Content of the article: "I’m tired of the “edgy warlock” aesthetic"
I'm not talking about character art – that's your PC, you do you. I'm talking about the iconography, tokens, spells, etc. Homebrew warlock item? It's cursed! Class-specific character sheet? Add tentacles! Warlock tokens? Black. Dress 'em in black. Maybe some red, you know, for "reasons".
I blame WotC in no small part for this. Of the three original patrons, 2/3 have a grim or horrorific vibe. And don't get me started on the complete absence of canon information on the Fey Courts. I have a Tiefling Warlock at my table (a character type that makes not a small number of DMs instinctively cringe). She's got an Archfey pact with Siobhan. I can find exactly two paragraphs about her anywhere, and all they do is raise more questions than they answer. I made up everything else out of whole cloth.
But I love her character. She's got a sailor background, and her mission is to become a mermaid. And while a reverse Ariel might sound silly to us, within the context of a fantasy world it's a completely reasonable and serious goal. There's a lot of laughter at my table, but she plays her motivations and relationship with her patron straight. But Siobhan help me (if she even can because, again, who freaking knows what she does) if I can find warlock imagery that fits with an Archfey.
It just doesn't make sense. Warlock is such a versatile class. A patron could be ANY sufficiently powerful entity, from a genie to a celestial to a Seeker. An ancient dragon would make a kickass patron. Hell, a street urchin could find a sentient sword as a child and make a pact with it. There's a universe of immensely powerful beings to choose from.
Because that's the bond that unites all warlocks. The Pact. The Pact is what makes a warlock a warlock. And I wish the general aesthetics leaned into that. Focusing only on the gothic horror or grimdark subtype is like DC Movies basing every Batman off of Dark Knight and Long Halloween. That's a Batman. But it's a far cry from the only Batman (or THE Batman but that's another rant). After a while, that version overtakes public perception, and Grimdark Batman is… Batman. It becomes a self-fulfilling cycle.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
- Hexblade/Swords Bard is reluctantly bonded to a sentient sword with the personality of a Pumpkin Spice Latte Valley-Girl. What should the sword say during battle? Any ideas for weird rituals, triggers, or songs it would sing that I should keep in mind?
- Cool warlock-patron relationship aspects?
- Convince me to make my warlock not a hexblade.
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