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

Hussar

Legend
Yep. I do not care what it looked like in another edition except as that can provide fun ideas for thematically appropriate features and abilities.
Fair enough.

I think the point being, support classes in 5e do not gain extra attacks as a baseline. Neither bards nor clerics get it. So, if we're going to give it to baseline warlords, there should be a pretty compelling reason to do so. After all, as a support class, it's not supposed to be a front line combatant, same as a cleric or a bard (baseline - note, subclasses can fill in that niche)

So, why are we giving warlords an extra attack?
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I think it has been tried on here many times actually
Yep, pretty sure I put forward some ideas back then too but the class didn't really get very far. Who knows, maybe it just needed a structure to the thread such as has been suggested in this forum.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
The past 5 or so pages ago seemed to get really sidetracked so I stopped reading after that.

I think you've mostly convinced me, that yes under certain conditions and in the right context a warlord class could work.
Did you see my post answering Lowkey:

Been meaning to answer this for a while...

1. Given the release schedule of 5e, where it appears that new classes are few, far between, and tied into a setting, how would you like the Warlord to be officially introduced? In a realistic way- not just, "In some sort of splat book."
I dunno all the settings, but I'd imagine, fittingly enough, a book with a 'war' theme with expended mundane options.

One where you could pick up proficiency in Siege engines for exemple (instead of 'Land Vehicle' for exemple, you'd get 'Catapult' or 'Ballista') and with rules for squad formations. I envision Formations as a thing anyone could become proficient in given a certain amount of downtime (shorter than other proficiencies, like maybe a week, top?) and the Warlord could have a little interaction with that system. Maybe the regular use of formations is that everyone proficient in it stands close to each other, but the Warlord can prepare his pals for a formation in only an hour of prep time (one formation per long rest) and thus make them easier to use? Just a thought.

I would also see that supplement including more detailed rules on trap making and trap laying.

2. What features are essential to a "true" Warlord? Are these features that you can easily make in 5e, or features that would require more extensive rules changes?
A lot of Warlord features are already in 5e, they're just spread out over multiple subclasses and feat. What is essential to me, though, is the idea that the Warlord can BE a Warlord every turn. He doesn't just issue two commands and then needs a one hour nap to be a Warlord again. The Warlord isn't going to be as strong in combat as a Fighter so he can't just fall back on that like the Battlemaster. In that way, he needs to be like a Caster with access to Cantrips, or a Monk who can punch as a bonus action or a Rogue with their Sneak Attack.

One aspect I think that needs to be added is ways to manipulate initiative, or abilities triggered by rolling initiative. I do think they'd need to be mindful of limited Reaction and need ways to either not require Reactions, or their ability instead affects the allie's next turn.

In short, a Warlord needs to (potentially) be able to : heal (temp HP or real HP, in or out of combat), make allies attack more often, allow allies to move around more easily, interact with initiative, improve the damage of allies, improve accuracy of allies, improve saves (especially saves to end effects), be better at using the 'Help' action, all the while having the tools to stand by the front line without being a drag.

The degree of effectiveness at which they are able to do each of those would depend on your build, including the subclass you choose. I don't expect EVERY Warlord to do all of these elements, just that they have the ability available should they choose it.

Also, their abilities need to improve and get stronger with level the same way everybody else does, and take into accounts the type of enemies being fought at higher levels. And they need more skills than a Fighter.

3. Given that the Warlord's genesis is in 4e, which has a reputation (if not always a reality) of being more grid-focused, do you think that the features of the Warlord work equally well in TOTM and grid?
I think the disparate features already available in 5e proves that it's possible. It's just a matter of synthesizing them together.

4. Finally, the most debate occurs around creating a Warlord class. But what types of archetypes (subclasses) are you expecting to see?
Returning:
  • INT based Tactician (Best at granting additional attacks and initiative manipulation)
  • CHA based Inspiring Leader (Best at temp HP and granting saves)
  • CHA based Bravura (Best at melee combat, has 'push your luck' types of mechanic where they risk themselves to boost allies)
  • WIS based Insightful Leader (Best at boosting skills and regular saves)

New-ish:
  • Artillerist Warlord: has background in leading squads of archers or spellslingers or ballista crews (focus on improving ranged attacks)
  • Chosen One Warlord: has supernatural luck and a divinely appointed destiny, good for the Lazylord or Sidekick build
  • Bandit King: Dirty tricks and Rogue-like skill proficiency, boosts Stealth of allies
  • WIS based Skirmisher subclass: Dash of 4e Ranger, good mobility powers and interacts with Trap rules, Survival skill (maybe has some spells/rituals but I'd prefer fully mundane)
  • WIS based Combat Medic: Basically has the Healer feat as a class feature, good at out-of-combat healing, can make potions and healer kit charges, most straightforward in combat.
  • An INT-based Formation specialist to interact with the Formation rules
  • An INT-based Witch Hunter subclass: an Arcane dabbler with ritual casting and ways to defend groups against spells or make allies' weapons magical, no offensive spells of their own. Has skill in Arcana and additional Saving Throw proficiency.

Good enough?
I wouldn't mind your opinion on this stuff.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
So, why are we giving warlords an extra attack?
Perhaps some are thinking of it as a form of resource that could be leveraged passed along and similar. Traded on dynamically for different things hmmmm. I have certainly considered doing that with the Battlemaster subclass allowing an extra attack to be traded for a superiority die for the next maneuvered attack you make ( its putting all of your eggs in one basket though so its a choice)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Fair enough.

I think the point being, support classes in 5e do not gain extra attacks as a baseline. Neither bards nor clerics get it. So, if we're going to give it to baseline warlords, there should be a pretty compelling reason to do so. After all, as a support class, it's not supposed to be a front line combatant, same as a cleric or a bard (baseline - note, subclasses can fill in that niche)

So, why are we giving warlords an extra attack?
Because they’re a martial class that is in all but one or two cases thematically meant to be a competent warrior.
 
Perhaps some are thinking of it as a form of resource that could be leveraged passed along and similar. Traded on dynamically for different things hmmmm.
That occurred to me early on in trying to think of a warlord Archetype of Fighter. I don't think it can work. There are problems on several levels. One is that it makes the result strictly superior to the Fighter. It can do kewl stuff, or it can flail away like a Champion. It's irrelevant that most classes can do lots of kewl stuff and still belt out damage when they really need to, because it's too closely comparable.

To have any chance at being viable Support, the Warlord needs to jettison all the fighter's traditional baggage. The Warlord chassis can't afford to be even slightly better than the next class at any fighter-y thing … and should be decidedly less-fighter-y than the Ranger & Paladin (which, let's face it, were Fighter sub-classes). Heck, I'm not sure Warlords should get Combat Styles outside of some of their sub-classes, or if they do, they should be watered-down and/or re-focused.

I have certainly considered doing that with the Battlemaster subclass allowing an extra attack to be traded for a superiority die for the next maneuvered attack you make ( its putting all of your eggs in one basket though so its a choice)
And that sounds good the same way MDDs sounded good.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
… and should be decidedly less-fighter-y than the Ranger & Paladin (which, let's face it, were Fighter sub-classes).
The clever/intelligent tactical strategic fighter was the arguable genesis of the warlord too if we are going that story based direction. Though my first BM modification would be making the Battlemaster uber versatile and able to do its various interesting maneuvers on a much more regular basis anyway so the Warlord would not be strictly better LOL.

MDD.... major depressive disorder?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Because they’re a martial class that is in all but one or two cases thematically meant to be a competent warrior.
That is true the exceptions really could simply have subclass adjustments on a second attack. Like a lazy lord your second attack is always given away to an ally or traded for a free friendly fire effect on an enemies failed attack.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Many of the At-wills from 4e translate directly into a fighting style which grant allies a bonus on damage who attack the same target you did.

The Brash version you would expect used by the risky Bravura enables both an enemy and an ally to get and extra attack one against him and the other against the enemy who takes the opening the allies attack is at advantage. Basically it seems allowing the Bravura at least to be tough is a good idea too.

The archer warlord taking his long draw is somewhat Bravura interestingly as they take aim.
 
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Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
That occurred to me early on in trying to think of a warlord Archetype of Fighter. I don't think it can work. There are problems on several levels. One is that it makes the result strictly superior to the Fighter. It can do kewl stuff, or it can flail away like a Champion. It's irrelevant that most classes can do lots of kewl stuff and still belt out damage when they really need to, because it's too closely comparable.
Getting an extra attack somewhere along the levels is in no way superior to the Fighter, which gets multiple extra attacks and additional features that scale off them.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That is true the exceptions really could simply have subclass adjustments on a second attack. Like a lazy lord your second attack is always given away to an ally or traded for a free friendly fire effect on an enemies failed attack.
Seriously. Just give the subclass the ability to flat trade an attack to direct an attack.
 

Hussar

Legend
Because they’re a martial class that is in all but one or two cases thematically meant to be a competent warrior.
Sorry, just to be clear. Do you mean martial in the plain English sense of "beat stuff with a weapon guy" or martial as in the power source from 4e. Because those aren't the same thing.

And, the 4e warlord was not really a "beat stuff with a weapon guy". Bravura subclass maybe were, but, the PHB warlords weren't really. They got virtually no powers that would bump their personal damage. Nearly all of their dpr contribution came from causing allies to attack.

So, no, I would disagree that they were "competent" warriors in theme. Lightly armored (chainmail proficiency standard), sure, they got martial weapons, but, again, none of their powers really put them in the "fightery" category. Now, I do understand the argument that since warlords are in the same "family" as rangers and paladins, they should get the second attack, and, frankly, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, but, I'm not sure if "because paladins and rangers get it" is a particularly convincing argument.

Comparing to a cleric, for example, only the war priests get an extra attack, and clerics are also meant to be competent warriors.

Again, I'm certainly not going to die on this hill. I'm just pointing out that I'm not sure if this is a "must have" sort of thing. Could a second attack be replaced with something else, for example?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Sorry, just to be clear. Do you mean martial in the plain English sense of "beat stuff with a weapon guy" or martial as in the power source from 4e. Because those aren't the same thing.
Plain english its the war / fighting guy which is well everyone in D&D for the most part .... lol /// martial artist to military engineer.
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Been meaning to answer this for a while...

lowkey13 said:
1. Given the release schedule of 5e, where it appears that new classes are few, far between, and tied into a setting, how would you like the Warlord to be officially introduced? In a realistic way- not just, "In some sort of splat book."
I dunno all the settings, but I'd imagine, fittingly enough, a book with a 'war' theme with expended mundane options.

One where you could pick up proficiency in Siege engines for exemple (instead of 'Land Vehicle' for exemple, you'd get 'Catapult' or 'Ballista') and with rules for squad formations. I envision Formations as a thing anyone could become proficient in given a certain amount of downtime (shorter than other proficiencies, like maybe a week, top?) and the Warlord could have a little interaction with that system. Maybe the regular use of formations is that everyone proficient in it stands close to each other, but the Warlord can prepare his pals for a formation in only an hour of prep time (one formation per long rest) and thus make them easier to use? Just a thought.

I would also see that supplement including more detailed rules on trap making and trap laying.

2. What features are essential to a "true" Warlord? Are these features that you can easily make in 5e, or features that would require more extensive rules changes?
A lot of Warlord features are already in 5e, they're just spread out over multiple subclasses and feat. What is essential to me, though, is the idea that the Warlord can BE a Warlord every turn. He doesn't just issue two commands and then needs a one hour nap to be a Warlord again. The Warlord isn't going to be as strong in combat as a Fighter so he can't just fall back on that like the Battlemaster. In that way, he needs to be like a Caster with access to Cantrips, or a Monk who can punch as a bonus action or a Rogue with their Sneak Attack.

One aspect I think that needs to be added is ways to manipulate initiative, or abilities triggered by rolling initiative. I do think they'd need to be mindful of limited Reaction and need ways to either not require Reactions, or their ability instead affects the allie's next turn.

In short, a Warlord needs to (potentially) be able to : heal (temp HP or real HP, in or out of combat), make allies attack more often, allow allies to move around more easily, interact with initiative, improve the damage of allies, improve accuracy of allies, improve saves (especially saves to end effects), be better at using the 'Help' action, all the while having the tools to stand by the front line without being a drag.

The degree of effectiveness at which they are able to do each of those would depend on your build, including the subclass you choose. I don't expect EVERY Warlord to do all of these elements, just that they have the ability available should they choose it.

Also, their abilities need to improve and get stronger with level the same way everybody else does, and take into accounts the type of enemies being fought at higher levels. And they need more skills than a Fighter.

3. Given that the Warlord's genesis is in 4e, which has a reputation (if not always a reality) of being more grid-focused, do you think that the features of the Warlord work equally well in TOTM and grid?
I think the disparate features already available in 5e proves that it's possible. It's just a matter of synthesizing them together.

4. Finally, the most debate occurs around creating a Warlord class. But what types of archetypes (subclasses) are you expecting to see?
Returning:
  • INT based Tactician (Best at granting additional attacks and initiative manipulation)
  • CHA based Inspiring Leader (Best at temp HP and granting saves)
  • CHA based Bravura (Best at melee combat, has 'push your luck' types of mechanic where they risk themselves to boost allies)
  • WIS based Insightful Leader (Best at boosting skills and regular saves)

New-ish:
  • Artillerist Warlord: has background in leading squads of archers or spellslingers or ballista crews (focus on improving ranged attacks)
  • Chosen One Warlord: has supernatural luck and a divinely appointed destiny, good for the Lazylord or Sidekick build
  • Bandit King: Dirty tricks and Rogue-like skill proficiency, boosts Stealth of allies
  • WIS based Skirmisher subclass: Dash of 4e Ranger, good mobility powers and interacts with Trap rules, Survival skill (maybe has some spells/rituals but I'd prefer fully mundane)
  • WIS based Combat Medic: Basically has the Healer feat as a class feature, good at out-of-combat healing, can make potions and healer kit charges, most straightforward in combat.
  • An INT-based Formation specialist to interact with the Formation rules
  • An INT-based Witch Hunter subclass: an Arcane dabbler with ritual casting and ways to defend groups against spells or make allies' weapons magical, no offensive spells of their own. Has skill in Arcana and additional Saving Throw proficiency.

Good enough?
Yes I agree the warlord makes the most sense in a book with a war theme. Some people have said Dragonlance, but I think Birthright is the far better fit.

As for the rest of it, I think those are pretty good ideas for how to do the class. I would like to see it's benefits to be more tailored for mass-combat instead of the smaller-scale fights of normal D&D to truly expand what classes can do, but that's just my personal opinion.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sorry, just to be clear. Do you mean martial in the plain English sense of "beat stuff with a weapon guy" or martial as in the power source from 4e. Because those aren't the same thing.

And, the 4e warlord was not really a "beat stuff with a weapon guy". Bravura subclass maybe were, but, the PHB warlords weren't really. They got virtually no powers that would bump their personal damage. Nearly all of their dpr contribution came from causing allies to attack.

So, no, I would disagree that they were "competent" warriors in theme. Lightly armored (chainmail proficiency standard), sure, they got martial weapons, but, again, none of their powers really put them in the "fightery" category. Now, I do understand the argument that since warlords are in the same "family" as rangers and paladins, they should get the second attack, and, frankly, I'm not entirely opposed to the idea, but, I'm not sure if "because paladins and rangers get it" is a particularly convincing argument.

Comparing to a cleric, for example, only the war priests get an extra attack, and clerics are also meant to be competent warriors.

Again, I'm certainly not going to die on this hill. I'm just pointing out that I'm not sure if this is a "must have" sort of thing. Could a second attack be replaced with something else, for example?
Only full casters and the rogue fail to get it.

and the warlord was in the front hitting things. With weapons. I find the notion that they weren’t thematically a competent physical combatant to be pretty strange. Most of their phb powers involve hitting soemthing and then helping their allies.
 
Only full casters and the rogue fail to get it.
and the warlord was in the front hitting things. With weapons. I find the notion that they weren’t thematically a competent physical combatant to be pretty strange.
Nod. You just don't need Extra Attack to be a competent physical combatant, rather, to be to be a DPR-grinding one that gives up significant resources to pay for that ability. Extra Attack is the multiplier that kicks up damage bonuses - whether the usual from stat &c, or extra damage from Smite, Hunter's Mark, magic items, or the like - to top-tier overall single-target DPR.

Give the Warlord too much DPR in his own right, and you add a disincentive to actually doing the job of a support character. Give it in the form of sustained at-will single-target DPR like Extra Attack, and you don't leave it room to have the resources to do the job of a support character.

Most of their phb powers involve hitting soemthing and then helping their allies.
So did the Cleric's in the 4e PH. Just, if they were hitting at range, it was glowy righteous magic from an implement instead of an arrow from a bow. That was the basic paradigm of support in 4e - to keep it from being too boring. Though, 4e did put boredom back on the table for those who wanted to consciously choose it, as does 5e.
FWIW (not really arguing, just thinking out loud at this point).
 
The clever/intelligent tactical strategic fighter was the arguable genesis of the warlord too if we are going that story based direction. Though my first BM modification would be making the Battlemaster uber versatile and able to do its various interesting maneuvers on a much more regular basis anyway so the Warlord would not be strictly better LOL.
It certainly was for me, personally. I built an intensely optimized build-to-concept 'canny fighter' based around Combat Expertise and the feats it was a preq for, with a bit of ranger & rogue for skills boosted by said INT, and it was just viable - full disclosure: in a campaign with MC'd clerics, a casual-player Sorcerer, and no PC druid or wizard - through 12th level.
My frustration with aspects of that character, with another concept I tried out in 3.5 that tried to optimize Aid Another (don't look at me that way, I know), and a Bard build-to-concept I never got to use, all primed me to find the Warlord intriguing. Specifically, in the run-up to release, I read a playtester gushing about the Warlord she played, describing it using a tactic very like my Aid-Another guy, but to excellent effect instead of barely-worthwhile.

Anyway, a significant adventuring/combat use for mental stats outside of casting would be another benefit to the game, expanding the viable concepts and styles available for play.

MDD.... major depressive disorder?
;) Martial Damage Dice from the playtest.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Only full casters and the rogue fail to get it.

and the warlord was in the front hitting things. With weapons. I find the notion that they weren’t thematically a competent physical combatant to be pretty strange. Most of their phb powers involve hitting soemthing and then helping their allies.
I guess my quibble is over "competent". Do you need two attacks to be a competent fighter? Like you say, rogues don't get it, and they are competent combatants. Sure, the warlord was up in front smacking things, but, the majority of the warlord's contribution was the effect of that attack, not really the damage of the attack itself.

5e has an awful lot of full casters. Clerics were long meant to be "competent physical combatants" but don't get multiple attacks. Druids were also on par, but, now their attacks tend to come from the shape change. I'm just saying that I'm not sure if "equal to all other fighter types until 10th level" is the same as "competent physical combatant". Granting the second attack means that there is less room for rider effects which is what sets the warlord apart.
 

Eubani

Adventurer
Either path is fine in isolation but in regards to the class in question which design gives you the tools you need to further your design goals?
 

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