Play a warlock with The Fiend as a patron in DnD 5e with these factors in mind:
- Consider playing a tiefling or fallen aasimar.
- Choose Pact of the Chain for a minion.
- Fiend Patron expanded spell list—burning hands, scorching ray, command…
- Fiend Patron abilities—Dark One’s Blessing, Dark One’s Own Luck…
- Eldritch Invocations—Fiendish Vigor, Investment of the Chain Master
- Choose basic warlock spells to summon more minions—unseen servant, summon shadowspawn…
Playing a warlock with The Fiend as a patron dives right into the heart of the warlock archetype, connecting with a devilish patron. This warlock gains temporary HP, adds bonus points to ability checks and saving throws and grants me a fiery expanded spell list. Therefore, I’ll build this character as a cunning summoner with charm and fire magic.
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Consider playing a tiefling or fallen aasimar.
Naturally, I want to get creepy with my race selection and look for a high Charisma bonus. Therefore, I’m thinking tiefling or fallen aasimar.
Tieflings and warlocks go together like high-fives and best friends, adding the tiefling’s +2 Charisma/+1 Intelligence to warlock spells. Plus, thematic backstories for this most fiendish character should be interesting. I’ll gain Hellish Resistance (resistance to fire damage) and Infernal Legacy, which adds several once-a-day spells like hellish rebuke (2d10 fire damage against foes who hit me).
Fallen aasimar are the fallen angels of DnD 5e character creation, adding +2 Charisma/+1 Strength to my warlock build. Plus, I gain Celestial Resistance (resistance against necrotic or radiant damage) and Healing Hands to replenish HP equal to my level. Furthermore, my unique Fallen Aasimar trait is Necrotic Shroud at level 3. Now, I can sprout skeletal wings from my back and force other creatures within 10 feet of me to make a Charisma saving throw (8 + proficiency + Charisma modifier) or become frightened and take 1d6 extra necrotic damage from my attacks.
Choose Pact of the Chain for a minion.
Pact of the Chain grants me the find familiar spell, adding bonus forms to the familiar: imp, pseudodragon, quasit or sprite. Naturally, I’ll choose an imp or quasit—little demons who will do my bidding. These shape changing minions can fly, climb and swim (depending on quasit or imp selection). Plus, both come with a sting attack (1d4 +3) that forces a Constitutions saving throw or take 3d6 poison damage.
The imp comes with a raven form (flying 60 feet), rat form or spider form (climbing 20 feet). Also, the imp gains Devil’s Sight, which can see through magical darkness, Invisibility and Magic Resistance.
The quasit can shape change into a bat (flying 40 feet), centipede (speed 40 feet, climbing 40 feet) or a toad (40 feet speed, swim 40 feet). Again, this fiend gains Invisibility and Magic Resistance. However, this version has the Scare ability, which causes enemies to succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened.
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Fiend Patron expanded spell list—burning hands, scorching ray, command…
- Burning Hands (1st-level): A 15-foot cone of fire deals 3d6 fire damage on failed Dexterity saving throws.
- Command (1st-level): On a failed Wisdom save, target must follow my instructions. I can’t command it to do something harmful to itself. However, I could make commands like grovel, approach, drop or flee.
- Blindness/Deafness (2nd-level): A failed Constitution saving throw leaves the target blind or deafened.
- Scorching Ray (2nd-level): A minimum of 3 rays of heat are hurled at one or multiple foes, dealing 2d6 fire damage per hit.
- Fireball (3rd-level): Hurl an explosive spell that blossoms into a 20-foot radius sphere. Each foe inside the space must make a Dexterity saving throw or take 8d8 fire damage.
- Stinking Cloud (3rd-level): I create a 20-foot radius sphere of nauseous gas, obscuring the area and lingering in place. Creatures in the space must make a Constitution saving throw or spend their turn retching.
- Fire Shield (4th-level): Wispy flames or cold energy surrounds me. A warm shield gives me resistance to cold damage and deals 2d8 fire damage to foes who strike me. However, the cold shield grants me resistance to fire damage and deals 2d8 cold damage.
- Wall of Fire (4th-level): 60-foot long, 20-foot-high wall of fire deals 5d8 fire damage to outward facing enemies who fail a Dexterity save.
- Flame Strike (5th-level): A vertical column of fire drops from the sky—10 feet in diameter and 40 feet tall. Creatures in the area who fail a Dexterity saving throw take 4d6 fire damage and 4d6 radiant damage.
- Hallow (5th-level): Create an ultimate 60-foot-radius area of sacred ground. Celestials, fiends, fey, elementals and undead cannot enter. Plus, choose from a whole list of secondary effects.
Fiend Patron abilities—Dark One’s Blessing, Dark One’s Own Luck…
Now, I have fiendish abilities to go with my fire and darkness.
Dark One’s Blessing grants me temporary HP equal to my Charisma modifier + warlock level when I reduce an enemy to 0 HP.
However, Dark One’s Own Luck (level 6) gives me a once-per-rest ability to add 1d10 to a saving throw or ability check. Although it’s a one-use option, this roll can potentially change a horrible roll.
Then, Fiendish Resilience (level 10) gives me an opportunity to choose a damage type during a short or long rest and gain resistance against that damage. However, damage from magical or silver weapons ignores this resistance.
Finally, Hurl Through Hell (level 14) transports enemies through the lower dimensions after a successful attack roll. If the creature hit is not a fiend, the target takes 10d10 psychic damage from the horrific experience.
Eldritch Invocations—Fiendish Vigor, Investment of the Chain Master
When choosing my Eldritch Invocations, I’ll want to increase the effectiveness of my fiendish abilities. Plus, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduces new abilities with my impish familiar with Investment of the Chain Master.
Investment of the Chain Master adds these new effects and abilities for my familiar:
- The familiar gains my choice of flying or swimming speed of 40 feet.
- As a bonus action, I can command the familiar to take the Attack action.
- My familiar’s weapon attack is considered magical to overcome nonmagical resistance.
- If the familiar forces a creature to make a saving throw, it uses my spell save DC.
- I can use a reaction to give my familiar resistance to whatever damage type it takes.
Then, Fiendish Vigor gives me the ability to cast false life without needing material components. Now, I can further capitalize on The Fiend’s ability to increase my HP during battle. As a primary spellcaster with little-to-no armor, this can help me stay alive during tough encounters.
Choose basic warlock spells to summon more minions—unseen servant, summon shadowspawn…
When choosing my warlock spells, I like to lean into my dark summoning magic. Warlocks focus on packing a punch with the spell slots they carry, so bringing another minion into an encounter can be effective. However, I’ll have 2 or 3 cantrips to sling as I please.
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My cantrip selection will need to be diverse—with go-to adventuring and damage options.
- Eldritch Blast: A beam of energy hits an opponent for 1d10 force damage.
- Blade Ward: Until end of turn, I gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.
- Mage Hand: An ethereal hand reaches up to 30 feet to manipulate objects, carry small objects, open doors or test traps.
- Charm Person: Those who fail a Wisdom saving throw are seduced by devilish charm, becoming friendly to me or my party.
- Unseen Servant: I can summon an invisible, magic entity to do my bidding. This isn’t a combat thing—more of a sneaky summon for cities and social encounters.
- Invisibility: Target I touch goes invisible until attacking or casting a spell. Now, I can team up with my unseen servant for mischief.
- Misty Step: Teleport up to 30 feet away in a puff of silvery mist. This escape trick can be crucial.
- Summon Shadowspawn: I can summon a shadow spirit that takes on the theme of Fury, Despair or Fear and takes a turn directly after mine. Every spirit has a multiattack feature, a Dreadful Scream attack and Chilling Rend (1d12 +3 + spell level cold damage). Fury spirits have advantage on attacks against frightened opponents. Despair spirits can slow enemies by 20 feet. Fear spirits can hide in shadowy or dark places.
- Summon Undead: An undead spirit takes a Ghostly, Putrid or Skeletal form and attacks after my turn. All undead have multiattack. Ghostly spirits can move through objects and creatures and have Deathly Touch (1d8 + 3 + spell level necrotic damage + Wisdom saving throw or be frightened). Putrid spirits have Festering Aura (poison area effect) and Rotting Claw (1d6 + 3 + spell level + Constitution saving throw for paralysis of poisoned targets). Skeletal spirits use Grave Bolt (ranged, 2d4 + 3 + spell level necrotic damage).
As I level further, I’ll gain access to summon aberration and summon fiend for more powerful summoning spells.