Looking for a melee oriented leader: Warlord, Runepriest, or Ardent?

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So I am looking to create a melee oriented leader. From looking at the class descriptions, it looks like I have the following solid choices:


I want to RP this guy as a warrior; a "get in there and swing" type of leader. Not really directing people, but rather leading by example and holding my own in the butt kicking department. All opinions welcomed!

Also, I am a bit at a loss for exactly what an Ardent is. A telepath that is not very good physically in a fight? A soldier with weird emotional powers?
I would say Warlord.  With the Battlefront leader feature and the feat that goes with it, you can be strapping on the same heavy armour as your fighter.  If you are a dwarf or mul, you can have Dwarven Weapon Training and be swinging a d12 waraxe - other races potentially have equally tempting options.  Focus on attacks that create opportunities for your allies, but still have you swinging.

An Ardent is a reverse-empath.  Their emotional state influences everyone around them.
The runepriest will do more direct damage than the warlord, and has a much stronger focus on debuffs as opposed to the warlord's emphasis on action granting. Either one is a reasonable choice in general, although the runepriest will pull ahead if there are no strong basic attacks among the rest of the group.

I don't have enough experience with the Ardent to compare it to the other two, but Arandor's description of their theme is pretty much on the mark.
Lead by example makes me think Warpriest more than any of the other options. They've got excellent melee options throughout their progression, with some portential for ranged being a Cleric offshoot, and they are one of the few leaders who can use most (if not all) of their buffs on themselves in addition to their allies. A bit intensive on items if you go half and half with their powers, since they'll need both a good weapon and implement, but a full weapon using Warpriest is just as possible if one desires.

Happy Gaming
Rather than play a Warpriest, you can (Should) play a regular cleric, but pick Battle Cleric's Lore instead of Healers Lore. This gets you Scale proficiency and a free +2 shield bonus to AC, freeing both hands up for that really big weapon you've always wanted to swing around! They have a little bit of action granting, theres a pretty decent level 5 daily that is pretty much EXACTLY leading by example... You Hit the enemy, then you move your allies and they get to attack too. 

But clerics can have fantastic survivability in the front line, do decent damage, and heal fantastically (Although the Warlord can give them a run for their money!) 

I mostly have an issue with Warpriests because you're forced into your power choices and I absolutely hate that. 

Hope this helps!

PS. Warlords are absolutely badass as well. 
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