July 21, 2015

Pact Boons

Warlock Pact Boons
Comments from the Finger: Quick intermission from the Wild West Update:
     The 5e Warlock class is one of the most interesting in the entire edition. In addition to selecting a subclass, the Patron (of which we've released a few), you can also select a Pact Boon, which further allows you to shape the class. Finally, you can augment the class with the selection of Invocations, which can augment general traits or reinforce your Pact Boon. Here's a few Boons and matching Invocations that we've since devised.

Pact Boon
At 3rd level, your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

Pact of the Bone
Your patron has granted you authority over undeath. You can cast animate dead without expending a spell slot or spell components to animate 1 corpse or reassert control over 1 undead creature. Undead animated using this effect have half the maximum hit points normal of a normal undead of their type. After using this ability, you may not use it again until you finish a long rest.

Pact of the Flame
When you cast a cantrip that deals damage on your turn, you can, as a bonus action, choose to lose a number of hit points, up to half your warlock level (maximum 5), to imbue this attack with fire. The cantrip deals an additional amount of fire damage on a hit equal to the number of hit points lost. You may not regain hit points lost with this ability with magic effects.

Pact of the Key
You patron has opened the doors of reality to you. As an action on your turn, you can teleport a distance up to half you movement speed. If you teleport into a space that is already occupied by an object or creature, you take force damage equal to the number of feet traveled and are shunted to the nearest unoccupied location.

The Dead Walk
Prerequisite: 5th level, Pact of the Bone feature
When you cast animate dead using your Bone pact boon, each creature created has hit points of a normal undead of its type. In addition:
• The creature’s hit point maximum is increased by an amount equal to your warlock level.
• The creature adds your proficiency bonus to its weapon attack rolls.

Crown of the Lich Lord
Prerequisite: 15th level, Pact of the Bone feature
When you cast animate dead using your Bone pact boon, you may animate or exert influence over up to three creatures. Additionally, each undead creature under your control deals an additional 1d6 poison damage on its attack rolls.

Prerequisite: Pact of the Flame feature
When you expend hit points to imbue your cantrip with fire damage, you can change the damage type of the cantrip to fire damage. Creatures with resistance to fire damage take the full amount of fire damage from your cantrip and creatures with immunity to fire damage take this damage as if they had resistance to fire damage.

Baator Blast
Prerequisite: 12th level, Pact of the Flame feature
When you use you imbue a cantrip with fire, you can deal fire damage equal to twice the number of hit points sacrificed. After using this feature, you cannot use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Flee the Scene
Prerequisite: 5th level, Pact of the Key feature
When you teleport, an illusory double of you appears where you were standing. The double disappears at the beginning of your next turn or when it would take damage. Your double acts naturally, though it cannot speak, gesture, or move from the space it originated in.
     Additionally, your range of your teleport increases by a distance equal to half your movement speed.

Hasty Departure
Prerequisite: 12th level, Pact of the Key feature
You can hasten your teleport to require a bonus action, rather than an action, on your turn. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (a minimum of once,) after which it requires an action to teleport. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
     Additionally, your range of your teleport increases by a distance equal to half your movement speed.

Changelog: 7/22/15: Feature references to 'hellfire' have been changed to 'fire'. The Hellfire feature is still named Hellfire.
7/26/15: Pact of the Flame damage capped to 5.


  1. Love this and just a heads up, on the pdf the flame Invocations are showing pact of the bone as requirements

    1. Crap, I thought I fixed that! I'll have it patched up in a jiffy.

  2. I feel like Pact of bone and the archfey patron would be a tad odd... how would that work? How would bone work with solar? Now I wanna make those.... and I wanna make a fire boon with fiend patron! Key is great with fey. Wait, how would the flame work with temporary hp? Cuz it just says hp, no specification of temp or not.

    1. Hp are hp, temporary hp would have to be specified or it would have to say "you take x damage" for temporary hp to affect it.

      In terms of theme, there are plenty of undead fey (off the top of my head: banshees). Theoretically, as there are gods who approve of necromancy and potentially fallen/corrupt/ends-justify-the-means Solars that would be equally appropriate.
      Flame seems like it should be reworded from "hellfire" to something more generic. Naming notwithstanding, I can see Solars giving out fire for divine cleansing, Archfey giving out faerie fire, Great Old Ones giving the fury of the distant stars and, obviously, fiends giving the blessing of hellfire.

    2. There's some interesting ways you could play Pact of the Bone. An archfey that grants this might originate in the Shadowfell or have made a deal of his own with the denizens there. A Solar might have fallen (a rare and terrifying sight, indeed) or might only animate good undead, known as deathless. The difference here is strictly a flavor one, but one can imagine righteous draugur that protect tombs of godly people, as a reward, rather than a curse, for their bodies, while they move on to the afterlife.

      You might be right that Hellfire could use rewording, but I'm drawing a blank. Do you have a suggestion?

    3. Otherworldly flames is all I can think of, though that's a bit close to 'otherworldly patron'...

    4. Undenyable flames could work, seeing as it ignores resistance and treats imune as resist.

  3. Hellfire in the D&D canon is an actual thing; it's Mephistopheles' pet project and is the hottest fire in existence. It does full damage to everything - creatures normally resistant or immune to fire, objects, and probably ignores damage threshold in 5e to boot. It doesn't actually do fire damage, and may even be its own type, but that might be due to 3e having a focus on vocabulary having specific definitions tied to keywords.

    If you want it to be full Hellfire, I'd suggest leaving the name and giving it the oomph above. I doubt it would be terribly gamebreaking. Maybe Mephistopheles is giving others access to it to increase his own power.

    If you don't want it to be D&D canon Hellfire, then you could rename it Imperious Flame, Overbearing Flame, Furious or Wrathful Flames...

    1. This is precisely why I went with hellfire in the first place - it's thematically and mechanically reminiscent of the 3.5 Hellfire Warlock prestige class, which took Constitution damage to deal tons of additional hellfire damage on its blasts. It has a cool place in the lore and was crazy fun (if risky) to use.

      I intended this to be canon hellfire (or as close to canon as the Finger of Vecna can be) and updated the mechanics for 5th edition as appropriate. However, the commenters are right that it's thematically strange that the ability mentions Hellfire, when warlocks now no longer need to be affiliated with hell. I might do some subtle rewording, but leave the Invocation names the same (since there are a number of invocations that are named for the lower planes and such, but have no Fiend requirement.)

    2. Of course, there's nothing to say you can't require a specific patron. It would allow better thematic flavor instead of forcing you to water it down.

    3. I certainly have a Boon require a particular Patron, but I tend to dislike adding requirements where none have been before. As of right now, a warlock can select any Patron with any Boon, and I quite like the simplicity and flexibility in that.

  4. It just occurred to me that the Pact of the Flame synergizes very well with The Machine's Eldritch Fist. Assuming your invocations and components were picked to focus on it, a single hit would deal 1d10+STR+2d10+CHA+fire damage from the pact boon for an average total of 25 or 26 damage.

  5. Assume lvl 20. Flame boon plus Baator blast plus hellfire plus the 1d10 servo plus machine patron... 1d10+str+5d10+(cha×5)+(fire damage×5) since agonizing blast applies to each eldritch blast bol indevidually, amd by the wording so does the fire pact boon benefit. if cha mod = 5 and str mod = 5, if assume 100% accuravy then deals 136-190 dmg, an average of 163 dmg. but that is a 1 per day thing. Soooo....

    1. I'm a little confused by your math, but you're on the right track. At 20th level, flame boon grants up to 10 extra damage on each attack hit with his cantrip (or 20 once per long rest.) A Machine Patron with Pact of the Flame using his Eldtirch Fist can make an attack roll to deal 1d10+Str bludgeoning, and also use eldritch blast firing 4 beams, each dealing 1d10+20+Cha fire (assuming Agonizing Blast.)

      In total: 5d10+Str+4*Cha+80. Assuming maximum Str and Cha, expected value for damage is: 132.5. Of course, this requires a successful attack roll and 4 successive hits on an eldritch blast, along with expending a once/short ability, but this still seems insanely high. Finger of death only deals around 70 on average. With a few above average attack rolls, you can drop 100 hp without even blowing a spell slot, and probably without any damage resistance.

      I never bothered to check out how Pact of the Flame behaved at level 20, since few players play that high, but the numbers seemed to check out at lower levels, relative to the cost. Obviously, from the math above, the main contributor seems to be the +20 added to each eldritch blast attack. I can see a few ways to mitigate this:

      Pact of the Flame will only allow you to sacrifice a number of hit points up to half your warlock level (maximum 5.)
      -- Cap the Flame benefit.

      The cantrip deals an additional amount of fire damage to its target equal to the number of hit points lost.
      -- Change adding damage from "on a hit" to "its target", to eliminate getting stacking damage from Eldritch Blast.

      Two main options. Thoughts?

    2. That should help with the insane damage at higher levels. My mistake, I thought eldritch blast had 5 beams at higher levels. kinda sad though that it doesnt stack with eldritch blast since that is awesome. But as it is now, does this mean that eldritch blast can spread damage for each target takin gfire damage indevidually but it cant stack on one terget?

    3. I'm thinking about with capping the damage from pact of the Flame or reducing the damage the flame can to do each target, which keeps eldritch blast very powerful, but keeps focus firing a single target from being an option, but probably not both. In the former, the blast would work very much like Agonizing Blast, adding damage to each hit. In the latter, you would get additional damage for each target that you hit once each. This is more controlled, but a little complicated.

      I'm leaning toward simply capping the damage at 5, as this means Eldritch Blast is still the favorite for this ability, rather than some other cantrip, which will get a comparable benefit from the Flame if it dealt damage to each creature hit.

  6. My DM thinks that Pact of the Key is too strong, as he thinks a free, limitless teleport is pretty OP. Especially at 12th lvl, with the invocation there making it into a bonus action. and increasing it to a full movement teleport.
    As he put it:
    As a bonus action you teleport 30ft.
    Then as an action you teleport another 30ft.
    And then lastly as a movement you run 30ft.
    Thus you've covered 90ft, 60 of them which can ignore obstacles and terrain and heights and what not.

  7. You know, I really like these. I'm drafting up a big list of Warlock ideas I'd play, and a lot of your homebrew is getting on the list (Wild Hunt is my most favorite).
    One of the things I'd just like to ask: why Poison for the Crown of the Lich King bonus damage? Wouldn't Necrotic be a more thematic choice? I only ask because poison is waaaaaaay underpowered this edition, with how many things are flat out immune to it. Other than that, I really love the work you're doing here!
    Pact of the Key is perfect for a Great Old One 'lock, really play up the Lovecraft angle by making your patron Yog'sothoth, and then going to town with the Arcane Geometry.

    1. Glad you like these!

      @Crown of the Lich Lord: I believe it was a toss up between necrotic and poison when I wrote this, since we're talking about rotting, undead corpses. There's not a great difference here in terms of balance unless you are fighting constructs or something, so you could probably flip that to necrotic in your own game without issue if you think it suits the flavor better

    2. Oh yeah, I guess I didn't think of it that way. Necrotic is more mystically inclined, which would be weird to have coming from the Festering Dead.
      I've already got a Blood Pact Warlock ready to go for the next game I'm going to be in, and I think I'll be going with Bone. Something about being a "Warlock of Blood and Bone" sounds especially fun >:D
      Keep up the good work!

    3. Sounds like a super fun build! Happy gaming!

  8. I noticed that Hellfire is the only one of these invocations that doesn't have a level requirement. To stay in line with the others it would have a req of level 5.

    I also noticed that the PDF says lvl 15 for Baator Blast, while the page text says level 12