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I've got a lvl 3 Warlock who's made a pact with a Great Old One. The combo in question goes like this:

  • Awakened Mind (30 ft telepathy at lvl 1)

  • Pact of the Chain w/ Imp (Imps have devil sight)

  • Voice of the Chain Master (Warlock can perceive through familiar's senses)

  • Darkness (lvl 2 spell, 15ft radius of magical darkness)

Does this combo allow the warlock to become ridiculously overpowered by being able to see using the Imp's devil sight and inform the party of enemy positions telepathically?

or

Does the rest of the party, unable to actively see the enemies, still have the same disadvantage as they usually do in Darkness (disadvantage on attacks, advantage on defense), despite having up-to-the-moment position details being conveyed telepathically?

Is there some middle ground others have tried out in this situation? Beyond the two approaches mentioned above, I've been thinking something along the lines of "teammates have no disadvantage, but warlock would have to use their action to relay all the information or else they will get disadvantage again."

It sounds like it could be an amazing combo, but the line between "amazing" and "broken" can be pretty blurry sometimes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You actually don't need Voice of the Chain Master, in this scenario. If you have Find Familiar, you can already see through your familiar's eyes. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 Whereas this is true with the Voice of the Chain Master it no longer apparently takes an action to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth you still do. VoCM merely increases the range to "as long as you are in the same plane", and gives you the ability to speak through the familiar. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ You also can just take the invocation that gives you 120 foot vision in magical darkness \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2021 at 23:59

2 Answers 2

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First, we will assume that your DM has deemed that the Telepathy of the Warlock is 2-way, as it was intended as only one way. You don't technically need the Great Old One's ability as Voice of the Chain Master allows this anyway.

Second, if you attack an opponent you can't see you would still have disadvantage, the only gain you would get with this combination is that you can help them target the correct location on the field of battle as per PHB page 194 and 195.

Also, you can do the same thing with Devil's Sight invocation instead and cut out the "Middle-Imp". It seems that you have a lot of redundancies and a DM, such as myself, could deem that you would be unable to point out but one or two of the occupied locations but not more as it would take time for the imp to communicate to you then you to your colleagues. This of course would have to be done using no visual queues which a kind DM would overlook but another could easily require int checks to help in targeting while interpreting the Warlock's instruction.

Bottom line is that your teammates still cannot see them so they still have disadvantage, they just won't have that auto-miss chance for targeting incorrectly. This all assumes the targets don't take the Hide action. There is a difference between unseen and hidden in the rules.

Additional note, the Devil's Sight that is granted by the invocation is better than the Devil's Sight that is present on devils, as the invocation allows you to see normally and the devils simply use their darkvision within it, which means they have disadvantage on perception based on sight.

You can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance o f 120 feet. PHB page 110

Versus

Devil's Sight. Magical darkness doesn't impede the devil's darkvision. MM page 70

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, the warlock can, unless using a reaction, only inform his companions on his (the warlock's) turn - the positions may no longer be relevant when the informer takes their turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM Yeah, communication rulings vary table to table so that is a DM call, but even so... unless the Warlock can no longer see them at the top of his round there should be no issue there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM That's not strictly true. A DM decides if you can speak when not your turn. No rule says you can't. In my opinion the bigger issue is describing accurate positions quickly, let alone doing so for multiple creatures. Even with no restrictions on talking, how do you do that with no visible coordinate system? \$\endgroup\$
    – Doval
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ One improvement that can be made to this answer is to avoid treating the rule regarding "target[ing] the correct square on the field of battle" as canonical -- battlemap/grid play is an optional rule. It would be better worded as "target[ing] the correct general location of the enemy on the field of battle" in order to encompass the canonical rules and provide room for interpretation if one is using the optional grid-based rules. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14, 2016 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth adding that, unless the enemies take the Hide action in combat, your allies already know where the enemies are, even if they can't see them. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 16, 2021 at 15:27
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It's clever, but not broken

Yes, you can see in magical darkness if you're using the imp's eyes but that requires your Action to do so. Meanwhile, you are blind and deaf with your own senses.

Yes, you could reveal the position of the enemy, and if you're playing on a grid, like we usually do, it allows you to point at the square the enemy is in. This allows your ally to strike at the direction of where the enemy is, rather than trying to guess which square he's in with trial and error. But since your ally still cannot see the enemy, it still has Disadvantage on the attack.

But, here's the thing: a round is 6 seconds. If you have multiple allies, it would be near impossible to communicate to each of them where the enemy is. Try saying "Alice, the Drow is at your 9. Bob, another at your 6. Chris, one at your 12." (If clock hands don't exist in your world, you could probably say something like North-north-east sort of direction) all in the span of 6 seconds. It's hard. I would, personally, allow you to direct only two people, tops.

Consider getting the Invocation Devil's Sight instead. It yields the same results but allows you to free up the imp, and your Action. The communication constraint still applies, though.

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