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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next [Revised] Undead Lord Patron for Warlocks + New Invocations



Giegue
2017-05-28, 01:09 PM
One thing I always felt was lacking for Warlocks in 5e was a proper option for being a Necromancer. As the quintessential "Dark Mage" class, it seems like undead minions is something the Warlock should be able to be good at, on par with wizards at least if not better. Yet, wizards never gave us an official option for Warlock Necromancy, so I tried to make my own. It's gone through several versions, and I got some help on reddit...but it's still not totally ready for playtesting yet. I am still unsure of the balance of some of the features and invocations, so I'd like some help balancing this if at all possible before I finally playtest it. Any and all comments and help would be most appreciated. So with out further hesitation..I present the (revised) undead lord patron and it's unique invocations:


Patron: The Undead Lord

http://i.imgur.com/lD5m4G2.png

Your patron is a dark and foul being who holds power over the undead. This is typically a deity or archfiend of undeath like Orcus, though it may also be a powerful undead creature such as an archlich or vampire. However, no matter what form your parton takes they possesses authority over the undead, and in exchange for loyal service impart you with some of that authority. By serving the undead lord you gain mastery over the undead, yet you patron holds the power to call upon you whenever they desire. Most Warlocks of the Undead Lord are expected to serve as clergy in their patronís church or cult in return for their powers. However, some pacts, particularly those with non-deities, may have more unique, and often times more grim, terms of service.

Patron Spells

The Undead Lord 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:

1st: Ray of Sickness, Sacrifice*
2nd: Gentle Repose, Screams of the Damned*
3rd: Exploding Corpse* Feign Death
4th: Death Ward, Wall of Bone*
5th: Contagion, Graveyard Mists*

Spells marked with a * are from Llama513's Necromancy Spells Document (http://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HkW91YLqx).

Rebuke Undead

At 1st level you gain the ability to exert your patron's authority over the undead you encounter. As an action, you call upon your patron's dark power and target any number of undead you can see within 30ft whose total combined CRs do not exceed your Warlock level. The targets then make a Charisma saving throw vs. your Warlock spell save DC. On a successful save, they cannot be targeted by this feature for 24 hours. On a failed save they grovel before you, effectively being knocked prone and incapacitated for 1 minute, or until they take damage. At the end of each round, all undead groveling before you may re-attempt their Charisma save and on a successful save are no longer under this feature's effects. Once you use this feature, you cannot do so again until you complete a short or long rest.

Undead Mastery

At 6th level your patron imparts you with the foul knowledge needed to raise the dead and permanently bind them to your service. As an action, you can cast Animate Dead (Ignoring it's usual casting time of 1 minute.) as a Warlock spell by using a Warlock spell slot. When you cast Animate Dead this way, you can target one additional corpse or bone pile and create one additional Skeleton or Zombie (As applicable). However, when you cast Animate Dead with a Warlock spell slot, the undead it creates remain reanimated for 1 hour (after which they crumble to dust and are unable to be reanimated again.) instead of being reanimated indefinitely, unless you permanently bind them to your service.

By investing an attunement slot, you can make a necromancy spell cast by you that creates undead (such as the Animate Dead spell you gain from this feature or Create Undead.) have a permanent duration. When you do this, you spend 10 minutes conducting a ritual that binds the undead created by that spell to you indefinitely. Upon the ritual's completion, you are considered to be attuned to that spell, as if it was a magic item. As long as you remain attuned to that spell the undead created with it remain animated indefinitely if they would not normally (as-per the normal rules of Animate Dead.), but you can maintain control of those Undead without having to re-cast the attuned spell each day if you would normally. Also, all undead that spell created gain the following additional benefits as long as the spell remains attuned to you:


They add your proficiency bonus to their weapon damage rolls, if they would not already.
They increase their hit point maximums by your Warlock level.

You can invest as many attunement slots to spells as you wish with this feature, attuning a different spell with each slot you spend. At any time you can release an attuned spell, causing all undead animated by it to crumble to dust (and thus leaving them unable to be reanimated again) and freeing up that attunement slot to be used for a magic item or other item or feature that requires attunement.

Corrupted Form

At 10th level you become twisted by your regular exposure to necrotic energies, transforming into something caught between life and undeath. You gain resistance to poison damage and immunity the poisoned condition and effects that would lower you hit point maximum. Additionally, if you would drop to 0 hit points but not die, you can instead drop to 1 hit point. Once you do this, you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest.

Lich Touch

At 14th level you learn how to channel necrotic energies to mimic a Lichís paralytic touch. As an action, you can make a melee spell attack (using your Warlock spell attack modifier) against one creature. If the attack hits, you deal 3d6 cold damage to the target and it must make a Constitution save vs. your Warlock spell save DC. On a failed save, the target is paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the paralysis effect on itself with a success.

New Invocations


Dominate Undead

Prerequisites: Undead Lord Patron, 5th level

Benefits: You can use your Rebuke Undead feature to seize control of a single undead creature. When you do this, you spend a use of your Rebuke Undead feature and target a single undead creature with a CR lower than your warlock level and force it to make a Charisma saving throw against your Warlock spell save DC. On a successful save, that creature cannot be targeted by this invocation again for 24 hours. On a failed save, that creature obeys your commands to the best of its abilities for 24 hours. Intelligent undead are harder to control this way; each hour that an undead creature with 8 or more intelligence remains under your control, it may re-attempt itís Charisma save and on a successful save is freed from your control.

Gravelord

Prerequisites: Ability to cast Create Undead as a Mystic Arcanum spell, Dominate Undead Invocation

Benefits: You can cast Create Undead at levels at higher than 6th. To do so, you expend a use of a mystic arcanum spell of the level you wish to cast Create Undead at. When you do this, you cast Create Undead at that level instead of that Mystic Arcanum spell. (So, for example, as a 13th level warlock, you have Create Undead and Finger of Death as your 6th and 7th level mystic arcanum spells respectively. That day, you could cast Create Undead once as a 6th level spell and Finger of Death once as a 7th level spell by expending them normally, or you could cast Create Undead at both 6th and 7th level once each by expending both your 1 use of Create Undead and your 1 use of Finger of Death.)

Bestow Pact Weapon

Prerequisites: Pact of the Blade, Undead Lord Patron

Benefits: When you use your Pact of the Blade feature, you may summon your pact weapon into the hand(s) of an undead creature under your control. As long as that undead creature is wielding your pact weapon, it is treated as being you for your Pact of the Blade feature and the effects of your Eldritch Invocations. Additionally, when an Undead wielding your Pact Weapon hits with it, you can expend a spell slot to have your Pact Weapon deal an extra 2d8 necrotic damage.

Tome of Resurrection

Prerequisites: Pact of the Tome, Undead Lord Patron, 5th level

Benefits: Your book of shadows contains the secrets of resurrection. You add the spell Revivify to your book of shadows. You can use your Warlock spell slots to cast Revivify if you are holding your Book of Shadows, which counts as a spellcasting focus for that spell. At 9th level, you add Raise Dead to your book of shadows, and may cast it in the same way as you can cast Revivify. These spells are Warlock spells for you.

Geist Familiar

Prerequisites: Pact of the Chain, Undead Lord Patron

Benefits: You can use your Pact of the Chain to call a Specter as a familiar in addition to the standard options for your Pact of the Chain. When you use your Pact of the Chain to call a Specter familiar, you may ignore all material components of the Find Familiar spell and cast it with an action instead of as a 10 minute ritual.

AngryJesusMan
2017-05-28, 02:21 PM
I'm making my way through this slowly, because I want to absorb it all. The one thing that jumped right out at me is the continuing saves for the the Lich Touch. Most of the time that I see these kinds of attacks, the save takes place immediately, then additional saves occur at the end of the creature's turn. That way something doesn't get affected by it when you use it, then save at the beginning of its turn and not lose at least one turn to it. I'll chime in more as I go through it. :smallsmile:

Giegue
2017-05-28, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the input. also, it's been updated quite a bit since you last started reading most likely, so do yourself a favor and please refresh and re-read. Thanks again!

AngryJesusMan
2017-05-28, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the input. also, it's been updated quite a bit since you last started reading most likely, so do yourself a favor and please refresh and re-read. Thanks again!

My pleasure. And refreshed as instructed. :smallamused:

My next though: The mechanics of Reanimator can get quite silly since it doesn't provide any means by which to limit the CR of the creature that you animate. Dead dragon? Great! Now I have an undead dragon! CR stays the same but it gain the appropraite temple. Any way you put it, some creatures are going to be VASTLY SUPERIOR to the few paltry little skeletons and zombies that you would normally be able to animate with this spell.

Giegue
2017-05-28, 02:44 PM
And that's kinda the point. The feature is balanced around the fact your only ever getting 1 cast of Animate Dead, whereas every other spellcaster who has it is getting as many as they want to devoute slots to. It's a quality vs. quality kind of deal, essentially. The wizard will always have more minions, but you will always have the better minions despite the ammount of them your getting being pretty anemic when compared to other necromancers. Bind undead kinda breaks that, but I am just eliminating the feat entirely because of how busted it is, so just ignore it completely. Maybe limit the sizes by level so you do 't get large undead until 11th level and huge till 17th, maybe?

Or maybe instead I slap on a "your DM can deny you the ability to animate certain things" clause, using the fluff that your acting as a conduit for your patron to reanimate the Dead rather than doing it yourself, so your patron (aka your DM) can choose not to give you certain undead that would be too gamebreaking?

Giegue
2017-05-28, 05:03 PM
I apologize for the double post, but I wanted to let you know I re-worked the 6th level feature heavily, making it (hopefully) more on par with the wizard while giving it a more unique feel. I also streamlined a lot of the invocations and changed some of them a fair bit. I would appreciate all comments on the archetype as it stands!

AngryJesusMan
2017-05-31, 08:55 AM
I like the changes. Good work. :smallbiggrin:

One thing I would suggest as a possibility is the idea of connecting the undead you create with Undead Mastery to a token or some physical item. It goes along with the idea of an undead phylactery and then you can say that the user is attuning to that token instead trying to float the idea that they are attuning their magic item slot to a spell or an ability. It's purely personal flavor and not at all necessary for what you're trying to accomplish, but I can also see at least a couple of decent story possibilities when a pickpocket steals the token not knowing what it is, or when BBEG takes umbrage to your undead foiling his plans he might identify the connection and then find a way to either remove your tokens or destroy them. It would likely require some extra rules wording for what happens when they leave your presence - what happens to the undead, what happens to the token, etc. Use or not at your pleasure.

Giegue
2017-05-31, 11:39 AM
That's interesting, but not exactly the flavor I am going for, though it could be neat. Also, should the 1st level feature of Rebuke Undead (the making undead grovel) require concentration since prone and incapacitated are pretty strong together? I mean, the feature does have a CR limit which limits its usefulness, but is it too OP as stands and if so, would concentration to maintain it be enough to balance it?

AngryJesusMan
2017-05-31, 02:01 PM
That's interesting, but not exactly the flavor I am going for, though it could be neat. Also, should the 1st level feature of Rebuke Undead (the making undead grovel) require concentration since prone and incapacitated are pretty strong together? I mean, the feature does have a CR limit which limits its usefulness, but is it too OP as stands and if so, would concentration to maintain it be enough to balance it?

I'm glad you pointed it out. I had skimmed over it and not thought about it critically. Prone and incapacitated are fairly powerful together. No actions, no reactions, advantage to melee attackers, and requires partial movement to stand up. Concentration on this means that you have to choose between this ability and spells that require it, so the opportunity cost on this is actually going to increase as you gain access to more powerful spells. At low levels this is pretty powerful, but being limited by your warlock level scales fairly well. I don't think it's too terrible since the creatures get a save every round. You should probably add that it goes away if they suffer damage (or at least they immediately get another save, probably with advantage), otherwise this becomes very overpowered as your party lays waste to entire fields of undead while they're forced to grovel. After that, this isn't too bad at all and could probably lose the concentration.

The thing that concerns me is the dominate undead ability that comes around at 5th level. Eventually, you'll be able to control some phenomenally powerful undead. It's the same concern I had with the original version of the creature reanimation. I think that's where the concentration requirement is going to pay off, because the inability to cast some powerful spells while you have powerful undead just a few feet from you is pretty daunting. After all, even as a capstone, being able to control a demilich in its own lair for a full 24 hours is incredibly broken. I would consider scaling this against other abilities that let players control creatures. Consider carefully that Create Undead cast with a 9th level slot will only let you control up to 3 Wights, which are only CR 3 each. I would think that one-third would be as powerful as you want to go with it. CR 6 undead can be fairly nasty by themselves and will be more powerful than anything that other necromancers have access to. Maybe this can be increased to one-half when you consider the concentration requirement. Or maybe you can leave it as-is, but throw in that undead over a certain CR can't be affected by this feature to keep from you throwing vampires and liches at your enemies.

You may be able to mitigate some of this if you don't let the dominate undead ability stick with the rest of the ability. Maybe consider turning that into an Invocation? That way your first ability doesn't become too overpowered or too bloated, but you have a means by which to improve it? Food for thought.

Also, controlling as many Crawling Claws as you can squeeze into a 30 feet radius might not sound awesome, but it gets more than a little crazy when you can use it repeatedly and the claws don't count against your limitation because they're CR 0. Just something to think about.

Any way you put it, I would definitely say that undead over a certain CR, or maybe with a high enough Wisdom or Intelligence based on your preferences, should probably be able to make their save more often than once in 24 hours, though I agree that once per round is definitely too often.

Giegue
2017-05-31, 06:59 PM
Thanks for the input. Anyway, I liked the idea of making the undead control aspect an invocation. So I made your suggsted change of Rebuke Undead ending upon the undead taking damage, and then made the "Dominate Undead" invocation. I also changed the CR limit on Rebuke Undead to warlock level instead of less than warlock level. I'd appreciate any and all balance help you can give with the revised features. Also, while lich touch is fine, I am not sure of Corrupted Form provides too much, so some balance help with that would be appreciated too.

AngryJesusMan
2017-06-01, 07:30 AM
Thanks for the input. Anyway, I liked the idea of making the undead control aspect an invocation. So I made your suggsted change of Rebuke Undead ending upon the undead taking damage, and then made the "Dominate Undead" invocation. I also changed the CR limit on Rebuke Undead to warlock level instead of less than warlock level. I'd appreciate any and all balance help you can give with the revised features. Also, while lich touch is fine, I am not sure of Corrupted Form provides too much, so some balance help with that would be appreciated too.

Glad to see my suggestions are appreciated. :smallsmile:

You said you're good with Paralytic Touch, but I think maybe it needs a limiter to how many times you can use it. I say that because it stacks up nicely to a Monk's Stunning Blow, and that's designed to be both one of the the cruxes of the Monk's combat ability as well as limited in use. Maybe three times per short rest? Maybe a number of times equal to your proficiency modifier? That way it comes at a premium, is powerful when it goes off, and isn't totally unbalancing a fight in your favor as you just attempt to Paralyze them repeatedly while your countless minions take pot-shots at them while they're paralyzed.

Corrupted Form is powerful enough that it's probably a little too powerful at 10th level, but 14th level seems closer to what I'd expect. Maybe switch Paralytic Touch and Corrupted Form? If you use my previous suggestion, the limiter should be enough to make sure that Paralytic Touch isn't too overpowered at 10th level (3 uses per short rest if you use the Proficiency modifier as a limiter).

That's what I have. Let me know if that's too far off the mark.

Edit - Below are the contents of another post. Deleted to remove the double-post.


I am not sure of Corrupted Form provides too much, so some balance help with that would be appreciated too.

I was thinking about this earlier after I made my initial reply. If you wanted to keep the features where they are, then maybe you can make the Corrupted Form limited instead of an always-on ability. Think of it like this.



Corrupted Form

At 10th level you become twisted by your regular exposure to necrotic energies, allowing you to temporarily transform yourself into something caught between life and undeath. Once per long rest, as an action, you can transform yourself for 1 minute. While transformed, you gain resistance to poison damage and immunity to the poisoned condition, as well as effects that would lower you hit point maximum. Additionally, if you would drop to 0 hit points but not die outright, you can instead drop to 1 hit point, though once you do this you cannot do so again for the duration of this transformation.


If that's not something you're willing to go with, then maybe just give advantage on saves against the poisoned condition instead of immunity? That's a pretty big one. Once per long rest escape 0 hp is good, but not overpowered. Half-orcs and barbarians get that. Immunity to lowering maximum hp is good, but very situational, so that makes it easy to add. Resistance to poison damage is good, but no better than some other subclasses and races get. Really, it's the immunity to the poisoned condition that throws it over the top. If it was just advantage on the save, it would make it considerably less stout.

So there's a bevy of choices. Hope you like one of them.