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This is primarily a "Flavor" question (or maybe not given the long range ramifications) that came up during a game session from reading the late 4th edition "Dungeons and Dragons" comic where the Tiefling Warlock Tisha was clearly unhappy with her Pact.

Fast forward to 5th edition...

It's a pretty simple concept: Can Warlocks "find" new Patrons?

Paladins can become Blackguards, sure, but that's a matter of falling from grace and being accepted "Paladin level for Blackguard level".

We're playing 5th edition but we're more familiar with 3.5th edition rules so we could simply be missing something.

Note: We only have the Core books: PHB, DMG, MM. None of the others. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you a player or a DM in this case? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 15 '18 at 11:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Neither. We all just wondered. \$\endgroup\$ – Basement Cat Mar 15 '18 at 23:50
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As per this question, there's no rule which allows a character to re-spec their class options. However, the Adventurers League rules allow for a character re-spec below level 5, and outside of that, the DM has the power to change or ignore rules to grant any player a re-spec, and a responsibility to make sure all the players are having a good time.

Lore-wise, a warlock has a responsibility to serve their master, and this implies that they can be fired, too:

Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patreon is like that of a cleric and a deity ... More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron's behalf.

This suggests that you can find yourself unable to progress after disobeying your patron, and it's entirely possible that you might catch the attention of another patron who offers similar or different powers. Apprentices can acquire new masters, and several clerics in D&D lore have changed deity.

It's certainly not broken or unbalanced to re-spec (unless you do so frequently so as to gain an unreasonable amount of versatility; once only should be fine). It's even easier if you happen to be happy with your existing powers, but just want to change the patron for fluff reasons, since fluff is entirely within the ability of the player or DM to decide, and the rules hold no sway here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I do not know what/how about the Adventurer's Guild. I'm asking about...well...the Core Rules..which say nothing about any of the current "whatever" stuff is going on. \$\endgroup\$ – Basement Cat Mar 15 '18 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't you mean Adventurer's League? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 21 '18 at 15:28
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As far as I know, there is no built-in mechanic in D&D 5th edition that allows characters to choose to switch subclasses, including Warlocks and their patrons.

The DM can certainly allow it to happen (perhaps requiring some in-character roleplaying to justify it), and it shouldn't cause significant problems unless the player abuses this and tries to change their subclass on a constant basis.

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RAW no

Simply there isn't a mechanic that allows you to change patrons in DnD 5e. I dont know about other editions but in DnD 5e you choose a patron and that's your patron for that character.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In previous editions Clerics could change gods. For a famous literature based example (back in the 80's(?)) Adon, a cleric of Sune in the Forgotten Realms changed to worshiping the goddess Mystra at the end of the Time of Troubles. As there are no rules about Clerics changing deities in 5th edition (or Warlocks) there aren't any rules against it happening either. ??? \$\endgroup\$ – Basement Cat Mar 15 '18 at 4:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Patrons are chosen at 1st level so you couldn't choose a new one even by de-levelling \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 15 '18 at 6:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ In mechanics, no, however, not everything in the game has a mechanic. There is no "mechanic" for losing favor with an NPC, it's an RP event. So, in a sense, the "mechanic" for losing favor with a Patron Deity (an NPC) is an RP effect. \$\endgroup\$ – SeraphsWrath Mar 15 '18 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth That is interesting. I would rule that, in that case, the Pact of the Fiend was replaced... though I would only allow that if the situations clearly presented itself. For example, if a Warlock were bound to a Demon and then they rebelled against it and banished it from the Material Plane, the Demon would probably renege on the Pact and no longer grant the Warlock their support. Were the Warlock to be of Good Alignment, this might impress a Celestial Patron enough to make a new Pact with that Warlock. It's all in the RP and the story. \$\endgroup\$ – SeraphsWrath Mar 15 '18 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron I seam to have been mistaken you are correct the warlock chooses the patron at first not third level, I was thinking of pact boon which could be changed by deleveling. \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Mar 21 '18 at 1:43

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