Warlock (Dungeons & Dragons)

A Dungeons & Dragons character class
Publication history
First appearance Complete Arcane
Editions 3.5, 4th, 5th
(as a standard class) 4th, 5th
(as an alternate class) 3.5
Mythological origins Warlock

The warlock is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was introduced as a non-core base class in the supplemental book Complete Arcane for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In 4th and 5th edition, the warlock is a core class.

Publication history

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition

Warlocks in 3rd edition receive their abilities through the influence of some unearthly being such as a Demon or Fey. They are either born with these powers or receive them through a fell pact, which turns their soul into a dark font of eldritch powers. Warlocks do not cast spells, but instead use spell-like abilities called "invocations", which represent the tapping of the power granted to the warlock. The most important of these abilities is the "eldritch blast" which is the warlock's main offensive ability, firing a blast of magical energy at the target.

The major difference that warlocks have from all other D&D el3rd edition magic users is their ability to use their invocations "at will," without a limit on the number of times an invocation can be cast. In contrast, a wizard or sorcerer can cast a set number of spells every day from a wider selection of spells than a warlock.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition

In 4th edition, the warlock's powers are known as spells, and use the standard power system. The warlock has many different unique abilities, though a warlock's trademark ability is still Eldritch Blast. They can also deliver various effects through Warlock's Curse. The Warlock's other class features make them more accurate at ranged attacks when no ally is closer to their target and allow them to gain concealment whenever they move a sufficient distance. Almost all of the warlock's attack powers depend on charisma or constitution for accuracy and damage, with some powers gaining bonuses from intelligence.

The specific source of the warlock's power is defined as a Pact (with a non-divine supernatural entity or power), which affects at-will power options and makes certain powers more effective and provides a pact boon, an effect which is triggered whenever a cursed enemy is killed or incapacitated. There are six Pacts:

Tieflings and gnomes have racial bonuses to both intelligence and charisma (two key warlock attributes). In 4th edition a warlock's role is striker, meaning they are designed to deal heavy damage while avoiding retaliation. Warlocks also have many exotic powers that have bonus effects; such as Eyebite which makes the warlock invisible for one turn if it hits. Many of the Warlock's powers allow them to move as part of an attack or to move in an unusual manner, such as flight or teleportation.

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials

The Essentials rulebook Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms presented an alternate version of the Warlock, known as the Hexblade. The later rulebook Player's Option: Heroes of Shadow introduced another Warlock variant, the Binder. Both of these variants were adaptations of classes introduced in the 3.5 edition of the game.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition

The warlock has been included as a character class in the 5th edition Player's Handbook.[3] It is a magic-using class with a combination of spells and invocations granted by the warlock's patron.[4]

The warlock has three options for its patron, Archfey, Fiends, and Great Old Ones. Warlocks with a patron of the Archfey make pacts with powerful lords of Faerie, wild incarnations of the forces of nature, to gain their power; those with the Fiend patron make deals and bargains with infernal powers such as Demon Lords and Princes of Hell for magic; and those with the Great Old One patron draw their magical power from the Far Realm, strange, dark gods of entropy such as Tharizdun, or even eldritch alien beings, and are often on the verge of insanity.[4] The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide adds a fourth possible patron, The Undying, drawing their powers from pacts with powerful immortals like Iuz the dread or the lich-queen Vol.

Three options for its type of pact are presented. Pact of the Chain allows the warlock to summon a familiar, Pact of the Tome grants the warlock a Book of Shadows containing additional spells, and Pact of the Blade allows the warlock to conjure a magical weapon for combat.[4]

The warlock uses charisma as its spellcasting ability. It is structured so that its spell slots and spells know are limited, but the slots renew after every short rest (unlike most other magic-using classes, which require a long rest), and all spells are always cast at the highest slot level to which the warlock has access. These spells are supplemented with invocations that provide additional abilities.[4]

Other media

Warlocks (3.5 edition) are featured in the Neverwinter Nights 2 video game from Obsidian Entertainment.

See also


  1. Cordell, Bruce (August 2008). "Wish Upon A Star" (PDF). Dragon Magazine. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  2. Bart Carroll. "Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (August and Beyond)". Wizards.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  3. "Keeping it Classy | Dungeons & Dragons". 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Mearls, Mike; Crawford, Jeremy; et al. (2014). Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook 5th Edition. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 9780786965601.
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