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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Warlocks as a subclass of clerics?



jjordan
2019-06-12, 12:19 PM
Has anyone done any work on this? I'm sure someone must have but my searching isn't producing small enough data sets for me to find the threads on this.

I'm referring to the idea that clerics and warlocks both receive power and knowledge from third parties. The difference seems to be in the power level of the third parties. I'd like to see how other folks have addressed this idea.

Mark Hall
2019-06-12, 12:47 PM
Conceptually, they are, but I'd say that the distinction between divine and arcane magic has waned with 5e... a Warlock is a cleric of a lesser god, as it were, but the difference isn't terribly emphasized between them and a sorcerer or a psychic or a wizard, aside from mechanical.

paladinn
2019-06-12, 02:19 PM
Conceptually, they are, but I'd say that the distinction between divine and arcane magic has waned with 5e... a Warlock is a cleric of a lesser god, as it were, but the difference isn't terribly emphasized between them and a sorcerer or a psychic or a wizard, aside from mechanical.

Let's face it, the main reason people like/consider the Warlock class is Eldritch Blast. Just give wizards and sorcerers my Eldritch Bolt cantrip and that goes away:)

Moxxmix
2019-06-12, 06:59 PM
I wouldn't say it's a subclass of a cleric, but rather that both are subclasses of a more generalized concept being granted power by a higher being. And even if warlocks are granted power by "lesser gods" (entities that are less powerful than the deities that clerics worship), they still get enough power to be mechanically equal, so the strength of the entity isn't a deciding factor. (Or maybe the deities spread their power over more followers, so that each individual gets similar power so the more select individuals gaining power from patron entities.)

It's not unreasonable to build a "cleric" on a warlock chassis. A cult leader is often described as a cleric following an evil god, often trying to release said god from its bindings. However I'd more easily imagine such an individual following the warlock development path (more Eldritch Blast, less Turn Undead), with the "god" being effectively a lesser entity while it's bound.

However the mechanics of the two classes are so dissimilar that there's no real way to make one a subtype of the other, or even both the subtype of a higher class, without redesigning the entire system to be modular, which would be a horrendously difficult undertaking.

Kane0
2019-06-12, 07:50 PM
Yeah echoing above, it appears you have 'The gifted', 'the learned' and 'The granted' as archetypes with classes and their subclasses filling in each. Clerics, Druids and Warlocks all happen to fall under 'the granted' category.

Conveniently we have spellcasting, spell points and pact magic which could be used to differentiate the three but that's just an observation.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-06-12, 08:30 PM
If you do any of this, you lose tremendous character-description power, as you no longer have
* domain differences
* pact differences
* pact boons
* invocations
* sorcerer origins
* different proficiencies and casting stats.

While yes, they all are "granted power", they are very different both conceptually and mechanically.

Clerics directly channel their power--without the active connection to their god, they are inoperative. They attune themselves to the will of their deity--their casting power grows as they are able to perceive the will and direction better (ie Wisdom).

Warlocks learn individual bits of knowledge as part of quid pro quo pacts. Once the pact is struck and the benefit delivered, they no longer need the patron's involvement on a day-to-day basis. Heck, they may only ever "meet" their patron once--the pact and all its benefits might be a one-time thing. Their power comes by force of personality (Charisma).

Sorcerers don't have a patron. They inherit magic, due to birth or accident during life. Their control is force of will (Charisma).

And using radically different fundamental mechanics (pact magic/spellcasting/spell points) as part of a sub-class is just a recipe for trouble.

jjordan
2019-06-13, 09:47 AM
Thank you all. Lots of good information to mull over. Appreciate it.