View Full Version : The Noncommital Warlock [E6]

2012-03-01, 03:14 PM
...and by noncommittal, this is a warlock that has no specific ties to anything.

This is the first episode of a long list of E6-based class changes I intend on posting; this one's going up a little early so I can get it out to someone who wants to play it. For starters with the warlock, I have a rabid dislike of anything but the most mutable of fluff, so the ties to demons was one of the first things to go. This reshapes abilities already in place, and influences the shape of new features. I have seen few if any warlock fixes that explicitly avoid some kind of pact or influence by some other creature.

One thing that needs to change is blasting. At capped level, it's still only doing as much average damage a round as a 1st level fighter with a greatsword. A second is the woefully small number of invocations they get: a warlock in E6 simply has too few to work with. I also wanted to give meaningful abilities every level, not merely upping previous ones, without it being too powerful. The overall goal is to make a solidly tier 3 caster.

The new focus for the warlock, rather than being tied into a particular being that grants them magic, is that warlocks are simply blessed with magic. Warlocks, without any explanations, simply have the ability to affect the world around them with magic. Even sorcerers must still study magic, and are limited in scope by the normal rules of magic, such as spell school. On the one hand, a warlock's abilities are limited in scope compared to any other caster; on the other, their innate tie to magic means they can unwork the magic of others with greater ease.

System rules:
Since this is an 'early' post, I haven't yet posted any overhauled rule changes. The major and important ones assumed are:
Wound system
All skill points increased (to a maximum of 16+Int for rogues)
No class skills
And less directly relevant:
No weapon proficiencies
No 5-foot stepping when casting/archerying
Bell curve rolls

These are hopefully easy enough for someone to alter in a game where there are not in effect.

The Warlock

d6 hit die
6 skill points per level
Trained in light armor
{table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Invocations|Infusi ons of Power|Shapes or Essences

1st|+0|+1|+0|+2|Eldritch blast 1d6, invocations (least), consumption (eldritch blast)|2|-|1

2nd|+1|+1|+0|+3|Detect magic, surging magic|3|1|1

3rd|+2|+2|+1|+3|Eldritch blast 2d6, dissolve magic|3|1|2

4th|+3|+2|+1|+4|Deceive item, invocations (lesser)|4|1|2

5th|+3|+3|+1|+4|Eldritch blast 3d6, consumption (invocations)|4|2|3

6th|+4|+3|+2|+5|Rip magic|5|2|3[/table]

Invocations: A warlock does not prepare or cast spells as most other wielders of the arcane do. Instead, they possess a collection of attacks, defenses, and abilities known as invocations. A warlock can use any invocation they know at will, with the following qualifications:

A warlock's invocations are spell-like abilities; using an invocation is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity unless otherwise stated in it's description. An invocation can be disrupted, just as a spell can be ruined during casting. A warlock is entitled to a Concentration check to successfully use an invocation if it is hit by an attack while invoking, just as a spellcaster would be. A warlock's invocations are subject to spell resistance unless an invocation's description specifically states otherwise. A warlock's caster level with its invocations is equal to its warlock level. A warlock may dismiss an invocation as a standard action.

The save DC for an invocation (if it allows a save) is equal to 10 + the equivalent spell level of the invocation (state on its description) + the warlock's Charisma modifier. Since spell-like abilities are not actually spells, a warlock cannot benefit from any metamagic feats or Spell Focus; he can, however, benefit from the Ability Focus feat as well as feats that emulate metamagic effects for spell-like abilities. Finally, unlike other spell-like abilities, invocations are subject to arcane spell failure chance.

The three grades of invocations, in order of their relative power, are lesser, greater, and master, the latter of which are gained only as epic feats. A warlock begins play with knowledge of two least-grade invocations and one least-grade blast shape or eldritch essence invocation, as mentioned on the table above. As a warlock gains levels, he learns new invocations, as shown on the table above. When a warlock is able to learn a new blast shape or essence, or a new infusion of power, they must learn a new invocation from one of these categories; however, the remaining invocations can be put towards any type, including these former two. At any level when a warlock learns a new invocation, it may also replace an invocation he already knows with another invocation of the save or a lower grade, but must never have less blast shapes or essence or infusions of power as listed on the table above. At 4th level, a warlock gains access to greater invocations. Finally, unlike other spell-like abilities

Finally, warlocks can qualify for some prestige classes usually intended for spellcasters.

Infusions of Power: Infusions of Power are one of three special categories of invocations. They take a standard action to activate, but provide a 24-hour benefit to the warlock. Unlike normal invocations, they can be dismissed as a free action.

The most obvious change is invocations have been split into three different categories, something that is straight out of T.G. Oskar's fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=212830), (with a name change and minor shift in when they're gained). Warlocks now get buffs and shapes/essences without eating into their other invocations, but on the other hand, a warlock can use their non-restricted invocations to focus on blasting (or covering themselves in buffs, if they really want).

Something I'm toying with is dropping Lesser invocations (named Greater in this fix, due to the E6 viewpoint) to two levels earlier. For one thing, getting a single high-tier invocation doesn't feel right. I'm a bit concerned about the possibility for really tough saves with a 4th-level equivalent spell and consumption together to force high saves too early, but nothing stands out as too abuseable to me. Dropping these earlier makes it more reasonable to allow an 'epic-level' feat to bring in a very small number of Master (Greater) invocations as well.

Eldritch Blast (Sp): The first invocation that all warlocks learn is the eldritch blast.

An eldritch blast is a ray with a range of 60 feet. It is a ranged touch attack that affects a single target, and allows no saving throw. An eldritch blast deals 1d6 points of damage at 1st level, and increase by an additional 1d6 points of damage every 2 levels. This damage is raw magical energy, and thus not subject to energy resistance or damage reduction; however, it has the same chance of affecting incorporeal creatures as a normal spell. An eldritch blast is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell. If you apply a blast shape or eldritch essense invocation to your eldritch blast, your eldritch blast uses the level equivalent of the shape or essence. An individual Blast Shape or Essence invocation may alter some of these rules, as listed in their description.

An eldritch blast is subject to spell resistance, although feats like Spell Penetratoin and effects that increase caster level for purposes of bypassing spell resistance apply to this ability. An eldritch blast deals half damage to objects. Metamagic feats cannot improve a warlock's eldritch blast, but feats that affect spell-like abilities can; for instance, Ability Focus (eldritch blast) increases the DC of all saving throws (if any) associated with a warlock's eldritch blast by 2. Unlike other invocations, a warlock may use eldritch blast while wearing armor heavier than light or wielding a shield, but a warlock must always have a hand free to use this ability.

The only thing that should be changed here is being able to use eldritch blast regardless of normal spell failure, something lifted from T.G. Oskar's warlock.

Blast Shapes and Eldritch Essences: Some invocations do not cause direct effects, but rather serve to modify a warlock's eldritch blast. They fall into two categories: blast shapes, and eldritch essences. A warlock may apply one of each of these to an eldritch blast as part of the same action as the eldritch blast. When a warlock applies a blast shape or eldritch essence, the effective spell level of the modified eldritch blast is equal to the effective spell level of the invocation; if using both, the effective spell level is the highest between the two invocations, plus 1 (up to a maximum of 4th level).

A blast shape affects the range, target, or area of effect of an eldritch blast. Unless otherwise noted, an eldritch blast subject to a blast shape invocation deals damage normally, as well as applying the effect of any applied eldritch essence or any other ability that modifies invocations.

An eldritch essence modified the damage dealt by an eldritch blast or causes a variety of effects. If the warlock targets a creature with an eldritch blast modified by an eldritch essence that has immunity to the essence's effect, the creature still take damage from the attack normally (unless the creature is immune to the damage as well).

This is pretty much lifted from MammonAzrael's warlock (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=226021) which is in turn taken from T.G. Oskar's. The only thing that should be changed is that an essence + blast takes the highest spell level +1, making combining the two tougher to resist, but I capped it to 4th level due to being in E6. I'm not sure this is actually a problem, but it just felt off to give 5th-level-equivalent save DC's in E6, at least this easily.

Consumption (Su): A warlock may tap into their physical well-being to feed into their magical power. As part of the action to cast, a warlock may take one point of Constitution damage in order to add an effect to their eldritch blast or invocation. If anything prevents this damage from being taken, consumption has no effect. If a warlock lacks a Constitution score (for example, they are undead), this instead deals Charisma damage. Unlike normal ability damage, ability damage resulting from consumption returns at a rate of one point per 10 minutes of light activity.
Eldritch blast: At 1st level, a warlock may use consumption to increase the number of damage dice its eldritch blast deals by 1d6 + 1d6 per 3 warlock levels.
Invocations: At 5th level, a warlock may use consuming power to increase the DC to resist the effect of the invocation by 2.

Rolling a scaling hellfire mechanics into the basic warlock, something it really needs. This allows a warlock to boost their damage at a fairly minor cost, but with enough of a cost to keep them from just spamming it every turn.

The DC boost to invocations is meant to fill three roles: a logical extension of using Con to fuel eldritch blast, a way for a warlock to overcome the lack of Spell Focus-like feats, and a way of helping the low-level invocations remain useful longer.

Detect Magic (Sp): Beginning at 2nd level, a warlock can use detect magic as the spell at will, with a caster level equal to his class level.

Nothing to say here, but I built off this innate ability to sense magic later

Surging Magic (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, during a round in which the warlock casts an invocation (including eldritch blast), they may spend a swift action to cast an eldritch blast or an infusion of power. A warlock may do this a number of times per encounter equal to their level.

This allows a warlock to refresh a much-needed buff if it's dispelled, and more importantly, allows multiple attacks with eldritch blast in a round. While consumption is numerically similar on its own, I'm hoping this fills enough of a separate niche that it doesn't overlap too much. I'm a little worried about potential damage output with consumption + surge of power, as my overall goal is to get a bit away from one-shotting equal-level opponents as a normal outcome of combat beyond 1st level, and am on the fence about whether they should both be a swift action or not.

Dissolve Magic (Su): A warlock's intuit knowledge of how magic works allows them to cancel and feed off of ongoing magical effects. Starting at 3rd level, the warlock can spend time to attempt to destroy an ongoing spell or spell-like ability and pull power from it. This causes whatever spell is affected to end as if it had been dispelled. If the warlock fails to destroy a given instance of magic, they are unable to make further attempts until they gain a level (assuming its duration is that long). If an ongoing effect cannot be dispelling with dispel magic, this ability has no affect.

Infusion of Power: A warlock can destroy their own ongoing infusions as a swift action. This heals 1 vitality point per warlock level, but this healing can never bring the warlock above half their total vitality.

Ongoing Spell: A warlock can destroy a single ongoing spell on itself as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunities. This requires a caster level check (DC11 + the spell's caster level). Success means the spell ends and the warlock immediately heals 1d6 points of vitality damage per spell level. This ability can also be used against an adjacent creature, provided they are willing (or unable to resist), though the healing still affects the warlock, and the ability targets the highest-level spell in effect unless the warlock chooses to attempt to destroy a particular ongoing spell (if this spell is not present on the target, the attempt fails).

Spell Effect: The warlock can spend 5 rounds in focused concentration to attempt to destroy an ongoing magical effect, whether the effect is on the warlock, another creature, or in an area. If targeting a creature, the warlock can try to destroy the highest-level spell or a specific spell (if this spell is not present on the target, the attempt fails). The warlock must be within 30 feet of the effect for this ability to work. This requires the warlock to make a caster level check (DC11 + the spell's caster level). If successful, the effect ends and the warlock can heal 1d6 points of vitality damage per spell level to himself or an adjacent ally, or heal himself of 1 wound per spell level, or heal himself of 1 point of ability damage.

Against some effects especially those that cover a large area, have an extremely long duration, or are not the results of a spell or are the result of an epic-level spell this ability may have altered function, as determined by the DM. For one, this ability is likely to not have any short-term impact on the ongoing effect, while the warlock may be able to use this ability at a regular interval (once per 8 hours, once per day, or once per week are most likely) to gain the normal benefits, or altered effects such as healing others of wounds or ability damage, or new effects such as providing a small number of power points or giving temporary ability increases.

This is where a warlock's innate connection with magic really comes out. It gives them a way of taking care of troublesome magic, but the time it takes means wizards, clerics, and the two dispelling invocations are still better at it. It also gives warlocks an interesting method of healing, being able to turn useless buffs post-battle into healing.

In addition, the Infusion of Power dissolution gives a further use of swift actions if the warlock needs the healing, while the Spell Effect expanded text is there to give the DM something to play with.

Please help me come up with better terms than Ongoing Spell/Spell Effect, they're too confusing.

Deceive Item (Ex): Beginning at 4th level, a warlock may always take 10 on any Use Magic Device checks.

Nothing surprising here, but instead of seeming slightly out-of-place, it's now in the same vein as other warlock abilities.

Rip Magic (Su): At 6th level, a warlock's ability to manipulate the magic of others reaches its zenith. As a swift action, the warlock makes a caster level check against a single ongoing spell or spell-like ability (DC11 + caster level). If targeting a creature, the warlock either chooses a specific ongoing spell, or simply the highest-level spell. A successful check means the spell rips apart, which has one of two effects:
Backlash: If targeting a creature, the creature that had been effected by the spell immediately takes 2d6 points of damage per spell level (Will half). If targeting a spell effecting an area, all creatures in the area take 2 points of damage per spell level (Will half).
Devour: For every spell level devoured, the warlock's next invocation or eldritch blast is treated as under the effects of consumption (lasts 10 minutes).
The warlock may use this ability 2 times per day, but failing the caster level check does not use up one of these uses.

I was iffy on using this as a capstone. I didn't want the antimagic thread to overpower the invocations, but I didn't particularly like using consumption (invocations) as the capstone either. Its limited uses per day, and that it only hits a single spell effect, should keep it from being overly powerful despite being a swift action, while still being useful both on offense and defense.

2012-03-01, 03:34 PM
--Reserved for Invocation tinkerings, when I get them done--

2012-03-01, 06:26 PM
Just curious, have you seen Gnorman's E6 stuff?
I will be reading through this and helping.