The Warlock Celestial In Xanathar's Guide To Everything
Todd Kenreck: The Warlock Celestial is a great example of how Warlocks don't necessarily have to have a dangerous or even evil patron. I talked to Mike Mearls about this new subclass for the warlocks and how it's changing things up.
Mike Mearls: Clerics, what we've established in the cosmology of Dungeons & Dragons, it's like Clerics are tied to divine beings, gods, or sort of concepts imbued with the divine. So, it might be like the Silver Flame from Eberron. The Celestial, though, is, rather than being a divine being, per se, it's a celestial being.
So, it could be something like an angel, a Kirin, a unicorn, or anything else that's a powerful, good-aligned creature. But it doesn't necessarily have to be a god. And so, that's the difference between, for a Warlock, Warlocks tend to make pacts with specific individuals who are sharing power with the Warlock rather than a Cleric granting ... gains power that's granted to them by the divine.
And also, with Celestials, we still assume, obviously, it's a Celestial, it's some sort of good-aligned creature. So, it's something the Celestial Warlock, compared to other Warlocks, is a healer. They gain Cure Wounds, one of their sort of baked-in first level spells. One of their first class features allows them to heal. They also deal with radiant energy.
So, I mean, obviously, you can play an evil Celestial Pact Warlock, if you wanted to. There's nothing stopping you from doing that, but the game kind of assumes that Celestial means either good-aligned or having to do with radiant energy and healing. So, compared to a cleric where, when you think of a divine spellcaster, you think they're going to be tied to a domain, like the Cleric class does, where the god's portfolio influences the follower's magic.
The Celestial is more specific about being about radiant energy. It's almost like it's less refined compared to a cleric's ability to wield magic. And, cosmologically, it's more of a brute force way to get magic, with a pact. And that's kind of how we think of the warlock in general, that the warlock pact is almost a hack in the system of magic, rather than sort of the accepted or intended ways in which people use spells. In my mind, in sort of my headcanon, that's kind of why the Warlock came into D&D later on. It sort of took the universe of D&D a while, for people to figure out how to use magic this way as opposed to the sort of more traditional spell slot based ways of using magic.
So, yeah, the Celestial, you could imagine it might be something like, especially, say a Couatl who might have agents in the world, and so the Couatl has these pacts with its agents who are going out, working on its behalf. So, there're good-aligned celestial-style creatures who aren't gods. Because of that, you know, one of the things that I like about Warlocks and the study of pacts is it can be more personal. A Couatl might have a desire to protect a specific person, a specific family or city, where gods are more remote, in Dungeons & Dragons.
I think that's something which a DM can play up or a player could really bring into the game, this idea that the patron is more personal. It might be someone you have more direct conversations with rather than speaking directly to Gond or Thor, something like that. Where they're much more remote, more abstract.
Yeah, so, we really kind of created it with this idea of someone wanting to play more the heroic Warlock. Warlocks, traditionally, have a sinister bent to them in the game. If you look at the player's handbook, the initial patrons are either things that are traditionally very evil, like a Fiend, or the Great Old Ones, or something that's kind of dangerous. Maybe not evil but not necessarily friendly, like a Fey Lord.
So, we wanted to kind of balance the scales a little bit and say, "Being a Warlock does not inherently make you villainous or doesn't inherently make you dark and sinister." Celestial beings, obviously it's a celestial pact, they can also create pacts. So, it's kind of balancing out the storytelling possibilities. I also like the idea of introducing a new healer into the game. Essentially, you can run a Warlock as your healer. If you don't want to play a Cleric, you can play a character with a very different casting tempo who can still bring a lot of healing to the table for the group.
Todd Kenreck: The Warlock Celestial is in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. You can purchase that book on dndbeyond.com and also earn some pre-order bonuses as well. I'm Todd Kenreck. Thanks for watching.