4th Edition D&D – Warlocks and Wizards

Last night, running my little 4th Edition D&D game, I noticed something that I had suspected would be the case. The Warlock blew through all of her Encounter powers and never made a single successful attack. Part of this was because the encounter was scaled to test how much the PCs could handle, but the fact is that the attack bonus for Warlocks and Wizards (and Clerics as well) is 2 or 3 points lower than those for Fighters, Paladins, Rogues and so on.

The reason for this is that classes using a missile or melee weapon get a proficiency bonus with the weapon in question, either 2 or 3, added to their attack values, whereas the ‘pure casters’ do not.

This means that for melee/missile classes, their attack value is around: Ability modifier + 1/2 level + proficiency modifier,

Whereas the casters only get: Ability modifier + 1/2 level.

If your game is low-level, without many magic items, then that proficiency bonus is going to be a huge difference. In this case, it meant the Range hitting all the time and the Warlock only hitting once, with her Daily spell.

So, I instituted another house rule. Warlocks get a proficiency bonus of +2 for using either the wand or rod that they have as their arcane implement, and Wizards get the same proficiency bonus for whichever implement they choose to focus on as well. I realize that the Wizard’s AoE spells especially can be quite powerful, but they also have fewer hit points and less armor, and making it so that they hit significantly less often as well just takes a lot of the fun out of the game in my opinion.

So, in theory, the next session should be a lot more exciting for the Warlock, and I imagine the Wizard will also be a lot happier.

3 thoughts on “4th Edition D&D – Warlocks and Wizards

  1. Implement powers typically target Fort, Reflex, or Will defenses instead of AC. These defenses will typically be lower than AC, and as such, implement powers should hit as often as weapon powers. There are some exceptions, but in general, that's why they do not get a proficiency bonus to their attacks.

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  2. After several gaming sessions I can say something similar. Our fighter, ranger and rogue hit around 50-85% of the time. The rogue for instance hit all defenses (about 50-65% AC)using daggers (gives him +4 more)and our fighter has a skyrocket number on his to hit (about +11 more then the spellcasters), but a mage or fey/starlock seldom hits (around 25%). We have been playing a long time now and are already up to lv8 and its not always fun to be a spellcaster in combat, I can tell you that.

    /grumpy spellcaster

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  3. I've been playing a warlock for two nights now and I end up hitting just about 99% of my attacks…

    As a warlock, I basically put all of my points into Con, Int and Cha. (I used the point spending system as opposed to rolling d20 for stats)

    So here's an example of how my attacks typically run:
    -Move action gives me instant Shadow Walk
    -Minor action used to perform Warlock's Curse on enemy target
    -Standard action used to attack target with Eldritch Blast

    –Eldritch Blast is d20+Con vs. the target's reflex. My Con is already 20 so I typically score at least 25, which should be high enough to be able to hit.

    I hope that helps. This example can be applied to a charisma based warlock as well.

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