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D&D (2024) A Cranky Warlock Fan's Quick Review on the Whole Playtest Packet


Let's make this quick and cranky.

General Shtuff
Short rest continues to go the way of the dodo rather than being fixed, but despite proving committed to this decision WotC refuses to completely axe having features recover partially or entirely on a short rest. (This is also despite fundamentally changing one of the most iconic short rest–recharging abilities in the game—more on that later.)
Jeremy Crawford, if you read this, stop going halfway. Remove short rest or fix it. Personally, I'd prefer fixing, and here are, IMO, the three best options recommended by the general community:
  • Good: Make short rests short. 10 minutes is a number thrown out a lot. Anything longer than 15 minutes is too long.
  • Better: Steal what Channel Divinity and Channel Nature already do (and what makes them feel really cool) in the most recent playtest; namely, MORE uses per day (so you still get decent use out of them if you never short rest), but you still recover one use per short rest.
  • Best: Allow a character to meditate 1–5 minutes to recover a feature that previously recovered on a short rest. Limit this to PROF bonus/day (or another number that doesn't scale with level to help prevent multiclass shenanigans). (Admittedly, this kinda removes short rest from the equation entirely, but I consider that a best of both worlds solution.)

Gonna love play a musket-wielding Kensei gunk in the future, and since it's in the PHB I can safely assume it will be allowed at most tables.
Oh, huh, yeah, Weapon Masteries are a thing too, I guess. I like that martial classes alway get at least two AND can swap them at short rests—previously I was afraid you would get one and swap it never, which would just exacerbate the game's existing martial issue of "Pick one weapon on day one, never change weapons unless you get a direct upgrade in the same category, get butthurt if the DM takes your weapon way, doesn't give you a direct upgrade in the same category, and/or does give you an upgrade but it's a different type of weapon." (Granted, players should choose not to get butthurt, but it happens anyway.)
Long story short, this is decent and provides some options, and I like that it's always-on. Nothing world-shaking here, though. Wish Nick would get integrated in the main rules (for the sake of rangers and rogues) rather than being limited to weapon mastery.

Woah—pact boons are being granted in the form of warlock-exclusive cantrips now? And they automatically include invocations that were basically required to make them good long-term anyway? And they have other quality of life improvements that were sorely needed and that warlock fans have been begging for for ages?
Wow. I'm super excited and super hopeful for this being the best incarnation of the warlock ever now. dramatic irony musical cue
As for everything else:
  • Hex looks... I dunno. Giving you all of your bonus damage on one attack is nice for warlocks that attack less (which is mostly just the bladelock starting level 11, when every other warlock using eldritch blast gets three attacks per turn), but having it fight for concentration with other spells that boost your effectiveness way more means that I still won't be using it much. (Also, the bonus damage comes at the cost of higher level spell slots, which wasn't necessary with old hex.) But it also caps out at less overall potential damage increase. I call it a small net loss.
  • All of the new sorcerer spells (and "new" in the case of chaos bolt): Aiiight. This does fill gaps that the sorcerer had. Why can't each spell granted as a class feature also be cast for free just once per day, though? Why not?
And I don't really care about the wizard stuff.

Epic Boon of Dimensional Travel provides you with a powerful, flexible, reliable feature that's always on. That feels epic. Every other boon does not feel epic.
Also... c'mon man, this is epic level play we're talking about here. Get rid of the class restrictions on the boons. Why shouldn't my fighter have the ability to attack and then teleport after he's attained power such that he could kill many canonical deities? It's suppose to be epic, and that's epic.

Fellow barbarian lovers, I know math just doesn't work with you, but do this equation with me and smile.
Rage lasts up to 10 minutes and you have way more control over it not ending. That's pretty cool. Also, while Raging you have advantage on all Strength ability checks which, if I'm reading this packet right, is any skill check that uses Strength. Neato, but situational. Finally, at 2nd level you get Primal Knowledge, which, while Raging, lets you use Strength with a handful of skills, including Perception and Stealth.
In other words, you can get SO MAD that you see way better and hide way better (constant advantage on Perception and Stealth).
I love this. I absolutely love this. Please WotC, for the love of all that is good, let this survive the final draft.
Oh yeah, and the Berserker Barbarian is playable now. Still doesn't deal the kind of damage I imagine a no-holds-barred-frenzied-angrier-than-angry barbarian should deal, but it's a step in the right direction, and at least he doesn't suddenly get old and have to take a nap after getting mad once.

Yup, it's a fighter.

Was kind of hoping that these classes would get upgraded to prepared spells rather than memorized spells, like everything else. Oh well.
Most of my comments that directly relate to sorcerer are in the Spells section, but I will note that kind-of free wish is really awesome, the revised Metamagic costs (and being able to swap Metamagics is nice), the Draconic Sorcery changes mostly look great (the exception being replacing at-will flight with flight only active when you cast a subpar 4th-level spell, of which the minor additional damage doesn't make up for it)—and Twinned Spell metamagic was gutted, so nothing else matters, 0/10, please fix, Sakurai. Crawford. Morrus. Whoever. I'm not picky.

SO MANY CHANGES that felt like the WotC team has finally been listening to the warlock lovers were completely invalidated by taking away pact magic and making warlocks half casters. This is not what we wanted when we asked for more spell slots. (This also breaks warlocks in ways potentially unexpected by the WotC team—warlocks have slower spell progression now, making some of their previously awesome spells really average or even below average when you now get them. This also makes the hex changes a lot worse, since you can't cast hex at your highest spell level, take a nap, and still benefit from hex all day while also having your spell slots, at higher levels at least.)
Warlock is my thing. Warlock is my jam. This is not a warlock. Pact Magic was the feature that made warlock awesome. It is a feature, not a bug, even if it doesn't appeal to everyone. People who hate warlock (usually because of Pact Magic), those aren't the people to listen to because they don't get it (and have other casters to pick from anyway). Pact Magic doesn't need removal, it needs refining, and some possible refinements already show promise on other features in previous playtest packets.
Refer to my suggestions on fixing short rests for significantly better ways to fix this issue. However, I do want to suggest what I think is the best suggestion for fixing Pact Magic: model it after the Cleric/Druid playtest packet's version of Channel Nature/Divinity. The warlock would need a few more uses per day than the channels, and would need the number of uses to go up at higher levels, but keeping the 1/slot per short rest recharge would help retain the flavor and uniqueness of the feature. (Maybe even let warlock recover 2 uses/short rest starting at level 11 or 17. Or 4 at 18. And while I'm dreaming impossible dreams, switch to spell points rather than spell slots and let the warlock cast spells at the level they want rather than always the highest level. This change will never happen because it will damage the simplicity 5e is going for and kill much of the warlock's beginner-friendliness, but I can dream, Harold.)
Please, please, please, WotC... un-massacre my boy.
Let's look at the other changes while we hope that Pact Magic comes back.
  • Medium Armor Training is good. Now add shields or give Pact of the Blade access to the best two-handed weapons (which have the Heavy property), or both. Doing this gives bladelocks required tools for being secondary martials but still doesn't put them anywhere near outshining dedicated martials in their intended roles. (Except maybe the monk, but the 5e monk is about as tough as a wet paper towel and deals slightly more damage.)
  • Eldritch blast is a class feature—good, it already effectively was. It only scales off warlock levels—ok, only people scared about multiclassing shenanigans will cheer.
  • Hex is a class feature—meh. Provide something that lets you cast it at least once per day without expending a spell slot or requiring concentration (not as one of the world's most disappointing capstones) and you'll be on to something.
  • The invocation situation is interesting. On the one hand, you get a total of 9 now (rather than 8), and several invocations effectively required for progression were automatically included in the Pact Boons. But this is balanced out by Mystic Arcanum being turned into invocations, meaning it's going to cost you at least 4 invocations to get back the spells you previously got automatically. That might be a wash, an even amount of give and take, but then again the changes to Pact Magic might make it a net negative since Mystic Arcanum in this new form is clearly being used to cover for slower spell progression. But then again, I don't see anything in this feature that would prevent you from using it to get two or three (or more) 9th-level, or 8th- or 7th- or 6th-level, spells that you can cast per long rest, which no one else can do. That will probably get fixed in the final draft (does it really need fixing?), but it's a really cool niche in this draft. (This also fixes the mostly terrible spell-granting invocations the warlock previously got, but that's an entirely separate issue.)
  • Chainlocks can take an invocation that causes creatures they successfully attack to be Charmed; at least at my table, since the creature now views you as a friend that means it won't attack back, which I find hilarious. I like it.
  • First-level feats can be taken as an invocation. Some first-level feats looked pretty OK, so this is a "Maybe solid." However, if this door is opened, how about let bladelocks get some weapon masteries using an invocation?
  • Fiend Patron has its Fiendish Vigor feature nerfed so its only useful to bladelocks not using weapons with reach. Meh. Versatility was more fun.
  • Patron spells automatically being added to your spell list—and you can cast one for free per day—is AWESOME!

The slap in the face, the salt in the wound.
I get that Arcane Recovery existed before this playtest, but why in the Nine Hells do wizards retain a feature that lets them recover spell slots on a short rest and warlocks get all short rest recovery features taken away from them?!?!?!?!?
Cruelty of cruelties! Injustice of injustices!
Nothing else matters. -1/10, wizards are irredeemable.

In Conclusion
When I finished reading the Spellcasting section of the warlock, I turned to my good friend and said, "For a niche portion of WotC's audience, this is worse than the OGL debacle, and that's only slightly exaggerating."

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It's good to see someone else doing breakdowns on the whole packet & rather than starting a new parallel thread I'm going to drop this here with another vote for remove short rests, straight uptake the whole concept for short rests & nuke it from orbit.
  • Rage: I freaking love that rage lasts 10 minutes rather than just one plus shifting from what's done to the barb over to what the barb does to maintain it. As a GM these kinds of shifts encourage the group to GTFO & keep moving rather than immediately descend into pointless session halting paranoia to ensure absolute zero risk before entering an empty room or whatever. These sort of changes do a great job of discouraging
  • Primal Knowledge: This seems like a pretty good fit for barbarians & I like the selection of skills it allows
  • Reckless Attack: Pretty similar but limited to the first attack in the chain, that's a great change & stops it from making it pretty impossible to miss any attack. I kinda wish that it mentioned words like "before rolling" though. As written the player gets to roll the first attack -> see if it was successful based on the d20 roll ->THEN decide if they are going to attack recklessly on the attack that already missed.
  • Mindless rage: Neat sure but those abilities are woefully underused by 2014 5e monsters & the ones that still have it tend to have easy circumvention methods like waiting one minute down the cavern or whatever before engaging in order to become immune for 24 hours. It would be nice if ultimately 2024 monsters are built for 2024 PC abilities rather than abilities remembered to be present on 2e & 3.x monsters.
  • Feral Instinct: Advantage on initiative & dex saves these kind of initiative altering abilities annoy me as a GM because players feel slighted if I do anything to simplify initiative at a large table like just going clockwise using side initiative type methods or whatever. After the first round initiative rarely matters much but these cause some players to feel like it's some kind of super important high stakes contest that will decide the campaign or whatever.
  • Feats: The department of redundancy department is going to issue a complaint about the wording on those... If ability score improvement is a feat that players qualify for it's a waste of space to repeatedly prefix it to "or another feat you qualify for ". It causes a switch to flip that sends people looking to see what they aren't quite grasping in the precise wording of something & send them to the GM to clarify "no it's just worded stupid, you aren't missing some hair splitting of grammar"
  • Indomitable Might: Kinda neat
  • Brutal Critical: It's nice that this is something that will make a visceral difference between alice barbarian & bob fighter/dave paladin with the same weapon. The old add a die doesn't do that & coupled with the extra boost tohit on the first attack from reckless it makes for a good reason to favor fewer bigger attacks over many smaller ones IF monster AC's give it a need. Unforyunately it only triggers on a crit that requires a 20 so becomes too unreliable to influence things even if AC does support one big reliable hit as sometimes preferable to just lots of lesser hits
  • Retaliation: I like that this uses a reaction
  • Persistent rage: It maintains itself for 10 minutes without needing to do anything. /this is reasonable & I don't think it's going to crush the pressure to move on just because by 13 there are going to be enough other reasons in the group & a level 13 PC faces challenges capable of plausibly applying other pressures.
  • Intimidating presence: Kinda cool & by limiting it to 1/long rest it nicely avoids the spam loop imposed by the paladin equivalent.
  • Relentless Rage: This is actually a really neat way a=of avoiding the almost snide & petty 1hp wackamole healing loop without severing the GM's ability to use optional rules altering what happens when taking more damage when a PC hits zero. Both by bumping the DC each use to add some pressure to engage in self preservation along with giving barbarian level *2 HP to maybe gamble on taking 1-2 more hits but not such a firm maybe that the table is going to be in store for an endless juggernaut/deadpool/wolverine/hulk slog.
  • Rage Resurgence: Regain a rage when rolling initiative. Not much to say really, I had a lot of concerns with the paladin equivalent but this looks like it won't have any worrisome impacts.
  • Primal champion: +2 str/con to max of 22. Kinda cool.
I really like these changes

  • Fighting style: You get one & it's a feat. Going back to restricted bonus feats for what are still basically just bonus feats is a good change IMO
  • Second Wind: More uses based on fighter level. The scaling of 2/3/4 at 1 4 & 11 seems good.
  • Weapon Mastery: I think they are pretty cool & not going to detail them here because I don't think they address the problems with 5e's weapon oversimplification down to one numeric element.
  • Action Surge: Wording was adjusted to remove fireball->action surge->fireball & such.
  • Feats: The redundant department of redundancy department is going to issue a complaint about the wording on those... If ability score improvement is a feat that players qualify for it's a waste of space to repeatedly prefix it to "or another feat you qualify for ". It causes a switch to flip that sends people looking to see what they aren't quite grasping in the precise wording of something & send them to the GM to clarify "no it's just worded stupid, you aren't missing some hair splitting of grammar"
  • Heroic warrior: grant yourself heroic advantage once per combat if you don't have it at the start of your turn. Not much to say but advantage is a drastically over used mechanic that replaced a lot of GM tools, I hope to see some of those returning with the GM stuff later
  • Weapon expert: I still feel like the weapon properties are attempting to avoid fixing an oversimplification of weapon math without actually expanding the numerical variables for the GM to use but seems cool. Hard to say if this will be balanced but as a level 7 ability it's probably at least balanced.
  • Indomitable: cool feature but reroll+bonus retcon on fail instead of just old roll+bonus on fail is a disruptive influence on combat flow & narration. Retcon's are bad.
  • Superior Critical: Crit on 18-20. Great but this wording needs to change or be different on things like keen weapons so one expands the other.
  • Two extra attacks: Attack action grants attack plus more attacks. The math is starting to look Fishy now. Barbarian has 2 attacks that deal weapon+str & an option to advantage on one attack at a cost plus a bonus to crits made on a 20 from a d20 but fighter now has three attacks dealing weapon+str that crit on an 18-20
  • Weapon adept: This needs to include words like "before declaring the attack" rather than whenever.
  • Survivor: The regen is kinda neat but it feels more like a barbarian thing -AND- This in heavy armor is the yardstick that 2024 cr10 or so & up monsters need to meet not a naked wizard like 2014 monsters seem pegged for. I shouldn't need to throw an army of vampires & liches riding ancient dragons & tarrasque at the party to challenge them.
  • Improved Action Surge: still once per turen but twice per rest. By keeping it one per long -OR- short rest rather a set number of uses it dumps a mess that should have been solved by class design on the GM to solve for the class design fixitfixitfixitixitfixitfixitixitfixitfixit.
  • Unconquerable: Game rules should not be capable of mimicking a fork bomb. GM: Make a save ->Bob: 6 ->GM: "That fails" ->BoB: " Cool I heal & get to add my level on a new roll... 18" ->">GM:"that still fails" -> BoB: " Cool I heal & get to add my level on a new roll... 19" -> GM: "still fails" BoB: " Cool I heal & get to add my level on a new roll..." ->GM: "That fails. Doesn't that use a reaction or something?" ->BoB: " Cool I heal again & get to add my level on a new roll but no it doesn't require a reaction & is just automatic... " -> GM: "Ok, I quit, you guys win the game rocks fall & bob you get no save"
  • Three extra attacks: Once again this is the 2024 yardstick that monsters need to start meeting somewhere between cr12 & CR15 or so.

Mostly interesting but any ability that is capable of creating a fork bomb is unworkable as written & the math ids starting to look like it's pegged for a fishy overly-contrived whiteroom. There is also a number of powerful abilities that push players towards nova ->rest ->nova -> rest loop that are lacking the can't do so again till you finish a long rest type wording present in arcane recovery. The GM is not a substitute for finishing class design, stop expecting GMs to run half minute hero inspired games.

  • Innate sorcery: You always have sorcerous burst & chaos bolt prepared but no clarity on if they count against prep slots or not.
  • Spellcasting: Not much to say, seems to be back to 2014 style spontaneous casting rather than vancian or maybe flex-vancian. I worry that sorcerer & wizard are both 1/1 casters with the same spell list who will ultimately choose the same must take "iconic" spells but one of them adds a bunch of powerful class features with the wizard equivalents seemingly to be hung on text last published in 2001 & not even hinted at in this packet.
  • Font of magic: Now with a much needed & lonnnng overdue max sorcerery point cap based on sorcerer level.
  • metamagic: Choose 3 & you can change them in a long rest. Options themselves seem pretty similar on a quick readover of them. Others might be raving about something I'm overlooking while typing this.
  • Dragon Speech: You can be understood by draconic type creatures. I kinda like this because I'm very much in favor of written draconic going back to being a restricted language I could use as a GM without having half or more of the group saying "oh I know draconic"
  • Feats: The redundant department of redundancy department is going to issue a complaint about the wording on those... If ability score improvement is a feat that players qualify for it's a waste of space to repeatedly prefix it to "or another feat you qualify for ". It causes a switch to flip that sends people looking to see what they aren't quite grasping in the precise wording of something & send them to the GM to clarify "no it's just worded stupid, you aren't missing some hair splitting of grammar"
  • Sorcerous vitality: Small self heal(2d6+mods) in a 3rd level spell slot. Not sure how this will play out & no strong feelings beyond "seems fitting"
  • Elemental Affinity: Pick a damage type. You have resistance to it & add your charisma mod to one damage roll per cast of a spell using it
  • Arcane eruption: You always have that spell prepared.
  • Sorcery Incarnate: some neat features on a sorcerer only spell that you always have prepared...
  • Draconic Exhalation: Single target cantrip becomes a 15ft cone. Kinda cool & fitting I guess
  • Additional metamagic: Count em... You can have four of them.
  • Dragon Wings: Thank blep no longer passive & has a meaningful cost. YOu casn fly & gain a 15ft PBAOE while sorcerery incarnate is active
  • Sorcerous restoration: You gain 4 sorcery points whenever you finish a short rest or roll initiative. For reference 2nd & 3rd level slots cost 3 & 5 points respectively. Once again a short rest ability with no per long rest uses. by level 15 getting a second or third level slot is not too big of a deal compared to some of the other unlimited short rest recover per long rest abilities but geeez class design needs to at least pretend that it's attempting to make short rests somewhat equaly valued between classes instead of dumping the mess on GMs.
  • Arcane Aptheosis: you always have wish prepared & never suffer backlash but no clarity on if it counts against prep slots or adds on top of them.
Interesting but Some concerning class A:classB issues & short rest value oddities tossed on the GM. Not sure if they are prepared from spells known or prepared from class list like divine casters

  • Spellcasting & prep: seems pretty much the same as sorcerer but int with the same must take spells &unrestricted selection from the arcane list. I'd kinda like alice & bob to feel different if they have different classes. The only real difference seems to be 3-5 cantrips & 4-22 spells prepped compared to the sorcerer's 4-6 & 2-22. It's kinda weird to have a bonus for two whole levels that entirely equalizes & trails behind so fast for the prepared from spellbook class as the prepared from class list plus free always prepped spells class immediately pulls ahead. Wizards get ritual caster & sorcerer doesn't though, that might make a meaningful difference if there are a lot more ritual spells & spells with 10 min ort longer cast times but too early to say.
  • Academic: Advantage on int checks with the study action.
  • Arcane Recovery: Same as 2014 I worry about the long rest class :short rest class problem of class design continuing to be thrust onto the GM to solve for the class design itself in 2024.
  • Evocation Savant: Half cost evocation scribing & scribe two evocation spells of first or second level to your spellbook for 0gp when you get this
  • Sculpt spells: Choose 1+spell level creatures to automatically succeed on their save when you cast an evocation spell.
  • Feats: The redundant department of redundancy department is going to issue a complaint about the wording on those... If ability score improvement is a feat that players qualify for it's a waste of space to repeatedly prefix it to "or another feat you qualify for ". It causes a switch to flip that sends people looking to see what they aren't quite grasping in the precise wording of something & send them to the GM to clarify "no it's just worded stupid, you aren't missing some hair splitting of grammar"
  • Memorize spell: Swap a prepared spell for a not prepared spell in your spellbook, 1 minute ritual cast spell. This shows a lot of awesome promise but entirely depends on the wizard's ability to gain access to spells they can scribe & at least the 2014 rules are pretty useless in enabling that.
  • Potent cantrip: Your cantrips become save for half on the damage chunk, pretty cool.
  • Modify spell: 4th level ritual spell that allows a selection of some metamagic-like effects to be added to a spell you prepare but they go away if you take a long rest & can't be scribed without using create spell
  • Create spell: for 1000gp per spell level of a spell from the arcane spell list you can for an extra 50gp & 2hours per spell level scribe a spell altered with a metamagic-like effect by modify spell to your spellbook. Not sure how I feel about these placeholder numbers given things like sorcerer being prepared from the full arcane spell list but It's not settling well absent indications of text last published in 2001 & not even hinted at in this packet.
  • Empowered evocation: Add your int mod to one damage roll of evocation spells you cast.
  • Overchannel: Basically you can maximize an evocation spell once per long rest but take 2d12/3d12/4d12/etc each additional time you do it. Wizard Joins the barbarian with an escalating use per long rest ability.
  • Spell mastery: Cantripize a pair if first or second level spells you can cast without using a spell slot
  • Signature spells: Pick two third level spells, they are always prepared & you can cast them once per long rest without using a spell. I'm pretty sure that if we stack that on a scale across from aleways have wish prepared & never risk backlash of casting it on a scale the result will be one arm crashing through the floor & the other being yeeted into orbit. That might be ok if this was the first time such a matchup would result in those kinds of weighting differences but almost every ability so far has been like that to some degree

Some interesting ideas but comparing sorcerer to wizard is like comparing a first draft "PEACH my homebrew" to the second or third round of balance revisions. Given the two have the exact same spell list barring a couple class specific spells it makes for a particularly apt analogy. If CH2/pages 71-102 of the ELH getting reworked for modify spell & create spell is an in the works plan that assessment might change but it feels like very different ideas of balance were used in sorcerer/wizard design

  • Eldritch Blast: Going to mention this here rather than cluttering things elsewhere because it's such a huge & long long lonnnnng overdue fix. Now it only scales by warlock level.
  • Spellcasting & slot recovery:. Now they are a proper half caster & recover slots on long rest with a level 20 warlock having the same slots as a level 10 sorcerer/wizard plus a bunch of invocations & such. This alone solves most of the things that might otherwise be a problem.
  • Pact boon: You always have eldritch blast & hex prepared. Plus pick one from Blade(wis or cha for casting & pact weapon spell) Chain(int or cha & pact familiar for spell) or Tome Pact(int or wis & book of shadows spell). I kinda like how your casting attribute is decided by your pact.
  • Eldritch Invocations: It's great having these at level two for a warlock but some of the invocations themselves that are available at this level are far too good for the investment when multiclass taken as a multiclass dip & should be gated at warlock 4-5 or even later.
  • Patron spells: A pair of spells at 3 5 9 13 &17 treated as prepared plus a 1/long rest no slot expending cast of one of the spells from that list. Pretty good spells but not at the levels they are gained when cantrips can outpower most of them so there should maybe be an invocation that allows a second cast or something
  • Dark One's Blessing: When you kill an enemy or one is killed by someone while within 5ft of you, you get spellcasting mod+warlock level THP.... also a great ability that nicely fits a medium armor gish.
  • Feats: The redundant department of redundancy department is going to issue a complaint about the wording on those... If ability score improvement is a feat that players qualify for it's a waste of space to repeatedly prefix it to "or another feat you qualify for ". It causes a switch to flip that sends people looking to see what they aren't quite grasping in the precise wording of something & send them to the GM to clarify "no it's just worded stupid, you aren't missing some hair splitting of grammar"
  • Dark One's Own Luck: add a d10 to ability checks & saving throws spellcasting mod per long rest.
  • Fiendish Resilience: Gain resistance to a damage type other than force & you can change it on a long or short rest. This might be the first short rest linked ability that feels reasonable & won't encourage players to rest->nova->rest->nova->repeat in a way that forces the GM towards resorting to half minute hero style adventure design
  • Contact Patron: You can cast contact other plane to call up your patron 1/long rest. IMHO level 11 is too high for ythis ability, almost all my games go months of weekly sessions beyond level 11 but anything that might be handled through this kind of ability is already locked down by some other ability or an NPC long since developed by the time it's even an option. This isn't a balance concern so much as an unfun design. The spell needs more of the old style nervous casting that used to come with things like wish & contacting deific level class entities. The risk of backlash is basically zero because players are only ever going to cast it when they can trivially just take another long rest. The spell should note things like the entity's general disposition & attitude towards the spellcaster contacting it along with things like unspecified vague indications of some entities possibly enforcing things like geas & other bindings within the contacted being's power. As written the spell is just a boring forgettable interaction. Nobody's casting this because they need an answer right now to stop the impending TPK, the spell shouldn't be written as if it gets cast while moving fast.
  • Hurl through Hell: 10d10 psychic damage & one turn banish save for half. Kinda cool & fitting the level.
  • Hex Master: You can cast hex without using a slot

  • Prerequisite: None Invocations... A lot of these are targeted to "is this appropriate to a level 2 warlock" without enough consideration for "are two of these appropriate for a two level dip?" where the answer is often no. F/Ex: anything that grants a free spell is probably a little too good coming with cantrips four other prepped/always ready spells plus a free cast of one from two more always prepped spells once /long rest andone more invocation.
    • Agonizing Blast: EB scales by warlock level, total nonissue. Great for no prereq invocation
    • Armor of Shadows: free mage armor casting without needing to prep or use a slot.... We don't yet know what the new mage armor will be but even with the old one No this is probably a little too good coming with cantrips four other prepped/always ready spells plus a free cast of one from two more always prepped spells once /long rest and one more invocation.
    • Beast Speech: Speak with animals igot screwy somewhere along the line. Back in 2e & 3.x it used to say things
      although the spell doesn’t make them any more friendly or cooperative than normal. Furthermore, wary and cunning animals are likely to be terse and evasive, while the more stupid ones make inane comments. If an animal is friendly toward you, it may do some favor or service for you.
      while now it just outright says:
      he knowledge and awareness of many beasts is limited by their intelligence, but at minimum, beasts can give you information about nearby locations and monsters, including whatever they can perceive or have perceived within the past day
      and it makes the GM look adversarial if the beast doesn't give good answers that lead to it being an unfun "ok lets go" solution
    • Devil's Sight:"Is the VTT going to require five thousand dollar alienware laptops or can we use normal computers?" ->"is that a feature you would want?" Removing the ability to limit sight radius in dark & similar conditions is a great way to ensure that much larger areas need to be rendered... Also for setups using a shared screen on the table it results in everyone having 120ft of vision that ignores darkness. "it's meant to be creepy so the dim light uncanny valley iffy middleground is intended." doesn't solve any problems & is the result of such hair splitting levels of word mincing that it makes the GM look adversarial if they actually ever push that line. Just set this to level 4-5 or something if the 120ft needs to stay. Add darkvision or 60ft one for no prereq & let PC's going mostly warlock swap it later for this.
    • Eldritch Spear: Links to EB & EB only scales by warlock level now
    • Eyes of the Runekeeper: If an ability forces the GM to write everything not written in common in the form of code or riddle it's probably too good for the dip
    • Hexer: 600ft range on hex & advantage on con saves to maintain concentration. Not sure how I feel about this but it's probably fine
    • Lesson's of the First Ones: Gain a first level feat of your choice?... no this is way too good for part of a dip on top of everything else the dip grants. It should absolutely have a higher prerequisite even if that results in feat+something else
    • Mask of Many Faces: Disguise Self without expending spell slots?... this only gets better the higher level the PC with it gets. This should absolutely not be available at level 2
    • Misty Visions: Cast Silent image without burning spell slots. cool, fits great for a very small part of a dip
    • Repelling Blast: EB scales by warlock level, total nonissue. Great for no prereq invocation
  • Non-Dip invocations:
    • Favor of the chain Master: This is really cool & I love almost all of them but at will charm & fear from fey/undead is almost certainly wayy too good
    • Gaze of two Minds: This is a really awesome ability that adds nice reciprocity within the party for things like helpung the scout(rogue) scout/watching their back or being in the room with the face type to maybe call for help while they are away from the group for whatever reason.
    • Gift of the protectors: I like the idea behind this but the 1hp yoyohealing thing no longer needs to exist, maybe change the result to warlock level HP or something & make it feel less like it's abusing an exploit in reality?
    • Lifedrinker: Kinda cool & the THP is nearly fitting with the sketchy arcane gish vibes
    • Master of myriad forms: natural weapons & aquatic adaptation are almost never the reason anyone casts alter self. They cast it to move around like mystique while confusing d&d for some kind of roguelike built to not leave every other player at the table in an unfun thumb twiddling state of background.
    • Mystic Arcanum: This is awesome for warlocks & high enough to not be just a small part of dip candy

I absolutely hated the old "built for multiclass munchkin builds warlock" and really love the new warlock! There are a couple areas that might need a boost & some of the invocations probably need tweaking to be inline with what is reasonable for a 2 level dip but this is off to setting a great foundation.
View attachment 283061
The changelog has been missing entries in every packet so far. I'm going to assume this one is too & comment on things beyond that short list that I feel deserve comment rather than painstakingly combing through making comparisons hoping I catch them all :D

  • Equipping & unequipping weapons: I started typing expecting to comment on something before even noticing it's an undocumented change ;). I like that the wording is still getting tightened up a bit with words like "either". I think that it might solve a lot of problems caused by the old wordings trying to squeeze in a fix for thrown weapons while still solving it since a thrown weapon is no longer in your hand to prevent simply drawing another after you throw it :D This might need some time for the dots to connect before any problems connect though.
  • Moving Between attacks: This really needs to be adjusted or we need actual tactical grid combat rules. Wanting to move around the battlefield between attacks is a desire I can understand & even sympathize/empathize with, but doing so with zero opportunity cost just destroys the tactical grid elements. Without 3.x style Provoke AoOs when moving through threatened squares +choice between single attack & full move/only 5ft step & full attack chain or some kind of penalty applied to attacks made after moving it just turns PCs into nightcrawler & it causes mindnumbingly unfun levels of teamwork dismissal.
  • Creature type: Living construct is missing and "because some rules in the game affect creatures of different types in different ways" those rules need to consider them from the start rather than trying to errata them back in for warforge & such.
  • Death Saves: "This playtest rule removes the notion of being stable at 0 Hit Points, and it removes the “Stabilizing a Creature” rule on page 197 of the Player’s Handbook." :D I don't know how to express how great this change is so linked the whole statement to legos dancing to "everything is awesome!" :D. There are too many holes in the selection of rules we have to say if this covers everything, but it provides a huge leap in the right direction.
  • Grappled: This is still off. You can ride any creature one size larger but unless the grappled creature is two sizes larger it can't simply drag the grappler around with it. either mount rules need adjusting or the two sizes/zero in this needs adjusting
  • Expertise: This makes a mockery at the efforts to impose bounded accuracy in 2014's rules & the DCs we've seen so far in the playtest packets continue the problem. The math can't support both & it's unfun trying to build & run mid to high level adventures with mid to high level PCs in a system designed around the capabilities of low to mid level PCs.
  • Heroic Advantage: Advantage is great for players yea, but 2014 dumped too much of the GM's toolbox in place of this hammer. GM's need other tools like numeric bonuses & Maybe more advanced optionslikre bonus types & slot affinities/conflicts with a character sheet built to support the slots better than the ask your gm or decide for yourself way the 2014 rules does it.
  • Knocking out a creature: stable at zero is gone, this kind of no cost retcon dead to captive in a system that leaves the captive NPC pretty much helpless once they awaken is a problem. Make an optional rule for something like strixhaven sure, but no player is going to complain if the GM only knocks out their otherwise dead PC or if the GM gives them the ability to choose to retcon a KO instead of dead.... the other way around won't be so smooth though.
  • Long & short rest: These still hurt my soul. I'm tired of having to manage competing short rest class vrs long rest class needs & desires across my group of players & this + this with rules that pretty much guarantee the rest will be successful eventually unless the GM invokes GM Fiat or trolls their players with hostility
  • Influence Action: ⭐(y)⭐
  • Truesight: Not sure how I feel about the change yet
Lots of improvement, some undocumented changes missed by the changelog, still a few areas that need work, & lots of areas we don't have enough filled in yet. Overall things are greatly improving I think :D

Voidrunner's Codex

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