[RPG] My warlock is blowing all their spell slots on the easy fights, making the hard fights harder for the party. What do I do


I have a player that uses their Warlock spell slots a lot. While this is not necessarily a bad thing (they are there to be used), they are effectively expending all of their spell slots on the first encounter after each rest. It is having a detrimental effect on gameplay for the entire party, who are all at level 4. The minion fights are handled with ease, but the boss fights are a real struggle.

We have spoken with the player, explaining the issue, but they don't seem to be making much of a change in their tactics. They say that they enjoy the "struggle" of the boss battles, even though it's effectively whaling on the boss with a stick, but the rest of the party are not quite so keen on the boss grind. I have effectively had to nerf the major bosses to ensure that the party is not completely outclassed due to reckless spending.

The Warlock does still have Cantrips, but they are focused on less combat-oriented spells like Mage Hand and Minor Illusion. The warlock does have Eldritch Blast, which they use in the boss fights. Not ineffective, just repetitive and bland.

As one solution, I have thought of applying a "Limit Curse", to try and stop the player at least spending their resources so recklessly, in hopes of showing them what a difference it makes in the boss fights and maybe convincing them to change. However, I'm not sure about how this will affect the gameplay or the player.

To explain the Curse itself, the mechanic is just going to be "if you spend (X) many spell slots per day, you incur disadvantages".

How do I resolve this situation?

Best Answer

Don't apply a Limit Curse

I know this isn't the sort of answer you were looking for...but slapping restrictions on a player character because you don't like the way they are playing is not cool. The strength of a Warlock is that they get their spell slots back on a short rest. The weakness is that they only have a few. And the overriding weakness of spellcaster classes is that they have a limited number of times they can throw down heavy power. This is by design.

If the player decides he wants to waste all his spell slots on 'trash mobs,' then that's his call. It is not your responsibility to force him to be conservative with his spell slots. Nor is it your responsibility to save him from the fallout of his decisions.

That said, I will give you a few options.

  1. He dug his hole, let him lie in it. Stop nerfing the bosses. You are saving him from his own decisions by doing this. If you don't want PC deaths, you can still generally try to keep them alive, but stop compensating for his poor decision making. Play the monsters fairly. Honestly, he seems to want a tougher game than what you're giving him, he'll probably be happy if you hit him hard like that.
  2. That said, Warlocks have the best damage cantrip in the game. Even just spamming Eldritch Blast, they are quite functional. If they grab Agonizing Blast, they hit about as hard as your typical melee combatant does.
  3. If you really want to show them the difference if the Lock has all his spell slots, then don't force him to conserve spell slots. Simply engineer a situation where they get a Short Rest right before a boss fight, so he can see the difference without you having to shove it down his throat.

    But, ultimately, it sounds like he is playing his character the way he wants to and is having fun. So the final advice I would give is this...

  4. Make sure he understands that the other players are not having fun (if they truly are not). If he likes 'the struggle' then perhaps give him other things to have to struggle rather than the one he is engineering for himself. Talk to him...see what he wants...make sure you guys are all on the same page.