|A tiefling warlock|
A warlock is a Mage who gains power through pacts with powerful entities, most commonly devils, of the Abyss. These pacts allow warlocks to channel powerful abilities of arcane might that would otherwise be closed to them.
Warlocks have an overall poor reputation, a result of their dealings with otherworldly and often malevolent outsiders. How far the warlock goes to fulfilling their pact is entirely up to them, though corruption is an ever-present danger for warlocks of all stripes. Likewise, many warlocks make pacts with several creatures, rather than just one, in order to access even more power, though all warlocks must eventually favor one pact over all the others.
Like sorcerers many warlocks come from a supernatural bloodline and it has been said that warlocks are "born, not made." This is not true for all warlocks, though many do indeed come from fiendish bloodlines. Those that aren't are still often touched by destiny in some special way, sought out by powerful extraplanar forces as tools and minions, altering their soul and giving them supernatural abilities beyond the ken of most mortals. These forces behold warlocks to their power, though some break away from the chains of their servitude to forge their own destiny. More often, warlocks, by choice or by circumstance, become much like cruel and capricious beings they serve. Regardless of how they treat their patrons most warlocks have a healthy respect for the divine, particularly patrons of magical power such as Gizad or Maltharius, though many evil warlocks are drawn to Malphas There are exceptions, however. Some warlocks seek out good gods deliberately to counter the powerful temptations they deal with regularly. Other warlocks feel no ties to the gods, perhaps due to their frequent dealings with other supernatural powers.
Tieflings and others of fiendish blood are powerfully drawn to the ways of the warlock and are among the most common to take the path. Humans, thanks in large part to their capacity for ambition, also breed many warlocks, hoping to find a path to power that does not take them a significant portion of their short lifespans.
Warlocks have varying views of those who differ from them, in part because of their outsider place in society. Generally, warlocks view other magi through a lense of bitter rivalry but many have a healthy respect for fighters' strength or clever rogues. Few warlocks get along well with practitioners of divine magic, in part due to their dealings with unholy powers, but warlocks rarely try to deliberately upset allies who could prove useful, which includes healing clerics.
Warlock spells are also called invocations, which are released through sheer force of will rather than by trained practice or innate ability. Invocations tend to be more powerful and deadly than those of a wizard or sorcerer, though with limited range or area of effect. Some invocations are less inherently deadly but instill terror or confusion in an enemy and warlocks are adept in cursing those with whom they fight. The most basic of all invocations is called an eldritch blast and is essentially a charged blast of pure arcane energy. When forced into combat, experienced warlocks often elude enemy blows through spells of flying, teleportation, or invisibility.
As a result of their pacts, warlocks channel arcane power with more ease than most other arcanists, though this power is most particularly focused around a warlock's pact.
Warlocks have some degree of training the use of basic weapons and leather armor, which gives them a slight edge over both wizards and sorcerers in non-magical, though still leaving them vulnerable to the attacks of more specialized combatants. For the most part, warlocks, like other magi, rely on their magic as both a shield and a weapon and the tools a warlock is most likely to use are his or her implements. For this purpose most warlocks use rods or wands though specialized weapons, pact blades being the most common, can sometimes be used by highly experienced warlocks to enhance their invocations.
Several warlocks learn additional abilities to help them. From their ties to dark power, some warlocks, gain a resistance to cold iron over time. Others learn to make their bodies more resilient, healing more quickly through their fiendish power, sometimes at extraordinary rates. Similarly, many warlocks acquire resistance to various energy types, particularly attacks that use acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic energy as a major component. Lastly, some warlocks become so full of arcane power that they are able to literally imbue mundane items with their power at a whim, creating magical items of great value, even if he does not possess the knowledge typically necessary to create such an item.
The attributes and qualities of a warlock are largely determined by what kind of being they've made their primary pact with. The following are the known examples of warlock pacts.
Dark pact warlock
These warlocks gain powers reflecting the pain, poison, and madness inherent in the forces of the Abyss.Dark pact warlocks also gain an ability known as a darkspiral aura, which enables them to feed off the death in battle to create more and more powerful eldritch spells. Invocations of the dark pact are almost always fueled by the strong willpower required of such warlocks. The most basic spell of the dark pact warlock is spiteful glamor, which allows the warlock to strike into the mind of his or her foe, wracking them with terrible pain.
Truly powerful dark pact warlocks might become darkwalkers, who immerse themselves so fully in the dark forces with whom they bargain that they become ghostlike and insubstantial.
Infernal pact warlock
Warlocks of the infernal pact, the most commonly sworn of all the pacts, are those arcanists who forge dealings with the devils of the Nine Hells, often exchanging their souls to a powerful devil in exchange for temporal power. Other warlocks of the infernal pact seek forbidden knowledge given to the mortal world by devils but since forgotten over time.
Infernal pact warlocks may lose much from their literal bargain with the devil, but what they gain is vast. Warlocks who successfully learn how to wield the powers of the Nine Hells can turn the life force of enemies against them, and can master the fires of Baator for their own purposes. These powers require warlocks to possess a strong constitution, since they often deal damage to the wielder as well as the target. One of these known to all warlocks who behold themselves to the Hells is hellish rebuke, which scours the warlock’s foe in flames, which grow worse should the victim foolishly retaliate. Additionally, infernal warlocks with fiendish heritage may find their spells may be unusually effective against celestials or other truly good creatures.
High-powered warlocks focused on their infernal pact might become life-stealers, vampiric warlocks for whom souls become weapons of war and tools to use. Of all the archdevils, Asmodeus, who frequently sponsors tieflings, half-fiends, or hobgoblins, and Mephistopheles are the most likely to sponsor a warlock's pact, although Asmodeus' daughter Glasya also holds a number of warlocks bound to her minions' service, through the organization known as the Black Star and virtually all archdevils take part in such dealings to some degree. More than a few do this by actually siring mortal children, whom they hope will spread their influence. Another prominent archdevil to sponsor warlocks was Malkizid.
While many warlocks choose to embrace their pact, developing their invocations and abilities along that line, others are more versatile. These warlocks use a variety of invocations, drawing on the power of a variety of pacts rather than just one though, like all warlocks, these individuals have a primary pact to which they are beholden. Most warlocks who do not specialize in their pact belong to one of the following traditions.