For the Record: Mearls on Warlords

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Okay.  There's a lot of discussion on the fate of the warlord class based on this recent podcast.  I thought it would be useful to transcribe exactly what was said.  You can follow along at 25:48 in the podcast

Mike Mearls: What about, now, I'll bring up a character class that might not actually be a class. 

Rodney Thompson: Since Jeremy's not here, you're doing this to me to put me on the spot.

Mearls: Yeah, exactly. Because that's my job.

Thompson: Usually, you put Jeremy on the spot.

Mearls: I like Jeremy, but he's sick he has the flu, so--

Thompson: That's true.  He has the flu that I gave him, unfortunately.

Mearls: So there are some classes that, you will be able to play a character of that type and not necessarily have the character class name on your character sheet. One of the things we said back in the day was "We want you to be able to play all the -- if it's appeared in a Player's Handbook, it's going to appear in this Player's Handbook."

Thompson: it was a goal, right?

Mearls: But we were always careful not to say it's as a character class, because we knew-- I'm going to use an example off the top of my head. Warlord, right?  Which we knew was going to be a contentious subject both internally and externally. But when you look at the warlords... right now we're looking at the warlord as a type of fighter, correct?

Thompson: That's one of the things we're experimenting with, now, yeah, and it's a more complex issue, like you bring up because the warlord class then in Fourth Edition is a dash of fighter in that he is a very martial guy, he wore heavy armor, he used weapons, so there's a dash of fighter. Then there's a hefty sprinkling of healing.

Mearls: Kind of a bard, really. It's inspiring.

Thompson: Very bard-esque there. Then there's the -- I have a catch-all term for all this other leadership abilities. Things like action granting and throwing out bonuses and buffs and things like that. Basically, a heavy support role. 

Mearls: It's really tactically, like tactical--

Thompson:  Yeah, tactical support, I think, is what I would say.

Mearls:  And it's tricky. The class is not-- it's really tricky with classes like the Warlord -- and I think when we look at the system overall, we've run into this a few times, the class really isn't an expression of a character in the world of D&D that we go, "Hey, this guy needs a home." It's more, we have a system, we can make the system do this, so now we're going to do this. It's kind of like the genesis of the sorcerer in Third Edition. It was just, here's a different way to use all the spells in the book. It wasn't really like "Here's a character who has always been in D&D in a prominent place that hasn't been expressed as a class yet." 

Thompson: Although, I will say this. Thinking back to the proto-Warlord, the Marshall, from Third Edition. The Marshall was ana ttempt to do something tactical like that. But also, the leader character, is something that you would say, "Okay, the party's leader is the person who is most charaismatic" or something like that. There's always been kind of a vague archetype out there for the leader character.  But it wasn't necessarily the guy who is the tactical guy.

Mearls: Or it's not necessarily the guy who is in charge.  I think most gaming groups have rebelles at the idea of  "Oh, this guy is in charge of us." I think that's why you like being an adventurer. No one is the boss of me here. So it's interesting. From what I can gather, we're looking at the warlord. Basically decided, let's focus on the tactical cunning aspect, which would be something that would make sense in the fighter, because then you can also imaginr doing fighters with a dash of that without multiclassing. 

Thompson: That's the big thing too, that I said. The warlord was kind of an amalgamation of those previous classes.  If you look at, say, a typical warlord by itself, it would look a lot like a fighter in the early designs. We have imagined, here's what the class would look like, and here's what the specialty would look like, so we've been all over the place with this.  But is you looked at it -- it kind of looked a lot like the fighter. It wanted to do a lot of the things that the fighter does. The warlord in Fourth is a frontline leader unless you take the archer build from Martial Power 2 or whatever. He is a front-line guy. So you want him to do a lot of the things that the front-line fighter did.

We're experimenting with a version of the fighter. Instead of choosing things that necessarily make you more attacks, better-- you're own combat manuever is better, things that let you let other people do things as the things that they do. That's part of it.  There's also the healing aspect of it, which is a whole different image.

Mearls:  I guess my big thing is, would you, in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, if you pictured a guy who is a cunning tactial leader, would you expect that guy to heal you? 

Thompson: I wouldn't expect him to automatically be able to know how to heal somebody. But, I could see that character who is more of a field medic. 

Mearls: He could be a healer. 

Thompson: He could be. I'm not saying he was.

Mearls: And that's throughout the system. We have a Specialty that lets you pick up some healign abilities. 

Thompson: Yeah. We're going to want to continue to expand that.

Mearls: We don't expect teh sargeant of the guard or captain of the guard to heal downed warriors.  That's not the default. That's kind of the thing. And then if you say, "Well, he can heal, because he's really this inspiring presence, well then you've just kind of described a bard. Because bards -- the entire schtick of bards -- is that they are really inspiring and they are charismatic. The bard is the guy with panache who -- "Onwward!" That's the bard's deal, isn't it?

Thompson: That's a big part of the bard, I would say. I think there's some desire for a, when you're playing that leader character, to be able to say, "Alright, men! Fight on!" and be the guy leading the charge. To be William Wallace from Braveheart. You want to be that guy. I would not describe a William Wallace-type character as a bard. 

Mearls: But you also wouldn't say he's a healer. I wouldn't. I wouldn't think, if there's a guy whose been gutted, William Wallace gets the guys to freak out and charge and moon the BRitish--

Thompson:  Well...

Mearls: Healing?  If the guy has a broken arm, does William Wallace--

Thompson: William Wallace clearly went and inspired the guy who got his hand cut off to keep fighting. There's that--

Mearls: But his hand didn't grow back. (laughter) Now I'm being a little ridiculous. 

Thompson:  That's literally a cut scene.  Anyway, to bring it back to the warlord, there is a focus that we're tryign to take about the warlord being in the fighter, being the tactical leader, and then I think that if you want to play very much the Fourth Edition warlord, we should have a way for you to build that character. Take the fighter. Take the tactical leader-y fighter and apply a specialty or--

Mearls: A Healer Specialty.  Just like the one piece that's just not there.

Thompson:  And again, we are continuing to-- I talked about the three classes we're in [druid, ranger, paladin], we're going to conitnue with feats and Specialties and stuff like that, until we get the right mix of things. I could see down the road, one of the things we might do is a different take on the healer Specialty. Soemthing that says, okay I've got a fightery leadery guy and a knock on this healer ability and now I'm getting more warlrody 

Mearls: The trick is if you could imagine any character can be an inspiring battlefield presence. To some extent, just like we have , you could take a Specialty to get some light arcane ability, take a Specialty and take some divine ability, this is our feat-based bard type ability. I'm charismatic and I can inspire people through my words. I guess that's what it really comes back to. It's a very bardic thing to me. There's a line between inspiration and tactical cunning. I think where it settles for me is that the fighter can be tactically cunning as a fighter. That's what you've chosen to double down on. If you're the inspiring figure, that feels like a bard to me.  That's what the bard does. 

Thompson: I think that brings in the idea that the fighter is the lord of battle. He is the guy that you want on the battlefield. Than can manifest in a couple of ways. I'm just going to tear through the bad guys with by terible greataxe. Or it could be we want him here because he leads us. He shows us the right tactical options. I think that's a great expression of the fighter. Seeing that combined with other-- I can see a Specialty that is combined with inspring like that. I can see being a fighter and taking some of that Specialty as well. So if you really want to be the guy -- I like warlrods that gave out a lot of benefits and buffs and action-granting and stuff like that, I can see that being very much the inspiring guy Specialty. I don't really have a name for it yet.

Mearls: That might actualy be the Leader Specialty if we don't have a leader Specialty right now. 

Thompson: We do not.  We kicked that oen around before

Mearls:  We had talked about taking the roles and just making those Specialties.

Thompson: We have a Defender Specialty right now, which does a lot of very defendery things.  I think that's another exciting thing that we're doing with out Specialties is that Ican take my cleric and give him the Leader Specialty once we have one.  Right now, you can take a cleric and give him the Defender Specialty and he works great. I think that's one of those things where we have disentangled some of the things of what you do in the game from your role. I can see building a action-granting and buff focused warlord with fighter, using the tactical options, plus leader specialty. Or a mix of the two. Fighter with tactical options plus half of the leader specialty plus half of the healer specialty. We want to be flexible here so if you want to focus on healing you can. If you want a focus on leadership you can. If you want to do something totally different, you can. You can be the tactical guy that takes the defender specialty. That's interesting too. I get right in the thick of things and I protect my friends while they follow my tactical order. There's something exciting there about this hybrid approach as well. 


My big fear remains: I don't think that this approach will allow the range of warlord archetypes that I would like to be able to play.  I understand the reasoning behind folding warlord into the fighter, but it does appear that doing so means a very watered down approach to that type of character,

I am less concerned about the martial healing idea being relegated to a specialty as I never felt the martial healing was a crucial part of the warlord and I agree with Mearls and Thomson that "field medic" is something that was pasted on mechanically.

I also see the idea of a Leader being a Specialty.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.
Mike Mearls on Warlords on Twitter

February 25:  "Long and short of it is that there should be a tactical/commander guy in the game, but it might not have healing and might be a type of ftr"

March 6th (in response to the question, "Why can't Warlords heal an abstraction?"): "Should a master strategist heal?"

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Quoting the following:

Mearls: Healing?  If the guy has a broken arm, does William Wallace--

Thompson: William Wallace clearly went and inspired the guy who got his hand cut off to keep fighting. There's that--

Mearls: But his hand didn't grow back. (laughter) Now I'm being a little ridiculous.


I know they were just casually talking but Mearls has a point, does he actually 'heal'? No to me it sounds like the soldier was down to 0 HP and Wallace (warlord) gave him the Diehard feat to continue pushing on... I just really think abstract healing can be treated differently perhaps through diehard like abilities or temporary hp?

So, apparently Wallace can't 'grow his hand back', but 8h of sleep can. Interesting.

[<o>]
My big fear remains: I don't think that this approach will allow the range of warlord archetypes that I would like to be able to play.  I understand the reasoning behind folding warlord into the fighter, but it does appear that doing so means a very watered down approach to that type of character,

I am less concerned about the martial healing idea being relegated to a specialty as I never felt the martial healing was a crucial part of the warlord and I agree with Mearls and Thomson that "field medic" is something that was pasted on mechanically.

I also see the idea of a Leader being a Specialty.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.



I am convinced that 'Specialties', 'Fighting Styles' and 'Rogue Schemes' are but a shadow of what they will trully represent in the actual game.

I just don't think we will see their true potential in the playtest... especially not this early in development.

If Fighting Styles can carry more weight, I think they can easily make a warlord... just as a Assassin could as  Rogue Scheme.

So, apparently Wallace can't 'grow his hand back', but 8h of sleep can. Interesting.



Alright.  Honestly now.  I chuckled loud enough to wake my son.

So, y'know, that's funny, but I hate you.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)

So, apparently Wallace can't 'grow his hand back', but 8h of sleep can. Interesting.




My response is "When D&D has wounds which sever your pcs hands get back to me"
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


So, apparently Wallace can't 'grow his hand back', but 8h of sleep can. Interesting.




Which shows the designers don't understand their own game.
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!

There's another way to look at this.


If there are serveral specialties present, and several schemes about in several classes, then I think you could play an even wider range of archetypes than the 4e warlord can (on the face of it. This is going from my reading through all the warlord options in my down time at work today and yesterday).


He also mentioned there's heavy crossover with the bard, and looking at the 4e books I see a heavy crossover with the bard.


What if what they mean is the 4e warlord as people tend to picture it is this ubertactically focused front line guy. Strip roles off of classes and really, you've got a fighter that's taken certain options. But that doesn't mean that the various warlord stuff needs to be restricted to fighters. I suspect we'll see a lot of bardic stuff too, since he also said that inspiring presences on the battlefield are very bardic. So maybe you can be a bard that doesn't actually sing.


I played a 3e bard with perform (oratory) for a while. He was totally the inspiring leader type, given to delivering passionate speeches and inspiring words in battle. That's totally a warlord thing in 4e.

Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.

The thing is...the game need a viable replacement for magical healing...we need to get rid of the..."it is asumed we need a cleric on a party if we want healing that doesn't involve buying alots of potions"...
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!

There's another way to look at this.


If there are serveral specialties present, and several schemes about in several classes, then I think you could play an even wider range of archetypes than the 4e warlord can (on the face of it. This is going from my reading through all the warlord options in my down time at work today and yesterday).




Actually no (though you can be forgiven for not knowing this).  The Warlord worked incredibly well with the 4e Hybrid system because of all the lazy powers, which meant that you didn't need Strength.  It hybridized especially with with Int- or Cha-based classes because then it would get great riders.  So you could take a lot of different characters and just give them a big chunk of Warlord.
I would disagree, wrecan; I think there are essentially two Warlord/Marshal builds, as it were, and both could be fit into the Fighter, if enough maneuver choices are allowed. 

There's the Master Strategist, and there's the Warrior Therapist who shouts at you until you get up, like Micky Goldmill, Rocky's Coach. 

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

My big fear remains: I don't think that this approach will allow the range of warlord archetypes that I would like to be able to play.  I understand the reasoning behind folding warlord into the fighter, but it does appear that doing so means a very watered down approach to that type of character,

I am less concerned about the martial healing idea being relegated to a specialty as I never felt the martial healing was a crucial part of the warlord and I agree with Mearls and Thomson that "field medic" is something that was pasted on mechanically.

I also see the idea of a Leader being a Specialty.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.



Thanks for posting the transcript.

It sounds like the push for Warlord is conceptual.  That my lead to a mechanical crash for fans of a Warlord class.  But conceptually speaking, a player still can get a bunch of warlord archetypes by adding targetted background and specialties on a root class/scheme combination.  Arguably, with the root established as warlord, you probably can get more variety but there is a lot you can get from a root class that also grants something outside of the box like spellcasting.  

Example classses absorbing warlord schtickness: (class/background/specialty)
Fighter(Trade combat maneuver for Cunning leader stuff)/Knight/Healing Feats

Rogue(Warlordy Scheme with Warlordy Tricks)/Noble/Healing Feats

Cleric(Rework Warbringer Domain)/Guide/Leadership Feats

Wizard(Warmage)/Sage/Leadership Feats

It phases me less I suppose because when I play a character I look for some mechanical benefits but ultimately I must play the concept.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

From a purely mechanical standpoint, it's very difficult to make an effective character focused on support without healing. Healing tends to be necessary, and having to have a healer on top of a non-healing support doesn't make for good party synergy.

A non-healing Warlord is just making party building unnecessarily clunky. There shouldn't be 5th wheel classes, and that is what a non-healing Warlord would end up.
...whatever
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.


First of all, I am not defending the choice to carve up the warlord this way.  I want a warlord class.

That said, presumably, you'd take some feats from Leader and some from Healer, and combine that with the tactical strategist meneuvers in the fighter.  Then you'd have a warlord with tactical maneuvers, some martial healign, and some action-granting from the leader specialty. 
Unless the healer specialty can completely replace the Cleric, it isn't enough.
...whatever
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.


First of all, I am not defending the choice to carve up the warlord this way.  I want a warlord class.

That said, presumably, you'd take some feats from Leader and some from Healer, and combine that with the tactical strategist meneuvers in the fighter.  Then you'd have a warlord with tactical maneuvers, some martial healign, and some action-granting from the leader specialty. 



Sorry, I wasn't implying you don't want the Warlord as a class.  I think if they are going to do this with the Warlord, they could easily carve up the Ranger and Paladin in a similar fashion.  For the Ranger, just take the Scout Background and the Two-Weapon or Bow Specialties.  But they won't do that, because that would interfere with the Appeal to Old Editions Above All Else Circle Jerk.  
CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
I would disagree, wrecan; I think there are essentially two Warlord/Marshal builds, as it were, and both could be fit into the Fighter, if enough maneuver choices are allowed. 

There's the Master Strategist, and there's the Warrior Therapist who shouts at you until you get up, like Micky Goldmill, Rocky's Coach. 


I disagree.  i think there are four warlord archetypes, and I don't even consider the Warrior Therapist to be an archetype.

I think there's:

Vanguard: The instructive warrior who uses his attacks to show allies how better to take down the foe.
Grandmaster: The tactician who sees the battlefield as a whole and uses a variety of gambits and strategies to manipulate positioning and movement to turn the tide of battle.
Captain: The leader of men who shores up his allies' weaknesses and enhances their strengths.
Hector: The fearsome warrior who uses his brutality to manipulate the enemy into making mistakes and breaking ranks. 

And you can have your Warrior Therapist as well, if you like.

Now, I could see each of these as a set of fighter maneuvers.  But that would mean four (or five) separate warlord maneuver chains.  Now, as CartT and others point out, the game could begin with only one or two chains and add more in magazine articles or supplements.  I'd be fine with that.  But the podcast, as quoted above, doesn't indicate that sort of mentality.  The curent attitude (and one that could and hopefully will change) is that one would need only one warlord chain.  

They seem to think only the Grandmaster is a bona fide archetype.  The Captain is going to be a Leader Specialty that anybody can take.  There is no Vanguard and there is no Hector.  And the Warrior Therapist is going to be the Healer Specialty.

Well, I guess I know what my first article pitch will be after 5e releases.
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.



You forget that Specialties are simply a feat delivery system. How do you take both Specialties? You pick the feats that match the character you have in mind from the two Specialties, which this method of character creation could become more fleshed out as the playtest progresses. Hopefully.

4E had combat roles. Specifically the Leader role, geared towards support (in combat).
Now, as things went all Leaders happened to do healing as well, but things could have been designed differently and the sytem would have been able to support that, I believe, like having a non-healing Leader. 

5E has just two combat roles: damage or heal. If you fall into 'heal', with this kind of design that's pretty much what you'll be doing full time in combat (let's not kid ourselves thinking otherwise), which is a no go for a Warlord concept.
That leaves damage, hence the fighter sub-class approach. But that doesn't give us a warlord either; it may be called like that but it will have little in common with the tactical support class we had in 4e.

So, I think Mearls is just realizing the truth here: they won't be able to accomodate this playstyle in the new edition. Better not even pretend and handle the concept as build instead.     
The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.


I have two issues (maybe more by the time I finish the post?):

First, ignoring the "inspiring leader" aspect of the Warlord (and Marshal - let's not pretend that the 'inspiring' part was new to 4e [says a guy who is apparently one of the 10 people to ever own the Miniatures Handbook 'for reals']) seems to me to be cutting off the poor guy's left arm, and over-emphasizing the right.  Why is the tactical strategist healing?  I don't know.  But I do know why the Warlord (and Marshal) were "healing" - they weren't just "the tactical strategist".

Second, why is it that "the Bard inspires" means "so the Warlord can't"?  Do we say "The Rogue skills, so the Ranger can't"?  (I certainly hope not.)  Do we say "The Barbarian smashes, so the Fighter/Paladin/Monk can't"?  (Again, I certainly hope not.)  Moreover, why would "inspiration" not associated with any kind of magical talent (which is an element that the Bard has taken on over the years) not have a place?

And finally (yes, I found a third thing), I have an issue with moving "healing" or "leadership" over to specialties (exclusively, at least).  Well, for one, I think it continues the shameful waste of what could have been a fun game element via Themes, but for two, it makes the character concept "cost" character resources in a wholly undesirable (to me) way.  This isn't just a "warlord" thing - if they took the Cleric and moved its healing off into a "healing" specialty (exclusively), I would expect the same kind of complaints (only from a different - and likely larger - group).
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.



You forget that Specialties are simply a feat delivery system. How do you take both Specialties? You pick the feats that match the character you have in mind from the two Specialties, which this method of character creation could become more fleshed out as the playtest progresses. Hopefully.



I didn't forget anything.  As it stands, characters get four feats.  It is unlikely I could achieve a functional Warlord that heals, grants actions, and directs allies in just four feats.  Especially if I want that Warlord to do things like effectively wield two weapons, or cast a few minor spells.  The opportunity cost to achieve the Warlord as they are describing is not in place for any other PHB1 class.  They need to either increase the number of feats, or move the Warlord into a full class.  But, since they won't increase the number of feats (because they need to bend over all the fans of newer editions), they need to move the Warlord into a full class.
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The fact that warlord's very existence is a contentious subject internally further erodes any faith I have in this design team. I'm not against other classes being able to build a warlordish leader through feats and special class features, but the point of having a class system is that a player can choose an archetype and trust that it fulfills that function. Because this doesn't even occur to the designers and this latest playtest represents almost a year of their efforts, I'm not sure why I'm supposed to expect that this is going to get much better.
This all seems like them setup for them to announce fighter is just going to get more feats. effectively since fighters will have two specialties they can just have a warlord specialty since fighters are going to have twice as many feats they can purchase warlord and healer with them.

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There's another way to look at this.


If there are serveral specialties present, and several schemes about in several classes, then I think you could play an even wider range of archetypes than the 4e warlord can (on the face of it. This is going from my reading through all the warlord options in my down time at work today and yesterday).




The Warlord is one of the most... hybridable... of the 4e classes both mechanically and thematically. They would be hard pressed to manage a wider amount but the goal of being able to interact well and create that wide range of archetypes should certainly be there. 
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Personally, I'd like it if they designed a game that worked without a healer in the party.  I don't really think letting all the other classes pretend to be clerics is the solution, the solution is to eliminate the need for healing.  Make a party with a second fighter in place of a cleric just as viable as the standard four: don't make the fourth player choose between cleric, bard-healer, and warlord-healer, that's better than making him play a cleric but he should be able to play anything without gimping the party (and yes, I know, the DM can just compensate for a gimped party, but don't pretend the peer pressure doesn't exist at many tables or will disappear if only you can educate everyone else to your point of view).  For that matter, he should be able to play a cleric that doesn't heal without having to constantly defend himself with the much maligned "I'm not that kind of cleric."  

Then, the tactical, non-healing warlord could exist as more than a fifth wheel.   
Unless the healer specialty can completely replace the Cleric, it isn't enough.


This a thousand times.

Of course an inspirational character is supposed to "heal". But "heal" in the context of "martial healing" is the wrong word. The effect I want to see is not "heal" but "get hp back", which is different. If the group I play with has no magical healing capabilities but can heal the martial way, I can always narrate the loss of hp not as big, bleeding wounds, but exhaustion, lack of luck etc. with this in mind. This is easy. And gaining hp back can be narrated easily in this concept of pure martial healing.

Which is the reason why there is no resemblance with the Bard. The Bard has always used musical magic to heal. I want non-magical healing.
Also, we already have a healing specialty and it is very weak compared to what the cleric can do with spells. I want a mechanical representation of the amount of hp a cleric can bring back, just in martial healing. Also, a Warlord should be able to remove status effects through martial healing. Like the spells.

And together with tactical options, say through special Warlord maneuvers, this will make a great class.
And a class like this offers more meaningful character choices, make a party less reliant on clerics (a big plus in the year 2013), makes a party more durable and therefore more heroic.

I get the feeling that this view is not shared by the designers. Instead, I fear we will never see meaningful non-magical healing. Which is not something that fits my style of play.
I am left to ask: Who is paying your RPG-bills at the moment, WotC? The red icon with the dragon in it will tell you.
Please, guys, let's not overanalyze the lost hand remark.  Both Mearls and Thompson were laughing at the time and not taking their comments seriously.  Neither of them think that there's broken bones or severed limbs int he game.

It's an easy target but a false one.

The issue is whether D&D-style healing is really a necessary component of being a tactical strategist.  on that point I happend ot agree with Mearls.  The martial healing -- a trope I fully supoprt -- is tacked onto the strategist.  I like the idea that inspirational healign is something that amnybody sould specialize in.  That could be a Specialty, which is what Thompson indicated would happen with a Healer Specialty.

The whole diversion about lost limbs and broken bones is a red herring.



How exactly do I take the Healer Specialty and the Leader Specialty?  Because that is the only way I could achieve a Warlord that is remotely on par with the 4E Warlord.


First of all, I am not defending the choice to carve up the warlord this way.  I want a warlord class.

That said, presumably, you'd take some feats from Leader and some from Healer, and combine that with the tactical strategist meneuvers in the fighter.  Then you'd have a warlord with tactical maneuvers, some martial healign, and some action-granting from the leader specialty. 



Sorry, I wasn't implying you don't want the Warlord as a class.  I think if they are going to do this with the Warlord, they could easily carve up the Ranger and Paladin in a similar fashion.  For the Ranger, just take the Scout Background and the Two-Weapon or Bow Specialties.  But they won't do that, because that would interfere with the Appeal to Old Editions Above All Else Circle Jerk.  



I too would like to see the warlord class.  Absorbing the ranger and paladin can be done just as easy.  But some of the undertone for absorbing the warlord is that there is a definate core shift from the ruleset that made the warlord shine.  If those core rules are gone, then the warlord can be assimulated into concepts that fit better within the proposed rules set.  That really has nothing to do with throwing bones to older players. 

I would prefer not to see a warlord that is a charity addition just to make people happy that their favorite class was added or to maximize profit, all the while other concept/combos are working within the rules set, maybe even better than the warlord class itself.  But if they do that to increase sales or whatever, than something like adding a class won't really chaff my hide.

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So, apparently Wallace can't 'grow his hand back', but 8h of sleep can. Interesting.




LOL

I think it is actually worse reading the transcript. The problem with moving so many historical "classes" into "specialties", is not just that you lose your choices just to approximate an old class, its that the whole feat and specialty system basically sucks right now. Feats are way too spread out. The choices that are there are not really iconic feeling to begin with, and don't mesh well with established class concepts except on the shallowest of levels ("I am an AMBUSHER! DURRRRR!" "Me, I am a SKULKER!"). I think most players will just pick what feats they want rather than stick with the suggested ones anyway; the feat system lacks the cohesion of a class, it is more awkward. Finally, it will take you multiple levels, perhaps months or even years of play, to even get the PC to what should be the starting point of a class.

I would prefer lots of classes with lots of varied core mechanics. THEN I can add on specialties, etc. I don't want to be stuck with a Fighter chassis just to play anything with armor.
A few things bug me:

  1. With the way they're developing each of the non-core classes, I'm somewhat doubtful on how exactly they define classes outside of the context of the Core Four.  Thus, it's fairly likely that every class that hasn't appeared in 0E would end up as a build or a specialty (see: Archivist, Warden, Invoker, Bladesinger, Warlord/Marshal).


  • In the section where they discuss how the Fighter should be the "lord of battle" and how the Warlord is basically a different style of being a "lord of battle" (as the Fighter is thought of as the guy who rips the enemy a new airhole, while the Warlord is the more inspirational warrior), I sincerely have to ask: why should the Warlord be merged with the Fighter, yet at the same time the Barbarian is a completely separate class in spite of the fact that both the Fighter and Barbarian occupy the exact same design space?


    • Or should we assume that Barbarians are by default inferior to fighters in the battlefield?



  • Because they're tackling the class conceptualization in a manner that focuses far less on possible player participation and far more into the "how the class fits into the world", I fear that this is going to end up with trap options, compensated (barely) only by Specialties if the DM allows them.


    • I'd like to point out how they talk about the Warlord having mostly a Fighter thing with some leader-y Bard thing going on, and how the supposedly-unrealistic healing doesn't work in spite of the abstract nature of hit points and damage.  I do wonder: how do you make PCs press on without having to add new rules or resort to healing?  Is it by allowing PCs to fight with negative HP, causing them to create a hilarious, yet likely disturbing image of PCs getting up, attacking, then collapsing at the end of their attack from lack of hit points?

    • Come to think of it, how often do they talk about group empowerment (not just the DM, but the player as well)


    I don't mind the Fighter merging with the Warlord provided that the Fighter-as-Warlord is allowed to contribute outside of combat at the same level as that of other classes.

    - - - - -
    The Fighter-as-Warlord concept isn't really new; Tome of Battle gave us the White Raven powers (which used to be one of the schools the Warblade and Crusader could access I think [too sleepy to check right now], and some of which were absorbed by the 4E Warlord), and high CHA Fighters (that didn't become Paladins) from any edition of D&D would basically be charismatic leaders.

    What really causes me concern about this involves overall system design:


    • lack of flexibility in class features

    • non-magic user class powers restricted in use

    • optional nature of specialization

    • specialization and class occupying the same design space (archetypes)


    It's already been pointed out that Parry is a useless class feature for an archer-style Fighter, but why aren't there alternatives to Parry?
    Magic-users get to swap powers on a daily basis while non-magic users are stuck with whatever they chose unless the DM invokes Rule 0.
    Specialization is so cramped for space, also represents archetypes (like classes) and at the same time unecessary for the game to function. 
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    My 2 cents:

    (1) The only way to make the Warlord work as a fighter variant is to do a whole lot more to flesh out the fighter as a base class.  This is true for pretty much all of the classes at the moment.  There aren't enough options and those options are not impactful enough to be changed out for class-defining abilities.  If you give a variant class-defining abilities that are powerful enough to characterize the variant, then the variant will end up being better than the base class.  I could see a fighter-variant taking the place of the warlord, but not with the current iteration of the fighter class.  

    (2) Healing by inspiration works.  Hitpoints are an abstraction, not a true-to-form measure of how much blood a character can lose before passing out.  However, if that part really bothers someone, then the Warlord could give out temporary hitpoints rather than true healing. He rallies his allies, they gain temporary hit points with a duration attached... this has the effect of emboldening his allies and avoids the healing argument.  He never improves anyone's injuries, but gives them a buffer so they can fight on.

    (3) The sorcerer was a mechanical wizard variant.  Over time, however, the sorcerer has become its own class.  That is the cool thing about classes, you can build on them.  The pathfinder sorcerer is different enough to justify its existence.  If the concern about the warlord is that it is too similar to the fighter, then maybe the warlord needs to be fleshed out more as a class.  The current thought-process of the Devs is to minimize.  Take only what is fundamentally necessary and put that in.  From that perspective, a lot of classes will die before DDN is released.  Once upon a time the barbarian was just a fighter variant, should that have stayed true?  Or was the concept good enough to build into a unique class?  I lean toward the latter conclusion. Sometimes, if something doesn't seem unique enough, the onus is on thhe developers to make it so.  The question is not "does this need a home" the question is "Can we represent this concept  better as its own class?".  If you said swordsman, duelist, halberdier, hoplite, gladiator.... I would say go ahead and make a variant.  But you have to draw the line somewhere.  Warlord is a good place to start.
    A question for all of you, considering some of the comments in this thread:

    If Specialties were to be separated from feats and made into two distinct things, how would you feel about that, and how would you like to see it done?

    Mearls:  I guess my big thing is, would you, in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, if you pictured a guy who is a cunning tactial leader, would you expect that guy to heal you? 

    Thompson: I wouldn't expect him to automatically be able to know how to heal somebody. But, I could see that character who is more of a field medic. 

    Mearls: He could be a healer. 

    Thompson: He could be. I'm not saying he was.

    Mearls: And that's throughout the system. We have a Specialty that lets you pick up some healign abilities. 

    Thompson: Yeah. We're going to want to continue to expand that.

    Mearls: We don't expect teh sargeant of the guard or captain of the guard to heal downed warriors.  That's not the default. That's kind of the thing. And then if you say, "Well, he can heal, because he's really this inspiring presence, well then you've just kind of described a bard. Because bards -- the entire schtick of bards -- is that they are really inspiring and they are charismatic. The bard is the guy with panache who -- "Onwward!" That's the bard's deal, isn't it?

    Thompson: That's a big part of the bard, I would say. I think there's some desire for a, when you're playing that leader character, to be able to say, "Alright, men! Fight on!" and be the guy leading the charge. To be William Wallace from Braveheart. You want to be that guy. I would not describe a William Wallace-type character as a bard. 

    Mearls: But you also wouldn't say he's a healer. I wouldn't. I wouldn't think, if there's a guy whose been gutted, William Wallace gets the guys to freak out and charge and moon the BRitish--

    Thompson:  Well...

    Mearls: Healing?  If the guy has a broken arm, does William Wallace--

    Thompson: William Wallace clearly went and inspired the guy who got his hand cut off to keep fighting. There's that--

    Mearls: But his hand didn't grow back. (laughter) Now I'm being a little ridiculous. 

    Thompson:  That's literally a cut scene.  Anyway, to bring it back to the warlord, there is a focus that we're tryign to take about the warlord being in the fighter, being the tactical leader, and then I think that if you want to play very much the Fourth Edition warlord, we should have a way for you to build that character. Take the fighter. Take the tactical leader-y fighter and apply a specialty or--

    Mearls: A Healer Specialty.  Just like the one piece that's just not there.





    I don't think this is a red herring.  Of course Mearls knows that HP damage doesn't mean broken bones and severed hands.  But the very fact that, the minute Thompson mentioned healing, Mearls went to physical wounds suggests that he thinks that's the only kind of healing.  It's hard to read this without getting the sense that Mearls is adamantly against the very concept of martial healing and doesn't want it anywhere near his game.  He's recognized that "martial healing" isn't "healing" in the traditional english language sense of the word, but he doesn't seem to have recognized that HP healing doesn't have anything to do with the traditional english language sense of the word either.  I don't really get the impression from this that he's fine with martial characters restoring HP so long as it's clear that it won't regrow your severed hands; rather, I get the the impression that he thinks only magic can let you regain HP and inspiration should have some other mechanic like acting below 0 HP or something.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand as totally meaningless either.  
    they could easily carve up the Ranger and Paladin in a similar fashion.  For the Ranger, just take the Scout Background and the Two-Weapon or Bow Specialties.  But they won't do that, because that would interfere with the Appeal to Old Editions Above All Else Circle Jerk.  

    I just don't understand the Two-weapon Fighting and Bow Specialty association with the Ranger class. These have nothing to do with the traditional Ranger, only the later implementations of it. The Ranger's individuality comes from its connection to nature (either a wilderness or an urban focus); through its implementation of animal companions, favored enemies, favored terrain, & tracking (in alphabetical order, not order of relevance or importance; since those could vary from person to person).

    @ Silver_Blaze


    I didn't forget anything.  As it stands, characters get four feats.  It is unlikely I could achieve a functional Warlord that heals, grants actions, and directs allies in just four feats.  Especially if I want that Warlord to do things like effectively wield two weapons, or cast a few minor spells.  The opportunity cost to achieve the Warlord as they are describing is not in place for any other PHB1 class.  They need to either increase the number of feats, or move the Warlord into a full class.  But, since they won't increase the number of feats (because they need to bend over all the fans of newer editions), they need to move the Warlord into a full class.

    Why don't you play a Cleric with the two-weapon specialty? Rename the spells so that Bless and Aid are Inspiration and Spiritual Hammer is Tactical Command. Done, you have your Warlord.
    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand as totally meaningless either.  


    I think you're reading too much,

    Mearls is making a completely valid point that -- even though hit points is abstract -- until 4e, healing has never represented inspiration and has never been described as abstract.  It's always been described as physical.  Even bardic inspirational healign was magical and physical.  Now, people can reflavor it as abstract, and frankly, I don't think it makes sense otherwise.  But until 4e, that's not how it was described.  

    And this also gets into his initial point about warlords.  Are be describing an archetype we are trying to represent with mechanics, or are we describing a pool of mechanics we are trying to shovel into the warlord basket?

    Is martial healing a necessary component of the warlord archetype?  If the warlord is supposed to be a master of strategy and leader of men, then no.  

    If we are describing a walord, however, as a class that allows a party not to have a cleric, then the warlord's not an archetype -- it's an excuse.

    I think the walord is an archetype and while I'm not averse to martial healing being one of the tools in his arsenal, it's certainly not a major or necesary tool given his archetype. 
    they could easily carve up the Ranger and Paladin in a similar fashion.  For the Ranger, just take the Scout Background and the Two-Weapon or Bow Specialties.  But they won't do that, because that would interfere with the Appeal to Old Editions Above All Else Circle Jerk.  

    I just don't understand the Two-weapon Fighting and Bow Specialty association with the Ranger class. These have nothing to do with the traditional Ranger, only the later implementations of it. The Ranger's individuality comes from its connection to nature (either a wilderness or an urban focus); through its implementation of animal companions, favored enemies, favored terrain, & tracking (in alphabetical order, not order of relevance or importance; since those could vary from person to person).




    And why can't these things be absorbed into Specialties?
    CORE MORE, NOT CORE BORE!
    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand as totally meaningless either.  


    I think you're reading too much,

    Mearls is making a completely valid point that -- even though hit points is abstract -- until 4e, healing has never represented inspiration and has never been described as abstract.  It's always been described as physical.  Even bardic inspirational healign was magical and physical.  Now, people can reflavor it as abstract, and frankly, I don't think it makes sense otherwise.  But until 4e, that's not how it was described.  

    And this also gets into his initial point about warlords.  Are be describing an archetype we are trying to represent with mechanics, or are we describing a pool of mechanics we are trying to shovel into the warlord basket?

    Is martial healing a necessary component of the warlord archetype?  If the warlord is supposed to be a master of strategy and leader of men, then no.  

    If we are describing a walord, however, as a class that allows a party not to have a cleric, then the warlord's not an archetype -- it's an excuse.

    I think the walord is an archetype and while I'm not averse to martial healing being one of the tools in his arsenal, it's certainly not a major or necesary tool given his archetype. 


    Warlords are tactical and inspirational. Not necessarily in equal amounts, but both are present. While hp aren't tactical, abstract hp and healing fits in nicely with inspiration.

    And what is so wrong about it being a mechanical justification. This is a game we're playing here. I see little appeal in Next being a crappier game mechanically just to avoid offending the sensibilities of people stuck in the past. I certainly don't see the same consideration being given to 4E fans.
    ...whatever