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First introduced in D&D 3rd Edition as a supplemental class, the warlock has been a curious character type, an arcane-based character based heavily upon blasting their enemies as opposed to the versatility presented by wizards and even sorcerers. In 4th Edition, the Warlock became a core class, once again focused primarily upon dishing out damage with magical assaults, their powers flavored by the sort of pact they made with dark and mysterious entities. Essentials added a new spin to the warlock, moving past “ranged blasting” and into “able to mix it up in melee or range,” giving warlocks quite a few options to play with. So put aside your assumptions that “devilish” always equates to “evil” as we introduce…
Game: Dungeons & Dragons (4e Essentials)
Class: Warlock (Hexblade)
Race: Tiefling (Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms)
Class Abilities: Infernal Pact, Pact Boon, Pact Reward, Pact Weapon
Racial Abilities: Bloodhunt, Fire Resistance, Infernal Wrath
Languages: Common, Draconic
Ability Scores: Str 9, Con 16, Dex 12, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 18
Defenses: AC 16, Fort 14, Ref 13, Will 15
Initiative +4; Passive Insight 15; Passive Perception 10
HP 28; Bloodied 14; Surge Value 7; Surges/Day 9
At-Will Powers: Eldritch Bolt, Soul Eater, Soul Feast
Encounter Powers: Blazing Doom of the Void, Infernal Wrath
Daily Powers: Hellfire Blast
Trained Skills: Arcana +7, Bluff +11, Insight +5, Intimidate +9
Feat: Rod Expertise (Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms)
Equipment: Blade of Annihilation, rod (implement), hide armor, adventurer’s kit, fine clothing, 13 gold pieces
Background: If you were to ask him, Akizoth would give you any number of sinister histories as to where he came from and how he came about his powers… and every one of them would have only a passing resemblance to the truth. He’ll openly confess to being deceitful and dishonest, and that his soul is as pitch black as a moonless night, yet he’ll do good deeds for no reason other than they need doing, even if his means and methods are less than wholesome. Whatever devil that he bartered away part of his immortal soul in exchange for power either plays a long game or already rues that it has given such a mercurial character as Akizoth such powers.
Design Notes: It was a long-standing bone of contention that Tieflings in 4th edition weren’t an optimal choice for Infernal Pact Warlocks when 4e first hit shelves. That changed with the advent of Essentials, and so I figured that I’d play to the stereotype of the Tiefling that has bound himself to the powers of darkness. It’s worth noting that little about Akizoth is actually heroic, but sometimes the best weapon against evil is evil itself… or at least that’s the justification he’d use if asked.
While the original Warlock was a ranged striker, blasting at foes from a distance, the Essentials Hexblade is able to mix things up and can do just as well in melee, particularly with their pact weapon, though the Infernal Pact is a bit reliant upon fire damage, which tends to be one of the more commonly resisted damage types. Feats like Hellfire Blood and especially Surging Flame (found in Player’s Handbook 2) can really help offset this. Also consider taking Superior Implement Training (accurate rod) from Player’s Handbook 3 for an easy +1 bonus to attack rolls to make Akizoth more of a threat to his enemies. One nice thing about the Hexblade is that all of their attack powers have the Implement keyword, meaning you’ll get the accurate rod’s benefits both in melee and when attacking from a safer distance.
If Backgrounds are being allowed, then Dark Secret is a good thematic fit for a Tiefling Infernal Pact Warlock while also providing a boost to his Arcana checks. For an interesting twist, Desperate Measures from Dragon #381 would add a tragic element to Akizoth’s personal history, and might be something he’s loathe to discuss for fear of breaking his “infernal tough guy” image, as well as giving him a boost to Endurance checks that goes well with his already high Constitution score.
Character image created using HeroMachine v2.5
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