I’m a big fan of the warlock, but lately I’ve been growing more and more frustrated with how scattered optimization information is for it across the CO Board. A lot of good things have been posted, and many have either vanished or are buried in the very large Warlock Handbook thread. I’ve been especially annoyed that there isn’t a single list with all published invocations and their commentaries.
Now, I’m not the best optimizer, but I can collate with the best of them. And I happen to be working on a large research paper, from which I need to take breaks. So I’ve decided to put together a single document, built around Tealgorthian’s original Warlock Handbook, that distills our commentaries on everything that’s been published since Complete Arcane.
Much of what follows is not my work. Every comment and build is taken verbatim (though occasionally I’ve done a little copy editing) and is attributed to the original poster. The sole exception is the Invocation Critiques section, where posters are attributed at the top and the invocations are grouped by strength and type (essence, shape, or normal).
Finally, I want to include a link here to JanusJones’s wonderful Glaivelock Mini-Guide. Much too complete for me to compete with, and much too large for me to out-right steal, it’s a wonderful guide for those wanting to focus on eldritch glaive. Be aware, however, that he uses warlock as a dip class, whereas this thread explores it as the primary class.
Table of Contents: Post 1: Thinblade’s Compilation Introduction, Table of Contents, Warlock Handbook Introduction by Tealgorthian, The Two Most Important Questions by Thinblade Post 2: Races [indent]Halfling Human Jaebrin Karsite Petal Pixie Primordial Giant Template Whisper Gnome Xeph [/indent] Post 3: Prestige Classes Post 4: Invocation Guide Post 5: Miscellany [indent]Warlock Level 1 Optimizing Warlock Damage with Sneak Attack Dipping Incarnate for Hellfire Warlock Using Bloodlines/Legacy Champion/Uncanny Trickster to Increase Eldritch Blast Damage Making Nightcrawler (Shadowpounce builds) Tome of Battle’s Influence on Warlocks Apprentice Feats and their Value Basic Warlock Items Call of the Beast Invocation Alternate Class Features Simple Warlock Trick - Wall of Gloom[/indent] Post 6: Warlock Feats Post 7: Epic Warlock Feats and Invocations Post 8: Basic Builds [indent] Basic Human Warlock 20 (EB Focused) Versatile Warlock Exalted Warlock Warlock/Telflammar Shadowlord Various Builds from Mommy was an Orc Warlock Theme Builds True Necromancer Melee/battlefield control warlock Warlock Warmind Warlock Ur-priest Crafterlock Core + Completes Only The Standard Eldritch Disciple Eldritch Disciple/Enlightened Soul Scar Enforcer builds [/indent] Post 9: Advanced Builds [indent] The Doom Machine (Warforged Doomlord) Warlock (Cyran) Avenger Eldritch TheUr-Lock (Ur-Priest/Eldritch Disciple) Tricklock (Arcane Trickster) Oz the Singing Warlock (Warlock/Bard/Eldritch Theurge) The No Save One Hit Wonder Warlock (Eldritch Theurge) Warlock/Abjurant Champion Warlock Daggerspell Mage Eldritch Disciple Chargelock Warlock/Wizard/Cleric Vituoso The Hellfire Champion Paragnostic Eldritch Disciple Warlock/Wizard gestalt build Super Holy Warrior (Eldritch Disciple/Knight of the Raven) Hellbred Eldritch Disciple [/indent] Last Updated: 1/31/09
Warlock Handbook Introduction by Tealgorthian
There's been a rash in Warlock threads here recently. So, for a class picking up in popularity I thought I’d start this thread. Warlock is my favorite class, ever.
Currently, search is down. I know a lot of good Warlock builds have been posted, so if you posted one and you want it here, please show it.
Warlock Pros. • A good skill list. It's a Cha based class with good Cha based skills, and it gets the eternally powerful Use Magic Device. Three good solid Knowledge skills (Arcana, Planes, and Religion - almost the Big Four, if only it had Nature). • All their Invocations can be used in Light armor, with no ASF. • Unlimited uses of their Invocations, and Eldritch Blast • Detect Magic at Will, with Caster Level equal to class level. • The ability to take 10 on all UMD checks, even when distracted or threatened. At 4th level (!) • Damage reduction/Cold Iron. • Energy Resistance against two elements • Artificer like ability to craft magic items with UMD.
Warlock Cons • Alignment Restrictions (Chaotic or Evil only) • Low skill points per level • d6 hit die • Very feat dependent for most Warlock Builds. • Only 1 good save. • Only gain a total of 12 Invocations
Dipping into the Warlock: The basic reason to dip into the Warlock is for a 24 hour self-buff. 1 Level will get you 1 Invocation, and a 1d6 Eldritch Blast (Not all that useful). Good Invocations for this are: Beguiling Influence, Leaps and Bounds, Entropic Warding, See and Unseen, and Spiderwalk, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. A social Rogue, for example, could pick up a +6 unnamed bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate. A warrior could dip in for 1 level to get See the Unseen, which would grant Darkvision and See Invisibility.
Dipping for a second level gets you Detect Magic at will, and a second Invocation.
The max I would go for a dip into Warlock is 4, which nets you 3 Least Invocations, Detect Magic at will, Eldritch Blast 2d6 (Meh) Damage Reduction 1/Cold Iron, and Imbue Item, which gives you the awesome ability to take 10 on UMB checks, something shared only by the Artificer.
The Two Most Important Questions When Building Warlocks: by Thinblade
Lately, I’ve found myself typing more or less the same thing over and over again for beginners wanting to know how to build a warlock. Since it’s a popular topic, I decided to write down my thoughts in a more coherent manner, the better to help those in need.
At the heart of any warlock build are two questions: melee or ranged, and Charisma or no Charisma.
Melee vs. Ranged
Most warlocks want to be in melee combat about as much as your average wizard does: namely, they don’t want it the least little bit. While your slightly better hitpoints (d6), and the ability to wear light armor help, no one would ever confuse a warlock with a fighter. Coupled with a lack of martial weapon proficiency and good combat-boosting buffs (magic weapon, divine power, et. al), one would think no warlock in their right mind would want to get into melee.
Prior to the release of Dragon Magic, you would be correct. Hideous blow, previously the only melee invocation, is indeed hideous. It requires a normal melee attack to hit, can be disrupted like any other invocation, and only gives one attack. No one in their right might took it. However, with Complete Mage came Eldritch Glaive, and a whole new world opened.
Eldritch Glaive is everything Hideous Blow should have been. It’s a touch attack, gives reach, and allows you to make iterative attacks. It has downsides as well (namely you can’t move while you do it and you can’t get extra attacks from things like haste), but it finally made warlocks viable in melee combat.
One of the first two choices you have to make is whether you want to aim at becoming what JanusJones calls a “glaivelock,” or whether you want to focus on ranged combat only. Note that while a glaivelock does not have to glaive all the time, many of your feats, invocations, and likely also levels in other classes will focus on one area, and not the other. Your stats will likely follow suit as you try to get prereqs for combat feats and make sure you can be effective in close combat. This is why you’ll want to make this choice at character creation, even though a pure (or mostly pure) warlock probably won’t be getting eldritch glaive until you swap another invocation for it a level 6.
Either kind of character is completely viable, so make your choice based on what you want to play, and what other characters are in your group. If you’re interested in glaivelocks, I cannot recommend enough JanusJones’s guide. You’ll find a link at the top of the page.
Charisma vs. No Charisma
A lot of people new to the warlock are under the impression that, just because the class description says that a high charisma is important to warlocks, that they need a high charisma. The truth is more complex: there are actually two kinds of warlock invocations: those that need charisma, and those that don’t. It is entirely possible to make a viable warlock and dump charisma, you just need to decide what you want your character to focus on.
Have a high charisma if you: • want to use a lot of eldritch essences (Noxious Blast, Repelling Blast, Utterdark Blast) • want to use invocations that require a save (Tenacious Plague, Word of Changing, Nightmares Made Real) • want to get a saving throw bonus through Dark One’s Own Luck • want to be a party face using beguiling influence, and need all the help you can get
Dump charisma if you: • are focusing on 24 hour buffs (Fell Flight, all the +6 to skills invocations, Dark Foresight, Walk Unseen, Entropic Warding) • are using invocations that do not require a save (Chilling Tentacles, Path of Shadows, Flee the Scene, Hellspawned Grace)
As you can see, a lot of the best invocations (Fell Flight, Flee the Scene, Chilling Tentacles, Walk Unseen) do not require charisma to be effective. Equally, a lot of the invocations that require saves are less than useful (Stony Grasp, Bewitching Blast, and Frightful Blast are all low-lights) The best save-requiring invocation is, far and away, Utterdark Blast. If you’re making it that far, UB by itself makes having a high charisma worth it. At lower levels, the choice is less clear-cut. Also, if you’re playing a good warlock, you might have some qualms throwing around negative energy at will.
I hope this discussion has cleared up what in my mind are the two primary questions a player must answer when designing a warlock. Everything else flows from the answer to melee vs ranged and charisma vs no charisma. Once you’ve decided, your statistics, your feats, your invocations, and everything else begins to become clear.
Halfling by Oogar I am starting to see Halfling as a nice choice for Warlock race. Small size and a +2 dex basically adds a net of +2 to hit with the Eldritch Blasts and +2 AC. The Save bonus is nice and if you are in Forgotten Realms you can snag the extra feat with the one subrace (If you need the feat).
While you end up low in skill points, I expect that if you spend much time on this board, you will likely be spending your skill points in very specific ways anyhow. The loss of strength and weapon size do not really hinder too greatly, and use of Fell Flight or Flee the Scene can assist in the loss of movement speed.
For flavor it is rather easy for me to see a halfling that had an ancestor that tried to pull a fast one on an arch devil, or some big mucky muck from the abyss, and ended up passing along this little legacy to our little hero (anti-hero).
Human by Thinblade Humans are always a viable option. Many warlock builds are feat starved, and, while they have a good list of skills, they lack skill points. Human helps with both of these. Human is also the only race (besides doppelganger) that can get Able Learner and become a Chameleon.
Hellbred (Fiendish Codex II) by DastardlyDan: +2 racial bonus to Intimidate Evil Exception: Good-aligned Hellbred can use Evil-aligned items without penalty. Devil's Favor: Bonus feat (+2 bonus on any roll 1/day) Automatic Language: Infernal (Qualifier for Hellfire Warlock PrC)
Infernal Aspect: Choose Body or Spirit Body: [indent]1st Clvl: +4 save vs. poison, +2 Con, -2 Int 4th Clvl: Bonus Devil-Touched Feat 14th Clvl: Bonus Devil-Touched Feat[/indent] Spirit: [indent]1st Clvl: 30' Darkvision, +2 Sense Motive, +2 Cha, -2 Con 6th Clvl: 60' Darkvision 9th Clvl: 120' Darkvision 12th Clvl: Can see in any darkness, including magical as strong as Deeper Darkness spell 15th Clvl: Telepathy to 100'[/indent]
Hengeyokai – Crane, Sparrow (Oriental Adventures) by Thinblade: The chaotic good animal shapechangers from Oriental Adventures make good fey-themed warlocks. In their hybrid form they gain a +2 Dex as well as a fly speed, freeing up one of the valuable lesser invocation spots for something other than Fell Flight. You can also use your invocations while in your animal form. (How do you know which of those flocking sparrows is the warlock? It’s the one throwing eldritch blasts at you.)
Note that the 3.5 update in Dragon 318 removed their +1 LA by making them Humanoid (shapechangers). This makes them much more attractive.
Jaebrin (Monster Manual 5) by Richmud and HelloRaptor [by Richmud] I've been looking at the Jaebrins from MM5 which have several interesting features that may prove useful for a warlock
The get a charisma bonus, a bonus to bluff and diplomacy both handy for a warlock, a luck bonus to AC, immunity to enchantments and the ability to fake being enchanted which are just all around handy. Most interestingly they have a bite attack that can lower will saves. I can see it being quite good for a warlock as they can be capable enough in combat to bite a foe before unleashing something that requires a will save (charm always being a good option)
[indent][by HelloRaptor] Stats: -2 Str, +2 Cha (add the Magic Blooded template for a nice -2 Str, -2 Wis, +2 Cha) Misc Bonuses: +1 Luck to AC, Enchantment spells cast at +1 DC, +2 on Appraise, Bluff, Perform and Diplomacy checks. Natural Attack: Bite. Also acts as a special attack 'Will Sapper', any creature struck by it must make a DC (10+ConModifier+1/2 Class Levels) Will Save or suffer a -4 to Will saves for the next 10 rounds. Absorb Enchantment: Not only are Jaebrin immune to Enchantment spells and effects, they automatically know when they're Enchanted and what the intended effect is, and can feign being under its effect. Others have to beat them with Sense Motive vs a Bluff check to know they're faking.
All they have going against them is a Level Adjustment of +1. If you play in a game with LA buyoff (I do), buying this off is trivial.[/indent]
Karsite (Tome of Magic) by kadeity Um, Karsite, the +2LA race from Tome of Magic, makes an amazing warlock.
They get +2con & +2cha as well as spell resistance 10+class levels, and heal 2hp for every spell level of a spell that fails against their SR. Sure they cant be spellcasters, but they can use Spell like abilities normally. And a side note, they can be psions, not that it matters. they have another cool ability that makes a magic item inactive for a round. All this in addition to the human feat and skill points. I think the 2LA is worth it.
Anyway I'm saying this because i recall someone saying they couldn't find a good warlock race.
Petal (Monster Manual 3) by NatchFeral Petal [Tiny Fey] +2 LA, gives -8 Str +10 Dex +4 Con +4 Int +8 Cha
With an elite array for ability scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) this could give you: Str 4 Dex 24 Con 17 Int 14 Wis 8 Cha 23. Seems ideal for a warlock.
Pixie (Monster Manual 1) by mjung I personally like the pixie warlock. Sure, you pay 4 LA, but you more than make up with it with versatility and utter ridiculousness.
Pixie gives you: - +8 dex and +6 cha (amongst other stat adjustments) - Small size. Harder to hit and easier to hit others - 60 foot (good) fly speed - Dodge as a bonus feat - +1 natural armor - DR 10/cold iron, Spell resistance 15+levels and persistent (suppressible) greater invisibility. - Some nice SLAs.
This race was made for warlocks. You can fly around, invisible and hurl little eldritch blasts at your enemies. Best thing is, you are virtually guaranteed damage and you are virtually untouchable.
- Because Eldritch Blast is a ranged touch attack, your target gets no armor or natural armor bonuses to their AC. - Unless your target can see invis, they further get no dex or dodge bonus to AC and you get a +2 on your attacks against sighted targets.
So let's see...they don't get dodge, dex, armor or natural armor bonuses...they still get um...size...and um...deflection. With +8 to your dex, some BAB, +2 for being invis and +1 for being small, you can virtually guarantee a hit EVERY TIME.
So what about when they strike back? Oh well, first they have to find you (invisible). Then they have to reach you somehow (flying). Then they have to hit you (small size and high dex). Then they have to overcome either your spell resistance or your damage reduction. Not very likely they'll be hitting you much.
You can see where all this is going. Sure, a fighter could dish out more damage in one round. But your steady once per round 7d6 and nigh untouchability will certainly make you a force to be reckoned with. With the right feat selection and items, I truly believe this character would be just about invincible unless the DM specifically is trying to take you down. You can outlast just about anything in the game.
Primordial Giant Template (Secrets of Xen’drik) by tacoronte In the most recent Eberron Setting book, Secrets of Xen’drik, there is a new template for Giants "Primordial Giant" that makes Warlock a favored class for the character, enhances mental stats (with penalty on physical), adds a Spell-like ability and gives a +1 bonus on caster level for Spell-like Abilities.
Best of all, it doesn't increase Level Adjustment; making something like an Ogre/Troll/Half-Giant more playable as a Warlock.
For instance a Primordial Giant Ogre (LA +2) would have stat adjustments of +6 STR, -2 DEX, +2 CON, no mental penalties, and if you throw in Practiced Spellcaster, you are just 1 caster level behind a typical Warlock. That is a fair trade-off for a melee/hideous blow oriented Warlock.
Whisper Gnome (Races of Stone) by Eytan Whisper Gnomes make great Warlock/Arcane Tricksters. They have a more serious demeanor - perfect for warlocks, huge bonuses on stealth total +4 Move Silently + 8 hide, and they have mage hand as a spell like ability. Also, the +2 to dex and con is very nice. The -2 to charisma is a little tough, but this warlock build really doesn't rely too much on eldritch essence invocations, though they don't hurt. The invocations they really want are:
Entropic Warding - good protection from ranged attacks which is really what they need because they don't want to be in melee. It also adds to their stealthiness by making it impossible to track them, even using scent. Invisibility (or Improved Invisibility) Beguiling Influence - +6 diplomacy, bluff, intimidate Spider Climb Flee the Scene - Short range dimension door + brief major image Flight Dark Discorporation Shadow Walk
I like these because they really compliment rogue (adding a lot of maneuverability, which in term increases defense). Also, they fit the shadowy sneakiness of rogues. You also have a crazy magical sneak attack.
Xeph (Expanded Psionics Handbook) by Thinblade Xephs deserve a special mention since they are innately psionic. This opens the door to taking Psionic Shot, Greater Psionic Shot, and Psionic Meditation without having to spend a feat on Wild Talent or lose caster levels dipping into Psion or Psychic Warrior. Their +2 Dex is also nice for hitting with your eldritch blast.
Arcane Trickster (DMG) by Thinblade: A way to advance invocations and sneak attack. Requires the feat spell hand (Complete Arcane) and a lesser invocation, plus 2d6 sneak attack. This is one of the few classes with the requirement “one spell of X level,” which let warlocks enter, as opposed to “spells of X level,” which don’t. A neat trick, if you don’t want to give up three levels to thief, is to instead use the feats Martial Study and Martial Stance to get Assassin’s Stance. Since you can be in a stance indefinately and can’t be knocked out of it, you can use it to qualify for any PrC that requires sneak attack dice. It doesn’t help with the ranks in thief skills, though (7 ranks in Disable Device, Decipher Script, and Escape Artist). Apprentice won’t help here, which means you’ll need to be human or have a high Int, and be at least level 11.
[indent]Note: If you have the Planar Handbook, go join the Society of Sensation. A human Ardent Dilettante gets 7 + Int skill points into any skill. The PrC costs you a caster level, but boy does it do a number on skill reqs.[/indent]
Blood Magus (Complete Arcane) h/t DastardlyDan Another of the rare PrC’s requiring “caster level,” Blood Magus is most likely a 4 level PrC, and a sub-par one at that. It’s 8/10 casting, losing levels at 5 and 10, which is bad enough, but it requires two dud feats for entry. One of them is Toughness, arguably the worst feat ever printed, certainly the worst in Core. and the fact that many of the abilities, like blood component and several abilities after you lose a caster level at 5, don’t work with invocations. If you really want to take this PrC, talk to your DM about allowing you take Improved Toughness from Complete Warrior instead. It also requires that you have died and been brought back, which is problematical at low levels of play (though, arguably, the Hellbred race gets this by default). Probably best taken with crafter warlocks to get the free brew potion and scribe scroll feats, but since you give up two feats to get in, and both feats are limited by your body, I’d rather just take the feats and leave the PrC alone.
Daggerspell Mage (Complete Adventurer) by Thinblade: Another way to get sneak attack, this is the easiest PrC to get into, requiring two useless feats (weapon focus: dagger and two weapon fighting) and one level of thief (or Assassin’s Stance). Unfortunately, none of the class features work with invocations, so you pretty much just get sneak attack. Personally, I’d go with Arcane Trickster.
Divine Oracle (Complete Divine) by Thinblade: A warlock can get into this class with two divination invocations by 5th level. Unfortunately, there are only two divination invocations in Complete Arcane, see the unseen and dark foresight, and dark foresight is Dark, so of limited use. Things like Devil’s Sight don’t help, since they don’t copy divination spells. If you have Complete Mage, however, there is one more divination: all-seeing eyes, which isn’t all that bad and allows you to qualify with two least invocations.
The class itself is 10/10 spellcasting and gives trap sense, a better form of evasion, and improved uncanny dodge. Unfortunately, most of the other abilities don’t work with warlock invocations.
Eldritch Disciple (Complete Mage) by Thinblade: This class is perhaps unique in that it is a dual-progression PrC that doesn’t require you to be third level in both classes before entering. Definitely cleric-centered, since you need 2nd level divine spells but only least invocations. You lose a divine caster level at level one as well, but for two levels of cleric casting you get eleven on warlock, plus yet more options for things to do with turn undead attempts instead of, oh, turning undead.
Eldritch Theurge (Complete Mage) by Thinblade: A more standard double progression PrC, which requires 2nd level arcane spells and 2d6 blast, the Theurge has some nice synergy between the two sides of the class. Characters in the class are probably going to be blasters (whether wizard blasters or warlock blasters) so make sure that’s the role you want to play. Also, decide whether you want to use Spellweave, because if you do you’ll want to pick up some eldritch essences to apply to your spells.
Enlightened Spirit (Complete Mage) by Thinblade: Good in concept, horrible in execution. Enlighened Spirit is an attempt to make a PrC for a “redeemed” warlock. Unfortunatetly, it doesn’t advance invocations at all. Instead you get a few specific invocations (a fell flight duplicate, tongues, any blast shape that’s not Dark, and a couple of anti-fiend and undead blasts). The only good thing about it is that it increases blast damage 1d6/2 levels, but really, with Hellfire Warlock, why would you bother? Maybe worth it for a 1 level dip if you’re constantly fighting incorporeal stuff and the miss chance is messing with you, otherwise, stay away.
Fortune’s Friend (Complete Scoundrel) by Thinblade: The lucky warlock. I’m including this one for completeness. Its abilities are neat and it’s really easy to enter, but it’s only 2/5 spellcasting. For my money, you give up too much just to be lucky.
Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil by Thinblade: Oddly enough, the warlock can get into one of the more powerful wizard PrC’s, due to IotSV’s entry requirement of “5 abjuration spells, 2 of which must be 4th level or higher.” Just take entropic shield (least), cold comfort (lesser), voracious dispelling (lesser, 4th), relentless dispelling (lesser, 4th), and devour magic (greater, 6th). Of course, that means you have to spend three of your seven total invocations on different ways of doing the exact same thing: dispel.
You can, of course, dip a level in another spellcasting class to pick up some abjuration spells. The obvious one is wizard, for Warlock 12/Wizard 1/IotSV 7. You’ll still need to keep devour magic and one of the other two dispel magic invocations, but you could free up to three other invocations. To avoid multiclassing penalties, you could also take a level in a separate spellcasting PrC, like Nentyar Hunter (Unapproachable East), Prime Underdark Guide (Underdark), or Ur-Priest. The easiest I’ve found to enter so far is Holy Liberator. Any of these options loses you a dark invocation, but gets you back up to three least and lesser invocations. If you go this path, you should probably also pick up Caster's Lament (and swap devour magic out for something else) so you can put all your bonuses to work counterspelling.
Invisible Blade (Complete Warrior) by Thinblade: Yet another way to get sneak attack for your warlock, this time without multiclassing into thief. However, sneak attack is the only thing this PrC has going for it: it doesn’t increase invocations or your blast, and requires two useless feats - far shot and weapon focus: dagger. Arcane trickster will end up giving you more sneak attack dice and cost you two fewer levels of invocations, which gives you the Dark invocations you miss this way.
Mindbender (Complete Arcane) by Thinblade: Generally considered a one level only PrC, Mindbender works as well for a warlock as a wizard, though you must take the Charm invocation and therefore be at least level 6. If you take this, also take the Mindsight feat from Lords of Madness.
Mythic Exemplar (Complete Champion) by Thinblade: This class is easy to get into (BAB +5), but doesn’t offer a tremendous amount back. You lose a caster level at Level 1, and the gained abilties are more geared towards wizards and based off of Intelligence. Not useless, but not great either. Also, don’t take the last level. You lose another caster level, and you don’t have any arcane spells to convert to divinations.
Paragnostic Apostle (Complete Champion) by Thinblade: Another easy class to get into (three Rank 5 Knowledge skills), and depending on the campaign, could be valuable. It’s 5/5 spellcasting, and offers a range of abilities based off of Knowledge. A few of the better ones: +1 to hit anything with natural armor, +1 to DC of any secondary blast effect with a saving throw (and maybe also things like chilling tentacles), and a favored enemy look-alike. If you’re already going the sage route, have skill points to burn, or are looking for any way to increase blast DC’s, look into this one.
Uncanny Trickster (Complete Scoundrel) by Thinblade: If you’re using skill tricks, this isn’t necessarily a bad class. It’s three levels long, only requires skills and skill tricks to enter, and is 2/3 advancing of previous class abilities (just like Legacy Chamion). This can be used to get another +4d6 hellfire, if you’ve already taken Hellfire Warlock.
Unseen Seer (Complete Mage) by Thinblade: Warning! This class needs some finagling to enter. Check with your DM. A better way of getting sneak attack than something like Daggerspell Mage, this class will require a one level dip into another arcane spellcasting class and a bunch of sneaky cross-class skills to enter (beguiler is recommended, since one level gets you both). Once in, apply your +1 to caster level to warlock, not whatever you used to get in. Many of the bonus features don’t work with invocations, but you do get permanent non-detection, sneak attack, and a bunch of low-level divination spells (like true strike). [indent]Note: As if this class needed another note, you also need to check with your DM as to whether the Seer’s ability will grant you sneak attack dice if you don’t already have them. The class doesn’t say, and SA dice aren’t required to enter, unlike, say Arcane Trickster.[/indent]
Virtuoso (Complete Adventurer) by Vainglory: Virtuoso looks like a decent warlock prestige class, and the flavor fits great with a fey oriented warlock. Drawbacks are no spell progression first level, and getting 10 perform. To reach the 10 perform required you could take level 1 as human paragon, or be a rogue with able learner. The Apprentice: Entertainer feat (DMG II) could also help the pain.
Warshaper (Complete Warrior) by Thinblade: Simple to enter if your DM allows you to take the Dragonfire Adept invocation Humanoid Shape (and if you can, you should). It doesn’t advance warlock casting, but does give a number of nice benefits: immunity to critical hits, an essentially-permanent +4 Str/Con, +5 feet of reach, and eventually permanent fast healing. I generally wouldn’t go more than two or three levels, unless you’re aiming for a bladelock. In any event, don’t take it all the way, since the level 5 ability may or may not work. It allows you to change shape as a move action, but Humanoid Shape is an invocation. Check with your DM about how it interacts.
Wild Mage (Complete Arcane) by Thinblade: The crazy warlock. This one requires talking to your DM. First see if you can substitute a meta-SLA feat for the required metamagic feat, otherwise you’ll be stuck with Sudden Quicken. Second, ask whether the Wild Mage ability applies to your eldritch blast, as well as your invocations. Then think hard about whether you want to introduce that much chaos into your gaming group. Most players try to minimize chaos.
If you do decide to go for it, the class is 10/10 spellcasting, requires the aforementioned metamagic feat, a dud feat (Magical Aptitude), and some skills that you were probably getting anyway. And at level 10 it offers a nice way of making an enemy mage have a very bad day.
Chameleon (Races of Destiny) by Thinblade: Primarily used as a 2 level dip to get the floating feat, which can be used to get almost any invocation (through extra invocation), or almost any item creation feat, if you’re focusing on crafting. Note, however, that you cannot use the arcane or divine focus to get into otherwise barred PrC’s.
Ruathar (Races of the Wild) by Tealgorthian: Really easy requirements. Easier than most any PrC in print, I think. It also has 3/3 +1 spellcasting levels, and some minor benefits. The most useful of which are the minor magic item you are given, and the extended lifespan. Also, it expands your skill list a bit.
[indent] Thinblade note: Ruathar has the wonderful ability of having all Knowledge skills as class skills. This allows a warlock to get PrC skill requirements (like Nature or Survival) much faster than on their own without having to sacrifice invocations and blast progression multiclassing. Adding ruathar to the mix suddenly makes things like Sentinel of Bharri and Swanmay easy without the messiness the Apprentice feat can open up.[/indent]
Scar Enforcer (Races of Destiny) by surreal: Scar enforcer is a rather underwhelming PrC, but in this case it's very good for a multiclass warlock with rogue or ranger levels who wants to focus on being social and stealthy. Invocations like entropic Shield hides your movement, big boosts to your skills with Leaps and Bounds and Beguiling Influence, the various movement granters, etc [indent]Thinblade note: It’s 5/10 spellcasting, grants +3d6 sneak attack, and has a whole bunch of thief-type skills. Not great, but at least it’s another option for those of you dying to have both sneak attack and some amount of invocation progression.[/indent]
Shadowcraft Mage (Races of Stone) by Thinblade: With the release of Complete Mage, the warlock gained the ability to enter the Shadowcraft Mage prestige class by using Walk Unseen, Wall of Gloom, and Nightmares Made Real (one good, one bad, and one iffy invocation). However, since no invocation duplicates figment or shade illusions, the best parts of the class are unavailable. The only class feature that actually works is cloak of shadow. Still, if an invocation ever gets published that mimics, say, Major Image, this would suddenly become an amazing class for warlocks.
General D&D Books
Ardent Dilettante (Planar Handbook) by Thinblade: This one’s so weird I just have to go try to make one. 9/10 spellcasting, but requiring increasingly difficult requirements to advance. By the end, you have to have skills all over the place, be able to cast both arcane and divine 1st level spells, proficiency with martial and exotic weapons, and have died (that one won’t be a problem). I have no idea whether or not you could optimize an ardent dilettante, but it sure would be different! Since all skills are class skills, you can take a few levels to satisfy another PrC’s skill req’s (arcane trickster, I’m looking at you), though you lose a caster level.
Child of Night (Tome of Magic) by Thinblade: If it weren’t for its being 9/10 casting and requiring one of the worst invocations to enter (darkness), this would be a great PrC. As it is, it’s still good, and is one of the better fits thematically. Want a dark, spooky, more-than-human warlock? Look no further. Not all of the shadowy invocations are great, but there’s enough of them for you to fill your roster and still be useful. And never needing to eat or breathe is also nice. Since you’re stuck with darnkess, you can also look into the various darkness feats in Drow of the Underdark.
Demonbinder (Drow of the Underdark) by Thinblade: Must be a drow warlock. Gain a variety of abilities by binding demons to yourself, each demon giving a different set of abilities that can be easily changed between battles. Make sure you can buy off the LA before thinking about this one, though, since warlocks deal with caster level loss even worse than most casters.
Disciple of Asmodeus (Book of Vile Darkness) by Thinblade: As scrollreader says: “The eeeeeeevil warlock.” Fits thematically, is easy to enter (just two class skills, one cross-class skill, and a couple of feats), and gives 6/10 spellcasting, which means one dark invocation at level 20. Also gives the ability to cast charm person, which allows you to dip into Mindbender without wasting an invocation on Charm. See the builds section for an example.
Fleshwarper (Lords of Madness) by Chemus: Requires the feats Find Familiar (Complete Arcane) and Graft Flesh, plus points in a cross-craft skill (Heal), but grants 9/10 spellcasting and turns you into an aberration at 10th level.
Hellfire Warlock (Fiendish Codex II) by Thinblade: The ultimate in warlock blasting. A nifty little 3 level PrC that gives +6d6 blast and 3/3 invocations, and all it wants is a mediocre blast essence in return. If you’re ok with the flavor, there’s very little reason not to take this class. See also: Legacy Champion PrC, Strategies Section. [indent]Note: There are huge, vicious thread wars being fought over the legality and practicality of the two prime ways to heal/negate the Con damage: the incarnum soulmeld Strongheart Vest and the vestige Naberius. Everyone agrees that simply getting Naberius through a feat doesn’t work (you can’t bind him and get the ability healing). Everyone also agrees that taking one level of Binder and then binding Naberius works. But that loses you a level of warlock, which is the same that happens if you take a level of incarnate.
The wars are over whether the vest, taken through a feat (which means it always reduces ability damage by 1) violates the class ability, which says “[if] you are somehow immune to Constitution damage you cannot use this ability.” One side says that since hellfire ever only deals one point of damage, the vest makes you immune to the hellfire damage, and therefore you can’t use it. The other side counters that DR 1/- doesn’t mean you’re immune to physical damage, and neither does this, and besides, flavor-wise, what you’re doing is siphoning off energy from the souls of the multiverse to your selfish ends, which fits the theme of the Nine Hells to a tee. We’ve been arguing since the class first appeared, and no consensus has been reached, nor does it look like it ever will. End result: check with your DM.[/indent]
Keeper of the Cerulean Sign (Lords of Madness) by Chemus: Requires the feat Aberration Banemagic, which has no prereqs but may or may not work with invocations (talk to your DM). The class itself is still open, even if you can’t get the +2d6 to aberrations, though, and is 10/10 spellcasting. Requires two cross-craft skills, as well (Gather Information 5 and Knowledge – Dungeoneering 8)
[indent]Thinblade note: This is actually a lot harder to get into than it looks, since you have to create a wondrous item by yourself, which requires Warlock 12. Since you can’t get 8 ranks of Dungeoneering until level 13, your maximum level in KotCS is 7 pre-epic. If you can take the Apprentice: Philosopher or Spellcaster feat (DMG II), or Education (FRCS/EbCS) to make Dungeoneering a class skill, you can get in a level early (and pick up a cohort in the process with a 1st level feat). Can't get around the crafting requirement, however. [/indent]
Legacy Champion (Weapons of Legacy) by Thinblade: Legacy Champion is an odd duck. It’s a PrC that offers 8/10 advancement of your original class abilities. This is the only way to continue to advance things like your DR, fiendish resilience, or energy resistance as well as your invocations and blast. For pure blaster warlocks willing be a little cheesy (though completely RAW-legal), use Legacy Champion to advance Hellfire Warlock for truly awe-inspiring eldritch blasts (and 2 dark invocations). And this is in addition to all of the abilities tied to legacy items. Restriction: you must have a legacy item, so if they aren’t in your game, you’re out of luck.
Platinum Knight (Draconomicon) by Thinblade: One of the old-style gish PrC’s, Platinum Knight gives BAB +10 and 5/10 spellcasing. Of note is the 5th level ability which adds Cha bonus to saves (stacks with divine grace). It requires +5 BAB to enter, so a pure warlock would need to be level 7 to enter.
Sand Shaper (Sandstorm) by Tealgorthian: To me, the jury is still out on this one. It's 8/10 +1 spellcasting, but you don’t get many of the major class features of the PrC. Really, the only things you do get are Sandform, Sandstride (Improved) Sand Shape, Desert Slumber and Desert Shroud. The PrC is cool, and flavorful, but you want to get the best out of it, play a Sorcerer or Warmage.
Sentinel of Bharri (Book of Exalted Deeds) by Thinblade: Rangers, eat your heart out. The sentinel is a full casting PrC that gives a host of wilderness abilities (including Track, bonuses to Hide, and bear shape and summoning) and four energy resistances. The only problem is that you need Knowledge (nature) 8 and a couple of exalted feats. You can get around the skill problem with the feat Educated (FRCS/EbCS), but it doesn’t really fit thematically, and it means your early levels are feat-strapped. Still, it’s one of only two primary caster exalted PrC’s, and the easier to get into. See the builds section for an example.
[indent]Thinblade note: You know, sometimes I should read my own guide. Warlock 6/Ruathar 3 gives the needed skills without Education, freeing a feat and removing the necessity of using campaign-specific material. Ruathar also fits much better, thematically, than Education. Your other option is Apprentice: Woodsman, but you’ll need to be human to get in with Warlock 5.[/indent]
Swanmay (Book of Exalted Deeds) by Thinblade: I knew if I looked hard enough I could find a use for Call of the Wild (CM), the invocation that grants wild empathy and speak with animals, and I finally have. The swanmay, a 9/10 spellcasting class that requires both. Unfortunately, it also requires two woodsy skills that the warlock doesn’t get, and one of them’s Survival, which means Education won’t help. A pure warlock won’t get in until level 14. [indent]This is where the PrC Ruathar (see above) really comes in handy. It has both skills, and enough skill points to get both up to 8 in three levels (neglecting everything else, but hey). Now you can get in as a Warlock 6/Ruathar 3, instead of Warlock 13. Like Sentinal of Bharri, a Warlock 5 with Apprentice: Woodsman can also get in, but you’ll need to be human or use flaws for all the feats. If you’re using the warlock variant that has your power coming from fey, this is a great PrC for you.
Also note that the text states that it only increases druid and ranger spellcasting. If you’re using a fey-themed warlock you should be able to talk your DM into letting it also advance warlock, but it doesn’t straight out of the book.[/indent]
Talon of Tiamat (Draconomicon) by Thinblade: Talon of Tiamat is another 5/10 spellcasting PrC that’s easier to enter than Platinum Knight (any evil, +4 BAB, a feat, and ranks in three class skills), but it only gives medium BAB instead of PK’s good. In return, you get an increasingly powerful breath weapon, immunity to one energy type, frightful presence, and possibly your very own dragon (via dominate dragon). You also get a bonus to Bluff and Intimidate, which, combined with Beguiling Influence can lead to some really high scores. Not a bad bunch of abilities, if you don’t mind losing dark invocations.
Topaz Guardian (Lords of Madness) by Chemus: You have to be Chaotic Good, and it can’t be entered until 8th level (need BAB +5). It’s 3/5 spell progression, but +5 BAB (Warlock 15/TG 5 = BAB +16) with protecting aspects from the Topaz Diadem, so it might be useful for melee warlocks, especially glaivelocks.
Urban Savant (Cityscape, p. 100) by Thinblade, h/t Surreal A 9/10 casting PrC that doesn’t lose a level until 10 (in exchange for an ability duplicated by a first level spell… ugh), you’re going to have to do some tap dancing to get in, as none of the four knowledge skills required are gained by the warlock. You’re going to want some combination of the following: able learner feat, educated feat, or the Paragnostic Apostle or Ruathar PrC’s. In return, you get a larger number of skill points and some archivist-like abilities to identify enemy weaknesses. Plus, you’re a walking library. Warlock 6/Paragnostic Apostle 5/Urban Savant 9 will have of ranks in seven different knowledge skills (Arcana, Religion, and Planes for PA, then Dungeoneering, Local, Nature, and History for UA).
Visionary Seeker (Planar Handbook) by Thinblade: Sure, a warlock can easily enter this class (all you need is Knowledge (any) 8), but why would you want to? It’s 5/10 spellcasting and you can’t make use of the divination boost. Spell mimic could be really cool (cast any spell you’ve seen in the past 24 hours, of a level up to your VS level), but you can’t use it very often.
Forgotten Realms Books
Crinti Shadow Marauder (Shining South) by Thinblade: One of the few PrC’s to give Shadow Pouncing (the ability to make a full attack after teleporting). See numerous shadow pounce builds scattered throughout the board for how deadly this can be. Doesn’t get the ability until the end of this 5 level class, and you need the feats Mounted Combat and Stealthy, and a whole host of cross-class skills. Oh, and by the way, you have to be half-drow (Crinti). You only need flee the scene if you want to shadow pounce off your horse.
Telflammar Shadowlord (Unapproachable East) by Thinblade: The other primary shadow pouncing PrC. Gets the ability at level 4, but requires Flee the Scene, multiclassing, and a bunch of feats. Shadow pounce just isn’t easy to get. See my treatise on building Nightcrawler in the Miscellany section for an example of shadow pouncing.
Cyran Avenger (5 Nations) by Thinblade: A 4/5 spellcasting, +5 BAB class that gives some interesting options for a warlock. Avenging strike adds Cha to attack and 1d6 damage/Avenger level to anyone who’s attacked any member of your party (much like a paladin’s smite). At 3rd level you can apply it to your eldritch blast and go to town. This class gives you a reason to have a high Charisma, so also pick up invocations that have save DC’s as well. Probably requires multiclassing into ranger to pick up required BAB, Survival, and Track. [indent]There are two other options for entry. The first is the Apprentice: Woodsman feat from DMG II, which can then be parlayed into Leadership at level 10. Be sure you’re willing to put the time in, however. The other is Sentinal of Bharri, which gives everything warlock lacks. Go human warlock 5/SB 10/CA 5 and unleash angry bears on those who dared to attack your home![/indent]
Escalation Mage (Faiths of Eberron) by widow: Two easy skill req's, one metamagic feat, caster level 5th, and you must worship the shadow (Eberron specific). It is 6 levels long and nets you a number of extend, empower, widen, quicken, and heighten spells or spell-like abilities a day. Also gives full caster progression.
Primal Scholar (Eberron: SoX) by Part-Human2 5 lvl PrC - full caster progression but requires Mysterious Magic feat, a Metamagic feat and 10 ranks in Knowledge (history) which are a waste to get.
Thinblade’s note: Invocations from Complete Arcane were written by Tealgorthian and are unmarked. Dragon Magic warlock (DM) and dragonfire adept (DA) invocations were written by cheezgrater. Complete Mage (CM) and Cityscape invocations were written by Richmud. Magic of Incarnum invocations written by FromTheShadows. Drow of the Underdark (DotU) invocations written by Lone Wolf.
cheezgrater’s note about Dragonfire Adept invocations: These invocations are originally intended for the Dragonfire Adept (which functions like a warlock with breath weapons instead of eldritch blast). Use of these would require DM permission. However, since a lot of draconic invocations duplicate or are comparable to warlock invocations, it should be fairly easy to convince your DM to allow some of these. I have only selected the extremely useful invocations that can be justified for flavor with the Warlock. (Terrifying Roar and Frightful Presence just don't work for flavor).
Eldritch Essences, Least
Frightful Blast: Handy for a low level VS will save, but the fact it doesn’t stack reduces it's viability quite a bit. If you take it at low levels, I'd suggest replacing it with something stronger ASAP.
Hammer Blast (CM): You deal full damage to objects. Doesn't strike me as that necessary.
Sickening Blast: I prefer this to Frightful Blast, but most monsters tend to have a better Fort save than Will, which, again, limits it's uses. Another one that needs to be replaced ASAP.
Eldritch Essences, Lesser
Baneful Blast (CM): 2d6 extra vs. selected type. Unless you are in a campaign fighting a lot of SR free creatures of the same type, it’s not going to help you.
Beshadowed Blast: Another Fort save Essences, and somewhat better than Sickening Blast. Blinding your enemy can be just as effective as Invisibility sometimes. A good low level power, but should be replaced.
Brimstone Blast: Your first Ref save blast, and it's pretty crappy. It can be easily simulated with something like Alchemist's Fire. I'd only take this if you seem to be facing an abnormal amount of creatures that need fire.
Deteriorating Blast (DM): Extremely useful against foes with DR. The ability to drop DR by 5 points can greatly shorten encounters.
Hellrime Blast: The only stat affecting Essence, and it turns out to be a penalty instead of damage. Mediocre at best. I'd take Beshadowed Blast over this, they are both Fort targeting.
Eldritch Essences, Greater
Bewitching Blast: Meh. I've never even considered taking this power. The duration is too short for me to consider. There are MUCH better Essences at this level you can take.
Hindering Blast (CM): Save vs. slow, could be useful.
Incarnum Blast (Incarnum): The usefulness of this depends on how far your alignment varies from that of your enemies. If it doesn't, this invocation is useless. If it does, you have a source of dazing and possible bonus damage. Not exceptional, but not horrible.
Noxious Blast: If you still have Sickening Blast, you should definitely dump it now, and take this power in it's place. This Invocation can take a monster out of the fight for 1 min. Awesome.
Penetrating Blast (DM): A blaster's best friend +4 bonus on checks to beat SR, plus a hit drops the target's SR by 5. This makes high SR enemies much more manageable.
Repelling Blast: A kind of middle of the road blast. I use it with things like Chilling Tentacles and Wall of Perilous Flame. If you want a straight blaster, look else where. If you are going for battlefeild control, this is the blast for you!
Vitriolic Blast: The king of the Greater Essences, this is the -only- Essence that allows you to ignore SR, and is therefore a must have in my book. It makes you viable in combat against high SR monsters, and the ban of all casters, Golems.
Eldritch Essence, Dark
Bind Blast (CM): Save vs. stun for 1 round. It seems too short to waste a dark invocation on.
Utterdark Blast: My personal favorite blast, it's the only way a Warlock can deal negative levels. Given time, he can reduce even the most powerful enemy to almost nil. Seems to be the most effective when used with any of the AoE Shapes (Cone, Doom, and Chain)
Blast Shapes, Least
Eldritch Glaive (DM): A must-have for any warlock that ever finds himself in melee; reach, iterative attacks, and attacks of opportunity with your eldritch blast make this invocation a no-brainer
Eldritch Spear: The usefulness of this invocation varies greatly depending on the style of Warlock you wish to play. A long range sniper will get the most use, but remember that using this Shape denies you the use of higher level shapes. I have yet to take this ability.
Hideous Blow: The primary shape of all Melee Warlocks [pre Dragon Magic], it can give the Warlock an almost-like Sneak Attack ability. Again, use varies on play style. [indent]Thinblade note: Almost no one took this before Dragon Magic. Now, no one takes it.
Blast Shapes, Lesser
Eldritch Chain: Less useful than some other shapes, it can be used to Repel multiple targets, or issue multi-target debuffs, till you run out of Blast damage. My favorite combination is Chain + Utterdark Blast.
Blast Shapes, Greater
Eldritch Cone: I find this to be the least useful of the AoE Shapes, but many, many others disagree with me. It offers one of the largest AoE effects, and doesn’t require the Ranged Touch attack. It does offer a Ref save for half damage. Could be useful with Fell Flight and fired from straight above.
Eldritch Line (DM): Meh. Eldritch Blast as a line attack. In most situations Cone or Chain are going to be better.
Blast Shapes, Dark
Eldritch Doom: This Shape puts the Warlock were he doesn’t really wanna be: in the middle of all the fighting. That's the only way it is effective. Melee Warlocks can find this power useful if they are surrounded. Combined with Repelling Blast, it can even the odds fairly quickly.
All Seeing Eyes (CM): Search and spot bonus and comprehend language for written things. Not bad for a scouting/spying oriented warlock
Baleful Utterance: Unlimited Shatters as the spell. very very very useful.
Beguiling Influence: Will see the most use in Warlocks that want to make good negotiator. The use is limited because Diplomacy is not a class skill for Warlocks, sadly. If you add levels of a social class (Rogue, Bard) the usefulness of this Invocation increases.
Breath of the Night: I've not found a use for this Invocation yet. Fog Cloud can be a handy spell, but one that can be more easily duplicated with a magic item.
Call of the Beast (CM): Wild empathy and speak with animals, very nice for RP if you going for a fey flavored warlock. (See also note in Miscellany.)
Cocoon of refuse (Cityscape): Entangle a target while in a city, lasts 1 round/level or until they escape. Not a bad least if you remain in cities.
Dark One's Own Luck: A luck bonus to your saves based on your Charisma for 24 hours, but limited by your class level. It cant be used on more than 1 save at a time. That makes me less than excited about it.
Darkness: The 3.5 version of Darkness is pretty crappy. If you used the 3.0 version.. yeah, go for it.
Devil's Sight: When the Warlock was first introduced, there was a lot of excitement about this combined with Darkness, but it turns out that it isn’t all it's cracked up to be. There are better things to use your Invocation slots on.
Drain Incarnum (Incarnum) - Crap. Wow, you can do a single point of Wisdom or essentia damage and they get a save? Not worth it, even at lower levels. Easily one of the worst invocations published.
Earthen Grasp: Since the spell sucks, I think this invocation sucks too.
Endure Exposure (DA): Endure Elements could be very useful during planar travel or in harsh environments. One of the few buffs you could share with your party. (Ignore line regarding granting immunity to your breath weapon).
Entropic Warding: This Invocation is so good, I don’t know what else to say. 20% miss chance from ranged attacks, leaving no trail, cant be tracked by scent? Wow.
Leaps and Bounds: Might be good for multi-class Warlocks that get those skills on their list. Rogue and Monks come to mind immediately.
Miasmic Cloud: Easy to catch your allies inside, easily dispersed. Might make a good low level Invocation to swap out later
Otherworldly Whispers (CM): Bonuses on 3 kinds of knowledge checks(predetermined) Useful if you are expected to be the one making those knowledge checks.
See the Unseen: One of the best of the Least Invocations. 24 hour See Invisibility -and- Darkvision. I'll take two, and an order of fries.
Serpents Tongue (CM): You get scent and a bonus vs. poison, scent is useful to make this worthwhile
Soulreaving Aura (CM): You damage creatures that are at or below 0hp, the temp hp it provides when something dies only last for a round and that’s not enough to make it worthwhile.
Spiderwalk: A great power for those Warlocks seeking to enhance their mobility options, esp. in caves, buildings, and cities.
Summon Swarm: A decent low level power, the duration prevents you from summoning 400 Swarms.
Swimming the Styx (CM): You get a swim speed equal to land speed and can breath water. Useful in a campaign with a lot of water.
Charm: Another solid invocation, this one can give you a temporary cohort. Can also be used to qualify for the Mindbender PrC
Cold Comfort (CM): Endure elements for you and everyone in 30ft, unusual for effecting allies. Good if the game is set in a harsh environment otherwise probably not a common enough need.
Crawling Eye (CM): You detach your eye and send it out to spy. It’s good for scouting and spying. It’s also creepy.
Curse of Despair: Not all that useful, since you need to be close enough to touch the target, but given that Bestow Curse can be a powerful ability, I say it depends on your Warlock-style.
The Dead Walk: If you use the black onyx you can create an undead army in a day. Even without the onyx, it is a good ability to make a quick zombie in the middle of combat. If you take Utterdark Blast, you can heal your undead minions. With Eldritch Chain you can heal multiple targets. With Eldritch Cone you can heal your undead while affecting your enemies.
Disembodied Hand (CM): You detach your hand and let it fly around. It can wield a weapon and get up into combat without endangering you as much, also good for delivering a touch spell. It’s more creepy then effective though.
Dread Seizure (DM): Hrmm...this invocation isn't bad, but there are several that are better. Half movement and reduced reach attacks are nice, but the duration is too short and you are too limited in invocation selection to waste time with this.
Enthralling Voice (DA): The ability to fascinate listeners can potentially be useful for a skill/talk oriented warlock. Not very useful in combat (at least, not very often).
Fell Flight: The crown jewel of Warlock mobility, the spell can give you flight you can turn on and off all day long. Awesome invocation
Flee the Scene: Another awesome mobility invocation. A good way to create confusion among your enemies. Too bad the range was shortened so much.
Humanoid Shape (DA) TB): Humanoid shape, if allowed (it’s technically a Dragonfire Adept invocation), is easily one of the best lesser invocations ever printed. Assume the form of any humanoid creature. Become an avariel and fly faster than Fell Flight (though with average, not good, maneuverability). Use to get a large bonus on disguise checks anywhere. And it can also be used to enter the Warshaper prestige class.
Hungry Darkness: I'm not sure what the use of this Invocation is. It only lasts if you concentrate, and it's only Darkness with a bat swarm. Seems useless.
Ignore the Pyre (DM): Energy resistance equal to your caster level? Very useful (you can have resistance to three types between this invocation and your class features).
Mask of Flesh (CM): You take on the appearance of someone you touch, and can also give them a cha penalty. It’s interesting though quite limited.
Relentless Dispelling (CM): Targeted dispel two rounds in a row for just one standard action sounds like a deal.
Spider-shape (DotU): Lets you transform yourself into a fiendish spider of Small or Medium size. This is a polymorph effect, and the invocation scales as you gain levels, increasing the range of sizes you can assume. At 8th level, you add Large to list of possible sizes; at 11th, you add Tiny; at 15th, Huge; and at 20th level, Gargantuan. Lasts a number of hours equal to your caster level or until you choose to end it.
Steal Incarnum (Incarnum): Nothing fantastic, even if you're playing in an Incarnum-heavy game. If you aren't, avoid this invocation like the plague.
Stony Grasp: Just as useless as Earthen Grasp.
Sudden Swarm (DotU): Lasts 24 hours or until its effect is triggered. When you kill a creature with one of your invocations (including eldritch blast), a swarm of spiders bursts from the corpse. Has the statistics of a normal spider swarm, except it adds your warlock level to its hit points and the save DC for its poison. The swarm is under your mental control and fights as you direct it; commanding it is a free action. It lasts a number of rounds equal to your caster level or until it's destroyed. It can only take a standard action in the round it emerges, and you can only have one swarm in existence at a time; if you would create a second swarm, you can either choose to create the second one (the first disappears) or keep the first swarm and not create a second one.
Thief's bane (Cityscape): It’s hold portal, and if they manage to bypass it through knock or dispel magic the door explodes, probably not worth a lesser invocation.
Void Sense: Blindsense is a good ability, but I am not sure I would use an Invocation slot on it. Good candidate for the Extra Invocation feat.
Voracious Dispelling: Good Invocation. with a high spell craft, and a readied action, this Invocation could make a Warlock a good counterspeller. Note that the effectiveness decreases as your increase with level, much like the effectiveness of Dispel Magic diminishes.
Walk Unseen: I love this Invocation, but I never seen to have enough slots to take it. Who doesn’t want Invisibility at will?
Wall of Gloom: Not a very useful Wall Invocation, and there are much much better ones at this level you can take. [indent]Thinblade Note: See Tleilaxu_Ghola’s comments about Wall of Gloom in the Miscellany section.[/indent]
Weighty Utterance (DM): Flying foes can find their styles seriously hampered by this invocation. You can only drop foes a maximum of 40 feet (at level 20), and it can only prevent flight for a maximum of 1 round when you force an enemy to the ground, meaning that the utility of this invocation is nowhere near what it could be. Possibly consider other options.
Witchwood Step (CM): You get waterwalk and the ability to ignore undergrowth and rubble. Not bad, but not always worth the invocation slot.
Caustic Mire (CM): You make an area deal acid damage and increase fire damage. Could be good in combo with brimstone blast and chilling tentacles to keep people in the mire.
Chilling Tentacles: Awesome, awesome Invocation! This is one of the reasons Warlocks make such good battlefield controllers! Even if someone isn’t grappled, they still take cold damage.
Devil's whispers (Cityscape): Suggestion, after they perform the suggested action they must make another will save of believe it was their idea. Sounds like insidious fun to me.
Devour Magic: I actually find this Invocation less useful than it's lower counterpart, since it can only be used as a targeted dispel, and as a touch spell. Flexibility is just something a Warlock can’t give up.
Dragonward (DM): Great if there are a lot of dragon or dragonblood creatures in your campaign. Worse than useless otherwise.
Enervating Shadow: A decent Invocation, but one that requires close proximity again. The Str penalty is nice, but there are better places to spend a Greater Invocation.
Hellspawned Grace (CM): You turn into a hellcat but lose all your normal abilities. It lasts just long enough for one battle, so it could be useful.
Nightmares Made Real (CM): You create an area that grants concealment and damages people who don't make the save to disbelieve, but most interestingly you can hide in plain site within the area.
Painful Slumber of the Ages (CM): You put someone to sleep until they make a save or are disturbed. If disturbed they take damage. The damage is too low to really be useful but at least it makes them a little weaker if you have to wake them yourself.
Tenacious Plague: A good swarm summoning spell, if that is your thing. The DC boost, and ability to treat the swarm as magical weapons for overcoming DR is pretty good. The number of swarms you summon can be pretty sick too.
Wall of Perilous Flame: Another good battlefield control spell, made even better since half of the damage is not fire damage anymore.
Warlock's call: Uh. Sending isn’t that useful anyway, plus it can damage you. Sheer crap.
Caster's Lament (CM): You can counter spells of 7th or lower, you can also use break enchantment. Countering has potential but it gets stopped by the really powerful stuff.
Dark Discorporation: Why, oh why, would you take this? You can only take move actions! Blah! It basically negates your abilities to use Invocations at all. I'd rather not. I've been informed some people prefer this Invocation. Just goes to show you cant take -1- persons opinion as fact. There are instances where Swarm Traits and Immunities will be very useful, and the damage isn’t half bad. I prefer to have access to my Invocations and Eldritch Blast.
Dark Foresight: Eh, I wouldn’t take it. I've never found Foresight to be all that useful. The Telepathy picks up some of the slack, and is very useful for with the Charm use.
Energy Immunity (DA): Complete Immunity to an element is nothing to snarl at. Potentially very useful.
Fell (Draconic) Flight, Greater (DA): 30 foot faster fly speed than afforded by the lesser invocation version plus perfect maneuverability. Potentially useful if you find yourself wanting more airspeed.
Impenetrable Barrier (DM): Opaque walls of force. Great for battlefield control. Dangerous if it gets dispelled, though.
Incarnum Shroud (Incarnum): Not bad, but doesn't seem to be up to the standard of other Dark Invocations. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised to see this as a Lesser (or maybe Greater, but that's pushing it) Invocation due to the fact that this seems to be an only slightly improved version of Entropic Warding.
Instill Vulnerability (DA): Force energy vulnerability (150% Damage) on a foe (doesn't work on foes that are immune to that energy type). This can be very useful when coupled with an eldritch essence to deal energy damage. (Instill Vulnerability: Fire / Brimstone Blast)
Path of Shadow: The only long range teleportation spell a Warlock gets, and it appears you can take your party along with you. Nice ability.
Retributive Invisibility: Greater Invisibility at will, and it can damage everything around you if it is dispelled. Pretty good
Steal Summoning (CM): You take control of a summoned creature but in addition to being narrow it requires concentration and is probably not worth it as a dark.
Word of Changing: Probably the most hilarious ability the Warlock gets, the ability to permanently Baleful Polymorph an enemy is usually too much for me to pass up.
NOTE: Epic feats are only rated with * relative to each other; obviously, any of these would be better than the non-epic feats above.
Dark Transient: Teleportation and Plane Shift, improved. Not a bad feat, but there are better for an epic feat, and Shadow Walk can imitate what this feat provides, somewhat. The invocation prereq's are not unreasonable to obtain, but can almost do what the feat allows. Dedicated Arcane Spellcasters are how you travel, not the Warlock. **
Eldritch Sculptor: Use two eldritch blasts at double range with a +2 to hit still as a standard action, and can be combined w/ Master of Elements below. A great epic feat. Very reasonable prereq's, too. ****
Epic Eldritch Blast: Extra d6 damage with your blast. As everyone knows, HP expand much faster than CR. This is a feat to be taken only when you have a few of the others. *
Epic Extra Invocation: An extra Dark Invocation is great, but at Epic levels, you should have a fairly well defined invocation list. More useful to meet the prereq's for other Epic feats. ***
Epic Fiendish Resilience: An extra fast healing 5 each time you take the feat is ok, but you still can only use it once per day. I would take this feat over Epic Eldritch Blast, but not over many of the other Epic feats. It could be useful for Melee Warlocks, if you are doing that. *+1/2
Lord of All Essences: Double essences on your blasts. Another awesome feat, particularly if you built your Warlock to really focus on essences up to that point. Eldritch Sculptor is still better, but in certain builds this could be just as good. Easy Prereq's. ***+1/2
Master of the Elements: Summoning is cool, and dominating elementals is cool, and extra energy resistance is cool, but I just don't think its as good as a few of the other feats. It makes for a nice filler feat, but I wouldn't take it unless you already had the 2 cruddy invocation prereq's. **
Morpheme Savant: You get Tongues, a monster bonus from Beguiling Influence, and can use a Suggestion if you know the creature you are suggesting, and over any plane, with no limit on the amount of times you can use it (as normal) with reduced activation time. Think about it: every non-deific creature will roll a 1 eventually. Keep suggesting to that Efreeti the Wizard just gated that it grants you 3 wishes until it does. The last ability is worth it. You really only have to take 1 crappy invocation to get this. ****
Paragon Visionary: Its like permanent True Sight, but better. The invocations required aren't horrid, but the overall package is a little weak for Epic. ***
Shadowmaster: This is the OMG feat in epic. Its like gaining every 8th level and lower Conjuration spell as its own invocation. All the required Invocations are weak, but this feat makes up for it completely. *****+
Souleater Incarnate: Combine with a bag of rats, and then animate them, and you can get ridiculous +X to saves and attacks. Since it seems the Incarnum invocations aren't that good, however, I'd say pass on this one except for in a few builds that actually are focused on Incarnum. Melee Warlocks may be able to get some really nice advantages out of this one, though. **
Verminlord: You take Darkspeech (Hordes of the Abyss) and then focus on getting this feat. Dominate Monster (Vermin), makes your swarms pass up a little more DR (but not Epic DR), and increases the poison save for centipedes (which normal Warlocks can't usually get). Reasonable prereq invocations, too. Definitely not as powerful as Shadowmaster, All Essences, Morpheme, or Sculptor. ***
CONCLUSIONS: Get Shadowmaster, Morpheme Savant, Eldritch Sculptor, and Lord of All Essences, in that order of importance. Avoid Epic Fiendish Resilience and Epic Eldritch Blast. Take Epic Extra Invocation to meet the prereq's you don't have for Shadowmaster or Morpheme.
I keep saying this on all warlock threads i see, and that's not just because I like to say it, but a level 1 warlock with the Summon Swarm power is GODLIKE compared to many other 1st level characters.
Let's see: Spell-like ability, Standard action to cast unless stated otherwise 1d6 base damage, not much to write home about No attack roll, Awesome when even your warrior hits less than half the time Area effect, Hit up-to 4 targets at once, more if they're small creatures Shapeable area, form it so that it doesn't hit you or your allies meat-shields Shortened duration, may seem a pain, but it prevents damage to allies meat-shields Distraction (DC 11-12 fort save or reduced to a move action) Awesome, even fighters have a good chance to fail One of the following based on swarm: 1 damage a round from bleeding (Always useful, hit them with it first) Poison DC11 or Str Damage (Hit them with it once they're bleeding) Disease DC12 or Dex & Con Damage (Fun as a GM versus PCs!)
Tactics: Round One: Hit them with a swarm of bats. All the ones you hit are now dead, they just don't know it yet. Round two: Dismiss the swarm, your meat shields can probably keep them from healing themselves, or just hit the BBEG with some spiders.
OK, so you'll want to swap it out once you hit 6th level as it becomes less useful, but it is an AWESOME invocation for the first 2-4 levels as it usually out-damages your Eldritch Blast, is your only area effect ability, and has other effects.
Optimizing a warlock for damage by cheezegrater
If you are going for a pure damage build, the best place to drop warlock appears to be after level 11. Before level 11, eldritch blast increases by 1d6 every other level. Past 11, it only increases every third level.
Rogue gains 1d6 sneak attack every other level (Why couldn't they have done this for warlocks?)
Using the Eldritch Glaive blast shape from Dragon Magic 3 attacks at 13d6 = 39d6 damage (Avg. 136.5) damage per round.
Not too shabby, especially when you consider that he gets a greater essence, the ability to take 10 on UMD checks, some of the better rogue class features (evasion anyone?) and a goodly number of skill points.
I'm sure we could figure out how to pump the damage beyond this point, but for a simple and effective build, this makes a good starting point.
Dipping into Incarnate for Hellfire Warlock builds by Grave
For 2 levels of Incarnate you can:
Shape 3 soulmelds (and get 2 essentia) and bind one to the crown. Strongheart Vest is superior to Naberious (sp?) bind in that it reduces any ability damage by 1 (or more depending on invested essentia) when it occurs. Among other things, this allows you to make use of Hellfire more than once per round without worrying about accumulation of Con damage as the bind only heals 1 pt. per round irregardless of the damage taken. This is important for those builds throwing out Quickened EB's and those that want to make use of the Hellfire Shield.
This still leaves you two slots of shaping and incarnates do have a very useful list of soulmelds to choose from. For example, Planar Ward makes you immune to possession, Enchantment (charm), and Enchantment (compulsion). Personally, I think that alone is worth it.
Crystal Helm gives you +2 Will v. mind-affecting (not too important), and gives a deflection bonus equal to essentia invested (remember those 2 points you get automatically). This is very nice at the lower levels when Rings of Protection are so pricey. When you bind Crystal Helm to your Crown Chakra, all your melee attacks have the force descriptor for damage. This nice against incorporeal foes with Eldritch Glaive, but the real kicker is that Crystal Helm + Eldritch Glaive + Vitriolic Blast = attack that bypasses SR and is force, so nothing has either resistance or immunity to it (in your face Flesh Golem).
Impulse Boots are great to have as they give you Uncanny Dodge.
Pauldrons of Health can be useful in certain campaigns as they make a character immune to all disease and being nauseated or sickened. In addition, it offers an enhancement bonus to Fort. equal to essentia invested.
And the list goes on.
The best part is that you can choose which soulmelds are shaped at the start of every day and they last for as long you have them shaped which translates to a much needed increase in versatility that any Warlock build could use.
2 levels only lose you 1 point of BAB and net a +3 to Fort and Will, and while 2 + Int skills is paltry (you're a Warlock, you should be used to it), it does have Concentration, all the useful knowledge skills (such as arcana), and Spellcraft which tend to be prereq's for many Warlock available PrC's on its class list.
Quite frankly, I think that's a lot for just two levels. Granted, Binders are also very versatile, but as a class to dip for Hellfire Builds, I think Incarnate is superior as it still retains its versatility without having to worry about losing the one reason you took it: the ability to negate the Con damage. For a binder, they have to stick the Naberious bind or lose their Ability Point regeneration.
-Grave & Co.
Using Bloodlines/Legacy Champion/Uncanny Trickster to Up Eldritch Blast Damage by Thinblade
This somewhat controversial trick doesn't work with a normal warlock, it's used in concert with Hellfire Warlock's Hellfire Blast.
Hellfire Warlock gains +2d6 hellfire blast every level, over the course of three levels. Bloodline levels count as a level for any level-dependent class abilities (like monk stunning fist). It has therefore been argued that 3 bloodline levels would give Hellfire Warlock a "virtual" boost of three levels. You wouldn't gain any other kind of ability (since Hellfire Warlockdoesn't have any past level 3), but you would continue to gain +2d6 hellfire blast for each level above 3.
The other way to boost hellfire blast is through the PrC's Uncanny Trickster and Legendary Champion. Both classes advance another class's abilities, instead of just advancing spellcasting. Again, it has been argued that you could use either to boost hellfire blast "through the roof" by applying those virtual levels to hellfire warlock, instead of normal warlock. The advantage of this over bloodlines is that you still gain all the niceties of actual class levels (like hit points, skills, and invocations) in addition to your blast.
CustServ, it should be noted, has ruled in both directions multiple times, which really means it's down to your DM. Come up with a compelling argument and go for it. Both ways have disadvantages (losing three levels of hit points and invocations for bloodlines, and losing casting levels with the PrC's), so it's not entirely in one way.
Making Nightcrawler by Thinblade
A common request on the CO boards is help in creating a D&D equivalent of a character from some other area of fiction. We’ve seen Final Fantasy Dragoons, Sonic the Hedgehog, a rather scary Jean Grey telekineticist, and plenty of others. Recently, I gave a lot of thought to creating a version of Nightcrawler using warlock in response to just such a request, and I figured I’d share.
Warlock is actually a good choice to base a Nightcrawler build upon, since you can get unlimited dimension doors a day, allowing you to bamf around the battlefield at will, and the class’s flavor has the same dark feel as the inhuman-looking mutant. However, since invocations are standard actions, you’re forced to bamf, then wait until next turn to attack. Not very cool.
Enter the Forgotten Realms (for its last few months of existence) and the PrC ability shadow pounce: the ability to make a full attack after the conclusion of any teleportation. Now we’re talking. Alternately, you can take one level of monk and the Sun School tactical feat in Complete Warrior, but that only gives one attack after teleporting, and therefore isn’t as cool. On to shadow pouncing.
Of the two PrC’s that offer shadow pouncing (Crinti Shadow Marauder [Shining South] and Telflammar Shadowlord [Unapproachable East]), the Shadowlord gives it a level earlier, at 4th. Unfortunately, the entry requirements are brutal:
[indent]Non-good Hide 10 ranks, Move Silently 10 ranks Blind-fight, Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack Dimension Door as spell or SLA Sneak attack +2d6[/indent]
Ouch. Obviously, we’re going to need to multiclass, and there are two main options: thief or ninja 3 or swordsage 2. Thief gets you evasion, ninja gets you poison use and limited invisibilty, but requires a higher Wisdon. Scout, unfortunately, doesn’t get +2d6 skirmish until later.
Swordsage gets sneak attack through the shadow hand stance Assassin’s Stance (so make sure you’re DM’s okay with that way of qualifying). If you split the levels of swordsage around those of warlock, you can end up getting in with just Swordsage 2.
Finally, if you want to get in by level 8-9, you need to play a race with a bonus feat: human, strongheart halfling, azurin, etc. Almost all of your feats will be used for Shadowlord entry requirements, and the one you have free should be Quicken SLA: Flee the Scene to get two full attacks in a turn. If you want others (two recommended are able learning and the eldritch claw feat from Dragon Magic), you’ll need to pick up some flaws from Unearthed Arcana.
So your two basic Nightcrawler bases look like this: [indent]Thief 3/Warlock 6/Telflammar Shadowlord 4/X 7 or Swordsage 1/Warlock 6/SS +1/TS 4/X 8[/indent]
X can be a lot of things. For this guide I’m going to assume you want to continue to advance warlock invocations. If you’re not, find some +1 BAB prestige class that looks interesting. If you are, a couple of PrC’s are interesting. Divine Oracle doesn’t give much in the way of BAB, but does have some nice defensive class features. Since you have SA dice (one way or another) and limited spellcasting from SL, you can also go into Unseen Seer, though you’ll have to use two of your three least invocations for the required divinations. The Child of Night PrC from Tome of Magic is a great atmospheric choice, advancing the shadowy nature of the character already established by the Shadowlord.
If you got into TS through swordsage, you’re in the rare position of being a warlock that can enter Jade Phoenix Mage. Use your limited list of second level spells to enter, and apply the JPM advances to warlock, and bask in the fact that it’s a +1 BAB class. JPM opens up several really nice higher-level maneuvers, including a counter that teleports you when attacked (setting off shadow pouncing again), and two boosts that add fire damage to your attacks.
Finally, if you have Tome of Battle, you should (regardless of path) pick up the maneuver shadow stride through the Martial Study feat. This allows you to shadow pounce twice in a round (three times if you quicken FtS as well). Get it at level 15 with JPM, level 18 without.
Here are two versions of Nightcrawler, one using ToB, the other not. Both are assumed to be humans, without flaws.
Human Rogue 3/Warlock 6/Telflammar Shadowlord 4/Child of Night 7
Rogue 1: Trapfinding, SA +1d6, Dodge, Mobility Rogue 2: Evasion Warlock 1: Least invocation,Blind fight Warlock 2: Least invocation, Detect Magic Warlock 3: DR 1/cold iron Warlock 4: Darkness, Decieve Item, Spring Attack Warlock 5: Warlock 6: Flee the Scene Rogue 3: SA +2d6, Trapsense +1, Quicken: Flee the Scene Telflammar Shadowlord 1: Shadowsight, shadow jump Telflammar Shadowlord 2: Shadow blur Telflammar Shadowlord 3: Shadow walk, Feat Telflammar Shadowlord 4: Shadow pounce Child of Night 1: Cloak of Shadows, cold resistance 5 Child of Night 2: Sustaining shadow (eat 1 meal/week), Feat Child of Night 3: Dancing shadows 1/day Child of Night 4: Cloak of shadows (blur 1/day) sustaining shadow (sleep 1 hour/day) Child of Night 5: Cold resistance 10, Feat Child of Night 6: Cloak of shadows (blur 3/day), sustaining shadow (immune to poison/disease) Child of Night 7: Dancing shadows 2/day
BAB 13; F/R/W: 6/11/12; Casts as Warlock 12 (6d6 blast, 1 Greater invocation)
Human Swordsage 1/ Warlock 6/SS +1/Telflammar Shadowlord 4/JPM 8
Swordsage 1: Quick to Act +1, discipline focus (weapon focus), Cloak of Deception, 5 others, Dodge, Mobility Warlock 1: Least invocation, Warlock 2: Least invocation, Detect Magic, Blind fight Warlock 3: DR 1/cold iron Warlock 4: Least Invocation, Decieve Item Warlock 5: Spring Attack Warlock 6: Flee the Scene Swordsage 2: AC bonus, Assassin’s Stance, 1 maneuver (3rd) Telflammar Shadowlord 1: Shadowsight, shadow jump, Quicken: Flee the Scene Telflammar Shadowlord 2: Shadow blur Telflammar Shadowlord 3: Shadow walk Telflammar Shadowlord 4: Shadow pounce, Adaptive Style JPM 1: +1 Man. known (4th) (Searing Blade), arcane wrath, rite of waking JPM 2: Mystic phoenix stance JPM 3: +1 Man. known (5th) (Leaping Flame), +1 Man. readied, Shadow Stride JPM 4: Empowering strike JPM 5: +1 Man. known (6th) (Rallying Strike), +1 stance JPM 6: +1 Man. readied, Firebird stance, Jade Phoenix master, Feat JPM 7: +1 Man. known (7th) (Inferno Blade) JPM 8: Quickening strike
BAB 16; F/R/W: 9/11/11; Casts as Warlock 12 (6d6 blast, 1 Greater invocation)
Thoughts on Tome of Battle’s influence on warlocks by Lilt
Good question, although aside from using generally overpowered abilities or counters to boost defense then I think that the answer is "probably not".
Warlocks don't get the requirements for the only arcane casting PrC of the book, Jade Phoenix Mage, meaning that although the requirements could be grabbed with a dip into another class, it's probably not worth it. Combine this with the fact that they don't get to use the auto-quicken ability (it only works on a spell, not a spell-like), I don't think it's worth it.
Maneuvers generally aren't compatible with the warlock's main source of damage, eldritch blast.
Some of the counters and boosts could be very useful combined with the warlock's abilities, but as most of the useful counters and boosts are higher level you're stuck with having to know useless strikes in-order to get them. Still, anyone can benefit from white raven tactics.
Stances can be useful for anyone, and the +2d6 sneak attack of Assassin’s Stance could be very useful for a warlock who's able to stay invisible all the time. Available through 2 feats by level 12 or a 1-level dip into swordsage at level 9.
Generally, although it adds more options for feats, I don't think there's that much opportunity for synergy.
The value of becoming an apprentice: by Thinblade
Ok, let’s admit it: the d20 system forces us to plan our entire character path at the very beginning. If it didn’t, the CharOp boards wouldn’t exist (or, at least, would be very different). And one of the problems with this is you too-often run into problems getting into the prestige classes you want.
Enter Apprentice, a wonderful feat from the Dungeon Master’s Guide II. It’s first-level only, but adds two skills to your class list permanently, and gives you two skill points to spend on them (check with your DM to see if you continue to gain those skill points past level 1), as well as a bonus associated with the skill.
This suddenly makes formerly hard-to-enter PrC’s much easier. Examples of mentors and the PrC’s they help with are: Entertainer (Virtuoso), Philosopher or Spellcaster (Keeper of the Cerulean Sign), and Woodsman (Cyran Avenger, Sentinal of Bharri, Swanmay).
The drawback is that you need to spend 8 hours each week with your mentor, which can make adventuring hard, and you need to tithe 100 gp to him/her each level.
Once you reach level 5, though, things become more interesting. You graduate, don’t need to tithe or work with your mentor, and can turn your Apprentice feat into the Mentor feat, which gets you a 1st level apprentice you design. Your apprentice needs 8 hours of training a week, doesn’t adventure, and gains a level each time you do. When they get to level 5 (your level 10), they graduate and become a cohort. So you essentially get the Leadership feat for a 1st level feat, provided you’re willing to put in the work (pun intended) over ten levels.
Itemization for a Warlock... by cheezgrater
If I don't list a sourcebook, then it is straight out of the 3.5DMG
Chasuble of Fell Power - boosts damage from your eldritch blast. Buy this. (Complete Arcane)
Warlock's Sceptre - Gives you +2 to hit with ranged touch attacks, and by spending charges you can boost your eldritch blast damage. (Complete Arcane)
Cloak of Charisma - Useful instant boost to your save DCs if you use a lot of save-based invocations
Gloves of Dexterity - Useful for blaster locks and meleelocks that rely on weapon finesse.
Boots of Elvenkind - Warlocks get invisibility invocations. Move silently bonuses can't hurt for those times when sneakiness is the order of the day.
Mithral Full-Plate - with the Battlecaster and Medium Armor Proficiency feats, you can get a really nice AC for your warlock, with no spell failure chance. Enchant this for even better armor.
Belt of Magnificence - Expensive as all get-out, but boosts all 6 stats while taking up only one slot. IIRC, it's 200,000gp for the +6 version, but +6 to every stat is really nice. (Miniatures handbook)
Cloak of Displacement, Minor - all attacks against you have a 20% miss chance. Pretty nice, especially for those warlocks that like to get into melee. This can serve as a replacement for the Entropic Warding invocation (and the item is better since it also works on melee attacks), except that it doesn't make you untrackable
Pale Green Ioun Stone - +1 on attack rolls, saves, skill checks, and ability checks that doesn't require an item slot? Yes, Please!
Orange Ioun Stone - +1 caster level, slotless. Won't give you extra invocations or boost Eldritch Blast damage, but can be useful if you see many enemies with spell resistance.
Manuals and Tomes - +5 inherent bonuses to Dex and Charisma are really nice for a blaster. Con is also nice for a melee lock What more needs to be said? You may also want to consider other books if you have money to burn. Beefing up stats is rarely a bad thing.
Horizon Goggles by FromTheShadows - I'm surprised nobody really noticed the Horizon Goggles in Complete Mage. For a mere 8,000 gp, you get extra range on your blast or invocations as long as they happen to be in a form that uses a ranged attack roll.
Codex Advocare by Tweedledope - Ya'll don't forget the Codex Advocare from the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. It might seem minor but, for 20k it gives you an extra Least invocation known. Sure beats wastin' a feat.
Thoughts on Call of the Beast by Thinblade
This invocation gives wild empathy, the druid/ranger class feature, and the spell speak with animals. It’s notable because it gives a class feature and not just a spell or ability, and can therefore be used to get into PrC’s that would otherwise be unavailable. So far, the only such class in Swanmay, from the Book of Exalted Deeds.
Alternate Class Features Fiendish Flamewreath (PHB II) by Lone Wolf: A replacement for fiendish resilience. Starting at 8th level, 1/day you can immolate yourself in wispy flames that don't hurt you or your gear, but deal 1d6 points of fire damage to any creature that strikes you with its body (I assume this means a natural weapon) or a hand-held weapon. Creatures using reach weapons are not subject to this damage if they attack you. Using the ability is a free action, and it lasts 2 minutes or until you take another free action to end it. The flames provide light equivalent to a torch, but can't be extinguished except by you. This is a supernatural ability. At level 13, the damage done increases to 2d6 points of fire damage. At level 18, it increases to 5d6.
Venomous Blood (Drow of the Underdark) by Lone Wolf: This replaces your Fiendish Resilience at 8th level, and offers a +5 bonus on saves vs. poison; at 13th level, it turns your blood into a poison that affects any creature that bites you or swallows you whole (contact; Fort save DC 10 + 1/2 your warlock level + Cha modifier; 1d3 Str/1d3 Str); and finally at 18th level, allows you to envenom a weapon or your eldritch blast 3/day, with the poison dealing 1d6 Str instead of 1d3. The poison lasts until you make an attack with the weapon or eldritch blast or until the start of your next turn. Does not prevent you from applying blast shape or eldritch essence invocations to your eldritch blast.
Simple Warlock Trick - Wall of Gloom, by Tleilaxu_Ghola: "LoSing" Enemies from Allies: Our DM made some wicked charge monsters. Nothing put the kibosh on a charging monster more than this stupid spell. Simply drop the wall in between your party member and the charging monster. The monster will be unable to target your friend, making it impossible for them to charge. To wit:
If you don't have line of sight to the opponent at the start of your turn, you can't charge that opponent.
If you cannot see the target (for instance, if you're blind or the target is invisible), you can't have line of sight to it even if you could draw an unblocked line between your space and the target's.
It's also a great way to prevent casters from nuking your allies without wasting a move action. Simply sit back, and ready actions to cast another wall of gloom when they finish their move, but before they cast. Even if they move through the wall, you can set up another one in between them and they'll lose LoS, provided they don't appear adjacent to their target (most casters want a bit of space while casting to avoid AoOs).
Many, many thanks to jameswilliamogle for writing this section. Additions were made by Agent Rasp, and are marked with [AR]. I've added a few feats as well, and those are marked by [TB].
Books not in this list: Dragon Magic, Races of the Dragon, Magic of Incarnum, Sandstorm, Frostburn, Complete Psionic, Heroes of Battle, and possibly a few others (so others can jump in and continue).
Ability Focus: Eldritch Blast: This is a great filler feat for later levels, when the Warlock gets access to Utterdark Blast in particular. Its worth taking earlier if you focus all your invocations as essences. ***
Apprentice [TB] (DMG II): A great feat to get into PrC’s with difficult skill requirements, Apprentice is a first-level-only feat can eventually morph into Leadership, but it requires the DM’s blessing and a lot of work (pun intended). Grants extra skill points, makes cross-class skills class skills, and grants a variety of special bonuses depending on the mentor. I’ve included a larger write-up in the Miscellany section. **/*****
Combat Casting [AR]: Some help when casting defensively, but invocations have somatic components and thus can't be attempted in a grapple anyway. High Constitution gives you at least this good a bonus, plus a nice crop of hit points and improved Fortitude, freeing up another feat in the process. Keep up your ranks in Concentration and you'll be fine. *
Combat Expertise [AR]: Only really useful for melee-locks, and then only at higher levels or when multiclassed for better BAB. The Int requirement may be a slight problem, depending on how you roll or buy; personally, I'm too much of a skill freak to ever play a 2 + Int class without taking Int 14 (and usually human, too). * / *** (melee-locks)
Combat Reflexes [AR]: The advent of eldritch glaive may give some potential to this feat, especially for a melee-lock with good Dexterity; I've got a mental image of Morthos facing a line of armored bruisers and going all Tao Ren as they move in, using a repelling glaive to knock 'em flying and avoid being ground to manburgers next round. However, without Dragon Magic, I'm unclear on the mechanics of the invocation. For warlocks without glaive, the feat isn't worth it. * / ?
Empower Spell-Like Ability: I'd only take this if there was absolutely no time for crafting, as the Warlock is very tight on feats. It still can add some ok damage, though. **
Flyby Attack: Your invocations and blast takes a standard action to activate, and thus Spring Attack, Shot on the Run, and Ride by Attack won't work with them. Flyby Attack allows you to make a standard action as part of a flying move action, allowing every invocation, blast, and any other standard action, and has no other feat prerequisites. You need to pick up the Fell Flight invocation, or have a flight speed by virtue of race or template (Avorial, Dragonborn, etc). NOTE: Some DM's won't allow you to take this feat because it isn't in the Player's Hanbook, but the Monster Manual is a core book: ask the DM if they'd allow a high level Wizard to take Craft Construct in return. They'll then counter with "you don't have a fly speed all the time" to which you reply "its 24/7!!" and then throw some Cheetos and cans of soda at him. Then find another group. I'd rate this feat higher than Precise Shot even, it's the best you can get. *****+
Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes [AR]: Somewhat useful at low levels to bolster your poor Fort and Ref saves, but your Con and Dex should be above-average to high anyway, and items outstrip the feats. Dark one's own luck is a better long-term investment. *
Improved Critical (eldritch blast) [AR]: Blast-oriented 'locks should take this feat ASAP (you qualify at 11th level), and others should strongly consider it. It doubles your chances to crit, it applies to all flavors and most forms of eldritch blast (except for cone, doom, and likely line), and you can use it from sunrise to sunset. ****
Improved Feint [AR]: With high Charisma, Bluff as a class skill, and the possibility of a bonus from beguiling influence, melee-locks trying to land a hideous blow can get some use out of this feat when facing high-Dexterity opponents. It might also be useful combined with eldritch glaive, which I gather is a melee touch attack, but touch ACs aren't usually very high to begin with, and a warlock already stands a good chance of hitting even if not optimized. Doesn't really seem worth the trouble. **
Improved Initiative: This is good on every character, but unless you plan on multiclassing with Rogue or a Rogue-like class, I wouldn't waste the feat slot on it. ***
Improved Precise Shot: By the time you can take this, you could choose other feats, and your blasts are starting to lose some effectiveness. The concealment reroll ability is nicer than the cover. **
Improved Sunder: Melee Warlocks could take this along with the Hammer Blast Invocation. You can do some serious sundering when you need to. The feat itself is more useful as a prelude to Combat Brute. **
Leadership: It’s the most overpowered feat in the game, but even then, you might not want to take it, simply b/c it adds more complexity than you want (one optimized character is enough to handle, for me). An artificer buddy is my favorite cohort (and that’s for every non-artificer character I take). * to ******, depending on how you design the cohort.
Point Blank Shot: Mainly useful as a prerequisite for Precise Shot, it gives a +1 to hit and damage when within 30' (Complete Arcane is the source for using feats for Weapon-like effects). Without an item to increase your range, every Blast will have the added damage. **** [indent]Thinblade note: It should be noted that there is a long-running and sometimes acrimonious debate regarding the usefulness of Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot, based around the fact that your blasts are touch attacks, and sooner or later you’ll probably only be missing on an auto-fail. The usefullness of these two feats varies extremely between campaigns, builds, the average touch AC of your opponents, and fighting styles. Be warned, your mileage may vary.[/indent]
Power Attack: You can apply the damage from Power Attack to Eldritch Glaive. That includes damage from Leap Attack, too. This is a must have for any Melee Warlock, along with Quicken SLA: Eldritch Glaive (which you use at the end of your charge). The feat is also useful as a prelude to Shocktrooper (although the feat isn’t as necessary with touch attack rolls only). ****
Precise Shot: Every time you use Eldritch Blast on an enemy that doesn't die right away you'll have to fire into combat. ***** [indent]Thinblade note: It should be noted that there is a long-running and sometimes acrimonious debate regarding the usefulness of Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot, based around the fact that your blasts are touch attacks, and sooner or later you’ll probably only be missing on an auto-fail. The usefullness of these two feats varies extremely between campaigns, builds, the average touch AC of your opponents, and fighting styles. Be warned, your mileage may vary.[/indent]
Quicken Spell-Like Ability: Can be used w/ Flee the Scene to great effect as an exit strategy, but also works well as the Teflammar Shadowlord Prestige Class Prerequisite. Also great to use with Eldritch Glaive, as it grants 2 full attacks using that invocation in a single round. Other than these specific invocations, the utility isn't quite as good. ****
Skill Focus: UMD: Don't take it on a Warlock; by the time you can create items, your UMD check should be high enough, and the ability to take 10 mitigates low rolls. 0
Spell Penetration [AR]: A build with uninterrupted caster level progression can get by (especially if you take penetrating blast), but if you've taken levels in non-caster classes, consider this feat to make up some of the difference against spell resistant foes. Greater Spell Penetration might be a bit much, unless you took a big hit on caster levels or the DM favors massive SR monsters. ***
Weapon Focus: Ray: Generally not worth the spent feat, this might be useful as a prerequisite for other feat or Prestige Classes. *
Psionic Shot: The basis for most blast-based builds. This is the crown jewel that's used over and over in many builds. It expends your psionic focus, so you'll need to take Psionic Meditation below to be able to use it every round. ****
Greater Psionic Shot: Adds more damage to Psionic Shot, but since it takes up another feat slot, not quite as good. ***
Psionic Meditation: Needed by most characters taking Psionic Shot to refocus as a move action. Useful only to these characters. ****
Wild Talent: Necessary in many builds to generate the prereq for Psionic Shot, but also can meet the prereq for Thrallherd if you want to use the sacrificial rules from BoVD to make items. Its useless to anyone else that doesn't use either of these. **
Mind Over Body: Only useful for Warlocks that want to take Darkspeech for turning their Summoned Swarms into Hive Minds, and only mildly useful for that (a level of Binder or becoming Undead works much better). *
Psionic Weapon, Greater Psionic Weapon: Similar to Psionic Shot, but is only remotely useful to melee-Warlock builds. Since you have to expend your focus every time you use it, you'll never get a full round of attacks out of it (past 5th level, of course). Not worth the feat slots. *
The Warlock gets the ability to create any item that they have the item creation feat with a UMD check. If you plan on making any items when you get the ability, its always better to take Able Learner at 1st level and dip 2 levels of Chameleon, as the 2nd level ability grants any feat you meet the prereq's for 24 hours. If you can't take Chameleon due to the campaign, then here's a quick ranking of the PHB item creation feats:
Brew Potion: Buy them, don't make them. 1/2*
Craft Magic Arms And Armor: You can wear light armor, after all, and the tank will love you, but generally not as synergistic as the other crafting feats. **
Craft Rod: Not good enough for a feat, but worth it if you burn through Warlock's Scepters often. *+1/2
Craft Staff: They need to hold at least 2 spells, and many DMs don't allow custom staffs. Even then the fire staff is still cheap for what it does. Add a few 0 level spells along with the real spell you want to keep the cost low for custom staffs. Staffs in general are better than Wands as you can use your Cha to boost the DC. *** without custom staffs, **** with custom staffs
Craft Wand: By the time you can make them, they're losing utility. Slightly better than Craft Staff if custom staffs aren't allowed. Don't make wands for blasting for yourself: you've got Eldritch Blast. Instead, make useful utility wands. ***+1/2
Craft Wondrous Item: Always decent, but many items are cheap enough to buy. ***+1/2
Forge Ring: Better if you can make custom rings, but usually still sucks. * with custom rings, otherwise 1/2*
Scribe Scroll: A good feat to have, even with Chameleon, as it allows you to scribe any spell in the game in an emergency. ****+1/2
Craft Construct: A Warlock with a bunch of crafting Homonculi and Golems would make for an interesting character, but its just not worth the feat prerequisites to get this. *
Craft Contingent Spell (CArc): Its good on normal casters, so why wouldn’t it work here? There’s nothing like having a Divine Power saved for the first time you enter combat to really kick arse. ***
Craft Rune Circle: I find the Rune Circles a little expensive to make. Still, there’s some abuses for it. I rate this about equal with Craft Arms and Armor. **
Dual Wand Wielder (CArc): It’s got a bad prereq for Warlocks, although they usually can meet it. You don’t want to rely this heavily on Wands. *
Reckless Wand Wielder (CArc), Wand Mastery (Eb): You don’t want to rely this much on wands. Just wait until you can make staffs instead. *
Magical Artisan, Legendary Artisan, Extraordinary Artisan: These feats are just nominally approved on Artificers, so why would you take them? **
Feats from Lords of Madness:
Aberration Banemagic [TB]: Highly campaign specific and requires DM permission since it doesn’t mention invocations, this can be an AWESOME feat if you’re fighting aberrations with anything like regularity. +2d6 damage and +2 DC with ALL invocations whenever used against aberrations. Stacks with anything else that increases damage or DC, like Vitriolic Blast (though obviously not Moralbane). Especially useful with area effects, like Chilling Tentacles. ** / ***** (depending on how often you fight aberrations)
Aberration Blood [Aberrant]* [AR]: The "gateway" Aberrant feat. On its own, it's Skill Focus with an associated deformity, and not really much use to a warlock. Skip it unless you intend to take more Aberrant feats. *
Bestial Hide [Aberrant] [AR]: The fact that the natural armor bonus increases as you take more Aberrant feats is nice, but it costs too much for a warlock to find useful. *
Deepspawn [Aberrant] [AR]: Yay, tentacles! But seriously, three feats for two low-damage tentacle attacks and a small grapple bonus is so-so at best; you're better off with chilling tentacles. ** / **** (if you like tentacles)
Durable Form [Aberrant] [AR]: Gaining extra hit points as you take more Aberrant feats isn't a bad deal, but Improved Toughness is worth more in the long run. **
Inhuman Reach [Aberrant] [AR]: Eldritch blast and eldritch glaive are vastly better ways to reach out and touch somebody. 0
Inhuman Vision [Aberrant] [AR]: All-seeing eyes beats the heck out of the Spot bonus; ditto for devil's sight or see the unseen and the short-range darkvision. 0
Parrying Shield [AR]: No help for warlocks unless they've gained shield proficiency, but VERY useful for characters with a good shield bonus and poor touch AC. 0 for normal warlock / **** if you can use a shield
Quick Recovery [AR]: The ability to throw off stunning and dazing effects is very nice, especially since you can try to shake off effects that didn't allow a save when they occurred. ****
Scavenging Gullet [Aberrant] [AR]: The bonus vs ingested poisons and diseases is appropriate for the (ahem) flavor of the feat, but I've never been in a situation where it would have helped. *
Starspawn [Aberrant] [AR]: Limited flight, minor cold resistance, and immunity to some conditions caused by high altitude is a so-so bonus for having to give up three feats. Fell flight is better. *
Warped Mind [Aberrant] [AR]: The Force of Personality feat from Complete Adventurer gives you the same sort of bonus on Will saves, but more of it, and all up-front. Extra psionic power points are pointless for a warlock. 0
Waterspawn [Aberrant] [AR]: Swimming the Styx will give you all the benefits of this feat except for the slight cold resistance. 0
* The Aberrant feats work best if you take them for thematic reasons rather than mechanical ones. Although intended to reflect a character's (distant) aberration ancestry, they could be used to show a fiendish origin instead.
Feats from Heroes of Horror
Blood Calls to Blood [AR]: This fiend-focused feat is right up the warlock's alley in terms of flavor and function; the only catch is deciding whether or not warlocks qualify as spontaneous arcane spellcasters. If you're in a fiend-heavy campaign, see if you can get the DM to fudge the prereqs a bit. ****
Debilitating Strike [Tainted]* [AR]: This one could be useful for a melee-lock who wants to maul good outsiders and other DR/evil opponents. The ability to damage Constitution and/or Wisdom is nice, too, but the limited uses per day could be a serious hindrance, if they apply to the entire feat and not just the ability damage. ***
Disease Immunity [AR]: If your DM likes biowarfare and cure disease is scarce, this feat can help you and your entire party. Taking it more than once would be overdoing it, though. **
Dreamtelling [AR]: This feat is useless unless the DM has introduced a "dream world" into the campaign. If that's the case, it's handy for dealing with the related weirdness, especially since Knowledge (the planes) is a class skill for warlocks. Not the greatest warlock feat overall, however. 0 or ***
Font of Life [AR]: If energy-draining enemies are anything like common in your campaign world, take this feat. The ability to shrug off a negative level the moment you get it is godly. *****
Lunatic Insight [Tainted]* [AR]: Use all Knowledge skills untrained, plus get a modest initiative bonus and a save bonus vs mind-affecting effects. Not bad. ***
Master of Knowledge [AR]: A flat bonus to all Knowledge checks. Not really that good unless you can use all the Knowledge skills. **
Pure Soul* [AR]: A nice way to avoid physical degeneration and insanity without paying for magical treatment. True, a warlock in a horror campaign should be the one most susceptible to the effects of taint, but the idea of the opposite being true -that the cleric and paladin fall prey to ever-increasing corruption and depravity while the warlock remains unaffected- is darkly amusing. *****
Spirit Sense [AR]: You see dead people. Cheap movie references aside, the bonus to Spot incorporeal creatures is somewhat useful; last I checked, however, such beasties were silent unless they wanted to be heard, making Listen checks (and bonuses thereof) rather irrelevant. The short time-frame for seeing recently dead spirits seems kind of useless too. **
Surge of Malevolence [Tainted]* [AR]: This is like a variant of action points, and it only gets more effective as you turn more corrupt or depraved. Too bad it's only once per day. **
Tainted Fury [Tainted]* [AR]: Gain extra hit points, make a smite attack, and risk Con damage at the end of the rage-like period. A warlock can find use for this feat whether he favors melee or has been dragged into it against his will, but the post-fury hp loss and Con damage is something to watch out for. ****
Unnatural Will [AR]: Charisma modifier + Wisdom modifier on Will saves vs fear? Interesting thought, but I'd rather just take Force of Personality (again), and free up the feat that would have gone to Iron Will. *
* Pure Soul and the Tainted feats are useless if the rules for taint aren't in effect.
Feats from Complete Mage
Battlecaster Defense [Tactical] [AR]: This feat specifies the casting of spells, but could be converted for a warlock's use with no pain at all, beyond the Combat Casting requirement. ***
Battlecaster Offense [Tactical] [AR]: The flip side of the previous feat, just not as useful. Same caveats. **
Delay Potion [AR]: The only reason I'd take this feat would be so I could walk around with a cure spell in reserve. Since warlocks can manage just as well with UMD, why bother? *
Favored Magic Foe [AR]: A little narrow, but not entirely poor. Your class skill list allows you to meet the requirements for several common enemy types. ***
Magic Device Attunement [AR]: Being able to activate one magical item without further UMD checks sounds nice in theory (especially since you can switch your attunement to a different item), but in practice, no warlock should be worried about failing UMD checks. **
Master of Undeath [AR]: This is a great feat for a warlock with the dead walk, provided that you can find sufficiently big, powerful, and dead creatures to reanimate. Or you can animate one big bruiser and a lot of lesser troops; either way is good, and if you do things right, it's unlikely that the big guy will survive long enough to break free and eat your brains. Mmmm. Brains. 0 without the dead walk / **** with
Feats Tome of Magic
Bind Vestige [AR]: Bind one of five vestiges and gain a minor supernatural power for up to 24 hours. Sort of like Extra Invocation, except that the powers are only interrupted by antimagic, and you can bind a different vestige each day. The powers themselves aren't much to speak of except at low levels; thematically, though, this is the sort of ability a warlock would be expected to have. ***
Defense Against the Supernatural [AR]: An insight bonus on saves vs supernatural special attacks. If you run into such things often, it'll help; if not, skip it. **
Empower, Enlarge, Extend, and Quicken Utterance [AR]: Unless you multiclass as a truenamer, you burn far too many feats just qualifying for these. 0
Empower, Enlarge, Extend, and Widen Supernatural Ability [AR]: None of these are helpful to a warlock, even if he has Bind Vestige. A binder/warlock might find them useful. 0
Focused Lexicon [AR]: Too narrowly focused to be useful to anyone without binder levels. 0
Improved Bind Vestige [AR]: Opens up eight new supernatural powers you can gain by binding a vestige. They're a bit better than the previous ones. ***
Minor Utterance of the Evolving Mind [AR]: Choose one of four 1st-level utterances, each of which is equivalent to two spells. You have to spend 12 skill points or 6 points and a feat to get this, but some of the utterances are pretty useful. ***
Obscure Personal Truename [AR]: A minor benefit, useful vs enemy truenamers. The notion that your truename is somehow protected (perhaps by the pact that gives you eldritch power) is thematically appealing. Having to spend 12 skill points or 6 skill points and another feat is too rich for this, though. **
Personal Truename Backlash [AR]: The effect is interesting, but minor for something you can only gain at 15th level or higher. By this point, you have better things to spend feats on. *
Practiced Binder [AR]: You gain two abilities for binding a vestige. Combine with Improved Bind Vestige and you can obtain some useful abilities, but really not enough for burning three feats. **
Sudden Ability Focus [AR]: Once per day, you add the benefit of Ability Focus to any one special attack you have. It stacks with regular Ability Focus, and you can take it multiple times for extra uses. Nifty. ***
Supernatural Crusader [AR]: The offensive version of Defense Against the Supernatural. About as useful. **
Supernatural Opportunist [AR]: Gain a sneak attack against threatened enemies that use a supernatural ability. You need Supernatural Crusader as a prereq. Not that helpful for a warlock. *
Truename Research [AR]: The effect of this feat is too specialized to be useful for any warlock who doesn't have ranks of truenamer. 0
Truename Training [AR]: Truespeak becomes a class skill. Doesn't help warlocks at all, except to make feats with Truespeak rank prereqs easier to afford. *
Utterance of the Crafted Tool, the Evolving Mind, and the Perfected Map [AR]: The utterances you can pick up from these feats are handy, but the prereqs are just too costly for a warlock. *
Able Learner (RoD): Mainly useful as a prerequisite for Chameleon, which will give some great diversity to the Warlock. If you plan on multi-classing a lot, it’s a great feat, but otherwise just meh. I don’t consider it worth taking if you don’t plan on getting into Chameleon. **
Battlecaster (CA): Most useful to Melee Warlocks, who can use it to wear Mithril Fullplate. Usually they don’t have as many free feats for it, though. ***
Combat Brute (CWar): As Shocktrooper; generally Shocktrooper is taken before this feat. ***
Dark Speech (Hordes of the Abyss): This feat breaks the game (Elephant Jack made this discovery). You can use it with Summon Swarm to generate a Sorcerer that can cast 6th level spells immediately, that can summon more powerful swarms to generate a chain of more and more powerful casters, all under your control (if you do it right). Expect to get chips and soda in your hair after you come to the table with this. *****+++ (broke, as in beyond Druid broke)
Defensive Archery (RotW): A feat to give +4 AC when provoking with a ranged attack? It might be useful for a few levels when your damage is actually worth a damn, but not worth the slot in the long run. *
Diving Charge (RotW): +2d6 damage when charging from flying. Neat for Melee Warlocks, it still would be a tight fit to put this in a standard build. **
Extraordinary Spell Aim (CAdv): Many DM’s won’t allow you to use this, as your Invocations aren’t spells. It’s a nice feat if they do allow it, as it allows you to nicely manipulate your Chilling Touch effects. **
Extra Invocation (CA): A great feat if you have room for it. Generally better to take after you have access to Greater and Dark Invocations. ****
Frightful Presence (Draconomicon): A nice Cha-synergy effect for Melee Warlocks. Only works on charges, but the DC is cha based. I’d add it after a few other charging feats. ***
Leap Attack (CAdv): See Power Attack above. Very useful to Melee Warlocks. ***+1/2
Maximize Spell-like Ability (CA): The main advantage of this feat is that it makes your Eldritch Blast easier to use in combat at higher level (you don’t have to count as many die). Not really worth the feat slot. ***
Mobile Spellcasting (CAdv): Don’t take this if you have access to Flyby Attack. It also specifies spells, not SLAs so you need DM fiat to make it work. You do get more movement out of this than Flyby Attack, normally, though. ***
Mortalbane (BoVD): An extra 2d6 damage to anything not a Construct or Undead or Outsider, and 1/2 to them. If allowed (it’s 3.0), better than Psionic Shot simply because it doesn’t require a power point reserve, psionic focus, or a prereq feat. *****
Neraph Charge (PlH): This is a very useful feat for Rogue / Warlocks that want to melee. Its not horrid on Melee Warlocks, as it renders the opponents you charge flat-footed. Theres worse ways to spend a feat. *+1/2
Plunging Shot (RotW): Another +d6 damage feat if you fly. I have nothing else to say about it. **
Shocktrooper (CWar): Melee Warlocks will find it useful, for obvious reasons, but not surprisingly, its not as useful as in normal melee builds since you only have to roll touch attacks. The prereq feat, Imp Bull Rush, isn’t quite that useful. ***
Tomb-tainted Soul (LM): You can heal with an Utterdark Blast, but by the time you get that, its not worth taking. Just become a Necropolitan instead for the same effect. *
Undead Leadership (LM): See Leadership above. * to *****
Basic Builds: [indent]This isn’t every build here on the boards, but it feels like it . I’ve liberally used spoiler blocks in an attempt to keep this thread at least a little managealbe. I’ve also split what used to be one post into two, to avoid posting limits. This first post are more basic builds, with advanced builds and those requiring somewhat questionable tricks following in the second post. - - Thinblade[/indent]
Basic Human Warlock 20 (EB Focused) by Tealgorthian
1 Warlock 1 Sacred Vow, Education 2 Warlock 2 3 Warlock 3 Vow of Poverty 4 Warlock 4 Nymph's Kiss 5 Warlock 5 6 Warlock 6 Point Blank Shot, Vow of Obedience 7 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 1 8 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 2 Consecrate Spell-like Ability 9 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 3 Precise Shot 10 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 4 Purify Spell-like Ability 11 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 5 12 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 6 Ability Focus (Eldritch Blast), (Free Exalted Feat) 13 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 7 14 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 8 (Free Exalted Feat) 15 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri 9 Quicken Spell-like Ability (Eldritch Blast) 16 Warlock 6/Sentinal of Bharri10 (Free Exalted Feat) 17 Warlock 7/Sentinal of Bharri10 18 Warlock 8/Sentinal of Bharri10 (Free Exalted Feat) Maximize Spell-Like ability (Eldritch Blast) 19 Warlock 9/Sentinal of Bharri10 20 Warlock10/Sentinal of Bharri10 (Free Exalted Feat)
Benifits: Spells dont damage trees, Tracks, 4 forms of Energy Resistance 10, Hide in Plain Sight in woods, with a +10 bonus, Bear Shapes, Healing ability, summon dire bears 1/week, quickened call lightning as spell-like ability, quickened lightning storm as a spell like ability. Cons: Lose of half your Warlock abilities, reduction in BAB, Fort and Ref saves, feat issues.
Warlock/Teflammar Shadowlord Build by Eytan Note: build requires the Spell Hand Feat(CA).
For the biggest bang for your buck in the shadowlord combo is:
That gives 7d6 Eldritch blast (9d6 with greater chausuble), 6d6 Sneak attack, 3 least/3 lesser/2 greater invocations, shadow pounce, 3rd level spells, shadowlord discorporation, and some other neat abilities. Some people go for rogue 3 for evasion and more skills and also take the 6th level in shadowlord for the death attack, but I think this build is more exact.
The invocations I would take are:
Least: Hideous Blow, See the Unseen, Baleful Utterance Lesser: Flee the Scene, Walk Unseen, Fell Flight Greater: Devour Magic, Vitriolic Blast
I am avoiding blast shapes mostly because this is a melee build. I've actually considered enervating shadow, but I just don't think it's worth if, even for a melee build that moves around constantly.
Various Builds from Mommy was an Orc
I like the following Warlock builds: Rogue 1/Warlock 12/Daggerspell Mage 7 - +3d6 Sneak, 18th level Warlock, still gets Imbue Item. Very effective with Chain and retributive invis. With Able Learner, can be a solid party Rogue, too.
Hexblade 2/Warlock 18 - +11 to all saves vs spells at high level.
Warlock 16/Green Star Adept - basically gets 4 DR/--
Warlock Theme Builds by Scrollreader
I've been playing around with the Warlock, and found (I think) some very nice and interesting PrCs for them, and some nifty combinations. Each of theme is themed for a certain role, and is, IMO, decently, if not expertly optimized. Lemme know what you think, especially ways to tweak them further. Thanks.
The Apt Pupil. Human Warlock 10/Disciple of Asmodeus 10
Owns: Greater Chasuble of Fell Power, Warlocks Scepter (multiple)
Capable of Tossing out a 15d6 blast all day long, he can make it 17d6 10 times a day, and can use one his Warlock's Scepters for up to 21d6. Half of which is Vile. Ow. Oh. And he gets some invocations, too. Also worth noting that he can really make the most out of fell flight, when he needs to.
True Necromancer by Xaktsaroth/u] Spellstiched Necropolitan (Human)
Use The Dead Walk for suprisingly effective and buffed emergency support, or fodder. Alternatively, use the dead walk and then eldritch blast skeletons to death to heal yourself. It's not like it costs anything. Also gets a nice suite of necrothemed things from True Necromancer, and rebukes undead. Bolster yourself!
[u]Attempt at a melee/battlefield control warlock: by HoshiAdam
Hmm, random thought (which has probably been done before): Illumian w/White Dragonspawn template (bought off) with the improved Krau sigil - Warlock 9/Ur-priest 2/Mystic Theurge 9: gets you 2 dark invocations and 9th level divine spells, plus all the other brokenness from the dragonspawn template
1,H: PBS, Precise Shot ('cause ya gotta) 3 Scribe Scroll ('cause it's better to have as soon as you can craft) 6 Flyby Attack (w/ Fell Flight: it's better than having SprAttack, Mobile Spellcasting, and Shot on the Run!) 9 Craft Wonderous Item ('cause it fits here well) 12 Craft Staff ('cause your DC's are better than a Wand's) 15 Extraordinary Spell Aim (for keeping those Tentacles from groping that hot elven sorceress you run with) 18 Quicken SLA: (pick your favorite invocation)
The Standard Eldritch Disciple by LogicNinja and NatchFeral LogicNinja posted a build for the Eldritch Disciple that I thought could be expanded on here, and certainly deserved to be a part of this thread.
* With Divine Magician (CM) and Spontaneous Domain (PHII) alternate class features. Gets the Knowledge domain, plus one other of your choise. I recommend Trickery, so you can Polymorph Any Object at into an outsider.
BAB +11 Saves +12/+5/+18 Invocations as Warlock 16 (1 Dark, 3 each of Greater, Lesser, Least) Spells as Cleric 18 Choice of Abjuration, Divination, and Necromancy spells from Sor/Wiz list, one for each spell level added to cleric spell list.
Recommended Feats: Human: Zen Archery or Mortalbane (depending on your Dex) Level 1: Ability Focus (eldritch blast) Level 3: Extend Spell Level 6: Craft Wondrous Item (the best item creation feat for warlocks) Level 9: Quicken Spell Level 12: Persistent Spell Level 15: Divine Metamagic Persistent Spell Level 18: Extra Invocation (lesser)
Recommended Sor/Wiz Spells from Divine Magician, by level: 1. Shield 2. Protection From Arrows 3. Ray of Exaustion/Undead Lieutenant 4. Ray of Deanimation 5. Magic Jar/Duelward 6. Globe of Invulnerability/Fleshshiver 7. Spell Turning/Anitmagic Ray/Avasculate 8. Mind Blank/Avascular Mass/Bestow Greater Currse/Blackfire 9. Prismatic Sphere/Maw of Chaos/Reaving Dispel/ Mord's Disjunction/Eye of Power
Eldritch Disciple/Enlightened Soul by Timespike
I know much has been made of the warlock class, but I haven't seen a whole lot of use being gotten out of the new PrCs, so here's my attempt at a good-aligned cleric warlock. I've stirred in a bit of incarnum, but I'm sure you could do just as well without it.
Some notes: The clerical casting is most assuredly the sideline for this character; this is a warlock first and a cleric second.
Pros: cleric spells, nice abilities from PrCs (aura of courage, aura of menace, holy blast, healing blast) BAB of 14, Saves are quite solid for will (+16) and Fortitude (+11), Eldritch Blast of 8d6 (only 1d6 less than a warlock 20)
Cons: Stunted access to invocations (least and lesser only), bad reflex save (+4), no decieve item feature.
Further notes: My kingdom for just ONE greater invocation! Getting Incarnum Blast in there would be fantastic for this build.
Scar Enforcer Builds by surreal
Half-Elf ranger 1/warlock6/scar enforcer 10/Eldeen Ranger 4(Greensinger) - would like to fit in half-elf bard sub 1 somewhere - get cha to saves, 1 greater invocation, sneaky ranger-ish, smites, sneak attack, hide in plain sight, disguise self
half-elf ranger 1/warlock 4/scar enforcer 8/master of the yuirwood 4/corrupt avenger 3 - get BAB 16, saves 12/7/12 + cha, 1 greater invocation, smite 3/day and tainted strike 1/day, sneak 2d6, disguise self, HiPS, - favoured enemy (human & elf) and sworn foe, good skills (102 + 23*Int), uncanny dodge, pass without trace, 2nd level arcane spells - play style is fairly open... probably more suited to the social role
A lot of your feats are tied up here, and you get only 1 greater invocation, but there are hidden perks. If you have a use magic device score of 10 (which you should be able to get, you can automatically succeed in activating wands. Warforged don't need free hands to activate wands thanks to the Wand Sheath component (EbCS). Now get a Wand of Wraithstrike and and power attack away with your big sword. You also get 3 +20 damage smites per day. A Wand of Repair damage is also recommended. If you take the acid blast essence thing for your greater invocation, you don't need to worry about SR, and it fits the theme like a glove. You can replace the Occult Slayer level with something else if you like.
Warlock Avenger by TacticsPlanner
I like the idea of a Human Psychic Warrior 1/Warlock 12/ Chameleon 2/Cyran Avenger 5with the typical blasting feats using the Chameleon feat for item creation and adapting to the adventure using things like Extra Invocation and the myriad of feats too specific to take normally.
The 5d6 Avenging Strike to ranged attacks (yay for weapon-like spell-like abilities!) Cha Mod times/day is awesome. All you need to do is wait for someone in your party to get hp damaged to use it.
You could also swap out the Psychic Warrior level for Fighter (16 bab), Rogue, Changeling Rogue, Mindbender, or anything else your party needs to help this fit in.
The Eldritch TheUr-Lock by NatchFeral
Warlock 9/Ur-Priest 2/Eldritch Disciple 9 Abilities: Invocations as Warlock 18 (2 Dark Invocations) Cleric Spells as Ur-Priest 10 (9th level cleric spells) Rebuke Undead BAB +13 Saves: +6/+6/+15
Variant: Warlock 8/Ur-Priest 2/Eldritch Disciple 8/Chameleon 2 Abilities: Invocations as Warlock 16 (1 Dark Invocation) Cleric Spells as Ur-Priest 10 (9th level cleric spells) Rebuke Undead BAB +14
Mystic Wanderer (MoF) is a nice 2 level dip, as well. Cha as a sacred/profane bonus to AC, plus a familiar.
Tricks: - Use Miracle to dupe Body Outside Body, Use Divine Metamagic Persistant Spell and a rod of Extend Spell to make it last 48 hours. Boosting caster level will get you 4-5 clones. All can use the Warlock Invocations. Multiple uses of Miracle can get you up to 30 clones. The Chameleon floating feat can allow the clones to customize themselves with Extra Invocation. Astral Projection can net lots of duplicate equipment for your clones to use. -Make any magic item in the game aside from golems (Variant Build)
Tricklock by leif008
I figured out one easy way for a Rogue/Warlock to meet the requirements for the Arcane Trickster Prc since it only requires the ability to cast 2 spells which can be met by spell-like abilities (pg 72 Carc). Mage hand is gained from the Spell hand feat, and the ability to cast Daylight gained from the Aasimar race which is a 3rd level arcane spell.
The build is a ranged Aasimar warlock using sneak attack. I've listed the build with the +1 ECL paid off. The way to ultimately munchkin out the character is to add the Dark Creature Template, so he gains +10 movement speed, 10 cold resistance, and the coveted Hide in Plain Sight ability. Surprise round Sneak Attack Eldritch Blast, next turn: Move + hide in plain sight, fire off a Sneak Attack Eldritch Blast, etc. If you wind up using the Dark Creature Template switch out Walk Unseen, Miasmic Cloud, Retributive Invisibility, and Nightmares Made Real for invocations that aren't redundant in purpose.
My group always plays with bonus feats gained every odd level but we don't play with flaws. So if you play with the standard feat progression remove some extra invocations.
Benefits: 9th level sublime chord spells Invocations as Warlock 18 Able to cast all spells in light armor. DR 4/cold iron Fiendish Resiliance 2 Spellblast Greatreach Blast
Variations: Warlock levels 5-8 could be any prestige class that advances warlock casting, so Mindbender, Blood Magus, etc. could be added. Chameleon 2 would still allow for a single Dark Invocation. Binder 1 could substitute for a Warlock level, then Anima Mage at level 3, provided Improved Binding is taken as the level 3 feat. Use Anima Mage 6 to replace the remaining Warlock levels, advancing both Warlock Invocations and Binding. That gives access to 4th level vestiges.
Tricks: Nothing special, aside from the easy entry into Sublime Chord. All of the other Warlock tricks still apply to this build, especially if Extra Spell can nab Body out of Body.
Invocations of note: Hideous Blow Greater Spellreach (from Eldritch Theurge)
Feats of note: Practiced Spellcaster (Wizard) Practiced Spellcaster (Warlock, to boost versus SR) Anything to increase Evocation or Cold caster level by 1 Wild Talent Psionic Weapon Greater Psionic Weapon
Equipment of note: Spellstoring weapon of some kind Greater Chaucible of Fell Power - +2d6 Eldritch Blast
Cast a Scorching Ray into the weapon (12d6) Channel a Polar Ray into the weapon (20d6 if there is a boost to cold or evocation)
In combat, cast a True Strike, then move to within 10' of an opponent. Next round, 5' step into them, and use a Hideous Blow shape /Greater Spellreach essence Eldritch Blast, doing: 8d6 Eldritch Blast 4d6 Psionic Weapon 12d6 Scorching Ray (stored) 20d6 Polar Ray (channeled) 20d6 Polar Ray (Greater Spellreach) Weapon damage
Or, 64d6 + weapon damage. All but 12d6 is subject to SR, sadly. However, this is only a first swing at the idea. Other spells could work also.
Abjurant Champion build by PonTelon Dunno if this has been pointed out yet, but for a level 15 game I'm going to run:
Basically the Sorc is there to qualify and provide Mage Armor/Shield to beef up AC. This is going melee focused taking the Lesser Invocation: Eldritch Glaive from Dragon Magic. Invocations I'm looking at are: Eldritch Blast: 7d6 Invocations: Least: 3 - Eldritch Glaive (DM)melee touch, can get full attack. - See the Unseen(CA) - Baleful Utterance(CA) Lesser: 3 - Deteriorating Blast(level 4)(DM)- Fort or -5 DR 1 min - Relentless Dispelling(4)(DM)- Dispell magic 2r - Flee the Scene (CA) *Fell Flight(CA) Greater: 2 - Hellspawned Grace(CM) - Wall of Perilous Flame(CA)
So I have: 13/8/3 Eldritch Glaive(7d6) without stats or anything else added in.
No idea what you should take for the last few levels..perhaps finishing out Dragonslayer for the BAB and +arcane (applied to warlock of course)
The Warlock Daggerspell Mage Build by Mommy was an Orc
Human Rogue 2/Fighter 1/Warlock 4/Daggerspell Mage 8/Nightsong Enforcer 4/Master Thrower 1 28 point buy: Str 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 8 +16 BAB, +5d6 Sneak Saves of 6/16/11
Notes: 8 Charisma - except for the Sickening Blast, there's really nothing which relies on DC at all.
At 20th level, does a 6d6 Eldritch Blast - by being in a Sneak Attack situation, does 15d6+1(6d6+4d6 extra+5d6 Sneak+1) with the primary target. 10d6+1(3d6+2d6 extra+5d6 Sneak+1) damage to the secondary ones.
In situations where there's 1 target, uses thrown daggers or a bow to generate lots of sneak attacks as a +16 BAB, 5d6 Sneak character with a very high dexterity.
it is possible to replace the 1 Fighter level and Master Thrower 1 with 2 levels of Rogue - the problem for me in doing that is significantly delaying Precise Shot.
Has 120 Skill Points as a base, 189 once you include human+14 Int. Enough to max out 8 skills.
Eldritch Disciple by NatchFeral
BoED/Vow of Poverty will get you treat your Eldritch Blast as a +5/good-aligned weapon. I don't think that works well with the warlock, who relies on magic items for her abilities. I don't think Enlightened Soul is worth it, either.
Invocations as Warlock 14 (3 Least, 3 Lesser, 2 Greater) Spells as Cleric 15 (8th level spells) Cha as Sacred Bonus to AC Familiar (improve this by taking Celestial Familiar (coure eladrin)) who can also UMD. Access to Deceive Item Better saves Access to Open and Bound Chakras using cleric spells from Magic of Incarnum. No need to waste feats here.
BAB +14 SAVES +12/+8/+18
Your familiar has Magic Circle Against Evil to protect you. Get a Starmantle Cloak, since you are a good guy, and a ring of Evasion. Ignore weapon damage. Use the spell Stone Body (SpC) to ignore crits, sneak attacks, ability score damage, poison, drowning, etc. Use Divine Power and Poly Any Obj to turn your familiar into a tough outsider.
Chargelock by cheezgrater
(Melee Build) Credit must be given to Tempest Stormwind and his UbERcharger for inspiring this build
Race: Human Class Fighter 4 / Warlock 16 (You get one Dark Invocation, Baby!)
Feats: Battle Jump Battlecaster Headlong Rush Improved Bull Rush Improved Critical (Scythe) Leap Attack Monkey Grip Power Attack Power Lunge Run Shock Trooper
Weapon: +5 Valorous Large Scythe
Equipment: Greater Chausuble, Manual of Gainful Exercise +5, Belt of Giant Strength +6
Assuming you started with an 18 strength, this gives you a total strength of 34 (+12).
Make an UbERleapingcharge of doom with Hideous Blow. Damage: 4x (2d6 + 5 + (Str x 2) + (PowerAttack x 3) +Eldritch Blast + Chausuble) Crit on 19-20 7x (2d6 + 5 + (Str x 2) + (PowerAttack x 3) +Eldritch Blast + Chausuble)
Now, using the 34 strength score, 9d6 eldritch blast for a lvl 16 warlock with a greater chausuble, and assuming a 10 point power attack (you can use heedless charge to put part of the penalty to AC instead of attack roll if you need to). Average Damage = 390 Average Crit = 682.5
Note that this build can also wear (mitrhal)full-plate with no spell failure. I also did not calculate any buffs or extra weapon enhancements, which could potentially massively boost damage from this.
As a level 16 warlock, he can take 10 on UMD checks, and he has 10 invocations including 1 dark invocation.
I suggest grabbing the Leaps and Bounds invocation since this build uses lots of Jump checks.
If you wanted to trade off the dark invocation for a couple more fighter levels, the extra feats would let you get Quicken Spell Like Ability (Flee the Scene). This would be a nasty combo even though damage was reduced. Charge w/massive damage, and then dimension-door out of the range in the same round).
If you pump up your Charisma as well as Strength, Repelling Blast could make this even nastier (Charge with damage, Reflex save or victim is blown backwards and knocked prone).
So when you start grabbing buffs, you could dish out some severe damage with a meleelock!
Warlock/Wizard/Cleric by LiamDeclan
(End result is a cleric of 7/ Wizard of 11/ Warlock of 18)
To get the most out of what you want you can try this little trick.
Take the Illumian race from Races of Destiny, choose the krau sigil as one of your racial abilities.
Start off with this Cleric 1/Wizard 1/Warlock 1 now for feats at first level take the Improved Power Sigil Krau feat (also in Races of Destiny) this feat allows you to choose any 2 spells and from that point on they are cast at 1 spell level higher than their actual level. You can change the spells selected at anytime you gain new spells. So when you gain that wizard level choose 1 of the arcane spells along with 1 of your divine spells. Now you can cast 2nd level arcane and divine spells.
Okay now we have 3 character levels and the ability to cast 2nd level arcane/divine spells getting you into Mystic Theurge. Further your character progression by doing this: Cleric 1/Wizard 1/Warlock 1/Mystic Theurge 2 Use the mystic to up your Cleric and Warlock levels. Now you further the progression by going into Eldritch Theurge and Eldritch Disciple Cleric 1/Wizard 1/Warlock 1/Mystic 2/Eldritch Theurge 10/Eldritch Disciple 5
So end result is a cleric of 7/ Wizard of 11/ Warlock of 18
You can do the same with Sorcerer and you would have a Sorcerer of 10 losing that 6th level spell that a Wizard would have had.
Gives 2 dark invocations, 8d6 blast, +2 Charisma and lots of bard song goodies. The bonus feat is a godsend as well.
The fey heritage feats from Complete Mage may not be a power gamers delight but they aren't awful if you get stuck playing a lot of low character level games they can be quite nice.
Fey Heritage, nothing special, prereq for others
Fey Legacy, 9th level, confusion, summon nature ally V, dimension door once a day. Full range dimension door, and you may not have flee the scene at this point. Summon Nature Ally V is useful at any level, and it's not like you can't find a use of confusion 1/day.
Fey Power, Plus on DC to warlock invocations, doesn't affect blast but still very nice.
Fey Presence, 6th, Charm Monster, Deep Slumber, Disguise self...An extra charm when it works, can always use charm monster on your friendly creature then run around casting the invocation on new mobs. Deep Slumber and Disguise have a lot of uses.
Fey Skin, basically 1/cold iron DR per feat here that explicitily stacks with the warlock ability. 4 of these feats by level 7 would give you 6/cold iron DR...not bad for the level.
As has been pointed out, using Shape Soulmeld (strongheart vest) negates the one downside to Hellfire use (aside from those that arise from rp -- pitch wielding mobs--ahem). Another 2 feats to pick up are Mindsight (gotta love Telepathy) and Mortalbane (this one actually fits flavor-wise). The inclusion of Anarch was mainly for Cha to saves (and as an upside, I think can be easily made to fit flavor-wise). Granted, this build hinges on allowing Legacy Champion to further progress Hellfire Warlock, which I think it would as it only increase class features and effective level (but not actual level so epic need not apply). Sure, the Legacy Champion is rather subpar, but in this instance, even with all its useless legacy abilities the fact that it provides a net damage increase of +18d6 untyped and furthers Warlock invocations and EB makes it worth it.
When I get some time, I'll post a full build, and also report on it's playability (new 12th campaign starting soon).
-Grave & Co.
Grave note: Anarch is from Dragon #310. It's full of variant paladin classes for every alignment type. My Dm generally allows them all as it does make sense that the other alignments would have some form of champion. If that doesn't fly, you could always drop the Mindbender level and use the Paladin of Freedom variant for Divine Grace. Course, this assumes you want to be good.
As for Legacy Champion, if you don't want to eat the usually high penalties associated with your legacy item, you can always just ignore it and not unlock squat.
Greater: Chilling Tentacles.......Evards Tentacles with Cold damage
what makes this fun and Powerful......the Class Ability: Gift of the Divine.....he must use a Turn Undead Attempt to power it......but if he picks Healing Blast...he can Heal with his EB....and can do it at great Range with Eldritch Spear, or heal multiple targets with Eldritch Chain
also he can Buff himself with buffs that make the most of the important Attributes(Wis(spells,save,skills(Spot,L isten)& Cha(Turning,Diplomacy,Bluff))
he has continuous at will abilities that do not expend any spells....but he can also use DMM(Persistant) for more fun(Shapechange,Improved Blink)
Also his Bardic Knowledge from Cloistered Cleric and Paragnostic Apostle Stack: +7 to knowledge checks....... helps with Knowledge Devotion to gain bonuses for combat
Paragnostic Apostle abilities apply to Warlock abilities also: Knowledge is Power: Manifest Ethos(Good) Knowledge is Power: Accurate Retort Knowledge is Power: Penetrating Insight Knowledge is Power:See through the Veil
Warlock/Wizard gestalt build by fil kearney: warlock6/wizard1/warlock+2/wizard+1/warlock+2/wizard+1/warlock+2/wizard+1/warlock+4/ /artificer5/trapsmith1/swiftblade10/abchamp4 Spoiler:Show
I only play gestalt, so I always think gestalt. BAB 18 16th level warlock dark invocation and 7d6 blasts 14th level wizard casting (because I spaced out the wizard levels just right amidst the switblade) pure artificer cheeze with warlock UMD kicker for anything you want to build full swiftblade build with 7th level wizard spells for 2 round timestop I couldn't quite get abchamp 5 for the bab= 19th level casting.
I allow two PrC's at a time in my gestalt game, but I wanted to keep this one "street legal" for the kids at home. considering the extra actions fromt he swkiftblade, I'd probably go ranged blaster/buffer/controller.... but I suppose hideous blow twice a round with the haste buffs would make a fantastic skirmisher as wll. fell flight and flyby attack-- blast and fly by hideous blow,or vice versa. Lotta options here.
Super Holy Warrior by Carnivore
Illumian(CG) sigils: Krau(+1/ sigil to Caster lvl) Naen(+1/ sigil to Int skills and Int checks)
[indent]Thinblade note: works equally well with any race with Any, Cleric, or Warlock for favored class (human, half-elf, Primordial half giant, etc.)[/indent]
Lesser: Flee the Scene ........ Dimension Door and Invisible Fell Flight................ 24 hour Flight
Eldritch Disciple: Gift of the Divine: Healing Blast...heal @ range with EB Gift of the Divine: Protective Aura .. Magic Circle Gift of the Divine: Wild Frenzy .... +2 Attack and Damage with Weapons or EB
Feats:....could be any
Enhanced Power Sigil........ need for skill and CL boost Combat Reflexes Summon Elemental(reserve) ...... want this one Knowledge Devotion(domain) ..... want this one Practiced Caster(cleric) ............ Need this one Touch of Healing(reserve) Robilars Gambit
1)BAB+16.... 4 itterative attacks without Divine Power, and all are Melee Touch Attacks with Eldritch Glaive(5d6 damage each)
2)17th lvl Cleric(in all respects), 9th lvl Spells.... 20th lvl Caster level without anything else yet
3)9th lvl Warlock abilities
4)Retributive Attacker = lots of Attacks.... if you even swing at him he gets to immediately hit back, and gets a boost from Knowledge checks to Attack and Damage... with a good roll and Wild Frenzy .... additional +7 Attack and Damage with Touch Attacks
5)Great Endurance .... all day power from Warlock and Reserve Feats
With a 28 point buy I’d assign stats as Str 10 (2), Dex 14 (6), Con 13 (8 for a 15, -2 racial), Int 10 (2), Wis 12 (4), Cha 16 (6 for a 14, +2 racial). He does have MAD, needing a decent Wisdom and good Charisma. How would you do it differently?
With a 36 point buy I'd assign stats as Str 10 (2), Dex 14 (6), Con 14 (10 for a 16, -2 racial), Int 12 (4), Wis 14 (6), Cha 17 (8 for a 15, +2 racial).
At 18th level he has a Cleric caster level of 12, and an Invoking level of 15 (Eldritch Blast 7d6). When boosting a Healing Blast with Hellfire, he can heal 13d6 damage to one or several allies (via the Eldritch Cone blastshape invocation) for a mere Turning Attempt. With an average Charisma (15 +4 levels = 19) he can do so 11 times a day, in addition to the free healing he’ll get from the healing reserve feat he has.