Or, you’re just starting out and want to learn as much as you can.
Here’s the deal: once you know what a 5e Warlock patron is, it’s pretty easy to understand what it does.
So, let’s talk about what Warlock patrons are and what you might want to know about them.
- What Are Warlock Patrons?
- The Archfey (PHB)
- The Fiend (PHB)
- The Great Old One (PHB)
- The Undying (SCAG)
- The Celestial (XGtE)
- The Hexblade (XGtE)
- The Fathomless (TCoE)
- The Genie (TCoE)
- How Do I Choose a Warlock Patron?
- Can a Warlock Have Two Patrons?
- Can a Warlock Kill Their Patron?
- Can a Warlock Break Their Pact?
What Are Warlock Patrons?
In a nutshell, patrons are where Warlocks get their magic from and how they get it to other places.
Like how a Cleric sometimes gets power from their god and a Druid sometimes gets power from nature. But often with…more steps.
A Warlock makes a deal (or pact, because it sounds cooler) with an entity. In exchange for something, the Warlock can use magical skills. It depends on the customer what that something is.
Why wouldn’t archery ask you to sing “The Old Dun Cow” every 17th morning at dawn? A devil, on the other hand, might want something more practical, like a set number of people to kill every month so that they can take those people’s souls and damn them for all time.
Basically, Warlock patrons give ordinary people powers from other worlds. There’s no need to study or have bloodlines already (mostly). But, at a cost.
Anyway, if you want to play a Warlock, you’ll have to pick a patron. Based on the theme of the patron you choose, the features your character gets depend on which patron you choose.
So, you ask, “How many different kinds of 5e Warlock patrons are there?”
Each patron has a different style and theme that affects how your character’s magic shows up and what class features they get.
The following are currently on the list of D&D Warlock patrons:
- Archfey (PHB)
- Fiend (PHB)
- Great Old One (PHB)
- Undying (SCAG)
- Celestial (XGtE)
- Hexblade (XGtE)
- Fathomless (TCoE)
- Genie (TCoE)
The Player’s Handbook (PHB), the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (SCAG), Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGtE), and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (TCoE) are all parts of the same set.
Let’s start with the Archfey and go through each one.
The Archfey (PHB)
Example Archfey patrons:
- Baba Yaga, Mother of All Witches
- Titania, Queen of the Summer Court
- Madoc Morfryn, the Unseelie Lord
- Queen Mab
- Oberon, the Green Lord
- Neifion, the Lord of Bats
- Verenestra, the Oak Princess
Your character made a deal with a strong Feywild being.
Your patron gives your character a bunch of strange, almost hypnotic abilities, just like most fairy tales.
In short, your patron is on the same level as some of the strongest beings in the Inner Planes.
The Fiend (PHB)
Example Fiend patrons:
Devils and demons are what these people are interested in.
Now, most people choose archdevils and demon lords, which makes sense. But any bad guy fits the bill.
And it’s funny that you can get power from an imp.
The Great Old One (PHB)
Example Great Old One patron list for 5e:
- Ego, the Living Planet
- The Star that Hates (SCP-1548)
- Indrid Cold, the Grinning Man
- Yagikv, the Roiling Shadow
- The Pain (an ephemeral entity that grants mortals the ability to feel pain)
- A sentient black hole
- Literally almost anything from the Cthulhu mythos
Beings are so old and strange that even the Outer Planes can’t understand them. These beings don’t care about anything else in the world. They don’t even think humans are as important as ants.
Expect…some strange talk from these customers. Such as asking for the blood of the fourth son of the fourth son, making an altar out of the heads of dead red squirrels, or getting a whole town to wear hats made of chicken feathers. If they ask you for anything.
Also, you’re kind of related to the weird pseudo-eldritch beings called aberrations in D&D 5e. That’s cool.
The Undying (SCAG)
Example Undying patrons:
- Alathene Moonstar
- Baron von Strahd
- The Alchemist (a mortal who replaces aging body parts with fresh ones)
- Count Dracula
Your patron is mortal. Hurray!
They also found the secret to living forever, which they probably did in a bad way. Either that or they just don’t like death. Your role models are lichs and other immortals who aren’t gods or demons.
So… enjoy that.
The Celestial (XGtE)
Example Celestial patrons:
- An Empyrean
- A Solar
- A Unicorn
- A Coatl
- A Pegasus
- A Deva
- A Ki-rin
- A Planetar
Can the patron of a Warlock be a God?
I’d say no. Because it sounds like a Cleric.
Celestial Warlocks are related to Clerics but in a different way. And one of the few “good” people you can choose as a patron for your Warlock.
Most Clerics get their power from a god, but you choose one of the less important gods. You are the person who speaks for a god. You’re kind of like the assistant to the assistant to the regional manager.
The Hexblade (XGtE)
Example Hexblade patrons:
- Death’s Scythe
- Mjolnir, Thor’s Hammer
- Gungnir, Odin’s Spear
- Gae Bulg, Cuchulainn’s Spear
- Excaliber, Arthur’s Sword
- Honjo Masamune, Legendary Katana
- Tiznoa, El Cid’s Sword
- Forseti’s Axe
Your character found or got a cool weapon with cool abilities.
The weapon comes from the Shadowfell, according to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. But are you going to take advice from a book? I think you should go crazy about it.
Have an axe to which your grandmother’s soul got stuck by accident? Great, use granny’s short life to help you reach your goals.
Did your character trip over the old, smart sword that had the personality of a cocky chicken? Just do it.
The Fathomless (TCoE)
Example Fathomless patrons:
- A Kraken
- An Aboleth
- A Water Elemental
- Jormungandr, the World Serpent
- The White Whale
- Uko’toa (~Uko’toa~)
- The Lady of the Lake
There are a lot of strange and scary creatures living in the ocean’s deep depths. Your warlock talked to one of these creatures that have a lot of power.
Two new Warlock patrons were added by Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The Fathomless is the first.
Your character basically found or was contacted by something that lives deep in the oceans of the world. Or maybe another body of water with a magical story.
The features of your subclass have to do with water… and tentacles. I mean, why not?
The Genie (TCoE)
Example Genie patrons:
- A Dao (Earth)
- A Djinn (Air)
- An Efreeti (Fire)
- A Marid (Water)
… So, that’s it. Or, you know, genies you make yourself that aren’t connected to the Elemental Planes.
The second new choice in TCoE is that your character made a deal with a powerful being from one of the Elemental Planes called a Genie.
The Pact of the Genie is cool because your subclass abilities change depending on which elemental flavor you choose.
Most of the time, it changes your built-in list of spells and the kind of damage your abilities do. But it is still a cool thing about the subclass.
So, these are the Warlock patrons you can choose from in D&D 5e. The next step is to choose your patron.
How Do I Choose a Warlock Patron?
When you make a Warlock, at 1st level you choose your patron.
Now, I should say that you’re deciding what kind of patron your character will be. This is how you can figure out which subclass features you’ll get as you level up.
You can choose what or who your Warlock patron is, which is the best part.
I suggest that you give your character the subclass you want. Then, figure out what kind of entity that type of customer represents. Or, even better, let your Dungeon Master think of something.
Giving your DM the freedom to use an NPC who is related to your character can help them come up with fun adventures for the party.
Now that you have a customer, let’s move on to some questions that are often asked.
Can a Warlock Have Two Patrons?
In the most literal way, no. You can’t have two patrons for your Warlock. At least in terms of how it works.
Consider that each subclass is balanced so that it can only use a certain set of features. In D&D 5e, no class “double dips” into itself. Not according to the rules as written (RAW).
But if you wanted to see two customers from the same subclass trying to get your attention, that could be fun.
Oberon and Titania fight over your character and keep asking you to do more and more ridiculous things.
Or, a devil and a demon trying to get you to agree with them. Who can say? Could be interesting.
Now that you have a patron, it’s time to talk about patron-cide!
Can a Warlock Kill Their Patron?
Yes, a Warlock could kill their patron if they had enough power and the right situation (and if the DM was okay with it).
Now, this depends on your DM, of course. Also, it looks like it will be hard.
So, your character gets their power from this being, right? You’re essentially on the other end of a hose, and your customer is holding the knob.
What keeps your customer from stopping the flow?
If a Warlock has to face their patron for any reason, they need to have a solid plan. Because once the fighting starts, you can be sure that the patron will turn off all the power.
Even so, killing your patron costs your character his or her powers…
…Unless you want to take over as your patron. Holy crap, that would be cool.
Can a Warlock Break Their Pact?
If a Warlock disobeys their patron too many times or breaks their pact, it’s the same as killing them.
Yes, your Warlock can break a pact or go against what their patron tells them to do. But this usually makes their powers weaker or takes them away completely.
This could start a fun side quest where your character looks for a different way to get back on track. Or, they want to get back on good terms with their patron.
Remember that this is different for each table. Talk to your DM about how you want to deal with this.
And that’s all there is to know about D&D 5e Warlock Patrons.
- They are mostly beings from other worlds who give power to humans.
- Warlocks make a deal that says what they’ll do to get this power.
- There are many different types of customers to choose from.
- At level 1, you choose your Warlock’s patron.
- Yes, you can kill your patron (given DM permission)
- Yes, you can break the agreement you made with your patron (see above)
I hope this answers your questions about Warlock patrons and what they are.
How do people sit at your table? Does your DM make them up? Or does your table make it easy for people to make them? Leave a message and tell me. I’d love to see your table in action.