5e warlock guide 2018

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    Default Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    The Warlock’s Guide to Power

    Image by Tyler Jacobson

    “Oh gentle Faustus, leave this damnéd art,
    this magic that will charm thy soul to hell”

    -The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

    Making its first appearance in the splatbook Complete Arcane, the Warlock makes a pact with a supernatural being in order to gain power over the magical weave. Unlike other casters who prepare spell lists each day, Warlocks gained the brand new spell Eldritch Blast and at-will invocations, offering mystic power with almost no bookkeeping. The 4e Warlock introduced a more formal Pact system and the Warlock Curse, in addition to the standard At-Will, Encounter and Daily abilities.

    In Fifth Edition, the Warlock combines the concepts of previous editions, essentially maintaining the 4e design ethos of At-Will, Encounter, and Daily powers. This makes it an easy entry class for 4e veterans, though 3.P players should still recognize familiar remnants of the original.

    But wait, EvilAnagram! Why would you make an optimization guide about Warlocks when you only need the first two levels.

    Smack

    Quiet, Optimizer Strawman, you’re hysterical. The Warlock is a short rest caster and extremely competent so long as short rests are available. Its primary means of damage, Eldritch Blast, is a cantrip, which reduces the reliance on spell slots, and Invocations reduce that reliance even further. You can easily cast two spells per short rest and still stay effective in combat.

    Remember that this is an optimization guide. It is designed to allow readers to understand the strengths and advantages inherent to playing a Warlock. That said, if you have a fun idea that isn't terribly optimized, don't be afraid to put fun ahead of numbers. It's a game, after all.

    Color Scheme
    • This is freaking amazing! It provides many options, or will do one thing extremely well.
    • This is really good, but not quite phenomenal.
    • This is good. It will regularly be useful, though it won't provide many tactical choices.
    • Bad. It will be extremely rare that it's useful at all.


    • Occasionally very useful, but limited in scope or applicability.


    With the exception of Red abilities, most abilities will find some use and can be a lot of fun. Even situational abilities can find excellent use depending on the game. They're just not going to be the workhorse on your list.

    Table of Contents:
    1. Corrupting Influences
    2. Know thy Soul
    3. Let’s Make a Deal
    4. The Demon of Men
    5. Mix-and-Match Witchcraft

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    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    Corrupting Influences

    Image by Grzegorz Rutkowski

    Ability Scores
    • Strength: Usually, this is a dump stat. If you want to wield a really big weapon, this is a great stat to boost. Glaives are common for cheeselocks.
    • Dexterity: Do you like AC? I like AC. Also great for finesse Blade Pacts.
    • Constitution: If you like hit points and passing concentration saves, then boy have I got an ability for you!
    • Intelligence: This can boost your Arcana. This can also get dumped.
    • Wisdom: A very good ability for skills and saves, but do wise people sell their souls?
    • Charisma: You know how you like using your magic powers? The ones you sold your soul for? This is for that.



    Class Features
    • Hit Dice: Less than you want, but better than some.
    • Armor Proficiency: It’s better than nothing. Not, like, a lot better. But better.
    • Weapon Proficiency: There are some pretty nice simple weapons, and it includes sickles for moody Emolocks.
    • Saving Throws: WIS is a super important save, and having proficiency here means you don’t have to worry about pumping your WIS, easing the MAD. CHA is pretty nice, too.
    • Skills: Intimidation and Deception can be incredibly helpful. Hell, Deception is basically a cantrip called “Alter Reality” when used well. Insight is pretty useful, and knowledge skills will certainly come in handy.
    • Tools: If you had spent your time learning how to use useful tools, you probably wouldn’t have had to sell your soul, now would you?
    • Pact Magic: If you’re a 3.P refugee, this feature might mess with you a bit, but 4e veterans should recognize this as At-Will and Encounter spell casting. You have awesome cantrips, and very limited spell slots that get more powerful as you level up and regenerate on both short and long rests. You won’t know as many spells as a full caster, but you’ll eventually be casting fifth level slots all night long.
    • Eldritch Invocations: Were you worried that your Warlock would lack flexibility? Well don’t you sweat it because Warlocks get a slew of extra abilities from no-slot spells to added damage and ritual casting.
    • Pact Boon: We’ll cover the boons in detail below. There’s just too much going on to be succinct.
    • Mystic Arcanum: Basically high level casting, except you’re stuck at the base level of the spell and you only get one less sixth and seventh level spell compared to the full casters.
    • Eldritch Master: Ignore the chief drawback of your Pact Magic once a day.


    Pact Boons
    • Pact of the Chain: Familiars are nice, and yours is the nicest by far. You get better options, and those options can attack. The Invocations aren’t bad, either.
    • Pact of the Blade: You get a magical weapon that can never be taken away from you, and you always get to be proficient with it. If you find a magic weapon, you can meditate on it and be proficient with it, too. At the cost of Invocations, you can be pretty freaking nasty in melee, but you will suffer from fairly weak defenses. At later levels, you can deal a whopping +14 damage per attack using Hex.
    • Pact of the Tome: Three extra cantrips are very nice. This provides access to Eldritch Blast, every SCAG cantrip, with room left over for Minor Illusion and Prestidigitation. More importantly it’s the only path to ritual casting for the Warlock outside of a feat.

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    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    Know Thy Soul

    Image Copyright WotC

    Anyone can sell their soul. They’re super common, so you’ll probably have to haggle if you want a good price for yours. Charisma is obviously the most valuable stat, followed by Constitution and Dexterity. Strength is important if you want a heavy melee weapon. Otherwise, keep your eyes open for spells that don’t cost slots and other features that complement

    Player's Handbook
    • Hill Dwarf: The basic Dwarf package is solid. Wis isn’t important, though.
    • Mountain Dwarf: The basic Dwarf package is solid, but the +2 to STR and CON, coupled with Medium Armor, can make quite the powerful Bladelock
    • High Elf: Dexterity is nice, as is the extra cantrip. However, Int is not terribly important. The Trance, Perception, and Fey Ancestry are extremely nice, though.
    • Wood Elf: About the same as a High Elf.
    • Drow: Stat boosts and bonus spells and perception, oh my! Grab Poison Spray or Frostbite to make up for your Sunlight Sensitivity.
    • Lightfoot Halfling: Halfling features are really nice, as is the perfect stat distribution.
    • Stout Halfling: Again, Halfling features are great, but this guy only has the secondary stat boosts.
    • Human: Plus one to every stat is pretty solid.
    • Variant Human: Everyone likes options, and this gives you the option of a feat.
    • Dragonborn: Pretty solid for a STR-based Bladelock.
    • Forest Gnome: Gnome Cunning is pretty sweet, and Dexterity is nice, as are the advantages on magic saves. Int is basically useless, though. It’s not a bad choice.
    • Rock Gnome: See above, but sub CON for DEX and add tinkering.
    • Half-Elf: Well, you get CHA. And any other two stats you want. And some skill proficiency. And darkvision. It’s… pretty damn sweet.
    • Half-Orc: It doesn’t offer much for a Warlock, although it does make a Str-based Bladelock that’s just a bit more survivable.
    • Tiefling: Boosting your primary casting stat is great, as are the extra spells and resistance. It’s pretty fantastic. SCAG options are perfectly fine, too, except for Feral.


    Dungeon Master's Guide
    • Aasimar: The spells aren't great, but you get resistances and Charisma.
    • Eladrin: Perfectly okay. Dexterity and teleportation are nice, but INT is unnecessary.


    Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
    • Duergar: A decent Bladelock… indoors. If you can frequently find advantage to cancel out that Sunlight Sensitivity, it's not bad.
    • Deep Gnome: Basically like a Rock Gnome.
    • Ghostwise Halfling: A bit of a slide down from Stout.


    Volo's Guide to Monsters
    • Aasimar: A +2 boost to your primary casting stat is nice. Boosting your primary casting stat on top of a healing ability, two resistances, and the daily ability to channel the divine power of heaven to smite your enemies is really freaking good.
    • Firbolg: Leave it for the Druids.
    • Goliath: You can build a Goliath Bladelock, and it won’t be completely terrible. The defensive feature is really helpful.
    • Kenku: Kenku don't really add anything that make Warlocks better at Warlocking, but they add a lot that will make a Warlock better at other things.
    • Lizardfolk: If you want to go with a STR-based Bladelock, this isn't terrible, though you're not getting much with the stat boosts.
    • Tabaxi: CHA, DEX, and decent mobility features. There's nothing about it that's particularly noteworthy, but all the features are consistently useful.
    • Triton: This is the perfect stat block for a Bladelock, with extra control spells and cold resistance to boot. I like it.


    Volo's Monstrous Races
    • Bugbear: Like a Goliath, it's okay for a Bladelock, but it's otherwise not very good at all.
    • Goblin: Both secondaries, extra damage every day, and a bonus action disengage. This is a surprisingly good pairing.
    • Hobgoblin: The only thing this offers is Saving Face and some CON, and that's just not enough.
    • Kobold: It's not terrible, especially if you have melee allies to constantly give you advantage.
    • Orc: It's just a really poor fit, on account of how nothing it offers does anything for you.
    • Yuan-Ti Pureblood: The magic resistance and Charisma both offer a lot, and the extra spells push it into the upper tiers.


    Elemental Evil
    • Aarakocra: There’s no Charisma boost, but the early flight isn’t bad.
    • Genasi: All the Genasi options provide a CON boost and some CON spells. This is generally a pretty good thing.

    Spoiler: Genasi Subtypes
    • Air Genasi: Both secondaries, plus Levitate. Not bad.
    • Earth Genasi: Okay if you really want to have a STR weapon, but it just doesn’t offer much.
    • Fire Genasi: It’s like a worse version of a Tiefling.
    • Water Genasi: The acid resistance is nice, but Dragonborn get that while still having +2 CHA.


    Plane Shift Zendikar
    Holy crap, it's a Magic/D&D crossover. A lot of the races in this supplement don't fit the races in traditional D&D settings that well, so be sure to talk to your DM before utilizing them.
    • Human: About what you'd expect.
    • Kor: Ghostwise Halfling drops psychic ribbon for a climb speed.
    • Merfolk: I have a little saying: "If it boosts your primary casting stat and gives you extra magic, it's sky-blue." All Merfolk are sky-blue.
    • Vampire: The Charisma boost is nice, but the other features are not terribly important for a Warlock.
    • Goblin: A boost to Constitution and two resistances is going to be nice for any class.
    • Elf: Tajura at least get the Charisma boost, but Juraga and Mul Daya just aren't Warlock material.


    Unearthed Arcana supplements have provided a few new options:

    Eberron
    • Changeling: CHA and DEX with some Skill action and a free Alter Self.
    • Shifters: Shifters tend to provide purely physical boosts. Some of these boosts can be helpful, and DEX is a secondary stat, but they tend to lag.

    Spoiler: Shifter Subtypes
    • Beasthide Shifter: Not terrible. You get a boost to both CON and DEX, at least.
    • Cliffwalk Shifter: No.
    • Longstride: No.
    • Longtooth Shifter: No.
    • Razorclaw Shifter: Not terrible if you’re a bladelock. Otherwise, No.
    • Wildhunt Shifter: No.

    • Warforged: You can build a pretty decent bladelock with this guy.


    Waterborne
    • Minotaur: I suppose you could make a Bladelock here, but it’s not the easiest path.

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    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    Let’s Make a Deal

    Image by Weston T Jones

    Your Otherworldly Patron will define quite a bit about your character. Patrons provide extra spells, defensive abilities, ribbons, and more! Plus, it will cue you in to how nervous you should be around the Paladin.

    Remember that unlike other expanded lists, the Warlock feature Expanded Spell List does not automatically give you the spell. Instead, they’re just added to the list of spells from which you can choose.

    Pact of the Archfey
    Swear fealty to the Queen of Air and Darkness. It worked out alright for Dresden. Kind of. This pact provides solid options for an illusionist controller, not to mention some solid defenses. It also provides a lot of no-ability spells and abilities that might appeal to a Bladelock.
    • Expanded Spell List: A solid spattering of support and control.
    • Fey Presence: A short rest control and charm spell that costs no slot? Well, that’s simply delightful, and a great compliment to your casting.
    • Misty Escape: A short rest Misty Step/Invisibility on a reaction? Also delightful!
    • Beguiling Defenses: Immunity to charms is lovely, though your DM might not target you with charms much after you get this, but it will occasionally be phenomenal.
    • Dark Delerium: A fairly powerful illusion on the short rest, one that could provide quite a lot of utility, not to mention battlefield control. It only targets one character, but it doesn’t use up a slot.

    Spoiler: Fey Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • Faerie Fire: Advantage is awesome, and this spell provides advantage. (Concentration)
    • Sleep: Starts out awesome! You can end encounters quickly and without saves! Five levels later it's much less awesome because it doesn't scale well.

    2nd Level spells
    • Calm Emotions: You can end a battle or recover from a debuff with the same spell! Very nice. (Concentration)
    • Phantasmal Force: You're only limited by your imagination, and you can create utility effects or cause damage and distract enemies. It's a great spell, but it doesn't scale at all, and you have very good reasons to like spells that scale. (Concentration)

    3rd Level spells
    • Blink: Random teleportation is fun, and it's useful when enemies have you surrounded. You essentially cannot be attacked when it succeeds. That said, a 50% chance of nothing happening is not exactly great when you have two slots to work with, and this uses the same slot as Misty Step.
    • Plant Growth: Battlefield control mixed with some utility.

    4th Level spells
    • Dominate Beast: The effect is really freaking awesome, but its pool of targets is tiny. That said, controlling the enemy knight's horse sounds like a lot of fun. (Concentration)
    • Greater Invisibility: Completely freaking awesome for any Warlock. (Concentration)

    5th Level spells
    • Dominate Person: It's limited to humanoids, but it's also awesome control. (Concentration)
    • Seeming: A mass disguise is pretty damn fun, and it's useful in a ton of circumstances.


    Pact of the Fiend
    When has selling your soul to Satan ever gone wrong? Not here, that’s for sure. If you want to be a blaster, this is easily the best pact to take from the original three. It's also great for Bladelocks who need to bump up their survivability.
    • Expanded Spell List: Blasty spells with a little control to boot. Very nice.
    • Dark One’s Blessing: Scaling temp HP that any blaster caster would love!
    • Dark One’s Own Luck: A d10 at the perfect moment is always helpful.
    • Fiendish Resilience: Pick a damage type. You resist that. It’s a solid ability, especially if you can anticipate a certain damage type popping up.
    • Hurl Through Hell: Literally hurl your enemy through hell. Unholy crap, this thing packs some crazy damage.

    Spoiler: Fiend Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • Burning Hands: Fire.
    • Command: Control.

    2nd Level spells
    • Blindness/Deafness: Control.
    • Scorching Ray: Fire!

    3rd Level spells
    • Fireball: FIRE!
    • Stinking Cloud: Control! (Concentration)

    4th Level spells
    • Fire Shield: Firey protection!
    • Wall of Fire: Firey control! (Concentration)

    5th Level spells
    • Flame Strike: Holy fire!
    • Hallow: Utility that has nothing to do with fire.


    Pact of the Great Old One
    As my mother always said, “The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them, they walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.” Silly mom. Always babbling incoherently as blood filled her eyes. The GOO-lock provides solid control, and a ton of lovely ribbons. It's also worth noting that it is possibly less useful for those looking to take the Pact of the Blade, due to its focus on save spells.
    • Expanded Spell List: This spell list provides fantastic control, including some of my very favorite spells. Note my bias here, but this is awesome.
    • Awakened Mind: A ribbon ability that can occasionally help you out of a tough situation. Still, it’s quite situational.
    • Entropic Ward: A solid defense that can become a solid offense.
    • Thought Shield: Psychic damage isn’t a very common type, but it’s still nice. The other feature is extremely situational.
    • Create Thrall: It’s situational, but extremely potent. If you gain access to a sleeping king, be prepared to reap rewards.

    Spoiler: Great Old One Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • Dissonant Whispers: Control with some rarely-resisted damage. Awesome.
    • Tasha's Hideous Laughter: I'm probably biased in favor of this spell, but I think it's completely awesome in combat, and there's some very fun utility to boot. (Concentration)

    2nd Level spells
    • Detect Thoughts: Awesome utility right here, though it won't always be terribly useful. (Concentration)
    • Phantasmal Force: A great illusion that can provide ongoing damage, and it takes an action to end it. Still, it doesn't scale at all. (Concentration)

    3rd Level spells
    • Clairvoyance: It provides decent spying utility. (Concentration)
    • Sending: This spell is Advanced Carrier Pigeon. It's not bad.

    4th Level spells
    • Dominate Beast: Great effect! Tiny pool of targets. (Concentration)
    • Evard's Black Tentacles: A restraining AoE that deals damage and takes an action to get out of. Very nice. (Concentration)

    5th Level spells
    • Dominate Person: You'll be dealing with a lot of humanoids, and this can help you accomplish many things. (Concentration)
    • Telekinesis: Provides some decent utility and excellent battlefield control. Unfortunately, it allows a lot of saves. (Concentration)


    Pact of the Undying
    Does selling your soul to a lich sound fun? I suppose it would to some. This pact provides survivability, the ability to keep kicking when others might not, and plenty of survivability. From SCAG.
    • Expanded Spell List: If you believe in the strength of the basic Warlock spell list, then boy is this the pact for you! It has okay debuffs, okay buffs, and plenty of ways to almost heal your allies. It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t call it powerful.
    • Among the Dead: Spare the Dying isn’t bad, but the undead business is as situational as it gets. If you know you’re going to be facing a lot of undead, this is a great. If your campaign isn’t focusing on the undead, then it might help out once or twice.
    • Defy Death: This is just a solid way to avoid dying, and it makes Spare the Dying a more attractive cantrip. Only once per long rest, though.
    • Undying Nature: It’s a ribbon. It will occasionally be quite useful, and otherwise it will quite not useful.
    • Indestructible Life: A bonus action heal of HP (depending on your level) every short rest. It’s a damn fine ability.

    Spoiler: Undying Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • False Life: You can cast this with an Invocation. Sure, with a higher slot it's better, but it's not that much better.
    • Ray of Sickness: The damage isn't bad, and it has a minor rider.

    2nd Level spells
    • Blindness/Deafness: Solid utility for different circumstances.
    • Silence: Decent utility, combined with anti-magic. (Concentration)

    3rd Level spells
    • Feign Death: You might use this once.
    • Speak with Dead: Occasionally annoy an underprepared DM, or help a prepared DM tell the story.

    4th Level spells
    • Aura of Life: Waking the unconscious is nice, but most of the buffs are only for fighting undead. (Concentration)
    • Death Ward: A bit better than the Orc feature.

    5th Level spells
    • Contagion: A solid grouping of debuffs with vaguely written conditions for going off. The book seems to say immediately, but the developers think it's obviously only after the saves are failed.
    • Legend Lore: Give your DM some time to drop expositive rhymes.


    Pact of the Celestial
    For those of you that want to pretend to be Jesus or feel uncomfortable being edgy. It includes a ton of options for both damage and control, and your buddies will only probably make fun of you for picking a lame archetype.
    • Expanded Spell List: There's a good mix of healing, damage, and control in this list. Definitely worth looking at.
    • Bonus Cantrips: It's perfectly inoffensive. Barely even a feature, really. Sacred Flame and Light are both just not interesting.
    • Holy Light: This is a pretty sweet healing ability. It's completely added on, and it makes a party's life easier.
    • Radiant Soul: Resist a rarely encountered damage type, and deal extra damage once or twice a turn! It's not terribly exciting
    • Celestial Resilience: Woo! Temp HP! Temp HP for everyone!
    • Searing Vengeance: This is one of those amazing abilities that works really well. I like that it brings you back from unconsciousness, deals damage, and blinds everyone you hate. That's a really good bit.

    Spoiler: Celestial Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • Cure Wounds: You know, it's a workhorse, this guy. Of course, you don't have a ton of spell slots, but they do regenerate.
    • Guiding Bolt: I don't know what Yorrin thinks of it, but I've never been sad to see this in action.

    2nd Level spells
    • Flaming Sphere: A little control and a little damage. The ability to ram it as a bonus action saves it from being terrible.
    • Lesser Restoration: It's situational, but I would say that its breadth of usefulness moves it from purple to black.

    3rd Level spells
    • Daylight: It's one of those spells you realize your party member has, and you think, "Why?" Then he says he'll kill vampires with it, and you just stare blankly while Lagwagon plays in your head. Why is Lagwagon in your head? You haven't listened to Lagwagon since You should listen to Lagwagon more. They hold up. Anyways, this spell is lame, and it doesn't kill vampires.
    • Revivify: You will rarely need it, but when you do, boy do you you need it.

    4th Level spells
    • Guardian of Faith: A little bit of control, and a guaranteed amount of damage.
    • Wall of Fire: It's a bit of control and a good bit of damage, which is all you can ask at this level.

    5th Level spells
    • Flame Strike: The mix of fire and radiant damage, combined with the huge AoE, makes it delightful.
    • Greater Restoration: It heals some very nasty effects. I would say that every party should have it on someone.


    Pact of the Hexblade
    There is finally a patron designed to beef up a melee Warlock, and it's super goth. Attacking enemies using your Charisma as the attack stat is an simple, but effective way to help a Warlock in melee.
    • Expanded Spell List: This is a pretty solid list. It doesn't start out great, but it gets better and better as you level up.
    • Hexblade's Curse: You deal more damage against the target, and you're rewarded for killing it! It's a Pavlovian feature
    • Hex Warrior: This is what we call a "core feature" that provides the foundation for a build. Charisma-based attacks and medium armor makes a pretty solid melee Warlock.
    • Accursed Specter: This is a difficult one because this feature, while creepy as hell, has nothing to do with anything your character is supposed to do. Also, while it starts out reasonably powerful, I can't imagine it being terribly useful at later levels. This is just bonkers. Why is this suddenly a summoning class? It hasn't had anything to do with summoning until now! Why is this a thing? Why not just give it some mobility or a bonus action to play with? What is happening!? Am I going crazy!? What is this!?
    • Armor of Hexes: They're really leaning into this naming convention. Anyways, a fifty/fifty shot to turn a hit on you into a miss is nice.
    • Master of Hexes: Okay, the names are getting a little silly now. Anyways, this is fine. It feels like something that should have been part of the original feature, but whatever. Why are you summoning specters!?

    Spoiler: Hexblade Pact Expanded List
    1st Level spells
    • Shield: It's a great way to avoid a nasty hit. Of course, it doesn't scale, and you have a limited number of slots per short rest.
    • Wrathful Smite: As TrueAzrael points out, the enemy has to use an action to get out of the frightened condition, which is nice. That said, it doesn't scale at all. (Concentration)

    2nd Level spells
    • Blur: It's a nice buff, but you can impose disadvantage while getting more benefits. (Concentration)
    • Branding Smite: I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it's silly to make a spell that reveals invisible creatures dependent on hitting the creature. It's not terrible, but it might not be worth the slot. (Concentration)

    3rd Level spells
    • Blink: This is a crazy spell. Its benefits are only hampered by its randomness, which can be a major limiter for someone with so few slots. However, your strong defenses mitigate the risk.
    • Elemental Weapon: It boosts both attack and damage, and you can tailor it to your enemy's weaknesses. (Concentration)

    4th Level spells
    • Phantasmal Killer: It deals okay damage and frightens a single target. That's pretty good, and it's a solid way to disable a nasty bruiser. (Concentration)
    • Staggering Smite: It deals solid damage and slaps solid debuffs on top. I guess that sounds okay. (Concentration)

    5th Level spells
    • Banishing Smite: You deal solid damage, and you can banish the target as per Banishment. I cannot think of a reason for a Hexblade not to want this. (Concentration)
    • Cone of Cold: One of the most damaging and largest AoE spells in the game. I can see why you might want it. Hell, it nearly caused a TPK for my group.

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    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    The Demon of Men

    Image by Daarken

    Most casters just have one casting feature, but Warlocks have three. Aren't you special. Pact Magic slots regenerate every short rest, Mystic Arcanum spells are once per long rest, and Invocations do their own thing. Let’s dive into it.

    EE=Elemental Evil
    SCAG=Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

    Pact Magic
    • Blade Ward: You know what works just as well and doesn't cost one of your cantrip slots? A defensive action. The only time this is useful is when you have Armor of Agathys up and want to get hit without taking damage.
    • Booming Blade (SCAG): A solid Bladelock ability that provides extra damage and a bit of control. The damage isn't quite as good as two attacks with the Charisma damage bonus unless the secondary goes off.
    • Chill Touch: Good damage with two solid riders for different situations. Plus, every Warlock likes upping the creepy factor.
    • Create Bonfire (EE/XGtE): The only fire cantrip available without feats or multiclassing. It's a very, very tiny AoE, but it's a pretty decent one, and you can use it to block chokepoints.
    • Eldritch Blast: A really solid damaging cantrip that you can customize to your liking with invocations. It's as close to gold as anything can get.
    • Friends: It's a good way to make friends, and then quickly make enemies. It's a widely applicable utility cantrip for social situations. Completely abusable if you have Mask of Many Faces.
    • Frostbite (EE/XGtE): Deal some damage on a save with a decent rider.
    • Green-Flame Blade (SCAG): Again, the secondary damage makes it about equal with your normal Bladelock damage, if a bit more spread out.
    • Infestation (XGtE): Gross. Also, not terribly effective. I guess it can work well with AoE spells like Spike Growth and Wall of X. So, black if your party is god at working together? I guess that's kind of hopeful of me. If you can't work well together, it's definitely not black.
    • Lightning Lure (SCAG): It's nice if you prefer to be in melee, but less nice otherwise.
    • Mage Hand: Situational, but useful.
    • Magic Stone (EE/XGtE): It's really nice to be able to prepare a ranged attack for your melee allies when necessary.
    • Minor Illusion: It's situational, but it's useful for so many situations.
    • Poison Spray: Poor range and great damage, but it's off of a save. Call me prejudiced, but I don't really like save cantrips that much.
    • Prestidigitation: It might not be useful, but it's fun.
    • Sword Burst (SCAG): A small burst with a small amount of damage. It could be useful.
    • Thunderclap (EE/XGtE): A small burst that's a lot like Sword Burst, but loud.
    • Toll the Dead (XGtE): Usually less effective than Eldritch Blast if you have any invocations to beef it up, but it's a solid way to twist the knife, and WIS saves are a fun target.
    • True Strike: Mathematically worse than simply attacking twice.



    • Armor of Agathys: A solid defensive ability for non-fiendlocks.
    • Arms of Hadar: It's Shocking Grasp on steroids. Creepy, tentacled steroids. Great for escaping melee while still dealing damage.
    • Cause Fear (XGtE): Frightened is a great condition to inflict on people. Also, I love that the text says you "awaken the sense of mortality" in the target. It's like you turned on some Kansas in they're brain. (Concentration)
    • Charm Person: Charm spells are great, though the target learning about the spell when the effects wear off is not exactly ideal.
    • Comprehend Languages: This is occasionally an extremely useful spell.
    • Expeditious Retreat: Mobility can occasionally make a big difference, and this is certainly mobile. (Concentration)
    • Hellish Rebuke: Solid damage as a reaction. I like it better as the Tiefling's racial spell, but it's still quite good.
    • Hex: A decent damage boost to your normal attacks and cantrips, mixed with a nice little debuff. (Concentration)
    • Illusory Script: Situational spell is situational.
    • Protection from Evil and Good: A solid buff when you know you're going to be facing certain creature types. (Concentration)
    • Unseen Servant: A solid situational spell that Tomelocks can ritual cast.
    • Witch Bolt: There are some builds that might make use of this, but not many. On the bright side, you can extend the longevity of a spell slot with this. (Concentration)



    • Cloud of Daggers: The damage isn't that bad, and with Repelling Blast you can keep pushing the baddies back into the daggers, and if you push something into the cloud it takes the damage twice. Plus, you can still block passages with it. (Concentration)
    • Crown of Madness: The order of operations renders this spell completely useless. (Concentration)
    • Darkness: It's amazing if you have Devil's Sight, but it's still great otherwise. (Concentration)
    • Earthbind (EE/XGtE): Grounding airborne enemies can be a lot of use to your allies. (Concentration)
    • Enthrall: Distract people for your stealthy allies. It's not terrible utility.
    • Hold Person: Paralyzing is a sweet effect. (Concentration)
    • Invisibility: It's a solid buff for stealth and combat alike. (Concentration)
    • Mind Spike (XGtE): The damage is okay, but not great. The rider is also okay, but not great. Seeing the invisible is nice, but you'd have to see the creature to target it to begin with, which isn't great. (Concentration)
    • Mirror Image: An excellent defensive buff that doesn't require concentration to maintain.
    • Misty Step: A simple bonus action teleport to slide out of a rough situation. You're using one of only two slots for a good deal of your existence, though.
    • Ray of Enfeeblement: Casting Darkness gets disadvantage more reliably. (Concentration)
    • Shadow Blade (XGtE): The sword has some cheese potential, but as Contramundi pointed out, it does not work with the sword-based invocations. (Concentration)
    • Shatter: Okay AoE damage with solid okay bonus against inorganic creatures and objects.
    • Spider Climb: Solid mobility. (Concentration)
    • Suggestion: One of the more powerful charms. There's very little you can't convince someone to do with this spell. Again, weigh out the likelyhood that you will need that slot for another reason. (Concentration)



    • Counterspell: This is how you ruin your DM's plans on a moment-to-moment basis.
    • Dispel Magic: Ending any effect that's causing you consternation is definitely a good thing.
    • Enemies Abound (XGtE): Let's see, it's flavorful, it turns an enemy against its allies, and it cues off of the weakest save for most big bruisers. This spell is my favorite thing. My very favorite thing. Others will point out that Hypnotic Pattern and Fear disrupt multiple enemies, and this should be blue. They forget that watching a troll smash its wizard boss is hilarious.
    • Fear: Completely change the makeup of a battlefield. (Concentration)
    • Fly: It's a fantastic way to address numerous situations, such as how can I be higher? How can I be faster? How can I stay out of that big guy's reach? How can I not fall into acid? (Concentration)
    • Gaseous Form: A decent spell that can come in handy in getting you out of many situations. (Concentration)
    • Hunger of Hadar: Darkness gets a bit of damage. It's a great spell, but it doesn't scale at all. Which is weird, because it's a Warlock-only spell, and all Pact Magic slots scale up as you level, so it should definitely scale.
    • Hypnotic Pattern: A great way to take several enemies out of combat without much fuss. (Concentration)
    • Magic Circle: It's a really good spell against certain types of creatures. It does nothing against others.
    • Major Image: Create a giant illusion - or an illusion of a giant. It's a pretty intense upgrade to the previous illusions, and it's only limited by what you can imagine. (Concentration)
    • Remove Curse: Usually, I would let the Cleric prepare this the day after someone gets cursed. In the absence of this option, it's a pretty good spell.
    • Summon Lesser Demons (XGtE): This is what we call a Good Idea™. Note: this is a terrible idea. The worst part about it is the way the creatures you summon could attack you and not your enemies. Great for DMs, though.
    • Thunder Step (XGtE): It's a pretty good, "Eff this, I'm outie," spell. It's not very friendly to your companions, but eff them, you're outie.
    • Tongues: It can bypass quite a few options, but it's better for ritual casters.
    • Vampiric Touch: The damage is relatively small, but healing yourself while you damage an enemy is pretty damn nice.



    • Banishment: You know the nastiest character in the battle? Take him out of the battle for ten rounds. (Concentration)
    • Blight: It only stays slightly ahead of Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast unless you're targeting plants, though if you're facing a Treant it's ungodly, which is probably right up your unholy alley. Also, that is now my favorite euphemism for Warlocks.
    • Charm Monster (XGtE): I really like this spell, in theory. It makes it easier to talk giants and dragons out of murdering you. On the other hand, dragons have solid WIS saves, and Suggestion works just as well. On the other other hand, a Warlock uses the same slot to cast either this or Suggestion. In conclusion, sure?
    • Dimension Door: The best mid-distance teleport you can take, but once again it's a big cost.
    • Elemental Bane (EE/XGtE): It's phenomenal if you took the Fiend Pact and have Scorching Ray, but otherwise it depends a bit on your allies' abilities. (Concentration)
    • Hallucinatory Terrain: You're really limited by little other than your imagination, and it's fantastic. Plus, no concentration!
    • Shadow of Moil (XGtE): You're basically invisible thanks to shadows that attack anything that attack you. Also, you resist radiant for some reason. It's an excellent spell for a Warlock that likes to get into the thick of it. (Concentration)
    • Sickening Radiance (XGtE): A large area of continuous radiant damage is great, but showing invisible foes and inflicting Exhaustion makes it amazing. (Concentration)
    • Summon Greater Demon (XGtE): What a Great Idea™! This one starts out better and has potentially worse consequences. I cannot recommend it in good conscience, although I heartily recommend it in bad conscience.



    • Contact Other Plane: This is definitely on the list of spells I would leave to someone else. You can contact the creature with whom you sealed your pact! Or you take 21 points of damage and go insane for a while. I suppose a Tomelock who's really clingy with the devil with whom he sealed a pact.
    • Danse Macabre (XGtE): A somewhat situational, but quite potent summon spell that will make your inner goth squee with delight. Basically, be a necromancer from Warcraft III. For the kids, Warcraft III is the basis for Blizzard's cash machine. (Concentration)
    • Dream: This is about as situational as spells get, and it's also about as awesome as spells get.
    • Enervation (XGtE): THis is a damn Warlocky spell, what with you slowly squeezing the life out of your enemy. It's basically Witch Bolt: But Good this Time. (Concentration)
    • Far Step (XGtE): Teleport a bunch as bonus actions. I mean, yeah. That's pretty great. I don't know of anyone who would be angry about having complete battlefield maneuverability. (Concentration)
    • Hold Monster: Paralyze anything you want! Then stab it! Hurray!
    • Infernal Calling (XGtE): From the makers of Good Idea™ and Great Idea™, take a look at Best Idea™! It's like the other two, but the creature is more powerful, it's not necessarily compelled to do anything, and it will almost certainly try to undermine your goals with its cruel intellect. Hurray! (Concentration)
    • Negative Energy Flood (XGtE): Kill living, heal undead. It's a Necromancer's dream! And everyone else's nightmare. Honestly, the damage isn't worth it if you're not out to heal undead.
    • Scrying: It's a very nice spying spell. It's probably worth dropping Clairvoyance and taking this when you can.
    • Synaptic Static (XGtE): A mass debuff is always nice, and this one stacks with disadvantage. And it might be the only mass debuff that doesn't use concentration.
    • Wall of Light (XGtE): The damage is whatever, but the conditions it inflicts are awesome! Combined, I like it. (Concentration)



    Eldritch Invocations

    Spoiler: Eldritch Invocations
    • Agonizing Blast: Eldritch Blast hits harder, and since it's on a hit, it can be up to +20 damage in a single turn.
    • Armor of Shadows: Potentially your best source of AC.
    • Ascendant Step: At-will Levitate, with no spell slot cost. You'll find that this is the first in a wonderful pattern.
    • Aspect of the Moon (XGtE): You might use it sometimes? I mean, some people think you can cheese the hell out of this forever, but your mileage may vary. Pact of the Tome only
    • Beast Speech: A very situational spell at with no slot cost.
    • Beguiling Influence: Personally, I love both of these skills, but they're competing against a lot of options here.
    • Bewitching Whispers: Well, you can use one of your limited invocations to occasionally cast a spell that is so-so if everything goes well. And it still takes a slot. I would strongly recommend against this.
    • Book of Ancient Secrets: Ritual casting! You can cast so many spells without losing a precious slot! This is awesome! Pact of the Tome only.
    • Chains of Carceri: Hold Monster with no cost? Awesome! Only three types of creatures? Less awesome. Pact of the Chain only.
    • Cloak of Flies (XGtE): Warlocks are gross, man. Obviously, bonus damage and ntimidation advantage is fun, but gross.
    • Devil's Sight: You don't just see through darkness, you see through Darkness. It can be extremely useful if you're willing to spend a slot on Darkness, it provides you with advantage and everyone else with disadvantage against you.
    • Dreadful Word: Cast Confusion with a Warlock spell slot. I'm not sure about this. Do you want to be able to cast a low-level spell at no cost, or do you want to be able to cast a high-level spell at normal cost? Personally, I prefer the former, especially when the spell isn't terribly consistent.
    • Eldritch Sight: At-will Detect Magic sounds great to me.
    • Eldritch Smite (XGtE): Warlocks love that word, don't they? Everything has to be eldritch. They probably have eldritch chairs that they sit on while watching eldritch television on eldritch computers because eldritch TVs are outdated. Eldritchly. Anyways, it's pretty sweet. Your slots regenerate on a short rest, and it beefs up a blade-pact warlock's melee. Pact of the Blade only
    • Eldritch Spear: I find that range is frequently a minor issue, but this certainly does give you some exceptional range.
    • Eyes of the Runekeeper: Situational utility is always nice.
    • Fiendish Vigor: Start every combat with a handful of temp HP.
    • Gaze of Two Minds: It provides decent utility for information gathering and keeping in touch with your scout. It would be nicer if it wasn't only willing creatures.
    • Ghostly Gaze (XGtE): X-ray vision! Sweet! Also situational. But sweet!
    • Gift of the Depths (XGtE): I don't know why Water Breathing needs more restrictions than Detect Magic. That's all I have to say about it.
    • Gift of the Ever-Living Ones (XGtE): Maximizing hit dice on a short rest isn't that bad. It improves your ability to be healed in general, but it does nothing for you if you're trying to heal others. Pact of the Chain only
    • Grasp of Hadar (XGtE): With Repelling Blast, it's some solid control.
    • Improved Pact Weapon (XGtE): I mean, it does exactly what it says on the label. Ranged options, +1 to attacks and damage, and a weapon-focus. Not bad at all. Pact of the Blade only
    • Lance of Lethargy (XGtE): In case you don't want to take Ray of Frost. Or want to knock something back and reduce its speed.
    • Lifedrinker: I would say that this is the Blademaster's favorite Invocation by far. Dealing extra damage is exactly the effect you want on your weapons. Blade Pact only.
    • Maddening Hex (XGtE): Oh. So, you can just cause damage. No attack. No save. Just, bang. Damage. Huh. That's cool.
    • Mask of Many Faces: Free Disguise Self. Very nice.
    • Master of Myriad Forms: Upgrade your Mask of Many Faces with free Alter Self. Might as well take it when you can.
    • Minions of Chaos: Cast Conjure Elementals with a Warlock spell slot. It's a very good spell, but is it worth taking up an invocation? Yes. yes, it is.
    • Mire the Mind: Cast Slow once a day, using a slot. It's a solid spell, but it might not be worth the Invocation.
    • Misty Visions: At-will Silent Image is pretty damn fun. It's excellent utility.
    • One with Shadows: Be invisible when it's dark. You can't move, but it's still quite useful when scouting.
    • Otherworldly Leap: Cast Jump for free. It's such a disappointing spell thanks to the Sage Advice ruling that your movement limits the distance you can jump. Not bad for cities, though.
    • Relentless Hex (XGtE): It's a pretty sweet teleport for a melee Warlock. I mean, you had Eldritch Blast already, but it's still nice.
    • Repelling Blast: Add some control to your most damaging cantrip! Hells yes.
    • Sculptor of Flesh: Polymorph is pretty damn decent. It's worth the Invocation for sure.
    • Shroud of Shadow (XGtE): So, Invisibility is pretty sweet. It's pretty late to get it, but so what? It's still sweet.
    • Sign of Ill Omen: Bestow Curse is a pretty damned useful spell on which to spend an Invocation.
    • Thief of Five Fates: It's a bit ridiculous that a First Level spell is a once/day invocation that still uses a slot. That said, it does scale, and it's a decent debuff.
    • Thirsting Blade: You should probably take either this, or one of the Blade cantrips at some point. Pact of the Blade only.
    • Tomb of Levistus (XGtE): I love it, if for nothing else than because there are going to be a lot of Barbarians chopping their Warlocks out of the ice. Anyways, temp HP is nice.
    • Trickster's Escape (XGtE): It's occasionally quite useful, and frequently not useful.
    • Visions of Distant Realms: It's a decent spying spell you can cast at-will, and a long range scout as well.
    • Voice of the Chain Master: Potentially extremely powerful scouting and spying. Pact of the Chain only.
    • Whisperer of the Grave: At-will Speak with Dead can occasionally be quite useful, and it's creepy as hell if that's your thing.
    • Witch Sight: Basically permanent True Sight against creatures. It's a fine way to ruin your DM's carefully crafted story, plus it helps deal with invisible enemies.



    Mystic Arcanum
    Remember, you only get one per level.

    • Arcane Gate: Are you thinking with portals? Because you're going to be asked this every time you use this spell. (Concentration)
    • Circle of Death: It's the same damage Fireball dealt at level three, and it's less damage than Fireball deals when you get access to this spell. That said, it's a nice wide radius.
    • Conjure Fey: Summon a high-CR fey creature. It's not terrible by a long shot. (Concentration)
    • Create Undead: Three ghouls can be useful, but they can easily turn on you depending on how fastidious you are about recasting the spell.
    • Eyebite: Three solid debuffs for one little spell, and since you only have one choice per level that's pretty damn sweet. (Concentration)
    • Flesh to Stone: One failure and it's restrained for at least three turns. Four failures and it's a statue. It's not a terrible effect by a long shot. (Concentration)
    • Investiture of Flame (EE/XGtE): It's a wonderful spell for Mystic Arcanum because you get multiple benefits and can continuously make spell attacks. Plus, your enemies will think twice about getting close to you. (Concentration)
    • Investiture of Ice (EE/XGtE): As above, but with ice and movement reduction instead of fire and fire. (Concentration)
    • Investiture of Stone (EE/XGtE): It's mostly for people who want to wade into melee and stab things without taking damage. This could easily include you. If you're not melee, stay away. (Concentration)
    • Investiture of Wind (EE/XGtE): You remember Fly, up in Pact Magic? Well, this is Fly's big brother, Fly Around and Kill Everyone. Again, the multiple benefits make for a solid pick for your only sixth level spell. (Concentration)
    • Mass Suggestion: If you're going to use a charm spell, it might as well be one you can use to turn a whole crowd against an annoying noble, or finish an entire encounter.
    • Mental Prison (XGtE): Horrific damage and some light control is pretty damn nice. (Concentration)
    • Scatter (XGtE): I mean, completely reshuffling the battlefield is pretty dang nice. It's a bit situational for my taste, as an Arcanum pick.
    • Soul Cage (XGtE): Well, this is creepy. I mean, you do you, but dang. Creepy. And not terribly potent. The advantage is nice, though. Not a bad spell, but not terrible.
    • True Seeing: Super situational, especially for an Arcanum pick.



    • Crown of Stars (XGtE): I mean, if you want to deal 4d12 damage on a bonus action, I guess you might want to take it.
    • Etherealness: It's a solid mobility spell provided that you're willing to dedicate your hours purely to exploration.
    • Finger of Death: 60 damage and a zombie sounds great to me!
    • Forcecage: A fantastic way to lock down one or more characters.
    • Plane Shift: I mean, if you want to go to another plane, this is the spell to take. If you don't want to go to another plane, I advise against taking this.
    • Power Word Pain (XGtE): Basically, it's Inflict Arthritis, and it's quite debilitating.



    • Demiplane: This is a spell for people who had a treehouse when they were little and want one now.
    • Dominate Monster: You know what's better than paralyzing a monster? Using that monster to kill other monsters. (Concentration)
    • Feeblemind: This is a disturbing debuff. Like, super disturbing. It might be less moral than making a pact with a demon in the first place.
    • Glibness: Pass every conversational check you want. More importantly, pass every counterspell and dispel magic you want.
    • Maddening Darkness (XGtE): Super darkness in a huge area with 8d8 damage is cool. More importantly, it's super thematic for all the creepy weirdos that love playing warlocks. Like us! (Concentration)
    • Power Word Stun: It's a great way to drop something big while you deal with something small.



    • Astral Projection: Some campaigns will absolutely need this spell at some point, and most campaigns won't.
    • Foresight: Touch something and make it a demigod for eight hours. Impressive is an understatement.
    • Imprisonment: This is the spell you use to imprison the unspeakable abomination who gives you power while you continue to siphon power off of it.
    • Power Word Kill: If you're level 17, something with less than HP probably won't survive the round, but this will still work.
    • Psychic Scream (XGtE): It's less damaging than Meteor Swarm, but also less prone to friendly fire. Oh, and you stun everything that fails the DC. And it's an INT save, so it's rarely high. Daaaaaaaaang.
    • True Polymorph: Turn into anything you want. Because magic. (Concentration)


  6. ,  PM(ISO ) - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
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    United States
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    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Selling your Soul at a Premium
    Mix and Match Witchcraft

    Image by Paul Bielaczyc

    Spoiler: Multiclassing
    • Barbarian : You know how you’re a caster, but Barbarian rages prevent you from casting? That’s a problem.
    • Bard: You know what’s great? Bards. They have full casting and expertise, and they share your casting ability!
    • Cleric: It’s unlikely that someone who sells their soul for power has enough Wisdom to be a Cleric, but if you do then there are enough ancillary benefits for some domains to make it worth it.
    • Druid: I wouldn’t ever combine these two.
    • Fighter: Bladelocking is easier when you mix in som Fightering.
    • Monk: I like Monks. Monks don’t go well with Warlocks. Grabbing monk weapons for one level might be worth it.
    • Paladin: Smite with a short rest resource!
    • Ranger: Super MAD, but it has a fighting style and the third level Hunter feature. Only good for a small dip, and only if you've rolled massive stats.
    • Rogue: As always, Sneak Attack and Expertise are awesome, and every caster wants to Disengage on a bonus action.
    • Sorcerer: Bard is for utility spells, but Sorcerer is for metamagic. Sweet, sweet metamagic. It also has some solid spells from which to choose, with minimal bookkeeping, not to mention Draconic AC to free up an Invocation.
    • Wizard: Don't cast spells with your dump stat.



    • Alert: If you have something against going first, this is terrible.
    • Athlete: This is a perfectly okay feat with perfectly okay benefits.
    • Actor: Turn lying into an art.
    • Charger: I don’t care if you have a magic glaive, just use a spell if the bad guy is far away.
    • Crossbow Expert: If you want your ranged spell attacks to be useful in melee, you can take this. You can also take Spell Sniper and grab Shocking Grasp. Both are reasonable, though Spell Sniper provides multiple benefits compared to the one you get from this.
    • Defensive Duelist: Bladelocks could easily make use of this.
    • Dual Wielder: Nope. You only get one pact weapon.
    • Dungeon Delver: If the party doesn’t have a Rogue, and your DEX is decent, you might get use out of this.
    • Durable: It’s okay. Good for when you have a DM like me, who keeps you needing healing.
    • Elemental Adept: Yeah, that’s a pretty solid feat, especially for the Fiend Pact.
    • Grappler: I would say no. In fact, I do say no. No.
    • Great Weapon Master: I would advise a Bladelock to use a finesse weapon, but if you want to go STR then this is okay. Of course, it works fine for Hexblades.
    • Healer: Not a bad little feat if your WIS doesn’t suck.
    • Heavily Armored: It costs two feats, but it’s handy if your DEX is terrible.
    • Heavy Armor Master: Hexblades can combo this with Armor of Agathys, but no one else should put 3 ASIs into getting this.
    • Inspiring Leader: You are charismatic.
    • Keen Mind: Situational, but you can abuse it, and it’s only one ability point.
    • Lightly Armored: You already have the benefit.
    • Linguist: Less important for GOOlocks, but knowing a language can save your ass.
    • Lucky: Always worth it.
    • Mage Slayer: A Bladelock might use this, but it’s a better idea to improve your primary capabilities.
    • Magic Initiate: Not a terrible way to spend an ASI. Any Warlock can benefit from an extra spell every day.
    • Martial Adept: There is not a good reason to take this as a Warlock.
    • Medium Armor Master: A Hexblade or dwarf could get use out of it. Otherwise, I would stay away from it.
    • Mobile: It’s a good feat for keeping yourself from getting mired in combat.
    • Moderately Armored: It’s a solid way to boost your AC, especially if you want to go STR.
    • Mounted Combatant: If you’re frequently mounted, sure.
    • Observant: Yeah, this is a solid utility feat.
    • Polearm Master: STR Bladelocks and Hexblades can use this. Other Warlocks stay away.
    • Resilient: There are several reasons to take this feat. Mostly, however, it’s the Constitution save.
    • Ritual Caster: If you don’t go Tome, this is a solid way to get Ritual Casting.
    • Savage Attacker: This is not a terrible feat for Bladelocks. Rerolling one attack isn’t bad, and you can pick which result you want. Other Warlocks stay away.
    • Sentinel: Bladelocks might have fun with this. Other Warlocks stay away.
    • Sharpshooter: You don’t want this. You want Spell Sniper.
    • Shield Master: Not for you.
    • Skilled: If you want skills, this is a good feat for you.
    • Skulker: This has some benefits that might possibly be useful, but you can replicate them with Invocations.
    • Spell Sniper: Solid blasting abilities are always welcome for a Warlock.
    • Tavern Brawler: This is unlikely to ever be useful for any Warlock. Some have discussed using it to weaponize your ability to summon a pact weapon, but if your DM allows this then you should really be pushing for more ridiculous things in your game than this.
    • Tough: Hit points are good.
    • War Caster: Possibly necessary for Bladelocks, but still useful for everyone else.
    • Weapon Master: If you want to fight with weapons, just go with the Pact of the Blade and have proficiency with whatever you want.


    Spoiler: Racial Feats from Xanathar's Guide to Everything
    • Bountiful Luck: Giving someone a free reroll on a critical failure without using any resources is unreasonably awesome.
    • Dragon Fear: If you're at all familiar with me, you'll know I like frightening enemies.
    • Dragon Hide: Getting a boost to your AC for half a feat is good all by itself.
    • Drow High Magic: I will never turn down extra spells. Never. Do you hear me!? Never!
    • Dwarven Fortitude: This is a pretty solid boost to your resilience.
    • Elven Accuracy: This is goooooood. Really good. Like, really, really good. Dang. It's so good. Why is it so good? It should be less good.
    • Fade Away: Turning invisible as a reaction with no spell slot is damn nice.
    • Fey Teleportation: A half-feat that provides a situational ability with a great slotless teleportation spell. Yay!
    • Flames of Phlegethos: I'm a bit torn on Phlegm Fire. The protection is minor. Really minor. But rerolling 1s is pretty nice. It's not bad for half a feat, so if you want to boost your CHA by 1 you might as well.
    • Infernal Constitution: Resisting three kinds of damage and getting advantage on poison saves is nice. Also getting a point in CON is great.
    • Orcish Fury: I wonder if Fjord will take this? It's okay. Not particularly good for most Warlocks, but worth the half feat for a Bladelock.
    • Prodigy: Four situational abilities make a blue. That's just science.
    • Second Chance: I like mulligans, especially when you're forcing them on others. At the very least, you can negate 20s.
    • Squat Nimbleness: This is basically an "I don't want to be grappled," feat, which is fine. Being grappled can be debilitating, so it might be worth it.
    • Wood Elf Magic: If you happen to be a Wood Elf Warlock who really wants Pass Without Trace, then fine. I don't know why you have opted to follow this singular path, but this is the way to go.


    Feel free to comment, criticize, and ridicule to your heart's delight.

  7. ,  PM(ISO ) - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Oct

    Default Re: Selling your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock's Guide to Power

    Have to say I like your style and layout, it's pretty easy and entertaining to read through.
    Last edited by Saggo; at PM.

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    I think Moderately Armored should be rated higher than it is. Unless you are dipping something that already gives you those proficiencies, it will give you at least an extra +2 AC regardless if you are Str or Dex based. +2 AC is pretty huge and is at least comparable to +2 hp/level from Tough (but considering the many extra HP gained thoughout the day via temporary hit points, the Warlock is never lacking in that regard and typically has more equivalent hp than even a Barbarian - with that in mind, Tough is of very limited use in the first place).

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    I think I would rate Crossbow Expert purple. In a small party where you can't always avoid melee range, being able to still Eldritch Blast without disadvantage can be quite handy.
    Last edited by tsotate; at PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tsotateView Post
    I think I would rate Crossbow Expert purple. In a small party where you can't always avoid melee range, being able to still Eldritch Blast without disadvantage can be quite handy.
    If that's the concern, taking Spell Sniper or Magic Initiate and grabbing Shocking Grasp is a better bet since you'll be able to extricate yourself from melee, and you'll get other solid benefits to boot.

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantView Post
    I think Moderately Armored should be rated higher than it is. Unless you are dipping something that already gives you those proficiencies, it will give you at least an extra +2 AC regardless if you are Str or Dex based. +2 AC is pretty huge and is at least comparable to +2 hp/level from Tough (but considering the many extra HP gained thoughout the day via temporary hit points, the Warlock is never lacking in that regard and typically has more equivalent hp than even a Barbarian - with that in mind, Tough is of very limited use in the first place).
    Moderately Armored competes with Armor of Shadows for every Warlock but Strength based Bladelocks. A ranged caster can easily start with AC with AoS, which is completely sufficient for a ranged caster at any level. A Bladelock who maxes Dex also has no need for Moderately Armored unless he really wants a shield, and then he'll have trouble casting. Moderately Armored is primarily for non-Mountain Dwarf Str Bladelocks and ranged Warlocks that let their Dex lag.

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoKnightView Post
    Just a quick thing: You have the Undying Patron labeled as the Undying Light (which is UA). Other than that, this looks great, and I always find your guides useful
    Fixed, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by applepiView Post
    Looks good so far, can't wait for your take on the spells. I'm playing a changling fey warlock, pact of the chain 5/mastermind rogue 3 right now in an assassination game. Got any suggestions on spells/invocations? Stealth, mobility, trickery, and the like are a premium, although I do want some damage.
    Off the top of my head, pair Darkness with Devil's Sight.
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    I love this guide. Warlocks are my favourite class, but there aren't enough good guides for them. This fixes that.
    Quote Originally Posted by applepiView Post
    Looks good so far, can't wait for your take on the spells. I'm playing a changling fey warlock, pact of the chain 5/mastermind rogue 3 right now in an assassination game. Got any suggestions on spells/invocations? Stealth, mobility, trickery, and the like are a premium, although I do want some damage.
    Don't forget hex, and while you're not using it, remember to give your allies (especially other rogues) advantage on attack rolls.
    Last edited by Belac93; at PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagramView Post
    Moderately Armored competes with Armor of Shadows for every Warlock but Strength based Bladelocks. A ranged caster can easily start with AC with AoS, which is completely sufficient for a ranged caster at any level. A Bladelock who maxes Dex also has no need for Moderately Armored unless he really wants a shield, and then he'll have trouble casting. Moderately Armored is primarily for non-Mountain Dwarf Str Bladelocks and ranged Warlocks that let their Dex lag.
    But it doesn't compete. It brings 2+ AC to the guy with Armor of Shadows too (and ranged casters have no trouble casting with a shield, due to not needing to fill the other hand with a weapon).

    People on these forums seem to have a strange habit of over-valuing DPR and under-valuing AC.
    People rave about the virtues of Agonizing Blast, yet it tends to raise your damage by a lower margin than the margin that Moderately Armored would lower your incoming damage by. Moderately Armored is objectively superior to AB, yet it would be a fortunate day for it to even receive a tenth of the credit.

    Take a simple level 5 Warlock vs a Duergar (enlarged) situation, in both scenarios, the Warlocks have Fiendish Vigor and an obsession with doing little more than spamming Eldritch Blast. In one of them, the Warlock has Agonizing Blast, Armor of Shadows (we will give him 16 AC like you proposed), and 18 Cha, in the other he has neither invocation, and only 16 Cha, but instead has Moderately Armored.

    The guy with AB will inflict DPR, killing the Duergar in 3 rounds. The Duergar inflicts DPR against the Warlock, inflicting a total of over the course of 3 rounds. 8 of those points are absorbed by False Life, resulting in the Warlock taking a total of damage.
    The guy with Moderately Armored will inflict DPR, killing the Duergar in 4 rounds. The Duergar inflicts DPR against the Warlock, inflicting a total of 15 over the course of 4 rounds. 8 of those points are absorbed by False Life, resulting in the Warlock taking a total of 7 damage.

    The guy with Moderately Armored walked away with more hit points than the guy without, and managed to do so with less resources (he has 2 Invocations to choose, while the other used all of his; and he can even get away with 2 less points of Dex). Increasing your AC is very powerful, and Moderately Armored gives a significant AC bonus to any single-class warlock, whether they are Dex-based or not.

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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 skills 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

Warlock Table

Level’s
Proficiency
Bonus
Feature’s
Cantrips 
Known
Spells
 Known
Spell
Slots
Slot 
Level
Invocations
Known
1st2Otherworldly Patron, Pact Magic2211st
2nd2Eldritch Invocations2321st2
3rd2Pact Boon2422nd2
4th2Ability Score Improvement3522nd2
5th33623rd3
6th3Otherworldly Patron feature3723rd3
7th33824th4
8th3Ability Score Improvement3924th4
9th431025th5
10th4Otherworldly Patron feature41025th5
11th4Mystic Arcanum (6th level)41135th5
12th4Ability Score Improvement41135th6
13th5Mystic Arcanum (7th level)41235th6
14th5Otherworldly Patron feature41235th6
15th5Mystic Arcanum (8th level)41345th7
16th5Ability Score Improvement41335th7
17th6Mystic Arcanum (9th level)41445th7
18th641445th8
19th6Ability Score Improvement41545th8
20th6Eldritch Master41545th8

5e Warlock is the spell-user who cheated their method via the final exams. Warlocks are hunters of the knowledge that lies concealed in the material of the multiverse. They are a comfort class who have prepared a pact with a significant entity, for some advanced reason, be it their Personality, inducing events in the earthly plane for their selected Patron, or even cookies. A fun segment of building any Warlock 5e is creating a backstory for who this individual was before they made the promise, why they believed it was the best idea. According to the 5e Warlock Guide, they are hunters of knowledge who break mystical secrets together to enhance their Power.

Even, yet, Warlocks arise with some great character-building arid into the class, ensure you check out our suggestions for new role-players to ensure you have a charisma that is both exciting and fun to play. Through promises made with secretive beings of supernatural Power, Dnd 5e Warlocks unlock enchanted effects, both delicate and remarkable. Warlocks are sometimes undervalued class in Dungeons & Dragons but done well; they can destroy spellcasters in their right. With the help of this Warlock Guide 5e, you can build and play the Warlock.

How To Build A Warlock 5e?

There are various aspects to a role-playing game of Dungeons and Dragons. The experience varies from player to player. For some, D&D is an option to glimpse their acting as they perform their roles across a fictional world. Though, for others, D&D is about living in a deep, dark dungeon and fighting incredible monsters. For those players who are more focused, we have refined a comprehensive build Dnd 5e Warlock Guide for one of the top tier classes of the game.

The D&D 5e Warlock can be fatal if properly constructed. This build will concentrate on the Warlock’s capability to tank, handling melee damage, and dealing with boundary damage. There are different methods to create the Warlock, but they mostly concentrate on out-of-fight efficacy. If you are searching for more productivity, the Raven Queen archetype provides an exclusive set of capabilities that can assist you in moving forward. The “Pact of the Chain” treaty boon can also make some new efficacy. The Warlock Build 5e, on the other hand, will have you fluctuating blades with the best of them.

  • Best Race:Tiefling
  • Ethereal Patron:Hexblade
  • Best Deal Boon: Pact of the Blade
  • Feat #1: War Caster
  • Feat #2: Polearm Master
  • Capability Score Improvement #1: +2 Charisma
  • Feat #3: Tough

Choosing The Best Warlock Race 5e

When it arises to selecting a race, there are many options regarding this 5e Warlock Build. For example, Dragonborn provides a minimal enhancement in your Charisma bonus. Though, the tie fling is a personal desire because of its significant boost to your personality score, the “Hellish Resistance” capability, and the “Infernal Legacy” capability. If none of them seems attractive, then choose the different humanity. You will receive an added feat as a racial bonus, in which I recommend selecting the Sentinel feat.

This feat works reasonably well with the polearm master Warlock Feats 5e. The selected tracks are all about increasing your damage and continuity. With this Dnd 5e Best Warlock Build, you will be able to use a polearm for some shocking loss. You will then use you are strike curses to reduce your fight damage while using a mirror picture to enhance your continuity.

Thanks to the Polearm Master 5e Warlock Feats, your Charisma will be able to perform an extra time while dying less damage with their additional bonus action. Also, you will see improved usage of spells of opportunity as opponents will inflict opportunity spells upon entering your attack range.

  • Weapon: Halberd
  • Shield: Half Plate
  • Skill Abilities: Dishonesty and Intimidation

Most of the Warlock’s harm comes from their D&d 5e Warlock Spell List, creating it more critical that you increase your spell bonus and your number of outbreaks than your total damage per fight. The smite Warlock Spell 5e will offer plenty of damage per attack on their own.

  • Strength, Intelligence, and Wisdom: This is a junkyard stat for this Charisma.
  • Dexterity: This skill is a significant one on many charms. Though, the Dexterity will take a backseat for this build.
  • Constitution: This skill will decide your maximum health, and among your most serious saving throws.
  • Charisma: This capability will determine your efficiency with spells.

Choosing A Best Warlock D&d 5e Charisma

Charisma is vital for this build. It will decide your fight efficiency. The constitution will select your maximum fitness, which is very important for any proper construction. If you want to roll your stats, just remember these abilities in mind. These D&d 5e Warlock Spells of paramount importance to this build. The fighting effectiveness of this Charisma depends mostly on the fading smite and Eldritch Blast.

  • Repelling Blast: This capability will enhance your kiting skills with an eldritch explosion.
  • Thirsting Blade: It will allow you an additional attack.
  • Lifedrinker: It will improve fight damage.
  • Maddening Hex: It will enhance the harm from your hex skill.
  • Shroud of Shadow: It will permit you to go unseen at determination.
  • Grasp of Hadar and Lance of Lethargy: This skill will enhance your kiting abilities with an eldritch blast.

Mirror pictures, shells, and blur will be extremely convenient whenever you need to vat for your group. All of the eldritch 5e Warlock Invocations selected above are about damage from range and enhancing kite abilities. By effectively operating eldritch blast and fight attacks while polished by expelling smite and mirror image, you must be able to ballet with any opponent unfortunate sufficient to step within your path.

How To Play A Warlock 5e?

The most significant thing about playing a Dnd Warlock 5e is to evade getting the backstory in the method of best times. If your DM is awkwardly strict, you must have many leeways to describe how a character of your arrangement has finished up in a pact with a wizard or demigod.

Alignment Issues

Among the essential parts of every Warlock’s story is how they derived from being sure to their Patron. It may be tacky for some charismas, specified that a large number of 5e Warlock Patrons are messy evil wizards or demigods. In some states where you can explain a compromise comprising an evil:

  • Cheated into a Warlock Pact 5e Agreed to make a deal as the only method to avoid certain death.
  • To agree by reading an ancient book
  • Forced into a contract against your determination
  • Cheated by a malevolent 5e Warlock Patron who pretends to be best.

Intraparty Conflict

There is a definite possibility of a fight between your parties. If your Warlock travels with certain kinds of Paladin Warlock 5e or priests, having a deal with a wizard could be a stabbing point. There are small numbers of things to deliberate in this condition. There are several circumstances when you might not be assured. A Hexblade Warlock 5e may only learn about sensitive armaments that channel their protectors, not Patrons.

Warlock Optimization 5e Tips

There are many various methods to go with your D&D Warlock 5e. Unluckily, many of them can be fewer than the best. Below, we are discussing cuddling the most out of your Character Sheet.

  • Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Constitution
  • Intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Charisma

Best Races For Warlock In 5E

For many, lots of heaviness goes into the choice of races when Building A Warlock 5e. While the competition is necessary, some playbook goes overboard in labeling fights “bad” or “unusable” as warlocks. It is entirely right…some options are superior to others, particularly at lower stages of levels.

Given the significance of Charisma, any race that offers a bonus to that character is a consistent choice. Though, these +1 or +2 extras matter less at higher levels. Remember this; don’t evade the race you wish to Play A Warlock 5e just as it absences a +2 charisma boost.

Backgrounds

  • Cloistered Scholar
  • Courtier
  • Criminal
  • Faction Agent
  • Far Traveler
  • Urban Bounty Hunter

Suggested Or Best Feats For Warlock 5e

There are many tricks accessible; should you select to continue them. While many of them are best under any condition, it is doubtful how many are more appreciated than an added level of Personality for your Warlock. The recommended feats are Alert, Inspiring Leader, Spell Sniper, and War Caster.

Good D&d 5e Warlock Multiclass Options for Warlock

Warlock Bard 5e- There are many great choices for taking a dip into Poet. Their Warlock 5e Spell choices are valuable given that they need Charisma to cast, and you acquire a fair few of them with a solo level of the Poet. You also select Bardic Motivation.

Fighter– If you are playing a Dnd 5e Hexblade Warlock, a warrior multiclass is not fully enhanced as the skills overlap.

Paladin– 5e Paladin Warlock is among the most excellent multiclass choices for both Hexblade and Pact of the Tome warlocks.

Sorcerer – While a decent appropriate, wizards may not be as dominant as an option as they seem instantly. Their curses might use Personality, but you can only use them formerly per long rest outside of Best Warlock Cantrips 5e.

Warlock Spells 5e – How Do Warlock Spells Work 5e?

Warlocks have a much smaller number of curse slots than all other devoted enchanted classes. It means that they will have to rely on their D&D 5e Warlock Cantrips and at later stages, their Eldritch Invocations. In the first stage, Warlocks understand 2 Cantrips and 2 Spells. Unlike 5e Warlock Spells, chosen Cantrips cannot be exchanged at a later time, so ensure you are blissful with the ones you select. Provisional on how you build your Warlock, you can create a multipurpose character that shines in both fight and forming.

The initial Cantrip every Warlock is the Eldritch Blast. It is the bizarre Warlock Cantrips 5e with a false choice and a high hurt dice. The second reason is that Warlocks have three various 5e Warlock Eldritch Invocations that recover Eldritch Blast in any method. Since these prayers are always on, being able to create this Cantrip is a significant reason to select it; even if you plan to play Pact of the Blade and attempt things, Eldritch Blast is a great choice.

Request your Barbarian friend, occasionally you can’t reach the thing you wish to try, and it is the best backup. Considering D&D 5e Warlock Spells are Personality-based casters, my next suggestion is Friends. Getting the benefit over all of your Persuading efforts can be the dissimilarity between a positive and a negative result. Sure, the victim understands you used magic on him, but you are the type of person who builds 5e Warlock Pacts with sharp objects, future planning was never a strong suit.

Feel free to trade one of these choices for those presented with your supporter. As Warlocks have some Warlock Spell Slots 5e, you must look for spells that have more prolonged effects or more extended periods. It makes no sense to use one of your two Warlock Spell Slots 5e for a fast, one-off effect. The first curse from Warlock 5e Spell List that every Warlock must have a Hex. It has an awareness time of one hour, each time you fight them, dealing with additional harm, only to cast one cost a bonus action. It also permits you to hex a particular capability, which inflicts damage on the target consistently they create an ability check (using the cursed skill).

The most unusual thing is that you can spell a new mortal if the victim is ever reduced to zero hit points. Cast it to fight quickly, and you can fight every single beast. The next Warlock Spells Dnd 5e; you must grasp Arms of Hadar. Although there are better numerous action curses (like Witch Bolt), Arms of Hadar does not need awareness and thus does not end your Hex curses speedily. It also joins with Hex quite well as you can Hex a beast’s Power before marking it. The other best thing about this 5e Best Warlock Spell is that it is a part of spell disturbing all mortals within 10 feet of you (including friends), and they still take injury if they pass the save.

A Quick Build Of A Warlock

You can make a warlock rapidly by following these proposals. In the first place, Charisma ought to be your most noteworthy capacity score, trailed by Constitution. Second, pick the con artist foundation. Third, pick the eldritch impact and chill contact cantrips, alongside the first level spells beguile individual and witch jolt.

Delivers Into Secret

Warlocks are driven by a ravenous necessity for data and power, which urges them into their understandings and shapes their lives. This thirst drives warlocks(warlock unearthed arcana)  into their settlements and shapes their later callings as well.

Records of warlocks limiting themselves to scalawags are extensively known. Regardless, various warlocks serve supporters that are not wicked. To a great extent, a pilgrim in the wilds goes to an unusually superb zenith, meets its fey ruler or lady, and uncovers an understanding without being totally aware of it. Besides, sometimes, while poring over tomes of unlawful legend, an amazing yet crazed understudy’s mind is opened to substances past the material world and to the outcast animals that live in the outer void.

At the point when a settlement is made, a warlock’s crave data and power can’t be slaked with straightforward examination and research. No one makes a settlement with such a solid supporter in case the person being referred to doesn’t hope to use the power thusly got. Or on the other hand perhaps, by a wide margin, the vast majority of warlocks experience their days in a unique journey for their destinations, which typically infers some kind of adventuring. In addition, the solicitations of their supporters drive warlocks toward experience.

Warlock Attributes

Hit Died8
Spellcasting AbilityCharisma
Starting Gold4d4 x 10
Subclass NameOtherworldly Patron
Suggested AbilitiesCharisma, Consitution

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D&D 5E [GUIDE] Pacts, Patrons, and Power, a Warlock guide

Warlocks sit somewhere between a fighter and wizard, with a touch of rogue and illusionist. They have good at-will damage, good control, and a number of unique tricks up their sleeves. This makes them possibly the most well-rounded class.

[sblock=Color Code]
Goldenrod: You pretty much always take.
Deepskyblue: Usually the most optimal choice.
Blue: A good choice.
Black (no color): Passible, but not special.
Darkviolet: Situation, most of the time you should pass on this, but there are corner cases that can really make this good.
Red: Grade F, avoid. You just wasted your choice, or worse. [/sblock]

Short Rests
The game expectation is 2 short rests per long rest, and warlock (and monks) power is based on that. It's fine for them to have strong days and weak days, but if your campaign consistently avoids or allows short rests, it can be an issue. If your group doesn't come close to the expected short rest my suggested houserule is twice per long rest, anyone can use an action to take a short rest, spending their hit dice and recharging short rest things. Even allowing it mid-battle.


Stats:
Str: Dump it.
Con: Not only HP, but warlocks have some good spells to concentrate on.
Dex: Light armor or medium armor means you want some points here.
Int: Dump it.
Wis: Not used, but it's an important save so any remaining points can go here.
Cha: The casting stat. There are enough Cha independent spells that you don't need this but you'd still be gimped without it..

Race:
Warlocks have access to devils sight making darkvision less of a priority. This makes variant humans as the general top choice, though consider your party and campaign. Winged Tiefling or other mobile races options can be nice to keep you out of melee if you don't have a good front line, Half-Elfs + Elven Accuracy + Spells for advantage gives you the most damage. Mountain Dwarfs can also get you armor if you are going to be on the front line, and halflings lucky works with eldrich blast, skills, and saves giving a nice all round bump.



Patrons
Note that unlike clerics, you don't automatically get the patron spells. They compete for space with the basic warlocks spells. It's also important to keep in mind how they scale since your slots do.

© = concentration

Archfey: Adds some good control spells and features which can be used both in or out of combat. Blades are only interested in the greater invisibility as there are plenty of saving throws here. Greater invisibility is a big draw.
[sblock]
Spells
©Faerie Fire: A good spell at level 1, but doesn't scale.
Sleep: Not as strong as the numbers might seem at first glance due to rounding errors, but strong control and bypasses saves and legendary resistances, though some things (elves) are immune to sleep. Scales well.

Calm Emotions: Possible to shut down a battle, but only if all the enemies fail their save. Replace with hypnotic pattern at level 5. Could have some out of combat uses too.
©Phantasmal Force: One of the few Int based saves in the game making it useful just for that. Add some creativity, and you can accomplish a lot, both in and out of combat.

Blink: You have a 50% chance to be untargetable each turn and it doesn't even take concentration. It also allows you to go through thin walls.
Plant Growth: Big penalty to mobility allowing you to kill melee with ease. Also a great way to help some farmers.

©Dominate Beast: Powerful, but short lived. Though animals tend to have weak wisdom saves so your likely to get several turns for it.
©Greater Invisibility: It's like darkness + devils sight, but castable on allies.

©Dominate Person: Powerful, but short lived. Unlike animals, there's a lot of saves here that make it easy to waste your slot.
Seeming: Disguise your party for 8 hours, no concentration.


Fey Presence: A way to protect yourself in battle, or to help you convince someone to do something.
Misty Escape: Another way to protect yourself in battle. Improves slightly as enemy multi-attack comes online.
Beguiling Defenses: PC's aren't usually targeted by charm, but Immunity is still immunity.
©Dark Delerium: Being charmed means it can't attack you, and it can't see anyone else to attack either, so you can take an enemy out of battle. Note that the spell ends if the target is damaged, but that still leaves them open to other kinds of spells. It's also on a short rest recharge.
[/sblock]

Fiend: Lots of THP and damage spells.
[sblock]
Spells
Burning hands: Even at low levels you need a bunch of very weak monsters in a tight group for this to be worth using. And it scales poorly.
Command: A strong control spell without concentration, which can be used for both in and out of combat. Flee can make them provoke opportunity attacks, grovel can give advantage to your melee allies, plus any creative way you can come up with. Scales into mass command.

Blindness/deafness: Weak control, with a save every turn, but no concentration. Scales into mass blind.
Scorching Ray: Slightly more damage than Eldritch Blast. Which generally isn't worth a slot.

Fireball: Fantastic when you get it, but fades a bit over levels. Can still be useful against hordes. Scales poorly.
©Stinking Cloud: Generally worse then hypnotic pattern since it's a save every turn, and Con is generally a higher than Wis, but not always. Especially with repelling blast to shove creatures back into the cloud.

Fire Shield: Fairly low damage (9 vs 20 - 25 for Armor of Agathy) that requires you to be hit, though good duration without concentration. It will make you immune to a horde of rats thanks to the THP you'll get from killing them.
©Wall of Fire: Almost as much damage as a fireball, with better targeting, but requires concentration. Combo's with repelling blast.

Flame Strike: A weaker, smaller fireball.
Hallow: Adventurers usually don't have lairs to protect, but you have some good choices. Vulnerability to force or fire damage are good options.


Dark One's Blessing: Warlocks should be doing your share of killing, so this will add a lot of toughness. Note that you can KO a creature with a melee attack, so carry a bag of rats and just knock them out as needed. Be careful about replacing Armor of Agathys THP.
Dark One's Own Luck: Good for saving against hold person, and for making stealth checks, but only 1 die and it's a maybe.
Fiendish Resilence: Resistance is good, but only 1 type means it's not going to be effective unless you know what you're facing. Piercing is probably the best default, Slashing for bladelocks.
Hurl Through Hell: Instant control that you can't waste, plus some damage. Just note that it's after your next turn.
[/sblock]

Great old one. Out of combat utility, that's great for intrigue campaigns.
[sblock]
Spells
Dissonant Whispers: Enemies who run will provoke OA's making this great for low levels, but it doesn't scale, and neither do most OA's.
©Tasha's hideous laughter: The best level 1 control spell, but it get's replaced quickly.

Detect Thoughts: Good utility. Try and capture some enemies.
©Phantasmal Force: One of the few Int based saves in the game making it useful just for that. Add some creativity, and you can accomplish a lot, both in and out of combat.

©Clairvoyance: A good way to spy and gather information.
Sending: Long range secret communications is another good spy feature.

©Dominate Beast: Powerful, but short lived. Though animals tend to have weak wisdom saves so your likely to get several turns for it.
©Evard’s Black Tentacles: A decent zone of control with a little damage. Better with repelling blast to shove creatures back inside.

©Dominate Person: Powerful, but short lived. There's a lot of saves here that make it easy to waste your slot.
©Telekinesis: Rarely useful in combat given that most melee creatures are strength based, and ranged wouldn't be bothered by being up in the air unless you drop them off a cliff. Out of combat mage hand can cover most of the use cases, though lbs is big lifting power and it has twice the range.


Awakened Mind: Secretly talk to people nearby, and in any language.
Entropic Ward: A small boost to defense. Note that your advantage is 1 attack, not 1 turn, so just 1 of the Eldrich Blasts rays.
Thought Shield: Even in an intrigue based game, there're very few enemies that will attempt to read your thoughts or deal psychic damage.
Create Thrall: No save charm. Note that unconscious, stunned, petrified, paralyzed, and hypnotic pattern all work. Plus all the fun spy stuff you can do.
[/sblock]

Undying: Self-healing and some support at level 9. Better in undead campaigns.
[sblock]
Spells
false life: Just worse than Armor of Agathys
Ray of Sickness: Worse damage than eldrich blast, weak effect that requires a second save and scales poorly. Not to mention the large number of creatures immune to poison.

blindness/deafness: Weak control but it doesn't take concentration.
©silence: some utility and some combat application, but casters can generally just walk away and you risk silenceing yourself as well.

feign death: I don't see any good use for this.
speak with dead: Can really short cut some campaigns, less useful in others. Also can be gotten at-will with an invocation.

©aura of life: As long as your up, so are your allies. Though that makes you a big target and you won't have darkness to hide in. Consider bladeward or dodge.
death ward: A great use of any extra spell slots you have left before a short rest.

contagion: most battle will be over before this applies. Chain can use their familiar to sneak in and cast this ahead of time.
legend lore: A good way to gather information.


Among the Dead: Nice sanctuary effect a not terribly uncommon enemy. Plus a weak cantrip.
Defy Death: Death saves are at the start of your turn, so you might not miss a turn after being knocked down. You might also want to carry a rat with you to knock out and heal if you havn't used this before a short rest. The HP doesn't scale though.
Undying Nature: Good for going underwater.
Indestructable Life: A lot of healing for you.
[/sblock]

Celestial: Adds some healing, including revivify and greater restoration.
[sblock]
Spells
cure wounds: Could be a good use of any extra spell slots you have before a short rest.
guiding bolt: Nice at first level, but doesn't scale well.

©flamingsphere: Good bonus action damage.
lesser restoration: These effects tend to fade by themselves before you can touch someone.

daylight: you have light as a cantrip. And you probably don't want to dispell darkness.
revivify: Can be a real lifesaver. Literally.

guardian of faith: You rarely need to protect a space. But could be good for tight dungeons.
©wall of fire: Nice damage. Combo's extremely well with repelling blast.

flame strike: Stick with wall of fire.
greater restoration: This can be a campaign changer.


Bonus Cantrips: Sacred flame is a nice backup if you have disadvantage, and light is a useful cantrip. But generally you'll stick with Eldrich Blast + Agonizing Blast.
Healing Light: A great way to get someone off the ground. You generally only want to use 1 die at a time.
Radiant Soul: A little extra damage with sacred flame and wall of fire. But still generally better to use Eldrich Blast.
Celestial Radiance: Nice scaling THP for the party. This really pushed the Inspiring leader feat down a few notches.
Searing Vengence: Nice emergency heal exactly when you want it, plus some piddly damage. Note that death saves are at the start of your turn, so you don't miss a turn, but it also means that the blind is only for your turn. Still, you can move away and get advantage on Eldrich Blast. It's even ally friendly.
[/sblock]

Hexblade: Adds Numbers (AC, damage, health). Despite the name, you may completely ignore weapons. The ratings are based on a melee blade. Eldrich blasters / bowlocks shouldn't take the smite spells for instance, the short range of the curse makes reduces your range advantage, get's even less out of armor of hexes, and doesn't benefit from AC as much when hiding behind allies.
[sblock]
Spells
shield: A good defensive spell, even in 5th level slots.
©wrathful smite: A nice control effect that can keep this going at higher levels, even though the damage doesn't scale.

©blur: A decent defense, but completely outclassed by darkness + devils sight, which is both longer duration, and adds offense.
©branding smite: non-scaling damage with a very niche application.

blink: A good defensive without concentration.
©elemental weapon: Less damage and defense compared to darkness+devils sight, but last longer. At level 17+foresight, this becomes the go-to buff for weapon users. Eldrich Blaster's might still want this for an allyfighter.

©phantasmal killer: Good combo of control and damage.
©staggering smite: Low damage and a weak effect.

©banishing smite: good combo of control and damage.
cone of cold: I have no idea what this has to do with hexes or blades, but it's nice to have an AoE.

Hexblades Curse: Hex + cure wounds in a single non-concentration bonus spell. Though a bit short on the range. Scales well with both levels and multi-attack / multi-rays.
Hex Warrior: +5 AC for eldrich blasters, +3 AC and getting to ignore Str for bladelocks. Sword and board can also work, though not as well.
Accursed Specter: CR 1 isn't going to be much use for combat, and it can't speak, and won't understand you if you don't pick the right corpse. However, since it can fly through walls, it makes a great scout, so you should have at least 1 battle where you know when to pre-cast darkness. Consider taking the tongues spell.
Armor of Hexes: Only works on your cures target, and takes your reaction, which can compete with OA's and polearm reasons. Still worth using if it comes up.
Master of Hexes: Now you can enjoy the bonus damage all battle long. It doesn't even take an action to switch targets, letting you keep your bonus attack for crossbow expertise/polearm master.
[/sblock]


Pacts:
Blade (without hexblade): No armor, multiple attributes, spending 3 invocations, to deal the same damage you could do with eldrich blast. Not to mention, all warlocks can grab booming blade for a melee option.
Blade (with Hexblade): Hexblade adds the missing pieces of armor and let's you focus on a single stat. There are several options of setups to go with. Also, keep in mind, you can switch weapons, just in case if you need bludgeoning damage.
Polearm + Great Weapon + Advantage: Assuming reaction attacks half the time, you can do Double damage over eldritch blast, but at a hefty cost of your warlock's spells (darkness+devils sight/shadows of moil/foresight+elemental weapon), 2 feats, and 3 invocations (possibly skipping agonizing blast). Great weapon master without advantage doesn't really add any damage. Polearm Master is still a strong no matter what.
Sharpshooter + Advantage + Archery Style: About 50% more damage then eldrich blast, while keeping the advantages of range, but still a bit of an investment. If you find a magic crossbow, you can add Crossbow Expertise to boost it to almost double damage of EB.
Featless Without weapon feats, your spending 3 invocations to deal the same amount of damage as eldritch blast, just in melee.
TWF, don't get anything. Life drinker and improved pact weapon only works with 1 weapon, so it's ever going to be 1d6 damage.

Blade Invocations:
Thirsting Blade: Your basic multi-attack. If you don't take this, there's no reason to be blade.
Lifedrinker: Your next damage bump. If you don't take this, there's no reason to be blade.
Improved Pact Weapon: +1 to hit and damage is hard to pass up. Required for bowlocks. Though trade it out if you find a magic weapon.
Eldrich Smite: There are usually better uses for your spell slots (darkness). But prone can be worth it if you the right allies to take advantage of it. Note that you can only use warlock spell slots. Confirmed as intentional.
@JeremyECrawford
Eldritch Smite works with warlock spell slots only—the ones you get from Pact Magic. #DnD



Chain: You get an improved familiar, all of which fly, most are invisible. Note that their invisibility only breaks when attacking or taking damage, meaning all other actions, including help action, pickpocketing, and casting a touch spell through them (except sprite) are fair game. You can change familiars as the situation needs at the cost of a little gold, including into any of the normal familiars.
Imp: Invisibility, Magic Resist, Devils Sight, Shape Change, and immunity to poison and fire. Toughest of the bunch with the most resistances and highest HP, it's got a decent chance to survive a hit, just not 2.
Pseudodragon: Magic Resist, Blindsight, Advantage on Perception, Limited Telepathy NO Invisibility, but it's the fastest flyer. Note that you have telepathy to your familiars so this might be bit redundant, but it could be used as a translator.
Quasit: Invisible, Magic Resist, Shape Change, Immunity to Poison, Scare. Scare is 1/day, 1 target, with a save every turn, so it's unlikely to have much impact.
Sprite: Invisibility, Ranged Attack, and Heart Sight. NO magic resist, but highest stealth. Familiars can't attack unless you spend an action for them, but it can still be helpful if you sent it ahead. Still flying ranged attackers can auto-win some battles, even if it takes an hour of game time. Heart Sight won't break Invisible, and it's also the only feature in the game that lets you see someone's alignment.

Chain Invocations:
Chains of Carceri: A 5th level spell at-will is powerful, and those are the types of enemies you tend to face at a higher level. Could be a nice security if you summon demons.
Gift of the Ever-Living Ones: With just hit dice, this comes out to an additional HP per level, a bit less than +2 Con. But warlocks tend to rely on THP or staying away. Better if your celestial or are tanking for a friendly cleric.
Voice of the Chain Master: You can already telepathically talk to your familiar and see though its senses at ', so this just extends the range and lets you talk. It's unlikely you'll need more range in most campaigns, though you could potentially send out your sprite to clear a rat nest while you sit in a tavern.


Tome: 3 extra cantrips from any class, considering you get , that's a big increase. Warlocks already have the best attack cantrip in the game (eldritch blast), so use this to expand your utility a lot. Some good ones include guidance, toll the dead (ignores disadvantage), shillelagh + booming blade/green flame blade, light, and vicious mockery (V only), mage hand, minor illusion, friends, and prestidigitation.

Tome Invocations:
Book of Ancient Secrets: You can collect every ritual spell in the game. Though this is somewhat dependent on your DM to drop them. Comprehend Languages, Illusory Script, Unseen Servant, and Contact other planes are on the warlock spell list and can be learned that way. Identify, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Detect Poison and Disease, Speak with Animals, Alarm, Tenser's Floating Disk, Find Familiar, and Purify Food and Drink are your other starting options.
Aspect of the Moon: Warlocks aren't the best at spotting things, but some eyes are better than none.


[sblock=DPR comparisons at level 12]
Assuming +5 Cha gives 65% chance to hit.
*Crits not included, but would only add a point or 2.

A blade lock without hexblade would have the same 18 or 20 Str (same to-hit and bonus damage), but only have 16 Cha for lifedrinker. And be -1 or -2 damage, for 2 or 3 attacks.
~ -3 damage. (not to mention the lack of armor).

Keep in mind, spells like hold person can deal far more damage then darkness or hex, particularly if you have damaging allies. Or perhaps casting synaptic shock if you're against a group.


Eldrich Blast, 20 Cha, Agonizing Blast, 1 free feat ( damage, to hit)
=
+advantage ()
=
+Elven accuracy ( to hit)
=
+ hex (42 damage).
=

Booming Blade 20 Dex or Str or Cha (hexblade), 1-handed, 1 free feat ( damage / 32 if they move, to hit)
base / if they move.
= /
+ avantage ()
= /
+ elven accuracy ( to hit)
= /

HexBlade and Board
, 20 Cha, thirsting blade, life drinker, improved pact weapon, 1 free feat (31 damage, .7 to hit)
=
+ advantage ( to hit)
=
+ elven accuracy ( to hit)
=
+ hex (37 damage)
=

HexBlade Polearm Master, 18 Cha, great weapon master, thirsting blade, life drinker, and improved pact weapon. ( damage to hit)
=
-great weapon master, +2 Cha ( damage, .7 to hit)
=
+ advantage ( to hit)
=
+ polearm's reaction attack half the time (85 damage)
= 34
+ polearm's reaction half the time, and advantage (85 damage, to hit)
=
+ polearm's reaction half the time, and elven accuracy (85 damage, to hit)
=

HexBlade Sharpshooter, 20 Cha, thirsting blade, life drinker, improved pact weapon, fighter 1 for archery style (level 13). (51 damage, to hit)
=
+ advantage ( to hit).
=
+ elven accuaracy ( to hit)
=
+ crossbow expertise (magic handbow), 18 Cha( damage, to hit).
=
+ crossbow expertise (magic handbow), 18 Cha, elven accuracy(, to hit).
=

Fighter, 20 dex, crossbow expertise, sharpshooter, archery style. (74 damage, .5 to hit)
= 37
+ Advantage* ( to hit)
=
+ Elven Accuracy* ( to hit)
=
*Advantage is much harder to get for the fighter, also get action surge, sublcass features, and an extra feat.
[/sblock]

 

Sours: https://www.enworld.org/threads/guide-pacts-patrons-and-power-a-warlock-guide/
Davvy's D\u0026D 5e Warlock Guide

DnD 5e – The Warlock Handbook

Last Updated: September 24,

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 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 , 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 ) 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 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. 1d 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.

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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. vs. 1d10 avg ), 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. ) 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/

Guide 5e 2018 warlock

warlock 5e

Similar to the cleric in some ways, the warlock is devoted to a higher power. Unlike the gods Clerics serve however, warlocks are bound to very different patrons. These patrons could be anything from demons to fey. While not technically gods, they offer access to incredible power for anyone bound to them. Want to learn all about this unique class? Make a pact with us to check out or Warlock 5E Guide here at Nerds and Scoundrels!

Updated for Tasha&#;s Cauldron of Everything

Warlock 5E Guide

Warlocks seek knowledge and power, and they have entered into a pact with a powerful being in order to obtain it. While these patrons are not gods, they are extremely powerful. Binding yourself to these otherworldly patrons is not without a price, however. In exchange for the powers you gain, you must from time to time do your patron&#;s bidding.

For many, this tradeoff is worth it. The powers embued into a warlock from their patron are as minor as a cantrip spell, or they could offer powers that few can comprehend.

Warlocks are primarily spellcasters, but they are not as reliant on their magic as a wizard. All warlocks are proficient in light armor and know their way around simple weapons.

Warlock Table

Class Features

All warlocks share the same basic attributes and class features. Despite these similarities, there are many different types of warlock builds possible. You can further craft your character depending on the type of patron you select.

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice: 1d8 per warlock level
  • HP at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
  • HP 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 skills from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion

Starting Equipment

Assuming you don&#;t purchase your equipment based on the starting gold by level formula, you begin with the following equipment:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • either (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

Eldritch Invocations (Level 2)

Warlocks don&#;t get as many spells as other casters. However, their access to Eldritch Invocations balances things out. An Eldritch Invocation is a fragment of forbidden knowledge discovered through a warlock&#;s research. These invocations imbue your character with unique powers. Some act as permanent buffs to things like attributes or your armor class. Others give you access to specific spells that do not count against your spell count.

Some invocations have pre-requisites to use. Many of them are only available when your warlock reaches a certain level. The good news is there is no risk of taking invocations early on as you have the power to replace them when you level up.

You get two Invocations at level 2. You can add an invocation at level 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, and Below, we review some of the best options at each level.

Level 2 Invocations

The first of our list is arguably the most popular invocation among warlocks: Agonizing Blast. Most warlock builds rely heavily on Eldritch  Blast, and this invocation adds your charisma modifier to your damage roll when you use that cantrip. This is a great damage buff, especially at level 2. You can also power up your Eldritch Blast with Repelling Blast, which pushes the target of the spell back 10 feet.

Devil&#;s Sight is another strong option, especially if your campaign is heavy on dungeon diving. More than just Darkvision, you can see normally in up to feet in both normal or magical darkness.

For spellcasters, Book of Ancient Secrets can be powerful especially if you are your party&#;s primary spellcaster. It is essentially the Ritual Caster feat taken through Invocation form. This is a pretty fair tradeoff. You must have the Pact of the Tome boon to take this option.

Finally, FIendish Vigor is another popular option. It gives you the innate power to cast False Life at will. This is without using a spell slot or needing a rest! You gain 1d4+4 temporary hit dice for the hour duration of the spell. This doesn&#;t scale unfortunately given the way warlock spells work, but there is no reason not to keep this running in perpetuity at level 2.

Level 5 Invocations

Level 5 does not have as many go-to invocations as Level 2, but there are some strong options. Cloak of Flies (found in Xanathar&#;s Guide to Everything) is a fun but situational incarnation that produces what appears to be a cyclone of flies around you. You get advantage on all intimidation checks but disadvantage on all other charisma checks when you use it.

Tomb of Levistus is interesting, although it may only make sense when you are facing catastrophic levels of damage. It allows you to freeze yourself into ice until the end of your next turn. You gain 10 hit points per level of warlock but become incapacitated and your speed is reduced to zero. You also become vulnerable to fire damage. While there are times this is useful, it is not always better than simply hitting zero HP and hoping your friends heal you in time.

Maddening Hex is also powerful if you use the Hex spell or rely on the hex options with Pact of the Blade. It adds damage as a bonus action, which is excellent if you are relying on Hex already. Speaking of blades, Thirsting Blade is vital for any Hexblade character as it gives them two attacks per round.

Level 7 Invocations

Level 7 is also a mixed bag when it comes to Invocations. At the top of the heap is ghostly gaze, which allows you to see through solid objects within 30 feet. You also gain Darkvision. This lasts a minute or whenever you break concentration, whatever happens first. You regain the ability to see through walls after a short rest, making this a very powerful option.

Relentless Hex is also nice, but really only if you are a melee warlock. It allows you to teleport to an enemy you have used Hex or a Hexblade Curse. This is most useful for fast enemies or for those that can levitate or fly.

Sculptor of Flesh could be the best option of them all. It gives you access to the spell Polymorph, although you must use a spell slot and can only use it once per long rest. Despite these steep restrictions, the ability to polymorph enemies into bunny rabbits or something of a similar nature is obviously powerful. This is one of the few ways a warlock can gain access to Polymorph.

Level 9 Invocations

There are only four invocations that become available at Level 9, and each of them is found in the Player&#;s Handbook. Three of them are varying levels of excellence. Then there is Otherworldly Leap.

Ascendant Step gives you the ability to cast levitate at will, without the need for components or use of a spell slot. This is a powerful utility spell for party members that cannot fly, and it can also be used in battle against hostiles.

Minions of Chaos is also strong. While it costs you a spell slot, you can conjure an elemental that will last for a full hour. This is a powerful minion to get once per day, especially for big fights or for scouting purposes.

Otherworldly Leap is not as useful. By level nine you likely have the spell Fly. It gives you access to Jump, but as a level 1 cantrip this is a poor trade for a Level 9 Invocation.

Finally, there is Whispers of the Grave which allows you to cast Speak with the Dead without using a spell slot. This spell allows you to give a corpse a degree of life long enough to question it. It must have a mouth and cannot be undead. The spell only works if no one has cast it on the corpse in the last 10 days. You can ask five questions, and the corpse can answer anything it knew during life. These answers are usually cryptic and do not have to be truthful.

Level 12 Invocations

There is only one option at Level 12, but it is solid. Note that Lifedrinker is only available to those following Pact of the Blade. It adds extra damage when using your pact weapon. When you land a blow, add your charisma modifier as extra necrotic damage.

Level 15 Invocations

There are five invocations available at Level While two really shine, they are all interesting in the right situation.

Chains of Carceri is a nice option for those warlocks with Pact of the Chain. Once per long rest you can cast Hold Monster on a celestial, fiend, or elemental without using a spell slot. While obviously situational, this is exceptionally powerful for encounters with these three beings.

Master of Myriad Forms has a lot going on, but it&#;s not very optimal. It empowers you to take aquatic form as a sea creature, gaining the ability to breathe underwater and swim at high speed. You can also alter your appearance similar to disguise self. Finally, you can choose to grow natural weapons like claws to attack with. There a few issues with this invocation. Mask of Many Faces is available at a much lower level, making the change appearance option duplicate. The natural weapons are extremely lackluster given you are at Level The aquatic option is nice but probably alone is not worth a Level 15 Invocation.

Shroud of Shadow gives you invisibility on demand without the need of a spell slot. This is exceptional for countless reasons and is arguably the best option at Level

The other great choice is Vision of Distant Realms. It allows you to cast Arcane Eye without using a spell slot. This spell gives you an invisible magic eye that floats up to 30 feet in any direction. In can see in the dark, fit through the smallest of cracks, and transmits what it seems to you.

Witch Sight takes the opposite approach to these invisibility-centric invocations. It allows you to see the true form of any shapeshifter or invisible creature within 30 feet in your line of sight.

Pact Boon (Level 3)

Your Warlock&#;s patron &#; which we will discuss in-depth below &#; largely determines the powers available to your character. However, at Level 3 you are able to select a Pact Boon which expands your options on how to apply them. These boons can improve your ability with a blade, grant you access to stronger familiars, or open up your spellcasting options.

Think of these boons as gifts. After all, each boon comes with an item of sorts.

Pact of the Blade

Pact of the Blade empowers you to create a &#;pact weapon&#; in an empty hand. It can take the shape of any melee weapon, and you can change its shape every time you make use of this boon. You are always proficient with a pact weapon, even if it take the shape of a weapon you cannot normally use. This is a magical weapon, but only for overcoming resistances and for its immunity to nonmagical damage.

Your pact weapon remains as long as it does not stray farther than 5 feet from you. It also disappears if you die, dismiss it, or create a different weapon.

You are also allowed to spend an hour-long ritual transforming a magical weapon into your pact weapon. You can send this weapon into extradimensional space and call it back when you need it.

While interesting, Pact of the Blade is arguably the weakest of the three Boons. While melee warlocks are not unheard of, your strengths lie in spellcasting. This is best when playing a Hexblade Warlock, as the proficiencies in medium armor make melee more realistic.

Another issue is that you are never going to put out the kind of damage available to a spellcaster. These weapons pale in comparison even to cantrip spells like Eldritch Blast, and it only gets worse at higher levels. Avoid Pact of the Blade unless you are working toward a very specific build.

Pact of the Chain

Pact of the Chain gives you access to a helpful friend to travel by your side. You obtain the spell Find Familiar when taking this boon, and you can cast it like a ritual. What&#;s more, it does not count against your total number of known spells. When you familiar is present, you can forgo an attack and allow them to make an attack with their reaction.

You have access to all of the traditional familiars when you cast this spell. On top of that you also get four special options: an imp, a pseudodragon, a quasit, or a sprite. These options are notably more powerful than standard familiars.

the imp is arguably the best of the four. These creatures can fly, turn invisible, have improved Darkvision, hold multiple resistances and immunities, and much more. They are a great option if your party lacks a dedicated scout. It deals a poison attack that is decent at low levels, but it doesn&#;t scale as you advance. It can also morph into a raven, allowing you to take it with you most places.

The pseudodragon is another favorite. It has the best flight speed of the four and benefits from keen senses, but the total package is not as strong as an imp.

A quasit isn&#;t necessarily a bad option. It has most of the advantages as an imp, but it can&#;t fly. In other words, there&#;s not a lot of reasons to choose one over an imp.

Sprites are also nice as they have invisibility and flight. There is also little reason to select one over an Imp, though.

Pact of the Tome

My favorite option, Pact of the Tome is ideal for spellcasters. Your boon comes in the form of a Book of Shadows, which is a grimoire that contains three additional cantrips. This is a powerful option as these spells can come from any class. As long as the book is with you, you are able to cast these cantrips at will and they do not count against the number of spells you know. You use your warlock spellcasting ability regardless of the class these spells are home to.

This is hard to pass up for a spellcaster. The standard warlock does not get as many cantrips as a wizard, but this option gives them more. The warlock spell list is heavy on attack spells and light on utility, so you could benefit from choosing helpful utility spells that could benefit your party.

Should you lose your book, you can spend an hour-long ritual to have your patron provide you with a new copy. The old copy is then destroyed.

Mystic Arcanum (Level 11)

The Mystic Arcanum is a feature for every warlock, but it is tied closely with the warlock spellcasting system. We will discuss Mystic Arcanum in detail in the spellcasting section, but note at levels 11, 13, 15, and 17 your warlock will gain access to a single sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth level warlock spell. This is the only mechanism for warlocks to gain spells above Level 5.

Optional Class Features

As is the case with every class, the warlock gained a series of optional class features in Tasha&#;s Cauldron of Everything. In fact, the warlock picked up as much if not more than any other class.

Additional Warlock Spells

Like all casting classes, the warlock added new spells to the class spell list. These spells include:

  • Booming Blade
  • Green-Flame Blame
  • Lightning Lure
  • Mind Sliver
  • Sword Burst
  • Intellect Fortress
  • Spirit Shroud
  • Summon Fey
  • Summon Shadowspawn
  • Summon Undead
  • Summon Aberration
  • Mislead
  • Planar Binding
  • Teleportation Circle
  • Summon Fiend
  • Tasha&#;s Otherwordly Guise
  • Dream of the Blue Veil
  • Blade of Disaster
  • Gate
  • Weird

Pact Boon Options

The warlock now has a fourth pact boon option: the Pact of the Talisman.

Pact of the Talisman

Your patron gives you an amulet that provides certain benefits. You can use the talisman to add 1d4 to a failed ability check, potentially changing the result. This can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus before you need a long rest. You can replace the talisman with a 1-hour ceremony.

Eldritch Versatility (Level 4)

Each time you are granted an Ability Score Improvement, you can swap out a cantrip learned through your Pact Magic feature for another on the Warlock spell list. You can also change Pact Boon features. At Level 12, you can replace a spell from the Mystic Arcanum feature with another.

Eldritch Invocation Options

  • Bond of the Talisman (Min. Level 12). Pact of the Talisman warlocks can lend their talisman to another person. Both you and the wearer can teleport to each other.
  • Eldritch Mind. You get advantage on Constitution saving throws when maintaining spell concentration.
  • Far Scribe (Min. Level 5). A pact of the tome warlock can use their Book of Shadows to cast Sending to a set list of creatures without using a spell slot.
  • Gift of the Protectors (Min. Level 9). A Pact of the Tome warlock can allow allies to write their name in their Book of Shadows. These allies return to 1 hp when they are reduced to zero.
  • Investment of the Chain Master. A Pact of the Chain warlock grants their familiar additional powers including flying speed, swim speed, the ability to attack, resistance to damage, or the power to deal magical damage. Additionally, this boon could be used to let a familiar use your spell save DC when making a creature make a saving throw.
  • Protection of the Talisman (Level 7). A pact of the Talisman warlock can now not only add 1d4 to failed ability checks, but also failed saving throws as well.
  • Rebuke of the Talisman. A pact of the Talisman warlock could use something similar to hellish rebuke, not only dealing psychic damage when attacked by an enemy but also pushing them 10 feet away.
  • Undying Servitude (Min. Level 5). You can cast animate dead without the use of a spell slot once per long rest.

Patrons &#; Warlock Subclasses

See Our Warlock Patron Rankings!

At six official subclasses, the Warlock has an average number of options. More than the artificer, less than the cleric, and roughly the same as the druid, fighter, or barbarian among others.

Each of these Patrons offers their followers an expanded spell list and four or five exclusive, powerful features.

Each subclass breaks down by the type of patron a warlock serves. Our Warlock 5E Guide breaks down each of the eight options individually below.

The Archfey

See our Complete Archfey Warlock Guide!

The Archfey Warlock is bound to a powerful entity from another plane, known as a fey. While these creatures are essentially faeries, the archfey are enormously powerful beings that have crossed from the Feywild. This is a subclass centered on illusion and deception, but not for anyone seeking an optimal build.

  • Expanded Spell List. The first level spells are the highlight here, as Faerie Fire and Sleep are strong options given how Warlock spellcasting works. There are a lot of situatonal spells in the mid levels like Phantasmal Force of Plant Growth. At the high end, Dominate Person and Greater Invisibility are two of the best spells out there.
  • Fey Presence (Level 1). Using this requires a wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC. All creatures that fail are charmed or frightened. While this is decent crowd control, most of the time things are not going well if there are lots of creatures within 10 feet of your spellcasting warlock.
  • Misty Escape (Level 6). Any time you take damage you can turn invisible and teleport 60 feet away as your reaction. This is exceptional against big monsters with multiple attacks.
  • Beguiling Defenses (Level 10). You are immune to Charm and turn the effect back on the caster if they fail a Wisdom saving throw. Very situational but potentially hilarious.
  • Dark Delirium (Level 14). You plunge a hostile creature into an illusory realm. If they fail a Wisdom saving throw, they are charmed or frightened for one minute or until they take damage or your concentration is broken. Somewhat lackluster, but lots of fun flavor possible with putting someone into a dream world you control.

The Celestial

See our complete Celestial Warlock Guide!

A powerful being from the Upper Planes, a Celestial is not a god &#; but it might as well be. These amazing creatures bask in the light that illuminates the multiverse, and they will let you bask in the glow a little if you are faithful.

The Celestial aims as a sort of cleric-lite version of the Warlock, but its weird mix of spells leaves many better options for both dealing damage or healing.

  • Expanded Spell List. At Level 3, Revivify is the gold standard on this spell list. For almost everything else there is probably a better option or a character in your party that does it better already. Given your limited slots, ideally you have another healer so you can skip Cure Wounds or Greater Restoration.
  • Bonus Cantrips. You get Light and Scared Flame. You cast them both as warlock cantrips but they do not count toward your limit, which is awesome.
  • Healing Light (Level 1). Healing Light gives you a d6 of hit points to spread around for each level of warlock you have. You can apply them as a bonus action to any creature you can see within 60 feet. They regenerate after a long rest.
  • Radiant Soul (Level 6). You gain resistance to radiant damage, and add your Charisma modifier when you deal radiant or fire damage. This is a nice boost for Sacred Flame.
  • Celestial Resistance (Level 10). You get your warlock level plus charisma modifier&#;s worth of temporary HP after a short or long rest. Even better, 5 of your party gets half that value.
  • Searing Vengeance (Level 14). Instead of making a death saving throw, regain half your max hitpoints, leap to your feet, blind any creature of your choice within 30 feet and deal 2d8 + Charisma modifier radiant damage. Awesome stuff.

The Fathomless

See our complete The Fathomless Guide!

The Fathomless warlock serves a great creature from the deep. This subclass is very thematic, functioning primarily as an aquatic archetype. Of course, that&#;s not ideal for non-naval campaigns.

  • Expanded Spell List. Very situational spells, many of which require the presence of water. You do get Bigby&#;s Hand and Silence, which are always fun.
  • Tentacle of the Deeps (Level 1). You can summon a foot spectral tentacle within 60 feet of you. You can control it for one minute, using it to attack with cold damage on nearby creatures. This is a decent damage option at level 1.
  • Gift of the Sea. (Level 1). You can breathe underwater and your swim speed is 40 feet. This is great for naval campaigns and a waste in most other situations.
  • Oceanic Soul (Level 6). You get resistance to cold damage, which is useful. You can also be understood by allies when speaking underwater, which is situational. Together, this pretty weak for a level 6 feature.
  • Guardian Coil (Level 6). Guardian Coil makes up for Oceanic Soul. You can use your reaction to reduce damage to a creature within 10 feet of your tentacle. Given that you likely have reactions to spare, this is great with a little planning.
  • Grasping Tentacles (Level 10). You can cast Evard&#;s black tentacles without the use of a spell slot once per long rest. Casting it this way also gives you temporary hit points.
  • Fathomless Plunge (Level 14). You can use Fathomless Plunge to teleport up to five allies to a body of water within 1 mile. This could be useful as an emergency escape but is very situational. If you have a larger party or are traveling with NPCs, the five-creature limit could be a problem.

The Genie

See our Genie Patron Guide

Another subclass option from Tasha&#;s Cauldron, the Genie patron is one of the strongest archetypes available. You get a range of spells depending on the type of genie that is your patron, and there are good options from top to bottom.

  • Expanded Spell List. One of the unique aspects of the subclass is the spell list. When you choose the type of genie patron you have, you get specific spells based on that choice. While all of the options are decent, the Dao spell list is excellent from top to bottom.
  • Genie&#;s Vessel (Level 1). You get a genie bottle! You can use it as a spellcasting focus, which is great flavor. The abilities that come with the bottle are also tied to your choice of genie type. You can not only enter the vessel and hide within it but also deal damage when you are hit with an attack roll. The type of damage is determined by your type of genie.
  • Elemental Gift (Level 6). Elemental Gift is great. FIrst, you get 10 minutes of flying speed without the need to concentrate on a spell. What&#;s more, you get some damage resistance based on your type of genie.
  • Sanctuary Vessel (Level 10). Your whole party can fit in the genie bottle! You can hide the bottle somewhere discreet and take a fairly safe short rest, which is solid. Did I mention you only need 10 minutes for a short rest? Good stuff here.
  • Limited Wish (Level 14). Limited Wish gives you the effect of a spell that is level 6 or lower. You don&#;t need spell components and you don&#;t use a spell slot. This is so good you can only use it once per 1d4 long rests.

The Fiend

See our complete Fiend Warlock Guide!

Serving a Fiend from the Lower Planes has its advantages if you are a spellcaster. This is a straightforward offensive subclass that spits out a ton of fire damage. Easily the most optimized subclass unless you want to play with a Hexblade.

  • Expanded Spell List. Warlocks all have good options for dealing damage to a single foe, but this list offers several good AOE ways to blast bad guys. Burnie Hands is nice early on and Fireball is also hard to beat. In addition to damage, Stinking Cloud offers nice crowd control while Wall of Fire does a little of both.
  • Dark One&#;s Blessing (Level 1). Any time you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points you pick up temporary HP equal to your Charisma modifier plus warlock level. Ready to hunt for final hits like this was a MOBA?
  • Dark One&#;s Own Luck (Level 6). Available every time you take a short or long rest, you can add d10 to an ability check or saving role. This can be used after the initial roll before the DM announces the outcome.
  • Fiendish Resilience (Level 10). This feature lets you pick one type of damage to be resistant to. You can change it after a short or long rest, and it does not work against silver or magical weapons. It is a good way to obtain hard-to-find resistances to things like psychic damage.
  • Hurl Through Hell (Level 14). Hurling an opponent through the lower planes when you hit them with an attack is brutal. They disappear until the end of your next turn. When they come back from the hell voyage they take 10d10 psychic damages unless they are a fiend. Super powerful, but only available again after a long rest.

The Great Old One

See our complete Great Old One Warlock Guide!

This patron is foreign and unknowable, likely coming from another reality or from before time began in your realm. This subclass focuses on harnessing the power of alien knowledge, but it is a bit of a hodge-podge mechanically.

  • Expanded Spell List. By far the most utility options available for a warlock. Dissonant whispers is a nice control spell at level one, while higher level spells like Dominate Persona and Telekinesis are exceptional. There are also options that may not be worth a spell slot like Sending or Detect Thoughts.
  • Awakened Mind (Level 1). You can communicate telepathically with any creature within 30 feet that understands at least one language.
  • Entropic Ward (Level 6). As a reaction, you can impose disadvantage for an attack against you. If the attack fails, you get advantage should you attack that same creature by the end of your next turn. You cannot use this feature again without a short or long rest.
  • Thought Shield (Level 10). A cool but situational feature. You are resistant to psychic damage, and the creature that deals that damage to you suffers the same in return. Also, another creature cannot read your thoughts.
  • Create Thrall (Level 14). Touching an incapacitated humanoid allows you t fill their mind with the power of your patron. That creature remains charmed until Remove Curse is used against them. This a tweaked version of Dominate Person that is very powerful.

The Hexblade

See our complete Hexblade Warlock 5E Guide!

The Hexblade is by far the most unique type of Warlock subclass. While spellcasting plays a role, this subclass centers around melee combat using weapons that channel the power of your patron. These patrons &#; sentient weapons brought to life by unknown entities &#; offer features that go hand in hand with Pact of the Blade.

  • Expanded Spell List. These spells adopt a number of paladin spells, but they are an awkward fit as they do not scale well. The early level spells like Wrathful Smite and Searing Smite are largely wasted. Things pick up at level three with Elemental Weapon. This turns a magical weapon &#; which includes a pact blade &#; into a magical weapon. Banishing Smite and Cone of Cold are also strong options.
  • Hexblade&#;s Curse (Level 1). You curse an enemy for one minute. During that time you gain benefits including adding your proficiency bonus to damages rolls, critical hits when you roll 19, and regained HP worth your warlock level + charisma modifier if the target dies while cursed.
  • Hex Warrior (Level 1). You are proficient with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. Any weapon, including pact weapons, are rolled with your charisma modifier for attack and damage instead of strength or dexterity.
  • Accursed Specter (Level 6). You can bind a person you slay as a specter. They rise from the dead with HP equal to half your warlock level. It will follow your command, can attack, and gets an attack roll bonus equal to your charisma modifier.
  • Armor of Hexes (Level 10). When the target of a Hexblade curse hits you, roll d6. A four or higher means the attack missed.
  • Master of Hexes (Level 14). When the target of Hexblade Curse dies you can transfer it to another target within 30 feet.

The Undying

See our complete Undying Warlock 5E Guide!

As the patron of a being that has achieved everlasting life, you can enjoy the knowledge of avoiding damage and dealing with the dead. While the notion of a tanky, survivable warlock sounds good, this misses the mark.

  • Expanded Spell List. There are decent options here, but the list suffers from overlap with other warlock powers and situational spells that are not always helpful. Blindness and Silence are useful, and Contagion is cool for a Pact of the Blade build.
  • Among the Dead (Level 1). You obtain Spare the Dying but can use it as a warlock cantrip. Also, undead that attack you must make a Wisdom saving through. If they fail, they must target their attack at someone else or forfeit their action. If they succeed they are immune to Among the Dead for 24 hours.
  • Defy Death (Level 6). The most interesting aspect of an Undying Warlock is Defy Death, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it only works once per long rest. With it, you gain 1d8 + your constitution modifier in HP for a death saving throw or when you stabilize someone with spare the dying.
  • Undying Nature (Level 10). You don&#;t need food, water, air, or sleep. You only age one year for every 10 that passes. Unfortunately, this is virtually useless in most campaigns.
  • Indestructible Life (Level 14). You can reattach a severed body part once after a long or short rest. Additionally, you get a bonus action to regain 1d8 plus your warlock level in HP. While this is not a ton of healing, using it again after a short rest makes it valuable.

warlock 5e

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Spellcasting

See our Breakdown of the Best Warlock Spells in 5E!

When it comes to spellcasting, the system in 5E works differently compared to other classes. While Wizards have to worry about spell slots and preparing spells, warlocks do not. The ease with which warlocks use their Pact Magic at earlier levels gives way to the more limited and complex options at higher levels.

Each class has a spellcasting ability that they use in the spell-related rolls, and Warlock is no different. The warlock relies on Charisma as their spellcasting ability. When casting a spell you use your charisma modifier plus your proficiency bonus. Some spells also require you to set a Spell Save DC; you will add your proficiency bonus and your charisma modifier to the number 8 to set this save DC.

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

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Warlock Spell Slots

Unlike wizards and most other spellcasting classes, warlocks do not have a set number of spell slots they can cast at each spell level. Instead, the spell level of each of their spells (other than cantrips) increases as they level up. For example, a level two warlock knows three spells and has two spell slots. Each of these spell slots are at level one. This means they must be level one spells. the Warlock can cast any combination of the three spells they know twice before a short or long rest. This is a powerful benefit, as many classes only regain spells after a long rest. It is a tradeoff however, as warlocks general have fewer slots or spells than other casters.

Continuing the example, consider a level 5 warlock. At this level, the warlock knows six spells but still only has two spell slots. However, these slots are now at level 3. This means the warlock can cast any combination of the six level-one, two, or three spells they know twice. When they do so, lower level spells like Charm Person are more powerful according to the language of the spell.

While recovering your spells on a short rest is awesome, only have two spell slots until you reach level 11 is pretty limiting. You will only get to cast two higher-level spells per fight typically. The good news is that Warlock cantrips are some of the best in the game, and you can build your entire offense around spamming Eldritch Blast.

Using Mystic Arcanum for High-Level Spells

Looking at the Warlock Table, you will notice that the warlock&#;s spell slot level tops out at 5. This is much lower than the 9 levels of spells other classes get! Fear not. While not ideal, warlocks do get access to higher-level spells thanks to the Mystic Arcanum feature discussed above.

With Mystic Arcanum, a warlock gets a level 6,7,8, and 9 spell. This occurs when a warlock reaches levels 11, 13, 15, and 17 respectively. The Arcanum is the only way for a warlock to get spells above level five. Choose wisely, as the Arcanum only allows you to take one from each of the six levels.

The rules for these spells are different, too. Unlike spells on level 1 through 5, the four spells you pick up with Mystic Arcanum may only be recovered after a long rest. On the positive side, they do not take up a spell slot. This means you can cast cantrips at will, as many level spells as your slots allow, and each of the four higher-level spells once per day.

Warlock Spellcasting Focus

A Warlock may use an item as their spellcasting focus. By using this arcane focus, a warlock can cast spells without the need to possess minor necessary components. Functionally, this is the same as having a spellcasting focus as they both have the same effect. In fact, when you select your starting equipment you can choose from either option. For flavor purposes, you could use anything from a magic wand, an orb, or a staff as your focus. It cannot be a weapon, however.

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Fleshing Out Your Warlock

For me, the term warlock sounds something more akin to a low-level underlying in the service of a Big Bad Evil Guy at the end of a quest. Instead, they are a deep and interesting 5E class that I have come to really enjoy.

For many, building a warlock is about optimizing a character&#;s abilities and spells. If that applies to you, this section might be of limited interest. If you are interested in delving deeper into your character, we have a few tips to consider. Outside of general roleplaying tips for the warlock class, we also offer some suggestions for patrons.

Selecting Your Patron

You have a lot of leeway with selecting a patron. Moreso than the Cleric does when choosing a god. There are far more patrons than gods, and many of them are clouded in secrecy. In cases like with Hexblade Warlocks, you might not be entirely sure who your patron even is.

However, there are some well-known patrons highlighted in the Player&#;s Handbook. Below are some examples of patrons in the Forgotten Realms.

Forgotten Realms Patrons

Archfey Patrons
  • Queen Titania
  • Oberon
  • Queen of Air and Darkness
  • Hyrsam
  • Price of Fools
  • Prince of Frost
  • Lurue, the Unicorn Queen
  • Relkath of the Infinite Branches
  • Verenestra the Oak Princess
  • Sarula Iliene the Nixie Queen
  • Neifion, Lord of Bats
  • Aurilandür the Frost Sprite Queen
Celestial Patrons

The handbook does not list specific examples of celestial patrons, but they generally come from the following types of beings:

  • Empyrean
  • Ki-rin
  • Solars
  • Unicorns
  • Devas
  • Light Aasimon
  • Planetars
Fiend Patrons
  • Baazka
  • Demogorgon
  • Eltab
  • Errtu
  • Gargauth
  • Lolth
  • Lorcan
  • Orcus
  • Malkizid
  • Wendonai
Great Old One Patrons
  • Dendar
  • Ghaunadaur
  • Kezef
  • Tyranthraxus
  • The Great Mother
  • Zargon
Hexblade Patrons

Hexblade patrons are mysterious, and the language surrounding them is confusing. Technically, your patron is an unknown being from Shadowfell (Maybe the Raven Queen?) that has manifested itself in a sentient weapon. So while your patron may be unknown to you, the weapon isn&#;t. Below are a few potential patrons behind these weapons.

  • The Raven Queen
  • Drasek Riven
  • The Ghost King
Undying Patrons
  • Larloch the Shadow King
  • Gilgeam, God-King of Unther
  • Vol, the Githyanki Queen

Roleplaying a Warlock

The most important thing about playing a warlock is to avoid letting the backstory get in the way of a good time. Unless your DM is unreasonably strict, you should have plenty of leeway to explain how a character of your alignment has ended up in a pact with a demon or demigod.

Alignment Issues

One of the central parts of every warlock&#;s story is how they came to be bound to their patron. This can be sticky for some characters, given that a large number of patrons are chaotic evil demons or demi-gods.

Thankfully, there are countless ways to explain how your good or neutral character finds itself in the service of something evil. After all, not all pacts are made on purpose. Some circumstances where you could explain making a pact with an evil being include:

  • Tricked into a pact
  • Agreed to a pact as the only way of avoiding certain death
  • Accidentally entering a pact by reading an ancient tome
  • Forced into a pact against your will
  • Tricked by an evil patron pretending to be good

Remember, you are possible one of hundreds of warlocks serving a patron. Humanoids are barely on the radar for these beings, which means they are hardly watching your every move. This means you should be free to live your life undisturbed &#; for the most part.

Intraparty Conflict

There are obvious potential for conflicts among your own party. If your warlock travels with certain types of paladins or clerics, having a pact with a demon could be a sticking point. There are a few things to consider in this situation.

First of all, you can always lie. Unlike with clerics who use the symbol of their god to focus divine power, you can mostly avoid sharing who your patron is.

In fact, there are many cases when you might not be sure. A Hexblade Warlock may only know of the sentient weapon that channels their patron, not the patron itself. The same is true for some Great Old Ones that remain shrouded in mystery.

Warlock 5E Optimization Tips

There are a lot of different ways to go with your warlock. Unfortunately, many of them can be less than optimal. Below, we discuss squeezing the most out of your character sheet.

Ability Selection

There are two general paths most warlocks take: spellcasters and Pact of the Blade/Hexblade melee builds. Thankfully, both options center around the same ability: charisma. The only time this is not the case is if you select Pact of the Blade but do not opt for a Hexblade patron. Taking that path makes little sense from an optimization standpoint.

  • Strength. Most of the time this is a dump stat. You may want to invest some points if you are a Hexblade Warlock, however, for situations where you are grappled in close-quarter combat.
  • Dexterity. Dexterity is important for your armor class, given you are unlikely to be wearing armor outside of a Hexblade Warlock. Using standard array this should likely be your third-highest trait for the AC boost alone.
  • Constitution. Constitution is always important. I generally recommend to rank this second in the standard array.
  • Intelligence. You will generally only use this for intelligence skill checks. If you make use of those, it is recommended to rank this fourth in the standard array distribution. However, if you lack these skills or don&#;t care about them I would drop it below wisdom.
  • Wisdom. You will generally only use this for saving throws. It ranks near the bottom of importance, just above strength.
  • Charisma. Your top priority. Spellcasters rely on Charisma, and Hexblade Warlocks use it for both their attack and damage rolls. Max it out.

Best Races for Warlock in 5E

For many, a lot of weight goes into race selection when building a warlock. While the race is important, some guides go overboard in labeling races &#;bad&#; or &#;useless&#; as warlocks.

It is true some options are better than others, especially at lower levels. Given the importance of charisma, any race that provides a bonus to that attribute is a strong option. However, these +1 or +2 bonuses matter less at the higher levels. With that in mind, don&#;t avoid the race you really want to play just because it lacks a +2 charisma boost.

Strong Options

  • Aasimar. Hard to beat an Aasimar from a stats perspective. You have to like the +2 to charisma and the resistance bonuses. Healing Hands is also helpful in a class that does not offer a lot of healing options.
  • Half-Elf. The bonus to charisma is great, as is Darkvision. You can also get some useful additional spells as a Drow.
  • Human. Humans are essentially good at anything. You can take a boost in charisma and still have room for a feat.
  • Tiefling. Tiefling is an excellent fit both for the +2 in charisma as well as the bonus spells. By level 5 you have picked up a cantrip and two new spells that do not take up a spell slot. You even use charisma to cast them. Add in Darkvision and you have the makings of a strong warlock.
  • Yuan-Ti Pureblood. These snake creatures get +2 to charisma, which is a good place to start. Immunity to poison and resistance to magic are also excellent. Given a warlock&#;s limited spell slots, the innate spellcasting is the highlight, though. You add poison spray, animal friendship, and suggestion as you level up, and you do not need spell slots to use them. Even better, you use charisma to cast them.

Decent Options

  • Dragonborn. No matter the subrace, your Dragonborn gets a +1 to charisma. This is useful, as is the inclusion of a breath weapon in combination with a Pact of the Blade build.
  • Elf. The dexterity bonuses are not ideal but still useful. That said, a Drow or Eladrin Elf gets a bonus to Charisma and offers some other benefits.
  • Tabaxi. +1 to charisma and +2 to dexterity is one of the better attribute bonus spreads, all things considered. For spellcasters, Cat&#;s Claws and Feline Agility can help you avoid melee combat. Darkvision is always nice, too.

Limited Value

  • Aarakocra
  • Bugbear
  • Dwarf
  • Firbolg
  • Genasi
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Goliath
  • Half-Orc
  • Halfling
  • Hobgoblin
  • Kenku
  • Kobold
  • Lizardfolk
  • Orc
  • Tortle

Best Available Backgrounds

While there are countless backgrounds for 5E, many of them do little for a warlock. There is little in the way of tools that will be of interest to most warlocks, which makes optimizing your character about adding languages and skills. Our suggested backgrounds center on charisma or commonly used intelligence skills, as well as the potential for adding a language or two.

  • Cloistered Scholar. Two languages and two useful intelligence skills.
  • Courtier. Two languages, a charisma skill, and insight. A very good option.
  • Criminal. A charisma skill in Deception, plus always helpful stealth. Could provide a fun backstory involving stealing a sacred tome that bound you to your patron.
  • Faction Agent. Two languages, insight, and your choice of a strong party face skill.
  • Far Traveler. Add a language and get two useful skills in insight and perception.
  • Urban Bounty Hunter. The only option to pick up two charisma skills, or you could take stealth or insight. There is a lot of good options in this single background.

Suggested Feats

There are many feats available, should you choose to pursue them. While many of them are good under any circumstance, it is questionable how many are more valuable than an additional level of charisma for your warlock.

  • Alert. Alert is good for anyone, but especially a warlock. When you only have two or three high-level spells, you could benefit from getting them cast early. Plus, the earlier you go the more round of Eldritch Blast you can get off.
  • Inspiring Leader. This is a strong option for a warlock given the focus on charisma. You can spend ten minutes following a short rest pumping up six party members, including yourself. At the end, they each get temporary HP in the amount of your level plus your charisma modifier. This can turn into a pretty nice HP boost.
  • Spell Sniper. My personal favorite for a warlock. Your attack spell range doubles and you ignore half and three-quarters cover. This is amazing for Eldritch Blast. Even better, you pick up your choice of cantrip from any class. However, the attack roll use the spellcasting ability of the original class. With that in mind, you likely want to select a Charisma spelling from the sorcerer, bard, or warlock list. Fire Bolt from the sorcerer&#;s list is a nice option.
  • War Caster. While not as imperative to use this compared to some cleric builds, War Caster is nevertheless valuable if you intend to use Hex a lot.

Multiclassing

Warlock is a good candidate for multiclassing. I would generally avoid taking more than three levels in another class, however, as taking a 9th level spell at Level 17 is probably more valuable than a fourth level in anything else. Don&#;t forget to check out our comprehensive Multiclassing 5E Guide while you&#;re here!

Good Multiclassing Options for Warlock

Bard

There are some nice options for taking a dip into Bard. Their spell options are useful given that they require Charisma to cast, and you get a fair few of them with a single level of bard. You also pick up Bardic Inspiration.

At two levels of bard you get Jack of All Trades, which is a fantastic boost to all ability checks. That and learning an extra bard spell aren&#;t bad at all.

Three levels of bard is also nice option. You not only get access to second level bard spells, but you select a Bard Collega and the substantial benefits that come with it.

Fighter

If you are playing a Hexblade Warlock, a fighter multiclass is not perfectly optimized since the proficiencies overlap. However, a fighting style could be useful and action surge is excellent for any warlock. A fighter isn&#;t a bad option for Pact of the Tome warlocks either, as it gives useful armor proficiencies to beef up your AC, and Action Surge could be used for your Eldritch Blast spam.

Paladin

Paladin is one of the best multiclass options for both Hexblade and Pact of the Tome warlocks. You gain proficiency in heavy armor and shields, which can really boost your tank. Paladins also use charisma for casting, which makes their spells viable.

At level one, you are primarily gaining proficiencies and a few spells as Lay on Hands is limited by your low paladin level. However, at level 2 you get a Fighting Style which is great for Hexblade Warlocks. At Level three you get the substantial power that comes with a Paladin Oath.

Going all the way to Level 5 might not be worth it in many cases, but it will net you an additional attack each turn.

Sorcerer

While a decent fit, sorcerers may not be as powerful of an option as they immediately seem. Their spells might use charisma, but you can only use them once per long rest outside of cantrips. While you can use sorcerer points to create new spell slots or twin your spells, your low sorcerer level limit what is available. For example, three levels in Sorcerer only gets you three sorcerer points and two Metamagic options in addition to a few spells. While nice, it is debatable if it is more valuable than stacking up levels of warlock. Sorcerer multiclassing also makes little sense if you take the Pact of the Blade / Hexblade route.

Avoidable Options

  • Artificer. Not worth giving up higher-level warlock traits.
  • Barbarian. The inability to cast during rage makes this a poor choice.
  • Druid. Not worth giving up higher-level warlock traits.
  • Monk. Not worth giving up higher-level warlock traits.
  • Ranger. Not worth giving up higher-level warlock traits.
  • Rogue. Not worth giving up higher-level warlock traits.
  • Wizard. Requires high intelligence, which is unlikely with most warlock builds.

Concluding our Warlock 5E Guide

After all those words, I think the best way to wrap up our 5E Warlock Guide is to say your options generally boil down to a spellcasting warlock or Hexblade warlock. There are countless ways to flesh these characters out, but if you care about optimizing your character there are several patrons and boons worth skipping.

Did we answer all your questions? If not, hit us up in the comment section below and let us know!

Related

Sours: https://www.nerdsandscoundrels.com/warlock-5e/
Davvy's D\u0026D 5e Warlock Guide

But the first hole in its path is the pop. I felt like his hot tongue slipped through it. He began to lick her old, and even tried to penetrate deeper.

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This thought has tormented me since the. Morning. I wanted to part with all my obstacles and fully enjoy life ) The teenage oath before the wedding "no, no" was betrayed.



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