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Halloween for 5e Players – Warlock of Samhain
Oct 28, 2022

Halloween Kat Kruger - Grim Hollow

At this time of year, the veil between worlds becomes thin, opening doorways to the Otherworld.

According to Celtic mythology, Samhain is a liminal time when supernatural beings and the souls of the dead are more easily able to cross into our world. During this time, the world of the gods is believed to be made visible to mortals. In many cultures around the world, it is believed that kind souls can return to give blessings just as easily as a harmed soul could return to wreak revenge.

Otherworldly beings like the fire-breathing Aillen, werewolves, or even Donn (god of the dead) could make themselves known on All Hallow’s Eve. Since warlocks are conduits for entities of immense power, let’s look at what a patron would look like when the gates open at this time of year.

Warlock Subclass: Pact of Samhain

Warlocks seek hidden knowledge in the multiverse. The spirit of Samhain is a patron who offers glimpses into the Otherworld, and power over death and rebirth. However, it is also an entity that appreciates devilry. Those who seek patronage from it would do well to cater to its mischief-making, lest they become targets of pranks themselves.

Your patron embodies the very spirit of Samhain — both a symbol of death and rebirth. It often appears in the days that coincide with the end of the harvest season and the start of the winter season. During this three-day period when the line between two worlds is blurred, a warlock may be offered patronage by this being which delights in death and playing supernatural tricks.

Grim Hollow Shaman Ritual 5e

Artist: Leanna Crossan

Expanded Spell List

Your patron lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. In keeping with the theme of this time of year, the spells are ones that cause chaos, darkness, death, and blight. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Samhain Expanded Spells

Spell Level Spells
1st disguise self, silent image
2nd arcanist’s magic aura, darkness
3rd speak with dead, spirit guardians
4th blight, phantasmal killer
5th raise dead, seeming


Creatures of the Gateway

Starting at 1st level, you can use a bonus action to magically summon supernatural creatures from the Otherworld. The appearance of these creatures reflects the spirit of Samhain. For example, they could be goblins, ghosts, magical wildcats, a herd of pigs, or a three-headed vulture. The creature arrives through a magical gateway and appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within 60 feet of you. It remains for 1 minute or until you use this feature to summon another gateway creature.

On the turn the creatures appear you can make a melee spell attack against one creature within 10 feet of it. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 necrotic damage. When you reach 10th level, the damage increases to 2d8.

As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the creature up to 30 feet and repeat the attack. You can summon a gateway creature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

 

Deathly Force

Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability to siphon life force to heal your wounds. When an attack roll you make is a critical hit, you can regain hit points equal to 1d8 + your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 hit point).

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

 

Fairy Mound

Beginning at 10th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to cause of fairy mound to spring up beneath the creature and instantly transport the target to the House of the Dead, an isle in the Otherworld where the recently deceased roam.

At the end of your next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space. If the target is not undead, it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your warlock spell save DC or be frightened by you for 1 minute or until the creature takes any damage. For every turn it is frightened by you, it takes 1d10 psychic damage as it comes to terms with its own mortality.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

 

Jack out of the Box Grim Hollow 5e

Artist: Andreia Ugrai

Haunting Form

Starting at 14th level, you can take a bonus action to magically alter yourself into a form that is complementary to some aspect of Samhain. For example, your appearance can take on the form of a headless rider, a horse skull mummer, or even a creepy clown (if your GM will allow it). You gain the following benefits while transformed:

Fear aura. Any creature hostile to you that starts its turn within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC, unless you are incapacitated. On a failed save, the creature is frightened until the start of its next turn.

Fearless. You are immune to the frightened condition.

Finger of Death. You may cast Finger of Death once as a Warlock spell while transformed.

You remain in this form for 1 minute. It ends early if you are incapacitated, if you die, or if you dismiss it as a bonus action. You can transform a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

 

Magic Item

Trick-or-treating is thought to have originated from collecting food for Samhain feasts or bonfires by going door to door, while the tradition of carving lanterns from turnips or pumpkins is meant to represent the spirits or supernatural beings or to ward off evil spirits. There are several types of magic items that can be inspired from this festival, but none more easily recognizable than the Jack-o’-lantern.

 

Jack-o’-lantern

Wondrous Item, artifact (requires attunement by a warlock)

This turnip is hollowed out and carved with the image of a frightening face.

Beneficial Properties. While the item is on your person, you gain the following benefits:

  • Your proficiency bonus to Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Intimidation) checks is doubled.
  • Undead with a challenge rating of 2 or lower will neither threaten nor attack you unless you harm them.
  • You gain a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls. Whenever you score a critical hit with a spell attack, the target takes an extra 3d6 necrotic damage.
  • While the lantern is within 300 feet of any undead creature, its flame turns bright green.

The lantern has 7 charges for the following properties. It regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the lantern loses its properties and becomes a nonmagical Jack-o’-lantern.

Lantern. A 60-foot-radius sphere of light spreads out from the lantern. It is bright light and sheds dim light for an additional 60 feet. Completely covering the lantern with an opaque object blocks the light. If any of the lantern’s light overlaps with an area of darkness created by a spell of 3rd level or lower, the spell that created the darkness is dispelled. You can use a bonus action to cause the light to disappear. Invisible creatures and objects are visible as long as they are in the lantern’s bright light.

Invoke Darkness. Magical darkness spreads from the lantern to fill a 20-foot-radius sphere for 10 minutes. The darkness spreads around corners. A creature with darkvision can’t see through this darkness, and nonmagical light can’t illuminate it. Completely covering the lantern with an opaque object, blocks the darkness. If any of this lantern’s darkness overlaps with an area of light created by a spell of 2nd level or lower, the spell that created the light is dispelled. You can use a bonus action to cause the darkness to disappear.

Fire Motes. You can expend up to 3 charges as an action. For every charge you expend, you hurl a ball of fire from the lantern at a point you can see within 60 feet of you. Each creature within a 15-foot sphere originating from that point is showered in motes of fire and must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d4 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Destroying the Lantern. A creature in possession of the lantern can use an action to break it over a solid surface. When the lantern is destroyed, you summon an avatar of death (see “Deck of Many Things”)—a humanoid skeleton wearing a black robe and wielding a sickle. It appears in a space of the GM’s choice within 10 feet of you and declares you must fight it alone. The avatar attacks until you die, or it drops to 0 hit points, at which point it disappears. If anyone aids you, that creature summons its own avatar of death. A creature slain by an avatar of death can’t be restored to life.

 

Bloody Teddy Grim Hollow 5e

Artist: Guilherme Motta

Traveling with a Warlock of Samhain

At the GM’s discretion, an adventuring party that travels with a Warlock of Samhain may take advantage of the patron’s powers when it is at the height of power during the three-day window when the veil between worlds is thinnest. The spirit of Samhain could offer a unique and on-theme experience during this time. For example, divination rituals are a part of Samhain festivals. Bonfires may be used to burn objects or placing a ring of stones around it—one for each character interested in participating. Each character can ask about the results of a specific course of action as though casting the augury spell. In the morning, the stones can be examined for answers.

Continuing the Pact

Another ancient Celtic tradition known as Beltane is celebrated on May Day or Midsummer. Taking inspiration from the warlock pact above, you could consider a spirit of Beltane patron. Where Samhain celebrates death, Beltane is a summer festival for the living. The focus of this warlock would therefore be around luck, health, and sunlight.

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