I'm hoping to get some feedback in order to keep this warlock subclass in balance - The Murderous Celestial.
I'm the DM of a 5e D&D game. One of my players' characters is a Neutral-Good warlock who will soon encounter their patron. It is likely that the characters will not want to go along with the patron's plans but instead choose to stop them. This in turn will cause the PC to lose their warlock abilities. (The player and I discussed this possibility at the beginning of the campaign.) He currently has an Archfey Patron. In a recent conversation about why he chose that patron, he said he has no real attachment to his patron type, but that he likes the story potential of an Archfey.
At this particular junction in the story, the god of murder Bhaal is quite invested in stopping the Archfey's plans. With this in mind and seeing a potential pawn to help him to defeat the Archfey, Bhaal will offer a bargain with the character - if the character helps him thwart his previous patron, he will be granted powers by Bhaal. In anticipation of this, I've built the Murderous Celestial warlock subclass.
Theme Behind The Subclass
The theme this subclass one of subterfuge, assassination and sowing fear. The abilities within this subclass are designed to get the character past whatever defences their target may have before trapping their quarry and completing the assassination.
Expanded Spell List
1st - false life, disguise self
2nd - blindness/deafness, silence
3rd - speak with dead, bestow curse
4th - locate creature, phantasmal killer
5th - mislead, hallow
The expanded spell supports the basic theme. Disguise self / mislead and locate creature enable the assassin to find their target. Spells such as silence, phantasmal killer, and bestow curse allow the assassin to control their target when actually engaging. Finally, the spells hallow, mislead, and disguise self come into play when trying to escape capture.
At 1st level, you gain the ability to call upon the villainous energy of your patron to push yourself and ignore whatever pain comes your way. You have a pool of d4 dice that you spend to ignore this pain. The number of dice in the pool equals half your warlock level rounded down.
As a reaction, whenever you receive damage, you can spend a number of d4 dice from your pool to ignore that much damage. The maximum number of dice you can spend at once equals your Charisma modifier (minimum of one die). Roll the dice you spend, add them together, and reduce the amount of damage received by this total.
Your pool regains all expended dice when you finish a long rest.
Dodgy name, but this allows the user to spend a number of d4 out of a total pool to ignore damage. The pool is regenerated after each long rest.
I chose this ability as I believe pushing themselves to ignore the pain in order to complete their kill is quite thematic to Bhaal. I'm a little concerned about the ability for this to negate a lot of small arm damage.
Starting at 1st level, you can make ritualistic sacrifices to your patron. Each ritual takes an hour to complete and requires an alive medium to small humanoid (any good to neutral alignment) and a blade. Each ritual must be dedicated to your patron and requires you to kill the sacrifice, each participant must actively participate in the sacrificial kill.
By making a sacrifice to your patron, you are able to bolster your abilities. You and any allies that participated in the sacrifice gain a D10 inspiration die, a number of d6 damage die to add to any damage roll and cannot suffer from Fear. These effects last for 24 hours from the moment you complete the sacrifice. The number of d6 damage dice to add is your half your warlock level rounded down (minimum of 1).
At 1st level, the character can only gain the benefits of Sacrificial Virtue once every 10 days.
At 5th level, the character can only gain the benefits of Sacrificial Virtue once every 7 days.
At 10th level, the character can only gain the benefits of Sacrificial Virtue once every 5 days.
At 15th level, the character can only gain the benefits of Sacrificial Virtue once every 3 days.
This is my favourite feature.
Knowing my players, I believe actually completing a ritualistic sacrifice is going to be a tough ask but Bhaal requires sacrifices. Should the characters complete the sacrifice they'll gain a pretty great boon. The additional d6 could get out of hand as it is tied to class level but I'm hoping to make this something worth crossing the moral boundary for.
(Note: My players aren't typical murder-hobos.)
Dark One's Own Luck
Starting at 6th level, you can call on your patron to alter fate in your favor. When you make an ability check or a saving throw, you can use this feature to add a d10 to your roll. You can do so after seeing the initial roll but before any of the roll’s effects occur.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
Unchanged from the Fiend patron feature.
Starting at 10th level, you gain temporary hit points whenever you finish a long rest. These temporary hit points equal your warlock level + your Charisma modifier. Additionally, choose up to five neutral- or evil-aligned creatures you can see at the end of the rest. Those creatures each gain temporary hit points equal to half your warlock level + your Charisma modifier.
I like the idea of the patron sowing fear and evil to the character's allies, even against their will. Embalming Presence is simply to allow the player to have a bit of agency each time they rest and to be reminded that the character's patron is an evil bad guy.
Death's Inevitable Embrace
Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, if after dealing damage, the creature has the same or fewer hit points then the total damage dealt. That creature makes a constitution saving throw against your spell save DC. If that creature fails, they take the same damage again, if this would reduce them to 0 hit points any enemy creatures within 15 feet take 3d6 Psychic Damage.
Potentially quite powerful, but very specific in its use.
This has a very powerful and thematic synergy with the dice made available via Sacrificial Virtue.
This spells from this class are mostly utility and support with the real damage coming from Deaths Inevitable Embrace and Sacrificial Virtue.
I would like to know however if this is enough, or perhaps too much? How does this stack with other patrons?