A warlock does not prepare or cast spells as other wielders of arcane magic do. Instead, he possesses a repertoire of attacks, defenses, and abilities known as invocations that require him to focus the wild energy that suffuses his soul. A warlock can use any invocation he knows at will, with the following qualifications:
A warlock’s invocations are spell-like abilities; using an invocation is therefore a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. An invocation can be disrupted, just as a spell can be ruined during casting. A warlock is entitled to a Concentration check to successfully use an invocation if he is hit by an attack while invoking, just as a spellcaster would be. A warlock can choose to use an invocation defensively, by making a successful Concentration check, to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity. A warlock’s invocations are subject to spell resistance unless an invocation’s description specifically states otherwise. A warlock’s caster level with his invocations is equal to his warlock level.
The save DC for an invocation (if it allows a save) is 10 + equivalent spell level + the warlock’s Charisma modifier. Since spell-like abilities are not actually spells, a warlock cannot benefit from the Spell Focus feat. He can, however, benefit from the Ability Focus feat, as well as from feats that emulate metamagic effects for spell-like abilities, such as Quicken Spell-Like Ability and Empower Spell-Like Ability.
The four grades of invocations, in order of their relative power, are least, lesser, greater, and dark. A warlock begins with knowledge of one invocation, which must be of the lowest grade (least). As a warlock gains levels, he learns new invocations, as summarized on Table 1–1 and described below. A list of available invocations can be found following this class description, and a complete description of each invocation can be found in Chapter 4 of this book.
At any level when a warlock learns a new invocation, he can also replace an invocation he already knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade. At 6th level, a warlock can replace a least invocation he knows with a different least invocation (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be either least or lesser). At 11th level, a warlock can replace a least or lesser invocation he knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be least, lesser, or greater). At 16th level, a warlock can replace a least, lesser, or greater invocation he knows with another invocation of the same or a lower grade (in addition to learning a new invocation, which could be least, lesser, greater, or dark).
Finally, unlike other spell-like abilities, invocations are subject to arcane spell failure chance as described in the Warlock class description. Warlocks can qualify for some prestige classes usually intended for spellcasters.
All-Seeing Eyes: As comprehend languages on written material, bonus on Search and Spot checks.
Baleful Utterance: Speak word of the Dark Speech and shatter objects as the shatter spell.
Beguiling Influence: Gain bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks.
Breath of the Night: Create a fog cloud as the spell.
Call of the Beast: Speak with animals and influence their behavior.
Dark One’s Own Luck: Gain a luck bonus on one type of saves.
Darkness: Use darkness as the spell.
Devil’s Sight: See normally in darkness and magical darkness.
Earthen Grasp: Use earthen grasp as the spell.
Entropic Warding: Deflect incoming ranged attacks, leave no trail, and prevent being tracked by scent.
Leaps and Bounds: Gain bonus on Balance, Jump, and Tumble checks.
Miasmic Cloud: Create a cloud of mist that grants concealment and fatigues those who enter.
Otherworldly Whispers: Gain bonus on Knowledge checks.
See the Unseen: Gain see invisibility as the spell and darkvision.
Serpent's Tongue: Gain the scent ability, +5 bonus on saves against poison.
Soulreaving Aura: As reaving aura, plus gain temporary hit points if nearby creature dies.
Spiderwalk: Gain spider climb as the spell and you are immune to webs.
Summon Swarm: Use summon swarm as the spell.
Swimming the Styx: Gain swim speed and ability to breathe water.
Charm: Cause a single creature to regard you as a friend.
Cold Comfort: You and nearby allies protected by endure elements.
Crawling Eye: Your eye leaves your head and grows spidery legs, enabling it to scout for you.
Curse of Despair: Curse one creature as the bestow curse spell, or hinder their attacks.
The Dead Walk: Create undead as the animate dead spell.
Disembodied Hand: Detach one of your hands and send it forth to manipulate objects or attack.
Fell Flight: Gain a fly speed with good maneuverability.
Flee the Scene: Use short-range dimension door as the spell, and leave behind a major image.
Hungry Darkness: Create shadows filled with a swarm of bats.
Mask of Flesh: Touch attack imposes 1d6 Cha penalty and transforms you to look like target.
Relentless Dispelling: As targeted dispel magic, with additional targeted dispel magic the next turn.
Stony Grasp: Use stony grasp as the spell.
Voidsense: Gain blindsense 30 feet.
Voracious Dispelling: Use dispel magic as the spell, causing damage to creatures whose effects are dispelled.
Walk Unseen: Use invisibility (self only) as the spell.
Wall of Gloom: Use wall of gloom as the spell.
Witchwood Step: Walk on water and move through some obstacles unimpeded.
Caustic Mire: Acidic sludge slows progress, deals damage.
Chilling Tentacles: Use Evard’s black tentacles as the spell, and deal extra cold damage to creatures in the area.
Devour Magic: Use targeted greater dispel magic with a touch and gain temporary hit points based on the level of spells successfully dispelled.
Hellspawned Grace: Transform into a hellcat for 1 round/2 warlock levels.
Enervating Shadow: Gain total concealment in dark areas and impose a Strength penalty on adjacent living creatures.
Nightmares Made Real: Create illusory terrain that damages foes and allows you to hide.
Painful Slumber of Ages: Creature falls asleep, takes damage when awakened.
Tenacious Plague: Use insect plague as the spell, but the summoned locust swarm deals damage as a magic weapon.
Wall of Perilous Flame: Create a wall of fire as the spell, but half the damage from the wall results from supernatural power.
Warlock’s Call: Use sending as the spell, but risk damage from recipient.
Caster's Lament: Your touch can break enchantment, and you can counterspell.
Dark Discorporation: Become a swarm of batlike shadows, gaining many benefits of the swarm subtype.
Dark Foresight: Use foresight as the spell, and communicate telepathically with a close target of the effect.
Path of Shadow: Use shadow walk as the spell and speed up natural healing.
Retributive Invisibility: Use greater invisibility as the spell (self only) that deals damage in a burst if dispelled.
Steal Summoning: Take control of another caster's summoned monster.
Word of Changing: Use baleful polymorph as the spell, but the effect could become permanent.
Eldritch Blast Invocations
ELDRITCH ESSENCE INVOCATIONS
Some of a warlock’s invocations, such as frightful blast, modify the damage or other effects of the warlock’s eldritch blast. These are called eldritch essence invocations. Unless noted otherwise, eldritch blasts modifi ed by eldritch essence invocations deal damage normally in addition to imparting the effects described in the invocation description.
A warlock can apply only one eldritch essence invocation to a single eldritch blast, choosing from any of the eldritch essence invocations that he knows. When a warlock applies an eldritch essence invocation to his eldritch blast, the spell level equivalent of the modified blast is equal to the spelllevel of the eldritch blast or of the eldritch essence invocation, whichever is higher. If a warlock targets a creature with an eldritch essence blast that has immunity to the invocation’s effect, it still takes the damage from the blast normally (provided it isn’t also immune to the eldritch blast).
A warlock can apply an eldritch essence invocation and a blast shape invocation (see below) to the same blast. When a warlock uses both kinds of invocations to alter an eldritch blast, the spell level equivalent is equal to the spell level of the eldritch blast, the level of the eldritch essence invocation, or the level of the blast shape invocation, whichever is higher.
Example: Morthos, a 1st-level warlock, decides to make his eldritch blast attack into a frightful blast. Morthos’s eldritch blast is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell, while frightful blast is an effect equivalent to a 2nd-level spell. His frightful blast is thus the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell.
Least Eldritch Essence Invocations
Lesser Eldritch Essence Invocations
Baneful Blast: Eldritch blast deals extra damage against specified creature type.
Beshadowed Blast: Target must make Fortitude save or become blind for 1 round.
Brimstone Blast: Blast deals fire damage and target must make Reflex save or catch fire.
Hellrime Blast: Blast deals cold damage and target must make Fortitude save or take –2 penalty to Dexterity.
Greater Eldritch Essence Invocations
Bewitching Blast: Target must make Will save or be confused for 1 round.
Hindering Blast: Target of your eldritch blast must succeed on a Will save or be slowed for 1 round.
Noxious Blast: Target must make Fortitude save or be nauseated.
Repelling Blast: Target must make Refl ex save or be knocked back.
Vitriolic Blast: Blast ignores spell resistance and deals acid damage for several rounds.
Dark Eldritch Essence Invocation
BLAST SHAPE INVOCATIONS
Some of a warlock’s invocations, such as eldritch spear, modify the range, target(s), or area of a warlock’s eldritch blast. These are called blast shape invocations. Unless noted otherwise, eldritch blasts subject to blast shape invocations deal damage normally in addition to imparting the effects described in the invocation description. A warlock can apply only one blast shape at a time to an eldritch blast, and he can choose from any of the blast shape invocations that he knows. A warlock need not apply a blast shape invocation to his eldritch blast.
When a warlock applies a blast shape invocation to his eldritch blast, the spell-level equivalent is equal to the spell level of the eldritch blast or of the blast shape invocation, whichever is higher.
A warlock can apply a blast shape invocation and an eldritch essence invocation (see Eldritch Essence Invocations above) to the same blast. When a warlock uses an eldritch essence and a blast shape to alter an eldritch blast, the spell-level equivalent is equal to the spell level of the eldritch blast, the eldritch essence invocation, or the blast shape invocation, whichever is higher.
Example: Morthos decides to make his eldritch blast attack a hellrime eldritch spear. As a 6th-level warlock, Morthos’s eldritch blast is the equivalent of a 3rd-level spell. Eldritch spear is the equivalent of a 2nd-level spell, while hellrime blast is the equivalent of a 4th-level spell. His hellrime eldritch spear is therefore the equivalent of a 4th-level spell.
Least Blast Shape Invocations
Lesser Blast Shape Invocation
Eldritch Chain Blast jumps from initial target to secondary targets.
Greater Blast Shape Invocation
Eldritch Cone Blast takes the shape of a cone.
Dark Blast Shape Invocation
Eldritch Doom Blast affects all enemies within 20 feet.
Origins of the Warlock
Though the warlock is described as an arcane character, his powers function very differently from those of the various arcane spellcasters in D&D. Although the end result of a breath of the night invocation might be largely indistinguishable from a fog cloud spell, a warlock channels his magic in a way that the average wizard or sorcerer can only dream of accomplishing. Warlocks typically claim that this proficiency with magic comes from their bloodline—or, in some cases, from a pact made with powerful entities that permanently changes the individual's interactions with the supernatural.
The common stereotype associated with warlocks is that they all derive their powers from a fiendish heritage. In truth, while they might be the most visible and well-known examples, fiendish warlocks make up only a thin majority of all those who use minvocations. Some theorists even hold mthat the category of arcanists known as “warlocks” actually encompasses a wider mrange of power sources mand mindsets than commonly believed, and that further study will reveal the multitude of archetypes hiding behind the mlabel of warlock.
A brief discussion of the various known entities capable of granting the warlock his powers follows.
Devils: The infernal denizens of the Nine Hells of Baator are the undisputed masters of crafting power-driven bargains with mortals, so it should come as no surprise that the iconic warlock is a result of such a deal. No other creatures take as much pleasure from corrupting mortals with dark powers, and the sheer number of devils who traffic in such pacts would send a chill down the spine of the staunchest paladin. From ambitious horned devils and pit fiends to the greatest archdevils themselves, these masters of artifice and duplicity take pride in sowing evil throughout the land, and endowing warlocks with their power provides ample opportunity. Among the various lords of the Nine Hells, Dispater, Mammon, Belial, Mephistopheles, and the mighty Asmodeus most actively broker such accords. (These individuals and other devils are updated for the v.3.5 revision in Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells.)
Warlocks whose power comes from devils are most commonly lawful evil tyrants, though rebellious chaotic exceptions exist.
Demons: Perhaps surprisingly, few demonic powers are responsible for the pacts that create warlocks. As any planar scholar would tell you, demons fixate on rampant destruction over planned corruption, which means that most don't have the interest (or talent) required to broker such deals. The mightiest of the common demons, such as the mariliths and balors, only rarely take the time to instill such power, and a bare few of the so-called demon princes are so inclined.
The best known of these is Graz'zt the Dark Prince (whom most agree resembles an archdevil in his cunning and guile). Mighty demons prefer to bestow their favor upon bloody cults of mad followers rather than reward a single individual with great power—after all, such an individual might easily become a threat to the demon prince's own rulership of his realm. The various demon princes are updated for the v.3.5 revision in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss.)
Warlocks whose power derives from demonkind are most commonly chaotic evil and tend toward savage brutality.
Fey: A growing number of warlocks draw their power from the mystical realm of faerie. Fey have always enjoyed a special link to the wild magical energy that suffuses the natural world, and most sages agree that mortals—even the long-lived elves—can't begin to comprehend the sheer untapped potential that rests within faeriekind. The rare fey that interact with human folk represent only the tip of the iceberg. True fey are more terrible and beautiful than mortal eyes can bear to perceive. Legends of rival courts of fey—one light and one dark—have persisted for ages, though the fey themselves don't share details. The increase in mortals who wield fey-given power, however, suggests that the realm of faerie might be awakening from a long slumber. Woe to those who underestimate the effect of this development on the mortal realm.
A feyblooded warlock is equally likely to be a well-meaning chaotic good, an unpredictable chaotic neutral, or a coldly malevolent neutral evil individual. Few have the discipline for a lawful evil bent, and most don't share the savage outlook common to chaotic evil.
Slaadi: As beings of pure chaos unconcerned with matters of morality, few slaadi care enough to make pacts with mortals. Some of the most potent of them, however, such as the mightiest of the death slaadi, occasionally empower warlocks for their own unfathomable reasons.
Warlocks whose powers derive from the slaadi can be of any alignment, but most are chaotic.
Celestials: The mere suggestion that the paragons of virtue would grant such dark powers to mortals seems at first to be unworthy of discussion. However, some particularly wild or chaotic celestials, such as the eladrins, share more in common with the fey than with the archons or angels. Is it so inconceivable that the mighty denizens of the Court of Stars (the eladrin lords detailed in Book of Exalted Deeds) might see fit to share some fragment of their power with charismatic mortals?
A warlock who has celestial power to thank for his invocations is most likely to be chaotic good, though such power has also been known to corrupt even the most well-meaning soul. For another take on a celestial-themed warlock, see the enlightened spirit prestige class.
Regardless of the source of his talent, the warlock might represent a heretofore “missing link” between arcane magic and innate magic—a link in the great chain that spans the distance between the racial abilities of the dragon, archon, fey, or devil and the learned abilities of the wizard. Only time will tell if these strange individuals are destined to remain exceptions to the general rules of magic, or if they presage a growing tide of characters who wield power through their bloodline.