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    Default Warlock's Hideous Blow

    I've been reading a lot of (really) old threads from various forums about how the Warlock's Hideous Blow is a terrible invocation and no one should ever take it, but I'm confused about why it gets such a bad rap. I've been working on a build that pretty much relies on Hideous Blow, and I'm worried I've misunderstood the invocation in some way, but here's how I understand it:

    Casting the Invocation provokes an AoO (easy enough to get around by maxing out concentration and casting defensively).

    HP and AC being low/average, there are some drawbacks to using a melee warlock build, but:

    The invocation description says "you need not deal damage with this attack to trigger the Eldritch Blast effect" (CA 134), which my GM and I interpret to mean that, if your attack only hits as a touch attack (the weapon doesn't deal any damage) the EB is still triggered and does its thing. So, by channeling EB though a weapon, you have a chance to deal an extra die of damage and you don't decrease your chance to hit with EB at all. That seems pretty awesome to me. So why do so many Warlock discussions rag on HB for being horrible (without fully explaining why), and am I making a miscalculation by building my character around this invocation?

    Any insights would be appreciated. Thank you!

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    The invocation description says "you need not deal damage with this attack to trigger the Eldritch Blast effect" (CA 134), which my GM and I interpret to mean that, if your attack only hits as a touch attack (the weapon doesn't deal any damage) the EB is still triggered and does its thing.
    Usually, missing an attack is different from not dealing damage.

    You can fail to deal damage due to Damage Reduction, for example.

    So what you've done is to increase the power of the Invocation to deal damage upon merely succeeding at a Touch attack, which is indeed better than how most people play that Invocation.

    That's why other people think it's weak -- the Touch Attack thing you've done is a significant power increase.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    I've tried to make hideous blow decent. I thought maybe use a whip? That would keeps it a touch attack. Except, no, whips are ranged weapons for no reason.

    One way to use it well would be against unsuspecting targets with a poison ring. The poison ring from DragMag is a touch attack that does 1 damage.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Okay, so the reason people hate it is because it decreases your chances to hit (having to overcome actual AC instead of just touch)... but isn't the extra damage die still worth it? I mean, that's the whole idea that Power Attack is based on, isn't it: give up some strength in your attack to do extra damage?

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    I think part of the contention is that eldrich glaive is also touch, but at higher BaB gives you iteritive attacks. And eldrich claw(from dragon mag?) Gives you a natural claw touch attack(s).
    So intially the same at lower levels, but the latter two choices giving more damage output thanks to multiple attacks. And hideous blow is limited to one attack a turn, right?

    Wait, does claws give you two attacks out the gate?

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    Okay, so the reason people hate it is because it decreases your chances to hit (having to overcome actual AC instead of just touch)... but isn't the extra damage die still worth it? I mean, that's the whole idea that Power Attack is based on, isn't it: give up some strength in your attack to do extra damage?
    Power Attack is generally combined with a class that (a) wears armor or has a decent AC from class features; and (b) has more HP.

    Power Attack can also be used with feats like Leap Attack & Shock Trooper, or with features like Pounce, to greatly increase damage.

    Hideous Blow is more like Sneak Attack, except it doesn't work with TWF so you're only hitting once per turn at most.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    Okay, so the reason people hate it is because it decreases your chances to hit (having to overcome actual AC instead of just touch)... but isn't the extra damage die still worth it? I mean, that's the whole idea that Power Attack is based on, isn't it: give up some strength in your attack to do extra damage?
    It's not a very good tradeoff, in this case-- you're trading a ranged touch attack for a standard melee attack in exchange for... +1d8ish damage? If you want more, you need to invest more heavily in Str, which opens up a whole new set of MAD problems.

    The issue is compounded by the later Eldritch Glaive invocation, which, while still melee-y, remains a touch attack and lets you make iterative attacks and potential AoOs. The Eldrich Claws feat, the other "good" melee option, lets you make two attacks, effectively doubling your damage.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Menzath View Post
    I think part of the contention is that eldrich glaive is also touch, but at higher BaB gives you iteritive attacks. And eldrich claw(from dragon mag?) Gives you a natural claw touch attack(s).
    So intially the same at lower levels, but the latter two choices giving more damage output thanks to multiple attacks. And hideous blow is limited to one attack a turn, right?

    Wait, does claws give you two attacks out the gate?
    Eldritch Claws:
    gives you (the regular 2) claw attacks.
    They are regular attacks, not touch!
    but they can profit from any regular melee feats (e.g. power attack, Shock Trooper)

    Yeah you get 2 attacks, but only 2 attacks. Cause natural attacks are not affected from high BaB. If you want that, you need to add "Beast Strike".

    Beast Strike:
    Add your claw dmg to your unarmed strike dmg. And unarmed strike follows the regular BaB progression for additional attacks.
    = unarmed + Eldritch Claws
    = 2x unarmed + Eldritch Blast

    if you want to play a melee warlock, the clawlock is the more reliable choice.

    Hideous Blow is to weak to compete with Eldritch Claws. And if your DM doesn't allow it due to Dragon Magazine, there is still Eldritch Glaive which is still a better option, cause you can get multiple attacks per round with it too (Hideous Blow is always limited to 1/round pre-epic).
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaje View Post
    I've tried to make hideous blow decent. I thought maybe use a whip? That would keeps it a touch attack. Except, no, whips are ranged weapons for no reason.

    One way to use it well would be against unsuspecting targets with a poison ring. The poison ring from DragMag is a touch attack that does 1 damage.
    What, whips aren't ranged weapons? They are most definitely one handed exotic melee weapons with a reach of 15ft, but do not provoke attacks of opportunity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    So, by channeling EB though a weapon, you have a chance to deal an extra die of damage and you don't decrease your chance to hit with EB at all.
    The way I'm reading this seems to imply you are allowing a single hit to be both a melee attack and a melee touch attack? If it misses the target's AC you compare it to their touch AC and if that hits you still allow the eldritch blast to trigger? Because that's not the way it works unfortunately. You can use the weapon to perform a touch attack, if you wish, gaining the benefits of something like reach, but then why not just fire it as a ranged attack? What you cannot do is declare a melee attack, and then if that misses say it's now a touch attack. Touch spells can be delivered through natural attacks in a similar way, but if you wish to do weapon damage, it's all or nothing.

    Regarding power attack, the actual main reason why it's a decent trade off is because warrior classes will typically already have a high enough attack bonus, and the damage return is worthy enough to make power attack worth it. As a warlock your attack bonus won't be great, and the difference between AC and tough AC is usually quite massive. So unlike power attack where you're trading -1 for anywhere from 1-6 damage based on circumstance and feats, hideous blow is trading something like an effective -10 to -15 for 1d8+strength and weapon enhancements damage.

    But also, as others have said, eldritch glaive and eldritch claws are just so much better comparitively.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    What, whips aren't ranged weapons? They are most definitely one handed exotic melee weapons with a reach of 15ft, but do not provoke attacks of opportunity.
    The entry even says "The whip is treated as a melee weapon with 15-foot reach." Maybe Kaje was thinking about the Pyrokineticist's Fire Lash? I remember some arguments that you can apply ranged weapon feats to that.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    The entry even says "The whip is treated as a melee weapon with 15-foot reach." Maybe Kaje was thinking about the Pyrokineticist's Fire Lash? I remember some arguments that you can apply ranged weapon feats to that.
    You definitely can, as it uses a ranged touch attack. It just has a special clause that allows feats that pertain to whips to affect it as if it were a whip.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiri View Post
    You definitely can, as it uses a ranged touch attack. It just has a special clause that allows feats that pertain to whips to affect it as if it were a whip.
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    I guess the question is "why does it count as a ranged weapon for things like Rapid Shot?"
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Spoiler: Mostly off-topic
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    I guess the question is "why does it count as a ranged weapon for things like Rapid Shot?"
    Spoiler: Off-topic
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    Now that you mention it,
    many ranged feats in D&D do specify that they affect only weapons. They shouldn't, I think affect the Fire Lash as it is not technically a weapon.
    I was thinking more of feats that might affect ranged combat in general when I made my earlier post.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    Okay, so the reason people hate it is because it decreases your chances to hit (having to overcome actual AC instead of just touch)... but isn't the extra damage die still worth it? I mean, that's the whole idea that Power Attack is based on, isn't it: give up some strength in your attack to do extra damage?
    Except an extra die of damage is too small a boost. PA gives ratios that are much better in builds that use it (at least 3:2), and that scale with level. Meanwhile, one extra die is both a small amount of damage (optimistically, 4.5+STR damage, keeping in mind warlocks have no other use for STR unless they're also a clawlock or glaivelock, in which case, what's the point of the redundant Hideous Blow?), and doesn't scale with level. However, the penalty (difference between touch AC and normal AC) does scale with level, without providing a scaling benefit. So you have a scaling penalty, and a non-scaling bonus. Thus, it becomes more useless as time goes on.

    In addition, Warlocks aren't the most resilient class, so being in range for Hideous Blow puts them in considerable danger, contrasted to using Eldritch Spear to blast from a good distance away.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Oh, sorry. Seems I've been looking at the 3.0 whip, which was ranged.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    Okay, so the reason people hate it is because it decreases your chances to hit (having to overcome actual AC instead of just touch)... but isn't the extra damage die still worth it? I mean, that's the whole idea that Power Attack is based on, isn't it: give up some strength in your attack to do extra damage?
    Action type:
    Power Attack(PA) - attack-action
    Eldritch Blast(EB) - standard action
    Hideous Blow(HB) - standard action

    AC target:
    PA - Full AC
    EB - Touch AC
    HB - Full AC

    Damage per Attack Ratio:
    PA - Easily 3 Damage per 1 Attack sacrificed, per attack. Easily x5 on a full attack. So easily 15:1 total, for +300 damage at level 20.
    HB - Warlocks only have simple weapon proficiency. So probably only a 1:1 ratio until they can afford magic weapons. Unless they go Str, but odd warlocks are odd. Even still, the damage-ratio is still in the "Power Attack is bad" range. At best, you're giving up +4 net attack for d8+4 damage, for a 2:1 ratio early. By late-game, weapons don't deal 300-ish damage without additional bonuses from elsewhere. Off-hand, about 10d6-12d6 is reasonably, for about 35-42 damage. And as covered above, this is a standard action, so no iteratives to scale the damage.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Consider exotic weapon proficiency and a number of aptitude weird mancatchers which tend to be touch attacks.
    Mancatcher from Complete warrior, (grappling, reach)
    entangling pole (grappling, reach, touch attack)

    But what you really want is the ritiik from frostburn.
    When you successfully hit a target with a ritiik, you can twist the weapon and hook this blade into the targetís flesh if the target fails a Reflex saving throw (DC 10 + the damage dealt). If you hook the target, you can immediately make a trip attack against the target. If you fail, you can let go of the ritiik to avoid the retaliatory trip attack. The damaged creature can pull the ritiik from its wound if it has two free hands and takes a full-round action to do so, but it deals damage to itself equal to the initial damage the ritiik dealt.
    If you have improved trip...

    The language of improved trip leads me to believe that you can get an extra eldritch blast in the same round that you successfully trip a dude.

    If you trip an opponent in melee combat, you immediately get a melee attack against that opponent as if you hadn't used your attack for the trip attempt.
    If you have an attack against an opponent as if you haven't used your ritiik attack for the trip attempt...then if you hit again..."the target is affected as if struck by your eldritch blast."

    As a standard action, you can make a single melee attack. If you hit, the target is affected as if struck by your eldritch blast (including any eldritch essence applied to the blast). This damage is in addition to any weapon damage that you deal with your attack, although you need not deal damage with this attack to trigger the eldritch blast effect.
    for this to work, you must convince your DM that your standard action is the eldritch blast + attack as a standard action, the improved trip is an extension of the same standard action that occurs immediately when your opponent is tripped and therefor qualifies to activate the blast. RAW seems to support this analysis.

    If you have two ritiiks and the quickdraw feat or a weapon crystal, you can leave your opponent like a stuck bull in a single standard action. The opponent will take the equivalent of an extra eldritch blast worth of damage when he removes the ritiiks.

    Call yourself el picadore, ride a horse or something to get a +1 to attacks for elevation and hideous blow your opponents twice a round.

    curling wave strike from stormwrack allows you to eldritch blast two opponents instead of double ritiiking a single opponent, which is useful for cases where you cannot double trip the same opponent. Sand snare from sandstorm makes your stuck pig opponents need to use a full round action to stand next round. Paired with a sickening blast, that means that they are attacking at minus six, dealing ritiik damage to themselves, or spending all round standing up.

    ----
    Alternatively, you can use hideous blow for the savage species' area attack, A goliath with hidden talent can get up to huge.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Consider exotic weapon proficiency and a number of aptitude weird mancatchers which tend to be touch attacks.
    Mancatcher from Complete warrior, (grappling, reach)
    entangling pole (grappling, reach, touch attack)

    But what you really want is the ritiik from frostburn.


    If you have improved trip...

    The language of improved trip leads me to believe that you can get an extra eldritch blast in the same round that you successfully trip a dude.



    If you have an attack against an opponent as if you haven't used your ritiik attack for the trip attempt...then if you hit again..."the target is affected as if struck by your eldritch blast."



    for this to work, you must convince your DM that your standard action is the eldritch blast + attack as a standard action, the improved trip is an extension of the same standard action that occurs immediately when your opponent is tripped and therefor qualifies to activate the blast. RAW seems to support this analysis.

    If you have two ritiiks and the quickdraw feat or a weapon crystal, you can leave your opponent like a stuck bull in a single standard action. The opponent will take the equivalent of an extra eldritch blast worth of damage when he removes the ritiiks.

    Call yourself el picadore, ride a horse or something to get a +1 to attacks for elevation and hideous blow your opponents twice a round.

    curling wave strike from stormwrack allows you to eldritch blast two opponents instead of double ritiiking a single opponent, which is useful for cases where you cannot double trip the same opponent. Sand snare from sandstorm makes your stuck pig opponents need to use a full round action to stand next round. Paired with a sickening blast, that means that they are attacking at minus six, dealing ritiik damage to themselves, or spending all round standing up.

    ----
    Alternatively, you can use hideous blow for the savage species' area attack, A goliath with hidden talent can get up to huge.
    Huh... the Ritiik sounds quite strange. So the opponent can damage themselves with the rtiik if they remove it, but does it unhook after a successful trip attempt? Does it do the damage in that situation?
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    for this to work, you must convince your DM that your standard action is the eldritch blast + attack as a standard action, the improved trip is an extension of the same standard action that occurs immediately when your opponent is tripped and therefor qualifies to activate the blast. RAW seems to support this analysis.
    Seems unlikely. Hideous Blow is pretty clearly its own special standard action thing. You could effectively get double damage if they pull it out, but that's it, I think.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Seems unlikely. Hideous Blow is pretty clearly its own special standard action thing. You could effectively get double damage if they pull it out, but that's it, I think.
    The close reading of improved trip where it says that your follow up attack occurs as if you hadn't used your attack is what I'm basing that off of. I mean, it is reasonable for a DM to claim that the follow up attack is an immediate action, but that severely limits triplomancers by limiting them to a single use per turn. Refusing to do that leaves improved trip in some weird action type status that lends itself to the interpretation that I'm suggesting. I think that RAW, it is a defensible position but your mileage may vary depending on DM

    Granted, this definitely works with eldritch glaive, so that is clearly superior.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    The close reading of improved trip where it says that your follow up attack occurs as if you hadn't used your attack is what I'm basing that off of. I mean, it is reasonable for a DM to claim that the follow up attack is an immediate action, but that severely limits triplomancers by limiting them to a single use per turn. Refusing to do that leaves improved trip in some weird action type status that lends itself to the interpretation that I'm suggesting. I think that RAW, it is a defensible position but your mileage may vary depending on DM

    Granted, this definitely works with eldritch glaive, so that is clearly superior.
    That doesn't matter, in this case, because Improved Trip lets you make a melee attack, while Hideous Blow is a standard action. You're effectively arguing that Improved Trip could be used to gain any standard action, if I'm understanding you correctly.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    That doesn't matter, in this case, because Improved Trip lets you make a melee attack, while Hideous Blow is a standard action. You're effectively arguing that Improved Trip could be used to gain any standard action, if I'm understanding you correctly.
    Hideous blow is a standard action that allows you to make a single melee attack.
    Quote Originally Posted by complete arcane p.134
    HIDEOUS BLOW
    Least; 1st; Blast Shape
    "As a standard action, you can make a single melee attack."
    That specific melee attack, when paired with improved trip, treats your melee attack as if you hadn't used your attack for the trip attempt with it resulting in an untyped interrupting action that allows for another attack. I'm saying that the verbiage of improved trip resets your use of a single melee attack that allows you to trigger eldritch blast because it resolves as part of the same standard action.

    I admit, this is a very close reading of the rules text.

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    Hideous blow is a standard action that allows you to make a single melee attack.


    That specific melee attack, when paired with improved trip, treats your melee attack as if you hadn't used your attack for the trip attempt with it resulting in an untyped interrupting action that allows for another attack. I'm saying that the verbiage of improved trip resets your use of a single melee attack that allows you to trigger eldritch blast because it resolves as part of the same standard action.

    I admit, this is a very close reading of the rules text.
    So the process, as you see it, is:
    A) You use Hideous Blow as a standard action to make a melee attack
    B) You use the ritiik special ability to make a trip attempt as a free action.
    C) Improved Trip gives you a free attack, which-- thanks to the "as if you hadn't used your attack" language-- recycles Hideous Blow?

    Close-reading counterargument: it doesn't matter if it recycles of not; you didn't use your attack for the trip attempt (you hit and then tripped) so that extra clause is meaningless.

    EDIT: In any case, it's a convoluted chain of argument to do something that Eldritch Glaive does better-- swing, Knock-Down, and make the Improved Trip extra attack.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2017-07-16 at 08:19 PM.
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    So the process, as you see it, is:
    A) You use Hideous Blow as a standard action to make a melee attack
    B) You use the ritiik special ability to make a trip attempt as a free action.
    C) Improved Trip gives you a free attack, which-- thanks to the "as if you hadn't used your attack" language-- recycles Hideous Blow?

    Close-reading counterargument: it doesn't matter if it recycles of not; you didn't use your attack for the trip attempt (you hit and then tripped) so that extra clause is meaningless.

    EDIT: In any case, it's a convoluted chain of argument to do something that Eldritch Glaive does better-- swing, Knock-Down, and make the Improved Trip extra attack.
    Yes. You just don't read ritiik as closely ;)

    Edit: And Yes.

    ----
    I don't think that you need hideous blow if you have improved unarmed strike because Improved unarmed strike allows you to deliver touch spells with your unarmed strikes:

    Complete Arcane p.71
    "Weaponlike Spell Feats: A character who uses invocations or spell-like abilities might be able to take advantage of feats such as Weapon Focus or Precise Shot, as described under Feats and Weaponlike Spells, below. (The warlockís eldritch blast is weaponlike.)

    Complete arcane p.73
    "Improved Unarmed Strike: You can add the damage of your unarmed strike to the damage of a touch spell by delivering the spell as a regular melee attack instead of a melee touch attack. The defender gets the full benefit of armor and shield, but if the attack hits, the unarmed strike deals normal damage over and above any damage the spell does as it is discharged. If the unarmed strike misses, then the spell is not discharged. If the unarmed strike scores a critical hit, damage from the spell is not multiplied.

    And if you have IUS, stunning fist works too. So ring the golden bell would work as well.

    what I'm not understanding is why anyone would prefer to use this over the standard eldritch blast...

    -----

    My question is if you take both eldritch glaive and hideous blow and quicken SLA on hideous blow, can you use your glaive to deliver hideous blows thereby dealing a double eldritch blast?

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    -----

    My question is if you take both eldritch glaive and hideous blow and quicken SLA on hideous blow, can you use your glaive to deliver hideous blows thereby dealing a double eldritch blast?
    You could.. But you could also quicken SLA eldritch glaive and go ham with double glaive = more attacks at higher lvl.

    Really there is no reason to have Hideous Blow before Epic (feats) comes into play.
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    I guess I can sort of see where people are coming from now when they deride HB. Thank you all for your insights. After careful consideration of my character's flavour (which alwaysdisrupts my optimization attempts), I have decided to stick with HB anyway. The character is the half-elf bastard son of a high-level noble out to prove himself (I know it's sooooo original ). I see him as someone who, despite being somewhat 'frailer' than most fighters, lives as though he has the d10 hit dice and full attack bonuses of his admired peers.

    Here's the build I've worked out:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Warlock: 7
    Sorcerer: 1 - Battle Sorcerer Variant from UA, so no loss in BA, and a d8 hit die, plus ability to cast spells in light armour at the loss of a few spell slots and spells known (made up for by the warlock invocations)
    Give up familiar to take focus caster [evocation] from DR348: sword becomes focus for spells
    Abjurant champion 5 (CMage) (+9 shield bonus as a swift action, to help with crappy armour prof.)
    Eldritch Theurge 8 (CM)

    Feats (in no particular order):
    Skill Focus: Concentration (all that defensive casting)
    EWP: Bastard Sword (for flavour, though the increased hit die over longsword doesn't hurt)
    Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword (I'm convinced that every + to attack is needed with this build)
    Power critical: Bastard Sword(maybe? I can't figure out if this is really worth it, but every time I fail to confirm crit I wish I had it.),
    Quicken Spell-Like Ability [Hideous Blow] -- so 3/day I can HB, then still full attack with the sword (assuming I'm reading that correctly?)
    and then two others that I can't decide on. Maybe craft magic arms and armour to take advantage of the sorcerer's focus benefit (10% off XP & material cost when you enhance it yourself)

    Invocations:
    Least: Hideous Blow (obviously)
    Devil's Sight
    Darkness
    Haven't really picked anything beyond least yet :/

    Any suggestions/thoughts?

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    I guess I can sort of see where people are coming from now when they deride HB. Thank you all for your insights. After careful consideration of my character's flavour (which alwaysdisrupts my optimization attempts), I have decided to stick with HB anyway. The character is the half-elf bastard son of a high-level noble out to prove himself (I know it's sooooo original ). I see him as someone who, despite being somewhat 'frailer' than most fighters, lives as though he has the d10 hit dice and full attack bonuses of his admired peers.
    *Eldritch Glaive still seems somewhat fitting...
    *If you won't go with the Glaive, see if your GM will allow Hideous Blow to affect all melee attacks you make for one round. It'll still be less powerful, but at least it'll keep up.

    Here's the build I've worked out:
    Warlock: 7
    Sorcerer: 1 - Battle Sorcerer Variant from UA, so no loss in BA, and a d8 hit die, plus ability to cast spells in light armour at the loss of a few spell slots and spells known (made up for by the warlock invocations)
    Give up familiar to take focus caster [evocation] from DR348: sword becomes focus for spells
    Abjurant champion 5 (CMage) (+9 shield bonus as a swift action, to help with crappy armour prof.)
    Eldritch Theurge 8 (CM)
    • Fractional BAB, I take it, since you mention not losing BAB? If that's the case, the 7th level of Warlock probably isn't worth it.
    • Hideous Blow is going to be doubly bad in a build like this, because you're dropping progression for a pretty sizable portion of the game.
    • Either way, Battle Sorcerer probably also isn't worth it-- (Greater) Luminous Armor + Abjurant Champion will blow the light armor proficiency out of the water, and even if you don't use that, Mage Armor is fine. Battle Sorcerer really isn't worth it if you're PrCing out, especially so quickly. The benefits are lost when you do, but the penalty sticks around.
    • It's an interesting gish build, actually, though I'd probably drop the top three levels of Abjurant Champion (they slow your Warlock game too much, and don't really give you good abilities). Greatreach Blast makes for some interesting arcane channeling type action.
    • You've planned out 21 levels, I note


    Skill Focus: Concentration (all that defensive casting)
    Combat Casting. It's less useful overall, but you need it for Abjurant Champion.

    EWP: Bastard Sword (for flavour, though the increased hit die over longsword doesn't hurt)
    Ack! Tbbph! Gaack! Why? What possible flavor does a bastard sword give you that a longsword doesn't? Just describe your preferred style of longsword as being a bit bigger than most people's and call it a day. Not to mention that you should probably be using a Finesse weapon, since it seems like you want to use Warlock stuff for damage.

    Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword (I'm convinced that every + to attack is needed with this build)
    Mmm... perhaps. You are multiclassing a couple medium-BAB classes. That said, I'm not sure if it's really worth the feat. Have you considered Knowledge Devotion? For ~8 skill ranks you can get one rank in each of the monster-identifying skills and Collector of Stories for another +5; that translates to a guaranteed +1 to hit and damage, with a 50% shot at a +2, and the numbers only get better with more investment-- say, the Otherworldly Whispers invocation.

    Power critical: Bastard Sword(maybe? I can't figure out if this is really worth it, but every time I fail to confirm crit I wish I had it.),
    Nope. Not worth it, guaranteed. It's +4 attack, 10% of the time. Greater Weapon Focus would be more useful, and Greater Weapon Focus is terrible.

    Quicken Spell-Like Ability [Hideous Blow] -- so 3/day I can HB, then still full attack with the sword (assuming I'm reading that correctly?)
    Quicken SLA is good.

    and then two others that I can't decide on. Maybe craft magic arms and armour to take advantage of the sorcerer's focus benefit (10% off XP & material cost when you enhance it yourself)
    Obtain Familiar is pretty good. Mortalbane isn't bad-- +2d6 damage with your blast, 5/day. If you're going to be doing single-attacks, picking up some sort of psionic feat and Psionic Weapon/Deep Impact isn't the worst plan. (Except that relying on single-attacks sort of is the worst plan). Imperious Command is good for intimidation-stuff, especially if you thrown in stuff like Frightful Blast and Never Outnumbered.

    Invocations:
    Least: Hideous Blow (obviously)
    Devil's Sight
    Darkness
    Haven't really picked anything beyond least yet :/
    Darkness/Devil's Sight is unlikely to be as good a defensive combination as you think. It's only 20% concealment, and it'll drive the rest of your group bonkers. Baleful Utterance, Beguiling Influence, and Frightful Blast are all decent choices. For your Lesser... The Dead Walk is real hard to beat, truth be told, though you may not like the flavor. Fell Flight and Flee the Scene are classics, though mobility isn't always the most exciting choice. Charm is fun, and Crawling Eye is just goofy.

    tl;dr: Get into Eldritch Theurge faster, grab a longsword and call it a bastard sword, and re-consider your invocation choices.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    I guess I can sort of see where people are coming from now when they deride HB. Thank you all for your insights. After careful consideration of my character's flavour (which alwaysdisrupts my optimization attempts), I have decided to stick with HB anyway. The character is the half-elf bastard son of a high-level noble out to prove himself (I know it's sooooo original ). I see him as someone who, despite being somewhat 'frailer' than most fighters, lives as though he has the d10 hit dice and full attack bonuses of his admired peers.

    Here's the build I've worked out:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Warlock: 7
    Sorcerer: 1 - Battle Sorcerer Variant from UA, so no loss in BA, and a d8 hit die, plus ability to cast spells in light armour at the loss of a few spell slots and spells known (made up for by the warlock invocations)
    Give up familiar to take focus caster [evocation] from DR348: sword becomes focus for spells
    Abjurant champion 5 (CMage) (+9 shield bonus as a swift action, to help with crappy armour prof.)
    Eldritch Theurge 8 (CM)

    Feats (in no particular order):
    Skill Focus: Concentration (all that defensive casting)
    EWP: Bastard Sword (for flavour, though the increased hit die over longsword doesn't hurt)
    Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword (I'm convinced that every + to attack is needed with this build)
    Power critical: Bastard Sword(maybe? I can't figure out if this is really worth it, but every time I fail to confirm crit I wish I had it.),
    Quicken Spell-Like Ability [Hideous Blow] -- so 3/day I can HB, then still full attack with the sword (assuming I'm reading that correctly?)
    and then two others that I can't decide on. Maybe craft magic arms and armour to take advantage of the sorcerer's focus benefit (10% off XP & material cost when you enhance it yourself)

    Invocations:
    Least: Hideous Blow (obviously)
    Devil's Sight
    Darkness
    Haven't really picked anything beyond least yet :/

    Any suggestions/thoughts?
    If you want to be a special snowflake cheeselord ridiculous person, you could try and sneak psionics into this build so that you can focus as a move action and slam someone with a hideous blow + greater psionic weapon. It may not be the most optimized of options, but it can certainly fill a theme of having some unresolved rage issues that come out when you hideous blow people, proclaiming 'all of my anger!' as you take a few extra d6's onto your melee attack.

    for more serious suggestions, you might want to look at evocations like fell flight, walk unseen, the dance macabre The Dead Walk, and other gems hiding out in the utility evocations. After all, chain blasting a few people down in round one or two, then causing them to rise up as skeletons to fight their friends and allies is just what you need to be an edgelord put the fear of You in your enemies.

    Spoiler: disclaimer
    Show
    I'm just trying to be a little faceteous, not trying to offend anyone with this post.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    [*]Fractional BAB, I take it, since you mention not losing BAB? If that's the case, the 7th level of Warlock probably isn't worth it.
    Abjurant Champion requires BAB of +5. At 3/4 attack progression, I won't reach that until level 7... unless I'm misunderstanding the order in which things are applied. Can you prestige at the level you first gain a prerequisite? In which case, yes, the 7th level of Warlock would be unnecessary...

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    though I'd probably drop the top three levels of Abjurant Champion
    But I need to cast 3rd level spells before I can enter Eldritch Theurge, which Sorcerers don't get until level 6 anyway, so I may as well take all 5 levels. That's actually one of the reasons I chose the class, since the alternative was to take 5 dead levels of sorcerer.

    And the big thing about Battle Sorcerer is that it lets me cast the spells in light armour. Since BoED Luminous Armour is an Exalted spell and does damage to you every time you cast it, never mind the 'must be good' qualification, and Mage Armour isn't usable for the Abjurant Champion's abilities (it's Conjuration, and Errata has taken out mention of it in the Class entry), light armour + the Sheild spell is going to be much of my character's AC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Combat Casting. It's less useful overall, but you need it for Abjurant Champion.
    Right! I knew there was a reason my early draft had that one listed. Thank you for reminding me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Not to mention that you should probably be using a Finesse weapon, since it seems like you want to use Warlock stuff for damage.
    Hideous blow also applies your strength modifier, so I don't see how a finesse weapon would help me...


    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Mmm... perhaps. You are multiclassing a couple medium-BAB classes. That said, I'm not sure if it's really worth the feat. Have you considered Knowledge Devotion? For ~8 skill ranks you can get one rank in each of the monster-identifying skills and Collector of Stories for another +5; that translates to a guaranteed +1 to hit and damage, with a 50% shot at a +2, and the numbers only get better with more investment-- say, the Otherworldly Whispers invocation.
    I do love knowledge devotion. I'm not familiar with Collector of Stories, though. I'll have to look that up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Obtain Familiar is pretty good. Mortalbane isn't bad-- +2d6 damage with your blast, 5/day. If you're going to be doing single-attacks, picking up some sort of psionic feat and Psionic Weapon/Deep Impact isn't the worst plan. (Except that relying on single-attacks sort of is the worst plan). Imperious Command is good for intimidation-stuff, especially if you thrown in stuff like Frightful Blast and Never Outnumbered.
    Hmm, I'll have to look into the psionics stuff. And see if my DM will allow them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Darkness/Devil's Sight is unlikely to be as good a defensive combination as you think. It's only 20% concealment, and it'll drive the rest of your group bonkers.
    Oo, that's a good point. I forgot about what Darkness would do to my allies... I will definitely review my invocations.

    Regarding the Bastard Sword, though: yes. It's basically a feat to get a slightly bigger die on the longsword. But Warlocks and Sorcerers are only prof with simple weapons, so since I have to spend a feat to get prof. with a martial weapon anyway, why not make it the biggest damage-dealing one-handed slashing weapon in the PH? Your reaction to my choice absolutely boggles my mind. You make it sound like I took the most useless weapon on the list. I could have gone with Greatsword, like all the straight fighters do, but I need a hand free to cast invocations, thus BS is the best option for his character.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Warlock's Hideous Blow

    Quote Originally Posted by Amashelle View Post
    Abjurant Champion requires BAB of +5. At 3/4 attack progression, I won't reach that until level 7... unless I'm misunderstanding the order in which things are applied. Can you prestige at the level you first gain a prerequisite? In which case, yes, the 7th level of Warlock would be unnecessary...


    But I need to cast 3rd level spells before I can enter Eldritch Theurge, which Sorcerers don't get until level 6 anyway, so I may as well take all 5 levels. That's actually one of the reasons I chose the class, since the alternative was to take 5 dead levels of sorcerer.

    And the big thing about Battle Sorcerer is that it lets me cast the spells in light armour. Since BoED Luminous Armour is an Exalted spell and does damage to you every time you cast it, never mind the 'must be good' qualification, and Mage Armour isn't usable for the Abjurant Champion's abilities (it's Conjuration, and Errata has taken out mention of it in the Class entry), light armour + the Sheild spell is going to be much of my character's AC.


    Right! I knew there was a reason my early draft had that one listed. Thank you for reminding me.



    Hideous blow also applies your strength modifier, so I don't see how a finesse weapon would help me...




    I do love knowledge devotion. I'm not familiar with Collector of Stories, though. I'll have to look that up.




    Hmm, I'll have to look into the psionics stuff. And see if my DM will allow them.



    Oo, that's a good point. I forgot about what Darkness would do to my allies... I will definitely review my invocations.

    Regarding the Bastard Sword, though: yes. It's basically a feat to get a slightly bigger die on the longsword. But Warlocks and Sorcerers are only prof with simple weapons, so since I have to spend a feat to get prof. with a martial weapon anyway, why not make it the biggest damage-dealing one-handed slashing weapon in the PH? Your reaction to my choice absolutely boggles my mind. You make it sound like I took the most useless weapon on the list. I could have gone with Greatsword, like all the straight fighters do, but I need a hand free to cast invocations, thus BS is the best option for his character.
    No, it's a Pre-requisite, you were right to think you have to have them before you take any subsequent levels in the prestige class.

    I'm not sure about a finesse weapon either, but when it comes to psionics there's three ways go about getting access to psionic feats: Levels in a psionic class will grant you a power point reserve, which allows you to gain a psionic focus and lets you qualify for psionic feats. Playing a psionic race also tends to net you power points, or at least access to the feats and the ability to get a focus using concentration, finally you can just take the wild talent feat, which fires up your brain and gives you 2 power points, and opens up psionic feats.

    When it comes to psionic feats, Psionic Weapon is the one that's going to stack with Hideous Blow. You expend your focus to activate it as part of an attack (letting you stack it on even things like Hideous Blow and Maneuvers), and Psionic Weapon gives you a +2d6 damage to that attack. Greater Psionic Weapon requires a BAB 5, but upgrades the +2d6 to +4d6, while Deep Strike has similar requirements, but is mutually exclusive. Instead, when you activate Deep Strike by expending your focus as part of a melee attack, you resolve it as a touch attack. Psionic Weapon requires 13 strength to get into, and being psionic.

    A companion feat to psionic feats is Psychic Meditation, which requires 7 ranks of concentration and...13 wisdom? but it changes the action of 'roll concentration dc 20 to gain psionic focus' from a full round action to a move action.

    When it comes to having a free hand, you can possibly do what many wizards do when wielding a staff and casting spells: take your hand off as a free action to cast, then put your hand back on as a free action after casting. If you want to bastard sword anyway, be my guest, you'll be a half elven bastard with a bastard, and you can possibly have that translate into some kind of in character moniker or nom de plume or what have you (Double Bastard, Bastard Squared, etc).

    Also, doesn't battle sorcerer get 1 martial proficiency for free?

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