While the Fathomless Warlock does derive its theme from the world’s oceans, the elemental plane of water or some other sea-like environment, we do not have to be playing in an aquatic or coastal setting in order to select this subclass. Although, if I were playing this character, I would definitely incorporate the sea or water in my backstory.
This fathomless warlock guide is aimed at levels 1 through 10. If you want to see PDFs for this character build at levels 1, 5, and 10, you can find those below.
Our Goals of this Build are to:
- Optimize our Eldritch Blast with Invocations to control enemy movement
- Optimize our combat abilities and slow down enemies with our Spectral Tentacle
- Set up Area of Effect spells and continually push or pull enemies into them.
- Select Shadar-Kai race to maximize Fathomless abilities and shortcomings
If you would like to watch the video with full analysis of advancing in levels 1 through 10 here is the link, otherwise scroll down to continue reading this guide below.
Fathomless Warlock 5E Character Build
Ability Scores, Background and Skills
For ability scores our prime requisite is Charisma. Our secondary focus will be on Constitution and Dexterity for Hit Points and Armor Class. Using Point Buy system, I started with:
DEX: 16 (15 + 1 for racial bonus)
CHA: 17 (15 +2 for racial bonus)
For starting class proficiencies, I felt that Intimidation and Nature best represented my character’s personality and backstory. I then selected the Faceless background to obtain proficiency with Deception, Acrobatics and the Disguise Kit.
A Shadar-Kai Fathomless Warlock
While thematically a water breathing race/species such as a Triton or Water Genasi would seem to make sense, I wanted to fully exploit the 1st level Warlock feature, Gift of the Sea. With this ability we gain a swimming speed of 40 feet and can breathe underwater. Choosing a race that already has one or both of these features can feel redundant, so I chose instead to select one of my favorite races form Monsters of the Multiverse, the Shadar-Kai.
The updated Shadar-Kai race offers key utility features such as the Perception skill, 60 ft of darkvision, and resistance to necrotic damage, but perhaps the best part of this species is the Blessing of the Raven Queen ability. As a bonus action, our warlock will be able to teleport to an unoccupied space we can see within 30 ft. This is basically a free misty step a number of times per day equal to our proficiency bonus. But, in addition to this, once we reach 3rd level, the Blessing of the Raven Queen teleport ability will also give us resistance to all damage until the start of our next turn.
With regards to backstory, my character, Dimira, will have longed for a life outside of the Shadowfell. Within her first few days of existence on the prime material plane she drowned at sea and was sent in front of the Raven Queen. A legendary kraken Wrexial, the Risen Deep (Magic the Gathering™), took notice of the Shadar-Kai and worked out a deal with the Raven Queen that resulted in Dimira getting a second chance at life as long as she accepted the kraken as her patron.
Tentacle of the Deeps
While a lot of warlock’s are associated with the hex spell, our true power will come from using our spectral tentacle to strike at our foes. Creatures that are hit by the tentacle are going to have their movement speed reduced by 10 ft in addition to damage. We will also get improvements to this feature at level 6 with Guardian Coil allowing us to reduce some damage to ourselves and allies. Our character build is centered around the Tentacle of the Deeps feature, so don’t be afraid to focus on using this as much as possible.
Our goal of this character build is to manipulate enemy movement. Therefore, we will be wanting to select Eldritch Invocations that will either push, pull or reduce the speed of our targets. With our spells, invocations and our Tentacle of the Deeps feature, we will accomplish these goals. I recommend selecting the following invocations:
- At level 2, Agonizing Blast . Add our Charisma modifier to each eldritch blast hit. An absolute must.
- Also at level 2, Repelling Blast. Push a creature 10 feet away when we hit with our eldritch blast. This will be our primary ability with our Eldritch Blast as we focus on an enemy and push them towards difficult terrain, spell effects, our Tentacle of the Deeps, or to simply push them away from us so we can get to a better position.
- At level 5 we will want to take Lance of Lethargy . Once per round, if we hit with one of our two Eldritch Blast attacks, we can reduce the speed of a target by 10 feet. If our Tentacle of the Deeps also scores a hit, then, we can successfully reduce the speed of an enemy by 20 feet on their turn.
- At level 7 we will take Grasp of Hadar. We can now pull a creature 10 ft towards us once per turn if we hit with one of our Eldritch Blasts attacks. We can now pull enemies into our area of effects or towards our melee friends. We may need to move in a tactical manner to get them where we want.
- At level 9 we will take Rebuke of the Talisman. Since we are a Pact of the Talisman Warlock, this feature is open to us. When the wearer of our talisman is hit, we can use a reaction to deal psychic damage to the attacker (if they are within 30 ft) equal to our proficiency bonus. But, our main reason for selecting this is that the reaction will also push the attacker 10ft away from the wearer of the talisman. Not the most optimal selection of an invocation at this level, but definitely on theme for our character and potentially pushing them back into our area of effect spells or into dangerous terrain.
Pact Boon – Pact of the Talisman
Your patron gives you an amulet, a talisman that can aid the wearer when the need is great. When the wearer fails an ability check, they can add a d4 to the roll, potentially turning the roll into a success. This benefit can be used a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and all expended uses are restored when you finish a long rest.
I want to concentrate on manipulating enemy movement so most of our invocations will be dedicated to that purpose. Pact of the tome gets consideration for additional spells, but Pact of the Talisman ultimately wins out as it doesn’t distract our attention from the main goal of our character build.
In addition, Pact of the Talisman also opens up Rebuke of the Talisman as an Eldritch Invocation, which is on-theme for our character build.
FEATS and ASI
At level 4, we will want to increase our Charisma to 18. This opens us up for the selection of a feat that gives us a +1 to an ability score and still gives us an extra ability. For this, I feel that the Telekenisis feat provides the most flavor with ability benefit of the bunch. While my personal favorite is the Fey Touched feat for the misty step spell.
Mage hand is a prized utility spell. We could reskin the hand to look like a starfish. The 5 foot shove is geared more towards the theme of our character and their ability to move enemies by pulling or shoving. While our spectral tentacle ability will demand our bonus action in combat, the telekinetic shove in non-combat situations seems to be more where I would want to use this ability. Shove someone in a crowded room or during a heated argument to show them what we are all about.
Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20. You learn the mage hand cantrip. You can cast it without verbal or somatic components, and you can make the spectral hand invisible. If you already know this spell, its range increases by 30 feet when you cast it. Its spellcasting ability is the ability increased by this feat.
As a bonus action, you can try to telekinetically shove one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. When you do so, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability modifier of the score increased by this feat) or be moved 5 feet toward you or away from you. A creature can willingly fail this save.
At level 8, I considered raising Charisma to 20, but felt that it would be interesting to take the Eldritch Adept feat instead so that we can add another Invocation to our repertoire. Protection of the Talisman, Eldritch Mind, Eldritch Sight, Devil’s Sight, and Mask of Many Faces are all fantastic options and will depend on the campaign you are playing in with regards to level of importance.
Level 10 – Grasping Tentacles Ability
At level 10 we gain access to the Evard’s black tentacles spell. We can cast it with a spell slot and we get one free casting per day. When we cast this spell we gain temporary hit points equal to our warlock level and damage can’t break our concentration on this spell. When we reach level 10, Evard’s black tentacles, along with our ability to move and reduce movement will be our bread and butter.
Eldritch Blast – An absolute must. This is our ranged attack.
Frostbite – This is our saving throw attack cantrip
Minor Illusion (add at 4th level) – This is our utility cantrip
Mage Hand (add with Telekinetic Feat) – always a great utility spell
Lightning Lure (add at level level 10) – on theme with moving enemies on the battlefield.
Level 1 Spell Selection
Arms of Hadar – “Tendrils of dark energy” is where we want to be with our tentacle, horror of the deep character theme. Creatures damaged by the necrotic cannot take damage will help us escape melee range without having to disengage. The spell is a bit light on damage and only has a 10′ range, but works for now.
Hex – A warlock staple that increases damage output when combined with eldritch blast.
Level 2 Spell Selection
Add Expeditious Retreat. As a bonus action, we can Dash. Ideal escape plan at the lower levels and works well with arms of hadar or the disengage action.
Level 3 Spell Selection
Mirror Image. Veering away from our theme for a moment, I want to include mirror image as a defensive option. If we are frequently targeted by attacks we want this spell and it does not require concentration. However, if by this time in our adventuring career we rarely find ourselves being hit by attacks, then perhaps silence, would be the better option. find ourselves Purely a defense option here.
Level 4 Spell Selection
- Invisibility: Fantastic Utility and non-combat spell
- Silence: A sphere of silence that we can push enemies into with our Repelling Blast
- Gust of Wind: On theme to push enemies or objects
Level 5 Spell Selection
Select Summon Shadowspawn. The shadowspawn has an ability called Weight of Sorrow that can reduce a creature’s speed by 20 ft if they start their turn within 5 ft of it. An absolute must for this movement-matters character build.
Replace Arms of Hadar (1st level spell) with a new 3rd level spell, Hunger of Hadar. We will be pushing enemies into this 20 ft sphere and let the unknown horrors do the rest.
Level 6 Spell Selection
Select Sleet Storm. We are going to make a battlefield of ice and push our enemies into it and keep them in this difficult terrain.
Remove Gust of Wind (2nd Level Spell) and add Lightning Bolt (3rd level spell), because sometimes you just need to roast a marshmallow.
Level 7 Spell Selection
We can cast Raulothim’s Psychic Lance on an enemy we can see to do a good amount of psychic damage with a failed Intelligence save and incapacitate our target. But, if we know their name, then we don’t have to be able to see them. We can select a target within range by their name, which works perfect if they are obscured in our sleet storm or hunger of hadar.
Level 8 Spell Selection
Sometimes our Blessing of the Raven Queen 30 ft teleport ability won’t get us to where we need to go. With Dimension Door not only can we move up to 500 ft but we can also bring a willing friend.
Level 9 Spell Selection
Wall of Light can cause some damage and blind our foes. Once they break through the wall, our repelling blast and tentacle of the deeps will make sure they are pushed back in.
Character Sheet PDFs
The best levels to play a Fathomless Warlock are Level 2, level 5, level 10.
Fathomless Warlock 5E Character Build DnD Level 3
Fathomless Warlock 5E Character Build DnD Level 4
Fathomless Warlock 5E Character Build DnD Level 5
Fathomless Warlock 5E Character Build DnD Level 10
What are your thoughts on this character build for Dungeons and Dragons™ 5E? What are some choices that you would make when building this character. Hope you enjoyed this guide.
On to the next!