5E How to fix "once (per long rest) using a warlock spell slot"?

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Okay, nobody likes this.

It feels underpowered compared to other invocation options. If I recall correctly, the justification given for the once per long rest limitation was to prevent spamming spells that would be problematic if you could do them repeatedly with short rests. Here are the relevant spells: compulsion, confusion, conjure elemental, slow, polymorph, bestow curse, bane. I can't see how any of those would be problematic, with the possible exceptions of conjure elemental and polymorph, and I don't even think those should be problems. Am I missing something obvious there?

There is at least one benefit of the phrasing--since you use a warlock spell slot it is automatically leveled. But that is small consolation for such a limitation. A couple of solutions I've thought of would be to either just add the spell to your spell list, or let you use it 1/long rest without spending a spell slot (but at the level of your spell slots). I'm not sure I'm completely happy with either of those. I'm sure there are others that can be thought up.

Does anyone have any suggestions that work well for you, or reasonable explanation for why this mechanic should stay as-is?
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
My preferred solution would be to make it once per long rest without spending a spell slot, but I've never seen anyone even remotely interested in them, so we never got around to house ruling.

I mean, at high levels, warlocks have plenty of once-per-long-rest-without-spending-a-spell-slot spells. Giving them the option to add a few more would be fairly consistent, at least.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I've always wondered if magical features such as these would be better served by being re-written so as to not be "spells". In other words, write up how these features work using the invocation name and not referencing back to the spell, and have the mechanics written up in a different format than your standard spell block? That way it really becomes its own magical thing, and not just another spell (even if the mechanics are the same?)

I understand why they use the spell system for these things (ease-of-use, ease-of-understanding)... but it does take away a bit of the flavor. If you could psychically befuddle someone once per long rest as a magical feature, would that feel different than just being able to cast the confusion spell?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
It is an interesting point.

I basically gloss over all of those Invocations because I'm not willing to waste such a precious resource as an Invocation on something I can only do 1/long rest.

OTOH spamming most of them can be problematic, especially the Elemental and Polymorph.

Then you have the "at-will" Invocations with disguise self, false life, silent image, & speak with animals. Those are all relatively "low-combat impact" spells though vs. any of the spells that are "using a slot 1/long rest".

I'm not sure if those spell options to me are even interesting enough to warrant an invocation for "1/LR at highest slot level".

If I want to conjure elementals, I'm not playing a Warlock. The only ones I can kind of see are compulsion or polymorph on an Archfey Pact Warlock just for the "mischievousness of the fey" theme.

Hypothetical - what if we said that they were instead "Twice per long rest by spending a spell slot you can cast XYZ"?

So it still takes that spell slot resource, but you can do it much more often, and it still doesn't seem like spam would be an issue.

I might be inclined at 5th level to take bane for instance if I could do it twice/long rest, at least for a couple of levels
 

Esker

Explorer
I think the biggest issue with these invocations is that they use a spell slot, which you have so few of to start with, not that they are limited to 1 / long rest. As it is, the only one I'd remotely consider taking is Sculptor of Flesh, just because Polymorph is so good. I'd like to see these phrased something like, "You know the X spell. You can cast it once at its lowest level without expending a spell slot. You regain the ability to cast the spell in this way when you finish a long rest." In other words, make them work like Magic Initiate when you pick from your own class list.

That way you can use your slots on these spells if you want, but you also get an extra daily casting that doesn't compete with your regular warlock spells (the latter being like a lower-level Mystic Arcana).

Too strong? I don't think so, but the way to tell would be whether you'd feel like these invocations become auto-picks with this rewording. I mean, seven uses of Polymorph per day at level 7 would be strong, but it would also mean you're not casting anything else; and you can still only use it on one character at a time. Is that that much better than six Banishments or Greater Invisibilities (for a Feylock), plus the choice of a different invocation?
 

Krachek

Adventurer
I see there an opening for a DM to offer a boon to a warlock player.
Your patron seem to be please, you can use this invocation, for now...
 

Asmerv

Villager
I'm in favor of these invocations letting you cast the spell 1/LR without using a spell slot, because:
1) It mimics mystic arcanum so it feels consistent
2) Allows Warlocks a bit of Nova flexibility for adventuring days that are 1 big combat and done
3) Feels good enough to be picked but not an automatic choice
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
For me, it depends on the spell/invocation. If the spell is a more problematic one that would harm the game if it could be spammed using warlock spell slots, I alter the invocation to be able to be cast at its base level once per long rest. If it is one that would not be so problematic, the invocation adds the spell to your warlock's known spells without counting against the warlock's normal number of spells known.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
If the spell is a more problematic one that would harm the game if it could be spammed using warlock spell slots,
Could you provide an example? Every spell on that list is already Concentration (though bestow curse eventually levels out of it). Can you provide an example of where a warlock being able to cast it with every one of their spell slots becomes problematic after 6 short rests or so, while a wizard being able to cast it using all their spell slots of 5th level or higher doesn't?
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Could you provide an example? Every spell on that list is already Concentration (though bestow curse eventually levels out of it). Can you provide an example of where a warlock being able to cast it with every one of their spell slots becomes problematic after 6 short rests or so, while a wizard being able to cast it using all their spell slots of 5th level or higher doesn't?
Yep. Conjure Elemental. Being able to summon an extra creature for nearly every fight would be problematic both as a DM that has to adjust for the extra "party member" and as the other players at the table that have to wait for the warlock to essentially almost always be taking two turns, or having to fight the elemental should the warlock lose concentration.

Polymorph is another one. Less so because you can change an enemy into something fluffy and weak (I can handle that). My issue with that spell is when the player wants to change themselves or an ally into something. That slows the game down trying to figure out the player's new stats, and even more if the player wants to go digging around the Monster Manual to find the perfect form within their target CR. I'll admit, I have a problem with this spell in general, and typically don't want to deal with it at all in my games. I also have strong opinions on any player mechanic that turns the Monster Manual into a player resource (Wild Shape, I'm looking at you!).

Those are the only two spells within the core PHB invocations that I have an issue with and would limit to 1/day.

When I say problematic, it's less so from the standpoint of a single combat, but more from the standpoint for how it could potentially effect every combat since a warlock can recharge those slots so easily.
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Those are the only two spells within the core PHB invocations that I have an issue with and would limit to 1/day.

When I say problematic, it's less so from the standpoint of a single combat, but more from the standpoint for how it could potentially effect every combat since a warlock can recharge those slots so easily.
What if they were 2 per Long Rest?

That would boost the invocations to something more desirable without blowing encounter design entirely.

Also... don’t worry about Conjure Elemental as much. Get the Warlock to lose concentration on it with a bunch of time on it and see how much fun they having fighting their own elemental AND the other monsters.

They’ll but much less frivolous with it after that.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
What if they were 2 per Long Rest?

That would boost the invocations to something more desirable without blowing encounter design entirely.
You can do what you like. But I wouldn't. Those are both 5th level spells. IMO they are powerful enough giving the warlock an additional 4th or 5th level spell slot once a day in exchange for an invocation. I've also said why those particular spells are problematic for me.

Also... don’t worry about Conjure Elemental as much. Get the Warlock to lose concentration on it with a bunch of time on it and see how much fun they having fighting their own elemental AND the other monsters.

They’ll but much less frivolous with it after that.
So then now in addition to:

1) the other players being annoyed by the warlock's constant pet with their own actions to resolve, slowing down combat and stealing the spotlight

2) the players being annoyed when the warlock loses control and they have a new enemy to deal with

And 3) the DM being annoyed by the warlock throwing off the encounter balance, you want to add

4) annoying the warlock player by having enemies purposely target him enough to lose concentration so frequently as to make him feel punished for choosing that particular invocation?

Sounds like no one wins in that scenario. As I said before, you can do what you like at your table. It's probably pretty different from mine. But I stated how I handle those invocations and why.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
The cost of a spell slot does seem annoying but I suppose you'll get the slot back for something else when you rest. Once per day at its lowest level without using a spell slot would not be that unbalanced though. You'd still be nowhere near as powerful as an average paladin.

Invocations are a great way to customise. I was looking at various shadow themed Warlock home-brew subclasses and one that took my fancy was one that gave access to phantasmal force once per short rest as a class feature. I already have silent image at will but the invocation descriptions left my wondering if once per short rest was too much, even if most Warlock abilities at that level are short rest abilities.

Would an invocation allowing you to cast it once per day be more balanced?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
You can do what you like. But I wouldn't. Those are both 5th level spells. IMO they are powerful enough giving the warlock an additional 4th or 5th level spell slot once a day in exchange for an invocation. I've also said why those particular spells are problematic for me.
I’m not talking about adding any extra slots. Keep the invocations as they are “You can cast {insert spall here} X using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.”

Where “X” currently reads “once”, Channing that to “twice”.

No extra slots they get per day, like it is right now, but they get the benefit of their invocation one more time per day.

So then now in addition to:

1) the other players being annoyed by the warlock's constant pet with their own actions to resolve, slowing down combat and stealing the spotlight

2) the players being annoyed when the warlock loses control and they have a new enemy to deal with

And 3) the DM being annoyed by the warlock throwing off the encounter balance, you want to add

4) annoying the warlock player by having enemies purposely target him enough to lose concentration so frequently as to make him feel punished for choosing that particular invocation?

Sounds like no one wins in that scenario. As I said before, you can do what you like at your table. It's probably pretty different from mine. But I stated how I handle those invocations and why.
If you as the DM haven’t considered that ability if the Warlock in your encounters if they have that invocation I dint know what to tell you.

If the other players at the table get annoyed by let actions I assume no one else has any familiars or hirelings or beast companions, or is playing any caster who has any of the conjure animals or fey or woodland beings or minor elementals or elementals spells?

I’ve never seen a conjured creature cause significant slow down at a table I’ve been at or run, but then I tell any players who use that spell that they need to know their pets abilities as much as their own. I also require players with polymorph to have a subset of things they’re likely to use and have those stats either down cold or on little cards they can toss to another PC. They also need to talk to those PCs they’re likely to use polymorph on semi-regularly to hash those details out ahead of time.

Part of my main jobs in a combat encounter as a DM, as I see it, is to keep combat flowing smoothly for everyone. By letting people who tie spells like these know they need to be prepared ahead of they want to use them, it does away with most of the “slow down” issues you bring up.

Also, I suggested the targeting them to lose concentration once or once in a while if you were finding their conjured elementals annoying for some reason.

I never said “frequently” or to the point that they feel punished for taking an invocation. That would be absurd.

I would find it odd or incongruous if the warlock never had to make concentration checks too though.

I’m here trying to offer suggestions on how to improve these invocations because I never see anyone take them before. Probably because there isn’t enough “bang for your buck” in them for many players. Invocations are pretty precious resources and dropping one on an invocation that lets you do something once per day seems... very underwhelming.

And it’s not just 4th/5th level spells this type of invocation applies to, there are 1st level spells that have it too. Bane... bane once per long rest. Really? That’s not even good at 3rd level when you can first access it.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
I’m not talking about adding any extra slots. Keep the invocations as they are “You can cast {insert spall here} X using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.”

Where “X” currently reads “once”, Channing that to “twice”.

No extra slots they get per day, like it is right now, but they get the benefit of their invocation one more time per day.
Sure, that's viable. But in my personal opinion, such an invocation should either add the spell to your spells known without limiting the number of times you could cast it, or allow you to cast it once per day at its most basic level without using spell slots or adding it to your spell list. The current way it is written tries to go in-between, and ends up combining the worst aspects of each into a single, terrible invocation.

If you as the DM haven’t considered that ability if the Warlock in your encounters if they have that invocation I dint know what to tell you.
It's actually the opposite. I've considered how this invocation would function at my table and how it would affect gameplay very carefully, and I have decided that allowing it more than once a day (and potentially once per every other encounter if it is just added to the warlock's spell list) is not worth the headache. It's not worth it to me as a DM, nor the other players. YMMV.

If the other players at the table get annoyed by let actions I assume no one else has any familiars or hirelings or beast companions, or is playing any caster who has any of the conjure animals or fey or woodland beings or minor elementals or elementals spells?
No, those have all been part of the game. Familiars, retainers, hirelings, conjured creatures, I find ways to manage it. But I have also very carefully adjusted such spells and situations, and they work very different at my table than elsewhere.

I’ve never seen a conjured creature cause significant slow down at a table I’ve been at or run, but then I tell any players who use that spell that they need to know their pets abilities as much as their own. I also require players with polymorph to have a subset of things they’re likely to use and have those stats either down cold or on little cards they can toss to another PC. They also need to talk to those PCs they’re likely to use polymorph on semi-regularly to hash those details out ahead of time.
Cool. It sounds like you've had more positive experiences with these spells at your table than what I've had. It also sounds like you have addressed how to use these spells and abilities in a way that works for you, just as I've done.

Part of my main jobs in a combat encounter as a DM, as I see it, is to keep combat flowing smoothly for everyone. By letting people who tie spells like these know they need to be prepared ahead of they want to use them, it does away with most of the “slow down” issues you bring up.
I feel like I'm talking in circles. But I agree that is a role for the DM. And I have not prohibited a player from using the spell. But I have adjusted the spell itself and with the invocation, the only difference is how frequently it can be cast. In my experience once in a while is less of a problem than multiple times a day.

Also, I suggested the targeting them to lose concentration once or once in a while if you were finding their conjured elementals annoying for some reason.

I never said “frequently” or to the point that they feel punished for taking an invocation. That would be absurd.
As a DM, I try to run my combatants in a way that makes sense. If they have a reason to single out the warlock or understand they could break his concentration, then I would do so. If I am running combatants to target that player's character simply because I am annoyed at how he is running his character, then I have my own issues to reflect on as a DM and I am at risk of placing my enjoyment of the game over the others' enjoyment.

I would find it odd or incongruous if the warlock never had to make concentration checks too though.
I never said they shouldn't have to make checks. But they shouldn't be targeted to make checks unless it makes sense in the game. If enemies are not smart enough to know that the warlock is controlling the creature or would know that attacking them might cause the warlock to lose control, then there is no reason for such enemies to try and single out the warlock.

I’m here trying to offer suggestions on how to improve these invocations because I never see anyone take them before. Probably because there isn’t enough “bang for your buck” in them for many players. Invocations are pretty precious resources and dropping one on an invocation that lets you do something once per day seems... very underwhelming.
I agree that they are problematic, but my issue as I said above is that they typically place a limit on castings AND require a spell slot. Make it one or the other and I see them as less of a problem. Some spells make sense to add to the spells known, while other spells seem more appropriate to leave as once per day. I personally find that conjure elemental and polymorph should be once per day, while the others can be added to the spell list.

And it’s not just 4th/5th level spells this type of invocation applies to, there are 1st level spells that have it too. Bane... bane once per long rest. Really? That’s not even good at 3rd level when you can first access it.
As I mentioned in my original post and follow-up to that post, of those invocations only the ones that deal with conjure elemental and polymorph are limited to once per day (also without requiring expending a spell slot). The others simply allow you to add the spell to your spells known, allowing you to use as many warlock spell slots as you have/want. So yes, in this particular discussion between you and I, only 4th and 5th level spells are relevant.
 
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MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I suspect some of these invocations are there mostly for NPC warlocks. Warlock is a particularly good class to add to monsters (ranged attack via EB, small number of spells to worry about, often thematically appropriate) and NPC warlocks really only have to worry about casting most spells once a day (or once period). Thus there isn't a need to fix any of these invocations, since they are actually fulfilling the goal set for them.
 

Gadget

Explorer
I think the designers were being over cautious. As per the OP the only one of those I would consider is Sculpter of Flesh for polymorph and Minions of Chaos for Conjure Elemental. And even those I'm not sure would be too bad if "spamable", due to the fact that Short Rests don't tend to come too often and things like a one minute casting time on Conjure Elemental tend to limit its applicability in most situations.

What I do just have it be once a day without requiring the the caster to expend a Warlock spell slot.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I prefer making it "once per day without a spell slot" rather than "add to spells known." Setting aside concerns about spammability (I don't see a problem with that in most of the invocations), I like having the invocation give you a separate resource. It adds variety to the adventuring day.
 

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