D&D 4e Essentials Hexblade: Other Pacts

The D&D Essentials player’s guide Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms gave us the Hexblade, a Warlock variant that draws on otherworldly power through pacts with powerful extraplanar beings and channels this power into a sorcerous weapon. This is, of course, insanely awesome.

In HoFK we get the Infernal Pact and the Fey Pact versions, and DDI gave us a Star Pact hexblade. The Fey Pact’s power comes from deals made with powerful archfey, the Infernal Pact’s power comes from deals made with archdevils (well, as per HoFK it draws on loopholes in ancient pacts that Bael Turath made with archdevils; I think this is a sissy move, but I will post more about that another time), and the Star Pact, assuming it is the same as the regular Star Pact Warlock in the 4e Player’s Handbook, has pacts made with the alien stars of the Far Realm.

All of this is great, and I lvoe this class and the ideas in it, but it leaves me wanting more. If this kind of power is available through deals with three different kinds of powerful extraplanar archbeings, why not all the other kinds of powerful extraplanar archbeings? Dark Sun has already given us a Sorcerer King pact Warlock. What else could we have?

Here are my ideas:

Grave Pact: Power from deals made with dead/undead ancestors or other powerful ghosts in the Shadowlands. Essentially the same as the Abyssal Exalted. Consequently, this is the idea I like best.

Demon Pact: If it’s okay to deal with the Far Realm, it’s okay to deal with the Abyss. At first glance, a Demon Pact might sound like it would be effectively identical to the Infernal PAct, and while that’s one way to take it, I think there are some interesting and diverse options. What would a warlock be like whose pact was made with Juiblex?

Titan Pact: Why not some kind of elemental pact, made with the titans of the Elemental Chaos? Or maybe zero in on just one interesting kind, like a Frost Titan pact or even an Eldritch Titan pact? What would that look like? It would be tempting to just come up with some generic “elemental pacts,” but I feel like the 4e cosmology offers more interesting options.

Void Pact: A pact made with a terrible slaad lord like Ygorl?

Primal Pact: What about pacts made with the powerful essence of the material plane? Instead of tapping that power in the usual way, what if you could bind it with eldritch rituals? Some kind of Druid/Warlock hybrid, perhaps?

Dragon Pact: Dragons so powerful and ancient that they spend almost all their time dormant, but are immense wellsprings of arcane power. Possibly based on lore passed down from the ancient empire of the Dragonborn?

Angel Pact? What other possibilities are out there? It seems like there’s a ton of untapped potential. I think most of it could be accomplished by cosmetic re-skinning of existing Warlock/Hexblade options, requiring minimal actual rules-tinkering, but maybe I am underestimating it.

5 Responses to “D&D 4e Essentials Hexblade: Other Pacts”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some additional pacts come with all the new Shadowfell hype Wizards is pushing right now. I like the Essential Warlock too, that dagger feature is pretty sweet.

    Personally, I always liked the Dark Pact. It was easy to exploit by provoking opportunity attacks… but then Hellish Rebuke is easily my favorite at-will… maybe in the game.

    As far as other pacts? What about the Far Pact? Deals made with the abberants from the far realm (like beholders and such).

  2. Racticas Says:

    I feel like 4e’s power system–at least as far as it shows up in PHBs–precludes this kind of variety because of the unreasonable amount of space it takes to list all the powers of a single class (or build, even). Sure, they could add one new pact in *Arcane Power 4* or whatever, but that would just be one pact. No room for 10. Of course the essentials format lessens this a bit, but the problem is still there. Compare that to the 3e system–or even better yet, Pathfinder–where varieties in a single class are often so simple that they take up only one page.

    The point I’m getting at is that we won’t ever see WotC do this, which is all the more reason to house-rule boldly. The easiest way to reskin a warlock is, of course, to take one preexisting build and retype all the damage from, say, fire (infernal) to radiant (angel, although that’s a tough one since radiant is a superior damage type). The second-easiest step would be to take damage+effect powers, then retype the damage but also think about changing the effect to something of a similar power level. Eyebite could change from making you invisible to giving the target a -2 on all his attacks (grave), grant combat advantage from being nauseated (jubilex), whatever. The last big step would be taking the big dailies, encounters, whatever, and creating new ones here and there to really showcase the difference in your pact. You could build them from scratch, alter them as above, or even borrow them from other classes as long as the power level and general type of effect stay appropriate for an Arcane Striker of that level.

  3. The esentials format lessens the problem a lot–the pact-specific data for a Hexblade is only a few pages long, something that would definitely be appropriate for a DDI article (and there was a DDI article for a Star Pact Hexblade, which, j0nny_5, is a “Far Pact” Hexblade).

    That being said, I am not of a mind to sit around and hope and wish WotC will someday make a bunch more pacts. If I want to play a Grave Pact Hexblade Ghoul, and I do, I will just homebrew a Grave Pact Hexblade and a PC ghoul race.

    But you’re dead on as far as the actual process of homebrewing a new pact build. For an Essentials class it’s just painfully simple.

  4. Racticas Says:

    I didn’t pay enough attention to the name of the post, which in retrospect was obviously the hexblade rather than the garden-variety PHB1 warlock. In any case, I think we agree that the hurdles to making new pacts are actually few, and easily jumped.

  5. Huh, looks like Heroes of Shadow has a “Gloom Pact” which is essentially the Grave Pact I hypothecated. Sweet.

    Also, I found out that the “Dark Pact” j0nny-5 mentioned is a drow/underdark pact from the Forgotten Realms book. That’s interesting, but it is not clear to me who this pact is being made with. Could it be… Lolth?

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