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Eldritch Blast 5e Descriptive Essay

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mealar

2015-12-18, 04:42 PM

when you reach lvl5 and EB starts getting its extra beams how exactly do they work, is it like fire bolt where the beams all hit one target after one attk roll or can you hit multiple targets with it each with its own roll. also do you need to do multiple attk rolls if it is the same target?


It works as if you had an extra attack for each beam. So, make an extra attack roll per "beam." You can target each beam however you like (all at the same person or willy nilly), but you still have to make an attack roll for each beam regardless of targeting.


Starsinger

2015-12-18, 04:46 PM

when you reach lvl5 and EB starts getting its extra beams how exactly do they work, is it like fire bolt where the beams all hit one target after one attk roll or can you hit multiple targets with it each with its own roll. also do you need to do multiple attk rolls if it is the same target?

Each blast is its own attack roll and target. Even if you attack the same person each time you roll each time. It's very helpful to think of it as "Extra Attack with your Warlock Laser".


EvanescentHero

2015-12-18, 10:26 PM

Ask your DM if they will allow you to move in between beams as if each were a separate attack, as that may be important to know at some point.


Ruslan

2015-12-19, 04:10 AM

While it's not wholly unreasonable for the DM to allow it, it would be against the rules.


Breaking Up Your Move
You can break up your movement on your turn, using
some of your speed before and after your action. For
example, if you have a speed of 30 feet, you can move
10 feet, take your action, and then move 20 feet.
So, you can break up your move by moving both before and after your action. Can you move during your action? Not really, with one exception.

Moving between Attacks
If you take an action that includes more than one weapon
attack, you can break up your movement even further by
moving between those attacks. For example, a fighter
who can make two attacks with the Extra Attack feature
and who has a speed of 25 feet could move 10 feet, make
an attack, move 15 feet, and then attack again.
Since Eldritch Blast is not a weapon attack, this exception doesn't apply. You can move both before and after you cast Eldritch Blast, but never during.


Arial Black

2015-12-19, 10:47 AM

The spell's duration is 'instantaneous'. This means that every single part of the spell effect exists only for one instant.

The 'effect' of the spell is that 'crackling beams of energy shoot from you towards your targets'. Therefore, all of those beams exist for that one same instant.

The upshot of this is that you must choose a target for each beam before resolving any of them. If you shot one beam, then waited to see what it did before choosing the target of another beam from the same casting of the spell, then the instantaneous duration of the spell would have already come and gone; the duration would be over, and the other beams would not have been used.


EvanescentHero

2015-12-19, 10:55 AM

And I don't particularly care that it's against the rules. It's basically the main choice for a warlock's attack, and I see no problem with allowing a character to move between each beam.


The upshot of this is that you must choose a target for each beam before resolving any of them. If you shot one beam, then waited to see what it did before choosing the target of another beam from the same casting of the spell, then the instantaneous duration of the spell would have already come and gone; the duration would be over, and the other beams would not have been used.

How exactly do you see this limitation as an upshot?


georgie_leech

2015-12-20, 01:51 AM

How exactly do you see this limitation as an upshot?

Upshot means the final or eventual outcome or conclusion of a discussion, action, or series of events. You're thinking of "upside."


EvanescentHero

2015-12-20, 12:23 PM

Upshot means the final or eventual outcome or conclusion of a discussion, action, or series of events. You're thinking of "upside."

Never once have I seen upshot used like that. I really hate English sometimes, and it's my first and only language.


georgie_leech

2015-12-20, 01:02 PM

Never once have I seen upshot used like that. I really hate English sometimes, and it's my first and only language.

Might be local slang rather than an English thing. I've never seen it used to mean anything else, and can't find a dictionary that gives something else. It's always meant the conclusion or central idea of a thing.


EvanescentHero

2015-12-20, 02:27 PM

Might be local slang rather than an English thing. I've never seen it used to mean anything else, and can't find a dictionary that gives something else. It's always meant the conclusion or central idea of a thing.

No, you're certainly correct by the dictionary. I've probably just been hearing it wrong. Thanks for correcting me though, now I can avoid looking quite as dumb in the future.


ryan92084

2015-12-21, 08:39 AM

The spell's duration is 'instantaneous'. This means that every single part of the spell effect exists only for one instant.

The 'effect' of the spell is that 'crackling beams of energy shoot from you towards your targets'. Therefore, all of those beams exist for that one same instant.

The upshot of this is that you must choose a target for each beam before resolving any of them. If you shot one beam, then waited to see what it did before choosing the target of another beam from the same casting of the spell, then the instantaneous duration of the spell would have already come and gone; the duration would be over, and the other beams would not have been used.

It is important to note that this is arial's interpretation and has been the subject of many a disagreement. While Arial's may or may not be a valid interpretation of the rules Jeremy Crawford has said that only spells with simultaneous damage (magic missile) behave in this manner.

Instantaneous as a spell description only disallows the effects of the spell to be dispelled under the current rules.


Malknafein

2015-12-21, 02:34 PM

Another EB question:

Can I combine Twin Spell Metamagic with EB?


Starsinger

2015-12-21, 02:41 PM

Another EB question:

Can I combine Twin Spell Metamagic with EB?

No. Even if shoot each ray at the same creature, it stops being a single target spell once you get the second shot.


LordFluffy

2015-12-21, 03:10 PM

I'm sure this is already in an errata somewhere, but does Agonizing Blast apply to each beam or only the first?


Ruslan

2015-12-21, 03:57 PM

I'm sure this is already in an errata somewhere, but does Agonizing Blast apply to each beam or only the first?There is no errata, however since each beam is a separate attack & damage roll, it is commonly accepted that the damage bonus applies to each ray.


Submortimer

2015-12-21, 05:46 PM

I'm sure this is already in an errata somewhere, but does Agonizing Blast apply to each beam or only the first?

Each beam. Since the text says "Add your charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit", and you can hit multiple times, you deal Agonizing Blast damage multiple times. This is different than, say, the Evocation Tradition's ability that allows you to add you Int modifier to "The damage roll of any wizard evocation you cast", unless that spell makes you do multiple attack and damage rolls: you DON'T add your Int bonus to each Magic Missile (Unless those missiles target different creatures), for instance, but you DO add your Int bonus to each Scorching Ray.


Vogonjeltz

2015-12-21, 05:47 PM

It is important to note that this is arial's interpretation and has spawned many a disagreement. While it may or may not be a valid interpretation of the rules Jeremy Crawford has said that only spells with simultaneous damage (magic missile) behave in this manner.

Instantaneous as a spell description only disallows the effects of the spell to be dispelled under the current rules.

Well, that's not exactly what crawford wrote here:
https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/621372117284597762?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw


Correct. Magic missile's exceptional quality is called out in the spell: "The darts all strike simultaneously."

This was answering a question comparing Scorching Ray and Magic Missiles. Eldritch Blasts' text suggests that the beams are created simultaneously, and therefore the damage occurs simultaneously.

And his answer was also confirming that the order of operations for scorching ray is: Pick targets, roll to hit, roll damage. You would not be able to pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then pick the next target. There's no wait and see.

That there are separate attack/damage rolls is immaterial to the actual chronology of those things.


Submortimer

2015-12-21, 07:10 PM

And his answer was also confirming that the order of operations for scorching ray is: Pick targets, roll to hit, roll damage. You would not be able to pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then pick the next target. There's no wait and see.

That there are separate attack/damage rolls is immaterial to the actual chronology of those things.

Though, I'll say, I don't see what the harm is in letting a warlock fire, move, change targets, and fire again. All in all, he's doing nothing substantially different than a ranger with a crossbow.


krugaan

2015-12-21, 07:17 PM

Though, I'll say, I don't see what the harm is in letting a warlock fire, move, change targets, and fire again. All in all, he's doing nothing substantially different than a ranger with a crossbow.

probably something to do with repelling blast.


ryan92084

2015-12-22, 06:20 AM

Well, that's not exactly what crawford wrote here:
https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/621372117284597762?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw



This was answering a question comparing Scorching Ray and Magic Missiles. Eldritch Blasts' text suggests that the beams are created simultaneously, and therefore the damage occurs simultaneously.

And his answer was also confirming that the order of operations for scorching ray is: Pick targets, roll to hit, roll damage. You would not be able to pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then pick the next target. There's no wait and see.

That there are separate attack/damage rolls is immaterial to the actual chronology of those things.

That wasn't the full extent of his quotes I was referring to. There is also https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/614588258404597760?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw


Multiple attacks on the same turn aren't simultaneous, unless a feature or spell says otherwise.
Which is in direct reference to Eldritch blast.

Eldritch blast doesn't explicitly state it is simultaneous therefore it is often considered to not be. However, if you take the description to infer that the attacks are in fact simultaneous keep in mind this has other consequences. Similar to magic missile EB would then invoke the rule one phb.196 meaning there is a single damage roll applied to all blasts and for the purpose of death saves/resistance multiple hits on the same target would only invoke them once. Because it is not a wizard spell and force damage I don't believe Empowered evocation or Elemental affinity would be effected by this ruling but being afb I'm unsure.

This argument has been done to death on multiple fronts I really don't want to start another here. I just wanted to inform the OP that Arial's interpretation isn't necessarily correct.


Though, I'll say, I don't see what the harm is in letting a warlock fire, move, change targets, and fire again. All in all, he's doing nothing substantially different than a ranger with a crossbow.

Harm? probably not a lot but it is important to know that that moving amid damage rolls from a spell is not allowed by default.


Dalebert

2015-12-22, 11:30 AM

It's definitely a house rule, but any time a spell grants you attacks, I treat them like weapon attacks at that point as far as firing them one at a time and moving between. It just seems to fit the spirit of making attack rolls and I think it's balanced. It's like the spell has granted you a certain amount of ammo that must get used up by the end of your turn or it fades. A warlock casts EB and a ball of eldritch force energy is in his hand. He now has to direct it with will and it seems like attacking multiple targets all at once (up to four!) would be challenging. Same with Scorching Ray.


MeeposFire

2015-12-22, 11:45 PM

The issue with EB is actually the wording of agonizing blast versus other damage boosting abilities. Agonizing blast specifies per hit but many other damage boosts do not use that terminology and use things like add your stat bonus to the spell. The difference being that if agonizing blast said per spell then it would only apply once (it is still one spell even if it hits multiple times) but since it says per hit it works on every beam. Oddly before any of these ruling some of us noticed this distinction but did not think that it was done on purpose but as the rulings have come out it has become apparent that Crawford in particular is ganging on to more of a literal interpretation than what many people believed at the start of 5e.


Dalebert

2015-12-23, 12:34 AM

It always seemed intentional to me. Warlocks are all about the EB and it's supposed to make up for their extremely limited spell list and spell slots. It's intentionally the best attack cantrip in the game if you're willing to devote a couple of invocations to it. Those bennies aren't free. You pay a serious opportunity cost by sticking two invocations onto it.


coredump

2015-12-23, 01:39 AM

Well, that's not exactly what crawford wrote here:
https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/621372117284597762?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw



This was answering a question comparing Scorching Ray and Magic Missiles. Eldritch Blasts' text suggests that the beams are created simultaneously, and therefore the damage occurs simultaneously.

And his answer was also confirming that the order of operations for scorching ray is: Pick targets, roll to hit, roll damage. You would not be able to pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then pick the next target. There's no wait and see.

That there are separate attack/damage rolls is immaterial to the actual chronology of those things.
First, nothing in the EB text 'suggests' that the beams are created simultaneously. If they were, they would have text similar to magic Missile.
Second, that is exactly what his tweet says.
It says that SR does: pick a target, roll to hit, roll for damage **3x in sequence**. So you pick a target, roll to hit roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage. That is what "in sequence" means. The tweets explicitly state that "only magic missile" must declare all targets before rolling.

Not sure how it could have been asked and answered any more explicitly.


Ruslan

2015-12-23, 02:04 AM

First, nothing in the EB text 'suggests' that the beams are created simultaneously. If they were, they would have text similar to magic Missile.
Second, that is exactly what his tweet says.
It says that SR does: pick a target, roll to hit, roll for damage **3x in sequence**. So you pick a target, roll to hit roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage. That is what "in sequence" means. The tweets explicitly state that "only magic missile" must declare all targets before rolling.

Not sure how it could have been asked and answered any more explicitly.
False advertisement. That's not what Scorching Ray says at all. It says:


You create three rays of fire and hurl them at targets
within range. You can hurl them at one target or several.
Make a ranged spell attack for each ray. On a hit, the
target takes 2d6 fire damage.

Firstly, it says you hurl 3 rays at target(s) in the area.
Secondly, it says, for each ray, roll to hit and damage.

Your interpretation is: choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage.
But that's highly tenuous, to say the least. A far more reasonable interpretation would be: choose targets, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage.


ryan92084

2015-12-23, 06:05 AM

False advertisement. That's not what Scorching Ray says at all. It says:



Firstly, it says you hurl 3 rays at target(s) in the area.
Secondly, it says, for each ray, roll to hit and damage.

Your interpretation is: choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage.
But that's highly tenuous, to say the least. A far more reasonable interpretation would be: choose targets, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage.

What is more or less reasonable is debatable. Without reading tweets or errata all 7 at my table defaulted to sequential in all cases but Magic missile because of how the making an attack section is worded (well that was my reason I never asked the others). Yes, this is purely anecdotal but I'm not using it in an attempt to dispute facts just to display how subjective reasonable is.

This is a moot point anyway. RAW is nebulous at worst and Crawford has made RAI fairly clear. All spells/features/attacks are resolved sequentially unless called out to be simultaneous. If you wish to interpret them as simultaneous beware the other rule interactions that come into effect (see my prior posting).


coredump

2015-12-23, 10:39 AM

False advertisement. That's not what Scorching Ray says at all. It says:



Firstly, it says you hurl 3 rays at target(s) in the area.
Secondly, it says, for each ray, roll to hit and damage.

Your interpretation is: choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage, choose a target, roll attack, roll damage.
But that's highly tenuous, to say the least. A far more reasonable interpretation would be: choose targets, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage, roll attack, roll damage.

What??!!?? Did you bother to read the tweets we are referencing? They *very explicitly* ask if SR works "In sequence" and JC says "yes".

Like I said, it doesn't get any more explicit.


Dalebert

2015-12-23, 01:09 PM

Let's not be overly literal. "Instantaneous" simply means it happens very quickly on your turn. Nothing in this universe is truly instantaneous. I can't see a bullet fly by because it's really fast so it seems instantaneous. It would be very hard to aim something if you had to fire at 4 targets simultaneously. It's more like "blam, blam, blam, blam" in very rapid fire during your action. An action in the game is, for mechanical purposes, basically instantaneous regardless of what you're doing even if the effect of the action lingers and can be changed, e.g. someone being prone, a spell effect with a duration, etc. Mechanically it just means an effect that happens too rapidly to be interrupted once it's happening. Fireballs would be invisible if they were literally instantaneous. There'd be no chance to dodge for half damage or to use evasion. People would just suddenly be burnt and wondering what the heck happened.


Vogonjeltz

2015-12-24, 10:51 AM

That wasn't the full extent of his quotes I was referring to. There is also https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/...rc=twsrc%5Etfw

Which is in direct reference to Eldritch blast.

Eldritch blast doesn't explicitly state it is simultaneous therefore it is often considered to not be. However, if you take the description to infer that the attacks are in fact simultaneous keep in mind this has other consequences. Similar to magic missile EB would then invoke the rule one phb.196 meaning there is a single damage roll applied to all blasts and for the purpose of death saves/resistance multiple hits on the same target would only invoke them once. Because it is not a wizard spell and force damage I don't believe Empowered evocation or Elemental affinity would be effected by this ruling but being afb I'm unsure.

This argument has been done to death on multiple fronts I really don't want to start another here. I just wanted to inform the OP that Arial's interpretation isn't necessarily correct.

Ah I see where you were getting that now. Note even in that tweet, Jeremy doesn't actually answer the question with a yes or no, he simply provides the guidelines under which they are resolved in the classic "teach a man to fish" method.

The text in Eldritch Blast does suggest the beams are created at the same time, ergo simultaneously. However, Eldritch Blast is exempted from the rule on 196 by virtue of the line in the spell that dictates that each beam has it's own attack roll. The specific spell's exception trumps the general rule.

So, you'd be absolutely right, except for that exception.


First, nothing in the EB text 'suggests' that the beams are created simultaneously. If they were, they would have text similar to magic Missile.
Second, that is exactly what his tweet says.
It says that SR does: pick a target, roll to hit, roll for damage **3x in sequence**. So you pick a target, roll to hit roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage, then you pick a target, roll to hit, roll damage. That is what "in sequence" means. The tweets explicitly state that "only magic missile" must declare all targets before rolling.

Not sure how it could have been asked and answered any more explicitly.

"A beam of crackling energy streaks toward a creature within range."
"The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels;"
"You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones."
"Make a separate attack roll for each beam."

That seems pretty plainly like the spell is creating the beams all at once making them simultaneous occurances that may or may not all hit.


ryan92084

2015-12-24, 11:09 AM

Ah I see where you were getting that now. Note even in that tweet, Jeremy doesn't actually answer the question with a yes or no, he simply provides the guidelines under which they are resolved in the classic "teach a man to fish" method.

The text in Eldritch Blast does suggest the beams are created at the same time, ergo simultaneously. However, Eldritch Blast is exempted from the rule on 196 by virtue of the line in the spell that dictates that each beam has it's own attack roll. The specific spell's exception trumps the general rule.

So, you'd be absolutely right, except for that exception.



"A beam of crackling energy streaks toward a creature within range."
"The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels;"
"You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones."
"Make a separate attack roll for each beam."

That seems pretty plainly like the spell is creating the beams all at once making them simultaneous occurances that may or may not all hit.

I see nothing in that description that implies any sort of timing be it simultaneous or otherwise to the attacks. The default position is sequential as pointed out.


The_Pyromancer

2015-12-25, 01:42 AM

The spell's duration is 'instantaneous'. This means that every single part of the spell effect exists only for one instant.

The 'effect' of the spell is that 'crackling beams of energy shoot from you towards your targets'. Therefore, all of those beams exist for that one same instant.

The upshot of this is that you must choose a target for each beam before resolving any of them. If you shot one beam, then waited to see what it did before choosing the target of another beam from the same casting of the spell, then the instantaneous duration of the spell would have already come and gone; the duration would be over, and the other beams would not have been used.

*Sigh*

Arial, you aren't starting this again, are you? You are the only person who thinks this is the case. Everyone else agrees, both by the wording of the spell and common sense, that the beams are not simultaneous.


georgie_leech

2015-12-25, 02:56 AM

*Sigh*

Arial, you aren't starting this again, are you? You are the only person who thinks this is the case. Everyone else agrees, both by the wording of the spell and common sense, that the beams are not simultaneous.

Chalk me up as someone who never read the spell as not being all at once until it was pointed out it could be otherwise. It's not that unintuitive to read it as getting extra rays at once instead of over time. Not the 'decide targets in advance' part, but the having to fire all rays before moving taking other actions part.


ryan92084

2015-12-25, 06:28 AM

Chalk me up as someone who never read the spell as not being all at once until it was pointed out it could be otherwise. It's not that unintuitive to read it as getting extra rays at once instead of over time. Not the 'decide targets in advance' part, but the having to fire all rays before moving taking other actions part.

By RaW you do have to fire all the rays before moving. Only the weapon attacks allow movement between attacks not spells. So mechanically you were doing it right anyway it seems.

I don't think either reading of the spell on its own is particularly unintuitive as the description doesn't specify any timing to the attacks. There are just extra beams fired. It's only by taking other rules and twitter into account are things clarified.


Tanarii

2015-12-25, 09:14 AM

*Sigh*

Arial, you aren't starting this again, are you? You are the only person who thinks this is the case. Everyone else agrees, both by the wording of the spell and common sense, that the beams are not simultaneous.I assumed that all targets needed to be picked before rolling attacks. That's the common sense reading of the wording of ALL instantaneous spells that don't specifically say otherwise. That the targets are selected up front, then the attacks involved propagate to the targets simultaneously.

After reading this debate on various forums, I agree that the steps on how to do an attack, and more importantly JC's tweet, make it clear that's not the case. But that doesn't make it any less of a common sense reading of the various spells' language, in combination with the use of the word 'instantaneous'. That was a very poor choice of term for Duration on their part. It should have been 'one action'.

OTOH it's possible my 'common sense reading' is biased due similar discussion in previous editions. How to resolve targeting for multiple attack 'instant' spells has been a hotly debated online discussion in both the two previous editions. Even melee powers in 4e had the same discussion. The reason is simple: choosing the next target after you see if the target is affected by the previous attack is a huge advantage to the attacker.


ryan92084

2015-12-25, 09:41 AM

I think the key reasons our group went straight for sequential involved having a long enough hiatus to forget the 3.5 rules, skipping 4e, and having someone(s) find the rule about what the instantaneous tag means mechanically before playing.


ryan92084

2015-12-28, 06:23 AM

Final nail in the simultaneous v. sequential RaI discussion.

Multi-Atk spells (Scorching Ray, Eldritch Blast): Fire 1, see result, fire next? Or choose tgts b4 atk rolls?

The intent is that you choose the targets consecutively, not simultaneously. #DnD


Tanarii

2015-12-28, 02:21 PM

Cool. That's damn clear. :)


Arial Black

2016-01-05, 03:02 AM

Let's not be overly literal. "Instantaneous" simply means it happens very quickly on your turn. Nothing in this universe is truly instantaneous. I can't see a bullet fly by because it's really fast so it seems instantaneous. It would be very hard to aim something if you had to fire at 4 targets simultaneously. It's more like "blam, blam, blam, blam" in very rapid fire during your action. An action in the game is, for mechanical purposes, basically instantaneous regardless of what you're doing even if the effect of the action lingers and can be changed, e.g. someone being prone, a spell effect with a duration, etc. Mechanically it just means an effect that happens too rapidly to be interrupted once it's happening. Fireballs would be invisible if they were literally instantaneous. There'd be no chance to dodge for half damage or to use evasion. People would just suddenly be burnt and wondering what the heck happened.

I agree that the game uses 'instantaneous' to mean 'practically instantaneous' rather than 'literally instantaneous'. A good example is one squeeze of the trigger firing four bullets from a machine gun; practically instantaneous but literally definitely sequential.

The trouble is that this single squeeze that fires four bullets does not give you enough time to see what one bullet did before deciding who to aim at with the next. You can do that, but you have to take your finger off the trigger to do that, and then squeeze again. This stops being 'practically instantaneous' at that point.

Further, if the firer has time, between bullets, to assess the impact of the first bullet and then decide who to aim at next, it also gives observers an opportunity to do something about it before you can squeeze the trigger for the second bullet.

In game terms, if the intention is that eldritch blast allows you to shoot four beams, but have enough time between each beam to observe the result and use that information to decide who to aim at next, then an opponent with a readied dispel magic could use the observable trigger of 'the first beam' to trigger the dispel.

That would make sense and be consistent. The problem then is that, according to the 'Duration' part of the spellcasting chapter, 'instantaneous' spells cannot be dispelled, because 'the magic exists only for an instant'!

I don't know why JC wants this spell (and scorching ray) work in the opposite way they always did in previous editions, but the way he wants them to work is inconsistent with what he wrote about instantaneous spells.

For his own tweets on the matter to be consistent with his own rules about instantaneous spells, JC must either return to the simultaneous interpretation of previous editions, or to change the duration of these spells to something other than 'instantaneous'.


Vogonjeltz

2016-01-05, 08:26 PM

Final nail in the simultaneous v. sequential RaI discussion.

Good to know that's what they meant to have it be. Still needs errata to match what is written to the intent (Glancing through JC's twitter feed I see that Somatic/Material component issue has the same problem...the stated intent doesn't match the written rule).


In game terms, if the intention is that eldritch blast allows you to shoot four beams, but have enough time between each beam to observe the result and use that information to decide who to aim at next, then an opponent with a readied dispel magic could use the observable trigger of 'the first beam' to trigger the dispel.

Dispel Magic only works if the spell continues to exist. Besides which, nobody would dispel magic a cantrip. I think it's more along the lines of: Eldritch Blast having multiple attacks is meant to be balanced against the Attack Action and Extra Attack. That's fine.


Arial Black

2016-01-05, 11:35 PM

Dispel Magic only works if the spell continues to exist.

Exactly. Spells last for their duration. They do not exist before their duration begins (which is as soon as the casting and VSM components are complete, unless 'paused' by the ready action) and they do not exist after their duration ends. Therefore, spells can only be targeted by a dispel if the dispel occurs after their duration has begun but before their duration has ended.

All of a spell's effects occur entirely within its duration. None of the spell exist before the duration begins and none of it continues to exist after the duration ends.

What is the 'spell effect' of eldritch blast? From one to four damaging beams of force (dependent on level) streak toward the target(s). That is the spell effect. The first beam doesn't appear before the duration begins. The last beam doesn't appear after the duration has ended. Every single beam exists entirely within the spell's duration, whatever that duration happens to be.

Now, JC wants us to play EB such that the caster can shoot each beam separately, and wait to see the result before choosing who to target with the next beam. He also makes it clear that the first beam is a valid trigger for a readied action, and that the readied action occurs and is resolved before the second beam is shot.

Since the spell duration has already started when the first beam is shot, and the duration doesn't end until the last beam is shot, then any readied action that triggers off the first beam occurs while the spell continues to exist.


georgie_leech

2016-01-06, 12:54 AM

Exactly. Spells last for their duration. They do not exist before their duration begins (which is as soon as the casting and VSM components are complete, unless 'paused' by the ready action) and they do not exist after their duration ends. Therefore, spells can only be targeted by a dispel if the dispel occurs after their duration has begun but before their duration has ended.

All of a spell's effects occur entirely within its duration. None of the spell exist before the duration begins and none of it continues to exist after the duration ends.

What is the 'spell effect' of eldritch blast? From one to four damaging beams of force (dependent on level) streak toward the target(s). That is the spell effect. The first beam doesn't appear before the duration begins. The last beam doesn't appear after the duration has ended. Every single beam exists entirely within the spell's duration, whatever that duration happens to be.

Now, JC wants us to play EB such that the caster can shoot each beam separately, and wait to see the result before choosing who to target with the next beam. He also makes it clear that the first beam is a valid trigger for a readied action, and that the readied action occurs and is resolved before the second beam is shot.

Since the spell duration has already started when the first beam is shot, and the duration doesn't end until the last beam is shot, then any readied action that triggers off the first beam occurs while the spell continues to exist.

And yet, the Instantaneous Fireball has the same problem of not actually existing in an instant but causing a small bead of fire that whizzes off to explode. Do you have a problem with Fireball being Instantaneous? Also, even if a Dispel Magic were readied in such a way it wouldn't work because it doesn't work on Instaneous spells regardless of when it's cast. You want Counterspell to do what you're describing.


Submortimer

2016-01-06, 01:04 AM

OTOH it's possible my 'common sense reading' is biased due similar discussion in previous editions. How to resolve targeting for multiple attack 'instant' spells has been a hotly debated online discussion in both the two previous editions. Even melee powers in 4e had the same discussion. The reason is simple: choosing the next target after you see if the target is affected by the previous attack is a huge advantage to the attacker.

I don't see why this is an issue: Archers can do this, why shouldn't warlocks?


Tanarii

2016-01-06, 01:52 AM

I don't see why this is an issue: Archers can do this, why shouldn't warlocks?Wizard and Sorcerers can't do it, why should Warlocks?

Because archers aren't warlocks aren't wizards. Their abilities and features each work how the rules say they work, sometimes under the same rules sometimes under different rules.


Arial Black

2016-01-06, 03:24 AM

And yet, the Instantaneous Fireball has the same problem of not actually existing in an instant but causing a small bead of fire that whizzes off to explode. Do you have a problem with Fireball being Instantaneous? Also, even if a Dispel Magic were readied in such a way it wouldn't work because it doesn't work on Instaneous spells regardless of when it's cast. You want Counterspell to do what you're describing.

The fireball fluff shows that, in the game, 'instantaneous' doesn't mean 'literally instantaneous', but 'practically instantaneous'. The 'bead of fire' explodes in a fireball too quickly for any observer to do anything between 'pea' and 'fireball', even a readied action.

And that's how spells that worked like scorching ray required the caster to choose ALL targets before ANY ray was resolved, because it wouldn't be instantaneous if the caster had time to think between rays.

JC's tweets seem to have changed it to something that is inconsistent with this idea, and now allow the caster time to observe one beam/ray and assess what it did, before using that observation to help him decide who to target with the next beam/ray. It doesn't make sense to me, but if he rules that it works that way then that ruling has logical consequences, and these include giving readied opponents a target for their dispel, because he has, by tweet, changed the implications of what 'instantaneous' means in the game.

The upshot is that fireball's magic begins and ends before anyone can react, but as soon as the caster of EB or SR pause after the first beam/ray, they have given the chance for a readied dispel to target the still existing allegedly 'instantaneous' spell.

Don't forget or ignore the RAW reason that instantaneous spells cannot be dispelled; not because they are made of magic that is somehow resistant to being dispelled, but:-

"The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can't be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant."

If the reason that it cannot be dispelled goes away, then so does its resistance to being dispelled. JC's tweets have made these two spells last long enough to be targeted by a readied dispel between the first and second beams/rays.


Dalebert

2016-01-06, 10:16 AM

If the reason that it cannot be dispelled goes away, then so does its resistance to being dispelled. JC's tweets have made these two spells last long enough to be targeted by a readied dispel between the first and second beams/rays.

I'd allow it. Of course it might bite you in the butt occasionally. "Crap! I was readying for something like Haste. I just dispelled half of a cantrip." But then that's the risk you take any time you ready an action without knowing exactly what's going to trigger it, particularly when the cost of readying is high, e.g. a third level slot.


Submortimer

2016-01-06, 06:30 PM

Wizard and Sorcerers can't do it, why should Warlocks?

Because archers aren't warlocks aren't wizards. Their abilities and features each work how the rules say they work, sometimes under the same rules sometimes under different rules.

Wizards certainly COULD do this, provided they're casting a similar spell. All i'm saying is that there is almost no mechanical difference between an archer firing multiple times in a round with the attack action and a warlock shooting multiple beams with Eldritch blast, and to suggest so means that you're far more interested in the minutiae of time breakdown in combat (something this game really isn't designed for) than you are interested in what makes the game fun.


Tanarii

2016-01-06, 06:44 PM

in what makes the game fun.
Take your accusations of BadWrongFun and shove them where the sun don't shine.


Dalebert

2016-01-07, 12:38 AM

Anyone know if this applies to Magic Missile? I'm actually not very impressed with the spell in general, but if you could use it to selectively finish off already weak creatures and see what happens before moving on to the next, it would be a little less crappy.


Arial Black

2016-01-07, 01:54 AM

Anyone know if this applies to Magic Missile? I'm actually not very impressed with the spell in general, but if you could use it to selectively finish off already weak creatures and see what happens before moving on to the next, it would be a little less crappy.

The 5E description of MM includes the wording that specifies that all the targets are chosen before any of the missiles are resolved.

....just like scorching ray used to do...


ryan92084

2016-01-07, 09:48 AM

Anyone know if this applies to Magic Missile? I'm actually not very impressed with the spell in general, but if you could use it to selectively finish off already weak creatures and see what happens before moving on to the next, it would be a little less crappy.

Magic missile requires all targets chosen up front, hits simultaneously, uses a single damage roll + relevant modifier(s) and applies that total to all missiles, only incurs features like damage reduction once per target, and only causes a single death save per target. It's also technically not a spell attack (for the purposes of triggered abilities/effects) and like other features without attack rolls can't crit. It's a very special case spell.


Dalebert

2016-01-07, 10:37 AM

The 5E description of MM includes the wording that specifies that all the targets are chosen before any of the missiles are resolved.

....just like scorching ray used to do...

What do you mean "used to do"? Are you saying they changed the description of Scorching Ray? I don't have my Player's Handbook at the moment and am looking at it in an app. The description of MM specifically does say that they strike simultaneously which seems to point that spell out as an exception. Are you saying SR used to say they strike simultaneously?


ryan92084

2016-01-07, 10:53 AM

What do you mean "used to do"? Are you saying they changed the description of Scorching Ray? I don't have my Player's Handbook at the moment and am looking at it in an app. The description of MM specifically does say that they strike simultaneously which seems to point that spell out as an exception. Are you saying SR used to say they strike simultaneously?

Arial is referring to previous editions and not the 5e scorching ray. This edition has not contained such language.


Vogonjeltz

2016-01-07, 12:15 PM

And that's how spells that worked like scorching ray required the caster to choose ALL targets before ANY ray was resolved, because it wouldn't be instantaneous if the caster had time to think between rays.

To be fair, the caster can't actually do anything in between their attacks. The spell resolves entirely before any further activity can occur.

The archer, on the other hand, can move between attacks.

I agree with you that the RAI that JC tweeted (which is fine) is inconsistent with the RAW of the spell.

That being said, if there's zero time between firing the beam and hitting it's target, then they could all be fired within a second or two, allowing for the caster to see a target is still standing or not and either continue firing or swap targets. My preference would be to enforce simultaneous targeting, per the spell, but I understand that as a game balance issue it's fine to allow sequential targeting per the RAI tweet.


Arial Black

2016-01-07, 11:31 PM

What do you mean "used to do"? Are you saying they changed the description of Scorching Ray? I don't have my Player's Handbook at the moment and am looking at it in an app. The description of MM specifically does say that they strike simultaneously which seems to point that spell out as an exception. Are you saying SR used to say they strike simultaneously?

Yes, in previous editions.

For me, while the rules of D&D have drifted over the years, most of the concepts that the rules help us produce in the game have stayed constant. For example, the meaning of the 'instantaneous' duration has stayed unchanged, even if the words used to describe it are briefer in 5E than they are in 3E. The briefer description lends itself to misinterpretation, but I don't think that the actual way instantaneous spells work has changed at all!

BTW, the 3.5E and 5E spell descriptions of scorching ray are almost identical, except the 3E line about all the targets having to be chosen in advance. However, that line was redundant anyway, because the consequence of the instantaneous duration already meant that all the rays must be used in that same instant. Since 5E has retained the instantaneous duration, this has not changed. I don't believe that the concept of scorching ray, which was 'shoot a number of simultaneous rays of fire', suddenly changed in 5E, without any wording indicating any such change.

I find the idea of rays shot with enough time between rays to see what they do, and using that information to choose who to target next, to be absurd for a spell that is defined as instantaneous and 'the magic exists only for an instant', and a totally unnecessary bit of absurdity that has consequences beyond these two spells.


Dalebert

2016-01-08, 12:20 AM

It seems to me their intention was for them to be sequential and "instantaneous" was just the best word. I think just about anything else would have been confusing. You can't really do anything else in between the rays. Saying it lasts for one round would be misleading. I agree with you that it should mean they're interruptible with a held action, but generally speaking they are instantaneous practically speaking.


E’Tallitnics

2016-01-08, 02:19 AM

It seems to me their intention was for them to be sequential and "instantaneous" was just the best word. I think just about anything else would have been confusing. You can't really do anything else in between the rays. Saying it lasts for one round would be misleading. I agree with you that it should mean they're interruptible with a held action, but generally speaking they are instantaneous practically speaking.

Exactly! There are ZERO spells with a duration of 1 second. It's "Instantaneous", then "1 round", then….

To me it's the difference between Dispel Magic or Counterspell.


Arial Black

2016-01-08, 05:12 PM

Exactly! There are ZERO spells with a duration of 1 second. It's "Instantaneous", then "1 round", then….

Duration: 1 turn

or

Duration: special (see text)

The second one has seen extensive use in D&D over the years.


georgie_leech

2016-01-08, 06:07 PM

Duration: 1 turn

or

Duration: special (see text)

The second one has seen extensive use in D&D over the years.

For the former, what happens if dispel magic gets cast after the beams have been used? For the second, could you give an example of a spell that uses it the way you're arguing here? I usually see "See Text" regarding spells that are ongoing but have conditions that can end it early or have continuing consequences after it ends anyway.


krugaan

2016-01-08, 06:28 PM

this is a strange argument to be having. It's worded ambiguously, JC has provided several tweets indicating they should be sequential.

Instantaneous might as well be a keyword that says the "this effect resolves before any other action can be taken"

can someone quote the RAW definition of instantaneous? im AFB.


ryan92084

2016-01-08, 07:42 PM

this is a strange argument to be having. It's worded ambiguously, JC has provided several tweets indicating they should be sequential.

Instantaneous might as well be a keyword that says the "this effect resolves before any other action can be taken"

can someone quote the RAW definition of instantaneous? im AFB.

phb page 203 or basic rules (http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/BasicRules_Playerv3.4_PF.pdf)page 79 (identical text)

A spell's duration is the length of time the spell persists. A duration can be expressed in rounds, minutes, hours, or even years. Some spells specify that their effects last until the spells are dispelled or destroyed.

Many spells are instantaneous. The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can't be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant.


krugaan

2016-01-08, 07:54 PM

phb page 203 or basic rules (http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/BasicRules_Playerv3.4_PF.pdf)page 79 (identical text)

seems very cut and dry, particularly about the "can't be dispelled" part...


E’Tallitnics

2016-01-08, 08:03 PM

[...]
The second one has seen extensive use in D&D over the years.

I'm sorry to say but that statement has zero relevance in this forum.

D&D 5e was rebuilt from the ground up as a new game with that "classic D&D feel". We spent 2.5 years making sure that happened.

Here's a conversation he, alphastream and I had about people understanding 5e: https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/567518182571638784

So for your own benefit, the benefit of the Playground, and the benefit of new players trying to understand the rules of 5e: Please stop doing that.


Tanarii

2016-01-08, 08:44 PM

phb page 203 or basic rules (http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/BasicRules_Playerv3.4_PF.pdf)page 79 (identical text)

Yeah, from the language, it's pretty clear to me that the intent of "instantaneous" is to mean that the magic does it's thing then ends, leaving no lingering magical effect. That's it. Not to specify a specific length of time.

If I had to assume a length of time from instantaneous, I'd assume it's "1 action". Which of course isn't actually a length of time.


Dalebert

2016-01-08, 11:52 PM

Here's a conversation he, alphastream and I had about people understanding 5e: https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/567518182571638784

So for your own benefit, the benefit of the Playground, and the benefit of new players trying to understand the rules of 5e: Please stop doing that.

That tweet nails the number 1 (in my extensive experience) source of confusion with understanding this edition. People can't seem to let go of older editions and accept that this is a complete rebuild. Words don't even mean what they used to mean. "Concentration" is a prime example. People jump to conclusions based on assumptions built on prior editions without having thoroughly read and grokked the new rules. It's an exhausting effort to undo prior conditioning and get people to let go of what they "know". Whatever a spell or ability did in a prior edition has no bearing whatsoever on what it does now. The resulting face-palms have formed a red hand-print on my face. :smallbiggrin:


Arial Black

2016-01-09, 03:28 PM

For the former, what happens if dispel magic gets cast after the beams have been used? For the second, could you give an example of a spell that uses it the way you're arguing here? I usually see "See Text" regarding spells that are ongoing but have conditions that can end it early or have continuing consequences after it ends anyway.

For the former: if the beams have all been shot, a dispel would have no effect. If some beams have yet to be shot, they would be dispelled. Since the spell wouldn't be an 'instantaneous' spell any more, this would not be an issue.

For the latter, the duration of 'special: see text' was used whenever one of the standard durations didn't quite fit. For example, true strike applied to your next attack, so long as you took that attack before the end of your next turn. They couldn't give it a duration of '1 round', because that would end at the start of your next round, rendering the spell effect unusable. So, they put 'special: see text' as the duration and explained it in the text.

There was absolutely nothing to prevent JC from using that wording (it isn't copyright!) for a sequential series of beams/rays that could, in theory, have readied actions occur between them. It would avoid the totally predictable situation of players believing that 'instantaneous' in 5E means the same as it always did, especially when the 5E wording supports the existing meaning without even hinting that JC supposedly deliberately changed the meaning!


Arial Black

2016-01-09, 03:30 PM

seems very cut and dry, particularly about the "can't be dispelled" part...

...and especially the '...because its magic exists only for an instant' part!


Arial Black

2016-01-09, 03:35 PM

I'm sorry to say but that statement has zero relevance in this forum.

Why is it irrelevant to say that JC would have been better advised to use 'duration: special, see text' instead of 'duration: instantaneous' and then using tweets to tell us that he changed the meaning of the word 'instantaneous' without bothering to spell that out in the rules?


krugaan

2016-01-09, 04:25 PM

...and especially the '...because its magic exists only for an instant' part!

wait ... so you're agreeing now?


newsman77

2016-01-09, 08:29 PM

For the former: if the beams have all been shot, a dispel would have no effect. If some beams have yet to be shot, they would be dispelled. Since the spell wouldn't be an 'instantaneous' spell any more, this would not be an issue.

For the latter, the duration of 'special: see text' was used whenever one of the standard durations didn't quite fit. For example, true strike applied to your next attack, so long as you took that attack before the end of your next turn. They couldn't give it a duration of '1 round', because that would end at the start of your next round, rendering the spell effect unusable. So, they put 'special: see text' as the duration and explained it in the text.

There was absolutely nothing to prevent JC from using that wording (it isn't copyright!) for a sequential series of beams/rays that could, in theory, have readied actions occur between them. It would avoid the totally predictable situation of players believing that 'instantaneous' in 5E means the same as it always did, especially when the 5E wording supports the existing meaning without even hinting that JC supposedly deliberately changed the meaning!

JC didn't need to change the meaning of instantaneous. It's pretty clear. An EB beam is instantaneous and exists for a split second while the magic happens. As the spell levels up, it provides an additional beam that happens in a sequential order. Each beam is instantaneous. It's pretty clear what JC meant.

EB is the "go to" attack for Warlocks and as such, shouldn't be dispel-able. Besides, who would waste a dispel or counterspell on a cantrip???

I think of it like Iron Man, using his repulsor beams. They're multiple beams, he fires within 6 seconds, and can target enemies in a sequential order but you can't really stop them from happening.


E’Tallitnics

2016-01-09, 10:22 PM

Why is it irrelevant to say that JC would have been better advised to use 'duration: special, see text' instead of 'duration: instantaneous' and then using tweets to tell us that he changed the meaning of the word 'instantaneous' without bothering to spell that out in the rules?

But he did my friend! Player's Handbook, "Instanteous", p.203.

The fact of the matter is that he, and we, were well served by changing things.

That tweet exchange I posted was a result of a discussion about people complaining that 5e was 'poorly written', or 'unclear'.

When the truth is the game was rewritten using all editions, but in the 21st century where the concept of 'informational density' is an actual thing. (My favorite expression of this was someone on reddit saying, "5e is fractal".)

The language of 5e uses this concept to great effect. It's very precise and therefore compact. Which serves us all because when you print something, paper is the biggest associated cost.

You might look at the core books and think that paying the artists, WotC staff, etc., would be greater. But in fact the cost of paper makes all of those associated costs pale in comparison.

Imagine how many pages would need to be added to any of the three core books if the informational density was taken out. Would we be willing to pay 75 or 100 dollars, per book, to have that density removed?

Some might think, "Hell Yeah!", but doing so raises the entry point for all users! Therefore it was a necessarily smart business decision.


Arial Black

2016-01-10, 11:16 PM

JC didn't need to change the meaning of instantaneous. It's pretty clear. An EB beam is instantaneous and exists for a split second while the magic happens. As the spell levels up, it provides an additional beam that happens in a sequential order. Each beam is instantaneous. It's pretty clear what JC meant.

EB is the "go to" attack for Warlocks and as such, shouldn't be dispel-able. Besides, who would waste a dispel or counterspell on a cantrip???

I think of it like Iron Man, using his repulsor beams. They're multiple beams, he fires within 6 seconds, and can target enemies in a sequential order but you can't really stop them from happening.

If a spell lets the caster shoot multiple 'instantaneous' beams, but these beams may be shot over a period of time, then the duration of the spell is the duration in which these 'instantaneous' beams can be shot.

We know this to be true, not just because 'duration' refers to the entire spell (not just parts of it) because this is the definition of 'duration' in a spell stat block, but we also have a spell in the 5E PHB which does exactly this: call lightning. This spell has a duration (AWB, but something like 'concentration, up to one hour'); and while this duration is ongoing the caster may take an action to call down a bolt of (instantaneous) lightning.

If eldritch blast/scorching ray are to be altered from their previous concept (multiple simultaneous beams/rays) to a new concept for 5E (beams/rays in sequence, with enough time between them to see what one did before choosing the target for the next) then the 'instantaneous' duration no longer fits. Instead, make the duration 'special: see text', and then text to be added to the paragraph about higher level casting/multiple beams (for EB) and the normal text (for SR) saying that multiple (instantaneous) beams/rays may be shot over the course of the turn in which it was cast, but the caster cannot move between beams/rays.

This way, they would do what JC (apparently) wants them to do, while avoiding having 'instantaneous' spells that are not instantaneous.


Tanarii

2016-01-11, 05:21 AM

If a spell lets the caster shoot multiple 'instantaneous' beams, but these beams may be shot over a period of time, then the duration of the spell is the duration in which these 'instantaneous' beams can be shot.The PHB is clear that the duration instantaneous means there is no lingering magic to dispel after resolution ends. That doesn't indicate a duration, or period of time, less than the one action used for resolution. Even the word instant doesn't necessarily indicate a period of time less than the one action needed for resolution.


newsman77

2016-01-11, 07:30 AM

If a spell lets the caster shoot multiple 'instantaneous' beams, but these beams may be shot over a period of time, then the duration of the spell is the duration in which these 'instantaneous' beams can be shot.

We know this to be true, not just because 'duration' refers to the entire spell (not just parts of it) because this is the definition of 'duration' in a spell stat block, but we also have a spell in the 5E PHB which does exactly this: call lightning. This spell has a duration (AWB, but something like 'concentration, up to one hour'); and while this duration is ongoing the caster may take an action to call down a bolt of (instantaneous) lightning.

If eldritch blast/scorching ray are to be altered from their previous concept (multiple simultaneous beams/rays) to a new concept for 5E (beams/rays in sequence, with enough time between them to see what one did before choosing the target for the next) then the 'instantaneous' duration no longer fits. Instead, make the duration 'special: see text', and then text to be added to the paragraph about higher level casting/multiple beams (for EB) and the normal text (for SR) saying that multiple (instantaneous) beams/rays may be shot over the course of the turn in which it was cast, but the caster cannot move between beams/rays.

This way, they would do what JC (apparently) wants them to do, while avoiding having 'instantaneous' spells that are not instantaneous.

I don't understand your argument, especially after it was clarified by the man who helped write the book.

EB is not like Chain Lightning because Chain Lightning has an ongoing effect. The spell can be kept up via concentration if I remember correctly (AFB). Thus a clarification in the text is needed for each lightning bolt because the spell's duration is Concentration up to x minutes, the lightning bolt itself does not last that long. This is not the case with EB. Its duration is instantaneous, meaning the spell does what it does (fire x number of beams that last an instant and have no lingering effects) and it's over. When we first access the spell, at level 1, it's a single target beam with an instantaneous duration. You fire it and it's done. The "special" thing about it, is that as you level, the cantrip gets stronger, thus adding an additional beam with a separate attack roll. That alone tells me that it's a sequential attack.

Additional EB beams work similar to an Extra Attack. "With this action, you make one melee or ranged attack... Certain features, such as the Extra Attack feature of the fighter, allow you to make more than one attack with this action." PHB, p192.

You don't force the ranged or melee attacker to choose all this targets at once, although the extra attack is part of the same action (just like casting a spell - 1 action). There's nothing in the description that the PC can attack a different character. So why assume that a similar action for the Warlock must be limited in a special way?

I'm not sure how much more clear the developers can make it, especially after JC's tweet. The PHB is very clear on what instantaneous means in a spells duration.


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Warlock

With a pseudodragon curled on his shoulder, a young elf in golden robes smiles warmly, weaving a magical charm into his honeyed words and bending the palace sentinel to his will.

As flames spring to life in her hands, a wizened human whispers the secret name of her demonic patron, infusing her spell with fiendish magic.

Shifting his gaze between a battered tome and the odd alignment of the stars overhead, a wild-eyed tiefling chants the mystic ritual that will open a doorway to a distant world.

Warlocks are seekers of the knowledge that lies hidden in the fabric of the multiverse. Through pacts made with mysterious beings of supernatural power, warlocks unlock magical effects both subtle and spectacular. Drawing on the ancient knowledge of beings such as fey nobles, demons, devils, hags, and alien entities of the Far Realm, warlocks piece together arcane secrets to bolster their own power.

Sworn and Beholden

A warlock is defined by a pact with an otherworldly being. Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods. A warlock might lead a cult dedicated to a demon prince, an archdevil, or an utterly alien entity—beings not typically served by clerics. More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron’s behalf.

The magic bestowed on a warlock ranges from minor but lasting alterations to the warlock’s being (such as the ability to see in darkness or to read any language) to access to powerful spells. Unlike bookish wizards, warlocks supplement their magic with some facility at hand-to-hand combat. They are comfortable in light armor and know how to use simple weapons.

Delvers into Secrets

Warlocks are driven by an insatiable need for knowledge and power, which compels them into their pacts and shapes their lives. This thirst drives warlocks into their pacts and shapes their later careers as well.

Stories of warlocks binding themselves to fiends are widely known. But many warlocks serve patrons that are not fiendish. Sometimes a traveler in the wilds comes to a strangely beautiful tower, meets its fey lord or lady, and stumbles into a pact without being fully aware of it. And sometimes, while poring over tomes of forbidden lore, a brilliant but crazed student’s mind is opened to realities beyond the material world and to the alien beings that dwell in the outer void.

Once a pact is made, a warlock’s thirst for knowledge and power can’t be slaked with mere study and research. No one makes a pact with such a mighty patron if he or she doesn’t intend to use the power thus gained. Rather, the vast majority of warlocks spend their days in active pursuit of their goals, which typically means some kind of adventuring. Furthermore, the demands of their patrons drive warlocks toward adventure.

Creating a Warlock

As you make your warlock character, spend some time thinking about your patron and the obligations that your pact imposes upon you. What led you to make the pact, and how did you make contact with your patron? Were you seduced into summoning a devil, or did you seek out the ritual that would allow you to make contact with an alien elder god? Did you search for your patron, or did your patron find and choose you? Do you chafe under the obligations of your pact or serve joyfully in anticipation of the rewards promised to you?

Work with your DM to determine how big a part your pact will play in your character’s adventuring career. Your patron’s demands might drive you into adventures, or they might consist entirely of small favors you can do between adventures.

What kind of relationship do you have with your patron? Is it friendly, antagonistic, uneasy, or romantic? How important does your patron consider you to be? What part do you play in your patron’s plans? Do you know other servants of your patron?

How does your patron communicate with you? If you have a familiar, it might occasionally speak with your patron’s voice. Some warlocks find messages from their patrons etched on trees, mingled among tea leaves, or adrift in the clouds — messages that only the warlock can see. Other warlocks converse with their patrons in dreams or waking visions, or deal only with intermediaries.

QUICK BUILD

You can make a warlock quickly by following these suggestions. First, Charisma should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the charlatan background. Third, choose the eldritch blast and chill touch cantrips, along with the 1st-level spells charm person and witch bolt.

The Warlock Table

Class Features

As a warlock, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per warlock level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per warlock level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose two skills from Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) any simple weapon
  • (a) a component pouch or (b) an arcane focus
  • (a) a scholar’s pack or (b) a dungeoneer’s pack
  • Leather armor, any simple weapon, and two daggers

Otherworldly Patron

At 1st level, you have struck a bargain with an otherworldly being of your choice: the Fiend, which is detailed at the end of the class description, or one from another source. Your choice grants you features at 1st level and again at 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

Pact Magic

Your arcane research and the magic bestowed on you by your patron have given you facility with spells. See Spells Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and the Spells Listing for the warlock spell list.

Cantrips

You know two cantrips of your choice from the warlock spell list. You learn additional warlock cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Warlock table.

Spell Slots

The Warlock table shows how many spell slots you have. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your spell slots are the same level. To cast one of your warlock spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

For example, when you are 5th level, you have two 3rd-level spell slots. To cast the 1st-level spell witch bolt, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

At 1st level, you know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the warlock spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Warlock table shows when you learn more warlock spells of your choice of 1st level and higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what’s shown in the table’s Slot Level column for your level. When you reach 6th level, for example, you learn a new warlock spell, which can be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your warlock spells, so you use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a warlock spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spellcasting Focus

You can use an arcane focus (see the Adventuring Gear section) as a spellcasting focus for your warlock spells.

Eldritch Invocations

In your study of occult lore, you have unearthed eldritch invocations, fragments of forbidden knowledge that imbue you with an abiding magical ability.

At 2nd level, you gain two eldritch invocations of your choice. Your invocation options are detailed at the end of the class description. When you gain certain warlock levels, you gain additional invocations of your choice, as shown in the Invocations Known column of the Warlock table.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level.

Agonizing Blast

Prerequisite: eldritch blast cantrip

When you cast eldritch blast, add your Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.

Armor of Shadows

You can cast mage armor on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Ascendant Step

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast levitate on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Beast Speech

You can cast speak with animals at will, without expending a spell slot.

Beguiling Influence

You gain proficiency in the Deception and Persuasion skills.

Bewitching Whispers

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast compulsion once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Book of Ancient Secrets

Prerequisite: Pact of the Tome feature

You can now inscribe magical rituals in your Book of Shadows. Choose two 1st-level spells that have the ritual tag from any class’s spell list (the two needn’t be from the same list). The spells appear in the book and don’t count against the number of spells you know. With your Book of Shadows in hand, you can cast the chosen spells as rituals. You can’t cast the spells except as rituals, unless you’ve learned them by some other means. You can also cast a warlock spell you know as a ritual if it has the ritual tag.

On your adventures, you can add other ritual spells to your Book of Shadows. When you find such a spell, you can add it to the book if the spell’s level is equal to or less than half your warlock level (rounded up) and if you can spare the time to transcribe the spell. For each level of the spell, the transcription process takes 2 hours and costs 50 gp for the rare inks needed to inscribe it.

Chains of Carceri

Prerequisite: 15th level, Pact of the Chain feature

You can cast hold monster at will — targeting a celestial, fiend, or elemental — without expending a spell slot or material components. You must finish a long rest before you can use this invocation on the same creature again.

Devil’s Sight

You can see normally in darkness, both magical and nonmagical, to a distance of 120 feet.

Dreadful Word

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast confusion once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Eldritch Sight

You can cast detect magic at will, without expending a spell slot.

Eldritch Spear

Prerequisite: eldritch blast cantrip

When you cast eldritch blast, its range is 300 feet.

Eyes of the Rune Keeper

You can read all writing.

Fiendish Vigor

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

Gaze of Two Minds

You can use your action to touch a willing humanoid and perceive through its senses until the end of your next turn. As long as the creature is on the same plane of existence as you, you can use your action on subsequent turns to maintain this connection, extending the duration until the end of your next turn. While perceiving through the other creature’s senses, you benefit from any special senses possessed by that creature, and you are blinded and deafened to your own surroundings.

Lifedrinker

Prerequisite: 12th level, Pact of the Blade feature

When you hit a creature with your pact weapon, the creature takes extra necrotic damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Mask of Many Faces

You can cast disguise self at will, without expending a spell slot.

Master of Myriad Forms

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can cast alter self at will, without expending a spell slot.

Minions of Chaos

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast conjure elemental once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Mire the Mind

Prerequisite: 5th level

You can cast slow once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Misty Visions

You can cast silent image at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

One with Shadows

Prerequisite: 5th level

When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible until you move or take an action or a reaction.

Otherworldly Leap

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast jump on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Repelling Blast

Prerequisite: eldritch blast cantrip

When you hit a creature with eldritch blast, you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line.

Sculptor of Flesh

Prerequisite: 7th level

You can cast polymorph once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Sign of Ill Omen

Prerequisite: 5th level

You can cast bestow curse once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Thief of Five Fates

You can cast bane once using a warlock spell slot. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Thirsting Blade

Prerequisite: 5th level, Pact of the Blade feature

You can attack with your pact weapon twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Visions of Distant Realms

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can cast arcane eye at will, without expending a spell slot.

Voice of the Chain Master

Prerequisite: Pact of the Chain feature

You can communicate telepathically with your familiar and perceive through your familiar’s senses as long as you are on the same plane of existence. Additionally, while perceiving through your familiar’s senses, you can also speak through your familiar in your own voice, even if your familiar is normally incapable of speech.

Whispers of the Grave

Prerequisite: 9th level

You can cast speak with dead at will, without expending a spell slot.

Witch Sight

Prerequisite: 15th level

You can see the true form of any shapechanger or creature concealed by illusion or transmutation magic while the creature is within 30 feet of you and within line of sight.

Pact Boon

At 3rd level, your otherworldly patron bestows a gift upon you for your loyal service. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

Pact of the Blade

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it (see the Weapons section for weapon options). You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Your pact weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.

You can transform one magic weapon into your pact weapon by performing a special ritual while you hold the weapon. You perform the ritual over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a short rest. You can then dismiss the weapon, shunting it into an extradimensional space, and it appears whenever you create your pact weapon thereafter. You can’t affect an artifact or a sentient weapon in this way. The weapon ceases being your pact weapon if you die, if you perform the 1-hour ritual on a different weapon, or if you use a 1-hour ritual to break your bond to it. The weapon appears at your feet if it is in the extradimensional space when the bond breaks.

Pact of the Chain

You learn the find familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of spells known.

When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite.

Additionally, when you take the Attack action, you can forgo one of your own attacks to allow your familiar to make one attack of its own with its reaction.

Pact of the Tome

Your patron gives you a grimoire called a Book of Shadows. When you gain this feature, choose three cantrips from any class’s spell list (the three needn’t be from the same list). While the book is on your person, you can cast those cantrips at will. They don’t count against your number of cantrips known. If they don’t appear on the warlock spell list, they are nonetheless warlock spells for you.

If you lose your Book of Shadows, you can perform a 1-hour ceremony to receive a replacement from your patron. This ceremony can be performed during a short or long rest, and it destroys the previous book. The book turns to ash when you die.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Using the optional feats rule, you can forgo taking this feature to take a feat of your choice instead.

Mystic Arcanum (6th level)

At 11th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical secret called an arcanum. Choose one 6th-level spell from the warlock spell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more warlock spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 7th-level spell at 13th level, one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Mystic Arcanum (7th level)

At 13th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical secret called an arcanum. Choose one 7th-level spell from the warlock spell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At higher levels, you gain more warlock spells of your choice that can be cast in this way: one 8th-level spell at 15th level, and one 9th-level spell at 17th level. You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Mystic Arcanum (8th level)

At 15th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical secret called an arcanum. Choose one 8th-level spell from the warlock spell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

At 17th level, you gain a 9th-level warlock spell of your choice that can be cast in this way. You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Mystic Arcanum (9th level)

At 17th level, your patron bestows upon you a magical secret called an arcanum. Choose one 9th-level spell from the warlock spell list as this arcanum.

You can cast your arcanum spell once without expending a spell slot. You must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

You regain all uses of your Mystic Arcanum when you finish a long rest.

Eldritch Master

At 20th level, you can draw on your inner reserve of mystical power while entreating your patron to regain expended spell slots. You can spend 1 minute entreating your patron for aid to regain all your expended spell slots from your Pact Magic feature. Once you regain spell slots with this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can do so again.

Otherworldly Patrons

The beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are mighty inhabitants of other planes of existence—not gods, but almost godlike in their power. Various patrons give their warlocks access to different powers and invocations, and expect significant favors in return.

Some patrons collect warlocks, doling out mystic knowledge relatively freely or boasting of their ability to bind mortals to their will. Other patrons bestow their power only grudgingly, and might make a pact with only one warlock. Warlocks who serve the same patron might view each other as allies, siblings, or rivals.

The Fiend

You have made a pact with a fiend from the lower planes of existence, a being whose aims are evil, even if you strive against those aims. Such beings desire the corruption or destruction of all things, ultimately including you. Fiends powerful enough to forge a pact include demon lords such as Demogorgon, Orcus, Fraz’Urb-luu, and Baphomet; archdevils such as Asmodeus, Dispater, Mephistopheles, and Belial; pit fiends and balors that are especially mighty; and ultroloths and other lords of the yugoloths.

 

 

Expanded Spell List

The Fiend lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Fiend Expanded Spells

 

 

Dark One’s Blessing

Starting at 1st level, when you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier + your warlock level (minimum of 1).

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.

Fiendish Resilience

Starting at 10th level, you can choose one damage type when you finish a short or long rest. You gain resistance to that damage type until you choose a different one with this feature. Damage from magical weapons or silver weapons ignores this resistance.

Hurl Through Hell

Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to instantly transport the target through the lower planes. The creature disappears and hurtles through a nightmare landscape.

At the end of your next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space. If the target is not a fiend, it takes 10d10 psychic damage as it reels from its horrific experience.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.