Thoughts on the LevelUp 5e Playtest IXa – Warlord archetypes

As promised, let’s look at the warlord archetypes.

The Gambling General is a go big or go home sort.

Daring Commander at level 3 gives options of Daring Assault or Daring Charge.
Daring Assult lets allies in the Commanding Presence roll attacks with a -5 penalty in return for a potential bonus 2d6 damage (going up to 3d6 at level 15).
Daring Charge gives allies that start in the Commanding Presence aura the option to move up to twice their movement and attack all as one action, in return for advantage on attacks against them by all attackers other than their target.

Defensive Measures at level 7 gives either Desperate Avoidance or Frantic Avoidance.
Desperate Avoidance lets a warlord take advantage on a saving throw in return for disadvantage on attack rolls until the end of their next turn, once per short rest.
Frantic Avoidance gives a bonus half movement against areas of effect, and as long as that means ending up outside the area, nothing happens. This is once per long rest.

Level 11 brings Hold the Line, which comes as Stand Firm or Stand Strong.
Stand Firm seems like a huge gamble – allies can take disadvantage on a saving throw to take no damage instead of half damage.
Stand Strong gives allies the option to use their reaction when they are hit themselves to make the Commanding Presence attack.

Risky Tactics at level 15 is a choice between Risky Gambit and Risky Foray.
Risky Gambit uses a bonus action to provoke an opportunity attack against an ally in the Commanding Presence, and then the creature that makes the attack has all attacks made against it at advantage. (I guess this syncs up with Stand Strong?)
Risky Foray gives an ally that starts in the Commanding Presence aura expertise on melee attack rolls, but all attacks against them also gain the expertise dice.

Lastly, Canny Adversary at level 18 gives either Feinting Retreat or Lay the Trap.
Feinting Retreat gives opportunity attacks against creatures that chase a warlord after they use the Disengage action.
Lay the Trap gives advantage on attack rolls for the warlord and one ally against a creature that attacks and misses the warlord for a turn.

Ok, next up it’s the Peasant Lieutenant archetype.

Level 3 brings Make Haste, which comes as either Fast Feet or Fast Retreat.
Fast Feet gives allies starting in the Commanding Presence aura a 5 ft. speed boost.
Fast Retreat allows a warlord to swap an attack action for an ally taking the disengage action.
Also at 3rd level we get the Skirmisher ability, which gives a 10 ft. movement boost whilst wearing light or no armour and not carrying a shield, and movement gives disadvantage on opportunity attacks. The speed boost goes up to 20 ft. at level 15.
So I guess this is a dual-wielder dream subclass.

Level 7’s Nimble Troops gives all creatures within the Commanding Presence a bonus to either Acrobatics or Athletics checks (chosen when the taking this level) equal to the warlord’s Charisma modifier.
I think this should say friendly creatures…

Level 11 brings Glorious Sacrifice, as either Take Cover or Take the Hit.
Take Cover gives the option of dropping disadvantage on an area effect saving throw on a warlord in return for all other allied creatures in the Commanding Presence aura taking advantage on the save.
Take the Hit gives the warlord the option to take a critical hit for an ally in the aura by shoving them out of the way, once per short rest.

Portentous Escape at level 15 gives either Get Them Out or Fortifying Encouragement.
Get Them Out gives a reaction to have an ally move half their movement out of an area effect in order to avoid it completely. (It’s similar to Frantic Avoidance above).
Fortifying Encouragement gives temporary hitpoints of 5 + Charisma modifier to an ally within 60 ft. whenever the warlord succeeds on a saving throw.

Finally Unbound Horde at level 18 comes with Among the Ranks and March Together.
Among the Ranks gives unfriendly creatures disadvantage on all opportunity attacks against friendly creatures in the Commanding Presence aura.
March Together gives each creature within the aura a reaction to move 10 ft. when the warlord moves. I presume this should also say friendly creatures…

Finally, let’s move on to the Tactical Commander archetype.

Tactical Edge adds a new variant rule (this is getting very crunchy) – the tactics dice.
At the start of initiative, this is a d4. Any friendly creature in 60 ft. can use the dice to add to attack rolls, and then the die disappears until the warlord’s turn. If the warlord starts their turn and the die hasn’t been rolled, it goes up a size.

Student of War at level 7 gives proficiency and expertise in either Culture, History or Nature.

Level 11th’s Operations Leader isn’t written great? It’s a big wall of text and some of it seems to be in the wrong order. I’ll see what I can pull out.
Use a bonus action and spend 5 exertion points to make it easier for allies to help each other – by taking the Help action as a bonus action. Both the helper and the helpee have to be within 30 ft. of the warlord, and this is a concentration action like a spell.
This can all be prepared with a series of hand gestures in code, so allies don’t need to share a language. There’s also something about how a hostile creature could crack the code, but there’s also confusion over whether this is spoken or hand gestures or what here.
I get what they’re going for but this is a messy ability that needs fixing.

Level 15’s Superior Tactics is either used for More Tactical or Tactical Efficacy effects.
More Tactical adds a second tactics dice that follows the same rules as the first.
Tactical Efficacy has the tactics dice start as a d6, and at level 20 it starts as a d8.

Lastly Hidden Resources at level 18 gives the options of Dig Deeper or Reach Further.
Dig Deeper lets a warlord spend a bonus action to have an ally reuse one of their expended origin or class abilities, so long as that ability regenerates on a short rest. And the warlord can use Dig Deeper twice per long rest.
Reach Further gives an ally in the Commanding Presence aura an additional use of the tactics dice – if they would drop to 0 hit points, they can roll and gain the result + the warlord’s Charisma modifier in temporary hitpoints. This ability recharges for the ally on their long rest.

And that’s it. Altogether, some interesting abilities. I think I’d like to run a Peasant Lieutenant or a Tactical Commander and see how they fair, the Gambling General I’m less drawn too but has some fun abilities.
Once the writing is fixed, I might even allow some of this at a normal D&D table.

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