'Dungeons & Dragons' Designer Releases Warlord Class for Fifth Edition

An experienced Dungeons & Dragons designer has released his version of the Warlord class.

Robert Schwalb is an experienced RPG designer who has worked on several Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons projects. Schwalb was a designer on the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes in addition to designing A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Game for Green Ronin and his own Shadow of the Demon Lord RPG.

Earlier this week, Schwalb released a new supplement for Dungeons & Dragons detailing his version of the Warlord Class for Fifth Edition. Warlords were originally designed as a buff class in D&D's Third Edition ruleset and was made into a core class in the game's Fourth Edition. The Warlord was built around buffing and healing allies while standing on the front line of battle, but it wasn't included when D&D converted to Fifth Edition a few years ago.

Schwalb's version of the Warlord is built around a player's Charisma score, with Strength or Dexterity as a secondary option. The warlord's base abilities include the Battlefield Command (an ability similar to Bardic Inspiration, but is issued out when Initiative is rolled instead of as a Bonus Action) and the Commanding Presence, which gives nearby allies an automatic boost to their damage rolls. Later abilities include the Attack Command, which gives the Warlord the option of sacrificing their Attack action to order an ally to make an extra attack instead, and the Rouse the Troops ability, which gives allies the ability to expend hit dice to heal themselves without taking a Long or Short Rest.

As with other core classes, the Warlord also comes with several subclasses that grant additional abilities. The Hordemaster gives nearby allies extra speed, while the Resourceful Leader can convert misses into hits with halved damage. There's a total of six different subclasses that players can choose from, each with their own set of buffs for allies to utilize.

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While Schwalb's Warlord class definitely remains true to the spirit of the original Warlord, it feels a bit unbalanced in its current state. There's a few abilities that can be exploited a bit too easily, although most of them can be countered by a DM who thinks on their feet. With all of the Warlord's great abilities, I feel like it probably should be a little fleshier and vulnerable to attack. By dropping its hit die to a d8 instead of a d10 or switching up its saving throws, there would be a little more risk involved with being a frontline commander.

The full supplement is available for $2.95 on DriveThruRPG.com. Let us know how you like the class in the comment section or find me on Twitter at @CHofferCBus to chat about D&D and board games!