View Full Version : [4e] Infernal Warlock: Need a hand

2009-05-25, 11:04 AM
Alright, here's the story behind my making of this thread.

I'd planned out a character from level 1 all the way to level 30 for a campaign. Then, I played the first session. I realised that with this DM's style, some of my choices wouldn't be as effective in the game as I'd hoped.

Then, PHBII came out, giving me many more options to choose from. Now, the same's happened again with Arcane Power.

So, here's what I need. My character is currently level two, and in great need of re-planning. He's a Tiefling Infernal Warlock, and is designed to be a striker. (No need for versatility here.)

Stats (at level two) are:

STR: 11
CON: 15
DEX: 12
INT: 16
WIS: 12
CHA: 15

Current feats:

Ritual Caster (in dire need of replacement/re-training)
Improved Dark One's Blessing (I'm fine with this, as temp hit points have proven to be very useful for this character)

Trained skills:

History, Bluff, Arcana, Insight. (Note: Bluff is for Roleplay purposes mainly. He's a liar. Not because he has secrets, he just thinks it's fun.)

Current powers:

1: Eldritch Blast (Constitution)
1: Hellish Rebuke

1: Vampiric Embrace

1: Flames of Phlegethos
2: Fiendlish Resilience (Again, THP have been useful, but if something is more useful, I'd like suggestions.)

He also has a +1 Pact Blade, a +2 Wand of Fiery Bolt and a +3 Homebrew Implement, just in case that matters. (Obviosuly, feats can't be taken for this homebrew implement, as it's a special reward item with a notable power.)

Alright, I think that's it for the basics.

Now, as for the plans for the future... (This bit gets a bit long, so I'll spoiler it for length.)

Level 3

Encounter power: Fiery Bolt

Level 4:

Feat: Hellfire Blood

Ability scores: +1 CON, +1 CHA

Level 5:

Daily power: Avernian Eruption

Level 6:

Daily Utility power: Shroud of Black Steel

Feat: Linguist [Supernal, Abyssal, Giant] (No longer needed, needs re-training)

Level 7:

Encounter power: Infernal Moon Curse

Level 8:

Ability scores: +1 CON, +1 INT

Feat: Improved Initiative (Nice, but not neccesary.)

Level 9:

Daily power: Iron Spike of Dis

Level 10:

Daily Utility power: Ambassador Imp (I'd like to replace this with something useful, thanks.)

Feat: Dark Fury

Level 11:

Paragon Path: Life-Stealer (This is another thing I'd like changed. Might go with the racial path, but Arcane Power had some interesting ones too. As such, I wont be listing the Paragon powers in this area)

Feat: Twofold Curse (Pretty useful)

Ability scores: +1 to all

Level 12:

Feat: Danger sense (Obviously, a more character-specific feat would be nice)

Level 13:

Encounter power: Soul Flaying (Replace Vampiric Embrace)

Level 14:

Ability scores: +1 WIS, +1 CHA

Feat: Astral Fire

Level 15:

Daily power: Thirsting Maw (Replace Flames of Phlegethos)

Level 16:

Encounter Utility power: Cloak of Shadow

Feat: Skill Focus [Arcana] (Not really neccesary with this DM's style, and with AP and PHBII, I'm sure there are better choices)

Level 17:

Encounter power: Warlock's Bargain (Replace Fiery Bolt)

Level 18:

Feat: Combat Anticipation (Yeah, this one needs a more Arcane-y feat, too)

Ability scores: +1 to two (haven't picked which, up to you)

Level 19:

Daily power: Minions of Malbolge (Remove Avernian Eruption)

Level 20:

Feat: Quick Draw (Useful, yeah. Essential for an Arcane Striker? Not really.)

Level 21:

Epic Destiny: Demi-God. (When the only choices were those in the PHB, this was a no-brainer. Now, however, there are a lot of choices. Arch-Lich looks good, though not really for this character... still, find whichever you'll think would go best with this character. Demi-God's a good fall-back, with no real weaknesses, but there might be a better one out there.

Feat: Irresistable Flame (I can't see myself not taking this)

Ability scores: +1 to all

Level 22:

Daily Utility power: Wings of the Fiend (I love this power. Flight is awesome. But, there are probably better choices)

Feat: Epic Ressurgence (I don't really get natural 20's, so this one can go)

Level 23:

Encounter power: Spiteful Darts (Remove Infernal Moon Curse)

Level 24:

Feat: Warrior of the Wild [Multiclass Ranger] (I did this for Acrobatics training, which I needed for Unfettered Stride. There are better choices.)

Ability scores: +1 to two (haven't picked yet, decide yourself)

Level 25:

Daily power: Tartarean Tomb (Remove Iron Spike of Dis)

Level 26:

Feat: Unfettered Stride (Not needed, pick another, thanks.)

Level 27:

Encounter power: Hellfire Curse (Remove Soul Flaying)

Level 28:

Feat: Lightning Reflexes (Meh. I've got a few meat-shields to get attacked for me.)

Ability scores: +1 to two (Haven't chosen)

Level 29:

Daily power: Hurl through Hell (Remove Thirsting Maw)

Level 30:

Feat: Blind Fight (Not really needed, there should be some better Arcane Epic level feats)

Anyway, the only guidlines I can offer is that this character is fire-based. Also, damage based. Effects are less important than direct fire damage. (To this character, anyway)

I'm not trying to optimise here, I just don't want to miss out on all the awesome options I've been given. I don't want to be totally weak, of course, but yeah, my priorties are fire, then damage (and lots of it), then staying alive.

So, if anyone has the time (and the patience) to attempt this massive project, go ahead. (And remember, it's easier to quote me and use my framework than to spend an hour making your own. And yeah, literally, exacty an hour to make this post. Phew...)

Anyway, good luck, and try not to kill each other because someone says that one spell is better than another.

2009-05-25, 11:49 AM
I don't have the two newer books, but can only offer this as a suggestion with the rate books are coming out and such, and what seems to be a different style of DMing than you expected.

Plan only as far as the next level. While you can look at interesting thing to do later and the dependencies of what you may need, make sure you don't plan yourself out of existence. You dying now would not get you to level 30.

What are you trying to do, other than fire-based that differs from the DM play style you have envisioned, and what do the other players do that prevent you from playing as you had wanted to with this character?

2009-05-25, 12:07 PM
Well, I really only planned that far ahead because I was bored and had way too much time on my hands. (Which is why I already have a second character lined up in case this one dies...)

But anyway, the main thing that I didn't forsee was the nature of the campaign. See, take Linguist, for example. At first, I thought "Hey, cool! I can talk to more people!"

Now I know that this would not be useful, because anyone we need to talk to can speak Common, and anyone else will likely be killed before I get to talk to them.

Basic feel I get is that A) I'll get whatever items I can find (I haven't seen a store yet), and B) There wont be much PC - NPC interaction that doesn't involve killing.

Asside from that, the new stuff just came out too fast.

Still, feel free to suggest items that would help with the build you envision, people, because the DM is one of my best friends, and therefore I can probably sway the loot in my favour.

I think the main thing to look at would be feats and the Paragon Path/Epic Destiny. It shouldn't be too hard to look at all the powers and say "Hey, that one's the best fire-damage one, I'll take it"

Any other questions, feel free to ask. (Even if you just want to know what the hell I was thinking)

2009-05-25, 12:26 PM
I think the problem is coming from not you, but 4th edition.

You came form an earlier edition that allowed more character concept, while the DM may be trying to learn 4th edition and is being narrow in what it says until comfortable with it.

Ask the DM to allow you to trade out things since you misunderstood the game. Basicaly what type of game it will be so you know what kind of PC to make.

Explain about your choice of Linguist and why you feel there is no room to use it, and also ask the other players.

It seems a miscomminicatin on playstyles, and not solely your fault for thinking ahead about how you wanted to play your character.

4th sets up nice things for optimizers, and you might be in a group that expects that without knowing it. Or maybe this game just seems to asume optimization for quicker play than would provide what you had looked at when building you final character to its furthest point of growth.

If the DM is understanding, then you should be able to figure out what is going on and what playstyle is expected by the game/group/DM, and should be allowed to change your warlock into on that fits both you and the playstyle.

Also the DM might understand your playstyle a bit and add things in for those feats/skills you have chosen to give you a chance to use them.

There is nothing really wrong with what you have chosen. You just need to work with the group so that it all works together.

2009-05-25, 12:37 PM
Why are you boosting Cha at level 4? Do you plan on taking Cha-type Warlock powers? (Having checked... it doesn't seem you do)

Level 14, boost Con! Always boost Con, always ever.

Eventually that +3 implement may be replaced... if it isn't replaced with another homebrew implement then Expertise is a must have for your character since you have below a 16 in your primary attack stat.

Look into a Familiar instead of Linguist, choose them based off of their static benefits rather than their active benefits (unless its a rat)

2009-05-25, 01:22 PM
Familiar, eh? That sounds useful, mechanically and from a role-play standpoint...

I would like to point out that the DM and many of the players are new to the game. (D&D.) We've played a little 3.5, and hope to finish that campaign someday, but that's the extent of our experience. (I, however, have learned all the rules, looked up anything I could think of, and from the session we've played, I think I'm firmly established as knowing I'm doing)

Anyway, as for boosting CHA, I think it was to get the modifier. (He lies a lot, which doesn't work if everyone knows it)

As for asking the DM to "trade-out", I don't really need to do that, what with re-training and all.

I know I can get my character to what I need it to be (fairly easily), I just felt like asking the opinions of others as to how best to do this.

Still, familiar sounds like a good replacement for Linguist (and maybe Ritual Caster, too)

Any other feats known to be essential/really good? (I'm bad with feats. Don't know why. Powers, I can do, but feats... I fail at feats.)

2009-05-25, 01:24 PM
Okay, first of all you're stats are REALLY sub-optimal. Concentrate on Con, minimize Cha. If you're not allowed to change your stats, of course, then you'll have to muddle through, but you'll never be particularly effective. Your minimum starting Con should be 16, though I'd recommend seeing if you can squeeze out a 17. Something like Str 8, Con 17, Dex 10, Int 16, Wis 10, Char 16 (after racials) could work nicely. Raise Con at all levels except 28th. You can alternate between raising Int and Cha, or just concentrate on Cha in case there's a nice Cha based power you want to pick up (not to mention towrking in conjunction with your racial power.

Next, grab Hellfire Blood as soon as possible! This is crucial to any fire-based Tiefling character.

Buy Arcane Power. Read the "Hellbringer" paragon path (ignore fire resistance at 16th). Drool.

Consider swapping out Flames of Phlegethos for Tyranny of Flame

Swap Fiendish Resilience for Ethereal Stride. Add fluff to make it like you vanish in a puff of fire and brimstone and appear elsewhere.

Finally, check out this (IMO) excellent guide on the Wizards site:


You may not agree with everything written, but it really does offer a lot to think about.

Here's an excerpt. Note that this has not been updated for Arcane Power, so he'll probably be changing PP from Battle Mage to Hellbringer. Again, some things I'd do differently, but it's a good start

The Pyromaniac
Yup, this build has one focus. Namely: Killing it with fire. And if that doesn't work, try: Killing it with fire. Subtle? No. Effective? Probably. Well, until you meet the fire resistant creatures. But hey, it ~occassionally~ deals other damage types.
Best Pact: Infernal
For obvious reasons. But heck, someone who plays with fire likes being healthy, right?
Stats wanted: 16-20 CON, 16-18 INT, 8-10 CHA (LOL)

Feats wanted: Astral Fire, Arcane Initiate (taking Scorching Burst), Improved Initiative, Hellfire Blood (if tiefling), Action Surge (if human).
Level 1 Powers: Vampiric Embrace, Flames of Phlegethos
Yeah, there aren't any Encounter powers we can use that have fire. If you happened to have CHA for some reason, you can use Witchfire if you want.
Level 2 Utility: Ethereal Stride
Level 3 Power:Fiery Bolt
W00t, your first AOE! That is, assuming you didn't already get Arcane Initiate...
Level 5 Power: Avenian Eruption
Squee, Napalm!
Level 6 Utility: Dark one's own luck, Pick up Novice Power Swap this level to swap Vampiric Embrace for Burning Hands (you can do this earlier if you want)
Level 7 Power:Infernal Moon Curse
Its poison, not fire, but it has 'infernal' in the title so thats okay.
Level 9 Power:Iron Spike of Dis
Level 10 Utility: Warlocks Leap, Pick up Adept Power Swap this level to swap Iron Spike of Dis for Wall of Fire

Feats wanted: Bloodthirst, Combat Anticipation, Evasion, Fiery Rebuke (if tiefling)
You need to have taken Arcane initiate by now. Pick Battle Mage as your Paragon Path. Mainly, you're interested in the Battle Mage Action for the great accuracy boost, but the fact that your hands bristle with fire is always fun. And of course, you can lace the Closing Spell as being a fire based thermonuclear explosion.
Level 13 Power: Coldfire Vortex Replaces Burning Hands, Retrain Novice Power Swap to switch Infernal Moon Curse -> Fire Burst
Technically it doesn't do fire damage, but heck, close enough...
Level 15 Power: Fireswarm replaces Fiery Bolt
Level 16 Utility: Infuriating Elusiveness
Level 17 Power: Retrain Novice Power Swap again to switch Fire Burst -> Combust
Level 19 Power: Minions of Malbolge
Goodness gracious great balls of fire!

2009-05-25, 01:32 PM
Yeah, I know this is a sub-optimal character. (And yet, he's the most powerful out of them right now...)

Anyway, thanks for the link. That should help.

2009-05-25, 01:44 PM
I never played a warlock, but a friend plays a infernal warlock in my party, so I can give you some ideas. He is pretty effective. However he does not play the warlock as a true striker, but more of a defender/striker/controler mix.

The next part is from a optimization standpoint alone.

Unfortunately, in 4e, hit is everything. If you cant get pasts a monsters defense, any character (and a striker in particular) can't contribute to his party. So look at ways to improve your too hit. As said before try to get a higher constitution, and try to use powers with the fire keyword. Don't skip out on the auto damage abilities either (such as armor of agathys). These will come in handy in especially tough encounters against monster higher then your level.

Due to a high con, our warlock also took the durable feat and makes heavy use of bloodcut armor. Thus he is often in melee with me (a fighter), and often moves in such way that foes that I marked use their opportunity attacks at him so I get to hit them.

Arcane power came with a lot of new powers that target will (which is generally the lowest defense), so pick those. Avoid powers that target fortitude because that is generally the highest defense.

2009-05-25, 01:59 PM
As much as it's already been said, I don't think it can be stated enough how important it is to get that CON up. A 15 in your primary stat just plain doesn't work, no matter what class you are. At the absolute minimum try to get the DM to let you swap the 15 CON with the 16 INT.

2009-05-25, 01:59 PM
Well, I know all about the benefits of targetting will... (My preciousssssss Vampiric Embrace...) and of course boosting my primary attack stat (in fact, probably my only attack stat) is high-priority. INT can provide some nice bonuses, but hit/damage = *Dance*. Or something like that...

(Also, +3 implement at level 2 is fun, especially when those are meant to show up early in the Paragon tier, not the Heroic one)

2009-05-26, 12:19 AM
(Also, +3 implement at level 2 is fun, especially when those are meant to show up early in the Paragon tier, not the Heroic one)

A +3 implement is level 11-15, so you might normally hope to have one by level 8 or 9 under the treasure parcel system (level 7 if your lucky and get the level+4 item for that level).

Having one at level 2 is extremely early.

2009-05-26, 04:53 AM
I know, isn't it fun? ^^

2009-05-26, 10:40 AM
I know, isn't it fun? ^^
For now, yes, since it makes up for what would be an utterly atrocious CON. However, it will hurt in the long run because as your level catches up with your item, that CON will really start to hurt...but the item masking the real problem will make it that much harder to get your DM to let you fix what's really wrong, which is your stats.

2009-05-26, 10:44 AM
Well, in the end, when I have a +5 instead of a +6, It's not gonna matter when I have to hit a Reflex of 40 and roll a 3. (Yes, my rolls suck. *Sigh*)

Anyway, asside from the unchangeable, yet horrible, stats, what else can you think of?

I think I've got a good idea of what's what now, and so have only one major question...

What Epic Destiny should I pick?

2009-05-26, 11:08 AM
Well, in the end, when I have a +5 instead of a +6, It's not gonna matter when I have to hit a Reflex of 40 and roll a 3. (Yes, my rolls suck. *Sigh*)
Why is your DM sending level 28 monsters against a level 2 party? Because monsters' NADs don't average 40 until then.

2009-05-26, 12:08 PM
I second the above statement by Artanis: What monster has 40 nads?

Anywho! Here's the big problem I see: Your party isn't used to playing 4e. You probably should have started with a module, and you should NOT be using homebrewed items. Except for a few exceptions, Yakk is the only person who should homebrew items in 4e.
Maybe you think a 16int is going to help, but if your warlock is supposed to be the brains of the bunch, there is already a problem with the party make up. You should have high Con, then Cha, then Dex.
Plus, the fact that your only magic items are implements is a big problem. Why? Because you can only use one at a time. Where is your magic armor, or your amulet of something? You need to bump your defenses, as well. That wand gives you an extra encounter power? Psh! Sell it! Get some armor that will help you live to the next encounter.

That's my take on it.

2009-05-26, 12:26 PM
I was actually just kidding with that "40 Reflex" thing...

My main point was that my rolls suck. 'Cos they do. (I've had maybe two really good rolls in all my D&D career)

As for items, I'm fully expecting us to be looting a dragon's hoard soon, and it can't all be weapons and implements. ^^

Also, the rest of the party should join soon, so that'll take some pressure off of me. (Only Arcana class, only decent Striker)

(The Beastmaster Ranger insists on using a bow. He has an 18 in Strength. I'm attempting to get him to use his freakin' longsword, but while his player gets it, his character has personal reasons for using the bow... Kinda like mine has personal reasons for being a Pyromaniac. :smallbiggrin: )

2009-05-26, 03:36 PM
My main point was that my rolls suck. 'Cos they do. (I've had maybe two really good rolls in all my D&D career)

So you've given up on ever hitting things and thus no longer care about your to-hit?

You say in the OP that you "don't want to miss out on all the options you've been given". Well, those options involve hitting things, so if you don't even try to hit things, you can't use those options, plain and simple.

So I see two possible ways you can go about this:
1) Keep trying to hit things, buying a new d20 if it makes you feel more confident, or
2) Give up entirely and just dump CON

I mean seriously, doing anything, especially as a Striker, relies on actually hitting the enemy. If you aren't going to do what's needed to be able to hit enemies, then why are you asking for help choosing things that will never be used because they require hitting enemies? :smallconfused:

2009-05-26, 05:36 PM
All I'm mainly saying is, one +1 isn't gonna be a life-or-death msot of the time. Even a +2 isn't that important (Espeicially at later levels). My stats are survivable, while not optimal. I just want to know what to do with what I have, not what I should have to do what I need.

Anything that boosts to-hit is perfect, and anything that boosts fire damage or makes it more ffective is pretty good too. Anything that gives me some advantage, or keeps me alive, those are also desireable.

That's why I provided my whole stat plan, so it could be quoted over and replaced with a build that utilises good feats at goood times.

So far, all the suggestions have been pretty good, and once I have a decent look through PHBII and AP I'll have a good idea of what feats/powers to pick. My main concern right now is the Epic Destiny plan (because it's a pretty big part of a high-level character, and this campaign promises to reach high levels).

I fully realise that my character may die, and so I have already prepared the basics of another one. But, on the off-chance that he lives from 1-30, I like to be prepared. (I hate holding up gameplay to make choices like that)

Anyway, I'll try and stop posting without having had at least two hours sleep.