Built as mindless machines to fight in the Last War, the warforged developed sentience as a side effect of the arcane experiments that sought to make them the ultimate weapons of destruction. With each successive model that emerged from the creation forges of House Cannith, the warforged evolved until they became a new kind of creature—living constructs.
Warforged are renowned for their combat prowess, their size, and their single-minded focus. They make steadfast allies and fearsome enemies. Earlier warforged models are true constructs; some of these remnants of the Last War appear in monstrous varieties, such as the warforged titan (described on page 302).
Personality: The warforged were made to fight in the Last War, and they continue to fulfill their purpose with distinction. They fight fiercely and usually without remorse, displaying adaptability impossible for mindless constructs. Now that the war has ended, the warforged seek to adapt to life in this era of relative peace. Some have settled easily into new roles as artisans or laborers, while others wander as adventurers or even continue fighting the Last War despite the return of peace.
Physical Description: Warforged appear as massive humanoids molded from a composite of materials—obsidian, iron, stone, darkwood, silver, and organic material—though they move with a surprising grace and flexibility. Flexible plates connected by fibrous bundles make up the body of a warforged, topped by a mostly featureless head. Warforged have no physical distinction of gender; all of them have a basically muscular, sexless body shape. In personality, some warforged seem more masculine or feminine, but different people might judge the same warforged in different ways. The warforged themselves seem unconcerned with matters of gender. They do not age naturally, though their bodies do decay slowly even as their minds improve through learning and experience.
Unique among constructs, warforged have learned to modify their bodies through magic and training. Many warforged are adorned with heavier metal plates than those their creator originally endowed them with. This customized armor, built-in weaponry, and other enhancements to their physical form help to differentiate one warforged from another.
Relations: As the warforged strive to find a place in society for themselves after the Last War, they simultaneously struggle to find ways to relate to the races that created them. In general, the humanoid races of Khorvaire regard the warforged as an unpleasant reminder of the brutality of the Last War and avoid dealing with them when possible. In Thrane and Karrnath, the warforged are still seen as the property of the military forces that paid to have them built, and most warforged in those nations serve as slave labor, often used to repair buildings and roads damaged or destroyed in the war. Throughout the rest of Khorvaire, they have freedom but sometimes find themselves the victims of discrimination, hard-pressed to find work or any kind of acceptance. Most warforged, not being particularly emotional creatures, accept their struggles and servitude with equanimity, but others seethe with resentment against all other races as well as those warforged whose only desire is to please their “masters.”
Alignment: Warforged are generally neutral. They were built to fight, not to wonder whether fighting is right. Though they are perfectly capable of independent thought and moral speculation, most choose not to wrestle with ethical ideals.
Warforged Lands: Warforged originated in Cyre before its destruction and have no homeland. Most of them have dispersed across Khorvaire, laboring as indentured servants in Korth, Atur, and Flamekeep, or struggling to find work and acceptance in Sharn or Korranberg. A few congregate in the Mournland, attempting to build a new warforged society free from the prejudice and mistrust of the older races.
Dragonmarks: The warforged never possess dragonmarks.
Religion: Just as most warforged are not inclined to align themselves with any particular moral or ethical philosophy, few show much interest in religion. Some warforged have found a kind of answer to the questions of their existence by taking up the cause of one religion or another, but these remain a small (if rather vocal) minority among their kind. A larger number gravitate to a messianic figure called the Lord of Blades. This powerful leader gathers a cultlike following of disaffected warforged by preaching a return to the Mournland and rebellion against the “weak-fleshed” races.
Language: Warforged speak Common, since they were designed to communicate with their (mostly human) creators and owners.
Names: Warforged do not name themselves and only recently have begun to understand the need of other races to have names for everything. Many accept whatever names others see fit to give them, and warforged traveling with humans often are referred to by nicknames. Some warforged, however, have come to see having a name as a defining moment of their new existence, and thus search long and hard for the perfect name to attach to themselves.
Adventurers: Adventuring is one way that warforged can fit into the world—at least as well as any adventurer ever fits in. In the wilds of Xen’drik, the ancient continent of secrets, few people care whether you were born or made, as long as you can help keep your companions alive. A fairly large number of warforged choose an adventuring life to escape from the confi nes of a society they didn’t create and at the same time engage in some meaningful activity.
WARFORGED RACIAL TRAITS
- +2 Constitution, –2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma: Warforged are resilient and powerful, but their difficulty in relating to other creatures makes them seem aloof or even hostile.
- Medium: As Medium constructs, warforged have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Warforged base land speed is 30 feet.
- Composite Plating: The plating used to build a warforged provides a +2 armor bonus. This plating is not natural armor and does not stack with other effects that give an armor bonus (other than natural armor). This composite plating occupies the same space on the body as a suit of armor or a robe, and thus a warforged cannot wear armor or magic robes. Warforged can be enchanted just as armor can be. The character must be present for the entire time it takes to enchant him. Composite plating also provides a warforged with a 5% arcane spell failure chance, similar to the penalty for wearing light armor. Any class ability that allows a warforged to ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor lets him ignore this penalty as well.
- Light Fortification (Ex): When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on a warforged, there is a 25% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is instead rolled normally.
- A warforged has a natural weapon in the form of a slam attack that deals 1d4 points of damage.
- Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: None.
- Favored Class: Fighter. A multiclass warforged’s fighter class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
- Living Construct Subtype (Ex): Warforged are constructs with the living construct subtype. A living construct is a created being given sentience and free will through powerful and complex creation enchantments. Warforged are living constructs that combine aspects of both constructs and living creatures, as detailed below.
- Features: As a living construct, a warforged has the following features.
- A warforged derives its Hit Dice, base attack bonus progression, saving throws, and skill points from the class it selects.
- Traits: A warforged possesses the following traits.
- Unlike other constructs, a warforged has a Constitution score.
- Unlike other constructs, a warforged does not have low-light vision or darkvision.
- Unlike other constructs, a warforged is not immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities.
- Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, effects that cause the sickened condition, and energy drain.
- A warforged cannot heal damage naturally.
- Unlike other constructs, warforged are subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stunning, ability damage, ability drain, and death effects or necromancy effects.
- As living constructs, warforged can be affected by spells that target living creatures as well as by those that target constructs. Damage dealt to a warforged can be healed by a cure light wounds spell or a repair light damage spell, for example, and a warforged is vulnerable to disable construct and harm. However, spells from the healing subschool and supernatural abilities that cure hit point damage or ability damage provide only half their normal effect to a warforged.
- The unusual physical construction of warforged makes them vulnerable to certain spells and effects that normally don’t affect living creatures. A warforged takes damage from heat metal and chill metal as if he were wearing metal armor. Likewise, a warforged is affected by repel metal or stone as if he were wearing metal armor. A warforged is repelled by repel wood. The iron in the body of a warforged makes him vulnerable to rusting grasp. The creature takes 2d6 points of damage from the spell (Reflex half; save DC 14 + caster’s ability modifier). A warforged takes the same damage from a rust monster’s touch (Reflex DC 17 half). Spells such as stone to flesh, stone shape, warp wood, and wood shape affect objects only, and thus cannot be used on the stone and wood parts of a warforged.
- A warforged responds slightly differently from other living creatures when reduced to 0 hit points. A warforged with 0 hit points is disabled, just like a living creature. He can only take a single move action or standard action in each round, but strenuous activity does not risk further injury. When his hit points are less than 0 and greater than –10, a warforged is inert. He is unconscious and helpless, and he cannot perform any actions. However, an inert warforged does not lose additional hit points unless more damage is dealt to him, as with a living creature that is stable.
- As a living construct, a warforged can be raised or resurrected.
- A warforged does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but he can still benefit from the effects of consumable spells and magic items such as heroes’ feast and potions.
- Although living constructs do not need to sleep, a warforged wizard must rest for 8 hours before preparing spells.
CREATING WARFORGED CHARACTERS
Warforged characters obey all the rules for characters described in the Player’s Handbook, as well as the special rules regarding warforged racial traits described ion this page. In particular, remember that you can’t benefit from armor or magic robes. If you plan on playing a character who engages in melee fairly often, you should take Adamantine Body, Ironwood Body, or Mithral Body as your first feat.
As an adventurer, your warforged character is important to the party because of his living construct nature. Consider taking ranks in Spot and Listen, because your character will likely be called on to maintain the watch while the rest of the party sleeps. Remember that you can safely engage poison-bearing foes and brave poisonous traps and areas. Similarly, energy drain attacks are of no concern, but remember that many undead attacks drain or damage ability scores, attacks to which you are susceptible.
Not needing to breathe allows you to swim without fear of drowning, and the penalty to Swim checks from taking feats such as Adamantine Body does not double as do normal armor check penalties. Even so, you should consider taking ranks in Swim if you want to be able to navigate anything but still water, since you do not sink or float any more easily than a human. Finally, remember that when you attack with your natural slam attack, you do not gain multiple attacks for a high base attack bonus. If you attack with no other weapon in that round, your slam attack deals 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus in extra damage.
Finally, even though warforged technically have no gender, each warforged character must have either a male personality or a female personality. Make this decision during character creation, at the same time that you would decide the gender of another kind of character.
SPECIAL WARFORGED OPTIONS
As a warforged, your character qualifies for some warforged-specific feats and prestige classes unavailable to PCs of other races. The feats and prestige classes listed below are described in Chapters 6 and 7, respectively, except for those marked with an asterisk, which appear in the EBERRON Campaign Setting.
Adamantine Body, Brute Fighting, Cold Iron Tracery, Construct Lock, Improved Damage Reduction*, Improved Fortification*, Improved Resiliency, Ironwood Body, Jaws of Death, Mithral Body, Mithral Fluidity*, Second Slam, Silver Tracery, Spiked Body, Stable Footing, [[[feat:Unarmored Body.
Quorcraft Warforged - A template which must be taken at construction, creates a much tougher, stronger warforged.
WARFORGED AS CHARACTERS
Warforged make excellent fighters and barbarians, but they can excel in any class.
Artificer: Although some of an artificer’s effectiveness relies on Charisma, the class is a natural choice for warforged. A warforged artificer can apply infusions to himself, he has ready access to repair infusions and the Craft skill to repair damage he sustains, and the craft reserve and retain essence class features grant warforged the ability to build magic into their bodies at much less cost. The artificer’s magic is neither arcane nor divine, and the Adamantine Body feat is a natural choice.
For alternative options for a warforged artificer, see the warforged racial substitution levels.
Barbarian: Warforged have no culture of barbarism aside from a few bands of warforged that roam the Mournland, but the idea of a warforged consumed by rage in the stress of battle is easy to reconcile. Warforged make excellent barbarians. As a warforged, your Constitution bonus allows you to rage longer, your immunity to fatigue means you suffer no ill effects when your rage ends, and the Adamantine Body feat grants you excellent protection that barbarians cannot normally gain. The barbarian speed bonus offsets the slower speed imposed by that feat, and the damage reduction barbarians gain at higher levels is better than that provided by Adamantine Body. If you’d prefer a higher Dexterity and better use of your skills, the Mithral Body feat is an excellent choice.
Bard: Bard is a good choice for warforged characters despite their racial Charisma penalty. A warforged bard can be tremendously effective as support for other characters. The bard’s ability to wear light armor and not suffer arcane spell failure applies to the warforged racial 5% arcane spell failure chance and the 15% spell failure chance provided by the Mithral Body feat, but not the 35% spell failure chance provided by Adamantine Body (since it is considered heavy armor).
Cleric: The Wisdom penalty that warforged suffer might give you pause, but consider playing a warforged cleric. The Adamantine Body and Mithral Body feats are excellent choices that improve your durability without affecting your spellcasting. Cleric spells such as magic vestment can further increase your Armor Class, allowing you to engage in melee and support the party with ease.
Druid: The rare warforged druid can be a formidable character. The Adamantine Body and Mithral Body feats negate your druid abilities, so consider Ironwood Body as an option. The wild shape ability and the goodberry spell both allow you to regain hit points without halving the benefit of healing magic, and you retain your armor bonus as well as all your immunities when in animal form.
Fighter: Fighter is the favored class of warforged; with good feat selection, a warforged character can excel at the role. If you plan on playing a skill-using fighter of high Dexterity and speed, be aware that you can’t benefit from armor, and taking either the Adamantine Body or Mithral Body feat is a necessity.
With such a warforged fighter, concentrate on feats such as Dodge and Mobility at low levels, and as you gain power, look to imbue your body with enhancement bonuses to Armor Class.
For alternative options for the warforged fighter, see the warforged racial substitution levels.
Monk: Monk is a good class choice for a warforged character. Monks do not normally wear armor, so the armor bonus inherent to the race is a great advantage. You can choose to increase that advantage with Adamantine Body or Mithral Body, but both of those feats cause you to take penalties to skills important to most monks. Consider taking Cold Iron Tracery or Silver Tracery. These feats allow your unarmed strikes to overcome types of damage reduction that you must normally find monk weapons of the right material to defeat. Unlike your natural slam attack, your unarmed strikes do not deal 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus in extra damage. If you wish to do that, you must forgo your unarmed strike damage and monk abilities, making only a single slam attack.
When a warforged monk gains the wholeness of body ability, he can use that ability to repair damage he has taken.
Paladin A warforged paladin can be fun to play because the class offers you the ability to be a strong melee combatant while still allowing you the power to repair your damage during combat. A paladin’s special mount also offsets the speed penalty imposed by the Adamantine Body feat, which is a strong choice for any warforged who regularly engages in melee. When a warforged paladin gains the lay on hands ability, he can use that ability to repair damage or to cure wounds, as appropriate to the target.
For alternative options for the warforged paladin, see the warforged racial substitution levels.
Psionic Classes: If you use the Expanded Psionics Handbook in your game, consider playing a warforged soulknife or psychic warrior. Since the arcane spell failure chance of warforged and warforged feats does not apply to psionic powers, nearly any psionic class is a good choice, but the soulknife and psychic warrior make strong choices due to their melee focus.
Rogue: If you play a warforged rogue, you face the dilemma of whether to take the Adamantine Body feat or the Mithral Body feat. Both entail skill check penalties, and you might be tempted to take Mithral Body due to its smaller penalties. Unless you plan on playing a rogue who doesn’t often use the skills that take an armor check penalty, you’re probably better off
not taking either feat. You could take Mithral Body and plan on taking Mithral Fluidity several times at later levels, but at high levels you can enhance your body’s armor with magic, so save your feats for interesting skill and combat options. Consider the Ironwood Body feat as an alternative.
Sorcerer: Despite the warforged arcane spell failure chance, sorcerer is an excellent choice for a warforged character. With a 5% spell failure chance, a warforged sorcerer suffers only the failure rate that any melee combatant risks by rolling a 1 on an attack roll. This small chance of failure is offset by the sorcerer’s many spells per day. Be sure to choose repair light damage as one of your known spells so that you can heal yourself whenever you have need. Otherwise, you can probably avoid taking repair spells. If you must take Adamantine Body or Mithral Body, consider taking the Still Spell feat and concentrate on learning spells that lack a somatic component. An alternative in the other direction is the Unarmored Body feat, which negates your spell failure chance while removing your armor bonus, putting you on an equal footing with sorcerers of other races.
Wizard: Warforged immunities and racial traits can help offset the wizard’s typical fragility, and the wizard class grants access to the enormous versatility of arcane spells. Although you can’t benefit from robes, you can improve your racial armor bonus (and gain additional armor-based effects) through magic. Alternatively, as with the warforged sorcerer, you can take the Unarmored Body feat to remove your armor check penalty, give up your armor bonus, and gain the ability to benefit from magic robes.
Expanded Warforged Details
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Watcher detects a light blue tint in the windows across the road and knows that only a few more hours remain before dawn. He has learned from a thousand similar nights that the blue tone will gradually brighten, first to gray and then to a pale yellow. The sky over the building behind his back won’t grow bright enough to offer a true reflection in the paned glass until just after dawn, when his human employer will awaken and begin to stir. Watcher ponders this as he stands motionless in the doorway on the dark street, eyes and ears ever alert for threats to his employer’s warehouse.
Despite the darkness and the danger of his nightly vigils, Watcher looks to the coming day with resignation rather than anticipation. Daylight brings the hustle and bustle of city life, and it will no doubt bring the hollered commands of his employer and her sons. Although the night can bring confrontations with thieves, daytime life is more complicated, more troublesome. At night, this part of the warehouse district can be so still and quiet that for hours at a time Watcher feels as though he’s the only living thing in the city.
On such nights, Watcher thinks about the Last War and of his former comrades in arms who now work in other parts of the city. All of them were adrift after the Treaty of Thronehold declared them free. When their unit was told of the treaty’s meaning, they simply stood waiting in the rain for three days until their human commander returned and ordered them to disperse. For months they wandered the roads and traveled through the wilderness aimlessly. Eventually Watcher suggested that they try doing what humans do in peacetime. All of them have jobs now, and Watcher rarely sees them. A few work in the mines outside town, some are part of the city watch, and several work as salvagers when ships run aground on the reefs in the bay.
As Watcher contemplates these things, his hands work with a knife and a piece of wood. With swift and deft cuts, he whittles almost unconsciously, carving a small block of wood into the shape of a lizardlike creature he once saw flying over the battlefield, its rider casting lightning down with a forked wand. When finished, he places the wooden monster against the side of the building and picks up another block of wood, never taking his eyes off the shadowy street.
Inevitably, the sun rises. Watcher gazes impassively as the first morning travelers go about their business. Most passersby deliberately ignore him, which is a vast improvement over when he first started work at the warehouse. Some people spit on him as they passed, calling him a job stealer. Watcher could do the jobs of two or three humans, so the hostility made sense, but he had to work somewhere to pay off his debt for the repairs done on him when he arrived in the city.
A dwarf dockworker Watcher had spoken to once gives the warforged a habitual nod as he passes and Watcher nods in return, pleased by even this small affirmation of his presence. As usual, the neighborhood children come squealing up to the building to gather up his night’s carvings. One of them surprises Watcher by having the courage to thank him instead of simply grabbing a toy and running away.
In an hour, the coach of his employer arrives, and she and her sons step down to enter the building. Watcher follows them in, and when there is a break in their morning chatter, he gives his report of the night. Afterward, Watcher steps back outside to await other commands, hopeful that they’ll require his services elsewhere in the city. Instead, one of the sons comes to tell him to stand ready in the warehouse to unload wagons. Watcher thinks the man’s name is Barro, but his employer has six sons, and they all look too similar for him to tell them apart.
Watcher unloads wagons for a time. It’s simple work, and Watcher’s mind is free to wander. After a while, the sons and other workers sit down to eat, signaling to Watcher that it is sometime after noon. They return to work shortly, and everyone works hard and fast. As the light outside the warehouse doors dims, Watcher notes that the activity in the warehouse does not diminish. The other workers are sweating and doing the curious things typical of humans becoming tired. They yawn more frequently and become clumsier as the evening wears on, and eventually Watcher’s employer orders them to go home. “Watcher can finish the rest,” she says with some satisfaction—and Watcher does.
It takes him several more hours to stack the unloaded barrels and crates, but he does so without comment or complaint. Standing in place or lugging heavy cargo—it makes little difference to Watcher, as long as he has something to do.
Watcher checks one last time to make certain he has done all that his employer asked him to, and then he steps out of the warehouse into the cool predawn air. After locking the door behind him, Watcher turns his back to the door and steps into the doorway, assuming his customary post as guardian.
Watcher notes the yellow tone in the windows of the building across the road. In an hour or two, the dwarf will walk by again and another day’s labor will begin. Watcher spends the time before his employer returns wondering what it might be like to be a dockworker or to join his old comrades in salvaging cargo from the sea. Perhaps next year, he thinks, or maybe tomorrow.
The technology used to create warforged began with the methods used to create mindless constructs. Although true sentience was a goal, there was little thought given to what the effects of sentience would be or how to best prepare those minds for their new existence. At the moment of a warforged’s first awakening to the living world, it can understand the language of its creator and instinctively knows how to move its body, but in all other respects the newly created warforged is a blank slate. At this early stage, any creature has great power to mold the future psychology of a warforged. It has no knowledge of the world, no understanding of falsehood, and no feelings about good or evil. Lies told to it then might be considered truth forever, or at least until disproved.
Most warforged were created in the forges of House Cannith. During the Last War, House Cannith had heavily regulated regimens of instruction for warforged. At their core was the understanding that a warforged was not entitled to choose for itself. It was created for one purpose: to be obedient to and fight for whomever bought it.
This simple concept required months of instruction. Although fighting came naturally enough, warforged had to be taught the use of weapons and tactics. They were instructed in how to recognize enemies, know allies, and improvise when left without commands. Most of this training took the form of elaborate war games in which warforged fought one another with real weapons while artificers and magewrights stood on hand to heal them. The victors received praise and saw the exultation on the faces of their human commanders, while the losers were berated.
At this point most warforged felt their first emotions. For most it was a single feeling: pride or shame, joy or jealousy. From then on, the warforged fought to preserve or quell that feeling through combat. It was better to feel nothing than to be jealous of others or shameful, and to maintain joy or pride, a warforged had to succeed constantly in battle. This simple view of the world served the warforged’s creators and buyers well.
Next came fear. Although sometimes it is magically induced, most warforged first experience fear not in the face of overwhelming odds or terrible carnage, but when they realize that death means an end to experience. For a warforged, this is a traumatic revelation. Warforged were designed not to require sleep; they don’t have any reckoning of a time when they aren’t able to experience what happens around them.
When a warforged was awakened from incapacity, it saw for the first time that the world moved without its input, things changed over which it had no control, and time passed without its knowledge. At this point, House Cannith trainers explained death to the warforged as equivalent to oblivion. Once that information had been implanted, fear could then be used as a motivator to get warforged to do their creators’ bidding.
Warforged learned about other emotions on the battlefield. Most gained a sense of camaraderie from sharing battlefield successes and failures, but few know what real friendship is, and fewer still understand an emotion as complicated as love. Hate comes somewhat more easily to warforged. Warforged who know jealousy can most easily understand hate, but any warforged who cares for his comrades and fears for his life can come to hate an enemy that threatens both.
When the Last War ended and the Treaty of Thronehold declared warforged to be free beings, warforged lost the structure of their existence. Suddenly thousands of warforged were left bereft of leadership or purpose. This bewildering freedom led to a profusion of lifestyle choices.
In Thrane and Karrnath, most warforged became indentured servants, tireless workers who could rebuild the lands ruined by war. In other lands, many warforged stood on the mustering fields for days or weeks, waiting for orders that would never come. Some warforged then banded together to decide what to do, while others looked to one of their own for a leader. Still others immediately set out in search of a life free of war. In those chaotic days that followed their freedom, warforged made their choices based on their feelings about the four facets of their free lives discussed below. The ideas they formed then about these core facets of their lives ruled their psychology and influenced the choices they made.
GENDER AND PERSONALITY
Warforged were created without gender—a living construct with no need to reproduce or form a gender identity. Their only purpose was to fight for their owners and fall on the battlefield if necessary in pursuit of larger goals. It was something of a surprise, then, when warforged began adopting gender identities on their own, without direction from any of their owners.
While some warforged are comfortable with thinking of themselves as genderless beings, many have instead adopted a male or female personality to which they adhere in their daily lives. Those who attempt to fit into the societies of the races around them might choose clothing that traditionally applies to their gender of choice and pursue socially approved occupations for their chosen genders.
When you create a warforged character, decide at the time of creation whether the character will have a male or a female personality. This decision cannot be changed later.
Warforged need little to survive: not sleep, food, or even air to breathe. Warforged need only shelter from extremes of cold and heat, and to repair damage done to their bodies. With such minimal requirements, one might think a warforged could travel to a temperate clime and then do nothing but simply exist, standing in place like a statue. Yet warforged are thinking creatures, and as such they require activities to occupy their thoughts.
When House Cannith first created thinking warforged, it experimented with sensory deprivation (often by simply burying warforged alive). Such experiments showed that, although warforged could maintain their sanity far longer than humans could, warforged left with nothing to do eventually became insane.
Warforged always seek something to do or to pursue some purpose. They look for a place in the world or to make their mark on it. Some warforged are content to have a meager existence, working only for materials to repair themselves and taking shelter only in the worst weather, but the vast majority pursue some profession or activity to give purpose to their constantly working minds.
Roleplaying Application: Your warforged character should have some goal. You don’t need much, so you should decide what your character wants and why. If your goal is something specific that your character can feasibly accomplish, think about what she will want when she’s finished.
Born into a warring world, warforged were divorced from everything they understood when the Last War ended. Some warforged were relieved by the end of the conflict, some were angry, and others were frightened. All warforged have opinions about war, and their feelings about it help dictate their current actions. War and violence are closely linked in the warforged mind—you can’t have one without the other. A warforged witnessing a tavern brawl or a scuffle in the street inevitably sees it as part of a larger conflict. He might attempt to discover which side he should fight for or what tactical advantage he might gain by allowing what could be enemies to wear one another down.
The inability to think of violence on a small scale or as an isolated incident often causes problems for warforged in the settlements of their creators and former masters. For this reason, many warforged either seek peaceful lands or take up lives in which the purpose of violence is clearly defined.
Roleplaying Application: Your character should have an outlook about war, but he might have mixed feelings about it all. Look for larger conflicts in the acts of violence your character witnesses and try to define these in terms of a war. Your character might make strange associations between people or leaps of logic about alliances and chains of command that others think are ridiculous, but don’t be afraid: War is naturally on your character’s mind, and your strategic thinking might cut to the core of a conflict others are too emotional about to see clearly.
Freedom is wonderful, but it can also be terrifying. Warforged were created to fight and trained to follow orders; lacking a war to win or a leader to follow, many warforged are intimidated by the possibilities of freedom and seek comfort in roles where expectations are clear. Although some of the indentured warforged of Thrane and Karrnath bristle under the yoke of servitude, many are pleased by the safety and simplicity of their roles as builders and workers.
A warforged may revel in freedom and despise authority, look for someone to serve, or test the waters of freedom by creeping slowly across self-imposed boundaries. Feelings about freedom can impose themselves on even the smallest decisions. A warforged offered the choice of several colors of cloaks to wear might take them all, choose a color he has seen others choose, or beg off choosing entirely.
Roleplaying Application: Some warforged embrace their construct nature and their warrior purpose. Others reject all ties to the past and seek experiences that they were not built to know. Most are lost somewhere between these extremes, trying to find a place in a world that wanted them only to fight and die, and now has no need of them.
When you roleplay a warforged, remember that the world has changed. Your character was created for war and spent every moment of life in preparation for or in the act of fighting. Her new life is strange and filled with unexpected pitfalls and hidden rules. At the same time, your character has a tremendous amount of freedom to determine her fate, and the world is filled with experiences, sights, and sounds she never before thought possible.
Have your character take pleasure in small things. Consider the depth and breadth of her experiences; when you confront something new, take note and decide how your character would react.
Warforged were sold to each of the Five Nations, and each individual owed allegiance to one of those states. Even so, a warforged was beholden not to all the people of that nation but to its army leaders. Freed warforged do not consider other creatures their masters but instead tend to view them through the filter of their old lives, placing them in one or more of five categories: commander, comrade, ally, civilian, and foe.
Warforged consider an individual to be their commander if they take orders from that person. Taught to recognize the marks of authority on the battlefield, warforged also categorize others’ commanders and look for their place in the chain of command.
Comrades are those who work or fight alongside the warforged on a consistent basis. The term “comrade” is a label that a warforged uses to indicate that experience. Warforged feel camaraderie for a group or individual after going through trying times, but it is only now, among the humanoids in peaceful times, that warforged are beginning to understand the concept of true friendship.
Allies are creatures with the same goals as the warforged. Warforged always view allies with some suspicion. During the Last War, alliances were frequently broken, and warforged learned not to trust allies to remain true.
A warforged considers anyone with whom it does not have a quarrel or common goal a civilian. Civilians and noncombatants were to be ignored unless a warforged was ordered to do otherwise. Thus, warforged have difficulty relating to others now that they have no masters to tell them how to do so, and many people see warforged as disrespectful, rude, and cold.
A warforged chooses its foes based on its goals. A foe need not be attacked, but a foe is someone to be defeated. When labeling someone a foe, a warforged also looks to see who that person’s allies are and what position the individual occupies in a chain of command. Of course, foes often became allies during the Last War, and warforged often attach less rancor to the words “foe” and “enemy” than do most creatures.
Roleplaying Application: Your character should have a goal and should define others based upon that goal. Other members of your adventuring party should be considered comrades, but if one betrays your trust, you might downgrade your association to that of ally. Also, although created for action, your character was also made to take orders. If no course of action seems clear to your character, consider simply waiting until one becomes apparent or taking a cue from others. It’s not that your character is indecisive or wishy-washy, it’s just that she can often afford to wait—either for the situation to be clarified or for someone with more experience or knowledge to make the decision.
Across the continent of Khorvaire, warforged begin new lives in the aftermath of the Last War. In an effort to find their place in what seems to them to be a new world, warforged take up all kinds of professions and lifestyles. Some settle down in pastoral lands, taking up the simple lives of peasants and emulating their neighbors’ dress and habits. Others accept that they cannot live as the other races do and drift from town to town, aimless wanderers in search of purpose. Particularly selfless warforged do what other races cannot or what is dangerous for their former masters; they mine, they salvage sunken ships, they work twenty or more hours a day.
It is important to note that although warforged are tireless physically, they are still subject to mental fatigue, just as other races are. Too much time spent concentrating on the same mental task is wearying to them, and this is one of the primary motivations behind their wish to change tasks every few hours—to keep their minds occupied. Because of this, warforged are limited to working no more than 8 hours per day in creating or repairing a given object. The time it takes for a warforged to create an object is no less than for any other race, as determined according to the Craft skill description in the Player’s Handbook.
Some places, particularly Karrnath and Thrane, embrace the warforged’s ability to perform multiple tasks and use them to dominate production of goods. This causes tensions between nations and houses. In places where humanoid workers are abundant, it gives common workers a reason to despise the presence of warforged. In areas where the population was more severely depleted by a century of warfare, however, warforged simply help make up for a real shortage in the workforce.
Despite being officially integrated into society, warforged are always outsiders. They live lives that are wholly different from the lives of any other creatures. To understand how a warforged lives, one must understand what it is like not to breathe, eat, sleep, or even dream.
Warforged never tire and rarely allow themselves to grow bored. Their lack of need to sleep, eat, or fear the passage of time gives them almost unending patience. Yet a hard life as constant soldiers has accustomed them to endless toil, and any long period of inactivity tends to make them anxious. A warforged without a specific task to complete or one forced to wait to complete the task at hand usually creates a new task for himself, a hobby of sorts that gives his mind or body something to do.
Individual warforged choose different hobbies, but such activities tend to be either repetitious or unending. A warforged might count objects nearby, particularly if there are many of them, such as blades of grass. Another warforged might carry with her strips of leather that she braids into intricate patterns and then unbraids so she can create new patterns. Many warforged do the tasks given them when they were required to wait before a battle; these include sharpening weapons, cleaning accouterments, and checking and rechecking equipment. Such tasks can hold endless fulfillment for a warforged when she has nothing else to do.
Yet as creatures without a need for leisure, warforged often take Craft skills and create things endlessly. A warforged who has taken up the life of a smith is likely to hammer at his work from dawn to dusk and would hammer and weld on into the night were others not disturbed by the clamor. In the dark hours, a warforged smith might take up some quiet endeavor such as sewing or basket weaving. An adventuring warforged might whittle carvings as his comrades sleep, creating intricate sculptures that are the results of years of nightly practice.
Few warforged actively pursue leisure activities that require another creature’s participation. During their lives among other races, they find that they have time on their hands when other races pause to eat or sleep. Thus left alone, most warforged pursue solitary activities. Still, warforged who are invited to partake in some leisure activity that involves other creatures take to it with the gusto typical of the race. Many warforged greatly enjoy games of strategy, such as chess, or gambling.
Roleplaying Application: Consider giving your warforged character a rank or two in a Craft skill and a hobby such as those described above. Armorsmithing, blacksmithing, gemcutting, and sculpting make excellent choices because you can also use those Craft skills to repair yourself. If you choose not to take a Craft skill, devise some other kind of downtime activity for your warforged character.
For a race not inclined to displays of emotion, warforged produce a surprising amount of art in a broad array of media. Before the end of the Last War, the number of warforged who participated in artistic endeavors could be counted on one hand. Now, many warforged pursue some kind of artistic activity, although few warforged would think of it as such.
When warforged create art, they most often do so by mistake. Even warforged bards rarely create new music, instead repeating traditional marching songs and battle ballads. The desire for expression of emotion, ornamentation, or art to honor another does not often occur to them.
Yet many warforged create things without purpose, objects that exist for no reason other than a warforged’s desire to create them. These objects are created when a warforged has little else to do. The indentured warforged of Thrane and Karrnath are kept busy with constant toil, but adventuring warforged and those who work according to the schedules of the other races around them often have nothing better to do than tinker with some hobby. Sometimes this hobby creates what other races would consider art. Most such “warforged art” is portable, something a warforged can easily carry and tinker with while others sleep or eat. Woodcarving, sketching, and weaving are popular pastimes.
Warforged art tends to be wholly abstract or completely representational; it rarely displays emotion or analysis of any kind. A warforged rarely attaches any emotion to the objects he creates; the “art” is merely something to occupy his hands and mind while he waits. Despite this, a small but fervent collector’s market for warforged art exists in Breland, and certain individuals in other nations have a fondness for it.
Roleplaying Application: If your warforged has a Craft skill as a hobby, consider whether your character creates lasting items, what they are, and how your character values them. Your character might draw a picture of everyone who speaks to her each day, whittle holes through sticks, or bend wire into chain links. Your character might discard the “art” she creates or obsessively collect and store it as a record of her actions and the passage of time.
If your character lacks a Craft skill, she still might enjoy more abstract pastimes. She could collect small objects in a satchel during her travels, pulling them out and reviewing them when other characters sleep or eat.
TECHNOLOGY AND MAGIC
Warforged are constructs, but they are not machines. Warforged have bodies composed of inorganic materials but also of living magic. In this way, warforged combine technology and magic in an unparalleled manner. During the Last War, most warforged were discouraged from taking any interest in magic or their own construction. The only practice of magic taught in the House Cannith training halls was that of the artificer, and House Cannith strictly controlled the training of the few warforged selected for that duty. Thus, most warforged think very little about magic and attach no emotion to it.
Magic and how it interacts with a warforged body hold no interest for most warforged beyond pure practicality. A warforged values magic that aids him, particularly magic that repairs his body. Warforged enjoy the ability to accept magic into their composite plating and to graft particular magic items to their bodies, but few warforged are curious about how or why either process works.
Still, some warforged, mainly those who have taken up spellcasting classes, are beginning to investigate their pasts and the rumored links between warforged and the ancient magic of Xen’drik. These few seekers of knowledge see the discovery of the means to create warforged and docent components as a strategic goal.
Roleplaying Application: Magic is rarely a source of wonder for your character. She is made of magic, and since her creation she has witnessed a world full of magic. Even so, your character likely has a healthy respect for what magic can accomplish.
For warforged, the purpose of life was to fight battles, and in the peace after the Last War, many warforged continue to exist as warriors. Whether as constables, bodyguards, pirates, bounty hunters, gladiators, soldiers, or adventurers, some warforged continue to live their lives in the old way. Other warforged have chosen or been forced to take up other lives and new purposes. Regardless, all warforged have opinions about war, but their reasoning about it tends to mystify members of other races.
Warforged were made for warfare, a fact reinforced every time the name of their race is spoken. They view much of life in terms of battles and objectives, combatants and noncombatants, enemies and allies. Even warforged who did not have the opportunity to participate in the battles have been indoctrinated through training to have a soldier’s mindset. This causes most warforged to think of war not as wrong or even as a necessary evil, but instead to view it as natural. Violence, an activity they pursued during war and in training for war, is not loathsome or terrible—not any more than it is to a predatory animal.
A few warforged pacifists exist, mostly stemming from a dozen or so warforged who were trained as personal aides rather than as warriors. Some warforged veterans take up quiet and peaceful lives, hoping never again to see battle, but such warforged usually keep their old swords above the mantle, ready and willing for when war breaks out again.
The warforged view of violence makes many members of other races afraid of them, and it’s a common misconception that warforged themselves are fearless. In truth, the average warforged fears destruction as much or more than other races fear death, but warforged do not feel or fear pain in the same way that most creatures do. Pain is not a fear-laden indicator of impending death, but rather a gauge of overall operational status—informative if somewhat unpleasant, but rarely frightening or debilitating.
When a warforged is close to destruction, it can exist in that state for as long as it takes for repairs to be made. Warforged know this and rely upon it—as an example, some warforged now go into battle with self-inflicted nonlethal damage, a tactic outlawed by their masters during the Last War.
During that war, warforged learned that most people ignored fallen warforged, and beasts do not care to eat them. A warforged knocked unconscious can thus exist in that state indefinitely, waiting for an ally, enemy, or stranger to make repairs. Warforged who employ this tactic have unusual confidence in their ability to survive battles. Of course, a warforged repaired by an enemy must usually serve that enemy or face destruction, but the warforged who use this tactic often care more for their own survival than the success of their cause.
The relative peace in Khorvaire mystifies most warforged. The problems that caused the Last War seem unsettled, and the reasons for the Treaty of Thronehold are foreign to them. Warforged continue to see battles fought between nations, and conflicts of all kinds rage all over the world, so the “peace” after the war simply seems to be a new way of fighting.
A small number of warforged actively seek a return to the state of war. Some of these warforged find their services prized by those who think the Treaty of Thronehold left some unsettled business, but most disaffected warforged seek out the Lord of Blades in the Mournland, looking to join his rumored army.
Roleplaying Application: Your warforged should have an opinion about war, but it doesn’t have to be one of those expressed here. Regardless of your opinion, your warforged likely views the world in terms of strategic goals and battles that must be won. Consider what your character’s goal is and think about how that goal might be thought of as related to a war.
WARFORGED SOCIETY AND CULTURE
The Treaty of Thronehold declared warforged to be free creatures just two years ago, and the living constructs have had little time to create a society or culture beyond the limited soldier culture they possessed during the Last War. What society exists among warforged is largely a remnant of the command structures of the armies of the Last War.
Squads of warforged remain together, bound to one another by their sense of camaraderie. These small groups tackle the challenges of life after war as a unit, often taking similar jobs and living together. Sometimes a squad commander leads these warforged, serving to help the squad find its place in the new world they all live in.
Even those without comrades upon whom they can associate are rarely alone for long, though. Due to their common abilities, warforged without squads often find themselves in similar lines of work. Warforged who work together often elect a leader (independent of the desires of their employer) and become an impromptu squad.
Warforged who are truly alone often seek camaraderie with other groups of creatures. They might be able to find solace among those of other races with whom they work, but many warforged find that other laborers are jealous of their tirelessness and distrustful of their warlike natures.
The strongest bonds formed by warforged are typically with those who judge them by their actions and abilities rather than their past, so it shouldn’t be surprising that many warforged take to a life of adventure or a mercenary existence. In battle against a common foe, the prejudice that warforged typically face fades away, and allies rely on them as they would any friend. Yet even among adventurers, some think of warforged as tools rather than thinking and living creatures; warforged who manage to find true acceptance and respect among other creatures remain steadfastly loyal to them.
Warforged share a common culture mainly because of their outlook. They all seek a place in the world after the Last War. They are all natural warriors, with little that they fear. Extremes of emotion are uncommon, and they are industrious workers. Yet from this common ground, warforged diverge to a myriad of behaviors leaving little that can be called culture or society.
Many warforged adopt the culture of the area they live in. A warforged might even dress in the clothes common to folk in the area and emulate the speech patterns and customs of his neighbors. Some warforged take such efforts to great extremes, exploring their living nature by engaging in eating, and “sleeping” by remaining inactive during the night.
Other warforged deny their living nature and instead revel in their differences from humanoids. These warforged never wear clothes or partake in the celebrations or rituals of the societies in which they live. They remain active constantly, taking pride in their tireless strength. Such warforged often take up professions where their construct nature gives them a great advantage, such as mining and underwater salvaging.
In the warforged training halls, members of House Cannith kept talk of religion to a minimum. Warforged were informed of the capabilities of clerics and paladins and taught how to recognize them on the battlefield, but their trainers conspicuously avoided discussion about the nature of religion or the afterlife. Uncertain whether warforged even possess souls, the House Cannith trainers hammered home the concept that destruction meant oblivion and that clerics and paladins were simply spellcasters like sorcerers and wizards. This approach allowed them to sell warforged to customers regardless of religious affiliation.
In the years since the Last War, warforged have learned of religion and gods. The vast majority of warforged don’t understand why someone would worship a deity. It seems to them like choosing to be beholden to a master who never gives commands. Many warforged are offended by the concept of worship, and nearly all seem to think belief in deities is foolish.
Despite their dismissal of gods, however, warforged recognize the power of clerics and paladins. Many see the value of members of other races devoting themselves to ideals when it results in power. Although warforged understand this concept, they see more benefit from the spellcasting of an artificer, and most who choose to gain magical power take that path.
The rare warforged who thinks religion has something to offer is likely a zealous convert and a member of the cleric or paladin class. Warforged were not brought up with religion, and a warforged who takes a religious path has thought long and hard about the subject and made a deliberate choice to believe. Warforged who take up the banner of religion could worship nearly any deity or concept, but some general tendencies are seen throughout the small population.
The Sovereign Host: Warforged who follow the Sovereign Host often think of them more as comrades than as entities to honor with worship. The gods travel with their warforged worshiper and help in various ways. Many clerics of other races are offended by the warforged thinking of the Sovereign Host in such a familiar manner and consider it blasphemous when a warforged refers to the deities as walking and speaking to him on a daily basis.
When warforged single out a particular deity to worship, they most often choose Dol Arrah, Dol Dorn, or Onatar, with Onatar being a clear favorite. The other deities of the host have spheres of influence that rarely concern a warforged. For instance, a warforged devoted to nature is more likely a druid than a cleric of Arawai or Balinor.
The Dark Six: Most warforged who follow the Dark Six despise their former masters and pay homage to the evil deities as forces that can destroy the other races. Warforged who favor a particular deity often worship the Fury, the Keeper, or the Mockery. Warforged filled with rage at their enslavement prefer the Fury. Warforged who fear death often honor the Keeper, hoping to send him enough souls that they might live beyond death. Hateful warforged who value strength of arms or guile prefer the Mockery.
The Blood of Vol: Of the small number of religious warforged, only a handful join the Blood of Vol cult. These few were most likely tricked into believing that Vol can grant them souls or life after death in an undead form.
The Cults of the Dragon Below: The Cults of the Dragon Below hold little attraction for warforged. Most warforged think the concept of the three dragons, Khyber, Syberis, and Eberron, is as strange a myth as those associated with the other deities. Still, it’s possible that a warforged working as a mercenary with a Cult of the Dragon Below might take up the religion after long association.
The Path of Light: Some warforged psions and psychic warriors adopt the kalashtar concept of the Path of Light to help them meditate, but few other warforged deal with the kalashtar enough to have time to come to grips with their concept of worship.
The Undying Court: Warforged can more easily understand worship of the Undying Court than homage paid to other deities. The Aerenal elves’ gods and goddesses walk among them, physical proof of the afterlife and of their power. Few warforged desire to bow to such present and temporal masters, though, and the Undying Court is not interested in the worship of constructs—living or otherwise.
Other Concepts: Warforged clerics or paladins might also worship ideals or concepts important to their lives. Such things tend to be ideas central to the struggles of all warforged, such as truth, acceptance, camaraderie, craftsmanship, and fighting prowess.
Terrible rumors abound that a group of warforged in the Mournland worships the Lord of Blades and somehow receives power from those beliefs. Also, a story circulating among disbelieving warforged has it that a whole battalion deserted from Karrnath and now seeks to build a deity somewhere in the Mournland. Such stories are dismissed by most folk as fantasies.
As a warforged, your character likely finds religion strange. It’s a new concept to you, and unless you play a paladin or cleric, you probably don’t have a high opinion of its purpose. If you do play a cleric or paladin, think about the options provided above and choose one that suits your character’s personality, or feel free to simply create your own deity. In any case, your character’s ignorance of the “rules” of religion can make for interesting roleplaying in encounters with more zealous characters.
HISTORY AND FOLKLORE
Thirty-three years ago, Aarren d’Cannith created the first sentient warforged. Other creatures similar to warforged had been created before, but the warforged that emerged from the creation forge on that day marked the successful end to a long series of experiments with the goal of creating living, thinking constructs.
House Cannith had been creating constructs built for labor, exploration, and defense for some time before King Jarot, growing ever more paranoid about threats to Galifar, urged Merrix d’Cannith, Aarren’s father, to build constructs designed for war. For armies of constructs to march on the fields of battle, the constructs needed to be able to think for themselves, and up to that point, even the most intelligent constructs to emerge from the creation forges required minders to give them commands and control their actions. The new intelligent constructs also needed to be inexpensive to build; although an army of intelligent golems would be unstoppable, Merrix d’Cannith realized the kingdom of Galifar lacked the resources to pay his house to build such an army.
After the kingdom split, Merrix devoted all his energy to the concept of sentient construct soldiers, but his son made the first breakthrough, using documents dating back to Kedran d’Cannith that some say originated in ancient Xen’drik. When the secret of warforged creation was shared, the creation forges of House Cannith began selling warforged to whomever could afford them. Breland, Cyre, and Thrane had the largest forces of warforged, but most of the various factions in the war boasted at least a small contingent of the soldier constructs.
Warforged participated in all the important battles of the Last War, on the side of at least one of the various parties in the conflict. Warforged distinguished themselves in the Last War due to their speed traveling long distances, their tirelessness, and their fearlessness in the face of overwhelming foes. They also surprised many with their rather mutable loyalty. Although warforged were unquestionably loyal to their owners, it was found that a captured warforged’s concept of who owned it was often easy to change. Many battles during the Last War were fought for the sole purpose of capturing an enemy’s warforged. Such battles imperiled the capturing force, since the need to use nonlethal tactics against constructs that were under no such constraints made combat doubly deadly.
As the war progressed, new types of warforged emerged from the creation forges. Most were made by request in limited production runs, but some were experiments driven by House Cannith. Of these, the warforged scouts and warforged chargers were the most successful products, but they still paled in comparison to the success and the numbers of normal warforged that were built to fight the Last War.
Early in their employment in the Last War, certain warforged distinguished themselves greatly in battle after battle, and their growing skill in the tactics and strategies of warfare couldn’t be ignored. Aundair was the first nation to promote a warforged to a true command position. Previously, warforged had been given only temporary field commands, usually only until a human commander could reach the battlefield. (Human commanders often lagged behind warforged forces due to their need for rest.)
The decision to put warforged in permanent command roles was made by General Argus after the human commander, Lord Major Derge ir’Lain, sent to marshal the warforged battalions consistently managed battles more incompetently than the warforged that had been given temporary command. The ousted lord major complained to Queen Aurala, and both General Argus and the warforged, named Chase, were demoted.
A year later, Argus had the opportunity to appeal to the queen, showing as his evidence the performance record of the lord major compared to the record of every warforged given temporary command of the same forces. Lord Derge ir’Lain left the army in disgrace, and both Argus and Chase were restored to their former command positions.
Soon other warforged were given permanent command positions. Without the need for human commanders, Aundair’s armies seemed to race across Khorvaire. Other nations saw the benefit of warforged commanders, and in a few months every army had promoted warforged to permanent command roles. Of course, due to the protests of the other soldiers, warforged were given command only of other warforged.
During the Last War, some warforged acted as bodyguards and personal attendants to captains and higher-ranking members of the various armies involved in the conflict. In Breland, warforged particularly suited to such roles were often given by their owners as gifts to superior officers. One such warforged, named Bulwark, distinguished himself so well that he was eventually gifted to King Boranel. Although few but those in the king’s inner circle know the exact reasons, it’s generally accepted knowledge that King Boranel campaigned for the freedom of warforged at Thronehold due to the influence of Bulwark.
The freedom of warforged and the destruction of the creation forges were major sticking points in the negations at Thronehold, with Thrane offering the most resistance. After two weeks of argument and bargaining, it was agreed that warforged should be free. When the announcement was made, Bulwark left the king’s service. King Boranel would have ordered him to remain, not as property but as a subject of his kingdom; however, after arguing for warforged freedom for so long, he felt he could not keep Bulwark in service to him if the warforged wanted to leave. Bulwark vanished from history at this point, although the events that led to his freedom happened but two years ago. The construct largely responsible for warforged freedom left Thronehold on foot, walking east, and has not been seen since.
With only two years of freedom and little opportunity to share stories before that time, warforged have few common folk tales. Even so, a few rumors that circulated among the warforged have taken on lives of their own.
Bulwark, personal servant to King Boranel of Breland and liberator of the warforged, hasn’t been seen or heard from since the Treaty of Thronehold. Many warforged view Bulwark as their liberator and a great hero, heaping upon him a measure of honor and respect most people reserve for gods. Some rumors claim he took a new name and personality to gain complete freedom from his old life, while others darkly hint that he might have traveled into the Mournland to become the Lord of Blades, but no one knows for certain.
Adventure Hook: Divination magic cast to learn about Bulwark fails, but it also fails to prove that he is dead. Many warforged would follow him if he returned to lead his people, and the leaders of the nations of Khorvaire fear that unifying the warforged might result in their desire for a separate state. Thrane and Karrnath are particularly interested in proof of Bulwark’s death to nullify the threat to their indentured labor force.
The creation forges were supposed to have been destroyed, but rumors persist among the warforged that some forges were not destroyed and that these secret forges continue to create more of their kind. These rumors seem to have credence, because it is said they were started by warforged claiming to have been created within the last two years.
Adventure Hook: Both the Lord of Blades and Lord Merrix d’Cannith operate creation forges, and both are interested in keeping that fact a secret. Should a newly created warforged go rogue from their ranks, or should rumor strike too closely to the truth, both will stop at nothing to see that those who suspect their involvement are quickly silenced.
The godforged, as they’ve come to be called in stories told by warforged when other races are resting, are a group of warforged who heard the call of a deity—a construct deity. According to tales, they have traveled to the Mournland to build a body for this deity so that he can walk the earth and lead the warforged.
Adventure Hook: The persistent rumors of the godforged would be laughed off by other races, except that a member of an adventuring party sent to the Mournland to look for the Lord of Blades returned with a tale of having seen a vast sculpture on that place’s twisted plains. According to the adventurer, it was a giant head of steel, stone, and wood some 30 feet wide. She and her companions were attacked by warforged before they could learn more, and only she survived their harried flight back to Sharn. She might have seen the Lord of Blades’ base of operations, she might have been tricked by the strange and hallucinatory nature of the Mournland, or she might have actually encountered the godforged.
Some warforged honor the Lord of Blades as a savior of their people, while others revile him as an abomination, but all warforged have heard of him and his call to overthrow the other races. It’s unclear just when the Lord of Blades started his campaign for the domination of other races or where he came from. It is said in some tales that he was the last warforged created, and in others that he was the first. Others say he was the leader of Cyre’s army when that nation was destroyed, and other stories suggest he and Bulwark are one and the same.
Adventure Hook: The possibility that Bulwark is the Lord of Blades constantly gnaws at King Boranel’s conscience, but he doesn’t want to give credence to the rumor by openly pursuing the truth. Doing so secretly is a different matter, and adventuring groups and individuals fi nd that funding for their efforts to uncover more about the Lord of Blades is easier to gain in Breland.
Warforged speak Common, which is the language of their creators and most of their former owners. Unlike most characters, warforged don’t have bonus starting languages due to their race. A wizard, druid, or cleric warforged has bonus starting languages due to class, but few warforged take these classes. Most warforged must spend skill points to learn new languages. Warforged who learn languages other than Common do so for the tactical advantage it can grant them or simply to get along among others who speak different tongues.
Due to their training and their limited use of language on the battlefield, warforged tend to have small vocabularies except in the area of items and terms related to war. A typical warforged would be perplexed by words such as “morose,” “sauté,” and “till,” and even by simpler words such as “depressed,” “fry,” and “plow,” but the warforged would know every term describing the parts of a castle wall and could rattle off the names of a hundred different kinds of polearms.
Warforged who care to improve their somewhat sour relations with other races find that language can be a barrier even when both speakers use the same tongue, since warforged often pepper their speech with battlefield terminology. One might refer to a group of children playing on a street corner as “that squad of seven cadets training at the crossroads.” Other creatures often find this habit annoying and sometimes take great offense at such liberal application of wartime words for peaceful pursuits. Some warforged try to improve their vocabularies, but this too can bring frustration. Battlefield terms tend to be more specific and exclusive, so when confronted with a word such as “love,” a warforged has little capability to understand the various ways people use the word.
Roleplaying Application: Your character learned language under the incredibly demanding situations inherent to combat training. Ambiguity and lengthy explanation mean death and defeat on the battlefield, so warforged take clarity and brevity to new heights in their speech. You should endeavor to make your character’s speech patterns different from those of other races.
The phrasebook presented below shows how to capture the unique speech habits of a warforged character, but the key to this kind of roleplaying technique is consistency. It’s much better to practice and consistently use just a few of your character’s phrases than it is to occasionally dabble in elements of the phrasebook. Don’t be afraid to expand upon the examples given below, which demonstrate the ways that warforged shorten their speech to accommodate the demands of the battlefield.
Although most of the language difficulties that warforged experience come from their narrow background, they also use phrases and terms that sound foreign to those unfamiliar with warforged training and battle tactics. Most of these terms were created by House Cannith in the warforged training halls for use in the war games in which all warforged participated, but a few were developed by the warforged themselves.
Dis: A shortened way of saying “dispel magic,” this word indicates that a spellcaster should dispel the magic on an indicated friend, foe, object, or area. The type of dispelling or negating magic is unimportant. A warforged uses “dis” for everything from dispel magic to remove fear. The command leaves it to the spellcaster to determine the spell needed to negate the effect.
Ground: This brief command is usually shouted by a member of a unit when ranged attack is imminent. Warforged understand it to mean that they should take cover if possible or simply lie prone if cover is unavailable.
Points north: This command indicates that soldiers should aim ranged attacks or spells at an indicated enemy commander.
Points south: This command indicates that soldiers should aim their ranged attacks or offensive spells at an indicated spellcaster.
Repair: Although often shouted like a command, this word is really a request for aid. Once used only when a warforged was in danger of being destroyed by damage, it indicates the need for repairing magic and for another soldier to take the warforged’s place in the fight.
Rush: This word means “attack” and is usually followed by a single-word descriptor, such as “north” for an indicated enemy commander or “south” for an indicated spellcaster. This command does not necessarily indicate a charge, only what the focus of a unit’s or soldier’s melee attacks should be. Thus, a warforged in an adventuring party fighting a spellcaster with a charmed ogre minion might call to the fighter, “Rush ogre,” while to the others he says, “Points rush south!”
Scarce: Usually whispered, this command indicates that soldiers should immediately hide.
WARFORGED AND OTHER RACES
Warforged find it difficult to relate to other races. A warforged’s face is capable of few expressions, and his voice is often hollow and monotonal. These facts alone would make many people dislike dealing with them, but warforged are also stymied by the habits and emotions of other races, and they sometimes find it hard to express themselves properly due to a vocabulary based on aspects of war. To top it all off, their bodies and the very name of their race are constant reminders of the Last War and its atrocities.
Despite the prejudice they face, most warforged do try to get along with other races. Warforged rarely form opinions about creatures they meet on the basis of race. Instead, they consider a creature’s nation to be more significant. A warforged who meets a citizen of a state that he considers an enemy might think poorly of that person. Similarly, warforged are often taken advantage of by those from their own country, who know they can rely on the warforged seeing them as allies.
Warforged who have too much difficulty relating to other creatures often seek solitary professions or the company of their own kind, but warforged who find they get along well enough with other races often take great pains to keep the relationships strong.
Changelings: Warforged tend to be wary of changelings. Their employment as spies and assassins in the Last War ingrained a feeling in warforged that all changelings are deceptive and treacherous. At the same time, warforged understand that the war is over, and some feel a sort of sympathy for changelings, seeing them as creatures similarly defined by their past.
Dwarves: Warforged most easily enjoy the company of dwarves. Warforged rarely covet the dwarves’ fortunes, and the typically gruff and dour nature of dwarves seems fine company to the often emotionally cold warforged.
Elves: Warforged respect elves as fierce warriors and intelligent tacticians, but see their airy ways and flighty passions as mystifying. The Aerenal relationship with death fascinates some warforged. Without knowledge of their own fates after death, some warforged become obsessed with Aerenal elves—much to the elves’ displeasure.
Gnomes: A gnome’s insatiable curiosity mirrors a warforged’s search to learn more about the world he lives in, but gnomes tend to be annoyed by how little warforged know about subjects gnomes consider to be basic or elementary knowledge.
Half-Elves: Warforged often find it difficult to distinguish half-elves from humans or elves, a flaw that some half-elves relish and others despise.
Half-Orcs: Warforged admire the strength of half-orcs, but they otherwise don’t distinguish them from humans.
Halflings: Warforged admire the halflings’ adaptability and skill at blending into the societies of others. On a personal level, most warforged find the glib-tongued halflings to be confusing.
Humans: Warforged know that humans were their creators, and it’s difficult for them to forget that. How a warforged handles that association depends on the individual, but most warforged at least respect humanity’s potential and drive.
Kalashtar: Warforged do not dream, and it’s hard for them to come to grips with the idea that the rare kalashtar is anything more than a strange-looking human.
Shifters: In general, warforged harbor no bad feelings for shifters, nor do they find them frightening, but the shifters’ animallike habits and emotional shifts are even more alien to warforged than those of other races.
WARFORGED CITIES AND SETTLEMENTS
Few permanent warforged settlements exist. Warforged require protection from great heat and cold due to their vulnerability to nonlethal damage, but in most instances shade or a fire provides what is needed without a permanent structure. Similarly, since warforged do not need food and do not procreate, interpersonal contact is unnecessary.
Even so, as warforged attempt to find their places in the world after the Last War, they often remain in the squads, units, and battalions they were members of before. Larger groups of warforged have taken up residence near some cities, having built their own boroughs after their units were officially disbanded.
Immediately after the war, warforged often lived outside settlements in large tent cities, built in the orderly and clean fashion the warforged were accustomed to. Some of these tent cities still exist, but in other places warforged have replaced them with more permanent structures, usually utilitarian, single-room dwellings large enough for a few people and a fire.
Such warforged boroughs have grown considerably smaller since the first few months after the war, and it seems likely that in a few years they’ll disappear entirely. As warforged find jobs, they’re often offered shelter where they work, which has the benefit of providing their employers with guards at night. Also, some warforged leave in search of adventure or a purpose, or they head into the Mournland after hearing rumors of the Lord of Blades.
When considering the racial demographics of communities, consider first whether the community is in a country that made much use of warforged during the Last War. Breland and Thrane (along with Cyre) fielded the largest armies of warforged. Settlements in these countries should have a number of warforged similar to the number of half-elves.
If you’re using the Racial Mix of Communities table on page 139 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide, warforged should subtract their portion of the percentage from the dominant race. Thus, if the racial mix is integrated, warforged would make up 5% of the population, and the dominant race would make up 32% of the population rather than 37%. Of course, if the area’s dominant race is half-elf, warforged then take the normal place of half-elf on the list, with a base of either 1% in a mixed community or 5% in an integrated community.
In other nations, the warforged are likely lone wanderers or a small squad that stuck together after the war. Such small groups rarely account for a significant percentage of the population even in integrated cities.