View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next [Brainstorming] Oppa Warlock-Style!

2014-11-03, 08:07 PM
Misleading title.

Hello guys, I want to change all spellcasting in 5e to work like warlock spellcasting, and I want your opinions on some finer points of this conversion. Please pardon me for the rant-like style of writing; some points are written like some kind of quick meeting notes, but that's because I intend to use this as some kind of brainstorming sessions before putting real effort into this material.

In my games I always liked the idea of mana and recharge magic. In my 3e games we had spellpoints (mana, in the colors of magic version) and rituals and no prepared casters. Then in 5e I saw some real improvements in the system with the ďspirit-shaman-likeĒ spellcasting, the golden unwritten rule about 6th+ level spells, concentration and psionics-like spell augmentation. All in all Iím very happy with the system.

However, the warlockís casting is both elegant and exactly what I was looking for. It has the exact feel of magic that I like, some few mastered spells that get stronger as you get stronger understanding of magic, and that you need some time to allow your mana to recharge, thus removing the per day mechanic that I really donít like and making the game rest-based. That and the respect for the unwritten rule of 6th+ level spells really called my attention. Also my games are little out of the norm because on some sessions the party faces no combat or action encounters, and when they do have to fight itís usually either a combat per day or days (social encounters, mystery solving, wilderness travel, bandit ambush, that kind of thing), or two, three, four or more encounters in somewhat rapid succession with no time to rest (escaping a prison, breaking into enemy stronghold, battles amid a mass combat, etc). I may even add that the ďfour or five encounters with around two short rests dungeonĒ is virtually inexistent in my games.

Because of that I would like to try to change every spellcaster to use some kind of warlock-like system, but with every class with their own twist or trait.

If everyone is going to cast as warlock I predict the following:
1 - Players will choose combat spells first, be blasting, crowd control, debuffing or buffing first, and then some utility spells like flight, invisibility and charms second. I donít seem them preparing out of combat spells in most days.
2 - My players will usually know better than trying to nova. They will use one spell and fill their actions with attacks, class abilities and cantrips, usually keeping the second (or third) spell in reserve. When they reach mystic Arcanum levels they will throw more spells and keep the higher level ones in reserve for the big moments.
(Actually since they usually have only one encounter per day my players could play the dm and nova every encounter, however Iíve got a really immersed group and spellcasters usually throw one or two spells per encounter (barring emergency spells) and usually fill the gap with concentration, class abilities or cantrips (bless them 5e cantrips), because they always might need their spells later in an emergency)
3 - Rituals will be even more valuable.

Question 1: Considering my playstyle do you predict something else that I should consider?

Because of that I see the need for three basic changes:
1 - More rituals. Since characters will have less spells prepared there needs to be more non-combat spells that can be used without preparation.
2 - Everyone that can cast a ritual gets a ritual book like the wizardís and tome warlockís. You have to write your rituals on them and can cast any ritual on them.
3 - More per-day low level abilities should become per-rest. Abilities gained beginning at 10th level can stay per day.
4 (optional) - Shorter short rests. I already use 15 or 30 minutes short rests, but thatís personal taste.

Iím not worried about combat per day balance issues, since I want to make my game as encounter-based as possible (with some rapid-fire encounters with no time to rest to spice things up, of course).

Question 2: Anyone notice another needed change?

The classes would work like this:

Changes: As is. Heís the basis that everyone is built around after all. Eldritch Blast as class feature and not a spell.
Type: Spells know. No change. Question 3: Change restriction to changing spells know at level up to allow any level he can cast?
Trait: At will eldritch invocations to keep up with lack of Bard and Sorcererís traits.

Changes: Lore Bard gets Magical Secrets at each spell level; choose one spell from the wizard, cleric or druid list and add to spells know.
Type: Spells know. As warlock.
Trait: Lore bard knows some more spells like cleric and land druid do. Valor doesnít care at all.

Changes: Canít convert spell slots into sorcery points, can convert sorcery into more slots (maybe?). Question 4: allow conversion of mystic Arcanum spells into more sorcery points?
Type: Spells know. As warlock.
Trait: Metamagic is great with max-level spells .

Changes: Gets ritual spellbook like a wizard.
Type: Prepared spells. Can prepare the same number of spells as the spells know of a same level warlock, from the cleric spell list. Question: I believe spell level restrictions should apply so they canít prepare only max level spells, but with automatic spell scalling and max 4 per rest I donít know if this is really an issue.
Trait: Gets one (Question 5: both?) additional prepared spell from his domain. More spells know/prepared than most casters.

Changes: Gets ritual spellbook like a wizard.
Type: Prepared spells. Can prepare the same number of spells as the spells know of a same level warlock, from the druid spell list.
Trait: Land druid gets one (Question 6: both?) additional prepared spell from his terrain. Moon druid too busy munching on monsters to care about spellcasting besides max-level slot sacrificing to heal himself; heís pretty happy with that.

Changes: Spell recovery doesnít exist anymore (Question 7: allow to recover one mystic Arcanum per day?). Thematically gotta have some advantage with rituals. (Question 8: what advantages? Faster? More free rituals per level?)
Type: Prepared spells. Must have the spell written in his book.
Trait: No extra prepared spells, no metamagic, no eldritch invocations. Must have some kind of spellcasting advantage. (Question 9: One additional spell prepared from his school? More usefull / powerful first level school abilities would be perfect actually)

Thoughs? Ideas? Notes?

2014-11-04, 05:40 AM
I have to agree with you that having a spellcasting mechanic more akin to, say, Dragon Age games and such, is very interesting and that the Warlock opens up a precedent for that. I'll give some thought on this (and your questions) while I'm at work and post some ideas.

In the meantime, while reading your thoughts on the sorcerer, I can't help but wonder wether centering his whole spellcasting mechanic on sorcery points (making them refresh per short rest, perhaps) and working from there may help you create a simple and effective mechanic that can be applied to other classes, perhaps. (with the change that sorcerers would have more points, due to fluff and metamagics).

So picture the character having a set number of sorcery points that scale with level, warlock's spell slot level progression, having to spend sorcery points equal to the spell level you want to cast (cantrips would still be free, tho) and having that refresh per short rest...this way you can even come up with ways to improve that pool of points (feats, items, potions of temporary "mana").

That's pretty much Dragon Age's mechanic, right? I'm realizing that as I write...

Anyway, random thoughts, at work right now. I'll be back later.

Brew on!


2014-11-04, 05:46 AM
That would be spell points instead of spell slots. I used spell points in 3.5, but that's not exactly the path I want to take, at least not until I finish fleshing out this whole warlock-like spellcasting thing.