The “Pious” Warlock, Part Two 3


Today I’m back to continue my series adapting the Piety and Iconoclast systems from Mythic Odysseys of Theros to the relationship between warlocks and their patrons. In the first article (linked below), I hashed out Seelie/Summer Court Archfey. This time, I’m giving Unseelie/Gloaming/Winter Court Archfey the same treatment. As a reminder, I’m using a quest-driven spin on the Iconoclast to represent antagonistic relationships with your Patron.

Summer Archfey | Gloaming Archfey

Gloaming Archfey: Positive Relationship

Mortal servants of the Gloaming or Unseelie Court hold a largely antinomian set of virtues: ambition, vengeance, decadence, victory at all costs, and all-consuming passions. The one virtue on which the Summer and Gloaming Courts agree is that the bond of hospitality is sacrosanct. Most who come to the Gloaming Court rejected conventional social mores long before they entered into their pact.

Gloaming Court Favor

How did you enter your pact or relationship with the Gloaming Court Archfey?

d6         Circumstance
1            Caught in a blizzard, you found a lordly hall that should not have been there, and received hospitality for the night. You became enthralled with the lord, and agreed to serve him in repayment of his kindness.
2            Desperate to end a plague that was ravaging your village, you traveled far to visit a hidden market. They sold you the cure in exchange for your willing service.
3            When you felt that you had run out of artistic ideas, you sought out the eerie art gallery that promised to spark unlimited inspiration.
4            You were lonely – so lonely – and when you looked up to the night sky and wished for a companion, someone answered. Not who you expected, for better or worse.
5            The night that you heard the baying of unearthly wolfhounds, you dreamed yourself part of their pack. You dreamed that you led the pack in hunting down people, and the master of that hunt awarded you a choice cut.
6            During your apprenticeship, your teacher traded you away to the Archfey. Though capricious and inscrutable, that Archfey still treats you better than many mortals do.

Devotion to the Gloaming Court

As part of your dedication to the Gloaming Court, consider replacing or adding one of the following to your Ideals.

d6         Ideal
1            Ambition. A great destiny lies before me – all I must do is reach out my hand and claim it.
2            Revenge. Any who slight me or insult my patron must learn that there are consequences for such actions.
3            Hospitality. The bond between guest and host is the only holy thing in the cruel world.
4            Sorrow. The mortal world is a place of loss and grief already, and sorrow is the only meaning to find in it.
5            Truth. The corruption, frailty, and foibles of mortals should be exposed and exploited. It’s for their own good, in the long term.
6            Dread. It is only right and proper that mortals fear the dark, the unknown, and the hungry things that wait.

Earning and Losing Piety (Favor)

You increase your Piety score with the Gloaming Court when you avenge slights, remind mortals of their place in the universe, and spread fear of the Gloaming Court.

  • Sharing a tale or other artistic creation that makes the Gloaming Court something to be feared
  • Getting payback for any insult, especially when your action is public
  • Building shrines dedicated to your patron, and destroying shrines dedicated to Summer Court Archfey
  • Encouraging mortals to pursue their vices in wild excess
  • Tricking or tempting people into oaths of service to the Gloaming Court
  • Giving or receiving an oath that deceives the other party as to what is expected or promised
  • Destroying an object that is conventionally beautiful, or rendering it frightening

Your Piety score decreases if you show greater loyalty to other powers – the Queen of Air and Darkness and all of her Court are jealous – and through the actions like the following.

  • Breaking an oath, especially the bond of safety between guest and hospitality
  • Letting someone who has broken an oath go unpunished
  • Practicing moderation and respectability, except as part of a longer scheme

Gloaming Court Knave
Piety 3+ Gloaming Court

You learn the spell cause fear, which doesn’t count against your Spells Known. You can cast it once as a bonus action immediately after you hit a creature with an attack. Once you cast it as a bonus action with this trait, you can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Gloaming Court Squire
Piety 10+ Gloaming Court

You learn the spell invisibility, which doesn’t count against your Spells Known. You can cast it once with this trait without expending a spell slot. Once you do, you can’t use this trait again in this way until you finish a long rest.

Gloaming Court Knight
Piety 25+ Gloaming Court

You gain an additional Eldritch Invocation or supernatural gift that is appropriate to your Patron.

Gloaming Court Noble
Piety 50+ Gloaming Court

You can increase your Dexterity or Charisma score by 2 and also increase your maximum for that score by 2.

Gloaming Court Iconoclast

For heroic PCs, most relationships with Gloaming Court patrons are probably antagonistic, though I’ve tried to write things so that it doesn’t have to be. Opposing the Gloaming Court has a lot in common with opposing the Summer Court, and I imagine many of these items will be common throughout all of the Iconoclast options of future Patrons.

Tier 1, 1st to 4th level

Quest Goal:

  • Use a weapon made of cold iron to kill a fey servant of your patron
  • Find a map of the Feywild that reveals the location of your Patron’s demesne
  • Evade the Wild Hunt for a night

Reward: You can cast calm emotions without expending a spell slot. Once you do, you can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

Tier 2, 5th to 10th level

Quest Goal:

  • Slay a warlock who faithfully serves your Patron
  • Convince a warlock who serves your Patron to break their Pact
  • Destroy a shrine dedicated to your Patron
  • Defeat a group of NPCs sent by your Patron to capture or kill you

Reward: You can cast bestow curse or remove curse without expending a spell slot. Once you cast one of these, you can’t use this trait again until you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell.

Tier 3, 11th to 16th level

Quest Goal:

  • Engage your Patron in a contest of wills; if you lose, escape from the prison of delirium they throw you into
  • Reveal a humiliating secret about your Patron to the Summer or Gloaming Courts
  • Steal the token that signifies your bond with your Patron

Reward: You can cast dispel evil and good with this trait, requiring no material components. Once you do so, you can’t cast it in this way again until you finish a long rest.

Tier 4, 17th to 20th level

Quest Goal:

  • Slay or banish your Patron
  • Arrange for your Patron to be exiled from the Gloaming Court

Reward: You can increase your Wisdom or Charisma score by 2, and your maximum for that score by 2.

And yeah, I know I haven’t explained anything about how to “engage your Patron in a contest of wills” or “escape from a prison of delirium.” Ideally that’ll come in a future blog post… but that requires solving a raft of skill challenge design problems first.


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3 thoughts on “The “Pious” Warlock, Part Two

  • Craig W Cormier

    As with the Summer Court article, I am all in for this concept. I like that the format is general enough that a DM should be able to tailor the granted powers, iconoclast quests, and other features to the specific warlock/patron relationship of the PC. Unless you have an extremely unusual party composition, it’s unlikely that more than one or two PCs are engaging with this content at any one time, so customization is a smaller burden than it would be for the Piety mechanics in a Theros game.

    I also really like that this could easily be applied to a non-warlock player that makes a bargain. It’s a nice set of rewards for interesting world interactions.

  • Sebastian

    This is a super awesome concept, and I’m considering running a setting where gods and higher beings use the mortal plane as a wargrounds to vie for power with one another, essentially meaning it’s nigh impossible for a mortal to NOT be involved in interplanar schemes. Thus, every play will have a being, or beings they’re attempting to please and one, or more, that they’re actively antagonistic towards. Your writing inspired me a lot in that sense and I really hope you continue to develop this idea as I’m definitely going to be creating my own extensions this, potentially more focused on eldritch/divine beings as that’s my personal area of interest

    Thanks again for the inspiration, it’s very validating to see an idea that I’ve considered prior be put into effect by someone else with a lot better organization skills ehe

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      Just so I’m completely clear, my format is cribbed from Mythic Odysseys of Theros – my innovation here is folding in warlock patrons, not Piety itself. =)

      I am so glad you like what you’re seeing here, and I hope it helps you carry off your campaign concept!