“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

Commanders are an essential component of any army, government, or organization. Often, the same skills that serve a commander when leading an army are directly relevant to leading an adventuring group. Whether commanding legions or a handful of intrepid explorers, commanders are at their best when they have a stout-hearted group of comrades whose strengths they can leverage toward victory.

Quick Build

You can make a commander quickly by following these suggestions. First, choose the Noble background, with Noble Duelist (Wis), Cunning Leader (Int), or Knight (Cha) as your martial tradition. The martial tradition you choose determines your highest ability score. Your next-highest score should be Strength or Dexterity, depending upon whether you want to focus on melee weapons or ranged combat (or finesse weapons). Your third-highest score should be Constitution.

Class Features

Table: Commander
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Martial Talents
1st +2 Martial Training, Commands (d6), Direct Ally 0
2nd +2 Group Focus 1
3rd +2 Commander Assignment 2
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 3
5th +3 Commands (d8), Extra Attack 3
6th +3 Commander Assignment feature 4
7th +3 Group Commands 5
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 6
9th +4 Natural Leader 6
10th +4 Commands (d10), Commander Assignment feature 7
11th +4 Group Focus (2) 8
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 9
13th +5 Masterful Rally 9
14th +5 Commander Assignment feature 10
15th +5 Commands (d12) 11
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 12
17th +6 Direct Ally (2) 12
18th +6 Group Focus (3) 13
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 14
20th +6 Superior Commands 15

As a commander, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per commander level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per commander level after 1st


Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Choose one type of artisan’s tools or one musical instrument
Saving Throws: One each of

  • Strength, Intelligence, or Charisma
  • Dexterity, Constitution, or Wisdom

Skills: Choose any two.


You start with equipment granted by your background, and either the following equipment or the equipment granted by your martial tradition; You must be proficient with the chosen class equipment to select it as part of your starting equipment:

  • (a) a burglar’s pack, (b) a dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) an explorer’s pack
  • a martial or simple weapon


If this is your first level in any class, you may select a martial tradition.

The selected tradition will determine your key ability modifier and may grant additional proficiencies and equipment.

Martial Training

You gain 3/4ths of a martial talent every level, according to Table: Commander.

Direct Ally

As a bonus action, you can direct an ally who can see and hear you to make a single attack with a melee or ranged weapon or an unarmed attack as a reaction. At 17th level, you may direct two allies instead of one.


Your words have strength, and success comes more readily to those who obey your orders. To do so, you may, as a reaction, choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature rolls one Command die, a d6, and adds the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes before the end of its turn. You can choose to wait until after the creature rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Command die, but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. A creature can only benefit from one Command die or bardic inspiration die on any given roll.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your key ability modifier (a minimum of once). You regain any expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Your Command die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.

Group Focus

Beginning at 2nd level, you can spend an action to rally your allies. You restore the martial focus of all allies that can see and hear you. Creatures without the martial focus ability gain 1 use of martial focus that must be used within 1 minute or is lost.

Once you use this ability, you cannot do so again until you have taken a short or long rest. You can use this an additional time at 11th and 18th levels.

Commander Assignment

At 3rd level, you choose the type of commander you embody, which are detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Group Commands

Beginning at 7th level, instead of granting a Command die to a single creature, you may use your action and expend your martial focus to grant that Command die to a number of individual creatures not exceeding your proficiency bonus + your key ability modifier. You still may not grant yourself a Command die with this feature.

Once before the start of your next turn, these targets can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. A target can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Command die but must decide before the GM says whether the roll succeeds or fails.

Natural Leader

At 9th level, you regain your uses of Command after a short or long rest.

Masterful Rally

Beginning at 13th level, you may use both group commands and group focus as part of the same action and expenditure of martial focus.

Superior Commands

At 20th level, when you roll initiative and have no uses of Command left, you regain one use.

Commander Assignments


A captain is responsible for their people on the ground, relaying commands from the higher-up to the soldiers and seeing them through the mission. Generals may lead the army, but it often falls to the captains to command the battle from the front lines, protecting the people in their care and keeping them focused on the task at hand.


You gain the Guardian sphere as a bonus sphere and must select the patrol package if you do not already have it. Increase the number of attacks you can make without expending your reaction by 1.

Defensive Direction

Beginning at 6th level, when an ally within 60 feet of you who can see and hear you is targeted by an attack roll, ability check, or damage roll, you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of command, rolling a Command die and subtracting the number rolled from the creature’s roll. You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but before the DM determines whether the attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails, or before the creature deals its damage.

Support the Troops

Beginning at 10th level, whenever you use Group Commands, you also gain a use of your own Command die. You must use this die before the end of your next turn or it is lost.

Front-Line Direction

Beginning at 14th level, so long as you have a patrol set up you may affect an additional ally when using direct ally. All affected allies must be within the area of your patrol.

Drill Sergeant

Drill sergeants train recruits, turning them from green beginners into hardened soldiers. While a drill sergeant needn’t be cruel, they are symbols of authority and know how to intimidate those who step out of line, or those who would threaten their pupils.


You gain the Gladiator sphere. If you have used your reaction to perform a boast, you may give a target a Command die once before your next turn even though you have already used a reaction that turn.

Troop Training

Beginning at 6th level, whenever you take a long rest, you may grant one martial talent you possess to one of your allies so that they also gain the benefits of that talent. That ally gains this talent until you take your next long rest, at which time you can choose a new ally and a new talent. Allies must meet the prerequisites of any talent they gain, such as the martial sphere. You cannot grant talents involving the Beastmastery or Leadership spheres.

At 10th and 14th level, you may choose an additional ally to grant a talent to. You must grant each ally the same talent.

Savage Rally

Beginning at 10th level, whenever you use your group commands or group focus abilities, you may demoralize a target as a bonus action.

Pull Rank

At 14th level, you gain advantage on all Charisma saving throws and Charisma ability checks made to persuade or intimidate.


You specialize in leading armies, not just groups or individuals.


You gain the Warleader sphere as a bonus sphere. The area of your tactics becomes 40 feet instead of 20 feet, and whenever you spend a bonus action to activate a tactic, the tactic remains active for 2 rounds instead of one, meaning you only need to spend a bonus action every other round to keep the tactic active.

At 10th level, your tactics increase to 80 feet and remain active for 3 rounds instead of 2. At 14th level, your tactics affect every ally that can see or hear you regardless of distance, and they remain active for 4 rounds instead of 3.

Battlefield Specialist

At 6th level, you gain +1 use of Command. While traveling for an hour or more, your group can’t be slowed by difficult terrain or lost by nonmagical means, and remains alert to danger even while engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking). Additionally, you and allies that can see and hear you gain a +1 bonus to initiative rolls and a +3 bonus to their passive Wisdom (Perception).

At 14th level, Battlefield Specialist improves to grant you +2 uses of Command, the bonus to initiative increases to +3, and the bonus to passive Wisdom (Perception) increases to +5.

Enhanced Tactics

Beginning at 10th level, whenever you activate a tactic, you can choose a second tactic. Your allies benefit from both tactics.


Whether they are born aristocrats or elected officials, politicians are social leaders that rely on connections to get things done.


You are always accompanied by others who look up to you for your guidance and support. You gain the Leadership sphere as a bonus sphere.


Your favor and connections are as valuable to many as your money is. You gain 1 gp per 2 character levels per day (rounded down), which is applied to covering your lifestyle expenses (or with GM permission can go into your pocket if you are not using lifestyle rules).

Call In A Specialist

At 6th level, your prestige and connections have established a reputation among many contacts, including individuals with unique skill sets capable of turning the tide of a critical battle or provide crucial information. You may spread the word in any small town or larger settlement that you are looking for a specialist to aid in a particular task and one will appear sometime in the next 24 hours. If a specialist does not complete their task in one week’s time, the specialist leaves unless you use this feature again to extend their service. Because calling in a specialist requires invoking contacts and leaning on favors, you cannot use this feature more often than once per week. This increases by one time per week at 10th (2/week) and 14th level (3/week).

Specialists generally will not become directly involved in combat. A specialist will certainly defend themselves if attacked, but will do what they can to stay out of any fights and won’t follow you directly into dangerous territory; they are there as a favor to you, not to be an adventurer. If a specialist is killed, your reputation as a commander becomes tarnished and you reduce the number of times you can call in a specialist per week by 1 for one month.

Each time you use this ability, choose a particular type of specialist from the following list:

General Specialists

You gain the service of a group of followers who possess one (followers) talent of your choice but do not benefit from your own (followers) talents.

Information Specialist

You gain the services of a spy. This information specialist can perform one of the two following services or another, similar service of your choice that is suitable to their skills.

1st, they can provide you with a detailed map of the local town or city, including hidden passages, sewer passageways (if any), guild hall locations (both legitimate businesses and illicit organizations such as thieves guilds), and other relevant points of interest.

2nd, they can spend 5 days studying a single city block, or one major figure in their town or city; if they study a city block, they provide basic information about all traffic that moves in or out of the area, including what races and in what numbers, any traps or particularly dangerous individuals who frequent the area, and any other major points of interest. If they study a particular individual or citizen, they gain detailed information about the figure including their friends and contacts, any significant abilities possessed by the individual (such as martial prowess or spellcasting), any weapons or possessions of particular note or value, and any addictions, habits, or other social weaknesses the individual possesses.

Small or Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 27 (6d8)
Speed 30 ft.

11 (+0) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 16 (+3)

Skills Deception +5, Insight +4, Investigation +5, Perception +6, Persuasion +5, Sleight of Hand +4, Stealth +4
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages any two languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Cunning Action. On each of its turns, the spy can use a bonus action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
Sneak Attack (1/Turn). The spy deals an extra 7 (2d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the spy that isn’t incapacitated and the spy doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Multiattack. The spy makes two melee attacks.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.
Hand Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Guide Specialist

You gain the services of a guide with a favored terrain of your choice. This scouting specialist will travel with your party and grant them the benefits of their favored terrain as well as forage for you, but as always, will avoid combat.

Alternatively, you may use a guide as if they were an information specialist to give you information about an area of wilderness instead of a settlement. They can either provide you with a detailed map of up to 1 square mile of nearby wilderness territory (including pathways, dungeons, and the lairs of dangerous denizens) or can study a small patch of wilderness as if it were a city block or study an individual wild being.

Small or Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment
Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
Hit Points 16 (3d8+3)
Speed 30 ft.

11 (+0) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 13 (+1) 11 (+0)

Skills Nature +4, Perception +5, Stealth +6, Survival +5
Senses passive Perception 15
Languages any one language (usually Common)
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Natural Explorer. Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, or swamp. So long as this guide is with you, you gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more in that terrain:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
  • Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
  • Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), the guide remains alert to danger.
  • When foraging, the guide finds twice as much food as they normally would.
  • While tracking other creatures, the guide learns their exact number, sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Multiattack. The guide makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage. Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, ranged 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Magic Specialist

You can call a bard, cleric, druid, or wizard to perform one spell of your choice for you. The caster will not follow you into combat to cast the spell, and if the spell has costly material components, you must supply them.

The spell cast can be of 2nd level or lower, but increases by an additional 2 levels at 6th level (4th), then by an additional 1 level at 10th (5th) and 14th level (6th). The caster is always assumed to have a 16 as their spellcasting ability score.

Transport Specialist

Instead of gaining the service of a particular specialist, you instead gain the service of up to 12 riding horses, a caravan of up to 4 wagons each pulled by 2 draft horses with a driver, or a keelboat and crew, (or another vehicle, if appropriate to the setting).

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