View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Warlock Fiend Pack variant - Plague Demon Pact

Demonic Spoon
2015-07-07, 10:24 PM
I have a player who wishes to play a fiend pact warlock of Zuggtmoy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuggtmoy). Far from the default fire-and-brimstone of the normal fiend pact warlock, this demon lord is all about plague, pestilence, and sucking the life out of your enemies.

I actually like all of the fiend pact warlock's class features for this, so I'm mainly focused on replacing the spell list. The default Warlock spell list doesn't really have enough spells to fit the above theme, and none of the expanded spell lists really fit the bill either. I'm hoping for some input on whether this shifted spell list will accomplish the goal of mechanically supporting the "plague and pestilence" warlock while remaining balanced against other options.

So, here is the suggested Expanded Spells table for the plague-fiend pact warlock:

Spell Level

Ray of Sickness, False Life

Blindness/Deafness, Melf's Acid Arrow

Stinking Cloud, Bestow Curse

Evard's Black Tentacles, Grasping Vine

Cloudkill, Contagion


At level 1: False life actually has a bit of antisynergy with Dark One's Blessing, but thematically it fits very well. I couldn't find anything better for first level - suggestions welcome.

At level 2: Another potentially-fluffy spell is Spike Growth, but it would need to be refluffed a bit. It would need to deal poison damage, but I'm afraid of that making it overly weak due to common poison resistance. On the whole I'm not happy with the level 2 selections.

The Modifying Classes piece (https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/modifying-classes)on Unearthed Arcana said this about modifying Warlock spells:

The warlock spell list was carefully cultivated to avoid including spells that might become annoying if cast too often at the table. If you want to grant a warlock access to a new spell, but are concerned that its frequent casting could be disruptive to the game, consider creating an eldritch invocation that enables the use of the same magic on a more limited basis (by requiring a rest between uses, for instance).

I'm basically entirely sure that this was the reasoning behind not putting Bestow Curse on the default Warlock spell list, but instead locking it behind an invocation. I personally can't see anything too horrible coming out of allowing this spell to be refreshed on short rest. Hypothetically a warlock with level 5 slots could run around throwing no-concentration curses on everything between short rests, but I have a hard time imagining this becoming seriously disruptive.

Because these spells are by definition not on the default Warlock spell list, I tried to avoid giving it spells that give it broad capabilities that no other Warlock pact could get. For example, I stayed away from summoning spells (especially the druid-y ones, for niche protection), as well as any bonus action attack spells (which WL's explicitly don't get).

Overall, my analysis of this is that, compared to a regular fiend pact warlock, this variant will give up:

-AOE damage
-independence from concentration spells
-Ability to deal with monsters immune to poison, which is a lot of them.

However, it gains:
-Way better AOE control options,
-Very strong single-target debuffing.

Both which complement the warlock's strong at-will damage very well.


EDIT #1: Added addendum about Bestow Curse

2015-07-08, 10:35 AM
Maybe Grease instead of False Life? Re-flavor it to the gross slimy substance of your choice