TL;DR: Want to turn Skirmishing Warlord into INT buff based "Wizard" to fit character theme. No changes besides main ability scores used. Is this a balanced thing to do or will it be OP?

So my girlfriend is starting a campaign I'm a part of, and one of the players wants a very intelligent but very frail Leader (no heavy ties to religion). Specifically one who lets their allies do the attacking, treating them as weapons. Obviously Warlord comes to mind, but with low STR and CON because of character idea, it obviously doesn't work, nor does it fit with the theme.

So my idea was to change the Skirmishing Warlord introduced in Martial Powers 2 (p.82) into an INT class, more of a Wizard or something who isn't capable of direct attacks like a normal one, and so settles on buffing allies to compensate. Like I said treating the allies as their weapons.

Now I'm not planning much. Power damage numbers and scaling will stay the same, with INT replacing STR and CHA replacing INT, and so on. Proficiencies would change, health scaling would be that of a Wizard, and perhaps even defenses too. Another change is making ranged attack weapons simply a D8 "magic wand" or something like that.

Now there is the problem of free ranged buffing, but I feel like that's accounted for with Skirmishing Warlord itself, which is why this is more of a reskin idea than a total conversion (at least I think...)

I know this sounds a lot like a Wizard (basically is), but like I said the goal is to buff allies due to lack of the character's combat talents, not fill the roll of Controller or damage dealer (like a sorcerer). What I want to know is that if this is a balanced thing to do. I've never changed a class this much, but this is an idea even I've wanted to do for awhile. And also, religion is not a thing with this character, so Cleric and Invoker are out.

Thanks again for any help!


I'll be using "stat" to mean ability score and "main/rider" refers to the stat that is added to attacks and to the secondary stat that sometimes appears in powers as well.

Lazy and physically weak

If this is a real lazy build (the warlord has allies with good basic attacks, e.g. some Essentials character or some character with a power that can be used as a melee/ranged basic attack), this player won't ever roll to attack, and this means they have no need to raise Str: the class works out of the box. Raising both Intelligence and Charisma (both originally rider stats for different warlord builds) will make them able to pick the best lazy powers from both lists.

Let's examine the other options anyway.

Swapping stats

Swapping one stat for another might create the following inbalances:

  • the new main/rider stat pair now matches a race whose racial powers or options (e.g. racial feats) are incredibly good but usually get discarded because they buff the "wrong" stats, or a race that had really good racial powers/options is not great anymore because it now buffs the "wrong" stats.
  • one of the swapped stats is Con, and that influences HP
  • the class uses light armor and had Int or Dex as a main/rider stat, which isn't true anymore (but since the class originally had it, it has no class features that say "use this other stat for determining AC", like the ones you can see in the Sorcerer or Barbarian).
  • similarly, the class could use some other specific stat for determining AC, but the new main/rider stats are not Int nor Dex.
  • you're changing which skills get an higher modifier. In your case you're only removing Athletics and getting at least three buffed stats instead.
  • you might be messing with feat prereqs (but in this case it's probably a nerf in this case).


Get a character, maybe a hybrid shaman/warlord, and remove the ties to religion from the lore of the class, which is independent from the mechanics.

Use a bard or skald and (while it is not a lazy build) fluff the attack effects as being due to the character commanding people around, instead of singing songs or reciting poems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ my brother ran a Hybrid Warlord/Shaman because he typically didn't roll very well, and literally all of his attack powers granted an attack to someone else instead of making him roll. \$\endgroup\$ – trogdor Jul 2 '17 at 20:19

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