For seekers of forgotten knowledge and ancient power, we come to the Warlock Patrons in D&D 5e. These powerful, otherworldly beings grant power and knowledge to mortal beings that enter into a pact with them.
However, the terms of these agreements vary greatly. Some warlocks may be willing to offer more than others. Similarly, some patrons may be able to offer more or have terms that are less… dark…
The power granted by these Warlock Patrons depends on the patron themselves and the nature of the pact.
Some Warlock Patrons are benevolent who wish to use the Warlock as a tool for goodness. Others are selfish and see the Warlock as an opportunity to further their own means (often that the ultimate expense of the Warlock.)
But still, there are other Warlock Patrons who seek ultimate destruction above all else.
So don’t shake hands with whatever entity you’re talking to just yet, dear aspiring Warlock. Let’s look at all of your options in 5e with today’s feature: Warlock Patrons in D&D 5e!
Warlock Patrons in the 5e Player’s Handbook
There are several different Warlock Patrons who are able to make a deal with those seeking arcane power and knowledge.
Think of it like an episode of Shark Tank. The character gives their pitch and what they’re looking for while the Patron says what they’re willing to give and at what cost.
So let’s meet the available Warlock Patrons in D&D 5e.
We’ll start with the options available in the Player’s Handbook.
Warlock Patron: The Fiend
Powerful entities of the Lower Planes are eager to make deals with those seeking arcane secrets. These Fiends are capable of granting the Warlock much power, but ultimately desire corruption and destruction above all else.
A Warlock entering into The Pact of the Fiend must prepare themselves to serve the dark interests of their patron. However, they will gain the powers of the Fiend to aid them on their journey. With the power of hellfire at their disposal, the Warlock becomes a tool of fiery destruction.
These Warlock Patrons may include Demon Lords, Archdevils, or other powerful denizens of the Lower Planes (such as Pit Fiends, Rakshasas, Balors, or Ultroloths).
Popular Demon Lord Patrons include Orcus, Graz’zt, Demogorgon, and Pazuzu.
Popular Archdevil Patrons include Asmodeus, Moloch, Dispater, and Mammon.
Check out the Full Guide to the Fiend Warlock here!
Warlock Patron: The Archfey
For Warlocks who are more drawn to the enchanting magic of the Feywild, it may be more tempting to make a pact with an Archfey. These beings possess knowledge of secrets that were forgotten long before the birth of mortal races.
Taking an Archfey as a Warlock Patron is likely to result in terms that may seem trivial or whimsical to the Warlock. Archfey may seek to use the Warlock to settle old grudges, expand their influence, or gain entry into the Material Plane.
Archfey Warlock Patrons may include Lords and Ladies of the Fey Courts or other powerful Fey creatures such as faeries or (for the truly desperate) Hags.
Popular Archfey Patrons include Titania (The Summer Queen), The Prince of Frost, Oberon (the Green Lord), or Damh (the Satyr god of Celebrations).
Channel the powers of the Feywild with this guide to the Archfey Warlock in 5e!
Warlock Patron: The Great Old One
It takes a certain spark of madness to become a Warlock in the first place, but those who forge a pact with The Great Old One are something else entirely.
These Great Old Ones dwell beyond the known Realms in defiance of time, space, and sanity. Their knowledge is greater than anything in the known realms and their influence is inescapable.
The Warlock may have reached the Great Old One through ancient and profane rituals or through maddening dreams. It’s entirely possible that this Warlock does not even realize that they have made a pact with these entities.
A Great Old One’s tentacle-like influence sinks into the minds of those who draw their power from them. Using the Warlock as a tool to spread their madness in the Material Plane, the Warlock unlocks amazing mental abilities and the power to harness the inherent chaos of the world around them.
If telepathy and spreading madness appeal to you, you will feel comfortable in the often-tentacled and always-maddening embrace of the Great Old One.
Popular Great Old One Patrons include Cthulhu, Dendar the Night Serpent, Tharizdun (the Chained God), and Ghaunadaur (That Which Lurks).
If this sounds up your alley, check out my subclass guide to the Great Old One Warlock!
Warlock Patrons in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide sourcebook elaborates on the details for the Warlock Patrons in the Player’s Handbook. However, it does add another intriguing option for those who seek to overcome death itself.
Warlock Patron: The Undying
Warlock Patrons of the Undying are those who have conquered death and unlocked some form of eternal life. Most Patrons of the Undying are liches, though one may find a fiendish patron who has also unlocked these terrible secrets.
Fittingly, Warlocks who take the Undying as a Patron gain abilities and spells that further blur the line between life and death. These Warlocks are less likely to be attacked by undead creatures and, as they grow in power, begin to no longer require food or sleep.
Warlocks who take this pact are comfortable among the dead and are free from the ravages of time.
Popular Undying Patrons include powerful liches such as Vecna or Larloch, though Iuz, the half-fiend son of the Demon Lord Graz’zt, is known to patronize these Warlocks as well.
Overcome Death itself with my full guide to the Undying Warlock!
Warlock Patrons in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Two new Patrons are revealed in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything that may entice a prospective Warlock that is looking to make a deal. One offers to use the Warlock to spread life and light. The other option seeks to make the Warlock a living weapon of the Raven Queen herself.
Warlock Patron: The Hexblade
The Hexblade patron uses the forces of the Shadowfell to manifest itself as a powerful and sentient weapon for the Warlock. These weapons may take many forms and may even find better use as a spellcasting tool for the Warlock who makes this pact.
With potent hexes and the power of darkness, the Hexblade becomes a living weapon of their Patron.
It is speculated that these powerful weapons and the forces that create them are used to exercise the will of the Raven Queen. While her ends are infamously confusing, one thing is for certain: she gives great power in exchange for the Warlock’s service.
The Raven Queen is the most common Hexblade Warlock Patron. Through sentient weapons of the Shadowfell, such as the famous Blackrazor, she reaches into the Material Plane from the Shadowfell.
Psst! Unlock the true power of the Hexblade with my full subclass guide!
Warlock Patron: The Celestial
Warlocks are so often thought of as mad, power-hungry seekers of dark knowledge. The Celestial Warlock Patron, on the other hand, sees the ability of mortals to be a force for good.
Warlocks who take the Pact of the Celestial may be called upon to fight the forces of evil or to be stalwart defenders of the innocent. They serve as beacons of hope who aspire to visit the paradise of the celestials, but who must assist those on the Material Plane for now.
Warlocks who walk the path of the Celestial gain powerful healing abilities. However, one would be mistaken to ignore the destructive power of the same light that powers these abilities. The Celestial Warlock’s ability to inflict radiant and fire damage is also increased.
Popular Celestial Patrons include empyreans, unicorns, and solars who are able to imbue the Warlock with holy light.
Go towards the light with the Full Guide to the Celestial Warlock in 5e here!
Warlock Patrons in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
In addition to the other goodies for Warlocks in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, two more Patrons have appeared to make a deal with those seeking more power. Perhaps your Warlock is tempted by the mysteries that lie at the bottom of the vast oceans of the world. Or maybe they have found a Patron in the form of a noble genie?
Warlock Patron: The Fathomless
There are many ways that a Warlock may find themselves approached by a Fathomless Patron. A character from a coastal region or with a sailor background is the most likely to have encountered a being strong enough to offer a Pact of the Fathomless.
This Patron may have offered to save a character who was drowning or may promise the character’s village a good fishing season in exchange for their service. Regardless of their motivation, the Patron has seen an opportunity in this Warlock.
Upon accepting the pact, the Fathomless Warlock is able to conjure spectral tentacles to strike at foes and protect the Warlock. They also gain the ability to breathe underwater and teleport to known bodies of water in a pinch.
Elementals from the Plane of Water, a mighty kraken lurking beneath the tides, or even a coven of sea hags are all likely Patrons for the Fathomless Warlock.
While the character of Fjord in Season 2 of Critical Role is a Hexblade Warlock, his relationship with the leviathan, Uk’otoa, gives great inspiration to those looking to play a Fathomless Warlock.
For the curious seeker of forbidden knowledge who looks at the Pact of the Great Old One and says “can I have MORE tentacles?” the Fathomless Patron is happy to oblige.
Read the full guide to the Fathomless Warlock here!
Warlock Patron: The Genie
Noble genie are the rarest of their kind, though one might be interested in entering a pact with the Warlock who is able to expand their reach in the world.
The Warlock who takes the Pact of the Genie is given a vessel (such as an oil lamp or stopped bottle) that is used to grant them power from their Genie Patron. As they grow in power, the Warlock is able to retreat into their Patron’s vessel, fly, and even ask their Patron to grant wishes.
The nature of the power granted by this Pact determines on the specific type of Genie that the Warlock encounters. As each of the four types of Genie are tied to a specific element, this determines the nature of the abilities that the Warlock can be granted.
Djinni patrons offer abilities associated with the Element of Air and thunder. Efreeti grant the power of the Element of Fire while Marid grant abilities more associated with cold and the Element of Water. Lastly, the Dao grant the protection and power of the Element of Earth.
Make a wish and check out my full guide to the Genie Warlock here!
Warlock Patrons in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
It just wouldn’t be a trip to the haunted world of the Ravenloft setting unless our favorite spooky class got a new option!
I’m a big fan of the Ravenloft campaign setting, so seeing that there is a new Warlock Patron available made me cackle with glee. You can check out my review of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft here!
Warlock Patron: The Undead
Within the terrifying pages of Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, we find the Undead Warlock Patron.
In many ways, this feels like an answer to the admittedly underwhelming Undying Patron that we talked about earlier in this article.
There’s a lot of similarities as far as the theme goes. This Patron is a being that has come to defy the laws of life and death. As such, those who call on these Patrons for power are able to call upon the force of the grave itself to assist them.
Because they were once mortal themselves, these Patrons understand what motivates mortals and use that to form their bargains. Mortals come to them with ambitions, questions, and/or a fear of death. In exchange for the mortal’s service, the Undead Patron shares their dark knowledge and power with this person.
After all, what good is eternal life if you don’t have servants to keep you entertained or further your ultimate plans?
An Undead Warlock might have made their deal with a lich or demilich like Acererak. A powerful vampire like Strahd Von Zarovich of Barovia or the undying mummy Pharaoh Anktepot of the Har’Akir Domain of Dread might also be motivated to make such a pact.
Related: Get spooky with my full guide to the Undead Warlock in 5e!
Warlock Patrons – Terms and Attitudes
The Warlock has one of the most open and interesting opportunities for roleplay in all of D&D 5e. Because their relationship with their Patron is what gives them their power, the Warlock must work to ensure that their actions align with the goals of both their Patron and their party.
Warlock Patron Terms
The nature of their pact with whatever Patron they chose is bound to include specific terms. These may require the Warlock to conduct strange daily rituals, avoid specific items or circumstances, or spread the name of their Patron.
The terms are entirely between the Dungeon Master and the Warlock and create opportunities for some fantastic roleplaying. Depending on the Patron’s nature and attitude, these terms may be simple and easy to abide by.
On the other hand, they may require more extreme actions such as desecrating temples, speaking the patron’s name when casting a spell, or responding to the patron’s requests without hesitation.
Warlock Patron Attitudes
Any patron, benevolent or not, expects the Warlock to keep their end of the bargain. Some patrons may be more patient and act as a type of mentor for the Warlock. Others, however, may view the Warlock as just another servant and continually threaten severe punishment if the Warlock disappoints them.
The Patron’s attitude towards the Warlock can serve as a powerful motivating factor. A Warlock who is treated poorly by their Patron may be secretly attempting to find a way out of their deal. A Warlock who is treated well and mentored by their Patron may work even harder to keep their word.
Because of this, the Warlock’s patron is able to be a present character or force in your game.
The Warlock may find themselves waking up covered in ocean water after a dream in which their Fathomless Patron has reached out to them. In some brief moments on the edge of the character’s vision, they may see a glimpse of their capricious and ever-watching Archfey Patron.
Related: Warlock Invocations in D&D 5e Explained (plus the best picks!)
Sometimes a Patron may wish to leave a mark on the Warlock that they have made a pact with. These may be discreet marks that identify the Warlock as being in the service of the Patron or they may be blatant and immediately recognizable.
A Celestial Warlock may have eyes that radiate with a holy glow. A Warlock who has taken the Pact of the Fiend may grow a fiendish tail or wake to find themselves branded by hellfire.
These marks may bring favor or difficulty depending on who sees or recognizes them.
Similarly, the nature of the Warlock and Patron’s relationship may determine how the Warlock feels about their Binding Mark. Is it a mark of pride or a mark of a grave mistake?
You can take this a step further by relating this to the Pact Boon that your patron gives you when you hit level 3! I go into more detail on that in my guide to the Warlock’s Pact Boons.
Conclusion – Warlock Patrons in D&D 5e
The Warlock Patron should be an active influence on how the Warlock operates in your game’s world. The details and opportunities presented by their Pact carry more weight on the story than most other characters’ backgrounds.
Whatever “flavor” of Warlock you prefer, there is a Patron who is willing and able to make a deal for the right price.
So what do you say? Ready to sign your name on the dotted line and make a deal?
The contract… I mean newsletter sign-up form… is right down there!
Want to see how the patrons stack up against each other? Check out my full ranking of all of the Warlock subclasses in D&D 5e!
Looking for one big-huge-massive full resource for playing a Warlock? My Complete Warlock Class Guide has got you covered!
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