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.
In Depth Nature of the Warforged as a Unique Race
Before the death of King Jarot and the start of the Last War, the master crafters of House Cannith turned their creation forges to the task of churning out new constructs for a new age. Constructs designed for labor and industry soon led to experiments with models developed for exploration and defense. When King Jarot saw the possibilities inherent in the work of House Cannith, he began to outline his plan to protect Galifar from the threats he imagined were gathering all around the kingdom. King Jarot was growing more and more nervous about the dangers he believed were posed by the monster hordes of the western reaches, the mysterious elves of Aerenal, the Barbarians of Argonessen, and others from beyond his realm. At the king’s urging, House Cannith began to experiment with constructs designed for war.
Merrix d’Cannith, one of the lords of the house, developed the first version of the warforged. It was a remarkable achievement, but Merrix believed he could create an even better soldier. When King Jarot died and his scions divided the kingdom, each faction had a complement of warforged fighters devoted to its cause. By the second decade of the conflict, Merrix had introduced near-sentience into his created warriors. It was Merrix’s son, Aarren, who made the breakthrough that resulted in the warforged becoming living constructs. The first warforged that were truly alive emerged from the creation forges thirty-three years ago.
House Cannith sold warforged fighters throughout the last thirty years of the war to anyone who could afford them. Breland, Thrane and Cyre boasted the largest armies of warforged on the continent, and most of the various competing factions had at least a token force of warforged fighting for them. By the final years of the war the warforged had become thoroughly associated with the ever-escalating conflict.
As part of the Treaty of Thronehold, the document that ended the Last War, two important decisions regarding the warforged were agreed upon. First, the status of the warforged changed; they were no longer property, they were people. Second, House Cannith was forbidden to produce any new warforged; the creation forges were shut down and destroyed. Some nations, such as Thrane and Karnnath, sidestep the property clause through indentured servitude. Many people regard the warforged with suspicion, anger or fear, but the living constructs have begun to find a level of acceptance they never imagined attaining when the war ended.
Warforged do not reproduce. The vast majority of warforged roaming the continent of Khorvaire are veterans of the Last war. The oldest among them date back to the original production run thirty-three years ago; the newest emerged from the creation forges just over two years ago in the last days of the war. Older warforged tend to be fighters or barbarians. The more recently created warforged, especially those less than five years old, are more inclined to try different class options.
Two sources of new warforged are currently open in secret. Merrix d’Cannith, grandson of the original creator, continues to run an illegal creation forge in the bowels of Sharn. Here, he continues his grandfather’s and father’s experiments. Sometimes he places the new warforged in his employ, sometimes he sells them to special clients, and sometimes he sets them free to see how they choose to survive in the world ( a good source of warforged adventurers). To preserve his secret, Merrix is circumspect and runs the creation forge only sparingly.
The other source hides within the ruins of the Mournlands, where the renegade Lord of Blades controls the remains of the Cannith forge that once operated in Cyre. He hasn’t really mastered the process, and the forge was damaged in the disaster that destroyed the nation, so he can only produce new warforged slowly and in small numbers- and even then, some of the warforged who emerge from his creation forge show signs of defects and mutations.*