Imagine a world of bold warriors, mighty wizards, and terrible monsters.
Imagine a world of ancient ruins, vast caverns, and great wild wastes where only the bravest heroes dare to tread.
Imagine a world of swords and magic, a world of elves and goblins, a world of giants and dragons.
This is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. You take on the role of a legendary hero—a vigilant druid, a resolute paladin, a versatile ranger, or a charismatic warlock. In today’s excerpt from the forthcoming Players Essentials book, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, we preview the warlock.
Arcane Striker: You wield a deadly weapon forged with magic, backed by your skill at spells, stout armor, and keen fighting ability.
Why This Is the Class for You: You like mixing arcane spellcasting with good armor and the ability to fight in melee.
Most people believe that the path to arcane power traces its way through dusty libraries, impenetrable tomes of lore, and countless hours of practice and study. What little the common folk understand about wizards revolves around their scholarly pursuits. Warlocks, however, know about different paths to power. The labyrinthine rules and theories of arcane magic are by no means complete. In some places, the laws of magic are vague, twisted, or subject to the whims of powerful entities.
Warlocks enter into pacts with these entities, pledging their service and their souls in return for access to spells. With a word of promise, warlocks gain great power, but rarely do they have the wisdom and foresight needed to wield such power.
A warlock gains this power with little practice or focus. One need only learn the rituals needed to contact a planar entity in order to gain a warlock’s power. Most warlocks face suspicion and mistrust from the common people, because all too often those who embrace this path do so in search of a quick, easy way to gain power over others. Yet for every warlock who enters a pact for selfish reasons, there is one who turned to it as a last resort against a mad tyrant or a rampaging horde of monsters. Warlocks rarely congregate in large groups. They easily accept members of other classes as allies, but there are few if any guilds, schools, or other organizations to bind them. The typical warlock enters into a pact and perfects its magic alone. Aside from the rituals used to create pacts, little formal research or study is involved in the warlock’s art.
Key Abilities: Charisma; Dexterity or Constitution
Hexblades are warlocks who learn to shape the arcane energy of their pacts into deadly weapons, such as a sword forged from infernal power or a slender blade that gleams with fey magic. Both a warrior and an arcanist, a hexblade uses a deadly combination of spells and fighting ability during combat.
Few people trust hexblades. Although most common folk are at best suspicious of wizards, the typical mage isolates himself or herself while engaging in arcane study, rarely exposing the populace to deadly magic. Hexblades come by their power through an easier, and more easily mistrusted, path. Some of the greatest villains to plague the land have been hexblades. After stumbling across the rituals and incantations needed to contact and forge a bargain with a mighty entity, a marauding bandit or a bloodthirsty orc chieftain could become a hexblade. The entities that would grant power to hexblades care little for how such a gift is used. Their interest is focused on the souls and the power provided to them by those to whom they give power through a pact. And such evil hexblades don’t isolate themselves in the wild, but instead take what they want from those less powerful.
Those few hexblades who prefer to be honorable face suspicion and persecution from a variety of quarters, because their magic is misunderstood and typically wielded by villains. Even though these hexblades choose to do good, most are forced to the shadows by suspicion and fear from common folk, and they must strike at evil in secret, working behind the scenes to keep the fragile structure of civilization intact.
Hit Points: You start with hit points equal to 12 + your Constitution score. You gain 5 hit points each time you gain a level.
Bonuses to Defenses: +1 to Fortitude, +1 to Will
Healing Surges per Day: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged
Implement Proficiencies: Rods, wands
Class Skills: Arcana (Int), Bluff (Cha), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Religion (Int), Stealth (Dex), Streetwise (Cha), Thievery (Dex)
Trained Skills: Four from the list of class skills
In the heroic tier, you first learn to forge your pact weapon from the stuff of raw, arcane energy. Through practice and battle, you become able to extract more powerful spells from your master.
Class Features and Powers
||Improved Pact Weapon
||Ability score increase
Lesser planar ally
||Pact Weapon Retribution
||Ability score increase
Summon warlock’s ally
Level 1: Eldritch Bolt
You tap into the magic of your pact to unleash an attack against your enemies.
Benefit: You gain the eldritch bolt power.
Warlock Attack 1
With a gesture, you create a shard of shimmering force and send it streaking toward your enemy.
At-WillArcane, Force, Implement
One creature Attack:
Charisma vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d10 + Charisma modifier force damage.
2d10 + Charisma modifier force damage.
Special: You can use this power as a ranged basic attack.
Level 1: Pact Reward
The pact you forge with an otherworldly entity provides many benefits. To help you defeat your enemies, and thereby provide that entity with shards of life force through the pact, your patron rewards your service with a small gift.
Benefit: You gain a bonus to damage rolls determined by your pact (fey, page 225, or infernal, page 230).
Level 1: Pact Boon
One benefit of associating with a greater power is the ability to use a small portion of that entity’s magic directly. When you choose your pact, your bond with your patron is represented by a boon it grants you as a symbol of its influence.
Benefit: You gain a power associated with your pact (fey, page 225, or infernal, page 230).
Level 1: Pact Weapon
Your pact weapon is a physical manifestation of the arcane alliance you have struck with an otherworldly power.
Benefit: While you hold your implement in one hand, you can use a minor action to manifest your pact weapon in the other hand. The pact weapon you create depends on your pact (fey, page 225, or infernal, page 230). Your pact weapon persists until you no longer hold either it or the implement, or until you dismiss it as a free action.
You can make weapon attacks with your pact weapon, using its proficiency bonus and the appropriate damage die. Your pact weapon shares your implement’s enhancement bonus, critical hit effect, properties, and powers. The weapon cannot be enchanted.
When you use a power associated with your pact weapon and the power has both the weapon and the implement keyword, you are considered to be wielding both your pact weapon and your implement for the purpose of feats and other game elements.
The ancient empire of Bael Turath forged one of the most well-known pacts with the devils of the Nine Hells. Within the labyrinthine system of codes, laws, and oaths that bind the devils into their rigid order, a number of secret loopholes and gaps exist that allow mortals to exploit the deal made by the tieflings’ forefathers. And you are one of the hexblades who has learned to do so.
Devils harbor a particular hatred for infernal pact hexblades. The devils prefer worship and subservience, rather than the theft of their power.
Level 1: Infernal Pact Weapon
The origin of the blade of annihilation is not entirely known. Some believe that the powerful tiefling warlock who created the first infernal pact created the blade. Others believe that it is the remains of an ancient curse placed upon Asmodeus, lord of the Nine Hells, for his treachery in slaying the god remembered as He Who Was and rising to rule all devilkind. What is known is that although infernal pact hexblades are hated and loathed by devils, those hexblades bearing a blade of annihilation are met with even greater wrath. This might be due to the fact that some believe the blade is crafted from the essence of slain devils, and that their life force is what powers a hexblade’s pact.
There might be some truth to the thought that the blade is a partially sentient being, for it seems to exult whenever it is used to defeat an enemy. With soul eater, you unlock the weapon’s ability to drain a foe’s life essence to empower your attacks. Blazing doom of the void stokes the weapon’s bloodlust, causing flames to lick along its edge as it slices into your enemy. A hexblade wielding this weapon hears a faint roar in his or her mind with each strike, as if some faint, distant being seeks greater acts of bloodlust. Rumors also abound of hexblades who bore this weapon and fell into the service of evil, rising to become great champions of the hells.
Blade of Annihilation
This ebony sword seems to absorb the light around it. Motes of silvery light dance along its blade.
Weapon Category: One-handed military melee weapon
Weapon Group: Heavy blade
Proficiency Bonus: +2
Your blade glows with fell energy as it devours your foe’s soul and transfers that life force to you.
At-WillArcane, Implement, Necrotic, Weapon
You must use this power with your blade of annihilation
One creature Attack:
Charisma vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Charisma modifier necrotic damage, and you gain a +2 power bonus to your next attack roll against the target before the end of your next turn.
2[W] + Charisma modifier necrotic damage.
Special: You can use this power as a melee basic attack.
Blazing Doom of the Void
You infuse your blade with hellish fire and pain. Infernal magic tugs at your enemy’s soul, making your attacks against the foe more damaging.
EncounterArcane, Fire, Implement, Necrotic, Weapon
You must use this power with your blade of annihilation
One creature Attack:
Charisma vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2[W] + Charisma modifier fire and necrotic damage.
3[W] + Charisma modifier fire and necrotic damage. Level 23:
4[W] + Charisma modifier fire and necrotic damage.
Effect: You gain a +5 power bonus to your next damage roll against the target before the end of your next turn.
Level 1: Infernal Pact Reward
With the power of the infernal pact, your vitality and endurance help fuel your spells.
Benefit: You gain a bonus to the damage rolls of your warlock and warlock paragon path attack powers. The bonus equals your Constitution modifier. The bonus increases to 2 + your Constitution modifier at 5th level, 4 + your Constitution modifier at 15th level, and 6 + your Constitution modifier at 25th level.
At 9th level, you also gain this bonus to the damage rolls of the creature you summon with summon warlock’s ally.
Level 9: Summon Warlock’s Ally (Infernal)
Spined devils are some of the weakest of their kind, making their enforced fealty to you more offensive to them. They serve only out of terror, knowing the price your magic will extract from them for any rebellion, since a devil that fails to honor its summoner’s demand is instantly annihilated. A summoned spined devil will shout oaths and threats at you, and this spell usually calls forth the same devil, allowing it to nurse a long-standing grudge. The spined devil lackey’s death in the world does not destroy it if it died following your orders; instead, it is released back to the hells. Thus, a summoned devil enthusiastically follows suicidal orders.
When summoned into battle, a spined devil lackey rains its deadly quills upon your enemies. If an enemy moves too close to you, a quick mental command to it will make the devil launch a quill attack at your foe.
Benefit: You can use summon warlock’s ally to summon a spined devil lackey.
Spined Devil Lackey
Medium immortal humanoid (devil)
HP your bloodied value; Healing Surges none, but you can expend a healing surge for the lackey if an effect allows it to spend one
Defenses your defenses, not including any temporary bonuses or penalties
Speed 6, fly 6 (hover)
You gain a +2 power bonus to Intimidate checks while you are in the aura.
Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature); your level + 5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d8 + your Charisma modifier damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).
Effect: The lackey either walks, shifts, runs, stands up, squeezes, or crawls.
Trigger: An enemy ends its turn adjacent to you.
Attack: Ranged 10 (triggering enemy); your level + 5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 5 damage.