Level Up (A5E) Warlock Invocation: Wicked Youth.

The Wicked Youth warlock invocation (Adventurer's Guide, 278) is an invocation that you can take at 15th level, but only if you are a Diabolist warlock. The spell grants you immunity to necrotic damage (potentially big, especially in campaigns that feature a lot of undead or shadow-based monsters), immunity to disease (ditto), and prevents you from being magically aged (a ribbon ability with the exception of niche circumstances). Most interesting, however, is this line: "When you would die of old age, you instead become undead, gaining the skeletal or zombie template... with no changes to your ability scores."
I can't decide if this is something that I should submit to the bug report or not, and here's why: "no changes to your ability scores." That strongly suggests, to me, that this Invocation is intended to provide a class feature that allows your character to transform into a playable zombie or skeleton as a class feature by removing a penalty that would make no player want to become a zombie or skeleton. However, this Invocation does nothing to remove the myriad of other penalties that come with the skeleton and zombie templates:
Skeleton (Monstrous Menagerie, 393): lose all of your skills, lose the ability to speak, lose all spellcasting abilities and abilities that create magical effects (90% of the warlock class).
Zombie (Monstrous Menagerie, 435): lose all of your saves, shorten your base movement speed, lose all of your skills, lose all traits (I assume Heritage, but could be interpreted to refer to class features), lose all spellcasting abilities and abilities that create magical effects (90% of the warlock class).
I would consider a character that became a zombie or skeleton under these conditions unplayable, and I don't think that the few benefits of being a zombie or skeleton outweighs these costs, and I don't think that being immune to Necrotic damage makes up for losing all of your spellcasting and spellcasting features. Either this ability is not working as intended, or this ability doesn't actually intend for any Diabolist warlocks to become zombies or skeletons until the campaign is over.

So weigh in, everyone else that has read this Invocation and given it some thought: is this Invocation actually intended to allow a Diabolist warlock to become a playable undead creature as a class feature, or is the real Invocation just immunity to Necrotic damage and diseases and the rest of the Wicked Youth invocation is just a ribbon feature that you're not actually intended to make use of? Personally, I really hope the former, as it sounds very fun and flavorful.
 

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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
That aspect is meant to be a Ribbon because you're immune to magical aging and become a skeleton or zombie at some point when you die of old age. Which is probably something that isn't going to happen in the course of play.

It basically allows you to write your own epilogue to your character's life where all the power and wealth they accrued is taken by their patron, and what remains is a mute shell of who they once were, bereft of life and safety, forced to witness eternity with no real ability to impact it.

At least that's my take.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Yes.

If the ability read "When you die, you instead become undead..." then worrying about the mechanical implications would be appropriate. But it doesn't. It reads "When you would die of old age..." - which pretty much always happens off-screen, long after the hero has retired from adventuring.

Yes, being reduced to a skeleton or zombie might be considered a crushing nerf, but that's only meant as a poetic end to your character, not something you actually have to endure in play.
 

Nuts. When I read this ability, I was immediately interested in playing a 90+-year-old human and working with the DM to die of age right after hitting level 15. I do now think it makes sense that this is intended as a ribbon ability, the second half of the invocation, while I also think it’s too bad. Oh well - after playing A5e for a campaign or two, I’ll start home brewing.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Nuts. When I read this ability, I was immediately interested in playing a 90+-year-old human and working with the DM to die of age right after hitting level 15. I do now think it makes sense that this is intended as a ribbon ability, the second half of the invocation, while I also think it’s too bad. Oh well - after playing A5e for a campaign or two, I’ll start home brewing.
I meannnnn...

Play it that way. Won't hurt anything to make your character Undead, most likely, by the time you get to 15th level.
 

I meannnnn...

Play it that way. Won't hurt anything to make your character Undead, most likely, by the time you get to 15th level.
Oh, I agree, and I plan to :) I’m just trying to get a rock-solid understanding of the rules of A5e before I start home brewing. (I love and support home brew, but I think the most effective home brew is built on a strong understanding of how things actually work. I can’t tell you how many of my subclasses started from me finding out a class couldn’t do something, or that no class could do something, and then deciding to make someone that did it well.)
 

izzyxen

Villager
What I love about this design is that it incentivizes your adventurer to never fully retire--after all, as long as you keep killing a few CR worth of creatures a year, you can keep looking young and extending your lifespan. Perfect for a less-than-ethical warlock.
 


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