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Recently the other players in my group got tired of their characters; now they've turned up with new ones and I'm worried that my Warlock has nothing to add to the group anymore.

My Character

Level 5 human Pact of the Tome warlock, Fiend patron.
Stats: STR 14, DEX 12, CON 13, INT 14, WIS 14, CHA 19
Invocations: Agonizing Blast, Repelling Blast and Devil's Sight.
Feats: Spell Sniper
Spells: hex, darkness, hunger of Hadar, invisibility, and comprehend languages

My group: a barbarian, two bards, a wizard and a rogue/druid multi-class (sorry I don't know specifics on their classes); a Sorcerer or Cleric might be joining soon.

I am thinking that now that we have a wizard (with EB), it's stupid to have the ritual invocation (Book of Ancient Secrets). One bard is the face whilst the other has utility spells like charm person and darkness; I'm not a Hexblade so I can't go melee.

I feel like I'm just an extra mouth to feed; is there anything more I can do to contribute to the party that someone else isn't doing better?

The DM rolls to see if we have night-time encounters or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How many encounters do you typically have between long rests? \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Sep 30 '18 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ What rituals have you already put into your tome? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 1 '18 at 12:11
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TL;DR - Sure, each of your abilities is shared with at least one party member. But that's ok! Overlap is never such a bad thing if used properly. In fact, in many cases, this overlap can lead to a "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" type of thing.


Here are a few things I can think of that could potentially boost your perception of usefulness in your party :

  • You can steal cantrips from other classes. Your tome grants you cantrips from whatever spell list you want and converts them to warlock cantrips (meaning you cast with charisma). This allows you to get Guidance, which is awesome in social encounters (you give a few magical tips to the bard, who can roll an additional d4 with his persuasion roll if it's done in the next minute), as it stacks with the advantage mechanics. This also works with lock picking or other adventuring skills. Guidance is never wasted if you use it properly! You can also get a druid's shillelagh for melee options. In essence, this turns you into a hexblade for one minute, allowing you to use your charisma modifier on attack and damage rolls for 1 minute. By this point, however, you likely have already selected your extra cantrips. Perhaps your Patron (and by that I mean your GM) would let you swap them out if you talk to them about your perceived uselessness?
  • Increased travel speed. As both you and the wizard can cast rituals (assuming you eventually take book of ancient secrets), Phantom Steed becomes super interesting. Normally, a party travels 3 to 4 miles per hour depending on chosen pace. Phantom Steed allows you to travel 10 to 13 miles per hour, but casting it as a ritual for your whole party would normally mean that your party members would have to travel solo or waste the spell waiting for everyone else. With 2 ritual casters, you can take 30 minutes to cast it for everyone, then travel 5 to 6.5 miles during the remaining half hour. Furthermore, you no longer have to think about horses when going into dungeons, never have to pay for their stabling/food, etc.
  • Ritual overlap is definitely not a bad thing. For instance, it would take an hour for a single caster to identify a few potions, a sword and one or two magical trinkets (10 minutes ritual per item), during which time the caster is not taking a short rest. With two casters, you can reduce the downtime considerably, which is important in dangerous territory. Also of note, you are not limited to warlock or wizard rituals. This means that any other caster in your party that learns a ritual, they can (if they want) teach it to you. It's not always super useful to have ritual overlap, but when it comes handy, it can literally save lives. This also means that you can learn ritual spells that are not on the Warlock spell list, such as detect magic. Sure, there's an invocation for that, but you have very few of those, while you can have infinite rituals.
  • You should try to synergize with your bard friend. An iconic warlock combo is using darkness and devil's sight to get advantage on all their attack rolls (you see them but they don't see you). However, darkness requires concentration to maintain, so you can't use Hex at the same time. If you can convince your bard to cast darkness for you (or on you, perhaps), you get to increase your damage output significantly.
  • Don't compare yourself to the wizard and/or bards in combat. With their vastly larger spell slot allotment, they can decide to burn much more ressources in a single fight than you can. While you do have access to fireball (Fiend patron), they will probably out-damage you if they decide to sling four of them compared to your one or two. On the other hand, if you compare yourself to an auto-attacker (such as a fighter or ranger using a bow, perhaps), the comparison stands much better. With an Agonizing Eldritch Blast, you deal pretty much the same damage as an archer would. While you do not have access to sharpshooter, proper use of Hex should get you very close, especially considering that Hex is "free" to use (no need to sacrifice accuracy, it's just free damage on a hit).
  • Your blasts also have utility. At absolutely no cost to you, you can use repelling blast to push enemies away from your party members. This can potentially save their lives! You can also use repelling blast to corral enemies into a clump, allowing your caster friends to use large AoE spells with more efficiency. Some very strong AoE spells are also hard to use because they require enemies to start their round in the AoE to deal damage, or require them to go through a specific area that is obviously dangerous (like a wall of fire, for instance). If you talk to your caster buddies, you can combo off of each other so that these spells can deal damage more than once in a fight as you push the enemies back inside the spells' range.
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D&D is one of the most combat oriented RPGs; if you are good at combat, you are relevant

Most likely you have the highest damage output, or second if the Barbarian has Great Weapon Master.

Cantrips are quite bad at damage , except for Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast.
The Wizard, even if he has Eldritch Blast1, will lack Agonizing Blast. Even after taking 2 levels of Warlock, most likely he won't have the necessary Charisma bonus to use it effectively. Even if he has 16 now, he won't be able to increase it properly, without sacrificing his progress in wizarding.

Sure he can decide to spend all his spell slots in the first encounter, vastly outdamaging you, but from then on he is just an extra mouth to feed that day.


1 The only legal way for a Wizard to have Eldritch Blast is through Magic Initiate or Spell Sniper, which means he will be even weaker in his primary class, having spent his ASI on a feat.

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You still have utility and power that they do not, and you have use even where there are overlaps.

For instance:

  • Agonizing, Repelling, Spell Sniper Eldritch Blast is a very powerful effect for all-day-every-day use that the other casters can't really come close to without taking levels in Warlock.
  • The Darkness/Devil's Sight combo is likewise one that essentially cannot be replicated without Warlock levels.
  • You have fewer casting slots than they do, but yours recharge on a short rest. If your DM is giving you a reasonable ratio of short rests per long rest, that can be pretty meaningful. It also means that if you are ambushed in the middle of the night, you'll have your full tank of spells... and you can happily burn them all to save everyone because you'll have them again in the morning.
  • There's ritual overlap with the Bards and the Wizard, sure... but the rogue/Druid isn't going to be all that impressive of a ritual caster, and until the Cleric joins you're still the only source of that. Admittedly, there's overlap there now where there wasn't before, but they overlap pretty heavily with each other, too. Also, having a backup can be good for a variety of reasons, especially for the spells that help fix effects.
  • You're no longer the sole party face... but sometimes it's easier to sell certain ideas when you have more than one person talking. Get together with the "party face" bard and see if you can't work out some complementary roles for managing that face-time. As a Warlock, you're a natural for "bad cop".
  • You have a wealth of cantrips. Tune them appropriately (and retrain as necessary). Eldritch Blast is the only attack you'll ever need, so every single one of the others cn be devoted to utility. A good suite of utility cantrips, applied creatively, can improve a great many situations.

Beyond that, though... your party is bloating. That means that pretty much everyone is getting overlap in their non-combat utility. It also means that everyone would do well to focus a bit less on personal optimization, and a bit more on how each can help everyone do better. (Repelling Blast is great for this. The warlock list also has a bunch of great area effects, debuffs, and pins that can help a lot.) You're not a one-man-band anymore, but you've still got plenty of tools to work with. You'll be fine.

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Combat and Multiclassing Options

A fun thing to do is cast Cloud of Daggers on an enemy space. No saving throw, no attack roll, they just take the damage. You can use your invocations and eldritch blast to push or pull nearby enemies into the damage area. It's not optimal, but it comes up more often than you think, especially with larger monsters.

Also consider multiclassing into sorcerer (I don't know how to justify that, but if you bring it up to the DM that you feel like a lackluster combat character, they might allow it). You can use your quickened spell metamagic to essentially throw out double the amout of eldritch blasts, essentially adding your CHA modifier to damage about 4 times (for your current level range). The wizard's eldritch blast wouldn't even be able to compare to yours.

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