OneDnD What is a warlock/sorcerer without a starting patron/origin?

Sir Brennen

Legend
If classes which currently start with their subclass at first level, such as warlocks, wizards and sorcerers, have their subclass choice moved to third, what would theses classes even look like their first couple of levels?

Wizards are pretty easy, as one who hasn’t specialized yet is still a recognizable student of the arcane arts.

But what about a warlock? If the idea is to remove the “blocker” of extra choices like cleric domains from initial character creation, the. What does that mean for selecting a patron? One could argue a warlock’s patron is a more mechanically important decision than a cleric’s deity, since their domain subclass choice can be selected independently of their deity, since one deity can have multiple domains. But choice of a patron dictates a warlock’s powers directly, closely followed by Pact selection.

So, what even is a warlock without a patron yet?

Same for a sorcerer. Their subclass is literally called “sorcerous origin”. What exactly is such a character that hasn’t selected their origin until third level?

Thoughts on how WotC might approach this issue if they stick to starting all subclasses starting at third level?
 

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Yaarel

Mind Mage
The UA Cleric has the Channel Divinity feature at level 1.

If the Cleric is a distinctive character concept, then the character can gain a different Channel Divinity to actualize this concept at level.

In other words, The Channel Divinity at level 1 can foreshadow the flavor of the subclass choice at level 3.

In the UA, the Life Cleric is the only example of a subclass. Appropriately enough, the Divine Spark Channel Divinity that can heal or deal luminous radiant damage foreshadows the later Life domain.

Hypothetically, a Death domain at level 3 might have Channel Divinity that inflicts necrotic damage at level 1 to foreshadow it.

And so on for other level 1 Channel Divinity selections to herald the choice of the level 3 subclass.



I think it is ok for the player to choose one Channel Divinity at level 1 and an unrelated subclass at level 3. But sometimes the consistency matters for the character concept. For example, a child might be fated from birth to pursue to a divine calling. In this case, I need a way to express the character concept at level 1. Channel Divinity lets me do this.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The UA Cleric chooses a holy symbol at level 1 as well as a Channel Divinity. There is some longterm commitment and expression already.

Similarly, the UA Warlock can choose a patron at level 1 as well as a mechanic to express this choice. Currently in the 2014 Players Handbook, the level pact powers include: Fey Presence, Dark Ones Blessing, or Awakened Mind. The UA Warlock can be the same things, perhaps repackaged in a new format.

The level 3 Pact Boons will probably see much redevelopment as a subclass mechanic. So instead of a Pact of the Blade, it will be the Hexblade subclass. (Or Feyblade, or so on.)
 

I also see no problem to only find out what your bloodline is at level 3.
Level 1 and 2 may be: oh I have this power now... where does it come from...
The sorcerer can easily start with sorcery points then.

For the warlock it is easier: chose a patron at level 1. Gain a minor benefit (in form of an invocation?)
Then chose your pact and gain everything you really want.

Or start with the pact at level 1. And only later you gain the benefits of the patron, when you have proven yourself a bit.
 

The sorcerer is an innate spellcaster whose particular source of innate arcane power does not distinctly express itself until level 3. I really have no problem with that. I might prefer it in fact, as it makes it feel less obligatory to work the lineage into your first attempt at a backstory.

Warlock is more problematic. But I kind of would like to see the patron divorced from the subclass. I currently am DMing for a Hexblade player who was hesitant about the subclass until I suggested that she could have some other patron and just have that patronage take the form of Hexblade features rather than swearing her soul to the service of a magic weapon. I do appreciate how evocative some of the subclasses are of the patron, and so something would definitely be lost in more of a mix and match set-up but something would also be gained.
 

kigmatzomat

Adventurer
But I kind of would like to see the patron divorced from the subclass. I currently am DMing for a Hexblade player who was hesitant about the subclass until I suggested that she could have some other patron and just have that patronage take the form of Hexblade features rather than swearing her soul to the service of a magic weapon. I do appreciate how evocative some of the subclasses are of the patron, and so something would definitely be lost in more of a mix and match set-up but something would also be gained.

I think this would work in general. The powers granted by Archfey, hexblade, undying, Fiend, great Old Ones and even the fathomless seem like they would be more or less universally applicable. I can see almost any patron granting mind-affecting/mind-shielding, melee/luck powers, semi-immortality, resistance/luck, telepathy/mind-control or sea powers.

I could even see patrons giving out a phylactery with Genie's powers but doing so would mean Genie loses almost all unique flavor.

The exception is Celestial's powers. While applicable to many, Radiance & healing seems off for evil/darkness patrons.
 

I think this would work in general. The powers granted by Archfey, hexblade, undying, Fiend, great Old Ones and even the fathomless seem like they would be more or less universally applicable. I can see almost any patron granting mind-affecting/mind-shielding, melee/luck powers, semi-immortality, resistance/luck, telepathy/mind-control or sea powers.

I could even see patrons giving out a phylactery with Genie's powers but doing so would mean Genie loses almost all unique flavor.

The exception is Celestial's powers. While applicable to many, Radiance & healing seems off for evil/darkness patrons.

Pact and patron can easily be swapped in power, if you are ok with a bit less backward compatibility.

The celestial powers could be relegated to invocations with prerequisite: celestial patron.
 



Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Pretty easily:

Sorcerer: 1st mysterious power coming from within. Begin with spellcasting, font of magic and metamagic.
3rd level -> Awakening (you discover the true source of you powers).

Warlock: Begins dealing with a shadowy, hidden, unfathomable power. Spellcasting + Invocations.
3rd level -> Revelation (the true nature of your patron is revealed, as well as the extent of your debt...)

Let's be honest, in most stories, these kind of characters dont start in the first chapter knowing their full origin or the identity of the mysterious benefactor.
 

But what about a warlock? If the idea is to remove the “blocker” of extra choices like cleric domains from initial character creation, the. What does that mean for selecting a patron?

You're a creature that's made a pact with an extraplanar creature as usual, and you can fluff it however you want. In exchange you're granted spells etc. It's absolutely no different to how it is now.

At 3rd level, the bond strengthens, and it comes online via the Patron class feature, and it gets fleshed out with the game mechanics suitable for whatever patron you select at 3rd.

Your patron takes notice of you and starts actually talking to you (or whatever).

If you want to play a creature that has made a pact with the Devil for magical powers, you can play a creature that has made a pact with the Devil for magical powers, even though your patron choice doesnt mechanically kick in till 3rd level.

Maybe extra-planar creatures dont give much of a naughty word about their Warlocks till they've proved themselves killing a few Kobolds first.

Ditto with Sorcerers. At 3rd level their Bloodline flares into power, allowing the player to select [a Sorcerer bloodline sub class from a list]. The PC was always a Dragon blood (or whatever) and that's where he got his spells from etc, but his blood power wasnt strong enough at levels 1-2 to really set him aside mechanically from other Sorcerers.

It's no big deal, and it does away with 1-2 level dips (a good thing) and reduces the choices at 1st level, removing decision paralysis for new players (a good thing).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Pact Boon and Otherworldly Patron are being swapped.
  1. Eldritch Cantrip, Pact Boon (Blade, Chain, or Tome), Pact Magic
  2. Eldritch Invocation
  3. Otherworldly Patron
A patron isn't giving a warlock a link to themselves until they prove themselves anymore. You area generic warlock until the patron thinks you are worthy of their true power.

Same with Sorcerer.
You are generic sorcerer until you tap into more of your power. As you grow, your origin shows.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
For cleric, warlocks, and sorcerers at levels 1-2, it's essentially Schrodinger's Backstory. The character has been granted a shred of magical power via divine agency, innate bloodline, or magical contract. The provenance of these powers may be unknown to the character, in which case the level 3 feature serves as a reveal in the narrative. Alternatively, the source of these powers is known to the character, in which case the level 3 feature gain serves as that power coming to the fore and being fully realized.

There's no need in the narrative to present having to make a choice at level 3 between domains/patrons/origin as something the character is actually choosing between.
 

For cleric, warlocks, and sorcerers at levels 1-2, it's essentially Schrodinger's Backstory. The character has been granted a shred of magical power via divine agency, innate bloodline, or magical contract. The provenance of these powers may be unknown to the character, in which case the level 3 feature serves as a reveal in the narrative. Alternatively, the source of these powers is known to the character, in which case the level 3 feature gain serves as that power coming to the fore and being fully realized.

There's no need in the narrative to present having to make a choice at level 3 between domains/patrons/origin as something the character is actually choosing between.

Paladins currently work this way anyway, only taking an Oath at 3rd level, so Its no big deal.

I've found it opens up more character options as well, seeing as a few levels in paladin doesnt require an Oath (but you can fluff yourself one anyway if you want).
 

Yeah, but what power? Do you still have to choose a patron or origin at first level? If so, then that defeats the purpose of pushing all subclasses to third level to simplify creating a new character.
They don't know what they've committed to, yet. They just wanted the power offered. At level three they discover their connection to...
 


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