I’ve been running a campaign throughout the playtests to date, and like any other campaign I’ve ever run, creating my own rules content is just part of how things go. When D&D Next stopped supporting the warlock (quite a long while back), I decided to make my own, based on the evolving design of the playtest packets. Since we’ve now gotten the last of the public playtest packets, it’s a platform that we’ll have for… however long the rest of the design and playtesting takes – it’s as sturdy a foundation as I can get, for now.
For those who have read the packet in depth, it will be immediately obvious that I have chosen a reskin of the Bard as the core of this design. I did this primarily because I felt that the once-per-encounter Performance mechanic fit reasonably well with what I wanted from warlock pact favors, and their partial-casting mechanic made for an interesting “magical dabbler” that let me add some Vancian magic to the warlock without a full nine-level progression of spells. As it is, their spell list is cribbed from mages, with each pact granting additional spell options.
I have vague thoughts for at least three more pact options, but I haven’t written them yet. Most of the class is only written up to 10th level, but I went ahead and stretched the spell list up to 5th-level spells (that is, character level 17).
Warlocks enter into compacts with Greater Powers that are, nevertheless, not deities. This pact grants them both pact boons and a limited mastery of spellcasting, though as they often lack the formalized training of clergy or true wizards, the spells at their command can be quite unusual. In the past, warlocks have entered into pacts with the High Lords of the Fey, the Powers of Hell, the Abominations (archmages driven mad and warped to horror by traveling to the five planets), and the dead powers of the Ghostlands.
Creating a Warlock
Equipment: Leather armor, light crossbow, dagger, rod, adventurer’s kit, and 90 gp
|Level||Proficiency Bonus||Spells Known||Features|
|1||+1||—||Forbidden Knowledge, Pact, Eldritch Force|
|3||+2||3||Pact Boon, Pact Spell|
|4||+2||3||Ability Score Improvement|
|8||+3||5||Improved Eldritch Force|
|10||+3||6||Ability Score Improvement|
As a warlock, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per warlock level
Hit Points at first level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, light crossbows, short swords, rapiers, long swords
Saving Throws: Intelligence, and see below
Skills: Choose two of: Arcana, History, Nature, Religion, Insight, Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion.
Forbidden Knowledge: You have learned things that many others would prefer you not know – whether those are royal censors, the Inquisition, the Arcane Order, or the oppressive and ruthless forces of academia. When you make an Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion check, you have advantage on that check. When performing research, you can lower the DC of any relevant skill check by 5 in exchange for taking 1d6 points of Suspicion (rolled secretly); the DM decides when and how Suspicion affects you, but it is primarily a penalty to Deception and Persuasion, and increases your cost of living by 10% per point. Suspicion decreases as a reward for successful adventures, or by paying substantial bribes to relevant authorities. There may be other means of reducing Suspicion as well.
Pact: Choose one of the available pact options: Verenestra of the Fey, Khirix Drael of Hell, Zinguloth the Abomination, or the Nightwalker of the Ghostlands. (Content to be expanded as it is convenient.) It may be possible, if inadvisable, to change this pact during the course of play. You gain proficiency in one additional saving throw as a result of this pact choice. The Fey grant Charisma, Hell grants Constitution, Abominations grant Wisdom, and the Ghostlands grant Wisdom.
Starting at third level, your pact grants you pact boons, which cost a favor to use. You start out knowing two pact boons: one from your pact, and the Warlock’s Curse. You only have one favor at a time, and may regain it with a minor ritual offering that takes about 10 minutes. It is possible to gain additional, non-renewable favors from your patron through service.
Warlock’s Curse: By expending a favor and either pointing to an opponent you can see or naming an opponent who can hear you, you place a curse of destruction upon your opponent. Until you revoke the curse or the creature dies, the target takes an additional 1d6 damage from all attacks and spells (though not from ongoing damage). This increases to 1d8 at 6th level, 1d10 at 9th level, 1d12 at 13th level, and 2d8 at 17th level. You cannot refresh this favor while your Curse remains active. You may revoke your Curse as a free action at any time. The remove curse spell also ends your Curse.
Eldritch Force: When you learn this ability, you gain one primary force and one secondary force.
- Eldritch Blast: Make a magical attack against a creature within 50 feet of you. If you hit, the target takes 1d10+4 force damage.
- Eldritch Blade: You manifest a blade of crackling eldritch energy. It is a one-handed finesse weapon that deals 1d8 piercing damage. You are proficient in its use, and you apply your Intelligence modifier to attack and damage.
- Eldritch Chain: Make a magical attack against a creature within 15 feet of you. If you hit, the target takes 1d6+2 force damage, is pulled to a square adjacent to you, and ends any invisibility effects.
- Eldritch Ram: Make a magical attack against a creature within 50 feet of you. If you hit, the target takes 1d6+2 force damage and is pushed 5 feet away from the direction of the attack (typically in a straight line from you). Prone creatures take 2d6+2 damage instead, but cannot be pushed; a creature may choose to fall prone as a reaction after a hit but before damage is applied. On a critical hit, the push is doubled.
- Eldritch Bands: Make a magical attack against a creature within 50 feet of you. If you hit, the target takes 1d8+2 force damage and its speed is reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn.
- Eldritch Shatterblade: Make a weapon attack against an adjacent creature with your eldritch blade. If you hit, your eldritch blade shatters, its shards piercing your target. Your target takes 1d6 piercing damage every round until it receives at least five points of magical healing. The creature can also end the effect with an act of will by making a Wisdom saving throw against your normal saving throw DC.
- Eldritch Curseblade: Make a weapon attack with your eldritch blade targeting an adjacent creature against whom you have advantage, but not disadvantage. You may give up the advantage to cause your opponent to have disadvantage on all saving throws for one minute, in addition to taking normal weapon damage.
- Eldritch Defender: You manifest a shield-like force from your offhand. It grants a +1 bonus to AC that does not stack with an actual hand-held shield.
- You use the same spellcasting progression as the bard, paladin, and ranger.
- Two cantrips from the warlock list
- You know two 1st-level spells, which you choose from the warlock spell list. You learn more spells as you gain levels, as detailed on the Warlock table. The spells you learn must be of a level that you can cast, or a cantrip.
- Saving Throw DC: 8 + Intelligence modifier.
- Spellcasting Bonus: If you are holding a rod, staff, spellbook, or component pouch, you can add your proficiency bonus to the spell’s saving throw DC.
- Ritual Casting, etc.
Each time you receive a new Pact Spell, you may pick one spell from your pact’s spell list and add it to your own. This counts as a warlock spell for you. You may pick a spell up to the highest spell level you can currently cast.
You and your allies gain resistance to all forms of curses, through your own knowledge of that dangerous art. Whenever you or an ally within 30 feet would be affected by a curse, you may spend your reaction to counter it. Make an Intelligence (Arcana, Religion, or Nature) check against the spell’s saving throw DC; if the effect has no obvious saving throw DC, treat the DC as 16.
Improved Eldritch Force:
Your eldritch force grows more potent. Whenever you deal damage with any primary or secondary eldritch force, you deal an additional die of damage of that force’s type.
Warlock Spell List
Melf’s Acid Arrow
Aura of Invisibility
Protection from Energy
Evard’s Black Tentacles
Wall of Fire
Contact Other Plane
Verenestra, Princess of Oak
|3||Grace of the Lady, New Skill Proficiency, Pact Spell List|
|6||Passage of the Hidden World|
Grace of the Lady: When speaking to a creature that can understand you, you can spend your patron’s favor to gain greater influence over the creature, provided it understands your language. If the target fails a Charisma saving throw, you impose the charmed condition on the creature. You can sustain this charm as long as the creature can see and hear you, and you can end this effect at any time. Until you end this effect, you cannot refresh the patron’s favor that you expended on this ability. If you or any of your companions harms the charmed creature in any way, the charm ends, and you cannot use this power on the creature again for 24 hours.
New Skill Proficiency: You gain proficiency in one of the following skills: Nature, Deception, Persuasion, Performance. If you are already proficient in all of these skills, you may gain another skill or tool proficiency granted by your class(es) or background.
Passage of the Hidden World: Use this ability as part of your movement in a round. You teleport up to 30 feet. If you spend your action to hustle, you may teleport 120 feet instead. You do not need line of sight to your target, but if you cannot see the target, it must be someplace you have been before. If you attempt to teleport into a solid object, your teleportation fails and you may not refresh this favor for 24 hours, as your patron spares you from a messy death.
Pact Spell List:
Pass Without Trace
Elemental Mantle (Air only)
Freedom of Movement