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The D&D 2024 Warlock wants to be more than just an "eldritch blast machine"

by: Randy -
More On: Dungeons & Dragons

Changes are in store for every class and subclass in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 2024 Player's Handbook. Today was warlocks day.

Warlocks will be getting some pact magic back even sooner than on their usual short rest and long rest schedule. Magical Cunning makes this possible at level 2. This now pushes Eldritch Invocations from level 2 down to level 1. These Eldritch Invocations are now appearing at earlier levels than before—for the 99 percent of  D&D campaigns that don't make it past level 12.

They're also adding prerequisites to those Eldritch Invocations so that a 1st level baby warlock doesn't have to sip from a firehose. Having your class's entire tech tree of abilities dumped on you during character creation is too much. Players with years of experience playing warlocks (or some other brand of sorcerer) may be ready to sip from that proverbial firehose at 1st level, but they're the only ones.

Other things that used to be mutually exclusive choices are now thrown onto the altar of Get All the Things. Slotting these other mutually exclusive choices into Eldritch Invocations now means you're on a track to get everything, instead of just some of the things. Designer Jeremy Crawford starts to get lost in the weeds here, but my warlock player will know what he's talking about. But in short, if you chose Pact of the Blade you were never going to get Pact of the Tome—but now you can design a character build that can have both.

While all subclasses are being standardized to arrive at 3rd level, they're keeping choices juicy even for 1st level warlocks.

Warlocks will have more and/or different familiars available to them, including little mind-grubby worms—slaad tadpole, rather—if that is your particular eldritch flavor. Or even a skeleton familiar, since D&D 2024 is leaning into the inherent spookiness and occult trappings of the warlock. ("Warlock" is, after all, an old Scottish word for "male witch.")

There are more flavors of warlock than just I Like Dead Stuff. One of the new familiars is the Celestial Sphinx. It looks like an astral house cat with galaxy-spinning wings. It's wonderful, and I don't even deify cats. That familiar is for you if you're thinking a celestial patron, reading the stars, is your brand of warlock. Even though the Celestial Sphinx is a brand new creature, it will appear in the creature glossary of the 2024 Player's Handbook. You won't have to wait for the 2024 Monster Manual coming out nine months later.

There are sprites (the fairy kind, not the clear, sparkling soda kind), venomous snakes, pseudo-dragons, and imps, too. This variety of familiars, again, is to take on the variety of patrons a warlock can take on. The warlock playing at my table is of The Undying variety, so he's summoning in toxic undead of all shapes and sizes. His patron, an ancient death knight in Solamnic Order of the Rose armor, is none other than Lord Soth himself of Dragonlance fame. Shhh, don't tell him. It's a surprise.

There are a lot of modular building options when crafting your breed of warlock. That variability and variety is what makes warlocks so neat, and more than just an "eldritch blast machine," as one of my other players—a forever sorcerer—describes warlocks.

What I've described is all in the first eight minutes of this 30-minute dive into the new warlock. This class will be waiting for players in the D&D 2024 Player's Handbook which launches November 12. That will be followed by the 2024 Dungeon Master's Guide on November 11. And the currently eight-month wait for the 2024 Monster Manual on February 18, 2025.

If you want to zoom in on the warlock's teleport-happy Arch Fey Patron, that link will take you to them. They even gave that branch of the warlock tree a taunt that forces enemies to attack anybody but you at a disadvantage. That's an ability my Dragonlance kender player is having a fun time with. Even if it's killed him