Thursday, March 31, 2016

Otherworldly Patron: The Ancient Dragon [Second Draft]

First warlock pact in a long, long, while, and reddit loved it! Which is always appreciated, but even more appreciated is the level of quality criticism the pact received.

Turns out, the balance of the rough draft was more or less spot-on, so much of the criticism focused on thematic elements and general comfort-in-playability factors (like not rolling 11d4 twice per combat).

This in mind, let's see the changelog:


  • Switched up the spell list in a couple of ways:
    • Stinking cloud and cloudkill were removed for not being thematic for all dragons. Fire shield can stay for now, because while not perfect the ability to resist fire or cold applies to almost any dragon.
    • Elemental weapon added to third level. The ability to enchant an existing weapon seems very dragon-y.
    • Hallow added to fifth level. The effects hallow provides are very similar to the ambient effects dragons create just by making their lair in a specific region. It's also a spell that breaks the one-hour maximum duration warlock spell slot rule, but the Fiend pact already has it, so I figure that's alright.
  • Ancient's Breath now requires a minimum spell level of 3rd (which you'll have at warlock level 6, anyway), and deals 4d8+Cha, scaling by +1d8 every spell level, approximately the same damage as before. I considered capping this at 6d8 to keep its maximum to what's available in warlock spell slots, but I figure that if someone wants to multiclass badly enough to use a 7th level slot and get an extra 2d8 on it, why not let 'em?
  • Ancient's Breath now requires a Con saving throw instead of Dex if it would deal Poison or Cold damage.
  • Hoard Sense now includes the ability to cast Leomund's secret chest the ability to summon a chest whenever, wherever. Be advised that the chest returns to your patron, though, so you maybe shouldn't put anything they want too terribly badly in there.
  • Draconic Apotheosis has a minor adjustment, upping the damage of Ancient's Breath from a d8 to a d12, rather than the d4 to d6 upgrade before. Though a d8 to a d12 seems like a much larger upgrade, the final damage numbers remain roughly the same. 
  • Leomund's secret chest is a 4th level spell, which are typically first accessed by full casters at 7th level. I'm giving it to this warlock pact at 1st level, and removing many of the restrictions on the spell. But, I mean, it's Leomund's secret chest, very much utility-only. Not as if I'm allowing blight as a spam-able, first-level spell. Yeah it was still a bad idea, and I didn't like the feel. Now you can summon and dismiss a chest with half the storage capacity of Leomund's, which is still pretty generous. 
  • The spell list is still somewhat contentious, but spell choice being what it is there's not a whole lot I can do about that. 
  • It's jarring to update something without worrying about re-balancing it in one direction or the other. I just hope Leomund's the adorable, half-capacity chest didn't tip the scales too much. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love this, grabbed for my game, the deleted comment was because i accidentally left feedback for the shadow-weaver here, i am re pasting the post in the appropriate comments section XD

  3. so the apotheosis only lasts a minute? do the scales/horns/fangs last longer than that? I feel like you could definitely improve upon the wording of that particular feature.

  4. My biggest critique is Shield as a level 1 should go. Warlocks invocations already stack up nicely to provide defense as well as spells like armor of agathas. Generally speaking warlocks want scaling spells in their first level slot or at least spells that have a duration- in play, my player used it once and regretted it, subbing it out at 2 for a different spell and the False Life @ will spell for defense.

    Chromatic orb might fit well.

    1. Been meaning to tweak this one. I might just do that.

      My one-time concern with Chromatic Orb was that it had a gold cost, which is something warlock spells tend to avoid. However, I'm seeing now that the gold cost is for non-consumed reagents, which wasn't my assumption the first time I saw the spell. Spending 50g to be able to cast a spell forever is a lot more reasonable than spending 50g every time you need to cast it.

      So yeah, Shield should be out and Chromatic Orb should be in. In related news, I'm thinking of making the breath weapon an invocation and applying the level 6 to something else, to keep the 6th-level defensive focus most warlocks have.