Moving the Warlock pacts to Specialties?

I was wondering if the Warlock Pacts might be better in specialties?

In fact I think it should maybe take over the magic user. The familiar was kind of fluffed into the 4E witch concept.

So it would look like:

Pactbound(Fey):

You gain the minor spell Eyebite and one other minor spell from the Wizard list, you use Charisma or Intelligence for these spells.

Familiar:
You gain a familiar, either a Sprite or an animal familiar that get's the fey subtype. This is a feyspirit who teaches you spells from your patron Archfey. If you use a spellbook your familiar replaces this feature. (and then all the other familiar benefits)

Pactbound(Devil)

You gain the minor spell Hellfire and one other minor spell from the wizard list, you use Constitution or Charisma to attack wtih these spells. 

Familiar:
You gain a familiar, either an imp or an animal familiar that get's the infernal subtype. This is a minor devil who teaches you spells from your patron Archfey. If you use a spellbook your familiar replaces this feature. (and then all the other familiar benefits) 

Basically you can layer these specialities onto Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, for a classic witch/warlock feel or even Feybound Rangers, or Apostate Clerics who hold a secret tie to the Devils of the pit. And you wouldn't have what looks like some floundering to make a distinct Warlock from the Sorcerer and Wizard.
No - but maybe.


I wouldn't move it there.

But I can easily see a logic for a specialty to represent a dabbler in each class.  Just as we currently have the magic user for wizard dabblers and acolytes for priest dabblers - perhaps there ought to be a warlock dabbler specialty.  Not the full benefits of the warlock class, but a few of the benefits. 


But this does not suggest a need to change the Warlock class itself.

Carl
We seem to disagree on the specialties and whether they feel like they are just multiclass dabblers or if they also serve to expand the class. A Magic User Wizard feels different than a Necromancer Wizard, and it isn't just as a dabbler, but as a practitioner of all types of magic rather than a specialist. 

I just don't know if the familiar has a real strong space in the magic user specialty. I can see the familar having a spot in Pact magic in both folklore and the last iteration on the wizard in 4E. 

Frankly I would also like to see a stronger CHA caster and INT caster rather than feeling like they have to make different classes for each  storytype. The Warlock class seems a little forced.

Wizards Sorcerers and Bards can all benefit from the fluff that a patron taught them their magic, and also allows for Knights, Rogues, and Clerics to throw their lot in with the 
I was wondering if the Warlock Pacts might be better in specialties?

In fact I think it should maybe take over the magic user. The familiar was kind of fluffed into the 4E witch concept.

So it would look like:

Pactbound(Fey):

You gain the minor spell Eyebite and one other minor spell from the Wizard list, you use Charisma or Intelligence for these spells.

Familiar:
You gain a familiar, either a Sprite or an animal familiar that get's the fey subtype. This is a feyspirit who teaches you spells from your patron Archfey. If you use a spellbook your familiar replaces this feature. (and then all the other familiar benefits)

Pactbound(Devil)

You gain the minor spell Hellfire and one other minor spell from the wizard list, you use Constitution or Charisma to attack wtih these spells. 

Familiar:
You gain a familiar, either an imp or an animal familiar that get's the infernal subtype. This is a minor devil who teaches you spells from your patron Archfey. If you use a spellbook your familiar replaces this feature. (and then all the other familiar benefits) 

Basically you can layer these specialities onto Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, for a classic witch/warlock feel or even Feybound Rangers, or Apostate Clerics who hold a secret tie to the Devils of the pit. And you wouldn't have what looks like some floundering to make a distinct Warlock from the Sorcerer and Wizard.

I am a massive advocate of moving class variety into specialities. That way you can have minimum rules for maximum variety. So yes, I agree with this. Actually I dont even want multiclassing as its more unnecessary rules.

So many uses for this principle - you have an 'undead turning' speciality and clerics can take it, but alternatively fighters can take it to make a more 'paladin' feel.

Make an 'illusion' speciality and wizards can take it or rogues can take it to make a 'ninja' feel.

Probably need to have 2 specialisations per character though.

A properly chosen set of specialities that are very  'orthogonal' in concept to the base classes (unlike 'guardian' and 'protector' in the playtest for example) and each other, would make the rulebooks more streamlined and still let characters flavour their classes better. 

So because of my belief in this principle, I support you. 
I like the idea that a warrior or rogue etc can make a bargain for power, (specialty) but I also like the idea of guy who gives up more for greater power, (warlock class)
Well what does the Warlock class have to offer you Austinwulf that would communicate that idea more than Wizard Pactbound Specialist? Or Sorcerer Pactbound specialist?
Though it could use some healthy balancing, I'm happy with the direction they are currently taking with the Warlock.  
I am a massive advocate of moving class variety into specialities. That way you can have minimum rules for maximum variety. So yes, I agree with this. Actually I dont even want multiclassing as its more unnecessary rules.

I totally agree with this sentiment. I am staunchly opposed to multi-classing.

D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

We seem to disagree on the specialties and whether they feel like they are just multiclass dabblers or if they also serve to expand the class. A Magic User Wizard feels different than a Necromancer Wizard, and it isn't just as a dabbler, but as a practitioner of all types of magic rather than a specialist. 

I just don't know if the familiar has a real strong space in the magic user specialty. I can see the familar having a spot in Pact magic in both folklore and the last iteration on the wizard in 4E. 

Frankly I would also like to see a stronger CHA caster and INT caster rather than feeling like they have to make different classes for each  storytype. The Warlock class seems a little forced.

Wizards Sorcerers and Bards can all benefit from the fluff that a patron taught them their magic, and also allows for Knights, Rogues, and Clerics to throw their lot in with the 





They are both.


But they also need to be optional to the class.


You should not have to take a specialty to be a member of a class.  It may synergize well with the class.  But the class must have its major class features without the specialty.

So a Warlock (dabbler) Specialty is a great idea for other classes and such a pact should also grant a benefit to the Warlock class.  But the class needs a pact that it is not part of the specialty. 


As for the familiar - it certainly can belong with the Warlock specialty.   In fact - I like it there quite a bit.  I think it serves as a great way to represent what familiars are in the non-gaming literature.   I'd also, in that case, change the familiar to be a bit more 'advisor' and a bit less 'scout'.  The question then becomes whether the magic user retains its familiar as well - or gets something else (in which case, what?)  

Carl
Backgrounds and Specialties are optional.  If the warlock has to spend his Specialty pick on a pact choice, then two things happen:

1) Warlocks become inoperable when Backgrounds and Specialties are not in use.
2) Warlocks lose a level of customization that every other character has at his disposal.

Neither of these are good changes in the slightest.  Pact choice needs to be part of the class itself, just as sorcerous origin, wizard tradition, fighting style, cleric domain, and rogue scheme are part of the classes themselves.
I believe each class is going to have a specialty equivalent, whether you are talking styles for fighters, domains for clerics, or traditions for wizards. Therefore I have not problem for the warlock to maintain pacts, sorcerers with bloodlines, barbarians with rages, monks with techniques, druids with forms, etc.

Specialities should be something all classes can benefit from, or offer a minor features from another class.
I think what wasn't clear was the idea that Warlock's are no longer a class in my mind. What we know as a warlock is a Wizard or Sorcerer with a Pact Specialty, while the 4E hexblade is a fighter with a Pact specialty. I thought the Warlock 5E class just felt like it was being shoe horned in, and I didn't think the flavor needed it's own class. I think in fact it gives a little elasticity to the Pact flavor that they could reward heroes in their own way Fey Pact Paladin has a kind of Arthurian, Sir Lanval feel to it, but a pure warlock just feels like "another way to cast spells"

The playtest seems to really like the lock though, so I rescind my suggestion.