D&D (2024) Dear Team WotC: Better Pact Magic Fixes


Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
Something I just realized. All the pacts effectively get a "free" invocation at level 5.

Like pact of the tome gets agonizing blast for free (actually a slightly better).

So your really up 2 invocations over previous warlock.
I almost exclusively play warlocks and blade ones at that…

I see these free invocations and armor…

I have always been one invocation behind what I want. This is…interesting…

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I said this in the other thread, but that would be dissatisfying for me, because I would have to manage six spells over a whole adventuring day instead of two spells over an encounter or two. I don’t really like daily resource management, because it’s difficult for me to make good predictions over that time scale. I end up never using my spells because I’m constantly saving them for a theoretical future where I’ll need them more. (Ironic, since that is apparently the exact thing people complain about with current pact magic. Just seems so backwards to me.) With current pact magic, I only have to evaluate if I need to use a spell slot right now. I don’t have to stress about if I’ll need it more later because by then I’ll most likely have rested and gotten them back anyway.
That's very interesting! It never ceases to amaze me how players can look at a set of mechanics and react in the opposite way. Personally, 6 over the course of the day would feel better, because if I use one, I still have five left (or four, or three). I'd be much more likely to use one a fight. With just two, using one is 50% gone, until I get a chance to recharge (and I never know how many fights away that is).

Anyway, obviously this was not a well thought out plan in the first place. But I enjoyed reading your take on it, nonetheless!


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Nope. Any “solution” that turns warlocks into any variety of Vancian caster dishonors the class’s unique mechanical identity.
Yeup. The half caster + model is cool for a class that fits as a half caster, like artificer. The main thing I want to add to the artificer is infusions that cast spells or mimic their effects, granting you access to spells that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

But the warlock is a pact magic caster. Full stop. Fix short rests, for crying out loud.
I disagree. I think there are enough fans of the warlock as it currently functions that their attempt to Vancianize it won’t break the 80% satisfaction threshold. Maybe that’s overly optimistic of me, and if I’m wrong, 🤷‍♀️ there are other games out there.
Yeah I know the project I’m working on has a class that is kind of a variant warlock, and it keeps pact magic, albeit with prepared spells in a spellbook bc in this settings/game that is how most Spellcasting works, and the Anathemir is a ritualist and binder of power.

I might have to include an actual warlock variant if this goes through, as well.

Or deal with the real problem and delete the wizard.

Everything fun can't be done because their ever-widening butts are already in the slot.
You know, it sounds crazy at first blush, but there might be something to this. A lot of design space is unavailable because wizards (and sorcerers, and now warlocks) can use the entire Arcane list.

Not that the idea of a scholarly user of magic should be ditched, but the idea that such a scholar must be a Swiss Army knife of magic. Even wizard "specialists" are only half-heartedly specialized, they can still do everything.

As I said in another thread, the entire concept of the 1e Illusionist was destroyed by 2e school specialization, because the 1e Illusionist was forced to be sneaky. At least in 2e they couldn't get evocation spells - since 3e there's nothing stopping them from learning Fireball!

The sorcerer especially cries out for a tight, focused spell list, but I wouldn't mind something similar for wizards too. Different schools (meaning actual schools people learn from, not the "spell schools" we have now) of magic just plain teach things differently. Want to branch out into another school's way of doing things? Take a feat, or possibly even multiclass.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oh. Also.

You can take Mystic Arcanum to get spells at the same max level as a wizard.

So fireball at 5, and wish at 17 are still possible.
At the cost of invocations, with 1 added invocation, but really you have fewer invocations if you want anything remotely like a "mage".


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ok, so here is an out there suggestion (and I can already hear the screaming…heh):

If I understand correctly, the game expects most parties to get 2 short rests between long rests. This means a warlock can use their entire allotment of Pact Magic three times between long rests in an ideal situation.

So, how about we leave everything about Pact Magic the exact way it is. However, instead of recharging on a short rest, warlocks get triple the slots and recharge on a long rest.

Right now, a 5th level Warlock gets 2 max level slots, recharge on a short. Instead, they would get 6 max level slots, recharge on a long.

The amount of spells they can cast should be the same, without the warlock being dependent on begging for short rests, so it shouldn’t step on any other classes toes. This still means the Warlock needs to watch their resources, but frees them to Nova along with the other characters if needed. And they won’t be hindered if they are in an adventure that makes Short Rests prohibitive. Also, it removes the need to invent new abilities like “Channel Patron” or the like.

Anyway, just spitballing here. But if I’m right, the math works out the same, keeps the Pact Magic flavour, and removes the recharge angst.
Or they recharge with in-game time, say 1 slot per hour.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm thinking the issue is with half-caster progression in general, rather than the application of it to Warlocks. What if all half-casters worked this way.

Full caster spell slot progression, except the max slots per spell level is capped at 2 and you never get slots above 5th.

Warlocks then get the ability to replenish their two highest slots once or twice per day on a short rest.
Mystic Arcanum works the same way as in the playtest.

So at 10th level, you get 10 total slots (2 for each spell level up to 5), and if you choose, you add Mystic Arcanums for high level magic. You can also recharge your 2 5th level slots once or twice a day (or a 5th and a 4th, or whatever depending on when you choose to use your recharge and how many short rests you get.
,I do think that is how half casting (and 1/3 casting) should generally work.


Or they recharge with in-game time, say 1 slot per hour.
Recharge when your hex target dies?

Mage =\= wizard.

A mage is an arcane spellcaster whose primary mechanical niche is Spellcasting.
A wizard is an arcane spellcaster whose primary mechanical niche is spell casting.

So is a sorcerer.

It not pedantry. You have 2 classes that do what you want. Let the warlock be something else.

Especially since they never cast arcane spells to begin with. They had their own list (admittedly a very similar one).

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