Magic casters in Dungeons and Dragons are an eclectic bunch. Wizards weaponize the power of reading comprehension, sorcerers harness the might of a magical DNA test, and bards play Wonderwall so hard that the universe is powerless to resist. But Warlocks get to turn themselves into salesmen working on behalf of a greater force, selling the only product worth buying: messy death.
Players of 5th Edition are given plenty of Eldritch Invocations, Patrons, and spells to help them do their job. But what about the Pact Boons, those third level treats that can completely change your playstyle? Which ones should players avoid, and which ones can turn any warlock from a nerd to a nuke?
5 Pact Of The Star Chain
You may not have heard of this one — and for good reason. It's Unearthed Arcana for the Greyhawk setting, and it's probably best that it stays unofficial material. Available for warlocks who follow the Seeker patron, the Star Chain pact is more defensively focused than other boons. And, in basically as many words, it's not worth your time.
Star Chain's spells are pretty likely to already be usable by your party if there's another caster in the roster. Its main ability gives you advantage on intelligence checks and use of the Augury spell, and it doesn't get much better from there. At 6th level you can cast two spells on yourself during combat, but the best ones are usually concentration anyway. And because it's UA material, you won't get access to any cool Eldritch Invocations. Leave this one forgotten.
4 Pact Of The Talisman
An incredibly simple but potentially useful boon, Pact of the Talisman was introduced in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. As the name might suggest, this boon gives you a magical talisman to use, available no matter your patron, which gives an extra d4 to failed ability checks. That's essentially it.
Pact of the Talisman doesn't have much to it, but at least it's convenient. The talisman can be handed off to other people for its benefit, and essentially means you have a permanent single-target Bless spell. It can be used multiple times per day equal to your proficiency bonus, meaning you essentially become the party's good luck charm. The Invocations available are also serviceable but nothing special, though its 12th level ability allows for a lot of teleportation shenanigans. It's a boring option, but not totally disappointing.
3 Pact Of The Blade
Pact of the Blade, while no slouch, is arguably the weakest of the original boons. It turns you into a magical melee fighter, able to choose the form of your weapon each time you summon it. You can even convert a magical weapon into your pact weapon, further buffing it. Despite being cool as hell, though, you may find yourself suffering in the damage department.
Pact of the Blade is tricky to optimize. The Hexblade patron is pretty much mandatory if you want to use this boon effectively, otherwise you'll be limited in weapon and armor choices. It requires a lot of skill investment to stop your base damage falling behind Eldritch Blast, with most players taking Invocations like Lifedrinker and the polearm mastery or crossbow expert feats to mitigate it. It's rad, but there are better options out there.
2 Pact Of The Tome
For players who like their magic varied, Pact of the Tome gives players the Book of Shadows, allowing them to use three cantrips from any class, no questions asked. The power potential for this pact is very high, allowing you to cherry-pick the best options from any caster class to use as your own. It works with almost every patron too, though mileage may vary with Hexblade.
Pact of the Tome only gets better with Invocations, giving access to the amazing Book of Ancient Secrets power. With it, you can cast any first-level spell as a ritual, meaning that your out-of-combat ability pool becomes huge. Tome Pact is great for players who want to overcome the warlock's admittedly dinky spell list, and those who are prone to getting jealous of the party wizard.
1 Pact Of The Chain
Prone to loneliness? Pact of the Chain has you covered. Chain Pact seems underpowered at first, until you realize the Imp familiar is the best in the game, and the boon's Eldritch Invocations turn it into an absolute powerhouse. The Imp can turn shapeshift, fly, become invisible, use items, and is surprisingly durable, meaning more time to infuriate your DM.
Combining with the Voice of the Chain Master Invocation turns you into a stealth scout extraordinaire, and the Imp's ability to see through magical darkness opens up some truly broken combat strategies. Sure, there are other options like the poisonous Pseudodragon and bow-wielding Sprite familiars, who have their own advantages. But, for creative players, Pact of the Chain and the Imp familiar can be the most outright useful boon all the way to higher levels.
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