Having played the 5e Warlock a couple of times, and heard a lot of talk about how underpowered it is, I’m giving a go at some potential fixes.

A few people have already had a go at this problem:

And of course, there are always the character optimisation guides:

The approach I’d like to take on this is to offer a straightforward update that makes Warlock’s competitive with the least amount of effort. The fix consists of just a few minor modifications:

  • Add Patron spells to Spells Known instead of the regular spell list.

  • Just add all the 1/day spell invocations to the regular spell list.

  • Increase the number of spell slots by 1.

  • Increase the number of invocations by 2.

  • Convert pact boons into invocations.

Now, there are a good number of other grievances I have with the class, but none of them can be solved with quick fixes like the one above. One of the good things that 4th edition did was look at exactly what roles each class has in a party, and set the Warlock as a high-DPR “Striker” type. The 5th edition version of the Warlock definitely has all the bits needed to make it a high-damage striker, but that creates a necessary feature tax that means you can’t be much else.

Really, I’d like to know exactly what the Warlock is for, so the various mechanics can be altered to suit. Originally the warlock was all about the eldritch blast, and having various ways of altering it, as well as some nifty tricks. The thing that made warlocks particularly interesting is that unlike pretty much every other magic class, they could go all-day.

There have been some attempts at adding blast-shape invocations to the Warlock to capture the feel of the original again, but with each class I look at and end up unhappy with, I think, how would the Book of Nine Swords build it? The mechanics there were awesome, because they created an opportunity for martial classes to have various kinds of interesting gameplay. It wasn’t perfect, but it leads us down a train of thought.

If one were to apply a similar thought process to the Warlock, you’d want to add a number of blast shapes and bizarre tactical abilities that can be selected as you level. I’d also probably replace the spellcasting with Truenamer Utterances from Tome of Magic. This would retain the can-go-all-day vibe of the Warlock without being too much of a pain. You might even be able to do away with Invocations by converting them into Utterances, and making the pact boon stuff just part of the class features.

I planned for this post to be a lot more comprehensive and well-thought-out, but I reason that its probably better to get my bullshit stream-of-consciousness ranting published rather than languishing forever in my drafts folder. I’ll probably do a follow-up at some point to add in some concrete implementation suggestions.