Revised Archfey Patron 11

I’ve got significant problems with the existing Archfey patron that I haven’t been shy about. This isn’t even my first effort at overhauling the Archfey! The short version of the issue is that Fey Presence as a one-round charm/fear just… isn’t much. Misty Escape is a great per-short-rest get-out-of-jail-free card. Beguiling Defenses is a super-immunity, which y’all know I hate, and Dark Delirium is another per-short-rest charm/fear power… just as everything is getting charm/fear immunity. Thanks!

Previous Archfey Revision | Power Creep

Archfey Patron

The Archfey are lords over lesser fey, the greatest in age, power, and grandeur. To revel in the majesty of their positions, they organize themselves into courts and compete with one another. The Summer Court and Gloaming Court are the most important of these, though the Goblin Court stirs again after countless eons of dormancy.

Expanded Spell List

Okay, while I’m changing stuff, let me suggest that you change the Expanded Spell List feature so that warlocks get those spells known for free. The PH Archfey spell list is actually really good, but I also like my variant that I linked. So I dunno on this one, but if you change nothing from the PH you’re still in good shape.

In this version, I’m trying a Genie-style thing. You gain the spell from All Courts and the spell from your chosen Court. (I would like to tender my apology to everyone reading this table. I don’t know how to fix tables in the new and improved WordPress, and I’m terrified of digging too deep to try to fix it.)

Lvl All CourtsSummerGloamingGoblin
1stfaerie fireanimal friendshipdissonant whispersray of sickness
2ndpass without tracecalm emotionsphantasmal forceenlarge/reduce
3rdblinkplant growthphantom steedmeld into stone
4thgreater invisibilitytree stridedominate beastfreedom of movement
5thmodify memorygeasdominate personcontagion

Courtly Graces

1st-level Archfey feature

You learn the ways of the Court of your choice. Once you choose a Court, it is difficult to change,.

Summer Graces. You gain proficiency in martial weapons, medium armor, and shields. You can add your Charisma bonus instead of your Strength bonus to attack and damage rolls you make with martial weapons.

Gloaming Graces. You gain proficiency in martial finesse weapons and martial ranged weapons. You can add your Charisma bonus instead of your Dexterity bonus to attack and damage rolls you make with finesse and ranged weapons.

Goblin Graces. You gain proficiency in the Stealth skill and poisoner’s kits, and with martial ranged weapons. When you finish a long rest, you can create a number of doses of basic poison equal to your proficiency bonus. They are ineffective for anyone other than you, and lose their potency when you finish a long rest. You can apply a poison that you create to a weapon as a bonus action.

Fey Curse

1st-level Archfey feature

You learn a powerful curse that you can lay on your enemies, depending on your Court. As a bonus action, choose one creature that you can see within 30 feet of you. The target is cursed for 1 minute, and you can extend this duration to a year and a day by expending a Pact Magic spell slot. The curse ends when the target dies. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a short or long rest.

Summer Curse. Your attacks against the target deal additional radiant damage equal to your proficiency bonus. The target has disadvantage on saving throws against the charmed condition.

If the target dies while under the effect of this curse, you gain temporary hit points equal to your warlock level + your Charisma modifier.

Gloaming Curse. Your attacks against the target deal additional psychic damage equal to your proficiency bonus. The target has disadvantage on saving throws against the frightened condition.

If the target dies while under the effect of this curse, you can immediately force up to two other creatures that can see you to make Charisma saving throws against your spell save DC. On a failure, they are frightened of you until the end of your next turn.

Goblin Curse. Your attacks against the target deal additional acid damage equal to your proficiency bonus. The target has disadvantage on saving throws against the poisoned condition.

If the target dies while under the effect of this curse, you can use your reaction to choose a new target for any poison or the poisoned condition currently affecting the cursed creature. The new target must be a creature you can see within 30 feet of the cursed creature, and doesn’t roll a saving throw against the poison or poisoned condition.

Fey Blessing

6th-level Archfey feature

You have advantage on saving throws against the charmed, frightened, and poisoned conditions.

When you give or receive an object as a gift from another creature, you can also give the creature advantage on saving throws against the charmed, frightened, or poisoned condition for 1 hour. You can use this part of this feature a number of times per long rest equal to your proficiency bonus.

Hidden Pathways

10th-level Archfey feature

You learn misty step and dimension door if you don’t already know them, and they don’t count against your Spells Known.

When you cast a spell that causes you to teleport, you can choose up to two additional willing creatures within 10 feet of you, or creatures that you are grappling. Those creatures teleport with you. When you reach 14th level, the number of additional creatures you can bring with you increases to four.

Fey Mien

14th-level Archfey feature

As a bonus action, you can take on a more fey appearance and nature. For 1 hour or until you end this transformation as an action, your type becomes fey, and you gain one of the following based on your chosen Court.

Summer Mien. When you activate this mien, you can choose to dispel magical darkness effects created with a spell slot of 5th level or lower. While this mien is active, you gain the following:

  • You glow like starlight, shedding bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for another 20 feet.
  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • You have advantage on saving throws against spells cast by the target of your Fey Curse.

Gloaming Mien. When you activate this mien, you can choose to dispel magical light effects created with a spell slot of 5th level or lower. While this mien is active, you gain the following:

  • You are shrouded in darkness, gaining advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • The target of your Fey Curse has disadvantage on attack rolls against you.

Goblin Mien. When you activate this mien, you can choose one spell of 5th level or lower than is currently affecting a creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The creature affected by that spell can roll a Charisma saving throw against your spellcasting DC; on a failure, the spell stops affecting that creature and affects you for the remainder of its duration or until you end this mien. A creature can choose to fail this saving throw. While this mien is active, you gain the following:

  • When you deal poison damage to the target of your Fey Curse, it doesn’t benefit from immunity to poison damage unless it also has immunity to acid and psychic damage.
  • When you use a basic poison, it deals an additional 1d4 poison damage when you hit with an attack.

Design Notes

The original Archfey patron attempts to cover Summer/Seelie and Gloaming/Unseelie with the charm/fear dualities of Fey Presence and Dark Delirium. I wanted to get deeper into that and turn them into full parallel playstyles, while also aggressively supporting Blade, Chain, and Tome pacts. (We all know that Blade constantly needs our love and support, right?)

Adding Goblin as a third poison-focused playstyle is another stretch goal of this project. It has to differ more from Summer and Gloaming, because poisoned is a debuff rather than a crowd-control and because poison resistance/immunity is so common. (Not that charm/fear immunity aren’t all too common.)

Overall I see this as a blend of the mechanical innovations of the Hexblade and the Genie. If you’re into my take on the fey, I hope you’ll also check out Fey Gifts & Bargains on the DM’s Guild!

Edited to Add:

Geoffrey asked a number of questions in a comment. The comment arrived in my email but isn’t visible here on Patreon, so I’m adding them in an edit. I haven’t yet made any changes based on these comments – you’re seeing the same version.

I think you’ve made some compelling changes here, and I’m enjoying seeing the evolution of the Pact. Couple things popped to mind on my first read, and apologies if I’m misinterpreting. 

Goblin Curse: Working as intended, I love how this could be used to “leap frog” the Goblin’s own poisons to a new target with no save. Any concerns about them opening with it on a very weak (or even sacrificial creature, like the old bag of rats), and then jumping it to a much more powerful/resilient creature? 

If you can deal 1d4 damage to an ordinary rat and it survives…? But more to the point, I think that “don’t go for bag-of-rats stuff in my D&D game please” is the answer here. It is intended that you can transfer a poison off of a combatant mook and onto the boss. It’s possible that there’s an ongoing poison so nasty that I’d regret this and wind up changing the feature, of course.

Hidden Pathways: I always feel like I missed something when I hit a class feature if they give me something, but nothing if I already have it (this goes for proficiencies too). It can be especially frustrating since sometimes they are things the player would obviously have made an effort to already acquire, since they probably are in-theme for them. 

Warlocks are good at cycling out spells when they gain a level. I might cut this down to only teaching you one spell or the other – since you can only cycle out one spell per level, this ensures that you aren’t stuck with a doubled spell for a level by RAW. In general I agree that there’s a weird area around subclasses granting proficiencies that are, conceptually, more like prereqs for entry.

Goblin Mien: This seems to have a nice versatility in that it could pull a bad effect off an ally, or steal a good one from an enemy, but in the case of the later these will probably require Concentration, so the benefit will be very, very short (if any at all), since “You can end concentration at any time”.

Right, part of the idea here is that stealing concentration spells doesn’t last long (if they’re present to observe that you’ve stolen it), but non-concentration buffs – of which there are a few VERY nice examples – are ideal theft targets.

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11 thoughts on “Revised Archfey Patron

  • Weird-Wizard

    First thing, as always I love the idea of updating old PHB classes to be more in line with modern design. A couple things though.

    One is just a nitpick, perhaps, but I believe you wanted “Fey Mein” to be “Fey Mien”. As far as I can tell, mein isn’t anything, but ” mien
    1: air (see AIR entry 1 sense 3c) or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality : DEMEANOR
    of aristocratic mien
    of somber mien
    the mien of a choirboy
    dresses of formal mien”

    Anyhow, being “that guy” aside, my other comment is regarding courtly graces, particularly the Summer and Gloaming Graces. Any Martial Melee weapon attack can be made with Strength, regardless of if the weapon has finesse, so as written the only thing locked out by Summer’s wording is using your charisma on ranged weapon attacks. They could still use a rapier just fine with Charisma, though strangely they could NOT use it for Daggers, since they’re simple finesse weapons.

    It just seemed like odd wording, though as I parse it out, it means that Summer could use any martial melee, finesse or not, with Cha, while Gloaming gets fewer melee weapons added (Rapier, Shortsword, Scimitar and Whip) but can also use ranged weapons with Cha… So it actually seems to be working as intended, even if it sounds weird to give one choice “All martial weapons” and the other one only specific ones. With also getting Medium Armor and Shields, Summer seems to get more benefit, though no ranged attacks still limits some options a bit. (Of course, with Eldritch Blast that isn’t much of a loss. I do very much approve of giving Bladelock features to subclasses OTHER than the bloody hexblade)

    Anyhow, I hope this doesn’t sound overly critical. For the most part, and definitely as a concept, I love the idea, and I think all of the lame old PHB classes deserve such reworks, though I know you have a particular fondness for the Fey. Thanks for your efforts!

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      I… am an idiot, and thought I remembered how it is spelled. Thanks. =)

      Good points about the Courtly Graces – I’ll revisit that and make sure it’s all working as intended. I realize weapon use is pretty unlikely for anyone other than bladelocks, but I really like what Hexblade has to offer in terms of just opening doors to weapon and armor use. Thanks for this also!

      If you haven’t already, take a look at my Corruption in the Flame warlock, which I was thinking of as a potential fit for SOME Fiendlocks. Getting all the way there on supporting the full* range of archdevils and demon lords is daunting AF, because they’re all so different. Same for the Great Old Ones. So, on my agenda, but maybe WAY down the line.

      *even if we’re only talking about the demon lords in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and not, you know, every single named demon lord

      • Weird-Wizard

        Very welcome, of course. I always worry about spelling stuff being a bit pedantic, but you wouldn’t have wanted part of your homebrew document to be about the properties of the noodles of the sidhe. >.>

        Reworking fiendlock would definitely be tricky without making it suuuuuper generic (which is what they did in the PHB, it’s just that PHB designs were mostly grab bags instead of playstyle defining) Other than making Demon Lord specific Fiend pacts, what might work is aping the design from this Fey one and having 3 paths, one for Demons, one for Devils, and one for Yugoloths? Hell, given how little people care about Yugoloths on average, just a Demon and Devil path would be fine.

        Great Old One is even harder. It probably does have to be genericized, given the enormous, unknowable, nonsensical range of eldritch nasties and entities out there.

        The whole idea is a lot of work. I’d like to see some action from Wotc on that front, but I’m not holding my breath. For now, I always appreciate people out there like yourself who actually pay attention to the design trends and try to make stuff that works. Whether I end up using other people’s homebrew or just have them as inspiration for my own tweaks or works, it’s always nice to see.

        • Brandes Stoddard Post author

          Right, the noodles of the sidhe are a completely different, completely delicious product.

          To show my hand on this a bit, I picked up Faces of Evil: The Fiends to get me started thinking about a revised Fiendlock, so there’s no way I’m doing this in less that FOUR parts – baatezu, tanar’ri, yugoloths, and gehreleths. I don’t know if I’ll hit the mark, but when I try it, I’m shooting for the stars.

          Now that Sandy Petersen has released a 5e Mythos product, suffice it to say that I don’t think I’m going to do better than he did, but I think there might be some viable categories to play around with. All the more if I can casually ignore everything that you’d file under Fathomless.

          The thing is, WotC’s warlock design has gotten really slick as the edition has matured. They just have no mechanism to make substantive corrections without getting into half-edition (or full new edition) territory – what the PH subclasses need is wildly out of scope for errata. We won’t get into what the core of the class needs – that’s a whole other dead horse. 😉

          • Weird-Wizard

            That’s the challenge with a “paper” product like dnd. Aside from errata which is ostensibly supposed to be corrections (which it isnt always, see the Healing Spirit nerf), there isn’t a way for them to rework old stuff without getting into a new edition/.5. There’s plenty of reasons why a new edition might not be a good thing, it’s just a shame because a lot of the “core” subclasses, the most archetypal versions of the classes, are super underwhelming compared to the modern designs. Not 100% of the time, but often enough to merit homebrew and tweaking, I think.

          • Brandes Stoddard Post author

            Since I know you read my Power Creep? article (having checked right now and seen your comment there!), I feel like some stand up well and others were perceptibly not quite right on day 1. I think it’s much less common that subclasses seemed really good in 2014 and now look significantly second-rate – maybe you have examples you want to flag?

            “Enough to merit homebrew and tweaking” is one blessedly low bar for me. 😉

  • Craig W Cormier

    As usual, I like your fey content. This is an excellent start on making the Archfey both more playable and much more flavorful.

    Regarding Goblin Courtly Graces, it seems really odd to not grant them the ability to use Charisma for attacks made with the weapon proficiencies they gain when you do it for the others. If you want it to be limited, maybe let them use Charisma with any poisoned weapon?

    Regarding Fey Curse, how is this supposed to interact with the Remove Curse spell, if it interacts at all? I assume this counts as a curse for the purposes of the spell (side note: curses need a huge revamp and reworking in D&D). I love that you can extend the curse for up to a year and a day. I think it is the prevalence of saving throw opportunities in 5e that makes it weird to me that there is no way for the target to avoid or cancel the curse listed in the ability, but I think it’s probably fine. All the individual curses are flavorful and different enough to produce varied playstyles, which I like.

    Fey Blessing is spot on.

    I like Hidden Pathways and agree with other commenters on the potential spell overlap. I also think that unwilling targets (those grappled) should get a saving throw against the effect, especially since such targets could be wildly more magically powerful than the warlock. Though I actually also think you should be able to bring along a target that a willing creature you are bringing is grappling.

    Fey Mien is pretty great and makes me wish that being Fey granted some automatic set of effects or abilities aside from avoiding Charm Person, etc. Are the lighting/darkening effects of Summer and Gloaming supposed to have a range? Goblin Mien is amazing.

    Overall I really like the ways that you have gotten around immunity to various conditions while still granting reasonably powerful effects.

    • Craig W Cormier

      Also meant to comment that I like your Expanded Spell List and that I also just grant those as spells known for warlocks. It’s a great way to enforce a theme or archetype while not forcing a PC to choose between the cool flavorful spell and the optimal choice.

      Also not sure what you think is wrong with the visual display of the table…

      • Brandes Stoddard Post author

        It, uh, didn’t look like it was going to work out that cleanly in the editor. I’m glad that worked.

  • Blue

    The Summer Graces is straight up more powerful than Gloaming Graces. It incorporates everything Gloaming Graces covers (except CHR to simple weapons which is basically ignored when you have CHR for martial weapons) but then adds STR based martial weapons (and Warlocks are more likely to have a good DEX than STR, plus unlocks the two handed weapons), medium armor, and shields.

    Actually, it’s even more powerful than the Hexblade ability that’s already considered too good of a 1st level multiclassing dip because it gives the CHR to attack/damage to 2H weapons, and Hexblade can’t do that unless you go 3 levels and pick Pact of the Blade.

    • Brandes Stoddard Post author

      Hmm. Fair point. I am reluctant to cut it back too far because there ARE some meaningful shortcomings in non-Hexblade Bladelock play, to say nothing of built-in Eldritch Invocation taxes (that is, you basically MUST buy Thirsting Blade and Lifedrinker). That said, it’ll get a very careful revision if this moves forward to a DM’s Guild release state.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback!