log in or register to remove this ad

 

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!

 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

GKEnialb

Villager
This isn't my favorite of the improved classes. I agree with a bunch of what's already been said, so I'll quote my strongest agreements:

I feel the use of spell points is just there to be different, without really adding anything. The warlock's spellcasting was already different from other casters. Why not just keep that, if the only difference is spell points?
This really just seems like making a change just for the purpose of making a change (and complicating it in the process). Since warlocks were already unique and sorcerers are very similar to wizards, it may have been better to keep the warlock spell style similar to O5E and use this spell points style for sorcerers.

I'm assuming that "any" invocation means that [Court] and [Eldritch] invocations are fair game? I see the difference between the types of invocations thematically, but I'm not quite sure why they need to be siloed.
It's confusing that the general term for invocations is "Eldritch Invocation" but the name of one of the tags is also "Eldritch", which you don't get until later. Presumably you can only choose an untagged invocation when you choose an "any" invocation, but really should be more clear, since the word "any" implies any and the text says "you gain an eldritch invocation of your choice" with no stipulation that it can't be tagged. Other posters interpreted this the opposite of how I did, which proves it's unclear (to me). This just adds confusion with no benefit that I can see.

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

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.
Agree that it needs to be nerfed, even if just something like you don't know the creature type.

Pact of the chain: does the familiar have to be within reach of the primary and secondary target to have both effects or can the warlock be within range of one and the familiar in range of the other and affect both targets?

Eldritch Ingot (et al): This may be the only use of multiplication other than random character weight. If your proficiency is 3, why not have 3d10 instead of 1d10*3 to be more consistent?

Patron Token is very cool.

Exploration Knacks: Good job again with these, especially Mirror Mirror. Exploration Knacks really add to the diversity of play. I don't have an issue with some of the O5E invocations becoming knacks - they fit in well.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
My solution would be to simply have Scythe allow you to manifest a couple different weapon types (or have a few weapon-style Blast options), and have Pact of The Blade explicitly add to Scythe rather than pretending it doesn't exist. I always thought Bladepact should just have let you pick a warlock cantrip, and cast it with a range of 5ft, and treat doing so as making a melee weapon attack by taking the attack action.
Boom. Now all the Eldritch Blast invocations also improve your Blade Pact attacks. Done.
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).
I agree. I realised after a or of work that my Binder class is largely what I wanted the warlock to be in the first place, and one of the features that made me realise that was that I gave it Vestiges that increased it's spellcasting, letting you run a gamut from "warlock but without any spell invocations or mystic arcanum" to "full mystic arcanum casting plus lots of Vestiges that give 1/LR spells or let you learn a spell you normally couldn't." And my Ritual Tools (like pact boons, but it's a blade, bell, or bowl) each teaches you additional spells that count as Binder spells, and the Binder learns and prepares spells like a Wizard, but casts them like a Warlock, and has really strong ritual casting.

Having realised all that, i'm trying to be careful to not judge the level up warlock against my binder so much, and instead just compare it to the PHB warlock.


Spellcasting Ability: We aren't locked into Charisma anymore! Yes! Approve.
Agreed.
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 think this would actually open things up more than what is currently the case. I'd also add, as an invocation if necessary, the ability to spend a spell slot (or points, if we absolutely must keep spell points) to increase the stats of the familiar, just like casting a tasha's summon spell at a higher level.

Edit: In fact, I think my monster-pet subclass of my Binder class may steal that idea and have spell levels at which you can make your pet medium, and then large, sized.

Relatedly, perhaps the best way to go with pact of the chain is to actually bypass the find familiar spell, as such, and simply say that you can bind a familiar via a ritual or by spending [spell resource], and it follows xyz rules.
 
Last edited:

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
My solution would be to simply have Scythe allow you to manifest a couple different weapon types (or have a few weapon-style Blast options), and have Pact of The Blade explicitly add to Scythe rather than pretending it doesn't exist. I always thought Bladepact should just have let you pick a warlock cantrip, and cast it with a range of 5ft, and treat doing so as making a melee weapon attack by taking the attack action.
Boom. Now all the Eldritch Blast invocations also improve your Blade Pact attacks. Done.
I think using cantrips as an attack would work, also. I do think a dedicated melee warlock should do somewhat more damage than a ranged warlock's 4d10+20, and mingling the cantrip option with multiple attacks, feats, the hex spell, etc, could be challenging to word.

My other concern would be integrating that with magical weapons, as I do think (core book assertion aside) that assuming some amount of magic item progression is an important balance consideration.

I agree. I realised after a or of work that my Binder class is largely what I wanted the warlock to be in the first place, and one of the features that made me realise that was that I gave it Vestiges that increased it's spellcasting, letting you run a gamut from "warlock but without any spell invocations or mystic arcanum" to "full mystic arcanum casting plus lots of Vestiges that give 1/LR spells or let you learn a spell you normally couldn't." And my Ritual Tools (like pact boons, but it's a blade, bell, or bowl) each teaches you additional spells that count as Binder spells, and the Binder learns and prepares spells like a Wizard, but casts them like a Warlock, and has really strong ritual casting.

Having realised all that, i'm trying to be careful to not judge the level up warlock against my binder so much, and instead just compare it to the PHB warlock.
I'd be interested in seeing that if it's something you have available or published. I use the Mage Hand Press Binder in my own game, but I'd love to see a different take with a warlock-like chassis.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Eldritch Ingot (et al): This may be the only use of multiplication other than random character weight. If your proficiency is 3, why not have 3d10 instead of 1d10*3 to be more consistent?
If it's intentional rather than WiP shorthand they have different probability. average for a d10 is 5.5 so3d10 is 16 where the results are likely to gravitate towardsthe middle like this
1616786734805.png

while 1d10*3 will be all over the map like this with those wide area things to range from "that wasn't bad" to "oh wow"
1616786894102.png
 

Faolyn

Hero
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
Definitely a possibility. I don't think they're going to fluff basic cantrips, though.

I'd give some range to Scythe beyond melee reach, 20-30', maybe.
I'd give it a more "realistic" range of 10-15 feet myself.

I'm wondering if for clarity the "Eldritch invocations" and "Court Invocations" could be shunted to the class features:
Since it's supposed to be backwards compatible, probably not. I'm guess that Court equals patron, so they'd have to rewrite the fiend/fey/goo archetypes and I don't think they're going that way.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
If it's intentional rather than WiP shorthand they have different probability.
Honestly, I'm not sure which way the intent is. I can't think of an effect in the PHB that does YdX damage, where Y is a variable like level, or stat mod, or proficiency bonus; that makes writing out the rules text for it difficult since there's no examples.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
The 3 different blasts are a bit off.

  • Ray is by far the best of the 3. High damage, attacks AC.
  • Spasm needs to be more different than "wisdom save". Also, forcing one foe to make 4 saves from one action is, prior to this feature, a no-go in 5e.
  • Scythe is just sad.

I'd drop Wisdom casting. Int/Cha. Also, you should tie something else to that choice to make it more than a charop decision.

Warlocks get Int/Cha saves, having those be the spellcasting choices make sense. And Wisdom doesn't line up with the "pact with another being" fluff as well. Even a celestial warlock can be Int or Cha.

A 5th level baseline warlock can cast 2 level 3 spells.

Your warlock can cast 1 level 3 and 1 level 1.

A 9th level base warlock can cast 2 level 5 spells. Your warlock can do it at level 10.

Now that 9th level version of your warlock can cast a 2nd and 5 1st level spells, which is a buff.

A 11th level base warlock can cast 3 level 5 spells and a level 6 spell. Your warlock would need 21 spell points to do this (plus level 6 pseudo-slot).

Spell points also feel sterile to me. I am going to propose some retrained chaos.

Restrait: When you cast a spell using a Warlock spell slot, you can choose to cast it at a lower level. Roll 1d6 plus the number of levels you reduced the spell slot; if the result is 7 or higher, you retain the spell slot. If you fail to retain the spell slot, you gain an additional bonus to your next retain roll equal to the bonus on this roll (until you next take a long or short rest).

Ignoring the last sentence, if a level 5 spell is worth 7, then a level 4 costs 5/6 of it, a level 3 4/6, a level 2 3/6 and a level 1 2/6; the ability to carry over retain points makes the lower level spells a bit cheaper than this.

It reduces bookkeeping, and replaces it with a bit of uncontrolled chaos. It also means that such a warlock is no worse off than the baseline warlock spell wise.

They do need to keep track of their retain points. And there is a strategy to them; casting a 1st level spell at level 9 is +4 regain points. If you lose the spell, you are 100% guaranteed to be able to cast a level 3 spell (4+2=6) without consuming the slot.

It also opens things up to blood magic. Like, being able to self-damage to gain a bonus on, or reroll a retain roll, or even make a retain roll on a non-restrained spell slot.

---

Agonizing blast remains ridiculously strong, available at level 2, and not taking it makes you much weaker in combat. It is a kind of trap option not to take it unless you are doing a MC build.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
@Faolyn darkvision is so common that light is pretty fluff & some of the fluff cantrips actually have one or two equally almost barely useful options

@TwoSix I'm not sure the intent either & could see it going either way but it's definitely an interesting approach that would justify one of those giant dice for once if intentional
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
I can't think of an effect in the PHB that does YdX damage, where Y is a variable like level, or stat mod, or proficiency bonus; that makes writing out the rules text for it difficult since there's no examples.
Bingo
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think using cantrips as an attack would work, also. I do think a dedicated melee warlock should do somewhat more damage than a ranged warlock's 4d10+20, and mingling the cantrip option with multiple attacks, feats, the hex spell, etc, could be challenging to word.

My other concern would be integrating that with magical weapons, as I do think (core book assertion aside) that assuming some amount of magic item progression is an important balance consideration.
Fair points. I think that Eldritch Blast is probably the easiest one, because you can simply say that each Blast counts as a melee weapon attack when used with a 5ft range, and even have it do 1d8+mod, and then it naturally benefits from both weapon stuff and EB stuff.

So, maybe the level 1 feature is to have a couple EB options that are melee and can look like weapons, and the Pact of The Blade feature is to treat them as making a number of melee weapon attacks using your spellcasting ability modifier, rather than as melee spell attacks?
I'd even say that Pact of The Blade probably needs to add that mod to damage, rather than making that a separate invocation.

Edit: And PoTB should allow the use of a weapon as spellcasting focus, and gaining the benefits of a magic weapon you've attuned as your focus on your melee EB attacks.
I'd be interested in seeing that if it's something you have available or published. I use the Mage Hand Press Binder in my own game, but I'd love to see a different take with a warlock-like chassis.
I will allocate some time this week to working more on the second draft of it, having taken some time to be less in love with the fresh ideas I had in the first draft. Much easier to kill those ideas having given myself some time to forget them!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay! What about this:

Eldritch : You can harness Eldritch Power into lethal attacks without relying on your limited spell power. When you take the Attack Action, you can choose to use your Eldritch Blast to make the attack. Your Eldritch Blast uses your spellcasting ability modifier for attacks, and deals 1d10 force damage, but does not add any modifiers to damage unless a feature says otherwise. The range of your Eldritch Blast is 120ft.
When you gain this feature, and again at levels 5, 11, and 17, you choose one of the following Eldritch Weapons to modify your Eldritch Blast. You choose which Eldritch Weapon you are using, or to use your unmodified Blast, when you take the Attack Action.

  • Eldritch Spear: Your range with Eldritch Blast is doubled.
  • Eldritch Scythe: [as the document]
  • Eldritch Whip: You make a melee weapon attack with your eldritch blast, dealing 1d6 damage, and if you hit the target must succeed on a strength saving throw or be moved up to 10ft in the direction you choose. [possible invocation: target is also grappled, takes 1d4 force damage every turn they remain grappled, and you have advantage on attacks with the whip against them while they are grappled by it]
  • Eldritch Cannon: range 100ft, dex save vs 1d8 force damage for all creatures within 15ft of the chosen space. Language chosen to make objects also take damage, perhaps?
  • Eldritch Hammer/Sword/Whatever: Basic melee weapon attack option, just about melee damage dealing.

And then Pact of The Blade could say that you learn an additional Eldritch Blast option, and when you use a melee EB option, you add your spellcasting ability mod to damage, and can use weapons as spellcasting focus, and you can choose to use the range/reach and other properties of the chosen weapon when you make melee weapon attacks with the focus.


Also, should we limit it to melee weapons, actually? Why not support bow use out of the gate? Eldritch Archers are cool.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Okay! What about this:

Eldritch : You can harness Eldritch Power into lethal attacks without relying on your limited spell power. When you take the Attack Action, you can choose to use your Eldritch Blast to make the attack. Your Eldritch Blast uses your spellcasting ability modifier for attacks, and deals 1d10 force damage, but does not add any modifiers to damage unless a feature says otherwise. The range of your Eldritch Blast is 120ft.
When you gain this feature, and again at levels 5, 11, and 17, you choose one of the following Eldritch Weapons to modify your Eldritch Blast. You choose which Eldritch Weapon you are using, or to use your unmodified Blast, when you take the Attack Action.

  • Eldritch Spear: Your range with Eldritch Blast is doubled.
  • Eldritch Scythe: [as the document]
  • Eldritch Whip: You make a melee weapon attack with your eldritch blast, dealing 1d6 damage, and if you hit the target must succeed on a strength saving throw or be moved up to 10ft in the direction you choose. [possible invocation: target is also grappled, takes 1d4 force damage every turn they remain grappled, and you have advantage on attacks with the whip against them while they are grappled by it]
  • Eldritch Cannon: range 100ft, dex save vs 1d8 force damage for all creatures within 15ft of the chosen space. Language chosen to make objects also take damage, perhaps?
  • Eldritch Hammer/Sword/Whatever: Basic melee weapon attack option, just about melee damage dealing.

And then Pact of The Blade could say that you learn an additional Eldritch Blast option, and when you use a melee EB option, you add your spellcasting ability mod to damage, and can use weapons as spellcasting focus, and you can choose to use the range/reach and other properties of the chosen weapon when you make melee weapon attacks with the focus.


Also, should we limit it to melee weapons, actually? Why not support bow use out of the gate? Eldritch Archers are cool.
I like it. Just some possible proud nails:

1) I'm assuming number of attacks will scale at 5, 11, 17, as normal, correct? I feel fairly strongly that attacks with a pact blade should be limited; 4 attacks at 1d10+5 is one thing, 4 attacks with a GWM'ed +2 Greatsword treads too closely to Fighter territory for my liking. (I'm assuming range, reach, and other properties of the weapon means that various weapon feats and magic properties would be usable.)

2) Eldritch Cannon. Not a big of fan of AoEs with saves as a multi-attack at-will. I feel similarly about Eldritch Spasm from the playtest document, I just don't like forcing multiple saves. Maybe a 30' range 1d8 ranged attack with a 10' push instead (taking the place of Repelling Blast?)

I'm trying to decide what sort of attack pattern is best for a bladelock gish; I'm thinking a mix of pact blade attacks and attacks with Eldritch Ray or Eldritch Scythe or Eldritch Whip.
 

Faolyn

Hero
I think this would actually open things up more than what is currently the case.
In a bad way?

OK, of the four PH familiars:

Imp: limited shapechanging, MR, Invisibility, poison sting.

Pseudodragon: MR, limited species telepathy, poison sting with possible unconsciousness.

Quasit: limited shapechanging, 1/day Scare, MR, Invisibility, poison bite.

Sprite: detect alignment, Invisibility, poison arrows.

(And gazers have eye rays, Mimicry, and Aggressive)

So, I could see creating a monster block where your familiar can have, say, three of MR, poison attack, invisibility, 1/day scare, or limited shapechanging. Maybe throw in a few other abilities; say, a mephit-like breath weapon or death throes burst.

I bought the Compendium of Forgotten Secrets 3pp and that has a ton of warlock familiars I could crib from as well.

I'd also add, as an invocation if necessary, the ability to spend a spell slot (or points, if we absolutely must keep spell points) to increase the stats of the familiar, just like casting a tasha's summon spell at a higher level.
I like! It could be temp hp, advantage on certain rolls, or something like that.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
In a bad way?

OK, of the four PH familiars:

Imp: limited shapechanging, MR, Invisibility, poison sting.

Pseudodragon: MR, limited species telepathy, poison sting with possible unconsciousness.

Quasit: limited shapechanging, 1/day Scare, MR, Invisibility, poison bite.

Sprite: detect alignment, Invisibility, poison arrows.

(And gazers have eye rays, Mimicry, and Aggressive)

So, I could see creating a monster block where your familiar can have, say, three of MR, poison attack, invisibility, 1/day scare, or limited shapechanging. Maybe throw in a few other abilities; say, a mephit-like breath weapon or death throes burst.

I bought the Compendium of Forgotten Secrets 3pp and that has a ton of warlock familiars I could crib from as well.


I like! It could be temp hp, advantage on certain rolls, or something like that.
That Compendium is a fantastic product.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I like it. Just some possible proud nails:

1) I'm assuming number of attacks will scale at 5, 11, 17, as normal, correct? I feel fairly strongly that attacks with a pact blade should be limited; 4 attacks at 1d10+5 is one thing, 4 attacks with a GWM'ed +2 Greatsword treads too closely to Fighter territory for my liking. (I'm assuming range, reach, and other properties of the weapon means that various weapon feats and magic properties would be usable.)
IMO, either the levelup fighter can handle another class being able to make 4 melee weapon attacks at high level if they choose a specific feature that locks them into a playstyle, or it isn't really an upgrade on the PHB fighter. I would either make this work on the warlock and then figure out if something needs to change in the fighter as a result, or ditch the gish warlock entirely. The worst thing about the phb warlock is that it says that it has an option for warrior-warlocks, but it actually doesn't.

A compromise I'd be willing to make, would be to have the pact of the blade not add ability mod to damage, and/or do a smaller damage die, with perhaps a chart where only two-handed weapons without reach do d10, and everything else ranges from d4 to d8.

But the fighter should have enough other stuff going on in levelup that feat combos aren't nearly as important to it's identity.
2) Eldritch Cannon. Not a big of fan of AoEs with saves as a multi-attack at-will. I feel similarly about Eldritch Spasm from the playtest document, I just don't like forcing multiple saves. Maybe a 30' range 1d8 ranged attack with a 10' push instead (taking the place of Repelling Blast?)
If I could actually get EC onto a survey, and it got shot down, I'd just axe it entirely. No sense in trying to make it something else, IMO. Maybe make it an invocation upgrade to any ranged EB. speaking of which*
I'm trying to decide what sort of attack pattern is best for a bladelock gish; I'm thinking a mix of pact blade attacks and attacks with Eldritch Ray or Eldritch Scythe or Eldritch Whip.
IMO anything like that is too complicated for no meaningful gain. The attack pattern should either be the same as an Eldritch Blast/Ray/Spear blaster, or the same as a warrior class with Extra Attack. You have an attack that you make, and you can make it that many times as an action.
In a bad way?
No, in a good way.
I like! It could be temp hp, advantage on certain rolls, or something like that.
I'd just run it like Summon Beast and the like. HP, AC, damage, etc increase with spell level if you cast it with a spell slot, and those buffs last for x time based on spell slot, before the creature reverts back to it's normal stats.
That's either going to be just like the standard EB reskinned, or too powerful because of its very long range.
Wait, what very long range? The range is either longbow range, which is only greater with a feat, or EB range. It's a force arrow longbow that uses your spellcasting modifier and can benefit from feats and the like. As a class feature, that's far from overpowered.


*So, I'm surprised I'm not seeing any "spend a spell slot as part of using Eldritch Blast to do XYZ, with numbers based on spell power" invocations and other features. I'm surprised actually that such features aren't in the PHB either. Like, heres an at-will ability with EB, and if you spend a spell slot you can increase the number of feat you move the target by ft per spell slot level, or spend a spell slot and deal EB damage to every creature within 5ft of the initial target, increasing the range by spell level, etc.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Scythe: 10' range, melee attack, 1d8 damage, you gain temporary HP equal to the damage done that lasts until the end of the Warlock's next turn. If you already have temporary HP when you hit, you deal additional damage equal to 1/2 of the temporary HP you have (max 10).

(You are harvesting life; the 1/2 return helps with multiple attacks. One turn to avoid bag-of-rats, these HP are very temporary.)

1d8+5 (9), 1d8+5+4 (14), 1d8+5+7 (16), 1d8+5+8 (18) damage if everything hits, and you end with 18 temporary HP. If foes don't damage you, you keep on ramping up. It is a damage-dealing mechanism that encourages foes to beat you down.

If you have Armor of Agathys with 20+ temporary HP up, instead you get +10 damage per hit (!); the +10 cap is intended to prevent it diverging.

Originally I had dealing bonus damage remove those temporary HP, but that didn't work well with Armor of Agathys well, which I considered a bad idea.

Ray: As-is

Spasm: Wisdom Save or suffer 1d4 damage and get a Spasm counter until the end of the Warlock's next turn. Whenever you are attacked with a Spasm counter, you lose a Spasm counter, and the attack has advantage.

(counter mechanics are to make multi-attacks do something interesting).

or something to make them less similar.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Spasm: Wisdom Save or suffer 1d4 damage and get a Spasm counter until the end of the Warlock's next turn. Whenever you are attacked with a Spasm counter, you lose a Spasm counter, and the attack has advantage.
I don't think I understand what you mean here.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top