Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4th edition Sidetrack - Warlords

I've been reading through the Martial Power books and while Fighters and Rangers and Rogues are all fun the thing that has stood out to me the most is the class that is new for D&D 4, the Warlord. Now he can cause about as much damage as a fighter with many of his attacks though he's a little less durable but his "thing" is that a lot of his abilities boost other party members in some way. He can heal, he can give bonuses to attacks and to damage, he can help people move faster than normal, and he can even let people act when it's not their turn. It's a fascinating class to me and it's a little like the Paladin used to play in our groups in 1st and 2nd edition - up front hitting stuff but also able to heal and do some minor magic and turn undead. A warlord has powers like "Rub Some Dirt On it" which lets him heal a small amount as a minor action with a touch. A lot of his attack powers are something like "Seize the Opening - do double damage with your melee weapon and a nearby ally can make a free attack with their weapon" or "Rallying Strike - Do normal damage with a melee weapon and everyone within 25' can heal 5 points + your Cha modifier." I am convinced that this is an awesome thing to have in a D&D game and I am betting it would have been cool back in the old days too.

I am a little disappointed no one took one in my current campaign but the leader type class that was taken is a Bard, and I have been very impressed. His powers just reinforce the idea that hit points are about a lot more than physical damage capacity. That has always been the case, but 4th takes the idea and runs off with it like no other edition has. "Vicious Mockery" is a ranged, damage-casing attack for a bard and it is hilarious to see it in action with a good group. More about bards in another post.

The other leader types in the game are Clerics and Shamans and they do their thing just fine, but "Leader" has mostly been translated as "Healer" and with the Warlord (and the Bard too to a degree) this is just not the case. It's more like "Catalyst" as they make the whole party better, period, and are not just reactive defensive save-types like Clerics often have been - healing, curing, dispelling, etc.

Anyway, if you don't play 4th but have a chance to look at a 4th ed PHB take a look at the Warlord and see if there aren't some ideas there worth adapting to your game. Maybe it's a variant of Paladin - instead of bonuses to saves for himself maybe he grants a bonus to hit for allies within 10'. Maybe his holy avenger grants a healing aura instead of a dispel magic aura. I've had a few thoughts in this direction myself but I have yet to do anything concrete with it. We'll see what happens when my basic game gets rolling again next month.

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