The Warlock Class, Part Zero

So, funny story, I was digging through boxes and boxes of books and Fantasy & Science Fiction magazines at my parents’ house the other day, when I found my old copy of Player’s Option: Spells & Magic. In case you’re not familiar with the Player’s Option series, they more or less constitute a 2.5 edition of D&D. I’ve mentioned Skills & Powers several times in the course of the History of the Classes. Spells & Magic picks apart the magic system and offers variant classes, spellcasting rules, and lots of new niche-use spells. Anyway, thumbing through this tome for the first time in… uh… sixteen or seventeen years, I was flabbergasted to discover that there are rules for warlocks here, as (somewhat) distinct from wizards. Since this clearly pre-dates Complete Arcane, which I foolishly labeled “Part One,” I’m obligated by the unholy power of numbers to label this article “Part Zero.” (God help me if I should learn of a 1e or OD&D warlock as a discrete class.)

Archfey Patrons, Part Three

I am distressed to discover that it has been almost two months since I wrote the last article in this series. It has been a very busy time, and here we are again. This time, I’m offering custom features for the Mother of Redcaps, the Dream-Tyrant, the Winter Lord, the Muse of Steel, and the Eldest. Even more than the previous articles, not all patron archetypes are right for every setting’s version of the fey. On the other hand, Archfey (like any cosmically-powerful entity) get shoved into itty-bitty living space all the frickin’ time, so if you’re going along in a campaign and suddenly realize that one of the more obscure Archfey would be great to introduce right now, it’s easily done.

Unearthed Arcana: The Faithful Breakdown

Awesome, Unearthed Arcana is on time! This time around, we have two new subclasses addressing arcane casters that have ties to faith or a deity: the Seeker Patron and Pact of the Star Chain for warlocks, and the Theurgy Tradition for wizards. Mearls mentioned on Twitter, over the course of last month, that this article would address something that has bothered him for 30+ years; it turns out that the issue is “how to portray followers of a god of magic without making them clerics.” Let’s see how well this works out.

Archfey Patrons, Part Two

Last time in my series on the fey, I proposed unique features for other Archfey patrons. I’m describing the Archfey in terms of archetypes rather than names, since WotC has one set of names for them, real-world myth has another, and my own setting has still different names. The first article covered the Seelie Queen, the Queen of Air and Darkness, the Silver Knight, the Lord of the Hunt, and the Good Fellow. This time, I have a rather intimidating list of Archfey I want to cover… and now that I’ve done four of them I realize that I need to just let there be a third article of Archfey patrons.

Archfey Patrons

I’ve covered a lot of elements of the fey in the course of this series. Today I want to talk about one of the main reasons that we care about them in the first place: warlocks take them as patrons (and some paladins swear Ancient oaths to them). But there’s only one kind of Patron – that is, all Archfey warlocks have the same Patron powers, even though the Archfey themselves are as different as Summer and Winter. That has always sat a bit oddly with me, so in this article I’ll be talking about some kinds of Archfey and the ways each of them is a bit different.

The Almighty Johnsons, The Power of Self, and the Reverse Warlock

I had a conversation the other day regarding clerics, warlocks, and the nature of other-directed character advancement. It hadn’t ever been something I really considered, but it was a very important issue to the people I was speaking to at the time. This got me thinking about a show out of New Zealand called The Almighty Johnsons, and how the show addressed and answered this very question during its run from 2011-2013.

The Warlock Class, Part Three

I can’t believe we’re already to the last article on the Warlock class. Sure, there was a two-article bit on Sha’ir as a gratuitous lead-in. Sure, I’ve also bolted on studies of the Binder class along the way. But here we are, tackling the 5e Warlock in all of its strange glory. In all of 5e, it’s the class I feel most conflicted about – the mechanics are different, innovative, and just shy of transcendent genius. It’s okay to disagree with me on this! We can still be pals.

(Part One, Part Two)

The Warlock Class, Part Two

Last time in History of the Classes, I looked at the 3.5 Warlock and Binder classes, as two different approaches to a practice of creepy, forbidden, occult power. Both classes allow and encourage the character to surprise foes with unusual powers – no two members of these classes are likely to be the same, or even especially similar. Now we come to the 4e Warlock, which is the first iteration of the class I’ve personally played.

(Part One)

The Warlock Class, Part One

Now that my series on the Sha’ir has ended… again… I’m moving on to the Warlock, a class that first formally entered D&D in 3.5e in the pages of Complete Arcane. It has undergone radical changes in mechanics from that publication in November of 2004 to its 5e incarnation, released in August of 2014. Some of the words used have survived, though they often mean different things. Thematically, the 3.5 warlock is still present in 5e, but between 4e’s builds and 5e’s subclasses, there are many alternate themes bouncing around within the class as well.

The Sha’ir, Part One and Only

The Paladin, at last, is put to bed, and I can start on the Warlock. Except that there was no official warlock class in OD&D, 1e, or 2e, so I’ll be starting with its appearance in Complete Arcane, in 3.5e. Well, sort of… because 2e has this class, found in Al-Qadim, called the sha’ir. Sha’ir are based on the poets of pre-Islamic Arabia, who were believed to have mystical powers. In Al-Qadim, they derive their powers from their connection with a gen, and have unique means of summoning and interacting with janni and genies. In this way they are both a convenient single-article class, and a good lead-in to the warlock. This too is an arcane(ish) caster class dependent on a capricious entity.