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Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, 09:24 PM #1
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
[GUIDE] Blade, Book, and Chain: the Warlock Guide
Blade, Book, and Chain: the Warlock Guide
As originally published by Mephi1234 on the Wizards of the Coast message boards
ďKnowledge itself is never dangerous, it is how that knowledge is used that is dangerousĒ
― Michael Scott, The Warlock
Table of Contents
2. Proficiencies, Backgrounds, Patrons and Pact Forms
3. Spells - Slots and Mystic Arcanum
4. Eldritch Invocations
8. Builds and Combos
This guide will use the following ratings:
Blue choices are excellent. Itís hard to go wrong with one of these buddies.
Green choices are good. Maybe not top-tier, but youíll be good with this choice.
Black choices are just average.
Purplechoices are substandard and situational. It also may represent a good choice at low level, but one to drop at high.
Red choices are traps. Avoid these at all costs.
(( Currently in the process of updating to the following)
Gold is mandatory. It's a rare rating that denotes something that is so good that you must take it, or you can't call yourself optimized.
Sky Bluechoices are excellent. Itís hard to go wrong with one of these buddies.
Blue are very strong options for a wide variety of things.
Black choices are just average. They neither add to, nor subtract, from anything.
Purplechoices are substandard and situational. It also may represent a good choice at low level, but one to drop at high.
Red choices are traps. Avoid these at all costs.
What is a Warlock?To be a warlock is to be a student of an eldritch being, shaped and changed by the very arcane forces you are taught to channel. The problem is those very arcane forces tend to be rather on the dark side. As well, these occult dabblers have a strong tendency to turn away from the gods and to the forces of darkness in their pursuit of power - thereís a very good reason the Pact Forms allude the old phrase "Bell, Book, and Candle," an old method of excommunication in the church. Learning Pact Magic requires much sacrifice and dedication as any paladinís Oath, and the prices always have teeth. Warlocks embody every dark rumor of witches burned at the stake and occultists dabbling in knowledge no one was meant to know.
But as for the meat of what makes a warlock tick, the actual mechanics? Unlike every other caster in the game, this class is not vancian magic. Warlocks do not Spellcast, a specific game mechanic. Instead, they have Pact Magic, which relies on a combination of powerful at will effects, passive pact blessings, a handful of encounter based spells, and the occasional daily powers, as well as your choice of Invocations that can be any of the above. Warlocks are very much a sum of many moving parts, all coming together; all these different parts are all filled with different choices, making the Warlock the most customizable and one of the most flexible classes to date.
- Pact Magic - unlike other casters, the warlock only has a handful of spell slots for all their 1-5th level spells. They grow in power as the warlock levels, so all they're always cast at the same power level. Example: If you know Charm Person and youíre a level 7 character, you will always cast the spell as a 4th level spell; at level 9, you will always cast the spell as a 5th level spell. The slots also all recharge with every short rest.
- At level 11, you start gaining "Mystic Arcanum" - short hand for saying that your level 6+ spells are daily powers. Three Patrons and three Pact Forms - the Patron offers spells and some boons, while the pact form lets you choose if you want to be a gish (blade), a dedicated spellcaster (book), or pet master (chain).
- Invocations are a grab bag of random abilities, spells, and enhancements to the warlock. They're kind of like a collection of warlock specific feats. See below for more details.
A note on Spell Slots and Resting
Spell by spell, a warlock can easily keep up with the damage a wizard does. The difference, however, comes from the fact that warlocks have so few spell slots. While they do refresh easily on short rests, you cannot count on a rest between every encounter; its recommended you get two short rests a day, and around 4 combats. Depending on the adventuring day, you might get more than that, you might get less. There are days where a warlock is not given any chance to get a short rest at all. It all depends on your GM, the current story, your party make up, and how generous short rests are in your current game. It also depends if your GM is using any of the options in the DMG to lengthen or shorten the time it takes to have a short rest.
So, its a good idea to keep an eye on your party composition when building. Fighters (especially Battlemasters), Monks, Bards (notably song of rest and bardic inspiration), and clerics / druids that focus on Channel Divinity / Wildshape powers. All these have benefits that rely on more short rests than few, and a party comprised of them will want more short rests more often than not.
Thus, depending on the GM and party composition, a warlock can very easily swing between the 4th edition AEDU (at-will, encounter, daily, utility) style of play, or the 3e at-will-caster style warlock.
PlayStyles and Class Focus
Something to keep in mind - warlocks are not AoE blasters like the evoker wizard or the sorcerer. Instead, they have a few major defining aspects - eldritch blasts, curses, and mind control. You could be a Pact of the Blade follower that functions much like a dark paladin. A warlock that focuses on eldritch blasts can be compared to a magical version of an archery-focused Fighter. Someone that focuses on the battlefield mobiilty and control, especially the book-locks, are much like an anti-bard, with inflicting debuffs on enemies instead of buffing friends. As well, there is the potential to be a pet-focused class, much like a druid summoner, or a necromancer, but with dominated people instead of summons or undead.
2. Race, Proficiencies, Backgrounds,
RacesThose who come to practice the eldritch arts can be born to anyone - there's someone, in any society, who's drawn to dark magic. That said, some are naturally better than others. And some who are even born to it.
Dwarf - The Hill (PHB) dwarves rarely let themselves be unwise enough to practice the dark arts. Their Mountain kin, however, find that their armor and enhanced strength, when coupled with the natural Constitution boost for Concentration checks and HP, plus medium armor for defense, make halfway decent Fiend Hexblades. The lack of Charisma is even not bad until you reach level 11 and pick up your second Blade Invocation, since there's not a lot dependant on having a high Charisma score with a fiend-blade.
Elf - It should come as no surprise that they fey-born elves make excellent Archfey warlocks. The natural dexterity fits well with the trickster angle of the Patron and its dex-based hexblades, and being resistant to charm is a potent ability in 5e - practically any kind of mind control spells are charms, including Dominate-class magic. Sleep effects are now a powerful mage-killers, so protection on that front is nice as well. Perception is a useful skill, no matter what class. High Elf (PHB) and Eladrin (DMG) can both bring extra magic to the table, in the form of either an extra cantrip, or a short-rest misty step, even as the lack of Charisma hurts. The Wild Elf's (PHB) increased speed, wisdom, and wilderness hiding, while not hurting, doesn't actually help as much. That said, the Drow (PHB) make excellent fey warlocks - Dancing Lights is a good trickster cantrip, faerie fire is a strong spell on its own, and the Devilsight / Darkness combo can bypass the drow's sunlight sensitivity.
Human (PHB) - The default human path is nothing special; they can be good to help round out someone with a lot of odd numbers in their build, but don't really specialize. The human variant, on the other hand? Stat synergy, free skill, and recommended medium armor/shield proficencies for the free feat? One of the best survivable choices out of the gate, and a good overall canidate.
Halfling - Dexterity is good for a tricky warlock that likes being stealthy. Lucky will come up halfway often, given how often you will be making attack rolls. Lightfoot's (PHB) charisma and stealth complement the warlock path, making this a decent choice for a highly mobile character. Unfortunately, the Stout (PHB) with their poison resistance and constitution just don't lend themselves to any particular warlock path like the Lightfoot does, with no synergy to any key warlock concern.
Dragonborn (PHB) - Strength and Charisma boosts, coupled with an elemental resistance and a breath weapon, lend towards a good Fiendish Hexblade, especially if you dip Fighter first for the armors and fighting style.
Gnome - This Intelligence focused race is rather lacking; there's no Charisma boost, while the advantage on mental saves can be rendered redundant with a good familiar (Chain, and Book, with the right ritual and GM permission.) The Rock Gnomes (PHB) simply lack anything that lends to the warlock path; while the Forest Gnomes (PHB) offer a free cantrip, you're likely better off with the High Elf
Half-elf (PHB) - Charisma boost, two other free attribute boosts, elven resistances, two free skills. All the best benefits of being an elf and a bit more. They sadly don't get any extra magic, which is huge with limited spell casters like the warlock, sorcerer, and bard, but the extra skill and attribute over any other race are excellent.
Half-orc (PHB) - What we said about the Mountain Dwarves? Pretty much applies here as well. The strength and constitution to be decent Fiend Hexblade, coupled with a bit of damage and health boosts, though not the AC or poison resistance. Free Intimidate is nothing to sneer at either. If you can keep up with the Temp HP to prevent dying, kind of like with the barbarian, its a good option.
Tiefling (PHB) - This race was born of warlocks, for warlocks, by warlocks. +2 Charisma for magic, +1 Intelligence for any of the class skills with occult knowledge, and fire resistance is nice, as its one of the most common types of elemental damage in the hero business. The real benefit comes from the magic - Thaumaturgy can be leveraged to aid your use of the Bluff or Intimidation skills. Hellish Rebuke and Darkness are both very powerful warlock spells, so getting a free use of each per day, on top of potentially adding them to your spell list and freeing up other options to grab, is huge.
Aasimar (DMG) - Despite their relation to the cursed tieflings, or perhaps because of it, these holy reflections make poor warlocks. The +2 charisma boost is nice, as is the necrotic resistance; however, the light cantrip and daylight spell clash with the natural dark inclination of the class, as well as the aasimar's own darkvision. Having a daily use of lesser restoration can be nice if your own familiar poisons you. Its not the worst option out there, but you can do better.
The Pact: ProficienciesAs a warlock, you start off with access to light armors, simple weapons, and hit dice equal to the rogue. Actually, there are a lot of similarities to the rogue going forwards. Light armor may end up equal in defense to mage armor, saving you an invocation, and warlocks with a Pact Blades may like having an off hand melee weapon for two weapon fighting.
Starting warlocks also have a choice of two from Charisma and Intelligence skill, save Performance. Keep in mind that there is an invocation that grants more skills when picking.
Strength: If youíre going with a fiendish hexblade, you may want this over Dexterity. See Pact of the Blade, below.
Dexterity: If youíre going to be going blade pact, this is your best option. The extra AC and potential stealth to go with the warlockís rogue-like leanings is never bad.
Constitution: HP and Concentration checks are never bad to have for a caster.
Intelligence: Over half of the warlockís skills are Int-based. That said, its possible to have warlocks without an interest in any of the Int-based skills; without them, Int becomes superfluous.
Wisdom: A major save you are proficient in. Its nice to have a decent score here for that reason.
Charisma: This is, hands down, the most important stat for the warlock. Your spell attacks, extra weapon damage, half your skills and one of your main saves. It should be your highest stat.
The Pact: Backgrounds and Skills
Backgrounds are comprised of three parts - two skills, two tools / languages, and a minor role playing benefit and story hooks. For the most part, these role play benefits are things like membership in a temple or thieves guild, (and the natural access to healing or information), or the fame that comes from being a wandering performer. There is no best or worse in this case - just one that fits your concept best. Just like your flaws, ideals, and bonds.
Tools and languages, outside of knowing your patronís language and possibly a disguise kit or set of lockpicks, often arenít important, and can be trained during downtime.
This really leaves skills as the big thing to pick your background on; considering that thereís the option to let you combine tools, skills, and benefit from various backgrounds, I will just covering the important skills.
Arcana, History, Nature, Religion -
Warlocks often pick up information regarding to their patron, or how they first met. In general, Arcana is more likely to bring you information about the various extraplanar creatures than not, and will likely come up as part of dealing with your Patron. History, Nature, and Religion may be possible to supplement your knowledge - the Fey Wilds could have Nature checks, and fiendish cults are common. Depending on story / GM, may be a trap choice.
Deception (plus disguise kit or spell)-
Highly desirable. Warlocks arenít exactly well loved and you may need to pretend or lie often, or disguise yourself. As well, book warlocks can stand to be able to sneak into wizard or cleric libraries somehow and get their hands on rituals. If your GM allows downtime training, learning to use a disguise kit is nice and may save you from needing the disguise self spell with your limited spell slots and Invocations. Given that warlocks may start with Deception, or take Beguiling Influence, it may be best to avoid taking this skill as part of the background.
Intimidate, Persuasion -
Convincing people to let you do something is good, and often very helpful. Thereís a lot of overlap between these two - persuading someone with diplomacy, or with threats. Depending on playstyle, and if the GM allows your fighter and barbarian to use Strength with Intimidate, it may be best to go with just one. If you plan on taking Beguiling Influence, pick your skills and background accordingly.
Detecting lies and figuring out someoneís motives is handy for a social character. That said, the group really only needs one person with the skill, so it may be better to leave this to someone with a high Wisdom score like a cleric or ranger. Or, perhaps, a rogue or bard with expertise.
Much like Arcana, being able to do research on your patrons is nice. Noticing hidden traps, rooms, or objects is good as well. Solving puzzles can be a strong Exploration feat as well.
Noticing whatís going on around you is always good. That said, warlocks often have lower Wisdom.
Sleight of Hand
Thereís really no reason to have this skill or kit, beyond character concept. The class really lacks any support, however, making it tricky to pull off, and potentially dangerous when thereís likely safer ways to get what you want to swipe. Unless you really want it for your concept, avoid any background that forces you to take it.
Stealth (and thieves tools)
Stealth is always a good option. It especially couples well with fey warlocks with their illusions, or pretty much any warlock who takes the Silence ritual spell or the One With Shadows Invocation. It should be noted that book Warlocks are the only ones in the game that can maintain both limited invisibility AND the concentration-based Silence spell, allowing them to be very good at sneaking. Thief tools are handy to have if you run into locks while sneaking; if youíre not sneaking, little reason to not just blow a lock off with magic.
3. Patrons and Pact Forms
The Pact: Patrons
It is said that Evil has three defining Vices - Dominating Tyranny, Seductive Corruption, and Mad Destruction. Each can point to each as a shade of Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, or as a dark counter to the three major Paladin Oaths. In any case, no matter how you look at the three Patrons, each has its own niche that they fill.
The Fiend is the most direct of all the patrons. While abyssal patrons arenít unknown, this path is highly influenced by the Infernal. Fiery magic is potent, but ultimately a common tactic in the Blood War, as devils are immune while demons are not. Suggestion and Command spells allow the warlock to give orders, and be obeyed, though they lack Dominate Person. The Fiend boons revolve around vampiric healing, resistances, and a bit of luck when making a skill or save - more than helpful when trying to maintain a Concentration spell! If you are looking to thrive in a battle, then this path is for you.
The Archfey is, perhaps, the most subtle of the patrons. Where the Fiend can be considered a warrior, the Archfey is the path of the arcane trickster. Charms, fears, illusions, and madness are all hallmarks of this path. It even comes with two of the most powerful spells in the game - Dominate Person and Improved Invisibility. These two spells alone make this a path worth considering, as are Sleep, Faerie Fire, and Blink. The boons all allow you to move around the field and escape danger, often by messing with the minds and perceptions of your foes. If you want to play a magical rogue, this is for you.
Great Old Onesare the most thoughtful of patrons. Literally. The magics and boons this path grants are primarily psionic abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and telekinesis. Unlike the heavily resilient Fiend or stealthy Archfey, this path doesnít lend itself to being a strong hexblade; too many of its abilities suggest back row casting. Its level 1 ability, telepathy, is more fluff (though fun fluff) than actually useful in a lot of cases. Even its level 14 ability is to create a pet from a defeated humanoid, suggesting more of a defense for a back row caster than encouraging front row battles. Entropic Ward is a handy defense, but once a short rest is too infrequent for a front row character. That said, its utility spells and battlefield shaping control are outstanding. Take this path if youíre looking for more out of combat abilities.
The Pact: Pact Forms
Upon reaching level 3, warlocks get a one-time choice from three boons - book, blade, and chain, also called the witch, hexblade, and binder. You can choose to improve your pact form in future levels through Invocations. See below for more detail.
Pact of the Blade stands out from the other two; by selecting Blade, the warlock is taking the option to dedicate himself to being a magical warrior. The major benefit of going hexblade is to use damage-boosting feats with weapons, and to use magic items with your warlock spells / features. Like most fighters, you have the option of going Strength based, or Dexterity based. Archfey and Great Old Ones want to go with Dexterity for their hexblades; running hex and two weapon fighting is best at this point. The Archfey runs a lot like a rogue, playing the hidden skirmisher. Then, there is the Great Old One hexblades, who want to work as a controller, so they should reach for the Sentinel feat and tactics. Lock down your opponents.
The Fiend Patron, meanwhile, is ideal for Strength-based hexblade. But it does it in a rather unique way. Unlike normal melee warriors, who like to avoid being hitÖ the fiendish hexblade wants to be hit. You are playing a masochist. Using Blade Ward, Armor of Agathys, Flame Shield, Hellish Rebuke, and your Patron Boons, every time you get hit, you deal your attacker damage. You take less damage per hit, and you buffer yourself via Temporary Hit Points. Taking a glaive and the mastery feat may work wonders for your DPR with Lifedrinker and Hex running, as well as using Eldritch Blast with War Caster.
Pact of the Book is a pretty outstanding path. Right off, you get three cantrips, from any list. That means some of the most powerful at wills in the game are yours - Vicious Mockery and Guidance, to name two. Later, you can take an Invocation that lets you learn any ritual spell in the game. Lots of magic, though the vast majority of it will be utility spells and divinations. You can even get a wizardly familiar, as the Find Familiar spell is a ritual! A lot of magic involved here, even for the blast heavy Fiend and domineering Old One.
The Archfey, with their multitude of evasive capabilities, illusions, and emotional swaying make the best witches of the paths, lending themselves to the directing the battlefield as a controller and enabler. The trickster path is also the most cantrip-hungry, wanting access to the same things as everyone else, plus all the minor illusions, dancing lights, and charms they can get their hands on. This is also a path that enjoys inflicting various curses and misleads to shape the battlefield. The 14th level ability demonstrates this Controller tendacy perfectly - lock down a creature so your allies can
Unlike other Pact Forms, however, there is no patron that really struggles at being a Book warlock. Everyone loves more spells. The rituals and cantrips allow the Book to dabble in the other paths as well, getting familiars and melee options. The sheer amount of versatility make this path the strongest of the three Pact Forms.
Pact of the Chainplays a lot like the book path. The difference lies in utility again - the enhanced familiar that the binder gets is awesome for for scouting, like a small invisible magic eye to scout out anywhere. They come with spells and abilities that you normally wouldnít have. While their attack action isnít very good in terms of damage, it is good when you realize that some of them include things like poison on the attack, so the ďattackĒ is more of a utility spell than damage. As well, they still can use the Help action to give you a hand in combat for advantage. The shared senses give you a strong perception check. Three of the four familiars even share their Magic Resistance with you (as per Monster Manual familiar rules). That, and at level 15 you can cast Hold Monster at will on celestials, fiends, and elementals. Which, while a niche situation, can be really good when it does come up. If you reach this level, the Chain becomes ideal for summoners, or dealing with threats on the Elemental or Outer Planes.
The Great Old One patrons seem to enjoy granting the most benefits to this form. Telepathy to speak with anyone whom you summon, charm, or anyway encounter is a very handy skill to possess, coupled with growing your own pet at the height of the game makes for very interesting play. This patron is the most likely to pick up Conjure and Undead spells, just to increase the number of pets they control with their various magics. Chain Old Ones have a very high chance of ignoring the Eldritch Blast entirely, relying on others to do their work.
As a direct opposite of the Pact of the Blade, Fiends have the most trouble being Chain masters. They simply lack access to the spells and abilities needed to support and maintain conjured, raised, or dominated pets at mid levels.
The problem with the familiars is that the Book pact, or even regular wizards, could arguably get the same familiars as the Chain pact, making this path less than unique. That said, only the Chain pact warlock can make even these familiars use an Attack. So, even if a wizard, a book warlock, and a chain warlock all have an imp familiar, only the Chain could order his to attack or allow it to have an opportunity attack. How much you want to give up your own action to allow a familiar to is up to debate.
Quasit - Inflict Fear and Poisoned status on combatants. Both strong, but almost requires the Quasit to be on its own. Invisiblity and shapechaning make for a good scout. Hands down the best at combat of the four options.
Imp - Better at being disguised, because simply being shapechanged doesn't automatically mean you succeed at stealth. Can Help you far more often in social situations, plus can operate better alongside you if you're running the Darkness + Devil Sight combo. The imp isn't as combat-powerful as the quasit, but it is far more adapt at out of combat situations.
Psuedodragon - Advantage on your Perception checks? Yes please! The large telepathic range is very nice, especially if you can speak through it. That's pretty powerful communication. Inflict poison condition with potential of sleep? Sadly, the dragon is the only one here without Invisibility.
Sprite - The sprite is the only familiar to not not share magic resistance, as it has none. Invisibility, ranged poison attack, and Heart Sight. Heart Sight is, perhaps, the ultimate Insight check, making it very hard to lie to a sprite that uses it.
4. Spells - Slots and Mystic ArcanumCantrips:
Blade Ward - Not bad if youíve the time to set up a one turn buff. Certainly doesnít hurt.
Chill Touch - Normally a good spell, its outshined by Eldritch Blast in all cases save one where the enemy heals or regenerates a lot.
Eldritch Blast - Signature warlock spell - has some nice Invocations that really boost its power. Highly recommended for everyone; even the blade lock wants this eventually for ranged attacks.
Friends- Poor manís charm person; still, if youíre in a dungeon using it on an enemy, who cares about the drawback when you just saved a spell slot?
Mage Hand - Telekinesis lite.
Minor Illusion - What it says on the tin. Goes well with dancing lights or silent image for distractions when sneaking.
Poison Spray - A con-save spell for those casters who get caught in melee range.
Prestidigitation - Minor magical tricks. Fun, but ultimately nothing helpful.
True Strike - The fact that its a one turn Concentration spell and only affects one attack really hurts.
First level spells:
Armor of Agathys - Scaling thp and damage if a creature hits you. Even better for fiend warlocks. Whatís there not to love?
Arms of Hadar - A good spell if you get surrounded by melee and you want to get out without wasting a turn, or shut down enemy reactions. Careful, though, because it doesnít differentiate between friend and foe. Despite being a general spell, archfey and fiend have other options that work with their boons better, making this more appropriate for Great Old One Patrons.
Charm Person - With Friends in play, its best when used in long term social situations where you donít want people to know you messed with their mind. Or you need to charm lots of critters at once.
Comprehend Language - What it says on the tin. Probably best to save for book pacts to use as ritual.
Expeditious Retreat - Run faster and stay out of melee range is never bad when youíre a ranged character. The Concentration, however, still hurts.
Hellish Rebuke - Nice little reaction spell, though debatable if its any good given the limited spell slots at low level; free with tiefling.
Hex- Concentration. Deal extra damage when hit with an attack; target has disadvantage on an ability check. Highly recommended for everyone.
Illusory Script - Another ritual spell dealing with hiding language. Best saved for book pacts.
Protection from Evil and Good - Unless youíre facing lots of these, its not worth the Concentration slot.
Unseen Servant - A third ritual spell for a menial task magic slave
Witch Bolt - Sith lightning, D&D style. Sadly, its not worth either your Concentration slot, nor one of your spell slots. You are better off just Hexing with Eldrtich Blast.
Archfey spells: Faerie fire - Lots of good uses here. Advantage, find invisible people, etc.
Sleep - Great at low levels, though it loses punch at high levels.
Fiend spells: Burning Hands - Nice low level spell quickly outshone.
Command - A great battlefield control spell that scales well.
Great Old One spells:Dissonant Whispers - Making a creature lose its reaction and run away as a ranged spell is fun, but not a big deal - Arms of Hadar is better.
Tashaís Hideous Laughter - Weaker version of hold person
Second level spells:
Cloud of Daggers - Mini blade barrier spell, but unlike its larger cousin, the fact this spell only takes up a 5í square makes it easy to avoid.
Crown of Madness - Poor manís dominate person. Has no effect if thereís no one by the target on his turn, and you have to waste your own turn to maintain. Skip.
Darkness - Look at Devilís Sight Invocation and wonder. Free with drow and tiefling.
Enthrall - Basically, you set yourself up as a distraction so other can sneak better. Put up a disguise, use the Help action on your allies, and cast the spell to distract the enemies. You bluff your way, your party gets advantage to sneak, enemies get disadvantage. Niche, and it doesnít scale, but it can be effective if this is the kind of thing you want to play.
Hold Person- Hold-class spells are really good, allowing you to freeze critters, then have your teammates slaughter. The ability to hold four people at fifth level keeps this spell competitive with the later Hold Monster.
Invisibility- The ultimate in sneaking spells, even if it is low level.
Mirror Image - One of the best non-Concentration buffs in the game, with multiple images that confuse attackers.
Misty Step - Bonus action teleport to get out of danger, or melee range if youíre a caster. The lack of scaling and limited spell slots makes this an emergency tactic only.
Ray of Enfeeblement - Strength based attackers tend to have good Constitution saves. There are better spells that scale to use your magic with.
Shatter - Scaling thunder damage; take it for the potential to destroy physical objects, not the damage.
Spider Climb - While one can argue its use at levels 3-4, it quickly becomes obsolete by the at-will Levitate or the Fly spell.
Suggestion- Only single target, concentration, and doesnít scale well. Useful in social situations or to recruit a second chain-lock pet, but there are far better spells to employ for combat or exploration.
Archfey spells:Calm Emotions - Can be handy if you need to remove fear or charms on your companions.
Phantasmal Force - A handy trickery spell, but again a niche situation, and isnít better than just using invisibility and stealth. You donít take it for the damage.
Fiend spells: Blindness/Deafness - Con save is a rather popular one with monsters, but if you can hit a wide group of creatures that donít have a strong Con save, this is a very good way to shut down a battle.
Scorching Ray - Ends up dealing as much damage as an equivalent level fireball on its own, and its spread around targets instead of equally. On the other hand, each ray stacks with Hex - a potential of 15d6 at level 9 is not too bad, making it strictly better than eldritch blast for a long time, which is all you can really ask for.
Great Old One spells:Detect Thoughts - Reading minds can be useful in some situations, but its highly story dependant.
Phantasmal Force - A handy trickery spell, but again a niche situation. You donít take it for the damage.
Third level spells:
Counterspell - Your limited spell slots make this more of a trap choice than a strong one. Where wizards or sorcerers can use low level slots to stop magic by making the check, you have more important things to cast with your limited slots.
Dispel Magic - Always a good spell. And the spellcasting check means that you can bring down high level magic as well. Plus, since its an ability check, Guidance can add to the roll as well!
Fear- Alright control spell, most notable for being an AoE. Warlocks can always use more AoEs.
Fly - One of the greatest utility spells in the game, hands down.
Gaseous Form - Traveling as a slow moving semi-solid misty cloud can have advantages, but considering that the cloud can still be hurt and may very well be obvious magical in most places, its use is very questionable. With a generous GM, its a niche effect. With a more devilish?
Hunger of Hadar - If you use control effects, like Repelling Blast, to keep enemies in the area, it can be devastating. Devilís Sight lets you see into the darkness to target enemies, while they have to suffer in darkness.
Hypnotic Pattern - A curious variation on the Sleep spell, but using a Wisdom save.
Magic Circle - How often are you dealing with extraplanar creatures where youíd have the time and need to set up a magic circle?
Major Image - One spell level shy of making persistent illusions. Its of questionable use, considering that one can often use at-will effects to do most everything, without Concentration.
Remove Curse - How often do you need to remove curses? Modify Memory is the only curse that canít just be Dispelled, and that is a very rare spell to encounter.
Tongues- The times you need to speak (instead of just comprehending a language) something other than Common is vanishingly small in many games, but it occasionally happens.
Vampiric Touch - Drains someoneís life over time. Good especially for hexblades in need of a recharge.
Archfey spells:Blink- 50% chance of being nigh untouchable in the Etherreal during your turns is a potent defense.
Plant Growth - You can create a doubly difficult terrain somewhere with plants to move through, or give a good harvest. If youíre not in the wild, pretty useless.
Fiend spells:Fireball - classic big blast of flame
Stinking Cloud - A nice AoE control spell.
Great Old One spells: Clairvoyance - There are better spying options than wasting one of your few spells known on this.
Sending- Long range distant communication can be handy, but not all games would benefit from it.
Fourth level spells:
Banishment - All the fun of Hold Monster, but better! At level 9, you can affect two creatures at once, and its a Charisma save instead of Wisdom.
Blight - Deals respectable damage to a single target, though Fiend warlocks likely have better fire-based AoEs at this point.
Dimension Door-Teleport yourself and another past obstacles. Works well when combined with a familiar scouting for you.
Hallucinatory Terrain - How often are you going to need to make an area look like something else? Very specific plot point.
Archfey spells:Dominate Beast - Unless you plan on running into a T-Rex, Giant Ape, Giant Croc, or a Mammoth, not much point to this spell at this level.
Greater Invisibility - Invisibility that doesnít drop when attacking. Whatís not to love?
Fiend spells:Fire Shield - Fun little damage-if-you-hit-me bit that stacks with Armor of Agathys. Good if youíre a hexblade in melee all the time.
Wall of Fire - Battlefield control spell and minion killer.
Great Old One spells:Dominate Beast - Unless you plan on running into a T-Rex, a Giant Ape, a Giant Croc, or a Mammoth, not much point to this spell at this level.
Evardís Black Tentacles - If you can get a good spot, its deadly. If you canít, creatures may just bypass it.
Fifth level spells:
Contact Other Plane - Ritual spell; best used with the book or someone with the ritual feat. If you really want this kind of spell, take the feat or the Invocation and get all the related spells.
Dream - fun little spell, but limited use outside of specific situations
Hold Monster - Hold-class spells are really good, allowing you to freeze critters, then have your teammates slaughter. Sadly, you won't be able to freeze multiple monsters at once by using a higher level, but its still a strong spell.
Scrying - A great utility spell. Good for lots of reasons, though not to every characterís tastes.
Archfey spells:Dominate Person - Dominates are always good spells
Seeming- Mass disguise self spell. Need to sneak in somewhere as a party? Got you covered. The problem being that anyone with a poor Deception check could be discovered, and out your entire party.
Fiend spells:Flame Strike - Fireball deals 2d6 more damage, has a longer range, and a wider radius. Unless you have specific reasons to deal radiant damage and avoid fire damage, its a worse spell.
Hallow - Create your own (un)holy ground. Fun, and great for flavor, but limited use when youíre out adventuring.
Great Old One spells:Dominate Person - Dominates are always good spells
Telekinesis - Effectively replace virtually any strength check with your mind. So much potential both in and out of combat.
From Warlock 11 on, you will get to pick a few more level 5- spells, as well as choosing Mystic Arcanum for your level 6-9. Unlike Pact Magic above, you cannot cast Mystic Arcanum at higher levels, or use it as a swapped spell slots, or the like. You canít swap out the Mystic Arcanum for another spell as you level. The wording, however, does seem to imply you can pick a lower level spell and cast it always at that level. So, you could take Conjure Fey as your 8th level Mystic Arcanum and summon up to a CR 8 critter.
Sixth level spells:
Arcane Gate- Another limited range teleport spell, this time for groups.
Circle of Death - A negative energy fireball. Deals less damage, but an insanely wide radius makes this worth considering for large battlefield.
Conjure Fey - Right now, the strongest fey you can get is CR 3, the green hag. However, there are a number of Beasts that you can summon at CR 6. Handy if part of a chain-lock pet collection and you stay in Eldritch Blast sniper range so you don't lose Concentration.
Create Undead - Sadly, ghouls and ghasts on their own just aren't very powerful. Handy if part of a chain-lock pet collection.
Eyebite- Multiple ďSave or SuckĒ effects, one critter per turn.
Flesh to Stone - Glorified Con-save based Hold Monster spell. There are better options for controls that use non-Wisdom saves.
Mass Suggestion - Multiple targets, all day duration, no Concentration. Simply awesome.
True Seeing - Gain truesight.
Seventh level spells:
Etherealness - Awesome exploration spell that lets you bypass pretty much any non-ghostly danger, and sneak into most anywhere. Not exactly good for being in combat or social stuff.
Finger of Death - Strong damage and a chance to get a permanent zombie. Whatís not to love?
Forcecage - Protect your party from all danger for an hour, or put a group of critters in time out for an hour. Even trying to teleport out has issues. Best part? No save, no concentration.
Plane Shift - Teleport to a different plane of existence. The power in this spell is actually the last paragraph: touch a creature, who must make a Charisma saving through. Save or be banished to a plane of your choice (ie Save or Die). The transportation aspect is just icing on the cake.
Eighth level spells:
Demiplane - A better Rope Trick mixed with Secret Chest. You can do better for level 8 spell, since the logistics just make it not worthwhile. Even if you want to use it as a poor man's Imprisonment spell, you still need to effectively subdue your prisoner first, and plot has a way of making a different solution to the problem if you don't have the spell either.
Dominate Monster - Its always good to have control.
Feeblemind - Enemy spellcaster giving you problems? No more!
Glibness- Being very good at Charisma skill checks sounds good, but with the amount of ways to have advantage out there so you generally roll high, its questionable if a level 8 spell is worth it. Avoiding Detect Truth spells are also nice, but kind of a niche situation.
Power Word Stun - Assuming youíve a GM whoíll give you a good idea when the monster is within HP range, this spell is like a Save-free, Concentration-free Hold Monster. If the GM isnít sharing, its good to avoid.
Ninth level spells:
Astral Projection - taking your entire party to the astral can have some uses, but it feels a waste to have what amounts to a plot hook as your magical capstone.
Foresight - day long advantage and defense? Yes, please. Works great for everyone, especially hexblades.
Imprisonment - the sheer amount of detail involved makes this spell more of a plot point that never needed to be a spell. Could just as easily been a ritual and been awesome.
Power Word Kill - With a GM who gives you a good idea when you can use this spell, its a 100 hp attack that canít miss. If the GM isnít sharing, well...
True Polymorph - Lots of potential uses and abuses. Can effectively kill off a monster, or buff up a character with its use. Or create a massive army of your own one day at a time.
5. Eldritch Invocations
Invocations that modify Eldritch Blast
Eldritch blast is, perhaps, the most iconic spell of the warlock. Virtually everyone learns it - even a good number of hexblades.
Agonizing Blast:Add CHA to damage dealt for each hit. Everyone with Eldritch Blast should take this asap.
Eldritch Spear:With this, youíll be able to shoot as far as a longbow. With Spell Sniper, you can shoot double the range of anyone else. Sadly, this does not mean much - most combats include the threat of melee characters. So, if you can arrange for the range, its awesome. Otherwise, not so much.
Repelling Blast:Knocks back target 10 feet. Can be great control effect at high levels for everyone. At low? It works awesome when combined the Great Old One difficult terrain spells like Hunger of Hadar and Evardís Black Tentacles. Keep the monsters in the spell effect territory, being eaten alive. If you're playing a sniper, its good to keep enemies away so you can kite them.
Book of Ancient Secrets [Req Pact of the Tome]:Adding rituals from every list is awesome. Current ritual spells include: Alarm, Animal Messenger, Augury, Beast Sense, Commune, Commune with Nature, Comprehend Languages, Contact other Plane, Detect Magic, Detect Poison and Disease, Divination, Drawmijís Instant Summons, Feign Death, Find Familiar, Forbiddance, Gentle Repose, Identify, Illusory Script, Leomundís Tiny Hut, Locate Plants or Animals, Magic Mouth, Meld into Stone, Phantom Steed, Purify Food and Drink, Raryís Telepathic Bond, Silence, Speak With Animals, Tenserís Floating Disk, Unseen Servant, and Water Walk.
Note that, among the rituals above, is Leomund's Tiny Hut, a perfect little hideaway for when you need safety for a short rest to replenish your spell slots. If your party has a battlemaster or monk, they'll love you too for it.
Silence is also notable, as it works well with the One With Shadows Invocation.
A third popular ritual is Find Familiar - while you won't be as good as the Chain Warlock right off, having familiars is still very nice. Depending on the GM, you might even be able to get an imp, pseudodragon, sprite, or quasit, depending on how your GM reads the variant rules in the Monster Manual.
Voice of the Chain Master [Pact of the Chain]:Seeing and speaking through your familiar isnít a big deal, considering that youíll probably be in telepathic communication anyways. The actual use for this, however, is able to remote control any summons or mind controlled peon from sniper distance. Simply have your familiar lead the charge, while you're out of the firing range. Truthfully, this remote control option over summons and thralls is the ONLY reason I've really found for focusing on Pact of the Chain in the first place.
Chains of Carceri [Req lvl15, Pact of the Chain]:While highly restrictive, chances are that a warlock is going to be dealing with celestials, fiends, and elementals as a large part of their personal storyline, if not a major baddie, making at will Hold Monster very good in those cases. If youíve taken lots of Conjure spells, its also very good if you lose control of your summons, making a high level Binder a good summoner. This is the warlock equivalent of the level 14 Conjurer Wizard and Land Druid abilities to mitigate being harmed by their own summons.
Thirsting Blade [Req lvl5, Pact of the Blade]:Pretty much necessary for all hexblades.
Lifedrinker [Req lvl12, Pact of the Blade]:Same as above - pretty much necessary.
At Will Spells
Armor of Shadows:Mage armor that compares with light armor. Depending on which gets the better magic items, one or the other may end up better.
Beast Speech:Speak with animals is a pretty niche effect. Especially when it also comes in ritual form.
Eldritch Sight:Detect magic is important for most arcanists. You can get wands and rituals that will cast this at will, though, so chances are youíll never need it as an Invocation.
Fiendish Vigor:An effective 8 thp every fight. Very good at low levels, a bit less useful at higher. Since its at will, you can really just keep casting it until you get that extra 8.
Mask of Many Faces:Disguise self can be used for infiltration, spying, exploring, and all around tricking enemies. Classic illusionist trick, especially useful for those races prejudiced against in goodly towns. Upgrade to Master of Myriad Forms at level 15.
Misty Visions:Silent image is another classic illusionist trick to fool a large number of people at once.
Ascendant Step (Req lvl9):Levitate can lift you out of melee threat range, or lift up a threat with a successful Con save. Control and dodging all in one spell. Classic ability for drow.
Otherworldly Leap [Req lvl9]: Who needs to Jump when, at the same level, you can use Ascendant Step instead? Sure, Jump isnít Concentration, but situations where you need it are also less common. That said, there is a neat little trick - you can cast it on your entire party, since its at-will and no Concentration.
Whispers of the Grave [req lvl9]:Speak with dead is an investigation / exploration tool. Kill a monster, interrogate it after the fact.
Master of Myriad Forms [Req lvl15]:Alter self at will sounds good, but growing gills or claws isnít that important for a level 15 warlock. The only real reason to take this is if youíve been running Mask of Many Faces, and so you can swap that Invocation out for this one.
Vision of Distant Realms [req lvl15]:Arcane eye, all the time? You will get to see the layout of any dungeon or place in a matter of moments. You can repeat as necessary without wasting slots. Its the ultimate in clairvoyance magic.
Thief of Five Fates: Even at low levels, there are better uses for your spell slots and Concentration than Bane, let alone one of your two Invocation slots. Its better if you have a set up with other party members.
Sign of Ill Omen [req lvl5]:Bestow curse once a day is good against a major boss at low levels, but against an average battle? Not so much.
Mire the Mind [Req lvl5]:Slow does lower defenses and abilities of up to six targets; the best of which involves restricting the creature to one attack. No multiattack, no Two Weapon Fighting, no using bonus actions for anything else.
Bewitching Whispers[Req lvl7]:Compulsion is a fine movement control spell. Not as much fun when the enemies have ranged weapons. Which, given Fly, most enemies should have at this point.
Dreadful Word [Req lvl7]:Confusion is a random spell. Chances are, you can get any affected critter to waste its turn. On the down side, they could get a regular action to break your Concentration.
Sculptor of Flesh[Req lvl7]:Polymorph is a tricky spell, but one that has traditionally had good results.
Minions of Chaos [Req lvl9]:Conjure Elemental can get you a Xorn. Lots of attacks, resistance to non-magical weapons, AC 19, lots of HP. If you know Terran or have GOO telepathy, the Xorn makes an excellent scout. See the Conjurer Guide for more details. Better if part of a Chainlock pet group.
Beguiling Influence:Proficiency in Deception and Persuasion. Great for those who like more skills.
Devilís Sight:See in normal/magical darkness out to 120 feet. Considered to be awesome combination with the Darkness spell.
Eyes of the Rune Keeper:The ability to read all writing isnít a big deal when there are rituals that do the same. There may be some times that you need to read a rare script without the time to cast Comprehend Language, but not in any game that I've seen or heard of. Especially not when writing tends to be Plot, which usually means there's a different solution than taking this invocation.
Gaze of Two Minds: Following inside the mind of a willing creature, even if you Charmed them, is good for scouting. However, restrictions mean its a poor manís Scry spell that needs a lot of set up.
One with Shadows [Req lvl5]: Surprisingly better than youíd think. Mostly because this is the only Invisibility spell available thatís not Concentration based. When combined with Silence and Disguise Self, warlocks can make a surprisingly good sneaks without ever needing the skills.
Witch Sight [req lvl15]: Not quite true sight, but close enough to make it worthwhile.
6. FeatsThere are any number of feats available for taking. That said, not every feat is for every class. Here, weíre hoping to go over every one that would be attractive to the class, or any traps one may fall into.
General Feats for any warlock
Alert - A generally useful feat that pretty much anyone wouldnít mind. No surprises and an initiative boost.
Actor - The only +1 Charisma feat, its not a bad option if you start off with an odd number in your Charisma score. Warlocks can get a lot of milage out of Deception mixed with disguises, and this makes you better.
Defensive Duelist - All warlocks can hold a knife and use it for a bit of AC once a turn.
Inspiring Leader - THP is always handy to have; that said, you have Armor of Agaryths for extra health, so this would be more for everyone else.
Lucky - Happily taken by anyone anywhere.
Moderately Armored - If you're starting off as human, getting medium armor and shield proficencies can really boost up your AC for early game survivability with your free feat; still arguable use for other races. Though, as the game goes on, AC matters less, and more magic defenses show up. Just watch out if you use a shield - spells that require somantic and material components need a hand for both your focus and a hand for your gestures.
Resilient - Getting Con affinity saves is always a good thing, especially for maintaining Concentration on your spells. Boosting Concentration is key concern with casters.
Skulker - While the warlock does have a strong sneaking streak, they are better off with their spells, as they donít use ranged weapon attacks, and Devilís Sight can see in pitch darkness.
War Caster - This is probably your number one priority for hexblades, even before raising attributes, and a strong suggestion for everyone else. Eldritch Blast on opportunity attacks, advantage on Concentration checks. For hexblades, it means being able using a shield, a two handed weapon, or two weapons at once and still casting spells.
Feats for the weapon-using Blades
Dual Wielder - Warlocks donít naturally lend themselves to two weapon fighting, but if you already are, then feel free to give yourself a small boost with this.
Great Weapon Mastery - If youíre running a Fiend Polearm, chances are you want to kill off the enemy yourself for the THP. This gives you a bit more power to do just that.
Polearm Mastery - When mixed with War Caster, thereís a lot of power there.
Martial Adapt - One die isnít enough to do much.
Savage Attacker - Good if you have a strong single attack like rogues or paladins. You donít.
Sentinel- Sometimes, like when an Hunger of Hadar is up, you want to be really sticky and not let anyone past you.
Feats for the spell focused Chains and Books
Spell Sniper - Like War Caster, most casters will need it sooner or later to avoid that +2 AC for firing into melee. Eldritch Blast is your bread and butter, and you canít afford to be taking penalties because your targets are in melee. Either pick up Shocking Grasp for a close range attack, or, if you don't want another attack cantrip, you can ask your GM if you can switch Eldritch Blast for a different cantrip like Blade Ward, then relearn E.B. with the Feat.
Elemental Adapt - Even for the fire-happy Fiend, you are better off just relying on Eldritch Blast or another spell
Magic Initiate - If you really want more cantrips or extra level 1 spells like healing abilities.
In terms of mundane equipment, there's not a lot going on. Just as paladins can be compared to Fighters with divine powers, so are warlocks compared to rogues with unholy powers. A pure warlock, without dipping into another class for armor or weapon proficencies, is going to be looking at all the same equipment as the rogue, with a bit of wizard on the side.
Dagger - Unless you get a magical one, there's no reason to use this.
Rapier - This is, perhaps, the best weapon to use with a standard hexblade
Light Armor - Its always going to be a toss up if light armor or Armor of Shadows is going to be better off. Early game, AoS gives higher AC. Late game, once magic items come into play, they're the same. AoS also allows you to wear magic robes. But light armor frees up an invocation slot and is less magic-item dependant.
Arcane Focus - The stereotypical warlock focus is a rod. That said, its important to note that for a good number of warlock spells, you actually don't need one. Hellish Rebuke, Misty Step, Eldritch Blast to name some spells that are only running Vocal and Somantic components. And there's a lot of buffing spells where you can cast long before combat, such as Fireshield. So, its possible to run without one, if you don't mind restricting your spells to a handful, and missing out on a Rod of the Pact Keeper.
Whip - Reach is a very nice thing. And, given Hex and Lifedrinker, you're not too maried to your weapon for damage dealt.
Now, with multiclassing and human variant, you can end up with more armors to play with. Also enables you to play with the heavy weapons - your AC is just too low without Dex or bigger armor.
Glaive - For a hexblade, you want multipe hits, and Polearm mastery gives you that. However, nine times out of ten, your bonus action is going to be taken up by Hex - you do more damage with that up and a greatsword than the polearm. Add to the fact you need two feats to really make this work, its pretty much better to go with a greatsword (or axe).
Greatsword (or -axe)- Does lots of damage, even before (or if) you get Great Weapon Mastery. Given that you're feat starved already with War Caster, still able to use Hex with your bonus action, things are pretty good this way. You still run into the issue of no rod for a lot of spells, which can be an issue. Playable and strong, but it impedes your overall effectiveness.
Medium / Heavy Armor - Compared to light armor or AoS + Bracers, its better, simply because you need less Dex to stay competative. The downside? Less stealth and agility, which many warlocks favor.
Shield - See above discussion on Arcane Focus. You need both material components or somatic components for a lot of spells, and it takes actions to draw or stow your focus. So, you can pull using this off once you get War Caster. Its a good early game AC booster, where you also have few spell slots to use in combat. Later on, you can hang on to it if you pick up War Caster as well. Ironically enough, its not be the best option for hexblades, however - weapon plus shield equals no free hands for a rod to cast spells with.
Yes, magic items are the dominion of the DM. However, not all magic items are made equally for the warlock. Actually there's the Rod of the Pact Keeper, which is very literally made for warlocks- not picking one up is like having a paladin not uncover a holy sword.
Bracers of Defense (Rare)- if you've got the mage armor going on, this is the natural upgrade. And it comes out about the time light armor gets their first +1, so you have +2 AC bonus over wearing light armor at this point! And it lets you wear robes! Ironically in the late game, if there are no robes desired / available and you find some +3 light armor? Or your warlock is using Medium Armor and Shield? You're better off switching to the armor, and freeing up your mage-armor Invocation for something else.
Ring of Spell Storing (Rare)- At least one free spell a day. If you can convince your party to take two hour rests instead of just one, then we're talking about a free extra spell slot every rest!
Rod of the Pact Keeper (Uncommon to Very Rare)- +X to your eldrtich blast accuracy, +X to your Save DC checks (considering many warlock spells are Save or Die, a huge boon), and a free recharge of a spell slot, once a day. Very nice. Even if you're a Heavy Weapon blade, there's very little reason to not be excited to find one; you can always use an extra spell slot a day, then put the rod down.
Wand of Magic Detection (Uncommon)- Its nice to have Detect Magic for free. No wasted spells known, no wasted invocations. Just... Detect Magic, at will.
Wand of the War Mage (Uncommon to Very Rare)- A sister wand to the Rod of the Pact Keeper, this particular item grants +X accuracy with magic attacks, and ignores half cover, making it much more suitable than the Rod to fire into melee, and bypasses the entire reason to pick up Spell Sniper. That said, unlike the Rod, it doesn't increase spell save DC, nor give you a spell slot. If you're using your spell slots purely out of combat, and relying solely on Eldritch Blast, this is probably better than the Rod. However, given that you'd be passing up on some potent spells to do just that, its actually a loss for your character - not all fights can be solved with Eldritch Blasts
8. FAQWhen I Multiclassing with the Warlock, can I take Invocations based on my character level or my class level?
Acording to Jeremy Crawford, developer, Invocations are meant to be based on Warlock level, not your total character level. See link for twitter responce. So, that means that you can't take 3 levels of warlock to get access to Thirsting Blade, for instance.
What about Eldritch Blast? Doesn't that scale with your character level? Doesn't it still work if I multiclass?
Yes, all cantrips, including Eldritch Blast, grow with your character level. So, yes, this means you can dip 2 levels into Warlock, get Eldritch Blast, Hex, Agonizing Blast, and Repelling Blast, then go on to level up as a sorcerer or bard and use the most powerful class feature of the warlock class. This also lets you use the Pact Rod for those classes, giving you +X bonus to your spell DCs. Really, the warlock has some of the best stuff in the game.
Can I use Metamagics with Eldritch Blast? Can I convert warlock spell slots into Sorcery Points?
Yes, you can use Metamagic with warlock spells, including Hex and Eldrtich Blast. Note that Eldritch Blast, past level 4, has two targets, and thus is not a valid target for the Twin Spell metamagic option. As for turning Pact Magic spell slots into Sorcery Points? The debate comes down to the question "is Pact Magic different enough from Spellcasting that their spell slots are incompatable?" At the moment, thereís no official answers. So each Game Master is going to need to come up with the answer for themselves.
Why does the Warlock spell list go up to 9, but the spell slots go up to 5?
After level 10, warlocks learn whatís known as Mystic Arcanum. Every other level, you learn one level 6 spell, one level 7 spell, etc that you can cast once a day.
Does Agonizing Blast work on only the first hit, or every hit of Eldritch Blast? What about Repelling Blast?
Both Invocations work with every separate beam of Eldritch Blast. So, if you hit a single creature with three beams, then he takes 3d10 + 3*Charisma Mod damage, and gets pushed 30 feet.
Can I use a greatsword or glaive with two hands, then just hold it in one hand when casting a warlock spell with somatic or material components?
Maybe. It all comes down to how your DM interprets the rules. Mike, developer, has gone on record saying that the reasons the quarterstaff has the versatile property is specifically because its meant to be a two handed weapon, but can be held in one hand for when a caster wants to cast a spell with somatic components. This implies that you can't just hold a two-handed weapon in one hand to cast a spell. Getting Warcaster can alieviate some of those issues when it comes to somatic spells, but not material.
With material component spells (like Hex, Darkness, and several others), there's the whole "only one interaction with objects per turn" rule. So, letting go of the weapon, grabbing a material component, storing the component, then grabbing the weapon again is probably a few too many object interactions by the rules. It does seems to be the intent of the game that you shouldn't be able to pull off manipulating material components or arcane foci while trying to use a two-handed weapon. Its more than possible to work with just vocal and somatic spells, though.
9. Builds and Combos
Darkness and Devilís Sight
Darkness lets you cover yourself in darkness. Now, every creature is at disadvantage to hit you, and you have advantage to hit them. This is especially nice tactic for the drow, who would no longer suffer from their sunlight allergy.
Awakened Mind + Suggestion
Normally, suggestion is a difficult spell to pull off in the middle of combat. Do you speak the creature's language? Not everyone speaks Common. Can the target hear you over the din of battle? Its hard to get a creature to understand you when its screaming while in the middle of a charge. The telepathy from the first level of the Great Old One Patron neatly side steps the issue. With a simple command such as, "Protect me and my allies, follow my orders, and I will reward you," you can effectively gain a poor man's version of Dominate Person in the middle of combat. The telepathy prevents common practices of avoiding Suggestion, such as blocking ears, from working.
Defunct - Eldritch Blast, Repelling Blast, Polearm Mastery, War Caster
This four part build had a rather interesting make up. How it used to work: when the creature approaches you, Polearm Mastery let you get an opportunity attack. War Caster would have kicked in, letting you hit them with eldritch blast.
Polearm Mastery has been errata'd - you can only make a polearm attack with the reaction you get from the Polearm Mastery feat. Click here for tweet.
Fighter 1 / Warlock 19
This is a pretty simple build, since it does something very simple. Starting off with Fighter gives you Constitution save proficiency for better Concentration checks. You get heavy armor and shields to help you with making a strength based hexblade. You get the Great Weapon Fighting Style to help deal more damage.
Here's a discussion on the subject using a Dragonborn.
Fighter (Battlemaster) 7 / Warlock (Fiend Blade) 13
One thing with the Pact of the Blade path is that, for the most part, it peaks in terms of power at level 12 with Lifedrinker. After that, the warlock path basically devotes itself to daily spells for a nova option. However, the majority of power still comes from short rest spell slots, and things like Hex, Fire Shield, Hellish Rebuke, and Armor of Agathys. On the other end, the Battlemaster is a fighter with short-rest-manuevers that ends up with the same issue - the majority of its class' power peaks at level 11 with Extra Attack (2). However, several of the manuevers not only increase the damage you personally deal by d8 damage, but do things like perform a Goading Attack - make the creature target you. Which, if you recall, is something the Fiend warlock wants - the more you are hit, the more damage that is returned to the opponent via warlock spells. Buffer with THP from Second Wind and Dark One's Blessing.
Your bonus action is likely going to be taken up by swapping Hex between targets, and using Second Wind. Use Hellish Rebuke and Riposte for your reactions. Because your bonus actions and reactions are pretty much already spoken for, the recommended weapon is the Great Sword.
Feats that you will want include Great Weapon Mastery, Warcaster, and potentially Martial Adapt for another superiority die, leaving two of the five attribute bumps for actual attribute bumps. Manuevers that you want are Goading Attack, Lunging Attack, and Riposte. Of the six Invocations your character will have, Lifedrinker is the only absolute. Devil's Sight for the Darkness combo, improving your chance to hit with Great Weapon Mastery, works well, but also leaves you without being hit yourself, given that's a large part of the tactics, it may not be desirable. Key spells include Hex, Fire Shield, Hellish Rebuke, and Armor of Agathys. Naturally, the fighting style you want to go with this is Great Weapon Fighting.
A level 7 Battlemaster and 13 Warlock can also use the Battlemaster's judgement of HP from level 7 to tell when to launch a Finger of Death spell to automatically kill someone, and gain a zombie pet!
There's some variation at the end of this - some may opt for Fighter 8/Warlock 12 and get another attribute bump / feat, or only getting 6 levels of fighter and access to Hurl Through Hell for a powerful daily nova option at the cost of a superiority die.
Cleric (war) 1 / Warlock 19
Same "get heavy armor" rational as the fighter build, but getting a few extra cantrips and spells to cast, but without the Constitution save or the Fighting Style. Difficult, however, because the cleric spells will always be competing for your Concentration spot and your good spell slots, causing a bit of friction.
Paladin 6 / Warlock 14 or Paladin 11 / Warlock 9
This particular combination is designed to be a variant paladin style character, despite the overwhelming number of warlock levels. Why? Because warlock spell slots are renewable, and thus make extra room for the paladin to smite even more. The downside to this, however, is that you are pretty much just poaching Hex and renewable spell slots with little interest in the warlock itself. The idea is to get the best options from the Paladin class (the Aura, Improved Smite), then fill the rest in with renewable spell slots for smiting. There's currently a lot of argument that, after Improved Smite, there's not a lot of benefit for staying a pure paladin, as the higher level spells and abilities are seen as somewhat lackluster in a lot of cases.
Sorcerer (red dragon) 3+ / Warlock (any) 2
The basis of this build is to bring a synergy between renewable spell slots being converted into sorcery points, then using metamagic on either Sorcerer or Warlock spells to make them more. Really, however, this is actually a Sorcerer build, and dipping into warlock to poach Hex, Eldritch Blast, and Agonizing Blast.
Warlock 1+/Monk 1+
The mixture can be fluid but basically builds on hex with monk's many attacks. Can work with a martial arts Pact weapon. Watch out for the MAD, you need WIS, DEX, CHA all at 13 to even multiclass, and you can't dump CON of course. Charisma doesn't have to be any higher than that if you're going mostly Monk however. A sub-build uses Way of Shadows Monk and Darkness/Devil's Sight to be the ultimate Occult Ninja.
Halflings on Flying Imps:
Here's the basic idea: Be a Halfling Warlock 3 with Pact of the Chain. Summon up an Imp(6 Str). An Imp can turn Invisible at-will and carrying something weighing 45 lbs without penalty. That thing being carried is invisible. Such as a Halfling Warlock. The imp can fly 40'. Now if the Imp attacks or loses concentration, the invisibility is broken. But that doesn't apply to things being carried. If the Halfling Warlock does, the invisibility is not broken. So each round, you attack, then have the Imp move to a new location. So free Advantage on all attacks, you can fly to 300' to be out of the range of most spells with Eldritch Spear, and you force Disadvantage onto anyone trying to attack you.
Needless to say, this little trick has issues. Does the Imp count as a mount? Should the attack break the invisibility? Most GMs will say something along the lines of "Yes!" to that. So, not something to expect to see in game. Link to thread where this came up.
- Pact Magic - unlike other casters, the warlock only has a handful of spell slots for all their 1-5th level spells. They grow in power as the warlock levels, so all they're always cast at the same power level. Example: If you know Charm Person and youíre a level 7 character, you will always cast the spell as a 4th level spell; at level 9, you will always cast the spell as a 5th level spell. The slots also all recharge with every short rest.
Monday, 16th November, 2015, 10:48 AM #2
Novice (Lvl 1)
Some of the new cantrips from the SCAG are really awesome for warlocks. The Pact of the Blade almost demands to take Booming blade and/or Greenflame Blade, they are both useful and pretty powerful, obviously different in use, the former against single target, the latter against 2+. Not sure of lighting lure....somewhat similar to the druid's whip, but is it worth it to sacrifice the action? maybe, probably to get an enemy out of cover or maybe a flying in range.
To other Pacts: sword burst can be very useful when low level monster swarm you. Against a single enemy though getting away with shocking grasp is probably still the best choice. It's force damage, which is always a good thing, as warlocks know better than any other class.
Hoping that this great guide will be updated, i post the new cantrips and spells.
Investiture of Flame, Ice, Stone, Wind
Monday, 30th November, 2015, 10:57 PM #3
I know this guide was written by Memphi but is there a possibility of the Undying and Undying Light Patrons getting a section in the guide?
Monday, 28th December, 2015, 05:50 PM #4
Novice (Lvl 1)
Love the build
Just one issue I noticed Hungar of Hadar is confirmed to not be a form of magical darkness no one can see in it.
Monday, 11th January, 2016, 11:38 AM #5
Monday, 11th January, 2016, 01:02 PM #6
Novice (Lvl 1)
The spell itself every darkness spell say they create an area of magical darkness. HoH however opens a a void to the dark in space and makes sure to go out of its way to say its not magical darkness by pointing out its not effected by anything that effects magical darkness.
Monday, 11th January, 2016, 09:16 PM #7
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
How often do Tome Warlocks choose to skip the Book Of Ancient Secrets invocation? I get that Bladelocks skipping Lifedrinker and Thirsting Blade probably almost never happens, but what about Tomelocks and their unique option? I suppose one could always hold off on it, and see how many spellbooks with rituals they come across in their travels, to see if it'll be worthwhile.
Friday, 15th January, 2016, 03:42 PM #8
Scout (Lvl 6)
Pretty good guide and the effort that goes into these is always appreciated. Disagree with some of the rankings, but that's hardly anything new to guides and nothing worth quibbling over. I would however recommend some more proof reading and reexamination of the abilities.
As a quick example: Ascendant Step in the guide mentions using it against enemies to remove a threat, yet in the PHB the Invocation clearly states you get the ability to cast Levitation on yourself at will amd makes no mention of being able to use the spell against an enemy in any capacity. Now I still like the Invocation myself as it's written, but others may rate it differently when they realize it can only target yourself rather than be used freely.
Of course maybe I'm misinterpreting the intent of what it says in the PHB or perhaps missed an errata or the like. Anyway, the effort is appreciated none the less and the guide is still a solid piece of work overall.
Thursday, 17th March, 2016, 07:35 PM #9
Novice (Lvl 1)
Thursday, 17th March, 2016, 07:59 PM #10
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
By Mistwell in forum Character Builds & OptimizationReplies: 1Last Post: Wednesday, 30th September, 2015, 07:31 PM
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