The new Fighter build has clearly tried to back-end the Warlord in a way that Mike Mearls suggested it would in a recent D&D Podcast. So I thought I’d take him up on the challenge! Here then is the hidden new class in the 3/20 test packet: a warlord!
Yantok Steelforged, Dwarf Fighter [Warlord], Level 5
STR 17; DEX 10; CON 16; INT 08; WIS 13; CHA 12
HP 52; Initiative: +0; AC 18 [Chain Mail, Shield]; Speed 20 ft.
Attack: Battleaxe +5 [1d8+3]; Handaxe +5 melee or +2 ranged [1d6+3]
Class Abilities: Deadly Strike, Multiattack [Whirlwind Attack]
Feats [Mystic Healer]: Healing Initiate, Hold the Line, Interposing Shield, Magical Rejuvination
— Death Dealer: Slam
— Superior Defense: Warning Shout
— Unerring Attacker: Attack Orders
Skills [Combat Medic]: Administer First Aid, Climb, Intimidate, Recall Lore [Military]
Trait [Combat Medic]: Military Rank
Racial Abilities [Hill Dwarf]: Darkvision; Dwarven Resilience; Dwarven Weapons Training; Dwarven Toughness; Stonecutting
Building him was pretty simple. For Fighter options, I tried to favor the Warlord-esque ability, the one that helped others instead of the Warlord himself [with one caveat, see below]. In terms of Specialty I took Mystic Healer, to give him some of that magical healing mojo — not a lit, but a bit. Then, for his bonus Fighter feats, I basically started following a second Specialty, the Defender. Finally, I played DM a bit with his Background and gave him “Combat Medic” — basically, Soldier with Ride swapped out for First Aid.
Honestly, I think he might be a fun character to play. He’d be entrenched in the front lines, swinging his battleaxe every round, using his shield both offensively and defensively, and bellowing out commands to his fellow party members. He’s tough, well-armored, and no slouch as a combatant. And if he needs to, he can always reach down to stabilize a fallen comrade.
The one issue I see even at 5th level, though, is that many of his abilities rely on using a reaction — Warning Shout, Attack Orders, Hold the Line, and Interposing Shield are all vying for that reaction each round. He’s got a useful Warlord-esque toolkit, but he can only ever use one tool at a time. That’s why I ultimately chose Slam for him at first level; it gives him a way to spend an expertise die on his own turn while still getting a helpful effect into play [disadvntage on the next enemy attack].
Now, I will admit that my 4E Warlord experience is a bit thin, so let me know: what do you think of this build? Does this satisfy the Warlord craving? Or is this a pale imitation of the class? Could I have built Yanok differently to make a better Warlord out of him? Let me know in the comments!