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

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Warlock is one of the least played classes IME. While the invocations are attractive, so I've seen dipping in for a couple levels, otherwise it utterly lacks appeal.

Why would I want just a handful of spell slots when I can have a dozen? Short rests are not automatic, and most groups limit them to 2 per long rest. Mystic Arcanum's are stuck, once chosen. Invocations are either great (and the same ones get picked constantly...) or very meh and hardly ever (IF ever) get selected!

It is a decent class as far as power-level is concerned, but more useful for multiclassing dips than as a class on its own IMO.
 

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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Keep in mind that the point made in the OP is that the warlock chassis is a pretty good one for modeling a specific sort of character, namely modern "magical character" archetypes with thematically-focused powers, like those commonly found in supers, anime, and so forth.
From that perspective, the narrowness of spell selection and at-will powers is the attraction.
 

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.
The mechanical chassis of the Warlock is deliberately lacking in intermediate stuff. They can generally match other casters in terms of gamechanging abilities and the big stuff - but they don't have to rifle through spells and break out e.g. Scorching Ray. You say it's basic, I say it's streamlined with almost all the highs and few of the lows. (And some highs no one else can match; Disguise Self At Will >> disguise self taking a spell slot.)

Also Warlocks are a whole lot less limited by their spells known limit than sorcerers. Warlocks only ever have to cover a single level of spells with their spells known. while sorcerers need to keep low level spells known or waste their low level slots. No seventh level caster often wanted to cast Scorching Ray or Shatter at second level but it's better than casting a (non-Eldritch Blast) cantrip. It's this spell clog and makework that the warlock doesn't have to deal with.

And I agree with @Tales and Chronicles that not everyone wants to juggle spells. The One D&D attempt to homogenise the casters by making them all spells prepared casters is a bad thing not because spells prepared are inherently bad but because the big advantage of a class system is avoiding homogenisation.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Warlock is one of the least played classes IME. While the invocations are attractive, so I've seen dipping in for a couple levels, otherwise it utterly lacks appeal.

Why would I want just a handful of spell slots when I can have a dozen? Short rests are not automatic, and most groups limit them to 2 per long rest. Mystic Arcanum's are stuck, once chosen. Invocations are either great (and the same ones get picked constantly...) or very meh and hardly ever (IF ever) get selected!

It is a decent class as far as power-level is concerned, but more useful for multiclassing dips than as a class on its own IMO.
Warlocks are probably the most played class in my games, whether I'm sitting at the table as a GM or as a player. Maybe warlocks would be played more if you didn't just make them into a hollowed-out cleric subclass. ;)
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Warlocks are probably the most played class in my games, whether I'm sitting at the table as a GM or as a player. Maybe warlocks would be played more if you didn't just make them into a hollowed-out cleric subclass. ;)
Good for you.

That was BEFORE I did that. :p

Frankly, I would rather just remove both Warlocks and Sorcerers from the game, but they work well as the subclasses of Clerics and Wizards, so that is a happy compromise. :D
 

Aldarc

Legend
Good for you.

That was BEFORE I did that. :p

Frankly, I would rather just remove both Warlocks and Sorcerers from the game, but they work well as the subclasses of Clerics and Wizards, so that is a happy compromise. :D
Hence why I view your earlier appraisal of warlocks with great suspicion.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Hence why I view your earlier appraisal of warlocks with great suspicion.
What? I can't have my personal opinion about this and not relate my experiences?

I mean, I actually included IME and IMO in that post, you realize? There shouldn't be any "great suspicion", I was perfectly clear. ;)
Warlock is one of the least played classes IME.
but more useful for multiclassing dips than as a class on its own IMO.
And to assume I was somehow being dishonest or disingenuous is a tad ungracious.
 

Warlocks are probably the most played class in my games, whether I'm sitting at the table as a GM or as a player. Maybe warlocks would be played more if you didn't just make them into a hollowed-out cleric subclass. ;)
We have actual data on this that doesn't rely on the results of a single table; D&D Beyond shares data on their development streams. And as of mid 2020 Warlocks were the third most popular single classed characters in the game (behind only fighters and clerics). If we are including multiclasses then warlocks move from third to the single most popular class in the game, but that might be because a single level dip into Hexblade is broken. There are outlier tables where warlocks are unpopular; D&D is not homogenous. But by the data warlock is more popular than any other spellcasting class even without multiclassing.

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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
We have actual data on this that doesn't rely on the results of a single table; D&D Beyond shares data on their development streams. And as of mid 2020 Warlocks were the third most popular single classed characters in the game (behind only fighters and clerics). If we are including multiclasses then warlocks move from third to the single most popular class in the game, but that might be because a single level dip into Hexblade is broken. There are outlier tables where warlocks are unpopular; D&D is not homogenous. But by the data warlock is more popular than any other spellcasting class even without multiclassing.

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For myself, I never denied it might be popular with other groups, just not IME. They get played, but are low on the totem pole.

As for the data, it is two years old, and without seeing any decimals, we have no idea of just how much Warlock is ahead of Barbarian, Cleric, or Wizard. They could be 8.5, 8.4, 8.4, and 8.4 but are shown that way due to rounding.

I have no idea of 4E had Warlocks or not since I never played it, but IME (again) experienced players have tried it due to it being a "newer" class, but after a short time have multiclassed out of it. Like I said, it is popular for multiclassing, but not so much (IME) as a solo class.

Others like it due to the short rest recharge, but we've seen from Tasha's that many things are moving away from short rest recharge...

YMMV (anyone's), of course.
 

Mechanically, I think the thing is you can do fighting and offensive magic. Elven fighter/mages were pretty popular in 1e and 2e for the same reason. It's 5e's gish, more or less.

Thematically, as Lojaan has said, you have that edgy outsider feel (remember how popular Raistlin and Drizzt were?), the built-in storyline with the patron...
 

For myself, I never denied it might be popular with other groups, just not IME. They get played, but are low on the totem pole.

As for the data, it is two years old, and without seeing any decimals, we have no idea of just how much Warlock is ahead of Barbarian, Cleric, or Wizard. They could be 8.5, 8.4, 8.4, and 8.4 but are shown that way due to rounding.
It is however highly unlikely - and even if this was the case then it doesn't change the fact that warlocks are, as of the most recent data available, right at the top. Your group is an outlier and it is a mistake to generalise from there to the wider D&D community.
I have no idea of 4E had Warlocks or not since I never played it, but IME (again) experienced players have tried it due to it being a "newer" class, but after a short time have multiclassed out of it. Like I said, it is popular for multiclassing, but not so much (IME) as a solo class.
Once again I'd point out that your group is an outlier. Warlocks were in the 4e PHB - and are widely considered the most 4e class in 5e. And I can well believe that "experienced players" (meaning players who were playing before 2008 and who didn't like 4e) dislike it because the Warlock works significantly differently to other classes.

But you know what goes with that? Experienced players are a small minority. D&D has grown massively over the course of 5e. And the warlock is extremely popular among players who haven't been playing for more than 15 years.

So given that it's massively popular among the current player base do you still think it should be removed from the game to suit your table?
 

Mechanically, I think the thing is you can do fighting and offensive magic. Elven fighter/mages were pretty popular in 1e and 2e for the same reason. It's 5e's gish, more or less.

Thematically, as Lojaan has said, you have that edgy outsider feel (remember how popular Raistlin and Drizzt were?), the built-in storyline with the patron...
Mechanically it's also because the top third or so of invocations are really cool. They give you things like at will spells that other classes can't match (Disguise Self At Will, for example, lets you play slapstick quick change shenanigans without burning combat resources the way anyone except a specialist illusionist would have to) and give more of a sense of character growth as well as just numbers going up because you pick new special abilities that may or may not interact with your other abilities so often.

Meanwhile with other classes once you've hit level 3 unless you multiclass your growth is pretty linear, only picking feats/ASIs (and the ASI is both powerful and boring) and, if you're a spells known caster, spells.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Your group is an outlier and it is a mistake to generalise from there to the wider D&D community.
How about you show where anything I ever wrote in this thread indicated I was generalizing to the "wider D&D community."?
So given that it's massively popular among the current player base do you still think it should be removed from the game to suit your table?
Again, when did I ever even suggest that?

If you are referring to this:
Frankly, I would rather just remove both Warlocks and Sorcerers from the game, but they work well as the subclasses of Clerics and Wizards, so that is a happy compromise. :D
that was in reference to my game that I run, which is why I made them subclasses as a compromise: to keep them "in the game" for players who want those features."

Maybe you should stop taking what I am saying about my own experiences and opinions and implicating I am stating that is the way it should be for the "wider D&D community."

Besides, we know D&D Beyond doesn't represent the "wider D&D community" (which FWIW include us players who have been playing for more than 15 years...) and many of those stats are players just making PCs that never even get played. To say "it is the best data we have" or something like that is a poor excuse. Bad data proves nothing. I mean, your data doesn't even include Artificer... (which FYI is fine with me, I don't allow them in my games in any way, shape, or form. ;) ).

Once again I'd point out that your group is an outlier. Warlocks were in the 4e PHB - and are widely considered the most 4e class in 5e. And I can well believe that "experienced players" (meaning players who were playing before 2008 and who didn't like 4e) dislike it because the Warlock works significantly differently to other classes.
LOL I never said it wasn't an outlier, did I???

So, people who played (and liked) 4E probably like the Warlock because of its similarity in 5E, as you say. None of the people I play with played 4E to my knowledge--at least no one ever mentioned it if they have.

It's a short rest class with set "magical" features (invocations), big deal. Many classes have short rest features. I find the patrons very meh and have worked with @Undrave in helping them develop two (more interesting IMO) subclasses.

I like to think my players don't reject a class simply because it "works significantly differently to other classes", I know I don't. Now, I will reject a class I find (again, personally) inferior to others...
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Mechanically it's also because the top third or so of invocations are really cool. They give you things like at will spells that other classes can't match (Disguise Self At Will, for example, lets you play slapstick quick change shenanigans without burning combat resources the way anyone except a specialist illusionist would have to) and give more of a sense of character growth as well as just numbers going up because you pick new special abilities that may or may not interact with your other abilities so often.

Meanwhile with other classes once you've hit level 3 unless you multiclass your growth is pretty linear, only picking feats/ASIs (and the ASI is both powerful and boring) and, if you're a spells known caster, spells.
Having potentially meaningful choices after 3 level is a big selling point.

I've been thinking of making a 4e Essentials version of 5e, where every class, instead of having archetypes, gain access to a few powers:

Fighter: Built-in maneuvers, add Arcane Shots (AA), Rune Magic maneuvers and Psychic maneuvers to the list at the cost of a Feat.

Barbarian: Gather all the ''when you are raging...'' effects across all archetypes and make them ''rages known'' aka you decide when Raging which Rage you enter: Bear Rage, Desert Rage, Sea Rage, Wild Magic Rage.

Rogue: Gather all ''as a bonus action'' features and put them under a list of Cunning Actions known for the rogue to chose as they level up.

Paladins: Remove spells, give them more channel divinity uses and make the Smite Spells as maneuvers (short or long rest).

Ranger: Make Hunter's Mark and at-will power, make a list of stances styles based on the Hunter's and give them back choices of favored enemies and terrain IN ADDITION to Tasha's features.

Monks: make a list of Ki powers from all the various archetypes and let the players pick which one their character knows.

Fullcasters are moved to the Warlocks chassis of short rest auto-scaling spells.

etc
 
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How about you show where anything I ever wrote in this thread indicated I was generalizing to the "wider D&D community."?
You are suggesting changes to the game - you want changes that will affect the wider D&D community.
Again, when did I ever even suggest that?

If you are referring to this:

that was in reference to my game that I run, which is why I made them subclasses as a compromise: to keep them "in the game" for players who want those features."
In short you literally want to remove them as classes from the game. You want to remove what people like and play from the game and utterly shred the class variety of the most popular spellcasting class because your tiny group differs from the mainstream.

So thank you for proving my point.
Maybe you should stop taking what I am saying about my own experiences and opinions and implicating I am stating that is the way it should be for the "wider D&D community."
And maybe you should realise that you shouldn't suggest changes to D&D as a whole based on your atypical group.

If I were to have my way then I'd demote wizard to a subclass of sorcerer that uses intelligence for spellcasting - the sorcerers that gain their spells from the study of books.
Besides, we know D&D Beyond doesn't represent the "wider D&D community"
It represents a lot more of it than your table.
(which FWIW include us players who have been playing for more than 15 years...)
No one said it didn't. However it is just a small minority (as seen by the explosive growth of D&D in recent years).
It's a short rest class with set "magical" features (invocations), big deal. Many classes have short rest features. I find the patrons very meh and have worked with @Undrave in helping them develop two (more interesting IMO) subclasses.
Meanwhile the wizard is a long rest class with arcane spells that it prepares. It is utterly redundant in a game that also has sorcerers, clerics, full caster bards, and warlocks.

If we're taking classes out for being meh, take the redundant ones out first. Ditch the wizard. You might not personally like invocations - but people do and no other class has them. You might find the patrons very meh - but no other class has something that comes close. And the wizard subclasses ("I'm a book caster who's slightly better at a few spells") might be better than the pre-4e wizard subclasses (I can cast extra spells but they are exactly the same spells as any other wizard other than the ones I can't cast) but are still all boring.

But instead what you want downgraded from the status of a full class is simultaneously:
  • The most popular spellcasting class according to the best data we have available
  • The single class with the most interesting levelling experience
  • The single class with the most mechanically varied characters (thanks to the Invocations and the Pact Boon)
  • The class that works least like the other classes (the only short rest spellcasting class)
  • Probably the spellcasting class with the greatest variety in their subclasses
And somehow you want to downgrade this into a subclass.
 


We have actual data on this that doesn't rely on the results of a single table; D&D Beyond shares data on their development streams. And as of mid 2020 Warlocks were the third most popular single classed characters in the game (behind only fighters and clerics). If we are including multiclasses then warlocks move from third to the single most popular class in the game, but that might be because a single level dip into Hexblade is broken. There are outlier tables where warlocks are unpopular; D&D is not homogenous. But by the data warlock is more popular than any other spellcasting class even without multiclassing.

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Fighter and Rogue btw
 


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