Sunday, September 23, 2012

Old school classes from 4E: The Warlord

Warlords are awesome and if you disagree then fuck you. If you neither agree nor disagree but don't know what a warlord is, then listen up. A warlord is a fighter who leads the party with his inspiring words and superb tactics. Warlords are commonly found laying out sweet strategems, maneuvering their allies into position, or shouting at wimps who complain that they "can't fight with this sucking gut wound". Warlords were previously available only in 4E, but fortunately for you I have just made you a Warlord class for Basic/1E so you have no excuse not to be a Warlord now.

(Note: A warlord isn't necessarily a commander of a huge army, at least not until name level. They're more like a tactician who commands an elite squad, i.e. the PC party. Some people have wanted to change the warlord's name to something like 'Marshal' or 'Battle Tactician' to reflect this. However, those people and their wimpy names have been destroyed by the badassery of the name WARLORD.)

Hit die: d8
Attack Bonus: +1 (LotFP) or as Cleric
Saving throws: As Fighter
XP Progression: As Fighter

Warlords demand absolute dedication from their allies in battle. This doesn't mean the other players have to obey everything the Warlord tells them to do, it just means that when the Warlord says jump, your character trusts him enough to know that there must be a knee-high buzzsaw approaching or suchlike. To establish this trust, the Warlord must spend ten minutes talking to any new party members. There cannot be more than one Warlord in a party - if there are, then their orders confuse each other and the Warlords' abilities are all negated. The Warlord cannot command a group of people larger than the Warlord's Charisma (until 9th level - see below.)

Warlords can spend a standard action to use a Command, which is a catch-all term for various speeches, orders, battle-cries, etc. that have the power to turn the tide of battle. The Warlord can use one Command per level per encounter - the focus required for this sort of tactical thinking and charismatic oration is very mentally draining.
Commands only work on allies who are conscious and can understand the Warlord. They also need to be within 30' or the command is too faint or garbled to be heard.

Pick one Command at 1st level and one other at each odd-numbered level thereafter:

Invigorating Command: The warlord inspires one ally to fight on through the pain, giving them 1d6 temporary hit points (last until the end of the encounter or 1 turn). 7th Level: 1d6+level hitpoints, and if the ally is unconscious, you can use this to slap them awake.
"Come on, we just need you to hold the line for a little longer!"
"Maggot! Did I give you permission to die? Get back on your feet!"

Inspiring Command: The warlord brings one ally back from the brink of terror and defeat, allowing them to reroll a failed morale check or saving throw vs. fear. This command can be used as a reaction (i.e. on the turn of the person failing the save or morale check.) 7th level: Can grant all allies a rerolled morale check, OR grant one ally a rerolled save against domination, confusion, or other mental effects.
"Hold steady, men, this isn't over yet!"
"Fight him, my brother! Don't let the evil magic control your mind!"

Warning Command: The warlord warns one ally of an incoming attack, granting them a +4 bonus to AC for one round against the next attack from a designated enemy. 7th level: The warlord predicts every attack just before it happens, granting the bonus against all incoming attacks in the next round.
"Eeek! Look out behind you!"
"Take two steps to the left... now."

admittedly, non-dorky pictures of Warlords are somewhat hard to find
Analysing Command: The warlord points out a weak spot in the enemy's armour or their posture, allowing one ally to gain a +2 bonus to hit and damage against that enemy on their next attack. 7th level: All allies gain the bonus against that enemy for one round.
"There's a chink in his armour, just above the breastplate."
"Hey fatso! (Quick, I've got his attention, stab him in the ass!)"

Tactical Command: The warlord sees an opening in the flow of battle and orders one ally into it, granting them an extra action. 7th level: This Command, and the extra action it grants, can be used before initiative is rolled.
"Do it now, while the way is still clear!"
"Everything's going according to plan."

Threatening Command: The warlord makes a terrifying threat toward one enemy, forcing them to make a morale check. This doesn't work against obviously fearless creatures (constructs, undead, etc.) but it does work against enemies who don't speak the warlord's language. 7th level: All enemies in range must make a morale check.
"I've killed a thousand of your kind in dingy caverns just like this one. What makes you think you'll be any different?"

just imagine the warlord in this picture is less "here we see Specimen A, the manticore" and more "KILL  THAT FUCKER YOU BEAUTIFUL BASTARDS"

At 9th level, the Warlord gains the ability to command an army of up to 1000 soldiers per level. Everyone in the army is considered to be an ally for the purposes of Commands, though the effects will still be limited by the 30' radius. Furthermore, the Warlord's Commands can now also be used as Gambits - essentially the same thing but on a battlefield scale. For example, a Tactical Gambit could be used to steal a march on the enemy, an Analysing Gambit could maneuver a unit into position to flank, etc. DM fiat/negotiation will be required here since there is no formal system for mass combat in D&D, but try to fit it into whatever mass combat system you're using.


  1. Aything 4e sucks big donkey balls. That is all.

    1. C: I already responded to this in the first sentence of the post!

  2. That's pretty good - I take it warlords lose out on all the other juicy B/X fighter goodies? Ok that one - cleave?

    1. I guess. My standard game right now is LotFP which doesn't have cleave or weapon specialisation or other such stuffs. But as a general rule I think that Warlords, Clerics etc. can get good armour and reasonable attack bonuses, but special mechanics for Fighting Good are reserved for the Fighter alone.