Monday, February 20, 2017

Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard

Hey Game Fans, we’re playing a little catch up on our Unearthed Arcana articles.  Wizards of the Coast has been doing great stuff on releasing new ideas and concepts for expanding the base classes through additional archetype options.  Today we’re going to take a look at the new Warlock and Wizard options, which are apparently bananas.  The UA train is still on full steam ahead, so i imagine we’re going to get a look at the Mystic class that Mike Mearls has been teasing us for weeks about, and maybe some other new options and ideas.  Let’s get down to brass tacks and take a look at the new options for Warlock and Wizards.  

Otherworldly Patrons

Every Warlock owes their power to an otherworldly patron that provides their power.  Today’s UA offers two new choices, The Hexblade and the Raven Queen.  These are sinister forces that provide new powers and options for the Warlock looking for a slightly different playstyle.  The playtest also offers some new interesting choices for Warlock Invocations.  Each one of these Patrons offers its magical prowess from a different source that fundamentally alters the way the Warlock in question operates.  Let’s take a closer look at each one in turn, and see how they work.

The Hexblade

The Hexblade bonds with an otherworldly weapon of dark provenance and sinister intent.  The Hexblade is a martially inclined Warlock that combines martial prowess with the underlying Warlock’s power.  Drawing on the power of the weapon they are bonded to, the Hexblade can curse his or her foes, hunt them with the power of the shadows, and even turn aside blows.  

Expanded Spell List
The following spells are Warlock Spells for the Hexblade.

Hexblade Spells

1st Level: shield, wrathful smite
2nd Level: branding smite, magic weapon
3rd Level: blink, elemental weapon
4th Level: phantasmal killer, staggering smite
5th Level: cone of cold, destructive wave

Hex Warrior
At 1st level, the Hexblade gains proficiency with Medium Armor, Shields, and Martial Weapons.  In addition, when attacking with a melee weapon that doesn’t have the two-handed property, the Hexblade can use his or her Charisma modifier instead of Strength or Dexterity for attack and damage rolls.  

Note: There’s a potentially interesting interaction with one of the new Eldritch Invocations that let’s a Warlock Pact of the Weapon summon a Greatsword.  I’d like to see these two abilities work more harmoniously than they do.  Maybe for the official release.

Hexblade’s Curse

At 1st level the Hexblade can lay a terrible curse on his or her enemy.  As a bonu action, the Hexblade targets a creature it can see within 30 feet.  For the next minute, the target is cursed and suffers the following effects.
  • The Hexblade gains a bonus to damage rolls equal to its proficiency bonus against the cursed target.
  • Any attack roll against the cursed target is a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 rather than 20.  
  • If the cursed target dies, the Hexblade regains a number of hit points equal to its Warlock level + Charisma modifier.

This feature recharges on a short or long rest

Shadow Hound

At 6th level, the Hexblade has access to a spectral hound composed of shadow to perform a variety of tasks.  As a bonus action, he or she can command the hound to merge with the shadow of another creature within 60 feet.  While the hound is merged, the target cannot benefit from half or ¾ cover, and the Hexblade knows both the distance and direction to the target.  The Hound can’t be detected by anyone but the Hexblade and anything with Truesight.  The target has a vague feeling of dread when the hound is merged.
As a bonus action, the Hexblade can call the Hound back.  It also returns automatically if the Hexblade and the target are on different planes of existence, the Hexblade is incapacitated, or the target is affected by dispel magic, remove curse, or similar magic.

Armor of Hexes

At 10th level, the Hexblade can turn aside attacks from those they’ve cursed.  When the target of the Hexblade’s curse hits the Hexblade with an attack roll, roll 1D6.  On a 4 or higher, the attack misses instead.

Master of Hexes
At 14th level, the Hexblade doesn’t need to rest to recover the Hexblade’s Curse ability.  However, targeting a different creature with this ability ends it on the first one.


There are some interesting synergies you can build into with the Hexblade.  This patron really likes the Pact of the Blade, and works well in utilizing the Pact Abilities and supports it with spells and other invocation abilities.  It looks neat, and i am personally a fan of the inclusion of the old piece of D & D history that is Black Razor.

The Raven Queen

The mysterious and sinister Raven Queen is a goddess of death and the natural order.  Warlocks in her service actively work towards preserving the natural cycle of life and death, and are among the most ardent enemies of the undead in the world.  Their powers represent the finality of death, and the conclusion of all things.  

Expanded Spell List
The following spells are Warlock Spells for the Raven Queen.

Hexblade Spells

1st Level: false life, sanctuary
2nd Level: silence, spiritual weapon
3rd Level: feign death, speak with dead
4th Level: ice storm, locate creature
5th Level: commune, cone of cold

Sentinel Raven

At 1st level the Raven queen grants the Warlock the service of a raven spirit.  It has the statistics of a normal raven.  The Raven grants the following benefits, and can be commanded telepathically as long as the Raven is within 100 feet.

  • When the Raven is perched on the Warlock’s shoulder, It grants the Warlock Darkvison and a bonus equal to the Warlock’s charisma modifier on Wisdom (perception) and Passive Perception checks.  It also can’t be targeted by any attack or other harmful effect,
  • The Warlock can see and hear through the Raven so long as it’s within 100 feet.  
  • In Combat, the Warlock rolls initiative for the Raven and controls its actions.  If the Raven is slain, the Warlock has advantage on attack rolls against its slayer for the next 24 hours.
  • The Raven doesn’t require sleep, and as long as it’s within 100 feet, it can awaken the Warlock with a bonus action.
  • The Raven vanishes when it dies, the Warlock dies, or if the two are separated by more than five miles.
  • At the end of a short or long rest the Warlock can call the raven back ,regardless of how the two were separated.  It reappears within 5 feet of the Warlock.

Soul of the Raven

At 6th level, the Warlock can physically merge with the raven.  While merged, the two are considered to be size Tiny, use the raven’s speed, and can only use it’s action to Dash, Disengage, Dodge, Help, Hide, or Search.  During this time, the Warlock has the same benefits of having the Raven perched on his or her shoulder.  As an action, the two return to normal.

Raven’s Shield
At 10th level, the Warlock gains advantage on Death Saving Throws, immunity to the Frightened condition, and resistance to necrotic damage.  

Queen’s Right Hand

At 14th level, the Warlock can cast the spell Finger of Death. This recharges on a long rest.


The Raven Queen is an interesting patron for a Warlock.  With the benefits of the Raven, the Warlock becomes an impeccable scout, and with a combination of Warlock mischief and tiny bird flying, the Warlock is astonishingly aware of its surroundings.  Eventually the Warlock gains access to finger of death which allows it to end fights very quickly.  Neat options, i’m curious about it.  

Eldritch Invocations

The next couple of pages feature a host of new Eldritch Invocations for the Warlock.  There are a lot of interesting choices and options here, and i will be attempting to put together a Warlock build using some of these neat choices.  

Lore Master

The new Wizard option that’s introduced is an arcane magic specialist, fittingly titled the Lore Mastery Arcane Tradition.  This is an Arcane Tradition that’s built to manipulate magical energy and do a lot of tricks that are very cool options for the Wizard.  Some of these are incredibly powerful, and while i think they’re neat, i’m not sure how many of them will make it all the way through playtesting.  Let’s take a closer look at these abilities.

Lore Master

At 2nd level, the Lore Master doubles his or her proficiency bonus on Arcana, History, Nature, or Religion checks that the Lore Master is proficient in.  Further, the Lore Master uses his or her Intelligence Modifier on initiative checks instead of dexterity.  

Spell Secrets

At 2nd level, The Lore Master becomes an expert on tweaking his or her spells on the fly.  This takes two primary shapes.  
First, when the Lore Master uses a spell slot to cast a spell that deals damage of the following types: acid, cold, fire, force lightning, necrotic, radiant, thunder; the Lore Master can substitute the damage normally done with one of the other types.
Second, When the Lore Master casts a spell that requires a saving throw, they can change the type of saving throw required.  This ability recharges on a short or long rest.  
Note:  I don’t like the ability for a wizard to pick up a steady supply of radiant or necrotic damage as they are traditionally powered by divine energy.  The other issue i see is having the ability to turn any spell into a force effect cuts down a lot on the relevancy of creature resistances and immunities

Alchemical Casting

At 6th level the Lore Master can augment their spells by utilizing extra spell slots.  When the Lore Master casts a spell that uses a spell slot, they can augment the spell by using another spell slot.  The augmentations are as follows:
  • A 1st level spell slot increases the spell’s raw force.  If the Lore Master rolls damage with a spell they cast, increase the damage by 2D10 points of force damage to each target.  If the spell can deal damage on multiple rounds, this extra damage only applies on the first round.  
  • A 2nd level spell slot increases the spell’s range.  If the spell has a range of at least 30 feet, the range is increased to 1 mile.
  • A 3rd level spell slot increases the spell’s potency.  Increase the spell saving throw dc by 2.

Note: Interesting ability that may require some extensive playtesting to work the kinks out of.  

Prodigious Memory

At 10h level, the Lore Master can replace one prepared spell for another as a bonus action.  This ability recharges on a short or long rest.  

Master of Magic

At 14th level, the Lore Master gains the ability to duplicate virtually any spell.  As a bonus action, the Lore Master can call to mind a spell that’s on any class’s spell list .  It has to be from a level the Lore Master has spell slots for, can’t be prepared already, and it follows the normal rules for spellcasting.  If the spell isn’t a wizard spell, it counts as a wizard spell for the duration of this ability.  The ability to cast the spell vanishes at the end of the current turn or when the Lore Master casts the spell.  This ability recharges on a long rest.  


The Lore Master is full of interesting tricks that play to a hall mark of the wizard, versatility.  Being able to change damage types, saving throw types, and utilizing alternative options are hallmarks of wizardly mischief in prior editions.  I think a couple of these options are overpowered, (listed in my notes above) but overall i like the options.

Overall Thoughts and Ideas

So Wizards has given us their last round of UA options for Player’s Handbook classes.  These are interesting options that can change the way we look at how Warlock and Wizard interact with the rest of their party.  I like them a lot, and each one of these options i’d be interested in building a character out of these for a game.  

We’re caught up (by about a day) so we’re looking forward to see what Wizards of the Coast drops on us tomorrow (Come on, Mystic).  Happy Gaming, and Game on, Game Fans.  

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