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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Staffan

Legend
No, it's not spell options, it's spell points. Spell options would be knowing more spells. This is raw casting power.

Imagine that you're limited to a logical two short rests in between long rests. At 8th level and 12 SP, I can cast the second-level (for 3 SP) mind spike 12 times in one day (each time doing 3d8 psychic damage). In o5e, I can cast it 6 times (each time doing 5d8 damage).

I mean, I do get that it's casting at the lowest level, and if you upcast everything to the max allowed it comes out about the same, but if you don't mind not upcasting you get a huge benefit. Is it too much of one?
But do you, really? You also have to consider what you're doing when you're not casting Mind Spike*. For example, you could be using Eldritch Spasm for 2x(1d10+5**). That's 22 points if both saves fail, which is more than the 13.5 Mind Spike does.

Assuming the foe will succeed on their save about 1/3 of the time, Eldritch spasm will do an average of 22 * 2/3 = ~15 points, and a 2nd level Mind Spike will deal an average of 13.5 * 2/3 + (13.5/2) * 1/3 = 13.5 * 5/6 = ~11 points. So why waste time with 2nd level Mind Spikes?

The main advantage in spell points is that it lets you cast multiple lower-level spells that don't get all that much benefit out of being cast at a higher level. For example, if you can recast Hex as a 1st level spell for 2 SP if you lose concentration, and still have enough juice for a 2nd level spell and a 4th level spell instead of just the 4th level spell, that's a nice bonus.

* A spell I don't believe will be in A5e since it's from Xanathar's, but let's roll with it.
** I'm assuming you start with a 16 and boost Charisma at 4th and 8th level, and that you take Agonizing Blast.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
As I said, @Steffan, I am not that sort of mathematically inclined, so I do appreciate this, and anyone else who wants to look at the hard numbers. It just feels like I can cast a lot more than seems "fair," in comparison to the regular warlock.

(To be fair, Mind Spike does allow you to know where the target is for an hour, to the point of negating stealth and invisibility, so even with less damage it's quite useful.)
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
As I said, @Steffan, I am not that sort of mathematically inclined, so I do appreciate this, and anyone else who wants to look at the hard numbers. It just feels like I can cast a lot more than seems "fair," in comparison to the regular warlock.
It's too complicated to do anything more than just go with a general feeling on if it's fair. I mean, I think we all agree that a 4th level slot is better than a 1st level slot. But is it better than 2 1st level slots? Is it better than 3? Got me. That's why spell point systems are hard, especially putting them into a system that wasn't designed for them.
 

Tinker-TDC

Explorer
My big thing on the spell points isn't the balance of things (which should obviously be paid proper attention, of course) but that it's the Warlock who had a unique way of spellcasting before. Maybe give it to the artificer (I know LU isn't doing an artificer)/bard/cleric/druid/paladin/ranger/sorcerer/wizard who all already have identical systems! (I'd vote sorcerer since spell points and sorcery points play so well together.)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
As I said, @Steffan, I am not that sort of mathematically inclined, so I do appreciate this, and anyone else who wants to look at the hard numbers. It just feels like I can cast a lot more than seems "fair," in comparison to the regular warlock.

(To be fair, Mind Spike does allow you to know where the target is for an hour, to the point of negating stealth and invisibility, so even with less damage it's quite useful.)
Here are the o5e spell point costs per slot level
dmg 1st-9th
1617049213114.png

phb sorc flexible casting 1st-5th
1617049262561.png

every other level goes up by 2 rather than 1 after starting with 2 at level 1 spells & at least in theory higher level spells are much better.
On the math front, this might help with some ballparking
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
My big thing on the spell points isn't the balance of things (which should obviously be paid proper attention, of course) but that it's the Warlock who had a unique way of spellcasting before. Maybe give it to the artificer (I know LU isn't doing an artificer)/bard/cleric/druid/paladin/ranger/sorcerer/wizard who all already have identical systems! (I'd vote sorcerer since spell points and sorcery points play so well together.)
It's especially weird that the sorcerer doesn't use SP exclusively. I mean, that would be annoying because the numbers would get especially high, but yeah, I could definitely go for an all-SP sorcerer. (Yes, I know that was always an option, but it was kind of a crammed into the back of the book option.)
 


Norade

Villager
Why not go fully unique with the Warlock's casting and have them make a scaling skill check based on the level of spells cast that day. This represents the struggle to pull more power from their patron than the patron wants to give. When you fail that last spell still casts, but you take xd6 damage (x is the level of the spell that caused you to fail) untyped damage and that's your casting done until you appease your master during a long rest.

This means you can be pretty free with lower-level spells as they don't raise the check very much but the bigger stuff gets risky. It also means you always have a risky ace up your sleeve unless you're truly out of juice.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
A very minor complaint:

Eldritch Spasm just seems weird, conceptually. The Wisdom save vs d10 is just fine, but making dimensional energy appear inside of someone else doesn't really scream "Warlock" for me in the way that Eldritch Blast or Scythe might.

Instead, I would suggest renaming and re-conceptualizing it as a Curse. Something that Warlocks of Legend commonly wielded. Still a Wisdom Save, Still a d10. But rename it "Eldritch Affliction" and describe it as a Curse.

I know that's what I'll be doing at my table. But it might be a nice baseline conceit.

Heck, if you wanna be really crazy with it: Make it a d8 and a Debuff. Or a d6 that afflicts the target for 3 rounds with a Wisdom save each round to end it, and the ability to stack multiple curses on the same target.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
A very minor complaint:

Eldritch Spasm just seems weird, conceptually. The Wisdom save vs d10 is just fine, but making dimensional energy appear inside of someone else doesn't really scream "Warlock" for me in the way that Eldritch Blast or Scythe might.

Instead, I would suggest renaming and re-conceptualizing it as a Curse. Something that Warlocks of Legend commonly wielded. Still a Wisdom Save, Still a d10. But rename it "Eldritch Affliction" and describe it as a Curse.

I know that's what I'll be doing at my table. But it might be a nice baseline conceit.

Heck, if you wanna be really crazy with it: Make it a d8 and a Debuff. Or a d6 that afflicts the target for 3 rounds with a Wisdom save each round to end it, and the ability to stack multiple curses on the same target.
 


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