[RPG] the precedent for what happens to a warlock’s character levels if their patron dies


Let's say my multi-class Warlock 3 / Wizard 17 and his party have just killed his patron, fulfilling a life long dream to be free of an ancestral Pact with the evil fiend. He has zero interest in becoming 'sworn and beholden' to a new entity.

Now, according to this somewhat related question "What happens if the entity a warlock has a pact with is killed?", the accepted answer is basically "No patron, no power". That makes sense from the stand point of losing the ability to cast Pact Magic, as well as access to the various class abilities that were gained from the fiend patron.

However, there are still 3 character levels that it's unclear what to do with. These levels were gained through adventuring, so what happens to them? Does the experience gained just evaporate? Does it transfer to the Wizard levels?

Obviously, the easy way out is "It's up to the DM". What I'm actually looking for is if there has ever been a precedent set for what happens when a character basically loses access to a class. For instance, 5e Oathbreaker Paladin shows what happens to a paladin that breaks their oath.

I'm interested in finding any precedent set throughout the history of D&D that will help a DM decide how to handle this.

What is the precedent for what happens to a warlock's character levels if their patron dies?

Best Answer

Nothing happens, at least in 5e. The Pact only initiates your power; you don't need the Patron after that.

The answer to the question you linked was wrong. Becoming a Warlock is a one-time infusion of power that gives you the ability to take the first Warlock level; any further powers you develop after that are the result of your own developing abilities. You don't need any ongoing relationship with your Patron after you take your first Warlock level.

From the section on warlocks in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 53):

Warlocks are defined by two elements that work in concert to forge their path into this class. The first element is the event or circumstances that led to a warlock’s entering into a pact with a planar entity.

Note that it says that the pact is only necessary to "forge their path into this class". Additionally, unlike Paladins who can lose their class abilities for violating their Oaths, there are no mechanics regarding the loss of a Warlock's powers if their Patron were to die.

Finally, there are examples that show Warlocks don't receive their power directly from their patrons; this can be plainly seen the fact that a CR 2 Hag can be responsible for the initial empowerment of a level 20 Archfey-patron Warlock who is vastly more powerful than she is.