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This is another Warlock Homebrew I've been working on at my table for a player in an upcoming game. We'll be starting at 5th level in a puzzle heavy dungeon.

I'm fairly sure that at 5th level this is probably going to roll along nicely. How does the balance look at later levels?

My major goal here was to create a Warlock that was not great for level 1 dips but rewarded the Warlock who stuck around till the endgame with their class. I imagine a kind of Aladdin character stuck in a cave with a lamp forming a relationship with their patron, much like the Disney film.


The Genie Patron

Expanded Spell List

The Genie lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

  • 1st: Identify, Absorb Elements
  • 2nd: Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp, Rope Trick
  • 3rd: Lightning Bolt, Remove Curse
  • 4th: Wall of Fire, Polymorph
  • 5th: Cone of Cold, Creation

Genie’s Lesser Wish

Starting at 1st level, you can invoke the power of your patron to grant you a benefit, depending on the kind of Genie your pact is with:

  • Djinn - As a reaction, add your warlock level to a saving throw that you make.
  • Efreeti - As a bonus action, add your warlock level in fire damage to a spell or weapon attack roll.
  • Marid - As a bonus action, add your warlock level to a skill check
  • Dao - As a reaction to a creature being attacked, add your warlock level to a that creature’s AC until the next round.

You may use the Genie’s Lesser Wish feature once per long rest.

Miraculous Protection

Starting at 6th level, you may use the Lesser Wish feature twice per long rest. Also, you gain resistance to particular types of damage associated with your patron:

  • Djinn - Lightning & Thunder
  • Efreeti - Fire & Radiant
  • Marid - Acid & Cold
  • Dao - Bludgeoning, Slashing, & Piercing

Mystical Mobility

Starting at 10th level, you gain increased mobility, depending on the patron you have chosen:

  • Djinn - You gain a flying speed of 15 feet.
  • Efreeti - Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • Marid - You gain a swimming speed of 30 feet
  • Dao - You gain a burrowing speed of 15 feet.

Incredible Power

Starting at 14th level, you may use the Lesser Wish feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 2 uses). Additionally, choose one of the resistances granted by Miraculous Protection; that resistance is now an immunity.

At 17th level, you may choose the Wish spell as your 9th level Mystic Arcanum.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome and please review this meta on how to ask about homebrew. You've covered a lot in yours, but you may want to review it yourself and mention areas you think might not be balanced. BUt take a look at the meta and you may want to adjust your question. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 10 '19 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean resistance (and later, immunity) to non-magical bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage? \$\endgroup\$ – Davo Jun 10 '19 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user53882: So you intended it to be nonmagical B/P/S, then? Or not? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 10 '19 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I intended magical, but from what I'm seeing I think pruning it to just bludgeoning & another non Physical resistance that is appropriate like force? \$\endgroup\$ – user53882 Jun 10 '19 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps rename the final ability as "phenomenal cosmic power", with bonus points if you can include an "itty bitty living space" ability. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Richardson Aug 12 '19 at 21:06
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Real busted past level 5

Let's start from the top.

Expanded Spell List - seems alright, but the spells chosen don't seem to thematically fit a genie...? I was expecting more divinations. It's not overpowered, but just seems kinda weird.

Lesser Wish
Djinn: Decent at low levels, upgrades into Legendary Resistance at higher levels. That second part is a problem, especially since later features let you use this up to 5+ times.
Efreeti: Fairly meaningless at low levels, moderately good (but a very resisted damage type) at higher levels. Probably the most balanced of the 4 possiblities.
Marid: Pretty good at low levels - by level 4 it's approximately equivalent to advantage. Unreasonably good at higher levels, as it just lets you auto-succeed on a skill check.
Dao: Mediocre at low levels - by level 5 it's finally equivalent to the 1st level spell Shield. Completely broken at high levels, as a reliable +20 or even just +10 bonus to AC for a full round makes a creature functionally invincible (outside of crits, of course).

The level scaling here is a big problem. Bounded accuracy is a major design tenet of 5th Edition, and adding a reliable +20 or even just +10 to or against die rolls should not be done outside of specific situations - existing cases all shore up major weaknesses of classes, rather than just making good stuff better.
Monks get Deflect Missiles, but cannot meaningfully engage with ranged opponents.
War Clerics get Guided Strike, but are frontliners who never receive Extra Attack.
Storm Sorcerers get Storm's Fury but have to be struck by melee attacks to use it.

Miraculous Protection
Djinn: Thematically appropriate and not unreasonably powerful.
Efreeti: Thematically appropriate and not unreasonably powerful.
Marid: Thematically appropriate and not unreasonably powerful.
Dao: No, No, NO. Absolutely not. No-resource always-on resistance to the most common damage types (bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing) in the game? This would make your subclass broken if it were the only feature. And certainly not as a level 6 feature. Maybe it could be balanced in the Level 14 slot.

Mystical Mobility
Djinn: this is about the right level to get a slow fly speed.
Efreeti: A 10ft walking speed increase is actually very weak for a 10th level feature.
Marid: A swim speed is unremarkable, fairly weak for a 10th level feature.
Dao: Burrow speed is... crazy powerful compared to these other options. On-demand total cover is really good - even more so when combined with the warlock invocation Ghostly Gaze, letting you keep an eye on things even while burrowing.

Incredible Power - Strong mainly because of how good the Lesser Wishes are. Immunity to a damage type is very strong, but as long as you don't let them have it to bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing, it's appropriate for a 14th level feature. But this feature also reads as a bit scattered - most warlock 14 features are pretty self-contained, rather than massively improving previous features. Not overpowered, just kinda weird.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ May be worthwile discuss the balance of the genie types/bonuses for Lesser Wish and miraculous protection. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 10 '19 at 14:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ no comment on giving warlocks wish? That actually seems pretty broken as well, considering one of the limiting factors of warlocks is their small spell selection. \$\endgroup\$ – Cubic Jun 10 '19 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you figure that +20 bonuses don't have any place in 5e? Monks get those sorts of bonuses for Deflect Missiles; War Clerics get massive bonuses to attack rolls via their Channel Divinity. I think you need to expand that statement to more accurately encapsulate what's being proposed as you're only looking at it from the viewpoint of level 20, not levels 1-19. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jun 10 '19 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Speedkat for Dao's resistance what about just bludgeoning and one other resistance that would make sense? like maybe force? \$\endgroup\$ – user53882 Jun 10 '19 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Resistance, then immunity to, all Bludgeoning, Slashing, and Piercing damage. Not limited to magical weapons, not even limited to weapons. All damage of these kinds. Now that's overpowered indeed. \$\endgroup\$ – Davo Jun 10 '19 at 21:15
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It's not bad, but there are some improvements needed

Overall, this isn't as unbalanced as I initially thought when I looked at it. There are elements that are overpowered, but I think can be reasonably brought back in line fairly easily.

Expanded Spell List

No comments. In general, expanded spell lists I don't find to be an issue since learning the spells provided typically requires giving up a very limited resource in the form of spells known. I am curious if you'd considered modifying this to be genie-type specific.

Genie's Lesser Wish

On first glance, this seems extremely powerful, especially when you consider the natural progression towards levels 10+, however, there are parallels within the game to permit such skills. 2nd level Clerics gain Guided Strike as a Channel Divinity (i.e. once per short rest), which provides such a massive boost to an attack roll, that it will almost certainly hit; 3rd level Monks have Deflect Missiles every round, whose benefits naturally progress towards the end result of the the first ranged attack always misses; and Divination Wizards have their Portent feature twice per day, which lets you replace a d20 with whatever your portent was.

In reality, compared to those other features, this feature may actually be a bit underpowered. Especially for the first few levels. I suspect this is to be prevent 1 level dips as you stated, but regardless since it is a class feature, I think you should strive to make it meaningful since it is a once per day feature.

I would recommend improving the bonus to be your Charisma modifier or warlock level, whichever is greater.

Miraculous Protection

Dual resistances isn't unheard of. Storm Sorcerors get that at 6th level and they're thematically appropriate. In general, I don't have an issue with the resistances granted except those for Dao. It's essentially resistance to physical attacks and the only way to get that are either very high level class features or to be a raging Barbarian.

I strongly recommend that those resistances be changed to something less overpowering, especially since down the line you intend to grant immunity and that has no precedent.

Mystical Mobility

The Efreeti and Marid options don't have issues. The other two, however, need some fixing.

The Djinn's flight, as written, is pretty powerful for 10th level. The soonest I can find a class feature allowing fly speeds with restrictions being permissible is 14th level for Eagle Totem Barbarians who have to land each turn or Draconic Sorcerers whom need to tailor their clothing for their wings. Both of those features give a lot more fly speed, though, than this feature. As written, this is slightly better than the Ascendant Step invocation since concentration isn't required, but your speed isn't as fast unless you dash. I would recommend making the fly speed 30' and imposing a restriction requiring the character to land at the end of each of their turns.

The Dao's burrowing speed suffers from much of the same issues as the Djinn, but even worse. Burrowing is powerful and needs to be restricted. As written, the character can simply burrow beneath any and all walls and other obstructions in a dungeon. To my knowledge, there isn't any class feature that grants a burrowing speed. I would recommend increasing the burrowing speed to 30' and impose the following restrictions on it:

  • You can burrow through nonmagical, unworked earth and stone. While doing so, you don't disturb the material as you move through it. (from the Dao's Earth Glide feature; ensures that the player can't ignore most dungeon walls).
  • You must end your burrow on the surface. If you fail to do so, you return to your starting position and are stunned until the end of your next turn.

Incredible Power

Improving the resistances to immunities is fine at 14th level, but again it's not acceptable to grant immunity to physical attacks for the Dao as written.

Improving the Lesser Wish to now be X/times per day as the Charisma modifier is a long time to wait for a class feature to come fully online, but if that's what you're shooting for, so be it. I don't consider that less powerful than comparably leveled War Clerics who can fire off 2 guided strikes per short rest.

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I largely agree with Speedkat's answer but had enough small comments and suggestions for fixes that I decided to post my own:

Expanded Spell List

This is a little too good at blast spells; the plain Warlock spell list has very few multitarget damage spells, and the patrons that grant blast spells generally fall into two categories:

  1. Highly themed/highly resisted: The Fiend gives a lot a fire blast spells, but they're all fire, and fire is the most resisted damage type
  2. Limited/delayed: Most other patrons that grant them only grant one option; and only at fifth level; e.g. Hexblade's Cone of Cold, Celestial's Flame strike.

The other three patrons grant none at all. Your patron is granting two (Lightning Bolt and Cone of Cold) with different (both less resisted) damage types, and granting one of them relatively early (5th level, vs. 9th level for all non-Fiend Warlocks).

Ignoring balance concerns, half of these theme spells are thematically appropriate to only one form of genie; while Absorb Elements is multi-elemental in focus, and Identify, Rope Trick, Remove Curse, Polymorph, and Creation are all non-elemental (and aside from Identify, I like them as "things genies can do", in particular imagining a themed Rope Trick that turns you to smoke and hides you in a lamp or something), the other four spells are really only appropriate to one type of Patron. Perhaps subdivide the bonus spells? One spell of each level that's unthemed, and then one spell of each level that is an option for that particular Patron (with no patron granting more than one blaster spell aside from possibly Efreeti, which could borrow Fiend fire spells). Efreeti patrons granting Cone of Cold is ridiculous on its face; grant fire/light/movement spells from them, air/flying/lightning/thunder (maybe illusion?) spells from Djinn, water/ice/acid/cold spells from Marid, and earth/acid/object manipulation spells from Dao (preemptive note: Unless the other Dao abilities are dialed back heavily, don't grant them Animate Object, which is one of the best fifth level spells on both versatility and damage output; on top of the other features, it would just make Dao the only choice anyone would ever make for this Patron).

Genie’s Lesser Wish

Starting at 1st level, you can invoke the power of your patron to grant you a benefit, depending on the kind of Genie your pact is with:

  • Djinn - As a reaction, add your warlock level to a saving throw that you make.
  • Efreeti - As a bonus action, add your warlock level in fire damage to a spell or weapon attack roll.
  • Marid - As a bonus action, add your warlock level to a skill check
  • Dao - As a reaction to a creature being attacked, add your warlock level to a that creature’s AC until the next round.

You may use the Genie’s Lesser Wish feature once per long rest.

For Efreeti, this is a little unclear: "add your warlock level in fire damage to a spell or weapon attack roll". Questions:

  • Does it boost the attack roll, the damage, or both? (One weird reading would be boosting spell damage, while boosting weapon attack rolls)
  • Must the spell be a fire spell, or is it adding fire damage regardless of spell's damage type?
  • If not, must it be a spell that does damage? Can you damage someone with Hold Person?
  • Must the spell require an attack roll, or does it work on spells that force saves?
  • Does the bonus damage apply to a single damage roll on a single target, a single damage roll on all targets (much better for blast spells), or all damage rolls for a single attack (multi-ray eldritch blast gets even more ridiculous, but for a daily power that's fine)?
  • For spells that require an attack roll, do you choose to invoke this power before attacking (spending the bonus action and the power without knowing if you hit), or is the bonus action/power spent reactively after you've hit?

That last question is important, since bounded accuracy means you'll usually only be hitting about half the time (usually slightly more than half the time, but not much), so the expected damage benefit from this feature is roughly halved if you might waste it.

In any event, for Efreeti, assuming it only boosts damage, not attack rolls, and especially since the damage type is fire, the power seems fine. A little weak at the early levels, and perhaps a bit odd depending on the answers to the other questions, but fine.

For all other Patrons, this is weak in the very early levels, too good at 6th level and beyond, and becomes broken not long after that. Virtually anything that grants bonuses to d20 success checks of any kind is naturally capped to a low value (either a stat modifier or your proficiency bonus, either of which narrows the range of the bonus to between +2 and +6 barring exceptional circumstances). The only exception I can think of is the War Cleric's level 2 Guided Strike Channel Divinity power, which grants a fixed +10, self only (becoming usable on allies at level 6). +10 is already insanely good, and since Clerics get relatively few class features, having one very good one is not unreasonable.

By contrast, your power is better (if used less often) than the War Cleric's for half the level progression (11-20), and it's just one of many powers Warlocks get between their Pact and their Patron.

It's also a little unclear why the Dao ability is self or other (and with no range limit), while the Djinn ability is self only (saves in general are less common than attacks against AC, so why make the AC defense more versatile?).

If you want something faintly balanced, limit the benefit of Djinn, Marid and Dao to +Cha. Maybe let it double the proficiency bonus for Marid rather than have it Cha-based, making it more like (and unstackable with, to limit dip potential) the various Expertise abilities.

Miraculous Protection

Starting at 6th level, you may use the Lesser Wish feature twice per long rest. Also, you gain resistance to particular types of damage associated with your patron:

  • Djinn - Lightning & Thunder
  • Efreeti - Fire & Radiant
  • Marid - Acid & Cold
  • Dao - Bludgeoning, Slashing, & Piercing

As others have noted, Dao is way too good, and too early for a benefit like that. If it were limited to resistance to bludgeoning/slashing/piercing from non-adamantine, non-magical weapon attacks, it would still be much better than the other options, and too early, but just barely on the edge of what's acceptable, but you'd need to make sure all the other Dao powers were worse than the other Genie powers (right now, Dao has the best suite of powers, by far). About the only mitigating factor here is that having a Genie patron means no Hexblade, so you're unlikely to be a frontline fighter (unless you really like MAD), limiting the amount of weapon damage you expect to encounter (assuming your tanks are doing their job).

Alternatively, find thematic non-weapon damage types for the Dao, or limit it to a single type of weapon damage. Cold and Poison maybe (granting advantage on saves vs. poison as well as normal), or just bludgeoning from non-adamantine, non-magical weapons.

Mystical Mobility

Starting at 10th level, you gain increased mobility, depending on the patron you have chosen:

  • Djinn - You gain a flying speed of 15 feet.
  • Efreeti - Your walking speed increases by 10 feet.
  • Marid - You gain a swimming speed of 30 feet
  • Dao - You gain a burrowing speed of 15 feet.

Aside from Dao, all of these are fine (Marid is pretty situational and not particularly special; I might add water-breathing to the power suite so it's at least fully usable in those situations). As others have noted, at-will burrowing speed is too good, as it's basically flying (immunity to attacks from many enemies) without the downsides (e.g. falling when immobilized). It's also granting immunity from opportunity attacks (because sinking five feet straight down doesn't take you out of the opponent's threat range, and when you do leave their range after that, you have total cover). In "the real world", the fact that you're blind while moving/between turns is a balancing factor (everything else with burrowing speed has tremorsense to compensate), but it's nigh impossible to adhere to this limitation without actually blindfolding the player between turns and only giving them seconds after the blindfold removal to let them declare actions to simulate how disorienting popping out of the ground for a moment over and over with no idea what's going on in between; if they have Ghostly Gaze, then they lose that weakness too (in exchange for losing their concentration slot and spending one in 10 actions renewing it).

A more balanced Dao power might be just the ability to ignore difficult terrain; weaker than flying, more situational, but the other Dao powers are already too good, so you want Dao weaker here.

Incredible Power

Starting at 14th level, you may use the Lesser Wish feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 2 uses).

If Lesser Wish were less powerful (capped by stat modifier or proficiency bonus) this would be fine. As is, +14 to five rolls a day is insane.

Additionally, choose one of the resistances granted by Miraculous Protection; that resistance is now an immunity.

Fine for all but Dao. For Dao, overpowered, even if it's limited to non-adamantine, non-magic weapon attacks (unlike previous editions, natural weapon attacks aren't magical unless explicitly specified to be so, so even at high levels, a lot of non-weapon using monsters are limited to one non-magical damage type, and immunity to that type means they can't hurt you at all). Reasonable if Dao is a pair of "elemental" resistances. If Dao is a single damage type resistance (bludgeoning), perhaps extend it to another (e.g. piercing) rather than granting immunity.

At 17th level, you may choose the Wish spell as your 9th level Mystic Arcanum.

While late level benefits are usually good, this is probably too good. Wish is the best spell in the game, based solely on its "safe" usage (mimicking any spell below 9th level on demand, without using material components, with a one action casting time). Only two classes in the game have it on their list (Sorcerer and Wizard), and only two others have access at all (Bard via Magical Secrets, Arcana domain clerics via Arcane Mastery). In all cases, it's for classes that are thematically focused on maximum spellcasting knowledge and flexibility; Warlock is thematically quite narrowly focused, with single-target power, but little knowledge/flexibility (with the highly limited spell list reflecting this; see complete lack of blast spells mentioned earlier, as well as very few multitarget or utility/creation-y spells). Their Mystic Arcanum are even more limited; you only ever know one spell of each level, from the already highly restrictive Warlock spell list. Giving them Wish blows that out of the water; now they can use high level spells from any class, bypassing the thematic (and balance) restrictions applied to the Warlock spell list. Sure, Wish bypasses thematic limits for the other classes that get it (Wizards/Sorcerer can heal, Bards/Clerics can blast better, etc.), but those other classes were still pretty flexible before; Warlock isn't, on purpose.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Additional note on Wish: If they use it in an unsafe fashion, that one-third chance of permanently losing it would mean their 9th level Mystic Arcanum is permanently unusable, because Warlocks have no mechanism for changing their chosen Mystic Arcanum, only ever learn one 9th level spell for use with it, and have no RAW mechanism for upcasting weaker spells with the slot. So Wish would effectively only be usable for the flexible casting. Using it for anything else risks removing your 9th level spell slot; any other caster could switch to Foresight/Invulnerability/etc., you're crippled. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowRanger Oct 30 '19 at 18:17

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