New Warlock Patron: Corruption in the Flame 6

This is a new draft of a warlock patron for Under the Seas of Vodari. It’s slightly changed from its initial appearance in my Patreon.

Whether from above or below the waves, you have looked into the volcanic fires that flow from the beating heart of the world. What you saw there, the voice that spoke to you, changing you forever with the dual power of flame and corruption. 

In the Seas of Vodari setting, the god Volkan tried to burn out all of the fear and malice that he saw within himself; he wished to be a Destroyer God no more. But the ashes of his divine power that he cast out were still a divinity unto themselves, and took on a partial sapience that could still grant power to mortals.

Corruption in the Flame Features

1stExpanded Spell List, The Power Within, Flame in the Deep
6thPower Released
10thExplosive Wrath
14thReforged in Flame

Expanded Spell List

The Corruption in the Flame allows you to choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you. 

Spell LevelSpells
1stburning hands, inflict wounds
2ndcontinual flame, flaming sphere
3rdfireball, protection from energy
4thravening flame (new spell, see below), wall of fire
5thcontagion, dispel evil and good

The Power Within

1st-level Corruption in the Flame feature

You can embody one side of your patron’s dual nature for a time. As a bonus action, you can choose one of the following, which lasts for 10 minutes. Only one can be active at a time, but you can end one and immediately choose the other when you cast a spell using a Pact Magic slot.

Exaltation in Flame. You gain resistance to fire damage and advantage on saving throws against disease. Once per turn when you deal damage to a creature with a cantrip or hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can deal fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier to a creature within 5 feet of your target. You can deal fire damage with your eldritch blast instead of force.

Seed of Corruption. You gain resistance to necrotic damage. When you deal damage to a creature with a cantrip or hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can use your reaction at the start of its next turn to deal 2d6 necrotic damage to it. You can deal necrotic damage with your eldritch blast instead of force.

Flame in the Deep

1st-level Corruption in the Flame feature

Spells that you cast that deal fire damage ignore resistance to fire damage from the target being underwater. Once on each of your turns, you can choose a creature you can see and discern whether the creature has resistance or immunity to fire damage from a source other than being underwater.

Power Released

6th-level Corruption in the Flame feature

When Exaltation in Flame ends, you regain 1d8 + your Charisma bonus (minimum 1) hit points. You can regain hit points this way a number of times equal to your number of Pact Magic slots, and regain expended uses when you finish a short or long rest.

When Seed of Corruption ends, you vomit out inky bile, and you can roll a new saving throw against one curse with a duration of less than 24 hours, disease, or effect that causes the poisoned condition. On a success, that effect ends.

Explosive Wrath

10th-level Corruption in the Flame feature

Your Exaltation in the Flame feature now deals fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier to creatures of your choice within 5 feet of your initial target. Your Seed of Corruption feature now deals 4d6 necrotic damage when you use your reaction.

Reforged in Flame

14th-level Corruption in the Flame feature

You can transform a newly-dead creature into a new form, so that it may serve you. As an action, choose a creature that is not a construct, elemental, or undead, that has died within the last minute, and whose remains you can see.

  • If its CR or level is 5 or lower, you can choose for it to become a gargoyle, hell hound, or nightmare.
  • If its CR or level is 10 or lower, you can choose for it to become a black pudding.
  • If its CR is 11 or greater, you can choose for it to become a fire elemental or salamander.

The creature has all of the normal game statistics for a creature of its type, except that it can’t regain hit points through any means. It has no knowledge of its previous life or any ability to communicate while transformed. It obeys your mental commands and acts on its own turn. It dies when it is reduced to 0 hit points or after 8 hours. You can use this feature once, and can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

New Spell

Ravening Flame

4th-level evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (100 feet)
Components: V, S, M (a pickled or mummified finger)
Duration: Instantaneous

A line of purple-red flame lashes out from you in a 100-foot-long line in a direction you choose. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. The target creature nearest to you takes 6d6 fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half damage on a success. Target creatures beyond the nearest target take 9d6 fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half on a success. Damage from this spell ignores resistance to fire damage if the creature doesn’t also have resistance to necrotic damage. Immunity to fire damage only halves the damage that the target takes unless it is also immune to necrotic damage.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 4th.


Fundamentally, my thinking about subclasses (warlock subclasses most of all) is that you need to be constructing a playstyle. What that means to me is that the subclass introduces a wrinkle in the player’s decision-making process, causing that decision-making to differ from characters of other subclasses. Because Attack and Cast a Spell are going to be your main action in 90+% of combat rounds, many classes make something out of bonus actions, one way or another; features that trigger off of attacking or casting a spell are also common. As you see, I’ve played with both of those things here, in making a stance-based warlock.

My one problem with stance-based subclasses? Especially when someone else writes them, I kinda want to write just one more option, in about the same vein as writing new Battle Master Maneuvers or Totem Warrior totems.

There is also a little bit of this that is me thinking about thematically viable replacements for the now-quite-dated Fiend patron, and working myself up to taking another run at a replacement Archfey patron.

The new spell is my riff on Shadowflame from World of Warcraft, thanks to a suggestion from Stands-in-the-Fire. My idea was that the ravening part means the fire intensifies after burning the first target.

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6 thoughts on “New Warlock Patron: Corruption in the Flame

  • Craig W Cormier

    Man, reading the title of this article I was thinking “Holy crap, someone wrote an Otherworldly Patron based on Bel Shalor from Eberron?”

    This is not exactly that, but it is pretty close and is interesting in its own right. I like the stance-based design, but there are a couple of issues that I noticed.

    Is The Power Within intended to have a usage limit or recharge time? As it stands right now the warlock just has it on all the time. If there is no intended usage limit, I’m not sure why there is a duration rather than just an on/off action.

    Exultation in Flame just seems better than Seed of Corruption. You gain resistance to a more common damage type and on a type of saving throw, plus you can splash damage without spending an extra action. Flame in the Deep makes it so that your extra fire damage won’t be resisted in the underwater environments the subclass is intended for (and as I type that sentence I realize that the fire resistance that Exultation grants is also redundant underwater…).
    By contrast Seed of Corruption requires your reaction to get its bonus damage and requires the player to remember to apply the damage on someone else’s turn (which in my experience, is a way to make sure it gets forgotten 50% of the time and results in trying to apply damage retroactively later in the turn order).

    Maybe one being better than the other doesn’t really matter since they are easy to switch out. Or maybe I am missing something and they are closer in power than I think.

    Should there be a usage limit on the upgraded Power Released version of Seed of Corruption like there is for Exultation?

    Reforged in Flame is a super cool idea and I love it. The only issue I see is that it grants no protections for the new creatures to being underwater. A fire elemental would almost instantly die if this was used in the environment that the flavor of the subclass implies it is from. In fact, the only creature on the list that doesn’t immediately start to drown or take damage from being underwater is the gargoyle (and now I am wondering if gargoyles can swim, which I have never considered before). A clause in the final paragraph granting survivability in underwater environments neatly fixes the issue.

    Ravening Flame is a cool spell with a neat gimmick. I like it.

    Overall I really like the flavor of this Patron. Warlocks are the one class that I think can’t have too many subclass options. Each one tells a different story about not only the warlock but about the world that they inhabit and a powerful entity in that world.

    • Craig W Cormier

      Also, way back in October, in your gemstone spells article, you responded to my comments by thanking me for giving constructive feedback. I had intended to respond to that, but life got in the way and I forgot. I was scrolling through old articles while waiting on a meeting this morning and came across the original comment and remembered I had intended to respond.

      I want to thank you for offering up your ideas and creations for public consumption and review. I am the only person in my immediate gaming group that has any real interest in homebrew or 3rd party work, so being able to comment on well-written and considered content like this provides a much-needed outlet for me, especially this past year. Your blog and others like it have been good for my mental health. So thank you for your work, and if my comments ever become less than constructive, please feel free to call me on it.

      • Brandes Stoddard Post author

        I am so glad that my writing has meant something to you. We’ve had a lot of great conversations here in the comments!

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      That’s a lot to respond to! I’ll take it a bit at a time. 😉

      I don’t know a ton about Bel Shalor. I’ll do a little digging, but most of all I’m curious about how far I’d have to go to get it to support Bel Shalor well.

      Power Within: My intent (at present, subject to revision, whatever) is that you can always be in one stance or the other, and you get paid for flipping stances through Power Released, whenever you spend a Pact Magic slot.

      Exaltation vs Seed: Fire is a more common damage source to need to resist; it’s also a more common resistance on monsters. 2d6 damage will average enough higher than 4 or 5 that it matters slightly; getting the balance right between the two is tricky and I still may have missed the mark. The deal with Exaltation granting fire resistance, though, is that I still want this to work well above the waves. For narrative purposes, I really want Seed to have a small time-lapse in its damage landing, which I think explains itself.

      I don’t think Power Released needs a use limit for Seed, because the thing it does just doesn’t come up half-a-dozen times in a day. I could probably dump the use limit on Exaltation if I instead limit it to “only heals you while you’re below half hp.”

      Reforged in Flame – this is also intended for surface-world play, but yes, I need to either add water breathing, etc., for the creatures, (and/)or I need to add another option for CR 11+ that works optimally underwater. For gargoyles, there’s a creature from previous-editions canon for an underwater variant. Check this out:

      I’m glad you like Ravening Flame!

      Thank you so much for the critiques – you made a ton of good points!

      • Craig W Cormier

        Bel Shalor is the Demonic Overlord that embodies chaos, corruption, and treachery. Its only real connection to fire is that it is currently bound by the Silver Flame and is often referred to as the Shadow in the Flame. Honestly, the patron abilities as they stand right now would probably work for Bel Shalor with a quick reflavoring to remove anything to do with the ocean.

        After a re-read of Power Within I think I understand the reasons that you decided to build the ability the way it currently stands, and it appears to be working as intended.

        Any chance of getting an updated kapoacinth in Under the Seas of Vodari? Maybe in the adventure you are writing, that my Kickstarter email is telling me just got funded?

        • Brandes Stoddard Post author

          I’ll mention the kapoacinth to Tomas, who’s doing the lion’s (manticore’s?) share of the monster work!