D&D 5E Adapting the Warlock Chassis for other Classes

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Check out D&D 4E. That's literally where the warlock class design was lifted from. 4E at-wills became 5E cantrips. 4E encounter powers became 5E short-rest spell slots. 4E daily powers became 5E long-rest spell slots. There are dozens and dozens of classes to pick apart and port over.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
As said, Ranger excels here.

Patron - Conclave (the original faction they join and receive their tutelage and secrets from)

Pact - Favored Foe (each creature type gives GENERIC abilities, and you can also share these abilities with your party)

Cantrip - Ranger's Tricks (special reactions the ranger can do)

Spells Known -- Prepared Spells, sorry but I like it on Rangers

Invocations -- Primal Lessons (special abilities that interface with the many different ranger identities, allowing things like Beast Master or Ritual Casting or special types of movement)
I like it very much.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Check out D&D 4E. That's literally where the warlock class design was lifted from. 4E at-wills became 5E cantrips. 4E encounter powers became 5E short-rest spell slots. 4E daily powers became 5E long-rest spell slots. There are dozens and dozens of classes to pick apart and port over.
I mentioned 4E in my OP. For the fighter I think looking at martial powers in the place of Spells is a good start
 


EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
To help divorce things from being Warlock-specific, I propose referring to the "Warlock" approach as the "Split-subclass" model (or "split subclass with customization" to be really specific). You have five major components to this model:

  • A major subclass, which defines both overall theme and core subclass mechanics.
  • A minor subclass, which focuses in on some specific part of play (e.g. specific approaches to combat, bonus utility effects, additional support features, alternative stat bonuses, etc.)
  • A short list of frequently-recharging (e.g. short-rest or per-encounter) resources.
  • A slowly but steadily growing set of bonuses or alternate options, selected from a pool with level prerequisites, allowing customizability within/between the major and minor subclasses.
  • Higher-level, more-powerful tools on a more restrictive resource budget (e.g. once per day, or only by expending resources that accrue slowly, etc.)

This model is helpful for a variety of reasons. The split subclass allows a great deal of freedom of mechanical expression, moreso than the rather limited variation WRT fighting styles or the like. E.g., using the split-subclass Fighter example above, the Samurai major subclass defines your tools (e.g. quick-draw bonuses, "nobility" skills/tools, peerless accuracy, etc.), while your minor subclass defines your approach (one big weapon, a single one-handed weapon and a free hand or offhand weapon, archery, etc.) This allows more mechanical impact than mere fighting styles because the customizable nature can extend beyond just the initial choice, but does not force such investment if the player would prefer other things.
For my (still pure-concept) Warlord proposal, the major subclass might be called your "Combat Focus" or the like, corresponding to the methods the character favors using. This could include things like "Sapper" (military engineer and trickster), Skirmisher (lightly armed and armored high-mobility combatant), Vanguard (heavily armed and armored front-line leader), Mastermind (delegation and facilitation over direct participation), Knight-Enchanter (specialist in effective use of battlefield magic), etc. This would be where the bulk of your subclass mechanics arise, as this is the overall theme or concept you're wanting to implement.

By contrast, the minor subclass might be called your "Leadership Style." This sets which of the three mental ability scores is your Leadership modifier, fueling the rest of your class and subclass abilities, and giving an overall ethos rather than a specific method. The three concepts I have as of now are Bravura (Charisma-based, high-risk/high-reward), Resourceful (Wisdom-based, extra healing and/or status-removing effects), and Cunning (Intelligence-based, extra mitigation and buff effects).

Between the two, you get a class flexible enough to potentially want any of the six stats. A Bravura Vanguard Warlord will want Strength, Charisma, and Constitution, as she's mixing it up on the front lines and intentionally taking risks for payoff. A Cunning Mastermind will want Intelligence, Wisdom, and Dexterity, to spot weak points, foresee enemy behavior, and avoid incoming attacks. A Resourceful Skirmisher will want Wisdom, Dexterity, and Constitution to apply both triage help and targed harrying, able to get in, deal with the immediate threat, and get back out again. Etc.

Likewise, I have a much more developed concept for a Summoner based on the split-subclass model. Mine channels the secret power of hidden constellations, and thus has a lot of astronomical imagery, but it's very heavily inspired by the PF Summoner. Major subclass is your Astral Sign, which defines how you relate to your "Visitant," an eldritch being from a distant plane of reality that is working with you (or using you, if yours is malevolent) to understand and experience the mortal world. The three Signs I've (partially) developed are the Sign of the Protean (ultra-adaptive Visitant that can reshape itself to each need), the Sign of the Muses (high support subclass, with a Visitant better at buffing and healing than getting directly involved), and Sign of the Chimaera (merge with your Visitant instead of summoning it independently). Spell slots work the same way, though the 6-9 slots are called "Esoteric Asterisms" rather than "Mystic Arcana." And Invocations become Evolutions, which alter and adapt your Visitant in various ways.
 


EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Warlock Remix sounds cooler than "Split-Subclass" so imma calla these Warlock Remixes of other classes.
My main issue is that calling it "Warlock Remix" primes people to immediately presume that the resulting class MUST BE not just magical, but an outright spellcaster. I've already dealt with like...four or five people immediately presuming that in just one thread. "Split-subclass" emphasizes that it's the overall mechanical structure, not necessarily specifically spells and magical boons and cantrips etc.
 

My main issue is that calling it "Warlock Remix" primes people to immediately presume that the resulting class MUST BE not just magical, but an outright spellcaster. I've already dealt with like...four or five people immediately presuming that in just one thread. "Split-subclass" emphasizes that it's the overall mechanical structure, not necessarily specifically spells and magical boons and cantrips etc.
You're completely correct, but Split-subclass just doesn't have any rizz for me. What else you got?
 


Quickleaf

Legend
Note: This says 5E on the tin, but I include all 5E variants in that -- so ToV, A5E and whatever else.

I have been mentioning and thinking about this for a while: the warlock chassis, that is the basic mechanical structure of the class, seems to me to be the best overall structure in 5E. More importantly, I think it is a highly malleable design and think that it could be used to create lots of different classes on that same chassis, including both martial and caster classes.

So what I would like this thread to be is a discussion about how to best do that. The ultimate goal for me in this thread will be to build a better fighter using the warlock chassis, but I want to hear what folks think (or have done, design wise) with the warlock chassis otherwise.
I hope it’s alright if I jump right toward your goals? Not in a way to undermine your premise, but to get clear about what you’re asking and how I/we might help.

I have homebrewed 2 classes - my own Fighter (with “Heroic Deeds” focused on non-combat abilities) and a Warden (spell-less ranger with “Wildcrafts”) - that apply this “Warlock Invocation” approach. And I’ve done a variant paladin that trades spells for holy invocations.

I guess I’m wondering what you’re looking for? Would specific examples of homebrew implementations help? Do you want to create some typological breakdown of warlock invocations to distill patterns for your own use? Do you want to discuss ideas for fighter invocations, with you giving some context about your homebrew fighter, so we can pitch ideas toward that context?
 

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