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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SaigonTimeMD's Avatar

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    Aug 2019

    Default Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    I'm homebrewing a Warlock patron based off an antagonist from a fantasy-horror webcomic and using Matthew Gravelyn's 'Create-A-Patron' guide; he stresses that the first level feat needs to be unique and class-defining, something that basically determines the unique spin of how that Warlock will play. With that in mind, I came up with this:

    Red Mark

    Starting at 1st level, you become a conduit for your patron, and she reaches out through you, subtly altering the creatures of your world as she sees fit. You have a pool of Red Marks with which you can afflict other creatures. The number of Red Marks is equal to your Charisma modifier, and they do not stack.

    When you cast a direct spell on a creature, you may choose (before or after the spell is cast but before the result of it hitting or missing is revealed) to afflict the creature with a Red Mark; if you choose to afflict the creature but the attack misses, that Red Mark is expended. Whenever a creature afflicted with a Red Mark takes damage from a spell or an attack, you may choose to detonate the Red Mark, dealing 1d4 + your Charisma bonus psychic damage. If you detonate the Red Mark on an attack you make or spell you cast, your Charisma bonus is doubled for the Red Mark damage. After a Red Mark is detonated, it is removed from the creature, and that creature cannot be affected by Red Mark again for an hour. You may also afflict a creature with Red Mark by physically touching its skin with your own. Red Marks last ten minutes or until you dismiss them, then fade. You regain half your Red Marks (rounded down) after finishing a short rest, and all of them after finishing a long rest.

    At 3rd level, Red Mark also causes -2 on all Wisdom saving throws made by the afflicted creature. Additionally, your Red Marks are now invisible and undetectable by normal means, and can only be revealed by detect magic or a similar effect/spell.

    At 6th level, when you detonate a Red Mark, the afflicted creature must make a saving throw equal to 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. If they fail, they are knocked prone. Additionally, Red Marks now last for a number of hours equal to your character level.

    At 10th level, when a creature afflicted by your Red Mark is reduced to 0 hit points, all creatures of your choosing within ten feet of it must make a saving throw equal to 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus. If they fail, they also become afflicted by Red Marks. Red Marks spread this way do not count against your Red Mark total. Additionally, when a creature afflicted by your Red Mark is reduced to 0 hit points, you regain that Red Mark

    At 14th level, Red Marks now last until dismissed.


    I know this is obscenely overpowered right now, it's too versatile, and just plain too strong. I'm going to balance it. My question is this: would a mechanic like this, the ability to mark other creatures via ranged spell attacks (like Eldritch BLAST) with a scaling, multi-faceted effect, be better suited as a Pact Boon instead of a feature? I'm not leaning one way or the other, I'm just curious what it would be better suited as.

    And if anyone has any feedback on how to tone down this monster (whatever it ends up as) while still preserving the 'reach out and corrupt someone' flavor, let me know please!
    Last edited by SaigonTimeMD; 2019-09-12 at 11:34 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    First, you state at the start that they don't stack, but it isn't clear what this means, so that is just bad wording. please clarify.
    second, It's not clear what you mean by a "direct spell". this should be made clearer, I.E. spell attack roll, forces saving throw etc.
    third, there aren't many effects that talk about multiples of ability modifiers. perhaps when dealing extra damage for your spell or attack, it could do more dice.
    it's a bit weird how you regain some on short rests, and all on long rests, and what's to stop you from stock piling them by taking more short rests. try to stick to all on one type of rest.
    The -2 on wisdom saves isn't ideal, as effects in 5e generally look the advantage, disadvantage route.
    the sixth level feature is a bit oddly phrased. it would be simpler to define the saving throw DC as your spell save DC. as well as this, without the story, falling prone feels a little mundane.
    the tenth level feature is similarly oddly phrased, as well as neither the sixth nor tenth level features stating the type of saving throw. it also looks incredibly overpowered, as it will allow for virtually infinite red marks, especially when combined with...
    the fourteenth level feature: remember that bestow curse is at 9th level before being permanent. this is truly ridiculous.
    on the other hand, this is a cool mechanical concept. it would be useful to have some story here to give the abilities context. however, it has some really neat stuff, and i look forward to seeing it developed.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    It feels a little like you could tweak this down to a series of Invocations in a suite with Sign of Iíll Omen.
    Hereís a quick pass:

    Burning Red Mark
    Req 5th
    When you cast Hex or use a feature... it creates a visible Mark other creatures may view with suspicion or pity. you can use a bonus action to end the effect of the feature or spell early. Doing so causes the Mark to burst into noxious green flames that deal your choice of Acid, Fire, or Necrotic damage equal to 1d4+ your Charisma Modifier.

    Red Mark of Awareness
    When you cast the Hex Spell Or use a feature like Curse (ala Hexblade),or use the Sign of Iíll Omen the target gains a visible Mark other creatures may view with suspicion or pity. While the Mark persists. , the target becomes hyper vigilant. For the duration they cannot benefit from rest and treat non-allies as hostile.

    Spreading Mark
    Req lvl 9
    When a creature youíve afflicted with a Red Mark is targeted by a spell that targets multiple creatures, all other targets that you hit with a spell attack or that fail their save also Gain a Red Mark.

    Red Mark of the Pariah
    Req lvl 5
    When you Hex Curse etc. you create a visible Mark on the target that other creatures will view as evidence of the targetís guilt for minor crimes. The target has disadvantage on social rolls.

    Mark of the Doom Star
    Req lvl 17
    When you Curse Hex etc. you afflict the target with a Visible Mark others will pity or be suspicious of. As a bonus action you can end the effect of the spell or feature early causing the Mark to expand into a network of cracks all over the targetís body. The target has vulnerability to all damage until the beginning of your next turn.
    Last edited by BerzerkerUnit; 2019-09-12 at 04:41 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SaigonTimeMD's Avatar

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    Default Re: Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    Quote Originally Posted by notXanathar View Post
    First, you state at the start that they don't stack, but it isn't clear what this means, so that is just bad wording. please clarify.
    second, It's not clear what you mean by a "direct spell". this should be made clearer, I.E. spell attack roll, forces saving throw etc.
    third, there aren't many effects that talk about multiples of ability modifiers. perhaps when dealing extra damage for your spell or attack, it could do more dice.
    it's a bit weird how you regain some on short rests, and all on long rests, and what's to stop you from stock piling them by taking more short rests. try to stick to all on one type of rest.
    The -2 on wisdom saves isn't ideal, as effects in 5e generally look the advantage, disadvantage route.
    the sixth level feature is a bit oddly phrased. it would be simpler to define the saving throw DC as your spell save DC. as well as this, without the story, falling prone feels a little mundane.
    the tenth level feature is similarly oddly phrased, as well as neither the sixth nor tenth level features stating the type of saving throw. it also looks incredibly overpowered, as it will allow for virtually infinite red marks, especially when combined with...
    the fourteenth level feature: remember that bestow curse is at 9th level before being permanent. this is truly ridiculous.
    on the other hand, this is a cool mechanical concept. it would be useful to have some story here to give the abilities context. however, it has some really neat stuff, and i look forward to seeing it developed.
    • What I tried to convey with 'not stacking' means that you can't have more than one Red Mark on a creature at a time (which in hindsight is just probably what I should've said); this should solve the problem of (A) imposing multiple Wisdom penalties to turn the creature into a total doof, and (B) to prevent detonating a ton of Red Marks all at the same time for a big ol' hit.
    • What I meant by a direct spell would be a creature-targeted spell, or rather something directly cast on that creature; so Eldritch Blast would qualify, as well as any other spell that affected specific or player-designated targets, while an AoE spell that just (theoretically) hits everything in a certain area wouldn't add a Red Mark.
    • Rolling 2d4 instead of doubling the Charisma bonus would certainly take less math. I like it.
    • If I'm sticking them all on a single type of rest, do you think it would be better as a short or a long rest to restore them?
    • I worried that a disadvantage on Wisdom throws would be TOO powerful for a 3rd level feat, so I just went with the penalty. If you don't think it's too powerful, though, I have no problem with changing it back.
    • The issue with the sixth level thing is something I struggle with, trying to get the mechanical language right. I was originally going to go with the Stunned effect instead of just being knocked prone, but again I held back because I worried it would be too powerful. Both have flavor reasons, but I'll get to that in a second.
    • Tenth level feature I'm still struggling with the language too. It didn't seem that overpowered to me at the time, since it the Red Mark detonation does low damage and doesn't really have any utility outside of combat situations. Would it be enough to change it so that the Red Marks only spread if the creature is personally killed by the Warlock themselves, and it doesn't proc off of other damage sources?
    • Fourteenth level is more flavor; the character the patron is based off of has a central theme of corruption that never truly goes away, even from those who escape their grasp for a time. The idea of the Warlock corrupting an NPC with a permanent Red Mark so even if their attitude changed towards the Warlock for the worse, they'd always be susceptible is very on-brand for this patron. Then again, that might be drifting too much into Bestow Curse territory anyway, and the last thing I want to do is replicate other mechanics already in the game.



    As for the flavor itself, I'll say what I can without getting myself in trouble: the character the patron is based off of is an otherworldly entity from another dimension/plane/reality that's keen to come through to the player's reality and make it her own. Thematically...think of Slaanesh but with the rampant drug use and sensation-based mutilations replaced by a really stark aesthetic and Lovecraftian influences - or the thing from underneath the mansion in Darkest Dungeon, but at maximum horny levels. She corrupts mortals through a combination of illusions and appealing to their basest instincts, but doesn't seem to be actively malevolent, just extremely manipulative towards her ultimate goal of becoming one with all things.

    Sorry if that's still too obtuse in the description department; I'm not entirely sure how much I can convey without saying something I shouldn't. The source material, in addition to being fantasy-horror, is also extraordinarily NSFW, so I'm playing things as close the chest as I can. That being said, it wouldn't take much to tone down her more salacious aspects so other players in the game don't get skeeved out (or maybe they're into that? I don't know) but still keep that 'manipulation through desire' flavor going on. Honestly, theme-wise she's like a combination of the Archfey and the Great Old One, with a little bit of the Fiend filling in the cracks, but unique enough overall that I felt she could be her own thing.
    Last edited by SaigonTimeMD; 2019-09-12 at 05:03 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    With the rest type, I think it would be simplest to recharge on a short rest, as that is when the warlock gets their spells back. However, if that feels too powerful, you can always set it to a long rest and adjust the damage.

    for the third level feature, if you think that disadvantage is too much, then maybe disadvantage on wisdom checks might work. This would allow more of a social thing.

    for the sixth level feature, I think that stunned could be fine, given that you don't really have enough marks for the monks kind of stun-lock behaviour.

    With the 10th level feature my recommendation is to have it leap to a single character in 10ft(on a failed save). This makes it a more interesting decision as to whether to kill the creature, depending on who's nearby. Alternatively, if you want to make it a greater number of people, specify that their secondary marks can't spread.

    finally, for the sixth and 10th level features, please specify the kind of saving throw.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    SaigonTimeMD's Avatar

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    Default Re: Feature or Pact Boon for new Warlock Patron?

    Quote Originally Posted by notXanathar View Post
    With the rest type, I think it would be simplest to recharge on a short rest, as that is when the warlock gets their spells back. However, if that feels too powerful, you can always set it to a long rest and adjust the damage.

    for the third level feature, if you think that disadvantage is too much, then maybe disadvantage on wisdom checks might work. This would allow more of a social thing.

    for the sixth level feature, I think that stunned could be fine, given that you don't really have enough marks for the monks kind of stun-lock behaviour.

    With the 10th level feature my recommendation is to have it leap to a single character in 10ft(on a failed save). This makes it a more interesting decision as to whether to kill the creature, depending on who's nearby. Alternatively, if you want to make it a greater number of people, specify that their secondary marks can't spread.

    finally, for the sixth and 10th level features, please specify the kind of saving throw.
    Alright, let's try this:

    Red Mark
    • Starting at 1st level, you become a conduit for your patron, and she reaches out through you, subtly altering the creatures of your world as she sees fit. You have a pool of Red Marks with which you can afflict other creatures. The number of Red Marks is equal to your Charisma modifier, and they do not stack. When you cast a direct spell on a creature, you may choose (before or after the spell is cast but before the result of it hitting or missing is revealed) to afflict the creature with a Red Mark; if you choose to afflict the creature but the attack misses, that Red Mark is expended. Whenever a creature afflicted with a Red Mark takes damage from a spell or an attack, you may choose to detonate the Red Mark, dealing 1d4 + your Charisma bonus psychic damage; if you detonate the Red Mark on an attack you make or spell you cast, roll 2d6 instead. After a Red Mark is detonated, it is removed from the creature, and that creature cannot be affected by Red Mark again for an hour. You may also afflict a creature with Red Mark as an action by physically touching its skin with your own. Red Marks last ten minutes or until you dismiss them, then fade without a trace. You regain all Red Marks after finishing a short rest.
    • At 3rd level, Red Mark also causes disadvantage on all Wisdom checks made by the afflicted creature. Additionally, your Red Marks are now invisible and undetectable by normal means, and can only be revealed by detect magic or a similar spell.
    • At 6th level, when you detonate a Red Mark, the afflicted creature must make a Wisdom saving throw against your Warlock spell save DC. If they fail, they are knocked prone. Additionally, Red Marks now last for a number of hours equal to your character level.
    • At 10th level, when a creature afflicted by your Red Mark is reduced to 0 hit points, one creature of your choosing within twenty feet of it must make a Wisdom saving throw against your Warlock spell save DC. If they fail, they also become afflicted by Red Marks. Red Marks spread this way do not count against your Red Mark total. Additionally, when a creature afflicted by your Red Mark is reduced to 0 hit points, you regain that Red Mark.
    • At 14th level, when a creature afflicted by your Red Mark is reduced to 0 hit points, you may now choose up to three creatures within twenty feet of it to spread your Red Mark to, with a separate Wisdom save for each one.


    Alright, here's what I changed:
    1st level - Warlock regains all Red Marks after a short rest. Also, I clarified that transferring a Red Mark by touch now takes an action.
    3rd level - Changed the -2 penalty to a straight disadvantage; I kept the knocked prone effect since it's a little less powerful than being stunned.
    6th level - Cleaned up language; now clearly delineates a Wisdom saving throw vs. Warlock spell DC.
    10th level - Cleaned up language; now clearly delineates a Wisdom saving throw vs. Warlock spell DC. Also, now only affects one creature.
    14th level - Got rid of the 'permanent Red Mark' feature since it was (a) too powerful, and (b) too similar to Bestow Curse. Replaced it by turning the level 10 scaling into a multi-target effect.

    With that being said, I have the other level 6/10/14 features for the patron written out; should I post them here for feedback, or should I create a new topic?
    Last edited by SaigonTimeMD; 2019-09-16 at 01:01 PM.

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