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5E [Warlords] Should D&D be tied to D&D Worlds?

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
pemerton said:
To those who think that "spike healing" (Neonchameleon's "panic button") can be handled other than via a particular class or suite of abilities, what is your mechanical model for a leader/commander?
Basically, three kinds of vampire.

Meaning, there's a lot of different mechanics that can get at the idea.

Fighter who can share his bonus die with allies? Bard (inspiring song) with a soldier background? Ninja with a certain specialty that lets it spend actions for others (4e warlord mechanics divorced from the class)? Rogue with a high Charisma (just has high skill checks)? Paladin who establishes a war-temple and attracts an armada (some sort of domain management system)?

I'm a fan of multiple mechanical models for most things.

pemerton said:
Fate Points and other forms of self-healing or self-generated damage mitigation don't emulate this fictional trope. They emuate other tropes (like Conan's ability to rally under the most adverse circumstances - in 4e this is second wind, and other self-healing powers).
Yeah, that highlights the fact that inspirational healing and the warlord as a character class aren't necessarily linked to me. You don't need the inspirational healing to be a charismatic tactical commander, and you don't necessarily think of inspirational healing when you think of a charismatic, tactical commander. And they can still go together, though they needn't.
 

JamesonCourage

Villager
I'd like to see a distinct Warlord class. I still dislike the name, but that's relatively minor as compared to the concept.

As a side note, I wouldn't mind seeing miscellaneous abilities that give "Warlord"-like effects. Feats or backgrounds for some healing, buffs, etc. As always, play what you like :)
 
I agree that self-healing or self-generated damage mitigation are not the same as the Warlords inspirational healing. You're right, they do all emulate different tropes.

The mechanic needs to be an external, inspirational one (as you posit), and not a self-generated or self-possessed resource. However, I do not believe (as some stubbornly stick to) that this requires a unique and seperate class. I think seperating these abilities into something any character can take allows for building a straight-up, 4E Warlord emulation, and allows others to also add such Warlord characteristics to their non-Warlord characters.
My main reason for thinking of it as happening at (roughly speaking) the class level rather than the feat level is that, if it happens only at the feat level, it's likely not to be robust enough (in terms of reliability and effect) to sit nicely against a cleric.

(Burning Wheel doesn't have this problem, because it's a classless system.)

That's not an argument on its own for a separate class, though - I'll come back to that in replying to KM.

inspirational healing and the warlord as a character class aren't necessarily linked to me. You don't need the inspirational healing to be a charismatic tactical commander, and you don't necessarily think of inspirational healing when you think of a charismatic, tactical commander. And they can still go together, though they needn't.
A charismatic tactical commander isn't necessarily about healing. But someone like Aragorn or Faramir or Arthur is not primarily a tactical commander. They are inspiring commanders. They restore hope and engender resolution.

If D&D had very robust morale effects for PCs, they could operate upon that aspect of the game (and paladins would fit into that model, too). As it is, though, D&D does not have robust morale effects for PCs: PCs are only affected by fear when it's overtly magical (and hence mind-controlling) in nature. Hence, the only domain of combat capability for inspirational leaders to work on, at least that I can see, is hit points.

Hence the reason why the warlord sits alongside the (STR-)cleric or the paladin: all are combatants who also inspire and restore resolve, courage and will in those whom they lead. And the model for this is hit point restoration.

Basically, three kinds of vampire.

Meaning, there's a lot of different mechanics that can get at the idea.

Fighter who can share his bonus die with allies? Bard (inspiring song) with a soldier background? Ninja with a certain specialty that lets it spend actions for others (4e warlord mechanics divorced from the class)? Rogue with a high Charisma (just has high skill checks)? Paladin who establishes a war-temple and attracts an armada (some sort of domain management system)?

I'm a fan of multiple mechanical models for most things.
Sure, but before we get to three kinds of vampire let's get at least one up and running.

Aragorn is (to me) pretty clearly not a ninja, nor a rogue. Despite the tendency of all Tolkien protagonists to recite poetry at the drop of a hat, I don't think he's a bard either - nor is Faramir or Arthur, in my view. The D&D bard is too much it's own thing these days, and is not associated primarily with being a battle captain.

Of your options, that leaves the paladin - which I already canvassed as occupying the same archetypical space, but in the D&D context being overtly magical - and the fighter.

If we look at the fighter for a non-magical option, we have to consider what can be traded off to create adequate room for an inspiring martial leader who will be capable of occupying something like the same mechanical space in the game as the cleric does. In 4e, the fighter has quite a lot to trade off: armour proficiency, marking and the associated combat challenge, a very meaningful +1 to hit, and better hit points and surges.

In D&Dnext, I don't have enough of a sense yet of how the classes are built to know what the scope is for trade offs. But hit points, at least, seem to be defined at the class level. The fighter doesn't have anything quite like marking to trade off. Attack bonuses seem to be built in at the class level. So really, we would be talking about trading off perhaps some proficiencies (the cleric builds provide a precedent for that) and the expertise dice options.

The current options don't strike me as going very deep. Strike Command seems somewhat weak, especially as a fighter is a pretty reliable hitter and so is likely to be better off going with deep wound or, if a frontline combatant, the perhaps overpowered (in compared to the others) shield slam.

Warning Shout looks more useful than Strike Command - permitting a buff of AC to lower-AC PCs - but doesn't on its own capture the spirit of the romantic battle captain, nor substitute for healing. Bolster Allies is comparable in this respect to Warning Shout, I think.

Oddly enough, Attack Orders looks like the best of the "warlord-y" abilities, because it lets the fighter buff attack rolls carrying heavy payloads (eg the wizard's Ray of Enfeeblement). But that's still not giving us the romantic battle captain archetype.
 
S

Sunseeker

Guest
I don't think the Warlord is a good solution to the no-healer campaign. It just goes from "we need a cleric" to "we need a warlord." It's the same problem with a different coat of paint.
I tend to agree. The problem is the Holy Trinity of party design. Tank, Healer, 1-N DPS. The problem is that as soon as you specialize one role, you automatically need the other two. A pure healer doesn't have the DPS to deal enough damage, nor the defenses to survive damage dealt. A pure tank doesn't have the healing to survive nor the DPS to defeat the enemy. A pure DPS lacks the defenses or healing.

But....when you give every class mechanics to defend themselves, heal themselves, and deal damage, you either get very overpowered clerics(basically, gestalt, two full classes), or you get fairly watered down, generic classes.

I would like to find some way to eliminate the need for a Holy Trinity without watering down the classes or over-powering them too much.
 

Jester David

Villager
There are two very different aspects to the warlord.
The first is the idea of a tactical leader. The inspiring and strategic character that aids their allies, directing the battle and serving as a battlefield commander. He aids allies and directs the battle.
Then there is the idea of the non-magical healer who coaches people to shrug off wounds.
The two idea are very, well, different. They serve two very different purposes.

The tactical leader is an intelligent character but the inspiring healer is charismatic. They rely on entirely different primary stats. (And the latter overlaps with the bard.)
As has been remarked, you don't expect the captain of the guard to heal you. Captain America, Robin Hood, or King Arthur don't stop to bandage people's wounds. And you don't expect field medics or M*A*S*H surgeons to lead on the battlefield.

I see a role for the strategist as a class. It could work and be a lot of fun. But it looks like we get a fighter subclass instead.

For martial healing... That might work best as a rules modules. Something you add on that any character can attempt with varying degrees of success.
After all, if healing is morale-based and hitpoints are skill, why are they limited to a certain number of times per day? Do inspiring speeches just stop working? Likewise, why can't the bard (or the noble background) also heal through inspiration?
 

Obryn

Villager
The tactical leader is an intelligent character but the inspiring healer is charismatic. They rely on entirely different primary stats. (And the latter overlaps with the bard.)
As has been remarked, you don't expect the captain of the guard to heal you. Captain America, Robin Hood, or King Arthur don't stop to bandage people's wounds. And you don't expect field medics or M*A*S*H surgeons to lead on the battlefield.
But you might expect Captain America to encourage you to fight on capably even though you're wounded. In other words, hit points.

I agree that medics aren't leaders. But warlords aren't medics, even with healing capability.

-O
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
After all, if healing is morale-based and hitpoints are skill, why are they limited to a certain number of times per day? Do inspiring speeches just stop working?
Yes, if morale is low enough.

Likewise, why can't the bard (or the noble background) also heal through inspiration?
Why can't ANY charismatic leader do this if he is charismatic enough?* Don't religious leaders inspire that kind of energy? Can't an arcanist be that inspirational? ESPECIALLY one who focuses on charm/hypnosis/mind-affecting abilities?





* Read that as having a high charisma and possibly a feat with Leadership as a prereq. For those classes it matches most closely, perhaps they get them as bonus feas or don't need the Leadership prereq.
 
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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
A charismatic tactical commander isn't necessarily about healing. But someone like Aragorn or Faramir or Arthur is not primarily a tactical commander. They are inspiring commanders. They restore hope and engender resolution.
Yeah, Yuna in FFX also comes to mind. Or really most any team mom kind of character.

It seems like the specific mechanic you're looking for is "one character that enables allies to fight on despite their injuries, without obvious magical special effects."

That specific mechanic doesn't need to take the form of a panic button, or actual HP healing. In fact, that's kind of not a great model of how those characters inspire others. It's not with a word or an action or a deed, it's simply by their presence.

That could be temp HP (a la the 4e artificer's temp HP ability). That could be something like the skald aura in 4e. That could be granting allies an "operate below 0 hp" ability a la 2e boars. It could be creating healing salves. It could be a bonus to saves (especially vs. fear or death). It could be bardic music (though that rides the line of magic, it doesn't need to) or something mechanically identical. It could be an ability that cancels damage (negating attacks), or provides rewards for fighting on (temp HP for attacking a target).

It could ALSO be inspirational healing, but it needn't be to get at that specific dynamic.

But "keeps allies fighting on despite their injuries without magic" is also a very specific kind of vampire. It's entirely possible to take a lightly armored paladin with a Forester background and call it Aragorn. Lay on hands might be all you need or want.

But if you really wanted a LotR feel, you should probably adopt a LotR-friendly healing module, like one that models long-term injuries and death spirals, but also allows for protagonists to be functionally immortal. Fate points + an injury mechanic sound great. And then your Aragorn works by taking a specialty that removes penalties for being injured or that spends Fate points on friends when they fall.
 
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Szatany

Villager
How about this setup.
Characters have wound points and hit points (exact numbers don't really matter and would depend on campaign type).
Wounds represent physical damage, HP represent fatigue, luck, morale, grit etc.
All damage dealt to you causes wounds (at whatever formula), unless you spend hit points to ignore damage. This is a shift in mentality - HP becomes a resource you use, rather than passive thing.
You can also spend some HP to make re-rolls of whatever physical activity fits the concept of HP.
If you have wounds, you get cumulative penalty to all rolls.
You still have much more HP than wounds, so the feeling of D&D is mostly preserved.

This allows to have various types of healing and is pretty clean.
Magic recovers wounds.
Divine magic may also recover HP.
Warlords and other inspiration-like abilities, grit, second wind etc. can restore HP but never wounds. They can also make characters pay less HP to make rerolls and may allow characters to ignore penalties from wounds for a time.
 
I'm a fan of multiple mechanical models for most things.
Except apparently when the Warlord class is one of the options.

I'm guessing by "panic button" you mean specifically a big spike recharge of HP?
Yup.

You could have each character carry their own panic button (fate points, second wind).
So now we have non-magical healing. Also this fails because it can not be used on someone who is down. (At least without changing the fundamental nature of being down).

You could have an environmental/circumstantial panic button (kill the orc, get HP back).
You need the panic button for when things are going pear shaped. "I'm panicking ... because I've just killed an orc". Nope.

You could have a panic button based on time (everyone gets a big HP burst after 4 rounds!),
Cue @mearls making jokes about hands spontaneously regenerating.

or a panic button that triggers with a given event (an ally drops below 1/2 hp). There's infinite ways to hit that button.
I doubt it's infinite. But there are a lot. How many of them have actually been tested to work? Because the Warlord has.

You could also have a panic button in the form of a mechanically-identical defensive buff. You can ignore X attacks, or gain X temp HP. There's a lot of different forms that button could take.

You could also not have a panic button.
Re-read my OP. And not needing a panic button makes combat flat, and completely lacking in tension. Which ... if that's the sort of thing you like. "Having less magic makes the combat less tense." Right.

You could mix and match or combine all of these kinds of abilities, traits, mechanics, and tricks. Each one has its own different feel and style and psychology.
And right now you are just throwing out a handful of frankly ill-thought-through ideas, and certainly non-playtested ones. All so we don't get D&D Next contaminated with the Warlord class. There might be lots of options - but the option space of those that don't work is far, far larger than that of those that do. And why are you working so hard to reject the Warlord and the idea of inspiration to greater feats from a martial character?

Take a look at what Guild Wars 2 does with healing: there is no class that will keep you alive with HP recovery. While support does exist, support doesn't take the form of counter-acting enemy damage primarily, which means each player must actively dodge and predict and pre-empt. What healing there is mostly is distributed to the individuals, to heal themselves as appropriate.
And Guild Wars 2 is built that way from the ground up. D&D has a panic healer, and as I pointed out in the opening post, if you have a panic healer unless they are utterly anaemic they are always going to be superior to precautionary healers because they get to apply the response where it is needed.

To me, D&D5e seems to be on-track for allowing a lot of different kinds of defense and recovery as appropriate to the given genre, playstyle, and setting. The panic button being in one character's hands is one way to do it, and that's suitable to the D&D cleric, but it's not always suitable beyond the D&D cleric.
Except that the inspiring warlord who gets people on their feet is appropriate to many genres, playstyles, and settings. And far more than the Cleric is. You are, so far as I can tell, arguing that D&D should not have inspiration able to get people onto their feet because the range of genres in which inspiration is not applicable is larger than those in which it is combined with those which it isn't and you drop the Warlord class.

Right.

By default, we'll probably have a cleric with a panic button, because that's very "D&Desque." But that's the beginning of the story, I think, not the whole story.
Of course we will. And if D&D actually cares about diversity rather than being the cargo-cult design it appears to be, we will also have a warlord with a panic button. As well as other options that ignore the cleric or the warlord.

Why are you going to such lengths to propose methods that have almost never been done in D&D while rejecting out of hand one that has and that works? I.e. The Warlord. It certainly isn't a wish for diversity. Or for genre emulation. Because adding the warlord as an option increases both and is a whole lot simpler than the other solutions you offer.

I don't think the Warlord is a good solution to the no-healer campaign. It just goes from "we need a cleric" to "we need a warlord." It's the same problem with a different coat of paint.
The Warlord isn't a solution to a no-healer campaign. It's a solution to the "We don't want Divine Vancian Casting" campaign for whatever reason. And the 4e Warlord doesn't actually heal. Actual healing in 4e is surgeless healing.

(The difference between the Warlord's Inspiring Word and the Skald's aura for this purpose is largely academic).
@Jester Canuck , why is there a limit on inspirational motivation? Because bodies can only take a certain amount of punishment. And people get fed up of hearing the same sort of speech over and over again.

Edit: [MENTION=21178]Szatany[/MENTION], that's roughly what 4e does. It just calls wounds Healing Surges - although it doesn't provide a penalty for losing them.
 

urLordy

Villager
But you might expect Captain America to encourage you to fight on capably even though you're wounded. In other words, hit points.
I have a few issues with this, which are symptomatic of why I never buy into the But-there-are-warlords-in-stories-so-D&D-should-too

1) Captain America didn't have a monopoly on healing surges. If I counted all the time that superheroes gritted their teeth and got back to their feet, I'd say the grand majority of the time, it's inner strength and willpower.

2) Batmans and Wolverines and Hulks rarely need or want or ask for Captain America's pat-on-the-back (they might take advantage of his tactical advice, but that's not a hp boost)C

3) Captain America probably inspires regular soldiers one way or another, but he simply doesn't have the same affect on his equals (ie., the Avengers) -- they aren't minions.

4) There's also a lot more going for Captain America than the equivalent of "martial healing". If D&D had a Captain America, some sort inspiring word would be a minor class feature.

IOW, I think the 4E warlord pays lip service to its inspirations, and is only very loosely "based on the true story of" supposed warlords in literature and media. Once you translate a warlord-like character from a book or movie into a 4E warlord, there is so much lost in translation that one hardly resembles the other any more. Or perhaps the translation problem lies in the fact that warlord in literature/media is not really an archetype at all.

Except that the inspiring warlord who gets people on their feet is appropriate to many genres, playstyles, and settings. And far more than the Cleric is. You are, so far as I can tell, arguing that D&D should not have inspiration able to get people onto their feet because the range of genres in which inspiration is not applicable is larger than those in which it is combined with those which it isn't and you drop the Warlord class.
I think you've made a case against your own argument:
D&D has clerics
Fantasy literature/media don't have D&D clerics
Cleric have been popular in D&D for years

Clearly, there is no correlation between the popularity of the D&D cleric and it's permutations in non-D&D literature/media.

So if there's no real correlation, then trying to boost the popularity of the D&D warlord by referencing its permutations in non-D&D media is missing the point. And even though it seems to miss the point, proponents of warlords keep referencing non-D&D sources to convince people what they already know they don't really like.
 

Ahnehnois

Villager
The wizard is really a D&D-ism as well. Perhaps we need a version of the fighter that can shoot balls of fire and animate the dead.

After all, you can't possibly play a D&D game without [insert magical ability here], so why are we forcing players into the archetype of [insert magical class here]? What we really need is a [insert made-up martial class here] that duplicates that essential function.

Alternate health and healing systems? Sure. Mechanics for psychological effects? Sure. Classes that don't make sense outside of the 4e setting and patch those issues rather than addressing them directly? No thanks.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Except apparently when the Warlord class is one of the options.
I'm on record as saying that I have no real problem with a warlord class personally, if only to appease the irrational fanbase that treats this one class as if it is the standard-bearer of an entire edition mindset (which is worth doing for 4e as much as it is worth doing for 1e or 2e or 3e or OD&D). I can't say I see a lot of other good reasons to have a warlord class, but I could probably say the same thing about the paladin or the barbarian or the rogue, personally. Heck, in my view, class is only a lump of abilities you could probably do a la carte anyway, a simplification, so I don't see a need in my personal games for ANY particular class. The Planescape game I'm putting together is going to have one class unique to each PC. Each character is going to have a few decision points to opt into abilities related to their selected character arc, referencing planes and factions -- how their personal stories interact with the setting is more important than our standard fantasy archetypes.

So accusing me of some kind of hypocrisy isn't going to prove my ideas meritless, here. I think the warlord is as viable a class as a class specifically named Aragorn and given all of Aragorn's abilities or as viable a class as a class named Person and given free access to every class ability in the game or as viable as a class named Lawful Good and given every 4e Leader's ability, or....class is a fluid concept for me, relative to the specific campaign.

I think for standard D&D, there's slightly different criteria. For them, from what they've said and what I can apprehend, the warlord as a distinct class seems to
  1. Have a healing mechanic that works better as a table decision about the nature of hit points than as a specific class mechanic
  2. Have an archetype that steps on the toes of the Fighter and the Bard
  3. Have abilities that could easily be modeled with the fighter's bonus dice, spent on allies, or by the bard's buffing of the whole party with their voice.
  4. Silo a set of non-magical ally-enhancing mechanics all within one class that no other classes can access.
....at least.

Neonchameleon said:
And right now you are just throwing out a handful of frankly ill-thought-through ideas, and certainly non-playtested ones.
Right, and by focusing on them specifically, you're missing the point of the list. There is a litany of possible ways to do the healing and defense thing in D&D. Saying "who has the panic button?" misses the point that the game can be designed to not need a panic button, and, based on what they're saying, this seems like something they're doing. The panic button is one way among many to defend the party, not the only way.

So if no one needs to carry the panic button, there doesn't need to be a specific class devoted to a non-magical panic button, so "the game needs a class devoted to the non-magical panic button!" isn't a good argument for the warlord as a unique class, because the game doesn't need that, and I don't believe it is being designed to need that.

No one needs to carry the panic button. The game is being built with the idea of non-panic-button gameplay in mind. It can be, and it seems to be, and it's a good idea, and it means we don't need a class whose central shtick is to hit the panic button (but not with magic).

Neonchameleon said:
Why are you going to such lengths to propose methods that have almost never been done in D&D while rejecting out of hand one that has and that works? I.e. The Warlord. It certainly isn't a wish for diversity. Or for genre emulation. Because adding the warlord as an option increases both and is a whole lot simpler than the other solutions you offer.
I'm simply trying to show you that you can have the things you like about the warlord without having a specific class called "warlord" who has inspirational panic button healing.

If you're unwilling to accept that there might be successful alternatives of meeting your needs, then you already have the edition that does that fits your narrow definition of what a fun game of make-believe elf-magic can be. Play it. Be happy.
 
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Jester David

Villager
But you might expect Captain America to encourage you to fight on capably even though you're wounded. In other words, hit points.


I agree that medics aren't leaders. But warlords aren't medics, even with healing capability.
That's a very, very minor part of what Captain America does. More often than not he inspires people to fight harder. It's much more like the bard's Inspire Courage than healing.

My point was that healing is tacked onto the warlord. It doesn't fit the story of the class, the ability score of the class, the best examples of the class, and it's the least interesting thing the warlord does.
The warlord does so much more that makes it unique and the it heals because that's just expected. Even in 4e it had pretty much the worst heals in the game. Almost every other healer gave you some other small buff or did some variant on the healing.


The Warlord isn't a solution to a no-healer campaign. It's a solution to the "We don't want Divine Vancian Casting" campaign for whatever reason. And the 4e Warlord doesn't actually heal. Actual healing in 4e is surgeless healing.

(The difference between the Warlord's Inspiring Word and the Skald's aura for this purpose is largely academic).
@Jester Canuck , why is there a limit on inspirational motivation? Because bodies can only take a certain amount of punishment. And people get fed up of hearing the same sort of speech over and over again.

Edit: @Szatany, that's roughly what 4e does. It just calls wounds Healing Surges - although it doesn't provide a penalty for losing them.
Why is it the same speech? And the power still works tomorrow and the day after?
And, because you can still heal overnight and heal at all, it's not real injury. So how much the body can take is irrelevant.

There's no good reason (other than the oppressive B-word) why a warlord or martial healer should not be limited by per-day healing. It could be an Encounter power instead. Or even an At-will with restrictions.
 

Obryn

Villager
That's a very, very minor part of what Captain America does. More often than not he inspires people to fight harder. It's much more like the bard's Inspire Courage than healing.

My point was that healing is tacked onto the warlord. It doesn't fit the story of the class, the ability score of the class, the best examples of the class, and it's the least interesting thing the warlord does.
The warlord does so much more that makes it unique and the it heals because that's just expected. Even in 4e it had pretty much the worst heals in the game. Almost every other healer gave you some other small buff or did some variant on the healing.
Warlords are some of the best healers, actually. Particularly the Charisma-based ones, with minor feat investment.

You're not explaining why "allow your allies to fight on despite being hurt and tired" is somehow "tacked on." It seems clearly part of the role.

-O
 

Doug McCrae

Adventurer
I don't like the traditional D&D cleric (though I do quite like the 2e version), partly because it's such a weirdly specific D&Dism, so I'm in the market for a solution. It seems to me that if hit points are real, ie they represent physical wounds, then there are three possible solutions:

1. Accept the consequences of slow, natural hit point healing. In the modern play-style where each player has one regular PC, this would mean far fewer combat encounters than is typical for D&D. Another option is the old school approach where each player controls a 'stable' of many different, fairly disposable characters, so it doesn't matter if one is slowly healing for several weeks. I don't think either of these options would be attractive to most D&Ders.

2. Allow other classes than the cleric to provide magical healing. This is already a long-standing tradition in D&D, with druids, bards, and paladins providing some healing. Personally I'd also allow sorcerer-types access to healing spells too, because I like non-Vancian casting.

3. Healing by means of a magic item, such as the wand of cure light wounds.

If it's accepted that hit points aren't real, which, as KM says, is a table decision, then it opens up warlords, second wind and a fast hit point recovery rate as solutions.
 
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I'm on record as saying that I have no real problem with a warlord class personally, if only to appease the irrational fanbase that treats this one class as if it is the standard-bearer of an entire edition mindset (which is worth doing for 4e as much as it is worth doing for 1e or 2e or 3e or OD&D). I can't say I see a lot of other good reasons to have a warlord class, but I could probably say the same thing about the paladin or the barbarian or the rogue, personally.
This I can sympathise with. As [MENTION=697]mearls[/MENTION] on the other hand can't tell the difference between allowing someone to use a healing surge and the Cure Light Wounds spell, or the Cure Light Wounds spell and the Regrowth spell (or he wouldn't be making blatant edition warrior cracks about shouting hands back on) I'm not expecting much.

But there's a damn good reason the Warlord is treated as the standard bearer of 4e. It is the class that enables you to be able to do without the cleric. Which means it, more than any other, is the class that pushes 4e into terrain that no other version of D&D can readily go. And a second reason it's treated as a standard bearer. [MENTION=697]mearls[/MENTION] decided to edition war directly against it - and it's far, far less peripheral to 4e than the gnome.

And if you want to comment that Mearls had a lot of contributions to 4e, he did. But the quality of them is a matter for another thread. (Suffice to say that other than direct PHBs, every single 4e books I have that I actively warn people away from has Mearls' name on the cover).

The warlord opened up both viable worlds and viable group playstyles that didn't feel as if they were lacking simply because they were lacking a spellcaster. Neither the paladin, the barbarian, the rogue, nor the warden (subclass of Paladin?!?) changes the group dynamic nor opens up entire worlds for viable adventuring. None of them change the metagame (although the Supplement 1 Greyhawk thief did) and none significantly change the range of settings you can use without the game clunking.

Heck, in my view, class is only a lump of abilities you could probably do a la carte anyway, a simplification, so I don't see a need in my personal games for ANY particular class.
Agreed. If there is an option that lets either a fighter or a rogue get some ability to bring people into the fight and to keep people going past their normal limits, that will probably work. But it needs to be
1: Non-magical
2: Reactive
3: Effectively restoring hit points available to use.

I think for standard D&D, there's slightly different criteria. For them, from what they've said and what I can apprehend, the warlord as a distinct class seems to
  1. Have a healing mechanic that works better as a table decision about the nature of hit points than as a specific class mechanic
The easiest way to make that a table decision is to make the class.

  1. Have an archetype that steps on the toes of the Fighter and the Bard
This is a genuine point. Can we now wrap up the Paladin into the fighter? And the sorceror into the wizard?

  1. Have abilities that could easily be modeled with the fighter's bonus dice, spent on allies, or by the bard's buffing of the whole party with their voice.
Except for the ones that change the metagame. Actually it might be quite interesting if the fighter can spend their bonus dice to heal someone that many hit points.

  1. Silo a set of non-magical ally-enhancing mechanics all within one class that no other classes can access.
Huh? Who says the boundaries can't be fuzzy?

Right, and by focusing on them specifically, you're missing the point of the list. There is a litany of possible ways to do the healing and defense thing in D&D. Saying "who has the panic button?" misses the point that the game can be designed to not need a panic button, and, based on what they're saying, this seems like something they're doing. The panic button is one way among many to defend the party, not the only way.
We will know that the game is designed not to need a panic button when they get rid of the cleric class as we know it. Are clerics still walking round with a panic button? Yes? Then they haven't got rid of it.

I'm simply trying to show you that you can have the things you like about the warlord without having a specific class called "warlord" who has inspirational panic button healing.
You've shown me that such an approach is possible if you design it in from the ground up. I already knew that. Which is why the first half of my OP was about Clerics, the lineage, and the effect on gameplay. Not one of your suggestions I've seen has interacted with the fact that the cleric is there. You can tell me that Guild Wars has no healing. Fine. Guild Wars has no cleric and was built with that assumption. 4e also has no healing required - all classes get Second Wind and the ability to trigger each others' second winds. And healing surges in rests (something Next has shredded).

But have you seen the difference between a 4e party with no healers and one which can bring people back off the ground and into the fight? It's vast. Which is why as long as the Cleric gets healing and remains in the core four classes arguments that "we could do things without healing" fall IMO utterly flat.

I have a few issues with this, which are symptomatic of why I never buy into the But-there-are-warlords-in-stories-so-D&D-should-too

1) Captain America didn't have a monopoly on healing surges. If I counted all the time that superheroes gritted their teeth and got back to their feet, I'd say the grand majority of the time, it's inner strength and willpower.
If I counted all the times 4e PCs had used Second Wind in combat. Warlords in 4e don't have a monopoly on that. What they do is allow others to use second wind.

2) Batmans and Wolverines and Hulks rarely need or want or ask for Captain America's pat-on-the-back (they might take advantage of his tactical advice, but that's not a hp boost)
That's because Wolverine regenerates, Hulk is effectively immune to physical damage, and Batman's role in the JLA is that of Tactical Warlord.

3) Captain America probably inspires regular soldiers one way or another, but he simply doesn't have the same affect on his equals (ie., the Avengers) -- they aren't minions.
He does on Spider-man. And even called out on Nick Fury and the Howling Commandoes. And Cyclops does (or did) on the X-Men.

4) There's also a lot more going for Captain America than the equivalent of "martial healing". If D&D had a Captain America, some sort inspiring word would be a minor class feature.
Healing isn't the only part of the Warlord. In fact of the 4e leader classes Warlords are the flat out worst at restoring HP. But they can do it. And that's the point. A 4e Warlord can pick someone up off their feet and get them back into the fight. A Pacifist Cleric might be able to negate all incoming damage to someone for a while - no Warlord you can build is anywhere near that good. And it's not unknown for a Warlord to have no more hit point restoration than their two Inspiring Words. I.e. effectively a minor class feature. But it's enough.

I think you've made a case against your own argument:
D&D has clerics
Fantasy literature/media don't have D&D clerics
Cleric have been popular in D&D for years

Clearly, there is no correlation between the popularity of the D&D cleric and it's permutations in non-D&D literature/media.
And clearly no one ever wants to use D&D rules to play in any settings that aren't D&D ones.
 

urLordy

Villager
And clearly no one ever wants to use D&D rules to play in any settings that aren't D&D ones.
And I recognize a stubborn endless argument when I see one. I empathize (albeit disagree) with your cause, but if you want to persuade others that warlords "should be" tied into D&D, well, I remain uninspired by all the red herrings.
 
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Jester David

Villager
Warlords are some of the best healers, actually. Particularly the Charisma-based ones, with minor feat investment.

You're not explaining why "allow your allies to fight on despite being hurt and tired" is somehow "tacked on." It seems clearly part of the role.

-O
Read: warlords are the best healers once you take the feats, powers, and other options designed to make them not the worst healers.

And healing allies is part of their role, yes. But roles are a 4e invention which classes are no longer forced to conform to.
Healing is no more a vital and essential part of the class than marking is to the paladin and fighter, or quarry for the ranger.

4e was awesome for its fans, but we shouldn't feel obligated to follow its structure and limitations.
 

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