With a pseudodragon curled on his shoulder, a young elf in golden robes smiles warmly, weaving a magical charm into his honeyed words and bending the palace sentinel to his will.
As flames spring to life in her hands, a wizened human whispers the secret name of her demonic patron, infusing her spell with fiendish magic.
Shifting his gaze between a battered tome and the odd alignment of the stars overhead, a wild-eyed tiefling chants the mystic ritual that will open a doorway to a distant world.
Warlocks are seekers of the knowledge that lies hidden in the fabric of the multiverse. Through pacts made with mysterious beings of supernatural power, warlocks unlock magical effects both subtle and spectacular. Drawing on the ancient knowledge of beings such as fey nobles, demons, devils, hags, and alien entities of the Far Realm, warlocks piece together arcane secrets to bolster their own power.
A warlock is defined by a pact with an otherworldly being. Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods. A warlock might lead a cult dedicated to a demon prince, an archdevil, or an utterly alien entity—beings not typically served by clerics. More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron’s behalf.
The magic bestowed on a warlock ranges from minor but lasting alterations to the warlock’s being (such as the ability to see in darkness or to read any language) to access to powerful spells. Unlike bookish wizards, warlocks supplement their magic with some facility at hand-to-hand combat. They are comfortable in light armor and know how to use simple weapons.
Warlocks are driven by an insatiable need for knowledge and power, which compels them into their pacts and shapes their lives. This thirst drives warlocks into their pacts and shapes their later careers as well.
Stories of warlocks binding themselves to fiends are widely known. But many warlocks serve patrons that are not fiendish. Sometimes a traveler in the wilds comes to a strangely beautiful tower, meets its fey lord or lady, and stumbles into a pact without being fully aware of it. And sometimes, while poring over tomes of forbidden lore, a brilliant but crazed student’s mind is opened to realities beyond the material world and to the alien beings that dwell in the outer void.
Once a pact is made, a warlock’s thirst for knowledge and power can’t be slaked with mere study and research. No one makes a pact with such a mighty patron if he or she doesn’t intend to use the power thus gained. Rather, the vast majority of warlocks spend their days in active pursuit of their goals, which typically means some kind of adventuring. Furthermore, the demands of their patrons drive warlocks toward adventure.
As you make your warlock character, spend some time thinking about your patron and the obligations that your pact imposes upon you. What led you to make the pact, and how did you make contact with your patron? Were you seduced into summoning a devil, or did you seek out the ritual that would allow you to make contact with an alien elder god? Did you search for your patron, or did your patron find and choose you? Do you chafe under the obligations of your pact or serve joyfully in anticipation of the rewards promised to you?
Work with your DM to determine how big a part your pact will play in your character’s adventuring career. Your patron’s demands might drive you into adventures, or they might consist entirely of small favors you can do between adventures.
What kind of relationship do you have with your patron? Is it friendly, antagonistic, uneasy, or romantic? How important does your patron consider you to be? What part do you play in your patron’s plans? Do you know other servants of your patron?
How does your patron communicate with you? If you have a familiar, it might occasionally speak with your patron’s voice. Some warlocks find messages from their patrons etched on trees, mingled among tea leaves, or adrift in the clouds—messages that only the warlock can see. Other warlocks converse with their patrons in dreams or waking visions, or deal only with intermediaries.
You can make a warlock quickly by following these suggestions. First, Charisma should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the charlatan background. Third, choose the eldritch blast and chill touch cantrips, along with the 1st-level spells charm person and witch bolt.
Warlocks are finders and keepers of secrets. They push at the edge of our understanding of the world, always seeking to expand their expertise. Where sages or wizards might heed a clear sign of danger and end their research, a warlock plunges ahead, heedless of the cost. Thus, it takes a peculiar mixture of intelligence, curiosity, and recklessness to produce a warlock. Many folk would describe that combination as evidence of madness. Warlocks see it as a demonstration of bravery.
Warlocks are defined by two elements that work in concert to forge their path into this class. The first element is the event or circumstances that led to a warlock’s entering into a pact with a planar entity. The second one is the nature of the entity a warlock is bound to. Unlike clerics, who typically embrace a deity and that god’s ethos, a warlock might have no love for a patron, or vice versa.
Read more about the Warlock Class here: Warlock – dndtools (dndink.com)