I'm playing a DnD-5e campaign with some co-workers; it's my first role-playing in, oh, decades and something like my 4th character ever. I know when to ask for help. Help!

I'm instructed to create a 4th-level character to join an existing party, and I had in mind to create a very, very old female Forest Gnome Warlock; something akin to a wizened medicine woman. I'm using the PHB as a reference, as well as roll20 and other online resources and the Android app "Fight Club 5".

I feel this character is quite powerful for its level, so please tell me all the mistakes I did in interpreting the build rules.

(Note: I've made edits as I received feedback; as a consequence, answers may seem inaccurate but were actually quite the opposite.)

For the warlock, I chose the Archfey patron. I didn't mention this at first because it doesn't, by itself, seem to add any modifiers (but it allows picking specific items/abilities which might add modifiers).

Looking at cantrips, a forest gnome gets two right out of the gate; Minor Illusion and Speak with Small Beasts (which refers to Beast Speech, which refers to Speak with Animals -- if accurate, I'm still going to limit it to tiny creatures). As for the warlock, at 4th level she'd have 3 cantrip slots; adding Pact of the Tome is said to yield three additional cantrip slots. The total comes to 2+3+3 = 8 cantrips for a 4th-level forest gnome warlock. Really?

Looking at spells, at 4th level a warlock would have two 2nd-level spell slots and five slots for "known spells" (which, I gather, can only be swapped out when you gain a level).

Looking at invocations, at 4th level a warlock would have two invocation slots. I'm not quite sure about the difference between invocations and cantrips; for my character I have chosen Agonizing Blast (which functions as a permanent booster for a separate cantrip) and Mask of Many Faces (which, it seems, might as well be a cantrip?).

Then, stats. My base stats are:

STR: 8
DEX: 12
CON: 14
INT: 10
WIS: 13
CHA: 15

but then I can add:

  • +1 DEX from Forest Gnome race,
  • +2 INT from Gnome race,
  • +2 from Warlock Level 4, which I have split between CON and CHA,

so my final stat block becomes:

STR: 8
DEX: 12+1 = 13
CON: 14+1 = 15
INT: 10+2 = 12
WIS: 13
CHA: 15+1 = 16

and for Hit Points that should give me 8 (base) +2 (CON modifier) + 3x(5+CONmod) (fixed increase from each level above 1st) = 31 HP.

Does this all seem reasonable, or am I way off base here? I really don't intend to be a munchkin; I had this person in mind before I looked into its construction.

That is the core of my question. For additional information, here are the spells I thought I could be choosing:

  • Cantrips:
    • Blade Ward
    • Eldritch Blast (with Agonizing Blast)
    • Mage Hand
    • Minor Illusion (comes with Forest Gnome)
    • Message (free with Tome)
    • Fire Bolt (free with Tome)
    • Spare the Dying (free with Tome)
  • Spells slots:
    • 2x spell level 2
  • Spells known:
    • Hellish Rebuke (SL1, but gains an additional 1d10 in a SL2-slot)
    • Unseen Servant
    • Mending
    • Misty Step
    • Spider Climb
  • Invocations:
    • Agonizing Blast
    • Mask of Many Faces
  • Misc. abilities:
    • Eldritch Blast
    • Speak with Small Animals (comes with Forest Gnome)

I extend to you most humble and sincere thanks.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You add Con for every level as well above first, if I'm not mistaken. \$\endgroup\$
    – tuskiomi
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:01
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Invocations are a unique feature of Warlocks that allows you to customize how your particular character works (kind of a "Mr. Potatohead" type system where you have a menu of abilities you can choose to give your character). Cantrips are a general category of spell common to most spellcasting classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see anything about which patron or patron type you chose. Which did you pick? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DerekStucki right, I chose the Archfey. I didn't mention it because, by itself, it doesn't seem to add any modifiers. \$\endgroup\$
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 6:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Don't signal your edits in text. Instead of including edit notes and adding information to the end of your post, you should edit your question to stand as if it were always the best version of itself. Anyone interested in older versions can view the revision history. Also: Should Questions be edited to fix a mistake after it's been addressed in an answer? You should avoid editing your post to fix errors pointed out by existing answers, as it ends up invalidating (parts of) them. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 6:38

2 Answers 2


Looking at cantrips, a forest gnome gets two right out of the gate; Minor Illusion and Speak with Small Beasts (which refers to Beast Speech, which refers to Speak with Animals -- if accurate, I'm still going to limit it to tiny creatures).

Speak with Small Beasts isn't a cantrip, or even a spell. It's just an ability that forest gnomes have. It's also technically unrelated to the speak with animals spell, though a DM would be well within their rights to say that the interactions you can have with an animal using Speak with Small Beasts are limited in the same way as described for speak with animals ("The knowledge and awareness of many beasts is limited by their intelligence, but at minimum, beasts can give you information about nearby locations and monsters," etc.).

Looking at spells, at 4th level a warlock would have two 2nd-level spell slots and five slots for "known spells" (which, I gather, can only be swapped out when you gain a level).

Judging by your list of "Spells" and "Spells known" at the end of your post, you seem to have misunderstood the meaning of "spell slots." Spell slots represent how many non-cantrip spells you can cast before you need to recover your slots via resting. At fourth level, you would know five spells of first and/or second level, but you would only be able to cast one of those spells and then cast either that spell again or cast another spell you know, after which you would only be able to cast cantrips until you took a short rest. Also, eldritch blast, being a cantrip, is counted under your "Cantrips Known" rather than "Spells Known", so you need to fix your Spells Known by adding in another first- or second-level spell.

I'm not quite sure about the difference between invocations and cantrips ... Mask of Many Faces (which, it seems, might as well be a cantrip?).

Some invocations are like cantrips in that they let you cast a spell without limit, but the spells you cast via them are not actually cantrips. For example, Mask of Many Faces lets you cast disguise self, which is a 1st-level spell, and it will be treated as a 1st-level spell by any effects that care about spell level.

Most invocations are just constant static effects or give you non-spell options; those are definitely not like cantrips.

for Hit Points that should give me 8 (base) +2 (CON modifier) + 3x5 (fixed increase from each level above 1st) = 25 HP.

Not quite. With a Con score of 12 or 13, your Con modifier is +1, and you add it to your HP on every level, so your HP at fourth level would be 8 + 1 + 3×(5+1) = 27 HP.

Also, you can't get cure wounds through Pact of the Tome, as that spell is 1st-level rather than a cantrip (Cantrips are effectively "0th level").

Everything else looks accurate, though I do note you failed to specify a Warlock Patron (Archfey, Fiend, or Great Old One). You have to pick one when you create a warlock.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KlaymenDK: Yeah, the app is wrong. There's a table mapping ability scores to modifiers on page 13 and page 173 of the PHB. \$\endgroup\$
    – jwodder
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:14
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @klay That's an error with the program. Refer to this table from official rules on DnD Beyond. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Further items of note - Warlocks get their spell slots back on a SHORT rest, whereas all other casters require a LONG rest. Also, if your heart is set on Cure Wounds, you can choose the Celestial patron (this option is in Xanathar's Guide). Patrons will add additional spells to your list of spells KNOWN (not additional spell SLOTS). \$\endgroup\$
    – cpcodes
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 20:42
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @cpcodes Patrons do not add spells to your known list, they add it to your spell list, so you still have to learn them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 22:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KlaymenDK It's not a cantrip for the Paladin either, just FYI. Paladins don't even get cantrips. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 7:42

Ability Scores

It looks like you're using the standard array and you've applied your racial bonuses correctly. Intelligence doesn't do a whole lot for you as a Warlock, so you might want to redistribute that good score to someplace potentially more beneficial (like Constitution).

The same goes with your Level 4 ASI. Having two odd stats (Dex and Con) in your configuration doesn't do you any good. You should be looking for even numbers, because that's where the bonuses change.


You don't appear to have selected one. It grants a feature at first level. It's not the same thing as the Pact Boon you picked at third level.

Cantrips - 7, not 8

Track your cantrips separately. The one you get from Gnome will have a different save DC (based on Intelligence) than the ones you get from Warlock (based on Charisma). The forest gnome's ability to speak speak with small creatures is not a cantrip and should not be counted among them.

Your total from Warlock at L4 with Pact of the Tome will be 6 - 3 from the class base, 3 from the tome.


Spell Slots (you have two, each of second level) are effectively the magical energy a Warlock can muster between each short rests, typically an hour. Other classes get more slots, but only recharge them at the end of an eight-hour long rest.

Spells Known (you have five) is the number of ways the character has to use that magical energy. You can swap them out at each level, so it's possible to have as many as three second level spells (if you swap a first for a second at level 3 and again at level 4), with the remainder being first level spells.


Invocations are the way two warlocks with the same patron and pact boon to distinguish themselves. Some are static abilities, some add additional spells. They're all unique, so read them closely.

Your Choices

You have the right number of Cantrips, but Cure Wounds is not a cantrip. You'll need to pick something else. And again, Speak with Small Animals is not a cantrip.

You don't need to assign spells to slots in advance. You pick which of your known spells to use in a slot at the time you cast it, not before.

As for those spells known, you have listed Eldritch Blast among them. It's a cantrip. Otherwise, you appear okay - you have four spells known.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good explanation, thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ So I can use any cantrip I know, once only (until I take a short rest), is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 8:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KlaymenDK Here's a better array for you: Str 8 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 12 Wis 10 Cha 15. This gives you Str 8 Dex 14 Con 14 Int 14 Wis 10 Cha 15 at level one, which is still a bit underpowered (you generally want to match class and race together so that you can have a score of 16 in your attack stat at level 1 - for warlocks, that's Charisma). Then, at Level 4, you pick a feat that gives you +1 Charisma, like Actor. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KlaymenDK: Mending is also a cantrip (as is eldritch blast), so it can't count for "Spells Known" either. Might I suggest hex? \$\endgroup\$
    – jwodder
    Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 17:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KlaymenDK A character can cast any cantrip they know any number of times, all day long. That's why distinguishing cantrips from spells is important. Spells use slots, cantrips do not. FYI, Witch Bolt looks good, but it's a bit of trap crap if you read it closely: if you don't trigger it every round, it goes away; if they run out of range, it goes away. Hex is the better spell, by far. At higher levels, you can concentrate all day, and move it from target to target as each dies. When Eldritch Blast goes to multiple shots, it adds to all of them. Hex is Warlock's reliable damage bread & butter. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 13:25

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