Two vast armies stand across the field of death, fear gripping the heart of every soldier. From their ranks, the banner is carried forth - a shining beacon without fear. Before they even know it, their feet pound across the ground, their fear left behind as they follow their symbol of hope to victory.
Collapsing to the ground, a man succumbs to wounds, exhaustion, terror, and the overwhelming by the clash of steel all around. Death closes in, but before it can claim him, a hand appears, pulling him to his feet. "On your feet, solider".
The line was about to be overwhelmed, the inevitable break would come, for the soldiers could hold no more. Until, among their ranks, they noticed their liege, unwilling to turn aside. Unwilling to step back from danger, and the men realized that retreat was no longer an option, and not a step backwards was taken. A new strength was found behind every blow and they fought as no man has ever fought before.
Everywhere the enemy probed, they met only a wall of spears and a rain of arrows. Every flanking maneuver flanked, every bluff called and every gambit a failure. The foes could do naught but curse the luck that had turned against them. But there was a man that made that luck with one brilliant tactical decision after another, and his men knew that as long as he was by their side, luck would always abandon their foes.
A Warlord is a force multiplier for their companions. Some of them may be fearsome combatants, while others may never lift a weapon, but in either case their presence on the battlefield will drive their companions to new heights, guiding them through what would surely have been their doom safely.
How this is brought about can vary, from inciting crazed zeal to tempering an overeager charge, from turning a rout into an unbreakable last stand to pulling their companions out of the line of danger in the nick of time. The sole commonality is that a Warlord alone is but a man, while a Warlord with their companions is a legend.
Purpose and Drive
A common element to those that walk the path of a Warlord is a purpose. One which gives them a larger-than-life presence and allows them to be a guiding hand to all those around them. Some Warlords may not seek any particular cause, and merely seek victory - either as a tribute to a god they worship or simply to meet a personal achievement. More often, though, a Warlord is driven by a higher purpose - a loyalty to their country or their men, a drive to protect the innocent or to crush the weak.
It is an important consideration to a Warlord in understanding why they fight, as it will inform how they fight. Do they try to keep their companions and followers out of danger? Or do they simply press for the strategy that is most likely to win?
|1st||+2||--||--||Warlord Specialization, Battlefield Presence|
|3rd||+2||d4||3||Warlord Specialization Feature, Warlord's Expertise|
|4th||+2||d4||4||Ability Score Improvement|
|6th||+3||d6||6||Prepare for Battle, Press the Advantage|
|7th||+3||d6||7||Warlord Specialization Feature|
|8th||+3||d6||8||Ability Score Improvement|
|10th||+4||d6||10||Ability Score Improvement|
|11th||+4||d8||11||Warlord Specialization Feature|
|12th||+4||d8||12||Ability Score Improvement|
|14th||+5||d8||14||Shift the Field|
|15th||+5||d8||15||Warlord Specialization Feature|
|16th||+5||d8||16||Ability Score Improvement|
|18th||+6||d10||18||Warlord Specialization Feature|
|19th||+6||d10||19||Ability Score Improvement|
Creating a Warlord
When creating a Warlord you should always start with answering the question: what sort of Presence does this person bring to battlefield? Are they are a charismatic inspiration to their allies that drives them to fight on? Are they a wise veteran who acts as a force multiplier for their companions, offering pointers and grit? Or are they a scheming manipulator who sees one step ahead of any move their foes can make, always making sure their allies are in the right spot?
Any of these paths and many more are all possible through the Warlord, but what sort of Presence you select at level one will guide what attribute is most impactful for you in exerting your influence and driving your companions to greater heights.
You can make an warlord quickly by following these suggestions. For a Chieftain or Paragon select Strength as your highest attribute followed by Charisma, for a Commander select Strength as your highest attribute followed by Wisdom, for a Noble select Charisma as your highest attribute followed by Constitution, and for a Tactician select Intelligence followed by Constitution.
As a Warlord, you gain the following class features
- Hit Dice: 1d8 per Warlord level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per warlord level after 1st
- Armor: light armor, medium armor.
- Weapons: simple weapons.
- Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
- Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Deception, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Performance, Persuasion, or Intimidation.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a simple melee weapon, or (b) a martial weapon (if proficient).
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts, or (b) a shield (if proficient).
- (a) leather armor, or (b) scale mail, or (c) chain mail (if proficient).
- (a) a scholar's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
At 1st level, you pick the archetype of Warlord you embody, choosing from Chieftain, Commander, Noble, Paragon or Tactician, each of which are are detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 1st level, and again at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th, and 18th level.
Starting at 1st level, when you take the Attack action, in place of making an attack, you can use your Battlefield Presence to grant an allied creature that can see or hear you an additional attack the next time they take the Attack action during their turn.
Any additional attacks granted that are unused at the start of your next turn are lost. An allied creature can only gain one additional attack from this feature.
Starting at 2nd level, you have access to Leadership Dice. These represent your ability to focus your battlefield presence to powerful results. Your Warlord level determines the number and size of the dice, as shown on the Leadership Dice column of the Warlord table.
You can spend these to fuel various features. You start knowing three such features: Rallying Mark, Overwhelm, and Helpful Word. When you get this feature, you can spend one Leadership Die per turn.
When you spend a Leadership die, it is unavailable until you finish a short or long rest, at the end of which you can refocus, regaining all your Leadership Dice.
As a bonus action, you can expend Leadership Dice to mark a hostile creature within 60 feet of you. The next time that creature is damaged by an ally of yours before the start of your next turn, add the Leadership Dice to the damage roll.
The target creature takes additional damage equal to your Leadership Dice, and the attacking creature regains health equal to the amount rolled on the Leadership Dice.
As a bonus action, you can expend Leadership Dice to mark a creature within 60 feet of you. The next time that creature is damaged by an ally of yours before the start of your next turn, it must make a Constitution saving throw where the DC is 10 or equal to half the damage dealt (whichever is higher), or become stunned until the end of its next turn.
This mark lasts for an additional hit for each additional Leadership Die spent, but if a creature uses Legendary Resistance to pass a saving throw against it, the mark immediately ends.
You can spend a Leadership Die to take the Help action as a bonus action on your turn. When you use the Help action in this way to aid an ally in attacking a creature the target of that attack can be within 30 feet of you, rather than within 5 feet of you, if the target can see or hear you.
Starting at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Persuasion, Intimidation, Insight or Investigation skill. If you are already proficient in the skill you select, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses that skill.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
You can use Battlefield Presence in place of either or both attacks.
Prepare for Battle
Starting at 6th level, you can spend a minute preparing up to five allies for combat. You can expend a number of Leadership Dice up to your per turn limit, rolling them and causing your allies to gain temporary hit points equal to the number rolled. Allies that have benefited from this ability can expend a number of hit dice equal to the number of Leadership Dice you expended, using them as they would during a short rest. Any temporary hit points gained from this last until you complete a short or long rest.
Press the Advantage
Starting at 6th level, you can spend two Leadership Dice per turn. The number you can expend increases at 11th level (to three dice), and again at 17th level (to four dice).
Starting at 9th level, when an allied creature that can see or hear you makes a skill check, you can expend a Leadership die and add it to the roll. You can choose to do this after you see the result of the roll, but before you know the outcome.
Once you do this, you cannot do this until you complete a short or long rest.
Starting at 13th level, before rolling a skill check you are proficient in, you can exercise this ability, choosing for the result of the roll to be equal to your Warlord level rather than rolling. Once you do this, you cannot do this until you complete a long rest.
Shift the Field
Starting at 14th level, you gain the ability to relocate allied creatures. As an action, you can expend a Leadership Die to move up to 5 allied creatures that can see or hear you up to half their movement without provoking attacks of opportunity.
Starting at 17th level, the Warlord cannot be frightened or charmed, and gains immunity to these conditions.
Starting at 20th level, you can roll d4s and use them instead of expending a Leadership Dice for any feature requiring Leadership Dice.
Warlords may invoke a variety of different types of Presence on the battlefield. You can choose which kind of Presence best suits your Warlord from the following.
Starting at 1st level when you take this Presence, you gain proficiency in shields, and martial weapons.
Starting at 1st level, after you roll initiative, the first time you move, you can bring a number of allied creatures equal to your Charisma modifier within 20 feet with you, moving the same distance and direction as you move (they can stop this movement anywhere along the path of movement). Creatures cannot move more than their movement speed in following you.
Starting at 3rd level, as an attack or as an action, you can unleash a mighty Warcry by a expending and rolling a number of Leadership Dice. You and any allied creature within 20 feet of you gains temporary hit points equal to the roll + your Charisma modifier.
Additionally at 3rd level, whenever you spend a Leadership Die, you gain advantage on the next attack roll you make before the end of your turn.
Starting at 7th level, when a creature with temporary hitpoints from one of your abilities deals damage with a weapon attack, they can sacrifice those temporary hitpoints to add damage equal to the temporary hit points sacrificed to their damage roll
Starting at 11th level, you excel at taking down prey in coordination with your allies. If you strike a creature that has taken damage from on of your allies since the end of your last turn, your first attack against the creature deals 1d12 additional damage.
If an attack you grant with Battlefield Presence is used to attack a creature you dealt damage to during your turn, that attack deals an additional 1d4 damage.
Starting at 15th level, when you unleash your Warcry you can attempt to frighten enemies. Any creature of your choice within range of your Warcry must make a Wisdom saving throw with a DC of 8 + Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus or become frightened until the end of their turn. Once you have used Booming Shout, you cannot use it in this way again until you complete a short or long rest.
Additionally, the range of your Rallying Mark, Overwhelming Mark, Helpful Word, and Warcry is doubled.
Starting at 18th level, whenever you or an allied creature kill a creature that has dealt damage to you, you can use your reaction to unleash Warcry without expending a leadership and rolling a d12 instead.
You can use this reaction a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier, regaining all uses on a long rest.
A Commander on the field can be many things - a trusted Sergeant, a weary Veteran, or merely a man with an uncommon degree of common sense and a particularly keen eye for how to win a fight.
While not as flashy as some of the other Presences on the Battlefield, that just means they are less likely to get themselves skewered. A keen word there and helping hand here, their influence is subtle but effective, inexorably shifting the tides of battle in their favor.
A Commander can come from any background, but is usually someone that has acquired their Wisdom the hard way, having seen a bit of what life and battlefields have to offer.
Starting at 1st level when you take this Presence, you gain proficiency in heavy armor, shields, and martial weapons.
Starting at 1st level, when you roll initiative while not surprised, you can allow any allied creatures within 60 feet to move up to a number of feet equal to five times your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 5 feet).
Starting at 3rd level, you can take the Helpful Word bonus action without expending a Leadership Die if you are within 5 feet of the creature you are taking the Help action against.
When you do so, you can expend a Leadership Die to apply Rallying Mark to the creature you are targeting with this Help action.
On Your Feet
Starting at 7th level, you can restore in an ally the will to fight. As a bonus action, you can expend a Leadership Die, targeting an allied creature within 5 feet. Roll the die and restore health to the target equal to that roll.
If the creature was unconscious, you can add your Wisdom modifier to the health restored. If the creature is prone after the health is restored, it can choose to stand immediately.
Starting at 11th level, once per turn, you can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature you hit with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally that isn't Incapacitated.
Starting at 15th level, when you and any allied creature within 30 feet must make a Saving Throw against the same effect, if you pass your Saving Throw, your allies gain Advantage on their Saving Throw against the same effect.
No One Left Behind
Starting at 18th level, you can move up to your speed to get within 5 feet of a creature while taking the On Your Feet bonus action.. During that movement, you have resistance to all damage, and the target regains an additional 1d8 health for any attacks of opportunity you take while moving to them.
A Warlord with a Noble Presence is not inherently one that was born a Noble, though many are. A Noble Presence Warlord is one that serves drive their retainers and companions onto greater heights through sheer charisma, a shining beacon of what they are fighting for standing beside them.
Since time immemorial men have fought twice as hard on a battlefield when their leader takes the field to stand among them, driven to heights that would seem impossible in order to protect their liege - while an adventurer of this path may or may not be their liege, their charisma invokes the same fervor in their companions and retainers.
An adventurer on this path is not inherently of noble background, though many often are. A noble reared on the laws of the land is usually lawful, but extraordinary circumstances may have brought about a rebellious streak in one that now seeks to overthrow unfit rulers (or rulers that aren't them, anyway).
Starting at 1st level when you take this Presence you gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill. Additionally, you gain one extra Leadership Die added to your total at 3rd level, 9th level, and 15th level.
Call to Arms
Starting at 1st level, when you roll initiative you can call your loyal retainers (allied creatures) within 60 feet a surge of inspiration. Effected creatures can add your Charisma modifier to their first attack roll made before the end of their turn.
Strike Them Down!
Starting at 3rd level, whenever a creature is struck while under the effect of your Rallying Mark or Overwhelming Mark, they take additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier. Whenever you use Helpful Word, the allied creature you helped gains temporary hitpoints equal to your Charisma modifier.
Additionally, a creature with a CR of less than half your Warlord level (or with fewer class levels than you have Warlord levels if the creature does not have a CR) can choose to use your proficiency bonus + Charisma Modifier for their attack roll modifier on any Attack granted by Battlefield Presence.
Retainers & Followers
A Noble Warlord gets more mileage out their retainers or followers than other Warlords, but in turn is more dependent on having someone else make their attacks for them. A loyal retainer is always a good idea, be it a friendly Fighter or an NPC follower.
Starting at 7th level, you can add your Charisma (Maximum +2) to your AC so long as you not wearing heavy armor or using a shield.
Additionally, you can an spend Leadership Dice to cast command. The level of the spell is equal to the Leadership Dice spent.
The spell Save DC for these spells is 8 + your Proficiency modifier + your Charisma Modifier.
Starting at 11th level, when you use your Battlefield Presence, the allied creature can use their reaction to make the additional weapon attack granted immediately.
Additionally at 11th level, attacks made by allied creatures within 20 feet of you deal an additional 1d4 damage.
Starting at 15th level, you can use Leadership Dice to cast bless or heroism without proving material components. The level of the spell is equal to the Leadership Dice spent.
Starting at 18th level, you can use this ability to cast command without expending a spell slot or Leadership Die. When you do so, the spell effects all creatures of you choice within range that could be effected by the spell.
Once you cast command using this ability, you cannot cast it using this ability again until you complete a long rest.
Legends tell of warriors that fight at the front of a legion, of the valor they display and the inspiration it gives their comrades. A Paragon before their army is a dauntless foe, and an army behind their Paragon is an unstoppable legion.
A Paragon is not inherently good or evil. An evil legion can be lead by a bold and charismatic Warlord just as effectively as the forces of good.
As they tend to be those that inspire an organized force, more often than not they will be lawful, but what that personal code of laws entails can vary quite widely.
Starting at 1st level when you take this Presence, you gain proficiency in heavy armor, shields, and martial weapons.
Lead the Charge
Starting at 1st level, when you roll initiative, you can add your Charisma modifier to the roll, and you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier.
Starting at 3rd level, choose one of the following options.
- Defensive: While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
- Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Great Weapon Fighting: When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll, even if the new roll is a 1 or a 2. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
- Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
Additionally at 3rd level, when you take the Attack action, you can expend a Leadership Dice to apply Rallying Mark or Overwhelming Mark as part of a melee weapon attack.
Whenever you expend a Leadership Dice as part of making an attack, you can add the expended Leadership Dice to the damage roll of the attack.
Starting at 7th level, when you are reduced to zero hit points, you instantly regain a number of hit points equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Additionally you can expend a number of Leadership Dice equal to the number of allies within 60 feet of you and rolling them adding the result to the health regained.
Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Starting at 11th level, once per turn, when one of your allies within 30 feet takes or deals damage, you add one to a pool of d4 dice. You can have a maximum number of d4 dice in this pool equal to your Charisma modifier(minimum of one). The next time you deal damage, you can expend this pool of d4s as additional damage. Any unused dice are lost at the end of your turn.
Starting at 15th level, when you fail a Saving Throw, you can choose to succeed instead. Once you do this, you cannot do this again until you complete a long rest.
Starting at 18th level, your allies will never fall so long as their symbol of hope remains. When an ally is reduced to zero hit points withing 60 feet of you, they are instead reduced to 1 hit point so long as they can see or hear you.
Once an allied creature benefits from this effect, they cannot benefit from it again until they complete a long rest.
A Tactician may very well tell you they would just as soon not be close enough to the battle to be considered a combatant, preferring to win their fights before it ever gets to that stage, but one would be a fool to underestimate how dangerous they are once on the battlefield.
While they might have laid their plans in advance, their sharp minds can quickly pick apart how their foes try to fight against them and effortlessly pierce the crude tactics that would be used against them and their allies.
What tends to mark a Tactician is a keen mind and a willingness to plan ahead... in great detail. Adventurers with a tactician among them are near impossible to pin down, as they will always find a way to turn the tables.
When you take this specialization at 1st level, you gain proficiency with History and Investigation. Additionally, if you can take a minute or more making the check, any roll under a 5 becomes a 5 on your check.
Starting at 1st level, you can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Intelligence modifier. Additionally, you can exchange your total on this roll with a willing allied creature within 60 feet.
Starting at 3rd level, as a bonus action you can tactically assess a creature's options. Make an Intelligence (Investigation) check contested by a Charisma (Deception) check against any creature you can see within 60 feet.
On a success, you can see through their tactics, granting one of the following effects:
- You can cause them to have disadvantage on their next attack against a creature that can see or hear you.
- You deduce where they are planning to move on their next turn. They can choose to change their plans, but if they move anywhere else, their movement speed is reduced by 10 feet as they scramble to adapt.
- You can find a weakness, making them unable to use their reaction until the end of their next turn.
- You can use Helpful Word as part of the bonus action without expending a Leadership Die.
Planning Movement... or not.
A DM can choose to read the second bullet point of Tactical insight as simply reducing the targets movement by 10. It is balanced around this assumption, predicting the movement is optional flavor, but may not fit all DMs styles.
Starting at 7th level, you gain proficiency in Intelligence Saving Throws.
Additionally, as a reaction when being forced to make a Wisdom, Intelligence, or Charisma Saving Throw, you can expend a Leadership Die and add the die result to the saving throw.
Starting at 11th level, when you succeed on a Tactical Insight check against a creature, the next attack you or an allied creature makes against it before the start of your next turn deals an additional 2d6 damage.
Manipulate the Field
Starting at 15th level, when you take the Shift the Field action, it gains the following properties:
- You can attempt to move creatures that are not allies up to 5 feet (or half their movement speed, whichever is less). The creature must make an Intelligence Saving Throw with a DC of 8 + your Proficiency Modifier + your Intelligence modifier, or feel compelled to move to the new position immediately.
- If two allies you move are on opposite sides of an creatures after the movement you grant, the first one to attack that enemy has advantage on their first attack if they attack before the creature moves.
- Allies can move through each other's spaces during the movement you grant without it being difficult terrain.
Starting at 18th level, standing in your way becomes a pointless endeavor. When you move your allies with Shift the Field, they can move through spaces occupied by hostile creatures so long as they do not end their movement in an occupied space.
Additionally, targets that you succeed Tactical Insight you can choose two of the listed effects.
Should you want to multiclass into (or out of) Warlord, you will need to have a well rounded Presence, the prerequisites and proficiencies gained are listed below:
- Prerequisite: 13 in two of Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
- Proficiencies gained: Light Armor, Medium Armor.
- Overwhelm no longer adds the leadership dice to the damage dealt
- Overwhelm now lasts for # of attacks equal to the leadership dice spent
- Overwhelm is now a bonus action (renamed Overwhelming mark)
- Rallying Mark lasts until the start of your next turn.
- Added Warlord's Expertise
- Added Oversight.
- Removed Mantle of Command (now Warlord's Expertise)
- Added Warlord's Intuition.
- Reduced Press the Attack to level 6 and made it scale up again at 11
- Tireless Leader now allows you to expend d4s when you have no Leadership Dice instead of unlimited Leadership Dice
- Added Chieftain
- Banneret renamed to Paragon
- Rallying Strike has become Heroic Strike. Allows Paragon to add Leadership Dice to damage roll when expending them. Allows applying Overwhelming mark.
- Stand Defiant changed to allow you to expend Leadership Dice (instead of flat amount) per ally in range.
- Nobles proficiency changed out for Destined Leader. No longer grants Performance, now grants additional Leadership Dice
- Strike the Down no longer applies Overwhelm. Strike them down no longer applies +Cha damage
- Overwhelming Mark and Rallying Mark now deal bonus damage equal to Charisma. Helpful Word grants temp hp.
- Nobelesse Oblige replaced with Grand Decree
- Tactician Proficiency renamed Tactician's Cunning. Added effect.
- Added another option to Tactical Insight
- Header Image - Resurgence Guilds of Ravnica - Magic the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast).
- Class Table Image - Chart A Course - Magic the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast).
- Chieftain image - Tajuru Warcaller - Magic the Gather(Wizards of the Coast)
- Banneret - Cavaliar, Pathfinder (Paizo).
- Commander Image - (Wizards of the Coast)
- Noble Elf - Pathfinder (Paizo).
- Tactian Image - Dovin Grand Arbiter - Magic the Gathering (Wizards of the Coast).
Creation is made possible by generous patrons:
- Allin Knight
- Ara Enzeru
- Austin Fox
- Christoph Haaß (Rune)
- Code Ghoul
- Corgi B.
- Ethan Reinhart
- David Ramero
- James Sant
- Lawrence Eger
- Matt Eger
- Mr. Stark
- Rory Collier
- Seth Lang
- Spenser Birney
- Unlikely Alpaca
...and many more!
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