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I am playing a warlock (Fiend patron, if it matters), and am trying to avoid some of the common min/max-ed stereotypes since they're likely to imbalance my party of beginners with unoptimized builds. As I am nearing level 3, my Pact Boon selection is coming up. I was thinking through ways of making my character interesting while not overwhelming the group. Since I'm not a Hexblade/melee warlock, Pact of the Blade seems like a good choice then - but summoning a weapon I'll rarely use might be a little too underwhelming.

Would it be gamebreaking to homebrew it slightly so that a warlock may perform their ritual on things not usually considered melee weapons (e.g. a key, a potion, a spellbook)? Stuff for an emergency if I was captured, or things that the party might want to smuggle or hide from scrying.

The ritual would still take an hour, I would still have to hold the item for the ritual hour, it couldn't go further than 5 feet from me without a ritual to unbind it, and the item would replace the ability to conjure a pact weapon while it's bound. The “must be magical” requirement would likely be relaxed to help the utility of it.

Naively, it seems like it could make for some interesting roleplay and be only slightly underpowered, but I feel like I might be overlooking a way it could be abused.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a bit confused by the claim that "As each of the pacts tend towards brokenness". Are you worried that Warlocks are extremely overpowered and will ruin the fun for the rest of the players? Is this why you are choosing an extremely suboptimal pact boon? Also, would this ability to bond with non-weapon items also remove the restriction that those items be magical, thus working with mundane keys and spellbooks and also magical potions? \$\endgroup\$ May 16, 2021 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused by your examples. A warlock doesn't use a spell book so why summon one? What good would using an hour to "bond" with a potion that you can only use one time? Same for a key? These things seem like just having in a pocket is good enough unless these items are no longer "mundane" versions (like the key opens any lock, or the potion refills). \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    May 16, 2021 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, are you just asking if you can modify the pact to use the pocket dimension for non-weapon objects? Or are you asking about if Warlocks are OP? \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    May 16, 2021 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch - the former. \$\endgroup\$
    – Telastyn
    May 16, 2021 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note, that is similar to the Wristpocket spell \$\endgroup\$ Mar 17 at 23:15

3 Answers 3

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This is unlikely to create a problem.

There just aren't too many obvious balance concerns with allowing you to use your pocket dimension in this way. There remains a strong action cost to do this, and the ability to 'hide' an object would be a useful RP option.

However, if this becomes an always-on ability that you find a way to exploit, I would more than expect a DM to roll back the allowance.

My experience with Warlocks

My experience has not shown Warlocks to be overpowered. A lot of the power rating heavily depends on campaign design and how many short rests you get. If you get a lot, then you will have more options all the time. If you don't, then you're going to be much more limited in your casting. However, on the other side of the balance you have the full casters with long rest recharges. If they aren't put in situations where they use up all their resources, then they will continue to feel overpowered compared to a Warlock.

The only times I've really seen "warlocks" get overpowered is when they aren't Warlocks, but do a single level dip to Hexblade for all those extra goodies. But then that isn't a Warlock issue, but a front-loading of class abilities that get taken advantage of.

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You are underpowering the Warlock

You are basically becoming a walking Bag of Holding. But with an hour wait to put things in. And the minor perk that it cannot be taken away. So in that once in a campaign situation where the party is stripped of equipment, you'll be handy.

You don't have to change the class to have a less powerful version of that class.

From your question, it sounds like you're trying to "dumb down" the Warlock as you feel that they are over powered. While that is your choice to make, there are better ways to go about it.

  • Pact of the Chain: Don't pick an overpowered familiar. You can still get a normal cat as a familiar and be fine.
  • Pact of the Tomb: Get three spells with minimal use. And don't get the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation.
  • Pact of the Talisman: Use the +1d4 on ability checks only when in dire need.
  • Pact of the Blade: Choose any weapon you want. Pact of the Blade doesn't make you a better fighter. You still rely on either Strength (which you probably don't have) or Dexterity (which isn't a primary stat) to make your attacks. But you will be attacked up close now and then.

You can still be an unmodified Warlock.

Just remember: You won't overwhelm anyone unless you play to overwhelm.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, I don't think they're overpowered either. That's kinda what I meant by my last line. You can choose any class, any powers you want; all that matters is how the player uses those features. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    May 17, 2021 at 22:04
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Yes, technically, per the rules.

Those items could be considered improvised weapons, which the PHB defines as follows:

[...] An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin.

Often, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. [...]

This would indicate that they technically count as a weapon, so you would have to do the ceremony to make it. The reason that most people don't know this is that it isn't really that useful (or is only useful in niche scenarios).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems like a stretch. "Yep, here's my 'pact weapon', but um actually it's a book and I don't hit people with it, I read it." \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 17 at 21:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack I did say technically. and there is a common magic item that is a sturdy spellbook, which basically makes it harder to destroy. (I forgot what book it was from and I can't find it) \$\endgroup\$
    – NemoAmet
    Mar 17 at 21:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Also, see this relevant Q&A: Are Improvised Weapons used in melee actually melee weapons? Notably, even if improvised weapons do count as weapons, they only count as weapons in the moment that you make an attack with them. As such, I don't see how Pact of the Blade could apply to them. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 17 at 22:18

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