August 30, 2015

The Spirit

Otherworldly Patron
Comments from the Finger: You know, I'm always pretty proud of our warlocks. This one's no exception (though I have no idea if the first feature is super broken or not.)

The Spirit

You made a pact with an entity which dwells on the Ethereal Plane. This creature is no mere ghost, it is a titanous soul whose presence can be felt on the Material Plane.
     Such a Spirit's motivations are patently unclear. Perhaps it is driven mad by centuries of isolation on the desolate plane, or perhaps it is plotting, calculating revenge against those that wronged it in life in a long game spanning aeons. Whatever its motive, it has granted you powers of the ethereal, allowing you to move between the Planes with greater and greater ease as your powers grow.

Spirit Expanded Spells
1: detect magic, dissonant whispers
2: phantasmal force, see invisibility
3: blink, Leomund's tiny hut
4: Leomund's secret chest, phantasmal killer
5: telekinesis, wall of force

Incorporeal Movement
Beginning when you select this patron at 1st level, you can move through other creatures as if they were difficult terrain. This movement is limited to 5 feet each turn and does not provoke opportunity attacks. You take 2d10 force damage and are shunted to the nearest available space if you end your turn inside a creature or object.
     At 10th level, you can move through objects, in addition to creatures, as difficult terrain.

Ethereal Sight
At 1st level, you can see into the Ethereal Plane within 60 feet of you.

Ethereal Jaunt
At 6th level, as a bonus action, you can magically shift from the plane you currently occupy to the Ethereal Plane for 1 round. You may move no further than 10 feet from where you originated on the Ethereal Plane. After using this ability, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

Ghost Touch 
Beginning at 10th level, your melee attacks overcome damage reduction against incorporeal undead, such as spectres and wraiths. Additionally, your attacks and spells affect creatures on the Ethereal Plane normally as if they were on the Material Plane.

Ethereal Shunt 
Beginning at 14th level, as an action, you can forcibly move anything from the material plane into the Border Ethereal. Choose either a single object less than 100 cubic feet in volume or a single creature within 5 feet of you. If that creature is unwilling, it must make a Charisma saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failure, it is shunted to the Ethereal Plane (as per the spell etherealness) for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) or until you lose your concentration (as if concentrating on a spell).
     Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

Changelog: 8/30/15: Spells fixed on pdf,
Incorporeal Movement and Ethereal Sight at 1st level.
Ethereal Shunt: reworded.
Ethereal Jaunt now lasts for just 1 round.
Ghost Touch: can now attack and use spells on creatures on the Ethereal Plane normally
3/4/16: Incorporeal Movement: You can now only move through creatures at 1st level. you can move through objects at 10th.


  1. Just as a wording inconsistency, you select your Otherworldly Patron at 1st level, not 3rd level.

    Incorporeal Movement is really strong for a 1st level ability. As a thing, do you not suffer the 'shunt' whenever you end inside something, being forced out to the closest available space? As a dangerous part, it being a 1st level ability, and taking 2D10 damage, it's possible to die from this pretty easily if you guess at the objects depth and fail to get all the way through?

    For simplicity for the lvl 6 ability, why not use the Blink spell as a template?

    For Ghost Touch, a wording rephrase to Damage Resistance is I think more accurate? Provides clarity that it doesn't avoid immunity, either, that way, unless it's intended to do both?

    For Ethereal Shunt, I feel a wording inconsistency exists here:
    It doesn't specify if this takes an action.
    It doesn't specify what your reach is, reach of a spell or physical reach? If I use a Polearm or some such weapon with Reach, can I do it within 10 ft instead of 5ft?

    For Ethereal Shunt, there are a few issues:
    It doesn't state if it takes an action to use.
    It doesn't give a minimum duration, if you have a negative charisma modifier, can you move this object/creature for -1 rounds or more?
    It doesn't specific reach, is this within 5 ft? What if I'm wielding a polearm and have a reach of 10 ft?
    Can the creature make a saving throw to return and break this effect? Most spells and abilities that have a duration as this done provides the hostile creature a change to break it each round.
    Can a sentient weapon, something that has a saving throw, resist the effects of this? Or are only creatures allowed a save?

    A wording alteration would benefit for this, something similar to:
    "As an action, you can forcibly move anything from the material plane into the border ethereal. Choose either a single object less than 100 cubic feet in volume or a single creature within 5 ft of you. If that creature is unwilling, it must make a Charisma saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failure, it is shunted to the Ethereal Plane (as per the spell Etherealness) for a number of rounds equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1) or until you lose your concentration (as if concentrating on a spell).
    Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest."

    1. Ack, apologies for the textual double-up on Shunt, I was editing and lost track -_-

    2. Welcome Khaz! You have some really good advice here; let me see what I can do to respond.

      I've changed the 1st level ability to 'shunt' after it stops in an object.

      For the 6th level ability, I didn't want to use blink because it makes the spell redundant on the expanded spell list. Typically, the 6th level ability is a get of danger once per short rest ability and I wanted this to be a little different. I thought it would be interesting if you could just leave the plane for a little while and come back on a later round. It takes a little more setup, but it works for the same effect.

      I really like your rewording of ethereal shunt!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I agree with Kahz about the Incorporeal Movement being very powerful for a level-1 character. The ability to walk through a door or a wall at will could give an incredible advantage to a character of any level.
      Say you're in a dungeon where you walk down a corridor and stop at a rusted old gate. Normally, this would require players to roll a skill, expend a spell, or figure out some creative way around the road-block. Now you have a character that can just walk straight through. Yes, this character can only move himself and not the rest of the party, but this option could still spoil a well-intentioned obstacle, especially at level 1 where players are supposed to just be getting used to their most basic abilities.
      I suggest saving this feature for a higher level, making it a once-per-day ability, or maybe make it contingent on a Charisma check (or something that limits its use until the character gets stronger).

    5. You know, I haven't looked at this feature in a long while, but I think the solution might be to uncouple moving through objects from moving through creatures. I'll move 'move through objects' to a higher level, and leave 'move through creatures' at 1st.

    6. (Also, thanks for the comment -- insightful, well-argued, and right to the point.)

  2. In the PDF, you have the expanded spells attributed to "The Solar" - might want to change that.

    Incorporeal Movement - I don't think this is broken, and it should be fine to remove the restriction. There is nothing stating that the movement negates attacks of opportunity, so passing through multiple medium size creatures presents its own deterent. Passing through larger creatures provides an interesting tactical advantage. Objects are another matter, but with 5 feet of movement most doors and walls are already rendered meaningless. Also, 2d10 damage seems a bit high since monsters only suffer half that.

    Ethereal Sight - I was going to suggest this be a higher level ability, but when I look at ghosts and spectres, it's about the right level to matter.

    Ethereal Jaunt - I'm not fond of this one; it takes a high level spell, and nerfs it bad enough to make me not want to bother. I have a couple of suggestions:
    * Bump it to the level 14 ability, and make it Etherealness 1x per short or long rest.
    * OR: At 6th level, when you are attacked you can use your reaction to briefly shift into the ethereal plane and cause the attack to miss. You may decide to use this ability after determining whether the attack hits, but before determining the results/damage. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your charisma bonus. You regain your use of this ability after a long rest.

    Ghost Touch - At first blush, this struck me as a ribbon ability. Skimming through the MM for incorporeal creatures shows they only need a magic weapon to bypass their damage resistance. But, the way it's worded melee attacks bypass ALL damage resistances on ALL undead (fights actually on the Ethereal Plane are entirely dependent on the campaign). Is that intended? It seems a bit askew from the idea this guy can interact with and destroy incorporeal creatures.

    Ethereal Shunt - A fantastic alternate use of this ability would be to force ethereal creatures on the material plane, making them vulnerable to party members who can't go ethereal.

    1. That's a great capstone use for lvl 14, instead of ethereal shunt, ethereal lock, pull creatures from the ethereal, and keep them from returning to it. Very flavorful.

    2. I would instead suggest making it work to or from the ethereal plane, because quite honestly, how many times are you fighting ethereal creatures?
      Either that or letting it be used to summon an allied ethereal creature while depriving it of its ethereal abilities.

    3. I like this one. Warlocks I feel are probably some of the hardest to work on.

      My only question is, what inspired detect magic to be on the expanded spell list while there is the Eldritch Sight invocation?

    4. A quick reply to your really great comments:

      Spell List: fixed it on the PDF. I might exchange detect magic with something else since the same niche is covered by Eldritch Sight.

      Ethereal Jaunt is really best if it's exactly as Flicker from the Master of Shadow subclass, which goes as follows:
      At 13th level, as a reaction when an attack is made against you or a spell affects you, you can flicker out of existence. You teleport to your shadow, up to 30 feet. Roll a d20. On an 11 or higher, the attack or spell does not affect you. Otherwise, you take half damage from the attack or spell (and suffer all other effects of the attack or spell normally) before you teleport. After you use this ability, you must finish a short or long rest before using it again.

      However, since I've already used this ability, I decided on the different mechanic of vanishing entirely for about a round. In retrospect I'll probably limit the duration of this ability to 1 round, or just be redundant and replace it with Flicker (as much as I know that people hate that.)

      Ghost Touch: I'll probably revert this to more of a ribbon ability, only focusing on spirits and creatures on the ethereal plane, and also give something else at this level.

    5. Having it so ghost touch allows you to physically effect creatures on the ethereal plane whilst you remain on the material plane would be quite flavorful, especially when you use it in combination with Ethereal Shunt. A great combo-use ability mechanic there, potentially.

    6. You know, that was my intent for this ability, but I getting the wording right for this was exceptionally confusing for me since I started by using the Wraith (which can't actually enter the Ethereal Plane) as a reference, because it was the first spirit to come to mind. Now that I've taken a much closer look, it seems the phrasing "your melee attacks affect creatures on the ethereal plane normally" works just fine. I'll edit it in.

    7. Considering it's about being ethereal yourself, just allow the warlock to effect creatures no matter the attack, rather than just melee. They rely so heavily on EB and their abilities to compete damage wise, it wouldn't be broken if they could effect them regardless of the attack type, as long as it originates from them only. Making it only physical really pushes this archetype onto the Bladepact to make any use of it, since most won't be melee'ing anything except in circumstances unlikely to come against an ethereal creature.

    8. Yeah, you're probably right. Considering it's really a niche feature anyway there's no real reason to limit it.