Mark of Warding mechanically speaking...

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The Mark of Warding, from my understanding, is supposed to allow dwarves to more easily protect items, and ward places. But the feat in the Player's Guide improves the Marking mechanic and power bonuses to defenses, which is more in line with protecting people.

So I wonder, can the Mark of Warding extend to protecting people as well? Or are the in-game mechanics a little off in that sense? The Mark of Warding feat seems better suited to a Deneith Bodyguard than anything else, so I'm a little confused.

When considering how to demonstrate a Kundarak's dragonmarked powers, it seems more in line with the controller role and/or power suite, with power effects representing wards and traps triggered by enemies on the battlefield, or summons representing guardians conjured by the Kundarak heir. Wall spells make sense as well.

But a Marking mechanic and granted power bonus to defenses doesn't make as much sense to me. So... are there Kundarak heirs that can use their dragonmarks to ward people?

Thanks for any insights!
One way to look at the Mark of Warding combat bonuses, is it lets a Kundarak guard better stand his ground.

Often the best way to defend a person is to move said person out of harms way, but when defending a PLACE, well, you either hold your ground at said place, or fail at your job.
I believe in Dragonmarked there was something about how there is a tacit agreement between Kundarak and Deneith that Kundarak protects things, and Deneith protects people.

As for the 'mark being awkward.....yeah. The dragonmarks were the worst thing about the 4e EPG. To my knowledge, serious Eberron groups houserule them. 

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One way to look at the Mark of Warding combat bonuses, is it lets a Kundarak guard better stand his ground.

Often the best way to defend a person is to move said person out of harms way, but when defending a PLACE, well, you either hold your ground at said place, or fail at your job.



  This.  Think of a Kundarak as a bouncer gaurding the entrance to a bar, an escort for an armored car, or security at a bank.  They keep people out of places, and they do this by marking them so if you try to grab that gem, pick that lock, or bash down that door instead of dealing with the the Kundarak gaurd, you will regret it.
Hmm... I just got the impression that they protected places by warding the place with traps and barriers. A Kundarak wouldn't stand guard at a door (unless he was a sentry) so much as erect various magical wards and barriers around the entryway and walls to prevent entry in the first place.

The only way I thought a Mark of Warding could really help protect someone was in that way, by letting a Kundarak heir ward the place that the person was in.

But the Mark of Warding feat makes it seem like that Dragonmark more directly protects people, in the way that I think the Mark of Sentinel actually would.

The 3rd edition Mark of Warding didn't grant any powers that directly protected an ally the way a Mark in 4th edition does, or a boost to defenses would.

The boost to power bonuses to defenses, and the Mark are more similar to the 3rd edition Mark of Sentinel, which granted powers like Mage Armor and Shield Other.

I was wondering if there was justification for the 4th edition Mark of Warding mechanics but I really think its implementation is just poorly realized. The game mechanics and campaign lore don't mesh well. The classes that can best represent something like a Silver Key, a member of the Keyguard, or a Ghorad'din, are the ones least likely to be a defender.

*shrugs* Here's looking to DDN for better Eberron support .

@Ogiwan: I think this is what you're referring to:

The soldiers of the Iron Gate are just as capable as Deneith's, but they try not to step on their human allies' toes.

I don't think the soldiers of the Iron Gate actually use their Dragonmark to protect people though. I think they are just well trained bodyguards and watchman, and might use their dragonmarks (those that have them) to ward carriages or rooms or what have you.
Hmm... I just got the impression that they protected places by warding the place with traps and barriers. A Kundarak wouldn't stand guard at a door (unless he was a sentry) so much as erect various magical wards and barriers around the entryway and walls to prevent entry in the first place.

The only way I thought a Mark of Warding could really help protect someone was in that way, by letting a Kundarak heir ward the place that the person was in.



 To be fair,  most of the Kundarak rituals revolve around objects, not people.  It's just that adventurers don't spend a lot of time gaurding stuff in combat (as opposed to TAKING them), and "warding" in a skirmish context most often involves the warder him/herself personally protecting something.

  Also, Kundarak isn't entirely passive or reliant on magic  to do its warding.  They have an order dedicated to hunting down thieves and collecting debts.  They protect their own holdings with their own gaurds. They run the largest and most secure prison facility in Khorvaire.  Kundarak is in the security business- which includes security gaurds as well as locks and alarm systems.  

  Yes, this does result in some overlap with a couple of more niche Deneith services.  Deneith's mercenary and law enforcement services also face some competition from House Tharashk's bounty hunting and monstrous mercenary businesses.  Medani also provides some personal protection and law enforcement services, although they often serve a more investigative and advisory roles.  Thurrani and Phialarn will kill people if you pay them, just like a Deneith mercenary.

 
I understand all that. I don't think that Kundarak only uses its Mark to guard things. But the feats reflect abilities gained from the Dragonmark. Someone with the Mark of Handling has sturdier and quicker beasts, someone with the Mark of Passage is more mobile.

But the Mark of Warding feat's benefits don't really represent warding or trapping areas or items, which is what the Mark of Warding is supposed to fascilitate.
I understand all that. I don't think that Kundarak only uses its Mark to guard things. But the feats reflect abilities gained from the Dragonmark. Someone with the Mark of Handling has sturdier and quicker beasts, someone with the Mark of Passage is more mobile.

But the Mark of Warding feat's benefits don't really represent warding or trapping areas or items, which is what the Mark of Warding is supposed to fascilitate.


 
  A PC with a dragonmark does not represent the average bearer of that mark.  They spend a lot more time fighting for their life and a lot less time doing the more mundane activities that sustain a civilization.  The feats were designed to be appealing to Players and to be less utilitarian.

  Most bearers of the Mark of Handling breeding cows and chickens, not battling alongside bears and panthers, but a bonus to animal fertility would be far less appealing feat to a PC than one that gets you a sturdier and quicker animal companion.  Most bearers of the Mark of Passage drive wagons and carriages, and aren't swift skirmishers, but a feat that gave you a bonus to vehicle speed would be less attractive to a PC than one that gave a bonus to base speed.

   And a person with the Mark of Warding has feats that let them protect things in the context of most PC adventures.

  It's the skill, rituals,and martial practices where the more utilitarian aspects of the game (and of Dragonmarks) are highlighted. These are the equivelant of 3E's spell like abilities.  Despite their nice fluffy nature, and would be useful in an NPC's day to day life, they did relatively little for PCs, which was something of a criticism in the previous edition.
A PC with a dragonmark does not represent the average bearer of that mark.  They spend a lot more time fighting for their life and a lot less time doing the more mundane activities that sustain a civilization.  The feats were designed to be appealing to Players and to be less utilitarian.

  Most bearers of the Mark of Handling breeding cows and chickens, not battling alongside bears and panthers, but a bonus to animal fertility would be far less appealing feat to a PC than one that gets you a sturdier and quicker animal companion.  Most bearers of the Mark of Passage drive wagons and carriages, and aren't swift skirmishers, but a feat that gave you a bonus to vehicle speed would be less attractive to a PC than one that gave a bonus to base speed.

   And a person with the Mark of Warding has feats that let them protect things in the context of most PC adventures.

  It's the skill, rituals,and martial practices where the more utilitarian aspects of the game (and of Dragonmarks) are highlighted. These are the equivelant of 3E's spell like abilities.  Despite their nice fluffy nature, and would be useful in an NPC's day to day life, they did relatively little for PCs, which was something of a criticism in the previous edition.



Its still crossing into what should be a Deneith specialization though, because the effect of the Mark is to draw attacks to yourself. That is absolutely the realm of Deneith. The Mark of Warding should make it easier for you to protect a location, if people are in that location then they can benefit from it, but the purview of the Mark of Sentinel is to protect others whether through shielding them or drawing whatever threatens them onto yourself.

A Kundarak Heir's ability to protect is passive, a Deneith Heir's ability to protect is proactive. They actively seek to put their body in the way of their client. That's why marking makes no sense for Warding, yelling at someone "Hit ME instead or I'll beat the ever loving crap out of you!" is what Deneith has built an entire Guild around. The Mark of Warding makes more sense for saying "If you cross this line, I'll break your legs. I am protecting everything behind this line. What is in front of this line isn't my problem."

Think about the marks in 3.5. The Mark of Sentinel gave bonuses to defense, protection from energy and arrows, and some immunity to spells. Their entire business can be summed up as "We get stabbed so you don't have to!" The Mark of Warding let you lock things and booby trap them. Heirs of Kundarak do not run out and say "Come try and kill us!" like Deneith, they take whatever you value and put it in a room, and then they kill everyone that tries to get in that room. So why does the Mark of Warding in 4e increase your defense and help you protect your allies by getting kicked in the teeth for them? I think it should be more like drawing that line in the sand and saying that anyone who tries to run past that line must be trying to steal something valuable so you're authorized to bust their kneecaps.
So? Any alternatives that would be attractive to PCs that do fit your image of Kundarak? ;) (Not that the 3e variants did this very well either - some marks were definitely more popular than others.)
A PC with a dragonmark does not represent the average bearer of that mark.  They spend a lot more time fighting for their life and a lot less time doing the more mundane activities that sustain a civilization.  The feats were designed to be appealing to Players and to be less utilitarian.

  Most bearers of the Mark of Handling breeding cows and chickens, not battling alongside bears and panthers, but a bonus to animal fertility would be far less appealing feat to a PC than one that gets you a sturdier and quicker animal companion.  Most bearers of the Mark of Passage drive wagons and carriages, and aren't swift skirmishers, but a feat that gave you a bonus to vehicle speed would be less attractive to a PC than one that gave a bonus to base speed.

   And a person with the Mark of Warding has feats that let them protect things in the context of most PC adventures.

  It's the skill, rituals,and martial practices where the more utilitarian aspects of the game (and of Dragonmarks) are highlighted. These are the equivelant of 3E's spell like abilities.  Despite their nice fluffy nature, and would be useful in an NPC's day to day life, they did relatively little for PCs, which was something of a criticism in the previous edition.



Its still crossing into what should be a Deneith specialization though, because the effect of the Mark is to draw attacks to yourself. That is absolutely the realm of Deneith. The Mark of Warding should make it easier for you to protect a location, if people are in that location then they can benefit from it, but the purview of the Mark of Sentinel is to protect others whether through shielding them or drawing whatever threatens them onto yourself.

A Kundarak Heir's ability to protect is passive, a Deneith Heir's ability to protect is proactive. They actively seek to put their body in the way of their client. That's why marking makes no sense for Warding, yelling at someone "Hit ME instead or I'll beat the ever loving crap out of you!" is what Deneith has built an entire Guild around. The Mark of Warding makes more sense for saying "If you cross this line, I'll break your legs. I am protecting everything behind this line. What is in front of this line isn't my problem."

Think about the marks in 3.5. The Mark of Sentinel gave bonuses to defense, protection from energy and arrows, and some immunity to spells. Their entire business can be summed up as "We get stabbed so you don't have to!" The Mark of Warding let you lock things and booby trap them. Heirs of Kundarak do not run out and say "Come try and kill us!" like Deneith, they take whatever you value and put it in a room, and then they kill everyone that tries to get in that room. So why does the Mark of Warding in 4e increase your defense and help you protect your allies by getting kicked in the teeth for them? I think it should be more like drawing that line in the sand and saying that anyone who tries to run past that line must be trying to steal something valuable so you're authorized to bust their kneecaps.



  The Mark of Warding ability doesn't actually give you an attack against an opponent.  It allows you to mark them, which gives them a -2 penalty on things that don't involve you.  You could say that you're whacking them with your weapon, or maybe you're grabbing them, or deflecting them with your shield, or maybe it's a magical warding effect.

   Deneith's ability is absolutely more offensive.  If you're not moving to get between you and your enemy and attacking them, the ability is useless, as compared to the Warding ability, which only requires you to be physically present.

  And if you look at the rituals each feat grants, you will find the more utilitarian abilities that further differentiate the two marks. 
Alex, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. The 4th edition Marking mechanic is all about defending other people. If you Mark an enemy, that generic Mark will not prevent that enemy from walking by you and stealing something or breaking into a location. Increasing the penalty to 3 won't help in that endeavor either.

Same thing if you buff yourself with a defensive power, or even buff an ally with a defensive power. It doesn't really help with warding an area against theft or intrusion.
The Mark of Warding ability doesn't actually give you an attack against an opponent.  It allows you to mark them, which gives them a -2 penalty on things that don't involve you.  You could say that you're whacking them with your weapon, or maybe you're grabbing them, or deflecting them with your shield, or maybe it's a magical warding effect.

Do you know what Mark could bestow magical warding effects on other people in 3.5? Twelve guesses and the first eleven don't count.

Show
It was the Mark of Death.


Seriously, a mark is a way of saying "Hit me instead of him." Deneith's entire business is focused around that concept. A mark is a defender mechanic, Deneith runs the Defender's Guild. It just goes so very, very well with the Mark of Sentinel and Deneith's entire business that it makes no sense for Kundarak to have it.

Deneith's ability is absolutely more offensive.  If you're not moving to get between you and your enemy and attacking them, the ability is useless, as compared to the Warding ability, which only requires you to be physically present.

Its not that their mark is the complete opposite of their traditional depiction or that it isn't helpful, its just that marking mechanics fit so well with the business of the House and the flavor of their mark.

And if you look at the rituals each feat grants, you will find the more utilitarian abilities that further differentiate the two marks. 

Yes, but I'm only concerned with that marking. It fits Deneith far better than Kundarak, even if you can sorta justify it with the dwarves. Its about getting an enemy to attack you instead of your ally, and that is so very, very Deneith flavored.

  Actually, bodygaurd duty is only one aspect of Deneith's portfolio. They're also mercenaries, bounty hunters, and law enforcement officers. They generally benefit less from abilities that focus on protecting others.  If anything, the overarching theme in their line of work is violence and the mark simply lets them better survive on the job.  Using the mark to protect others is the more novel application.
Actually, bodygaurd duty is only one aspect of Deneith's portfolio. They're also mercenaries, bounty hunters, and law enforcement officers. They generally benefit less from abilities that focus on protecting others.  If anything, the overarching theme in their line of work is violence and the mark simply lets them better survive on the job.  Using the mark to protect others is the more novel application.


Their entire 'portfolio' revolves around putting themselves in danger so others don't have to though. The Kundarak 'portfolio' is based around keeping people out of something. So why does their mark help them protect other people or increase their own defensive capability? That is in no way what their mark was meant to do, but those are two of the things the Mark of Sentinel was explicitly capable of and it greatly suits their business practices.
 But personally guading others is only a fraction of Deneith's business.  See an armed Deneith and he could be a bodygaurd who will be a guard  Or a merc, who isn't a guard. Or a bounty hunter who isn't a guad. Or a marshall who isn't a guard.

   See a Kundarak with a weapon, and you can be almost certain that he's a guard.


The Mark of Sentinel isn't all about protecting others, nor is their business focused on bodyguard duties. I grant that. But the Mark of Warding has nothing to do with protecting others at all, and they only hire out bodyguards to the occasional Dwarf client who wants his own kind protecting him. The Mark of Warding is meant to help them guard locations and objects.

If you hadn't seen a name attached to the feat, but knew it was a Dragonmark that increased your defense bonuses and helped you defend other party members, would you have thought "This must be the Mark of Warding"?

I'm really not sure what the Mark of Warding should have been. Something about keeping enemies from reaching a certain location, so that it could still benefit Defenders using it or some such. Ah well.
Right. Deneith is in the business of mercenaries and bodyguards because they can protect themselves and other people. That is what their dragonmark facilitates.

Really we're getting off the point here though. While I definitely agree that the Mark of Warding's non-ritual benefit is 110% better suited to the Mark of Sentinel, I was mostly hoping to find examples of when Kundarak heirs used their dragonmarks to protect other people the way the in-game mechanics would suggest.

It doesn't seem that they do. Which is fine. Truthfully I didn't expect much. It's just a shame that the feat reflects the dragonmark so poorly, especially when the Sentinel mark is nowhere near as good.

Regarding what the Mark of Warding could have been... I'm not sure on that. I was thinking maybe difficult terrain adjacent to the Kundarak heir cost an additional square of movement. It's pretty tactical and I think could come up often enough. Difficult terrain is pretty common in my experience and PCs can generate it themselves.

That's one idea anyways .
... I was mostly hoping to find examples of when Kundarak heirs used their dragonmarks to protect other people the way the in-game mechanics would suggest.

It doesn't seem that they do...



  House Kundarak has its own goons, security gaurds, andarmed escort services- both for internal work and for work outside the house.  While certainly not operating on the same scale as Deneith, they make up a large percentage of the "guys walking around with axes who also have marks of warding."
Right, but the difference is that the Kundarak dwarves are not walking around with axes because of their Mark of Warding.

Deneith humans are walking around with weapons specifically because of their Mark of the Sentinel. They fight in place of other people as mercenaries or protect other people as defenders because their Dragonmark makes them better at doing it than other normal people.

The Mark of Warding does not do that for dwarves. It doesn't make Kundarak dwarves better at protecting themselves or others from harm. In one of the Inquisitives book that I just read, a Kundarak heir protects his client not by standing between his client and an enemy, or by casting a protective spell over his client. The Kundarak dwarf lays a ward over the entire apartment that his client is in, so that the first intruder to enter turns to stone.

That is what the Mark of Warding does. The non-ritual benefits of the Mark of Warding in 4th edition do not really reflect that.

Are there dwarves that are mercenaries and defenders? Yes. Do their talents at defending others come from their Mark of Warding? No.
PCs with the mark of Warding are highly likely to be bodygaurds, mercenaries, or otherwised armed members of the house- even if the average member of the houe is usually unarmed.  

  The feat's benefit is designed for THEM, not the average member of the house.

  Again, I use the Mark of Handling as an example. The benefit is useful for a PC but useless for the overwhelming majority of house Vadalis NPC. Not only do they lack animal companions (since that's a player class feature), the majority of them spend their time breeding and raising domesticated plants and animals, not commanding panthers in combat or riding griffons.