'Dungeons & Dragons' Has a New Powerhouse Race: the Warforged

Dungeons & Dragons re-introduced one of its most unique races for Fifth Edition play, and players are already debating whether its overpowered.

The Warforged, a race of sentient arcane robots, were first introduced as part of the Eberron campaign setting back in 2002. The Warforged were originally created as sentient constructs, designed to fight in the Great War that ravaged Eberron prior to when players can explore it. Because of their non-human origins, Warforged don't need to eat, drink, or sleep and are immune to disease and the effects of Sleep spells. However, they can still be affected by mind-based attacks and other spells that might not effect other constructs in the game.

When Dungeons & Dragons brought back Eberron as a campaign setting via the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron publication yesterday, it brought back the Warforged as a new playable race. The Warforged were optimized for Fifth Edition play, which meant a change to the armor class bonus it originally had when first introduced. Now, Warforged have an "Integrated Protection" feature that allows them to change between three types of armor types.

This Integrated Protection feature has fans talking and a debate has sprung up whether its overpowered. The biggest issue is with the "Heavy plating" option, which is available to those proficient with heavy armor. A Warforged with Heavy plating has a natural AC of 16 plus its proficiency bonus. That means that a Level 1 Warforged would have a default AC of 18, with a possible AC of 20 if armed with a shield. That AC can keep creeping higher and higher as a player's level progresses - jumping up to a maximum of 24 AC at Level 17.

Players with a Warforged character proficient with light armor can also reap the benefits of Integrated Protection - namely the Darkwood core option. The Darkwood core gives a Warforged of 11 plus their dexterity modifier AND proficiency bonus, provided they're proficient with light armor. So a rogue Warforged with a Dexterity of 16 would have a starting AC of 16 - far higher than a normal rogue.

It's not that the Warforged has a higher AC than other characters - most characters can reach a comparable AC by purchasing magic armor or using "mage armor" or other defensive spells. But some players feel that it's far easier to create a Warforged with optimal defense without it being a defensively minded character.

Of course, context is key to all of this. While a Level 1 Warforged with an AC of 20 feels out of place in the Forgotten Realms, it probably wouldn't be too overpowered in a place like Eberron, a world where magic (and magical items) are a LOT more common. So - the key to having a Warforged PC character seems to be whether it makes sense for your game. If you're playing a campaign in which goblins are supposed to be a true threat to Level 1 players, a Warforged Fighter isn't going to make sense. But, if you're playing in an Eberron campaign, there shouldn't be any issue bringing the Warforged into your game.

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There's no guarantee that the Warforged Integrated Protection will last forever, either. Dungeons & Dragons has billed Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron as a living document and its content could be changed based on feedback from players. If too many players find that Warforged PCs are impossible to play against, we'll likely see the D&D change it in a future update.

What do you think about the new Warforged? Too OP or just right? Let us know in the comment section or shoot me a message at @CHofferCBus on Twitter!