Workshop Codename: The Overprotective Patron
This month I am covering an idea I got from a Twitter post (maybe a thread) by Terminally Nerdy. The concept alone was worthwhile as something that would be a ton of fun to play out at the table. What would happen if your warlock’s patron was overprotective?? Let’s talk about how that might play out!
An Investment, Not A Minion
First thing is first, the core idea behind this is that the warlock is not just some creature that has been tricked into service. Many patrons might trick mortals into service for fun or to get a tool on the mortal planes. Perhaps the warlock reached out themselves and formed a pact accidentally. Regardless, the warlock is something beneath their patron and only worthy of power so long as the Patron gets something out of it. Or, in the case of the Great Old One, doesn’t notice it.
This would not be the case for the overprotective patron. While you might still be beneath the immortal beast, you are something they care about. They would not want you to do something that would risk yourself. This might be selfish on their part or they might genuinely want to see you live (probably not). Either way they keep a close eye on their investment and seek to keep you as healthy as possible. What could this mean at the table though?
No Deus Ex Machina
We don’t just want a failsafe for when the party is trouble, we want a fun interaction. Sure it might be a way to save the day if it makes for a fun game, but that isn’t the purpose of the overprotective patron. We should be seeing this patron as one that interacts with warlock on a regular basis. Much more so than anyone would ever expect. We want it to be the type of thing where they offer help and want to make sure everything is okay in the most useless and overbearing way possible. Let’s focus on a love-hate relationship with our patron.
Are You Sure???
Okay so how do we play this up without just saving the day in annoying ways? First off we need to start with offers that aren’t vital to the party. We could offer them simple supplies or information. Maybe the patron pops in and just checks in on the party every now and then. Almost without fail, the warlock will explore the possibility by asking for or accepting something simple from them. At this point the patron will never let them forget it either!
That’s key. We want the Patron to be annoying so that while they offer help regularly it comes at a cost. For small things its annoyance, but for big things who knows how bad those costs could get. To aid in building this persona you can even have the patron take responsibility for some small narrative check the warlock made to undermine them. We don’t want it to be too big or important a roll, that would undermine the player, but we do want the warlock to have instant eye roll every time the patron shows up.
Finally, let’s talk about how we can really play up the protective part of overprotective. I can see the patron popping in one way or another to protect their warlock when they don’t need it. Maybe silence a party member arguing with the warlock. It isn’t damaging to the PC but it is could be pretty annoying and the warlock won’t appreciate it…especially when its not a “real” argument. Immortals don’t really understand the difference all the time.
We can even play it up when the warlock gets a new spell or magic item. Let the patron backseat drive a bit. It will be cute at first and turn into overbearing real quick. Hopefully if you work carefully with your player, this relationship will become a hilarious and occasionally useful if dangerous staple of the campaign!