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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Pact-making 101: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Alright, so the 5th edition player's handbook has been out for a few months now, and with it comes my favorite class, the Warlock. A nifty hybrid of it's 3.5 and 4th edition incarnations, the Warlock is an incredibly versatile class with a great suite of options and abilities. That being said, the sheer number of options can be confusing, so this guide is intended to help newer players get the hang of what the Warlock is all about!

    With that in mind, I'll be using the following ranking system for the options players have in constructing their warlock:

    Light Blue: This is one of the best options available. You should seriously consider working it into any character you plan on building.
    Blue: A very solid option or ability, better than average and likely to see use regularly.
    Black: No better or no worse than most other options out there. not likely to vastly improve your character, but still useful.
    Orange: Sub-optimal choice or feature. May be worth taking if it combos well with something else, but not generally a great option otherwise.
    Red: Stay away. Unless you really like the RP implications of something marked red, don't even bother.

    The layout for the guide will be as follows:

    1. Stat assignment
    2. Races, or 'you mean I don't HAVE to be a tiefling?'
    3. The Warlock Chassis
    4. Pacts and Boons
    5. Invocations
    6. Feats
    7. Spells
    8. Multiclassing
    9. Exploits

    1. Stat Assignment

    For the purpose of this guide, I'm assuming you are using the point buy given in the PHB. If you happen to be rolling for stats, YMMV, but the prioritization of stats remains similar.

    Strength:: If you're not playing a blade-pact warlock, you can comfortably dump this. Even you are playing a bladelock, Dexterity is probably a better investment. Suggested starting value: 8

    Dext]erity: A decent investment, as it adds to your AC and initiative, and Dexterity saves are fairly common. If you're playing a Dex-bladelock, this should be valued even more highly. Suggested starting value: 14-16

    Constitution: As always, Con remains important for just about everyone. HP are always useful, and in this edition, the number of TERRIFYING save-or-suck/die effects based on Con is fairly high, starting at quite low CRs. A bladelock wants this to be higher than other warlocks, but is also less likely to have points to put into it. Suggested starting value: 14-16.

    Intelligence: Doesn't do a lot for you, aside from making you less susceptible to Intellect Devourers. Personally, I hate playing stupid characters, but honestly Int doesn't do a lot for the core class mechanics. Suggested starting value: 8-12

    Wisdom: Again, aside from saves and perception, doesn't do much for you. Wisdom saves seem more common than Int saves so far (though see intellect devourer for reasons not to dump Int.) that being said, you do get proficiency on wisdom saves, so it's not as critical as it otherwise might be. Suggested starting value: 8-12

    Charisma: Your primary ability. Spell DC's, Agonizing Blast damage, even melee damage (with Lifedrinker) scale off of this. You want it to be as high as possible. Suggested starting value:16

    In general, consider the following for stat prioritization: Cha>Con/Dex>Int/Wis>Str.

    Races:
    Now we'll look at the races which make good Warlocks. Of course, the first thing to look for is a bonus to Charisma-if a race doesn't boost charisma, it needs some pretty hefty benefits to make up for it.

    Hill Dwarf: Well, you'll be resilient as all hell in terms of HP-by level four, you could have +5 hp/level on top of your hit die, making you tough to take down. The lack of a bonus to either of your offensive stats (dex or cha) hurts quite a bit, though, and the weapon proficiency is not likely to be used. If you start at level 4 or higher, you could maybe make an argument for playing a hill dwarf (+1 into con, +1 into charisma for 18 con and 16 cha) but I don't really see the draw.

    Mountain Dwarf: Unlike the Hill Dwarf, the mountain dwarf makes a decent choice for a blade-pact warlock. the weapon proficiency keeps you trucking till level 3, while the armor helps keep you alive. This is one of the only cases in which I'd say playing a strength based blade-lock is a good idea-you can't use shields anyway, so you might as well two hand a maul or something. the decreased reliance on charisma at early levels makes the lack of a bonus less painful, though you'll still want to get it up there eventually (for lifedrinker.)

    High Elf:: Blah. bonuses to a secondary stat and a dump stat, relatively useless proficiencies, and an extra cantrip on a caster class? pass.

    Wood Elf:: same deal as the high elf, exchange the cantrip for a bit of speed and making you a bit more sneaky. edges out high elf in terms of usefulness, but only slightly.

    Drow: Man, that's more like it! bonus to charisma, GREAT darkvision, some nice SLAs as you level up, even decent weapon proficiencies (Rapier and hand crossbow) for early levels! Wait...what's this 'sunlight sensitivity' thing...disadvantage on all attacks and perception checks in bright light? Well, bugger.
    The issues posed by sunlight sensitivity will vary from game to game-if you spend lots of time in the underdark or dungeons, it may only rarely come up-but in certain campaigns, it's going to be a significant hindrance. If your DM is willing to work with you to keep it from being debilitating, Drow make very solid Warlocks, but otherwise, I'd give this race a pass.

    Lightfoot Halfling: Bonuses to dex and charisma, plus the ability to re-roll natural ones make Lightfoot halflings a solid choice for warlocks. Not really much else to say, you won't go wrong by playing one of these guys. Not the best choice, though.

    Stoutheart Halfling:: On the other hand, stoutheart halflings make poor warlocks. +1 con and resistance to poison is not worth the charisma hit in this case.

    Human/Variant Human: regular humans are very, very, very meh. I'm tempted to give them an Orange rating, but the bonus to charisma makes them borderline acceptable warlocks. Variant humans, on the other hand, are excellent. You really only care about 2 (maybe 3) stats anyways, so the loss of the +1 to tertiary and dump stats doesn't really hurt. The feat is very powerful, arguably better than many of the other races' features. the extra skill proficiency is just gravy, to be honest--but tasty gravy nonetheless. I would say that variant human easily competes as one of the top races for warlocks-though they're pretty good for almost any non-MAD character-and should definitely be considered, if available.

    Dragonborn: bonus to charisma, check. bonus to dump stat...meh. the breath weapon quickly becomes irrelevant, and while damage resistance is nice, there are better choices if you must build a strength-based bladelock.

    Forest Gnome: The advantage on magic saving throws is nice, but it doesn't outweigh the lack of ANYTHING ELSE this race offers to a prospective warlock.

    Rock Gnome:: Like the forest gnome, only instead of marginally useful information gathering through speaking with animals, you gain the ability to-through significant effort and time investment-replicate a tinderbox. It's cute and flufftastic, but not terribly relevant for a warlock.

    Half-Elf: Another contestant for 'best race in the PHB' the half-elf gives you a +2 bonus to charisma, and a +1 bonus to your two secondary stats (probably dex and con.) Plus two skill proficiencies, with no restrictions whatsoever, and a situational resistance to certain magic effects. YES, PLEASE.

    Half-Orc: No bonus to charisma, bonus to dump stat, abilities geared towards a fighter or barbarian. Pass.

    Tiefling:: Are you really surprised? bonus to charisma, some excellent SLAs, resistance to the most common elemental damage type...all adds up to a pretty damn sweet warlock. Darkness and Devil's Sight make an awesome combo, and Tiefling warlock (especially fiend pact) is also a classic, albeit a little bit overdone these days. I'd say tiefling DOES rank behind half-elf and variant human by a bit (no bonus to con or dex,) but it's still one of the best warlock races out there.
    Last edited by Oncoming Storm; 2014-10-18 at 01:16 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    3. Warlock Chassis


    Right, so let's look at the basics:

    Hit Die: well, it's better than a wizard's, but it's no D12. That being said, warlocks have ways of making themselves much, much more survivable than their raw HP pool would suggest.

    Armor Proficiency: Again, decent, but nothing to write home about. The average wizard will be able to manage a higher AC than you (mage armor) while a Dragon Sorceror can do it without the use of spell slots. Since you can't use shields, your AC is not going to be particularly good no matter what you do.

    Weapon Proficiency: this one's a bit misleading, because by and large, you should not be using weapons unless you're a bladelock...in which case you've got an omni-weapon you're automatically proficient with. The only time this should matter is between levels 1 and 3 as a bladelock, and for the rare AOO attack you get to make.

    Skills: 2 of Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion. Deception is nice, but the lack of any of the more often-used skills (athletics, acrobatics, perception) kind of hurts here, as does not having persuasion. Guess that's what backgrounds and/or half-elves are for, though...

    Saves: decidedly meh. The typical pattern of giving classes one common save and one rare save holds true here. the proficiency to wisdom saving throws is useful, but I've yet to see many monsters which actually attack charisma. Overall, neither good, nor bad. I'd have liked to see proficiency in Con saves, but that's honestly just a pipe dream.

    Pact Magic: ahhhh, the meat of the class. Casting all of your spells at the highest level available is very nice, though it does limit the utility of some of the Warlock's spells-casting Hunger of Hadar is decidedly less impressive at level 9 than at level 5. The tiny amount of spells per short rest also means you'll need to conserve your spell slots, striking a delicate balance between blowing all your spells too early and having nothing in the tank for emergencies, and getting to a short rest with slots left over. How you choose to manage this will depend mostly on the DM and the campaign/group you're playing with. I find a short rest after every 2-3 encounters is generally how it shakes out, but YMMV. If your party is full of monks, fighters, and druids, they may be more inclined to short rest frequently than a party of wizards, clerics, and barbarians. Plan carefully.

    Invocations: I'll go through these in detail a little later, but overall invocations fill a nice little gap in the Warlock's ability. Choose from at-will (but relatively low-level) abilities, passive buffs to your character or the Eldritch Blast cantrip, additional spells available 1/day, and enhancements to the Pact Boon you choose.

    Mystic Arcanum: What the Warlock gets instead of higher level spell slots. you get ONE spell known from levels 6 to 9, which can be cast once per long rest. Make sure the spells you choose are widely applicable, because you'll only ever have one of each level.

    Eldritch Mastery: Spend a minute meditating, recover all your pact magic slots without taking a short rest. Personally, I haven't seen too many times where the party had a minute where they didn't have time to short rest-Especially when the wizard can easily cast rope trick for a safe short rest. Still, it could conceivably happen, and turns the warlock into a walking engine of nova for an encounter or two. Pity it only recovers the low level slots, though.

    4. Patron:


    Ah, the patron. At the moment, you have three choices-the Archfey, the Great Old One, and Fiend, roughly mapping on to good/neutral/evil. Each patron offers substantially different abilities and spell access, and certain patrons are better suited to certain pacts (fiend with bladelock, for instance.) Which pact bonus you want to choose should be carefully considered when picking your patron.

    Archfey:


    Spells: A decent list, but nothing special. Sleep is an encounter-ending spell (with not save) for quite a few levels, especially with the auto-scaling from pact magic. Faerie fire is quite a decent buff for your team, with corner-case utility against invisible creatures (though it does NOT scale.) Unfortunately, the mid level spells are underwhelming, with Calm Emotions, Blink, Phantasmal Force, Plant Growth, Dominate Beast and Seeming being situational at best (also non-scaling.) Dominate Person and Greater Invisibility are nice, but they don't really outweigh the rest of the spell list.

    Fey Presence: Makes enchantment-susceptible creatures in a 10-foot cube frightened or charmed...for one turn. And you have to short rest before you can use it again. And they get a save to avoid it. It makes a decent panic button, but overall does not measure up to the other patron's first-level options.

    Misty Escape: A decent get-out-of-painful-facebeatings card. Limited by the fact that it requires you to take damage but not be knocked unconscious (not a huge limitation, admittedly) and the recharge time. Still one of the stronger features of the Archfey patron.

    Beguiling Defenses: Nifty little ability which renders you immune to charm and gives you the ability to turn charm attempts back on the caster. Unfortunately, there's not a ton of monsters with charm effects in the monster manual, and most of those have immunity to charm and/or high will saves. If this was longer duration, it would be an excellent choice for a political intrigue-style game, but the fact that it only lasts for one minute makes using it as an information-gathering tool kind of useless. Which is a pity, because it's a cool and flavorful ability.

    Dark Delirium: Single-target save or suck ability. The caster gets to choose whether the creature is charmed or frightened for the duration, which I honestly don't see the point in, as the creature explicitly can no longer see or interact with you. Also, the effect is broken if your concentration fails or if the creature takes damage. Also, creatures immune to being charmed/frightened are immune. Kind of a situational ability, to be honest-If the party is facing a (non-legendary) BBEG with their minion, this could conceivably take them out of the fight long enough to mop up. That being said, the number of restrictions on it's use make this ability underwhelming compared to the other patron's 14th level abilities.

    Great Old One:


    Spells: A decent array of disabling and utility spells. Tasha's Hideous Laughter is always a good low-level disable, while clairvoyance increases a Warlock's divination abilities. Dominate Person, Evard's Black Tentacles, and Telekinesis round off the top end of the spell list. Detect thoughts, though situational, combines nicely with Awakened Mind's ability to project telepathically into someone's brain--use it to have a nice, silent conversation, or drive them insane with your apparent knowledge of their deepest secrets! Overall, the Great Old One's spell list packs less initial punch than the Archfey's, but ends up being a bit more well-rounded.

    Awakened Mind: Lets you telepathically communicate with creatures within 30 feet of you. Usefulness is partially dependent on what the DM rules your mental 'voice' sounds like-if it just sounds like you speaking, you can't really use it to screw with people who you've already met, as they'll likely recognize your voice. If it sounds like a horrifying, alien consciousness touching their mind, the potential for driving people insane and/or manipulating them is somewhat greater. Either way, it makes a decent way of communicating plans with your allies without being noticed, and it minimizes the difficulty posed by any language barrier you encounter.

    Entropic Ward: Give an attacker disadvantage, if they miss, you get advantage on your next attack. This would be a lot better if you could expect the Warlock to actually have a decent AC. However, unless you multiclass or take feats, your AC is likely not going to be higher than 16 or so at this point (mage armor+16 dex) and could easily be less. That being said, disadvantage to an enemy is never a bad thing, and could save your bacon. However, I'd say that it's probably the weakest of the level 6 patron features-the Archfey one can get you right out of danger, while the Fiend feature helps immensely against save or die/sucks abilities (which are pretty common in 5e.) This ability is probably best on a bladelock, as they don't necessarily WANT to flee combat when hit, and can make use of the advantage on attack rolls without cancelling it out by casting eldritch blast in melee. Of course, Great Old One isn't exactly the best patron for a bladelock.

    Thought Shield: Your thoughts can't be read, and you gain resistance to psychic damage. Also, any creature dealing psychic damage to you takes the half you resisted. This doesn't prevent you from using Awakened Mind, (otherwise it would suck pretty hard.) Psychic damage is pretty rare, but the monsters that use it tend to be fairly terrifying (Illithids, Intellect Devourers, etc.) I'm tempted to rate this Blue purely because it renders you functionally immune to intellect devourers (no sight, hunt by reading thoughts, etc.)

    Create Thrall: Touch an incapacitated creature, PERMANENTLY make it your willing lackey. NO SAVE. Of course, the charmed condition is a little less debilitating than in 3.5, but even so, this is good way to get a (potentially powerful) cohort. There is NO LIMIT on the number of times you can use it, either. I mean, sure, the previous casting expires when you use it again, but that doesn't mean you can't use it for an ever-renewing stream of disposable lackeys and/or meat shields. As added gravy, you can maintain a mental link with your servant as long as you are on the same plane, allowing you to direct them from afar and use them for information gathering or infiltration purposes. This ability is far and away the most versatile-if not the most overtly POWERFUL patron feature in the game, and to be perfectly honest, it outclasses a number of other classes' level 20 capstones.

    Fiend:

    Spells: Blasting, blasting, battlefield control, debuffs, and a nice buff by way of hallow. Most of the spells scale in some way, or at least remain useful over the adventuring career. Burning hands is decent at low levels, scorching ray is good on turns where you REALLY need the damage over your eldritch blast, and fireball is amazing as always. Wall of fire and stinking cloud give solid battlefield control options, and blindness/deafness is a very decent SOL spell, if those are your style. If this list has one major flaw, it's the over-reliance on fire damage, which is quite commonly resisted-of course, you always have eldritch blast to fall back on, so it's not as debilitating as it could be for a draconic sorceror.

    Dark One's Blessing: Whenever you drop an enemy, gain temporary hit points. This is excellent at low levels, and while it does lose some of it's ooomph at higher levels, it's still a nice little HP buffer. Enter battle with Armor of Agathys up, then switch to dark one's blessing HP when it's used up. temporary HP do NOT expire until you take a long rest, so feel free to gain those pact magic slots back! Any warlock can benefit from this, but a bladelock is likely to need it the most, as a secondary frontliner. Note that you have to be the one getting the killing/disabling blow to gain the temporary HP, so you might find your fellow PCs get tired of your kill-stealing over time.

    Dark One's Own Luck: Once per short rest, you can add a d10 to a saving throw or ability check AFTER seeing the roll (though before knowing if you passed/failed.) Given that save or lose abilities show up as early as CR 2 (Intellect Devourer) and continue to be fairly common throughout the adventuring career (Banshee at CR 4, etc.) this ability can be a godsend (well, a fiend-send, I guess.) I would say it's probably the best of the patron 6th level defensive abilities.

    Fiendish Resilience: gain resistance to one damage type. You can change it every short rest, but magical and silvered weapons ignore it. By level 10, there are going to be quite a few things which ignore this resistance, so I would suggest sticking with the elemental resistances, by and large. If playing a dragonborn or a tiefling, you can get pretty decent elemental coverage between your racial resistance and this ability.

    Hurl Through Hell: What an ability! When you hit an enemy with an attack, you can choose to (effectively) stun them for one round, dealing 10d10 psychic damage to most targets. The damage type is solid, and while (average 55) damage isn't really over the top at level 14, it can be tacked onto a full attack action (ranged or melee.) Also, no saving throw whatsoever for the enemy makes this an excellent combat ability. While it's not as good as create thrall, I think you'd be hard pressed to find an ability in ANY class which has that level of combined power and versatility. This is a very, very strong ability, limited only by the once/long rest requirement. It gets +10 points for flavor, too.

    Pact Boons:


    Picked up at 3rd level, the pact boons add another layer of customization to your character. None of them are strictly poor choices (which, IMO, is good design) but the decision you make should reflect the roles you your warlock to play. Also take note of the invocations associated with each pact.

    Pact of the Chain:
    (rating depends on DM interpretation of Quasit/Imp's 'Magic Resistance' rule)

    With this pact you gain access to a severely buffed version of the Wizard spell 'find familiar.' Instead of being limited to regular animal forms, you can have your familiar be an imp, a quasit, a pseudodragon or a sprite. Finally, you can forgo your own attack to make your familiar attack for you. In terms of utility, choosing this pact means that:

    1) You familiar will have a flight speed, making it an even better scout
    2) 3 of the 4 improved familiar forms have invisibility, making them nearly undetectable through conventional means
    3) you gain a (highly situational) attack, which can either add poison damage (Imp, Quasit) or has a chance of disabling the opponent (Sprite, Pseudodragon.) Since the sprite's attack is ranged (and the sprite has an INSANE +8 stealth mod) the likelihood of being able to repeat this tactic is fairly high.
    4) You can still cast touch spells through the familiar, and share senses with it within 100 ft. Doing so does NOT count as an attack action, so it shouldn't break invisibility. Of course, the warlock doesn't have many touch spells, but that can be worked around.
    5) You can change your familiar's form every time you summon it (which can get a bit jarring, RP wise, if your fiend-gifted quasit is also a part-time sprite.) Still, this gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of your familiar-you can access the sprite's arrows, the imp's shapeshifting, the Quasit's scare ability, and the pseudodragon's...mild telepathy more or less whenever you want.
    6) You can have your familiar perform other actions than 'attack' without issue-aid another, hinder, scatter caltrops, all that good stuff a normal familiar can do.
    7) You MAY get a passive magic resistance ability (advantage on all saves vs. magic.) This feature is not in the PHB version of the Imp or Quasit, but it IS in the Monster Manual. The only issues I see with it are that it's an extremely powerful ability, and not really in line with the benefits given by the other pacts at all. Additionally, the way the ability is written, it's pretty clearly intended to give the familiar an opportunity to betray the master at an opportune time, making it a dubious protection at best-however, the wording of 'find familiar' states that the familiar always obeys your commands to the best of it's ability, so just ordering the familiar to never revoke the protection should prevent any betrayal. Check with your DM before trying to pull this on them.
    -->Personally, I'd rule that the imp/quasit's ability to revoke protection vs. the 'always obeys your commands' portion of find familiar is a case of specific vs. general, and thus, the familiar retains the ability to betray the master.
    8) You gain access to the Voice of the Chain Master and Chains of Carceri Invocations.

    Overall, a great pact for scouting, intelligence gathering, and general out-of-combat utility, with a few passive/support applications for combat. I personally like the flavor of this pact, though I find the lack of a proper familiar for the Great Old One patron disappointing (damnit, I want a little non-Euclidean golem.)

    Pact of the Tome:

    You gain access to a 'book of shadows; holding 3 cantrips from any class's spell list. The wording is not 100% clear as to whether you have to choose one class, and take all your cantrips from their spell list (class's implies singular) or whether you can pick and choose from a number of different lists. I tend to think the latter is what was intended, but by a very strict reading of RAW, it's actually the first.
    Choosing good cantrips: Warlocks already have what is arguably the best damaging cantrip in the game, so stay away from things like fire bolt - they don't really add much to your capabilities. If you want to take damaging cantrips, they should be ones with goods secondary effects - shocking grasp is a good choice, as it lets you get away from melee without AOOs, as is the bard's vicious mockery - though the damage on that one is fairly unimpressive. Shillelagh lets you mimic a bladelock, at least for a few levels, and gives you a decent weapon for AOOs, while Spare the Dying helps keep your party members alive, especially if you don't have a cleric. Guidance has some useful out of combat applications, but is not overall the best choice.
    For a well-rounded warlock, my personal choices for Pact of the Tome would be Shillelagh, Shocking Grasp, and Spare the Dying.

    Other things to consider with Pact of the Tome:

    1)The book of shadows burns to ash when you die, even if you're revived a minute later. You can recreate it, of course, but what happens to any ritual spells you've inscribed in it (with the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation) is ambiguous. I'd imagine you'd keep the two you get from the invocation (if not, you could simply switch it out and take it again) but what happens to the others is unclear, and up to DM discretion. Also unclear is whether you get to choose new cantrips each time you replace the book-as a DM, I'd tend towards 'no,' but YMMV.
    2)You gain access to the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation. If you have pact of the tome, you should definitely consider taking this, though the necessity decreases substantially if you have another ritual caster in your party.

    Pact of the Blade:


    Okay, I'm probably going to take some flack for this, but I personally do not like Pact of the Blade. Which is strange, because I've played a gish in virtually every Dungeons and Dragons game I've ever played. It's not a bad option, and there's definitely a thematic appeal to playing a bladelock, but I don't think it stacks up mechanically against the other two options.

    Let's look at what you get:
    1) a variable weapon which can take any form, summonable with an action. Decent for overcoming specific damage-type resistances. Currently there's a lot of discussion about using monster weapons with this feature (minotaur greataxe, dao maul, etc.) By RAW, this application is ambiguous, and the developers have stated that this was NOT RAI. Generally speaking, unless your DM is exceptionally liberal-minded, I'd consider the forms available to be restricted to size-appropriate versions of the weapons in chapter 5 of the PHB (and whatever PC weapons options are listed in former books.) I'll talk more about this later in the 'exploits' section, including my rationale on why it should not work.
    2) you automatically have proficiency with the chosen weapon while wielding the pact blade
    3) the weapon counts as magical for bypassing resistances and immunities
    4) you can make any magical weapon your pact weapon with an hour-long ritual, automatically gaining proficiency with it
    5) You gain access to the Thirsting Blade (extra attack) and Lifedrinker (+charisma modifier to damage) invocations.

    Okay, so with all that, why am I not all over pact of the blade? There's a few reasons:

    1) you don't get it until level 3. This is about the time when magic weapons start showing up (at least in the published adventures) which makes the value of the weapon being magical lower than if it was obtained at level one. Additionally, warlocks already have numerous ways of hurting magic immune or resistant creatures, with eldritch blast being the most obvious.
    2) The damage doesn't appreciably exceed that dealt by an eldritch blast wielding warlock. At level 12, the height of a bladelock's DPR potential, they'll deal 2d6+9 damage (x2) assuming they put all their ability increases into strength and charisma, and are wielding a greatsword. average DPR is 32. In contrast, a warlock with Eldritch blast deals d10+5 (x3) at level 12, for an average DPR of 31.5. Magic weapons skew this total by a few points, but the damage is only nominally greater for a bladelock than a blastlock. In addition, the blastlock has an additional ability increase or feat to throw around, and doesn't have to stand right next to the enemy to deal damage. At level 17, a blastlock gets ANOTHER d10+5 damage, for an average of 44 DPR-even if the bladelock has 20 strength and charisma at that point, and a +3 weapon, they're still only dealing 40 DPR.
    3) It makes you MAD. less so with the Dex-based bladelock (though the damage is a bit lower) you're going to need good strength, reasonable dex and con, and good charisma. Ideally, you want at least a 16 in strength and cha at level 1, with a 14 in dex and con. With a standard point buy or average rolls, this is difficult to manage. If you roll well, you may be able to pull it off, but it's not something to count on.
    4) Opportunity cost. I already touched on this with the ability score increases and MADness, but something else to consider is the fact that a bladelock needs TWO invocations to perform one par with a bog-standard blastlock with ONE (not to mention that you'll probably STILL want agonizing blast for situations where you can't/don't want to get up close and personal with a monster.) It's a significant investment for what is overall not a particularly great improvement in combat efficacy.
    5) The warlock chassis is not made for frontlining. You have a d8 hit die, only light armor proficiency, and no shield proficiency. your AC will not be especially high, not will your max HP. sure, you can buff it with armor of agathys and dark one's blessing for temporary HP, but it doesn't change the fact that you're going to be squishier than any other front-line character. There are ways around this (multiclassing, playing a mountain dwarf, variant human +medium armor proficiency feat) but they are all fundamentally ways of forcing the warlock to perform decently at a role it is not particularly well designed for, rather than making it excel at what it does best.
    6) Summoning your blade requires an action, which could have been spent doing something useful (like casting Eldritch Blast!) This further reduces your average contribution in terms of damage over the course of a fight.

    This is not to say that pact of the blade is bad-it's not, and it fully deserves the Blue rating. What it means is that building a decent bladelock requires significantly more planning and effort than the other pacts to make work, and the optimization ceiling is lower than you might assume at a glance.

    Of course, please note that the needs of your actual party may make playing a bladelock more desirable-If you've got a wizard, a sorceror, and a rogue in your party, you'll probably need the extra staying power on the front lines, which makes a (well-built) bladelock a better choice than it is in a theoretical optimization-vacuum.
    Last edited by Oncoming Storm; 2014-10-18 at 01:19 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Warlock Invocations:

    You get two of these at 2nd level, then one more at 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th levels, for a total of 8 invocations. Additionally, at each new level, you can replace an invocation you possess with another one, giving you even more modularity in terms of build (though this can cause some weird consequences with a few of the invocations.)

    Note that for pact-specific invocations, the rating assumes you have that pact (duh.)

    Agonizing Blast: Add your charisma modifier to damage with your eldritch blast. Given that each increase in EB's power adds a new ray (instead of just increasing the damage) the pain can really add up quickly. Since you're almost certainly taking Eldritch Blast, and your charisma should at least be decent, there's very little reason NOT to have this invocation.

    Armor of Shadows: At-will mage armor. Yippee! given that mage armor lasts for 8 hours, you probably don't need to recast it that often anyways. More to the point, you can WEAR armor which gives you 12+dex AC without expending a precious invocation slot, so this really just amounts to +1 AC. Generally not worth the slot.

    Ascendant Step (level 9): Cast levitate at will, on yourself only. Move up and down with impunity! Moderately useful to turn yourself into an unnassailable (by melee) gun platform. The requirement of an action to get it started, though, plus the fact that it's still a concentration spell (watch out for arrows!) limits it usefulness, as does the fact that wizard has been able to cast fly since 5th level.

    Beast Speech: Moderately useful ability to speak with small animals. If you really wanted to do this, pact of the tome+book of ancient secrets does this more efficiently.

    Beguiling Influence: : proficiency on persuasion and deception. Well, you probably already have proficiency in deception (your class skill list kind of sucks) and persuasion is accessible through backgrounds/being a half-elf/variant human. There are better ways to be a party face, and an invocation is just too high a price.

    Bewitching Whispers (level 7): Let's get this straight-this type of invocation, which let you expend an invocation and spell slot for a one-per day spell? Are generally poor choices. you have very limited spell slots, and limited invocations as well. Unless the spell is a complete game-changer, don't even bother. Compulsion, which this invocation gives you, is essentially a crappy version of hold person-instead of being paralyzed, the enemies move in a direction of your choice (keep in mind, hold person targets 3 enemies as a level 4 spell.) So instead of auto-critting a paralyzed enemy, you have to chase them down. Brilliant.

    Book of Ancient Secrets:(Tome only) Gain 2 1st level rituals in your book of secrets, as well as the ability to cast warlock spells as rituals and add other classes' rituals to your Book (and cast them, of course.) right off the bat, this gives you access to find familiar, which along with Shillelagh from taking Pact of the Tome, allows you to pseudo-replicate both of the other Pact Boons. This isn't even getting into all the other cool rituals you can cast with this either. This is slightly less good if you have wizard or a druid in your party, as they can usually handle most of the rituals, but the initial utility and ability to cast ANY rituals makes this a good choice even then.

    Chains of Carceri: (15th level, Chain only) A fairly limited at-will hold monster, which can target only fiends, elementals, and celestials. I've rated this blue under the assumption that it will only be taken in a campaign where these enemies are reasonably common-if you're fighting mostly undead, this is predictably orange or red.

    Devil's Sight: See through magical and non-magical darkness to a distance of 120 feet. Even as a purely defensive tool (lots of monsters create darkness) this is a decent invocation. Pair it with casting darkness, either from pact magic or the tiefling/drow racial abilities, and it's a terrifyingly effect buff. Worth considering as well for anyone dipping warlock (say, shadows monk.) Not the first invocation to reach for, but a very solid choice which will not let you down.

    Dreadful Word (level 7): : Remember what I said about this kind of invocation? this one isn't quite as bad as Bewitching Whispers, but it still just gives you confusion, a small-radius Save or...sorta suck. I'd avoid it, personally.

    Eldritch Sight: Look, I get it. Someone in the party should be able to spam detect magic, and if you don't have a wizard, it might as well be you. Tome+book of ancient secrets is still way more efficient, though.

    Eldritch Spear: This doubles the range of eldritch blast. Coupled with spell sniper, you can hit targets 600 feet away...assuming you can see them. In my experience, with the exception of set-piece battles, most encounters take place within 60 to 100 feet outdoors, or within 30 feet in an indoor/dungeon environment. Cool, but not overly useful.

    Eyes of the Rune Keeper: Well, this is situationally useful. I mean, if you encounter a scroll written in a dead language holding the key to ultimate arcane power/shutting down the demon-portal/curing the king's madness, you probably want to be able to read it. Wait...what's this? Comprehend Languages? a 1st level ritual? I guess that Tome+Book of Ancient secrets will serve you better here again.

    Fiendish Vigor: Yes, I know false life says it gives you d4+4 temporary hp, but realistically, this is an at-will spell, so you can probably just call it '8' and be done with it. Decent for early levels, especially if you're playing a Bladelock (watch out for redundancy with fiend patron.) You should probably dump this around 5th level, though-8 hp isn't so great when monsters swing for twice that every attack.

    Gaze of Two Minds: Touch a willing humanoid, perceive through their senses for as long as you are willing to spend an action to do so. While this fits with a Great Old One warlock thematically, it basically achieves what a pact of the Chain warlock does without trying. Try combining it with 14th Level 'create thrall' ability for epic spying.

    Lifedrinker (12th level, Blade only): Add your Charisma modifier in necrotic damage to pact blade attacks. If you're playing a Bladelock, this is essentially your capstone.

    Mask of Many Faces: Disguise Self at will - use this to never show your true face, to incite hostility against enemies (by using the 'friends' cantrip) and to get out of legal trouble. A very potent RP tool, albeit a tiny bit situational.

    Master of Myriad Forms (15th level): If you liked the last invocation, be sure to switch it for this one at level 15 to gain even more benefits with fewer restrictions. Alter Self at will is fairly awesome.

    Minions of Chaos (level 9): Look, I get it, it's a powerful spell, elementals are strong combatants and it can last for several encounters if managed right. If you have proficiency with Con saves, a good Con modifier, and War Caster, maybe give this a look. Otherwise, it's got a fair chance to turn a reasonably dangerous encounter into a potential TPK when you lose concentration on the spell and the Elemental attacks you. Unlike a druid, you can't exactly turn into a squirrel and hide to avoid being targeted.

    Mire the Mind: (level 5) Remember how I said this kind of invocation was generally bad? This one's an exception. Slow has the potential to completely wreck an encounter, leaving the melee on cleanup duty.

    Misty Visions: Silent image at will has a lot of utility, as any 3.5 player surely knows. hide behind illusory walls/trees/rocks, make terrifying monster illusions, or otherwise screw with the opposition. In terms of breadth of application, this is one of the best invocations around, though it is somewhat dependent on how the DM defines 'interacting with' the illusion.

    One With Shadows: (level 5) If for some reason you're scouting alone and not using your Pact of the Chain familiar, this can make you even stealthier. In a pinch, it might save you from getting killed, or at least let you escape a TPK. Still, it's a very situational ability.

    Otherworldly Leap (Level 9): Gain the ability to cast jump on yourself at will. Not very impressive, especially since if you really needed the mobility, Ascendant step also unlocks at this level.

    Repelling Blast: Your eldritch blast now knocks enemies back 10 feet when it hits. No size restriction on the target being pushed, which is unusual (and great!) Knock enemies off cliffs, into traps, or just away from YOU. Combos great with spike growth or entangle for extra delaying power, with wall of fire for more damage, or with virtually any persistent AOE damage or debuff spell. The only reason this isn't light blue is that it's probably not going to be one of the first invocations you reach for-since the knockback is per hit, it gets substantially better at levels 5, 11, and 17. Consider picking this up at level 5 or so, unless your DM is especially fond of environmental hazards OR you have a druid in the party.

    Sculptor of Flesh (level 7): It's another one of those one/day spell invocations-only this one is amazing. Once per day being able to turn a party member into a 150 hp Giant Ape seems like it might be worth an invocation-and if it's not, turning enemies into newts might just do the trick. I'd recommend this being your level 7 invocation slot about 95% of the time.

    Sign of Ill Omen (level 5): aaaaaand right back to crappy spell invocations. Bestow Curse is fairly situational debuff at the best of times, and is at it's best as a low-level quest hook. In no way is this worth an invocation slot. Also, bestow curse should definitely be on the warlock spell list, from a thematic perspective at least.

    Thief of Five Fates: I really want to like this invocation. Bane is a decent spell-most enemies don't have great charisma saves, it can make a very decent set-up for a more debilitating spell, and it scales fairly well. That being said, invocations are scarce enough, especially at low levels, that I can't see finding room for this in many builds. On a related note, shouldn't Bane be on the warlock spell list?

    Thirsting Blade (level 5, Blade Only): Grants an extra attack to a bladelock using the Pact Blade class feature. Does not stack with other sources of Extra Attack (fighter 5/11, barbarian 5, etc.) If you're playing a bladelock, you're taking this.

    Visions of Distant Realms (level 15): Allows you to cast Arcane Eye at will, giving you a fairly decent means of mid-range spying. At level 15, though, you've probably got better options if you have a wizard or a cleric in the party. Additionally, a Pact of the Chain warlock can do something similar at level 3, without using an invocation (alternatively, using an invocation and gaining extra utility. The only thing which really recommends this invocation is that, by level 15, you might be running out of amazing invocations to take.

    Voice of the Chain Master (Chain Only): It's not the first invocation to reach for, but if you need a long-range, invisible scout or messenger, this invocation will let you do that several levels before the wizard gets their first major divination spell. However, note that even without this invocation, your familiar can still SCOUT more than 100 feet away from you, you just can't share senses. Therefore, this is mainly useful for times where you don't think the (invisible, flying, tiny) familiar will survive, and you want information regardless. Kind of a niche invocation, but it serves it's purpose reasonably well.

    Whispers of the Grave (9th level): Speak with Dead is a situational enough spell that having it at-will is not really going to help you most of the time. If you really need this spell, a cleric does it better and with less investment. On the bright side, you'll never have to worry about leaving survivors to question again!

    Witch Sight (15th level): This invocation essentially gives you limited true sight when you take it, allowing you to detect shapeshifters or creatures disguised by illusion magic. Note that as this invocation is worded, you CANNOT detect static illusions (illusory walls, etc.) only things like disguise self or seeming. This invocation runs into the same problem as Visions of Distant Realms-by the time you get this, it's pretty much obsolete. That being said, if the campaign has lots of shapeshifters masquerading as humans (at level 15+) or you're in a high-level politics-heavy game, this can be fairly useful. Not generally worth the invocation slot, though.

    Feats


    As I'm sure you know, feats are an optional rule (albeit a widely used one) and it's possible that they won't be available in your game. In that case, unless you're a bladelock, you'll probably be sad, because blastlocks are one of the SADdest classes in the book, only REALLY needing to max out charisma to reach maximum efficiency. That means that after your level 8 increase, you'll be dumping points into secondary stats. Not that more Con is bad, per se, but you'd probably rather pick up a feat.

    Alert: Remember improved initiative in 3.5? Remember how good it was on a caster? This is better, giving you a +5 initiative bonus, immunity to being surprised while awake, and preventing other creatures from gaining advantage on attacks made while hidden. This is pretty much the ultimate anti-assassin tool. The usefulness of this feat depends on how often your DM uses ambushes, but it's never going to be a BAD choice. Having said that, it might be better to delay this until you level 12 increase.

    Athlete: This isn't BAD, per se-if you're a bladelock with say, 17 strength and 16 charisma, this is going to be strictly better than taking the stat boost to strength. Still, the ancillary effects are pretty underwhelming, and if you really want a +1 to strength/dex feat, there are better ones out there.

    Actor: One of the two +1 charisma feats available. Like athlete, this is strictly better than a +2 stat boost in some cases. The extra boost to your ability to mimic others is only marginally useful, however. Unlike athlete, though, you don't have a bevy of other charisma-boosting feats to choose from, and this is strictly better than resilient (charisma) for a single-classed warlock.

    Charger: This isn't a great feat for a fighter or a barbarian, it's not even an 'okay' feat for you. No, not even for a bladelock.

    Crossbow Expert: You are not proficient with hand crossbows and the pact blade is limited to melee weapons, making this feat more or less a bust for most warlocks. That being said, if you're a multiclassed character or a drow bladelock, this can net you another attack in melee, while allowing you to bust out close-ranged eldritch blasts without incurring disadvantage. Of course, bladelocks are already kind of MAD and aren't likely to have many feats, so...

    Defensive Duellist: Not worth it for blastlocks, and even for bladelocks, there are better feats.

    Dual Wielder: Doesn't synergize at all with the warlock. you only get one pact blade, which requires an action to manifest with or without this feat, and you don't get a fighting style to make TWF tolerably decent. Stick with a single rapier or two-hander, you'll do better.

    Dungeon Delver: Decent for the Barbarian who wants to check for traps with his face. Not so good for you with your D8 hit die.

    Durable: +1 con is decent, but there are better ways to get that. The bonus to short-rest healing is very small, and anyways, you shouldn't be the one taking the most damage in fights (bladelock excepted, but again, MAD, few feats, etc.)

    Elemental Adept: I may be valuing this more highly than I should, but the thing is that unlike wizards, Warlocks don't really have the option of switching damage types against resistant enemies. Especially if you're a fiend pact warlock, you're going to have a lot of fire damage spells and not much else. Of course, not much resists your Eldritch Blast, so you'll rarely be entirely out of options, but still, this can help. It doesn't hurt that fire damage tends to use the smallest dice of any elemental damage type (d6s) meaning you'll get the most mileage out of this feat's second ability. Just remember that this makes the tiefling's 'fireball panic button' a lot less of a desirable option-it's not just enemy resistances you ignore, after all!

    Grappler: If you're voluntarily grappling enemies into submission as a warlock, you're probably a Great Old One warlock whose insanity has developed into full-on suicidal tendencies. Just don't.

    Great Weapon Master: This rating assumes you're playing a strength-bladelock with a two-handed weapon. This gives everything to you that it gives to a martial character, except your attacks are individually more damaging due to thirsting blade. If you only have one or two feats as a strength-bladelock, this should probably be one of them.

    Healer: Minor amounts of non-magical healing! which quickly becomes irrelevant! In all honesty, the only thing this is good for is getting an unconscious ally up and fleeing. If you really need this utility, carrying a healing potion or two accomplishes the same thing, as does having a cleric, paladin, or druid in the party (especially with healing word.)

    Heavily Armored: +1 Strength and Proficiency with heavy armor. If you're playing straight warlock, this requires two feats (or a mountain dwarf) to make work. If you're multiclassing martial, odds are decent you already have heavy armor proficiency. For a strength-based mountain dwarf bladelock, I can see this potentially being worthwhile (start with a 17 in strength, take Heavily Armored, profit) but even then, you'll most likely have other stats you want to increase more than you want a few extra points of AC.

    Heavy Armor Master: Reduce incoming non-magical weapon damage by 3. This shouldn't need repeating, but you are not a tank. At most, you're a character who doesn't need to be protected BY a tank. On top of which, the reduction becomes fairly insignificant pretty quickly, and enemies with magical attacks are pretty common starting at level 4 or 5. The only time I'd really recommend this (for anyone) is as a level 1 feat for a variant human martial character, as it increases your chances of living to level 4. For you, this feat takes substantial multiclassing, and/or one to two prerequisite feats to access. It shouldn't even really be on the table most of the time.

    Inspiring Leader: Spend 10 minutes giving your allies between 4 and 25 temporary hp (depending on your level and charisma modifier.) This isn't exactly irrelevant, and represents a pretty substantial HP swing for some characters, repeatable every short rest. And if any character is going to take this, it should probably be you, given your charisma focus. a level 20 fighter with 18 Con will have an average of 204 hp, and a wizard 20 with 16 Con will have 142, so it falls off pretty hard towards the upper levels (not to mention the negative synergy with armor of agathys and other sources of temporary HP.) I'd say it's probably not worth it (though it's usefulness increases with a larger party/hirelings/etc) but it's not nearly as bad as it appears at first glance.

    Keen Mind: Colloquially known as the 'F*** You, DM' feat, the main value of this feat is in trying to force the DM to recall the names of every villager you have been introduced to in the last month. For a wizard, this is a decent feat if they have an odd-numbered Int score, but for you? Not so much. I do find it funny how the feat gives you an exact time limit on your eidetic memory-you can precisely remember a page of detailed text for 30 days, but on the 31st? Nope, it's gone. Seriously, though, this a terrible feat for a warlock.

    Lightly Armored:This feat gives light armor proficiency. You have light armor proficiency. Redundant.

    Linguist: Another +1 Int feat. This one is marginally useful, as no longer is every DnD character automatically trilingual, but still. Not a feat for a warlock.

    Lucky: I honestly didn't expect this feat to make it from the playtest to the final product as is. Having a free source of advantage 3/day (especially on saves) is pretty damn nice, but the way it turns disadvantage into super-advantage pushes it over the top, and leads to arbitrary silliness like dropping prone while attacking to increase your chances of hitting. I don't personally allow this feat into games I DM without revision (generally by allowing the use of a luck point to cancel out disadvantage instead of granting super-advantage.) That being said, if your DM lets you take it as written, by all means milk this sucker for all it's worth.

    Mage Slayer: Feats like this are one of the reasons why I dislike the Pact of the Blade. They're cool, effective, and give you options most characters don't have...but as a blade pact warlock, you're likely never going to have the opportunity to take them, between the need to compensate for your MADness and the other, more universally useful feats.

    Magic Initiate: If you need cantrips this badly, perhaps I can introduce you to a lovely little class feature called Pact of the Tome. As it stands, this feat pretty much restricts you to bard or sorceror cantrips, since you use the original classes' casting stat.

    Martial Adept: Gain a battlemaster maneuver, usable once/short rest, with a smaller die than a battlemaster uses. Not impressed.

    Medium Armor Master: Let's be honest here, this feat is basically +1 AC in medium armor. the problem is, the best medium armor in the game is 15+dex (max 2, 3 with this feat) for a total of 17/18 AC. Thing is, you probably already HAVE 16+ dex when you take this feat, meaning that you might as well take the stat boost and wear light armor/mage armor.

    Mobile: Great for a Rogue who wants to jump in, sneak attack, then flee. Not so good for you.

    Moderately Armored: This is actually a fairly decent feat, especially if you take it at 1st level as a variant human. with a +2 Dex modifier, bumps your AC from a 'meh' 14 to a respectable 18 or 19 (if you can afford the best medium armor.) a 4-5 point jump in AC is not to be sniffed at, and it doesn't cost you a statboost if gained via Variant human. However, the same benefits can be had from a 1-level dip in a number of classes.

    Mounted Combatant: well, this makes the Lancer blade pact warlock not actively terrible, but it doesn't give you enough to be worthwhile, unless you've got a very specific build idea.

    Observant: A bonus to one of your two tertiary stats, with associated minor bonuses. The buff to passive perception is actually quite nice, but if you're that paranoid, why aren't you taking Alert?

    Polearm Master: If you're playing a blade pact warlock, this gives you another attack to add your 'Lifedrinker' bonus to, and lets you AOO enemies which move into your melee range. If you combine this with Warcaster+Repelling Blast+literal interpretation of RAW (+optional sentinel feat), this is nice little 'can't touch me' combo (see 'Exploits' section.) If you're not a bladelock, don't touch this with a...well, a 10-foot pole.

    Resilient: gain a +1 bonus to a stat, and proficiency in associated saving throws. Slightly frustrating in that while you probably WANT to increase Charisma, you're already proficient in the save. Still, it's decent for increasing your Con saves (both save-or-die effects and concentration tend to target Con) and if you plan ahead, you might get another point of Con modifier out of it. If you're multi-classing, starting out as a class proficient in Con saves (but not charisma saves) allows you to profitably apply this feat to Charisma.

    Ritual Caster: Similar to Magic Initiate, if you wanted this ability, you should probably have chosen Pact of the Tome, rather than wasted a feat on this.

    Savage Attacker: Re-roll one damage dice per turn! Gain a potential small increase in damage at the expense of a stat-boost or an actually applicable feat! how could I possibly turn this down?

    Sentinel: Unlike Polearm master, this feat isn't something you particularly want unless you're going for the combo I described earlier. You're probably not a tank, you don't particularly want to draw aggro, even if you are a blade-pact warlock, and you don't deal absurd once per turn spike damage (like a rogue.) This feat just doesn't really do a lot for you.

    Sharpshooter: You have a long ranged attack with better damage and a better damage TYPE than a bow, which scales off your primary stat. There is virtually no reason for you to take this.

    Shield Master: Requires shield proficiency, which as a general rule, you won't have. Even if you do have it, the extra attack doesn't deal damage (activating Lifedrinker) and the bonuses to Dexterity saves and Vs. AOEs are only moderately good. Even if you qualify for this, a more specialized feat will generally serve you better.

    Skilled: Proficiency in 3 Skills. Bland, not particularly powerful, and boring. Between your class and your background, you should have most of the skills you need, and if that's not enough, half-elf and variant human both give you even more skills. I see very little reason to ever take this.

    Skulker: You don't rely on stealth, attacking from hiding doesn't give you much of a bonus, and you don't use ranged weapons. Pass.

    Spell Sniper: Don't be fooled by the name, the main benefit of this spell is NOT the doubled range on attack spells. Ignoring cover is nice, and makes your blastlock more accurate. An extra cantrip is decent too, especially if you didn't take pact of the tome (I recommend shocking grasp.) Grab this at level 12, after maxing charisma, or earlier if your DM is fond of the cover rules.

    Tavern Brawler: This adds nothing to any warlock build. A bladelock is never unarmed, and a blastlock doesn't need a weapon to destroy things.

    Tough: +2 hp per level. Basically +4 Constitution, except without the highly relevant bonus to Constitution saves. If you're actually considering this, You should probably be taking Inspiring Leader instead.

    War Caster: . The meat of this feat is the advantage on Concentration saves caused by damage, letting you get more mileage out of concentration spells (like hex).This is a great feat for a blastlock, though whether it's better than Resilient is debatable. A Bladelock probably won't have enough feats/ability boosts to look at this unless they're going for the Warcaster+Polearm Master+Repelling Blast exploit.

    Weapon Master: Proficiency in an 4 Weapons. Considering the only way you should be using weapons is if you're a bladelock, and as a result, proficient with the only weapon you will ever use, this feat has no real value to you.
    Last edited by Oncoming Storm; 2014-10-18 at 04:46 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    reserved again.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    Alright, so the 5th edition player's handbook has been out for a few months now, and with it comes my favorite class, the Warlock. A nifty hybrid of it's 3.5 and 4th edition incarnations, the Warlock is an incredibly versatile class with a great suite of options and abilities. That being said, the sheer number of options can be confusing, so this guide is intended to help newer players get the hang of what the Warlock is all about!

    With that in mind, I'll be using the following ranking system for the options players have in constructing their warlock:

    Light Blue: This is one of the best options available. You should seriously consider working it into any character you plan on building.
    Blue: A very solid option or ability, better than average and likely to see use regularly.
    Black: No better or no worse than most other options out there. not likely to vastly improve your character, but still useful.
    Orange: Sub-optimal choice or feature. May be worth taking if it combos well with something else, but not generally a great option otherwise.
    Red: Stay away. Unless you really like the RP implications of something marked red, don't even bother.

    The layout for the guide will be as follows:

    1. Stat assignment
    2. Races, or 'you mean I don't HAVE to be a tiefling?'
    3. The Warlock Chassis
    4. Pacts and Boons
    5. Invocations
    6. Feats
    7. Spells
    8. Multiclassing

    1. Stat Assignment

    For the purpose of this guide, I'm assuming you are using the point buy given in the PHB. If you happen to be rolling for stats, YMMV, but the prioritization of stats remains similar.

    Strength:: If you're not playing a blade-pact warlock, you can comfortably dump this. Even you are playing a bladelock, Dexterity is probably a better investment. Suggested starting value: 8

    [COLOR="#000000"]Dext[/COLOR]erity: A decent investment, as it adds to your AC and initiative, and Dexterity saves are fairly common. If you're playing a Dex-bladelock, this should be valued even more highly. Suggested starting value: 14-16

    Constitution: As always, Con remains important for just about everyone. HP are always useful, and in this edition, the number of TERRIFYING save-or-suck/die effects based on Con is fairly high, starting at quite low CRs. A bladelock wants this to be higher than other warlocks, but is also less likely to have points to put into it. Suggested starting value: 14-16.

    Intelligence: Doesn't do a lot for you, aside from making you less susceptible to Intellect Devourers. Personally, I hate playing stupid characters, but honestly Int doesn't do a lot for the core class mechanics. Suggested starting value: 8-12

    [COLOR="#000000"]Wisdom:[/COLOR] Again, aside from saves and perception, doesn't do much for you. Wisdom saves seem more common than Int saves so far (though see intellect devourer for reasons not to dump Int.) that being said, you do get proficiency on wisdom saves, so it's not as critical as it otherwise might be. Suggested starting value: 8-12

    Charisma: Your primary ability. Spell DC's, Agonizing Blast damage, even melee damage (with Lifedrinker) scale off of this. You want it to be as high as possible. Suggested starting value:16

    In general, consider the following for stat prioritization: Cha>Con/Dex>Int/Wis>Str.

    Races:

    Now we'll look at the races which make good Warlocks. Of course, the first thing to look for is a bonus to Charisma-if a race doesn't boost charisma, it needs some pretty hefty benefits to make up for it.

    Hill Dwarf: Well, you'll be resilient as all hell in terms of HP-by level four, you could have +5 hp/level on top of your hit die, making you tough to take down. The lack of a bonus to either of your offensive stats (dex or cha) hurts quite a bit, though, and the weapon proficiency is not likely to be used. If you start at level 4 or higher, you could maybe make an argument for playing a hill dwarf (+1 into con, +1 into charisma for 18 con and 16 cha) but I don't really see the draw.

    Mountain Dwarf: Unlike the Hill Dwarf, the mountain dwarf makes a decent choice for a blade-pact warlock. the weapon proficiency keeps you trucking till level 3, while the armor helps keep you alive. This is one of the only cases in which I'd say playing a strength based blade-lock is a good idea-you can't use shields anyway, so you might as well two hand a maul or something. the decreased reliance on charisma at early levels makes the lack of a bonus less painful, though you'll still want to get it up there eventually (for lifedrinker.)

    High Elf:: Blah. bonuses to a secondary stat and a dump stat, relatively useless proficiencies, and an extra cantrip on a caster class? pass.

    Wood Elf:: same deal as the high elf, exchange the cantrip for a bit of speed and making you a bit more sneaky. edges out high elf in terms of usefulness, but only slightly.

    Drow: Man, that's more like it! bonus to charisma, GREAT darkvision, some nice SLAs as you level up, even decent weapon proficiencies (Rapier and hand crossbow) for early levels! Wait...what's this 'sunlight sensitivity' thing...disadvantage on all attacks and perception checks in bright light? Well, bugger.
    Sadly, Drow are rendered virtually unplayable by sunlight sensitivity. It's such a colossal debuff that there's virtually no reason to play them. If your DM or party are willing to work around this (sunglasses, adventuring at night, houserules) drow are a solid choice. Otherwise, AVOID.

    Lightfoot Halfling: Bonuses to dex and charisma, plus the ability to re-roll natural ones make Lightfoot halflings a solid choice for warlocks. Not really much else to say, you won't go wrong by playing one of these guys. Not the best choice, though.

    Stoutheart Halfling:: On the other hand, stoutheart halflings make poor warlocks. +1 con and resistance to poison is not worth the charisma hit in this case.

    Human/Variant Human: regular humans are very, very, very meh. I'm tempted to give them an Orange rating, but the bonus to charisma makes them borderline acceptable warlocks. Variant humans, on the other hand, are potentially bonkers. You really only care about 2 (maybe 3) stats anyways, so the loss of the +1 to tertiary and dump stats doesn't really hurt. The feat is INSANELY powerful, to the point where I've seen DMs ban variant human to prevent abuse. the extra skill proficiency is just gravy, to be honest--but tasty gravy nonetheless. I would say that variant human easily competes as one of the top races for warlocks (not to mention for everything else.) If it's allowed, definitely consider it.

    Dragonborn: bonus to charisma, check. bonus to dump stat...meh. the breath weapon quickly becomes irrelevant, and while damage resistance is nice, there are better choices.

    Forest Gnome: The advantage on magic saving throws is nice, but it doesn't outweigh the lack of ANYTHING ELSE this race offers to a prospective warlock.

    Rock Gnome:: Like the forest gnome, instead of marginally useful information gathering through speaking with animals, you gain the ability to-through significant effort and time investment-replicate a tinderbox. It's cute and flufftastic, but not terribly relevant for a warlock.

    Half-Elf: Another contestant for 'best race in the PHB' the half-elf gives you a +2 bonus to charisma, and a +1 bonus to your two secondary stats (probably dex and con.) Plus two skill proficiencies, with no restrictions whatsoever, and situational resistance to certain magic effects. YES, PLEASE.

    Half-Orc: No bonus to charisma, bonus to dump stat, abilities geared towards a fighter or barbarian. Pass.

    Tiefling:: Are you really surprised? bonus to charisma, some excellent SLAs, resistance to the most common elemental damage type...all adds up to a pretty damn sweet warlock. Tiefling warlock (especially fiend pact) is also a classic, albeit a little bit overdone these days. I'd say tiefling DOES rank behind half-elf and variant human by a bit (no bonus to con or dex,) but it's still one of the best warlock races out there.
    I'd note that Tiefling gets Darkness, which is simply fantastic with Devil's Sight. Makes them equal to variant humans, imo.

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    Added. I personally dislike that combo-it's undeniably useful, but it leaves the rest of the party out of the action unless they have their own ways of negating magical darkness. Also, unless you have party members already tanking, it's easy for enemies to simply walk out of the spell's radius. It's way more useful with Hunger of Hadar, for the difficult terrain and additional damage.

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    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Quote Originally Posted by Rummy View Post
    I'd note that Tiefling gets Darkness, which is simply fantastic with Devil's Sight. Makes them equal to variant humans, imo.
    I don't want to be mister meany-pants, but could you please only quote the part of the post you're actually responding to instead of the whole super long post?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post

    Human/Variant Human: regular humans are very, very, very meh. I'm tempted to give them an Orange rating, but the bonus to charisma makes them borderline acceptable warlocks.
    I don't quite agree with this, I think the ordinary human is fine in terms of stat boosts, +1 to all three important stats is nothing to sneeze at, their disadvantage is the fact that 1. they don't get darkvision and 2. they lack the cool extra like the halfling reroll or the dragonborn breath weapon.

    One final nit-pick, this thread is titled Eldritch Might, which is rather close the Eldritch Knight, you don't have to change it, but I find it a little bit confusing.
    Schrödinger cat? Schrödinger wizard? Schrödinger monk?
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    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    For the sake of readers and mobile phones, could folks snip thier posts, to reduce the amount you are reposting ?

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    I think strength is a stronger stat for blade pact warlocks than stated due to their ability to use any weapon in the game via pact weapon. That technically means that even the often mentioned minotaur axes and devil polearms are free game. It's very DM-dependent, though, and you may never encounter such weapons.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2014-10-16 at 10:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    Drow: Man, that's more like it! bonus to charisma, GREAT darkvision, some nice SLAs as you level up, even decent weapon proficiencies (Rapier and hand crossbow) for early levels! Wait...what's this 'sunlight sensitivity' thing...disadvantage on all attacks and perception checks in bright light? Well, bugger.
    Sadly, Drow are rendered virtually unplayable by sunlight sensitivity. It's such a colossal debuff that there's virtually no reason to play them. If your DM or party are willing to work around this (sunglasses, adventuring at night, houserules) drow are a solid choice. Otherwise, AVOID.
    What's so "colossal" about the debuff, and why would that negate playing a drow at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    Human/Variant Human: regular humans are very, very, very meh. I'm tempted to give them an Orange rating, but the bonus to charisma makes them borderline acceptable warlocks. Variant humans, on the other hand, are potentially bonkers. You really only care about 2 (maybe 3) stats anyways, so the loss of the +1 to tertiary and dump stats doesn't really hurt. The feat is INSANELY powerful, to the point where I've seen DMs ban variant human to prevent abuse. the extra skill proficiency is just gravy, to be honest--but tasty gravy nonetheless. I would say that variant human easily competes as one of the top races for warlocks (not to mention for everything else.) If it's allowed, definitely consider it.
    "INSANELY powerful" you say? What's so insanely powerful about it? What feat could someone take at first level that would be "abusive"? Please, enlighten me.
    Last edited by fnordz; 2014-10-16 at 11:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rummy View Post
    I'd note that Tiefling gets Darkness, which is simply fantastic with Devil's Sight. Makes them equal to variant humans, imo.
    Wow, Rummy. Did you have to quote the entire guide (3 pages at the time on my screen) just to add that comment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix_of_Doom View Post
    I don't want to be mister meany-pants, but could you please only quote the part of the post you're actually responding to instead of the whole super long post?
    Oops - didn't realize that issue has already been pointed out. My bad for redundancy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenix_of_Doom View Post
    One final nit-pick, this thread is titled Eldritch Might, which is rather close the Eldritch Knight, you don't have to change it, but I find it a little bit confusing.
    +1 for this comment

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    I would absolutely agree with you...if I thought that the ability of Warlocks to use monster weapons (especially oversized monster weapons) was actually an intended outcome of the rules. As it stands, I think that it would require an INCREDIBLY lax DM to allow their use by a player. Especially since the PHB has been pretty careful about avoiding this kind of shenanigans.
    At this point, I'm only assuming that players have access to things a reasonably moderate DM would allow. I'll certainly note the exploits available, but for most people actually playing the game I don't think they'll come into play.

    As for the human, I don't think they're BAD per se, but the +1 to all stats doesn't outweigh the lack of other racial bonuses for me. If you're making an extremely MAD character, (strength bladelock, for instance, which needs reasonable strength, dex, con, and cha) it could be worthwhile, but otherwise, a more specialized race tends to be a better choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    I would absolutely agree with you...if I thought that the ability of Warlocks to use monster weapons (especially oversized monster weapons) was actually an intended outcome of the rules. As it stands, I think that it would require an INCREDIBLY lax DM to allow their use by a player. Especially since the PHB has been pretty careful about avoiding this kind of shenanigans.
    At this point, I'm only assuming that players have access to things a reasonably moderate DM would allow. I'll certainly note the exploits available, but for most people actually playing the game I don't think they'll come into play.

    As for the human, I don't think they're BAD per se, but the +1 to all stats doesn't outweigh the lack of other racial bonuses for me. If you're making an extremely MAD character, (strength bladelock, for instance, which needs reasonable strength, dex, con, and cha) it could be worthwhile, but otherwise, a more specialized race tends to be a better choice.
    Personally, I found human to be one of the weakest choices unless there's a really good reason for RP or that feat fits in nicely somewhere. The +1 to all stats, as you point out, just isn't that overwhelmingly badass.

    What about the drow question?
    Last edited by fnordz; 2014-10-16 at 12:44 PM.

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    disadvantage on all to hit rolls in bright light. Given that the Warlock's main schtick is hitting things with either an eldritch blast or a pact blade (both of which require attack rolls) this is pretty crippling. Of course, it doesn't really apply in dungeons, so it's not an always-on debuff, but it makes you pretty useless outside during the day. Not do mention an enemy casting a low-mid level light spell is debilitating, even if you are indoors/at night. Like I said, if you can mitigate it or your campaign relies heavily on dungeon-crawling/underdark expeditions, Drow are great. Otherwise, the debuff is substantial and could easily get you killed.

    As for variant humans, I think that the feat and the skill proficiency, coupled with being able to put the two +1 bonuses into cha and dex or con makes them better than the other races. Tieflings get +1 int they don't REALLY need, and half-elves don't get the feat (which is substantial.) I don't think they're necessarily better than other specialized options overall, but there is virtually no class for which a variant human is not a competitive choice. As far as first level feat choices...Lucky is insane, medium armor proficiency+shield proficiency is better than most other racial benefits, as are Alert, Resilient, and arguably war caster and spell sniper. Note that I didn't say I would ban variant human, nor that it should be banned, just that I've seen it done.
    Last edited by Oncoming Storm; 2014-10-16 at 01:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberThread View Post
    How do you feel about using, and changing the compacts?
    A) you just quoted several posts and dozens of lines to post one question
    B) I think you meant pacts, not compacts

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    give me a bit, I haven't finished writing this yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    Drow: Man, that's more like it! bonus to charisma, GREAT darkvision, some nice SLAs as you level up, even decent weapon proficiencies (Rapier and hand crossbow) for early levels! Wait...what's this 'sunlight sensitivity' thing...disadvantage on all attacks and perception checks in bright light? Well, bugger.
    Sadly, Drow are rendered virtually unplayable by sunlight sensitivity. It's such a colossal debuff that there's virtually no reason to play them. If your DM or party are willing to work around this (sunglasses, adventuring at night, houserules) drow are a solid choice. Otherwise, AVOID.
    I guess we interpret "Direct Sunlight" rather differently. The way I see it, Drow are bad outside during the day, but in say a forest or if it's over cast, they're perfectly fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    Added. I personally dislike that combo-it's undeniably useful, but it leaves the rest of the party out of the action unless they have their own ways of negating magical darkness. Also, unless you have party members already tanking, it's easy for enemies to simply walk out of the spell's radius. It's way more useful with Hunger of Hadar, for the difficult terrain and additional damage.
    You don't cast Darkness on the enemy, your cast it on YOURSELF (specifically, on something you're wearing). Free advantage on all attacks.

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    Which is a perfectly fine interpretation. I'd hope most DM's are willing to work with drow players to make it work, but as-written, the ability can be extremely debilitating. I can't control for DM interpretation of the rules, so it doesn't really factor into my rating-drow are either good, because the weakness is mitigated, or terrible, because the downside is ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberThread View Post
    ...a million friggin lines snipped...
    How do you feel about using, and changing the compacts?
    WTF?

    No, seriously. WTF?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    You don't cast Darkness on the enemy, your cast it on YOURSELF (specifically, on something you're wearing). Free advantage on all attacks.
    If the enemy is within a 20ft radius.
    In my experience, your party members are much more likely to be inside that radius than enemies-if you go off away from the party and do this, the enemies will more than likely ignore the darkness bubble and go after the party, while you don't get advantage on enemies OUTSIDE the darkness. It's also a concentration spell, so getting hit has a decent chance of disrupting the spell, and you can't concentrate on, say, hex for increased damage output. It's good, I don't see it as being broken, or even necessarily worth the invocation.

    that being said, if your whole party are warlocks/dipping warlock to do this trick, it's pretty damn awesome.
    Last edited by Oncoming Storm; 2014-10-16 at 01:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    disadvantage on all to hit rolls in bright light. Given that the Warlock's main schtick is hitting things with either an eldritch blast or a pact blade (both of which require attack rolls) this is pretty crippling. Of course, it doesn't really apply in dungeons, so it's not an always-on debuff, but it makes you pretty useless outside during the day. Not do mention an enemy casting a low-mid level light spell is debilitating, even if you are indoors/at night. Like I said, if you can mitigate it or your campaign relies heavily on dungeon-crawling/underdark expeditions, Drow are great. Otherwise, the debuff is substantial and could easily get you killed.

    As for variant humans, I think that the feat and the skill proficiency, coupled with being able to put the two +1 bonuses into cha and dex or con makes them better than the other races. Tieflings get +1 int they don't REALLY need, and half-elves don't get the feat (which is substantial.) I don't think they're necessarily better than other specialized options overall, but there is virtually no class for which a variant human is not a competitive choice. As far as first level feat choices...Lucky is insane, medium armor proficiency+shield proficiency is better than most other racial benefits, as are Alert, Resilient, and arguably war caster and spell sniper. Note that I didn't say I would ban variant human, nor that it should be banned, just that I've seen it done.
    As Starsinger pointed out, it's not in "bright light" - it's ONLY in "direct sunlight", according to the rules. Light spells, well-lit rooms, anything other than "direct sunlight" does not apply. Overcast day? No problem. In a forest? No problem. On a battlefield at high noon? You may have a problem. I envision the drow caught in this situation as using another ability and then getting out of the situation. Ideally, they'd prefer not to be forced to fight at a disadvantage to begin with... there's also the darkness/devil's sight combo, which- as MaxWilson pointed out- would effectively give you advantage on all attacks, meaning that IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT, your disadvantage would be negated (and unless your opponents can see in magical darkness, their disadvantage would still exist), and in any OTHER situation, well, you've got advantage and they have disadvantage on attacks- now THAT'S serious benefit to you and quite a detriment to your opponent.

    Also, with that darkness combo, it's a 15' radius- but you could work it in pretty well because of how it's written. Say on your turn, you cast darkness on your enemy's belt pouch or something innocuous. 15' radius darkness spreads. They don't know what it's cast on and they're freaking out. Your party closes on the enemy, you cancel the spell, and the enemy is surrounded and didn't see them coming. Conversely, you could do the same to yourself... party can link together, and since you're the only one who can see, you can navigate freely. Enemy sees some 15' moving bubble of darkness, no idea what's inside.

    Lots of possibilities with that combo. Remember, covering the "source" of the darkness effectively stops the emanation. That could prove useful at times also, for the creative player.

    Re: variant humans- they're not too shabby, and there are some pretty useful feats out there, but I don't see them as super broken or anything like some of the DMs you mention. All of those feats are available to everyone else at 4th level (and above) too, it's just that humans get one at first level. Conversely, some of the racial abilities that races get, humans CANNOT get, regardless of level. In other words, that feat you want at first level better be hugely advantageous, otherwise it's outclassed by some of the other racials IMO.
    Last edited by fnordz; 2014-10-16 at 02:05 PM.

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    I'm curious which racial traits you're referring to here-I don't see many which I wouldn't trade for a feat.
    The argument I've heard made is that some characters with 1st level feats trivialize certain types of enemies and encounters. Heavy armor master on a fighter or paladin, for instance, makes them mostly immune to goblins, kobolds, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    If the enemy is within a 20ft radius.
    In my experience, your party members are much more likely to be inside that radius than enemies-if you go off away from the party and do this, the enemies will more than likely ignore the darkness bubble and go after the party, while you don't get advantage on enemies OUTSIDE the darkness. It's also a concentration spell, so getting hit has a decent chance of disrupting the spell, and you can't concentrate on, say, hex for increased damage output. It's good, I don't see it as being broken, or even necessarily worth the invocation.

    that being said, if your whole party are warlocks/dipping warlock to do this trick, it's pretty damn awesome.
    I think you mean "120 ft", not "20 ft". Was that a typo?

    Here's how it works:

    Devil's Sight lets you see through magical or non-magical darkness up to 120'. You cast Darkness on yourself or something you are wearing, which provides magical darkness within 15' of you. Now, nobody without blindsense/Devil's Sight can see you, so per the visibility rules all your attacks on them are made with advantage unless they have the Alert feat. Likewise, because they cannot see you, their attacks on you are made with disadvantage. Your fellow party members shouldn't be within 15' of you or else they will take advantage + disadvantage on all their attacks (which cancels out but is annoying and probably needs better rules), so your Darkness isn't impairing them at all.

    If you attack creatures more than 120' away you take advantage + disadvantage as normal for zero net effect.

    I agree that Devil's Sight is not the first invocation I would take (there are other ways to get advantage), but if you do happen to have it you should exploit it for all it's worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    I'm curious which racial traits you're referring to here-I don't see many which I wouldn't trade for a feat.
    The argument I've heard made is that some characters with 1st level feats trivialize certain types of enemies and encounters. Heavy armor master on a fighter or paladin, for instance, makes them mostly immune to goblins, kobolds, etc.
    While I agree with your overall point, I disagree with the particular example. Heavy Armor Master on ONE character doesn't trivialize encounters with kobolds because they can just target the squishiest character (and they're smart enough to do so). Heavy Armor Master doesn't have to personally worry about dying to kobolds, probably, but the encounter isn't trivialized because he still has interesting choices to make.

    There's nothing wrong with trivialized encounters anyway. You don't even have to play them all out.

    DM: While on the road to deliver your important message to the king, you [heavily-optimized high-level character] stumble across an orc guarding a pie.
    Player: I kill him and take his pie and eat it.
    DM: You eat the pie and continue on your way, leaving behind the corpse of the orc.

    You didn't have to roll for initiative or damage or anything--it's obvious that the PC kills the orc with no significant losses to himself, and rolling dice would just be masochism. That doesn't mean the encounter wasn't interesting though, and it doesn't mean it couldn't have consequences down the road. Or not.

    As AngryDM says, encounters always end when the dramatic question is answered. In this case, the dramatic question was not "can PC kill a lone orc?" but rather "how far will PC go in order to get a pie?" We just learned that this PC will murder for pie. That's interesting and non-trivial, even though the "combat" was in fact trivial.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2014-10-16 at 03:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Here's how it works:

    Devil's Sight lets you see through magical or non-magical darkness up to 120'. You cast Darkness on yourself or something you are wearing, which provides magical darkness within 15' of you. Now, nobody without blindsense/Devil's Sight can see you, so per the visibility rules all your attacks on them are made with advantage unless they have the Alert feat. Likewise, because they cannot see you, their attacks on you are made with disadvantage. Your fellow party members shouldn't be within 15' of you or else they will take advantage + disadvantage on all their attacks (which cancels out but is annoying and probably needs better rules), so your Darkness isn't impairing them at all.

    If you attack creatures more than 120' away you take advantage + disadvantage as normal for zero net effect.
    If anyone is within the Darkness radius and doesn't have the ability to either see through it or sense without sight, they'll have disadvantage on attack rolls because they're effectively blinded. This means their attacks have disadvantage. I don't see how, though, that others could have advantage against them without seeing/sensing them.

    Having advantage if someone else can't see you implies that you can see them- that's the "advantage". If you can't see them, your attacks against them should have disadvantage as well.

    In other words, if you are in a Darkness "bubble" and you don't have a way of seeing or sensing through it, attacks made BY you should have disadvantage and attacks coming AT you (provided the attackers can't see/sense through Darkness) should ALSO have disadvantage. No one should have advantage unless they can see/sense through the Darkness somehow.

    It doesn't make sense that people fighting in a magically darkened space, who can't see or sense through it, would make normal attack rolls because of "cancelled out" advantage/disadvantage. I'd have to say they all get disadvantage, period.
    Last edited by fnordz; 2014-10-16 at 03:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oncoming Storm View Post
    I'm curious which racial traits you're referring to here-I don't see many which I wouldn't trade for a feat.
    The argument I've heard made is that some characters with 1st level feats trivialize certain types of enemies and encounters. Heavy armor master on a fighter or paladin, for instance, makes them mostly immune to goblins, kobolds, etc.
    Well, let's start with Darkvision. Add the Darkness racial ability. The half-orc's racial abilities are pretty powerful too, for a fighting type- extra die on all weapon crits, and any damage I take that would drop me below 1 but not kill me drops me to one instead, once per long rest? That's nothing to laugh at.

    The halfling ability that lets them hide behind creatures larger than they are, have advantage on fear, and the "lucky" racial- pure awesome. Even fey ancestry is nothing to scoff at, and as you already said, the gnome advantage vs. magic is pretty good. Medium armor proficiency on the mountain dwarves PLUS the other racials they get? Hell yes.

    The thing about these racials is this- you're not trading ONE for a feat. You're trading ALL of them that a race would receive for a single feat and one skill.

    I'm not giving up "lucky" for a feat, I'm giving up lucky, nimbleness, brave, and the subrace benefit, for example.

    When you look at it that way, I think the racials are preferable. That's just me, though.
    Last edited by fnordz; 2014-10-16 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Eldritch Might: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Quote Originally Posted by fnordz View Post
    If anyone is within the Darkness radius and doesn't have the ability to either see through it or sense without sight, they'll have disadvantage on attack rolls because they're effectively blinded. This means their attacks have disadvantage. I don't see how, though, that others could have advantage against them without seeing/sensing them.

    Having advantage if someone else can't see you implies that you can see them- that's the "advantage". If you can't see them, your attacks against them should have disadvantage as well.

    In other words, if you are in a Darkness "bubble" and you don't have a way of seeing or sensing through it, attacks made BY you should have disadvantage and attacks coming AT you (provided the attackers can't see/sense through Darkness) should ALSO have disadvantage. No one should have advantage unless they can see/sense through the Darkness somehow.

    It doesn't make sense that people fighting in a magically darkened space, who can't see or sense through it, would make normal attack rolls because of "cancelled out" advantage/disadvantage. I'd have to say they all get disadvantage, period.
    I know, RAW on Darkness doesn't make sense, and I am looking for good ways to houserule it away. But those are the rules. "Your target can't see you" = advantage, which cancels out your disadvantage for not being able to see them.

    So, I agree with your "should"s, but RAW doesn't.

    As far as the Warlock is concerned though it doesn't matter, because he CAN see others and they can't see him. For him, Darkness is Greater Invisibility with a lower level and a much longer duration.

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    Lonely Tylenol's Avatar

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    May 2011

    Default Re: Pact-making 101: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    It's worth noting that Drow have, rolled into a single racial feature, "cancel out your racial disadvantage with advantage 1/day at third level, and negate your racial disadvantage whilst also giving you advantage 1/day at fifth level", which is another way of saying, "this debilitating weakness is only meant to be debilitating for the first two levels of the game for a Warlock, and a Warlock only".

    Granted, it's still slightly worse than a Tiefling, because of the overlap between faerie fire and darkness later on and the fact that the advantage of deeper darkvision is negated by the necessity of Devil's Sight (which provides the same degree of darkvision regardless of race), but it also provides the most relevant stat bonuses (a 14 in DEX and 15 in CHA gives you two 16s to your often best stats), dancing lights is miles ahead of Thaumaturgy in usefulness (being mobile, mind-controlled lights makes it useful for scouting ahead - essentially, the "cast light on a rock and throw it down the hallway" trick, without the rock), and proficiency in Perception from the base race (which is difficult to come by otherwise, as only the Sailor background gives proficiency in it) - so it's only slightly behind, if you're clever about it.
    Homebrew!
    5e: Expanded Inspiration Uses

    Spoiler: 3.5/P Stuff. Warning: OLD
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dralnu's Avatar

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    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Pact-making 101: A guide to the 5th edition Warlock

    Strength:: If you're not playing a blade-pact warlock, you can comfortably dump this. Even you are playing a bladelock, Dexterity is probably a better investment. Suggested starting value: 8
    Could you elaborate on this DEX bladelock build? I think I'm missing some synergies.

    STR seems good to me for bladelock. Early on it's adding damage to your swings. Later on you're adding both your CHA and your STR to your swings, pretty sweet.

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