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I know there are prestige classes for casters, but due to the Warlock's Invocation mechanics, I'm not sure which ones it can qualify for, or at least which ones would be beneficial for it. What are some good prestige classes for Warlocks?

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Combat, I guess. I think I'm looking for options here more than anything else. –  Cobalt Jan 18 '13 at 2:07

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Warlock Prestige Class Eligibility

Basically, there are three rules:

  1. Spell-like abilities have Caster Levels, and therefore things that require a particular Caster Level can be met with a spell-like ability that has sufficient Caster Level. Warlock invocations are specifically arcane, which means they can also meet requirements for Arcane Caster Level.

  2. Having spell-like abilities is not the same as knowing how to cast spells; no number of spell-like abilities allows one to qualify as being “able to cast spells” of any level, even if one knows spell-like abilities that emulate spells of a higher level.

  3. Spell-like abilities that mimic particular spells, on the other hand, do count as those spells for the purposes of requirements.

Complete Arcane explains each of these on page 71. Page 18 describes how a Warlock benefits from a spellcasting prestige class.

What Prestige Classes Does a Warlock Actually Qualify For?

List questions are not on topic here, but the short answer is, “not many.” Wizards threw them a few bones in Complete Arcane, but both before and after Complete Arcane, being able to cast spells of a given level have been by-far the most common sort of requirement for a spellcasting prestige class. Complete Arcane does, at least, list each of its own prestige classes by which base classes each is best for, so you can search Table 2‐1 on page 18 for that.

From other books, Complete Mage and Dragon Magic both add new invocations, and I know Complete Mage does have a few classes that Warlocks can qualify for. There are other places scattered around that have prestige classes they can take, but there are not many.

I do recommend houseruling the warlock qualifications to allow them to take prestige classes that require casting spells of a given level.

There are simply too many prestige classes that are too fitting and appropriate to deny them to Warlocks. Just allow them to qualify for a prestige class if a Wizard of their (effective) level could cast spells of the required level. Some class benefits (bonus spell slots, metamagic effects, extra spells known) are meaningless for them, but still, a discerning player should be able to find useful things. The Warlock is not a high-powered class; it’s a good idea to throw them a bone.

For those particularly enamored of the RAW...

The notorious Precocious Apprentice feat from Complete Arcane can... arguably be taken by Warlocks. That being the case, they’d get a 2nd-level spell slot for doing so, and can then take prestige classes that require 2nd-level spells. Said prestige classes can then progress their Warlock Invocations as normal. This is not recommended; just houserule Warlock prestige class entry and be done with it.

Notable Warlock Prestige Classes

Just a couple of prestige classes that deserve special mention.

Hellfire Warlock

Of course, the best Warlock prestige class is the Hellfire Warlock from Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells. This class is three-levels long, adds +2d6 Hellfire Blast damage each level, and advances Invocations on each level. Hellfire Blasts also do Constitution damage to yourself, and the class specifically states that you cannot use Hellfire Blast if you are immune to Constitution damage. A one-level dip in Binder (Tome of Magic) for Naberius is the most common way to heal that up quickly and easily. A one-level dip in Incarnate for Strongheart Vest might work, depending on how your DM reads the immunity rule (Strongheart Vest basically gives you DR for ability damage, but it does not give immunity; YMMV).

Hellfire Warlock is so good that a lot of Warlock optimizers abuse Legacy Champion (Weapons of Legacy), which has the class feature of advancing another class’s features (like +1 spellcasting level, but for any sort of level and advancing anything). By RAW, this allows you to have more than three effective Hellfire Warlock levels, and therefore more than the +6d6 damage that it usually grants. A lot of DMs take a pretty dim view of that rule, however.

Chameleon

This is not a Warlock prestige class, and nothing about Warlock makes it easier to enter (it only requires a feat and some skills). It does not advance Invocations. What it does do, however, is give you a “floating feat” – a Chameleon 2’s Bonus Feat can be changed every day.

This is relevant to Warlocks because at level 12, they gain Imbue Item, the ability to craft magical items without knowing the requisite spell. They still need the feat, however: Chameleon 2 means that they can swap in whatever Item Creation feat they like for these purposes, and on days when they’re not crafting, they can just swap it to Extra Invocation.

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+1 excellent call on the chameleon classes floating feat and imbue item. –  LitheOhm Jan 18 '13 at 2:35
    
Just allow them to qualify for a prestige class if a Wizard of their (effective) level could cast spells of the required level. - "if they know an invocation equivalent to a spell of at least required level" would be much more in line with system logic and much less ambigous, though will probably still allow an early qualification or two. –  Jeor Mattan Jan 18 '13 at 8:26
    
@JeorMattan The problem with that is, for example, there are Least Invocations (available from level 1) that mimic 2nd-level spells (e.g. summon swarm). They just don't line up neatly. Spell level requirements are basically level requirements in a certain type of class, but Invocations don't have the same neat levels. –  KRyan Jan 18 '13 at 13:54
    
"wizard of their effective level" is pretty far from being neat, too, having early qualification shenanigans in mind. It is perfectly possible for a first-level wizard to be able to cast 3rd level spells. –  Jeor Mattan Jan 18 '13 at 14:29
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@JeorMattan Fine, then use Spell_Level=⌈Class_Level/2⌉ if you want to be extremely pedantic about it. –  KRyan Jan 18 '13 at 16:44

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