Before we start, yes, Warlocks are those who have made a deal with a devil, sold their souls and reaped a dark power in return. Yes, Warlocks are madmen who put more stock in the arcane and inconsequential movement of the stars in the sky than in the trappings of the world and it’s people. And yes, Warlocks are those who have had their minds stolen by the most alien Fey of them all, returned to reality with a changeling spirit and an unknowable will.
Are we clear now? Good.
The key to the world, as Warlocks well know, is power. From the highest aims to the merest actions of continued survival, every action requires power. All things must eat, and even those who prey solely on plants are still exercising their power over a lesser form of life. In the hands of the powerless, the most noble goal and admirable aspiration is as worthless as the dust its owner will soon return to.
The key to power, however, is control. Control over its expression and manifestation, its comings and goings, timings and duration. Add a drop of ambition, and you have the ingredients of a Warlock. Wizards flaunt their control, understanding and pruning and dominating the power inherent in magic, from the simplest spells to the most complex rituals, until it labors along in chains. Sorcerers, on the other hand, are simple madmen whose cup runs over with so much power that it is often all they can do to avoid becoming a man-shaped hole in reality at the center of an undying conflagration. Warlocks balance raw power and fine control over the pinnacle of their ambition, their will to live, and reap the rewards of such a nuanced understanding.
The fastest route to power, the best way to route power to where it is needed most (clearly, the hands of Warlocks) is to take it from places it has already accumulated. And few sources have more to spare than powerful spirit beings, be they Demon or Fey (or Angel1, for that matter). As with all things, each transaction of power carries with it a price, and Warlocks are simply more prepared than others of lesser ambitions to pay that price, be it a temporary loss of health, spirit or sanity. Such things, inherent in the mortal condition, may be recovered, and doubly so when blessed with power.
The key that prevents the Warlocks path from descending into the madness embraced by many a cultist or thrall is control. Warlocks are careful by nature – those who are not rarely survive long enough to gain the title. As they exercise their power, they are careful to see that the source of their gifts does not accumulate undue control over them. The sign of a Warlock may be the pact, but the sign of a successful Warlock is careful control of the pact.
Warlocks are found anywhere that individuals of sufficient will and entities of sufficient power coincide, which is basically everywhere in the new world: rugged tribesmen form pacts with strong spirits as commonly as Technomancers do with their employers. Warlocks are not as antisocial as Sorcerers, but dislike the extensive, stultifying atmosphere of Wizards organizations. They often form semi-permanent Covens or simply remain in task-based groups assigned by their patron. Warlocks often have a forceful personality – after all, they are engaging in an activity many regard as subtly mad, if not downright suicidal. They also often exhibit individualistic tendencies, even if from collectivist cultures. Apart from these, however, Warlocks have no inherent moral positions; it varies by Warlock and by patron, of course, but as a whole they are as widely (or narrowly) inclined as any world-travelling hero.
And yes, at the end of the day, they are heroes. Those who seek to use the Warlock’s craft to villainous ends are often undone by their own powers before any other aspect of vengeance visits them.
- Warlocks may take any powers and feats they wish. Warlock powers are found in the PHB and Arcane Power.
- The Vestige pact in Arcane Power works somewhat differently in this world. Rather than half-decomposed spiritual remains of powerful immortals, the entities a warlock of this nature pacts with are in fact the same strong natural spirits Shamans worship, including both Ancestral spirits, similar to standard Vestiges, and animalistic/natural ones.
- Although certain reaches of Narvandier are indeed Under the surface and quite Dark, the spirits therein are not generally of the caliber required to forge a Dark pact. However, many other powerful entities of darkness exist in the world (e.g., the Shadow), so Dark Warlocks are far from unheard of.
- Warlocks may take three At-Will powers: Eldritch Blast, the power conferred by your chosen pact, and one of your choice. However, you may only cast Eldritch Blast and one other power at a time; you may switch your active at-will power at a Milestone or during a Short or Long Rest.
Little known warlock facts:
- All warlocks, regardless of gender, look good in a low cut bustier and a leather skirt.
- Rods are for sissies. Real warlocks use cones.
- Julian Sands played a Warlock in the 1989 movie of the same title. Julian Sands is an excellent warlock name.
1 Warlocks may also be able to form a pact with an Angel, resulting in a Radiant pact that I have downloaded off of the interwebs and saved somewhere. Recall that Angels aren’t especially Good, but they’re powerful spirit beings all the same.
Even the standard, slightly more fiendish flavors of pact are mitigated somewhat in the Conjoined realm by the fact that Demons aren’t especially evil (just selfish), there is no Far Realm2 (you Star Pact kids are just loony) and a number of non-standard entities (chiefly the Powers) offer traditional pacts at reduced prices and in different ethical flavors.
2 Not yet, at any rate… Once certain astral beings get a whiff of the new world, all bets will be off. Besides, chaos-tainted beasts are almost as bad.