Building the Warlock

   For today, it’s a special request from Jeffery, who wants to know how to build a Warlock (as well as a few other character types I’ll do later) using Eclipse d20 Point-Buy. (Shareware version available here).

   Warlock Magic provides the ability to employ a very limited number of abilities with a limited theme, but allows them to be used as often as desired. In Eclipse, “unlimited use” usually means some version of the Path of the Dragon – and is something to be watched fairly carefully: unlimited use of almost anything can easily unbalance a game or disrupt the setting.

   Regardless of that, with the game masters permission you can buy it this way:

   Path of the Dragon: Shaping (6 CP), with Pulse of the Dragon III (6+12+24 CP), and Heart of the Dragon IV (6+12+24+48 CP for up to L3 spells) all Specialized (must buy individual effects separately as per buying spells and can be physically restrained from casting them, double effect) and Corrupted (all effects must adhere to a specialized theme, 1.5 times effect for a net triple effect and spells of up to L9). Warlocks normally buy 13 spells – a basic blast and 12 additional effects (+26 CP), for a net total of 164 CP.

   The ability to “Imbue Items” can be purchased as Equipage (6 CP) with Purchasing (6 CP), both Specialized (User must spend the time, XP, and cash as appropriate to create the item in question and must be otherwise qualified to create it save for not knowing the appropriate spells, half cost) = 6 CP.

   The rest of the Warlock build – 20 Specialized Caster Levels (60 CP), d6 Hit Dice (40 CP), 2 SP/Level (46 CP), +15 BAB (90 CP), +24 Saves (72 CP), proficiency with Simple Weapons and Light Armor (6 CP), Detect Magic (Occult Sense. 6 CP), Damage Reduction 5 (Specialized: not vrs Energy, Corrupted: not vrs cold iron, 4 CP), Mastery: Specialized in Use Magic Device Only, 3 CP), Innate Spell/Cure Critical Wounds, Fast Healing Variant (6 CP), Reflex Action (Specialized: only to trigger Fast Healing, 3 CP), and Minor (12-point) Immunity to two forms of Energy (6 CP Each, for 12 CP) – is fairly standard.

   The total cost of a Warlock-style build is thus 524 points. Of course, Warlocks are normally seriously mistrusted and seen as black magicians – a Restriction that brings their cost down to 504 points; exactly what’s available for a 20’th level character.

    Of course, this version of the Warlock isn’t quite identical – the resistances are two points higher and the fast healing is one point less (this could easily be tweaked, but its not worth the complications for an example) – but this version is also free to expand on the various “class” powers and is free to select a theme other than “Dark Magic” – making it useful for superheroes, specialist magi and healers, or for representing a variety of other fictional wizards.

    Interesting that: I would have expected at least a few points cost difference, considering that Eclipse came out well before the Warlock. Personally, I’ll take it as evidence that the Warlock authors got it right.

6 Responses

  1. This is a very interesting example of how specialization and corruption can do things I never would have imagined.

    When I read the Path of the Dragon, I thought that it could only provide warlock effects up to level 3, because of language like this:
    ‘Pulse of the Dragon (+6 CP, requires Shaping). Pulse summons magical energy from the area, but is limited to 1 spell level per round. It grants no ability to store such energy on its own. For another +12 CP the character can summon two spell level’s worth of energy, and for +24 more CP (42 total) he or she can summon up three per round. This is the limit of the process; beyond this point the magic begins to discharge at random.’

    Very well, but 3*(1.5+1.5)=9, so it can provide 9th level effects. That’s something I never would have seen without an example.

    One question: the text above reads:’must buy individual effects separately as per buying spells.’

    Under what circumstances would an Eclipse character buy multiple effects together? So far as I can tell, characters always buy individual effects separately.


    • Well, while it simply wasn’t possible to detail every effect that a player or character might want, it was possible to provide a list of general effects and a set of rules for tweaking those effects into what was wanted – hence Specialization and Corruption. Reducing the cost has it’s uses of course, but the really powerful tools (and hence the ones that the GM has to keep a bit of an eye on) are Specialized (x2) and/or Corrupted (x1.5) for Increased Effect. That lets you build almost anything.

      Sadly, “anything” includes some abusive builds, but there’s really no way to provide that freedom without asking for some GM control.

      In this particular case, “must buy individual effects separately” is a major limitation for Shaping (where you don’t normally need to buy effects at all). It also leaves out buying effects by – say – buying a Path or Domain, buying a skill (such as “Fire Magic”) and restricting your effects that way, or simply buying loose groups of effects like a spell progression. Methods like that may appear in other builds, but are generally worth a lot less because they’re less limiting.

  2. Very nice Thoth. I tried a version before looking at this. Tying it around Spirit Weapon…

  3. Why does this build need Heart of the Dragon? I was under the impression that all you need to do spell casting is a Caster Level, a power source, and spells. You have a Caster Level and Pulse of the Dragon for a power source, but if you’re Specializing Heart of the Dragon to buy individual spells at the same cost as spontaneous casters then wouldn’t it make more sense to cut out the Heart and just buy the spells directly?

    • In this case Pulse of the Dragon will let you summon energy – but doesn’t give you any control at all over it; you need Heart of the Dragon to shape it on the fly – and you might need to absorb it or find some other means to actually bring it fully under your control before you can shape it effectively. As a general suggestion, you can use Eye of the Dragon, but in this particular case control is basically part of the increased effect on the Heart of the Dragon.

      That does depend a bit on the setting though. For example, in the Federation-Apocalypse setting, where your fighter-type can easily start off with a small mecha, a micro-fusion missile launcher (good for 5d20 area damage at multiple-mile ranges using hunter-seeker missiles with no range penalties), a pocketful of assorted grenades, forceblades, machine guns, and power battle armor, the magicians and shapeshifters and such get a lot more leeway about cheese; I haven’t required anything there beyond Heart of the Dragon. Most other settings are stricter.

      Standard spontaneous casters like the Sorcerer have already internalized their power of course – which is why they can only handle so much of it; their ability to store it has some fairly strict limits and it takes them time and rest to build up their reserves again.

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