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D&D 3E
Warlock Help 
9th-Feb-2009 04:14 pm
Lycanthrope
My gaming group is going to be starting a secondary campaign soon. This time, I get to play (which is exceedingly rare). Since I usually DM, I'm good at optimizing characters for a single encounter, but not really for longevity or adventuring (I rarely need to consider how a monster's abilities help it solve puzzles and navigate various dungeons). So, I'm asking for some help. To make matters worse, I fell in love with the warlock class the moment I saw it, but never have gotten a chance to play it, and I understand that it's quite tricky due to its extremely limited options.

So I have decided that I want to play a desert kobold warlock. I found the small size + dexterity bonus to be quite attractive in a class that is deceptively dexterity-based (few invocations require saves and it's probably possible to play a fine warlock without ever forcing one). I saw the kobold abilities in the Races of the Dragon Web Enhancement, and I plan on asking my DM about them.

I don't have hard stats because we're in the planning phases, I just like to form concepts early on. I do have a concept for a dual-dagger rogue and a dwarven grappler if this warlock thing doesn't pan out, though. We have a party of 6 so me being a warlock is unlikely to rob the group of an arcanist or fighter.

Anyways, because my melee abilities will be craptastic at the best of times, I'm seriously considering Eldritch Spear as my first invocation so I can contribute to the battle without being anywhere near it. 60 feet is close enough for a double-move charge, and I can't afford to be that close, so 250 feet is quite attractive. Unfortunately, I only get one invocation at first level, and Baleful Utterance (Shatter at will, effectively) sounds quite nice, considering all single-handed weapons fall under the 10 lbs./level limit, and two-handed ones will at 2nd level. Not to mention padlocks and other such nuisances. I'm a bit torn between those two, though I think Eldritch Spear is more important to my survival. Also, I should probably consider the rogue's spotlight before I go blasting locks.

I will probably take Point-Blank Shot and, if my DM allows flaws, Precise Shot at first level so my attack bonus doesn't suck if an enemy happens to engage a member of my party (which tends to happen).

I was considering taking another flaw, but I can't think of another feat that I can get that would be worth the slot. Obtain Familiar requires a caster level of 3, and all of the Metamagic Spell-Like Ability feats require at least a caster level of 6, with Quicken requiring a caster level of 10. Weapon Focus (Eldritch Blast) looks tempting but I wonder if it would be worth it. New Invocation requires a level of 6. I may just get Ability Focus (Eldritch Blast).

So what do you think? Did I make an awful mistake somewhere? Any tips and tricks for playing a warlock and/or kobold?
Comments 
9th-Feb-2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I've little to say on the subject of warlocks, but while back in this community I posted tats for an ECL0 kobold variant that might be useful for you, depending on how your DM feels.
9th-Feb-2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Hu. Interesting. Does this community have a search function? I remember using it but I just cannot find it...
10th-Feb-2009 03:50 am (UTC)
heh, oddly enough a google search for the race name pulled it right up.

http://community.livejournal.com/dnd3e/316559.html?thread=3430031#t3430031
10th-Feb-2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Ooo. Nice. Bookmarked. I'll show it to my DM sometime. Thanks!
10th-Feb-2009 06:36 am (UTC)
Dude, I started that thread and I didn't remember that ;p It's kind of funny looking back at my old design ideas (since I'm still running a game in that world) and seeing what design ideas I did and did not use...

Off topic, but still kind of neat.
11th-Feb-2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Very cool to hear that it's still running, too!
10th-Feb-2009 12:29 am (UTC)
You're right... the main limitation of the Warlock is the extremely limited spell choice. You get 3 of each level.

When I looked at rolling a Warlock, I looked for spells that have the most possible uses -- ie, the most situations in which it can be used. I don't have the Warlock spell list handy, but for a Sorcerer, spells like Glitterdust, Unseen Servant and Resilient Sphere are good examples of spells that aren't super-powerful, but have lots of potential different uses.

Eldritch Spear doesn't really give you any new capabilities, only the ability to use your attack at a greater range. In my experience as a Sorcerer, while I do sometimes shoot from beyond 60', 75% of my spells are within that range. Baleful Utterance has all kinds of potential usage situations -- most of which you have no other way to address (disarming people, getting through barriers, destroying potions, etc). It grants you an actual new and flexible capability.

There should also be a few spell options that can help protect you against enemies within 60'... those might be better choices, since you can't always make sure your enemies are more than 100' away (or that their move speed is less than 100', see Dragons). If an enemy does come close to you, your Eldritch Spear is useless and a wasted slot.
10th-Feb-2009 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for the advice.

No least grade invocations offer protection from anything other than ranged weapons (20% miss chance granted by entropic warding). Spiderwalk lets me climb walls, which can keep me out of melee range (If the ceiling is high enough) but at the same time leaves me completely and utterly exposed to ranged.

I might pick Baleful Utterance, and then, if I find that my DM's style tends to leave more room for eldritch sniping, I may snag the Spear at 2nd level.
10th-Feb-2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Spiderwalk is a better choice, in my opinion. First, if you find yourself in close-range combat (and you will), it is far more helpful than Eldritch Spear. Plus, it has a range of other uses, including being able to get to places other people can't and immunity to webs (it does that too, right?) -- while Eldritch Spear only has one possible use, and only in some situations.

Also, don't forget that Eldritch Spear hardly gets you out of range from arrows. A longbow can hit 200' with only a -2 penalty to hit, and a shortbow can hit 200' with a -4 penalty (I think). And there's always Fireball...

I should point out, though, that while I've thought a lot about making a Warlock, I've never actually played one, so what do I know?
10th-Feb-2009 01:28 am (UTC)
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=751117. Read it and love it, lots of great information that I would just repeat.

Do your games normally take place in battles that stretch much more than 60'? Mine usually don't--we might have 100' rooms, but that's enough to shoot and move across. I know if I tried playing a character who was 200' away at all times it would piss off my group and my DM, cause it means the battle has to be much more spread out and stuff. But that's my group. So really Eldritch Spear really depends on the kind of game you're playing in. If you have a whole pile of melee characters, I wouldn't worry to much about needing the extra range.

Especially since the few sessions I played a Blast-focused Warlock (I love the class), I actually got kind of bored just shooting at the bad guys every round :p So I've stopped looking at Blast optimization and considered the more interesting abilities.

And really, if a rogue can get within 30' to sneak attack, you should be fine within 60' (since you'll have similar AC and HP). I wouldn't worry about it too much; unless it turns out to be a problem, in which case grab the Spear at 2nd level.

10th-Feb-2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
As soon as you can, pick up the ability to fly anytime you want. It's pretty low level on the list if I remember right.

Also, The Dark One's Own Luck is an amazingly nice power. You can switch it to a different save all you want depending on what you are encountering.
11th-Feb-2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, I can get Fell Flight at 6th level. I'll look into Dark One's Own Luck.
11th-Feb-2009 04:07 am (UTC) - Warlocks
There's a warlock in the game I'm currently in. Some tips; YMMV.

--Eldritch Spear is a godsend if you are sensible and don't want to be in melee combat.
--Vitriolic Blast or whatever the one is that makes your eldritch stuff do acid damage and ignore spell resistance is good, because of the Ignore Spell Resistance Part.
--Flight is good.
--Dimension Door is good.
--If you're a knowledge/social character, take the "+6 to 3 skills" invocations. They're great. (I think our warlock has a Diplomacy of something like +35, at 17th level. It's not as high as a maxed-out bard could do, but it's still impressive.)

If you're worried about versatility, take a level or three in wizard and do the Eldritch Theurge prestige class from Complete Mage. It's basically Mystic Theurge, except wizard/warlock instead of wizard/cleric. Similarly, there's Eldritch Disciple for divine multiclassers. Enlightened Spirit is an excellent prestige class for good-aligned warlocks.

Right! Good luck! :-)

p.s. I think Weapon Focus is (ranged touch), not (eldritch blast), but I could be wrong.
11th-Feb-2009 04:23 am (UTC) - Re: Warlocks
It is Weapon Focus (Ranged Touch) or (Ray) - I forget which (and I don't have my copy of the Complete Arcane Handy).

The +6 to skills can be quite a bit of fun - in the right mix. If you have a party bard or someone else with high socials, then you don't need Beguiling Influence. Otherwise... it's nice. It lasts for 24 hours, so you don't need to worry about it running out in the middle of a delicate conversation.

I've actually found Hideous Blow to be of more use than the Spear - though both have had their moments. No, I don't do melee (I think I still have a simple +1 weapon, while virtually everyong else has upgraded), but the important thing is that I can channel the EB through the blade into my enemies (when 5' stepping away isn't an option).

I would definately recommend getting a mix of Blast Shapes and Modifications - this way you can up the level of your EB without giving up versatility. That's an important thing to watch, especially when you start dealing with mages that like to use varying Globes of Invulnerability.

The only issue I had with Baleful Utterance is that held items get a saving throw - using the save bonus of the person holding the item. If you have a good enough Cha, this won't matter at the early levels, but it will at later levels.
11th-Feb-2009 04:35 am (UTC) - Re: Warlocks
Yeah, Baleful Utterance will suck at higher levels anyways because it doesn't affect magic items. I'd probably switch it out at that point for something else.

Hideous Blow is actually quite useless for me, because 1) it still counts as an invocation and therefore must be cast and provokes attacks of opportunity, so I might as well just blast them anyway, and 2) I'm a kobold with craptastic strength, so it would be less a Hideous Blow and more an Eldritch Shank.
11th-Feb-2009 04:36 am (UTC) - Re: Warlocks
I've never heard of Eldritch Theurge. I'll have to look into it.
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