Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #14: Warlock

Welcome to the 14th Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of the game’s warlock class.

warlock_-_Guilherme_Sommermeyer.jpg



And when you're ready, please take the playtest survey to give us feedback!

 
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JonM

Explorer
Ooops! I just noticed another minor goof. Wish I'd noticed this just a few minutes sooner, before you re-uploaded.

"At 2nd level, you gain an eldritch
invocation of your choice."

Actually, you don't. The 2nd level choice is an "Any". An "Eldritch" specific choice doesn't show up until later, on the chart.
 

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TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
Pact of The Blade is redundant with Eldritch Scythe. Rather than allowing you to do what you can already do, let it instead upgrade melee attacks in some way.
I don't think I'd say that. Being able to use magic weapons or weapon-specific feats (assuming those are in A5E) with your spellcasting stat is a meaningful upgrade over Eldritch Scythe. Plus, using your weapon with combat maneuvers or anything else that requires an Attack action over a melee spell attack.

Just looking at Tier 1, a Pact Blade user with Lifedrinker will be doing 2d6+3+3, 13 avg, an Eldritch Scythe attack will be doing 1.5x(1d8+3), avg 11.3, assuming 2 enemies in range. And the Pact Blade can switch to a Heavy Crossbow as an action; the Eldritch Scythe user needs to take an invocation to gain access to Eldritch Ray for ranged attacks.

This isn't to say I don't have issues with Pact Blade as written in this playtest. I don't like that its progression is completely orthogonal to Eldritch Blast progression, since EB progression is major part of the design. My personal solution would be an invocation that allows you to mix in attacks with the Pact Blade with uses of Eldritch Blast, 1 attack at level 5 and 2 attacks at level 11. I think Tasha's Bladesinger showed there's a lot of room to mix together attacks and spells in the action economy for gishes.

Also, the spell points are less interesting than pact magic. Include a way to regain a slot between short rests, or something, or IDK what, but ditching pact magic is a hard pass for me.
This is one of those aesthetic things that's going to come down to surveys. I like the spell points, personally, although the auto-scaling spell slots have their charms. If they go back to spell slots, I definitely think the "grant one spell" invocations should be a 1/LR free cast to allow for more caster-heavy warlocks (a house rule I've used in my own games that works great).
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
Ooops! I just noticed another minor goof. Wish I'd noticed this just a few minutes sooner, before you re-uploaded.

"At 2nd level, you gain an eldritch
invocation of your choice."

Actually, you don't. The 2nd level choice is an "Any". An "Eldritch" specific choice doesn't show up until later, on the chart.
Yea, I noticed that one too. I think the writer meant to use eldritch as a flavor adjective, rather than the [Eldritch] keyword. But since Eldritch is a keyword, it shouldn't be used in any rules text as flavor.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Yay! Warlocks! You know, it's weird. As much as I like warlocks, I've only played one once, and I'm still only at second level. Oh well. Let's read:

First off: "Inconspicuous Civilian Kit." 🤣

Eldritch Blast: I see that you're making Eldritch Blast into a class ability, which, good. However, it's now more annoying because you still lose a cantrip to it. Maybe give warlocks a choice of Prestidigitation, Druidcraft, or Thaumaturgy for free as well.

Suggestion 1: Scythe can do 1d10 damage to one person or 1d6 to two people.

Suggestion 2: how about an Eldritch Whip, low-ish damage but with an grapple and pull-closer/move around ability?

Also: Eldritch Spasm? Neat.

Spell Points: So you're not required to cast spells at their highest level anymore? That was one of the warlock's things. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of spell points in general--too much math (I'm lazy). I'm not entirely sure how I feel about these changes yet. I don't hate them; I'm just not sure.

OTOH, It does make pact magic quite a bit different from regular magic, which helps to differentiate the classes well.

Spellcasting Ability: We aren't locked into Charisma anymore! Yes! Approve.

Pact of the Chain: A suggestion: instead of saying that you can pick from those options, create a standard creature statblock with a few different abilities and let the warlock make their own. Maybe like the new Summon spells from Tasha. If your familiar is fey, it has ability A or B. If your familiar is a fiend, it has ability C or D. If your familiar is an aberration, it has ability E or F. And so on.

I may make up a statblock like that anyway for my games.

Invocations: So far, I'm liking the new invocations quite a bit. I'm eager to see those patron tokens, and Spellbinding Contract fills me with evil glee. But I'd like to make a suggestion: an invocation that lets you change the damage type of your EBs to something else, or lets you switch it between force and something else at will.

Basically, one of the biggest beefs with EB I've seen is that you get locked into doing the same thing each round. At least a fighter can change weapons! But if you could instead use the same ability to create a fiery/freezing/corrosive/etc. ability, that would give a lot of freedom, even if it's mechanically the same (and even though force is technically better because very little resists it).

Knacks: Not entirely sure I like that some of the knacks were once invocations. That doesn't feel very exploration-y to me.

Whiff of the Beyond: This seems awfully powerful. Other classes that have had similar abilities have limited it (IIRC) to one of those types and let you take the knack repeatedly for other types. You might want to tone it down. As it is, it's more useful than detect evil and good.

Which, by the way, does this now only detect Evil- and Good-tagged creatures and places? Is there a detect law and chaos now as well?

So far, pretty good. I'll make up a character or two and do the survey.
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
The spell points seem a bit off, around 5th - 6th level. Traditionally, a warlock can cast two 3rd level spells at 5th, i.e. 10 spell points. But they get only 7 at 5th and 8 at 6th - much weaker. I get that their spell points tend to be a bit lower, to make up for the versatility, but the difference is less extreme at every other level. It also makes for a sudden leap between 6th and 7th. In every way, wouldn't it make more sense to get around 8 at 5th and 9 or 10 at 6th?
Yea, I agree here. The general pattern at the other levels is to have enough spell points to cast a max level and max level -1 spell at odd levels, and 2 max level spells at even levels. That would mean a 5th level warlock should have 8 sp, and 10 for a 6th level warlock.

Now, I can see why you wouldn't want to do that; 5th level already gives EB scaling, 3rd level spell access AND a new invocation. But I think keeping the progression nice and even warrants the slight power increase.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Eldritch Blast: I see that you're making Eldritch Blast into a class ability, which, good. However, it's now more annoying because you still lose a cantrip to it. Maybe give warlocks a choice of Prestidigitation, Druidcraft, or Thaumaturgy for free as well.

I'd go with light/dancing lights or similar with some spooky fluff shading, you don't notice the scratchings of a madman in the margins are actually a ritual to gain power quickly in a well lit room or under the purifying warm glow of a candle
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Now, I can see why you wouldn't want to do that; 5th level already gives EB scaling, 3rd level spell access AND a new invocation. But I think keeping the progression nice and even warrants the slight power increase.
Warlocks already got those things in 05e at 5th, so that shouldn't be an issue to give them an extra spell point or two.
 

maceochaid

Explorer
Love all of this! Brilliant. However, there seems to be some confusion around the new tagged invocations. So I'm wondering if for clarity the "Eldritch invocations" and "Court Invocations" could be shunted to the class features:

6th level Improved Eldritch Blast: (Eldritch Blast Invocations as options)
4th level Patron's Court Secrets (Court Invocations as class feature options, receive an additional option at 10th)

Then there could be these invocations

Eldritch adept: choose an improved Eldritch blast option you don't currently possess even if you have not received this feature yet, must meet other requirements for the Eldritch blast option.
Patron's Inner Circle: Choose a patron's court secret option you don't currently possess, even if you have not received this feature yet, you must meet other requirements in the feature's text.

Maybe that is just as confusing. Just an option.
 


RSIxidor

Adventurer
This is the least happy I've been with the playtests so far. There's good ideas in there but the EB stuff feels clunky to me. Moving some Invos to knacks is nice. Spell points feel wrong. On EB as you've got it, I'd give some range to Scythe beyond melee reach, 20-30', maybe. The way I'm reading it, it's not like physically wielding a weapon, it's like forming a blast of energy nearby and slamming it into someone. I don't really think I like the half-damage for someone else but not sure how I'd differentiate this version other than by doing that. Also don't like losing the cantrip because of it, leads to less choice diversity. Maybe 1 cantrip without restriction + 1 cantrip that can't deal damage? That way player choice is still there. Honestly myself, I'd just let them pick two cantrips of their choice. EB is still a solid damage thing, so what if the player decides to take two more damage cantrips at least one of which they'll basically never use?

Also just noticed that as is, EB doesn't specify if you need to use your voice or your hands, etc, to use it. As read, seems you could do this while bound and gagged and blindfolded (except spasm, which actually does say you have to be able to see them). I imagine I'm missing something there but yeah.
 

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