Heroes in the Dungeons & Dragons game come in many different forms. Some are bold warriors, some are stealthy scouts, and some are masters of arcane or divine power. Even in the same class, heroes might embrace any number of different paths or methods as they master their abilities and gain new powers. A fighter might be a noble knight, a brutal slayer, or a canny weaponmaster. A rogue might be a daring thief or a dangerous scoundrel armed with a grab bag of deadly tricks and techniques. Your character could follow any of these paths, or you can define a unique blend of powers and abilities all your own.
The Dungeons & Dragons Essentials rulebooks Heroes of the Fallen Lands and Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms present new versions of classic heroes such as the fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard. The Class Compendium series of articles provides revisions and updates for the versions of these four classes that were originally presented in the 4th Edition Player’s Handbook, along with an updated version of the warlord. This series also provides feats for these classes, all in a free, downloadable format.
Each article in the Class Compendium series provides all the class information you need to create and play a character of one of five distinct Dungeons & Dragons classes: cleric, fighter, rogue, warlord, and wizard. A brief description of this month’s class, the warlord, follows; you’ll find the full presentation in the downloadable article.
A class provides a general set of abilities and traits that all characters of that class share. Individual members of a class can vary widely, however, so most classes are divided into two or more class types. Each class type represents a particular approach or philosophy that heroes belonging to the class might embody as they embark on their careers. For example, fighters include knights (masters of defense), slayers (offense-oriented combatants), and weapon¬masters (skilled in dozens of unique martial exploits and techniques). Better yet, you’ll find that some of the feats (presented in a sixth article) provide you with options for combining features and powers from multiple classes and class types, giving you great flexibility in designing your character’s unique set of talents.
Warlords are bold captains, chieftains, nobles, or marshals who lead their parties in battle. They use superior tactics and inspiring leadership to coordinate the attacks of their allies and protect the party from harm. Some warlords fight in the front ranks, equipped with sword, shield, and mail; others find it better to fight as second-rank skirmishers, using polearms or other reach weapons to help the front-line fighters deal with the enemy. Like fighters and rogues, warlords are martial, not magical, characters; they rely on their own strong sword-arms, personal charisma, and tactical savvy as their source of power. Warlords fill the role of melee-oriented leaders in the adventuring party.
The type of warlord you can create using Class Compendium is a marshal (the warlord from the Player’s Handbook). You might choose powers that emphasize the inspiring presence and courageous example you provide for your allies, or you might instead focus on powers that reflect your superior grasp of tactics.
Each of the class types presented in Class Compendium includes its own set of paragon paths. Your paragon path grants you additional features and powers as you advance from 11th level to 20th level. You continue to advance in your original class, too—all the powers and features you gain from your paragon path come in addition to your class powers and features, not instead of them.
Much as class describes a character’s basic role in the party, paragon path represents a particular area of expertise or interest in the world itself. Some paragon paths allow specialization within an existing class or role, such as mastery of a particular weapon, while others demonstrate devotion to a specific organization or cause.
Included in the Class Compendium series (in April) is an installment on feats to round out your character. For the most part, the feats included in Class Compendium are intended to provide characters built using the Essentials rulebooks with more options for using the Player’s Handbook material, as well as providing characters built using Class Compendium with ways to gain some of the class features presented in Heroes of the Fallen Lands. For a better selection of adventuring feats, you should refer to Heroes of the Fallen Lands, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, and the Player’s Handbook.
Using Class Compendium with Other Sources
The game options presented in Class Compendium are designed to work with the options in other Dungeons & Dragons sources, whether in print or online. The series pre¬sents the rules you need to build characters of various classes, but it doesn’t include descriptions of character races, skills, or equipment. You’ll need Heroes of the Fallen Lands, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, or the Player’s Handbook to complete your character. As always, the Rules Compendium provides the complete, most up-to-date rules for the core game.
Powers: When you are instructed to choose a power of a particular type and level for your character, you can select the power from any source that includes powers of that type and level. For example, if you are playing a weaponmaster fighter and are instructed to choose a 2nd-level fighter utility power, you can choose that power from Class Compendium or from a book such as Heroes of the Fallen Lands, which includes 2nd-level fighter utility powers in the sections for the knight fighter and the slayer fighter.
Feats, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies: When you choose a feat, a paragon path, or an epic destiny, you can make your choice from any source, as long as your character meets the prerequisites.