Warforged

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Warforged lance.jpg
Warforged are basically an excuse to play a robot in a fantasy campaign without having to deal with level adjustment. They are similar to golems but differ in the fact that they are actually sentient creatures, created by magically coagulating metal, stone, and wood in a vat, and count as a special type of creature known as a "living construct", meaning they still have a constitution score and various other properties not possessed by other constructs, at the expense of sharing a lot of vulnerabilities with living creatures that plain old constructs don't.

This player race came about with the advent of the Eberron campaign setting for D&D and since then gained considerable popularity amongst the gaming community (which Dragonborn will never live to see). Surprisingly enough, Warforged are generally quite popular on /tg/. Warforged were originally used as mass produced soldiers in the big "not World War I" of the Eberron setting.

Mechanically, while they do come with penalties to two mental stats, built-in spell-failure chance, and half-healing from spells, they also come with a shitload of immunities and some fun robo-feats no one else gets.

Nentir Vale Warforged[edit]

One of the good things about the Nentir Vale setting was that A: as a new setting, it could develop in its own way, and B: it wasn't afraid to tinker with racial backstories to justify the addition of races originating from other settings, like thri-kreen and muls. Thus, Dragon Magazine #364 debuted the article "Playing Warforged", all about the Warforged of the Points of Light.

In the Nentir Vale world, warforged were born of the empire of Nerath, under the wisdom of King Eothyr III. A visionary man, King Eothyr founded the Society of Imperial Artificers, an organization of learned arcanists, and set them the goal of creating an adaptive artificial being - one that could autonomously learn and adapt, but which didn't require the imprisonment of an immortal spirit or an elemental to serve as the spark of its sentience.

The Society labored on this task for many years, working tirelessly to succeed. Sadly, King Eothyr died only a short period before they succeeded. When his son, Prince Elidyr, ascended the throne, he told the Society they had to make some changes: rumblings of unrest suggested that war was coming, and he had no need for his father's Utopian vision of a sapient construct. He needed soldiers, and he told the Society that their artificial lifeform was to fill that need.

This prompted an ideological split within the Society; some were appalled at the idea of turning these artificial beings, naive and innocent, into living weapons and fodder for the wars of man. These rogues took copies of their notes and left.

Still, it wasn't enough to stop progress; the Society created their first creation forge, and soon the first of their constructs, the warforged, walked the earth. And just in time; a massive force of demon-worshipping savage humanoids launched itself against Nerath.

Warforged went on to prove significant to Nerath's battle. The empire's own treasury paid for the formation of legions of artificial soldiers, whilst nobles were offered the chance to eschew battlefield duties by paying for warforged soldiers to take the place of their men. Even some of the rogues succumbed to patriotism or pragmatism and used their private creation forges to support the war effort.

The warforged weren't numerous enough to prevent the loss of King Elidyr, his heirs, and many of the most influential leaders of Nerath. But, still, their strength and sacrifices kept Nerath from being totally annihilated; even though the former empire crumbled into a series of independent city-states after decades of factional war and territorial squabbling, the slaughter could have been far worse.

In fact, warforged continued to play a role in the fighting, and still do today. The Society of Imperial Artificers still exists today, turning out warforged troopers for profit. Some creation forges still remain in the hands of other artificers, churning out new warforged for their own ideological reasons. There's at least one creation forge that remains in the hands of a band of warforged veterans, ensuring the race has some control over its destiny. And those are just the known ones.

A sidebar addresses other possible ways of incorporating warforged into your campaign. For example, they could be an ancient race of self-propagating people, or an experiment in immortality that didn't quite work. They could be exoskeletons for some limbless species of sapients, perhaps constructed by human, dwarven or other "tinker race" allies. They might be a race of human-like beings that convert themselves into artificial creatures at certain age, or implant themselves into armored exoskeletons as part of their maturation cycle. Or your warforged could be unique; some wizard's special experiment that has either escaped or been loaned to the party by their patron.

PC Stats[edit]

3e[edit]

Attributes: +2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
Construct (Living Construct Subtype): You're essentially a construct that has a Constitution score and lacks the extreme immunities of normal constructs (Crits, mind-control, nonlethal damage, etc.) but retain immunity to poisons and fatigue. Healing is also only half as effective on you and can only be fully healed by a mechanic.
Medium Size
Speed: 30'
Composite Plating: +2 armor bonus, 5% spell failure, cannot wear armor, but have docent slots instead
Light Fortification: 25% chance to negate critical hits or sneak attacks
Slam: Unarmed attacks deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage
Automatic Languages: Common, Bonus Languages: None
Favored Class: Fighter

4E[edit]

Ability scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence or +2 Strength
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares.
Vision: Normal
Languages: Common
Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Intimidate.
Living Construct: You are a living construct. You do not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. You never make Endurance checks to resist the effect of starvation, thirst, or suffocation. All other conditions and effects affect you normally.
Unsleeping Watcher: You do not sleep and instead enter a state of inactivity for 4 hours to gain the benefits of an extended rest. While in this state, you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Warforged Mind: You have a +1 racial bonus to your Will.
Warforged Resilience: You have a +2 racial bonus to saving throws against ongoing damage. Also, when you make a death saving throw, you can take the better result of your die roll or 10.
Warforged Resolve: Encounter minor Racial. You gain 3+1/2 level THP (And 3+1/2 level HP when bloodied) and can make a saving throw.

This statline makes Warforged ideal for a great many roles, including frontliners like Fighters or Barbarians and Supporters, most especially the Artificer (which was also introduced in the Eberron Campaign Setting). In regards of feats, the majority of them fall under one of two groups: Those that improve the racial power, and those that synergize with alchemical item powers and drive in how much warforged artificers work.

They also possess two Paragon Paths, Warforged Juggernaut and Warforged Lifeseeker, and are the only race with a PP set on emulating them, the Self-Forged.

5e[edit]

Fifth Edition is rather peculiar to talk about for warforged because there are two very different statlines to use for warforged: The original stats from the Eberron Unearthed Arcana and the stats from Keith Baker's Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron.

Ability Scores: Str +1; Con +1
Size: Medium
Speed: 30 ft.
Composite Plating: +1 to Armor Class.
Living Construct: Even though you were constructed, you are a living creature. You are immune to disease. You do not need to eat or breathe, but you can ingest food and drink if you wish.
Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Languages: Common and one other language of your choice.

This particular statline, while unremarkable, does give them the well-renowned durability of being a living robot, ideal for Fighters and Barbarians, though other classes can definitely find benefits.


The WGE stats, however, give a much grander means to build Warforged PCs, mainly by giving three different frames to work from. All warforged, however, maintain the following abilities:

Ability Scores: All Warforged have Con +1
Size: Medium
Warforged Resilience: Immunities everywhere: You cant go to sleep or be fatigued and you get advantage on poison resistance checks with resistance to poison.
Sentry's Rest: When you take a long rest, you must spend at least six hours of it in an inactive, motionless state, rather than sleeping. In this state, you appear inert, but it doesn't render you unconscious, and you can see and hear as normal.
Integrated Protection: At the end of a long rest, you can choose between three different forms of armor to wear. But in exchange, you gain no benefit from wearing armor, not even magical benefits.
Darkwood Core: Counts as unarmored. AC 11 + Dex Mod + Proficiency Mod (If proficient in light armor)
Composite Plating: Requires proficiency in medium armor. AC 13 + Dex Mod (Max 2) + Proficiency Mod
Heavy Plating: Requires proficiency in heavy armor and gives disadvantage on stealth checks. AC 16 + Proficiency Mod
Languages: Common

Envoy

Ability Scores: Choose any two +1
Speed: 30 ft.
Specialized Design: You gain one skill proficiency of your choice, one tool proficiency of your choice, and fluency in one language of your choice.
Integrated Tool: Choose one tool you're proficient with. This tool is integrated into your body, and you double your proficiency bonus for any ability checks you make with it. You must have your hands free to use this integrated tool.

Juggernaut

Ability Scores: Str +2
Speed: 30 ft.
Iron Fists: Your unarmed strike deals 1d4 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage
Powerful Build: You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift

Skirmisher

Ability Scores: Dex +2
Speed: 35 ft.
Graceful: You are proficient in Acrobatics
Light Step: When you are traveling alone for an extended period of time (one hour or more), you can move stealthily at a normal pace.

This all makes the new version of Warforged at an incredibly powerful and possibly OP tier for a race, least of all because of the variety. Really, all classes have an ideal subrace to work with with a possible second if you feel up for it. The real breaking feature is the plating. There are no other races, let alone other means period to get AC as high as a warforged's. For comparison, A Warforged fighter already sits at a comfy AC 18 at level 1, a score inaccessible by comparable fighters since the only non-magical armor available is the absurdly-expensive plate armor and a starting fighter is stuck with AC 16 chain mail. Even non-heavy armor users can't compete, as an elf rogue with maxed-out dex (Let's say 17 with point buy) and leathers can only reach AC 14. By Level 10, that Warforged is now at AC 20, a level only attainable by magical +2 plate armor with no other recourse to match such a thing, and that gap grows ever wider as the levels pass.

tl;dr WGE Warforged require some extremely generous magic item-gifting and perhaps a means to control the scaling AC (Maybe banning the proficiency bonus altogether from the non-darkwood ones? Maybe halving Proficiency Bonus to AC?), which is a bit at odds with 5E's philosophy of miserly magical item-gifting.

See Also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

PROMOTIONS-small.png This section contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Races
Player's Handbook: Dragonborn - Drow - Dwarf - Elf - Gnome
Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Dungeon Master's Guide: Aasimar - Eladrin
Elemental Evil Player's Guide: Aarakocra - Genasi - Goliath - Svirfneblin
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide: Duergar - Ghostwise Halfling - Svirfneblin - Tiefling Variants
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes: Baatific Tieflings - Duergar - Eladrin - Githyanki
Githzerai - Sea Elf - Shadar-kai - Svirfneblin
Volo's Guide to Monsters: Aasimar - Bugbear - Firbolg - Goblin - Goliath - Hobgoblin - Kenku
Kobold - Lizardfolk - Orc - Tabaxi - Triton - Yuan-Ti Pureblood
Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica: Human - Elf - Centaur - Goblin - Loxodon - Minotaur - Simic Hybrid
Vedalken
Unearthed Arcana: Changeling - Minotaur - Revenant - Shadar-kai
Shifter - Tiefling Variants - Warforged
Plane Shift: Amonkhet: Aven - Khenra - Minotaur - Naga
Plane Shift: Innistrad: Human
Plane Shift: Ixalan: Human - Goblin - Merfolk - Orc - Siren - Vampire
Plane Shift: Kaladesh: Aetherborn - Dwarf - Elf - Human - Vedalken
Plane Shift: Zendikar: Elf - Goblin - Human - Kor - Merfolk - Vampire
One Grung Above: Grung