D&D 5E Warlock Mechanics - The best representation of modern fantasy archetypes in Dnd

Stalker0

Legend
The warlock has proven to be a very popular class in 5e, and I think I know why. At its core, the warlock is the way that most modern "fantasy archetypes" actually function.

If you look at the plethora of super hero stories or chosen one stories or even most animes...the vast majority of them have a character has some "power" they can harness nigh at will, maybe a few powers, but generally a small suite.

Which is exactly how the warlock invocations work. You get a small smattering of abilities that are at will, with some spells that at least replenish "pretty quickly". Than you combine that with charisma as a primary stat, allowing the character to be a leader or at least highly social character. And voila, you have the main character in most modern fantasy stories.

Now the warlock flavor doesn't always work with people....but the mechanical chassis is very solid. I think this is one of the main reasons that warlocks are so popular, they best represent the archetypes people generally want to play when it comes to "powered" individuals.
 

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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I've been thinking of moving all casters (at least) to a Warlock model. The pacing of their spell recovery is pretty good when it comes to the regular adventuring day.
Instead of Invocations, each classes gain another resource in addition to their spells:
Bard -> Inspiration
Druid -> Shapeshift
Cleric -> Channel Divinity
Wizard -> Improved Ritual casting
Sorcerer -> Metamagic

Just make sure that each of those class have a good at-will options (looking at you, druids/bards/clerics) and you are pretty much done.
 



The warlock has proven to be a very popular class in 5e, and I think I know why. At its core, the warlock is the way that most modern "fantasy archetypes" actually function.

If you look at the plethora of super hero stories or chosen one stories or even most animes...the vast majority of them have a character has some "power" they can harness nigh at will, maybe a few powers, but generally a small suite.

Which is exactly how the warlock invocations work. You get a small smattering of abilities that are at will, with some spells that at least replenish "pretty quickly". Than you combine that with charisma as a primary stat, allowing the character to be a leader or at least highly social character. And voila, you have the main character in most modern fantasy stories.

Now the warlock flavor doesn't always work with people....but the mechanical chassis is very solid. I think this is one of the main reasons that warlocks are so popular, they best represent the archetypes people generally want to play when it comes to "powered" individuals.
this is why I hope 6e someday will take a page from 4e and have a more or less uniform class structure based on the warlock chasie
 

Clint_L

Hero
I think the mechanical chassis for Warlock is incredibly basic, since the correct answer in most situations is "cast eldritch blast." Which effectively makes them more like a martial class than a casting class. And the game needs simple classes, so they are probably fine. If kind of boring, in terms of game play.

Of course, in terms of lore and story, they are great.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I think the mechanical chassis for Warlock is incredibly basic, since the correct answer in most situations is "cast eldritch blast." Which effectively makes them more like a martial class than a casting class. And the game needs simple classes, so they are probably fine. If kind of boring, in terms of game play.

Of course, in terms of lore and story, they are great.
I think thats part of their appeal tnough, as OP states Warlocks are action heroes with a small suite of potent powers and enough HP to actually get up close.
Look at the Dr Strange movie where the Scorcerers are up front fighting with force lariats and conjured swords, not standing back sniping from a back row. Heck Ironman and Spiderman could be done as Warlocks
 
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I think the mechanical chassis for Warlock is incredibly basic, since the correct answer in most situations is "cast eldritch blast."
I mean that is cool (if you build that way) but again the whole point of the class is good at wills with some choices to break it up on an encounter/daily resource... but those can be situational
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The warlock has proven to be a very popular class in 5e, and I think I know why. At its core, the warlock is the way that most modern "fantasy archetypes" actually function.

If you look at the plethora of super hero stories or chosen one stories or even most animes...the vast majority of them have a character has some "power" they can harness nigh at will, maybe a few powers, but generally a small suite.

Which is exactly how the warlock invocations work. You get a small smattering of abilities that are at will, with some spells that at least replenish "pretty quickly". Than you combine that with charisma as a primary stat, allowing the character to be a leader or at least highly social character. And voila, you have the main character in most modern fantasy stories.

Now the warlock flavor doesn't always work with people....but the mechanical chassis is very solid. I think this is one of the main reasons that warlocks are so popular, they best represent the archetypes people generally want to play when it comes to "powered" individuals.
In other words, Warlock is popular because it’s an AEDU class in disguise.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think the mechanical chassis for Warlock is incredibly basic, since the correct answer in most situations is "cast eldritch blast." Which effectively makes them more like a martial class than a casting class. And the game needs simple classes, so they are probably fine. If kind of boring, in terms of game play.

Of course, in terms of lore and story, they are great.
Great lore with built-in setting hooks? Check.
Several different avenues for customization? Check.
Simple to play, but still powerful? Check.

It’s the perfect class.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Which is exactly how the warlock invocations work. You get a small smattering of abilities that are at will, with some spells that at least replenish "pretty quickly". Than you combine that with charisma as a primary stat, allowing the character to be a leader or at least highly social character. And voila, you have the main character in most modern fantasy stories.
The Warlock's stat seems more incidental to everything else. Create a Wisdom or Intelligence-based class using the Warlock chassis, and you would likely still have a strong contender for a popular class, since one of the major draws is the Build-Your-Own-Character approach.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The Warlock's stat seems more incidental to everything else. Create a Wisdom or Intelligence-based class using the Warlock chassis, and you would likely still have a strong contender for a popular class, since one of the major draws is the Build-Your-Own-Character approach.
Speaking of which, I know a common critique is that the build-your-own-character approach is weakened by the strength of the eldritch blast spam build, and there’s some merit to that. It is pretty much the most optimal way to build a Warlock, in addition to being the most obvious. That said, I think the degree to which it outperforms other builds is not so extreme as to make this a big problem. Hopefully the 1D&D version will smooth this issue over a bit.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Speaking of which, I know a common critique is that the build-your-own-character approach is weakened by the strength of the eldritch blast spam build, and there’s some merit to that. It is pretty much the most optimal way to build a Warlock, in addition to being the most obvious. That said, I think the degree to which it outperforms other builds is not so extreme as to make this a big problem. Hopefully the 1D&D version will smooth this issue over a bit.
The other builds are not as bad, but one of the major issues is that some builds like the Bladelock are Invocation-intensive in order to achieve a comparable level of competitiveness. I'm hoping that 1D&D synthesizes the Bladelock and Hexblade.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I think the mechanical chassis for Warlock is incredibly basic, since the correct answer in most situations is "cast eldritch blast." Which effectively makes them more like a martial class than a casting class. And the game needs simple classes, so they are probably fine. If kind of boring, in terms of game play.

Of course, in terms of lore and story, they are great.

This isn't actually true.

At the end of the day it is just a cantrip even with a few extra damage.

They have a lot of raw power they can throw out which is fun. Always casting highest level spells and having them replenish is a fun mechanic.

The non eldritch-blast invocations give them a lot of utility and competence out of combat too.

Going all in on EB is actually a mistake. Warlocks are perfectly good without even taking EB with some of the expansion cantrips.
 

Amrûnril

Adventurer
The Warlock's stat seems more incidental to everything else. Create a Wisdom or Intelligence-based class using the Warlock chassis, and you would likely still have a strong contender for a popular class, since one of the major draws is the Build-Your-Own-Character approach.
Arguably, this is what the Artificer is, with infusions taking the place of invocations. The Artificer doesn't get the "double subclass choice" which is a definite downside, but its subclasses generally* do a better job of providing unique approaches to combat.

*Alchemist being the exception. Its abilities are fine in the abstract, but nowhere near enough to make up for the downside of having neither extra attack nor full spellcasting progression.
 

Lojaan

Adventurer
Warlock is popular because of the flavour. It's the rogue of the spellcasting classes. It's dark. It's cool. It's edgy. It's the baddest boy, and we all love bad boys. It comes with an inbuilt compelling story. Pretty much the only class that does.

Sure both cleric and paladin should have inbuilt compelling stories but let's be honest, they don't. They are class president and Johnny Football hero respectively, both coasting on daddy's money and reputation.

Warlock, the outcast, the opportunist, the one who was not given anything. They had to beg borrow, bargain and steal to get their power.

And if they are smart and lucky enough, they just may get away with it.

Spoiler: the never get away with it.

They are popular because they are a great concept well executed. The mechanics are ok. Good enough to not get in the way. But people don't come here for the mechanics.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
The only gripe I have with the 5E warlock is that Eldritch Blast is a cantrip instead of a class ability. I want the Pact of the Blade or an invocation to turn their Eldritch Blast into an Eldritch Spear or Sword, other than that it is perfect.
I do think the 3 lanes of customization, Pact, Patron, and Invocations, for a warlock is a great idea to fold into other classes. Sorcerers in particular would benefit from Sorcery points/ meta magic being converted into an Invocation style of choices between spell kickers, more spells, and always-on powers.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
The warlock has a lot of appeal going back to 3.5, however it is too limited compared to what many d&d players want out of a caster. It makes a good choice for players who want a caster character without having to juggle spells.

But juggling spells is a thing many players want to do. Not just primary casters but paladins and rangers, where juggling spells lets them adjust midgame. Going to the "change spells once per level" is a major change that many players will not like.

The design changes to make cantrips actually impactful for all primary casters is a nod to the design ethos you bring up as it helps the wizard not stand in the back with a crossbow, being miserly with spell slots. Which is vital since the number of spell slots is about half compared to 3.x. It also does a lot for multiclassing as cantrips are based on character level not spell level.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
The warlock has a lot of appeal going back to 3.5, however it is too limited compared to what many d&d players want out of a caster. It makes a good choice for players who want a caster character without having to juggle spells.

But juggling spells is a thing many players want to do. Not just primary casters but paladins and rangers, where juggling spells lets them adjust midgame. Going to the "change spells once per level" is a major change that many players will not like.

The design changes to make cantrips actually impactful for all primary casters is a nod to the design ethos you bring up as it helps the wizard not stand in the back with a crossbow, being miserly with spell slots. Which is vital since the number of spell slots is about half compared to 3.x. It also does a lot for multiclassing as cantrips are based on character level not spell level.

Rangers, bards, sorcerers and warlocks are all known-spells casters (changing on level up), so that only really leaves druid, paladin, wizard, clerics (and artificers) as classes that ''juggle spells'' anyway.

Just because Warlocks use spell known does not require all other casters to follow the same method even if we gave them the same ''short rest casting'' gimmick. Just have your wizard prepare spells as normal, with now a few auto-scaling slots per short rest as a hard-limit of one per day for 6th+ slots. With their improved ritual casting, signature spells and spell mastery, it'd makes for a nasty powerful class
 

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