D&D 5E A Quick Guide to Eldritch Adept

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Eldritch Adept is a feat in TCOE which allows you to gain a Warlock invocation, and to change it whenever you gain a level. If you are a warlock, this adds to the number of invocations you have, increasing your flexibility as a warlock; you don’t need this guide, however, and have more options available to you. If you are not, you must have the Spellcasting feature and the invocation must have no prerequisites.

The requirement of Spellcasting is distinct from the prerequisite for Spell Sniper and Warcaster, which is “the ability to cast at least one spell” (PHB). Those feats are available to a High Elf or a Tiefling, for example, or someone with the Magic Initiate or Ritual Caster feat. Eldritch Adept is only available to Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, or Wizard characters, or a Ranger 2+, Paladin 2+, a Rogue 3+ (Arcane Trickster), or Fighter 3+ (Eldritch Knight). Indeed, it’s easier to say who cannot take the feat: Barbarians, Fighters (excluding Eldritch Knights), Monks, Rogues (excluding Arcane Tricksters), and Rangers and Paladins at level 1 – if they get a feat from being a variant human (PHB) or having a custom lineage (TCOE), for example.

Rankings are coloured as follows
  • Gold is for something that is must-have
  • Sky Blue for an excellent choice
  • Blue for a consistently good choice
  • Black for something that is useful for many but there are usually better choices
  • Purple for things that won’t help most characters but could som,etimes come in handy
  • Red for for things to avoid, where there is always a better choice
There are twelve options available to non-Warlocks. Three options produce results that are worse than other existing feats:

Beguiling Influence. Gain proficiency with Deception and Persuasion. This is objectively worse than the Skilled feat (which gives you three proficiencies), which is one of the weaker feats available. Skill Expert is better skill, giving you +1 to any ability, proficiency in one skill and expertise in the same skill or another one.

Eldritch Mind (TCOE). Advantage on Constitution saves to maintain concentration. This is objectively worse than the Warcaster feat, which would give you advantage, removes the need for a free hand to cast somatic components, and lets you use a spell as an opportunity attack. In almost every circumstance it is also worse than Resilient (Constitution), which adds your proficiency bonus to all constitution saves and gives you +1 Con (characters whose first level was Barbarian, Fighter, or Sorcerer have this ability already).

Thief of Five Fates. Cast bane once per long rest. This is objectively worse than the Fey Touched feat, which would allow you to cast bane, and misty step, add them to your spells known, and give you +1 to your casting stat.

Two options produce results that are not going to be worth a feat for almost every character (yes, there will be exceptions):

Eyes of the Runekeeper. Read [and understand] all writing. This ability would completely revolutionize my real life, but its benefit in game is limited. The ability replicates part of comprehend languages as an at-will ability (awesome), without that spell’s requirement to touch the writing surface (a limit designed to allow one benefit for the skywrite spell?). Most campaigns will not hinge on the ability to read a particular text, however, which means it has a cool factor but is probably not worth a feat. Note also that you can only read what is there: you may be able to decipher a long-lost language or secret code, fragmentary texts would not be magically completed.

Gaze of Two Minds. Touch someone willing as an action and perceive through their senses (action to sustain for each turn past the first). Again, this is a cool ability that would be great for spying, detective work, and let us see the world through our pets’ eyes, but the requirement for using your action every turn means that its benefit is limited.

The remaining options allow you to cast one spell at will, without expending a spell slot and without needing material components:

Armor of Shadows. Cast mage armor at will. This is an excellent option, that means you can effectively have an armor class of 13+DEX at all times. This is better than all light armor options, and most medium armor options (of armors that don’t give disadvantage for stealth, for a character with a DEX of 15 or less, only Breastplate is better without tying up other feats). The same effect can be achieved by being a Lizardfolk or with a one-level dip multiclassing as a dragon sorcerer (which also gives you spellcasting and, if it’s your first level, proficiency in constitution saves). This is better than taking Magic Initiate for mage armor, since it means you are effectively armored if attacked while resting, etc. (I’ve seen characters take mage armor with Magic Initiate, but the player’s goal was to get attack cantrips; mage armor was a bonus, because the player didn’t want to take find familiar). Warlocks do not otherwise have access to this spell.

Beast Speech. Cast speak with animals at will. While the ability is useful in some campaigns, choosing this option means you expect to be casting it more than once per long rest (otherwise Magic Initiate is a better choice, with two cantrips as well). Unless this is your hook for what makes your character interesting (e.g. Dr. Doolittle), I would not consider this. If you were still considering it anyway, why are you not a forest gnome? Warlocks do not otherwise have access to this spell, but they do not miss it.

Devil’s Sight. 120’ darkvision, through magical and nonmagical darkness. Darkvision is a remarkably useful ability, regardless of how strict your DM is with disadvantage-in-dim-light perception rolls. Many races start with this ability, for whom this option increases the range (for any except a twilight cleric) and allows you to see through magical darkness. This makes the darkness spell even more effective for sorcerers and wizards who can cast darkness, since (for you) its effect is unidirectional. The darkness spell also creates the cool sense that magical darkness is not merely the absence of light, but a positive substance that fills the air. This ability is even more beneficial for races that don’t have darkvision. This is better than having a second-level spell available at will, but the ability can be exceeded with a one-level dip as a twilight cleric. (Devil’s Sight is more useful for some warlocks, who can also cast darkness and do not have the darkvision spell available to them.)

Eldritch Sight. Cast detect magic at will. This is a remarkably powerful ability, effectively giving your character an extra sense with a range to 30’. This is a spell every party wants available, and you have it any time you wish. It is arguable less useful for Rangers, Clerics, and any character more likely to have concentration spells they want to keep active. It is more useful for warlocks, who do not otherwise have access to this spell.

Fiendish Vigor. Cast false life on self at will. Each casting gives you 1d4+4 temporary hit points (THP) for an hour. The unlimited casting and the rule that the player chooses whether to keep any THP they have or accept a new number means that one can cast the spell multiple times on oneself each hour, and with less than a minute’s work, have 8 THP (there’s a 94% chance to roll a 4 over ten rounds). This is an optimal benefit from the spell, and you can take 5-8 THP during combat for your action should you wish (though for most characters it will be more advantageous to dodge and impose disadvantage on any incoming attacks). While the 8 THP don’t add to the THP from other sources (such as the Inspiring Leader feat), this is a solid benefit that will always provide a buffer and reduce your dependence on healing magic.

Mask of Many Faces. Cast disguise self at will. An illusion to change your physical appearance is fun, but is not going to revolutionize your day-to-day life as an adventurer unless your M.O. is regularly to use deception and disguise. Again, is this something you will need more than once per long rest? If not, then consider Magic Initiate (Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard) or a one-level dip in any of those classes. It is more useful for warlocks, who do not otherwise have access to this spell.

Misty Visions. Cast silent image at will. An illusion to create an illusion up to 15’ cube in size is fun, and can create the appearance of cover or obstacles or difficult terrain. Even if it eats up the action of a single opponent to see through it (it will often be more than that), the fact that you can cast it without regard to limited spell slots makes it potentially very useful. Again, though, you need to ask is this something you will need more than once per long rest, and to which you are willing to devote your concentration? If not, then consider Magic Initiate (Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard) or a one-level dip in any of those classes. It is less useful for Rangers, Clerics, and any character more likely to have concentration spells they want to keep active It is more useful for warlocks, who do not otherwise have access to this spell.

There are five excellent options, replicating (or exceeding) the at-will casting of mage armor, darkvision, detect magic, false life, and silent image. With these options, even if the spell is on your class spell list, the feat is worth considering since multiple castings per day can be expected. What truly elevates the feat is the flexibility that it offers over a character’s career: if something isn’t working for you, you can change it. A character who chooses Armor of Shadows (for example) might no longer need it if they find an enchanted suit of armor that works for their character, but they can choose Eldritch Sight or some other ability to take its place. There will always be something useful, for any character. It may not always enhance your ability to kill things, but it is a way to gain as character-defining ability that will always be useful to you.
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It is worth noting (not because there is any error on this point above, but because it is a common point of confusion) that the specific wording "If the invocation has a prerequisite, you can choose that invocation only if you’re a warlock and only if you meet the prerequisite" means that if you are not a warlock you can not take any invocation with prerequisites, even if you otherwise meet them. This means that the Eldritch Blast upgrade invocations are off-limits even to those who have otherwise acquired Eldritch Blast sans Warlock levels.

As for the ratings I would rate both Mask of Many Faces and Beast Speech better as invocations that can really define a character (honestly as someone not generally into the whole Warlock vibe they are the options that appeal to me most). While the point that you rarely need to cast them more than once is well taken, that is using them as people normally do, and when you can cast them at will you potentially use them differently. Someone who can cast Speak with Animals once a day, or as a ritual, can ply a squirrel for information once and a while. Someone who can just cast it at will can be in constant communication with all the party's mounts and pets. Meanwhile one use of Disguise Self is often all you need when the plan goes right, but being able to assume another identity when the plan goes sideways ups the freedom from consequences factor tremendously. At will also makes it something you can use for minor cosmetic changes to your character, be it for practical purposes (hide your weapon, the macguffin, etc.) or otherwise. The real issue with Mask of Many Faces is that a DM who is into letting it be effective enough to be worthwhile is also a DM who is probably willing to let you find a Hat of Disguise. But they are both invocation choices that defy easy ratings. A player who is into them enough to take them will find ways to use them.

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