Dnd warlock

Class Features

As a warlock, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per warlock level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per warlock level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus
  • (a) a scholar's pack or (b) a dungeoneer's pack
  • Leather armor, any simple weapon, and two daggers

Otherworldly Patron

At 1st level, you have struck a bargain with an otherworldly being of your choice. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Pact Magic

Your arcane research and the magic bestowed on you by your patron have given you facility with spells.

Cantrips

You know two cantrips of your choice from the warlock spell list. You learn additional warlock cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Warlock table.

Spell Slots

The Warlock table shows how many spell slots you have. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your spell slots are the same level. To cast one of your warlock spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

For example, when you are 5th level, you have two 3rd-level spell slots. To cast the 1st-level spell Witch Bolt, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

At 1st level, you know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the warlock spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Warlock table shows when you learn more warlock spells of your choice of 1st level or higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what's shown in the table's Slot Level column for your level. When you reach 6th level, for example, you learn a new warlock spell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your warlock spells, so you use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a warlock spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells.

Eldritch Invocations

In your study of occult lore, you have unearthed Eldritch Invocations, fragments of forbidden knowledge that imbue you with an abiding magical ability.

At 2nd level, you gain two eldritch invocations of your choice. When you gain certain warlock levels, you gain additional invocations of your choice, as shown in the Invocations Known column of the Warlock table.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level.

A level prerequisite in an invocation refers to warlock level, not character level.

Pact Boon

At 3rd level, your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

  • Pact of the Blade
    • You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.
    • Your pact weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.
    • You can transform one magic weapon into your pact weapon by performing a special ritual while you hold the weapon. You perform the ritual over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a short rest.
    • You can then dismiss the weapon, shunting it into an extradimensional space, and it appears whenever you create your pact weapon thereafter. You can't affect an artifact or a sentient weapon in this way. The weapon ceases being your pact weapon if you die, if you perform the 1-hour ritual on a different weapon, or if you use a 1-hour ritual to break your bond to it. The weapon appears at your feet if it is in the extradimensional space when the bond breaks.
  • Pact of the Chain
    • You learn the Find Familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn't count against your number of spells known.
    • When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite.
    • Additionally, when you take the Attack action, you can forgo one of your own attacks to allow your familiar to use its reaction to make one attack of its own.
  • Pact of the Tome
    • Your patron gives you a grimoire called a Book of Shadows. When you gain this feature, choose three cantrips from any class's spell list. While the book is on your person, you can cast those cantrips at will. They are considered warlock spells for you, and they needn't be from the same spell list. They don't count against your number of cantrips known.
    • If you lose your Book of Shadows, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and it destroys the previous book. The book turns to ash when you die.
  • Pact of the Talisman
    • Your patron gives you an amulet, a talisman that can aid the wearer when the need is great. When the wearer fails an ability check, they can add a d4 to the roll, potentially turning the roll into a success. This benefit can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and all expended uses are restored when you finish a long rest.
    • If you lose the talisman, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and it destroys the previous amulet. The talisman turns to ash when you die.
  • Pact of the Star Chain (UA)
    • Prerequisite: Seeker Patron
    • The Seeker grants you a chain forged from starlight, decorated with seven gleaming motes of brightness. While the chain is on your person, you know the Augury spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of spells known.
    • Additionally, you can invoke the Seeker’s power to gain advantage on an Intelligence check while you carry this item. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
    • If you lose your Star Chain, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from the Seeker. The ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and it destroys the previous chain. The chain disappears in a flash of light when you die.
    • The exact form of this item might be different depending on your patron. The Star Chain is inspired by the Greyhawk deity Celestian.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Eldritch Versatility (Optional)

Whenever you reach a level in this class that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can do one of the following, representing a change of focus in your occult studies:

  • Replace one cantrip you learned from this class's Pact Magic feature with another cantrip from the warlock spell list.
  • Replace the option you chose for the Pact Boon feature with one of that feature's other options.
  • If you're 12th level or higher, replace one spell from your Mystic Arcanum feature with another warlock spell of the same level.

If this change makes you ineligible for any of your Eldritch Invocations, you must also replace them now, choosing invocations for which you qualify.

Mystic Arcanum

At 11th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical secret called an arcanum. Choose one 6th-level spell from the warlock spell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more warlock spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th-level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Eldritch Master

At 20th level, you can draw on your inner reserve of mystical power while entreating your patron to regain expended spell slots. You can spend 1 minute entreating your patron for aid to regain all your expended spell slots from your Pact Magic feature. Once you regain spell slots with this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

Sours: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/warlock

DnD 5e – The Warlock Handbook

Last Updated: September 24, 2021

Introduction

The Warlock is likely the easiest of any spellcaster to play. You get only a handful of spell slots at a time, and never have to juggle multiple spell slot levels. Warlocks have a liGst of spells known, so you don’t need to worry about changing your spells on a daily basis. Warlocks also get the most powerful damage cantrip in the game, giving them a solid, reliable option for damage output in between your big spells.

At the same time, the Warlock is one of the most customizable classes in the game. You get two major decision points with your Otherwordly Patron (the Warlock’s Subclass) and your Pact Boon, plus spells known and a pile of Eldritch Invocations. This wide degree of customization makes it easy to play warlocks back-to-back with very little overlap in your builds.

The Warlock typically fills the party’s Wizard-equivalent role, offering options as a Controller and Striker, and with some minor investments the Warlock can also serve as the party’s Face. The Warlock falls a bit short in terms of Utility spell options compared to similar spellcasters, but that can be mitigated with Pact of the Tome and a few Invocation choices if your party can’t compensate for that shortcoming. The Hexblade subclass also offers the ability to serve as a Defender, though Hexblades still lean more toward damage output than durability.

After reading this handbook, I encourage you to read my supporting articles of the Warlock:

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Warlock Class Features

Optional Class Features are detailed below under Optional Class Features.

Hit Points: d8 is pretty good for a dedicated spellcaster.

Saves: Wisdom and Charisma saves are great for resisting things like mind control and paralysis which might subdue you, but Warlocks will have lots of issues with effects that affect their bodies.

Proficiencies: Light armor and simple weapons are fine since you definitely won’t use weapons, but the skill list is frustrating. You get two skills and access to a couple of Face skills, but most of your non-Face skills are Intelligence-based.

Otherworldly Patron: Warlock subclasses are briefly summarized below. See my Warlock Subclasses Breakdown for help selecting your subclass.

  • The Archfey: Fey are tricky, unpredictable creatures, and warlocks who swear pacts to The Archfey gain spells and abilities to confuse, surprise, and charm other creatures.
  • The Celestial: Some warlocks swear pacts with celestial creatures, gaining the ability to heal their allies and to cast some spells from the Cleric spell list, including several crucial healing options.
  • The Fathomless: A powerful threat in and around water, the Fathomless gives you new spells related to storms and water, and you gain the ability to conjure spectral tentacles to attack your foes and to defend you from harm.
  • The Fiend: The iconic warlock patron, The Fiend grants you a mix of abilities both offensive and defensive, including numerous sources of fire damage.
  • The Genie: Make a pact with a genie of one of the four major elements, and gain benefits like empowered spellcasting and a magic vessel which you can use both as a spellcasting focus and as a resting place.
  • The Great Old One: Your otherworldly master grants you abilities to assail the minds of your foes while protecting your own.
  • The Hexblade: Forge a pact with a mystical force known only as “The Hexblade”, gaining the ability to use Charisma for weapon attacks and other fantastic combat abilities.
  • The Undying: Sworn to an undead master, you gain abilities to defy death and to keep undead at bay.

Pact Magic: Warlocks have a completely unique form of magic. Unlike other spellcasters your spell slots are all the same, and you only get a handful of them, but they recharge on a short rest. This means that you will need to rely much more heavily on cantrips, and use your slotted spells when they can be the most effective. Because Pact Magic works different from other spellcasting, be sure to double-check the Multiclassing rules before you look at other spellcasting classes.

For help selecting spells, see my Warlock Spell List Breakdown.

Eldritch Invocations: A major decision point in your build, Eldritch Invocations offer a lot of very powerful options, including signature warlock options like Agonizing Blast which is primary responsible for why everyone likes Eldritch Blast so much. You get a total of 8 invocations over the course of 20 Warlock levels (provided that you don’t take the Eldritch Adept feat to get another), which feels like a lot but isn’t enough that you’ll be able to take everything you want. For help selecting Eldritch Invocations, see my Warlock Eldritch Invocations Breakdown.

Pact Boon: Where Otherwordly Patron defines where you get your powers, Pact Boon defines how to apply them. Pact Boon offers several options which all offer very different abilities, producing very different types of warlocks. As additional warlock options have been released in new sourcebooks, the effectiveness of the pact boons has shifted dramatically. Pact Boons are briefly summarized below. For help selecting your Pact Boon, see my Warlock Pact Boons Breakdown.

Mystic Arcanum: Pick your favorite spells. Remember that the spell slots for these spells don’t scale, so it’s fine to pick spells which won’t scale with spell slot level.

Eldritch Master: This is really disappointing for a capstone ability. You can already get your spell slots back with a short rest, so all this does is save you 59 minutes of standing around. If you have an issue with rests taking too long, find a way to cast Catnap.

Optional Class Features

Introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Optional Class Features offer ways to add additional features or replace existing ones. These rules are optional, and you should not assume that your DM will allow these features without consulting them first.

Assessments and suggestions for specific Optional Class Features are presented here, but for more information on handling Optional Class Features in general, see my Practical Guide to Optional Class Features.

Additional Warlock Spells (Addition): Everything added by this optional feature makes sense on the Warlock’s spell list, And surprisingly few of them are additions from existing sources (just 4). Most of the new spells are published or re-published in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

I recommend allowing the expanded spell list on all warlocks. The new spells add a lot of interesting options for the Warlock which encourage them to go beyond staple options like combining Eldritch Blast with whatever leveled spell, encouraging the Warlock to have a more diverse and interesting spell list.

Pact Boon Option: Pact of the Talisman (Addition): A new Pact Boon option.

I recommend allowing Pact of the Talisman on all warlocks. It’s neat and offers some new play options for the Warlock, but it’s not more powerful than anything else available.

Eldritch Versatility (Addition): Like other spellcasters, the Warlock gains the ability to retrain a cantrip. Second, you can retrain Pact Boon. That’s a pretty big decision point, and fortunately it allows the Warlock to retrain any invocations which require your previous boon at the same time so you’re not left crippled for several levels. Finally, you can retrain your Mystic Arcana choices. It was always weird that you couldn’t, so I’m glad to see that change.

I recommend allowing Eldritch Versatility on all warlocks, though retraining Pact Boon makes me nervous. You can’t get anything which you couldn’t already have, so it doesn’t make your character more powerful, but retraining your Pact Boon can be almost as impactful as changing your subclass. As a DM I might allow it, but only if the player was really unhappy with whatever they chose.

Ability Scores

Charisma is all you need unless you’re going for Pact of the Blade and not also taking Hexblade for some reason.

Str: Dump. Melee Warlocks might want a bit to resist grapples and similar issues. If you take a class dip to pick up heavy armor, melee Warlocks can emphasize Strength, but with Hexblade it’s still easier to focus on Charisma.

Dex: Melee Warlocks need 14 Dexterity to pad their AC, but Hexblades use Charisma for attack and damage. Other Warlocks still need some for AC.

Con: Everyone needs hit points. You don’t need a ton because you can depend on Fiendish Vigor for an easy hp boost, but you still don’t want to skimp on Constitution.

Int: A bit for Knowledge skills is nice, but if you don’t have any you can dump it.

Wis: Only needed for saves, and you’re Proficienct so your proficiency will mitigate a poor Wisdom score.

Cha: Spells.

Chain/Talisman/TomeBlade
Point BuyStandard ArrayPoint BuyStandard Array
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 10
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 15
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 13
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 10
  • Cha: 15
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 15
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 8
  • Wis: 8
  • Cha: 15
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 8
  • Cha: 15

Races

Charisma bonuses are crucial, but there’s little else that’s truly a must-have so there’s lot of room to explore the benefits other racial traits.

Note that setting-specific races like the Changeling and the Satyr are addressed in setting-specific sections, below.

AarakocraEEPC

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and flight. Excellent, but the Winged Tiefling is better.

Default Rules: Flight is fantastic, but the Aarakocra doesn’t get a Charisma increase, and with the Winged Tiefling available that leaves little reason to play an aarakocra.

AasimarVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. Transformation is still the big reason to play the Aasimar. Note that the damage bonuses from Transformation work with spells, so your best bet is to make multiple attacks (Eldritch Blast) or use an AOE damage spell and apply the damage to a creature which fails its save.

  • Fallen: Good for a melee warlock, the fear effect is useful crowd control, and the damage bonus is easy to use.
  • Protector: Flight when you need it in combat and a damage boost.
  • Scourge: Exciting, but you don’t have the hit points to back this up.

Default Rules: The charisma increase and damage resistances are fantastic.

  • Fallen: Good for a melee warlock, but Strength-based weapons are a hard choice unless you’re doing something to get heavy armor proficiency so you may need to ignore the Strength increase.
  • Protector: Wisdom isn’t especially useful for warlocks, but Radiant Soul provides temporary flight and a helpful damage bonus which any warlock can use to great effect.
  • Scourge: Exciting, but you don’t have the hit points to back this up.

Aasimar (DMG Variant)DMG

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is nice, but the Celestial Warlock gets access to the same spells so it’s not especially exciting.

Default Rules: A Charisma increase, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is nice, but the Celestial Warlock gets access to the same spells so it’s not especially exciting.

BugbearVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Surprise Attack works with spells which make attacks, so Eldritch Blast is a great choice which remains a staple warlock option for your whole career. Long-limbed is helpful for melee warlocks because it makes it easy to stay out of your enemies’ reach while attacking.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Custom LineageTCoE

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Custom Lineage.

Default Rules: A single +2 increase is all that the Warlock really needs. A feat is a powerful asset, and if you want you could pick a feat which gives you a +1 Charisma increase, allowing you to start at level 1 with 18 Charisma. You also get either a skill or Darkvision, and I recommend Darkvision unless you plan to take Devil’s Sight.

DragonbornPHB

The Draconblood and Ravenite subraces are addressed under Races of Wildemount, below.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increase and damage resistance. The Dragonborn’s signature trait is their breath weapon, which provides a helpful short-range AOE damage option that will complement your limited spell slots.

Default Rules: A Charisma increase, and the breath weapon provides a short-range AOE damage option to complement your limited spell slots. But Strength increases are hard for the Warlock to use.

DwarfPHB

Customized Origin: One +2 increase and a second increase from your subrace, poison resistance, and weapon and tool proficiencies that you probably won’t need.

  • DuergarSCAG: Invisibility as an innate spell is nice, but that’s the only big appeal here. Sunlight Sensitivitiy is a pain, and Enlarge/Reduce isn’t especially useful for the Warlock.
  • HillPHB: Bonus hit points are always nice.
  • MountainPHB: Medium armor is an AC boost compared to light armor since you may not bother to max out Dexterity, but if you really want medium armor you could play a hexblade or multiclass.

Default Rules: The Dwarf’s core racial traits are great on any character, but none of the subclasses work especially well for the Warlock.

  • DuergarSCAG: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • HillPHB: Extra hit points are nice, but that’s not enough.
  • MountainPHB: Medium armor and Constitution are a significant increase in your durability, but if you want medium armor you’re likely to select the Hexblade as your patron.

ElfPHB

The Palid Elf subrace is addressed under Races of Wildemount, below.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, one skill.

  • DrowPHB: The innate spellcasting is great and it’s Charisma-based so it will remain perpetually useful. The only problem is Sunlight Sensitivity.
  • EladrinMToF: Free teleportation on a short rest means that you don’t need to spend one of your spell slots to do it. The rider effects on the teleportation are Charisma-based, too, which is perfect for the Warlock.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Similar to the standard Eladrin, but you give up the cool rider effect for four weapon proficiencies which you won’t use.
  • High ElfPHB: Consider Pact of the Tome instead.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Not as useful for the Warlock as the Eladrin’s more frequent teleportation.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Nothing useful for the Warlock, so you’re basically falling back on the core racial traits.

Default Rules: Dexterity is helpful for any warlock to boos their AC, and Perception is always nice. Only a few subclasses offer Charisma increases, unfortunately.

  • DrowPHB: Bonus Charisma and some free spells, but Sunlight Sensitivity can be a pain.
  • EladrinMToF: Dexterity and Charisma are a great spread for warlocks, and free teleportation on a short rest means that you don’t need to spend one of your spell slots to do it. The rider effects on the teleportation are Charisma-based, too, which is perfect for the Warlock.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Bad ability spread. The regular Eladrin is a better fit.
  • High Elf: Consider Pact of the Tome instead.
  • Sea ElfMToF: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Nothing useful for the Warlock.

FirbolgVGtM

Customized Origin: The innate spellcasting adds some useful options which reduce the need to handle the same problems with your limited spell slots or with invocations.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

GenasiEEPC

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), but the vast majority of the Genasi’s traits come from the subraces.

  • Air: Learn the Ascendant Step invocation.
  • Earth: Difficult terrain is rarely a problem unless you’re running around in melee, and even then it’s not common enough that the Earth Genasi is appealing. Pass Without Trace is good, but it’s not enough on its own.
  • Fire: Similar in many ways to the Tiefling, but the Fire Genasi’s spellcasting is Constitution-based while the Tiefling’s is Charisma-based, so the Tiefling has a huge advantage.
  • Water: Only in an aquatic campaign.

Default Rules: Not a single Charisma increase to be had, and none of the Genasi subraces’ other traits are interesting enough to do without a Charisma increase.

  • Air: Bad ability spread.
  • Earth: Bad ability spread.
  • Fire: Bad ability spread.
  • Water: Bad ability spread.

GithMToF

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), but the bulk of your notable racial traits come from your subrace.

  • Githyanki: Medium armor is a helpful AC boost, and coupled with Misty Step for free the Githyanki offers some interesting options for the Warlock. But if you want medium armor and teleportation, an eladrin hexblade is an easier choice.
  • Githzerai: A great choice for non-melee warlocks, the Githzerai’s Mental Discipline will protect you from common status conditions, and the innate spellcasters offers several useful options which will help conserve your limited spell slots.

Default Rules: The innate spellcasting is tempting for the Warlock, but the ability scores don’t line up well.

  • Githyanki: Medium armor is a helpful AC boost, and coupled with Misty Step for free the Githyanki offers some interesting options for the Warlock. But if you want medium armor and teleportation, an eladrin hexblade is an easier choice.
  • Githzerai: Great defensively, but you’ll still struggle without a Charisma increase.

GnomePHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace offers a +1 increase), Darkvision, and Gnome Cunning.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Superior Darkvision is nice, but Devil’s Sight provides it and then some. That just leaves Stone Camouflage, which is nice in subterranean campaigns but otherwise only situationally useful.
  • ForestPHB: Minor illusion is a good cantrip, but it’s already on the Warlock’s spell list, and if you just want additional cantrips play Pact of the Tome.
  • RockPHB: Tinker is barely useful.

Default Rules: Gnome Cunning is great, but none of the Gnome’s ubraces offer a Charisma increase.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • ForestPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • RockPHB: Bad ability spread.

GoblinVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Nimble Escape helps you stay out of melee, minimizing the need for things like Misty Step if you’re not built to fight in melee. Fury of the Small applies to spells, including AOE spells, but remember that saving for half damage will also reduce the damage from Fury of the Small so you want to apply the damage bonus when an enemy fails their save.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

GoliathEEPC

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and damage resistance. Stone’s Endurance adds the equivalent of a barbarian hit die worth of ability to endure damage, and unlike the Sorcerer or the Wizard, the Warlock tends to have passable AC so you won’t burn Stone’s Endurance the moment anyone gazes at you.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Half-ElfPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1/+1 increases, Darkvision, and Fey Ancestry. The ability increases are somewhat overkill for most warlocks, but they also make it easy to have high scores in Dex/Con/Cha at level 1.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: Good, Charisma-based innate spellcasting. Faerie Fire is a great spell at any level, and Darkness works really well with Devil’s Sight.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: If you want more cantrips, play Pact of the Tome.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Warlocks only get the typical two skills from class and two from background, and if you want to be your Party’s Face two additional skills means that you have much more flexibility without sacrificng Face skills.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Nothing that the Sorcerer needs.

Default Rules: Bonuses to all of the Warlock’s useful abilities, Darkvision, and a great selection of options from the variant half-elves.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only if you’re in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: With a very limited number of spell slots, free spells provide fantastic utility.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Wizard cantrips are great for utility, but you already have the best damage cantrips. If you’re a Pact of the Blade warlock, consider Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade to improve your damage output.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Two free skills are great, especially if you’re the party’s Face.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Nothing useful for the Warlock.

Half-OrcPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Relentless Endurance is great on low-durability characters like the Warlock. Savage Attacks might be useful for the Hexblade, especially since Hexblade’s Curse allows you to crit on a 19, but I don’t know if that’s enough to make this a good option.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

HalflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Lucky, and Brave. Lucky is abnormally useful for the Warlock because their typical reliance on Eldritch Blast means that you’re going to be rolling considerably more attack rolls than a typical spellcaster.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Neat, but if you want telepathy, look at the Great Old One.
  • LightfootPHB: Naturally Stealthy is rarely useful without Cunning Action.
  • StoutPHB: Poison damage is really common, so resistance to poison on top of a solid set of core racial traits works well.

Default Rules: Dexterity is helpful for Blade Pact Warlocks, and everyone loves Lucky.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Nothing useful for warlocks.
  • LightfootPHB: Bonus Charisma.
  • StoutPHB: Poison resistance is nice, but if that’s all that you want look at the Dwarf instead.

HobgoblinVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Saving Face is the big selling point here, and you can use it for high-value spell attacks (not that you’ll have many of those since Eldritch Blast isn’t all-or-nothing and there are few leveled spells which require attacks) or save it for a saving throw.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Human

Customized Origin:

  • Standard: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no reason to play the Standard Human.
  • Variant: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Variant Human.

Default Rules:

  • Standard: Warlocks really only need Charisma, so most of the bonuses are wasted. Try to capitalize on odd base scores.
  • Variant: Two +1 increases, an extra skill, and you can get an awesome feat at level 1. The Custom Lineage may be preferable since the Warlock only really needs one ability score, but for hexblades and other melee warlocks you may want to split your increases to hit 16 in both Constitution and Charisma at level 1.

KenkuVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Expert Forgery and Mimicry will rarely be impactful. Fun theme, but nothing mechanically impressive.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

KoboldVGtM

Customized Origin: +2 increase, Darkvision, Sunlight Sensitivity. Pack Tactics can offset Sunlight Sensitivity, and thanks to Pact of the Chain you have easy access to a powerful familiar to trigger Pact Tactics. When you’re not worrying about sunlight, easy Adantage with Eldritch Blast will provide a dramatic boost to your damage output.

Default Rules: With a familiar (or a conveniently-place ally), Pack Tactics can give you easy Advantage. While the Kobold doesn’t get a Charisma increase, Advantage on spell attacks can easily make up the difference, especially since the Warlock relies so heavily on Eldritch Blast. Avoid offensive spells which rely on saving throws, and you should do fine.

LizardfolkVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and 13+ natural armor. The natural armor will outdo your armor for any warlock except the Hexblade, but there’s nothing else here that the Warlock wants.

Default Rules: The Lizardfolk’s natural durability could be appealing for Hexblade warlocks, but their lack of a Charisma increase means that both your spellcasting and your weapon usage will lag until you’ve picked up some Ability Score Increases.

LocathahLR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and a long list of condition resistances from Leviathan Will. Leviathan Will can protect from things that AC can’t, and while it’s very useful it’s not terribly exciting.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

OrcVGtM

Note that errata has corrected the multiple versions of the Orc to all provide the same traits. The Intelligence decrease has been removed, and the Primal Intuition now allows selecting two skills from a list. The Orc of Exandria entry from Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount omits the Powerful Build trait, but it’s not clear if that was an intentional change.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Darkvision. Aggressive is the Orc’s signature trait, but it’s only useful for melee warlocks.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

TabaxiVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Darkvision. Feline Agility is the Tabaxi’s signature trait, and it’s not useful enough that the Tabaxi is an easy choice when the Standard Half-Elf is an option.

Default Rules: An excellent option for a blade pact warlock. Dexterity boosts your AC (and possibly your weapon attacks depending on your ability scores), and Charisma boosts your spells.

TieflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increase, Darkvision, and damage resistance, plus most subraces/variants give you Charisma-based innate spellcasting, which is great for the Warlock. These were already great benefits for the Warlock prior to the introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules, but the ability to rearrange your ability increases adds a lot of flexibility, so more of the Tiefling’s subraces/variants may be worth exploring depending on your build.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A good mix, the Asmodeus Tieflings works for basically any warlock. I recommend taking Devil’s Sight to capitalize on Darkness.
  • BaalzebulMToF: More directly offensive than the Asmodeus Tiefling, but roughly equivalent.
  • DispaterMToF: Some interesting utility options that would work well in an intrigue campaign, but I don’t know if they’ll be consistently useful in a typical adventure.
  • FiernaMToF: Great spells for social situations.
  • GlasyaMToF: Great spells if you want to be sneaky, tricky, or otherwise subtle.
  • LevistusMToF: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus, but more ice themed.
  • MammonMToF: Situational utility options.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Flame Blade is garbage.
  • ZarielMToF: The smite spells are appealing for melee warlocks, but no one else.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: The Customizing Your Origin optional rules make the Feral variant obsolete. All it does is rearrange your ability score increases.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Similar to Fierna, but more useful in combat and less useful outside of combat.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus. The difference is mostly personal preference.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Permanent non-magical flight, and it works in up to medium armor so hexblades can remain aloft and shoot stuff with crossbows.

Default Rules: Bonus Charisma, and most subraces/variants provide Charisma-based innate spellcasting. The Flames of Phlegethos feat is tempting for Infernal pact warlocks, but it may not be worth the feat with the Warlock’s limited pool of spell slots.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A perfectly fine option, but the Intelligence is wasted and you can find better spells from other subraces.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus but the spells are more directly offensive.
  • DispaterMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • FiernaMToF: The Wisdom is largely wasted, but the spells are great for a Face.
  • GlasyaMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • LevistusMToF: Constitution means more hit points, and the spells offer a nice mix of defensive, offensive, and utility options.
  • MammonMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, and the leveled spells are highly situational.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Flame Blade is garbage. Go for the Hellfire variant instead.
  • ZarielMToF: Strength is wasted, but that doesn’t matter much. The big draw is the smite spells, and Hexblades are the only ones who would use them but they already get smite spells so the spells may not be impactful beyond low level.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Dexterity is normally fine for a melee build, but for Warlocks you’ll be using your Charisma thanks to Hexblade, and giving up the Charisma build hurts any warlock.

    According to the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the Feral Variant is compatible with other variants.

  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Arguably better spell options for a Warlock, the Devil’s Tongue Tiefling focuses on mind-affecting spells.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is about as good for the Warlock as Hellish Rebuke, but doesn’t require you to be hit to use it.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight is fantastic, especially for a class so dependent on ranged combat. Sure, you give up the Tiefling’s innate spellcasting, but the ability to remain in flight means that you don’t need to look for magical options to get off the ground.

TortleTP

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and AC fixed at 17 without worrying about actual armor. Not quite as good as the Mountain Dwarf (poison resistance, Darkvision) or the Githyanki (innate spellcasting), but pretty close. The Tortle’s AC isn’t as remarkable for the Warlock as it is for the Sorcerer and the Wizard because the Warlock has access to medium armor and shield via the Hexblade.

Default Rules: Despite the lack of a Charisma increase, Tortles can be a great choice for a Pact of the Blade Warlock. 17 natural armor means that your AC is as good as a comparable warlock with 20 Dexterity, allowing you to focus on quickly raising your Charisma instead without worrying about your AC.

TritonVGtM

Customized Origin: Three +1 increases and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is neat, but the spells are very situational.

Default Rules: A fantastic option for blade pact warlocks. Good ability score increases, and the innate spellcasting provides some good utility options.

VerdanAcInc

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and one skill, but in the context of the Customizing Your Origin rule, the advantages which make the Verdan special largely vanish. Black-Blood Healing is neat but not essential, and Telepathic Insight can’t compete with races like the Kalashtar, the Vedalken, and the Yuan-Ti Pureblood.

Default Rules: Constitution and Charisma is a perfect combination for a Charisma-based spellcaster, and getting Persuasion for free is great. You’ll almost certainly be your party’s Face, and the Verdan’s Telepathic Insight can go a long way to address language barriers despite its limited capabilities

Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increase, Darkvision, and poison immunity. Magic Resistance is a fantastic defense on any character, and since the Warlock gets so few spell slots, it’s nice to know that you can rely more on saving throws instead of rushing to cast Counterspell whenever you encounter other spellcasters.

Default Rules: Good Charisma, some truly awful innate spellcasting, Magic Resistance, and Poison Immunity.

Setting-specific races are address below. Not every setting allows every race, and while most races presented in the core rules and in content for the Forgotten Realms can be used in other settings, races specific to settings like Ravnica aren’t typically allowed in other settings. Talk to your DM about what races are allowed in your game. 

Races of Eberron

BugbearERLW: See above under the general Races section.

ChangelingERLW

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rule does little to improve the Changeling since their traits already lined up well with the Warlock’s needs, but their signature trait is still made obsolete by the existence of Mask of Many Faces.

Default Rules: The ability score increases are great and you get two skills, but the Changeling’s signature trait is Shapechanger. If you want to disguise yourself constantly, consider Mask of Many Faces instead. The Standard Half-Elf is better and provides similar benefits.

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GoblinERLW: See above under the general Races section.

HobgoblinERLW: See above under the general Races section.

OrcERLW: See above under the general Races section.

KalashtarERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, damage resistance, Advantage on Wisdom saving throws, and probably the best racial telepathy option. That’s all fine, but you can also replicate the defensive traits with Mind Fortress and the telepathy with the Great Old One patron.

Default Rules: A Charisma increase, and you’ll be really good at Wisdom saving throws between proficiency and permanent Advantage. The Kalashtar doesn’t support any specific part of being a warlock, but it’s a fine starting point for a warlock of any kind.

ShifterERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, and one skill. Shifting is the Shifter’s signature trait, offering a short-duration combat buff which includes temporary hit points which can be a good defense on top of the Warlock’s relatively few hit points. Of course, you could just take Fiendish Vigor and walk into every fight with a pile of temporary hit points. Shifting’s Bonus Action activation time can also be a problem since the most obvious shifter warlocks are going to be melee warlocks like the Hexblade who will frequently rely on their Bonus Action for other things like Hex or the extra attack from Crossbow Expert/Polearm Master.

  • Beasthide: A good boost of durability in a pinch which can do a lot to mitigate damage for melee warlocks.
  • Longtooth: Strength is not a good choice.
  • Swiftstride: Interesting for hit-and-run tactics, but the Goblin can do it more easily.
  • Wildhunt: Too situational.

Default Rules: None of the Shifter’s subraces offer a Charisma increase.

  • Beasthide: Bad ability spread.
  • Longtooth: Bad ability spread.
  • Swiftstride: Bad ability spread.
  • Wildhunt: Bad ability spread.

WarforgedERLW

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Warforged. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The flexible ability increase goes into Charisma, and the Warforged’s other traits will make you more durable than a typical warlock. A warforged with Mage Armor would have an AC of 14+Dex totally unequipped, allowing you to meet the AC of characters in light armor and a shield. A warforged hexblade can do even better: half-plate, a shield, and 14 Dexterity brings you to 20 AC with very little effort.

Dragonmarks

While the design intent for Dragonmarks was that they would offer some innate spellcasting for everyone, every dragonmark includes an expanded spell list which is arguably a more significant benefit than most of the provided racial traits. Because the expanded spell options are such an important part of the dragonmarks, if you’re not playing a spellcaster you’re giving up a huge part of your racial traits, which makes it exceptionally difficult to justify playing a dragonmark character who can’t cast spells.

Dragonmarks are uniquely helpful for the Warlock. Any amount of extra spellcasting can significantly improve your capabilities since your spell slots are so limited. Because your spell slots work differently from other spellcasters, spells which scale when they’re cast with a higher-level spell slot can often be good options even though other spells on a specific dragonmark’s spell list aren’t interesting.

Dragonmarked DwarfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Warding: While most of the dragonmark spells are new to the Warlock’s spell list, they’re nearly all situational utility options which you may never find a use for. The skill bonuses are fine but don’t line up particularly well with the Warlock’s ability scores, and the innate spellcasting is only consistently useful for Mage Armor.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Warding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Shadow: Misty Step once per day is nice, and the dragonmark spells give you some interesting transportation options that normally aren’t available to the Warlock.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Shadow: The ability score increases are great, the innate spellcasting is good, and there are several dragonmark spells which warlocks can normally only get from specific patrons.
Dragonmarked GnomeERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Scribing: While some of the dragonmark spells are new (Arcane Eye, Silence), most of them aren’t, and the innate spellcasting is very situational. With the ability to rearrange your ability score increases, Mark of Scribing needs to compete with dragonmarks (not to mention other races) which provide much more exciting spell options. Plus, much of the Mark of Scribing’s capabilities can be replicated or made obsolete by the Great Old One.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Scribing: The ability score increases work, and several of the dragonmark spells are new to the Warlock’s spell list, but most of the spells aren’t very good.
Dragonmarked Half-ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace some of your normal racial traits, as described in the entry for each Dragonmark.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Detection: Mark of Detection was already a great choice for the Warlock, and the ability to rearrange the ability increases makes it even better. Every one of the dragonmark spells is new to the Warlock’s spell list, the innate spellcasting includes some staple divination options, and the skill bonuses can be very useful, especially if you take Insight to complement your Face skills.
  • Mark of Storm: The options are almost all weird, situational stuff that you’ll almost never use.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Detection: The ability score increases work, and with the exception of two spells available to great old one warlocks, every spell provided by Mark of Detection is new to the Warlock spell list. Many of the spells are powerful divination options, offering great utility and scouting options.
  • Mark of Storm: The ability score increases work, and while most of the spells aren’t very good they’re quickly replaced by better options as you gain levels, and easy to replace spells known, and several of the better spells aren’t on the Warlock’s spell list.
Dragonmarked Half-OrcERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: None of the dragonmark spells are on the Warlock’s spell list, but most of them are very situational. The skill bonuses are decent, but not great. The innate spellcasting is similarly decent, but Hunter’s Mark is redundant with Hex and Locate Object is very situational. As a whole this is fine, but it’s not as impressive as Mark of Detection which is appealing for the same reasons but offers better spells.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked HalflingERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Healing: Somewhat redundant with the Celestial patron, but if you’re desperate for a healer and you just can’t bring yourself to make a pact with a celestial, Mark of Healing provides all of the crucial healing options which your party needs to do without a cleric or druid.
  • Mark of Hospitality: None of the dragonmark spells are on the Warlock’s spell list, and there are a couple fun abuse cases. Wake up in the morning, cast Goodberry and Aid, then take an immediate Short Rest. The innate spellcasting is all decent utility options, and a d4 to Charisma (Persuasion) checks is spectacular for a Face.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Healing: Bad ability spread. Adding healing spells to the warlock feels great, but generally the Celestial patron can handle that need.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The ability score increases work well, and the spellcasting is surprisingly good for the Warlock. The innate spellcasting offers useful utility options, and the low-level spells include great options that scale well with spell level.
Dragonmarked HumanERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your normal racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: Unless you’re really worried about beasts, there’s little to be gained here. The ability to use Animal Friendship and Speak With Animals against monstrosities is neat, but very situational.
  • Mark of Making: Every one of the dragonmark spells is new, and several of them are excellent utility options and buffs.
  • Mark of Passage: A bunch of new ways to get around magically, but if you just want Misty Step you’ll do better with the Eladrin.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Numerous powerful defensive options from the cleric and paladin spell lists, plus Shield once per day for free. Vigilant Guardian is probably only useful for hexblades, but you might also use it to keep your familiar alive if you have one.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: The ability score increases can work, but many of the racial traits depend on you always having Animal Friendship and Speak With Animals prepared, and neither of them scale as you gain levels. Spending a 5th-level spell slot on a mediocre 1st-level spell feels terrible, and it’s rarely useful as you reach mid-level.
  • Mark of Making: The ability score increases can work, but the spellcasting isn’t especially useful. Magic Weapon won’t work on pact weapons, hexblades already get elemental weapon, and there aren’t enough other good options on the spell list to make up for how many options aren’t useful for you.
  • Mark of Passage: Dexterity and Charisma are great, free Misty Step is excellent, and nearly every one of the dragonmark spells is new to the Warlock’s spell list.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Bad ability spread.

Races of Ravnica

CentaurGGTR

Customized Origin: All of the Centaur’s interesting traits are tied up in Strength.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

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GoblinGGTR: See above under the general Races section.

LoxodonGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, resistance to charm and fear effects, and 12+Con natural armor. Basically a worse locathah unless you plan to put ability score increases into Constitution and ignore Dexterity entirely.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

MinotaurGGTR

Customized Origin: All of the Minotaur’s interesting traits are tied up in Strength.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Simic HybridGGTR

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Simic Hybrid. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The constitution increase is helpful, especially if you’re considering Hexblade. Animal Enhancement offers several excellent options as you gain levels, and saves you the trouble of getting those effects from your limited number of spell slots.

VedalkenGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and one tool. Vedalken Dispassion provides an excellent defensive option, and Tireless Precision can make you more effective at some non-magical stuff. If you just want durability the Yuan-Ti Pureblood may be more effective, but the Vedalken is still a very effective choice.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Races of Theros

CentaurMOoT: See above under the Races of Ravnica section.

HumanMOoT: See above under the general Races section.

LeoninMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Daunting Roar is neat, but the range is tiny so it’s only an interesting option for melee builds. Even then, the Fallen Aasimar has a similar effect with a damage bonus and a Charisma-based DC.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

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MinotaurMOoT: See above under the Ravnica Races section.

SatyrMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, one instrument, and magic resistance. While the Satyr isn’t as durable as the Yuan-Ti Pureblood, the additional skills can help you expand your non-magical capabilities, which may be worth the trade.

Default Rules: Dexterity for your AC, Charisma for your spells, Magic Resistance to keep you alive, and two free skills to help you serve as your party’s Face.

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TritonMOoT: See above under the general Races section.

Races of Wildemount

AarakocraEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

AasimarEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

BugbearEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

DragonbornPHB

Wildemount presents two new Dragonborn variants, each replacing the standard Dragonborn’s ability score increases and damage resistance.

Customized Origin:

  • DraconbloodEGtW: Roughly equivalent to the standard Dragonborn, but if you’re playing your party’s Face you might enjoy Forceful Presence.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Maybe useful for the Hexblade, Vengeful Assault combined with Breath Weapon offers some interesting options for melee warlocks.

Default Rules:

  • DraconbloodEGtW: Roughly equivalent to the standard Dragonborn, but if you’re playing your party’s Face you might enjoy Forceful Presence.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Bad ability spread.

Elf

Wildemount elves share the core traits of PHB elves, but Wildemount adds two new subraces. See above for more information on other elf subraces.

Customized Origin:

  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The skill bonuses are decent and the Innate Spellcasting is nice, but Sleep is obsolete as soon as you get it and there are plenty of other races which provide Invisibility as an innate spell.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: See above under the general Races section.

Default Rules:

  • Pallid ElfEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: See above under the general Races section.
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FirbolgsEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GenasiEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GoblinEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

HalflingPHB

Wildemount halflings share the core traits of PHB halflings, but Wildemount adds a new subrace. See above for information on other halfling subraces.

Customized Origin:

  • LotusdenEGtW: The innate spellcasting is decent, but it’s Wisdom-based so you’ll find that it’s unreliable due to the poor save DC compared to your warlock spells.

Default Rules:

  • LotusdenEGtW: Bad ability spread.

HobgoblinEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GoliathEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

KenkuEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

OrcEGtW: See above, under “Races of Eberron”. Wildemount uses the updated Orc racial traits rather than the original traits published in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

TabaxiEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

TortleEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

Skills

  • Arcana (Int): One of the most important knowledge skills in the game.
  • Deception (Cha): Important for any Face.
  • History (Int): Situational, and frequently useless in many campaigns.
  • Intimidation (Cha): Important for any Face.
  • Investigation (Int): Helpful, but you probably don’t have enough Intelligence or skill choices to justify it.
  • Nature (Int): One of the more important knowledge skills in the game, but the creatures which you can identify with Nature diminish greatly in number as you gain levels.
  • Religion (Int): One of the most important knowledge skills in the game.

Background

This section does not address every published background, as doing so would result in an ever-growing list of options which don’t cater to the class. Instead, this section will cover the options which I think work especially well for the class, or which might be tempting but poor choices. Racial feats are discussed in the Races section, above.

Since Warlocks already have high Charisma and access to two Face skills, look for Persusasion, bonus languages, and possibly Insight. If you have high Dexterity, you could also pick up some Rogue skills and Thieves’ Tools proficiency.

If you’re having trouble deciding, here are some suggestions:

  • AcolytePHB: Insight, two languages, and a knowledge skill.
  • CharlatanPHB: Fun, but not terribly useful for a Face, and the idea of being a real spellcaster pretending to be a spellcaster is just silly.
  • City WatchSCAG: Insight and two Languages, but Athletics is essentially worthless.
  • Cloistered ScholarSCAG: Two Knowledge skills and two languages.
  • CourtierSCAG: Exactly what you need to be a Face.
  • CriminalPHB: Good if you want to be your party’s Rogue-equivalent.
  • Faction AgentSCAG: Insight, and you can pick whatever Face skill or Knowledge skill you want. Two languages, too!
  • Guild ArtisanPHB: Two Face skills not on the Warlock’s skill list, plus a language.
  • Knight of the OrderSCAG: Persuasion, a knowledge skill, and a language.
  • SagePHB: Two languages and two knoweldge skills.
  • Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: Good if you want to be a Face or if you want to be your party’s Rogue-equivalent.
  • UrchinPHB: Good if you want to be your party’s Rogue-equivalent. Probably better than Criminal since you can already get Depecption.
  • Waterdavian NobleSCAG: Persuasion, a language, and a bad knowledge skill.

Feats

This section does not address every published feat, as doing so would result in an ever-growing list of options which don’t cater to the class. Instead, this section will cover feats which I think work especially well for the class or which might be tempting but poor choices.

  • AlertPHB: Warlocks only get a few spell slots, so when you use them they need to have a huge effect on the challenge at hand. Going first makes a lot of your spells more effective because you can get their effects up and running before enemies can respond.
  • AthletePHB: Awful.
  • ActorPHB: In a highly social game, this opens up some interesting options and allows you to further capitalize on your excellent Charisma.
  • ChargerPHB: Even Blade Pact Warlocks should just use Eldritch Blast if you’re at a range long enough to justify charging.
  • ChefTCoE: An interesting choice for melee warlocks, but definitely complicated. High-damage weapon-using warlock builds frequently rely on their Bonus Action to attack in addition to crucial options like Hex and Hexblade’s Curse, so spending your Bonus Action to eat a snack can be a hard choice. Inspiring Leader may be more effective even if you’re planning to keep all of your treats for yourself.
  • Crossbow ExpertPHB: Hexblades can abolutely make Crossbow Expert work. Hex and Hexblade’s Curse both benefit greatly from additional attacks, and even Eldritch Blast+Agonizing Blast can’t keep up with Crossbow Expert, especially once you add Lifedrinker. However, this requires your Bonus Action for two rounds to set up, and in that time other warlocks are happily doing other things which don’t require resources that need a short rest to recharge. Since combats generally last around three rounds, in most cases you can except to get your combo set up and start using the Bonus Action attack from Crossbow Expert an average of once per encounter.
  • Defensive DuelistPHB: Blade Pact Warlocks might enjoy this to help compensate for the Warlock’s lack of AC.
  • Dual WielderPHB: Two-weapon fighting usually isn’t a good option without the Fighting Style, but the Warlock has some unique interactions here. Hexblades can apply the benefits of Hex Warrior to two weapons: one that you touch after a long rest, and then to your Pact Weapon. However, without the Fighting Style (Two-Weapon Fighting), you still don’t get to add Charisma to your damage rolls with the Bonus Action attack. You do still add other damage bonuses like Hex and Hexblade’s Curse, but that places a ton of strain on your Bonus Action. This will take two turns to set up, which is a hard commitment when combats can only be expected to last around 3 turns. If you still want to explore two-weapon fighting, consider taking Fighting Initiate for Fighting Style (Two-Weapon Fighting).
  • Dungeon DelverPHB: Warlocks don’t have the skills to back this up.
  • DurablePHB: Pick up Fiendish Resilience, and it will go a long way to compensate for a lack of healing options.
  • Eldritch AdeptTCoE: Once you hit 20 Charisma, most warlocks have a lot of room for feats but are still straining to get every Eldritch Invocation that they want. You can only take this once, but one extra invocation can still be very powerful.
  • Elemental AdeptPHB: The Warlock’s most iconic spell, Eldritch Blast, deals force damage and isn’t compatible with Elemental adept.
  • Fey TouchedTCoE: While the best spell options here are already available to the Warlock, adding two additional spells per day is essentially two additional spell slots. For the Warlock, that’s a significant benefit. The 1st-level spell options are difficult, but if you select Hex you can use the daily 1st-level casting of Hex and all that you lose is duration. Hex already lasts an hour, and in many cases that’s plenty. You’re locked into Misty Step and whatever 1st-level spell you pick, so you want it to be one that you’re going to cast on a daily basis.

    For more advice on Fey Touched, see my Spellcasting Feats Breakdown.

  • Fighting InitiateTCoE: Blade pact warlocks may enjoy the additional capabilities offered by a Fighting Style. Adding Fighting Style (Archery) to a Crossbow Expert build can turn an already high-damage build into a truly frightening offensive threat. Interception might be helpful for Pact of the Chain users because negative damage to your familiar may keep it alive more effectively than trying to make attacks miss their sub-13 AC or trying to give them resistance to damage with their single-digit hit points.
  • Great Weapon MasterPHB: Hexblades can make effective use of two-handed weapons, which makes this a possibility. Hexblade’s Curse allows you to score a critical hit against the target on a 19-20, which makes it more likely that you can trigger the first portion of the feat. If you use Darkness with the Devil’s Sight invocation you can easily get Advantage, making the second half of the feat a safe and reliable option. However, the weapon which you touch with Hex Warrior can’t be two-handed property, so your best bet is a Versatile weapon like a longsword. Once you gain Pact of the Blade, your Pact Weapon can be two-handed, and Hex Warrior extends to your Pact Weapon, so you can upgrade to a greatsword.
  • GunnerTCoE: A blade pact warlock with firearms as pact weapons would be insanely cool, but there is very little reason to do so. If you’re going to spend a feat to get better with ranged weapons, Crossbow Expert is massively more effective than Gunner. The Bonus Action attack’s damage output is simply too effective for the Warlock. Gunner does allow you to use a firearm effectively while adjacent to enemies, but since you still need two hands to reload you can’t do shield+pistol, so being in melee with a gun is dangerous and you should try to avoid it whenever possible.
  • Heavily ArmoredPHB: Tempting for a Hexblade, but the Strength requirements for full plate make heavy armor unappealing.
  • HealerPHB: Find a Cleric.
  • Inspiring LeaderPHB: You have the Charisma to back this up, and it removes the need for Fiendish Vigor. You can even make it target your familiar, which is an incredibly large increase to their durability considering that most familiars have single-digit hit points.
  • Keen MindPHB: Awful.
  • LinguistPHB: Use magic.
  • LuckyPHB: Good on anyone.
  • Mage SlayerPHB: Too situational.
  • Magic InitiatePHB: The cantrips are tempting, but if you really need these abilities you should select Tome Pact.

    For more advice on Magic Initiate, see my Spellcasting Feats Breakdown.

  • Martial AdeptPHB: Not useful enough with only one superiority die.
  • Medium Armor MasterPHB: Heavy armor isn’t appealing for Hexblades because of the Strength requirements to wear it, so medium armor master can allow you to match heavy armor AC without caring about Strength. That’s nice, but it’s also only a difference of +1 AC. A feat is too previous for so little.
  • Metamagic AdeptTCoE: Excellent on any spellcaster. While warlocks generally don’t have enough spell slots to make metamagic impactful, simple options like extending Hex or Hunger of Hadar can dramatically improve the efficiency of some of the Warlock’s best spells. It can also make options like Fireball an easier go-to thanks to options like Transmuted spell. For advice on Metamagic Adept, see my Sorcerer Metamagic Breakdown.
  • MobilePHB: Blade Pact Warlocks might enjoy this so that they can remain safely out of reach, but you still need to have another melee character to tank for you.
  • Moderately ArmoredPHB: If you’re not getting by in light armor as a non-hexblade, you need to go straight to heavy. Multiclass.
  • Mounted CombatPHB: It’s hard to play a mounted character without a special mount ability of some kind.
  • ObservantPHB: Warlocks don’t have the skills or abilities to support this.
  • PiercerTCoE: The Strength/Dexterity increase is helpful for non-hexblade warlocks who take Pact of the Blade, but it’s mostly wasted for the Hexblade. The reroll mechanic is nice, and works well between your weapon damage die and Hex. The critical hit mechanic is nice, but the Hexblade is the best option to make it meaningful. It’s hard to find a warlock where this is an easy fit, and you’ll likely have better results from Crossbow Expert.
  • Polearm MasterPHB: Hexblades can make effective use of polearms. I would probably stick to a quarterstaff or spear (spear was added in errata in 2018) so that you can use a shield to compensate for the Warlock’s relatively poor AC and low hitpoints, but maybe you’re braver than I am.
  • ResilientPHB: Proficiency in Constitution saves really helps with Concentration, not to mention how common Constitution saves are. If you care primarily about Concentration it’s easy to compare this to War Caster. Advantage works out to a little more than +3, so once your Proficiency Bonus hits +4 Resilient becomes the more effective option of the two.
  • Ritual CasterPHB: Pick up Tome Pact.
  • Savage AttackerPHB: This is a bad feat. The largest damage die (d12), yields an average of 2 extra damage per turn.
  • SentinelPHB: It’s hard to justify this for a Blade Pact Warlock, but you might be able to make it work.
  • Shadow TouchedTCoE: Most of the spells are already available to the Warlock, but the free spells per day effectively mean more spell slots, which is a boon for any warlock. Fey Touch has more and better spell options, but if you like Fey Touched you’ll likely enjoy Shadow Touched for the same reasons.

    For more advice on Shadow Touched, see my Spellcasting Feats Breakdown.

  • SharpshooterPHB: Warlocks don’t use ranged weapons with the possible exception of Hexblades, but even then Crossbow Expert is a better choice.
  • Shield MasterPHB: Warlocks don’t get Shield Proficiency by default.
  • SkilledPHB: Warlocks can get all of the skills which they’re any good with from their class and background.
  • SkulkerPHB: Sniping is for Rogues.
  • Spell SniperPHB: Removes the need for Eldritch Spear, and makes Eldritch Blast even more reliable. If you can’t fit this into your build, a Wand of the War Mage will allow you to ignore up to half cover, which isn’t quite as good but it can still be very helpful.

    For more advice on Spell Sniper, see my Spellcasting Feats Breakdown.

  • Tavern BrawlerPHB: Unarmed Warlocks aren’t a thing.
  • TelekineticTCoE: While the warlock does have options to use their Bonus Action, most of them involve spending spell slots. That means that on most turns your Bonus Action is going to go unused. In those cases, Telekinetic adds a useful way to spend your Bonus Action to have a tactical impact. Moving a creature 5 feet often isn’t a big deal, but it’s enough to break grapples and sometimes it’s enough to force enemies into hazardous places like the are of ongoing spells.
  • TelepathicTCoE: Unlike many sources of telepathy, including those offered by some races, this telepathy still uses languages, so the benefits are minimally appealing even for a Face. You do get to increase a mental ability score, which reduces the cost of the feat, but the benefits are primarily the ability to communicate while being stealthy.
  • ToughPHB: Blade Pact Warlocks might consider this since Warlocks don’t really have enough hit points to be a melee character.
  • War CasterPHB: If you’re a Hexblade, you want this. Juggling your weapon to cast spells is annoying, but the ability to reliably maintain Concentration when you take damage means that you can reliably maintain Concentration even while drawing a lot of attacks. For other subclasses, consider Resilient (Constitution) instead because mathematically it’s more effective than Advantage as your Proficiency Bonus increases.
  • Weapon MasterPHB: You get all of the weapon proficiencies that you need to function.

Weapons

Only Blade Pact Warlocks actually need weapons, which means that only Hexblades should be using them. Your choice of weapon matters fairly little, and Pact of the Blade allows you to change your weapon easily (unless you’ve bound a magic weapon), so you can easily choose a weapon to suit the situation. Hexblades get proficiency with shields, and since warlocks have relatively low hit dice and hexblades still only get medium armor I think a shield is a good idea most of the time.

  • Whip: One-handed and reach mean that you don’t need to be in enemies’ reach to attack, and you can still hold a shield in your other hand.

Armor

  • Leather: Starting Gear
  • Studded Leather: The best armor most Warlocks can hope for.
  • Half Plate: Hexblades’ best armor.

Multiclassing

This section briefly details so obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see my Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

  • Bard: One level gets you some basic spellcasting. Two gets you Jack of All Trades. Three gets you Expertise and a college. Bards are also Charisma-based spellcasters, so multiclassing between the two is relatively easy.
  • Fighter: Starting as a Fighter gets you heavy armor and shields, which opens up a lot of options for a Blade Pact Warlock. Fighting Style is also nice. Two levels gets you Action Surge, but you won’t get a lot from a martial archetype so I wouldn’t go that far.
  • Paladin: Like a Fighter, you can get heavy armor and shields, which is good for Blade Pact. Two levels gets you Charisma-based spellcasting, a Fighting Style, and Divine Smite which allows you to burn your spell slots to add a bunch of radiant damage to the attack. It’s a great way to capitalize on Warlock spell slots refreshing on a short rest, but you will usually be able to do much more with your spell slots by casting spells than by adding a few d8s of damage to a weapon attack.
  • Rogue: Sneak Attack only works with weapons, so Hexblade is the only good combination with rogue unless you’re taking a class dip solely for Expertise. If you’re going Hexblade+Rogue, I would go Hexblade Warlock 2/Rogue X rather than building around Warlock, and if that’s your plan you should be looking at the multiclassing section of my Rogue Handbook.
  • Sorcerer: Sorcerers are also Charisma-based spellcasters, but their abilities (with the exception of Metamagic) are very level-dependent, so you need to devote yourself to leveling as a Sorcerer to benefit from sorcerer levels unless you’re just take a class dip for Metamagic. If you go that route, it’s probably so that you can quicken Eldrith Blast. 3 levels of sorcerer gets you two types of Metamagic, and if you convert all of your Sorcerer spell slots to Sorcery Points you’ll get a total of 11 per day and recharge 3 on a Short Rest alongside your warlock spell slots. Your subclass can offer some useful stuff, too, but you’ll only get the 1st-level feature unless you go all the way to 6th level. Draconic Bloodline is a good, easy choice, and Shadow Magic’s 1st-level features are very powerful even if they’re a bit more complicated.

Magic Items

Common Magic Items

  • Dark Shard Amulet: Easy access to all of those weird, situational cantrips that aren’t worth learning permanently. A DC 10 Arcana check isn’t hard as long as you have Proficiency, so even if you dumped Intelligence to 8 you still have better-than-even odds of success. Unfortunately, this does require Attunement and you can only attempt to use it once per day, so you may abandon this in favor of other items later in your career.
  • Moon-Touched SwordXGtE: It’s fun to make a magic item your pact weapon, but Improved Pact Weapon makes this functionally obsolete.
  • Ruby of the War MageXGtE: Improved Pact Weapon already allows warlocks who use weapons to use their pact weapon as a spellcasting focus.

Uncommon Magic Items

  • Broom of FlyingDMG: Easily overlooked, but one of the best ways to get flight for any character. It doesn’t require attunement, and has a fly speed of 50 feet, though many medium characters will exceed the 200 pound limit to reduce the speed to 30 feet, but even then 30 feet fly speed with no duration cap and requiring no action after speaking the command word is absolutely incredible. The only drawback is that you’re using the item’s speed rather than giving yourself a fly speed, so things that improve your speed won’t make the broom move faster, and you can’t Dash with the broom. Even so, I honestly can’t justify why this is only Uncommon considering how exceptionally good it is.
  • Cloak of ProtectionDMG: Good on any character, but it requires Attunement and it’s not very interesting.
  • Goggles of NightDMG: Crucial for races which don’t get Darkvision, especially if your party can’t cast the Darkvision spell for you.
  • Pearl of PowerDMG: For a class with so few spell slots, an extra slot (even if it’s only up to third level) is a huge benefit. However, Rod of the Pact Keeper doesn’t cap the level of the spell slot and also provides a bonus to your spell attacks and DCs, and it’s the same rarity. Pearl of Power is still good, but Rod of the Pact Keeper is much better.
  • Rod of the Pact KeeperDMG: +1 to spell attacks (Elditch Blast!) and save DC’s, and you can use it to regain a spell slot once per day. Unlike a Pearl of Power, the spell slot can be of any level, so it doesn’t diminish in effectiveness as you gain levels.
  • Shield, +1DMG: +2 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective. Unfortunately only the Hexblade gets proficiency, but if you’re a Hexblade it’s an excellent boost to AC.
  • Slippers of Spider ClimbingDMG: The next-best thing to flight. Walking up a wall has all the benefits of flying out of reach at a much smaller cost than even the lowest-level item which provides magical flight.
  • Staff of the AdderDMG: The snake attack doesn’t benefit from Hex Warrior, Shillelagh, etc. so you’re stuck using your Strength to attack.
  • Staff of the PythonDMG: A decent low-level summon. At CR 2, the Giant Constrictor Snake is excellent at incapacitating single targets, especially if they have poor bonuses to Athletics and Acrobatics. With blindsight, the snake can even function is area of magical darkness or other sight-blocking conditions like fog or smoke, allowing the snake to be useful well above what its CR would suggest. Keep in mind that the snake’s 12 AC and 60 hit points won’t stand up to repeated attacks, so plan to revert the snake to its staff form quickly or risk losing the item permanently.
  • Stone of Good LuckDMG: Excellent on literally any character, but if you just want better defense a Cloak of Protection may be more effective. Stone of Good Luck shines if you’re heavily reliant on skills and ability checks (like Face skills), and ability checks include Initiative rolls and checks to counter/dispel things.
  • Wand of DetectionDMG: This saves you the trouble of learning Detect Magic and spending a spell slot on it, which is a frustrating tax unless you took Pact of the Tome or the Ritual Caster feat.
  • Wand of the War MageDMG: Rod of the Pact Keeper is better if you want more from your leveled spells, but Wand of the War Mage is better if you just want to spam Eldritch Blast and can’t fit Spell Sniper into your build.
  • Weapon, +1DMG: Blade pact warlocks can take Improved Pact Weapon to get the same benefit.
  • Winged BootsDMG: Excellent on its own, but Winged Boots are more limited in use than a broom of flying, and they require Attunement.

Rare Magic Items

  • Amulet of HealthDMG: Setting your Constitution to 19 means that you don’t need to put Ability Score Increases into it unless you’re really certain that you want 20 Constitution. Less ASI’s into Constitution means more room for feats. Combining this with Resilient (Constitution) or War Caster can do a lot to make Concentration easier.
  • Armor of ResistanceDMG: Excellent, but unpredictable in most games since you can’t perfectly predict what sort of damage you’ll face. Fire and poison are safe choices.
  • Armor, +1DMG: +1 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective.
  • Barrier Tattoo (Rare)TCoE: For non-hexblades, this is way better than Mage Armor and you don’t need to raise your Dexterity past 14 to still have good AC. For the Hexblade, go for +1 half plate instead.
  • Bell BranchTCoE: The detection effect suffers the same problem’s as the Ranger’s Primeval Awareness, plus it’s blocked by total cover (walls, etc.) so even if applicable creatures are nearby you can’t guarantee that you’ll detect them. The option to cast Protection From Evil and Good is nice, but then this is essentially a wand of a 1st-level spell. Not good enough for the rarity.
  • Bracers of DefenseDMG: Get a Barrier Tattoo (Rare).
  • Cloak of DisplacementDMG: Among the best defensive items in the game. Taking damage from any source (spells, etc.) suppresses the effect temporarily, so make a point to kill anything that can damage you without an attack roll.
  • Elven ChainDMG: One less AC than Barrier Tattoo (Rare), but it doesn’t require attunement, so in a game with abundant magic items Elven Chain may be a better choice.
  • FlametongueDMG: Mathematically the +2 bonus to attack rolls from a +2 weapon will be a more consistent improvement to your damage output, especially with damage bonuses like Hex and Hexblade’s Curse.
  • Ring of EvasionDMG: A great way to mitigate damage from AOE spells and things like breath weapons which can often be problems from front-line martial characters, especially if you’re not build around Dexterity.
  • Ring of ProtectionDMG: Cloak of Protection is lower rarity and has the same effect.
  • Ring of ResistanceDMG: A fine item in a vaccuum, but a Ring of Spell Storing full of Absorb Elements will be much more effective.
  • Ring of Spell StoringDMG: Fill it with Absorb Elements and Shield, and recharge it whenever possible and this is a spectacular defensive asset.
  • Rod of the Pact KeeperDMG: +2 to spell attacks and save DC’s, and you can use it to regain a spell slot once per day. For more, see Rod of the Pact Keeper under Uncommon Magic Items, above.
  • Shield, +2DMG: +2 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective. Unfortunately only the Hexblade gets proficiency, but if you’re a Hexblade it’s an excellent boost to AC.
  • Wand of the War MageDMG: See Wand of the War Mage under Uncommon Magic items, above.
  • Weapon, +2DMG: This will beat the attack/damage bonus from Improved Pact Weapon, but combining Improved Pact Weapon with a magic weapon that doesn’t provide an attack bonus (Flametongue, etc.) may be more effective.
  • Wings of FlyingDMG: Broom of Flying is much better, lower rarity, and doesn’t require attunement.

Very Rare Magic Items

  • Absorbing TattooTCoE: Good, but too high rarity to devote to a single damage type. Get a Ring of Spell Storing and fill it with Absorb Elements.
  • Barrier Tattoo (Very Rare)TCoE: The fixed AC matches full plate, so you don’t need to worry about Dexterity to boost your AC and you don’t even suffer Disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. Hexblades should go for +X breastplate instead, since it’s equivalent or better AC and doesn’t require Attunement.
  • Armor, +2DMG: +2 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective.
  • Manual of Bodily HealthDMG: Permanent Constitution bonus and raises your cap by 2. Unless you’re using a magic item that fixes your Constitution as a specific score, this is excellent.
  • Rod of the Pact KeeperDMG: +3 to spell attacks and save DC’s, and you can use it to regain a spell slot once per day. For more, see Rod of the Pact Keeper under Uncommon Magic Items, above.
  • Shield, +3DMG: +3 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective. Unfortunately only the Hexblade gets proficiency, but if you’re a Hexblade it’s an excellent boost to AC.
  • Spellguard ShieldDMG: Basically only useful against spellcasters, but if you’re facing a spellcaster there are few better defenses.
  • Staff of FireDMG: Fireball is a great spell, but it’s often a hard choice for the Warlock because they get so few spell slots to spend so you need to get a ton of efficiency out of every spell slots. Access to Burning Hands and Fireball from an item makes it much easier to fit those spells into your arsenal.
  • Staff of IceDMG: Cone of Cold for quick AOE damage and Wall of Ice for a combination of damage, area control, and utility. Wall of Ice is a good spell that’s normally exclusive to the Wizard’s spell list, and it can be a useful utility in addition to its offensive uses.
  • Staff of PowerDMG: A +2 quarterstaff, +2 to spell attacks (though not to spell DC’s for some reason, so you may want another focus), +2 to both AC and to saving throws, 20 charges, and 9 spells which you can cast. This is powerful, versatile, and all around just an exceptionally powerful item.
  • Tome of Leadership and InfluenceDMG: Permanent Charisma bonus and raises your cap by 2.
  • Weapon, +3DMG: Mathematically spectacular. It’s difficult to beat the math here.

Legendary Magic Items

  • Armor, +3DMG: +3 AC, no attunement. Nothing fancy, but very effective. It feels underwhelming at this rarity, but the math if good.
  • Cloak of InvisibilityDMG: Invisibility is extremely powerful in 5e. Note that this is just the invisible condition, not the spell spell Invisibility, so you can still attack or whatever while invisible. Unless you’re playing a Defender and actively trying to draw attacks away from your allies, this is absolutely amazing.
  • Ioun Stone (Mastery)DMG: Proficiency Bonuses apply to a lot of things and a +1 bonus goes a long way. But Attunement is precious and you’ll probably only get one legendary item. You can get +1 to all saves and all ability checks with a Stone of Good Luck rather than just ones where you have proficiency, and they’re Uncommon so they should be easy to find by this level. I might consider this on warlock subclasses which have features which depend on your Proficiency Bonus like Hexblade’s Curse, but otherwise a Stone of Good Luck will be more effective.
  • Luck BladeDMG: Bonuses to attacks and saves, a once per day reroll, and it can cast Wish a few times (maybe. 1d4-1 could be zero). Green if it can’t cast Wish.
  • Ring of Spell TurningDMG: Given the choice, I would much rather haqve a Mantle of Spell Resistance simply because the Ring of Spell Turning doesn’t provide any protection against area effect spells. Otherwise, this is a really fun item, and if it provided Advantage on saves against area of effect spells it would shoot straight up to blue.
  • Ring of Three WishesDMG: Provided that you didn’t go for The Genie as your Otherwordly Patron, you should use this to do one of the things that risks permanently removing the ability to cast Wish, such as granting 10 creatures permanent resistance to once damage type. If you lose the ability to cast Wish, pass this off to another ally who will never be able to cast Wish by any other means. Repeat until the last charge is used.
  • Robe of the ArchmagiDMG: Combine the benefits of a Very Rare spellcasting focus, a Barrier Tattoo (Rare), and a Mantle of Spell Resistance. Those are three absolutely fantastic items, and combining them on one item is spectacular.
  • Rod of Lordly MightDMG: Allows you to easily change your weapon damage type, and provides three powerful offensive abilities which work in a variety of situations.
  • Scarab of ProtectionDMG: An upgrade from the Mantle of Spell Resistance, the Scarab of Protection adds a limited benefit against necromancy and undead creatures, and doesn’t take up your cloak slot, leaving you free to take items like a Cloak of Protection or Cloak of Invisibility instead.

Example Build – Tiefling Warlock (Fiend)

Tari’th Darkmoon the Tiefling Fiendish Warlock

Your eyes search for the source of the purple blast that just blew past your hair. After adjusting from the momentary brightness, they land on a burnished orange Tiefling, her white eyes reflecting the violet hues of the fizzling spell. She stands tall and graceful with her leather armor and elegantly curved horns, her beauty as enchanting as her power. You’re so taken by her captivating presence that several moments of intense study pass before you even notice the small, scaly creature skittering across her shoulders.

— Boxed text provided by dScryb(affiliate link)

This is a “Staple Build”. This build is simple, and relies on options from the SRD and the Basic Rules wherever possible. If you need a functional build with nothing fancy or complicated, this is a great place to start.

The combination of Tiefling and Infernal patron place a lot of emphasis on fire damage. This is fine in most cases, though you’ll have issues against enemies with resistance or immunity to fire damage. Fortunately warlocks can always fall back on Eldritch Blast.

Abilities

Because we’re not using feats, there’s little incentive to spend the extra points to start with 15 Charisma, so we’ll make some adjustments to the ability scores presented above to get the most out of our points. You could switch some points around to raise your Intelligence and/or Wisdom, but neither are important to the build so we won’t worry about it.

BaseIncreased
Str88
Dex1414
Con1414
Int1112
Wis1111
Cha1416

Race

Tiefling. The Tiefling’s ability scores line up nicely for the Warlock, and their racial spells are a nice complement to the Warlock’s limited spell slots.

Skills and Tools

With suck high Charisma it’s easy to build the Warlock as a Face, so we’ll take Deception and Intimidation.

If your party already has a Face, it may be helpful to adjust your ability scores to raise your Intelligence, then pick up options like Arcana, History, Nature or Religion.

Also keep in mind that certain Eldritch Invocations can give you proficiency in more skills.

Background

None of the options in the basic rules are an especially good fit for us as a Face, unfortunately. Criminal gets us a redundant proficiency in Deception which we can trade for Persuasion, and Noble gets us Persuasion on its own, so either of the two will work. If you pick Criminal, Thieves’ Tools proficiency and Stealth will help you act as your party’s Scout, too.

If you chose to emphasize knowledge skills over Face skills, look at Acolyte or Sage.

Feats

With a singular focus on Charisma and a starting score of 16, there’s plenty of room for feats in this build. Elemental Adept (Fire) and Flames of Phlegethos will both help keep your fire damage options useful, and Magic Initiate can help pad your spellcasting options.

Levels

At this level you can cast Hellish Rebuke as a racial spell, so knowing it as a Warlock spell is less useful. You don’t want to need Hellish Rebuke frequently, so consider replacing Hellish Rebuke with another 2nd-level spell like Mirror Image.

LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1
  • Otherworldly Patron (The Fiend)
  • Dark One’s Blessing
  • Pact Magic
  • Spells Known:
    • Burning Hands
    • Hellish Rebuke
  • Cantrips:

For your starting equipment take a light crossbow and 20 bolts, either a component pouch or spellcasting focus (I like the focus because it feels cooler even though they’re functionally identical), either pack, leather armor, any simple weapon you like (you won’t use it), and a dagger.

The Warlock starts immediately with a relationship to their patron. This means that you can learn spells from your patron’s spell list (provided that they’re of a spell level which you can cast), and you get a patron ability. In our case, that’s Dark One’s Blessing. This is a great way to pad your hit points, and even though you’re only getting 4 temporary hit points at this level that’s still almost half of your normal hit point maximum (10 at this level).

Pact Magic starts of slow. You get just two spells known and just one spell slot to share between the two, so your spell slot needs to do a lot of work between short rests. Normally I recommend hex as the go-to option at this level, but Hex isn’t in the Basic Rules or the SRD, so we’ll look elsewhere. Use Burning Hands to handle multiple enemies, or save your spell slot for Hellish Rebuke if something gets into melee with you.

For cantrips, take Eldritch Blast for fighting and Mage Hand for utility. I would normal say Prestidigitation, but you get Thaumaturgy for free as a Tiefling, which I think provides enough magical miscellany to get you through first level.

When combat breaks out, your go-to option is either Eldritch Blast or your crossbow. Your crossbow will deal more damage (1d8+2 avg. 6.5 vs. 1d10 avg 5.5), but your Eldritch Blast is cooler and will be slightly more accurate. The differences are minor, so don’t stress about the decision too much. If you get dragged into melee somehow, you’re decent with a dagger, but if you’re injured you’re better served by running away than by trying to trigger Hellish Rebuke.

I typically recommend Hex as a good 1st-level spell for the Warlock because you can get so much mileage out of one spell slot. Unfortunately, Hex is omitted from the SRD, so we’ll skip it for this build.

2
  • Eldritch Invocation:
    • Agonizing Blast
    • Devil’s Sight
  • New Spell Known: Protection from Evil and Good

At this level you get your second spell slot, and you get Agonizing Blast. Agonizing Blast adds your Charisma bonus to the damage dealt by Eldritch Blast, making it truly your go-to option for combat. Unfortunately you won’t get a third spell slot until 11th level, so get used to managing the two you have between rests.

At this level consider learning Protection from Evil and Good. it’s a solid, reliable defensive spell that’s always good to have on hand, even if you don’t need it for a while.

3
  • Pact Boon (Pact of the Chain)
  • New Spell Known: Darkness

At third level you get to pick a Pact Boon. Pact of the Tome is probably the most effective choice, but the intent of this build is to focus on simple yet effective options so we’ll take Pact of the Chain. To fit the theme of our Fiend patron warlock, we’ll take an Imp.

The Imp is easily the best familiar option available. See my assessment of Pact of the Chain above. At this level you might consider sending your imp to attack rather than casting Eldritch Blast. If it hits, your imp will deal 1d4+3+3d6 (avg. 16) damage compared to just 1d10+3 (avg. 8.5) with Eldritch Blast, and you and the imp have the same +5 attack bonus. However, this also places your familiar in harm’s way, and repeatedly spending 10gp to cast Find Familiar can become a drain on your limited funds.

This level raises your spell slots to 2nd level, so you can start learning 2nd-level spells. We took the Devil’s Sight invocation at 2nd level so that you can see in magical darkness, so learn Darkness at this level so that you can start using the two. Keep in mind that your allies probably can’t see in magical darkness, so if you cast Darkness expect to do a lot of work on your own. Send your familiar to use the Help action to assist your allies, which will offset the Disadvantage for attacking in the dark.

4
  • Ability Score Improvement (Charisma 16 -> 18)
  • New Cantrip: Any
  • New Spell Known: Invisibility

Your first Charisma does a lot for you. Your attack bonus with Eldritch Blast is now higher than your imp’s attack bonus, but you may still want to send your imp to attack for its considerably higher damage if that has proven to be a good tactic for you.

At this level you learn a new cantrip. I suggest a utility option like Minor Illusion or Prestidigitation, but you may want Chill Touch if you really want more offensive options for some reason.

By this level we have a defensive spell (Hellish Rebuke), an AOE spell (Burning Hands), and an area control spell (Darkness), so a utility spell or crowd control spell is a good addition to our arsenal. I recommend Invisibility, but Enthrall and Spider Climb are great options too.

5
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Voice of the Chain Master
  • New Spell Known: Fly
  • Retrain Spell: Burnings Hands -> Fireball

At 5th level you get access to some new invocation options. There are several great options, but I really want to lean into how great your familiar is so we’ll take Voice of the Chain Master. This opens a fun combination: Voice of the Chain Master allows you to speak through your familiar. Thaumaturgy (which you get as a racial spell) allows you to triple the volume of your voice. Your imp can turn invisible. So you can have your imp turn invisible, fly somewhere, and you can speak through your imp like a terrifying invisible megaphone. I don’t know exactly what you would use this for, but the fact that it’s possible makes me boundlessly happy.

5th level brings 3rd-level spells, which is really exciting. The SRD doesn’t include any exciting offensive options on the Warlock list, but your patron gives you access to Fireball, so we’ll replace Burning Hands with Fireball. We’ll learn Fly with the new spell known because flying is really cool.

At this level you gain the ability to cast Darkness as a racial spell. That’s a good excuse to retrain Darkness into another new spell, but we’ll need to wait another level because we’re retraining Burning Hands at this level.

Finally, 5th level adds a second ray to Eldritch Blast. Two rays at 1d10+4 damage easily outdoes your imp, so it’s time for the imp to go back to a support role rather than an offensive one.

6
  • Dark One’s Own Luck
  • New Spell Known: Counterspell
  • Retrain Spell: Darkness -> Dispel Magic

Dark One’s Own Luck add a nice backup when you roll poorly on a saving throw. Of course, a d10 will range wildly in value, so you can’t always rely on it to save you.

At this level we’ll retrain Darkness, and add two crucial utility options to our arsenal. Counterspell allows you to shut down enemy spellcasts (though it will feel like a disappointing way to spen a spell slot) and Dispel Magic will allow you to remove problematic ongoing magical effects.

7
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Repelling Blast
  • New Spell Known: Wall of Fire

7th level brings 4th-level spells and another invocation. Unfortunately, the SRD’s options for 4th-level spells aren’t great, and there are few invocation options that are especially interesting at this level. We’ll learn Wall of Fire and Repelling Blast so that you can put up a wall of fire and use Eldritch Blast to push enemies into it.

8
  • Ability Score Improvement (Charisma 18 -> 20)
  • New Spell Known: Banishment

At this level we’re at maximum Charisma. More attack and damage with Eldritch Blast and a higher save DC with everything else.

There’s not much else going on at this level. Grab Banishment so that you can one-shot powerful extraplanar enemies.

9
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Whispers of the Grave
  • New Spell Known: Hold Monster

At this point you have a lot of options for your invocations, and deciding can be very difficult. Whispers of the Grave is a nice, universally-appealing option. Adventuring involves killing a lot of things, and sometimes those things know things that you want to know.

Finally we’ve reached 5th-level spells. This is where your spell slots reach their maximum effectiveness. From here on you’ll continue to learn more spells, but remember that your normal spells known can only be of 5th level or lower. When you run out of good 5th-level spells to select, look at lower-level spells which are still useful like utility options or spells which scale with spell slot level.

At this level we’ll learn Hold Monster. It works in nearly any fight, and sometimes it can even prevent a fight from happening.

This level also marks a turning point in how the Warlock advances. You no longer gain new spell levels, and you gain interesting new class features slower. Even at 20th level, your 5th-level spell slots are the most important parts of your spellcasting arsenal beyond Eldritch Blast, so be prepared to look for creative ways to apply your spells as you face new challenges.

10
  • Fiendish Resilience
  • New Cantrip: Any

Fiendish Resilience is a difficult ability to use. You can change the damage resistance when you rest, but it’s often difficult to know what you’re going to face ahead of time. If you’re ever not sure, select Slashing.

With the limited options in the SRD, we’re quickly running out of interesting options for spells known. From here on, you’ll want to go back to lower-level spells to look for good options.

11
  • Mystic Arcanum: Mass Suggestion
  • New Spell Known: Any

Our first Mystic Arcanum gets us accustomed to the mechanic. You get to cast each of your Mystic Arcanum spells once per day, so you want each option to be broadly useful. In this case I suggest Mass Suggestion. We have plenty of options for hindering and killing enemies, but we have very few less lethal options. Mass Suggestion allows you to conveniently remove 12 creatures. Tell them to go take a long walk, or march out of the dungeon to gather food, or something else that conveniently removes them without actually harming them.

12
  • Ability Score Improvement (Any)
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Any

It’s difficult to provide specific guidance at this point. You have everything that you need to function. If you want more AC consider increasing Dexterity, otherwise you probably want to increase Constitution. You can select any invocation available at this point, and hopefully by now there are some options that you’ve been eying for a while.

13
  • Mystic Arcanum: Force Cage
  • New Spell Known: Any

Force Cage is a really cool spell. It’s really easy to use it to eliminate single foes or groups of foes, and in a pinch you can use it as a place to hide, as a bridge, to block a hallway, or even as a place to take a short rest (the duration is conveniently 1 hour, the same as a short rest).

14

Hurl Through Hell is a once per day damage boost. It applies on top of the effect of an attack, but there’s no limitation on what kind of attack, so you can apply this to a target hit by your Eldritch Blast or by any other spell which requires you to make and attack roll.

15
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Witch Sight
  • Mystic Arcanum: Dominate Monster
  • New Spell Known: Any

15th level opens up the highest tier of Eldritch Invocation options. Normally I would suggest Visions of Distant Realms, but you can get most of that function from your familiar thanks to Voice of the Chain Master.

For this level’s Mystic Arcanum, we’ll take Dominate Monster. Like Mass Suggestion it allows us to non-lethally remove a problematic creature, but it gives you more direct control over the target. If you do it right, you can dominate one monster and walk it into the next encounter or two like an extra party member.

16
  • Ability Score Improvement (Any)

Not much going on at this level.

17
  • Mystic Arcanum: Any
  • New Spell Known: Any

This is the most notable level for a while. 17th level adds the fourth and final ray to Eldritch blast, and you get your final Mystic Arcanum. I recommend Foresight or True Polymorph, but if you just want to kill stuff go for Power Word Kill.

18
  • New Eldritch Invocation: Any

Your final Eldritch Invocation slot.

19
  • Ability Score Improvement (Any)
  • New Spell Known: Any

At this level your Charisma is 20 and you’ve had two other Ability Score Increases, so your ability scores should be excellent. This level also gives you your last new spell known.

20

20th level is a bit dry, unfortunately. Eldritch Master lets you ask for your spell slots back once per day without completing a short rest, which saves you 59 minutes once a day.

Sours: https://rpgbot.net/dnd5/characters/classes/warlock/
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D&D 5th Edition

Warlock Spells by Name
Warlock Spells by Level
As a Warlock, you gain the following Class Features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Warlocklevel
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitutionmodifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitutionmodifier per Warlocklevel after 1st

Starting Proficiencies

You are proficient with the following items, in addition to any Proficienciesprovided by your race or Background.

Armor:Light Armor
Weapons:simple Weapons
Tools:none
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills:Choose two Skillsfrom Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion

Starting Equipment

You start with the following Equipment, in addition to the Equipmentgranted by your background:

• (a) a Light Crossbowand 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
• (a) a Component pouchor (b) an arcane focus
• (a) a Scholar's Packor (b) a Dungeoneer's Pack
• Leather Armor, any simple weapon, and two daggers



Otherworldly Patron

At 1st Level, you have struck a bargain with an otherworldly being of your choice, such as The Fiend, which is detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 1st Leveland again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Pact Magic

Your arcane Researchand the magic bestowed on you by your patron have given you facility with Spells.

Cantrips

You know two Cantripsof your choice from the Warlockspell list. You learn additional WarlockCantripsof your choice at higher levels, as shown in the CantripsKnown column of the Warlocktable.

Spell Slots

The Warlocktable shows how many Spell Slotsyou have. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your Spell Slotsare the same level. To cast one of your WarlockSpellsof 1st Levelor higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended Spell Slotswhen you finish a short or Long Rest.

For example, when you are 5th Level, you have two 3rd-level Spell Slots. To cast the 1st-level spell Thunderwave, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

At 1st Level, you know two 1st-level Spellsof your choice from the Warlockspell list.

You learn a new Warlockspell every time you gain a level from 2 through 9, as well as at level 19. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what's shown in the table's Slot Levelcolumn for your level. When you reach 6th level, for example, you learn a new Warlockspell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the WarlockSpellsyou know and replace it with another spell from the Warlockspell list, which also must be of a level for which you have Spell Slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Charismais your Spellcastingability for your WarlockSpells, so you use your Charismawhenever a spell refers to your Spellcastingability. In addition, you use your Charismamodifier when setting the saving throw DC for a Warlockspell you cast and when making an Attackroll with one.


Spell save DC = 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Charisma modifier
Spell Attack modifier = Proficiency bonus + Charisma modifier


Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus as a Spellcastingfocus for your WarlockSpells.

Eldritch Invocations

In your study of occult lore, you have unearthed Eldritch Invocations, fragments of forbidden knowledge that imbue you with an abiding magical ability.

At 2nd Level, you gain two Eldritch Invocationsof your choice. Your invocation options are detailed at the end of the class description. When you gain certain Warlocklevels, you gain additional invocations of your choice.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level. A level prerequisite in an invocation refers to Warlocklevel, not character level.

Pact Boon

At 3rd Level, your Otherworldly Patronbestows a gift upon you for your loyal service. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

Pact of the Chain

You learn the Find Familiarspell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of Spellsknown.

When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following Specialforms: imp, Pseudodragon, Quasit, or Sprite.

Additionally, when you take the Attackaction, you can forgo one of your own attacks to allow your familiar to make one Attackof its own with its Reaction.

Pact of the Blade

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the Purposeof overcoming Resistanceand immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Your pact weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.

You can transform one Magic Weaponinto your pact weapon by performing a Specialritual while you hold the weapon. You perform the ritual over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a Short Rest. You can then dismiss the weapon, shunting it into an extradimensional space, and it appears whenever you create your pact weapon thereafter. You can’t affect an artifact or a sentient weapon in this way. The weapon ceases being your pact weapon if you die, if you perform the 1-hour ritual on a different weapon, or if you use a 1-hour ritual to break your bond to it. The weapon appears at your feet if it is in the extradimensional space when the bond breaks.

Pact of the Tome

Your patron gives you a grimoire called a Bookof Shadows. When you gain this feature, choose three Cantripsfrom any class’s spell list (the three needn’t be from the same list). While the book is on your person, you can cast those Cantripsat will. They don’t count against your number of Cantripsknown. If they don’t appear on the Warlockspell list, they are nonetheless WarlockSpellsfor you.

If you lose your Bookof Shadows, you can perform a 1-hour Ceremonyto receive a replacement from your patron. This Ceremonycan be performed during a short or Long Rest, and it destroys the previous book. The book turns to ash when you die.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th Level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two Ability Scoresof your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Mystic Arcanum

At 11th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical Secretcalled an arcanum. Choose one 6th-level spell from the Warlockspell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a Long Restbefore you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more WarlockSpellsof your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th-level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Mystic A rcanum when you finish a Long Rest.

Eldritch Master

At 20th level, you can draw on your inner reserve of mystical power while entreating your patron to regain expended Spell Slots. You can spend 1 minute entreating your patron for aid to regain all your expended Spell Slotsfrom your Pact Magicfeature. Once you regain Spell Slotswith this feature, you must finish a Long Restbefore you can do so again.

Eldritch Invocations

If an eldritch invocation has Prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the invocation at the same time that you meet its Prerequisites. A level prerequisite refers to your level in this class.

Agonizing Blast

Prerequisite: Eldritch Blastcantrip

When you cast Eldritch Blast, add your Charismamodifier to the damage it deals on a hit.

Armor of Shadows

You can cast Mage Armoron yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material Components.

Ascendant Step

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast Levitateon yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material Components.

BeastSpeech

You can cast Speak with Animalsat will, without expending a spell slot.

Beguiling Influence

You gain proficiency in the Deceptionand PersuasionSkills.

Bewitching Whispers

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast Compulsiononce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Book of Ancient Secrets

Prerequisite: Pact of the Tomefeature

You can now inscribe magical Ritualsin your Bookof Shadows. Choose two 1st-level Spellsthat have the ritual tag from any class’s spell list (the two needn’t be from the same list). The Spellsappear in the book and don’t count against the number of Spellsyou know. With your Bookof Shadows in hand, you can cast the chosen Spellsas Rituals. You can’t cast the Spellsexcept as Rituals, unless you’ve learned them by some other means. You can also cast a Warlockspell you know as a ritual if it has the ritual tag.

On your Adventures, you can add other ritual Spellsto your Bookof Shadows. When you find such a spell, you can add it to the book if the spell’s level is equal to or less than half your Warlocklevel (rounded up) and if you can spare the time to transcribe the spell. For each level of the spell, the transcription process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp for the rare inks needed to inscribe it.

Chains of Carceri

Prerequisite: 15th level, Pact of the Chainfeature

You can cast Hold Monsterat will—targeting a Celestial, fiend, or elemental—without expending a spell slot or material Components. You must finish a Long Restbefore you can use this invocation on the same creature again.

Devil’s Sight

You can see normally in Darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet.

Dreadful Word

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast Confusiononce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Eldritch Sight

You can cast Detect Magicat will, without expending a spell slot.

Eldritch Spear

Prerequisite: Eldritch Blastcantrip

When you cast Eldritch Blast, its range is 300 feet.

Eyes of the Rune Keeper

You can read all writing.

Fiendish Vigor

You can cast False Lifeon yourself at will as a 1st-level spell, without expending a spell slot or material Components.

Gaze of Two Minds

You can use your action to touch a willing Humanoidand perceive through its Sensesuntil the end of your next turn. As long as the creature is on the same plane of existence as you, you can use your action on subsequent turns to maintain this connection, extending the Durationuntil the end of your next turn. While perceiving through the other creature’s Senses, you benefit from any SpecialSensespossessed by that creature, and you are Blindedand Deafenedto your own surroundings.

Lifedrinker

Prerequisite: 12th level, Pact of the Bladefeature

When you hit a creature with your pact weapon, the creature takes extra necrotic damage equal to your Charismamodifier (minimum 1).

Mask of Many Faces

You can cast Disguise Selfat will, without expending a spell slot.

Master of Myriad Forms

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can cast Alter Selfat will, without expending a spell slot.

Minions of Chaos

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast Conjure Elementalonce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Mire the Mind

Prerequisite: 5th Level

You can cast slowonce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Misty Visions

You can cast Silent Imageat will, without expending a spell slot or material Components.

One with Shadows

Prerequisite: 5th Level

When you are in an area of dim light or Darkness, you can use your action to become Invisibleuntil you move or take an action or a Reaction.

Otherworldly Leap

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast jumpon yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material Components.

Repelling Blast

Prerequisite: Eldritch Blastcantrip

When you hit a creature with Eldritch Blast, you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line.

Sculptor of Flesh

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast Polymorphonce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Sign of Ill Omen

Prerequisite: 5th Level

You can cast Bestow Curseonce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Thief of Five Fates

You can cast baneonce using a Warlockspell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a Long Rest.

Thirsting Blade

Prerequisite: 5th Level, Pact of the Bladefeature

You can Attackwith your pact weapon twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attackaction on Your Turn.

Visions of Distant Realms

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can cast Arcane Eyeat will, without expending a spell slot.

Voice of the ChainMaster

Prerequisite: Pact of the Chainfeature

You can communicate telepathically with your familiar and perceive through your familiar’s Sensesas long as you are on the same plane of existence.

Additionally, while perceiving through your familiar’s Senses, you can also speak through your familiar in your own voice, even if your familiar is normally incapable of Speech.

Whispers of the Grave

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast Speak with Deadat will, without expending a spell slot.

Witch Sight

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can see the true form of any Shapechangeror creature concealed by Illusionor Transmutationmagic while the creature is within 30 feet of you and within Line of Sight.

Otherworldly Patrons

The beings that serve as Patronsfor warlocks are mighty inhabitants of Other Planesof existence—not gods, but almost godlike in their power. Various Patronsgive their warlocks access to different powers and invocations, and expect significant favors in return.

Some Patronscollect warlocks, doling out mystic knowledge relatively freely or boasting of their ability to bind mortals to their will. Other Patronsbestow their power only grudgingly, and might make a pact with only one Warlock. Warlocks who serve the same patron might view each other as allies, Siblings, or Rivals.

The Fiend

You have made a pact with a fiend from the lower Planes of Existence, a being whose aims are evil, even if you strive against those aims. Such beings desire The Corruptionor destruction of all things, ultimately including you. Fiendspowerful enough to forge a pact include demon lords such as Demogorgon, Orcus, Fraz’Urb-luu, and Baphomet; Archdevilssuch as Asmodeus, Dispater, Mephistopheles, and Belial; pit Fiendsand balors that are especially mighty; and ultroloths and other lords of the yugoloths.

Expanded Spell List

The Fiendlets you choose from an expanded list of Spellswhen you learn a Warlockspell. The following Spellsare added to the Warlockspell list for you.

Dark One’s Blessing

Starting at 1st Level, when you reduce a Hostilecreature to 0 Hit Points, you gain temporary Hit Pointsequal to your Charismamodifier + your Warlocklevel (minimum of 1).

Dark One’s Own Luck

Starting at 6th level, you can call on your patron to alter fate in your favor. When you make an ability check or a saving throw, you can use this feature to add a d10 to your roll. You can do so after seeing the initial roll but before any of the roll’s Effectsoccur.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or Long Rest.

Fiendish Resilience

Starting at 10th level, you can choose one damage type when you finish a short or Long Rest. You gain Resistanceto that damage type until you choose a different one with this feature. Damage from magical Weaponsor silver Weaponsignores this Resistance.

Hurl Through Hell

Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an Attack, you can use this feature to instantly transport the target through the lower planes. The creature disappears and hurtles through a Nightmarelandscape.

At the end of your next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space. If the target is not a fiend, it takes 10d10 psychic damage as it reels from its horrific experience.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a Long Rest.

Your Pact Boon

Each Pact Boonoption produces a Specialcreature or an object that reflects your patron’s Nature.

Pact of the Chain. Your familiar is more cunning than a typical familiar. Its default form can be a reflection of your patron, with imps and quasits tied to the Fiend.

Pact of the Blade. If you serve the Fiend, your weapon could be an axe made of black metal and adorned with decorative flames.

Pact of the Tome. Your Bookof Shadows could be a weighty tome bound in demon hide studded with iron, holding Spellsof Conjurationand a Wealthof forbidden lore about the sinister regions of the cosmos, a gift of the Fiend.

Spellcasting Ability

Subclass Name

Suggested Abilities

Sours: https://roll20.net/compendium/dnd5e/Warlock

Dungeons & Dragons 5E warlock class explained

In Dungeons & Dragons, a warlock is a dark magic user beholden to a pact with an unseemly entity. A font of dark power. And my gods, the benefits are excellent.

Perhaps you’d like to make a deal with an archfey; an ancient one who drifts inside your dreams with honeyed words and teaches you how to brutalise people’s minds with a wave of a hand.

Or a fiend, hewn of fire and madness from the Nine Hells. Something that speaks through a tiny devil, fluttering on your shoulder. They grant balls of fire, and the power to hurl people into Hell.

Or my particular favourite: the Great One. A shifting horror hidden behind the stars. This eldritch being lets you speak directly into the minds of others - among other, more forbidden things.

Warlocks aren’t even limited to being squishy magic users anymore. Take the hexblade warlock, for example: someone bonded to a sentient weapon. Members of this D&D subclass are beefy, and also delightfully cursed.

Nowadays, you don’t even need to go all edgelord to get into D&D 5E’s warlock class. Although oozing maleficence and crushing your enemies is still very much on brand.

Here, we’ll explore the different types of warlock, how to play one and, most importantly, what you need to consider when creating a warlock. Let’s get started on how to make your very own edgy magician.

Tiefling Warlock holding a flame

How to choose a warlock patron

One of the most important aspects of creating a warlock is the relationship you have with your patron. After picking your patron, it’s good to think about why you made your pact.

Is it a pact you wanted, or were forced into? Are you fond of your patron, or do you serve under them while plotting their demise? Do they like you, or enjoy tormenting you?

What was it that drove you to your pact? Power? Curiosity? Desperation?

Also, determine what your patron demands. Some are easy-going, while others might make all sorts of horrifying requests.

Not all the reasons have to be grimdark spooky either. Perhaps you have a friendship of sorts, or they’re a literal patron of your art.

Let your DM know all about your patron - so they can prepare to play them.

What are the different warlock pacts in D&D 5E?

When you reach the third level, your patron will grant you one of three warlock boons. You can choose which one you’d like.

Pact of the Tome is good for those who want access to different types of spells. With this particular pact, your patron bestows upon you a delightful grimoire full of cantrips from other D&D classes.

Pact of the Blade lets you use your action to create a magical pact weapon. This can be anything, from a giant axe to a crossbow. You’re proficient with it - meaning you’ll hit good. As the weapon is magical, it’s handy for fighting wraiths and other spooky beasts that are impervious to physical damage.

Pact of the Chain gives you the wonderful Find Familiar spell. Other classes get access to this, but not like the warlock does. These familiars are quite special. They can do all sorts of things, from scouting on little wings, to helping you out in combat. Some of them even talk.

You can pick from an adorable pseudo dragon (a tiny dragon), imp (a tiny devil), quasit (a tiny fiend) or sprite (a tiny fey). Each beastie has unique skills. At higher levels, you can choose to see through their eyes as they travel about.

What are the different warlock patrons in D&D 5E?

The patron you make a deal with will determine all your warlock powers. Your invocations - the spells you can use without burning slots - will also be affected. Pick wisely.

The Great Old Ones - for all your eldritch nightmare needs

Ah yes, you wish to make a deal with a being outside of space, time and sanity. Some fun choices here, according to D&D sourcebook Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, include Night Serpent, Dendar ‘Eater of the World’; a pantheon of nasty slime gods; and, of course, the great Cthulhu.

Mechanically speaking, you’ll get to speak telepathically, and acquire some really horrible spells like ‘dissonant whispers’ (haunt your enemies with whispers) and ‘phantasmal force’ which lets you plant dangerous illusions in their minds.

The archfey - away with the fairies

For a creature that is both inscrutable and perhaps a little whimsical, try an archfey - essentially an immortal fairy-beast. These include actual fairy lords and creatures like night hags (sadistic witch sorts). They are often capricious and cruel. Definitely chaotic.

Less dark and inscrutable then the eldritch choice, you’ll get tons of spells that can deceive and/or charm your enemies, and ones that’ll also help you make a swift escape when needed.

The Fiend - consorting with demons

Arch devils, cambions and demons come in under the fiend umbrella. Think ‘infernal powers’ and ‘unending fire’.

As you’d expect, most of these creatures are just pure evil - straight and simple. Mechanically, this is the warlock class if you want tons of firepower - literally. You’ll get Fireball, Burning Hands and loads of other flame themed spells.

The Undying - that which is dead can never die

If you’d like an immortal patron who has somehow escaped the icy hand of death, try out an undying patron. This will not only impart a range of eerie necromantic spells like ‘speak with dead’ and ‘false life’, but also let you evade disease and, at later levels, cheat death just like your patron.

Good options for an undying patron include deathless wizards and liches respectively. You can learn all about the Undying warlock class in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide source book.

The Celestial - blessed might

You can play a Warlock who is bound to the Upper Planes. Meaning you’ll get your powers from the likes of unicorns and angels.

This is one of the few pacts that might inspire you to do good and, as such, it’s the only one that actually provides your warlock with traditional healing abilities. Fun if you want to be spooky, but fuzzy inside. Take a look at the Xanathar's Guide to Everything D&D sourcebook for exact details.

Dungeons & Dragons 5E warlock

The Hexblade - forever bonded to a dark weapon

This is for those of you that like crushing heads, while also blasting spells. The hexblade warlock sports a sentient and definitely cursed weapon, hewn in the darkest reaches of the Shadow Fel. Odds are your sword is tied to Raven Queen, who shepherds souls across to the other side.

As a hexblade warlock, you can get all those fighting powers via the Pact of the Blade. As charisma can be used on your magic weapon instead of strength, you can also really beat the hell out of people. A fun melee class packing lots of curses. Learn more about the Hexblade warlock class in D&D sourcebook Xanathar's Guide to Everything.

How to play as a warlock in D&D 5E

A warlock is based off the CHA and CON stats. This means their spell power draws from their charisma modifier, so warlocks are charismatic individuals overall.

Just to clarify, you can be charismatic (intimidating, good at persuasion) while being totally hateable. The warlock is a great example of charisma being about personal power - not likeability.

In addition, you’ll need that constitution stat to ensure you retain concentration on spells during combat, and also to give you some extra hit points - as most warlock types can’t get substantial armour.

With most types of warlock having no fighting armour or weapon abilities, you’ll want to sit near the back and blast spells from afar.

Your spells will be weirder and crueller than the warping spells of a wizard, or a sorcerer’s mighty blasts. That said, your Eldritch Blast cantrip metes out excellent damage, is totally modifiable via invocations and stacks up as you level.

That is, of course, unless you choose to be a hexblade. In which case, you have a cursed weapon and can do things like bind the souls of people you slay. You’ll likely want to get into the fray. At higher levels these characters can mete out horrifying melee damage.

How many spell slots does a warlock have in D&D 5E?

Unlike other Dungeons & Dragons spellcasters (wizards and sorcerers) warlocks get very, very few spell slots and a handful of cantrips. You’ll start out with one spell slot. However, also unlike other spellcasters, they get all their slots back after a short rest.

One way to get past the spell slot shortage is multiclassing, which is when you level up in multiple classes. Combining a few levels in warlock with the bard or sorceror class can be particularly nasty - as these classes also pull on the CHA stat for their spells.

That said, the few slots that warlocks do have, all get cast at the highest level. They also are granted ‘invocations’, spooky spells that can be cast at will, plus special boons from their patron. So for the warlock, spell slots aren’t the only font of magic you’ll have access to.

What can warlocks do?

Warlocks can do a lot of strange things. First off, they get a range of social, destructive and area-of-effect spells as part of their pact magic. Among these, are a range of curses like hex, that can really screw with your opponents. You’ll be able to select from the general warlock spell list, and also get some particular spells based on your patron choice.

Also unique to the class, warlocks are granted invocations at level 2. These are special magic buffs that give you special abilities like permanent armour. There are many to select from, and plenty will freak your fellow party members out just as much as your enemies.

Particularly fun invocations include Mask of Many Faces, which lets you cast disguise self whenever you fancy, or Devil’s Sight, which grants you a souped up version of dark vision.

In addition, you’ll get strange abilities like telepathic talking or the ability to beguile and terrify - dependent on your patron choice - right from level 1.

Your patron will also grant you a special gift at Level 3.These include a familiar (your very own cursed slave pet), a spell book, or a magical weapon.

Eldritch Blast, the generic warlock cantrip, is also one of the most damage-heavy early cantrips in the game, and gets improved as you level up - as many cantrips do.

So, if you want to unleash fireballs and lightning - don’t play a warlock. If you want to terrify, confuse and ultimately mulch your opponents - then warlock is the class for you.

What are the best warlock races in D&D 5E?

Any race that gets charisma bonuses, such as half-elves, tieflings (half-demon folks) and aasimar (angel folks). Also, humans are, as per usual, a fantastic choice - just because they’re so versatile.

If you want to get super exotic, terrifying snake-people the Yuan-Ti are also super charismatic. Or, a changeling (a shape-shifter) also suits the deceptive, shifty nature of a warlock well. As usual, it’s best to go with the race you’re most drawn to.

How to create a D&D 5E warlock character

First things first, get your highest stats in CHA and CON. The rest, frankly, depends on your preferences. Intelligence is good if you like investigating and learning about the world around you, but dexterity is a better shout if you want to be more swift and less squishy. Wisdom too, can come in handy for perception checks and wisdom saves - which protect you against a huge range of mind-bending spells.

Strength is definitely going to be your dump stat - because even the beefy warlocks don’t need it to hit.

Next, get yourself a background that boosts your charisma skills, like Charlatan, or Noble. Cantrip-wise, definitely take Eldritch Blast to get your blast-o-matic on. In terms of first-level spells, it’s good to pick something shifty and social like Charm Person.

Should I play a warlock in D&D 5E?

This is a class for people who like learning all of strange, interplanar magic stuff in Dungeons & Dragons. People who like dark secrets and fraternising with mysterious entities. People who enjoy drama, but are less driven by the need to destroy with far-out spells (like a sorcerer), or to alter the fabric of reality itself (like a wizard).

Warlocks are perfect for schemers and/or role-players. Because of their high-charisma - Warlocks are also a good choice for a party ‘face’ (the character that deals with social stuff during adventure).

If all this appeals, let’s make a pact.

We hope you enjoyed the old Warlock 101. However, there are many other Dungeons & Dragons classes to enjoy. So, if this is not the one for you, be sure to check out our other D&D character guides. Other fun spell casters include the wizard and the sorceror, or you can combine magic and brawn as a druid, cleric or paladin.

Sours: https://www.dicebreaker.com/categories/roleplaying-game/how-to/dungeons-and-dragons-5e-warlock-class-explained

Warlock dnd

DnD 5e – Warlock Subclass Breakdown

Last Updated: August 25, 2021

Introduction

Your choice of Otherworldly Patron has a significant impact on both the theme and the mechanics of your Warlock. While several subclasses like the Archfey and the Genie will mostly add options which complement the Warlock’s core class feautures, other subclasses like the Celestial and the Hexblade will expand on the Warlock’s capabilities, allowing them to expand into new roles within the party.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Warlock Subclasses – Otherworldly Patrons

The ArchfeyPHB

Focused on illusion, deception, and enchantment. The Fey’s subclass features provide a variety of useful options. However, illusions, enchantments, and fear effects face challenges because resistance and immunity to those effects are common. You’ll need to diversify your capabilities to make sure that running into something without a brain doesn’t reduce you to spamming Eldritch Blast with no other useful options.

While few of the Archfey’s options are actually bad, the only truly fantastic feature is Faerie Fire. After that, most of the options are good but unremarkable. There’s very little here that’s exceptional, but there’s also very little here that’s really disappointing.

Overall, the Archfey is a solid, but not amazing options. The spellcasting expands your capabilities without adding significant complexity, so the Archfey is a good choice for relatively inexperienced players looking to improve their understanding of spellcasting classes. More experienced players will find the Archfey reasonably effective, but you may find that the more situational portions of the subclass’s features go a long time without being useful.

  1. Expanded Spell List: A broad mix of utility, offensive, and defensive options. They’re all enchantments or illusions, so be cautious about creatures immune to those effects.
    • 1st-level Spells: Faerie Fire makes things very easy for any Rogues in the party, and it’s a great way to handle invisible foes. Sleep is usually an option which Wizards dump after low levels because it’s not good enough to spend high-level spell slots on, but Warlocks cast every spell with their best spell slot, so there’s no reason why Sleep can’t remain a go-to option for a Warlock.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Two decent save-or-suck options. Calm Emotions can handle crowds, and Phantasmal Force can handle single targets. Unfortunately neither benefit from spell level scaling.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Blink is an effective defensive buff which doesn’t require Concentration, but Shadow of Moil comes online at 4th-level spells, and if you’re going to spend a spell slot and an Action for a 1-minute buff, you want it to be Shadow of Moil. Plant Growth is very situational.
    • 4th-level Spells: Dominate Beast is very situational, especially since you won’t be running into many beasts by the time you can cast 4th-level spells. Greater Invisibility is an absolutely fantastic spell for many reasons, but in combat Shadow of Moil may be more appealing.
    • 5th-level Spells: Dominate Person is among the best single-target control/debuff spells in the game, but it is single-target and only works against a single creature type. Humanoid enemies in combat at this level are uncommon, and when they do appear they’re typically major antagoniists, but you can still use Dominate Person in non-combat situations to accomplish numerous goals by dominating NPCs. Seeming is basically a mass version of Disguise Self with a huge duration, and while that’s very situational, the 8-hour duration means that you can cast it early in the day and immediately take a Short Rest to recover your spell slot. The ability to target unwilling creatures opens up some hilarious tactical options like disguising everyone in the room (including enemies) as the same creature, and if that doesn’t screem “archfey” I don’t know what does.
  2. Fey Presence: A 10-foot cube originating from you means that you need to be nearly adjacent to whatever you want to affect, and you’re unlikely to effect more than one or two targets at the same time. The effect is helpful if you get caught in melee and don’t want to be because you can make targets Frightened before running away (Frightened imposes Disadvantage on their Opportunity Attack), but try your best to never need this.
  3. Misty Escape: This is a great way to get away from a big enemy with multi-attack or from damage-dealing area effects which leave lingering effects. Or, if you don’t have a good teleportation option have your party members slap you around a little and “escape” from them.
  4. Beguiling Defenses: Situational by design, but charm effects are common, and turning them back upon the creature can be both powerful and hilarious. Imagine turning a vampire’s Charm back upon the vampire.
  5. Dark Delirium: This is almost a single-target save-or-suck, but the target can still act freely for the most part (within the confines of the Charmed or Frightened condition). The effect ends if the target takes damage, so if your allies are going to pile in on the target they should try to make all of their attacks occur before the target gets another chance to act. You could use this to briefly charm a target and have a nice conversation with them, but one minute is a short duration so you need to work fast.

The CelestialXGtE

The Celestial offers three tempting options: access to some cleric spells, a pool of easy hit point restoration (Healing Light), and access to some sources of radiant/fire damage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do either especially well. The radiant/fire damage options will still lag behind your core Warlock options, and the Cleric spell options are so limited that they’re only good in a party where having a real divine spellcaster is not a possibility or where your divine spellcaster has an unconsciousness problem.

If you’re desperate for healing but also need to be a warlock for some reason, the Celestial is fine. Otherwise, it’s a mix of decent healing and disappointing blasting on top of the Warlock’s excellent core features. If you want to actually cast spells like a cleric, consider the Divine Soul Sorcerer instead.

  1. Expanded Spell List: Most of the options are poor attempts to introduce fire damage to the Warlock’s spell list, but there are a handful of useful options mixed in with the garbage, including staple healing options like Lesser Restoration and Restoration.
    • 1st-level Spells: You don’t really need either. Cure Wounds is tempting, but you get Healing Light which will provide comparable healing without eating your extremely limited spell slots. You can still use Cure Wounds right before a short rest to get some healing out of any leftover spell slots, but I’ve never seen a warlock make it to a short rest with remaining spell slots.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Both good options, but Lesser Restoration should be left to your party’s divine spellcaster if possible. Flaming Sphere looks tempting with Radiant Soul, but Radiant Soul only applies to one damage roll for a given spell, so you don’t get to apply it every time your sphere hits something. Still, it’s a decent area control option and you get a lot of use out of a single spell slot.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Get Revivify. Let me clarify: you should really get Revivify. It’s really good. The one concern is that you only have two spell slots until 11th level and it’s hard to reserve one of them so that you always have revivify ready. Get a Pearl of Power if you can.
    • 4th-level Spells: Wall of Fire is one of the most iconic area control spells, and it works very well in the warlock philosophy of spending one spell slot to massively reshape an encounter before reverting to cantrips. You can use invocations to push/pull enemies through the wall, too. Unfortunately you still only get to apply Radiant Soul once each time you cast it.
    • 5th-level Spells: Flame Strike is fine, but it does less damage in a smaller AOE than Fireball and Radiant Soul’s bonus damage only affects one target, and in general spending a spell slot to deal AOE damage is rarely a good use of a warlock spell slot compared to other damaging options like Hunger of Hadar. Restoration is a situational but important healing option. If you can, leave high-powered healing to your party’s divine spellcaster.
  2. Bonus Cantrips: Warlocks don’t have a way to create light with a cantrip, so Light is nice. Sacred Flame won’t matter often since Eldritch Blast will outpace Sacred Flame’s damage (especially with Agonizing Blast), but more cantrips never hurt and sometimes you need to keep zombies down and sometimes creatures have high AC but low Dexterity saves.
  3. Healing Light: Roughly equivalent to Healing Word, but without eating into your spell slots. This provides enough healing that the Celectial Warlock made a solid showing in the Healbot Olympics. However, it’s the Celestial’s only healing option and doesn’t solve problems beyond hit point restoration so you still need to look elsewhere for options to handle status conditions.
  4. Radiant Soul: Warlocks deal the vast majority of their damage with Eldritch Blast and Agonizing Blast. Celestial warlocks get Sacred Flame, which is probably the best way to make use of this. But If you pick up Agonizing Blast (you should, it’s amazing) this will almost never come up with cantrips because Eldritch Blast will massively outpace any other cantrip’s damage output even with the damage boost from Radiant Soul. If you don’t take Agonizing Blast, Sacred Flame will do slightly more damage than Eldritch Blast.

    The Celestial’s expanded spell list offers a handful of extra spells that deal radiant/fire damage, but most of them aren’t a great use of your warlock spell slots and the damage still only affects one target on one damage roll (e.g. one target of Flame Strike). The primary use case for this is definitely cantrips, but since Eldritch Blast+Agonizing Blast is so effective Radiant Soul is rarely impactful.

  5. Celestial Resilience: This will save a ton of your party’s healing resources. It’s not quite as good as the Inspiring Leader feat since it only works after a rest, but it’s very close, and you don’t need to give your party a 10-minute pep talk to make it work.
  6. Searing Vengeance: There is no save to resist the blinding effect, so you can stand up and safely walk yourself to somewhere safe before going back to lasering stuff to death. Since creatures that you damage are blinded, you get Advantage on attacks against them so it’s a great time for Eldritch Blast.

The FathomlessTCoE

The Fathomless is a servant of some sort of an aquatic creature, and the subclass’s features reflect that theme very effectively. However, much of the subclass is dedicated to functioning in and around water. If your patron sends you onto dry land to do its bidding, big chunks of the subclass dry up (see what I did there) and cease to be useful.

In an aquatic or naval campaign, this is a good subclass. I could see a Fathomless Warlock fighting on the deck of a ship, or facing down tritons and merfolk while raiding a submerged dungeon, but in a typical land-based campaign you’re going to spend a lot of time wishing that you were elsewhere. From the list of current published campaigns, that means Ghosts of Saltmarsh is basically the only one where The Fathomless is a good fit, and considering that there are 8 published campaigns as I’m writing this paragraph (December of 2020), fitting into one of 8 campaigns isn’t a good success rate.

  1. Expanded Spell List: A lot of situational options, and the combat options aren’t great. The spell list gets a little better if you’re underwater frequently, but even then there’s not a lot to be excited about.
    • 1st-level Spells: Two situational options. Thunderwave is fine if you get stuck in melee or need to break a grapple, but I wouldn’t consider it a go-to damage option because getting close enough to hit multiple targets often means getting into melee by choice.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Gust of Wind is very situational, but Silence is a huge problem for enemy spellcasters, especially if your party can keep them inside the area by grappling them, hitting them with a tentacle which applies a speed reduction, or otherwise inhibiting their movement.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Lightning Bolt is fine damage, but hitting more than two targets with line effects is hard regardless of the line’s length. Sleet Storm is decent area control but very hard to use effectively, doesn’t scale with spell slot level, and requires Concentration.
    • 4th-level Spells: Control Water is very situational in non-aquatic campaigns, and limiting Summon Elemental to water elementals similarly handicaps the spell unless you’re in an aquatic campaign.
    • 5th-level Spells: Bigby’s Hand is a great, versatile spell. Cone of Cold is decent but unremarkable AOE damage, but if you need area damage you’ll have better results with Hunger of Hadar.
  2. Tentacle of the Deeps: At 1st level, this matches the effects of Ray of Frost (at least in terms of damage and the secondary effect. With a 1-minute duration it will get you through a single encounter each time you use it, provided that the encounter doesn’t move too far away from the tentacle to reasonably bring the tentacle back into range. This reduces your reliance on Hex at low levels, allowing you to use your one or two spell slots elsewhere without sacrificing damage output. However, since the daily usage limit is tied to your Proficiency Bonus you won’t be able to use this as often as you could use Hex. Consider the two options complements to each other: use Hex if you just need to Eldritch Blast stuff, and use Tentacle of the Deeps when you need to use Concnetration on something other than Hex.
  3. Gift of the Sea: Great in an aquatic campaign, but otherwise very situational.
  4. Oceanic Soul: Damage resistance is great, and in an aquatic campaign the ability to speek to all submerged creatures will make it much easier for you to play a face. However, outside of aquatic campaigns you may find it difficult to convince creatures to talk to you while underwater unless you already share a language.
  5. Guardian Coil: You likely don’t have any interesting ways to use your Reaction, so using it to reduce damage to yourself or an ally is an excellent addition to your capabilities. With a 1-minute duration on your tentacle, you could reduce up to 10d8 (20d8 at level 10) damage every time you use it, dramatically improving your party’s ability to handle damage without resorting to in-combat healing.
  6. Grasping Tentacles: Evard’s Black Tentacles is a good spell. I don’t know if it’s better than Hunger of Hadar, but the added benefits from this feature certainly help. You get to cast this once per day for free, which helps with the Warlock’s tiny pool of spell slots, and any time you cast it (free or otherwise), you get temporary hit points. Being unable to lose Concentration on black tentacles due to taking damage also helps quite a bit in combat, making this an easy go-to option in dangerous situations.
  7. Fathomless Plunge: With a 1-mile range, this isn’t exactly a long-distance teleportation option. Rather, this is a panic button. When things are going poorly, grab your friends and retreat to a nearby body of water. However, keep in mind this feature has very strict limitations. You can bring 5 other willing creatures, so if your party is bigger than that you’re in trouble. There’s also some debate over whether unconscious allies can be “willing”, so if allies are down you might not be able to save them. The 1-mile range is small, so you need to be very careful to stay near a suitable body of water, which is hard when you’re delving dungeons or wandering the planes. Of course, it’s great if you’re in an ocean because you can just pop out in a different part of the ocean.

The FiendPHB

Straightforward and effective, The Fiend offers mostly offensive options
which improve the Warlock’s ability to kill stuff, but also offers some
extremely potent defensive abilities. The Fiend is a blaster first and
foremost, and is heavily dependent on fire damage, so consider taking the
Elemental Adept feat.

  1. Expanded Spell List: Warlocks don’t get any AOE blast spells, which means that they often have trouble against crowds of enemies. The Fiend’s spell list offers several excellent options to address this.
    • 1st-level Spells: Burning Hands is a decent AOE, especially at low levels, and since warlocks get armor and more hp than other arcane spellcasters like the wizard you can survive being close enough to melee to use it. However, I wouldn’t use it beyond very low levels. You’ll get more total damage out of Hex or other spell options despite Burning Hands’ scaling. Command is a great control/debuff effect and scales really well with your spell slots.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Blindness/Deafness is a powerful debuff, but allowing repeated saves can make it unreliable. Scorching Ray is a bit redundant with Eldritch Blast, but it scales very well and benefits from the same tactics.
    • 3rd-level Spells: A good AOE blast and a good area control effect. Fireball remains the best instantaneous AOE damage spell at every spell level until around spell level 8, and while the Warlock can’t cast Fireball past 5th level, it still remains a perfect go-to AOE blast option. However, remember that you will often get better results out of spells with ongoing effects like Hunger of Hadar, and with so few spell slots you need to squeeze as much out of them as you can. Stinking Cloud is an ongoing AOE save-or-suck effect, but creatures within the area are Heavily Obscured so it’s hard to attack them. Hunger of Hadar is likely a better choice in most cases.
    • 4th-level Spells: Fire Shield is fine for “gish” builds, but if you’re going for a warlock gish you’re going to play a hexblade. Fire Shield also seems redundant with Armor of Agathys, which notably lasts longer, provides temporary hit points, deals more damage to attackers, and scales with spell level. Wall of Fire is one of the best area control spells in the game and with the right invocations you can push and pull enemies through it to repeatedly capitalize on the guaranteed damage dealt when a creature passes through the wall.
    • 5th-level Spells: Flame Strike is Fireball, but a smaller AOE and worse damage. Sure, some of the damage is radiant, but if damage resistance if a problem you should be using Eldritch Blast since nearly nothing resist Eldritch Blast. Hallow is very situational.
  2. Dark One’s Blessing: This makes Fiendish Vigor considerably less important. It also makes it important that you occasionally pick off weak foes to ensure that your temporary hit points are up before you focus on more important foes. RAW the creature just needs to be hostile, so a permissive DM might allow you carry around a bag of angry rats and kill one whenever you need temporary hit points.
  3. Dark One’s Own Luck: Adds an average of 5.5 to your roll, which is mathematically much betterthan what you get from Advantage (Advantage is word slightly more than +3). Save this for crucial saving throws or if you desperate need to escape a grapple but can’t teleport or something.
  4. Fiendish Resilience: This doesn’t specify restrictions on the damage type, so if you want to do Slashing for a while then switch to Radiant, you can do it. This is one of very few ways to get resistance to Force damage, but you still want to use this for common damage types like fire, poison, and slashing.
  5. Hurl Through Hell: Only works once per day, but 10d10 damage is pretty great on top of whatever your attack was (let’s be honest: it was Eldritch Blast). The creature is also removed from the game until the end of your next turn, allowing to temporarily banish the creature, and potentially place hazards in and around its space such as Hunger of Hadar, Wall of Fire, or the rest of your party.

The GenieTCoE

Absolutely fantastic, the Genie is a spectacular spellcasting-focused option
for the Warlock. However, many of the spell options and class features require
that you do the work to think of ways to use them creatively. For an
experiened player this is a spectacular option, but if you don’t have a good
grasp of the system you may have better luck with other subclasses.

  1. Expanded Spell List: Unlike most warlock subclasses, the Genie gives you a base set of additional spell options, plus the choice of four spell lists depending on your genie patron’s specific type.

    You also get a type of damage resistance depending on their type at 6th level, but the spell list is the big part. Every variety of genie also adds Wish as a 9th-level spell option (Mystic Arcanum), so the 1st through 5th-level spells are where each variety of genie distinguishes itsel from the others.

    • Genie Spells: You get these spells regardless of what type of genie your patron is in addition to spells from one of the four lists below.
      • 1st-level Spells: Situational. Helpful in any party, but spending a warlock spell slot on it is hard.
      • 2nd-level Spells: A good option against creatures with poor Intelligence scores (which is most creatures). The effects don’t scale with spell level, but if you don’t care about the spell’s damage this remains an effective way to lock down single foes for your whole career.
      • 3rd-level Spells: Rations are cheap.
      • 4th-level Spells: An excellent single-target damage option, and all of the damage scales with spell level rather than just the initial damage.
      • 5th-level Spells: Fantastic if you’re creative enough to find a use for it, but generally not a go-to option.
    • Dao: With one exception, everything on the Dao’s spell list is excellent, and every spell is new to the Warlock’s spell list.
      • 1st-level Spells: Potentially forcing enemies to give up an attack is great. Sanctuary has a Bonus Action casting time, so you can attack or cast a cantrip in the same turn, then follow it with Sanctuary. However, since Sanctuary allows the attacker to retarget their attack, Sanctuary isn’t as effective against ranged attacks, and if you try to hurt your enemies while it’s running the spell ends early. So you may want to use this to protect yourself while you cast buffs or utility spells, if you have an ally who’s unable to attack for some reason, or if you already have an ongoing spell running like Hunger of Hadar.
      • 2nd-level Spells: 2d4 damage every 5 feet, and it’s every time the creature “travels”, not every time the creature moves. So if you push or pull the creature, they take damage. Sounds like a job for Eldritch Blast!
      • 3rd-level Spells: Very situational.
      • 4th-level Spells: One of my absolute favorite utility spells.
      • 5th-level Spells: Not as precise as Stone Shape, but much easier to use in combat. Give yourself cover, separate enemies, or make yourself a nice home out of stone.
    • Djinni: Several good options, but the Djinni’s spell optioins range wildly in effectiveness.
      • 1st-level Spells: Decent short-range AOE damage, especially if you’re being swarmed or grappled and can’t teleport. This isn’t a go-to offensive option since the AOE is small and the damage isn’t great, but it can occasionally solve problems for you.
      • 2nd-level Spells: Useful for pushing enemies into ongoing AOE damage effects, but since it requires Concentration it’s hard to combine with things like Hunger of Hadar so any ongoing AOE damage effects would likely need to come from an ally.
      • 3rd-level Spells: Very situational.
      • 4th-level Spells: Invisibility in 5e is really good, and running around for a full minute being almost impossible to target is a huge advantage. Sure, you already get Shadow of Moil at this level, but Greater Invisibility prevents you from being targeted rather than just making you difficult to attack.
      • 5th-level Spells: Very situational, but with an 8-hour duration you can cast it early in the day and immediately take a Short Rest and recover your spell slot. Still, it might not be worth learning permanently.
    • Efreeti: The Efreeti is a blaster, sharing many spells with the Fiend. The biggest things that blasters need are good AOE damage spells and lots of spell slots to fuel them. Warlocks don’t have the spell slots to back this up. This is definitely the simplest option for the Genie, but that doesn’t make it good.
      • 1st-level Spells: Burning Hands is a decent AOE, especially at low levels, and since warlocks get armor and more hp than other arcane spellcasters like the wizard you can survive being close enough to melee to use it. However, I wouldn’t use it beyond very low levels. You’ll get more total damage out of Hex or other spell options despite Burning Hands’ scaling.
      • 2nd-level Spells: Like Eldritch Blast but with a worse damage type. It works great with Hex since you get an additional ray per spell level (up to 6 when you get 5th-level spells), but that’s the only thing that makes it better than Eldritch Blast once you add Agonizing Blast.
      • 3rd-level Spells: Fireball remains the best instantaneous AOE damage spell at every spell level until around spell level 8, and while the Warlock can’t cast Fireball past 5th level, it still remains a perfect go-to AOE blast option. However, remember that you will often get better results out of spells with ongoing effects like Hunger of Hadar, and with so few spell slots you need to squeeze as much out of them as you can.
      • 4th-level Spells: You’re almost certainly not built to be in melee enough that using this makes sense. Cast Armor of Agathys.
      • 5th-level Spells: Flame Strike is Fireball, but a smaller AOE and worse damage. Sure, some of the damage is radiant, but if damage resistance if a problem you should be using Eldritch Blast since nearly nothing resist Eldritch Blast.
    • Marid: Almost nothing worth having.
      • 1st-level Spells: An excellent way to cover your escape, but you can’t see through the fog any better than anyone else, so don’t expect to fight in this without some other advantage.
      • 2nd-level Spells: A great defensive option, but with a short duration and it requires Concentration. Still, it’ll help until you can get Shadow of Moil.
      • 3rd-level Spells: This is not good enough for a 3rd-level spell slot.
      • 4th-level Spells: Too situational.
      • 5th-level Spells: Cone of Cold is decent but unremarkable AOE damage, but if you need area damage you’ll have better results with Hunger of Hadar.
    • All:
      • 9th-level Spells: The best spell in the game. You get one Mystic Arcanum which can cast a 9th-level spell, and honestly Wish is so good that there is very little mechanical reason to select anything except Wish.

        For more help with Wish, see my Practical Guide to Wish.

  2. Genie’s Vessel: Bottled Respite is mostly for flavor, but Genie’s Wrath is a compelling reason to keep your vessel in hand when you’re in a fight, and to work to prevent its destruction even though you can get a replacement for free.
    • Bottled Respite: Use this to eavesdrop on people, to evade harmful effects, and to hide or store items, but the fact that you can only enter the vessel once per long rest means that you can’t just pop in and out at random. Eventually you’ll be able to stay inside long enough that you and your whole party can rest inside the vessel, conveniently removing the need for things like tents, keeping watch while resting, or spells like Rope Trick or Leomund’s Tiny Hut, but even at low levels you can still stay in the vessel long enough to take a Short Rest without risk of enemies wandering by and surprising you.
    • Genie’s Wrath: A small, but meaningful and scaling bonus to your damage. It only applies once per turn, but that’s really all that you need. This applies to attack rolls of any kind, and once again the warlock is the only class to add their Proficiency Bonus to damage (the Hexblade does it too).
      • Dao: Things with resistance to bludgeoning damage typically resist bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapon attacks. You will likely deliver this with either a cantrip or a magic weapon (Pact of the Blade), so nearly nothing in the game will resist it.
      • Djinni: Resistance to thunder damage is very rare.
      • Efreeti: Fire damage is among the most common resistances/immunities, so you’ll often find that your bonus damage is ineffective.
      • Marid: Cold damage isn’t quite as commonly-resisted as fire damage.
  3. Elemental Gift: Flight for 10 minutes at a time which you can activate as a Bonus Action without Concentration. This would be good once per Short Rest, but you can use this 3 to 6 times per day depending on your Proficiency Bonus. Oh, you get some damage resistance too. But honestly, the flight is so good that I forgot about the damage resistance.
    • Dao: Bludgeoning damage is one of the three types of weapon damage, but most monsters which deal damage through weapons rely primarily on teeth and claws so bludgeoning is the least common of the three weapon damage types. Of course, it’s also difficult to get permanent resistance to weapon damage types, so the rarity of this resistance adds to the value.
    • Djinni: Thunder damage is uncommon.
    • Efreeti: Fire damage is one of the most common types of non-weapon damage, so permanent resistance is great.
    • Mardi: Cold damage isn’t quite as common as fire damage, but it’s still very common.
  4. Sancutary Vessel: The ability to hide your party in something as small as a ring while taking a short rest means that you can rest even in extremely dangerous places so long as you can hide your vessel somewhere. The added healing benefits are minor, but they still feel nice even when taking a 10-minute short rest in an extradimensional space isn’t an impactful benefit at the moment.
  5. Limited Wish: You know how the Bard gets Magical Secrets? Yeah, forget that. This is so much better that it’s in its own league. You don’t even have to pay for expensive components! Sure, there’s a 1d4 Long Rests cooldown, but when the effect is this good a few days is nothing. Look for anything that has expensive material components or a permanent duration. Abuse those spells.

The Great Old OnePHB

An eclectic mix of options, the Great Old One focuses on drawing power from something unknowable and being appropriately crazy. Some of the abilities are very potent, but just as many are situational and won’t see much use. The end result is that the Great Old One Warlock (Often shortened to “GooLock”) feels a lot like an Enchanter Wizard, but more spooky than the Fey Warlock.

It’s hard to say which warlock subclass is the most emblematic of the Warlock as a class, but I think the Great Old One might be it. The spells are a good mix of options, the features provide some excellent tools to handle a diverse set of challenges, and overall the spooky, cultish feel of getting power from an elder being just feels right for the Warlock. At the same time, the subclass isn’t especially complex, so it’s approachable for new players but satisfying for experience players without being exceptionally powerful.

  1. Expanded Spell List: A really diverse mix of debuffs, are control, and utilities.
    • 1st-level Spells: Two great single-target control effects.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Both options are situational, but can be extremely potent if you’re clever.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Clairvoyance is a fantastic scouting option if you have a normal number of spell slots like literally any other spelkcaster, but Warlocks really need to save their spell slots for something more significant and impactful. Sending is very situational, and you likely can’t justify using it on a day when you’re adventuring.
    • 4th-level Spells: Dominate Beast is very situational, especially since you won’t be running into many beasts by the time you can cast 4th-level spells. Black Tentacles is one of the best area control spells.
    • 5th-level Spells: Dominate Person is among the best single-target control/debuff spells in the game. Telekinesis is a great utility.
  2. Awakened Mind: This is basically free permanent Tongues combined with Telepathic Link. With high Charisma and access to Face skills, you can use this a lot.
  3. Entropic Ward: Not as reliable as other mechanics which respond to being attacked such as the Shield spell, but imposing Disadvantage makes you mathematically immune to critical hits, and since your AC will likely exceed that of similar spellcasters like the Sorcerer and the Wizard, you’re more likely to cause attacks against you to miss.

    Advantage on your next attack is nice, but since it’s only one one attack it’s minimally useful with Eldritch Blast, and there are very few spell attacks beyond cantrips. You might consider learning another attack cantrip like Fire Bolt specifically for use with Entropic Ward, but unless you go Pact of the Tome it’s hard to justify spending one if your few cantrips known on a combo that you can use once per Short or Long Rest.

  4. Thought Shield: Both effects are situational. Psychic damage is extremely uncommon, but if you run into mind flayers you’re going to have a lot of fun.
  5. Create Thrall: This can be hard to use. Your best bet is to affect the target while they’re sleeping. Once you make the target Charmed, the Charmed condition gives you Advantage on ability checks to “interact socially” with the creature and with a permanent telepathic connection to the creature you can easily talk the creature into doing nearly whatever you want. This isn’t a “dominate” effect so you can’t precidely control the creature’s actions, but you can talk it into taking specific courses of action (bring me that thing, tell me what you see, spy on your allies, release the prisoners, feed my dog, water my plants, kill the king, check the mail, etc.).

The HexbladeXGtE

Warlocks who want to go into melee will be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Hexblade. Access to better armor, shields, and better weapons solves many issues which warlocks (expecially Pact of the Blade users) have faced since 5e first released. But beyond mere proficiency improvements, the Hexblade has a lot to offer.

Hexblade’s Curse is amazing, and the ability to use Charisma for attack and damage with your favorite weapon makes the class very SAD without detracting from the Warlock’s excellent spellcasting capabilities. Combining all of the Hexblade’s features, including its expanded spell list, the Hexblade is a truly fearsome threat with a weapon, often meeting or exceeding damage from Eldritch Blast+Agonizing Blast, though the dependence on spell slots for buffs means that the Hexblade’s best damage output may be more “bursty” than other warlocks.

For detailed guidance, see my Hexblade Warlock Handbook.

  • Expanded Spell List: While several options on this list are very good, many of them require Concentration. In particular, even though all the smites are Bonus Actions (good for your action economy) they require Concentration to ensure that you’re able to actually get the effect off as long as you hit sometime during the next minute, but this prevents you from running other excellent Concentration buffs like Blur and Elemental Weapon from the very same expanded list. Furthermore, since the smite spells don’t scale well (if they scale at all), they’re often a poor use of your limited Warlock spell slots. Consider using them for a level or two when you first get them, but replace them after that when better spells become available (even if it’s just the next smite spell).
    • 1st-level Spells: Shield is fantastic… on any other spellcasting class. It costs a precious spell slot, and offers no benefits for upcasting, so it’s only helpful until you get access to 2nd-level slots for Armor of Agathys. If you aren’t running another Concentration spell, Wrathful Smite into Booming Blade is staggeringly good damage at low levels, assuming the target moves and triggers the secondary damage. The Wisdom save for fear is a nice touch, though your defenses aren’t really turned on yet so maintaining Concentration can be a challenge in melee. To summarize: tempting options at low levels, but you’ll abandon them in favor of other options almost immediately.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Blur is just a superb spell. Turn it on if you have more than one thing attacking you and/or your Armor of Agathys doesn’t look up to the job. Branding smite fills some excellent niches, but is not otherwise overly helpful. It’s probably the only way you’re going to be able to deal radiant damage (you’ll be very grateful if you ever come across zombies) and it also prevents invisibility if your party can’t cast Faerie Fire, Invisibility Purge, or something else along those lines.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Blink would be interesting if it wasn’t random in the fashion it is. Elemental weapon’s primary benefit is making a weapon magical if for some reason you aren’t running Pact of the Blade, and I’m not sure why you would skip Pact of the Blade (and the Invocations which require it like Thirsting Blade) and still use a weapon. It still runs into the Concentration problem, interfering with smites and defensive buffs, but it adds a small amount of extra damage (which will increase when your spell slot levels increase). Keep in mind that the Pact Weapon granted by Pact of the Blade counts as a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance and immunity. It’s technically not a magic weapon unless you bind a specific magic weapon, so you can use your Pact Weapon with Elemental Weapon.
    • 4th-level Spells: Phantasmal Killer is still an excellent spell, although the fact that it never scales past 5th level for warlocks is disappointing at higher levels. Staggering Smite would be much better if the effect lasted more than one round. Both spells cause the creature to suffer Disadvantage on attack rolls, but Phantasmal Killer works at range and lasts longer.
    • 5th-level Spells: Banishing Smite is a big pile of damage on a Bonus Action and the rider effect doesn’t allow a saving throw. 50 hit points is a reasonably large window, and banishing the target could dramatically affect the outcome of an encounter. Cone of Cold is a helpful way for you to do area of effect damage, but apart from being a big pile of damage does little else for you.
  • Hexblade’s Curse: Are you ready to confuse literally every new player by being the only thing that gets proficiency to damage? Then Hexblade is for you. Note that you can both Curse and Hex someone if you like to track several effects at the same time. In all seriousness though, this is a fantastic ability.

    You only get this once per Short or Long Rest, so be sure to use it where it will matter. You want to make as many attack rolls as possible while this is running, so at high levels this will frequently work best when combined with Eldritch Blast since Warlocks can’t get more than three attacks (assuming Thirsting Blade and either two-weapon fighting or Crossbow Expert). However, since this only works once per Short or Long Rest, remember that you may still have better results focusing on other parts of your build, and focusing on being effective with weapons is often a better choice for the Hexblade than Eldritch Blast even though you may get fewer attacks.

    Since this comes in at 1st level and scales based on your proficiency bonus, it’s very tempting for class dips into Warlock, totally disregarding how good Hex Warrior is.

  • Hex Warrior: This is probably why you picked the subclass. You get medium armor and shields so that you’re able to exist in the front line without dying immediately, but far more importantly you get to be a melee character and still have Str and Dex be dump stats. You do still need enough Dexterity to fill out Half Plate’s Dexterity cap, but that’s not hard.

    Using your Charisma for attack and damage rolls in place of Strength is crazy powerful. Not only does it make Pact of the Blade considerably easier for the Warlock, it makes Paladin/Warlock multiclass builds massively more effective. Keep in mind that by default Hex Warrior’s weapon effect works on a weapon which you touch at the end of a long rest, but if you later take Pact of the Blade the effect extends to that weapon too, so you can affect have two weapons with which to attack using Charisma. This is important if you plan to explore two-weapon fighting or if you want a backup weapon or something.

  • Accursed Specter: Not only does it have to be a humanoid, but you personally have to get the killing blow. That said, if you can get one, Specters are a phenomenal companion to have with you. They are effective in combat (although they never scalebeyond the tiny amount of temporary hit points and the attack bonus which you give them) and, while they can’t speak, they will follow your verbal commands allowing a creative person to use one for scouting and have it report back. However, they have no ability to speak, to their ability to report their findings is limited to gestures like nodding, pointing, and pantomime.
  • Armor of Hexes: Take the already excellent Hexblade’s Curse and put an astonishing and unique defensive buff on it. Somewhere, a 40k player is wondering how 4-up saves got into their D&D. This is a 50% miss chance on top of whatever other defenses you might have running (Blur or Shadow of Moil, for example),
  • Master of Hexes: The only problem with Hexblade’s Curse was that it could feel wasted if you used it on something and then ran into something more threatening before your next rest. That is now slightly mitigated by allowing you to chain it through a whole fight. You do need to be able to see a new target creature when you move Hexblade’s Curse, so if you’re facing hidden or invisible enemies you may need to keep that in mind before you finish off your current target.

    Clever players might try to move the effect to an angry rat which you keep in a sack (the old “bag of rats” trick) to allow you to carry one use of Hexblade’s Curse all day, but wise DM’s should explicitly disallow such shenanigans.

The UndeadVRtR

The Undead does a lot of things that I really like. From a design perpsective, it’s an excelent subclass. The theme and the mechanics align perfectly, and the whole thing has nice spooky feel (which makes sense considering the sourcebook that it came from). The subclass also handles complexity well, introducing few additional resources to track while also making those resources useful and exciting, and gradually adding complexity to the subclass as the player gains levels. This gradual ramp in complexity makes the Undead approachable for new players and players who don’t handle resource management well, but still includes enough buttons to press that veteran players will find the subclass exciting.

The Undead is clearly intended to be a spellcasting-focused subclass, and many of the subclass’s most impactful features work best when combined with Eldritch Blast. Form of Dread is the signature feature of the subclass, and once you add Touch of the Grave your go-to combat tactic is to turn on Form of Dread and start blasting. However, Form of Dread has a limited usage pool, so once you’re out of uses you’ll need to fall back on core warlock class features and spell slots.

Because the Undead grants access to False Life and a second source of temporary hit points when you activate Form of Dread, the Undead can be more durable than most warlocks. This, combined with the damage boost from Touch of the Grave, may be enough to support weapon-using builds. Touch of the Grave can work with weapons, so if you can get proficiency with a greataxe you could add a second d12 of damage when you hit with it once on each of your turns.

However, Touch of the Grave’s damage boost is less useful with common weapon-using warlock builds like Crossbow Expert where you’re using a weapon with a small damage die, and temporary hit points won’t last long in light armor with no shield. Once your get Spirit Projection, the damage resistance can help, but since you need to maintain Concentration it can be hard to stay in melee with a weapon in hand. It’s also difficult to justify investing resources in using a weapon when it’s only going to be effective for one minute per Short or Long Rest.

  1. Expanded Spell List:
    • 1st-level Spells: Bane isn’t a great spell and False Life is unappealing when you can get Fiendish Vigor. Both spells scale with spell level, which is a great option for the Warlock, but they’re still not good enough options that I would rush to cast them. False Life cast using a spell does notably allow you to produce temporary hit points right before taking a Short Rest, so you could finish a Long Rest, cast False Life, then immediately short rest and have a big pile of temporary hp. You can also get temporary hit points from Form of Dread, so even with this abuse case it may be hard to justify spending a spell known to get False Life.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Both options are good and cover different use cases. Blindness/Deafness targets Constitution saves and adds additional targets with spell level, so it’s good for low-Constitution targets like spellcasters and for crowds. Phantasmal Force targets Intelligence and is single-target, so it’s good for single enemies with poor Intelligence (most martial foes).
    • 3rd-level Spells: Both options are only situationally useful.
    • 4th-level Spells: Both options are excellent. Death Ward is a powerul defensive buff, and with an 8-hour duration you can use all of your spell slots to cast it one multiple members of your party, then immediately take a Short Rest to regain your spell slots and get right back to adventuring. Greater Invisibility is an absolutely fantastic spell for many reasons, but in combat Shadow of Moil may be more appealing.
    • 5th-level Spells: Both decent options. Antilife Shell can make it easy to corner and eliminate foes with limited reach and no ranged options. Cloudkill is decent, but Hunger of Hadar will frequently be both easier to use and more effective.
  2. Form of Dread: A great combat buff, and as you add subclass features you’ll gain additional benefits. At this level it adds temporary hp (the temporary hit points don’t appear to expire when Form of Dread ends, but it’s not clear if that’s intentional) and the ability to make the target Frightened of you, allowing you to repeatedly debuff one creature per turn. The target does get a save, and weirdly the text doesn’t specify a save DC (The first print just game out. Expect Errata at some point), so I assume that it uses your spell save DC like everything else.

    With a Bonus Action activation time, it’s easy to turn this on when you need it without cutting into your Eldritch Blast time. Since it grants temporary hit points and immunity to fear, it’s a great option after you’ve taken damage or if you’re currently Frightened (becoming immune to a condition removes the condition). But if you’re not worried about those conditions, it’s still great if you activate it early in a fight to keep an enemy perpectually Frightened.

    Since your number of uses per day for Form of Dread is tied to your Proficiency Bonus, you can technically use it back-to-back, reactivating it immediately after it expires, or using it in back-to-back encounters. I don’t recommend this until your Proficiency Bonus improves a bit, otherwise you’ll get through the first few encounters in a day and find yourself short on resources.

  3. Grave Touch: While not using Form of Dread, Grave Touch is minimally impactful. Changing the damage type of one attack per turn usually isn’t impactful, especially if you’re using Eldritch Blast (while necrotic damage isn’t as good as Force damage, it’s still one of the best damage types in the game). If you’re using a weapon, changing your damage type from slashing etc. to necrotic can help overcome common damage resistances to weapon damage types.

    The improvement to Form of Dread is more significant. An additional damage die once one each of your turns is a decent damage boost, though not alarmingly powerful. An extra d10 once per turn with Eldritch Blast is a reliable damage boost, especially as you add addition attacks because you have more opportunities to apply the once-per-turn damage boost. The damage boost is worded as “extra damage”, so it’s multiplied on critical hits like Divine Smite, Sneak Attack, and other similar damage boosts. Since the Unfortunately you only benefit from this boost while using Form of Dread (which you can only use a few times per day), so the rest of the time you’re working with core warlock class features.

  4. Necrotic Husk: The damage resistance is nice, but necrotic damage isn’t especially common unless you’re facing a lot of undead enemies. The second half of the feature is more interesting: The damage is decent but not enough to win a fight, but the AOE is decent and it’s enough that you may be able to eliminate weakened foes. The 1d4 long rests cooldown is odd but probably not a problem unless you’re frequently being reduced to 0 hit points. If that’s the case, you should reconsider your tactics. You’re not a Defender. The Exhaustion is annoying, but one level of Exhaustion is minimally impactful for most warlocks.
  5. Spirit Projection: Where Form of Dread is a dedicated combat buff with a small usage pool, Spirit Projection is a once-per-day combination of defense, utility, and combat buff. It provides a combination of exciting effects with a variety of uses, and combining Spirit Projection with Form of Dread can be exceptionally powerful.

    While using Spirit Projection you need to keep track of both your body and your spirit. Your spirit doesn’t duplicate your equipment, which I think RAW means that your spirit is a spiritual projection of yourself in the nude. Fortunately, I think you can loot your own body to get your items, though it’s not totally clear to me if that’s intentional. Just keep in mind that you have a time limit, so it may save you time to strip yourself naked before activating Spirit Projection. If you’re facing inclement conditions like extreme cold, your spirit doesn’t get any sort of protection so your body and your spirit may both need separate outfits to keep yourself from suffering the effects of the climate.

    You don’t need to breath thanks to Grave Touch, so you can shove your body into a bag of holding if you need a safe place to store it. If you’re low on hit points or otherwise need to get out of a bad spot, you can teleport back to your body to escape to safety.

    While projected, you have resistance to weapon damage types, making you exceptionally resilient. Combined with resistance to necrotic damage and potentially damage resistances from other sources (your race, items, etc.) you can be alarmingly durable for a warlock. However, you need to maintain Concentration to maintain Spirit Projection, and without proficiency in Constituton saves that’s a hard prospect even with damage resistances.

    You effectively have a built-in spellcasting focus for Conjuration and Necromancy spells, though if you looted your body that’s probably not impactful. You can fly and move through objects similar to the Etheralness spell, allowing you to scout, inflitrate, and escape in ways that normally require extremely high-level spells. With proficiency in Stealth, you can be an extremely effective scout.

    The final bullet provides a way to heal yourself by dealing damage, but it only works while combining both Spirit Projection and Form of Dread. You heal for half of the necrotic damage dealt, so use Grave Touch to change the damage type and add extra damage like Eldritch Smite if you need more healing in a hurry. If you’re close to end of Spirit Projection and you’re short on hit points, consider activating Form of Dread and dig out your bag of rats to give you easy targets to farm hit points.

The UndyingSCAG

The Undying seeks to make the Warlock survivable, but hardly manages to do so any better than other patrons. Most of the options are situational and reactionary, and grant the Warlock very few options to actively address problems. You do get a few options to heal yourself and your allies, but they’re underwhelming on their own and they feel laughably weak when you compare them to the Celestial Warlock’s Healing Light feature.

  1. Expanded Spell List: A few options are good, but most of the options on the Undying patron’s spell list don’t add anything important to the Warlock’s existing abilities.
    • 1st-level Spells: False life is a bit silly considering you can get Fiendish Vigor. Ray of Sickness is passable, and scales with level, but it isn’t very exciting and poison resistance/immunity is very common so you’ll probably replace it very quickly.
    • 2nd-level Spells: Two options for debilitating foes: one more martial foes, and one for spellcasters.
    • 3rd-level Spells: Two situational options, but Speak with Dead is extremely useful in a game where you frequently kill things with useful information.
    • 4th-level Spells: Death Ward is a powerul defensive buff, and with an 8-hour duration you can use all of your spell slots to cast it one multiple members of your party, then immediately take a Short Rest to regain your spell slots and get right back to adventuring.
    • 5th-level Spells: Contagion is versatile and very powerful. Legend Lore is situational, but it’s essentially “Ask the DM About the Plot” as a spell, which makes it very potent.
  2. Among the Dead: A free cantrip (albeit a bad one), and perpetual Sanctuary against a common creature type.
  3. Defy Death: This is really cool, but only works once per Long Rest. You generally want to save this for when you are dying because the healing will bring you back to consciousness, but it’s not enough healing to use it if you just want to get back to full hp. Using it when you stabilize an ally just gives you normal, boring healing.
  4. Undying Nature: Very little in-game effect. Holding you breath indefinitely may mean that you can safely fight underwater, but as a DM I would rule that performing Verbal spell components would require inhaling and exhaling for races which need to breath.
  5. Indestructible Life: Not a lot of healing. Compare this to the Fighter’s Second Wind feature which provides more healing and is available at level 1 rather than level 14 where most warlocks are getting their subclass’s “capstone” feature.
Sours: https://rpgbot.net/dnd5/characters/classes/warlock/subclasses/

Dungeons & Dragons: How to Build the Perfect Hexblade Warlock

Dungeons & Dragons' subclasses allow players to specialize in specific areas of their main class. A Warlock's subclass is generally defined by the Patron they are contracted to serve in exchange for their power. The Hexblade Warlock's patron exists somewhere in the Shadowfell, and it is from that place the powerful shadow weapons they wield in combat are shaped.

Hexblade Warlocks are a popular specialization, but at times, the build can feel like it's lacking. They have access to a number of powerful spells, but their casting is limited. Though it grows by one spell slot every few levels and they can be regained after just a short rest, once those spells are used up in combat, it can leave the Warlock feeling a bit useless. Fortunately, there are ways to improve a Hexblade's performance and action economy in ways that serve the entire party on and off the front lines.

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Maximize the Hexblade's Charisma & Constitution

Warlocks rely heavily on their Charisma score to enhance their spellcasting abilities and modifier, so even though the Hexblade has melee capability, magic is required to cast the shadow weapons they wield. It will determine the saving throw an enemy needs to make and the modifier that gets tacked onto ranged spells like Eldritch Blast to determine whether or not they hit.

Secondly, Constitution factors into the Warlock's durability. Being on the front lines swinging a Shadow Blade leaves a Hexblade open to melee attacks. The higher their CON is, the easier it is for them to avoid hits and potentially maintain concentration on spells that require it should they be hit. A lot of spells require concentration to maintain their flow, and that ongoing spell could well be the only thing standing between the party and ruin.

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The Best Racial Options for the Hexblade Warlock

There are a handful of races that seem like they were born to become Hexblade Warlocks. One of the most fitting races is the Tiefling, which gets an automatic +2 boost to CHA, +1 Intelligence, a cantrip specific to their infernal descent and access to useful spells at higher levels.

Half-Elves are another option. Not only do they have +2 CHA, they also get +1 to two additional attributes, so they can bulk up their CON and DEX. They also have darkvision, which is always useful and depending on their fey ancestry they may gain access to additional spells or skills that can boost the Warlock's abilities.

The Verdan race from Acquisitions Inc. is another powerful choice if the DM allows it. Verdan gain +2 CHA and +1 CON, both of which go a long way to boosting the Warlock's stats right out of the gate. They also have limited telepathic abilities that allow them to communicate with a creature within 30 feet even if they don't share a common language. Because they are so attuned to the world around them, their telepathic link grants them advantage on all Wisdom and Charisma Saving Throws.

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Most Helpful Feats for the Hexblade Warlock

Feats can give a Hexblade Warlock more options and protection, and one of the most important ones to take is War Caster. Not only does this give the caster advantage on Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration, but they have also become so adept at casting spells in the heat of battle that they no longer need to use somatic components. That means they can have a shield and weapon in both hands and won't need to put them down to cast a spell. They can also cast spells as an opportunity attack instead of making a melee attack.

Telekinetic grants access to the Mage Hand cantrip, and it can become spectral and unseen. It also allows the Warlock to telekinetically shove a creature five feet, provided they fail their Strength saving throw. Eldritch Adept, while not entirely necessary, allows the Hexblade to learn an additional Eldritch Invocation so long as they meet the requirements for that Invocation.

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The Best Hexblade Cantrips & Spells

When it comes to choosing spells and cantrips, there several that are absolute must-haves for a Hexblade. First and foremost, Eldritch Blast is any Warlock's go-to cantrip, and it only gets more powerful as the player (not the class) levels up. Green Flame Blade is also useful early on, though it's not nearly as efficient at higher levels.

Because a Warlock's access to spell slots is incredibly limited, it's important to choose carefully. Think about what types of spells will be used most often, how long they last and what benefits they provide in combat. Armor of Agathys is a phenomenal spell because it lasts for an hour and provides the caster +5 temporary hit points. Extra HP is never a bad thing, and neither is watching enemies take frost damage whenever they hit the Warlock with a melee attack.

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Hunger of Hadar is a great spell that creates an area effect that traps enemies within a 20 ft area of darkness infested with horrors unknown. It works wonders when trying to control a situation or keep a heavy hitter from reaching the party while they prepare.

As the Warlock learns more powerful spells, options like Synaptic Static have the ability to debuff enemies and deal a bit of damage so they're ready for the heavy hitters to take them out. Crown of Stars allows the caster to create a crown of star-like motes around their head that they can send out one by one as a bonus action to a creature of object within 120 feet. Used as a ranged spell attack, if the attack hits, the target takes 4d12 radiant damage. The crown also sheds light up to 30 feet, so long as there are four or more stars.

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Warlock (Dungeons & Dragons)

First appearanceComplete Arcane
Editions3.5, 4th, 5th
(as a standard class)4th, 5th
(as an alternate class)3.5
Mythological originsWarlock

The warlock is a character class in the Dungeons & Dragonsfantasyrole-playing game. It was introduced as a non-core base class who practice arcane magic in the supplemental book Complete Arcane for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In 4th and 5th edition, the warlock is a core class.

Publication history[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition[edit]

Warlocks were a new addition to Dungeons & Dragons that were introduced in the 3.5 Edition source book Complete Arcane (2004).[1][2][3]: 18  Warlocks in this edition received their abilities through the influence of some supernatural being such as a Demon or Fey.[2] They are either born with these powers or receive them through a fell pact, which turns their soul into a dark font of eldritch powers. Warlocks do not cast spells, but instead use spell-like abilities called "invocations", which represent the tapping of the power granted to the warlock. The most important of these abilities is the "eldritch blast" which is the warlock's main offensive ability, firing a blast of magical energy at the target.[4][5]

The major difference that warlocks have from all other Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition magic users is their ability to use their invocations "at will," without a limit on the number of times an invocation can be cast. In contrast, Vancian magic users, such as the wizard, cast a set number of spells every day from a wider selection of spells than a warlock. Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, highlighted that this warlock at will mechanic was "presaging the at-will spellcasting of 4e".[2]Richard Baker, author of Complete Arcane, said:

The warlock's biggest advantage is no real limit on the number of times per day he can use his powers. (He's got a couple of powers with limited uses per day, but 90 percent of his powers have no such restriction.) The thinking here is that in most D&D [sic] games, your characters are probably going to be in only 15 to 20 rounds of combat between rests and spell recoveries. So after your spellcaster has a total daily spell allocation of 20 spells or more (say, around 5th level), his real limit is the number of actions he gets per day — the number of specific opportunities he has to cast a spell. So the warlock is still bound to the same ultimate limit that any moderate-level wizard deals with. Now, it's pretty useful to never run out of attack options, and the warlock can blast you over and over again with his eldritch blast. So what he gives up is spell versatility. The warlock knows only a handful of different tricks. On the bright side, the tricks are all spooky, creepy, and oozing with flavor.[6]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition[edit]

In 4th Edition, the warlock was included as one of the core classes introduced in the Player's Handbook (2008).[7] In this edition, the warlock's powers are known as spells, and use the standard power system. The warlock has many different unique abilities, though a warlock's trademark ability is still Eldritch Blast. They can also deliver various effects through Warlock's Curse. The Warlock's other class features make them more accurate at ranged attacks when no ally is closer to their target and allow them to gain concealment whenever they move a sufficient distance. Almost all of the warlock's attack powers depend on charisma or constitution for accuracy and damage, with some powers gaining bonuses from intelligence.

The specific source of the warlock's power is defined as a Pact (with a non-divine supernatural entity or power), which affects at-will power options and makes certain powers more effective and provides a pact boon, an effect which is triggered whenever a cursed enemy is killed or incapacitated. There are multiple Pact options included in various source books:

Pact name Description
The Star Pact It is made with an entity from the Far Realm or a star located near it, which grants powers of grand revelations from the stars that madden foes. Star Pact warlocks can use either Constitution or Charisma for their attacks. There are also Star Pact spells which use Intelligence for attack rolls.[8]
The Fey Pact Forged with an amoral power of the Feywild, the user is given access to both wondrous and dangerous spells of the Faerie realm. Fey Pact warlocks use Charisma for their attacks.
The Infernal Pact It represents an agreement with a devil of the Nine Hells, giving one powers of hellish and demonic proportions. Infernal Pact warlocks use Constitution for their attacks.
The Dark Pact It is made with powerful residents of the Underdark and the Abyss, which grants spells of plagues, illness and disease. This was presented in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide (2008).[9] Dark Pact warlocks use Charisma for their attacks.
The Vestige Pact The pact, presented in the Arcane Power (2009) supplement,[2] represents an agreement with vestiges, arcane "echoes" of once-great individuals and powers, allowing the Warlock to act as a spirit medium through which entities manifest their powers.
The Sorcerer-King Pact This past was included in the Dark Sun Campaign Setting (2010). It is made with a Sorcerer-King of Athas, giving access to abilities that destroy and defile. Sorcerer-King Pact warlocks can use either Constitution or Charisma for their attacks.
The Gloom Pact It is made with creatures of the Shadowfell, which gives the ability to connect with the shadows and use them to bind foes to them.
The Elemental Pact It allows Warlocks to draw their power from ancient Primordials in the Elemental Chaos, which in turn gives them chaotic elemental powers.

Tieflings and gnomes have racial bonuses to both intelligence and charisma (two key warlock attributes). In 4th edition a warlock's role is striker, meaning they are designed to deal heavy damage while avoiding retaliation. Warlocks also have many exotic powers that have bonus effects; such as Eyebite which makes the warlock invisible for one turn if it hits. Many of the Warlock's powers allow them to move as part of an attack or to move in an unusual manner, such as flight or teleportation.

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials[edit]

The Essentials rulebook Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms presented an alternate version of the Warlock, known as the Hexblade.[10] It was "a new take on the magic-powered warrior from Complete Warrior (2003)".[10] The later rulebook Player's Option: Heroes of Shadow introduced another Warlock variant, the Binder.[11] Both of these variants were adaptations of classes introduced in the 3.5 edition of the game.[12][13][14]

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition[edit]

The warlock was included as a character class in the 5th edition Player's Handbook.[15] It is a magic-using class with a combination of spells and Eldritch Invocations granted by the warlock's patron and the type of pack they make.[16] The warlock uses charisma as its spellcasting ability. It is structured so that its spell slots and spells known are limited, but the slots renew after every short rest (unlike most other magic-using classes, which require a long rest), and all spells are always cast at the highest slot level to which the warlock has access.[16] These spells are supplemented with invocations that provide additional abilities.[16]Xanathar's Guide to Everything added 14 new invocation options, with a focus on higher level play and building off of other class features. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything also added 8 new Eldritch Invocations along with a new Pact Boon described below.[17]

Three options for its type of pact are presented in the Player's Handbook. Pact of the Chain allows the warlock to summon a familiar that exceeds the normal boundaries of the Find Familiar spell, Pact of the Tome grants the warlock a Book of Shadows containing additional spells (rituals and cantrips from any class), Pact of the Blade allows the warlock to conjure a magical weapon for combat. [16][21] Pact of the Talisman, introduced in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, gives the warlock a talisman that boosts either the warlock themselves or those they give it to.[21]

Other media[edit]

Reception[edit]

On the introduction of a new character class in the 3.5 Edition, Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin for EN World, wrote: "There was great furor about the warlock when the class was released, with impassioned (and sometimes a little bit frothing) concern that the introduction of at-will spellcasting would prove to be dramatically overpowered. Nevertheless, it was a significant step away from Vancian magic and the creation of a fun, playable class that had a fairly low learning curve for newer players. The warlock managed to combine fun new mechanics with superb flavor, something that's not particularly easy".[1]

Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, highlighted that it was surprising to see the warlock as a core character class in the introduction of 4th Edition when it "hadn't been a core part of the game previously" and that there was some controversy that classic core classes, such as assassin, bard, and druid, were not included in the Player's Handbook (2008) to make room for the newer classes.[7] Timothy Morton, in the book Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy: Raiding the Temple of Wisdom, highlighted the downsides of the 4th Edition magic system and wrote "though this mechanical approach ensures that the results remain balanced with actions of other characters, the lack of variance and extreme consistency of results seemed problematic. [...] The Warlock, too, rubs us the wrong way. Shouldn't people who make pacts with unnatural and inhuman creatures from beyond feel slightly different than other characters in the 'Striker' role of direct damage dealing characters? [...] Ludological treatment would naturalize the unnatural within the game world or the minds of the players, thus destroying the horror and mystery that makes them desirable for inclusion within a role-playing game [...]. Why else would a 4e Warlock not seem all that different in combat from any other class?".[23]

Screen Rant rated the warlock class as the 7th most powerful class of the base 12 character classes in the 5th edition.[24]

The Gamer rated the 5th edition warlock subclass Celestial Patron as the 7th most awesome subclass out of the 32 new character options in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.[25]

Gus Wezerek, for FiveThirtyEight, reported that of the 5th edition "class and race combinations per 100,000 characters that players created on D&D Beyond from" August 15 to September 15, 2017, warlocks were the 8th most created at 8,711 total. Tiefling (2,188) was the most common racial combination followed by human (1,714) and then half-elf (1,401).[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abKulp, Kevin. "Complete Arcane (3.5) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  2. ^ abcdAppelcline, Shannon. "Arcane Power (4e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  3. ^Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '70s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN .
  4. ^Bernstein, Eytan (2007-03-14). "Class Chronicles: Warlocks, Part 1". archive.wizards.com. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  5. ^Bernstein, Eytan; Scott de Brie, Erik (2007-03-28). "Class Chronicles: Warlocks, Part 2". archive.wizards.com. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  6. ^Ryan, Michael (November 5, 2004). "Complete Arcane: Designer Interview". Dungeons & Dragons. Archived from the original on March 12, 2005. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  7. ^ abAppelcline, Shannon. "Player's Handbook (4e) | Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  8. ^Cordell, Bruce (August 2008). "Wish Upon A Star"(PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  9. ^Bart Carroll. "Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (August and Beyond)". Wizards.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  10. ^ abAppelcline, Shannon. "Player Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms - Product History". Dungeon Masters Guild. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  11. ^Heroes of Shadow. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. April 2011. pp. 63–79. ISBN . OCLC 62327263.
  12. ^Bernstein, Eytan (2007-05-23). "Class Chronicles: Hexblades and Ninjas". archive.wizards.com. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  13. ^Bernstein, Eytan (2007-07-18). "Class Chronicles: Binders". archive.wizards.com. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  14. ^Taguiam, Rhenn (2020-08-16). "Dungeons & Dragons 5e: 5 Classes From Previous Editions That Need To Return (& 5 That Should Be Left Alone)". Game Rant. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  15. ^"Keeping it Classy | Dungeons & Dragons". 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  16. ^ abcdMearls, Mike; Crawford, Jeremy; et al. (2014). Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 5th Edition. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. ISBN .
  17. ^"Imbue a 5E D&D Warlock with Eldritch Invocations from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything". Nerdarchy. January 6, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  18. ^ abcdefg"Dungeons & Dragons: All 9 Official Warlock Subclasses, Ranked". TheGamer. 2020-01-05. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  19. ^ abcdefghi"Dungeons & Dragons: 5 Best Pacts You Can Make As A Warlock ( & 5 Worst)". CBR. 2021-05-28. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  20. ^ ab"Dungeons & Dragons: All the Subclasses From Tasha's Cauldron of Everything". ComicBook.com. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  21. ^ ab"Dungeons and Dragons: All Warlock Pact Boons, Ranked". TheGamer. 2021-06-15. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  22. ^"Classes". Dungeons & Dragons Online. Turbine. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  23. ^Morton, Timothy (2012). "Chapter 12: The Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons". Dungeons and Dragons and Philosophy: Raiding the Temple of Wisdom. Cogburn, Jon., Silcox, Mark. Chicago: Open Court Pub. pp. 147–150. ISBN . OCLC 781678837.
  24. ^"Dungeons And Dragons: Ranking All Of The Base Classes, From Least To Most Powerful". ScreenRant. 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  25. ^"10 Awesome Subclasses From Xanathar's Guide To Everything (D&D Expansion)". TheGamer. 2019-08-07. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  26. ^Wezerek, Gus (2017-10-12). "Is Your D&D Character Rare?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2019-11-26.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlock_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)


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