Content of the article: "Things You Should Know About: The Warlock Class"
Not every warlock is on good terms with their patron, nor is every patron happy with their warlock. What is the relationship like between your warlock and their patron? Is the patron gentle and supportive? Stern an harsh when their will is ignored? Does your patron mock you or belittle you as its servant? Does your warlock fear their patron? Is the patron inscrutable in their motivations, or capricious and difficult to predict?
I'm trying to start a series of articles about different topics in D&D and similar RPGs. Specifically, I want to bring some context to terms that have become really common in these kinds of stories, but it feels like we might not know much about in reality (words like paladin, monk, lock-picking, pirate, barbarian, etc). And while I'm at it, I have a number of thoughts about a lot of these topics which I would bring to my players to shape how they view their characters and the setting they're playing in.
Quick shoutout, but a lot of my inspiration for this stuff comes from Gm Word of the Week. It's a podcast I've been listening to for a few years now, and it's full of insightful stuff like this from Fiddleback. And if you want to branch out from that, one of the collaborators on the early episodes of that podcast is The Angry GM, who writes a lot of articles on the subject of playing D&D. I'll probably get my research from other sources, but I already know that a lot of the stuff I bring up will come from these guys, so I figure I'll go ahead and source them (plus, if you aren't already checking their stuff out, they're pretty great even after several years of content).
This time, we're going to talk about the warlock class, and what they're all about. They’re a fairly young class to the D&D universe, with a fresh take on the arcane spellcaster classes.
The Warlock in 5e
The 5e PHB has this to say about warlocks (Please be aware, this quote comes from the Warlock page on DnD Beyond, a free resource provided by Wizards of the Coast):
With a pseudodragon curled on his shoulder, a young elf in golden robes smiles warmly, weaving a magical charm into his honeyed words and bending the palace sentinel to his will.
As flames spring to life in her hands, a wizened human whispers the secret name of her demonic patron, infusing her spell with fiendish magic.
Shifting his gaze between a battered tome and the odd alignment of the stars overhead, a wild-eyed tiefling chants the mystic ritual that will open a doorway to a distant world.
Warlocks are seekers of the knowledge that lies hidden in the fabric of the multiverse. Through pacts made with mysterious beings of supernatural power, warlocks unlock magical effects both subtle and spectacular. Drawing on the ancient knowledge of beings such as fey nobles, demons, devils, hags, and alien entities of the Far Realm, warlocks piece together arcane secrets to bolster their own power.
Sworn and Beholden
A warlock is defined by a pact with an otherworldly being. Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods. A warlock might lead a cult dedicated to a demon prince, an archdevil, or an utterly alien entity—beings not typically served by clerics. More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron’s behalf.
The magic bestowed on a warlock ranges from minor but lasting alterations to the warlock’s being (such as the ability to see in darkness or to read any language) to access to powerful spells. Unlike bookish wizards, warlocks supplement their magic with some facility at hand-to-hand combat. They are comfortable in light armor and know how to use simple weapons.
Delvers into Secrets
Warlocks are driven by an insatiable need for knowledge and power, which compels them into their pacts and shapes their lives. This thirst drives warlocks into their pacts and shapes their later careers as well.
Stories of warlocks binding themselves to fiends are widely known. But many warlocks serve patrons that are not fiendish. Sometimes a traveler in the wilds comes to a strangely beautiful tower, meets its fey lord or lady, and stumbles into a pact without being fully aware of it. And sometimes, while poring over tomes of forbidden lore, a brilliant but crazed student’s mind is opened to realities beyond the material world and to the alien beings that dwell in the outer void.
Once a pact is made, a warlock’s thirst for knowledge and power can’t be slaked with mere study and research. No one makes a pact with such a mighty patron if he or she doesn’t intend to use the power thus gained. Rather, the vast majority of warlocks spend their days in active pursuit of their goals, which typically means some kind of adventuring. Furthermore, the demands of their patrons drive warlocks toward adventure.
Mechanically, warlocks in this edition have the following traits and abilities:
- Warlocks are presented with many of the traits of a spellcasting class, with little focus on martial combat. They only get proficiency in light armor and simple weapons. However, warlocks get a d8 for a hit die, which makes them marginally more sturdy in combat than most spellcasters. And one of the core subclasses of the warlock, Pact of the Blade, grants proficiency in a martial weapon, and bonuses when the warlock uses it.
- Warlocks get access to arcane magic similar to the wizard. While the wizard casts from a collection of spell slots that correspond to different spell levels, warlocks get a smaller pool of spell slots that can be used to cast spells of any level that the warlock. Spells do not need to be prepared, like the sorcerer class. The warlock gets a limited number of spells that they know, and do not have the opportunity to learn more spells except the ones gained when they level up. Warlocks also regain all of their spell slots after a short rest, which sets them apart from the other spellcasting classes.
- Warlocks have a more limited spell list than the wizards. Their list of spells seems to focus primarily on utility spells, as well as spells from the enchantment and illusion schools.
- Warlocks are encouraged to rely on their cantrip spells. They start at level one with two cantrips known, and gain up to 5 by level 20. With their small amount of spell slots, using their cantrips allows the warlock to keep casting spells after their slots are used. The cantrip unique to the warlock spell list, Eldritch Blast, is a powerful spell for its level, and of course is one of the more well known features of the class.
- While the warlock class only gets spell slots up to level 5 at later levels, they also gain knowledge and use of higher level spells as they level up. At level 11, and every two levels on, the warlock can learn one spell of level 6th, with the spell level increasing by one every time this ability advances (7th at level 13, 8th at 15, 9th at 17). These spells can be cast once, and need a long rest to be regained.
- Warlocks gain invocations as they level up, which are magical bonuses that provide a variety of effects. Many of these invocations are limited by the warlock's level, and some are limited to specific subclasses. Invocation effects include the ability to cast certain spells at will, new abilities such as darkvision and underwater breathing, and abilities granted to the warlock and their familiar. Some invocations also specifically boost the power and effectiveness of the Eldritch Blast cantrip.
- Warlocks choose a patron at character creation, a powerful magical entity (often extraplanar) who gives them access to their magic. Patrons provide a small list of additional spells the warlock can choose to learn as they level, as well as a number of abilities and effects gained as they level up.
- Warlocks also choose a pact as they level up, a subclass that offers a focus. While I try not to focus on subclasses, I felt it needed to be mentioned because a warlock is able to gain a familiar if they choose one of these pacts (Pact of the Chain). Other pacts offer the previously-mentioned weapon proficiency (Pact of the Blade), and increased knowledge of spells from any class' spell list (Pact of the Tome).
Other Editions of D&D
Warlocks were introduced to D&D in 3.5, as a non-core class included in the supplemental book Complete Arcane. They were presented as having power that was granted to them by a supernatural power, such as demons, fey, and other magical races. Warlocks in this edition had a higher hit die than most spellcasting classes: a d6 compared to the wizard's d4. They were proficient in simple weapons and light armor, compared to wizards who were proficient in simple weapons but no armor, and warlocks could cast without the risk of spell failure while wearing light armor. They had the Eldritch blast as a spell-like ability with no limit on casting; Eldritch Blast in this edition dealt 1d6 damage, compared to the 1d10 damage dealt in 5th edition. Class features for the class included resistances, resilience, and damage reduction which grew over time, and invocations. Many of these invocations altered the effects of Eldritch Blast, but others gave the warlock spell-like abilities that could be used at will.
While Pathfinder did not take the warlock class as a base class from D&D, the magus class seems to take some inspiration from the warlock’s design as a hybrid class. The class was proficient in simple and martial weapons, proficient in light armor, and able to cast in light armor without a spell failure chance. Magi has a smaller pool of spell slots than most spellcasting classes, and could only ever cast spells up to level 5. The Magus spell list was more limited than the wizard's, and focused on many spells that had a touch range. The magus was a prepared-spell class, who prepared spells at the beginning of each day using a spellbook. During a full-round action, a magus could prepare and cast a touch-range spell as part of their attack actions (they could attack with their weapon, and then cast a spell at the same time). After 1st level, the magus could also be channeled through the weapon they used, casting the spell on a successful hit instead of as a separate action.
Furthermore, the warlock did eventually make an appearance in Pathfinder, as an archetype (subclass) of the Vigilante class. The vigilante was introduced as a class for games with more of a social or intrigue focus, swapping between a charming social persona and a masked fighter personality. The warlock became a variant on this class, practicing magic in secret. Their spell list and spell slots were the same in design as the magus, with a limited pool of spell slots and only able to cast spells of level 5 or lower. They also gained the Mystic Bolts ability, which seems to take some cues from the Eldritch Blast.
In 4th edition, the warlock became a core class. It’s features were worked to match the edition’s standard power system, with limited uses that require a rest to recover. The warlock’s powers were now defined as spells in this edition. They still had the Eldritch Blast power to use at-will, as well as Warlock’s Curse, which dealt extra damage on a single successful attack. This edition also fleshed out the design of a warlock's pact with a powerful entity, separating fdifferent pacts with forces such as Fey, Infernal, and Star Pacts (meaning a powerful entity from beyond the stars). Each pact had a unique spell that warlock could use, in addition to their base class spells, and a second ability thematic to the pact they chose. The 4e warlock still had proficiency in simple weapons, and in cloth or leather armor (the lightest of armors in this edition).
Warlocks in Historical Context
The warlock, as a figure, does not have much difference in context from the wizard. Before the two words were separated in D&D, they were mostly synonymous with one another, along with witch, sorcerer, and a few other words that basically meant "person who practices magic". The flavor-text of the warlock though, the magic-user forming a pact with a powerful force, comes from a specific chapter in world history.
As mentioned in my post about the wizard class, practitioners of folk magic became the subject of a lot of aggression when the Christian church began to expand. Attempting to convert local populations who had only known their traditional cultural faiths, the church would attempt to change the perspective on many of their cultural practices. Some were co-opted into Christianity, or presented as equal to Christian practices (many Christian holidays share themes with older pagan holidays because of this, as an example). Other practices were twisted as the influence of dark forces. In this way, witches, wise men and women, and other followers of traditional folk magics were accused of gaining their power from pacts made with demons. In particular, it was popular to conjure the image of a witch who shared herself with the devil himself, bodily as well as spiritually. Many of these stories also involved the mage or witch selling their immortal soul to such a devil, as the price for their power.
This "deal with the devil", became known as the "Faustian bargain". This term comes from the play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, a Christian morality play written by Christopher Marlowe around the year 1590. In the play, Dr Faustus, a renowned scholar at the University of Wittenberg, proclaims that he has learned and mastered all of the subjects that the mortal world could teach him. He now wishes to delve into the supernatural arts, to further his knowledge, but also to further his list of accomplishments. With the help of two magicians, he summons a devil by the name of Mephistophilis, and forms a contract with the devil: in exchange for Faustus' immortal soul, the devil will serve him for 24 years on Earth, after which he will die and be condemned to Hell. Faustus uses his power in self-serving and wasteful ways, flaunting his new power in the faces of the people he considered his colleagues and rivals. He is offered the chance to repent and cast aside his bargain multiple times, but he denies the offer each time. Finally, Mephistophilis declares that Faustus' time has ended, and drags the doctor to Hell as he screams and begs for another chance to repent. This literary reference is now the source of many "deal with the devil" tropes.
You may also look to fairy tales, in which a character makes a deal with a powerful faerie, such as Rumpelstiltskin. In many of these pacts, a service that only the faerie can perform is offered in exchange for a cost, normally the character's firstborn child. Often, such tales involve the character attempting to find a loophole in the arrangement, forcing the entity to honor the letter of their agreement, even if it does not match its spirit. Other tales take the opposite approach, where the faerie reveals such a twist to bind the character to something they did not intend or wish for when they made the pact.
Context for Warlock Patrons
Of course, for the GMs reading this article, it will be valuable to have an image of the warlock's patron as well, since they have a significant working relationship. Most of the patrons envisioned by WotC have some context in literature or history. While I am focusing on patrons introduced by WotC, you could also consider other homebrew patrons along these concepts.
The classic Faustian pact: your warlock made a deal with a powerful entity of the Lower Planes: a demon lord, a pit fiend, or some other devil/demon/hellish denizen with enough power to grant magic to someone. This one seems fairly rooted in history already, as much literature on pacts assumes a deal with the Devil, or one of his many servants.
With such a pact, you may consider the agenda of the entity the warlock made contact with: In your game, are devils only interested in corrupting the souls of mortals for when they die? Do they pursue more concrete destruction in the Material Plane? Perhaps your demon lord patron is planning on rising in power in Hell or the Abyss, and he needs you to help him gain the resources necessary to stage a coup. Or perhaps an archdevil patron has an idea of how to make the Material Plane a step more Evil in alignment, and he needs a mortal tool to pull some strings on his behalf. Plunging the world into a massive war may suit a devil's purposes, as war brings out a lot of evils in a lot of people. Perhaps there is a paragon of Good in the world, and the devil thinks that the world may lose its moral compass if that paragon were gone, or if they were somehow corrupted from their moral pulpit.
You make a pact with a powerful force in the Feywild, one of the mysterious fey. Such a patron may be one of the well-known fey entities, such as the queen of the Summer or Winter Court or one of her vassals. They may be a lesser noble within those courts, but one with enough power to be a notable character. You may find a powerful third party, one who doesn't care for the fey's politics and has enough power to hold their own domain.
Fey are interesting, because by definition their motivations can be alien to those of mortals. While they may have an interest in building power in the Material Plane, some fey only care about playing with mortals for their own amusement. A warlock to such an entity might just be an agent of chaos, so that the patron can laugh at the antics they cause. Other patrons may have a particular interest in the Material Plane, which while not significant to most creatures is particularly interesting to them. Take, for example, the concept of the Wild Hunt: Many cultures of Northern Europe speak of a supernatural party of creatures who hunt for sport at certain times of the year. Perhaps in your game, the Wild Hunt is a fae organization, and they need someone to act as their harbinger in the mortal realm, or perhaps they think your warlock shows promise, and may allow them into the Hunt one day if they prove themselves to be an interesting hunting companion.
The Great Old One
You probably already know that we're going with Lovecraft on this one. The Great Old Ones exist on the edges of reality, occasionally reaching out and briefly touching the world we live in. Every time they do, their appearance can only be described as "impossible to comprehend" or "maddeningly terrible". H.P. Lovecraft is the source for much of these creatures, in his collection of cosmic horror novels. Such works as The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and The Dunwich Horror show both the terrifying presence of such an Old One, and also in some cases the personality of cultists to such a being, normally maddened by their contact with the creature.
It's a mistake to think that your warlock should be able to see the entirety of a Great Old One. The true horror of Lovecraft's works was always that these entities were just so damn big compared to the mortals who saw a glimpse of them. The experience of meeting one of the Old Ones has been compared to "an ant looking up at a human from the very bottom of at human's shoe": you know that this creature could destroy you in an instant, but also that it probably doesn't even notice that you are there. The terror of the Old Ones is more the terror of revealing that you, as a mortal being, would never be able to stop this creature if it happened to wander through your home, and it probably doesn't know, or care, that you are there.
Part of what makes the Old Ones so horrifying is also how alien they are: while many deific figures specifically resemble humans, the old ones are nightmares of writhing limbs and gnashing teeth. They don't make sense to us, because we have a view of what a corporeal creature should look like, and these things simply don't fit into it. In a similar sense, the motivations of the Old Ones would be equally alien: GMs, keep in mind that the Great Old Ones may not have any agenda to pursue that the PCs can understand. Their reasons for forming a pact with a warlock don't have to be reasonable, or have a coherent plan to them. They may not even fully understand the nature of the pact, from the perspective of the warlock.
Where a Fiend Pact is a deal with a being of the Lower Planes, a Celestial Pact is one made with a creature of the Upper Planes: an archangel, solar, ki-rin, empyrean, or some other powerful angel or non-deific being of Good. It's tricky to find a strict reference to such a pact in literature, but many tales imply a similar relationship for a character and their god. Often such a character is on a divine mission, granted favor in their quest in exchange for their commitment to see it to the end.
It's commonly assumed that a Celestial patron would have an agenda opposite to the fiends: where a devil would want to bring Evil into the world, the celestials would want to bring Good into it. However, it's possible that a patron such as this may have personal stakes as well: in your game, perhaps celestials still have politics among their numbers. Perhaps your warlock is expected to prove a greater point about morality. Perhaps the patron they serve has a focused view on how to make the world more Good: if you were to kill a lot of Evil people, wouldn't the world be less Evil? Or perhaps you're meant to convert these people, so that they recant their Evil ways. Or possibly you are meant to correct the damage that they have done, reducing the results of their evil.
In 5e's core setting, Hexblade patrons are weapons forged from materials in the Shadowfell, powerful and sentient. They typically take their wielder as a warlock. This patron is one that gets a lot of mentions, because it's a way to build a strong hybrid warlock character that can use martial weapons as well as magic. For references, you may consider the Soul Edge from the Soulcalibur video games: the blade's wielder harvests souls for the demonic entity contained in the blade, so that it can one day enter the material world. Or perhaps you might recognize the swords of Muramasa Sengo, the historical swordsmith of 16th century Japan. His swords appear in several Japanese video games, with a reputation for being bloodthirsty. In some cases, wielders of the sword have to draw blood when the sword is held, even if it means hurting themselves. Other versions of the sword grow stronger when they draw blood.
Such a weapon could have all kinds of plans to pursue. Perhaps the weapon is a holy blade, with a personality similar to a Celestial patron, or an unholy blade with a Fiend-ish agenda. Perhaps the weapon has some magical purpose they want to pursue with the warlock's help.
You make a pact with an entity who has gained enough power to achieve immortality, in a sense. Many of the examples for this kind of patron are lichs, but there are other ways to achieve immortality (Oath of the Ancients paladins, for instance, stop suffering the effects of old age at level 15; a spellcaster might gain immortality through a Wish spell). The actual definition of an "Undying" patron can vary based on your interpretation, but the one fundamental is that they do not die of age. If you want an example from folklore, you could look to Koschei the Deathless, from Russian folklore. The nature of his immortality can be vague in some tales, but some would describe him similarly to a lich, having trapped his soul in a hidden object so that he could not be truly killed. Koschei is known for terrorizing nearby villages and stealing young women to take as a bride. It appears, in his case, his greatest desire in his undying life is companionship.
The stereotypical reason for a warlock to follow an Undying patron is that they want to learn their secrets to immortality. A character might want to become a lich, for example, but doesn't have the aptitude to learn the ways of necromancy and thought they'd have a better shot at earning the lich's favor directly. In turn, the Undying patrons may have a fairly selfish agenda, compared to the other patrons: they may want the warlock to personally sing their praises, or pursue a feud the patron has had with another entity and never been able to properly settle themselves. Or, like Koschei, perhaps they just want someone to bring them a good story of their adventures every so often.
The Noble Genie
Noble genies are described as the more powerful of their kind, who are powerful magical beings that reside in the Elemental Planes, and some parts of the Material Plane. Genies are largely figures of Arabian folklore, particularly from the stories of Arabian Nights. Often, genies are known for being the servants, but a powerful genie might also be sought for favors.
Perhaps the genie offered the warlock a wish in exchange for their service to the genie. Or the genie could use their magical power in some other ways to earn the favor of a prospective warlock. The genie may be looking for a servant, a companion, a tool in some political power struggle they are involved in, or some other purpose. Perhaps the genie offered a wish to someone else, and they wished for an act that the genie doesn't want to be associated with, such as the death of a powerful king. The genie might use their warlock as a way to fulfill the wish without being accused of causing the death.
The Raven Queen
While the Raven Queen is the patron goddess of death in 5e's core setting, you could use this patron type for any avatar of death that's relevant to your setting. They could be the Grim Reaper, Azrael the angel of death, a dullahan, or some other reaper of souls.
As an avatar of death, this patron might use their warlocks as psychopomps, escorts who bring the souls of the dead to the afterlife. They may also use their warlock as an agent of death, bringing people to their end on the schedule of the patron. This may be an interesting plot hook for the warlock, as death may ask the warlock to kill someone whose death would cause problems for the warlock: a powerful tyrant whose sons would pursue the warlock to avenge the death, or a popular figure whom the warlock personally cares for.
The Lurker in the Deep
Lurkers in the deep are powerful entities who live deep in the ocean: a kraken, an aboleth, or some other ancient aquatic creature. In this case, I love to reference the aboleths in Pathfinder's core setting: the setting has a lost continent of Azlant (which is clearly a reference to Atlantis). The aboleths reached the minds of early humans telepathically, and slowly led the Azlanti to a place of heightened civilization: technology, magic, and culture. They did this to control sentient life on the planet, and eventually they planned to absorb the life force of that civilization. When the Azlanti began to realize the presence of these deep ones, the aboleths panicked and sank the entire continent, and the Azlanti civilization with it. They then retreated to the depths, hoping to return when their presence had been forgotten again.
Deep ones may have such a purpose, to manipulate or control life on the surface. They maybe more benevolent, offering power to someone with a kind heart or a noble spirit. They may be facing a threat in the waters, and want a warlock who can fight with them.
References for Warlocks
If you’re looking for an example of Archfey pacts, you might out the Dresden Files series of novels. In the books, the protagonist Harry Dresden interacts with the Fae courts on more than one occasion. The two courts, Summer and Winter, are locked in an eternal war with one another that gets hot and cold at various times. And they rely on mortal agents, the knights of Winter and Summer, to enforce their will in the mortal world. Harry interacts with the knights in several occasions, and learns about the burdens that come with the role. As it turns out, the queens of Summer and Winter don’t like getting hung up on mortal needs when they interfere with their business. Knights are kind of a “use them until they break” kind of job.
Doc Facilier, from the Disney film The Princess and the Frog, appears to have made an infernal pact (possibly some other pact), and could be a model for an antagonist warlock character. Facilier’s pact seems to stem from his personality as a fast-talking gambler: He made a deal with the mysterious Shadow Man for power, but in exchange he has to fulfill some promises he might not be able to keep. And if he fails, he’s got Hell to pay. While he tries to let his personality do the talking, we see in moments that the Doc is more worried about his “friends on the other side” than he lets on.
From TV, I would recommend the first couple seasons from the show Supernatural (aka, the best seasons). The two protagonists, Sam and Dean, are caught up in the plan for the biblical Apocalypse, with one brother expected to be the vessel for Lucifer, and the other expected to be vessel for the archangel Michael. The brothers clearly have a bone to pick about their roles in the plan, and there’s a lot to develop for a Fiend or Celestial pact as you watch them change against the pressure both factions apply to them.
From books, check out Renfield from Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel Dracula. First introduced as an asylum patient with a penchant for eating bugs, we eventually learn that Renfield has been in contact with the famous vampire, and is determined to support him in his goals. Renfield is obsessed with the idea that consuming living things gives him their strength, and sees Dracula as the epitome of his worldview. Frankly, with source material like that, it’s hard to believe that there aren’t more vampires as Undying patrons out there.
If you’re a comics fan, Ghost Rider is another Faustian pact. The original character Johnny Blaze, asked a devil to save his father’s life in exchange for Johnny’s service. Now by night, when in the presence of evil, Johnny becomes the iconic Ghost Rider, a personal hitman for the devil who owns his contract. It’s a good plot for a warlock: the fiend has business to take care of, and the warlock no longer has a say for whether he wants to help or not.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Questions for a Warlock Character
If you are building a warlock character, or if you're a GM with a player rolling a wizard, you may want to consider these questions:
- What was your character's life like before they became a warlock? Were they starving, and desperate for support? Were they in a place of high status in their community? Did they hold an important office or job?
- Even among creatures that are commonly known, such as celestials and fiends, it's not always common for an entity powerful enough to be a patron to be reached by a mere mortal. How did your warlock first make contact with their patron? Did they have to learn their name from an ancient book, or from the mutterings of a hidden cult? Did they perform an arcane ritual to attract the patron's attention? Did the patron approach them in some fashion?
- Patrons rarely reveal their entire true form to their warlocks. Some patrons may not even be able to be comprehended in their entirety by a mortal. What do you experience when your patron makes contact with you? Do you see a massive eye in a black void? Hear the rush of forest winds? See a blinding, radiant light? Smell fire and brimstone? Does your patron speak to you in a language most people would understand? Do they use a long dead language, which somehow you still can comprehend? Does their intention and will simply manifest in your head, as if by telepathy?
- Many patrons, whether intentional or not, accumulate multiple followers. Sometimes those followers gather and form cults in reverence to their patron. Does your patron have a cult following that you know of? Does your warlock consider themselves a part of this group? Do they prefer paying tribute to their patron as a group, or by themselves?
- Not every warlock is on good terms with their patron, nor is every patron happy with their warlock. What is the relationship like between your warlock and their patron? Is the patron gentle and suppportive? Stern an harsh when their will is ignored? Does your patron mock you or belittle you as its servant? Does your warlock fear their patron? Is the patron inscrutable in their motivations, or capricious and difficult to predict?
- Patrons often ask for act act of service from a fledgling warlock, to prove their commitment to the bond the patron is offering. What did you patron make you do to prove your worth to them? Did somebody have to die, or suffer? Did it come at a personal cost to your warlock? Did it come at a cost to someone else? Does anybody know what your warlock did? Does your warlock, or somebody close to them, bear a scar or marking that reminds them of what they did?
- Patrons often mark their chosen warlocks in some way. Does your warlock bear such a marking? Is one of your warlock's eyes a different color? Do they display the symptoms of an illness, even though they are not actually sick? Do they have a strange feature on their body, such as horn-like nubs on their forehead or a vestigial tail? Does your warlock try to hide such a mark, or do they wear it openly?
- When warlocks make a pact with their patron, the patron sometimes will include an act of service that the warlock is expected to do on a regular basis? Does your warlock have to fulfill such a term in their arrangement? Does your patron demand that you treat certain people as an enemy? Are you required to abstain from certain behaviors, or to indulge certain behaviors to excess? Are you expected to perform some act of worship or reverence, such as slipping your patron's name into a conversation or carving an eldritch symbol onto a surface? How often does your patron want you to do such things?
- How does your warlock compare their patron to the deities of their setting? It's commonly accepted that a patron is not typically on the same level of power as a god or goddess. Does your patron resent this, or want to rise in power? Do they avoid crossing the power of the gods? Does your warlock have a specific view towards religion? Do they treat clerics and paladins differently than other characters?
- Has your warlock ever questioned their pact? Did something change, that made their previous arrangement less tempting? Have they tried to leave their patron behind, or have they tried to find a loophole in the contract? How did their patron respond to such an act?
- How, and when, does your warlock make contact with their patron? Does the patron visit the warlock in their dreams as they sleep? Does your warlock wander into the woods to meditate? Does your warlock use incense or candles to create a sacred space when they try to reach their patron? Does the patron expect an offering of some kind to earn their attention? Does a ritual need to be performed?
- I’m tired of the “edgy warlock” aesthetic
- Convince me to make my warlock not a hexblade.
- First time player – Trying to understand Warlock
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