March 18, 2016

The Pharaoh

Otherworldly Patron
Notes from the Palm: We have a Vampire Patron, we have a Werewolf Patron it's only right we should have a Mummy Patron!

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 - Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 - 1822

The Pharaoh 

The ancient kings of the deserts, known as pharaohs, were more gods to their subjects than mortal lords. This veneration was not without cause, for the masters of the sands were indeed godlike in their powers: they forged cities out of living sand, raised great pyramids to channel their mighty divine power, and even mastered death itself. You, though either luck, determination, or great misfortune, have come under the sway of one of these old masters, and they grant you a portion of their immense power.

Pharaoh's Will
The pharaohs of old are not as capricious with their gifts as other patrons may be, and demand much from you. When you make this pact, you gain a bond dependent on the pharaoh to which you are bound. Choose one from the list below, or roll 1d10 to determine randomly:
  1. Ra. I glory in the sun, and will endeavor to bring my great and terrible light to all corners of the world.
  2. Isis. I seek magic in all its forms, and will stop at nothing to gain a new trinket or bauble.
  3. Thoth. Knowledge is power, and I seek to be more powerful than all. No scrap of knowledge shall be kept from my grasp.
  4. Bast. Felines are divine beings, and deserve my supplication. I will guide everyone to this great bit of truth.
  5. Horus. I am king of kings, lord of lords. I bow to no man, and all will one day bow to me.
  6. Sekhmet. This world is impure, forsaken, dying. I seek to revel in its destruction, purified by the terrible light of the sun.
  7. Hathor. Joy and mirth are the greatest of all miracles, and I seek to indulge in every from of delight, mortal or otherwise.
  8. Seth. The great and vast desert holds the secret to true immortality. I will show all this secret, and cover the world with sand.
  9. Anubis. Life is a stain upon the vast majesty of creation. I will remove those weak many who can still die, and create a new paradise for the immortal.
  10. Amun. Though I granted them the whole of their world, the mortals have forgotten me. I will show them the true face of their god, and force them to their knees in reverence.
The pharaoh to whom you are bound will hold you to this bond until he/she bestows the secret of immortality on you at 14th level.

Ancient Pharaoh Expanded Spells 
1st     bane, create or destroy water
2nd    blur, dust devil
3rd    bestow curse, wall of sand
4th    dominate beast, guardian of faith
5th    contagion, insect plague

Master of the Dunes
At 1st level, your patron imbues you with the hardiness to not only survive in the desert, but thrive. You no longer require food or water, nor do you suffer any ill effects from dehydration. As well, you can survive comfortably in temperatures up to 300° F, and you gain advantage on Investigation and Perception checks while in a desert.

Twisting Sands
At 6th level, you may transform yourself and any gear you are carrying into a whirling cloud of sand as an action and move up to twice your speed in any direction. At the end of this movement, you immediately transform back into your normal form. While you are in your sand form, you are immune to damage and do not provoke Opportunity Attacks. Once you use this ability, you must take a short or long rest before you can do so again.
     If you use this ability while in a desert or over sand, you may do so at will and you may move up to 4 times your speed. 

Shaper of the Sands
At 10th level, the pharaohs grant you the ability to shape the sands to your whims. As an action, you may cast the fabricate spell without using a spell slot, though you may only use this ability on sand. You may create objects and structures out of sand, sandstone, or glass. Additionally, you may use this ability to craft weapons and armor you are proficient with out of sand, even if you do not have proficiency in the appropriate crafting tools. If anyone other than you attempts to use a weapon or suit of armor created by this skill, the object immediately crumbles into a pile of sand.

Lord of the Wastes
By 14th level, you have proven your resourcefulness and devotion to your master, and he/she grants you the gift of immortality. You undergo a ritual taking 7 days, consisting of a number of incantations, noxious potions, and ritual marking, culminating in the removal of your still-beating heart. The organ is then placed in a sealed canopic jar, the wound is sealed, and the ritual is complete: while not truly undead, you are now in a perpetual state of near death. This transformation carries several benefits:
  • You no longer accrue penalties for aging, and cannot die of old age.
  • You do not take any extra damage from critical hits
  • You are resistant to necrotic damage
  • If you die, so long as your heart is intact you will resurrect automatically 24 hours from the time you were slain. You reappear in a prepared chamber housing a sarcophagus, the same chamber the ritual took place in. This occurs even if your body is completely destroyed, such as by a disintegrate spell.
     This blessing does come with a deadly drawback: your heart is highly vulnerable. Should a foe find your heart, smash the canopic jar, and pierce the organ with an iron spike, you instantly die, and your body turns to dust. You cannot be returned to life, except by a true resurrection or wish spell, or through divine intervention.  
     This transformation transcends the body; should you be restored to life in that manner, you come back in this same state, and your heart reappears in a reformed canopic jar.

New Pact Boon
Your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service.

Pact of the Symbol
Your patron believes itself to be a god of some sort, and views its pact with you much as a god views it's relationship with its clerics. You are granted a holy symbol which you can use as a spell focus. This holy symbol does not take the shape of any holy symbol used by the gods of your world, though it may be similar. You can summon it to your hand or dismiss it with a bonus action.
     While you are hold this holy symbol, you can cast the sacred flame cantrip at will. Additionally, when you use the symbol as a spell focus and deal damage with a warlock spell, you can choose for the spell to deal necrotic or radiant damage instead of its normal damage type.

New Invocations
If an eldritch invocation has prerequisites, you must meet them to learn it. You can learn the invocation at the same time that you meet its prerequisites.

Mock Divinity
Prerequisites: Pact of the Symbol feature
You channel your patron's mock divinity in a display of "divine" power. As an action, you may brandish your symbol to Turn Undead, as per the cleric class features. Once you use this ability, you must take a short or long rest before you can do so again.

Faithful Servants
Prerequisites: 7th level, Pact of the Symbol feature
You may cast the spell animate dead without using a spell slot or requiring material components. This spell is cast as if using a spell slot of a level equal to the level of your pact magic slots. Once you use this ability, you must take a long rest before you can do so again.

I Am Alpha
Prerequisites: 11th level, Pact of the Symbol feature
You may cast the spell raise dead without using a spell slot (you must still provide material components). Once you use this ability, you must take a long rest before you can do so again.

I Am Omega
Prerequisite: 15th level, Pact of the Symbol feature
You may cast the spell divine word without using a spell slot. Once you use this ability, you must take a long rest before you can do so again.

New Weapon
Weapon  Cost         Damage     Weight  Properties
Kopesh 25 GP    1d6 slashing      4 lb.  Light, Finesse, Hooked

The kopesh is an oddly shaped sword, straight-bladed from the pommel up until dramatically curving outward and ending in a hooked point, giving it a look similar to a cross between an axe and a short sword.  The hooked backside of the weapon, though blunt, is an extremely helpful tool when attempting to trip or drag a foe.
     Hooked. When you use the attack action to make an attack with this weapon and you hit your target, instead of dealing damage, you can immediately use a bonus action to attempt to shove that creature. You have advantage on this shove attempt.

Art Credit: Mummy Final by Patmos
3/19/16: Expanded Spells: Animate dead replaced with Wall of Sand
Hooked: Changed to: make a shove attempt as a bonus action
Hooked: changed to a slightly less powerful effect.
Added: pact of the symbol, new invocations.
Mock Divinity: Removed Rebuke Undead
3/20/16: Pact of the Symbol: typo fixed
3/22/16: Faithful Servants: Reworded
8/5/16: Expanded Spells: Blight replaced with Dominate Beast


  1. This is a very flavorful and interesting archetype, but there is one thing that concerns me. Animate Dead as a warlock spell is preposterously broken, as the nature of warlock slots lets the character produce many more zombies a day than is balanced. I highly recommend replacing it, perhaps with Wall of Sand, which would be much less likely to break your table.

    1. I wouldn't be so sure. You can still get Animate Dead and Warlock spell slots from multiclassing. I do agree that wall of sand is probably a better fit with the class features, but I really like the idea of becoming an imitation of your patron, commanding a small squad of undead mooks.

      Here's something: RAW, I could hit an enemy with my kopesh and then get advantage on shoving him a few weeks later if I don't shove him until then.
      I would change it to either "You may make a shove attack with advantage using this weapon." or "When you make an attack with this weapon, you may make a shove attack as a bonus action immediately after."

      As a side note, this is my new favorite warlock patron. It's very specialized, but I would use the shit out of this character in a desert campaign.

      Get to 6th level and multiclass into fighter so I can take better advantage of the kopesh.

    2. Or maybe giving advantage on the strength (athletics) check when you make a shove attack?

    3. Drew has got a point. I didn't think about the problems animate dead would pose to this class.

      Also, the kopesh is an interesting little weapon. It's unusual shape made it ideal for powerful swings from chariots, and allowed it to get around shields if used properly. While it's true that it could trip using the hooked end, that's not really the historical focus of the weapon. Then again, this is D&D, and historical prerogative matters a little less.

      But this is The Palm's baby, so I should probably consult him on it.

    4. I'll have to do some testing, but I have a feeling that the Animate dead issue isn't quite as bad as it would seem. Necromancers can summon an incredible amount of zombies already, so I don't think this fella is gonna out class him.

      That being said, Wall of Sand is an excellent spell to replace it. I'm not going to make the change officially, but play around with it a bit and see if Animate Dead turns out to be too strong.

      As far as the kopesh goes, you're right, that needs to be altered. I would add a line stating "you lose this benefit if either you or the target exit melee" or some such thing: basically, you still gain the bonus as long as you're close enough to use it, and then you have to try again later.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. In regards to the kopesh, I suppose I'm mostly just curious why you went with making it a weapon that helps in trips rather than something more based on its actual use. Perhaps the ability to gain advantage on attacks made against characters holding shields, or an ability to ignore the AC bonus they provide.

    7. Well, it's the difference between popular notion and historical fact. Historically, the weight at the end of the blade due to its shape made it ideal for swinging like an axe from atop a chariot. However, this weapon in D&D 3.5 was used to trip opponents, so we're going with D&D tradition rather than historical. We are, after all, a Dungeons and Dragons fan site, not a site for historical reenaction.

    8. Also, I'm making a call on animate dead: I don't think this will outclass necromancers, but I think it'll have more of an edge in that respect than it should. After all, this isn't a minionmancy-focused class, and it's not exactly lacking in other features. Wall of Sand is an excellent suggestion, so I'll switch it out for that.

      Great discussion, guys!

    9. Hmm...well, I'm not happy about losing animate dead, but I think I can build an invocation for just that purpose. Maybe even a whole pact boon (pact of the Ankh or something). Pharoahs must have their minons, after all...

      Side note: the hooked ability is certainly too good now. I say we split the difference.

      "When you use the attack action to make an attack against a creature with this weapon and hit, in lieu of damage you may immediately use a bonus action to attempt to Shove that creature. You have advantage on this shove attempt."

    10. I'm with you, Palmist. A Pact boon might help to full flush out the archetype, so that the classic mummy can have some skeletal retainers.

    11. Alright, changes are up. Tell me what you all think, did I misstep, is it too strong, etc.

    12. I can do some editing on this if you want, but we DO already have a pact boon for animate dead (check out the Pact Boons page for Pact of the Bone.)

    13. I'd appreciate adding it to the Subclass. The Pact of the Bone doesn't have the thematic flair I'm looking for, and a 1/day Animate Dead invocation as part of that gives me more than enough undead servants.

    14. Love it, Palm. The Mock Divinity alone rocks my fucking socks.

  2. Perhaps switch out Animate Dead for Wall of Sand, and modify Shaper of the Sands to allow for limited uses of Animate or Create Undead to allow for the rare dramatic scene of mummy warriors bursting out of the sand or raising a sand gate out of the ground for them to rush out of? Because right now, due to Blade Pact, producing sand weapons others can't use seems redundant. I'd rather be able to fabricate some weapons to go with my subterranean honor guard.

    1. I can't say I agree, and while I do love Wall of Sand as part of this kit, it seems like a much better fit as part of Shaper of the Sands than Animate Dead. Perhaps key it to a short or long rest to prevent abuse? It just seems like much cleaner design to tie all of the "Make stuff out of sand" abilities in one place, rather splitting them up.

  3. Under Pact of the Symbol there is a typographical error. "Your patron be lives itself"

    Class looks great otherwise!

    1. Nah, it's totally not a typo, "be lives" is an old saying meaning that...he...lives as if

      Yeah, it's a typo.

    2. Nice catch! I'll fix that asap

  4. Hey there! Just dropped by to do say a thing or two:

    1) This is the coolest! I love me some Egyptian mythos flavor, and I love me some warlocks, so this is perfect!

    2) I think Pact of the Symbol is great flavor-wise, especially for the God-King Pharaoh patron. One thing I notice that is amiss about it is the wording on Faithful Servants. The entry says you cast the spell "as if using a spell slot of a level equal to the number of your Pact Magic slots", which has some confusing wording. If by "number" of your spell slots means the level of your slots, that's totally okay - starting out with a 4th level Animate Dead is pretty good, even if it's only 1/ long rest. However, if it means by the "number of spell slots you have", then the spell just doesn't function, because at 7th level you only have 2 slots, and Animate Dead is a 3rd level spell (see, this is why Warlocks need their 3rd Pact Magic slot at 5th level, dammit!). Just something that confused me a bit.

    3) ...Darn you Digits for making me want to run a Desert campaign.

    Thanks for all the quality work you put out every day!

    1. Ah, that is a typo. Normally, when you cast a spell without a spell slot, you cast it at its minimum level. The wording should be "as if using a spell slot of a level equal to the level of your pact magic slots."

    2. It's fixed, by the way.

      And, you know, this is making me want to create a Desert Update

    3. Not a bad idea. There's no reason why we can't do a couple "envrioment" themed bundles. I still have a few ideas kicking around for a few winter/Christmas-themed subclasses and whatnot.

      Heck, 3.5 had Sandstorm, Frostburn, and Stormwrack, we could do something similar...

    4. That sounds like a fantastic idea! I'd love to see your take(s) on environmentally themed classes. Thanks for clearing up the issue! Keep up the good work.

  5. Guessing the khopesh is meant to be a Martial weapon?

  6. Probably a bit late, but I don't think Blight is supposed be on the expanded spell list; it's already a warlock spell. How about Control Water so you can part water as well as destroy it, or greater invisibility so you can "vanish in whirling sand" or something. Divination could also work since it's one of the mummy lords spells.

    1. It's never too late to make a change! Blight was certainly a mistake on my part, so it needs a change. I think I'm going to go Dominate Beast on this one, since it makes sense that a pharaoh might have some nasty beasties on hand.

    2. Nice, yeah, that fits well. One other thought I had was that being able to curse things with 'mummy rot' would be something cool to see as it fits with the theme of creating curses and diseases and most of these pact features are utility-based. Perhaps another invocation?

      I guess I just like the idea of a twisted half-mummy warlock infecting others with his patrons 'love'...

  7. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you have a list of your homebrew spells? Like Dust Devil and Wall of Sand, and the new spells for the Warmage class. Thanks.

    1. As of right now, we don't /have/ that many spells. Dust Devil and Wall of Sand are by Wizards of the Coast, and were included in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion (available online). The warmage cantrips, for now, are just going to live with the Complete Warmage.

    2. Ok, thanks. Really enjoying this site by the way.