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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rhaegar14's Avatar

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    Default Warlock Patron: The Darklord (PEACH)

    So this was my attempt at making a Shadowfell-flavored Patron for the 5e Warlock, as an attempt to try and capture some of 4e's fluff for the Dark Pact Warlock and Assassin. I think it's reasonably balanced but I could use other opinions, especially when it comes to things like wording.

    The Darklord
    Your patron is one of the darklords of the Shadowfell, and grants you powers over death and darkness. ((This bit of fluff could use a LITTLE elaboration to match the entries in the PHB but is by far the least important element.))

    Expanded Spell List
    The Darklord lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

    Darklord Expanded Spells
    Spell Level Spells
    1st inflict wounds, ray of sickness
    2nd blur, ray of enfeeblement
    3rd blink, stinking cloud
    4th Evard's black tentacles, greater invisibility
    5th cloudkill, contagion

    Child of Night
    At 1st level, you add Stealth to your list of Warlock class skills, and you may select Stealth as one of your Warlock skill proficiencies at character creation.

    Shade Form
    Starting at 1st level, your link to the Shadowfell lets you turn into a creature of darkness. You can assume Shade Form as an action for one minute, or until you dismiss the effect on your turn as a free action. While in Shade Form you have advantage on Stealth checks, and you can attempt to hide when you are lightly obscured in any area of dim light or darkness. You are also obscured from creatures with darkvision as though they did not have darkvision when in an area of dim light or darkness.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

    Ghostly Dodge
    Starting at 6th level, you can briefly turn insubstantial to reduce the harm you suffer from attacks. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to gain resistance to nonmagical piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage until the start of your next turn.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

    Darkened Soul
    Starting at 10th level, you are increasingly resistant to the powers of darkness. You have resistance to necrotic damage, and advantage on saving throws against poison and disease effects.

    Soul Reaper
    Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to attempt to instantly kill it. If the creature has 75 hit points or less remaining after the damage from your attack, it is slain instantly as you rip its soul from its body. A creature killed in this way can only be brought back to life by true resurrection or similar magic. If the creature has more than 75 hit points remaining, it instead takes 5d10 necrotic damage. Undead are immune to this feature.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

    Spoiler: Design Notes
    Show

    General Principles -- This class was built primarily with flavor in mind rather than crunch, but it IS meant to be balanced. In addition, it is built around the core 5e design principle that multiclassing and feats are both optional and might be banned. As a result, it is meant to be self-contained. I am well aware that two levels of Rogue could allow some CRAZY Stealth shenanigans but I'm not sure how to balance that and keep the flavor I want.

    Expanded Spells -- I took a lot of direction from the Death Domain Cleric's Spells and the other Warlock Expanded Spell Lists here. Levels 1, 2, and 4 were all easy. 5 would be hard if I tried to stay away from the decay and sickness-flavored spells, but I think they fit (4e Assassin had plenty of poison effects and so did Dark Pact Warlock). Level 3 was by far the hardest, since all of the obvious choices are on the Warlock spell list by default.

    Child of Night -- This exists almost solely because it's thematically fitting but also to enable the Warlock to make full use of Shade Form without a background that grants Stealth proficiency.

    Shade Form -- Shockingly enough, inspired by the 4e Assassin feature of the same name. Meant to enable some stealth shenanigans, but its in-combat utility is limited by the fact that hiding still requires an action. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether the darkvision clause is necessary; it fits in my mind, since darkvision can't pierce magical darkness and the Warlock is "camouflaging" with the shadows, but it smacks of over-complication.

    Ghostly Dodge -- Mechanically inspired by Archfey Warlock's Misty Escape. I'm not sure this is a powerful enough feature, though that does somewhat compensate for how good Shade Form and Child of Night are at 1st level.

    Darkened Soul -- I agonized over this one. Necrotic resistance is easy, but resistance to one specific damage type isn't enough compared to the other level 10 Patron features. The advantage on saving throws might be too broad/vague, but I'm not sure what else to do with it. I'm open to ideas.

    Soul Reaper -- Mechanically inspired by Fiend Warlock's Hurl Through Hell because that was the easiest to manipulate for balance purposes. I upped the damage from Hurl Through Hell (average of 55 points) because Hurl Through Hell is guaranteed damage and has a minor crowd-control element.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Warlock Patron: The Dark Power (PEACH)

    So my thoughts. I like the archetype as a whole, and the earlier abilities are sound, if perhaps a bit close to existing abilities. I agree on 10th level being fairly weak, and... holy hellfire, that 14th level?! Hurl Through Hell has nothing about instant death. That's... that's just too insanely powerful. Maybe if Warlock pacts got a capstone at 17 or 18 instead, and even then I'd at LEAST allow a Death save, though more likely I'd treat it like Quivering Palm's "kill". I'd choose something totally different, personally.

    Here's a thought, though. Fey are about enchanting/charming, fiends are about harming/cursing, old ones are about insanity and psychic stuff. How about you make the subclass' secondary focus about fear? It fits thematically with the element of darkness, and is something 5e woefully lacks. If any base class was going to have a subclass about fear, where better than Warlock? And what better lore niche for it than darkness?

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Warlock Patron: The Dark Power (PEACH)

    Yeah, 14 is utterly inherently broken. It's almost Power Word Kill, except better because it's part of an attack and not an action of its own.

    Also, when I read this, I was hoping for Ravenloft. Curse you for dashing those hopes.

    Everything else is something I'd love to use, but that 14, WOW.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rhaegar14's Avatar

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    Default Re: Warlock Patron: The Dark Power (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Weyroc View Post
    Yeah, 14 is utterly inherently broken. It's almost Power Word Kill, except better because it's part of an attack and not an action of its own.

    Also, when I read this, I was hoping for Ravenloft. Curse you for dashing those hopes.

    Everything else is something I'd love to use, but that 14, WOW.
    They kinda rolled Ravenloft into the general Shadowfell fluff. From pg. 51 of the DMG:

    Spoiler
    Show
    In remote corners of the Shadowfell, it is easy to reach horrific demiplanes ruled over by accursed beings of terrible evil. The best known of these is the valley of Barovia, overlooked by the towering spires of Castle Ravenloft and ruled by Count Strahd von Zarovich, the first vampire. Beings of the Shadowfell called the Dark Powers created these domains as prisons for these "darklords," and through cruelty or carelessness trapped innocent mortals in these domains as well.


    Still, upon a re-read, calling the actual patron the Dark Power is a misnomer. I'll fix it real quick.

    As far as the L14 feature goes, it's in my mind balanced against the Fiend Patron's L14, but then, you could argue that that's also overpowered compared to the other two. Hurl Through Hell does 10d10 damage (average of 55), no save, after you hit with an attack. And unlike Soul Reaper it a) does full damage regardless of the enemy's current health and b) banishes them to the Lower Planes for a turn, which gives it a minor but not insignificant crowd control element. I feel like the risk-reward dynamic (assuming your DM doesn't play with full hit point disclosure; it's definitely overpowered if they do, I agree) justifies the extra 20 points of damage.

    There is not a ton of content for fear-based characters in 5e, I agree; "fear effects" are no longer a generalized category (though most just inflict frightened). It's an angle I could work with but it's already pretty well-covered in the Archfey Patron features between Fey Presence and Dark Delirium, as well as the general Warlock spell list.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Warlock Patron: The Darklord (PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaegar14 View Post
    Expanded Spell List
    The Darklord lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

    Dark Power Expanded Spells
    Spell Level Spells
    1st inflict wounds, ray of sickness
    2nd blur, ray of enfeeblement
    3rd blink, stinking cloud
    4th Evard's black tentacles, greater invisibility
    5th cloudkill, contagion
    Spell list looks fine, no real changes needed.

    Child of Night
    At 1st level, you add Stealth to your list of Warlock class skills, and you may select Stealth as one of your Warlock skill proficiencies at character creation.
    This is too weak. I'd just say that you gain proficiency in Stealth, and that if you have proficiency in stealth already, you may select another skill. Alternately, if you have stealth proficiency already, you could give them expertise in it. This is inherently weaker than the rogue ability, because it's only for one, non-selectable skill, but certainly not too powerful.

    Shade Form
    Starting at 1st level, your link to the Shadowfell lets you turn into a creature of darkness. You can assume Shade Form as an action for one minute, or until you dismiss the effect on your turn as a free action. While in Shade Form you have advantage on Stealth checks, and you can attempt to hide when you are lightly obscured in any area of dim light or darkness. You are also obscured from creatures with darkvision as though they did not have darkvision when in an area of dim light or darkness.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
    How does this interact with Devil's sight?, I'd clarify that. Otherwise, no issues.

    Ghostly Dodge
    Starting at 6th level, you can briefly turn insubstantial to reduce the harm you suffer from attacks. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to gain resistance to nonmagical piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage until the start of your next turn.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
    I think this is fine. Frankly, I wouldn't really care if they could do this at will at level 6...it certainly wouldn't be game-breaking

    Darkened Soul
    Starting at 10th level, you are increasingly resistant to the powers of darkness. You have resistance to necrotic damage, and advantage on saving throws against poison and disease effects.
    this is fine, it's in line with other patron abilities.

    Soul Reaper
    Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to attempt to instantly kill it. If the creature has 75 hit points or less remaining after the damage from your attack, it is slain instantly as you rip its soul from its body. A creature killed in this way can only be brought back to life by true resurrection or similar magic. If the creature has more than 75 hit points remaining, it instead takes 5d10 necrotic damage. Undead are immune to this feature.
    Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.
    This is too powerful. Either allow a save, or make it a copy of Finger of Death that triggers on an attack and has the "Can't be raised..." line instead of the "Rises as a zombie..." line from the spell.

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