Would you rather be tied to a snooty fae noble, an infernal fiend, or a betentacled being? When you choose to create a DnD Warlock character, you’ll also need to make a Warlock patron for them. Here we’ll help you out with that task, covering the nine main types of DnD Warlock patron, their themes, and their associated abilities.
Warlock patrons essentially work as a Warlock’s subclasses, but unlike the various 5e schools of magic, patrons also have interesting story implications. Whereas the Cleric 5e receives its powers from various DnD gods, and the Sorcerer 5e draws strength from a magical bloodline, the Warlock paid for its power through a pact made with a powerful being – a patron.
The type of Warlock patron you choose will determine which abilities you gain and give access to an expanded list of D&D spells, but it’ll also help you decide on a 5e background for your character. You might choose to be a holy warrior apprenticed to a being of an upper DnD plane, a cackling devil-worshipper, or a poor unfortunate who meddled where they shouldn’t and was unwillingly bound to something hideous. The choice is yours! Check out our DnD Warlock 5e class guide for more details.
There are nine main types of Warlock patron:
- Great Old One
Archfey Warlock patron
An Archfey Warlock patron is a member of fey nobility, a magically powerful sylvan lord or lady, who might take on a Warlock out of curiosity, amusement, or to use as a pawn in some wider scheme. An Archfey patron might be quite pleasant and have plenty of mystical secrets to share, or could be extraordinarily petty, proud, and unforgiving.
Creatures of the Feywild are notoriously tricky, and so an Archfey Warlock gains lots of abilities focused on deception, illusion, and mind control, as well as some defensive powers. The Archfey Warlock expanded spell list includes Dominate Person at level five for instance, and Sleep at first level. The first level spell Faerie Fire is another great choice if there’s a DnD Rogue or two in your party.
With all these mind manipulation and charm effects, of course, the Archfey Warlock risks being outgunned as soon as they go up against a creature without a mind to mess with.
Here are all the additional spells the Archfey Warlock can learn:
|1st||Faerie Fire, Sleep|
|2nd||Calm Emotions, Phantasmal Force|
|3rd||Blink, Plant Growth|
|4th||Dominate Beast, Greater Invisibility|
|5th||Dominate Person, Seeming|
Archfey Warlock patron – 1st level
At first level an Archfey Warlock gets the Fey Presence ability. Once per short rest, you can use this to give all creatures within a 10 foot cube of you the Frightened or Charmed conditions (they get a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save). This is handy if you’ve managed to land yourself in the thick of combat and need to beat a hasty retreat.
Archfey Warlock patron – 6th level
At sixth level you gain Misty Escape. Another good escape option, this lets you turn invisible and teleport after you take damage. You can only use this once per short rest and you only remain invisible until your next turn or attack, but teleporting up to 60 feet can get you clear of most danger zones.
Archfey Warlock patron – 10th level
Beguiling Defences is the 10th level ability for the Archfey Warlock. It gives you immunity to being Charmed, and in fact any charm attempt will be turned back on its caster. Fun when it comes up, and nice and thematic, but this one is pretty situational.
Archfey Warlock patron – 14th level
At 14th level your Warlock patron gives you the ability Dark Delirium. Essentially this takes one enemy of your choice out of the fight, as it becomes frightened of or charmed by you for a minute, and also become unable to see anything else except you and a weird, misty shadow realm. This effect ends if the creature takes damage or you break concentration, so you can either have your pals finish off its allies in the intervening time, or use this to set up a big group attack.
The bad news is, you have to maintain concentration, and your target gets to make a wisdom saving throw.
Celestial Warlock patron
A Celestial Warlock patron is a member of the Upper Planes – perhaps an angel, an archon, or a unicorn. You’ll probably be tasked with stopping evil, helping the helpless, or smiting some 5e demons, and may well behave like your typical DnD Paladin. Hopefully you’ve got a Good DnD Alignment to go with this burden, though playing an evil character with a Celestial Warlock patron might be a fun challenge.
The Celestial Warlock gets a neat blend of healing powers and fire magic. If you want to be your party’s healer, but are also keen to set things ablaze from a distance, this all-rounder subclass could be the Warlock patron for you. Your expanded spell list includes Cleric spells 5e like:
|1st||Cure Wounds, Guiding Bolt|
|2nd||Flaming Sphere, Lesser Restoration|
|4th||Guardian of Faith, Wall of Fire|
|5th||Flame Strike, Greater Restoration|
Celestial Warlock patron – 1st level
As a Celestial Warlock you get two Bonus Cantrips from the outset. Sacred Flame likely won’t hold a candle to the infamous Warlock spell Eldritch Blast 5e, but Light is nothing to complain about.
Your other 1st level ability for this Warlock subclass is your main heal power: Healing Light, which lets you spend dice (you get your level +1 dice) to heal a creature as a bonus action. They gain HP equal to the value rolled, though you can only roll a number of dice equal to your Charisma modifier at once. You replenish your dice pool only after a long rest.
Celestial Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th level you get Radiant Soul, which gives you resistance to radiant damage and increases your radiant damage output. You add your Charisma modifier to a damage roll using fire or radiant damage – one roll per spell, against one target. This mainly boosts your Sacred Flame cantrip, if you’re opting to use it over old EB.
Celestial Warlock patron – 10th level
Celestial Resilience makes you more sturdy once you hit level 10, and will reduce the amount of Healing Light you’ll have to expend each combat. You gain temporary hitpoints equal to level + Charisma modifier each time you rest. Up to five allies gain half your level + Charisma modifier temporary hit points. Extra life is never a bad thing!
Celestial Warlock patron – 14th level
Searing Vengeance is a really strong ability, which gives you even more staying power in a fight. When you would make a death saving throw, you instead jump up, get half your health back, and deal 2d8+Cha modifier to all creatures within 30 feet. They’re also blinded, with no save! It’d be pretty silly/broken if you explosively clawed back from the brink of death every fight, so this is a once per long rest power.
Fathomless Warlock patron
If you want to be bound, not to some supernatural schemer, but to an enormous octopus, sea turtle, or some other ocean-dweller the Fathomless Warlock patron is the one for you.
You might serve as eyes and ears above your patron’s watery realm, or be required to go a-sailing to further their goals. In return, you’ll gain access to a variety of water-based abilities. In a naval, exploration, or pirate-themed DnD campaign, the Fathomless Warlock is king, but on dry land, you may find some of your abilities a bit less useful.
The Fathomless Warlock’s spell list includes some thunder and cold-type damage spells, as well as useful combat and utility spells like Silence and Bigby’s Hand.
|1st||Create or Destroy Water, Thunderwave|
|2nd||Gust of Wind, Silence|
|3rd||Lightning Bolt, Sleet Storm|
|4th||Control Water, Summon (Water) Elemental|
|5th||Bigby’s Hand, Cone of Cold|
Fathomless Warlock patron – 1st level
The Fathomless Warlock’s main 1st level ability is Tentacle of the Deeps. A damage-dealing power that uses your bonus action, thus upping your damage output right away. You create a large, spectral tentacle within your sight-line that can reach creatures within 10 feet. It can deal 1d8 cold damage (2d8 once you hit 10th level) and slow them by 10 feet.
You can move the tentacle 30 feet and attack as your bonus action, or summon a new one (replacing the first) and attack, still as a bonus action. You only get summons equal to your proficiency level per long rest, however, so sometimes it’ll be better to move your appendage ally. Your Tentacle of the Deeps last for 1 minute or until you resummon it.
You also get Gift of the Sea, which gives you a swimming speed of 40 feet and means you can breathe underwater. Obviously, this is fantastic in some situations and useless in others – bear in mind though, that some Warlock subclasses only get one 1st level ability. As an extra, it’s pretty nice!
Fathomless Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th-level your Fathomless Warlock patron grants you Oceanic Soul, which gives you resistance to cold damage (nice!) and the ability to talk underwater without going glub-blublub. Specifically, when submerged any other full-submerged creature can understand you, and you them. This seemingly applies regardless of the DnD languages you speak. Time to make some fish friends!
Guardian Coil is a defensive upgrade to your Tentacle of the Deeps. When you or an ally you can see takes damage within 10 feet of the tentacle, you can use your reaction to reduce that damage by 1d8 (2d8 after 10th level). This can really come in clutch against high damage monsters, drastically reducing the amount of hurt your party receives.
Fathomless Warlock patron – 10th level
The Fathomless Warlock patron just bloody loves tentacles. Your 10th level ability, Grasping Tentacles automatically grants you an extra spell – Evard’s Black Tentacles. This doesn’t count against your number of spells, and doesn’t use a spell slot, instead being castable once per long rest.
This ability lets you create a dangerous patch of squirmy tentacle terrain, dealing 3d6 damage and giving the restrained DnD Condition to creatures foolish enough to stand in it. You actually get a slightly upgraded version of the (already solid) spell – your Fathomless patron grants you temporary HP equal to your level when you cast it, and you don’t break concentration on the spell when you take damage.
Fathomless Warlock patron – 14th level
Your final unlock is a limited form of Teleport 5e. Fathomless Plunge lets you take yourself and five willing creatures within 30 feet of you, into any body of water (it has to be at least pond-sized) within 1 mile that you’ve previously seen. You can do this once per short rest. That’s a pretty limited range, so the most likely use case is getting the hell out of dodge when a situation turns sour. Still, you’ll need to find an escape route beforehand and it’ll still be tricky to ensure you’re near enough, making this a rather underwhelming ‘capstone’ ability.
Fiend Warlock patron
Probably the most famous Warlock patron, perhaps due to the legendary Faustian bargain, or the real-world existence of magical practitioners who claimed to speak with demons. A Fiend Warlock patron could be a demon lord like Orcus or the Demogorgon 5e. They probably want all sorts of bad, naughty things, and being in their thrall is sure to add to the Warlock’s tortured bad-boy aesthetic. (Bonus points if you’re also a Tiefling 5e).
One of the best and oldest Warlock subclasses, the Fiend patron grants tons of great combat abilities, giving you great defensive and (especially) offensive options, all themed around fire. If you want to be a battlemage first and foremost, make a deal with the devil with this Warlock patron for you.
|1st||Burning Hands, Command|
|2nd||Blindness/Deafness, Scorching Ray|
|3rd||Fireball, Stinking Cloud|
|4th||Fire Shield, Wall of Fire|
|5th||Flame Strike, Hallow|
Fiend Warlock patron – 1st level
The Fiend Warlock’s 1st level ability, Dark One’s Blessing encourages you to pick off weak foes. You gain temporary HP equal to your Charisma modifier and Warlock level whenever you kill a hostile creature. This could be abused with a ‘Bag of Rats‘ scenario, but that’s a somewhat cheap move when this power is already so strong.
Fiend Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th level the Fiend Warlock gains Dark One’s Own Luck, a popular power that can let you cheat death, or something less impactful like a grapple 5e. Once per short rest, you can choose to add an extra 1d10 to an ability check or saving throw, crucially after seeing the initial result. This won’t always get you out of a bind, but often your devilish luck will help you out.
Fiend Warlock patron – 10th level
Many Warlock patrons give a damage resistance, but the 10th level ability Fiendish Resilience is the most versatile ability of its kind because you get to pick the damage type. Each time you rest you can pick a damage type and gain resistance to it – so if you know what you’ll be fighting you can pick the most relevant option.
The main downside here is magical of silver weapons negate the effect, which wouldn’t be an issue early on, but at 10th level this leaves a definite chink in your armour.
Fiend Warlock patron – 14th level
At 14th level the Fiend Warlock gets Hurl Through Hell. Once per long rest, after landing an attack on a creature, you can send them on a whistle-stop tour of a hellish landscape, banishing them until your next turn. Unless they’re a fiend, when they come back they’ll take a massive 10d10 psychic from the sheer horror of it all. This can be a great power to use on a boss monster – taking them out of the fight for a whole turn, giving your allies a chance to regroup and set up attacks. The creature comes back in the space they left if it’s unoccupied, so you could even set up some harmful terrain effects while they’re gone.
Genie Warlock patron
This Warlock patron offers great power, like all genies, though you should of course be careful what you wish for. Genie Warlocks have great versatility and spellcasting strength. There are a huge range of potential spells at your sparky fingertips, with a different expanded spell list granted depending on whether your genie is a dao (earth), djinni (air), efreeti (fire) or marid (water) creature. You also get to hang out in a lamp, ring, or some other Pokeball-type deal.
One spell is definitely worth highlighting. At 9th level you get the option to learn Wish 5e, arguably the most powerful spell in all of Dungeons and Dragons.
Genie Warlock patron – 1st level
In order to gain access to its strength, a Genie patron gives the Warlock their own Genie’s Vessel, a lamp, ring, bottle, or other locus of power. Once per long rest you can enter an extradimensional space within that vessel and hang out there for a number of hours equal to your proficiency bonus. It might seem a mostly flavour ability, but this Bottled Respite provides the ultimate spot to have a short rest – though you are flung out if the vessel is destroyed.
The vessel’s AC is your spell save DC and its HP is your Warlock level + proficiency bonus. If you carelessly break it, no matter, you can get a new one by performing a ceremony during your next rest. Until you do, you’ll not have access to Genie’s Wrath. This 1st level ability lets you deal extra damage (equal to proficiency bonus) on your attack once per turn. The damage type depends on your genie (Dao is bludgeoning, Djinni is air, Efreeti is fire, and Marid is water). It may seem minor, but that extra damage stacks up.
Genie Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th level your Genie Warlock patron starts breaking out the really cool powers. You get Elemental Gift, which gives you damage resistance (of your genie’s elemental type). Much more importantly, you can fly! As a bonus action you gain flight for 10 minutes, with a speed of 30 feet. You get a number of uses equal to your proficiency bonus, and this recharges every long rest. I don’t think we need to explain why being able to fly is extremely good.
Genie Warlock patron – 10th level
At 10th level you can now invite pals into your lamp with Sanctuary Vessel – up to five. This dramatically improves the ability, since its now a short rest hiding place for your whole squad, not just you. This means you’ll likely be able to get some rest and recharge your batteries in the midst of a dungeon or some other perilous place.
Genie Warlock patron – 14th level
Even if you don’t pick the Wish spell, you still get Limited Wish at 14th level. This lets you cast any spell you like of 6th level or lower. You only get to use this power once per 1d4 long rests, but its incredibly strong and you’re sure to find creative (or at least powerful) uses for it. No need to provide material spell components either, so your DnD 5e spells knowledge is your only limitation.
Great Old One Warlock patron
Wanna be the weirdo of your DnD party? Well there’s no Warlock patron weirder than the eldritch Great Old One. This patron is for the Lovecraft fans; an unknowable entity with impossible-to-fathom intentions is granting you powers, including telepathy, and other psychic abilities. Or perhaps you’ve gleaned these secrets through dark research, and your patron doesn’t even know about you.
Some of the Great Old One Warlock’s brain-bending powers are too situational, others are plain good. But all of them lend this Warlock subclass a spooky feeling that’s great fun to roleplay. In combat, however, this Warlock patron doesn’t pack much extra oomph.
The Great Old One Warlock’s expanded spell list contains lots of psychic, mind manipulation type spells, including Dominate Person and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter:
|1st||Dissonant Whispers, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter|
|2nd||Detect Thoughts, Phantasmal Force|
|4th||Dominate Beast, Evard’s Black Tentacles|
|5th||Dominate Person, Telekinesis|
Great Old One Warlock patron – 1st level
At 1st level, this Warlock patron grants you Awakened Mind, which lets you communicate to a visible creature standing 30 feet away. Great if you want to be the party’s ‘face’, this ability works even if you don’t share a language (they must have a language however) dramatically expanding your diplomacy and roleplay options.
Great Old One Warlock patron – 6th level
The 6th level power for this Warlock subclass is Entropic Ward. Once per short rest, this lets you give an attack against you disadvantage. If the aggressor misses you as a result, you get to attack them with advantage on your next turn. This is pretty medium – it makes you a little bit more survivable, but it seems more valuable on a more melee focused class like the Fighter 5e or Barbarian 5e, characters who are more likely to be in the thick of it.
Great Old One Warlock patron – 10th level
Your 10th level ability Thought Shield is another very niche power. You gain resistance to psychic damage, immunity to mind reading, and any psychic damage you do take is dealt right back to your attacker. The trouble is, unless you’re combatting a faction of mind flayers, how often is this going to crop up?
Great Old One Warlock patron – 14th level
After waiting a long while, through two lacklustre abilities, the Great Old One Warlock finally gets a win with the Create Thrall capstone ability. This lets you permanently charm a humanoid – you just have to touch them while they’re incapacitated 5e. It’s worth noting this isn’t full mind control, and you don’t get to control your thrall’s every action, you do gain advantage on every social interaction. Use it on the city mayor or some other higher up for an easy way to bypass all social obstacles. You can only have one thrall at a time, and you can communicate with your thrall telepathically if they’re on the same plane as you.
Hexblade Warlock patron
The Hexblade Warlock patron is a sentient weapon, that can give the Warlock who bonds with it a range of martial abilities. They originate from the Shadowfell, and are believed to be related to the Raven Queen, giving
If you wish to play a spellcaster who can swing a sword without getting muscle cramps, this is the Warlock subclass for you. Fans of DnD multiclassing also ought to pay attention to it – other magical classes can gain a lot of benefits from the Hexblade Warlock’s 1st level abilities, alongside access to the Shield spell.
|1st||Shield, Wrathful Smite|
|2nd||Blur, Branding Smite|
|3rd||Blink, Elemental Weapon|
|4th||Phantasmal Killer, Staggering Smite|
|5th||Banishing Smite, Cone of Cold|
Hexblade Warlock patron – 1st level
At 1st level, the Hexblade Warlock 5e gains Hexblade’s Curse, a once-per-short-rest power that helps you to whale on an enemy in combat. After cursing a foe, you get bonus to damage you deal to them (equal to your proficiency), you score crits on them with both a 20 and a 19, and when they die, regardless of who killed them, you gain HP equal to your Charisma modifier plus Warlock level.
The fun doesn’t stop there. We said Hexblade Warlock’s were all about swords and spells, and your 1st level ability Hex Warrior grants proficiency with medium armor, weapons, and shields. You also get to use Charisma instead of the Strength or Dexterity DnD stats for attack and damage rolls – the key feature of this Warlock subclass.
Hexblade Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th level, Accursed Specter gives you your own little shadow buddy. You have to hit the final blow on a humanoid enemy, and then they come back as a specter monster to serve you until your next long rest. They get temporary bonus HP equal to half your Warlock level and a bonus to attack equal to your Charisma modifier. The big problem is this effect may not actually come up all that often, unless you can work with your party to guarantee the kill shot.
Hexblade Warlock patron – 10th level
At 6th level the Hexblade Warlock gets Armor of Hexes. This improves your cursing capacity, as it means any time a cursed creature lands an attack, you can roll 1d6 in response. On a four or higher, that attack misses you instead.
Hexblade Warlock patron – 14th level
Your final ability, Master of Hexes, isn’t a flashy ultimate spell, but it is still very useful. It lets you chain your Hexblade’s Curse, applying it to another enemy you can see when your first victim breathes their last. You do have to forego the healing if you continue the effect, however.
Undead Warlock patron
An Undead Warlock patron could be a lich, a vampire, a chatty skull, or some other form of intelligent undead. A warlock who makes a pact with one of these creatures, all of whom defied death and come back for more, gains ghastly powers, likely to frighten and befuddle.
Choose this Warlock subclass, and you’ll gain plenty of neat spellcasting and defensive buffs, plus access to some neat utility spells in the Undead Warlock’s expanded spell list:
|1st||Bane, False Life|
|2nd||Blindness/Deafness, Phantasmal Force|
|3rd||Phantom Steed, Speak with Dead|
|4th||Death Ward, Greater Invisibility|
|5th||Antilife Shell, Cloudkill|
Undead Warlock patron – 1st level
A standout feature of this Warlock subclass, Form of Dread, transforms you into an upsetting half-undead form, visually related to your patron. This gives you both defensive and offensive options. You gain 1d10 + warlock level temporary HP, and are immune to the frightened 5e condition. The most exciting part? Once per turn, you can frighten an enemy when you hit them with an attack (they get to make a Wisdom saving throw)
You can use this ability as a bonus action and get a number of charges equal to your proficiency bonus. These recharge with a long rest.
Undead Warlock patron – 6th level
At 6th level the Undead Warlock is Grave Touched. You no longer need food, water, or to breathe. That last one is probably pretty handy, though the other parts probably only matter if you’re in a very survivalist campaign.
As part of this power, you can also, once per turn, give one of your attacks necrotic damage. You can deal an additional die of damage if you’re in your Form of Dread.
Undead Warlock patron – 10th level
At 10th level things look gruesome – as you’re apparently now a Necrotic Husk. This ability gives you resistance to necrotic damage (immunity when transformed). Also, when you would die, you can instead drop to 1hp and deal 2d10 + warlock level to creatures within 30 feet. This power can only be used every 1d4 long rests. You get a level of exhaustion as a result, and you’re still on 1hp, but this can be a useful last hurrah – though not one you can use frequently.
Undead Warlock patron – 14th level
Once per long rest you can use Spirit Projection, flying around outside your body as a spooky ghost. You can fly, move through walls and creatures (taking 1d10 force damage if you end a turn inside something), and gain resistance to weapon damage types. You can also, while using both this power and your form of dread, heal HP equal to half the necrotic damage you deal each turn.
Undying Warlock patron
Not dead, not resting, just living it up on top – your Undying Warlock patron is an immortal being who has cheated death, without all the gross stuff that comes with undeath. Perhaps… In practice, this could really just be a retooled version of the Undead patron, with new powers, since the rules give liches as examples of both types of patron.
Most of your powers here are defensive, but this Warlock subclass is generally considered the worst of the bunch, with niche abilities, and little unique or truly powerful going for it.
|1st||False Life, Ray of Sickness|
|3rd||Feign Death, Speak with Dead|
|4th||Aura of Life, Death Ward|
|5th||Contagion, Legend Lore|
Undying Warlock patron – 1st level
With the 1st level Among the Dead ability gives you the spare the dying cantrip for free, auto-stabilising. It also stops undead targeting you unless they make a Wisdom save. Unfortunately, even after they fail they can still target someone else instead.
Undying Warlock patron – 6th level
Defy Death means that when you stabilise someone with Among the Dead, or when you yourself pass a death saving throw, you regain 1d8 + Con modifier HP. This is great for bringing you shambling from your grave for more battling, but it is a once per long rest ability.
Undying Warlock patron – 10th level
You don’t have to breathe, sleep, eat, or drink (you still need rest), thanks to your Undying Nature. This would be cool as a 1st level ability or a bonus to another, mightier power. On its own its ridiculously underwhelming. Just compare it to the Undead Warlock’s Grave Touched power.
Undying Warlock patron – 14th level
At 14th level you get Indestructible Life, your final, ultimate ability and it’s… 1d8 + warlock level healing, which you can use as a bonus action once per short rest. That’s such a weirdly low amount for something that’s supposed to blow your socks off. You can also reattach a severed body part, but few DMs are likely to dismember their players… unless of course its for the express purpose of allowing the Undying Warlock to get some actual use out of their garbage capstone ability.