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    Default Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Spoiler: What exactly is this whole "specific warlock patron" thing all about?
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    I love the themes the warlock class bring to the table. Any character who wound up pledging himself to some sort of mysterious (Great old one), downright weird (Archfey), or devil (Fiend) will almost always have some sort of interesting backstory which is fun to explore in game.

    However, the warlock subclasses in of themselves are pretty limited. Playing a warlock of Dagon, a demon lord of the abyss who resides in water, gives you the same classic "kill them all with fire" benefits as playing a warlock of Asmodeus. This is my attempt to change this.

    I plan on designing specific warlock subclasses for the lords of the Nine Hells before moving on to other patrons (both fiendish or otherwise).



    Zariel, Lady of Avernus


    Can't hold me down!

    Expanded Spell list:

    Spell Level Spells
    1st Bane, Searing Smite
    2nd Blur, Flame Blade
    3rd Fireball, Conjure Barrage
    4th Staggering Smite, Wall of Fire
    5th Banishing Smite, Circle of Power

    Pact features:

    Might Makes Right:
    Starting at first level, whenever you drop an enemy to 0 hp, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier + half your warlock level (minimum of 1 hit point). In addition, whenever you have successfully intimidated an enemy before combat starts, you gain advantage on attack rolls against them, and they gain disadvantage on saving throws made against any ability you use against them for the first three rounds of combat.

    Break The Hordes:
    Starting at level six, whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points, you can move an additional 10 feet and take another action. However, this action can only be used to make a melee attack or melee ranged spell attack. You can use this ability once per round at sixth level. At 10th level, you can use it twice per round, and at 14th level, you can use it three times per round.

    Infernal Legions:
    Starting at level 10, you can summon 10 lemures once per long rest. These beings obey any commands you give them (even ones that are clearly suicidal.) Summoning these beings takes 3 consecutive full round actions. Commanding the creatures is a bonus action. You need not command them verbally, you can command them with your thoughts. These creatures last for 6 hours before they are banished back into the Nine Hells.

    Unbreakable:
    Starting at level 14 if you are reduced to zero hitpoints, an aspect of Zariel briefly appears into existence and infuses your body with hellish energy, bringing you back up to 1/4th your maximum hitpoint total. In addition, this creates a fireball cast as a level 3rd spell that is centered on you. You are immune to this blast, but your allies are not.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you ever use this class in a game, please post a link to the game in this thread or send me a pm telling me how this class performed. Any tips you can offer are helpful!
    Last edited by Michael7123; 2015-07-20 at 10:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Design notes:

    Until fifth edition, Zariel was imprisoned by Bel somewhere on Avernus. How she managed to survive the countless years of Bel leaching power from her is up to interpretation. But ultimately, her survival is what inspired the "unbreakable feature". As for it dealing damage to allies..... you made a deal with a literal devil. There ought to be a catch to at least one of the abilities. Naturally, your DM can certainly make the call to have your allies immune to the damage. I just think it's more thematically fitting if it doesn't.

    The rest of the class abilities are clearly designed around a warlock who takes the pact of the blade class feature. Your spell list give you a bunch of normally paladin exclusive smite spells, none of which go against the whole "foot soldier of hell" theme. The first class feature is based of strength or constitution to encourage a character to have high scores in those areas. From there, taking pact of the blade seems like a logical choice. The second pact feature is basically an improved version of cleave from 3.5.

    Ultimately, this patron subclass is all about getting up in the face of an enemy and pummeling him into submission. The frequent demon incursions into Avernus are dealt with through raw force more than they are through cunning. Likewise, this subclass is all about raw force.
    Last edited by Michael7123; 2015-07-18 at 11:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Alright, this is complete. However, I am more than willing to accept any sort of feedback and constructive criticism. If you use this in a game, please let me know! I'd love to see how this class in action.

    Furthermore, if you are interested in working with me to create more specific warlock patron subclasses, send me a PM.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    First off, I love the idea of individual, unique patrons as opposed to the generalized pacts. I'm just starting to play 5th, so I can't say I'm experienced on what's balanced or not, but overall it looks good to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael7123 View Post
    Break The Hordes:
    Starting at level six, whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points, you can move an additional 10 feet and take another action. However, this action can only be used to make a melee attack or melee ranged spell attack. You can chain this ability to a maximum of two enemies per turn starting at level 10, and up to three enemies at level 14.
    I would suggest rewording the last sentence of this ability. I think I understand, but I think a clearer wording would help. My thought was "You can use this ability once per round. At 10th level, you can use it twice per round, and at 14th level, you can use it three times per round." If I'm understand how you mean for it to work, that seems clearer to me.

    Unbreakable:
    Starting at level 14 if you are reduced to zero hitpoints, a fiery explosion radiates from your body, dealing 8d6 fire damage in a 60 foot cone that originates 15 feet behind your character's back. You are immune to damage from this cone, but you're allies are not. In addition, you gain hit points equel to 1/8th of your maximum hit point total. This ability only works once per long rest.
    I'm not sold on this ability. The explosion doesn't really seem connected to the patron source. Furthermore, a cone seems to be a weird choice for the shape. Why is it a directed explosion? And without specific facing rules, I think having the explosion originate from behind the character's back is more likely to cause problems. And finally, 1/8 hit point total isn't always an easy number to calculate. Is there a better way to implement that?

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Assuming Constitution modifier of +0, at 14th level, a Warlock would have 8+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5+5 HP, or 63. That's not very many hitpoints (7.875, specifically). I'd say allow the user to spend up to half their Hit Dice on it instead, thus allowing for 35 HP at 14th level, which will be enough to get out of harm's way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah
    Please, allow me to present a theory.
    Somewhere within the multiverse is the Plane of Giants' Playgrounds, populated entirely by insane wizards who fly through space, destroy the universe using black holes and projectile livestock, and then rebuild it as they see fit just to tidy up after themselves.
    We do not Gate in eldritch horrors to destroy planes of existence.
    We are the horrors Gated in to destroy planes of existence.
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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    I would suggest rewording the last sentence of this ability. I think I understand, but I think a clearer wording would help. My thought was "You can use this ability once per round. At 10th level, you can use it twice per round, and at 14th level, you can use it three times per round." If I'm understand how you mean for it to work, that seems clearer to me.
    That wording would make it a whole lot clearer. Thanks for the advice.

    I'm not sold on this ability. The explosion doesn't really seem connected to the patron source. Furthermore, a cone seems to be a weird choice for the shape. Why is it a directed explosion? And without specific facing rules, I think having the explosion originate from behind the character's back is more likely to cause problems. And finally, 1/8 hit point total isn't always an easy number to calculate. Is there a better way to implement that?
    From the fiendish codex 2 (a 3.5 book, when Zariel's now predecessor and then usurper Bel was in charge)

    "Legend has it that the fireballs that detonate across Avernus in a seemingly random pattern are generated by Zariel, a trapped former archduke from whom Bel parasitically draws his power. This tale might be true, since the fireballs arenít really random. Close examination of the phenomenon reveals that they spitefully seek out victims, apparently drawn by motion."

    Considering that Zariel is back in power now, I've accepted it as a head cannon that she was the one causing these explosions. Hence the inspiration for the added explosive flourish when you are brought back by your patron. The reason I make it a cone and not a fireball is because I don't want players to always stay way from their party for fear of blowing them sky high should they die. A cone facing your enemies is more likely to avoid friendly fire.

    Regarding the explosion originating behind the player's back, you are considered to be facing the latest enemy you attacked or the last direction you moved in, whichever came last.

    As for the hitpoint total, maybe I should increase it to 1/4th hitpoints. I'll have to think about that. I want it to be a step up from Death ward, which just leaves you at 1 singular hitpoint.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Nice. Out of interest, where do they say Zariel's back in charge?
    (Poor Bel, I always kinda liked him for some reason. He came off as the only sane man to the other Archdukes.)
    `This is just the beginning, Citizens! Today we have boiled a pot who's steam shall be seen across the entire galaxy. The Tea Must Flow, and it shall! The banner of the British Space Empire will be unfurled across a thousand worlds, carried forth by the citizens of Urn, and before them the Tea shall flow like a steaming brown river of shi-*cough*- shimmering moral fibre!` - God Emperor of Didcot, Toby Frost.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTeaMustFlow View Post
    Nice. Out of interest, where do they say Zariel's back in charge?
    (Poor Bel, I always kinda liked him for some reason. He came off as the only sane man to the other Archdukes.)
    Dungeonmaster's guide, in the section about the outer planes.

    Also, Bel's still around, he just got demoted to the rank of general in comparison to Archduke. I'll have a warlock class for him up sometime after I finish the rest of the archdukes.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael7123 View Post
    That wording would make it a whole lot clearer. Thanks for the advice.
    You're welcome. :)

    From the fiendish codex 2 (a 3.5 book, when Zariel's now predecessor and then usurper Bel was in charge)

    "Legend has it that the fireballs that detonate across Avernus in a seemingly random pattern are generated by Zariel, a trapped former archduke from whom Bel parasitically draws his power. This tale might be true, since the fireballs arenít really random. Close examination of the phenomenon reveals that they spitefully seek out victims, apparently drawn by motion."

    Considering that Zariel is back in power now, I've accepted it as a head cannon that she was the one causing these explosions. Hence the inspiration for the added explosive flourish when you are brought back by your patron. The reason I make it a cone and not a fireball is because I don't want players to always stay way from their party for fear of blowing them sky high should they die. A cone facing your enemies is more likely to avoid friendly fire.
    I remember the fireballs part. I just don't see the association between that and the character exploding. I'm not opposed to the ability. I like it. I'm just not feeling the thematic connection, I suppose. I don't really have many suggestions for a better one though. What's the reasoning behind it originating behind the character instead of originating on them?

    Regarding the explosion originating behind the player's back, you are considered to be facing the latest enemy you attacked or the last direction you moved in, whichever came last.
    Alright. It might be a good idea to include that in the ability, even if it's in the rules, just to make sure it's clear. I don't remember seeing that in the rulebook.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTeaMustFlow View Post
    Nice. Out of interest, where do they say Zariel's back in charge?
    (Poor Bel, I always kinda liked him for some reason. He came off as the only sane man to the other Archdukes.)
    I love your name. It's also in the Monster Manual under the Devils entry. They have a table that lists the layers and Lords of the Nine Hells, including the layer name, the current ruler, previous rulers, and the layers primary inhabitants. I'm hoping they'll eventually give more information on how she regained power.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tyler View Post
    You're welcome. :)

    I remember the fireballs part. I just don't see the association between that and the character exploding. I'm not opposed to the ability. I like it. I'm just not feeling the thematic connection, I suppose. I don't really have many suggestions for a better one though. What's the reasoning behind it originating behind the character instead of originating on them?
    An aspect of Zariel briefly flashes into existence behind your character and unleashes a blast of hellish power to grant you strength. That sounds too badass to not include now.

    Alright. It might be a good idea to include that in the ability, even if it's in the rules, just to make sure it's clear. I don't remember seeing that in the rulebook.
    It's not in the rule book. I just made it up. I'll add it to the details.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    But if you're facing your enemy when you drop to 0 hitpoints, the blast of fire is not going to target that foe, likely, it will target random other enemies and/or (since you're clearly a frontliner) your own allies. It is designed to be more likely to hit your friends than your enemies. Perhaps you should have more control over the blast.
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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael7123 View Post
    An aspect of Zariel briefly flashes into existence behind your character and unleashes a blast of hellish power to grant you strength. That sounds too badass to not include now.

    It's not in the rule book. I just made it up. I'll add it to the details.
    Yeah, that makes it fit for me. Definitely add it then. So as to prevent confusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    But if you're facing your enemy when you drop to 0 hitpoints, the blast of fire is not going to target that foe, likely, it will target random other enemies and/or (since you're clearly a frontliner) your own allies. It is designed to be more likely to hit your friends than your enemies. Perhaps you should have more control over the blast.
    This is a good point, and gives me an idea. Running with spiteful target-seeking fireballs and having control over the explosion, what about something like "When reduced to 0 hit points, you cast fireball as a free action without using a spell slot. You regain hit points equal to the amount of damage dealt. This can only be used once per short rest."

    Obviously, the hit point gain and usage and rest can all be varied for balance. Maybe regaining hit points equal to half the damage would be more balanced. It lets you control the placement, but rewards you for risking your allies' health for a chance to regain more hit points, and it fits well with the Avernian fireballs.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    The first level ability is far better than any of the other ones given that not only is it half copying one you basically inflict a rather serious condition on them for just merely intimidated. Now you could argue that it isn't going to come up much at all but then it is a bad feature. Break the Hordes is not only out of line with the Warlock structure it is crazy action potential. While I am assuming these are peons of the Nine Hells 10 of them is major filler in battle. The most summoning spells bring out without a higher spell slot is 8 and they are 1/4 CR. Your final ability is really weird. One, most campaigns won't use facing rules as people generally assume turning your body are free actions and occuring 15 feet behind you isn't going to make subject to them. Why don't you just control it as normal?

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by Amnoriath View Post
    The first level ability is far better than any of the other ones given that not only is it half copying one you basically inflict a rather serious condition on them for just merely intimidated. Now you could argue that it isn't going to come up much at all but then it is a bad feature. Break the Hordes is not only out of line with the Warlock structure it is crazy action potential. While I am assuming these are peons of the Nine Hells 10 of them is major filler in battle. The most summoning spells bring out without a higher spell slot is 8 and they are 1/4 CR. Your final ability is really weird. One, most campaigns won't use facing rules as people generally assume turning your body are free actions and occurring 15 feet behind you isn't going to make subject to them. Why don't you just control it as normal?
    While it is a powerful ability, I only see it coming up often enough for it to be balanced. It basically cancels out any element of surprise you have, and that will only be useful in specific situations.

    Break the hordes is really only useful when attacking a bunch of enemies with very low health. Other than that, it doesn't come into that play.

    Lemures aren't challenge rating 1/4. They actually have a challenge rating of 0. These things have no other purpose than to fill up space for you and be meat shields.

    As for the last ability, I'm tossing around some ideas in my head to make it a bit better. I probably will have the player control it, but I haven't decided yet.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Still like all of these ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael7123 View Post
    Expanded Spell list:

    Spell Level Spells
    1st Bane, Searing Smite
    2nd Blur, Flame Blade
    3rd Fireball, Conjure Barrage
    4th Staggering Smite, Wall of Fire
    5th Banishing Smite, Circle of Power
    Still no issues with the spell list


    Might Makes Right:
    Starting at first level, whenever you kill an enemy, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your strength modifier or your constitution modifier (whichever is higher) + half your warlock level (minimum of 1 hit point). In addition, whenever you have successfully intimidated an enemy before combat starts, you gain advantage on attack rolls against them, and they gain disadvantage on saving throws made against any ability you use against them for the first three rounds of combat.
    1. You should reword the first sentence to read "When you drop an enemy to 0 hp".
    2. I can see the first ability working for the first round. 3 rounds is far too much.

    Break The Hordes:
    Starting at level six, whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points, you can move an additional 10 feet and take another action. However, this action can only be used to make a melee attack or melee ranged spell attack. You can use this ability once per round at sixth level. At 10th level, you can use it twice per round, and at 14th level, you can use it three times per round.
    I would re-word this to say "you may move up to 10 feet towards another creature; at the end of that movement, you may make a single melee weapon attack or melee or ranged spell attack.".

    Infernal Legions:
    Starting at level 10, you can summon 10 lemures once per long rest. These beings obey any commands you give them (even ones that are clearly suicidal.) Summoning these beings takes 3 consecutive full round actions. Commanding the creatures is a bonus action. You need not command them verbally, you can command them with your thoughts. These creatures last for 6 hours before they are banished back into the Nine Hells.
    1. Full round actions are not a thing in 5e. There are actions, movement, and bonus actions.

    2. I have no idea how powerful lemures are in 5e, but i'd be careful with letting a PC have 10 summoned creatures under his control.

    Unbreakable:
    Starting at level 14 if you are reduced to zero hitpoints, an aspect of Zariel briefly appears into existence and infuses your body with hellish energy, bringing you back up to 1/4th your maximum hitpoint total. In addition, this createsa 60 foot cone that originates 15 feet behind your character's back that deals 8d6 fire damage. You are immune to damage from this cone, but yoir allies are not. This ability only works once per long rest. You are considered facing the most recent creature you attacked or towards the most recent direction you moved (unless you specify otherwise in your movement, such as "my character was walking backwards so he could keep an eye on the city guards that were in front of him"), whichever came last.
    I'd increase the damage to that of a 7th level fireball spell (16d6), give it a reflex saving throw, allow it to heal you for half of the damage it deals (not in total, just half of whatever you roll) and just give this a radius equal to a Fireball spell, centered on you. Three reasons:

    1. The standard Fiend Warlock capstone deals 10d10 psychic damage, while this deals fewer dice, smaller dice, and an often resisted type of damage. 10d10 is avg 55 damage, 16d6 is avg 56, so you're not going too crazy here. Also, as was mentioned before, warlocks have small health pools, so 1/4 of that isn't likely to keep you on your feet for all that long.

    2. If you're a Warlock in service to a specific Demon Archduke, you probably don't really care about your allies in the first place. You're a warlock of Zariel, a ticking time bomb; if your allies don't give you the space you need, it's their OWN fault if they get hurt.

    3. D&D doesn't have facing rules, and introducing them for one specific ability is likely to do nothing more than cause both confusion and anger at the table.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by Submortimer View Post
    Still like all of these ideas.



    Still no issues with the spell list




    1. You should reword the first sentence to read "When you drop an enemy to 0 hp".
    2. I can see the first ability working for the first round. 3 rounds is far too much. '
    1. That would be better.
    2. I'm not convinced that three rounds is too much. Again, you do have to loose all stealth to use this ability. I'll leave that to the playtesters.

    I would re-word this to say "you may move up to 10 feet towards another creature; at the end of that movement, you may make a single melee weapon attack or melee or ranged spell attack.".
    That does sound better.


    1. Full round actions are not a thing in 5e. There are actions, movement, and bonus actions.

    2. I have no idea how powerful lemures are in 5e, but i'd be careful with letting a PC have 10 summoned creatures under his control.
    1. Hmmm. I'll think on this.

    2. Lemures are CR 0. If 10 of them is too much, I'll make a small change.

    I'd increase the damage to that of a 7th level fireball spell (16d6), give it a reflex saving throw, allow it to heal you for half of the damage it deals (not in total, just half of whatever you roll) and just give this a radius equal to a Fireball spell, centered on you. Three reasons:

    1. The standard Fiend Warlock capstone deals 10d10 psychic damage, while this deals fewer dice, smaller dice, and an often resisted type of damage. 10d10 is avg 55 damage, 16d6 is avg 56, so you're not going too crazy here. Also, as was mentioned before, warlocks have small health pools, so 1/4 of that isn't likely to keep you on your feet for all that long.

    2. If you're a Warlock in service to a specific Demon Archduke, you probably don't really care about your allies in the first place. You're a warlock of Zariel, a ticking time bomb; if your allies don't give you the space you need, it's their OWN fault if they get hurt.

    3. D&D doesn't have facing rules, and introducing them for one specific ability is likely to do nothing more than cause both confusion and anger at the table.
    I'm still working over changes to this ability, but thank you for your input.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    I decided to make the first ability solely based on constitution, not strength or constitution. This is to encourage having a higher constitution score, and therefore more hit points.

    Finally, I decided to simplify the final ability and have it just be a fireball centered on you. Thank you all for your input.

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    Default Re: Michael's Specific Warlock Patron #1: Archduchess Zariel, Lady of the First

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael7123 View Post
    Expanded Spell list:

    Spell Level Spells
    1st Bane, Searing Smite
    2nd Blur, Flame Blade
    3rd Fireball, Conjure Barrage
    4th Staggering Smite, Wall of Fire
    5th Banishing Smite, Circle of Power
    All four of the 1st and 2nd level spells up there are concentration, which is...not awesome. They would combo well together, if only concentration were different. Smites are fine in power terms, but I really don't like handing them out - they should be a paladin class feature, rather than spells that other classes can poach. I don't let vengeance paladins take hunter's mark for the same reason. Otherwise nothing's wrong with spells that I can see.

    Might Makes Right:
    Starting at first level, whenever you drop an enemy to 0 hp, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier + half your warlock level (minimum of 1 hit point). In addition, whenever you have successfully intimidated an enemy before combat starts, you gain advantage on attack rolls against them, and they gain disadvantage on saving throws made against any ability you use against them for the first three rounds of combat.
    It's Dark One's Blessing, but less crazy. Nice. Everyone should always be a little MAD.

    Break The Hordes:
    Starting at level six, whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 hit points, you can move an additional 10 feet and take another action. However, this action can only be used to make a melee attack or melee ranged spell attack. You can use this ability once per round at sixth level. At 10th level, you can use it twice per round, and at 14th level, you can use it three times per round.
    Nice. This encourages the warlock to use the patron's spells, since there are very few native melee spell attacks on the warlock's list, or spells that enhance melee attacks. I'd suggest you drop the word "ranged", though, it's just going to be confusing.

    Infernal Legions:
    Starting at level 10, you can summon 10 lemures once per long rest. These beings obey any commands you give them (even ones that are clearly suicidal.) Summoning these beings takes 3 consecutive full round actions. Commanding the creatures is a bonus action. You need not command them verbally, you can command them with your thoughts. These creatures last for 6 hours before they are banished back into the Nine Hells.
    This is just crazy. This is six hours of 10 actions in exchange for your bonus action. That is the end of the action economy, right there. One of the few nice things 5e did was get rid of the "summoner floods the fight with minions" problem. Plus, have you ever tried to manage 11 creatures in an rpg? This will slow the game to a crawl. You should probably just let them summon one or two things that are stronger then lemures. Make it a summon per short rest, and have them go away after an hour or so.

    Unbreakable:
    Starting at level 14 if you are reduced to zero hitpoints, an aspect of Zariel briefly appears into existence and infuses your body with hellish energy, bringing you back up to 1/4th your maximum hitpoint total. In addition, this creates a fireball cast as a level 3rd spell that is centered on you. You are immune to this blast, but your allies are not.
    This is hilarious.
    Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?

    Pokemon:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Friend Code: 4484-7979-9172
    DS name: Ben
    In-game name: Lief
    Friend safari: Charmeleon, Pansear, Ninetails


    Brew:

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