August 19, 2019

Warden

Base Class
Comments from the Finger: The warden is an iconic tank/control class for 5th edition. Its complement of features is at once easy to learn, perfectly cohesive with the rest of 5th edition, and utterly unique. The warden lets you take control of the battlefield and shelter your flimsy allies from harm, while marking and eliminating a single target at a time and absorbing any punishment your foes throw your way. 

We've given this class a huge rework -- not quite a redux, but an overhaul with a brand new PDF nonetheless. To see the full fruits of our labor, with more sublcasses and class options than you can shake a stick at, check out the Complete Warden!

Warden

An immense goblinoid army stretches from the horizon to the castle walls. In the breach, a single knight holds back the horde, eviscerating all comers, and allowing none to pass.
     Blood dripping from his blade, a scarred half orc gets down on all fours and breaks into a sprint, his eyes alight with bestial fury.
     Advancing slowly, an elf brandishing a green scimitar emerges from the foliage before two poachers. Startled, they turn to run, but find their feet bound fast by leaves and vines.
     Wardens are vigilant guardians, and unbreakable defenders of the weak. They are nature’s shield, and the watchers of the realms of men. When the world cries out for a champion, wardens heed the call.

Mighty Guardians
Ever-vigilant, wardens are the staunch defenders of nature and the chosen champions of people. A warden might be selected by his tribe to defend them from their enemies, or be visited by the spirits of a sacred grove and beckoned to watch over the forest. Where a warden is not directly called to defend others, he feels the constant pull to take up a charge of his own, to use his strength as a bastion for the weak.
     Wherever a warden travels, his strength travels with him, and new causes make themselves known. There is never a shortage on those who need protection, for the strong always seem to stand above the weak.

Primal Strength
Wardens are like mighty trees in a gale storm, or the rocks along shore, constantly battered by waves. Though they may experience extraordinary hardship, a warden cannot be easily moved, and seldom can be broken.
     Wardens draw their extraordinary toughness from the wild itself. They can feel the strength of the earth beneath their feet, the vitality of the air in their lungs, and the fury of the blazing sun overhead. They channel this power intuitively, without ever considering it. Indeed, some wardens believe that their power comes from within, and that nature does nothing to empower them, but even these wardens feel nature’s pull to defend the powerless and take up a cause.

Creating a Warden
When creating a warden, consider what drives your character. What brought you to raise up your shield for others? Do you fight to protect anyone or anywhere in particular? A threat to your homeland, or loved ones, might have been your catalyst, but you also might have risen to combat a menace to the natural world. What was your call, and how do you honor it? What motivates you to keep fighting, even when you’re at death’s door?
     Most wardens have been recognized as exemplary defenders. Perhaps, you are known as a wandering knight of the northern provinces, or perhaps you were beckoned by spirits of the forest to protect them from invaders. Who has called you, and how did you respond?

Quick Build
You can build a warden quickly with these suggestions. First, make Constitution your highest ability score, followed by Strength and Dexterity. Then, choose the Primal Toughness option for Sentinel’s Stand.

Warden
Level  Proficiency Bonus  Features
1st
+2
Sentinel's Stand, Warden's Grasp
2nd
+2
Fighting Style, Warden’s Mark
3rd
+2
Champion’s Call, Warden's Resolve
4th
+2
Ability Score Improvement, Font of Life
5th
+3
Extra Attack
6th
+3
Call feature
7th
+3
Sentinel’s Step
8th
+3
Ability Score Improvement
9th
+4
Undying
10th
+4
Interrupt
11th
+4
Mark improvement
12th
+4
Ability Score Improvement
13th
+5
Call feature
14th
+5
Grasp improvement
15th
+5
Font of Life improvement
16th
+5
Ability Score Improvement
17th
+6
Resolve improvement
18th
+6
Sentinel’s Soul
19th
+6
Ability Score Improvement
20th
+6
Call feature

Class Features
As a warden, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per warden level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per warden level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Nature, Perception, and Survival.

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted to you by your background:
  • A shield and any martial weapon
  • (a) chain shirt, (b) leather armor and a spear, or (c) chain mail (if proficient)
  • (a) two light hammers or (b) any simple melee weapon
  • (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Sentinel’s Stand
Wardens are towers that cannot easily be felled. At 1st level, choose one of the following features.
     Armor Proficiency. You gain proficiency with heavy armor.
     Primal Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1 + your Constitution modifier, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level in this class.
     Stalwart Spirit. You gain proficiency in one saving throw of your choice.

Warden’s Grasp
At 1st level, as a bonus action, you can use the force of your daunting presence to ensnare nearby enemies into combat. Until the beginning of your next turn, you can’t move, and each Large or smaller creature you choose within 5 feet can’t willingly move away from you unless it first takes the Disengage action.
     At 14th level, the range of this ability increases to 10 feet.

Fighting Style
At 2nd level, you adopt a style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
     Crippling. When you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, its speed is reduced by 10 feet, to a minimum of 0, until the end of its next turn, and it can’t take the Dash action until the end of its turn.
     Great Weapon Fighting. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack you make with a melee weapon that you are wielding with two hands, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll. The weapon must have the two-handed or versatile property for you to gain this benefit.
     Protection. When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll. You must be wielding a weapon or shield.
     Titan Fighting. You gain a +2 bonus to melee weapon attack rolls you make against Large or larger creatures.

Warden’s Mark
At 2nd level, you can use your bonus action to mark a creature you can see within 30 feet. While a marked creature is within 5 feet of you, it has disadvantage on any attack roll that doesn’t target you. The mark lasts for 1 minute, or until you mark another creature, become incapacitated, or die.
     At 11th level, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn, you can make an additional attack against a creature you have marked.

Champion’s Call
By the time you reach 3rd level, you feel the inexorable pull of an important duty or task that you assume as your own. No outside force compels your choice or enforces your conduct; if you fail in your charge, you alone are responsible.
     Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 13th, and 20th level.

Warden’s Resolve
Starting at 3rd level, whenever your hit points are less than half your maximum, you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
     Starting at 17th level, when your hit points are less than half your maximum, you have resistance to all damage except psychic.

Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Font of Life
By 4th level, you can use your action to end either one disease or one condition afflicting you. The condition can be blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, or poisoned. You can use this action even if the condition you end would otherwise prevent it. Once you use this ability, you must finish a short or long rest before you can use it again.
     At 15th level, once per day when you use this ability, your hit points are also restored to half your maximum, if they were lower.

Extra Attack
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Sentinel’s Step
Wardens are faultless trackers, which can navigate hazardous terrain with ease. At 7th level, select one of the following features.
     Earthstrength. You possess the might of the earth itself. Your carrying capacity doubles, and you have advantage on ability checks and saving throws against being pushed against your will or knocked prone.
     Thundering Charge. On your first round of combat, your speed increases by 30 feet and you have advantage on the first melee weapon attack you make.
     Wildblood. Your reflexes have been honed by the perils of nature. You can’t be surprised while you are conscious. Additionally, you have a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores.

Undying
At 9th level, when you are reduced to 0 hit points and are not killed outright, you can choose to drop to 1 hit point instead. Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Interrupt
Starting at 10th level, as a reaction when a creature within 5 feet of you makes a melee attack against you, you can punctuate its strikes. After that attack, the creature can make one fewer attack than normal on this turn.

Sentinel’s Soul
Wardens are unshakable guardians that cannot be bowed. At 18th level, choose one of the following features:
     Ageless Guardian. You are immune to poison and disease, no longer need food or water, suffer none of the frailty of old age, and can’t be aged magically. You can still die of old age, however.
     Additionally, you have advantage on Dexterity saving throws.
     Eyes of the Mountain. You gain tremorsense with a range of 15 feet, and can detect the presence of hidden or invisible creatures within 30 feet.
     Additionally, you have advantage on Constitution saving throws.
     Impenetrable Mind. Your thoughts can’t be read, and you can’t be charmed or frightened.
     Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom saving throws.


Champion’s Call

A warden’s call is a binding charge to protect and defend others from harm. Every warden eventually hears a call, and responds with mighty deeds. In answering this call, they embrace the traits of those they stand to protect, gaining primal, and sometimes even mystical, abilities.

Bloodwrath Guardian

The primal power you wield has formed an intrinsic bond with the creatures of the wild, and you have taken up the task of defending them. Because you share in the beast’s ferocity, tenacity, and animal instinct, you can summon a beast’s primal strength from within yourself, and slay your enemies in an animalistic trance.
     While entranced, you can sense a connection to a greater being, the Primal Beast, the first predator, from which all hunters are descended. As your commitment to defending the wilds from corruption grows, you grow closer to the Primal Beast, until you can at last adopt its ancient form yourself, and allow it to hunt once again.

Feral Trance
Starting when you hear this call at 3rd level, you can fall into a primal battle trance as a bonus action. While in your trance, you gain the following benefits if you aren’t holding a shield or wearing heavy armor:
  • You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
  • Your base movement speed increases by 10 feet. 
  • Once per turn, when you make an attack roll against a creature, you can end your current mark, and mark that creature instead.
  • When an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack’s damage against you.
Your trance lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then. You can also end your trance on your turn as a bonus action.
     Once you use this ability, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Predator’s Scent
By 6th level, you hunt like an animal. A creature you have marked can remain marked for up to 24 hours, even if it moves out of your sight. Additionally, while this creature is marked, you can track it effortlessly; you know the direction and distance to the creature while it remains on the same plane of existence.

Evasion
Beginning at 13th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Form of the Primal Beast
At 20th level, as an action, you can transform into a hunched thing of fur and shadow, an echo of the Primal Beast. For 1 minute, you gain the following features:
  • You gain all the benefits of Feral Trance.
  • You gain temporary HP equal to twice your level.
  • Once per turn, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can wound the target. At the start of each of the wounded creature’s turns, it takes 1d8 necrotic damage for each time you’ve wounded it, and it can then make a Constitution saving throw (save DC equals 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier), ending the effect of all such wounds on itself on a success. Alternatively, the wounded creature, or a creature within 5 feet of it, can use an action to make a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check, ending the effect of such wounds on it on a success.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Verdant Protector

You draw your strength from the trees of the forest and the loamy earth beneath your feet. As a Verdant Protector, you are the champion of the green things in nature, and defend them against those who would despoil the wilds. You easily find allies among druids, and others that understand the forest’s sacred trees and ancient spirits.
     At your command, the plants of the earth sprout up to assist you in your duty. At the pinnacle of your power, you can assume the form of an elder tree guardian, which looks much like a treant, with tough, bark skin, and long, branchlike arms.

Green Mark
Starting when you hear this call at 3rd level, when you mark a creature, the plants of the earth come alive to hinder its progress. While this creature is within 30 feet of you, the ground it walks on is difficult terrain.

Verdant Skin
At 6th level, you gain proficiency in the Stealth skill, if you did not have it before. Additionally, you can use your action to draw a thick mass of vines and leaves to conceal you. Until you move, you have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks you make to hide among vegetation.

Mettle
At 13th level, your determination allows you to shrug off effects that would otherwise harm you. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Constitution saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Form of the Oak Sentinel
Starting at 20th level, you can use your action to transform into an oak sentinel, a bark-covered titan of the forest. For 1 minute, you gain the following features:
  • Your AC becomes 20, if it was lower.
  • Your attacks have Reach, if they did not have it before.
  • You can use Warden’s Grasp as an action, rather than a bonus action. When you do so, you can make an attack against each creature affected, with a separate attack roll for each target.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.




Changelog
8/19/19: Overhaul! Changes include: Cut Defiant and Duel features, reworked Mark and Interrupt

    23 comments:

    1. This class have an ability that grants it 2 attacks against its marked target at lv 11, but at level 5 it gains the Extra attack feature. Is it redundant or against a marked target you can make 4 attacks?

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    2. Was wondering something, in the reply to Timo H you said that Primal Toughness scales if you increase your CON. later. Does that mean every level you get plus 1 hp + CON. modifier or is it as it says? Just a little unclear, I haven't tried the class yet, but was thinking about trying out a Warden. Reminded me a little bit of the Warden from Lord of the Rings: Online.

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      1. It increases by 1 + your Con modifier at 1st level and by 1 at every level after. If you later increase your Con mod, you can gain an extra +1 HP, since you would have otherwise gained that bonus at 1st level.

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    3. Just to make sure I understand the 1st level Primal Toughness feature: If I am a Warden with a +3 Constitution modifier, does that mean I start with 10+3+1+3 = 17 hp? Beside that, I really like the flavor of a crowd control class. Would love to see it in play, but I haven't had the opportunity yet.

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    4. The interrupt ability is unfair to boss enemies that lack legendary actions. A balor demon for example is completely shutdown by a Warden. Perhaps it would be better if it made an enemy lose one attack or negated multiattack, or even forced a crit instead of advantage? As it stands now, a person can force (Or heavily coerce) an enemy to only attack it and then... nothing, one attack per turn.

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      1. Well, three things to remember:

        1) The attack that Balor is making against you is made at advantage, potentially putting you in a world of hurt.

        2) It only shuts down melee weapon attacks, and other attacks after the fact. That balor can still fireball you into oblivion.

        3) This...

        "As it stands now, a person can force (Or heavily coerce) an enemy to only attack it and then... nothing, one attack per turn."

        ...is exactly the point. You can lock down something as long as you still have HP, if it's stupid enough to attack you.

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    5. I know this hasn't been updated in a while, but is there a chart in regards to multi-classing with a Warden?

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    6. So, I realize It's been a while since the comment section for the Warden has been active, but I was curious. Has there been any news on when we'll gain gain access to purchasing Complete Warden, with it's additional subclasses? I'm really wanting to use the Warden in an upcoming campaign based in a larger city, but it could definitely use an archetype with a more urban feel.

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    7. Why does EVERYBODY always give Tank classes offensive abilities!? Especially at level 5. Second attack? Why not allow them to take the Dodge action and attack once?

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      1. Dodge and an attack is a little too overpowered, it also just drags out combat to an unnecessary degree. Think of this at level 18; you have resistance to damage (except psychic) at half health, proficiency in a fair few saves, you can interrupt an opponent's attacks, you can end a variety of conditions on yourself, gain temporary hit points and with that force disadvantage in enemies. It would come down to you against the big bad trading blows until people got bored and left or someone died eight hours later.

        Multi attack gives a better flow for combat and makes the enemy actually like to go after the warden as opposed to just leaving them for last after killing everything else.

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    8. Hey everyone! Since I've updated the class with cleaned up and rebalanced base mechanics (literal years after the original class's release), I went ahead and purged the comments older than 2 years so it's easier to discuss the class's current form.

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      1. Is there anywhere we can find rules for multiclassing the MageHandPress classes?

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    9. Cant find wardens grasp although it being listed as a level 2 ability

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      1. That's because I didn't copy it into the blog post. Oops. Fixed now

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    10. Forgive me if I come across as petulant but I feel the Verdant Protector is a little weak compared to it's counterpart. Both the level 3 and capstone are kinda missing.

      At level 3 they get a slow which is already baked in by warden's grasp and at level 20 the only benefit is the reach given to primal guardian rangers at level 3 (ignoring AC boost as at that level a tank's AC should be over 20 anyways)

      Consider moving the reach attack down to level 3 or maybe adding something like druids stride feature or a reactive damage mechanic (enemies get hut when they strike in melee) from the 4e warden.

      Thank you

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    11. Warden's mark is listed at lvl 1 and written at 2.

      All other parts of the class look good, although maybe a bit on the weaker side of base classes. It's got more exploration and way more survivability than others, though, so it's ok.

      One feature I think the class is missing is a way to handle mobs (thorns, area attack, whatever)- if any melee class should get that, it's the warden. Could be its own subclass though.

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      1. Good catch on Mark! I'll fix that table tonight.

        In my mind, Grasp has always been the "handle mobs" ability. It doesn't help you reduce them to paste, but it does keep them in check. (Some subclasses generally help with that, though.)

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      2. Now that grasp has actually been added, yes, it does that, or at least prevents part of the mob from attacking non-melee types.

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    12. Im having trouble understanding how this is crowded control. When I think of crowd control, I instinctively think of fireball, an action that can affect many creatures and sometimes kill off dozens of weaklings so the rest of the party doesn't have to worry about them. Aside from the Grasp, this just feels like another heavy duty barbarian tank.

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