Guide To Warforged In DnD 5E

In the sealed away world of Eberron great houses hold immense amounts of power and influence across the land, providing services to all as neutral parties. When the Great War ravaged the land, the houses turned a high profit, with one of those houses playing the role of a god in the process. House Cannith, the house of making, created not only devastating weapons for the war, but also created a new breed of soldier–the Warforged.

Warforged are sapient beings of artificial birth but true of soul. Their bodies are a mixture of both organic and inorganic materials, roots filled with alchemical concoctions serve as their muscles and vascular system. Their ‘skeletons’ are made from steel, darkwood, or stone and covered with armored plates to protect their joints and vital areas. Though the exact design and materials used to make a Warforged depends on the purpose it was created for, they all share a common facial structure: a reinforced brow ridge, over gem eyes, and a hinged jaw.

Constructed by Birth, Living by Nature

Although people may assume they’re simply another form of construct, Warforged are living beings, with a soul and the ability to experience pain and emotion that comes along with that. After the war they were created to fight in was brought to a sudden end, they were recognised as living beings and individuals in their own right, with the Treaty of Thronehold being signed to prevent the creation forges shut down and no more built. 

A welcome legal acknowledgment for them, the Warforged still experience a variety of difficulties in a world recovering from war: some people refuse to see them as people, others see them as painful reminders of a war that cost them loved ones. These are rich opportunities to explore in roleplay as a warforged character, though it is important  everyone at the table is comfortable with the themes being explored.

A Different Way of Thinking

Created for war and now struggling to find a new purpose in life, Warforged have a unique way of thinking and outlook on life. Many show little emotion, often struggling with the emotions they do show, and it’s common for them to fully embrace singular endeavours, such as completing a work contract or protecting the ones they care for. 

Created rather than born, Warforged have sexless bodies and the notion of gender varies greatly depending on which you talk to. Some embrace a particular gender, whilst others ignore the concept entirely. As each Warforged develops a more unique identity in the post war days, they are increasingly more likely to modify their bodies to reflect that identity, though this is usually just cosmetic.

For help roleplaying your own Warforged PC, you can refer to the quirks table (replicated below for ease of reference, originally from RftLW):

d8Quirk
1You analyze—out loud—the potential threat posed by every creature you meet.
2You often misread emotional cues.
3You are fiercely protective of your friends.
4You try to apply wartime discipline to every situation.
5You don't know how to filter your feelings and are prone to dramatic emotional outbursts.
6You don't understand clothing beyond its utility and assume it denotes a person's function.
7You are obsessed with your appearance and constantly polish and buff yourself.
8War is the only thing that makes sense to you, and you're always looking for a fight.

The Crunch in the Gears: Mechanics of being Warforged

Warforged are very versatile by nature; their benefits can be adapted to suit any class whilst bringing a sense of that Terminator-esque durability to it. Being Warforged grants the following benefits:

Ability Scores – Con +2, +1 to any other ability score of your choice

Size – Medium

Speed – 30ft

Age – Typically between two and thirty years old, the upper limits of a Warforged lifespan are unknown, they show no signs of aging and are immune to magical aging effects.

Alignment Most tend towards Lawful and Neutral, but any alignment can be appropriate

Constructed Resilience – Being constructed has its perks, namely:

  • You have resistance to poison damage and advantage on saving throws against being poisoned
  • 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 taking a long rest, you must spend at least 6 hours in an inactive, motionless state rather than sleeping. During this time you appear inert, but you aren’t unconscious, and can see and hear as normal.

Integrated Protection – Your body’s armor plates offer some protection, which can be enhanced with armor:

  • You gain +1 to your AC.
  • You can only don armor you’re proficient with, and to do so you must spend an hour in contact with it, incorporating the armor into your body. To doff it you must also spend an hour, you can rest whilst donning or doffing your armor like this.
  • Whilst you’re alive, the armor you incorporate into your body cannot be removed against your will.

Specialized Design – You are proficient in one skill and toolset of your choice.

Languages – You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Now that you’ve received the proper drivers for playing as a Warforged, why not look to famous robots for inspiration? The Terminator, Sonny from iRobot and even Johnny Five from Short Circuit can all be fantastic sources to draw on. I hope you enjoyed reading this article, if you’re looking to start up a game to play a Warforged in, then check out this article for help. 

1 comment
  1. Christopher P. says:

    We just began a 5th Edition game in my group, set in the Forgotten Realms; my Warforged is a war veteran of the Battle of Bones. I believe that’s the FR equivalent of the Last War? Sentient #6 is a mash up of the classic Terminator, with elements of the literary Frankenstein Monster and the Iron Giant as well; without realizing it or knowing what it even was, he fell in love with a cleric of Eldath who was the first human to treat him as more than just a war machine. She was killed before his eyes and it really messed with his head, and he still has a locket with a portrait of them in it as well as the scalp of the orc he believes killed her hanging from his armor. In some ways, he’s like a 7-foot tall 400 lb armor plated 12-year-old, naive about things other than fighting and war. I made him Lawful Neutral to reflect how he could go either way as either a savior and friend to humans or a stone cold sociopath. We’re only just beginning, so refining him as we go will be a lot of fun, I think.

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