How do Warlock Spells Work in DnD 5e

Warlock Spells are quite unique in DnD 5e. In regards to the other spellcasters that is.

We’ve written in the past about how to play a Warlock, so today instead we will be talking about how his spellcasting works. As well as reminding ourselves of specific mechanics if need be.

Warlock is a trope that appears time and time again throughout fantasy media. Be it as chaotic evil characters hell-bent on taking over the world. Or more chaotic neutral characters who just want to practice their dark arts in seclusion.

Regardless of how you portray your warlock, you still need to know how the whole class works. Being that it is such a complex class to actually play, you can never know enough.
The beauty of it is in the finer details.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

A Reminder on how Warlocks Work

Each spellcasting class gets their powers from a certain source in the world of Dungeons and Dragons. The Wizard gets it from his spellbook, the Druid gets it from his surroundings, the Cleric gets it from his deity – and the Warlock gets it from the pacts he forms with his dark masters.

Speaking about pacts. Let’s remind ourselves which masters you can align yourself with.

The Archfey: They fay are mystical creatures with ambiguous motivations. Each holding a different temperament and boons. If you want to consort with beings older than time – yet not entirely evil, choose this path.

Celestial: A celestial is a being from the upper plains, and most of the time – they are benevolent. This path is for warlocks who want to use their powers to do good.

The Fathomless: These beings are eldritch masters beyond the realm of mortal understanding. They offer great powers to anyone willing to accept them – and, willing to sacrifice his mind in the process.

The Fiend: A being from the lower plains of existence. A stark opposite to the celestials. His champions possess great powers. But beware, their duties sometimes lead to irredeemable actions.

A Genie: An ambivalent entity, yet very powerful. Be cautious when dealing with a genie – for they are cautious when dealing with you. Genies often luke to trick people, but get easily tricked themselves by more cunning individuals.

Great Old One: A being beyond space and time, nobody is sure how powerful it is – yet the boons it bestows are quite terrifying. Yet they are just a speck of its power.

A Hexblade: A unique patron. Instead of an entity, it is a magical weapon with its own mind. Leading to some quite interesting situations.

An Undead: Liches vampires and other undead beings. Very old and very wise, boasting a wealthy trove of knowledge and secrets.

The Undying: Similar to the undead, the undying have abandoned their mortality a long time ago. Preferring their immortality, and the knowledge that comes with eternal life.

Having reminded ourselves of all the patrons, let’s discuss specifics.

How Warlock Spells Work in DnD 5e

Warlocks use what is known as “Pact Magic.” This magic comes from the masters with which the warlock has made a pact. The warlock becomes bound to the master he has chosen, gaining great rewards in the process – but with terrible curses placed upon them.

These newfound powers can be eldritch knowledge that has long been forgotten by the greater world. Or it can be powers that offer the warlock control over the very principles of life. It can even be something as simple as an unquenchable bloodthirst brought on by the Hexblades beckons.

But what about the mechanics?

The mechanics are pretty straightforward actually.
Charisma is the ability score that you have to build to be able to cast more powerful spells. Other than that know that you also get eldritch invocations. These invocations are the forbidden knowledge we talked about up until this point. What these invocations are you can check in the invocations column of the Warlock table.

And the last part of warlock spellcasting is your pact boons. You can strike certain pacts depending on which patron you have chosen that will give you extra capabilities. Think of these pacts as subclasses for the other classes

At level 11 you also get a Mystic Arcanum. Arcanums are 6th-level spells that you can cast without having to use a spell slot.

And one of the most powerful spellcasting abilities you get is your level 20 Eldritch Master. Which allows you to restore all your spent spell slots.

That’s basically all there is to know about spellcasting as a warlock in DnD 5e. Have fun!

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