In the D&D 5th edition Player’s Handbook (PHB), Eldritch Blast is described as a beam of crackling energy.
(Notice how it doesn’t say “laser beam”).
That’s pretty cool, but I would like to think each Warlock would create a beam that honours their Patron. Or that their Patron would give them the ability with their own flare or flavour.
Given this, I would encourage players to come up with their own cool visual effect based on their Patron. And make sure my NPCs do the same.
For players, it will encourage them to have their character bond more with their Patron and also get them thinking visually.
For example, if your character had Oberon as a Patron, she could have a beam of spinous thorns instead of the usual beam of crackling energy.
And this would apply no matter who your Patron is.
A sickening ebony beam for Orcus.
A beam of rusted metal shards for Dispater.
A beam of purple crackling energy for Ghaunadar.
And I could go on.
Change the Damage Type
You could also take this a step further and allow the beam to take on a different damage type based, again, on the Patron.
Looking at the above, you could change the base damage type of force damage and change it:
The beam of spinous thorns from a Warlock of Oberon could cause poison damage instead.
The sickening ebony beam for Orcus could cause necrotic damage.
The beam of rusted metal shards for Dispater could cause slashing damage.
The beam of purple crackling energy for Ghaunadar could cause, well, force damage.
This allows your Patrons to feel different to each other and gives the characters (or NPCs) something unique to them.
Using this for NPCs would also be a nice ploy to use against seasoned adventurers. Especially if they are expecting a Warlock Big Bad.
And this could just be the beginning of reskinning the Warlock spells (or any spells for that matter).
What does your Warlock’s Blade Ward look like? A swirling vortex of thorns?
Poison Spray could be reskinned as Blade Shards or Shard Spray for Warlocks of Dispater with a Dexterity save (instead of Constitution) or take D12 slashing damage.
Or keep the poison damage from the rusted shards of metal.
Armour of Agathys can be reskinned to Armour of Oberon and be a protective thicket of vines, thorns, and roots that covers you and your gear.
Same effect, but a better feel for a follower of a forest fey.
And don’t feel you need to stop with Warlocks – wizards, priests and sorcerers all can have reskinned spells as well.
Over to You…
Do you reskin spells to make them more inline with your villains and NPCs? Let me and my community know over on Twitter.
Want more Gamemastering tips? Check out my other articles.
While You’re Here…
Since 2021 I have been publishing a monthly zine, which has a ton of articles for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
I also have a growing Discord, where you can join in on my regular West Marches campaign.
I will also be releasing some more products in the near future, like several monster manuals and a series of soloRPG publications.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter any time.