This is the second article dealing with the extremely popular warlock class. The first installment explored ways to include warlocks in your games and detailed Davoren Hellsheart, a warlock devoted to Asmodeus (the character was featured in the novel Depths of Madness by Erik Scott de Bie.
In the Realms, there are a number of possible supernatural origins for warlocks. The most common is an infernal source such as the fallen archdevil demigod Gargauth or the archdevils Asmodeus and Mephistopheles.
A small number of warlocks, however, derive their powers from fey pacts and bloodlines. These most commonly arise from pacts with the unseelie courtiers of the Queen of Air and Darkness, but other sources exist as well. We examine those warlocks this week.
Your fey ancestry has enhanced your warlock abilities.
Prerequisite -- Chr 13, Fey or must possess the Fey Heritage feat, warlock level 2
Benefits -- You can cast detect animals or plants a number of times per day equal to your Charisma modifier. Your caster level for this ability is the same as your warlock caster level.
The fey of Faerûn are reclusive and mysterious. Even those druids and rangers who are friendly with the sylvan races can't claim to truly know them, much less their deepest secrets. While most fey are neutrally aligned, content to live their lives in harmony with nature, some have allied themselves with strange, dark powers. A malevolent entity with increasing influence in Faerûn, the Queen of Air and Darkness is the most common originator of warlock pacts among the fey. While small numbers of fey warlocks derive their powers from a connection to the Seelie Court, the majority are associated with the Queen and her Unseelie minions.
There were two powerful and a number of lesser Unseelie warlock covens in Faerûn. The first, a group of plane-hopping shadar-kai known as the Lakh-Myr Thorns is based on the Golden Way near Telflamm. Allied with the shadowlords, the shadow fey have carved a niche in the cutthroat world of smuggling and acquisition. Their leader, a warlock known as Gaen Ral (NE male shadar-kai rogue 1/warlock 6/Telflammar shadowlord 6), has allies with the Shadowmasters and is a friend of Grand Master of Shadows Keshna Finlothleer.
The other coven is a great mystery to sylvan scholars of Faerûn. Up until the Year of Lightning Storms (1374), this coven, known as the Tairemgira, was the most powerful fey warlock group in the Realms. Based in the Kryptgarden Forest, its members -- along with other wild, Unseelie courtiers -- would dance on the night of the full moon, hunting prey with their eldritch blasts and invocations until dawn. They had no fixed base, appearing from hidden portals with no warning and disappearing just as quickly. Then, without the slightest reason, the court vanished completely. Even those Unseelie fey interrogated can't (or are too afraid to) comment on the disappearance of the coven. Rumors float on the wind of the horrific machinations of King Witchthorn, the Verdant Prince (MMIV) of Kryptgarden. They claim that the fey lord (NE male verdant druid 18) has punished the Tairemgira for a broken oath-bond. After an anonymous tip, Unseelie emissaries have been dispatched to Waterdeep to interrogate members of the Adarbrent family, a noble house reportedly allied with Witchthorn. Even more frightening is the rumor that Witchthorn is allied with Claugliyimatar, the ancient Green Dragon that lairs in Kryptgarden Forest.
While the majority of fey warlocks are associated with the Unseelie Court, rumors abound that the Seelie forces have begun to experiment with pacts as well. At least a few warlocks travel Faerûn in service to Titania, combating the malevolent efforts of the Queen of Air and Darkness. Neither court is particularly influential in the Realms, but their respective presences are growing.
The elves of Faerûn are at one with the land and magic, favoring more traditional sorcerous pursuits such as nature magic, wizardry, and bladesinging. Warlock heritage and pacts are almost unknown outside of two elven subgroups -- the star elves and the fey'ri. The former derive their heritage from the unstable energies of their magically created home plane. The latter hold pacts with dark forces such as the fallen Solar Malkizid.
The Star Elves
Over 2,000 years ago, the star elves of the Yuirwood, faced with increasingly aggressive human expansion, cast a mighty spell on a series of menhir stones, creating a realm coterminous with the forest known as the Sildëyuir. Since then, the star elves have inhabited their realm of perpetual twilight, living out their lives in peaceful seclusion. The only contact they had with Faerûn was through the Masters of the Yuirwood, a small number of rangers and druids who protect the forest from outside interference.
Life changed for the star elves in the last few centuries. Alien sorcerers known as nilshai invaded their realm. The invaders laid siege to sections of the realm, eroding the boundaries and thus the stability of the plane. A small number of star elves born during this period exhibited strange abilities and physical qualities. Unlike their brethren, these residents are native to the Sildëyuir and are bound even tighter to its mysteries.
This group of native star elves took up different pursuits, but at least ten have become warlocks. They are led by Pherix Traeleth (CG male otherworldly star elf warlock 8/mindbender 1/hellfire warlock 3/master of the Yuirwood 10/enlightened spirit 6). Pherix was the first star elf born with these strange qualities and, as such, was an outcast from his people. He was expelled from the plane at a young age, forced to wander the Realms. As a young elf bereft of any guidance but displaying incredible magical potential, Pherix came under the influence of dark powers. He unknowingly made a dark pact with Seryntalia, a sorceress in service to Mephistopheles.
Your eldritch blast is effective against incorporeal undead.
Prerequisite: Star elf, Ability to use least invocations
Benefits: Between sunset and sunrise, your eldritch blasts and invocations affect incorporeal undead normally. If you use the hideous blow invocation as part of a melee attack, that attack also benefits from this feat.
Normal: Eldritch blasts and invocations suffer a 50% miss chance against incorporeal undead.
It was only through the intervention of a band of adventurers who shared Pherix's travels that he escaped his servitude. With the support of his old comrades, Pherix redeemed himself, turning away from temptation. Soon after, he heard word that the Sildëyuir was under attack from a large band of Nilshai, and he joined a group of rangers in the Yuirwood who had heeded a call for help. Unaware of his past, the rangers accepted Pherix's help, coming to the aid of the star elves. It was only after Pherix helped them win a decisive victory against the Nilshai that the elves realized who he was. Grudgingly, they accepted Pherix back into their ranks, recognizing his loyalty and dedication.
Since his acceptance, Pherix has gathered other warlocks who had hidden their powers from the star elves. He splits his time between leading this band and his duties with the Masters of the Yuirwood. As a former outcast and native of the Sildëyuir, he has the experience and ability to bridge the gap between the two realms. For now, he doesn't take sides, but soon the elves must make a decision. Pherix and his coven are likely to be highly influential when the time comes, and he has a strong following among the youth of the land. As one of the most powerful warlocks in Faerun and beyond, he has the knowledge and experience to connect the star elves with the outside world.
While the star elves have derived their powers from the eroding energies of their home, the fey'ri have achieved power through pacts with dark forces. When Malkizid corrupted the sun elf house of Dlardrageth and others, he also made a number of warlock pacts. The power from these pacts remains and has been passed down several times to younger fey'ri. Despite the defeat of the fey'ri legions, the majority of warlocks survived. They now work as mercenaries, leasing their services to the highest bidders. The warlocks were directionless until their leader, a noblewoman known as Szepther Aelrothi, was contacted by a being of incredible power -- an ancient servitor of the Spider Queen.
The elven cultures that survived the fey'ri invasion are experiencing a renaissance in Cormanthor, The High Moor, and other areas, but a dark cloud hangs above them. Unbeknownst to the settlers, a power has reemerged from deep in their pasts and it has little love for the fair folk. Wendonai the Seducer (LE), the balor who corrupted the dark elves into worshipping the Spider Queen, has begun to slip the bonds of his 2,000 year imprisonment at the hands of the servants of Horus Re. Two years yet remain of Wendonai's exile, but he has begun to cultivate relationships with denizens of Faerûn. In the ears of the surviving fey'ri warlocks he has whispered dreams of power, glory, domination, and revenge beyond their wildest imaginations.
Wendonai has previously granted dark pacts with the Ilythiiri House Sethomiir and its coronal, Geirildin. When his spies reported the sundering of the fey'ri army, he knew he had found a perfect opportunity. During his 2,000 years of exile, the balor experimented, learning special techniques to expand his repertoire of corruption. He can now use his fiend of corruption (FF) abilities on native outsiders such as fey'ri and tieflings. As he breaks the bonds of his banishment, he plans to subvert Szepther and her band and hopes to use them to decimate the armies of the God-Kings of Mulhorand. In return, he promises to help them exact revenge against the elves, though he has no intention of carrying out his side of the bargain.
The planetouched populations of Faerûn tend to have more warlocks among them than the rest of the populace. These warlocks often develop their powers in concentrations of supernatural energy. All planetouched regions in the Player's Guide to Faerun are affected, but the ones with the greatest number of warlocks are tieflings (Thay and Unther), genasi (Calimshan and Thay [fire]), celadrin (Cormanthor), and worghests (the Mines of Tethyamar). While warlocks with heritage-based powers can be found anywhere in Faerun, these are the most common sources among the planetouched races. Azerbloods, celadrin, d'hin, and worghests are described in greater detail in Eric Boyd's article "Legacies of Ancient Empires: Planetouched of Faerun" in Dragon Magazine #350. Other planetouched races such as tannaruks, d'hin, and azerbloods may have a few warlocks in their midst, but they are not particularly common.
Tiefling warlocks are even more likely than others of their kind to exhibit obviously inhuman traits such as cloven hooves, a sulfurous reek, horns, a tail, or glowing red eyes. They tend to develop their powers at a young age, often encouraged by their ancestors to cultivate their horrible gifts. Other tieflings make pacts with evil outsiders to activate what they feel is dormant power within their souls. Twin tiefling warlocks work covertly for Samas Kul (UnA), Master of the Guild of Foreign Trade in Bezantur. The corpulent red wizard uses the warlocks known as Tolyst and Finora to spy on and intimidate his trade rivals. Tolyst is easily recognized by his large fangs, wolfish grin, and orange eyes. Finora can be identified by her catlike tail and yellow cat's eyes.
Thay also has at least a few genasi warlocks in the service of the Firelord. High Flamelord Iphegor Nath (UnA) employs several fire genasi warlocks to defend his temple and, on occasion, perform special missions in the name of Kossuth. It is believed that Nath brokered a deal between the genasi and the primal fire elemental known as Sthes'kthes. In return for serving the primal and his master Kossuth, the genasi were granted warlock powers. The four warlocks -- Arthek, Duron, Canthel, and Dzivir -- are known for their fire-related invocations and equally fiery tempers.
Among the good races of Faerun, celadrin are one of the few that produces warlocks with inherited power. Somehow, the combination of elven blood with that of eladrins has a tendency to produce offspring with the potential to become warlocks. These children grow to become terribly beautiful defenders of the Church of the Winsome Rose. It is known that at least three of these warlocks have become eldritch theurges (CM), warlock/clerics devoted to the worship of Hanali Celanil. Whispers abound that these mysterious servants walk the forests of Cormanthor, rekindling love among the elven settlers. Some settlers believe that they do this to ensure the survival and propagation of the elves in the forest, but others suggest that they simply enjoy seeing elves in love in Cormanthor again.
Your planar heritage makes you a more flexible warlock.
Prerequisite: Native outsider, Ability to use lesser invocations
Benefits: Each time you become eligible to replace an existing invocation with another invocation, you can instead replace two invocations. Thus a warlock who reaches 6th level could replace two least invocations. When the same warlock reaches 11th level, he can replace two least or lesser invocations.
In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on all Charisma-based checks when dealing with outsiders within one step of your alignment on each of the alignment axes.
Normal: A warlock can replace only one invocation at 6th, 11th, and 16th level.
A truly frightening thing occurred among the goblin population of the Mines of Tethyamar. While the diminutive, green-skinned humanoids are used to worghests -- goblins who have crossbred with barghests -- in their midst, they are not used to the presence of powerful warlocks. These individuals are rarely the result of natural bloodlines because, generally, barghest blood is not potent enough to propagate warlocks. This all changed when the immense greater barghest known as Tarkomang moved into the area. Tarkomang is one of the largest barghests ever to live in Faerun, a monstrosity of such immense size that his goblin and worghest servants had to hollow out the inside of a small mountain to house him. In the few decades since Tarkomang entered the Mines, he has spawned a number of worghest warlocks and created pacts with residents. While generally preferring worghests for his pacts, he has granted powers to a small number of the more martial goblins. It is unknown if Tarkomang has any plans for greater domination, but his great size, mammoth appetite, and large following could become a serious problem for the nomadic populations of the Desertmouth Mountain region.
About the Authors
Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerûn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out www.eytanbernstein.com. Send questions and comments for Eytan here.
A native Californian, Erik Scott de Bie is a long-time gamer, a novice fencer, and (when he has the time) a writer. He has authored an increasing number of fantasy works, including the Forgotten Realms novels Ghostwalker and the forthcoming Depths of Madness. Erik spends his daylight hours compiling technical documentation for The Boeing Company and cursing whatever foul darkness spawned the dreaded "day job." For more information about Erik, see his blog.