D&D 5E Investment of the Chain Master: Sprite is the new Imp?

Dausuul

Legend
So, looking at the new warlock invocations in Tasha's, Investment of the Chain Master jumped out at me. Specifically, these two bits:
  • As a bonus action, you can command the familiar to take the Attack action.
  • If the familiar forces a creature to make a saving throw, it uses your spell save DC.
These are, uh... significant improvements. All of the special warlock familiars have potent debuffing attacks, but the save DCs are only 10-11, and you have to give up one of your own attacks to use them. This invocation removes both restrictions.

Now, familiars still have one big weakness, which is their abysmal hit point totals. Zipping in to engage big monsters in melee when you have 10 hit points or less is a risky plan. That's where the sprite comes in: Unlike quasits, imps, and pseudodragons, the sprite can attack at range. This allows it to snipe from the sidelines, duck behind cover, and take advantage of whatever tanking your party has to offer. It also has a quite respectable fly speed of 40, and the best attack bonus and AC of the lot (+6 and 15 respectively).

So, as long as you can keep your sprite alive, you now get a bonus-action attack each round: +6 to hit, and on a hit, the target takes 1 damage and has to make a Con save against your spell save DC. If it fails, it's poisoned... for the rest of the fight, with no chance to shake it off. If it fails by 5, it's also knocked unconscious! It can be woken up by damage or being shaken, but otherwise it's out for the full minute.

To be clear, I am not claiming this is OMGBROKEN: When all's said and done, the sprite still only has 2 hit points. One stray arrow or AoE and it's out. But if you can land just one of those poison hits per combat, I'd say the invocation has more than paid for itself. And if you can in fact keep the sprite alive, it will be devastating.

DMs with warlock players using Tasha's: If you feel it's unsporting to target a familiar in combat, you may wish to reconsider that attitude. :)
 
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Zerdal

Explorer
There is one downside: many monsters are immune to poison, so the potential of this invocation depends on a campaign. If you know you will face mostly humanoids, it's powerfull, for sure. Also, while imps have devil's sight, sprites don't even have darkvision, which is also a problem.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
It is undoubtedly very powerful, and takes Pact of the Chain from a solid utility option with niche combat applications to a top-notch combat option. Im pretty ok with that though, as it encourages combat-focused warlocks to go down different paths than hex and EB spam.
 

Dausuul

Legend
There is one downside: many monsters are immune to poison, so the potential of this invocation depends on a campaign. If you know you will face mostly humanoids, it's powerfull, for sure. Also, while imps have devil's sight, sprites don't even have darkvision, which is also a problem.
Poison immunity is an issue, yes, but it's concentrated in a few particular creature types. It isn't that you have to be facing "mostly humanoids," it's that you have to be not facing "mostly undead" or "mostly demons.*"

As for darkvision, it's no different from having a human or a halfling in the party. Needing to carry a light source is very common. Even if you do have darkvision on everybody, that Perception penalty is a killer if the DM remembers to enforce it.

*Or constructs or elementals, I suppose, but how many campaigns feature those as the majority of antagonists?

It is undoubtedly very powerful, and takes Pact of the Chain from a solid utility option with niche combat applications to a top-notch combat option. Im pretty ok with that though, as it encourages combat-focused warlocks to go down different paths than hex and EB spam.
It kinda doesn't, though. EB/hex spam works quite nicely with Investment of the Chain Master. You do have to skip the poison attack on any round where you lock hex onto a new target, but you aren't likely to be switching targets once a round or even once every two rounds.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/They)
It kinda doesn't, though. EB/hex spam works quite nicely with Investment of the Chain Master. You do have to skip the poison attack on any round where you lock hex onto a new target, but you aren't likely to be switching targets once a round or even once every two rounds.
Good point. For some reason I was thinking of hex taking up the bonus action every turn. Probably because I’m used to Hex/EB Warlocks taking Maddening Hex.
 

Poison immunity is an issue, yes, but it's concentrated in a few particular creature types. It isn't that you have to be facing "mostly humanoids," it's that you have to be not facing "mostly undead" or "mostly demons.*"
Or "mostly constructs".

Which covers most of the monsters in your typical dungeon.
 


If you look at the summon x spells in tasha's there is a definite air of debuffing being the role of pokemon master. With them (I think) being all 1hr no concentration it seems like they may have accepted that 5e concentration tags on spells was at least overused to the point that the debuffing roles in the party were overly restricted to an unappealing degree thar ustified a second stab at it before they are ready for a 5.5.

I don't know how I feel about the pokemon gym leader feel, but with each summon x spell being able to summon a few different critters and each critter having some different options for attacking/debuffing it returns some of the much needed flexibility thst was lost going from vancian per slot prep to spontaneous slots from select spells known till they are willing to pull the trigger on 5.5
 

BacchusNL

Explorer
If you look at the summon x spells in tasha's there is a definite air of debuffing being the role of pokemon master. With them (I think) being all 1hr no concentration it seems like they may have accepted that 5e concentration tags on spells was at least overused to the point that the debuffing roles in the party were overly restricted to an unappealing degree thar ustified a second stab at it before they are ready for a 5.5.

I don't know how I feel about the pokemon gym leader feel, but with each summon x spell being able to summon a few different critters and each critter having some different options for attacking/debuffing it returns some of the much needed flexibility thst was lost going from vancian per slot prep to spontaneous slots from select spells known till they are willing to pull the trigger on 5.5
All new summon spells require concentration, my dude. I was a bit confused at first with what you ment with "pokemon master" but yeah...walking around with like 5 summoned creatures at the same time would be kind of OP.
 

All new summon spells require concentration, my dude. I was a bit confused at first with what you ment with "pokemon master" but yeah...walking around with like 5 summoned creatures at the same time would be kind of OP.
Thanks, I overlooked the little symbol so it probably changes sme of what I wrote & makes the summon x spells a lot less nicer. The change definitely bumps the value of quasit with 1/day fear & shoves the really powerful gazer familiar variant (volos126) up to completely absurd
1605889529239.png
The sad thing is that if not for EB it might be ok having familiars at that power level for chain pact.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Thanks, I overlooked the little symbol so it probably changes sme of what I wrote & makes the summon x spells a lot less nicer. The change definitely bumps the value of quasit with 1/day fear & shoves the really powerful gazer familiar variant (volos126) up to completely absurd
The sad thing is that if not for EB it might be ok having familiars at that power level for chain pact.
The gazer certainly gets a big boost. On the other hand, a gazer familiar is basically a magic item. You can't just announce that you're taking a gazer as your familiar; you have to go out and find one, and then you have to get it to agree, both of which require the DM's active participation.
 

The gazer certainly gets a big boost. On the other hand, a gazer familiar is basically a magic item. You can't just announce that you're taking a gazer as your familiar; you have to go out and find one, and then you have to get it to agree, both of which require the DM's active participation.
yea but chain pact can take a
1605893806691.png

1605893781568.png
I also don't have a lot of hope that wotc won't give warlocks an invocation to take the gazer at some point. I have a higher expectation that it will come with an aspect of the moon almost bt not quite coffeelock so fight with your gm technicality if they did.
 

Dausuul

Legend
The quasit's pretty reasonable, though. Scare is basically cause fear (a 1st-level spell) with disadvantage on the ongoing save. That's a solid ability, but the 1/day limitation means you have to really pick your moment to use it.

Likewise, the poison claw gets an ongoing save to end the effect. Even with the increased save DC, most opponents will shake it off in a couple rounds. The sprite's poison has no ongoing save: Once it gets you, you're got. (Pseudodragon sting is even nastier, with a 1-hour duration instead of 1 minute, but the pseudodragon has to enter melee to use it.)
 

J-H

Hero
Taking the Attack Action is not the same as using Scare or Eye Rays, unless the DM says it is. The Gazer doesn't benefit from this at all, and the Quasit has to be in melee to use its poison.
 

BacchusNL

Explorer
Taking the Attack Action is not the same as using Scare or Eye Rays, unless the DM says it is. The Gazer doesn't benefit from this at all, and the Quasit has to be in melee to use its poison.
I'm not 100% sure how it's worded but I think that when you get the attack option with a stat-block monster you just get to choose one of the options listed, following rules like "Multi-attack: 2x claw, 1 bite, 1 tail attack" or "once per short rest" ofcoarse. If a monster has 2 options listed under it's attack you get to choose one per attack round. Otherwise Scare and Eye Rays might aswell be flavour text.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I'm not 100% sure how it's worded but I think that when you get the attack option with a stat-block monster you just get to choose one of the options listed, following rules like "Multi-attack: 2x claw, 1 bite, 1 tail attack" or "once per short rest" ofcoarse. If a monster has 2 options listed under it's attack you get to choose one per attack round. Otherwise Scare and Eye Rays might aswell be flavour text.
By the book, Scare and Eye Rays are not attacks (no attack roll = not an attack); but that actually makes them easier to use.

Normal familiars can't attack at all. Chain Pact warlocks can only lift that restriction by sacrificing one of their own attacks or (with Investment of the Chain Master) using a bonus action. But a familiar can take non-attack actions without restriction. So if you're going strict RAW, a gazer familiar can blast away happily without the warlock having to do anything at all.

Personally, I would be inclined to treat Eye Rays as an attack for a gazer familiar. Perhaps not Scare, since it's only 1/day.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
So, as long as you can keep your sprite alive, you now get a bonus-action attack each round: +6 to hit, and on a hit, the target takes 1 damage and has to make a Con save against your spell save DC. If it fails, it's poisoned... for the rest of the fight, with no chance to shake it off. If it fails by 5, it's also knocked unconscious! It can be woken up by damage or being shaken, but otherwise it's out for the full minute.

Correction. If the save result is 5 or less, the target is knocked unconscious. They have a strange wording.

The bonus action poison condition is still fairly strong, but increasing the DC does not make it more likely for the to fall unconscious, and a since it is the result, a creature with a +3 save only does so when they role a 1 or a 2, which is very very unlikely.
 

Thanks, I overlooked the little symbol so it probably changes sme of what I wrote & makes the summon x spells a lot less nicer. The change definitely bumps the value of quasit with 1/day fear & shoves the really powerful gazer familiar variant (volos126) up to completely absurd
The sad thing is that if not for EB it might be ok having familiars at that power level for chain pact.
The familiar variants from the MM and Volo are not the same as a familiar from a find familiar spell. A Gazer familiar does act independently and has its free will. It is not a spirit bound by you which takes the form of a creature.
 


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