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View Full Version : [4e] purchasing advice, and why warlords?



Dimers
2010-01-03, 12:27 AM
I bought the 4e PHB shortly after it came out, but because I have little money and no 4e group, I haven't bought anything else. Which books would be most worth my time as an openminded player? Which are best for a player who prefers skill-heavy, highly survivable characters?

And what is there to like about the warlord class? I'm coming from the position that attacks targeting AC should generally be avoided because they're less likely to hit than Fort/Refl/Will. And plenty of the warlord's special effects (in terms of battlefield control and healing) rely on successful attack rolls. Their proficiencies, skills and HP are simply average. I also dislike the whole "public speaking = healing" thing, but at least that could just be refluffed. Aaaaanyway -- so, in people's experience, does the warlord perform well and contribute to the party, or does it end up being something you play only because it fits the character concept you had in mind?

Artanis
2010-01-03, 12:35 AM
I bought the 4e PHB shortly after it came out, but because I have little money and no 4e group, I haven't bought anything else. Which books would be most worth my time as an openminded player? Which are best for a player who prefers skill-heavy, highly survivable characters?

And what is there to like about the warlord class? I'm coming from the position that attacks targeting AC should generally be avoided because they're less likely to hit than Fort/Refl/Will. And plenty of the warlord's special effects (in terms of battlefield control and healing) rely on successful attack rolls. Their proficiencies, skills and HP are simply average. I also dislike the whole "public speaking = healing" thing, but at least that could just be refluffed. Aaaaanyway -- so, in people's experience, does the warlord perform well and contribute to the party, or does it end up being something you play only because it fits the character concept you had in mind?

Well, for books, you at least want the DM to have access to the DMG and MM. It would probably be worthwhile to get a one-month DDI subscription to pick up all the stuff like the character builder and all the published issues of Dragon and Dungeon magazines.


As for the Warlord...

The thing about attacking AC is that while AC is higher than the other defenses, you're attacking it with a weapon that has a proficiency bonus. If you get +3 to hit against a defense that's 3 points higher, it evens out in the end.

And the Warlord is very, very good at its job. It isn't as good at healing as the Cleric or Artificer, but not much can match a Taclord when it comes to making the party more effective. And when you total up the amount of pain that extra effectiveness causes to the enemy, you see that the Warlord brings a LOT of firepower to the table.

Gralamin
2010-01-03, 12:37 AM
I bought the 4e PHB shortly after it came out, but because I have little money and no 4e group, I haven't bought anything else. Which books would be most worth my time as an openminded player? Which are best for a player who prefers skill-heavy, highly survivable characters?
The best investment for you is probably a month of DDI. Grab the Character Builder and as many Dragon and Dragon magazines as you can, and you'll get quite the benefit.


And what is there to like about the warlord class? I'm coming from the position that attacks targeting AC should generally be avoided because they're less likely to hit than Fort/Refl/Will. And plenty of the warlord's special effects (in terms of battlefield control and healing) rely on successful attack rolls. Their proficiencies, skills and HP are simply average. I also dislike the whole "public speaking = healing" thing, but at least that could just be refluffed. Aaaaanyway -- so, in people's experience, does the warlord perform well and contribute to the party, or does it end up being something you play only because it fits the character concept you had in mind?

Warlord is still definitely one of the top leaders. Their abilities to influence hit rates, initiative, and provide more attacks make them quite beneficial to any group.
It is true that plenty of Warlord's effects depend on hitting: That is why warlords are one of the classes most obsessed with getting a high hit bonus. +3 Proficiency weapons, Weapon Expertise (Feat from PHB2: +1 to hit, +2 at 15, +3 at 25) and a few other tricks for them are the norm.

On hitting Non-AC-Defenses (NADs):
Fortitude - AC averages to -1.39
Reflex - AC averages to -2.75
Will - AC averages to -3.31
So with a +3 Proficiency weapon, you have about the same chance to hit as an implement wielder attack reflex or will. If you have a +2 weapon, you are a bit better off then an implement wielder attacking Fortitude.

Dimers
2010-01-03, 12:52 AM
On hitting Non-AC-Defenses (NADs):
Fortitude - AC averages to -1.39
Reflex - AC averages to -2.75
Will - AC averages to -3.31
So with a +3 Proficiency weapon, you have about the same chance to hit as an implement wielder attack reflex or will. If you have a +2 weapon, you are a bit better off then an implement wielder attacking Fortitude.

Heh. Hitting NADs. :smallamused: I take it, then, that there's no "Implement Expertise" to match?

To further explore the warlord topic, I'll also ask: which powers in the first PHB stand out the most in terms of aiding allies, and why are those better than level-equivalent powers of other classes? Artanis's example of Commander's Strike is a good starting point. When I looked at that, I just thought "oh, that's a plain attack plus a little extra damage". Now that I've spent a moment thinking about it, it's also much more targetable than melee at-will powers are, since it can affect any monster in melee with an ally anywhere, and it could potentially be boosted by bracers of mighty striking and gauntlets of ogre powerdestruction. Much better than the first glance indicated. So what else is strong?

Mando Knight
2010-01-03, 01:03 AM
Heh. Hitting NADs. :smallamused: I take it, then, that there's no "Implement Expertise" to match?

Of course there is. However, Implement attacks are 2-3 points lower than a weapon attack regardless, and Weapon attacks can also bring out the big guns such as the Mordenkrad and Fullblade, or even the reliable Bastard Sword and Greatspear.

Other super-powerful attacks are Warlord's Favor (+Massive to ally's next attack) and Lead the Attack (+Massive to allies within area for entire encounter). The moment you underestimate a Tactical Warlord's ability to rally the party is the moment the Ranger or Barbarian smashes your skull in multiple times a round. Warlords don't make things a bloody paste themselves, they make the guy who's good at it do it for him, and more frequently than anyone has a right to.

Tengu_temp
2010-01-03, 01:11 AM
Not only are the warlord's buffs top notch, it's also the leader class that probably fares best on its own, due to having highest raw damage from them all and second highest defenses. Constitution-based artificers are sturdier, but their damage is lacking in comparison.

Shardan
2010-01-03, 01:47 AM
It also matters on the warlord's teammates. if you have swordmage as defender and warlock or thief as striker the warlord is going to be less effective. if you have fighters, wardens, barbarians, and 2H-rangers, he will be more effective (str based to make better use of the plethora of 'free basic melee' coupons the warlord comes with) but generally yes, the Warlord's prime purpose is to make everyone else better at their job with a secondary of keeping them in one piece. I really do suggest keeping with the +3 prof weapon for him since the damage you deal with the attack is moot.

Touchy
2010-01-03, 01:50 AM
Wait you only have to get one month of DDI and they can't do much about you having the full character creator or full encounter creator?

Inyssius Tor
2010-01-03, 02:28 AM
Wait you only have to get one month of DDI and they can't do much about you having the full character creator or full encounter creator?

Just like everyone told you in the last thread, yes, that's how it works.

Touchy
2010-01-03, 02:56 AM
Just like everyone told you in the last thread, yes, that's how it works.

The difference in the last thread was I didn't go back.

Thanks for the advice though, I'll be planing to use it.

rayne_dragon
2010-01-03, 03:05 AM
[QUOTE=Dimers;7617651]I bought the 4e PHB shortly after it came out, but because I have little money and no 4e group, I haven't bought anything else. Which books would be most worth my time as an openminded player? Which are best for a player who prefers skill-heavy, highly survivable characters?
[QUOTE]

I don't think anyone has mentioned this, but the PHB2 is really good for skill-heavy characters. It has both Shaman and Bard which each have nice skill boosting powers. I find survivability in 4e depends on how you build your character more than your class. Wizards can be about as hard to kill as Paladins. I haven't played a bard myself, but I can say from experiance that the shaman's spirit companion can make a huge difference in the party's survivability in a fight.

Somebloke
2010-01-03, 07:51 AM
While we haven't had any other leaders playing in my campaign, I can assure you that every time that the party power-gamer smiles at me and tells me what his Bravura Warlord is going to do next, I, as DM, get a sinking feeling in my stomach. A well-placed string of successful warlord attacks can completely throw the balance of the game into the party's favour. And don't even get me started on solos....

Shadow_Elf
2010-01-03, 01:38 PM
Once in a one-off session, a party I was in killed a level appropriate solo before it could take an action because of the bonuses granted to us by our warlord. Granted, it was at level 26, but out opponent was an ancient black dragon, and dragons are considered some of the toughest solos around.

Evard
2010-01-03, 03:29 PM
I find the warlord being my favorite leader, they can be nasty even with sub optimal builds. Of course letting your rogue attack after you run up and flank an enemy is always nice (i love the warlord's at will)

Dimers
2010-01-03, 05:30 PM
Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

douglas
2010-01-03, 07:13 PM
Warlords are the best buff machines in existence in 4e. Three of them, at level 27, can reliably kill Tiamat before she gets to act (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19634358/Killing_Tiamat_in_one_round_without_infinite_loops ._With_just_three_L27_warlords.). Even without that extreme, they take one of the fundamental basics of 4e rules design philosophy - that bonuses on attack rolls are strictly regulated to end up in a certain narrow range based on level - and tear it to shreds. A party with a warlord buffing their attack rolls is an order of magnitude more powerful than one without.

Artanis
2010-01-03, 08:32 PM
I find the warlord being my favorite leader, they can be nasty even with sub optimal builds. Of course letting your rogue attack after you run up and flank an enemy is always nice (i love the warlord's at will)

Yeah. Commander's Strike is one of the few at-wills that can even pretend to keep up with Twin Strike.

Evard
2010-01-03, 09:19 PM
There was a battle that the only thing my warlord did was move into tactical positions, commander's strike, and inspiring word once. It was fun to see the DM frown every time it was my turn :p

Also depending on how your DM see's it there are some at wills that count as a basic melee attack that commander's strike would work for ... ;) (like fighter's wicked strike or warlock's eldricth strike)

Mando Knight
2010-01-03, 09:46 PM
Also depending on how your DM see's it there are some at wills that count as a basic melee attack that commander's strike would work for ... ;) (like fighter's wicked strike or warlock's eldricth strike)

They can be used as melee basic attacks, without any conditions, correct? Powers like that were designed to synergize with Commander's Strike and other such powers.

Evard
2010-01-03, 10:20 PM
It seems like those at wills were made more for opportunity attacks and charges (barbarian has one also i think)..

Opening shove and brash assault are other powers that can give free attacks to allies but they only get to if the warlord hits.

Warlord is a great leader all the way to the core.

Guy
2010-01-03, 10:30 PM
It seems like those at wills were made more for opportunity attacks and charges (barbarian has one also i think)..

Opening shove and brash assault are other powers that can give free attacks to allies but they only get to if the warlord hits.

Warlord is a great leader all the way to the core.

It's all designed to work together. Powers that "can be used as a melee basic attack" can be used when a Warlord grants you a melee basic, and the same with ranged. If it just says "grants a basic attack" you can use a melee or ranged basic.

Everyone can use a Melee Basic Attack and Ranged Basic Attack: they're just [W]+Str for melee, [W]+Dex for ranged.

Evard
2010-01-03, 11:42 PM
I didn't mean to come off as meaning they couldn't just that they originally weren't meant to be used that way *shrug* I explained it wrong ^ ^

Dimers
2010-01-04, 12:11 AM
I thought the only at-will in the PHB (not PHB2) that counted as a "basic attack" was magic missile. And while I can dig mm for what it is, that's an ability of just one class, and it's of the less-frequently-invoked ranged type. Does PHB2 introduce the other "basic attacks" people are talking about here?

tcrudisi
2010-01-04, 12:22 AM
I thought the only at-will in the PHB (not PHB2) that counted as a "basic attack" was magic missile. And while I can dig mm for what it is, that's an ability of just one class, and it's of the less-frequently-invoked ranged type. Does PHB2 introduce the other "basic attacks" people are talking about here?

Eldritch Blast comes from the PHB and does as well.

Dimers
2010-01-04, 01:06 AM
Eldritch Blast comes from the PHB and does as well.

Ahh, right. But what about the others mentioned here? The closest I could find to a weapon-based at-will with special effects was the Heavy Blade Opportunity feat, which doesn't count at all for purposes of the warlord's powers.

Kylarra
2010-01-04, 01:18 AM
Ahh, right. But what about the others mentioned here? The closest I could find to a weapon-based at-will with special effects was the Heavy Blade Opportunity feat, which doesn't count at all for purposes of the warlord's powers.There are a fair amount in supplementary books (various Power series) as well as PHB2 and maybe some in DDI content, I forget.

tcrudisi
2010-01-04, 01:35 AM
Does PHB2 introduce the other "basic attacks" people are talking about here?


Ahh, right. But what about the others mentioned here? The closest I could find to a weapon-based at-will with special effects was the Heavy Blade Opportunity feat, which doesn't count at all for purposes of the warlord's powers.

Somehow I missed the question from the first post that I quoted above. I'll answer it now.

There are quite a few powers which count as at-will basic attacks.

Fighter: Wicked Strike (MBA) from Dragon 379
Paladin: Virtuous Strike (MBA) from Divine Power
Warlock: Eldritch Blast (RBA) from PHB
Warlock: Eldritch Strike (MBA) from PH Heroes: Series 1
Wizard: Magic Missile (RBA) from PHB
Druid: Grasping Claws (MBA) from PHB2
Druid: Savage Rend (MBA) from PHB2
Invoker: Avenging Light (RBA) from PHB2
Invoker: Sun Strike (RBA) from PHB2
Sorcerer: Acid Orb (RBA) from PHB2
Sorcerer: Dragonfrost (RBA) from PHB2
Seeker: Stinging Swarm (RBA) from PHB3 (released in Dragon magazine articles)

As other people have mentioned, anyone can take a regular melee or ranged basic attack, as defined in the PHB on page 287. While a Barbarian does not have an at-will power basic attack, they can make a normal basic attack, much to the dismay of many foes, for example.

Was this closer to what you were wanting?

Dimers
2010-01-04, 11:02 AM
Was this closer to what you were wanting?

Poifect! :smallbiggrin: (Though having the list doesn't reduce my desire to homebrew a feat allowing a character to use a weapon-keyword at-will of their choice in place of a basic attack.)

Kylarra
2010-01-04, 11:16 AM
Poifect! :smallbiggrin: (Though having the list doesn't reduce my desire to homebrew a feat allowing a character to use a weapon-keyword at-will of their choice in place of a basic attack.)
That'd get you two warlords going infinite off each other. :smalltongue:

Evard
2010-01-04, 11:32 AM
warlord gets to give a melee basic attack so things like magic missile (unless a dragon magazine feat is taken) don't count.

Dimers
2010-01-04, 11:39 AM
warlord gets to give a melee basic attack so things like magic missile (unless a dragon magazine feat is taken) don't count.

Some of the higher-level warlord powers do allow any basic attack, and there's one that specifies only ranged basic attacks. Check out Relentless Assault and Stir The Hornet's Nest, both level 25, for examples.

Evard
2010-01-04, 11:41 AM
Kinda late in the class though, although still helpful.

Dimers
2010-01-04, 11:46 AM
That'd get you two warlords going infinite off each other. :smalltongue:

*sigh* Yeah, I know. I'd think of some wording to head that off. Of course, all they'd do is stack Int bonuses to damage, so if they spent twenty minutes passing the attack back and forth for +3000 damage to a single strike and then missed ... the other players would give 'em sisal neckties and the problem would be solved.

Yakk
2010-01-04, 12:56 PM
warlord gets to give a melee basic attack so things like magic missile (unless a dragon magazine feat is taken) don't count.

Warlords grant more than just basic melee attacks.

Some of their powers are basic melee attack only, I'll admit.