log in or register to remove this ad


Level Up (A5E) Warlord v2: My Nitty Gritty Feedback


Alright, so this playtest packet is a big one. Not only do we have a brand new class (at least for 5e), but we also have our first jaunt into 11+ level classes. I decided to go with the V2 version for my detailed feedback, so lets dig in.

As usual, the Rating System:

A - Perfect, solid, I love it.
B - A bit more niche than I would like, but probably in the right campaign it will be fine.
C - Needs some work, its on the weak side.
O - Overpowered, just too strong, needs a tone down.

Further, I do want to dig in to Flavor at bit as well, as that is an important part of the analysis, so I will also include a Flavor rating for certain abilities. If I don’t mention anything, I assume a base “good” rating, aka I think it’s perfectly fine and serviceable flavor.

F+ I love this flavor, I immediately thought of playing a character with X.
F- Something is lacking here, this idea is not jiving with me.

Noting My Bias: So important to note my biases when it comes to the Warlord. I've both seen and played a warlord in 4e. The "not magical but still kind of magical" leader guy who has a name that's more associated with a mob boss than a hero just has never really jived for me, and it was often the forefront of the argument for/against HP as meat points. That said, I appreciated 4e's attempts at giving me a "Smart Fighter" archetype, a fighter who could use his mind as well as his might to effect the battlefield, that was by far my favorite aspect and the reason I gave one a shot back in the day. I can also appreciate the "Charismatic Fighter" archetype it had, while the Paladin has pulled that off for a long time, an offering without the good and religious baggage is appealing for many people.

I personally feel that the Battlemaster Fighter does that niche very well, all he needs are a few more maneuvers that utilize intelligence and charisma and you are off to the races, so I have never understood the desire to have an entire "class" devoted to the concept. So lets see if this class can change my mind!

What's in a Name (F-): First thing....the name needs to go. Its a bad name with an evil bent, and Levelup can do better. Heck I would like a super generic name like "Leader" better (not that I think leader is the right name but its still an improvement).

Overall Thoughts (A): So how did the class do? Ultimately pretty well, I feel like the class has enough unique abilities to mark its own territories compared to other classes. I note a few overlap concerns, but for the most part this does feel like its own class as opposed to a "fighter subclass". I was also happy to see that most of the high level abilities felt high level, aka the class doesn't run out of gas but does continue to get coolness at the higher levels.

I am disappointed that the "smart fighter" got no real love in this class, perhaps that is an archetype that will be looked at some other time.

So for a player looking to play a spell-less class that is both support but also the "star of the show", this seems a good archetype to portray.

Commanding Presence (A, F+): The old "lazy lord" concept is actually a good one to get people in the spirit of directing others. I think using a single attack is a solid approach, however, as I mentioned before with maneuvers ... some clarification around two fighter fighting needs to be accounted for, as right now I can just grab a couple of daggers and get an extra use of this power "for free". I'll also be curious how the ability to use it on cantrips works in play, as with certain warlock builds for example that may be incredibly powerful, but I appreciate that the warlord still works in a caster heavy party, which was a downside with the class in 4e.

A note on the aura range. On the one hand, having played a Pathfinder paladin for a while, 10 feet is really really REALLY limiting. You are expecting your party to be fireball prey in exchange for your power. On the other hand, I think the gradual increase of the aura is a weak bonus for gaining levels. Personally I would rather the aura just start out at 30, and then get a one time bump to 60 as a "real reward" for leveling.

Rallying Surge (A): Its a decent healing boost as it scales off your level, the issue of course is that there is a strong aversion to "non-magical" healing in some parts of the community. Now ultimately abilities like the Fighter's own surge has already opened the door for "healing through mental surge"...but I ask is it even worth it to pick that scab? Temporary hitpoints have long served well as an increase in durability through "inspiration", and I think would be a better mechanic to use here. You could also add in a special clause that these temp hp do bring someone back up who is at 0 (as a special bonus for the warlord). Also, I keep debating if this ability should be swapped some how with "rouse the troops", I'll note my thoughts on that in the later section.

Mark Foe (A, F+): This is a cool little ability, simple and effective. My first reaction to it was "this feels like something a ranger should get for its favored enemies", but that's always tricky to figure out what goes where.

Combat Directives (A, F+): Now this is a really neat ability. Granting someone an attack is nice but can get repetitive, but now we spice things up by adding maneuvers. This could create some really interesting combos (some maybe OP we will have to see), so I really like the feel.

Followers: I like the concept, but obviously not sure on its power until we know more.

Call to Arms (A): Solid ability, really handy with a party that has a controller, as you generally want them going first.

Martial Renown

Famous (A): Fine little bonus

Infamous (A)

Maverick (C, F-): The flavor description of this one is weird (the guards leave their posts, who am I the pied piper?), and there is no mechanical benefit compared to the other two. I feel like infamous already covers this.

Versatile Exploration (A): The ability itself is is just alright, giving you choices on up to 3 of your knacks. The reason its an A is because the 6th level already has good "meaty" things, so this ability can be treated as the fluffy ability it really is, instead of a carry ability for the level. In that capacity, its perfectly fine.

Spur Ally (A): I always felt the reroll was weak for the fighter at this level, but considering I can now effect any one of my allies (including myself?) and it works on ability checks, I think this one cuts the mustard.

Expanded Directives (A): A good expansion to a good ability.

Rouse the Troops (B/A): At 10th level, the ability to heal outside of a short rest is certainly nice, but parties of this level generally have the healing reserves to recover, so my lower rating. The fatigue removal can be very useful with certain party concepts. Part of me though wonders if this ability should be swapped with Rallying Surge. At low levels, this kind of recovery is really nice, and then at higher levels adding in "quasi magical" recovery is more palatable.

Extra Attack 2 (F-): If you are going warlord, you are not a fighter, and we need to continue to differentiate that, as quite frankly the two already have a lot of similarities in their maneuver use. If you are spending your time rallying troops and giving speeches you don't get to have the martial prowess of the fighter, sorry. This is a very distinct fighter quality that no other martial class has gotten to date, so the warlord should not get it either.

Now if the plan is to give most martial classes a 3rd attack at 11th level...then I withdraw the concern, but then of course want to see what the fighter gets to compensate.

Commanding Demeanor

Calm (A, F+): First off, I really like the "auto succeed" in this context. We are now in the next tier of play, and I was hoping to see abilities that are appropriate to that tier. This feels right, you can simply intimidate anyone weaker than you, awesome. Its solid and cool.

Resolute (B): If you have campaigns with lots of recurring NPCs this may be useful, otherwise not so much. However, my fear with it is will encourage some bad roleplay habits. One I often see is when a player fails a persuasion check, and then wants to say a few more lines and "roll again". This mechanic encourages that behavior even more.

Responsive (A, F+): I actually laughed out loud when I read this ability, that is just hilariously awesome and yet could actually be very useful. Imagine this ability at a noble party, you could get tons of information.

Dauntless (B): Its a decent ability in certain games where fear and charm are common. My only beef is that the ability doesn't work well with a paladin in the party.

Stronghold: I do appreciate the notes that you gain the stronghold benefits but don't necessarily need a stronghold if its not right for the campaign. Its a small touch, but for some players and Dms having that little bit of official "encouragement" can really make the difference. Otherwise, we will have to wait to see what these do.

Advantageous Action (A): Appropriate and useful for such high levels, but my only issue is that there are lots of sources of Temp HP by this level. For example, I would imagine many many warlords will take the inspiring leader feat, and so they lose one of the main advantages of this ability. So what I would say is to allow these temp HP to stack with other sources (but not itself).

Now...I was strongly against that with the berserker, so why am I cool with it here? First off, the berserker got their temp hp every round, and it even stacked with itself, it created a tracking annoyance for a class that is firmly against intellectual tracking. With this class, you are adding in the temp HP as a conscious action, and I would make sure it does not stack with itself.

Critical Weakness (A): The ultimate in "we fight as one" type abilities, definitely will create a memorable moment for a big boss. It also stacks well with the Sanguine Knot maneuver "pile on" to allow for even more damage from the group if you want to go that route.

Impressive Reputation

Hero (C): For 18th level, this is pretty weak. Warlords have had a version of this since 6th level.

Iconoclast (B, STI): This ability at least has a bit more meat, my main issue with it is you are defining mechanics for "question answering" that I think is unwarranted. Lots of your classes have "call the common people" type abilities where people flock to you. A lot of DMs would already use this for roleplaying out question answering and such, the fact that this ability exists suggests that they "shouldn't" do that for other abilities.

Slaughterer (A, F+): Now THIS is an 18th level ability. The fact that you are so awesome, that a notorious guy would literally stop fighting (which in 5e is a major major reduction in power) just for the chance of allying with you, that is Metal AF ;) It has strong mechanical and flavor connotations, I love it.

Legendary Commander: Just noting that this DOES stack with the Paladin's aura by the current wording. As a DM who had paladins in their games for several years, I can tell you that could make parties nigh immune to saves. That said, it is 20th level, things tend to get a bit nuts at that point anyway. I will also say, its a bit weird that your charisma is not used ANYWHERE in the class up to now...but then suddenly becomes a major power boost. Frankly I would just make it a static bonus and take out the charisma requirement.

Commander's Expertise (B): A wording note. The way you right this implies that you make either an attack or a combat manuever.... where the Directives ability specifically notes you get both, so some word cleanup there. At the end of the day its a boost to saves which is always decent, but at 20th level its just nice.

Feedback Loop (A): This is one of those abilities that seems cool at the moment, and will likely turn hokey when someone figures out the "ultimate combo" with it. But at 20th level I like it.

Rapid Deployment (C): +20 speed during all combats are cool, but not at 20th level.

Maneuvers: Warlords get a lot of maneuver schools, again a bit worried about overlap with the fighter. Obviously Sanguine Knot has high synergies with a lot of your teamwork focus, but nothing that stuck out to me as too synergistic. The "Deadly Reflex" maneuver from Razor's Edge gives you an additional use of your Commanding Prescience which might be too good


Exacting (A): Seems fine

Lay of the Land (C): I don't mind that knacks can use exertion points, but I see no reason why this one in particular needs to. Its not that strong compared to other knacks.

Reward Repute (A): Another decent one.

Soldier Knitting (?): Not sure what bulky items are yet, but since the exploration challenges are now a thing could be useful just have to wait and see.

Team Tactics (O): Its funny that THIS is what I declare to be OP, but its the strongest knack in this list by a good bit. Anything that violates bounded accuracy in 5e is strong, and the fact that you can get a +2 or even a +4 bonus on lots of checks at higher levels at will is too good.

Archetypes: I will look at this in a different thread, as this one is already good and long:)

log in or register to remove this ad

Level Up!

An Advertisement