D&D (2024) 2024 Player's Handbook reveal: "New Warlock"

"The character builder's paradise".

"The character builder's paradise".


We last saw the Warlock in Playtest 7, with a lot of features from 2014 restored from the previous version. Still, a lot of questions (for me) remain: here's my list from before the video ran:
  • Will the three pacts still be invocations, and will it be possible to get all of them by level 2? (I hope not). Yes.
  • If they are invocations, will people still believe they are getting more invocations than thry had in 2014? Yes.
  • What will the Pact of the Chain special creature options be? (We've seen the Sphinx of Wonder previewed already.) Is there still going to be a (M-sized) skeleton option? YES!
  • Will Pact of the Tome still have the lame rewritten Ritual Caster rules, of only two 1st level rituals, and never any more? (I hope not). No answer, but I doubt it's been changed.
  • Is it conceivable that anyone would not take Pact of the Blade as one of their Invocations? (Doubt it.) No answer. They did not talk about whether later invocations will give Extra attack, or other concerns here.
  • Will anyone be able to take Eldritch Blast? "Warlock Specific"
(Happily, many of these questions were indeed answered in the video!).
I think warlock really benefits from having the subclasses come at level 3: you can "dabble" in the occult without selling your soul until level 3 (though admittedly, the wording of the fluff text does not require you to sell your soul).

OVERVIEW
  • Invocations at 1, Magical Cunning at 2 (as in PT7)
  • Crawford claims we will get more eldritch invocations. Assuming the table's as in PT7, this is a bit of a fudge: there's one for a pact at level 5 (no gain) and one extra, at level 5, and for most it will go, I feel, to another pact). Yes there's more flexibility.
  • Main choices are Pact Boons. "This is a big deal" -- "it is a juicy choice" they say, and Crawford makes it clear you can get them all "over time". "Over time", though, is by level 2. To me this is too much too early.
  • NEW: all pact boons at level 1 now.
  • NEW: "More Spooky critter options" for Pact of the Chain, speaking to Patron types. Complete list: Slaad tadpole. Skeleton, Imp, Pseudodragon, Quasit, Sprite (Fey), Sphinx of Wonder (Celestial), Venomous Snake. All will be in the PHB.
  • Spellcasting has been enhanced: more invocations work with warlock spells. Now they don't just affect Eldritch Blast (which is warlock-specific -- not clear how that's mechanized, though). You can have Ray of Frost with Repelling Blast.
  • NEW: Lessons of the First Ones only lets you take an Origin Feat.
  • Contact Patron at 9, Mystic Arcanum at 11+, expanded spell list (though not as big as sorcerer).
  • All subclasses get an expanded spell list.
SUBCLASSES

ARCHFEY - "a teleportation fantasia"
  • Gameplay was not living up to the flavour. Going "all-in" on Teleportation.
  • Additional effects occur whenever you cast the spell, not just the free casting from Steps of the Fey. (Refreshing step and Taunting Step confirmed, as in PT7 apparently).
  • Beguiling Defenses, causing psychic damage
  • Bewitching magic at 14 as in PT7 -- "ridiculous in all the best ways".
CELESTIAL
  • NEW: from expanded class spell list. Summon Celestial on spell list.
  • NEW: Guiding Bolt, Cure wounds and Aid (Aid was not on PT7 list) on subclass list
  • You can be "a hired hitman from the gods"
  • NEW: Searing Radiance at 14 now can apply to an ally.
FIEND
  • Magical weapons no longer pass your damage resitance (in reference to Fiendish Resilience at 10?)
  • "tankiness" seen in BG3 is also here: Dark One's Blessing seems completely rewritten, as it was described in the Design Note of the PT7.
GREAT OLD ONE
  • NEW: Summon Aberration might be a version of the Mind Flayer (an option in the Summon Abberation spell)
  • when you do damage, you can do psychic.
  • Psychic Spells for enchantment/illusion without Verbal/Somatic (but you still need Material); damage may be Psychic. Clairvoyant Combatant can be a battle of wills (focusing damage to one target -- a nod to AD&D psionic battles). Eldritch Hex also as in PT7.
 

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ent

First Post
One of the content creators that got an advanced copy accidentally let it slip that pact of the blade actually got the three attacks. I'm not going to provide their name as to not draw Wotc's attention. My guess is that the balance adjustment for bladelocks is that they don't get weapon masteries and they might be restricted to one handed melee weapons.
 

Stalker0

Legend
One of the content creators that got an advanced copy accidentally let it slip that pact of the blade actually got the three attacks. I'm not going to provide their name as to not draw Wotc's attention. My guess is that the balance adjustment for bladelocks is that they don't get weapon masteries and they might be restricted to one handed melee weapons.
or there may have been an adjustment in that shroud spell, which was a major reason why the 3 attack bladelock did so much damage. 3 attacks by itself isn't completely out there, it was when it was paired with certain other abilities.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I don't have the original discussion, you'd have to go digging into it from playtest 7. I do still have the playtest 7 packet though, so I'll run a fresh set of numbers.

Pact of the Blade allowed you to summon any melee weapon, gain proficieny in it, and use the mastery property. Let us go with a Greatsword for 2d6+cha mod damage, and the graze property. They could also cause the weapon to deal necrotic, radiant or psychic damage, bypassing resistance.

Thirsting Blade allowed for two, then three attacks at levels 5 and 11 respectively.

Lifedrinker added +1d6 per hit, and allowed you to roll HD whenever you hit.

Hex allowed for +1d6 damage per hit.

At this point, the Warlock at level 11 is swinging for 4d6+4d6+4d6+15 or an average of 57 damage per round, with hex lasting 8 hours or more.

The Fighter with PAM is going to deal 1d10+1d10+1d10+1d4+20 or 39, add in the charger feat for another 4.5 and GWM for an additional +4 and you can get to 47.5 damage on average, with three feats. And even if you took out the Hex spell from the Warlock, they are only dropping down to 46.5. And they can also take GWM, Charger and other damage boosting feats. Also, the fighter is potentially not ignoring or bypassing damage resistance, like the warlock is.

A fighter might eke out ahead if you count various subclass abilities, but that could potentially bring in subclass abilities in from the warlock, who could regain the lead.

Edit: fixing fighter damage a third time. sigh. I need to stop rushing.
A few notes. Fighters do get an extra 1-2 feats and action surge. Damage of action surge would be 3d10+15 = 31.5 over however many rounds you have between action surges. If it's 5 then that's +6 Damage. If it's 10 then it's still +3.

Battlemaster Manuevers at a minimum add +4d8 over the same period so 18 over 5 rounds is +3.6 or over 10 rounds is +1.8. (Or Brace/Riposte could do about twice that much).

Point being you could easily add +5 and probably +10 to the fighters damage numbers. Warlock Subclasses haven't historically granted them DPR boosts. Fighter will get 1-2 feats for free so the feat disparity isn't that bad.

Though it's probably easier to push warlock damage even higher with better spells than hex (Summon Fey always made a much better damage enhancement and foresight is eventually such a large DPR boost). But fighter likely has better multiclass options for DPR at this point.
 
Last edited:

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
One of the content creators that got an advanced copy accidentally let it slip that pact of the blade actually got the three attacks. I'm not going to provide their name as to not draw Wotc's attention. My guess is that the balance adjustment for bladelocks is that they don't get weapon masteries and they might be restricted to one handed melee weapons.
This will make the 2024 Ranger really sad.
 

Moonrabbit

Villager
"The character builder's paradise".


We last saw the Warlock in Playtest 7, with a lot of features from 2014 restored from the previous version. Still, a lot of questions (for me) remain: here's my list from before the video ran:
  • Will the three pacts still be invocations, and will it be possible to get all of them by level 2? (I hope not). Yes.
  • If they are invocations, will people still believe they are getting more invocations than thry had in 2014? Yes.
  • What will the Pact of the Chain special creature options be? (We've seen the Sphinx of Wonder previewed already.) Is there still going to be a (M-sized) skeleton option? YES!
  • Will Pact of the Tome still have the lame rewritten Ritual Caster rules, of only two 1st level rituals, and never any more? (I hope not). No answer, but I doubt it's been changed.
  • Is it conceivable that anyone would not take Pact of the Blade as one of their Invocations? (Doubt it.) No answer. They did not talk about whether later invocations will give Extra attack, or other concerns here.
  • Will anyone be able to take Eldritch Blast? "Warlock Specific"
(Happily, many of these questions were indeed answered in the video!).
I think warlock really benefits from having the subclasses come at level 3: you can "dabble" in the occult without selling your soul until level 3 (though admittedly, the wording of the fluff text does not require you to sell your soul).

OVERVIEW
  • Invocations at 1, Magical Cunning at 2 (as in PT7)
  • Crawford claims we will get more eldritch invocations. Assuming the table's as in PT7, this is a bit of a fudge: there's one for a pact at level 5 (no gain) and one extra, at level 5, and for most it will go, I feel, to another pact). Yes there's more flexibility.
  • Main choices are Pact Boons. "This is a big deal" -- "it is a juicy choice" they say, and Crawford makes it clear you can get them all "over time". "Over time", though, is by level 2. To me this is too much too early.
  • NEW: all pact boons at level 1 now.
  • NEW: "More Spooky critter options" for Pact of the Chain, speaking to Patron types. Complete list: Slaad tadpole. Skeleton, Imp, Pseudodragon, Quasit, Sprite (Fey), Sphinx of Wonder (Celestial), Venomous Snake. All will be in the PHB.
  • Spellcasting has been enhanced: more invocations work with warlock spells. Now they don't just affect Eldritch Blast (which is warlock-specific -- not clear how that's mechanized, though). You can have Ray of Frost with Repelling Blast.
  • NEW: Lessons of the First Ones only lets you take an Origin Feat.
  • Contact Patron at 9, Mystic Arcanum at 11+, expanded spell list (though not as big as sorcerer).
  • All subclasses get an expanded spell list.
SUBCLASSES

ARCHFEY - "a teleportation fantasia"
  • Gameplay was not living up to the flavour. Going "all-in" on Teleportation.
  • Additional effects occur whenever you cast the spell, not just the free casting from Steps of the Fey. (Refreshing step and Taunting Step confirmed, as in PT7 apparently).
  • Beguiling Defenses, causing psychic damage
  • Bewitching magic at 14 as in PT7 -- "ridiculous in all the best ways".
CELESTIAL
  • NEW: from expanded class spell list. Summon Celestial on spell list.
  • NEW: Guiding Bolt, Cure wounds and Aid (Aid was not on PT7 list) on subclass list
  • You can be "a hired hitman from the gods"
  • NEW: Searing Radiance at 14 now can apply to an ally.
FIEND
  • Magical weapons no longer pass your damage resitance (in reference to Fiendish Resilience at 10?)
  • "tankiness" seen in BG3 is also here: Dark One's Blessing seems completely rewritten, as it was described in the Design Note of the PT7.
GREAT OLD ONE
  • NEW: Summon Aberration might be a version of the Mind Flayer (an option in the Summon Abberation spell)
  • when you do damage, you can do psychic.
  • Psychic Spells for enchantment/illusion without Verbal/Somatic (but you still need Material); damage may be Psychic. Clairvoyant Combatant can be a battle of wills (focusing damage to one target -- a nod to AD&D psionic battles). Eldritch Hex also as in PT7.
Eldritch blast is warlock specific. This means it’s going to scale with warlock level, as it did in an earlier playtest. There goes the last option for building a full caster with any ability to do priority target damage. Couple this with the changes to counterspell and the conjure spells, and being a caster is going to suck Lou Rawls b*lls.
 

mellored

Legend
or there may have been an adjustment in that shroud spell, which was a major reason why the 3 attack bladelock did so much damage. 3 attacks by itself isn't completely out there, it was when it was paired with certain other abilities.
I could see them adjusting shroud, Lifedrinker, and similar effects to 1/turn.

Still a little disappointed about it, but it works.

Or maybe up warlock/ranger becomes the next big thing, with all the hunters marks being added.
 



but seriously, casters will be fine. you can chill out.
Exactly.

Every single time, with no exceptions, in D&D's history, where people have said "OMG THEY'RE MAKING CASTERS WORSE!!!" or "THIS EDITION IS A DISASTER FOR MAGES!!" or the like, it's proven to be not only wrong, but actually the reverse, and casters got more powerful.

This specifically includes when actual designers say "We're limiting the power of casters". In literally all cases (which admittedly is only 2E to 3E, 3E to 3.5E, and 3.5E to Pathfinder 1E), the casters actually got significantly in both relative and absolute terms.

Those closest we've seen in 4E, but all that did was bring other classes up rather than drag casters down (whether people liked that design or not is a separate question - but 4E caster classes were badass as hell).

This would be a stunning reversal for D&D if true. I suspect spellcasters will still be fine.
We'd genuinely be making D&D history. And there's just no chance.
 

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