! I'm pretty proud of that name and it was indeed designed to allow players to play a Robin Hood type figure.
1. I'd be tempted to swap around "Veteran Poise" and "Seasoned Instructor" (ie: Seasoned Instructor at level 6 and Veteran Poise at level 11)
Ooh that's not a bad idea at all. Veteran Poise is more of a ribbon than a real feature so it's a little weak but in terms of character development it makes sense. Do you think I should buff it somehow?
2. The Warlord Presence is a fixed 30 feet radius at every level up to 13 and then - for the White Raven ONLY - it becomes 60 feet. Is that correct? Why not make it scale with Levels for ALL the types? (maybe 5 feet per level?). This would reflect an improving ability to command bigger and bigger units.
Yep. White Raven was meant to be a more straight forward, no-frill, "You're just better at the base class stuff" subclass so I had to give it something. I don't know how useful an increase in range would actually be practically speaking but I think I'll throw in some increases. Maybe not 5 feet per level because it would too quickly end up being basically meaning anybody who can see you since maps aren't that big in general :p But the logic of your force of personality radiating more as you get better is not bad at all.

3. Remove "Peerless Insight" at 20th level. Change it to an improved Warlord Presence called something like "Athena's Blessing": a version of Warlord Presence that will affect any ally/subordinate that can SEE the Warlord.

Hmm... that could be a thing... it'll depend on what I end up doing with the rest of the class. I know that I want to keep Shouts and Presences as core feature, and I know I want to have this mechanic where you accrue the ressource you spend in battle by doing battle (as opposed to being tied to rests like Superiority Dice are) but everything else related to Battlefield Insight is very much in flux. I think I'll keep Student of Banners as its about on par with the Rogue's Thieves Cant and adds some flavor.

Anyway, that's just my 10cents. It looks like a very interesting idea that's taken a lot of work to create.
Thank you for the comment! It's been really hard to get ANY sort of opinions beside and your comments are gonna be useful when I eventually come up with a version 5! The earlier versions were pretty messy in that you would basically put your Insight Dice on enemies you target and your allies would be able to 'Exploit that Insight' for the extra damage... It was all very gamey and kind of a mess to write up as rules. It wouldn't have flied. Expose Weakness was known as 'signals' and you had a column for 'known signals' and you had to remove dice you had put on an enemy to activate them...It was just more fiddliness. It was basically a counter mechanic in a card game adapted to D&D.

I then shifted to this reaction based system and I like it a lot better but I still got elements I need to improve.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
I'm with @Stalker0. In general I don't really get the desire for a Warlord class, and I was suspicious when you said you were basing it on the Rogue chassis. But you have some interesting mechanics here. I also just skimmed it, and it does seem like you are trying to pack a lot into the design space. But I do think you're on to something. If I ever get to do a more in-depth reading I'll provide more specific feedback.
 

Undrave

Hero
Battlefield Insight: My only note here is the range. You use 30 feet in a lot of places, which I think is a good and fine range. So why 15 feet here? I think its forces your allies too tightly to you, and it just adds extra confusion (oh wait that ability was that 15 or 30 ft....um, let me look it up). I would just make 30 feet your core range for basically everything....its smoother, and its cooler.

I throw this out there, is there a strong reason it needs to be the attack action to refresh insight? As warlords seem like helper characters, I can see them often foregoing attacks to perform help actions and other less directly combative stuff. I don't see any balance reason off hand this couldn't be used with any action, I don't think it breaks anything.
Good point on the 30 feet thing! I'll take note of that for v5.

I use the Attack Action because you're either using the Attack Action to actually, ya know, attack people (thus causing the battlefield to change as you harm someone or cause someone to act different) or using it for a SHOUT (which also causes the battlefield to change). I felt like it made sense with the fluff. I didn't consider the help action because it felt like something that was subpar to your other ability but it's a good point... I guess there's no reason to not just say 'when you take a standard action'? Is there a specfic action you think would make it weird?

I guess it would also work if you pick up some cantrips? Would that be a problem or a good thing? I guess it would be a good thing...

I also kinda wanted there to be situations where you WOULD have to skip out on generating insight dice on your turn you know, and make it less automatic. Since it's modelled on the Rogue's sneak attack, there's a certain level of thinking involved in getting the maximum out of that class feature ya know?

Shouts: I would shift the prone power from Rise UP to MOVE. Technically getting up from prone is a form of movement, so a person should be able to do that using your MOVE shout. So I would add it there just to reinforce that you can, and remove it from Rise Up. I am a little loathe that you have shouts for three ability scores here. I see why....but that is just not something classes generally do. Classes generally have your main stat, and your secondary. Intelligence and Charisma both have long standing history with Warlords (and both make sense for the class), so I respect the inclusion of both. Wisdom feels like overkill and dilutes the class too much. I would consider maybe a subclass for the wisdom focused warlord, but remove this from your core.

They actually added a Wisdom Warlord later on in like Martial Power 2 I think? Anyway, it felt interesting to have a class where you secondary mental ability shapes a lot of the way you play the class, and it also felt odd to have INT and CHA but not WIS there as well since it's a good stat to have attached to good skills. I also kinda tried my best not to make it impossible to mix and match your specialty stat and subclasses. A lot of them, you'll see, synergize with specific presence and thus stat specialty better than other, but you can make interesting build by going against the grain. I also tried to make them good enough even if you don't have a good modifier in that specific stat that you would still use them when the opportunity arose. I just really like the 'mix and match' nature of the Warlock I guess.

Another thing is I had the idea for the three core shouts and obvious STRIKE! and RISE UP! have obvious INT and CHA connotation respectively, so that left MOVE! as the sort of weird third one (though I guess I could also see an argument for switching the attribute attached to STRIKE! and MOVE!)... I guess I could have one of them end up as a mix of both? Maybe the AC bonus in he MOVE! should ends up being INT+CHA so you can play a balanced Warlord? That was also a type of Warlord in 4e, the Ressourceful Warlord.

I put standing from prone in RISE UP because I felt it was too narrow a shout, and also because Prone is SORTA a condition, so the shout that lets you end a condition lets you end that one too. Also why I threw in the escape a grab thing.

I want to note how I like that Rise Up is similar but distinctive from the paladin save aura (I see far too often warlord classes just become paladin wannabes). Its not as protective as the paladin aura, but with the added flexibility that you can move to a target and give them the boost, compared with a paladin where you must be in the very tight aura to get the bonus. that's a solid differentiator.
Thanks!
Extra Attack: Move the note about the Insight Pool boost to a new ability (and I am happy you are boosting it, I think that's perfect for 5th level). Extra Attack is such a common and standard ability that I never read the text for it, I had no idea that was there on my first two reads. Keep your changes separate as its own thing, its cleaner that way and plays nicer with multiclassing.
Ooh! That's a good point. Thank you for that note.
Warlord Presence: This is WAY too much at 2nd level.... you already have a solid class before you introduce this, but this takes it over the top. I would move these ability to 6th, right now 6th has no meat in your class (it has only a ribbon right now), so I think this is a good place to put it. Even at 6th, I am a bit worried for some of these abilities. 8-9 temp Hp every round, ~+6 to AC, ~3 to all damage....those are some strong numbers. You may want to implement an insight cost for those boosts.

Oh lastly, you need to define how long the temporary hitpoints last.
How about I keep the bonus on iniative at 2nd level, but move the upgrade to Shouts to 6th?

The thing with Inspiring Presence is that I don't think RISE UP will come up that often unless people start dropping prone on purpose... okay yeah that would be abuseable.

As a default temp HP last until they're depleted or you take a long rest. I didn't feel the need to make them any shorter. Shepherd Druid can hand out temp HP twice after every short rest.

Continued Education: Its probably harmless enough, but I also question if it really belongs in this class. As written, this is not some cosmopolitan skill guy, he is a tactical general. It feels like you just want to give this guy some skill love because he's often smart and smart people should get skills, but that's just not how 5e works. As the old saying goes "a designer has achieved perfection, not when he has anything left to add, but when he has nothing left to take away". So I would just toss it, and see if the class feels like its missing something then.... my gut says it will look just fine.
Yeah Continued Education was a weird one. I just wanted SOMETHING that wasn't combat based and I couldn't think of anything better. Like I said, I was using the Rogue chassis so there was a non-combat feature at that level and I needed to have something on mine. If you got ANY inkling of an idea I'm all ears... I've been dying for some fresh perspective on stuff like this.

I've got a subclass in mind for a sort of Diplomat Warlord (I call it the Crimson Phoenix Herald, as it's from an ofshoot school of the White Raven school) that can make use of Insight Dice in social contexts, I think I'll give it the extra skills stuff.

Improved Insight: So confirming, we go from 1d6 base straight to 3d6....there is no ability that takes us to 2d6 base correct? That feels strange, I kept looking for one expecting to find it.
Ah yeah I couldn't figure out a good pacing for those improvements, or where exactly to fit them in the progression. Maybe I could just always have you start with half your Insight Dice maximum, rounded down, and not bother calling out those upgrades?

General: I like the feeling of this class, and I am generally pretty anti-warlord. There is some good stuff here, and I think the mechanics are well designed (the insight pool is a cool concept, the shouts work well, etc). Most of my feedback is tweaks, I don't think we need fundamentally changes here.
Thank you for the good words and thank you very much for your criticisms. You gave me plenty of stuff to think about and it's gonna be invaluable!
 

Undrave

Hero
I'm with @Stalker0. In general I don't really get the desire for a Warlord class, and I was suspicious when you said you were basing it on the Rogue chassis. But you have some interesting mechanics here. I also just skimmed it, and it does seem like you are trying to pack a lot into the design space. But I do think you're on to something. If I ever get to do a more in-depth reading I'll provide more specific feedback.
Using the Rogue meant I tried to replace every Rogue feature with something of equal power but thematically appropriate... And the Rogue progression is JAM-PACKED. I know it doesn't look like it because the class table is tiny, but there's a LOT of stuff in there! And a lot of is often new mechanics and new STUFF the Rogue can do... I might have gotten carried away and should have instead include less 'new powers' and more 'improvement' features at those level basically... Hahaha.

Seriously though, try to map a new class on the Rogue, even if its just nonsense, and you'll see. Rogue Subclasses though are way easier to pull off.

Glad to hear I'm on to something!
 

Undrave

Hero
Forgot a few things...

Expose Weakness: The saves on these are going to be a bit weak, but considering they are bonus actions and they only consume resources that regenerate fairly often I don't think that's a bad thing. My only note is on Wrong Angle. The text is weird, it suggest I roll a d6 but at minimum it should be 2d6 right? I would do a little editing there for clarity.

Ah yes it's a typo on Wrong Angle. It's supposed to say 'd6s' as in 'all the dice you removed to activate this effect'. It's not my favourite one, it feels a little bit too fiddly. What do you think?

I didn't want the save to be based on a specific stat, and I was wondering if I should go with 10+prof+dice or 8+prof+dice. But then at later levels, you can spend more dice than you normally would have with a modifier... Do you think the progression would be too weird and out there if it was just 10+Dice with no proficiency bonus added? I did a quick spreadsheet and 10+Dice sorta keeps up with a regular save DC in general but it kind falls behind at certain levels. It's conundrum.

Expose Weakness is a part of the class that I both like and dislike. I like the concept and mechanic, but I feel like it makes the class too busy? Like, imagine you are at level 5. On each of your turn you can: make an attack, use a shout, then expose a weakness. Then, on your allies' turn, you gotta pay attention to use your reaction while tracking the creature you exposed the weakness of. Is that too much for a 5e class?

Advanced Signals: For the most part this is fine, some of them are really niche but the fact that I can choose what I want when I need it means its fine if they are niche. The flight muscles one....you could consider just proning the target, that's probably reasonable for that level of power.
The safe landing thing was so you can't just snipe a flying creature above a canyon and kill it with fall damage when it goes prone... but now that I think about it, that's the sort of sounds like a really cool move that you would need to do some set up for...
 

I also think playing a warlord would be easier if you used "you can use this feature a number of times equal to X + your (mod name) modifier" more, and the Battlefield Insight work in a manner similar to the Monk's Ki Pool.
With my comment on the Battlefield Insight, from a personal standpoint I think the original idea is awesome and skimming it would be fine. . . But, the main issue is that D&D 5e's combat is almost entirely centered around short-and-sweet fights. From what I've seen/moderately read about spells and class's combat-oriented features is that the PC-party's level and the encounter's CR increases, the ratio between their max hp's and their average damage output per round don't change that much.
 

Undrave

Hero
I also think playing a warlord would be easier if you used "you can use this feature a number of times equal to X + your (mod name) modifier" more, and the Battlefield Insight work in a manner similar to the Monk's Ki Pool.
The entire design philosophy for this class relies on using the Rogue's progression as a template, and that means no feature of the base class will be Rest based (there will be some of those in the subclass), so while I could easily make it rest-based with an equivalent to Superiority Dice or Ki Point, it would betray my original intent. It's certainly an easier way to go about making a class, no doubt about it. There's probably a few features I will rework into the 'Proficiency per long rest' model they now use in official product. I just haven't gotten there yet in my rewrites.
With my comment on the Battlefield Insight, from a personal standpoint I think the original idea is awesome and skimming it would be fine. . . But, the main issue is that D&D 5e's combat is almost entirely centered around short-and-sweet fights
In V5 I've reworked the Insight Pool so that you can usually max it out immediately by rolling initiative and then making an attack roll so it doesn't take that long to gain the max damage, but, as you say, fights are short so sacrificing your damage output for effects still remains a difficult (and interesting) decision.
 


Undrave

Hero
Alright, cool-cool.
Not that I don't appreciate the comment. It's clear V4 was still too fidly and complex. I've tried to simplify my rewrite by focusing on more passive bonuses at later level, for exemple, and I decided to cut out the Bonus Action component of 'Expose Weakness' (it is now linked to the Help action!), and the Subclasses will need plenty of work.

Who knows... maybe I'll cut even more stuff in a future V6?
 

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