We’ve all been there: you’re hanging out at the tavern after a quest when a mysterious stranger catches your eye. He’s sitting alone at a table in the corner. He’s dressed in black, he’s got piercing eyes, and he’s pale and gaunt… but in a sexy way. You meander over, buy him a drink, and the two of you start talking. He says he can do magic. You assume he means close-up magic–card tricks and such.
“No,” he says. “I refer to… the arcane arts.”
You wonder where he picked up his skills. Maybe he read some forbidden tomes. Maybe his bloodline was tainted by a vampire or a curse. Or perhaps he’s the frontman for a hardcore bard troupe. Regardless, you’re into it… until a few dates in, when he says he’s ready to take the next step in your relationship: he wants you to meet his Dark Master. Yes, it turns out he’s been a warlock all along. Ugh!
If that scenario sounds ‘familiar,’ then this guide is for you. At D&D&D, we’ve had a lot of experience with a lot of adventurers, and we’re passing that knowledge on to our readers. So without further ado, here’s how to tell if your prospective partner is secretly a warlock.
Sometimes, discerning what type of spellcaster you’re pursuing is as easy as looking at their clothes. Here are a few popular outfits for some of the most common mages you’ll meet:
Wizards: The sad fact of the matter is that wizards tend to lack a fashion sense. There’s no time to keep up with the latest trends when you’re unlocking the mystic secrets of the universe. That’s why you’ll often see wizards decked out in comfortable, utilitarian robes. Now, here’s the tricky bit: a lot of cultists–including some warlocks–are fond of robes as well. But not to worry! You can easily distinguish a wizard robe from a warlock robe with one simple test: just see if it has a hood or not. Wizards detest hoods, preferring instead to cover their heads with colorful conical hats. Remember: can’t see the face? Give ’em some space. No hood? You’re all good!
Sorcerers: Sorcerers don’t need to waste time studying their magic, allowing them the freedom for more, shall we say, physical pursuits. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see a dragon-blooded sorcerer who’s also a real pump dragon! These beefcakes will often wear their clothes light and tight to show off their physique. Plus, a lack of constricting clothing makes it easier to cast using somatic components. If you see a real hunk hurling fireballs, it’s almost certainly a sorcerer.
Bards: There’s one word that comes to mind when talking about bardic fashion: ostentatious. Most bards know the importance of good presentation, and they’ll dress to catch the eye. You’ll almost never see another caster dressed as finely as a bard! Oh, and one more handy clue? They’ll generally have a lute strapped to their back.
Warlocks: Warlocks don’t have as defined a style as some of the other magic-users out there, in large part because anyone can decide to shack up with Dark Forces regardless of personal taste. However, there are a few common threads to look out for. The biggest one: cloaks. A warlock loves a cloak! It offers protection, style, and–most crucially–a hood, for when secrecy is required. It’s also not uncommon to see a token or symbol of whatever being they’ve made a pact with somewhere on their person. If, after a fling, you find the name ‘Asmodeus’ stitched into your lover’s undergarments, then bad news–you just hooked up with a warlock!
Books are a common feature among the spellcasters of the world. You’ll generally find at least one grimoire on the person of any mage you’re likely to meet, with a notable exception: sorcerers. As the jocks of the arcane scene, sorcerers prefer to leave the reading and studying to their less naturally talented peers. With that in mind, here are some the books you should look out for when selecting a partner:
Is it old, dusty, and boring? Wizards often obsess over the dullest books. Their libraries are full of tomes with names like Pracktical Wizardry for All Ages and Arcane Power and You. Snore! If you see someone carting around a few of these, you can rest assured you’re dealing with a wizard… though unless you’re interested in a lecture on magical metaphysics, they’re still not likely to be dating material.
Is it bound in human flesh? Now, this one trips a lot of people up. For many folks, the phrase “bound in flesh” immediately brings to mind Bel’Rizaal, the Thrice-Damned, and from there it’s easy to make the assumption that you’ve bumped into a warlock. Don’t be so hasty, though! The book may in fact be an innocent Necronomicon, in which case you haven’t found a warlock at all. No, you’re in the presence of a necromancer–the bad boys of the wizarding world! He’s safe to pursue (but you might not want to bring him home to mother).
Is it full of music? This is a bard. Bards carry around music sheets, so they can play music. Pretty self-explanatory!
Does it bear this symbol?
If so, then LOOK AWAY FROM THE BOOK. DO NOT LOOK ANY CLOSER. Are you looking away? Good. Don’t look back, no matter what. Do not read the book. This man will invite you to a play. Do not go with him, under any circumstances! He may tell you that he has great seats, or that he knows the stage manager. DO NOT GO. FLEE FROM THIS MAN.
There are only two classes of arcanist that frequently use familiars: wizards and warlocks. While familiars come in many shapes and sizes, there are a few that stick out as common choices for both types of caster. Let’s go over some of the familiars you’re likely to see, and what they mean:
Birds: Birds are a popular choice among both wizards and warlocks, but each group gravitates toward a few specific avian allies. For a wizard, most any small bird will do; sparrows, jays, and more have been seen in the company of wizards. Some daring folks have even taken to carting eagles and falcons around as familiars! One you’re not as likely to see these days, though? Owls. Yes, these nocturnal hunters have fallen out of favor with the wizarding community at large, being viewed as a cliché by most practicing mages. Warlocks, on the other hand, tend towards blackbirds for their pet of choice. As the old rhyme says: Hawk or songbird, yes is the word; but raven or crow, just say no!
Reptiles and Amphibians: As the popularity of owls dwindles among wizards, lizards’ star is on the rise. Newts, salamanders, and even geckos have become the latest fashion in familiars among the wizarding community. And, naturally, a classic frog or toad will never go out of style! In the warlock community, the most frequent scaled compatriot you’re likely to come across is a snake. Be careful here, though–newts are a common choice among warlocks, too. The animal’s trendiness among both groups has led many a man and woman to pursue a warlock by mistake.
Mammals: Everyone knows about the classic cat familiar–we’ll get to that in a second. What you might not be aware of are the other major choices: bats (for warlocks) and foxes (for wizards). Keep your eyes peeled for these critters! Now, back to the familiars of the feline persuasion. Tabbies and tortoiseshells are wizard choices through and through. Common wisdom holds that black cats are the premiere choice for warlocks; however, what many folks don’t realize is the long tradition of calicos as a warlock companion. In fact, they were once known as “the wytche-catt!”
And there you have it, folks! With this handy guide, it should be easy for you to determine whether or not someone is a warlock at a glance. With your newfound knowledge, you can avoid any uncomfortable situations or unpleasant surprises that might arise from starting a relationship with one of these clairvoyant creeps. Good luck out there!
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