Can somebody explain the Warlock spell table for me?

Maybe I'm just slow, but I don't understand it. I've played Wizards before and the Wizard spell slot table was simple to get: at 1st level you get 2 first level spell slots and 3 cantrips, at 2nd level you get one more 1st level spell slot, etc.

But when I look at the Warlock spell table I just don't understand how to use it. What are spells known? What's the difference between invocations and spells?

I'm sorry if this is something super simple. I just don't understand it. Keep in mind I've never played Warlock before.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, you are confused only with the difference between spells known and invocations known? Not with how spell slots work differently with the Warlock feature Pact Magic? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2018 at 23:41

2 Answers 2


Warlocks are a bit different from other classes, so it's fair that it can seem confusing at first!


Cantrips Known

These are the number of cantrips your Warlock knows. Cantrips do not cost Spell Slots and can be used almost every turn.

Spells known:

These are the total number of spells known for the Warlock at the proposed level. When a warlock wants to spend a Spell Slot to cast a spell, they have to choose from the spells they have Known.
Keep in mind, this is separate from Cantrips Known.

Spell Slots

This is how many non-cantrip spells a Warlock can cast per Short Rest. Once you take a Short Rest, you get all of these back.

Slot Level

This is how big your slots are. All of your Spell Slots for a Warlock are cast at this level. In DnD 5th edition, many spells can be "upcasted" (casting them at a higher level than is required) for additional benefits. A spell like Hex (Level 1 spell) has additional benefits when you cast it with a spell slot that's larger than level 1, which will happen often as a Warlock.


Invocations are different from spells. These are special permanent benefits you choose for the Warlock, in its own section of the Warlock class. Example invocations include being able to knock enemies back with the Eldritch Blast cantrip, being able to see in magical and nonmagical darkness, and being able to turn invisible.

An example scenario could be a level 5 Warlock. They would have:

  • 3 cantrips known
  • 6 Non-cantrip spells known to choose from
  • 2 Spell Slots (Can cast non-cantrip spells twice per short rest)
  • 3rd level spell slots (Casts those non-cantrip spells as level 3)

Another way you can look at it is that this Warlock has two level 3 spell slots, and regenerates those two spell slots each short or long rest.

Why Warlock?

Warlocks lack versatility in that they do not have many options for what to cast and how often to cast them compared to other casters (the Wizard can cast a total of 9 spells at level 5, and can cast all of them in a minute) but the spells that Warlocks DO cast are at very high levels. Note that a level 5 Wizard can only cast level 3 spells twice per long rest, where the Warlock can cast that many per short rest.

Assuming there are two short rests per long rest, that means that the Warlock can cast their highest powered spells 3x more than the Wizard.

A Wizard may excel in versatility, but nothing compares to the Warlock in raw, consistent firepower.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Might be worth emphasizing that warlocks regen at short rest vs wizards at long, it's in there but slightly hidden. That can be a very large boon depending on the layout of your campaign. \$\endgroup\$
    – user30848
    Dec 18, 2018 at 1:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Minor improvement: all spells can be upcasted. Not all of them gain anything from doing so, but you can still use a higher level slot if you want to (or have to, in the case of the Warlock) \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Dec 18, 2018 at 12:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Should be noted that Wizards have Arcane Recovery feature, that allows to recover Spell Slots that have a combined level equal to or less than half Wizard level (rounded up). \$\endgroup\$ Dec 19, 2018 at 7:54

Wizards add two spells each level to their spellbook. Warlocks don't. Warlocks know a certain amount of spells based on their level. They don't prepare spells each morning like wizards do; they have access to cast any spell they know with their available slots, as Sorcerers do.

Invocations are described at the end of the Warlock class. They are extra abilities you get to select a number of based on your level. These don't require spell slots to use.

So, at level 5, for instance, you know a total of 6 spells and 3 cantrips. And you have 2 spell slots that are level 3. You get 3 invocations to choose. So you could choose Agnoizing Blast, Repelling Blast and Eldritch Spear (for instance).

You'll notice the spell slots are a lot fewer than other casters. But the recharge on Short Rest instead of long rest.


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