Like the title says, I need help porting the following party (all level 5):

  • Human Healer's Lore Cleric
  • Human Earthstrength Warden *
  • Dwarf Tactical Warlord *
  • Half-Orc Archer Ranger
  • Eladrin Brawny Rogue
  • Human Rageblood Barbarian

I need advice mostly with the (*) ones since I can't seem to find any correspondence to any class in 5e, so far, for them in terms of what they do in battle tactical-wise.

  • The warden is always trying to get between foes and allies, getting as much temp hit points as he can.

  • The warlord provides the party with buffs and extra attacks all the time.

I need help from DMs with experience in both editions.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The combat systems are just too different. I know 3.5 didn't have defenders in any sense, every character had to hold their own as the tank, I suspect that is also the case in 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18, 2014 at 17:38

4 Answers 4


There is no direct porting guide whatsoever and directly porting characters to emulate their tactical abilities in 4e is probably impossible.

5e's combat and class system is wildly different from 4e's. Combat rules are much lighter (charging is only possible if you spend a feat and even then its very sub-optimal, for example) and overall emphasis of combat spells and abilities are to 1. do more damage 2. make more attacks (also so #1). and 3. force a save roll vs. an effect.

Within the bounded accuracy of 5e's system save attacks are somewhat iffy, especially against large groups, PCs to not have access to sure-fire effects on hit or effects that last "until the end of your next turn" as they did in 4e. Likewise many of the classes are based on the versions from 2nd or 3.5 and eschew many of the features and powers that defined those classes in 4e.

With those cavets in mind here are my suggestions for those two asterix'd PCs.

The Warden may want to go Ranger or Druid and focus on spellcasting over other options Both the Warden and Ranger spell lists have some very controller-ly/defender-y spells but as with just about any spell that applies an effect they are Save DC spells based on your casting attribute which for both classes would be WIS.

The dwarf tactical warlord should be a Fighter(battlemaster) or a Bard

Battlemaster manuevers have a lot of similarities with the powers available to 4e Warlords. Notably Commander's Strike using your action to have another player make an attack with a damage buff.

If Bard, you have the eventual goal of the College of Valor class path. They might want to start level 1 as a fighter, paladin, or cleric to pick up armor and weapon proficiencies to make them more in line with the original vision of the character in 4e. Keep in mind that many of the features or powers that defined 4e classes can only be approximated through the spells PCs gain in 5e. The Bard's spell list has the most buffs that can be applied to any player.

Finally, Feats are your friend.

Feats have a steep cost in 5e, you're taking a specialty set of features vs. getting a +2 1 ability score or +1 to 2 ability scores, essentially trading +1 damage, to hit, and/or spell save DC (not to mention skill checks). That said, some of them are very much worth this trade-off. Sentinel for example gives a PC 4e-defender-style opportunity attacks and would be a perfect fit for your Warden.

You may want to consider houseruling everyone a free feat to help emphasize their previous specializations from 4e without making them wait and face the touch choice between the feat and the stat increase at level 4.

  • Human Healer's Lore Cleric: Human Cleric with the Life Domain
  • Human Earthstrength Warden: Human Druid Circle of the Moon. Your Wild Shape gives you a similar feel to the Warden's temp HP abilities: each animal shape essentially comes with its own pool of extra hit points. If you want something with a closer thematic feel but different playstyle, go for a Barbarian Totem Warrior. Animal-focused benefits including an early one that gives you resistance to most damage while raging.
  • Dwarf Tactical Warlord: Dwarf Fighter Battle Master. You can get combat maneuvers that let you debuff enemies and grant allies extra attacks, extra movement, and temporary hit points. If you want more party buffing, cross-class into Bard.
  • Half-Orc Archer Ranger: Half-Orc Hunter Ranger.
  • Eladrin Brawny Rogue: High Elf (or Eladrin!) Rogue; the Assassin archetype might match with the damage bonus of a Brutal Scoundrel. Previews of the DMG contain Eladrin as an example of a homebrew subrace.
  • Human Rageblood Barbarian: Human Barbarian Berserker.

For the Warlord, there's the Battle Master Fighter which approximates some of the Warlord ability set. I don't have any experience yet with using that fighter build, so I don't know how closely it meshes. It may be a case where the best approximation at higher levels is a Battle Master Fighter/Valor Bard.


Warden, at least fluffwise, can also be approximated by a Paladin with the Oath of the Ancients, which grants some nature powers. Not much in the way of temporary hit points from the class proper, although the Aid Spell is on the Paladin list. The Paladin also gets Lay on Hands, with which it can heal itself, and the level 20 Oath of the Ancients ability gives the paladin a regeneration effect.


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