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5E The Warlord shouldn't be a class... change my mind!

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Title says it all. In effect, although I haven't played any edition other than 5e, my impression of the Warlord is that it is a class that excels in handing out bonuses to allies. These bonuses are all based upon the idea of an inspirational leader who is able to inspire, cajole, or otherwise boost their allies into getting some extra benefits to help them in battle.

I think that's a fun angle for a PC to have, especially when it's not based on magic. But here's the thing; it's hard for me to imagine someone who's just that. Robin Hood may be a warlord, but he's also a ranger. John Carter may be a warlord, but he's also a fighter. Conan may be a warlord, but he's also a barbarian. And when people hear warlord, they think of a person leading large groups of soldiers and controlling territory, not a guy directing a small group of adventurers.

If you do a google search of warlord, you get a collection of images of people that are mostly knights, soldiers, and samurai... archetypes already filled in other classes.

So what's my point? That although the warlord's schtick (giving boosts to allies through non-magical means) is a good one, it isn't one that I find particularly good alone, either mechanically or thematically.

However, I do think the warlord angle is a good idea as a subclass for several different classes, with these "inspiration abilities" layered over the classes base skills. I've already given some thematic examples of fictional characters above, but I'll give more ideas for names for some below (and these are just things I can think of easily, I'm sure one for each class can be devised);

  • Barbarian: Path of the Conqueror
  • Cleric: Inquisition Domain
  • Fighter: Commander
  • Paladin: Oath of the Crusade
  • Ranger: Bandit Lord
  • Wizard: Battle School

Add rules for mass combat, and bingo you got something that I think is pretty cool, and a lot more appropriate than a new class.
 

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Retreater

Legend
I can agree that the hallmarks of the 4e warlord design (inspirational leadership maneuvers, nonmagical healing, etc.) can be folded into other classes in a satisfying way.
I found this PDF on DriveThruRPG that lets you add Warlord-style powers to existing 5e classes, so you can get the feel of the Warlord without adding a separate class. I recommend it!
Martial Exploits - Dungeon Masters Guild | DriveThruRPG.com
 


Bawylie

A very OK person
It would have made a great subclass if the basic classes were more narrowly designed.

But since we have 3 different classes that are basically “a fighter plus gimmick” and 8 classes that are like “a wizard, but...” I don’t think the class/subclass divide is a convincing reason to put Warlord in column B instead of column A.

Now, to change your mind. As popularized in 4E, the warlord filled a role in the party that was closer to cleric or bard than it was to fighter. I can’t (and don’t) speak for everyone, but it seems to me that a faithful 5E recreation of this 4E concept ought to try to emulate the feel that fans of the 4E warlord want now. A subclass (as they are now) doesn’t offer the depth or customization that fans of the warlord once had. If they wanted “a fighter plus gimmick” they’d have been satisfied with any of those offerings. Since they’re not, and continue to want a warlord class, it seems like we should start there.

After all, if there is to BE a warlord in d&d, shouldn’t it be made in accordance with the wishes of those who actually want one in the game? I think so. It doesn’t strike me as reasonable to go “well we’ll do a warlord but design it for people who’d never play it or permit it in their games.”

How’d I do?
 

cbwjm

Hero
I prefer the way they have divided up the warlord kit between various subclasses for different classes. The most obvious is the battlemaster which has some manoeuvres that replicate warlord abilities. But you also have the totem barbarian: wolf granting advantage on melee attacks, the order cleric providing extra attacks when casting a spell on an ally, the mastermind rogue and and the purple dragon knight also have abilities that could have been folded into a warlord class. The Bard class is another obvious one thanks to bardic inspiration with lore, glamour, and valour colleges enhancing their ability to that aid their allies. These are the subclasses (and class) that I know of off the top of my head that have taken parts of the warlord kit and folded them into the subclass and this is how I prefer it. I like having the leader of men having multiple paths rather than shoehorning the concept into a single class.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It would have made a great subclass if the basic classes were more narrowly designed.

But since we have 3 different classes that are basically “a fighter plus gimmick” and 8 classes that are like “a wizard, but...” I don’t think the class/subclass divide is a convincing reason to put Warlord in column B instead of column A.

Now, to change your mind. As popularized in 4E, the warlord filled a role in the party that was closer to cleric or bard than it was to fighter. I can’t (and don’t) speak for everyone, but it seems to me that a faithful 5E recreation of this 4E concept ought to try to emulate the feel that fans of the 4E warlord want now. A subclass (as they are now) doesn’t offer the depth or customization that fans of the warlord once had. If they wanted “a fighter plus gimmick” they’d have been satisfied with any of those offerings. Since they’re not, and continue to want a warlord class, it seems like we should start there.

After all, if there is to BE a warlord in d&d, shouldn’t it be made in accordance with the wishes of those who actually want one in the game? I think so. It doesn’t strike me as reasonable to go “well we’ll do a warlord but design it for people who’d never play it or permit it in their games.”

How’d I do?
Good points, but my mind remains unchanged.

To be fair, your argument seems to largely be "people want the warlord, so they should have it," which I don't really like much. Just because people want it, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Second, I'm largely arguing that the feel of the 4e warlord can be recreated through subclasses in existing classes; I'm saying that instead of an entirely new class to recreate that feel, it should be new subclasses with those options.

That way you can get the fighter + inspiring figure" (the 4e warlord), plus other matches, like "healer + inspiring figure."
 


Bawylie

A very OK person
Good points, but my mind remains unchanged.

To be fair, your argument seems to largely be "people want the warlord, so they should have it," which I don't really like much. Just because people want it, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Second, I'm largely arguing that the feel of the 4e warlord can be recreated through subclasses in existing classes; I'm saying that instead of an entirely new class to recreate that feel, it should be new subclasses with those options.

That way you can get the fighter + inspiring figure" (the 4e warlord), plus other matches, like "healer + inspiring figure."
Yeah. I understood that was your point. Mine was “we already have that but the people who want the warlord aren’t satisfied with that, so maybe we should start with what they want.”

Now, there’s nothing that says all that other stuff you think is cool should be removed from the books, right? So why not both?

And just because people want it doesn’t make it a bad idea, either. That’s down to execution.
 

There seems to be a divide in any case between what people who want the Warlord actually want.

Some want the 4E warlord as it was actually designed to be run. Able to hand out healing, movement buffs and attacks while stiff being an effective combatant.

Others want the lazylord - an emergent build which emerged by being able to string a lot of warlord abilities that granted attacks to others together and dump strength. This allowed you to reskin the warlord as effectively a complete non-combatant character but with the player still having contributions to make during combat.

The first can easily fit in D&D provided you have a combat system that can handle the tactical depth. Rob Schwalbe made a version of the 4E class that's up on DMs guild that's almost straight conversion. If it's unsatisying it's unsatisfying in the same way the Battlemaster fighter is unsastisfying in comparison to the 4E fighter - all the tactical depth has been moved into spellcasting and magic. But there's no reason this class could not be core. It could be folded back into Fighter sure - but then so could Barbarian and Paladin. Ultimately I don't see the point of arguing for it one way or another - it depends on the ecology of the whole class system and whether it goes big or small - I will say that I can't see a good reason why Warlod specifically cannot justify a class - it's at least a good hook as 'warrior who flips out and gets really angry".

The lazylord is probably a lot move divisive. I personally would not want to see it as a core class - and don't really think it belongs in D&D.
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Yeah. I understood that was your point. Mine was “we already have that but the people who want the warlord aren’t satisfied with that, so maybe we should start with what they want.”

Now, there’s nothing that says all that other stuff you think is cool should be removed from the books, right? So why not both?

And just because people want it doesn’t make it a bad idea, either. That’s down to execution.
Well I think I just disagree with the "we already have that" bit. I think we can create more subclasses that more closely align with 4e's original design.

Of course, if you mean the "lazylord" build, I'll direct you @Don Durito's comment above.

Because people miss the class. Many people want the class, so why not? It would be well received if done well, and make many players happy. It won't ruin the game or cause mass desertion. If we can have sorcerer and wizard, we have room for warlord.
I think what people miss about the class can be re-implimented with new subclasses. So no need to create a new class at all.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Subclasses lack the mechanical heft to be more than a part-time warlord. You know, a little bit shoutey. Not really, really shoutey.

If subclasses had the ability to do things like steal the base class "extra attack" feature, they'd have the heft.

You can see what a warlord subclass has the room to do with the "purple dragon knight".

What more, in 4e, the same class covered:
1) The tactical genius
2) The battle-hardened sergeant
3) The waif of a girl who keeps on getting into trouble
4) The dashing young idiot everyone wants to follow
5) The elf lord who you can't help but obey

Imagine a Brash Idiot fighter subclass.

Bravura Precense
Starting at level 3, when a Brash Idiot fighter spends an action point to take the attack action, any one ally who can see or hear you may spend a reaction. If they do so, and at least one of your attack hits, they may make a weapon attack or move their speed. If at least one of your attacks miss, they grant combat advantage to all attacks until the start of your next turn.

Bravura Attack
At level 5, instead of the Extra Attack feature, when you take the attack action you may choose to attack Brashly. If you do so, the enemy can make an attack back at you as a reaction. If they do so, you can make an weapon attack on them at advantage, and one ally who can see or hear you can spend a reaction to make a weapon attack attack on them.

Rub some dirt into it
Instead of gaining an ASI at 6th level, when you use your second wind, all allies may spend up to half (round up) of their unexpended HD and gain that many temporary HP. At the start of each turn while an ally has these temporary HP, they lose 5 temporary HP and heal 2 points of damage.

No Attack is Wasted
At level 7, when an ally takes an action with an attack roll, and every attack roll misses, as a reaction you may make a melee weapon attack on any one of the targets. If your attack hits, your ally gains advantage on their next attack on the target before the end of their next turn.

You may do this up to your charisma bonus times (min 1), and then not again until you finish a long rest.

Charming Idiot
At level 7, during a short rest you can tell an idiotic tale and make everyone laugh. With you that is. All allies who spend HD during this short rest can reroll any odd die roll, but must keep the result.

Dumb, but Lucky
Starting at level 10, whenever you roll an odd number of a d20, you may choose to reroll it, but you must keep the result. You may do this a up to 5 times, minus your intelligence bonus, (min once) before taking a long rest.

Bravura Attack
Instead of extra attack at level 11, now if your ally's attack is triggered by Bravura Attack and they spend a reaction, they may take the attack action (not just attack once). In addition, if your enemy refuses to attack back, they must make a wisdom save (DC 8+proficiency+charisma) or all attacks on them have advantage until the start of your next turn.

Can't count to two
At 14th level, instead of gaining an ASI, you instead can use your second wind twice before taking a long or short rest.

Give 110%
At level 15, when an ally who can see or hear you rolls a HD and it lands on an even value, the HD is not expended.

Top This!
At level 18, whenever you do an attack, or attribute check, or save the first time any ally who can see or hear you who does an attack on the same target, or makes the same attribute check or save before the end of your next turn has advantage on the roll. If the same effect causes more than one ability check or save at the same time, you are presumed to have gone first for the purpose of this feature.

Bravura Attack
At level 20, two allies can spend their reaction to take an attack action if the enemy attacks you back.

---

I'm not that happy with it, as it still isn't Bravelordy enough. Not enough Cha based stuff. Not enough leading utility.

It does have HP support, "hey, hit me" abilities, wields barbarians as its primary weapon.
 
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Dausuul

Legend
The lazylord is probably a lot move divisive. I personally would not want to see it as a core class - and don't really think it belongs in D&D.
Whereas I am the exact opposite. The "fighter-with-buffs" warlord could easily be folded into the fighter class.
The lazylord, however - a PC whose only combat function is inspiration for other PCs - is impossible to replicate with the core classes. The bard comes closest, but that's still not very close. Bards are spellcasters first and foremost.

The lazylord offers an option for players who have a noncombatant character concept but don't want to sit around doing nothing while combat rages. Frodo Baggins is a great example of a character who is, personally, useless in combat (I can't think of a single example of him accomplishing anything in battle), but whose presence inspires others to reach beyond themselves.

Of course, I wouldn't call it "warlord."
 

Nebulous

Legend
I can agree that the hallmarks of the 4e warlord design (inspirational leadership maneuvers, nonmagical healing, etc.) can be folded into other classes in a satisfying way.
I found this PDF on DriveThruRPG that lets you add Warlord-style powers to existing 5e classes, so you can get the feel of the Warlord without adding a separate class. I recommend it!
Martial Exploits - Dungeon Masters Guild | DriveThruRPG.com
Ooh, that's kind of neat. I don't think the warlord needs to be a class at all, but I wouldn't mind stealing some of those powers to give to magic items.
 

Arilyn

Hero
Well I think I just disagree with the "we already have that" bit. I think we can create more subclasses that more closely align with 4e's original design.

Of course, if you mean the "lazylord" build, I'll direct you @Don Durito's comment above.



I think what people miss about the class can be re-implimented with new subclasses. So no need to create a new class at all.
In 5e, subclasses don't have a big enough impact, as there are too few entry points to make changes to base classes. I want a fully developed warlord (or commander, warlord is a dumb name..) not a fighter with a few tweaks at limited number of levels.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Well I think Warlord should be a class!


But...it should not be about war, nor about lording :p

The idea of a class that is about being....what? Badass? Inspiring? Is too limiting. I spoke some times of the equivalent of that class I have for my games: its called the Companion. Its not the Ulysses, the Jon Snow, the General Paton nor the Aragon of novels and movie that can better be replicated with other classes and some character building in game. Its the Samwise, the Sam Tarly, the Robin from said novel or movie. Its the type of character that help a group be more than the sum of their part, not by being more brilliant or more military apt than the rest of the group or by having a title giving him authority, but because its a world where, some times, the mundane wits and goodwill of the underdog CAN help even the most independent of heroes.

The archetypes I have is:

The Warden, you usual quick witted, Int-based strategy/protector guy
The Emissary, the social specialist wanting to defuse situation instead of fighting
The Vagrant, the trope-y backpack guy who always have the necessary items on hands.
The Brave, that reckless friend we all have that have crazy plans that somehow always work.
Coming Soon: The Scholar, the wise friend who knows a bunch of stuff.

Anyway, my 2 cents. Different tables, different needs.

I would not mind an official warlord class like the one in 4e, but I must say that I can also be just a bunch of leader-y archetypes.
 

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Vael

Hero
I'm probably not the best advocate for a Warlord class, for as much as I liked the class in 4e, I did think that it's a class that exemplifies 4e and is an ill fit in 5e. First, Leaders (Healers), whether a Bard, Cleric or Warlord, weren't healing like they do in 3.5 and 5e. In 4e all characters had healing surges and whether through inspiration or magic, healers were simply enabling characters to better access their own inner reserves of stamina to heal themselves. Second, 4e itself was a more tactical game, much closer to the wargaming roots of DnD, which is another reason Warlords shone.

So, with that all said though, I do feel like there's space in 5e for a Warlord-esque class, a class built on enabling other characters. I'd look to bring in elements of the 3.5 Marshall as well, and the Commander from 13th Age is an interesting place for inspiration. Here's the thing though ... I hate all these names as a class name. Warlord, Marshall, Commander ... these feel more like titles, not classes.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
A subclass (as they are now) doesn’t offer the depth or customization that fans of the warlord once had.
That's never going to happen in 5e. 4e had hundreds of unique powers for each class. 5e makes all of the casters (even the psionic ones) use most of the same spells, which drastically guts the customization options of everyone compared to 4e.
 

The problem with the warlord is that it was a popular class that fit into the gameplay of 4E, but doesn't really have a niche in 5E. Bard, Fighter, and Paladin all have sub-classes to help recreate the purpose and feel of the warlord, so the only thing really missing is the name. The full concept of the warlord is tactical combat, which isn't a base aspect of 5E, so making a class based around it doesn't make sense.
 


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