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5E Working on a Warlord Full Class

the Jester

Legend
I'm going to suggest the same rotation I've suggested to other people.

In general, 5e classes and subclasses are either how you combat or why you combat. Classes where both the class and subclass are how you combat tend to be a bit hollow (the Fighter is an example of this).

Okay, I've been puzzling over this for a while now. I'm not quite sure what you mean. Can you give some examples of existing "why you combat" subclasses?
 

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NotAYakk

Legend
Okay, I've been puzzling over this for a while now. I'm not quite sure what you mean. Can you give some examples of existing "why you combat" subclasses?
Rogue: Assassin
Rogue: Thief
Rogue: Swashbuckler (to a lesser extent)
Rogue: Revived
Most Paladin subclasses, very explicitly.
Bard: Whispers (and other colleges to a lesser degree)
Warlock: Most Patrons (but not Hexblade, which is a thinly-wrapped How you Combat. The patron is "mysterious" and overly undefined.)

When you answer "why are you adventuring" with a subclass, you tend to get a lot of foundation for non-combat mechanics to be added to your class. The designers of subclasses don't always use this room.

Some classes, like Wizard, carry some additional "why they adventure"; wizards traditionally are searching for arcane knowledge. Mechanically this is reflected in the fact that they can collect a nearly unbounded collection of spells (which is an example of a feature informed by a "why"). A "why" baked into the class reduces the draw for "why" subclasses.

You can treat a "Why" subclass as a "How" subclass, but the abilities of the subclass often contain things that are based off Why. For example, the assassin gets disguise abilities of low worth in-combat. Why? Because that is something assassins need to do, practically.
 

the Jester

Legend
Is there a litmus test you can outline? Is it more or less "Does this subclass have a story?" Is it about whether there's a reason for it to exist outside of strictly mechanical options?

To try to get some clarity on this, let me give you a couple of examples of custom subclasses in my game. I have a fighter subclass that is the devoted defender. It's basically a bodyguard. Its subclass abilities are focused on defending a designated charge. Would that qualify as a how or a why subclass?

Or how about the warrior of Chaos- another custom fighter subclass. It gets various Chaos traits as it levels up, and can trigger chaotic, random effects when it uses things like Action Surge or Second Wind. Is this a how or a why subclass?

I'm interested in the distinction you're drawing but am not sure exactly where or how you're drawing it. The swashbuckler, for instance- it seems like it's more of a "how" subclass than a "why" subclass to me.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
My advice? Replace devoted defender with bodyguard. "Devoted Defender" could easily fall into the trap of "protection styles in combat". "Bodyguard" is a profession, and there are things outside of combat a Bodyguard does (if limited).

Even better would be to have some pseudo-religious mercenary order that protects a charge. Now you can wrap fiction around the subclass, and justify non-combat features. (For example, Dave Duncan's "order of blades"; they go through a ritual to make them fanatically loyal to the being they are protecting, and capable of skipping sleep if there isn't another blade on duty).

---

Warrior of Chaos? Pact Knight, or Demonblood Warrior, could have much if the same mechanics/feel, but now there is a concrete story.

Even Chaos Knight has more story to it.

Yes, the subclass ends up less generic. That is half of the point.

A "fighter who uses chaos magic" has fewer hooks than "a fighter infected with demon blood" or "a fighter who traded for power with a demon".

And if you don't have hooks, you often end up a bundle of combat abilities. Which is, in my opinion, a failed subclass.
 
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Undrave

Hero
Is there a litmus test you can outline? Is it more or less "Does this subclass have a story?" Is it about whether there's a reason for it to exist outside of strictly mechanical options?

To try to get some clarity on this, let me give you a couple of examples of custom subclasses in my game. I have a fighter subclass that is the devoted defender. It's basically a bodyguard. Its subclass abilities are focused on defending a designated charge. Would that qualify as a how or a why subclass?

Or how about the warrior of Chaos- another custom fighter subclass. It gets various Chaos traits as it levels up, and can trigger chaotic, random effects when it uses things like Action Surge or Second Wind. Is this a how or a why subclass?

I'm interested in the distinction you're drawing but am not sure exactly where or how you're drawing it. The swashbuckler, for instance- it seems like it's more of a "how" subclass than a "why" subclass to me.

Personally I like to ask myself why there is more than one person in the world that fit that subclass. How did the style arose, where would one learn that style and what other options would exist.

For the White Raven Tactician, I made it a famous military school. Maybe you attended, maybe you were thought by a formee student, you learned from watching them, or, even, you stole training manuals.

it helps with the ribbon abilities.
 
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Moon_Goddess

Adventurer
Supporter
and that doesn't tread on verisimilitude (martial healing, I'm looking at you).

Can I ask why this is so important to most of the people making warlords? It kills the appeal of the class for me. For me the biggest draw of the Warlord is so I can do things like "Ok for this campaign there are no gods, so no divine classes allowed" and have the math still work.
 

the Jester

Legend
Can I ask why this is so important to most of the people making warlords? It kills the appeal of the class for me. For me the biggest draw of the Warlord is so I can do things like "Ok for this campaign there are no gods, so no divine classes allowed" and have the math still work.

I can only speak for myself, but the notion of instantly healing major wounds by telling someone to buck up just doesn't pass the sniff test. Now, I don't treat all hit point damage as actual deep cuts or major impact wounds, but I do have a 'colorful critical hit' system that flavors crits that do enough damage vs. your current hit point total as, well, deep cuts, major impacts, etc. That's typically how you lose body parts in my game- which is not common, but is common enough to make the regenerate spell valuable even in editions where it doesn't heal hps.

I get what you're saying, but for me, "does this make sense?" is more important than "does this math work?". That's why my tentative set up for Get Up! doesn't actually heal- it's designed so that you can keep going (and the warlord can also use inspiring word on you on the same turn) even though you're beat to hell. I really don't want a martial healing option that has no explanation. Even the Healer feat requires you to use bandages and sutures and whatnot (in the form of a healer's kit charge)- it's on the edge of what I consider to be believable.

And don't get me wrong; none of this is meant to disparage "real" martial healing for those who like it. It's just not suited to my taste.
 

Undrave

Hero
Can I ask why this is so important to most of the people making warlords? It kills the appeal of the class for me. For me the biggest draw of the Warlord is so I can do things like "Ok for this campaign there are no gods, so no divine classes allowed" and have the math still work.

Personally, I made a subclass of my Warlord that basically get the Healer's Feat for free, specifically for that purpose. It also folds in a pseudo Song of Rest effect that improves hit dice spent on short rest. They can also, later, make their own potions, antitoxin and healer's kit.
 

I like the idea of a warlord full class in 5e. Since it's not 4e it doesn't need healing. I'm not a fan of D&D without "gods" (or equivalent, looking at you Eberron) except for Dark Sun, which was quite different and made magical healing available without gods.

It also fits very few archetypes from fantasy fiction. Even Aragorn could not heal people in combat (he could just keep them from dying when they got poisoned by a magic weapon, using herbal lore rather than morale management).

The 4e warlord got healing because 4e leaders heal. This was important to 4e, but not any other editions.

I want a class that can include the lazylord archetype- the character who looks like a helpless princess or princeling but who is actually really helpful by means of their ally-enabling abilities.

I could be wrong but this is probably the second-most controversial part of the warlord beyond the healing. While there's definitely a flavor overlap I simply cannot see this as using the same chassis as a more typical warlord. I also don't think it attracts people who like to roll dice. I contrast it negatively with the 4e cleric: most cleric buffs were either part of an attack (even if it was an effect, so you got to buff allies if you missed) or it was a minor action (so the cleric could still dish out something themselves).
 

Undrave

Hero
I could be wrong but this is probably the second-most controversial part of the warlord beyond the healing. While there's definitely a flavor overlap I simply cannot see this as using the same chassis as a more typical warlord. I also don't think it attracts people who like to roll dice. I contrast it negatively with the 4e cleric: most cleric buffs were either part of an attack (even if it was an effect, so you got to buff allies if you missed) or it was a minor action (so the cleric could still dish out something themselves).

Eh, I don't think it's that controversial. I think it was actually well liked by people who didn't want to play combatant. It was still able to participate in battle without being a character who can swing a sword.

You don't need much to make it possible, you just need the ability to trade off your own attacks for your allies' and it's mostly a question of your build being geared towards it or not and if you choose to not attack.
 

I can only speak for myself, but the notion of instantly healing major wounds by telling someone to buck up just doesn't pass the sniff test. Now, I don't treat all hit point damage as actual deep cuts or major impact wounds, but I do have a 'colorful critical hit' system that flavors crits that do enough damage vs. your current hit point total as, well, deep cuts, major impacts, etc. That's typically how you lose body parts in my game- which is not common, but is common enough to make the regenerate spell valuable even in editions where it doesn't heal hps.

I get what you're saying, but for me, "does this make sense?" is more important than "does this math work?". That's why my tentative set up for Get Up! doesn't actually heal- it's designed so that you can keep going (and the warlord can also use inspiring word on you on the same turn) even though you're beat to hell. I really don't want a martial healing option that has no explanation. Even the Healer feat requires you to use bandages and sutures and whatnot (in the form of a healer's kit charge)- it's on the edge of what I consider to be believable.

And don't get me wrong; none of this is meant to disparage "real" martial healing for those who like it. It's just not suited to my taste.
I prefer limb loss can only happen if reaching zero hit points. That is the only time that lethal hit can happen. With a wound system, it is "life or limb". When reaching zero, there is a chance of a hit to the limb. There is a simple d8 check and a similar but more accurate d20 check.

d8
1 head
2 chest
3-4 abdomen
5 right arm
6 leg arm
7 right leg
8 left leg

If the injury is to the head, chest, or abdomen, then the character is unconscious, and death saves are normal.

But if the injury is to one of the four limbs, the character remains conscious, and death saves can result in loss of limb.

Fail death save once, limb incapacitated 2d6 days.
Fail death save twice, incapacitated 2d6 weeks.
Fail death save thrice, incapacitated 2d6 months, roll again.
Fail a fourth time, permanent loss.

Only healing spells of level 5 or higher can heal or regenerate a limb.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
For the White Raven Tactician, I made it a famous military school. Maybe you attended, maybe you were thought by a formee student, you learned from watching them, or, even, you stole training manuals.

it helps with the ribbon abilities.
I like the stolen training manuals... 4e had White Raven a inherited title of Nobility and 3.x had it a fighting school which centered around a magical sword used in defending the innocent.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Why not just use THP grants if HP breaks the "sniff test"?

THP was literally created to be pushing through the pain and fighting on (aka a morale mechanic).
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In another thread the Idea arose that a warlord uses superiority dice. That would be plain and simple and compatible with the martial adept feat which finally would not only tie into a subclass but a full class. The battlemaster would me a multiclass light warlord.
So just swap leadership dice with superiority dice an warlord appropriate maneuvers. I think retconning superiority dice to be a base class ability would be a great Idea, since superiority dice were a great Idea to begin with.
Oooh I like that a lot the whole feel of it is slick and a way to integrate with what exists already.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Can I ask why this is so important to most of the people making warlords? It kills the appeal of the class for me. For me the biggest draw of the Warlord is so I can do things like "Ok for this campaign there are no gods, so no divine classes allowed" and have the math still work.
And the Bard isnt inspiring people to gain thp ...

To be honest I never understood the need for thp (other than a few gimmick situations some of which are kind of fun) as a general case it seems odd hit points are too abstract and recover fast enough how are they not already kind of temporary. (let hit points gained over your max hp last for some duration and be done till the next long rest?).
 



Not sure what you mean... like when some source of hit points causes them to exceed their normal max?
Yes. By flagging anything that increases hp above max as "temporary" and saying "temp hp don't stack" you avoid a situation where you can indefinitely increase hp.

It also means that if you use an ability that grants temp hp on someone who is wounded, then heal them, hp can be increased above max.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yes. By flagging anything that increases hp above max as "temporary" and saying "temp hp don't stack" you avoid a situation where you can indefinitely increase hp.

It also means that if you use an ability that grants temp hp on someone who is wounded, then heal them, hp can be increased above max.
Instead of saying hit points cannot go in 4e terms higher than a healing surge more than its normal value and they reset at the end of rest?
 

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