Warlocks draw their magic from Patrons with whom they have forged a Pact. This process binds them to a supernatural power and also them to draw power directly from that source.
Demons are the most common participants in such Pacts due to the inherent nature Demons possess in making binding contracts. However, a Pact could potentially be made with any supernatural being of sufficient power that was willing to consider a bargain with the Warlock. Such Pacts may not be entirely reliable and may come with additional difficulties and complications.
Currently, all starting Warlocks begin with a Pact to an enemy, adversarial demon Patron. As a result, new Warlocks are likely to be met with hostility, aggression and possible attack in-game. Breaking and replacing this Pact must be accomplished in-game, and training and advancement will be blocked until such time as it is.
- Casting Style: Pact Magic
- Strengths: Strong Combat Magic and Self-Only Protectives
- Weakness: Weak Healing and Protectives for Others
- Foci: No
- In-Play Verbals: No. All Warlock spells are called as “Activate – [Modifier] [Spell Effect]” which is considered to be expressly out of play.
- Soul Mark: Yes.
- Book/Text Prop: No
A Warlock's Tale
Edgar closed the cellar door behind him. He knew the end for his masters was coming. He did not fear death. He had seen death before. The others did not understand. He and his masters only wanted to have balance. Why could they not see that to be free others must be enslaved? Why could they not understand that light is only of value if there is first darkness? He knew history would likely call him a traitor. History was a fool. It was fear of the unknown, of the misunderstood, of the outcast that drove this war. His masters were like him. Despised because they did not fit some preordained social acceptability and in that fear, the fools would strike at his masters, but he knew the truth. Binding the darkness would also bind the light. This war would not destroy demons but it would destroy magic itself. He would not let the wonders of the world fade away if there was something he could do about it.
He had worked his way into the King’s castle. He had a place of anonymity and now deep within the cellar of the Fool King he would stop this war for good. He drew out a slip of paper with terrible writing on it. The paper, if found, would have been more than enough to have him executed, but it was needed. A needle pricked his finger and a single drop of blood smeared the page, but then, a drop was all that was needed.
“Master Kalaladun, Marquis of Vengeance, Firebrand of the Dark Host in the South, your servant calls you forth!”
The slip of paper ignited and smoked in his hand. The smoke was oily and dark. Far more smoke than such a small flame would have normally produced. It slowly curled around him creating a blackened circle and he could only hope this would be done before anyone came to investigate. From the smoke, two burning eyes peered out. Claws occasionally appeared to almost emerge and the shape of cloven hooves could just barely be made out. The Beast’s voice was equal parts guttural growling and spoken words.
“You have done well, slave. Your deeds are known in the Other Realms. What have you summoned me for this day?”
“Master, I am prepared. I seek your power that I may finish this.”
The Demon looked upon his servant. “All power comes with a price. What more do you possibly have left to give me?”
Edgar was taken aback for the briefest of moments. After all he had done, the Demons demanded more from him? No… that was their way. Nothing was freely given. Everything had a price. This should have been expected. In truth, he had only one thing left to give. He knew it was the price to unlock the full power of a Demon. He also knew that it must be freely offered. It would never be asked for.
“In truth, master, I have given you my flesh and all that I have in this world. I give you all I have left. In trade for your power I give you all that I will have when I am dead. I resign whatever comes next and will eternally be yours.”
That was the only thing said. The Demon reached into Edgar’s chest and pulled out his beating heart. Into that cavity a dark fire ignited filling the empty space. Edgar, if he could be called that anymore, knelt before his master, full of dark and grim purpose.
“I become a villain in order to save the heroes from themselves. I do only what has to be done.”
The Demon’s smoke vanished from the room and took Edgar’s heart with it to wherever it had been summoned from.
Edgar’s body stood in the dark, covered in scars. Each one a different compact that had been made and sealed within his flesh. Each runic scar emanating the dark power with which he had bound himself to. With a mere thought, dark fire wrapped around his hands and black smoke followed his every step. There were no disguises any longer. He walked out of the cellar to kill the King…
|Warlock Tier||Pre-Req||Tolerance Cost||Abilities|
|1st, 10XP||—||5XP / Tolerance||Spell Flux, 8XP each|
|2nd, 10XP||3 Tolerance||8XP / Tolerance||Counterspell, 10XP each|
|3rd, 15XP||6 Tolerance||12XP / Tolerance|
|4th, 15XP||9 Tolerance||15XP / Tolerance|
|5th, 20XP||12 Tolerance||20XP / Tolerance|
When a Warlock makes a Pact with a selected Patron there is always a clause established to allow either party to leave the Pact but this must be agreed on in advance.
The most common clause involved is the current Warlock providing a willing replacement who assumes the former Pact in her pace.
Additionally, just like the body, the soul wants to heal and over time will start to erase the Soul Mark of any Pact. Therefore, if a Pact goes unused for an entire year, it must be renewed with the Patron, otherwise the act of opening and using a Pact constantly reinforces its mark on the Warlock’s soul.. Other “escape clauses” may be found in-game but may come with their own costs and penalties, often quite steep.
Breaking a Pact with a Patron any other way will almost certainly bring down the wrath of the offended Patron, including but not limited to continual attack, magical detriments and the potentially permanent death of the Pact-breaking Warlock.
Making a Pact is a binding contract that is written on both flesh and soul of the Warlock. The Patron agrees to allow part of its own power to be channeled by the Warlock in exchange for certain favors and allegiance. These can be minor favors or nigh impossible. They may be requested only once or they may require a long term adjustment to behaviors. Legends abound of Demons who used Pact-bound Warlocks to seek revenge on another Warlock who broke a Pact. Others are less malign examples speak of a Warlock only being able to access their Pacts after the blood of another has been shed, some tribute provided or quest undertaken.
Regardless of the specifics, the mechanics of using Pact magic are fairly universal:
- Each Warlock may only have a number of Pacts to separate Patrons equal to their Tier of mastery with Warlock magic.
- Each Pact cannot be stronger than the lowest current Pact minus one.
- Each power must be separately prepared by the Warlock tracing the Pact brand and saying “Activate Pact to [Patron name and title]”.
- Activating a Pact for the first time triggers an irresistible “Torment Self” from the sheer physical strain.
Legends speak of Warlocks harnessing Pacts or powers beyond their Tier, but these invariably damage the Warlock’s body and soul, and can cause grievous infirmity, permanent disability and even death.
The most common Patrons may be found in the Warlock packet, but you can also choose to wait to activate your Warlock powers by finding a Patron in-game.
The brand of a Warlock’s Pact takes the form of a “soul mark” which is both physical and mystical. Some examples include an obvious symbolic scar or tattoo; easily visible or discoverable with a simple 10-second search.
The spiritual counterpart of the mark should be defined by a plot-approved, 2-5 word description that must be given if the Warlock is subjected to “Detect Soul Mark” or similar power in-game. In the case of multiple marks, all can be discovered in this manner.
Any additional nature and influence of a marked soul must be discovered in-game.
Once a Pact is activated the Warlock may leave it active, making all powers affiliate with that Pact available to invoke. The Warlock may channel as much magic in the form of these Powers as their Tolerance will allow. These can all be powers from the same Patron or from a combination of Patrons to whom they possess a valid Pact.
Access to the powers of a Pact ends when the Pact becomes temporarily or permanently closed. Some examples of the former include: if the Warlock dies and each day at sunset. Permanently closed Pacts most commonly occur if the Pact with the Patron is broken though some clause in the contract or it expires (is not renewed at least once annually).
Temporarily closing a Pact can be done willingly by calling “Revoke Pact [name of power]”.
However, pacts cannot be closed while unconscious or during active combat. This is particularly important because each open Pact decreases the Warlock’s Bleed Out time by one minute. For example: A Warlock with two open Pacts would Bleed Out in 3 minutes (Base 5 minute time, minus 1 minute for each open Pact).
Unless otherwise expressly stated all Warlock powers cost 1 Tolerance to cast. Each power invoked has a source tagline, and sometimes a more specific modifier denoting the specific flavor of the spell and its origins.
While many creatures treat all effect modifiers the same there is always the possibility that something may take increased or reduced effect based on this modifier (fire, light, etc). Players are informed as to what effect modifier they should use at the time the Pact is made.
William the Warlock has forged a Pact with Beliaus, Jester of Flame and Lackey of the South as a Patron. Beliarus grants him the power of Fire Shard which would be invoked with the out-of-game verbal “Fire Shard 1”.
While another Warlock bound to Kilsdrame, Messenger of Earth and Scion of Silence of the East as a Patron might receive the power of supernatural resilient to damage in the form of a Shell. This might be activated with the out-of-game verbal “Earth Shell 2”.
Examples of Warlock Powers
Tolerance is the resilience to channeling magical energy that a Warlock can endure before becoming temporarily magically exhausted. This Tolerance is recovered by ceasing to actively channel magical energy and allowing the souls time to recover from the effort for 30 minutes. During this time, no active powers may be invoked, but any Pacts remain open and lasting effects remain in place.
William the Warlock finishes dispatching several evil bandits in a flurry of magical fire, expending all his Tolerance but he was unharmed so his Shell is still tact. He decides to take shelter in the tavern and wait for 30 minutes without attempting to invoke additional powers. At the end of this time, his full Tolerance is restored, his Shell is still intact and his Pact remains open (unless he also chose to consciously close it).
Each Pact generally comes with a Rite which a Warlock can perform to accelerate the recovery of Tolerance. These come in several forms: Common, Battle and Event.
Common rites may be performed per the individual Rite description, and require varying amounts of time, conditions or actions. Common Rites may not be performed while the Warlock is actively in combat, under direct attack or otherwise unable to fully focus on performing the Rite do to threats.
Battle Rites are fast, almost instinctive. They immediately restore the specified Tolerance if the requirements are met. They can even be activated in the heat of battle while the Warlock is under attack or assaulting a foe. However, Battle Rites may only be invoked once per “battle” (generally the same recovery time as Combat Traits and Defenses).
Finally, there are legends of extremely rare Event Rites and Powers. These potent abilities may only be invoked once during the game event. They are said to be granted by Patrons to their Warlocks for some special service or accomplishment. Attempting to invoke them more than once per game event may result in failure, grievous infirmity, permanent disability or even death.
[pin_board url=”https://www.pinterest.com/Alteraawakens/warlock-markings/” size=”custom” image_width=”100″ board_width=”100%” board_height=”300″]