Rich Baker on his Warlord

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Found this over at ENworld. As you might notice, there are some very interesting mentions of multiclassing in 4e.

Not much going on this week other than working like crazy on the maps for adventure H2, so… this week I think I’ll tell you about my character!

I’ve been playing in Dave Noonan’s Thursday night Eberron game for a couple of years now. Back in May we switched the game to 4th Edition, so this is one of the longest-running 4e playtests around. Many rules have changed many times in the last few months, so I’ve reinvented my character at least three or four times over. I learn something new each time (and I think I’m getting faster at it!) Karhun began in the 3rd Edition era of Dave’s game as an illumian warblade/warmage. These days, he’s a 10th-level human warlord.

Race is pretty simple: We don’t have illumians developed for 4e yet, and they’re pretty low priority. Illumians are pretty close to human anyway, so Karhun became a human (although I considered half-elf just because they multiclass well).

I thought about converting Karhun to a fighter instead of a warlord. After all, warblades would be in the defender role, just like fighters are. However, my desire to keep in touch with some arcane spellcasting meant that Karhun would need to multiclass into wizard (no warmage yet either), and thus could really use a good Intelligence score. Fighters have no real use for a high Intelligence, but warlords certainly do, and warlord abilities are often reminiscent of the White Raven maneuvers from Tome of Battle—Karhun had a couple of those maneuvers in his 3e incarnation. So it wasn’t entirely crazy to change up roles, and make Karhun into a warlord.

(At this point I’d tell you exactly what we’re up to with multiclassing so that I could explain Karhun’s wizardliness, but I’m afraid I can’t quite yet. Suffice it to say that multiclassing isn’t like it was in 3e. That’s as much as I can say right now.)

Karhun’s ability scores are: Str 20, Con 14, Dex 8, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 14. I set my Strength high because most warlord powers rely on melee attacks, and it’s useful just for dishing out some extra melee damage anyway. Warlords also have class features and powers that make use of Intelligence and Charisma, so those are good choices for my next-best stats (and of course a good Int helps out with being a part-time wizard, as you might expect). I can “hide” Karhun’s poor Dexterity score by choosing heavy armor for him, so my Armor Class is passable. And Karhun’s got the Toughness feat (much better than the 3e version) and a decent Con, so his hit points are pretty good too.

Overall, Karhun is a pretty good “second tank” in the party. He’s a competent healer, like any leader, but I’ve chosen mostly offensive powers because our group happens to have a healing-freak cleric in it (the player actually prefers to spend his action on a heal than swing at a bad guy). I use Karhun’s wizard powers for dealing with foes at range and nifty utility effects, but most of my character emphasis is on warlord. My warlord powers help to increase the party’s damage output, and get Karhun right in the thick of the melee. For example, one of my favorite warlord powers is Hammer and Anvil. The warlord takes a swing at a bad guy, and he picks an ally who threatens that same target and grants that ally an immediate attack against the bad guy. Lots of fun!

Anyway, that seems like plenty for now… and I’ll spare you the description of my second-guessing about whether I should have gone wizard first and then multiclassed into warlord instead of the other way around.

  • Mention of wizard powers and multiclass, but no actual wizard levels
  • Half-elfs multiclass well? Do races multiclass on different terms?
  • Sadly the "fighter have no use of int" regim is back
  • Edit: Str, Int and Cha = 4e, the end of SAD?
Hmm.
Half-elves multiclassing well- Tick, just as it was previous to 3E.
Illumians a low priority- that scores a tick. Dumbest race ever.
Dexterity and armour- meh, unchanged.
Other ability dependencies- meh, essentially unchanged. The designers seem happy enough focussing on characters as numbers on a page.
Warlords have healing- ??? They're supposedly a martial class so this gets an X. (Go! Feel better you!- SAGA second wind?)
Hammer and Anvil- doesn't excite me. I'd rather have 2 attacks as an ability than grant someone else a free extra.
Toughness improved- tick
Multiclassing- no information there, really.
I still haven't gotten over the class name, either.

Sandulax

  • Mention of wizard powers and multiclass, but no actual wizard levels
  • Half-elfs multiclass well? Do races multiclass on different terms?
  • Sadly the "fighter have no use of int" regim is back
  • Edit: Str, Int and Cha = 4e, the end of SAD?

  • He uses wizard powers, and intends to multiclass as wizard, while using heavy armor.
Warlords have healing- ??? They're supposedly a martial class so this gets an X. (Go! Feel better you!- SAGA second wind?)

That's what leader's do. And I'd still rather have that than the cleric's quasi-monopoly on healing from 3e. You know, you could heal as druid or a bard, but it wasn't nearly enough in higher levels. (Though, of course, we've seen no evidence that the warlord will be able to compete in the healing department, but it's something to hope for).
Hammer and Anvil- doesn't excite me. I'd rather have 2 attacks as an ability than grant someone else a free extra.

That's because you don't have the leader spirit.;)

Anyway, when you are not the prime attacker, it's more advantageous to grant an extra attack to the guy who is than to keep it to yourself.
That's what leader's do. And I'd still rather have that than the cleric's quasi-monopoly on healing from 3e. You know, you could heal as druid or a bard, but it wasn't nearly enough in higher levels. (Though, of course, we've seen no evidence that the warlord will be able to compete in the healing department, but it's something to hope for).That's because you don't have the leader spirit.;)

Anyway, when you are not the prime attacker, it's more advantageous to grant an extra attack to the guy who is than to keep it to yourself.

Not to mention that granting an attack to an ally adjacent to your opponent, as opposed to simply attacking twice, requires you to use some tactical positioning and party teamwork.

And that's a good thing.
Str, Int and Cha = 4e, the end of SAD?

I certainly hope so, as you'll have noted if you've read the thread on SAD vs. MAD in 4E.
That's what leader's do. And I'd still rather have that than the cleric's quasi-monopoly on healing from 3e. You know, you could heal as druid or a bard, but it wasn't nearly enough in higher levels. (Though, of course, we've seen no evidence that the warlord will be able to compete in the healing department, but it's something to hope for).That's because you don't have the leader spirit.;)

Anyway, when you are not the prime attacker, it's more advantageous to grant an extra attack to the guy who is than to keep it to yourself.

If your Druid above level 10 or so isn't out healing everything else, you were not even trying. The spontaneous Summon Nature's Ally spell is effing broken. Cast it to summon unicorns, getting 3 castings of Heal per casting, at higher levels you get more unicorns, and more healing... as well as flanking creatures.
"Anyway, that seems like plenty for now… and I’ll spare you the description of my second-guessing about whether I should have gone wizard first and then multiclassed into warlord instead of the other way around. "

Did he take a level or two in wizard or not?

As for the SAD/MAD issue, I believe much like Saga (and ToB classes); no character will only be able to rely on one ability score.
Did he take a level or two in wizard or not?

I learn something new each time (and I think I’m getting faster at it!) Karhun began in the 3rd Edition era of Dave’s game as an illumian warblade/warmage. These days, he’s a 10th-level human warlord.

Emphasise mine
If your Druid above level 10 or so isn't out healing everything else, you were not even trying. The spontaneous Summon Nature's Ally spell is effing broken. Cast it to summon unicorns, getting 3 castings of Heal per casting, at higher levels you get more unicorns, and more healing... as well as flanking creatures.

My bad, I wasn't clear. As you said, the nature's ally spell is out of control, and the devs did not intend for that spell to be a part of the druids healing capabilities.

The fact that we have to depend on something the devs didn't notice in order to heal enough is... well, disappointing.
My bad, I wasn't clear. As you said, the nature's ally spell is out of control, and the devs did not intend for that spell to be a part of the druids healing capabilities.

The fact that we have to depend on something the devs didn't notice in order to heal enough is... well, disappointing.

Its the little oversights like that which leads to druids being broken no matter what role they try to fill, is why the druid needed to be sidelined for a proper profile. Maybe, even split into two or three other classes.
Its the little oversights like that which leads to druids being broken no matter what role they try to fill, is why the druid needed to be sidelined for a proper profile. Maybe, even split into two or three other classes.

I don't think splitting it up is as necessary as determining what the core of the class is, and rebuilding it around serving the purposes of that chewy center. I would like to see them run with the idea of a class that can shapeshift, and tone the spellcasting abilities way down.
Maybe he picked an arcane power source to help him fufill his leadership role?

MMV does have 2 Hobgoblins, that have an extraordinary ability called "Arcane Talent", so they are casters based of their hit die.

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

I don't think splitting it up is as necessary as determining what the core of the class is, and rebuilding it around serving the purposes of that chewy center. I would like to see them run with the idea of a class that can shapeshift, and tone the spellcasting abilities way down.

Depending on the focus chosen, the druid will go into several new roles.

The shapeshifter style of character would be more of a defender or a striker depending on what access to abilities the character has. The differance is how much grapple/bear compared to prowl/cat (to use WoW terminology).

The summoner style of druid is more of a controller.

The healer/nature's friend is more of a leader.

That makes the druid possible to be re-done as four new classes and still have each class have its own feel.
Depending on the focus chosen, the druid will go into several new roles.

The shapeshifter style of character would be more of a defender or a striker depending on what access to abilities the character has. The differance is how much grapple/bear compared to prowl/cat (to use WoW terminology).

The summoner style of druid is more of a controller.

The healer/nature's friend is more of a leader.

That makes the druid possible to be re-done as four new classes and still have each class have its own feel.

The summoner and healer characters are already being done, with warlock filling the first role and cleric and warlord the second (and bard will probably be in there when it sees print as well). This leaves pretty much the shapeshifter, which IMO makes more sense as a defender than a striker, though that will be up to how it's approached by the designers. Of course, it's always possible that the shapeshifting mechanic will be viewed as too problematic in light of how ridiculous it is in 3.x, and the druid will keep its animal companion and become a divine controller instead. One thing I don't see happening, though, is having multiple "druids."
Well, if WotC does not produce multiple Druids then I expect in 6 months to a year to see the Quinesential Druid book which does have it. This of course will mean that likely 2-4 years later WotC will copy the concept in a Complete Wilderness book which will have the multiple varieties of druid.

Depending on how roles turns out, you may end up seeing Complete books with things like Paladins and Rangers turned into 4 role versions either by smaller press, Dragon Insider, or WotC. Once that starts to happen, you will likely see 4 role versions of every 'class'.

I am though modeling past 3e and prestige class behaviour in making this predicition. Care to take odds that I am wrong in what will be the future of 4e in 2 to 3 years time?;)
One thing I don't see happening, though, is having multiple "druids."

There won't be multiple official druids per say (at least, not at first). What's could really happen is that they split the druid's abilities into other classes.

First they gotta decide what is the core of the druid. Than they take all abilities that relate to that core, put them into a class called druid, and balance 'em up.
The thing is: do that, and you've got like 2/3 of the druid's abilities left unused. So, what do you do? You create new classes (one or 2 perhaps) that have those abilities, but are not called druids.;)
You create new classes (one or 2 perhaps) that have those abilities, but are not called druids.;)

-Druid
-Shaman
-Shapechanger


…?
"Anyway, that seems like plenty for now… and I’ll spare you the description of my second-guessing about whether I should have gone wizard first and then multiclassed into warlord instead of the other way around. "

Did he take a level or two in wizard or not?

As for the SAD/MAD issue, I believe much like Saga (and ToB classes); no character will only be able to rely on one ability score.

The facts are simple: his character DID multiclass into Wizard, but did NOT take any Wizard levels. Multiclassing is no longer TAKING LEVELS of the new class. What is it? It's a spoooooky mystery...
The facts are simple: his character DID multiclass into Wizard, but did NOT take any Wizard levels. Multiclassing is no longer TAKING LEVELS of the new class. What is it? It's a spoooooky mystery...

Whoa, I used to be curious, now I'm just scared.
The facts are simple: his character DID multiclass into Wizard, but did NOT take any Wizard levels. Multiclassing is no longer TAKING LEVELS of the new class. What is it? It's a spoooooky mystery...

Heh, heh.
I'm thinking there might be some sort feat that allows one to take wizard powers ala martial study. They might call the feat "arcane study" (thinking about it, the word 'wizard' will probably be in there somewhere) and categorize it as a "multiclass feat"(?)
No, he was a warlord and then took levels in wizard. He said he wanted to try to start as a wizard and then take lvls in warlord.
No, he was a warlord and then took levels in wizard. He said he wanted to try to start as a wizard and then take lvls in warlord.

That is not borne out in the article. his PC is a 10th level warlord, with some wizard abilities tacked on.

Maybe "multiclassing" is taking abilities from other classes talent trees, but not the core abilities?
Maybe "multiclassing" is taking abilities from other classes talent trees, but not the core abilities?

I hope you're right
Based on what I have read I am 100% positive multiclassing means you retain your core class but pick up Talent trees from other classes using some method unknown to us at this time (feats, xp requirements, etc).
I suspect that warlord "healing" will be more along the lines of inspiring allies to keep going despite their wounds, rather than making the injuries go away. At least, that's how I hope it works, as any other approach I can think of seems silly for a martial character.
It could also inspire your allies and grant them limted temporary fast healing as they shrug off their wounds and exhaustion and surge forward again. ;)
Based on the recent podcast I'd say that the Warlord's healing is not temporary, but will function just like full-fledged healing. There were comments like "I love how healing works now", "I was healed my entire HP during the fight", and "my Fighter used his own powers to heal". If even Fighters can heal themselves in the traditional sense, you can bet Warlords can heal others. I'm just wondering what the fluff justification is.
Based on the recent podcast I'd say that the Warlord's healing is not temporary, but will function just like full-fledged healing. There were comments like "I love how healing works now", "I was healed my entire HP during the fight", and "my Fighter used his own powers to heal". If even Fighters can heal themselves in the traditional sense, you can bet Warlords can heal others. I'm just wondering what the fluff justification is.

Someone help me with the terminology but SAGA had "Second Wind" or something like that for the Condition Track. I could easily see something similar for all characters in 4E where they restore hit points as opposed to remaining Bloodied and reaping those benefits (if your character has any, of course).
Based on the recent podcast I'd say that the Warlord's healing is not temporary, but will function just like full-fledged healing. There were comments like "I love how healing works now", "I was healed my entire HP during the fight", and "my Fighter used his own powers to heal". If even Fighters can heal themselves in the traditional sense, you can bet Warlords can heal others. I'm just wondering what the fluff justification is.

The fluff of hit points currently is strange and somewhat pointless. If you take 99% of your hit points in damage what does that even mean now?

If you have 100 hit points, it's 99 points of damage (getting hit with a greatsword 14 times). If you have 8 hit points it's about 7 (getting hit with a greatsword 1 time). What is the tangible/fluff difference?

Personally, I reflavored hit points to effectively be "luck" and you only get killed when your "luck runs out". Healing is providing the motivation to keep going and effectively make you luckier. Some of the luck is actually being hit, but not in immediately vital areas, so some healing is actual physical healing.

ToB introduced several healing methods that are surges of motivation. Saga had second wind, which for those who don't know exactly, was a self-heal usable once per day that basically gave you most of your hit points back for free. There were conditions to using it, but they weren't that out of line (I think you could only use it if below half hit points or it took you back to half hit points, can't recall).

Anyway, as long as it is balanced and makes the game flow well I don't care how they flavor it.

I'll be reflavoring most of the crap they produce anyway.
Sadly, tofu never screams.
Vegan: I reflavored hit points to effectively be "luck" and you only get killed when your "luck runs out". Healing makes you luckier.

Huh. I like it.
Nature power source

Nature Leader: Shaman
Nature Controller: Druid
Nature Defender: Shapechanger
Nature Striker: Hunter


It occurs to me that the Bard basically has *MENTAL* powers: charm, suggestion, domination, illusion, etc.

Mental power source

Mental Leader: Bard
Mental Controller: Psion
Mental Defender: Psychic Warrior
Mental Striker: Illusionist