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I have recently gained access to DDI for a short while and wanted to try an experiment with some friends of mine. That is, I actually want to play with these characters for a few sessions to see if a continued subscription to DDI is worth it for me.

I want to try to build a group of just warlocks. I want at least 1 warlock in the group to act as each of the various archetypes, of Defender, Striker, Controller, Leader.

As I started building the characters, I noticed that there are tons of options in the character builder that I might otherwise not have known about, and there are just too many backgrounds, feats, themes etc for me to go through them all.

I'm looking for guilds, feats, backgrounds, tribes, themes etc, and well as builds that would go well together, both thematically and mechanically that could help in building a party of just Warlock based classes. Race does not matter.

Just to help along, here in no particular order are ideas I've played with but have not been able to commit to anything.

  1. An Elemental Priest warlock which uses the encounter power to help buff up the other warlocks to act as a Leader
  2. Warlock curses which add synergy to eachother for the strikers.
  3. Searching for some vampire type feats to reduce the need for healing.
  4. A warlock which is meleee based with a high Con to act as defender.
  5. Binder for the controller.

Thanks.

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Yes, it's quite possible. Stuff to keep in mind, cloaks of the walking wounded, faerie companions from themes, and the skald multiclass are critical. The skald gives a floating encounter heal, the faerie beasts give meatshields, and the cloaks make second wind heal 2 surges. The trick with this party is that they should be able to kill their opponents incredibly quickly. Presented below are 3 of the 5 characters requested in detail with sketches of the last 2. Leader: MC Skald (Bard) with a focus on basic attacks and granting THP through half-elf abuse of skald aura. Defender: Infernal tank paragon multiclassing swordmage. Looks surprisingly viable with hellish rebuke being the main damage source. Striker: Pixie student of caiphon with dire radiance and correct positioning, the damage numbers look to be stupid, though I haven't run them. Controller is pretty much standard, so season to taste. Second leader should be of radiant mafia.

Initial parameters

Must be able to kill, statistically speaking, an equal level fight with blocks of tofu.

At level 11, these monstrous blocks of tofu have AC 25, NADs 23, 112 HP and deal +16 v. AC / 19 damage per monster per turn.

The first question that must be answered is: how much damage will a party of 5 pure cha-locks take from these monsters?

Because this question is a function of build, the next question to be asked is: how much damage does one warlock with default equipment and no feats take? (5 party members to 5 monsters = 1 party member to 1 monster, right now...)

Numbers and default build

Tiefling warlock, Cha > Int >> Con > the rest, for stats, +3 rod, +3 drowmesh leather, +2 neck. For purposes of this simulation, I will assume that the quivering touch of the block of tofu is against AC. (Woggle, woggle, woggle... bleed...) Warlock has defenses: 24/18/23/24 (+2 all, because of shadow walk), damage expression of +14 vRef / 1d10+9+2d6. 60% accuracy, 13.89 DPR, 8.06 round strikers, or: wow, this class needs a lot of optimization to succeed.

At present, this tiefling (George) will sustain 19*.55*8.06=84.22 damage. As George has 74 HP + Second wind and AP, george can technically win this fight. As a strict measure for the rest of this document, George will end up with -10.22 HP. Technically. The tofu's DPR is effectively 10.45, so we can't rely on standard leader healing techniques here. We need to look at increased defenses, increased resistances, and regeneration, in that order. By focusing on self-sufficiency in the HP department, the "leader" role requirement as outlined above can have far more fun with buffing and debuffing. We also need to figure out the default set of feats to apply to each of our warlocks, ones that are not role specific.

The general rule of thumb for feats is 2 accuracy, 1 damage, 1 defense, 2 for fun per tier. (It's a sad commentary that most of the feats are math fixes, but eeh).

Default feats

All of them will therefore have: White lotus dueling expertise (accuracy), -hidden sniper (accuracy/fun)- accursed coordination (accuracy, critical in a all warlock party), superior implement expertise (dragontooth wands, or whatever their flavour is) (damage, accuracy), Improved defenses (defense, somehow), and dual-implement spellcaster (Daaaamage) with their 10, and critically 11 open for class specific feats. Race change to revenant to support DIS, with no prior-life race (yet), a magic dragontooth wand +3, and a magic +2 secondary wand (chosen instead of staff of ruin to not prejudice implement selection).

New numbers are: +17+CA vRef / 1d10+13+2d6 = 85% accuracy, 22.67 DPR. 4.94 round strikers, which is still pathetic (but only by .94) but at least they're in the right ballpark. Damage sustained is 52.06 damage which is still well into bloodied, but less "healy" and not indicating a desperate need to multiclass vampire. With multiclass vampire, they would need to burn 2 feats in return for 6 HP regained in this fight. (Bloodied round 4) ... not entirely optimal, really...

With the above as a chassis, we don't really need to play silly buggers with hybrids or anything like that. Next is choice of PP and multi-classing options.

For theme, the only theme for this party is Faerie Beast Trainer. The addition of a meatshield animal with stacking +2 damage auras is critical.

Specific Builds

Builds and rough tactics will be presented:

Warlock Leader

The only choice is "Master of Stories" Which allows you to set up your bard aura to work... once per encounter. Which is better than every other bloody multiclass out there. ::sigh:: Because this is charisma based, that means fey pact, lifesinger or feytouched. Lifesinger really comes into its own in 16, but feytouched requires the caster to be entirely too close. L10 feat the MC, and L11 is... Flitting shadows. Teleportation isn't particularly leadery, but there weren't any "healing" feats screaming out for attention. Fey pact is awful controllery anyways, and so this guy is half controller/leader. Secondary implement therefore becomes a +2 incisive dagger, and the leadery emerges from forced movement. ... However, because we're a bard, we go half-elf and take bolstering speech... which lasts for the entire encounter and allows us to hand out 5 THP every time we hit with a basic attack. Which means that +1 to basic attacks > the AP feature of lifesinger. (Note that at level 16 this equation changes.) Therefore we grab academy master and accurate staff. Flitting shadows, while completely awesome, is now deemphaised due to the whole "basic attack focus". Encounters are now interrupts while dailies are either awesome or minors.

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 11
Half-Elf, Warlock, Academy Master
Eldritch Pact: Fey Pact
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast Charisma
White Lotus Dueling Expertise: Choose Implement Proficiency: White Lotus Dueling Expertise (Staff)
Half-Elf Power Selection: Dilettante
Theme: Knight Hospitalier or Faerie Beast Tamer

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 13, Dex 14, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 22.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 10, Dex 13, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 17.


AC: 24 Fort: 20 Reflex: 25 Will: 26
HP: 75 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 18

TRAINED SKILLS
History +14, Religion +14, Intimidate +16, Bluff +16, Heal +10

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Arcana +11, Diplomacy +13, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +6, Insight +7, Nature +5, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Streetwise +11, Thievery +7, Athletics +4

FEATS
Level 1: White Lotus Dueling Expertise
Level 2: Superior Implement Training (Accurate staff)
Level 4: Accursed Coordination
Level 6: Improved Defenses
Level 8: Master of Stories
Level 10: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 11: Flitting Shadows

POWERS
Dilettante: Bolstering Speech
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast
Warlock encounter 1: Witchfire
Warlock daily 1: Crown of Stars
Warlock utility 2: Caiphon's Leap
Warlock encounter 3: Delban's Deadly Attention
Warlock daily 5: Emerald Shield
Warlock utility 6: Mirror Darkly
Warlock encounter 7: Touch of Command
Warlock daily 9: Storm Countess's Kiss
Warlock utility 10: Ethereal Sidestep

ITEMS
Magic Drowmesh +3, Amulet of Protection +2, Incisive Dagger Accurate dagger +2, Tanathriel Accurate staff +3
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Important to note the hospitalier theme which combined with the skald aura should provide an excellent source of damage prevention. Immediate encounters + flitting shadows is entirely too much fun, especially when combined with a dominate at 7. It's worth debating between FBT and hospitalier: hospitalier is a great way to prevent 10-12 damage. FBT puts another creature on the board with HP equal to your bloodied value that costs a surge to resummon.

Warlock Defender

We're looking at another half-elf. It's critical to note that as a warlock all you need to do is hit an enemy with an attack (not warlock attack) to trigger the curse. Combined with defending dabbler (mark!) and versatile master (at-will!) we've got another at-will spamming build. We combine this with a pesudomark with the battlemind's "conductive defense" and we have ourselves a "defender". This would do much better as a hybrid (swordmage) but well... you asked for no hybrids. ...

...or we can do something that I've never tried before and "paragon multiclass" into swordmage. Which... kind of works, actually...

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 11
Human, Warlock, Paragon Multiclassing
Eldritch Pact: Infernal Pact
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Human Power Selection: Heroic Effort
Gritty Sergeant Benefit: Weapon Proficiency (Rapier)
Background: Gritty Sergeant (Gritty Sergeant Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 20, Dex 11, Int 20, Wis 11, Cha 14.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 17, Dex 10, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 13.


AC: 25 Fort: 24 Reflex: 25 Will: 21
HP: 82 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 20

TRAINED SKILLS
Thievery +10, Insight +10, Religion +15, Bluff +12, History +15, Arcana +15

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Diplomacy +7, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +10, Heal +5, Intimidate +7, Nature +5, Perception +5, Stealth +5, Streetwise +7, Athletics +4

FEATS
Human: Warlock's Sight (retrained to Double Aegis at Level 11)
Level 1: Blade Initiate
Level 2: War Wizard's Expertise
Level 4: Novice Power
Level 6: Accursed Coordination
Level 8: Acolyte Power
Level 10: Adept Power
Level 11: Arcane Aegis

POWERS
Arcane Aegis: Aegis of Assault
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Strike
Infernal Pact: Hellish Rebuke
Paragon Multiclassing: Fettering Aegis
Warlock encounter 1: Chains of Levistus
Warlock daily 1: Armor of Agathys
Warlock utility 2: Wrathful Aspect
Warlock encounter 3: Delban's Deadly Attention (retrained to Dimensional Vortex at Novice Power)
Warlock daily 5: Hunger of Hadar
Warlock utility 6: Mirror Darkly
Warlock encounter 7: Touch of Command
Warlock daily 9: Summons of Khirad (retrained to Troll Rampage at Adept Power)
Warlock utility 10: Shadow Armor (retrained to Swordmage's Decree at Acolyte Power)

ITEMS
Shadowrift Blade Rapier +3, Magic Drowmesh +3, Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Cloak of the Walking Wounded +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

Tactics, there are plenty of utilities and dailies and whatnot to get around the 1/encounter swordmage aegis. Use hellish rebuke as your meat and potatoes, cause with your marks you will be taking that damage. FBT gives you another creature on the board to bother artillery with/get OAs with. Select to taste. I would be very interested in how this abomination unto devil and gods plays.

Warlock Striker

Star pact student of caiphon. Hello expanded crit range!

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 11
Pixie, Warlock, Student of Caiphon
Eldritch Pact: Star Pact
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast Constitution
Fey Beast Tamer Starting Feature: Fey Beast Tamer Companion (Young Owlbear)
Twofold Pact: Sorcerer-King Pact
Background: Silent Hunter (Silent Hunter Benefit)

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 13, Dex 14, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 22.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 12, Dex 11, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 17.


AC: 24 Fort: 18 Reflex: 23 Will: 24
HP: 75 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 18

TRAINED SKILLS
Perception +11, Stealth +17, Arcana +14, Thievery +12

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +7, Bluff +11, Diplomacy +11, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +6, Heal +5, History +9, Insight +5, Intimidate +11, Nature +7, Religion +9, Streetwise +11, Athletics +4

FEATS
Level 1: Accursed Coordination
Level 2: Superior Implement Training (Accurate rod)
Level 4: Rod Expertise
Level 6: Teeny Target (retrained to Mindbite Scorn at Level 11)
Level 8: Dual Implement Spellcaster
Level 10: Killing Curse
Level 11: Twofold Pact

POWERS
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast
Warlock encounter 1: Dreadful Word
Warlock daily 1: Crown of Stars
Warlock utility 2: Caiphon's Leap
Warlock encounter 3: Lure of Minauros
Warlock daily 5: Emerald Shield
Warlock utility 6: Pixie Invisibility
Warlock encounter 7: Far Realm Phantasm
Warlock daily 9: Hellsworn Blessing
Warlock utility 10: Transcendent Dance

ITEMS
Accurate rod of Deadly Casting +3, Battle Harness Leather Armor +2, Magic Rod +3, Bracers of Brachiation (heroic tier), Elven Cloak +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

+3d8 curse damage is painful. The fact that you're hovering over the center of the battlefield applying your dire radiance to people and really prohibiting movement to your highly mobile rest of party... is delightful. FBE just to have a huge number of bodies on the ground. Cheaper than healing :)

Warlock Controller

Warlocks are one of the best controlling strikers out of the box so no multiclassing is necessary. We have two options: master of the starry night or nightmare weaver. Functionally we'll be looking at a teleporting puppetmaster build. Under no circumstances are you to look at binder, it just sucks. Use this guide and the framework above to build to taste. (or ask in comments)

Warlock Leader /Controller

Upon actually trying to make a "controller" I was faced with the definition of controller. Controllers debuff, perform forced movement, and minion pop. There was some amazing synergy with some leadery elements and a "normal" controller was eluding me. Thus I present the second helf MC bard:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 11
Half-Elf, Warlock, Lyrandar Wind-Rider
Eldritch Pact: Vestige Pact
White Lotus Dueling Expertise: Choose Implement Proficiency: White Lotus Dueling Expertise (Staff)
Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Constitution
Fey Beast Tamer Starting Feature: Fey Beast Tamer Companion (Young Owlbear)
Half-Elf Power Selection: Dilettante

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
Str 9, Con 22, Dex 11, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 16.

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
Str 8, Con 17, Dex 10, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 13.


AC: 23 Fort: 23 Reflex: 22 Will: 21
HP: 84 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 21

TRAINED SKILLS


UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +5, Arcana +9, Bluff +8, Diplomacy +10, Dungeoneering +5, Endurance +11, Heal +5, History +9, Insight +7, Intimidate +8, Nature +5, Perception +5, Religion +9, Stealth +5, Streetwise +8, Thievery +5, Athletics +4

FEATS
Level 1: Accursed Coordination
Level 2: White Lotus Dueling Expertise
Level 4: Superior Implement Training (Quickbeam staff)
Level 6: Adept Dilettante
Level 8: Master of Stories
Level 10: Mark of Storm
Level 11: Versatile Master

POWERS
Dilettante: Staggering Note
Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Strike
Warlock encounter 1: Clarion Call
Warlock daily 1: Vestige of Mount Vaelis
Warlock utility 2: Wrathful Aspect
Warlock encounter 3: Vestige's Calamity
Warlock daily 5: Hunger of Hadar
Warlock utility 6: Mirror Darkly
Warlock encounter 7: Elder Constellation
Warlock daily 9: Summons of Khirad
Warlock utility 10: Shadow Armor

ITEMS
Quickbeam staff of the Serpent +3, Shadowdance Leather Armor +2, Warlock's Bracers (paragon tier), Amulet of Life +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

This George is a bit more tricky to play. His primary power is staggering note, which, thanks to curse, does 2d6+5 damage... and then grants Mr. Defender an MBA which does... 1d10+lots+2d6 damage... and some sliding. All of his powers are thunder based and so he'll slide everything and he's designed with a lot of blasts and bursts in mind, as he's Mr. Minionpopper. (This, by the way, is the only time he should be using eyes of the vestige instead of staggering note, or when he's got the thunder vestige up and the "Defender" is overworked.)

Proof of the Pudding

Spreadsheet with analysis here.

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Chalock = Charisma based warlock, multiclassed into vampire. Lock|shaman = hybrid warlock shaman, conlock = constitution based warlock, gish = melee spellcaster. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 13 '12 at 20:18
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I just spent close on 4 hours on this answer. I'd love it if someone could come through and do formatting and suchlike. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 14 '12 at 3:06
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I deem this the most epic answer ever! –  DForck42 Feb 14 '12 at 14:15
1  
@DForck42 I've got longer/better answers, especially the ones I made into papers :) –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 14 '12 at 14:39
1  
I think that's what mathematics students call "demonstration by you-don't-want-to-read-it-all". –  Zachiel Feb 21 '13 at 18:05
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