DESIGNER’S DIARY 10: CLASSES OF CONFLICT – WARCHIEF
Compared to other classes, there was much less debate over the mechanics and RP aspects of the Warchief. In practice, it means the same as Talon: an alternative to the Paladin, which would be much less likely to be chosen by Brutal Races.
It has weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies, high HP, can be melee or ranged, and serves as a frontline buffer, providing bonuses to allies.
Of course, this is just the mechanical description. The role and theme of the Warchief are apparent. Among Brutal Races, there must be someone who inspires others, and who sets the direction with their tactics. These individuals don’t necessarily have to be clerics or fighters. We believe anyone with the purpose and skills to specialize in those areas should do so. In this sense, the Warchief is a perfect response to the needs of Brutal Races. Perhaps the only weakness in mechanics is that their buffs (i.e., Warchief commands) are more beneficial to martial characters. However, this is not a flaw but a conscious choice.
Let’s be honest, imagine a 20-member party of orcs or goblins. Even consider hobgoblins, bugbears, or (hopefully) the other Brutal Races we plan to add to the book. Gnolls, kobolds, and lizardfolk… How many casters would there be in a party of 20 of any of these races? Between 0 and 2, likely. 3 is quite an ambitious number. Essentially, the majority of casters are less favored by Brutal Races. Of course, as players, you can create a party consisting entirely of casters, but in the countless adventures and novels presented over the years, we’ve seen so few casters from these races…
This is not surprising and is a natural consequence of the cultures of Brutal Races. And the Warchief is optimized for this culture, having emerged from within it. So, if you were to say that the last choice for a party consisting entirely of casters is the Warchief, there’s no problem with that. All of the Warchief’s commands are designed to only buff themselves. By playing this way, a Warchief can serve the group as an excellent frontline warrior. You don’t have to do anything special for spellcasters.
Speaking of commands, it’s important to delve into this new mechanic. Each of the Warchief’s commands triggers when certain conditions are met, such as “when an ally is attacked” or “when you score a critical hit against an enemy.” In this case, each command has three possible uses. You can choose to use your selected command in any of these three different versions.
This allows the Warchief to focus on inspirational commands, which are Charisma-based, or tactical commands, which are Intelligence-based or simply use the commands to their advantage, becoming a completely martial warrior by using advanced commands without emphasizing either of these two aspects.
The subclasses of the Warchief are designed to align with these preferences. If you’re going with Charisma-based abilities, especially if your frontline is weak, Dread Lord is an excellent choice. You can summon undead warriors who obey your will and dominate the front lines with them. If you have a more mobile party, and your playstyle is more agile or ranged, going with Intelligence and choosing Master Hunter will give you a significant advantage. This way, you can use less skilled party members in your group as if they were mini rangers or rogues if needed. Finally, High Chief, as the default Warchief subclass, brings expertise and versatility in every aspect. It uses more commands and receives bonuses from commands, providing a well-rounded and flexible approach.
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