Just thought I'd pop in to ask a question or two again :)
So one of my players has asked me for advice on creating a warlock. I've never done one, so I looked into it, and find there are a lot more pacts now. Infernal, Star, Fey, Dark, Elemental, etc. Simply put, that's a lot of options and I can see why a new player is wondering what to do. We're meeting this weekend to go over her character, and i figured it can't hurt to get an informed opinion before I make a fool of myself.
Now I don't if she wants to deal more damage or status, so I'm trying to learn both just in case. I'm letting her play a custom race with bonus's to CON and INT, so I'm thinking powers with those skills are best for her. I think those are the damaging builds, but I'm blanking at the moment.
Anywho I'm rambling. If anyone knows more about warlocks than I, I'd love to hear your opinions.
Well, it depends. How rp-focused is your group? In a heavy rp group, being a warlock is a big deal. The warlock has by definition made a pact with some powerfull entity, whick means that this entity needs/wants/gains something from him/her. Imagine having sold your soul to a devil to form an infermal pact, or agreeing to capture the souls of your slain foes. In an rp heavy group, this can have a tremendous impact on the character's personality, and the player has to find a way to roleplay that. The player needs to understad that even his most basic class feature is called "Warlock's Curse". You actually curse your foes. How does the character feel every time he/she does that? Even the more "innocent" fey pact, can have really bad consequences, like the character gradually losing his sanity, due to the overwhelming madness of the fay which the mortal mind cannot understand.
For instance a player played a fey warlock on one of my campaigns, and the bargain that he made with the entity (that is with me :P) was that he would gain tremendous power, but his mind belonged to the entity, which fed on his frustration, and mental instability. We cut the campaign short soon after it started, so i can't tell you how it went, but you get the idea.
When it comes to mechanics, i think the most damaging pact is the infernal pact. It uses Constitution as its main attribute, which rp-wise means that the warlock merely channels the infernal powers of his overlord. That makes him tough, because the body must withstand this power.
I could be wrong however. I havent tried to optimise the warlock.
If you give me a basic character concept I will gladly help you out with choosing powers and feats.
Awesome avatar created by Ceika!!!! Thank you.
As with any class, she'll want to snag feats that increase accuracy, damage, defenses, and boost the non-damage effects of her powers.
The first thing we really need to help, mechanically, is which books you're allowing and what level you're starting at.
For a Con-based warlock, she has four pact options - Infernal (PHB), Star (PHB), Vestige (Arcane Power), and Sorcerer-King (Dark Sun Campaign Setting). They all have a slightly different feel to them. Infernal is more straight-damage, while Star has a lot of (sometimes unique) status effects (giving it a strong controller feel). Both Vestige and Sorcerer-King have a bit of a leader feel to them.
In terms of ease-of-play and learning curve, Infernal and Sorcerer-King are probably the easiest, followed by Star, then Vestige. Conversely, Vestige is probably the most flexible pact - the sheer number of options available is a double-edged sword, there.
In terms of survivability, being Con-based give them all a boost over the Cha-based pacts, with Infernal and Vestige being the most hardy, though S-K and Star aren't push-overs.
Regardless of pact, some of the best feats to grab at low-level are Rod Expertise, Bloodied Boon (admittedly slightly less useful for Vestige Pact warlocks, depending on what their active vestige is), Improved Defenses, Improved Initiative, White Lotus Riposte (especially for Infernal warlocks), and multiclass feats for Int-based classes (usually Swordmage or Wizard). For easy combat advantage, also consider picking up Cunning Stalker, Distant Advantage, or Hidden Sniper.
Other feats to look into would be the Dragonmarks if you're allowing them. Warlocks can get a lot of mileage out of Mark of Passage in particular, especially at 10th level and after (see Ethereal Sidestep, a 10th-level utility power). Vestige pact warlocks can probably get the most out of Mark of Storm, although it can be situationally useful for any pact.
Otherwise, only available to S-K warlocks, Mindbite Scorn adds an extra die of curse damage (which the Killing Curse feat or a Vicious Rod can increase from a d6 to d8). Lots of people choose S-K pact as their Twofold Pact option at 11th for Mindbite Scorn (although the other S-K feats can also be attractive).
Another major issue to consider is whether she wants Eldritch Blast or Eldritch Strike as her non-pact At-Will. Eldritch Blast is the traditional warlock power, and makes the character more of a ranged sniper while Eldritch Strike warlocks prefer melee. For a character just starting out, if she wants to go melee she may want to consider playing a Hexblade, instead, as they're easier to learn/play right out-of-the-box than optimizing a melee-based warlock.
My player unexpected dropped by earlier than expected, so i didn't get to read ghost_warlock's post before hand. I really liked Silma's suggestion, so i brought it up with her, and we really worked out a nifty back story to go with her pact. she ended up wanting to go Fey Pact and be a charisma based warlock despite her con boost, so we worked with that. knowing what she wanted, we tailored the story and pact to her character.
short version: growing up, she wanted to be a beautiful sorceress, but she was considered plain, and wasn't smart enough for magic. she bumps into a fey pact eladrin who has everything she wants, and the eladrin tempts her into making her own pact. she signs the dotted line without reading the pact through, so blinded by the prize. she goes from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan, losing her con and str bonus's for intelligence and charisma boosts. she gets what she wants without reading the fine print which comes back to bite her in the rear (even the player doesn't know the fine print which i get to torment her with, muwahaha!)
that said, she's now a fey pact charisma user. she's new to 4th edition and joining a level 8 campaign, so it will tricky.
for powers, for now she has selected lv 1 witchfire (encounter), lv 1 daily curse of the dark dream, beguiling tongue for level 2 utility, pipes of winters for level 3 encounter, crown of madness for level 5 daily, rending fear of khirad for lv 6 utility, and pain to pleasure for lv 7 encounter.
that's where we stand at the moment, as she hasn't picked feats, a theme, background, etc. comments, suggestions and feedback are always welcome, as always ;)
Most of the feat advice in my other post will still be relevant as fey-pact. She'd get even more use out of Mark of Passage since her pact boon involves teleportation.
Out of the combat advantage feats, Hidden Sniper or Distant Advantage will probably be the most useful since she should avoid melee if at all possible.
For backgrounds, depending on what sections you're allowing, Born Under a Bad Sign or Auspicious Birth from Scales of War will boost her hit points by a good amount, making her much less squishy (especially since it will scale with her highest stat as she levels). Otherwise, what choices are good will largely depend on her stats and trained skills. It's generally better to boost an already good skill than to try and compensate for a skill with a poor rating or based on a mediocre ability score (with the possible exception of Perception, which always has its uses). Also from the Scales of War set, On the Run from the Devil might be a good choice, giving access to Perception and giving a small boost to Bluff and Perception. Assassin (Arcana & Stealth) and Eldritch Harlequin (Bluff & Thievery) could also be good options.
I tend to have a hard time choosing a theme for warlock characters since none of the existing ones are really angled for warlocks (with the exception of Devil's Pawn, which is really aimed more at infernal pact warlocks). Cipher could be a good choice - giving a boost to Initiative and allowing her to move her speed as a free action (activating her Shadow Walk) if she doesn't win Initiative. The level 5 feature will probably be wasted on her, but with some setup the level 10 feature can be a game-changer for one fight per day. Fey Beast Tamer could also be really good and thematically appropriate - gaining a pet fey panther, displacer beast, or blink dog would work well as an addition to her pact with the eladrin. Wizard's Apprentice gets a lot of use in my group but might not be the best fit for her background (of course, you can simply re-fluff the theme however you see fit and just assume the benefits are part of her pact).
Since the Sorcerer-King pact functions equally well for Charisma- or Constitution-based warlocks, it's still one of the best choices for Twofold Pact once she hits 11th level (and she'll probably want to take Twofold Pact as its one of the best feats a warlock can take). As such, the advice I gave for that pact in my other post also still applies. Otherwise, the infernal or Star pacts are also perfectly serviceable for Charisma-based warlocks because they both have many Charisma-based powers (obviously, if she goes Infernal, she'll want Gift to Avernus instead of Hellish Rebuke). Of course, Dark Pact is also an option. Neither the Vestige or Elemental pacts will be of much use to her.
Last edited by ghost_warlock : 11-10-2012 at 10:13 AM.