D&D Podcast: Blood of Gruumsh & Warlords

I actually finished the podcast this time, so that is a plus. I also finally picked up a set of Blood of Gruumsh earlier this week, and agree that the minis, in particular the ogre, are pretty good. Though I have yet to play Dungeon Command, I am strongly considering snagging a second set just to round out my horde hoard. I do, however, disagree with Mearls's regarding everything warlords and hit points.

The warlord is one of my favorite 4th Edition classes. It was interesting, fun, new (or fairly new if you count the marshall from 3rd Edition's Miniature's Handbook), played well with tieflings (one of my favorite races), and had an absolutely awesome level 29 daily exploit (Defy Death) that I never got a chance to use. It was also a fully viable replacement for a cleric, which is very important for me in a game where formerly the only simple and reliable solution was basically a sorcerer-ized cleric.

Despite a limited access to maneuvers--currently capping at all of five at 10th-level--I am actually okay with warlord exploits existing as fighter maneuvers. After all up until Martial Power 2, where you could pick an archer-type class feature, the warlord was primarily a melee warrior that could dole out benefits to her allies.

What I am not okay with is it losing out on healing because of Mearls's oddly narrow interpretation of how hit points work, by essentially making the argument that William Wallace shouting at someone to heal them does in fact not make sense.

Frankly this statement sounds awfully like the kind of argument that 4th Edition haters used to try and levy against the game several years ago. It did not make sense then, and unless 5th Edition is going to have some sort of injury system as part of the core hit point rules, it does not make sense now. What makes his whole argument even more bizarre, is that it differs greatly from how he tried to explain hit points and healing surges several years ago (which starts around the 11:50 mark).

Obviously William Wallace could and should not be able to regenerate people's limbs no matter how much he shouts or encourages them, but since when have hit points represented solely physical trauma? For that matter when have hit point damage ever resulted in grievous injuries in the first place?

In every edition of Dungeons & Dragons characters are, by default, perfectly fine until they are reduced to 0 or less, so can characters function just fine while carrying their guts? I guess it just fixes itself after a few days of rest, even without serious medical attention. Will healing potions allow you to regrow lost limbs, since it is magical healing?

A more accurate question would be if, in a game where hit points represent a variety of very abstract things, from physical punishment, exhaustion, luck, combat prowess, mental stress, and more, often on an attack-by-attack basis, would you expect a guy to be able to restore them through some form of inspiring presence?


There should be other classes that can feasibly substitute for the cleric, which by itself should not be mandatory for play. The warlord is an excellent class, and I want it to be able to buff the rest of the party, as well as be able to heal them if the player wants to emphasize that. Maybe not to the degree that a cleric could, but at an acceptable baseline.

Magical healing should also not be required, especially since hit points have never consistently represented physical trauma. If the most basic rules cannot accommodate a party of adventures without magical healing, then the design team needs to address the definition of hit points and how they work so that players can more freely play what they want, without having to worry about houserules, optional rules, or DM handouts.


  1. I loved the last podcast, especially the parts on why people DO roleplay in the first place. So yeah, I was kinda bummed out when they narrowed their vision on the Warlord. "It's like a fighter with a touch of...bard?" Well, it COULD be. In 4E, you had the charismatic Warlord, who relied on his ability to inspire the troops in the heat of battle. But there was also the tactical Warlord, who functioned more directly like a battle commander on the field. Why not a warlord with a touch of barbarian, like a tribe leader who buffs his troops specifically with rage or something? I hope they allow themselves to throw this thing wide open, instead of narrowing their choices down.

  2. A warlord was one of the first characters I played in my first campaign.
    The neat initiative bonuses to allies... the Commander's Strike... the chess-like playstyle... It was practically the perfect class for me. To see it reduced to a fighter with ally-buffing abilities is heresy to me. Kind of like a wizard that can't run out of spells for a 4e hater.

    That said, I agree that it could take on different forms, like a tribal war chief, classic captain, or even a thief-leader.

  3. On RPG.net there has always been lots of talk on how the design team is jettisoning everything 4th Edition in an attempt to appeal to lapsed players. I never took any stock in that, even when Mearls clarified his past statement by explaining that they were careful to not say that each class would get its own entry, so it is totally all good, right?0

    Sure, he could have mentioned this a long time ago around when people were both excited and skeptical about the warlord making it into the game (as well as after showing us the warlord background), but maybe he thought at the time that they could. Who knows, things change.

    What really got me was his 180 on how he suddenly interprets hit points working (all physical, all the time), dated "arguments" against 4th Edition (shouting wounds closed), and narrow perspective that inspiring equals bard (which ignores the Thaneborn barbarian, if not more).

    A singing, spellcasting fighter is not a warlord, not even an inspiring one. If I cannot build a melee-oriented warrior that can dispense tactical advantages, encourage her allies to fight on, AND viably substitute for a cleric, then I will consider it a failure.

    Of course, this would be considerably easier if constant healing were not an assumed part of the game.

  4. @DavidGuyll: The same talk is on the WotC forums.

    I think that if they brought back temporary hit points, the warlord could have an inspiring word ability that could grant you temp hp plus a bonus to saving throws.


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