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D&D Next Q&A: 03/07/2014
Rodney Thompson

Y ou've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will scour all available sources to find whatever questions you're asking. We'll pick three of them for R&D to answer, whether about the making of the game or anything else you care to know about... with some caveats.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you to Customer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.




1 How often do warlocks regain their spell slots? Per short rest or per long rest?

Warlocks regain their limited pool of spell slots each time they complete a short rest. However, warlocks can also cast some spells at-will thanks to their invocations. At higher levels (11+), warlocks also gain access to some high-level spells that they can cast only once per day. This different spellcasting technique is designed to reinforce the fact that warlocks are unlike other spellcasters in that they derive power from a bond with a powerful extraplanar force, and that warlocks circumvent the normal spellcasting process thanks to their eldritch knowledge.

2 Are warlock patrons specific named entities or more generic categories?

Just as we do with domains for the cleric, which can represent a wide variety of deities, each warlock patron could represent a number of different specific beings within a certain category. For example, we have a fiendish patron subclass, which could cover any number of devils or archdevils, so your pact could be with anyone from a pit fiend all the way up to Asmodeus himself.

3 What kind of mechanical effect does the choice of patron have on the warlock?

As mentioned above, your patron is like a domain, in that it’s a single choice you make that informs multiple class features later on. Each patron grants you certain class features that give you the ability to do things inspired by that patron’s flavor; the fiendish patron mentioned above provides class features that reward you for defeating your enemies and that give you a devil’s own luck. Additionally, each patron includes a short list of spells that are not on the warlock’s base spell list, but that the warlock can learn from that patron. This helps reinforce the fact that the patron is the giver of secret knowledge, since the warlock can learn those spells only from that patron.


How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boards, Twitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to dndinsider@wizards.com. So, if you'd like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!

Rodney Thompson
Rodney Thompson began freelancing in the RPG industry in 2001 before graduating from the University of Tennessee. In 2007 he joined the Wizards of the Coast staff as the lead designer and developer for the new Star Wars RPG product line. Rodney is the co-designer of Lords of Waterdeep and is currently a designer for Dungeons & Dragons.
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It's a shame that they went for generic categories for Patron. I actually really liked the flavor that had come with the Verenestra fey pack that had come out with the playtest warlock (for the short time it was out).

The generic group approach is less work to be sure, but also saps a lot of potential characterization.
  
Posted By: Zoberraz (3/11/2014 1:47:39 PM)
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Don't know how I feel about Warlocks getting spell slots back after short rests. Unless it's similar to how Wizards can regain spell slots equal to half their level. Seems like that would be a little too powerful to me. However, it would be up to the DM to ensure that the power the Warlock obtains from a patron isn't without its cost...so there could be that.

It's an interesting choice for sure, but I'm still not entirely sold yet.
  
Posted By: dejectedgeek (3/10/2014 3:15:19 PM)
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Well I hope your right . This game is sometimes the two best days of the week in this dreary winter. But an answer would let me plan out my next campaign for Wednesday. The last 4 years have been great. Either way my home campaign will continue. It seems to me theres a lot of confusion here for a game designed by the players. Just saying.
  
Posted By: DMSalvatore (3/7/2014 3:19:05 PM)
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I thank you for your understanding. But Im asking because its time to pay my yearly subscription and wondering if the builder and such are going to be maintained. I am a professional DM. I am payed for my public play games but the builder is an important part. If not supporting then let me know and I will seek another system to run. I will clear out and leave all you good folk to your game. On utube Mr.Perkins made the wild claim that 4th was the last edition so you can understand if my trust is not there. Just give me my HONEST ANSWER and its all good least you can do for my 72 bucks.
  
Posted By: DMSalvatore (3/7/2014 12:34:25 PM)
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Have you tried emailing customer support to ask them about the builder? I can definitely understand not wanting to pay for a subscription that will cease supporting your edition half way through.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (3/7/2014 12:42:14 PM)
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Merls said the builder will be maintained, as long it's "economical".

Currently, it's bringing in ~$5.2 million a year. (assuming the 733,000 subscribers have 1 year subscriptions).

So i really doupt it will go away any time soon.
  
Posted By: mellored (3/7/2014 2:44:50 PM)
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I think its more just a matter of economics. I doubt the have the resources to really support two editions concurrently. Trying to do everything often ends up doing nothing well. Take the recent adventures that supported 3.5, 4th and Next. They were decent, but definitely hamstrung by the fact that they couldn't include proper encounter lists or really pin down combat in any way.
  
Posted By: WCU_Scout (3/7/2014 11:57:46 AM)
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I hope a similar domain to the "gloom pact" from 4e is a selectable option. Perhaps a "shadow domain" will be an option?

  
Posted By: tsf (3/7/2014 10:23:21 AM)
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You are right NinjaPlease. But this will be you in 6 years if your lucky.
  
Posted By: DMSalvatore (3/7/2014 10:20:58 AM)
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also, I wonder if they'll be able to switch patrons? which would make sense ish to me if they take fiendish patrons; since they're always warring; would think that the patron would find it amusing to try n flip one of their enemies' lackeys.
  
Posted By: awogaman (3/7/2014 10:03:50 AM)
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I am pretty happy with the answers to questions 2 and 3. I also want to agree with the people plugging for more types of patrons. I do wonder, will the pact specific spells be warlock only, like they mentioned that sorcerers and wizards would have spells that wouldn't be on the other classes spell list?
  
Posted By: Mechagamera (3/7/2014 10:00:20 AM)
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I guess you can make "Pact" a class feature but it's going to be tricky. It's pretty clear what "Blade" will do and "Chain" will probably use the extra ("bonus") action mechanic for balance, but what do "Book" pact Warlocks get, a couple of extra spells?
  
Posted By: RadperT (3/7/2014 9:50:17 AM)
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I wonder, though, if the Encounter-power warlock powers will mechanically be at-odds with the per-day spells of other classes, esp regarding when you take extended rests. Will the warlock player get annoyed at the wizard/sorcerer/cleric's need to stop frequently to do full rests? It almost sounds like this warlock build would work better in a 4e style adventure setup.
  
Posted By: JoeyLast (3/7/2014 9:11:50 AM)
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All classes have at-will, shot-rest, and long-rest abilities. Just at different rates. Druids get wild shape and spells, clerics get channel divinity and spells, fighter's get action surge and second wind, even wizards want to take at least 1 short-rest a day for their arcane recovery. And everyone has short rest hit dice, and long rest hit points.

So yes, the wizard and warlock might bicker about how long or how often to rest, but so would the monk and druid, or the fighter and cleric.

It seems perfectly in-character to me.
  
Posted By: mellored (3/7/2014 9:34:40 AM)
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To me it sounds like a problem of the 5-minute workday. People also need to take into account that spell slots which refresh after a short rest aren't the same as discrete powers. The warlock can spam, but not as much as a sorceror or wizard which is the point of the "limited pool of spell slots." And 11th-level dailies aren't even on my radar.
  
Posted By: RadperT (3/7/2014 9:46:56 AM)
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@awogamaan Circle of the Land Druids & all Wizards in the last playtest release, as well as Clerics of the Arcanist in the 06 release, can get one or more spell slots back after a short rest. At low levels that gives them just as much spam as the Warlock, but that is exactly what makes them not AED! As far as I know, Mike Mearls is still going to provide modular alternative casting systems such as point-based and AEDU at the DM's option, as he stated in "Magic Systems in D & D Next" (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20121001).
  
Posted By: RadperT (3/10/2014 9:17:55 PM)
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Sorry about misspelling your handle & not adequately proofing my reply in general. Wizards are/were Mages, of course. When I came back from looking up the old article I cited, I forgot to finish typing the 061413 date of the playtest version to which I referred. Some people might have to search 060713 if they missed the update (I didn't catch it for almost a month). Blaster Cleric was pretty cool!
  
Posted By: RadperT (3/10/2014 10:12:51 PM)
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...wait, what classes' spell slots refresh after short rest? Or did I mis-read something. haha.
  
Posted By: awogaman (3/7/2014 10:02:43 AM)
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1. A slight variation on AED when compared to other casters is not what makes a Warlock. While the mechanical variation in how you access spells may be a draw for some to the class, what it really needs are unique spells and evocative class features that help tell the story of a person who has struck a dangerous bargain with an otherworldly power.

2. This is a good answer, and I hope to see a wide range a patron categories (I think this needs a better name, like the cleric's "domains"). The core idea of a Warlock can be expressed through many character concepts, and although we may only see fiendish and fay in the first release, hopefully others will be not far behind.

3. Again, a good answer. Hopefully the patron granted spells will be truly unique, and only warlocks of that patron can cast them.
  
Posted By: GilbertMDH (3/7/2014 8:54:21 AM)
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1. Warlocks will have their own spell list, just like everyone else. It isn't just going to be a clone of the wizard spell list. In fact, we've already seen Thaumaturgy and Command on their list, which are generally cleric rather than wizard spells.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (3/7/2014 12:38:17 PM)
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The answers to Q2 and Q3 are excellent ones!

They completely confirm what I have read in the on-line Dragon articles as well as in my own playing. As I have said before, a warlock's patron does NOT extend its eldritch power to the mortal warlock out of the goodness of the patron's heart(?) but rather the extension of its power furthers the agenda of the patron. The warlock soon finds that he/she is one of many pawns on the patron's chessboard and the warlock's survival depends on being a more useful pawn to its patron than the other pawns. The patrons can be devilish, demonic (but rarely since demons are loath to keep oaths and pacts!), Far Realms (Cthulu, for example), angelic, fey, primal and primordial (also rarely since primordials are also loath to make pacts).
  
Posted By: arnvid2008 (3/7/2014 5:39:30 AM)
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This all sounds pretty good to me. Playing a Warlock will obviously be completely different than playing a Wizard or Sorcerer. I love that. It really reinforces the differences between the three spellcasting classes. The Warlock just keeps sounding cooler and cooler the more I hear about it. I can't wait to see the full class!

Also, what patrons do you think might be available. I'm hoping for devils, fey, Star (it was REALLY cool in 4th), and maybe a couple others. Something like the Primordials would be awesome, and maybe we could bring back 3.5 Binders as a special Warlock subclass/build or something?
  
Posted By: Claymore65 (3/7/2014 2:57:27 AM)
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Remember, though, that the so-called 'Star Patrons' are actually powerful entities in the Far Realm who look down upon Toril (and elsewhere) through the viewing ports known as 'stars'. The Far Realm is the home turf of beholders, illithids and worse things (Cthulu and the sentient Sphere of Annihilization known as Shar).
  
Posted By: arnvid2008 (3/9/2014 7:11:32 AM)
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And one more thing..................

Star Pact warlocks eventually go insane after overlong contemplation of the true nature of their patrons. So, if you plan to become a 'star pact' warlock, practice by developing a loud, demonic laughter.
  
Posted By: arnvid2008 (3/9/2014 7:15:12 AM)
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Now that we have this basic divison of at-will, after a short rest (encounter), and daily 'spells' is it safe to say that the Warlock will primarily be the showcase for AEDU casting? If so, what does that imply about AEDU options for other classes? I really hope that is not the Warlock's primary differentiation as I think AEDU sub-classes/or alternative rules options for all classes would be greatly appreciated by large segments of the community and that would either leave the warlock fairly undifferentiated from the sorcerer or wizard or else, deprive a large cross-section of your audience from their preferred play-style.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (3/7/2014 1:19:42 AM)
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3e Binders had at-will, every 5 rounds, daily (IIRC), and always-on abilities too before the term was coined, so you could paint this as "the warlock tradition", similar to how rogues or thieves had % to climb sheer surfaces, etc, before there was a non-weapon proficiency or skill system for all classes.

As is, we have magical at-wills and non-magical whatever maneuvers are in other classes. Can't say I'm a fan of using the same AEDU mechanics for all classes, but it makes me wonder to what extent the designers are willing to have options change how the classes in general work (for instance, a classless module) in the first Next release. The trick might be in adding something atop what is already, like a "special technique/limit break" module for those who want everyone to have a daily.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (3/7/2014 2:14:47 AM)
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Most classes have at-wills, encounters, and dailies.

Druids: Cantrips, wild shape, spell slots.
Fighters: Extra attacks, actoin surge, second wind.
Clerics: Cantrips, channel divinity, spell slots.
Paladins: Extra attacks, channel divinity, spell slots.

So there's variety.
  
Posted By: mellored (3/7/2014 9:44:48 AM)
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I wonder if we would end up with draconic patrons, or angelic ones. I guess the latter would probably have alignment restrictions, but I think it could be cool having DND's equivalent of Raziel as your patron.
  
Posted By: the_Horc (3/7/2014 12:31:35 AM)
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Most, if not all, of a warlock's patrons will be extra-planar, while an angelic patron will definitely be extra-planar, I sincerely doubt that a dragon would count as such (unless you want Tiamat as your patron!).
  
Posted By: arnvid2008 (3/9/2014 7:06:47 AM)
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