Dungeons and Dragons: Warlocks as Spell Casters
One of the main Dungeons and Dragons spell casting classes is the Warlock, and Warlock is a popular class. It allows you to play an edgy sort of character, because you’ve made a deal with a demon, elder god, or high fey for some reason, probably because your past is messed up. I won’t get into the role playing aspects of the character, but I think what people forget about the Warlock is that their spell casting is going to be different than your normal casters.
Warlocks get by far less spell slots, and they only get spell slots at a single level. If you need a refresher on what spell slots are, you can check out the article I wrote here on casting spells. Whereas every other class gets spell slots of different levels, a Warlock never has more than four. That might seem like not that much, and they never get higher than 5th level, which is what half-casters max out at, but a Warlock plays like a full caster, so how does that work?
Firstly, even though you don’t have that many spell slots or high level spells, the Warlock’s spell slots refresh differently. For the most part, if you play a Wizard, Sorcerer, or other caster, you have you spell slots and you use them throughout a day, then, when you long rest, you get them back. With the Warlock, you get them back after a short rest, so if you’ve used them all and you can take a couple of short rests throughout the day, you could cast, at level 20, 16 fifth level spells.
That jumps us into the next thing, when you cast a spell, you cast it at the highest level available to you. So when you have four spell slots at 20th level, all of them are fifth level slots, you don’t have any first level slots or anything like that. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t cast first level spells, it means what when you do, you cast them at a higher level. Compare this to the Wizard who only, at 20th level, has three fifth level spell slots. Now they also have a ninth and an eighth level slot as well as two of sixth and seventh level, but compare that, again to the count of spells that a Warlock can cast with a couple of rests, the Warlock can cast 16 fifth level spells, and the Wizard can do nine at fifth level or higher. So you get a unique casting trade off that way.
Along with this, you still get cantrips, including a very important one, which is Eldritch Blast. The thing with Eldritch Blast is that it scales nicely, but beyond that, as a Warlock, you get invocations which can make it much better. While an Eldritch Blast does 1D10 on a hit, which isn’t bad, you can take an invocation that will make it add in your charisma modifier as damage, and when you start to be able to shoot several blasts in a single round at long range, a Warlock can take down enemies quite quickly. In fact, the spell slots that you do have, you won’t always be using them a ton in combat, because with fully maxed Charisma, which is the Warlock’s casting stat, at a higher level, you’ll have a +9 to +11 to hit, be shooting three or four bolts and dealing 1D10 + 5 (again your charisma modifier) to an enemy. And that’s at a good range of 120 feet, plus you can possibly even increase that if you so desire or push them. So while all classes do rely some on cantrips once they have run out of spell slots, a Warlock can really focus in on a cantrip only.
Now, I’ve said that I think that Warlock can be a harder spell casting class to play. The primary reason for that is because how spell slots level up to a certain level, even though you’re casting a lower level spell, I think that can confuse some people. I also think that everything that a single Eldritch Blast can do also can cause issues. Once you get down what an Eldritch Blast can do and understand that you won’t be casting many other spells, the Warlock is quite easy to play. You simply launch a volley of Eldritch Blasts over and over again until the enemy is close enough for someone else to start hitting them as well. So, is the Warlock actually a hard spell casting class to play, not really, but I think people already have an idea of how casting works, from video games and other places, so the Warlock feels different in how it handles them.
That’s a brief primer on how the spell casting for a Warlock works. They are, as I think I called them before, a little bit more than a half-caster for me, but they also aren’t a full caster because they don’t get access to ninth level spells. And I can see how they’d be a lot of fun to play in a game as a caster with your ability to blast away with an Eldritch Blast and the role play possibilities for them.
Have you played a Warlock before? Was it hard to wrap your head around mainly casting Eldritch Blast?
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