Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto
Forged as sentient soldiers for a war they never asked to fight, the warforged are the robot race of the D&D multiverse. Technically they should “only” exist in the Eberron setting, but I’ve heard a million and one reasons why they just happen to exist elsewhere. Warforged have been kicking around for quite a while now in unearthed arcana form, but with the release of “Eberron: Rising from the Last War” we have the genuine finished article. How did your robot pals hold up? Let’s gear up and dig into the blueprints as we go through everything you need to know.
Warforged don’t really have a culture, but if they did it would just be shellshock. Warforged were well… Forged for war. Every single warforged was built to fight in some capacity or another, and when the war ended these constructed conscripts were left wondering what to do with themselves.
Playing a warforged means playing a decommissioned war machine. Warforged are only begrudgingly accepted as “alive” by many other races, and the memory of warforged assaults and warfare is still very fresh in everyone’s memories. Warforged must overcome prejudice, while constructing a life for themselves that they were never meant to have.
Of course, all that only applies to warforged on Eberron. If your game is taking place elsewhere then the sky’s the limit for your warforged. Pick whatever robot trope strikes you best and roll with it.
Warforged are constructed from both organic and inorganic materials. Usually you have wooden “muscles” that form most of your core with metal plating serving as your “skin”. All warforged have crystalline eyes and tend to have a hinged jaw line and a prominent brow line.
However, “organic and inorganic” gives you a huge amount of leeway. Every warforged is unique and you can really let loose with the design elements. You’re stuck with essentially a humanoid shape but you can do whatever you like mismatching and customizing these “organics” and “inorganics”. Your “organics” can be something simple like oak or pine, or they could be interwoven thorny vines, or the roots of flowering plants that bloom around your neck as a collar. Your “inorganics” can be made of metal, or darkwood, or stone. So, you can have shining chrome metal plating, or rusted iron parts carved up with battle damage. Go with a clean and slick darkwood or a grinding sandstone like some sort of ancient golem.
Overall, while “soldier” may sound limiting, warforged were created for all sorts of wartime purposes and their look will reflect that. Maybe your warforged was a combat medic and has smooth white plates and medical markers. Or maybe you were an artillery loader, with massive piston arms built for heavy lifting. Take some time to figure out just how exactly your character went to war, and what they’ve done with themselves since.
In war, warforged didn’t have names, they had designations like D-36 or 8-C9. Sometimes warforged will keep those as “names” or form nicknames around them. But most will be given nicknames by others, or will pick new ones to express their newfound individuality. Sometimes they pick simple human names, usually as a way to honor a fallen comrade. Warforged have no gender, so the concept of gendered names is still kind of odd to them.
Aarakocra Names: Aegis, Chaser, Coil, Crease, Crow, Custodian, Designer, Echo, Five, Foil, Kid, Locket, Marker, Melter, Pierce, Pilot, Saber, Salvager, Shaper, Smiter.
Your warforged character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 2, and one other ability score of your choice increases by 1.
Age: A typical warforged is between two and thirty years old. The maximum warforged lifespan remains a mystery; so far, warforged have shown no signs of deterioration due to age. You are immune to magical aging effects.
Alignment: Most warforged take comfort in order and discipline, tending toward law and neutrality. But some have absorbed the morality, or lack thereof, of the beings with which they served.
Size: Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Constructed Resilience: You were created to have remarkable fortitude, represented by the following benefits:
- You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance to poison damage.
- You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe.
- You are immune to disease.
- You don’t need to sleep, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Sentry’s Rest: When you take a long rest, you must spend at least six hours 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: Your body has built-in defensive layers, which can be enhanced with armor:
- You gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
- You can don only armor with which you have proficiency. To don armor, you must incorporate it into your body over the course of 1 hour, during which you remain in contact with the armor. To doff armor, you must spend 1 hour removing it. You can rest while donning or doffing armor in this way.
- While you live, your armor can’t be removed from your body against your will.
Specialized Design: You gain one skill proficiency and one tool proficiency of your choice.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s go through each of these and see what they mean for your new character:
Ability Score Increase: +2 to Constitution and +1 to any ability is essentially a blanket statement saying, “applicable for any class, master of none”. Everybody can use hit points and you can put a boost in whatever stat your class needs most.
Age: No “elderly” warforged characters. They’re all supposed to be a product of a very recent war.
Alignment: You’re a war machine, lawful is standard and if you really embody the “war” in warforged you tend to be evil.
Size: They do some cute stuff with random sizes, but that’s true of any race. You’re medium-sized, move along.
Speed: 30-foot standard speed, nothing to see here.
Constructed Resilience: This trait is fundamentally saying YOU ARE A ROBOT, and you’re impervious to a lot of the issues that plague those squishy meat people. There’s a ton here, but let’s dissect it.
Firstly, you gain immunity to poison damage and the poisoned condition. Simple, and super useful. Some monsters use poison as a primary damage source and striding through that unscathed can be a proper fight winner.
Secondly, you don’t need to eat/drink/breathe. Eating and drinking will usually only matter in the “survival” style games where you’re keeping meticulous track of supplies. In those cases, you “auto-win” but in most cases it won’t even come up. Breathing on the other hand comes up surprisingly often. Poison clouds? No problem. Need to breathe underwater? No, you don’t, because you don’t need to breathe in the first place.
Disease crops up surprisingly little in 5e, probably because it’s unlikely to be an issue in a single combat and is typically more of a slow grind. The diseases that DO happen are nasty and you’ll be thankful for the ability to ignore them altogether.
Finally, you don’t need to sleep. You still need to rest but you don’t sleep. You ARE the watch at night, so you and your party aren’t likely to get surprised at night.
Sentry’s Rest: Bringing it all home with this “not sleeping” thing, you still take rests you just get to remain conscious during them.
Integrated Protection: This trait seems really complicated but that’s because it’s a holdover from when warforged were more interesting (sigh). This boils down to a +1 AC bonus forever (honestly extremely strong) and nobody can remove your armor. Getting your armor yanked is a pretty rare occurrence as it is, so REALLY all this normally means is the +1 AC bonus. Bland, but strong.
Specialized Design: This is another sad remnant of the entire sub-races that were cut away from warforged. And again, it’s very strong but very bland. Still, try to use these free proficiencies to help flesh out the “purpose” of your warforged character’s design. A warforged scout for example could pick survival and herbalism kits, or a warforged medic could pick medicine and healer’s kits.
Languages: No unique language, but you get common and any language of your choice. Either tie that language to your backstory or just pick a language you expect to run into in your adventure.
Warforged don’t lean super strongly towards any class or any particular build and are some of the most versatile 5e races. You can create anything you’d like with your character and you shouldn’t feel typecast into a playstyle. But if you’d like to make the best of your abilities, the following build ideas make great starting points for your next adventurer.
Master of Machines
A warforged character selecting +1 Intelligence makes for an excellent artificer. This new race goes great with the new class and I particularly like the battle smith archetype as it takes advantage of your beefy Constitution. In general, though, warforged work for most casters. I just love the idea of you, a robot, with their robot homunculus pal, and your steel defender dog-bot making up your own little robotic party.
Choose Strength for your +1 and you’re ready to go. Warforged’s many immunities erase some of the difficulties that barbarians stumble over and the +1 AC and Constitution bonus make you one of the toughest barbarians around. Extremely easy combination to play and I highly recommend it to new players.
Maximal / Predicon
Druids can have a hard time gaining AC, especially in wild shape. Warforged’s +1 to AC is flat and applies even if you transform into some critter. Also, you’re now a beast wars transformer and that’s just amazing. Pick +1 Wisdom and one of the more combat-oriented druid circles like circle of the moon or circle of spores and you’re golden.
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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