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Accursed Memory, Prerequisite: 5th level

You can cast Hex at will as a 1st-level spell, without expending a spell slot or material components.

This invocation is pretty straightforward, but, I suspect that the nature of Hex may present balance issues compared to other invocations like Fiendish Vigor or Armor of Shadows. At 5th level, a Warlock may use a single spell slot on Hex for 8-hours assuming they maintain concentration. This invocation would save them that 1 spell slot. However, the invocation would also allow Warlocks to break concentration without worrying about “wasting” that precious spell slot. Over the course of the day, this could be very useful for a Warlock…maybe too useful?

Alternatively, limiting this invocation to “once per short rest” or “once per long rest” is an option. Although, I’m not sure how useful 1 free casting of the 1-hour version of Hex would be when a 5th level Warlock can already cast Hex at 3rd level for 8-hours.

Any help would be much appreciated!

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It's not game-breaking, but it's a bit much.

So the first ting to note is that invocations vary wildly in power. Some are absolute game-changers. Others are easily replaced with minor magical items, or allow one-per-day casting of spells that weren't all that good to begin with at the cost of a pact magic slot. This invocation won't be the best, and it won't be the worst. The only questions we can really even try to answer are "Is this so good that it notably increases the power of the warlock class overall?", "Is this so good that all or nearly all warlocks would want to take it?", and "Is this so bad that taking it would be an obvious mistake in most or all cases?"

What does it give?

  • You save one "spells known" slot. Those are pretty valuable.
  • You effectively get to reassign your hex target at will with a bonus action (by dropping concentration and reapplying). Standard hex requires you to reduce your initial target to 0 HP before you can reassign
  • Failing a concentration check becomes much less big of a deal.
  • It allows you to dance back and forth between Hex and other concentration spells much more easily, effectively reducing the cost of a number of useful/potent spells (at 5th level, Invisibility and Suggestion stand out especially, but there are certainly others.)

This is a strong invocation. I don't think it's strong enough to significantly increase the overall power level of the Warlock, but it's a definite bump, and it's strong enough that I'd probably try to find a way to fit it into basically any Warlock I built. It also makes Hex tactically less interesting. The tradeoff of when to drop Hex for other concentration spells, and the concern of where to go to find something hapless to murder to bring it back up again are interesting questions. The limitation of having to pick a specific target and not being able to reassign until you finish them off is also interesting. This simplifies that all away to nothing. Then it also saves you a spell known on top of that.

So, if you have a Warlock who doesn't want to deal with those sorts of questions, and you want to make life easier on them, making this available as an invocation will do that. It likely won't make them overpowered unless they were already one of the more powergamer players at the table already. If they are, they don't need the help. If you're trying to find a balanced form, though, I wouldn't describe this as balanced.

For something that's more balanced, I'd suggest a once-per-short-rest ability that let you cast Hex at the current level of your Pact Magic, and required that Hex be on your Spells Known list. Basically, it gives you an extra Pact Magic slot that can only be used on Hex. This still gives you your ability to use non-combat concentration spells and combat-opener spells and bring Hex up afterwards, and/or lets you reassign without dropping the foe or recover from lost concentration once, but it's more limited - it offers a bit of flexibility on those things, rather than simply removing the restraints altogether. Having it be at your Pact Magic level rather than at level 1 just means that you don't have to worry about swapping back to the "good" version. This invocation is clearly intended to simplify your life, and that's extra fiddly complexity. That's an invocation that... well, honestly, I'd probably still take it eventually, but it would be a lot lower on my priority list.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a great answer that also provides a more reasonable and balanced alternative that I had not considered. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Unaligned Ooze Jun 11 at 14:49

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