Exploiting Racial and Class Powers: Warforged Resolve

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on May 25, 2011

Warforged are an unstoppable race. They wade into battle and keep fighting long past the normal limits of other their flesh and blood companions. Their durability bolstered by their racial power, lets them call on their deepest reserves to heal damage, gain temporary hit points and make saves to shrug off ongoing damage. Few other races are as all around tough as Warforged.

Warforged Resolve is a great racial power because it allows your PC to gain temporary hit points as a minor action. If you wait to use the power when you’re bloodied it also provides a way to get healing without expending a healing surge. The fact that it scales as your level increases. makes this power even more versatile. This alone may at first make Warforged Resolve seem like a poor cousin to Dwarven Resilience (which lets you use your second wind as a minor action and thereby spend a healing surge to regain a lot of hit points), but thre’s more. On top of the real and temporary hit points, you get to make a save against ongoing damage when you use Warforged Resolve.

There are two ways to really exploit Warforged Resolve. The first is to couple a Warforged PC with a class that really benefits from having temporary hit points. This is really any class, but I’m thinking that the Battlerager Fighter and the Vampire clearly among the classes that will reap the greatest rewards from having more temporary hit points.

The second is to work on modifying your saving throw. By choosing as many feats, powers and itemsthat will improve your chances of making the save, you allow your PC to basically shrug off one harmful effect every fight when you use Warforged Resolve.

Exploiting Temporary Hit Points

Although a Warforged of any class can benefit from temporary hit points, the class that has the most to gain from this kind of build is in the new Vampire class offered in Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow. With only two healing surges, this class is dependent upon temporary hit point and must limit when they expend healing surges during combat. Although there aren’t many ways to provide more temporary hit points when using Warforged Resolve, there are a lot of ways to give a character temps during battle.

Feats

All of these feats will provide Warforged characters with ways to get additional temporary hitpoints.

  • Improved Warforged Resolve (heroic): All Warforged PCs must take this feat. It’s silly not to. It gives you 5 more temporary hit points when you use your Warforged Resolve.
  • Component Modification (heroic): Available only to Warforged characters, your Warforged Resolve grants 1 extra temporary hit point for each Warforged component you have.
  • Gritty Determination (paragon): When you need temporary hit points all you need to do is expend a daily power and this feat grants temporary hit points equal to one-half your level + your Constitution modifier.

Items

All of the items below provide temporary hit points in one way or another. Some can do it as an encounter power, others as a daily power and some for free. The key is to know when to use these powers to their maximum benefit. Wherever possible, Vampire PCs will get the most benefit out of waiting to use any power that grants temporary hit points until after they’re bloodied. This lets their regeneration restore real hit points while giving them a temporary hit point buffer.

  • Stoneskin Cloth Armor (Armor): Since Vampires can only wear cloth armor this is the best choice. As a minor action you can activate the armor’s encounter power to get 15 temporary hit points.
  • Great Hero’s Gauntlets (Hands): When you spend an action point to make an attack you get a +2 bonus to the attack rolls and if the attack deals damage you gain temporary hit points equal to your healing surge value. Not bad for Vampires since the class only has two initial healing surges.
  • Fey-Blessed Circlet (Head): At the start of each encounter, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier. Since Vampire’s are a Charisma-based class this should be a decent number of temps.
  • Amulet of False Life (Neck): The item’s daily power provides temporary hit points equal to your healing surge value as a minor action when you’re bloodied.
  • Ring of Shadow Guard (Ring): The resist 10 cold and resist 10 necrotic make this a good ring in its own right, but the item’s daily power that really helps a Vampire. As a standard action you draw on the power of the Shadowfell and any enemy that starts its turn or moves adjacent to you takes 2d10 cold and necrotic damage. If you’ve reached a milestone today, you also gain 15 temporary hit points.
  • Ring of the Warforged (Ring): The ring’s daily power is an Immediate Interrupt that grants 10 temporary hit points when an attack bloodies you. If you have reached a milestone it grants 20 temps.
  • Sorrowsworn Ring (Ring): As a Vampire you already have darkvision but the +4 item bonus to Intimidate checks is a nice fringe benefit. The ring’s daily power grants temporary hit points equal to your healing surge value when you kill a creature. As a striker this is likely to happen a lot so these are the easiest temporary hit points you’ll get every day.
  • Stalwart Belt (Waist): When you score a critical hit you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier.
  • Restful Bedroll (Wondrous): Why not begin each day with a few temporary hit points? After an extended rest in the restful bedroll gain 1d8 temporary hit points.

Exploiting Saving Throws

Regardless of what race or class you’re playing, bonuses to saves are a good thing. However, since the Warforged gets a free save when he uses Warforged Resolve (which you assume he’ll use every encounter) then ensuring that this save succeeds becomes increasingly important. Although it may seem like a more sensible idea to wait and use Warforged Resolve when you’re bloodied in order to gain the maximum healing benefits, there will definitely be times when making the save is more important. This is especially true if you’ll loose more hit points by not saving than the power will grant you in free healing.

Feats

  • Immutability (heroic): After Improved Warforged Resolve, Immutability should be the second feat any Warforged character selects. It lets you save against any effect instead of only against an effect that deals ongoing damage when you use your Warforged Resolve. It also provides a +2 feat bonus to that save.
  • Luck of Champions (heroic): If you’re playing a combat heavy character (like a Vampire striker, for example) then this feat compliments the save build you’re creating. After making your first successful save you get a +2 bonus to all attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws made before the end of your next turn.
  • Disciple of Freedom (heroic): Although this feat doesn’t provide a bonus to your saving throw it does let you save against being immobilized, slowed, or restrained at the start of your turn as well as the end. The prerequisite is a 13 Charisma, but if you’re building a Vampire you’ll likely have a high Charisma anyway.
  • Superior Will (heroic): This is another feat that doesn’t give you a bonus to save but like Discipline of Freedom it lets you save against being dazed or stunned at the beginning of your turn. It also have the added benefit of providing a bonus to your Will defense (+2/+3/+4 at heroic/paragon/epic). This feat also has a prerequisite of Charisma 15 or Wisdom 15 but this shouldn’t be a problem for a Charisma build.

Items

All of these items provide bonuses to saving throws. It’s up to you to determine which will serve you best. 

  • Charm Bracelet (Arms): Grants a +1 (heroic) or +2 (paragon) item bonus to saving throws against ongoing damage.
  • Boots of Free Movement (Feet): Grants a +2 item bonus to saving throws against being slowed, immobilized or restrained. It also lets you make a save against one of these conditions as an minor action every encounter.
  • Helm of the Mental Juggernaut (Head): Grants a a +2 item bonus to saving throws against effects that daze or stun. As a daily power you can make a save against any one effect that a save can end.
  • Circlet of Continuity (Head): Grants a a +2 item bonus to saving throws against effects that daze or stun.
  • Grace Ring of Salvation (Ring): Grants a +1 item bonus to saving throws against dazing or stunning effects.
  • Amulet of Bodily Sanctity (Neck): Grants a +2 item bonus to saving throws against ongoing damage.
  • Amulet of Physical Resolve (Neck): Grants a +2 item bonus to saving throws against poison or being weakened, slowed or immobilized.
  • Gaj Headdress (Head): Grants a +2 item bonus to saving throws against ongoing psychic damage and effects that daze, stun or dominate. Saving against one of these effects also gives you 5 (heroic), 10 (paragon) or 15 (epic) temporary hit points.

The Verdict

With so many items that provide bonuses to saves and so many others that grant temporary hit points, the real trick is to know which item to choose for which slot. After all you can only wear one neck item at a time.

As stated above, the list of items are certainly beneficial for Warforged Vampires, but it’s are also incredibly useful for any PC that just wants to get some temps or succeed at more saves. In this case selecting the right combination of items and feats makes the Warforged Resolve racial power a lot more beneficial.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 froth May 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

At low levels the thp works good for blackguards too

2 Erik May 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Warforged Vampire? That does not make sense!
/johnny cochran

3 Morpho May 26, 2011 at 2:45 am

I’m with Erik – just how can a warforged be undead and drink blood and `cetera? Please explain

4 4649matt May 26, 2011 at 9:08 am

My mind is reeling with the implications of a Warforged Vampire!
Was their alchemical blood replaced with a vampiric concoction? Were they actually turned by a Vampire and somehow the change took hold? Are they an experiment of a rogue member of House Cannith working with a dark cult? Are they a remnant of desperate measures by the Xen’drik to battle the Quori?
This requires further inquiry and study!

On exploiting the racial power, I think Battlerager Fighters, as you mentioned, and Wardens gain the most benefit from this power (as well as solid overlap of ability scores).
For Battlerager Fighters, it works to give you a significant chunk of THP and more importantly you can refresh THP when you choose to gain the benefits from the THP related features when you need them every encounter.
For Wardens, immutability makes you virtually immune to effects by adding a push button save with a bonus on top of the Font of Life feature. A chunk of THP also doesn’t hurt when you have pulled an entire mob into the black-hole around you.
4649matt´s last blog post ..Genre Bending – May 2011 RPG Blog Carnival

5 Ameron May 26, 2011 at 9:16 am

@froth
I haven’t had a chance to play the Blackguard yet, but temporary hit points are good for just about any class, especially at low levels.

@Erik and Morpho
You’re telling me that in a game system that has magic, undead creatures and sentient artificial beings you can’t think of an explanation for how a Warforged couple become a Vampire? I’ll admit that it’s likely not as straight forward as getting a bite to the neck, but I can think of other ways it could happen. I assume that all Warforged require some kind of fuel or sustenance to power their body, in this case it could require the blood of the living. I’m not saying that the concept isn’t a little “out there” but it is acceptable within the rules 4e as written. You just have to be imaginative.

6 Sorain May 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm

theres a few, like a warforged being defeated and lying broken in an area of shadowfell influence or the shadowfell itself for, say, a couple centurys. At some point it gathers up enough energy to repair itself to function, waking with a horrible limitation it has never had before, and in a ironic twist, finally understanding why people complained of hunger and thirst so ferverntly.

Or an attempt to reverse engineer the creation of warforged, where the creator looked to the shadowfell for answers, slowly losing their sanity until in a mad instant of revelation, they realized “I dont need to make life force, I just need to get it in there!”

There are all kinds of fun backrounds to explain it, and that very ‘wait what?’ nature compels people to ask about it. In fact, that ‘Warforged can’t be vampires silly!’ might be the best cover for their true nature imagineable, like a 6 year old doesn’t comit premediated murder with sophisticated death traps and poision. (Shade/Kalashtar assassin for that example)

7 froth May 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm

low level blackguard needs more than one way to get thp and the thp at will is underwhelming. blackguards can ‘spend’ thp to do xtra damage

8 Thankful Dnd player May 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

My dm said I had to figure out a good backstory for a warforged vamp, so here are a couple ideas.
1 Training dummies that revolt (sounds stupid)
2 Shadowfell influence
3 Dark gift of the Undying ritual cast on warforged
So can people rate these? Thanks!

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