View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next The Drowned Warlock

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-04-23, 07:49 AM
This is a new warlock archetype I've designed. Fair warning: my main goal is to create a particular aesthetic, and I don't want to run into too many debates around balance, thus I've mainly reused existing class features from equivalent levels in both the PHB and UA and tried to weave them together into a coherent whole rather than inventing new crunch- you'll see what I mean. Anyway I hope you enjoy the drowned warlock as much as I've enjoyed dreaming it up (X-Posted from Reddit)

Drowned warlock

Literature and folklore from around the world is rich in tales of beings who drown but do not truly die, some returning with strange powers and habits. In the worlds of D&D, such beings are a reality- see for, for example, revenants drowned at sea, deep scions etc. The eerily beautiful drowned warlock is another take on this legend by yours truly, a being so desperate to cling to life that it made in haste a pact beneath the waves to stay alive- only to discover that it wasn’t quite life on offer.

This homebrew is rather unconventional in that it affects both class and race. The concept is that you are a ‘survivor’ of a shipwreck who, while drowning, plead for your life and made a desperate pact. Your patron granted your plea, but the catch was that you are no longer truly alive. Many, but not all, drowned warlocks make this pact out of vanity, horrified at the thought of their faces and bodies ruined by devouring worms on the muck of the sea floor. Drowned warlocks largely look like ordinary humans except that their skin is paler than it was before drowning, and their hair seems perpetually wet. Perhaps it is the fickle tastes of patron spirits, or perhaps it is the aforementioned vanity of drowned warlocks, but many possess a strange beauty or handsomeness. Most drowned warlocks try to conceal the secret of their undeath so as to avoid hostility, whether to better try and resume their own lives from before their drowning, or to advance wicked schemes

Character creation

Undead nature: You do not require air, food, drink or sleep, though you still must spend the normal amount of time doing nothing to gain the benefits of a short or long rest. However, you are also vulnerable to turning and are at disadvantage on charisma rolls except intimidation with anyone who recognises you as undead and has a general dislike for the undead- this includes most people except necromancers, death cultists and the like, it may also exclude those you have a built a rapport with.
Class: You are a warlock and receive class features, spells, proficiencies etc. as normal. Your pact is with the aquatic forces that offered you a facsimile of life as an alternative to oblivion on the sea floor. Perhaps your patron is a deity of water, a dread kraken, an inscrutable aboleth or a powerful Sauhaugin priestess, or perhaps in some bizarre sense it is the ocean itself.

Your patron grants you the following gifts:

Level 1: Deep Witch

You are at home in the depths now. You gain the shape water cantrip and a swim speed of 30.

Level 6: A Strange and Fearful Glamour

You have faced death and bargained a way out, you embody the primal fear of drowning, and creatures flinch from laying a hand on you as a result. Beginning at 6th level, when a creature you can see within 30 feet of you makes an attack roll against you, you can use your reaction to divert the attack, provided that another creature is within the attack’s range. The attacker must make a Wisdom saving throw against your Warlock spell save DC. On a failed save, the attacker must target the creature that is closest to it, not including you or itself. If multiple creatures are closest, the attacker chooses which one to target. On a successful save, you can’t use this feature on the attacker again until you finish a long rest. You must choose to use this feature before knowing whether the attack hits or misses. Creatures that can’t be charmed are immune to this effect. [Source: School of enchantment 6th level feature]

Level 10: Refuse death

You display the same indomitable will to survive that led you to make your initial pact. You always have advantage on death saving throws, you are immune to being frightened and you have resistance to cold damage. [Source: This is from the Raven Queen Warlock UA, with cold damage substituted for necrotic damage]
Level 14: No real escape

In some sense you never truly left the dark waters that claimed you, and you begin to understand and gain power from this. You gain a flying speed equal to your swim speed. When you fly in this manner you appear to be ‘swimming’ through the air, your hair floats and your clothes ripple as if you were underwater. Your words are muffled and others cannot understand you- you may still speak verbal components of spells however. Once you land this effect again goes away [Source: Level 14 Draconic sorcerer ability]

Expanded spell access

You may learn the following spells:

Spell Lvl 1: Fog cloud, Entangle [The vines take the form of a kelp forest that floats as if it were underwater]
Spell Lvl 2: Gust of wind, Silence, Gentle repose
Spell Lvl 3: Tidal wave, Feign death
Spell Lvl 4: Control water, Freedom of movement
Spell Lvl 5 Control winds, Cone of cold

[I took some ideas off Kryx’s expanded spell list for the storm sorcerer for this]

2017-04-23, 08:39 AM
I'd go back and make sure the places that ask for DCs and such specify your warlock save, but other than that, this is interesting. Balance shouldn't be a problem - frankly, it feels like a warlock, with a thematic but not necessarily connected set of abilities that suggest your patrons's nature.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-04-23, 10:58 AM

I've fixed up the the wizard spell save thing I think.

2017-04-23, 11:43 AM
Send generally interesting. One comment is that silent image is an invocation so shouldn't be on the expanded spell list

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-04-23, 01:46 PM
Thanks! I agree re: Silent image. I'm not happy with the expanded list in general and will probably overhaul it soon.

Tesla Dragon
2017-04-24, 01:31 PM
I like it! The flavourful flight is really great visually, and the whole archetype comes together to form a remarkably concise concept. If you're still tweaking the spell list, might I suggest Entangle as a first level spell? Using it in emulation of the grasping weeds at the ocean's floor.

Additionally, while you presented this as a single package, I could easily see a "Drowned" background being very possible, especially considering the existence of the Revenant background. If it isn't going against the flavour you had in mind, you might consider fleshing out the undead component of this class with additional proficiencies and suggested traits to present this as a 2-for-1 sort of deal, intended to be used together but able to stand on their own.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-04-24, 01:51 PM
Re: Entangle. I like it- I've made this change.