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Warlock Patron: Animal Spirits

Warlocks are not evil. This is something that should be said up front. It is tempting to think of them, if not evil, as shady. They make deals. They have pacts which provide them with power. Their patrons are dangerous. Infernal beings are either dangerously chaotic or just trying to gain power at the cost of your soul. Elder horrors from time and space bring only destruction and madness when they enter the world. The Fairy lords are unpredictable and alien enough to think little of the discomfort of mortals. 

It is understandable to think that only evil comes from such deals, but recent additions have helped expand our definitions a bit. Are there some dark elements implied by the naming and themes? Yes.  But they are not required to be. 

I only write that as preamble because people may question the patron I am presenting today. The Animal Spirits are not friendly spirits, of course.  They are the spirits of wild things and care very little for people, but they have no implied moral qualities. When writing this up I was thinking about the stories where witches cut deals where they can become different animals. I was also thinking of Shamans in Shadowrun who often chanel animal spirits to define their magic. It was a soup of ideas that this was born from.  I hope you will find it useful. 

I should also put a John Maynard Keynes joke here…

Warlock Patron: Animal Spirits

The Animal Spirits

Animal Spirits are a constant presence in the wild places. They are not civilized but are primal and powerful. They do not have signed contracts but the bonds formed with them are still real.  The warlock who forms a pact with the Animal Spirits will manifest a mask, or image of them as they work their magic. Some societies may sometimes wear a physical mask when doing this, but a magical one always manifests for the warlock when they call on the Spirits power. 

Animal Spirits are ephemeral and hard to understand. They are not making deals for souls, or to expand power into a world they are unwelcome in. They are also not as political and courtly as the Fey often are. The Animal Spirits simply ARE. They exist as long as animals have existed. The pact made with them is more about being more like them than making a “deal.” It is more like channeling those spirits; their power and their understanding of the world. 


Being bound to Animal Spirits can often shape the Warlock’s thinking. The spirits pull on more primal portions of a mind cause odd quirks. Here is a chart to roll some, but they can be something else. Roll 1D6 on the chart below, or pick, or make up another similar quirk. 

  1. You collect shiny small objects for no real purpose other than to decorate a space. 
  2. You are incapable of resting comfortably on a bed.  You need to curl in a corner, on a floor, or on the ground. 
  3. You are incapable of sitting still. You must constantly reposition yourself.  
  4. You are constantly covering yourself with dirt. You will roll around in dirt till you are coated in dirt and dust. 
  5. You must constantly sniff everything you come in contact with. Your sense of smell is no greater than normal, but it is the most important sense one to you. 
  6. You feel a need to perch, in trees, on tables, on castle walls. Your preference is always to find an elevated and narrow place to stand, sit or lie down. 

Animal Spirit patrons in your campaign.

Most fantasy settings do have vast wild spaces. The warlocks bound to this set of patrons often find them in such wild places. It may be that they find them with more nomadic tribal societies or in long term permanent settlements on the edge of the so called civilized lands. If you have barbarian tribes in your world then this fits well with them. 

Alternatively, they do sometimes appear in more metropolitan cities that attract travelers, merchants, and refugees from around the world. Such cities will often have pockets of such societies and this will bring a warlock to the Animal Spirits attention.  I could easily see a Animal Spirit Warlock finding his patron in the cogs of Sharn, or on the docks of Waterdeep. 

The spirits may be different in different worlds. A Serpent spirit might be Lizard in another world, or maybe a spider. The Vulture can be the Vulture in Midgard, and be an Eagle in Mystara or a Falcon in the Forgotten Realms.  Rename and reskin thespirits to one that matches for your world. 

Expanded Spell List

The Animal Spirits lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Animal Spirit Expanded Spells

Spell Level     Spells

1st        Animal Friendship, Speak with Animals

2nd        Beast Sense, Enhance Attribute

3rd        Conjure Animal, Water Breathing

4th        Dominate Beast, Freedom of Movement

5th        Commune with Nature, Greater Restoration

Bestial Presence

Starting at 1st level, as a bonus action you take on the features of an Animal Spirit you are tied to. While manifesting this spirit, you can also gain a benefit tied to that creature for a turn. You may choose one of the following. While manifesting this beasts “masks” it is visible to those around you.  Your face shows aspects of a snake while while manifesting the Serpent. Your face is obscured by that of a Goat’s when manifesting his mask. 

Serpent: For the rest of the turn, you are immune to poisons. You gain advantage for this turn on any Wisdom or Charisma checks related to serpents or lizards.

Cat: For the rest of the turn, you have advantage on Strength(Athletics) and Dexterity(Acrobatics) checks. Your movement speed while climbing is the same as your walking speed.

Raven: For the rest of your turn, you gain advantage on tool use tests. You also can see into the Ethereal Plane. Ethereal creatures and objects appear ghostly and translucent.

Rat: For the rest of the turn, you have advantage on Dexterity(Stealth) checks. You may also use an action to chew through any bonds. 

Vulture: For the rest of the turn, your movement is flight at your normal walking speed. You also can sense corporeal undead as a free action. You can detect their distance and direction up to 300 feet.

Ox: For the rest of your turn, you gain advantage on Strength checks and saves. You may substitute your Charisma bonus for any Strength based checks.

Bat: For the rest of your turn, you can see invisible objects or creatures. You also gain advantage on Wisdom(Perception) or Intelligence(Investigation) checks.

Goat: For the rest of your turn, you have advantage on Strength(Athletics) checks related to a Shove. You also can speak and understand Infernal, Abyssal, and Deep Speech.

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

Animal Form

Starting at 6th level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast, but the shape from the following list.

Poisonous Snake, Cat, Raven, Rat, Vulture, Ox, Bat, or Goat

This is otherwise similar to the Druid Wild shape. If you take enough damage to reach 0 hit ponts in the animal, you will be transformed back to your normal body with normal hit points minus any carried over damage.

Unlike the Druid, you may speak in your animal form. You may cast any spell that only has a Verbal component.

You can retain any benefits from class, race, or Eldritch Invocations, if physically capable. Your claw or bite attacks can be considered to have the benefits of a pact blade. The transformation does not break concentration for maintained spells.

Expanded Animal Forms

Beginning at 10th level, you can chose to take the form of any animal with a challenge raiting of 1 or lower.

What is more, Improve Attribute may be cast once per short rest without expending a spell slot and you have advantage on Wisdom(Survival) checks.

Bestial Self

Starting at 14th level, you can take on the mask of the animals listed in the Bestial Presence. These last for an hour with all the benefits described above for that hour. In addition, while wearing the mask you have the effects of Speak with Animals. 

Additionally at 14th level, while wearing the mask of the Bestial Self, you may cast the spell Fear without spending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, creatures with an intelligence greater than 4 are at a disadvantage on their save. Upimay only use this once per time you active the Animal Spirit mask. 

You are still only able to use the Bestial Self feature once per short or long rest. 

Eldritch Invocations

Gifts of the Hunt

Prerequisite: Pact of the Chain feature

If your familiar takes damage, as a reaction, you may regain hit points for yourself equal to the damage done to the familiar . This can only be done once per short or long rest. 

Raven’s Question

Prerequisite: 5th level

You may cast Speak with the Dead without expending a spell slot. This can only be done once per short or long rest. 

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