What the Core Fighter always dreamed to be (Special thanks to Frank and K, who inspired the initial foundation of this class.)
Cecil, the Dark Knight, performs a devastating Shellshock against his draconic foe.
If there's a trick to be performed with a weapon, you can guarantee that a Warlord not only knows it, he probably invented it. There are Warriors, there are Fighters, there are Elite Soldiers, and then are the Warlords that have trained them all. These are the combatants leading a unit, by example, in the middle of a monumental confrontation of armies. These Warlords, often of very precise and disciplined upbringing, have practiced their trade since the minute they could hold and swing a weapon. They mastered advanced tactics like disarming and tripping in their pre-teen years. They were inventing styles of their own before they were twenty years of age, and even as they grow gray they remain sharp as ever building techniques upon themselves, weaving them into a martial tapestry unlike anything the world has ever seen. It is very difficult to surprise a Warlord in combat, and even harder to still to catch him without a response to being surprised. Warriors of lesser talent have learned to be wary of anyone even so much as walking the way a Warlord walks to avoid being shown the sharp end of a thousand perfectly executed maneuvers.
Making a WarlordSpoilerYou are a master of any weapon you choose to wield and you know how to unlock the maximum potential from any such instrument. You can be a clever and uncompromising melee tactician or a lightning quick and frustratingly elusive ranged combatant. You have the power to build your own destiny as a Warlord.
Abilities: The focus you should place on ability scores depends largely on the focus of your feats. Granted, you know a tremendous number of feats, and with knowing so many you can branch out quite well. Strength is useful to the melee focused, and dexterity to the ranged focus, but with the proper feats you can blur those lines. Constitution is of course always important for a warrior such as yourself and you may choose to place primary importance on it just to have the great survivability. Intelligence, wisdom, and charisma are not nearly as important for a Warlord as the first three, though intelligence can be nice to fill out your tactical skill list.
Alignment: Warlords can be of any alignment. Given their inclination toward a strict training regimen they might lean toward Law, but then there are many Warlords that choose to forge their own path and create their own styles of fighting. Chaotic Warlords care not for the troubles of kings or dukes, and will generally offer their tremendous skills to whoever has the most coin. Good Warlords are staunch defenders of justice and the innocent, where evil Warlords can be the most fearsome threat a country has ever faced.
Races: Races of all types make fine Warlords, but of course those more inclined to physical pursuits take the most naturally to the class. Dwarves and Half-Orcs make sturdy and powerful Warlords and often place the needs of society above their own interests. Elves and Halflings make agile and swift Warlords with a tendency for self-centeredness and caprice. Humans seem ever drawn into long and expensive wars, and in this respect they will always produce a large number of willful and tenacious Warlords.
Playing a WarlordSpoilerYou live your life to master the most potent and the most intricate martial styles ever known by mankind. Nothing is more important to you than being, quite simply, the greatest weaponsmaster in history. Combat, to you, is a deadly dance, one that ebbs and flows. You use your Combat Focus to move with, rather than against, this current, and to make your foes fight on your terms. You seize opportunities, you take advantage of weaknesses, and you use your masterful warrior skills to stop any foe from ever finding the chinks in your armor - if there are any to find.
A Warlord adventures to continue to hone his combat techniques against worthy adversaries. The saying goes, "you can only get better by playing a smarter opponent." Warlords strive to find these opponents. No matter how good you think you are there is always someone better than you, and everytime a Warlord meets a fighter better than him, even if in only a small way, he learns something from it. Of course, there is something to be said about the thrill of battle, and the glory of the slaughter. Most Warlords can appreciate these as well.
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Tier I Tier II Tier III Tier IV 1st +1 +2 +0 +0 True Aptitude, Art of War 1 -- -- -- 2nd +2 +3 +0 +0 Combat Focus 2 -- -- -- 3rd +3 +3 +1 +1 Defensive Training 2 -- -- -- 4th +4 +4 +1 +1 Ever Vigilant (Maintain) 2 -- -- -- 5th +5 +4 +1 +1 3 1 -- -- 6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +2 Tide of Battle (Expend) 3 1 -- -- 7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +2 3 1 -- -- 8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +2 Tremulous Steps (Maintain) 4 1 -- -- 9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +3 4 2 -- -- 10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +3 Shellshock (Expend) 4 2 1 -- 11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +3 5 2 1 -- 12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +4 Action Without Thought (Maintain) 5 2 1 -- 13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +4 5 3 2 -- 14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +4 True Threat (Expend) 5 3 2 -- 15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +5 6 3 2 1 16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +5 Through the Haze (Maintain) 6 3 2 1 17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +5 6 4 3 1 18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +6 Battleshaper (Expend) 6 4 3 1 19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +6 7 4 3 1 20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +6 Lord of War, Defensive Mastery 7 4 4 2
Class Skills (4+Int per level): Appraise, Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Escape Artist, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Ride, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Swim, Tumble
Proficiencies: All simple and martial weapons, all armors and shields (including tower).
Combat Feats: Warlords make extensive use of feats, and master powerful techniques other warriors would never dream of. In a manner similar to how a Wizard prepares spells, Warlords prepare themselves for the day, drawing on a wide breadth of combat experience and proficiency. Warlords prepare feats instead of spells, drawn from the Warlord's list of Combat Feats (given below), his feats divided into tiers much like a spellcaster's spells are divided into levels. Warlords begin play knowing 3 Tier I feats, but can only prepare 1 as indicated on the table above (can prepare 7 Tier I feats at 20th level). A Warlord can prepare a lower Tier feat he knows into a higher Tier "slot" when he prepares his feats. At each level, a Warlord learns a new feat, and can learn any feats of Tiers that are available to him. At 5th, 10th, and 15th level a Warlord learns an additional feat of any Tier available to him (25 total known feats at 20th level). When a Warlord learns a feat that says it can be taken multiple times he may ready that feat multiple times, but only needs to learn it once (a Warlord cannot do this with Epic feats).
Tier I feats include all Warlord feats whose prerequisites require BAB no greater than +4, skill ranks no greater than 7, and ability scores no greater than 15. Tier II feats include all Warlord feats whose prerequisites require BAB no greater than +9, skill ranks no greater than 12, and ability scores no greater than 17. Tier III feats include all Warlord feats whose prerequisites require BAB no greater than +14, skill ranks no greater than 17, ability scores no greater than 19, and Epic Warlord feats.
Tier IV feats include all Warlord feats whose prerequisites require BAB 15 or higher, skill ranks 18 or higher, ability scores 20+, and Epic Warlord feats.
Any feat which has another feat as a prerequisite is always the same Tier as that feat or higher. To learn a feat a Warlord must still qualify for it as normal. To prepare a feat that requires other feats as prerequisites those feats must be prepared first. Warlords can "empty" their "feat slots" and reprepare feats with 1 minute of rest per slot emptied this way.
"Retraining Feats" - At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels a Warlord can lose combat feats he's learned throughout his career to learn other ones in their place. At 5th level he can replace any Tier I feat he knows with any other Tier I feat he meets the prerequisites for. At 10th he can replace another Tier I feat, but can also replace a Tier II feat. At 15th level he can replace another Tier I feat, another Tier II feat, and can also replace a Tier III feat. At 20th level he can replace a feat of each Tier available to him if he chooses.
Art of War (Ex): For the purposes of qualifying for feats The Warlord treats his ability scores as though they were 2 points higher than they actually are at 1st level, 3 points higher than the actually are at 6th level, 4 points higher than they actually are at 11th level and 5 points higher than they actually are at 16th level.
True Aptitude (Ex): That little thing that Warblades do is cute and all, trying so hard to emulate what comes so naturally to a Warlord. A Warlord with Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, or any other feats of that nature (any feat with benefits that apply to a specific weapon) can switch the weapon to which those feats applies as a swift action.
Combat Focus (Ex): Warlords are expected to be alert, ready to take advantage of the flow of the field in an instant. By spending a move action, a Warlord of 2nd level and higher can enter a focused state of mind. This state lasts for either 5 rounds or for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 his Warlord level, whichever is higher. When a Warlord enters his Combat Focus he chooses Fortitude, Reflex, or Will. While he remains focused in this way he gains a +2 bonus to all saves of the chosen type.
As a swift or immediate action the Warlord can voluntarily end his focus to reroll a single d20 roll (a save of the type he chose when entering Combat Focus retains the +2 bonus for this reroll). Warlords cannot gain or maintain Combat Focus outside of battle for the state of mind and body needed to achieve this simply doesn't exist except in those conditions.
Defensive Training (Ex): At 3rd level the Warlord chooses a specific defensive style with which he will assume throughout his career between Armor Usage, Insightful Guidance, or Deflective Parry.
Armor Usage - A Warlord that chooses Armor Usage increases the armor bonus of any type of armor he wears by +1 at 3rd level and an additional +1 every four levels thereafter.
Further, when a Warlord wears armor he gains Damage Reduction depending on the Armor Type. Heavy and Medium armor grant the Warlord DR X/adamantine where X equals twice the armor bonus; Light armor grants the Warlord DR X/adamantine where X equals the armor bonus. If a Warlord wears adamantine armor this becomes DR X/--. This DR stacks with any existing DR you possess of the same type.
Finally, while wearing armor a Warlord reduces the armor check penalty by 1 and increases an armor's max Dex bonus by 1 for each +1 to AC he would normally gain from this ability.
Insightful Guidance - A Warlord that chooses Insightful Guidance doesn't rely on armor quite so much as his fellows. These Warlords may add the higher of their Intelligence or Wisdom modifiers to their AC (if either is positive) and gain an insight bonus to initiative and AC equal to +1 at 3rd level and an additional +1 every four levels thereafter. All allies within 5ft per Warlord level who can hear the Warlord gain 1/2 this bonus (rounded down) as the Warlord offers defensive advice.
Further, whenever the Warlord or one of his allies fights defensively or takes the total defense action, that character gains temporary hit points equal to the Warlord's class level + the higher of his Intelligence or Wisdom modifiers (if either is positive).
Deflective Parry - A Warlord that chooses Deflective Parry hardly relies on armor at all, but defends himself with his weapon. These Warlords gain a deflection bonus to AC equal to the total enhancement bonus of weapons he wields, a further +1 at 3rd level, and +1 every four levels thereafter.
Further, during a round in which the Warlord dealt damage to a foe with two or more weapons, he may automatically parry a single attack from that foe.
Finally, while wielding two or more weapons, a Warlord enjoys the benefits of the Deflect Arrows feat, though he need not have an open hand or meet the prerequisites of this feat.
Ever Vigilant (Ex): While benefiting from Combat Focus, a Warlord of 4th level or higher gains a competence bonus to Listen and Spot checks made to oppose the Hide or Move Silently checks of his enemies equal to his Warlord Levels.
Further, he does not suffer the penalties of Blindness or Deafness against any foe he has detected through his Listen or Spot skills.
Finally, a Warlord benefiting from Combat Focus can make Listen and Spot checks as swift or immediate actions.
Tide of Battle (Ex): A Warlord of 6th level or higher may spend an immediate action to voluntarily end his Combat Focus and take a move action.
Tremulous Steps (Ex): Starting at 8th level, while benefiting from Combat Focus, a Warlord gains Tremorsense out to 5ft per Warlord level.
Shellshock (Ex): As a swift action, a Warlord of 10th level or higher can voluntarily end his Combat Focus to cause his next attack to damage his foe's armor or natural armor. When he makes an attack this way he reduces his foe's armor bonus by 1 point per 10 points of damage his attack inflicted. Manufactured armor damaged this way is destroyed if its armor bonus is reduced to 0 (armor bonus includes magical enhancements). Natural armor damaged this way can be restored by any means that restores ability damage, and in equal amount (includes natural healing).
Action Without Thought (Ex): While benefiting from Combat Focus, if a Warlord of 12th level or higher would be subject to a Mind-Afflicting effect, he ignores its effects each turn spends a swift action to do so.
True Threat (Ex): As a swift action, a Warlord of 14th level or higher can voluntarily end his Combat Focus to automatically confirm a critical hit, or to cause a foe that he has just confirmed a critical hit on to make a Fort save (DC 10+1/2 Warlord Levels+Warlord's Constitution modifier +his weapon's threat range) or die.
Through the Haze (Ex): While benefiting from Combat Focus, a Warlord of 16th level or higher can see through illusions, can make additional disbelief saves against illusory effects by spending immediate actions, and can see invisible creatures. Invisible creatures still benefit from total concealment, the Warlord can merely see where they are.
Battleshaper (Ex): As a swift or immediate action, a Warlord of 18th level or higher can voluntarily end his Combat Focus to take a standard or full round action. If he takes a standard action in this way he loses his move action during his next turn. If he takes a full round action this way he is dazed during his next turn. Warlords can only use this ability once each encounter.
Defensive Mastery(Ex): At 20th level a Warlord has reached the pinnacle of his protective proficiency (say that three times fast!). He gains stupendous benefits from his choice in Defensive Training.
Armor Usage - You ignore all speed restrictions for armors you wear and gain extra damage reduction depending on your armor type. Heavy and Medium armor add +10 to their existing DR. Light armor adds +5 to it's existing DR.
Insightful Guidance - You add the higher of your Intelligence or Wisdom modifiers to your Initiative rolls (if either is positive).
Further, when you or an ally fights defensively with a penalty of -2 or more, or takes the total defense action, that character gets an insight bonus to all saving throws for 1 round equal to your insight bonus to AC from this feature, + the higher of your Intelligence or Wisdom modifiers (if either is positive).
Deflective Parry - You push away attacks with ease. Increase the deflection bonus granted from this feature by +4.
Further, you and all allies within 10ft of you gain Spell Resistance equal to 10+1/2 your Warlord level+your weapons' total enhancement bonus. If you are fighting defensively or are taking the total defense action, increase your SR by 10. If you dealt damage to a foe with two or more weapons this round, increase your SR by 10 against that foe only. Allies that fight defensively or damage foes in the same manner may likewise increase their SR.
Lord of War (Ex): As long as a Warlord of 20th level or higher has a higher attack bonus than any foe he threatens, those creatures cannot make attacks of opportunity against the Warlord. Further, once per encounter if the Warlord would voluntarily end his Combat Focus he may regain it as a free action.
Warlord Combat Feats
Tier I - Sneak Attack*, Alertness, Athletic, Blind-fight, Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Trip, Whirlwind Attack, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Diehard*, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Deflect Arrows, Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery, Ride-by-Attack, Spirited Charge, Trample, Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Shot on the Run, Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Improved Shield Bash, Tower Shield Proficiency, Toughness, Improved Toughness, Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Defense, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Clever Wrestling, Close Quarters Fighting, Defensive Strike, Defensive Throw, Eyes in the Back of Your Head, Greater Resiliency, Hamstring, Hold the Line, Improved Buckler Defense, Improved Mounted Archery, Improved Two Weapon Defense, Karmic Strike, Kiai Shout, Monkey Grip, Phalanx Fighting, Pin Shield, Power Critical, Prone Attack, Sharp Shooting, Shield Charge, Swarmfighting, Throw Anything, Zen Archery, Brutal Throw, Power Throw, Combat Intuition, Death Blow, Deft Opportunist, Expert Tactician, Goad, Hear the Unseen, Improved Diversion, Oversized Two Weapon Fighting, Quick Reconnoiter, Cometary Collision, Crossbow Sniper, Deadeye Shot, Fade Into Violence, Flay, Grenadier, Hindering Opportunist, Intimidating Strike, Keen-Eared Scout, Melee Evasion, Shield Specialization, Active Shield Defense, Agile Shield Fighter, Shield Ward, Short Haft, Tumbling Feint, Vexing Flanker, Adaptable Flanker, Evasive Reflexes, Martial Study, Martial Stance, Rapid Assault, Daredevil Athlete, Deadly Defense, Disemboweling Strike, Head Shot, Persistant Attacker, Mage Slayer, Pierce Magical Concealment, Pierce Magical Protection, Hostile Mind, Sidestep Charge, Stand Still, Combat Focus, Combat Stability, Mad Alchemist, Anvil of Thunder, Bear Fang, Hammer's Edge, High Sword Low Axe, Lightning Mace, Quick Staff, Spinning Halberd, Three Mountains
Tier II - Improved Critical, Stunning Fist, Manyshot, Improved Precise Shot, Improved Two Weapon Fighting, Greater Weapon Focus, Fists of Iron, Flick of the Wrist, Improved Combat Expertise, Improved Rapid Shot, Greater Kiai Shout, Ranged Disarm, Ranged Pin, Ranged Sunder, Shield Slam, Deft Strike, Dual Strike, Leap Attack, Staggering Strike, Acrobatic Strike, Brutal Strike, Combat Acrobat, Stalwart Defense, Lunging Strike, Melee Weapon Mastery, Ranged Weapon Mastery, Shield Sling, Two-Weapon Pounce, Deadly Precision, Greater Manyshot, Combat Defense, Combat Vigor, Cavalry Charger, Combat Brute, Elusive Target, Formation Expert, Giantbane, Raptor School, Shock Trooper, Crescent Moon, Blood Spiked Charger, Combat Cloak Expert, Combat Panache, Einhander, Shadow Striker, Silent and Deadly*
Tier III - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Greater Two Weapon Defense, Armor Specialization, Bounding Assault, Combat Tactician, Crushing Strike, Driving Attack, Slashing Flurry, Penetrating Shot, Robilar's Gambit, Two Weapon Rend, Combat Awareness, Sneaky Flanker*, Armor Skin (E), Combat Archery (E), Energy Resistance (E), Epic Prowess (E), Epic Toughness (E), Great Charisma (E), Great Constitution (E), Great Dexterity (E), Great Intelligence (E), Great Strength (E), Great Wisdom (E), Improved Stunning Fist (E), Instant Reload (E), Penetrate Damage Reduction (E), Spellcasting Harrier (E)
Tier IV - Rapid Blitz, Defensive Sweep, Overwhelming Assault, Weapon Supremacy, Combat Strike, Killing Blow*, Blinding Speed (E), Damage Reduction (E), Distant Shot (E), Epic Dodge (E), Exceptional Deflection (E), Fast Healing (E), Improved Combat Reflexes (E), Improved Manyshot (E), Improved Whirlwind Attack (E), Infinite Deflection (E), Overwhelming Critical (E), Devastating Critical (E), Perfect Two Weapon Fighting (E), Reflect Arrows (E), Storm of Throws (E), Swarm of Arrows (E), Uncanny Accuracy (E)
* = As found below in the Character Options section
(E) = Epic Feat. The Warlord need not meet the prerequisites of these feats except that he still must learn them only when he could learn other feats in the same Tiers.
Alternative Classes (not ACFs)
So, some people are naturally going to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of feats gained by the Warlord. That's only natural. My advice, don't plan out your full 20 level build, and don't look at all those feats and try and get them to all be about 1 specific fighting style. Warlords aren't Fighters. They prepare feats from a list of feats known! They can afford to dip into multiple fighting styles, and they should!
However, some people might not be too excited about learning 25 feats and preparing 16 of them. I get it. So, I offer two alternatives: The Bladelord and The Fightblade! Yeah, they are dumb names, but they aren't really new classes so I don't care. The Bladelord replaces all of the class features in the Special column of the Warblade with all of the class features in the Special column of the Warlord and replaces the Warblade's class skills with the Warlord's class skills. The Fightblade replaces all of the class features in the Special column of the Warblade with a Fighter's bonus feats, although the Fightblade retains Weapon Aptitude and gains bonus feats as a Fighter of equal level. Both the Bladelord and the Fightblade gain maneuvers and stances just like a Warblade and from the same disciplines. Both the Bladelord and Fightblade have the Warlord's proficiencies.