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

No, perhaps not.

For me there are two key questions that would facilitate an eventual full WL build.

1. How to balance an ability (superiority die) that adds a d8 damage and a condition rider, target self, on a successful hit, with an identical ability that can be applied to friendly targets within a set range. This answers the question of what the cost of target self versus target ally is.

2. How to balance that same d8 damage plus rider ability with a straight 2d8 damage on successful hit. This extends the math to cover converting spell slots so long as we're willing to grant that divine smite is a balanced exchange of spell slots for damage. Combined with the answer to question one we can extend divine smite to ally targeted WL abilities.

Obviously this isn't everything a full WL build needs, but if the above were balanced and correct it would be several large steps in the right direction. Once you have this balanced out you can start tinkering with the riders and conditions to get the feel right. And from there to whatever else needs doing. It's just my personal preference to get an order of operations in place for design work like this, and this is the OoO that makes sense to me.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Just a thought, way out in left field. What about designing Warlord subclasses for more than one existing class instead of building a whole new cl;ass with multiple subclasses? You have a lot less design space, but there's also a lot less to balance. I know this won't appeal to the serious fans who want the whole enchilada, but it's very doable.
I like that idea as an addition, and also would love to put a set of additional and replacement class variants for Fighter, along with a new subclass or new Battlemaster manuvers.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
In an honest effort to convince @Urriak Uruk, I point simply to the relative desire for a Warlord when compared to the desire for an Artificer. Yes, a Warlord is more divisive, but I doubt that people will quit the game due to the implementation of an additional class.
To be fair I don't think many people would quit if Wizard's added beekeeper as a class. I wouldn't use the "people may quit D&D if this is added" as one of the reasons why it shouldn't be added.
 
I would still prefer a full Warlord, but having Warlord-like subclasses would be a nice nod to 4E, especially given how divisive the Warlord is.
In a sense there's already three: the BM (which is also a slightly less infinitesimal nod to the 4e fighter, and to the 4e spell-less ranger), the PDK (a warlord Paragon Path in 4e, and a PrC in 3e), an the Mastermind.

Of those, the BM's maneuvers are the most promising, they just need to be greatly expanded upon (like, better ones at higher levels) and placed in a more resource-heavy framework.
 
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.
The 4e Warlord was primarily a martial class - very capable of combat in it's own right that also gave out bonuses and extra attacks to allies.

The 4e Warlord would allow you to model Robin Hood or John Carter or Conan as a single class. In 4e terms none of those characters would have to be rangers or fighters or barbarians. They could simply be Warlords.

Consider that in 5e, Robin Hood could easily be played as a Fighter, Ranger or Rogue. There's many paths to a Robin Hood themed character - it just depends on what aspects you want more emphasis on. That's what a 5e Warlord class would allow Warlord fans - another path to characters that has emphasis on the aspects they care the most about.
 
The 4e Warlord was primarily a martial class - very capable of combat in it's own right that also gave out bonuses and extra attacks to allies.
TBF, in 4e, everyone was pretty capable in combat, in their own right. But there were two sorts of quite-specific builds that could remain contributing in combat without being that capable, in their own right, were the Pacifist Cleric and the 'lazy' (usually Tactical Warlord, sometimes combined with Eagle Shaman) action-granting builds.

However ironic it may seem, the best way of playing a fully-contributing-in-combat, virtually non-combatant, was to use Warlord as the base.

And, since that's something D&D has always been very light on, it's nice to have, especially in a non-magic-using concept.

The 4e Warlord would allow you to model Robin Hood or John Carter or Conan as a single class. In 4e terms none of those characters would have to be rangers or fighters or barbarians. They could simply be Warlords.
Consider that in 5e, Robin Hood could easily be played as a Fighter, Ranger or Rogue. There's many paths to a Robin Hood themed character - it just depends on what aspects you want more emphasis on. That's what a 5e Warlord class would allow Warlord fans - another path to characters that has emphasis on the aspects they care the most about.
I was making a point like this in another thread. Concept is often more about Source than about role. If you want to play a mighty warrior with a greatsword who charges heedlessly into combat, he could be a Greatweapon Fighter(defender) or Slayer (striker) - or a Berserker Barbarian (defender|striker), or a Bravura Warlord (leader).

In 5e, your greatsworder can prettymuch be a berserker barbarian, or a GW-combat-style Champion or BM, but in all three cases, he'll be a high-DPR 'Tank.'
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This answers the question of what the cost of target self versus target ally is.
Mostly this is about allies are your area effect or range benefit. Situational things beyond that while I do not always agree with Mearles one this one I agree are not really something I worry about.
 
Mostly this is about allies are your area effect or range benefit. Situational things beyond that while I do not always agree with Mearles one this one I agree are not really something I worry about.
I think it might depend on the ability in question. The more that ability applies a benefit that classes don't get normally, the more it might be appropriate to bump the cost a little. To use a spell example, Shield should probably be a second level spell if it could be used on any ally within 30'. Mage Armor though, meh, no worries. You see what I mean?
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think it might depend on the ability in question. The more that ability applies a benefit that classes don't get normally, the more it might be appropriate to bump the cost a little.
That is pretty much what Mearles was mentioning though there will be those bumps there will also be the opposites and they will vary by occasion even more than by the subject. While I get your thinking I wonder if the desire for tweaking precisely is based on 4e style balance consideration instead of 5e.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Shield should probably be a second level spell if it could be used on any ally within 30'.
Used it on an ally and you died shrug not thinking that I agree. I think its only a role difference and that roles contribute differently to the field not better. I think 5e martial types are way too locked down lacking versatility in the arena (4e did some of that on purpose though it was more flexible than most think in this regards I think its ok if we make it much less so in 5e)
It is even in an arena martial types are supposedly best in and to me versatile is symbolic of best that sometimes versatility does mean more power is ok.
 
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If you have a nuanced resource to cost with, like Ki for example, there's nothing wrong with paying attention to balancing costs. The more abilities you have the more nuanced you need to be too.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
TBF, in 4e, everyone was pretty capable in combat, in their own right. But there were two sorts of quite-specific builds that could remain contributing in combat without being that capable, in their own right, were the Pacifist Cleric and the 'lazy' (usually Tactical Warlord, sometimes combined with Eagle Shaman) action-granting builds.
Also saw it combined with Bard.
 

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