Warlocks


3.5/d20/OGL


I just recently started looking at the warlock class, and I was wondering a few things.

Where does the warlock fit into a group. It’s obviously a secondary role but what?

How balanced is this class?

What are some invocations to look into, they would be recommendable? What are some to avoid? Are there any game breaking invocations?

Is there any equipment that would help a warlock? It seems that with a chain shirt, morning star, and a long spear they would be set.

How important is the alignment restriction to the flavor of the class?

Thanks

Fizz

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fizzban wrote:

I just recently started looking at the warlock class, and I was wondering a few things.

Where does the warlock fit into a group. It’s obviously a secondary role but what?

It's an archer with a few cool tricks.

Fizzban wrote:
How balanced is this class?

General strength: At low levels (particularly about levels 2-4), it's strong. As party level increases, the warlock becomes less and less important. By about 8th to 10th level, it's generally pretty weak.

That said, in some encounters, the warlock is likely to have an incantation that will simply walk the party past the encounter, while in other encounters the warlock will be pretty useless. In other words, it's a hedgehog class, "The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But it's a really good trick."

IME (10 levels of play), warlock starts out really interesting, but rapidly becomes boring. You can either solve the problem really easily or you can plink away and hope to be useful. I think it's a better NPC class than PC class.

Fizzban wrote:
What are some invocations to look into, they would be recommendable? What are some to avoid? Are there any game breaking invocations?

Voracious Dispelling is remarkably useful, and the Shatter invocation (whose name I can't recall right now) is also very versatile. (Note that at higher levels doors are within the weight limit, as are locks, chests, etc.) Both of the "see in the dark" invocations are nice, Dark One's Own Luck is nice if you have some idea what's coming. The Fly invocation is really useful (especially with Benign Transposition). Vitriolic Blast is nearly required, as is the invocation that allows you to extend the range of your eldritch blast.

I strongly recommend that you take several of the archer feats, particularly including Precise Shot and the feat that allows you to ignore cover given to enemies by your allies.

Fizzban wrote:
Is there any equipment that would help a warlock? It seems that with a chain shirt, morning star, and a long spear they would be set.

Warlocks don't need much, but they do need at least one hand free. At higher levels, I often ran with a wand in one hand and nothing in the other. I wouldn't recommend a two-handed weapon if your character were to play like mine did. (Much depends on the precise incantations you take.) Also, remember (and maximize) UMD. At medium levels, you'll be able to use nearly any magic item.

Fizzban wrote:
How important is the alignment restriction to the flavor of the class?

I think it's superfluous. I ran with it when playing, but I think it's a restriction to no real purpose.

HTH


In my experiance (a freind I play with often enjoys the warlock class and has played several including our current game), the warlock is a nifty plan C. The rogue can't sneak attack it, the wizard is down and the fighter can't roll above a 3 to save his life (ironically that's exactly the situation).

Enter plan C AKA the Warlock, he won't bring down the baddies very quickly, but if you stall long enough he will always get the job done. The fact that the warlock is such a one trick pony can be played as one of it's strengths too. Whearas the fighter eventually has to make room in the budget for that +3 weapon or armor, the warlock has no items that they will need. So buff your saves, up your con and make your already uber consistant impact on combat solid gold reliability. You probably won't get to brag about as many shining moments and massive kills as the other heroes, but you'll never have to wallow in pity after rolling three consecutive 4's for your attack. once you get past 5th lvl, that should still be a hit.

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Sexi Golem wrote:
Enter plan C AKA the Warlock, he won't bring down the baddies very quickly, but if you stall long enough he will always get the job done... ...but you'll never have to wallow in pity after rolling three consecutive 4's for your attack. once you get past 5th lvl, that should still be a hit.

I presume that you haven't seen a warlock in the higher levels yet, then? Spell Resistance is your bane as a warlock. Make sure to take Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration if you want your eldritch blast to be the reliable workhorse that Sexi perceives it to be.


Fatespinner wrote:
Sexi Golem wrote:
Enter plan C AKA the Warlock, he won't bring down the baddies very quickly, but if you stall long enough he will always get the job done... ...but you'll never have to wallow in pity after rolling three consecutive 4's for your attack. once you get past 5th lvl, that should still be a hit.
I presume that you haven't seen a warlock in the higher levels yet, then? Spell Resistance is your bane as a warlock. Make sure to take Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration if you want your eldritch blast to be the reliable workhorse that Sexi perceives it to be.

That is what the Vitriolic Blast eldritch essence is for. Bypass that pesky SR altogether. As long as the creature isn't resistant or immune to acid as well, you are good to go.

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First Prime wrote:
That is what the Vitriolic Blast eldritch essence is for. Bypass that pesky SR altogether. As long as the creature isn't resistant or immune to acid as well, you are good to go.

Oh. I didn't know it bypassed SR. That's cool. I wonder if you could use a 'metamagic' feat like Energy Substitution to play with the energy type a little bit with it. It's not a spell, but it is a spell-like ability and the feat doesn't require any higher slots to change the energy type. Hmm...

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Fatespinner wrote:
Oh. I didn't know it bypassed SR. That's cool. I wonder if you could use a 'metamagic' feat like Energy Substitution to play with the energy type a little bit with it. It's not a spell, but it is a spell-like ability and the feat doesn't require any higher slots to change the energy type. Hmm...

No, metamagic feats do not work with spell-like abilities. You could use empower spell-like ability or quicken spell-like ability with warlock invocations, but not energy substitution.


I think the warlock is fairly balanced- perhaps a little underpowered over the scale of most levels. At the very starting levels (1,2, maybe 3), it is about on par with other classes. The damage is far from phenomenal and the attack bonus is likely to be low enough that misses are still somewhat common (unless you have a halfling warlock, in which case you'll almost never miss anything). Yet it is reliable.

Level 3 or 4 may be their peak. Hits become far more reliable and the consistent 2d6 damage is quite nice. They may look overpowered here. They will probably balance more, but still appear quite good, through the mid levels.

By the end of that period, as Doug said, they're likely to get overshadowed. They'll still be reliable and useful in the amount of damage they constantly throw at their enemies, but in the same way as a bard or buffing cleric (i.e., they aren't likely to get much credit).

As others have said, however, the right invocations and liberal employment of Use Magic Device open up a slew of options for them. By the time eldritch blast isn't looking so hot, they should have a good chance of using any item they want; though the power isn't built in, they can almost become a wizard or sorcerer in their own right.

... Okay, that might be a stretch. :)

As far as enjoyability, aside from the aforementioned power curves, I'd say it's about the same as a fighter. They do the same thing (weapon attacks) over and over and over, too. Certainly, their feats allow some customization and options, but it all centers around that core ability ("hit with stick"). Warlocks can either use their invocations to help themselves in the same regard (with elritch essence and blast shape invocations), or branch into something totally different. The abovementioned shatter invocation is good; you could also take spider climb (a favorite of the warlock player in my group) and walk unseen (or whatever it's called) and be an excellent scout. Beguiling influence is good for social situations. You'll never come close to having all the powers your class offers, so (sometimes tough) decisions must be made about the kind of warlock you want to play. On the bright side, you can play a warlock several different times and still have unique and new experiences.

In the end, they're one of the better supplemental classes out there. They're also great to DM for, because you know exactly what they can and can't do in a way that other classes don't offer.

Sovereign Court

I think my biggest problem with warlocks is that they really don't have that 'team spirit' feel. They get a lot of abilities that almost encourages them to become independent.

Thus far, damage wise, our warlock seems pretty balanced. He's been buying items to boost the damage output on his eldrich blast though, and he's planning on prestigeing into the hellfire warlock class (codex II). This prestige class looks a little broken at first glance. It's definitely a class so good that every warlock should take it.


Saern wrote:

By the time eldritch blast isn't looking so hot, they should have a good chance of using any item they want; though the power isn't built in, they can almost become a wizard or sorcerer in their own right.

... Okay, that might be a stretch. :)

I've noticed with Warlocks recently that the Use magic Device skill is more of a toolbox than an armory. Rogues that can't sneak attack and bards with no better actions to take end up using this skill to pull some neat tricks and make sure they still have an impact on the current scenario. Warlocks have a job to do though, and by the time you have enough dough for the really good spell scrolls the party is pretty dependant on the warlocks consistent damage.

Rogues and bards seem to use this bility more often because the skill seems built to allow a nice backup plan. But warlocks rarely are in need of backup plans.

The Exchange

It is worth pointing out that a warlock can also create magic items without knowing the necessary spells, using Use Magic Device, which can be useful (I've DM'ed an Eberron campaign with an artificer, so I know how useful it can be). And Use Magic Device as a skill at higher levels is very handy. You can buff, heal and maybe fling off some tasty area effect or other attack spells from scrolls (again, in said campaign, we had no healing classes, just the artificer - and he healed just fine). No, it will never be as effective as a pure arcane caster firing these things out of his head, but it is handy back-up if the eldritch blast isn't working too well. When you add in that the warlock has spell-like stuff of his own, you can actually get quite a lot of versatility.


Man, if a warlock in my game wanted to go into Hellfire Warlock (from Fiendish Codex II) I'd smile graciously, hand him the book, and then cackle gleefuly after he made the changes to his character sheet.

That class is great fun for the DM. Sure, you can do phenomenal damage (for a warlock, on par with a mage) but you have to BURN CONSTITUTION to do it! Start throwing poisons and crap at him, hit him with con damage effects, watch him squirm when a cloudkill floats his way and he either does normal damage and lives, or does good damage and dies.

Seriously, great class, a lot of fun, just be prepared for the warlock to have moments where he shines (which is good) and moments where he starts looking really nervous (which is also good).

PS If you do let him go into it, be VERY careful if he starts eyeing the Binder base class from Tome of Magic. Theres a low level (like level 1) bind that gives you the ability to rapidly recover ability damage. The two of those put together could easily get out of control. Although there's still a times per day issue in Hellfire Warlock, as I remember.

Scarab Sages

I'm playing a warlock in our Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde campaign. SO far, I've enjoyed the class, but he's only 3rd level. The party is evil aligned and my character is a worshipper of Fraz-Urb'luu. Since, as mentioned in Dragon, Fraz isn't to fond of humans, I've expressed to the DM my desire to try and eventually turn him into a Shade (Dragon had a great article that broke shades down into 4 levels) in order to make him an outsider. Eventually, I'll move him into the Thrall of Frz-Urb'luu prestige class.

One thing I have noticed about warlocks, is that they seem to work really well with prestige classes. Each time you get a PrC level that gives "+1 level of existing spellcasting class" it applies to improving your eldritch blast and giving you more invocations. Acolyte of the Skin would probably be a good one - the class starts with a +2 to Dex (later adding a +2 to Con), and you get more energy resistances later on to add to what you can get with warlock levels.


Aberzombie wrote:
Each time you get a PrC level that gives "+1 level of existing spellcasting class" it applies to improving your eldritch blast and giving you more invocations.

I am going to have to ask for some clarification on this one.

My biggest gripe with Warlocks was the lack of good prestige classes since "+1 level of existing spellcasting class" didn't increase the number and level of invocations available.

Was this changed? And where is the reference, if you please.


Disenchanter wrote:


Was this changed? And where is the reference, if you please.

It's talked about in the Complete Arcane. I think it is in the paragraphes that start the chapter with prestige classes. It talks about what their caster level is for PrC requirements and how they advance when a PrC adds caster levels.

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The Black Bard wrote:
PS If you do let him go into it, be VERY careful if he starts eyeing the Binder base class from Tome of Magic. Theres a low level (like level 1) bind that gives you the ability to rapidly recover ability damage. The two of those put together could easily get out of control. Although there's still a times per day issue in Hellfire Warlock, as I remember.

With maxed out UMD, couldn't the warlock just get ahold of a wand of lesser restoration? I think that would be a more realistic fear.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A warlock can fill (roughly) the same blaster role as a sorcerer or warmage. The warlock is even less versatile than the warmage, although, potentially, is useful more often and in more types of activities. Use Magic Device, as stated, is key to broadening the warlock's range.

It's reasonably well balanced. The warlock can only know a handful of invocations (none of which are game-breaking when obtained), but can use them without limit. Low and middle levels are where they really shine.

Some good invocations include: Baleful Utterance, Beguiling Influence, Devil's Sight, Entropic Warding, Miasmic Cloud, See the Unseen; Charm, Fell Flight, Flee the Scene, Hungry Darkness, Voracious Dispelling, Walk Unseen; Chilling Tentacles, Enervating Shadow, Tenacious Plague, Wall of Perilous Flame; Retributive Invisibility, Word of Changing; all of the Eldritch Essence and Blast Shape invocations. It all depends on the types of activities you want to specialize in. Multiclassing is also a great option for increasing the usefullness of the warlock. A couple of levels of fighter lets the warlock pick up Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot as bonus feats. Take a level of monk and Hideous Blow for added melee damage (the damage potential of a warlock/monk/enlightened fist is pretty sick). A couple levels of rogue lets the warlock pick up Sneak Attack and Evasion, plus expands the warlock's skill range.

The alignment restriction was pretty good for the flavor of the class (fey/fiendish background). It also helps counterweight the heavy emphasis on Law and Good in many of the supplements.

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If you really want to shine as an 'artillery' warlock, I highly recommend multiclassing into warmage and going for the Eldritch Theurge PrC from the Complete Mage. My friend asked me to design a powerful NPC spellcasting villain for his campaign and told me to "use whatever my evil imagination could devise." The outcome was quite horrific, especially since I made it a half-fiend. :D


I agree with most of what has been said in this thread regarding the Warlock. I played a Warlock in the AoW campaign from 1st - 20th level. I was actually a 4th level fighter / 16th level Warlock.
As has been said the Warlock was a little bit ahead of the curve in the lower levels (1st-5th) but took much more of a back up role as the game progressed. I used Invocations such as Hideous Blow during melee combat and heightened my Eldritch Blast by adding the Vitrolic Invocation.
Most of all however the use of the Flee the Scene Invocation saved party members lives on more occassions than I can remember. Also quickening and maximizing and or empowering the Eldritch Blast doesn't hurt.

Bandit of LV


Chris P wrote:
It's talked about in the Complete Arcane. I think it is in the paragraphes that start the chapter with prestige classes. It talks about what their caster level is for PrC requirements and how they advance when a PrC adds caster levels.

Ahah! I see now. The very last sentence of the paragraph that talks about it.

I must not have ever made it that far in my reading.

Thank you. Warlocks aren't so gimped in my mind any more.


Darn, my post was eaten. Once more, short version.

Regarding the use of a Wand of Lesser Restore and Hellfire Warlock Vrs. a Binder with the Vestige Nebrious (sp?):

1. I was incorrect; there is no limit to times per day on Hellfire Blast besides the amount of con damage you're willing to take.

2. Nebrious restores ability damage at a rate of 1 per round. Thus there is no effective loss of con while using hellfire blast, and if the immediate action retaliatory blast is used, only 1 "extra" point is lost, which would be regained the next time the warlock used an invocation.

3. Nebrious (to say nothing of any other first level vestige) offers enough side skills, and the ability damage restoration, to more than make up for drops in invocation levels, eldritch blast damage progressions, and such. Especially since constant Hellfire blasts means +6d6 extra damage per blast.

4. A wand of lesser restore is both unreliable/overkill. 1d4 means you could use it at 1 point of damage, which is reliable but often wasteful, or use it at more damage, but have unreliable returns. Also, it takes a standard action devoted entirely to using the wand, and in no way contributing to the fight, unlike using an invocation or such.

And I'm out, gotta go with the wife to work to pick up the first paycheck so I can get it to the bank for her!

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The Black Bard wrote:

2. Nebrious restores ability damage at a rate of 1 per round. Thus there is no effective loss of con while using hellfire blast, and if the immediate action retaliatory blast is used, only 1 "extra" point is lost, which would be regained the next time the warlock used an invocation.

3. Nebrious (to say nothing of any other first level vestige) offers enough side skills, and the ability damage restoration, to more than make up for drops in invocation levels, eldritch blast damage progressions, and such. Especially since constant Hellfire blasts means +6d6 extra damage per blast.

Yeeeeeeaaagh! That's horrendous! I've never looked at the Binder class before, but I've been thinking about picking up the Tome of Magic for awhile now.

...maybe I shouldn't. It sounds like it might be as bad (or worse) than the Bo9S (which I loathe ferociously).

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

The Black Bard wrote:


4. A wand of lesser restore is both unreliable/overkill. 1d4 means you could use it at 1 point of damage, which is reliable but often wasteful, or use it at more damage, but have unreliable returns. Also, it takes a standard action devoted entirely to using the wand, and in no way contributing to the fight, unlike using an invocation or such.

Apparently I'm in rules mode this week :)

As lesser restoration takes 3 rounds to cast, using a wand of lesser restoration also takes 3 rounds. Not very usable in combat.


Wow, totally forgot about that. Potions of lesser restoration then, which become rather cost prohibitive.

Either way, that equals a solid opportunity cost. A binder with Nebrious, not so much.

And Tome of Magic is good (course, I also consider Book of Nine Swords to be good) but the thing is, they aren't so much overpowered as they are extremely new and unlike previous material. The writers didn't have the time and manhours to compare and consider every possible combination of the Tome of Magic classes with others, which in the Hellfire Warlock's case is doubly true, as the FC2 came out after ToM.

I heartily reccomend ToM, if you are willing to add some interesting layers to your magic and cosmos. Binders demand some concessions, that sometimes no matter how much you kill, destroy, and forget something, it isn't completely gone (like atomic "shadows" at Hiroshima).

Shadow magic isn't too bad to integrate, nor is truenaming, but they still comprise a "more on heaven and earth than your philosophy" (probablly buggered the quote) scenario.

My biggest gripe is the "fluff" descriptions of most of the base classes make them very arrogant or condescending to normal arcane casters. I dislike ANYTHING that alludes to inter-party conflict, but thats because of personal issues and past experiences.


Anybody else read Charles de Lint's Moonheart? I'm thinking I need a druid/warlock/eldritch disciple as a BBEG now...


Yah, druid warlock, CN, channeling fey powers in wild shape. What do you do when the deer in the woods hurls eldritch flame at you?


So far in our campaign the warlock seems pretty hard to kill. Not just because it's AC can get pretty high without too much trouble, or it gets damage reduction and resistances as a class feature, or becase it is majorly a ranged combatant, but mainly because it never presents itself as something worth attacking.

The fighter is large and imposing and dishes out nice damage, The rogue is getting sneak attacks and providing flanking bonuses, and the wizard is throwing around spells that decimate the battlefield (and all the enemies can see that he isn't wearing armor).

The weird guy in the back that keeps zapping people for a minor to moderate amount of damage? Well he's got a shiney chain shirt and is crawling all over the walls, uuummm he can wait. The intelligent monsters focus on the targets that are having the most impact, or the targets that look like easy kills, neither of which apply to the warlock so he is largely left alone in combat (unfortunatly for the wizard, he's usually both). The unintelligent monsters just crash into the front liners and the warlock isn't there to be attacked. Has anyone else noticed this trend?

I don't mind warlocks so much anymore. But I still feel no urge to play one. They have this built in back story that plays them up. The warlock is a being filled with limitless feindish power. Even those not corrupted by the dark taint on their souls much constantly rail against the influence of the insidious power growing within them. Sounds like your standard super duper bad ass anti-hero like Spawn or The Punisher which turns into a bit of a let down once you realise the class plays a really bland role in the party.


Sexi Golem wrote:


The weird guy in the back that keeps zapping people for a minor to moderate amount of damage? Well he's got a shiney chain shirt and is crawling all over the walls, uuummm he can wait.

I thought this was hilarious for some reason.

Fizz

Liberty's Edge

I built a Warlock 2 / Rogue 1 character for a 3rd level campaign and had a blast while it lasted (three sessions). Sneak attack + Quicker Than The Eye + Hideous Blow + maximum Concentration Skill ranks & Combat Casting got really interesting.


I ran one in a two-PC game once. We got Flaws, Bloodlines, and Gestalts. I went with Warlock//Scout (Fey bloodline) - and ooooo, it got ugly. (insert eeeeevil grin right about here)

As for Warlocks, I love 'em. They are what some of us expected Sorcerers to be, back in the 3ed "countdown" phase. Yes, very self-oriented spellcasters! I'm working on a "warlock primer" article, outlining different roles a Warlock can fulfill in a party and what feats and invocations could be useful. (Frex, if you plan to be a melee-oriented Warlock, consider getting the Eldritch Glaive invocation from Dragon Magic, and take Weapon Finesse - EG makes your blast a melee touch attack and Finesse allows Touch spells (and E-Blasts) to use your Dex mod (per CompArc), rather than your Str mod. Armored Spellcaster lets you wear Medium armor (or mithril breastplate is counted as Light armor) to boost your AC. Weapon Focus (touch spells) improves your to-hit with your Glaive. This gets you to third level (assuming a Human), where you are doing 2d6 Blast damage (+6 (+2 BAB +1 WFocus +3 DEX mod) to hit), can Detect Magic at will, have DR 1/Cold Iron, and know one more invocation - plus you are wearing Medium armor with an AC of 18 and have an avg of 10.5 hp. (the FTR has 16.5 hp on avg at this level) Then there's the archer-oriented Warlock...)

ETA: carrying a weapon is just almost not necessary - you *are* the weapon!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Saern wrote:
Warlocks can either use their invocations to help themselves in the same regard (with elritch essence and blast shape invocations), or branch into something totally different. The abovementioned shatter invocation is good; you could also take spider climb (a favorite of the warlock player in my group) and walk unseen (or whatever it's called) and be an excellent scout.

Presumably, the warlock can't spider climb and eldritch blast at the same time, since the former requires both hands to be free, and the latter has a somatic component (requiring one hand to be free)?

Liberty's Edge

Fatespinner wrote:
Yeeeeeeaaagh! That's horrendous! I've never looked at the Binder class before, but I've been thinking about picking up the Tome of Magic for awhile now...maybe I shouldn't. It sounds like it might be as bad (or worse) than the Bo9S (which I loathe ferociously).

Fatespinner, take it from a DM who despises Bo9S with all his soul, Tome of Magic is nothing like that other ball of donkey cheese. It's actually a great toolbox and resource all around: good story elementas, great monsters, interesting powers. I've seen both in play in regular games and while I've banned Bo9S forever, I delight when players pick up the Tome of Magic.

-DM Jeff


Aberzombie wrote:

I'm playing a warlock in our Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde campaign. SO far, I've enjoyed the class, but he's only 3rd level. The party is evil aligned and my character is a worshipper of Fraz-Urb'luu. Since, as mentioned in Dragon, Fraz isn't to fond of humans, I've expressed to the DM my desire to try and eventually turn him into a Shade (Dragon had a great article that broke shades down into 4 levels) in order to make him an outsider. Eventually, I'll move him into the Thrall of Frz-Urb'luu prestige class.

I know I am reviving an old thread here, but my family and I are currently working our way through SGoS, and my wife is playing a Warlock. Am I the only one who thinks Warlocks are almost too powerful for this adventure? We're about halfway through the Lab, and the party has barely had to break a sweat so far. About the biggest challenge was facing the two drow fighter/wizards who cast shield on themselves before the party arrived.


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It is a straight dps class. Take a look at eldrich glave, then at heighten spell like ability, and maximise spell like ability.that's an insane amount of damage! Normal blasts can hit once per turn but once you have that setup with cleave you are straight up awesome!

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