5E Warlock build advice... - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    While there is a lot of sound advice above, have you considered multiclassing? For what you describe, a couple levels of Fighter or Rogue would really round out the character. Looking at the MC Proficiencies (pg 164 PHB) you don't really lose much by taking either of those classes second - the Rogue loses access to some weapons if not the first class taken.

    Ideally, you'll eventually want to get to 5 levels of Fighter for that Extra Attack or 5 levels of Rogue to get Uncanny Dodge. Both give you access better weapons. The Rogue gives you the ability to do a lot with your bonus action and sneak attack which can outweigh that eventual extra attack.

  2. #12
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Flobby View Post
    Long time D&D player but first time playing 5e. (I've had the main books forever though so I'm pretty familiar with the rules and all.)

    Starting at 3rd level and I'm thinking of making a Warlock.
    I want to be fast Dex-based sword wielder, but I want to go with the archfey for flavory reasons and pact of the chain (because I'm a dork and just really want a pet dragon...)

    I'm not too nuts about optimizing the character (obviously...), but at the same time I don't want a useless character at the same time. So my question is... is it just hopeless to have a melee-focused warlock who is not a hexblade or blade pact? Do you think it would be doable by taking a few levels in fighter first?
    My suggestions would be this...

    Start as Rogue for 1 level (sneak, expertise, key weapons)
    Consider fighter but it's really not needed. If not fighter maybe second level rogue because cunning action really helps a mobile combat type.
    Then go warlock and look for most attacks now being green flame with hex and sneak added on.

    This sequence - even if you went two non-warlock levels - gets you full warlock-3 by 5th level when you leave the "intro" levels of 1-4. So your core desired features are good to go at the start of tier-2.

    After that its gonna come down to creating in play the combos that get you the overall strengths that the numbers dont provide.

    If I had to choose... overall package...
    Half-elf who catches grief over half-status - questions about family history - becomes loner/scout to help serve but not be crowded and after tragic events in field gets "saved by" or "saves" new fry patron who "plays on" or "tries to assuage" the character's isolation and loneliness. That helps set/explain the dex-fighter type in before the warlock stuff kicks in and also helps explain why the familiar is do very key to the character.

    The "loner joins party" would be not just convenient but a deliberate push by Patton, familiar etc to drag the character forward into society.

    I could have a **lot** of fun with basically having the familiar be the more outgoing part of the pair, the "agent" in a way, maybe seeming to some to be the "boss".

    Ok so, now off to DDB to spec this.

    oh yeah - once you hit 3rd at warlock - shadowblade provides another angel for scaling up your weapoin strikes if you are not using hex at the same time. its maybe a matter of pacing as to which is the optimal choice, so it at least deserves a look at.
    Last edited by 5ekyu; Thursday, 13th June, 2019 at 01:49 PM.
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  3. #13
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I love that you know what you want, and Warlocks are flexible enough to accommodate, just keep in mind that if you insist on not taking one of the Melee routes, then it is harder to be as effective in melee.

    But lets go with what you want: Archfey Patron, Pseudodragon, Melee fighter. Since youíve already picked your Patron and Boon, you now have to choose your Race, spells and Invocations.

    As a Melee fighter, you need a few things. First is proficiency in the weapon you want, second is a decent AC. You only get Light Armor and Simple Weapons from your class, so unless you are willing to just use a Quarterstaff, you need a Race that grants weapon proficiency. Elf or Dwarf is good. Human can work if you take a Feat, but using a Feat to grant proficiency in weapons isÖwell, not usually a good choice. But if youíre not doing Hexblade or Blade Pact, your only option if you donít want to use Simple Weapons is a Race that grants the weapon you want.

    As for AC, you have a few options. Light Armor can be fine if youíre going to max Dex, but itíll only ever give you a 17 AC, and thatís with Dex maxed. Youíll be pretty easy to hit for most of your early and mid days. This is where an Invocation can help. Armor of Shadows basically gives you permanent Mage Armor, which is 13+Dex, basically giving you an 18 AC when your Dex is maxed. Itís better than Light Armor, but not as good as straight Medium with a Shield. The Medium Armor Feat gives you both of these, so Human Variant will give you those at lvl 1. Alternatively, you could wait until lvl 4 to grab that Feat, and itís a Half ASI, so you are still getting one ASI point. If you use your race to get Weapon Proficiency, and your lvl 4 ASI to get the Moderately Armored Feat, then when you get a Breastplate, youíll have an 18 AC, which is respectable. You could have a 19 if you can get Half Plate armor. And youíd only need a 14 Dex, giving you plenty of leeway to build your Charisma.

    One more option for AC is at the expense of Martial Weapons, you could go Variant Human with the Moderately Armored Feat, then grab the Heavily Armored Feat at lvl 4, so you could use Plate Armor and Shields, giving you a full 20 AC. But you would be stuck with Simple Weapons. Not that this is necessarily bad, and thatíll be next.

    The other thing is how to keep up with damage, and this is where your spells will help. Hex is a must. Green Flame Blade can work with any melee weapon, and add damage as you level up. One of them will be required to make this work, otherwise youíll be done, at most, 1d8+dex damage, once a round, for your entire career. With Green Flame Blade, even a dagger can do decent damage, as all the bonus power comes from your spell, not the weapon. You will do a LITTLE less damage than if you used a longsword (1d4 vs 1d8), but the bonus damage would be the same. Because you will never get an Extra Attack, using the cantrip is the only way to be viable in combat.

    My recommendation, after all this, is to take a Race that gives weapon Proficiency, then the Moderately Armored Feat at lvl 4 so you can use Shields. Here are a few options:

    If youíre using a Rapier, be a Dark Elf, put a 15 in Dex to start so after racialís youíll have a 17 dex, then take Moderately Armored so you can put a point in Dex to bring it to 18 and then 20 at lvl 8, focusing on Charisma after that, or grabbing Medium Armor Master so you can increase your AC by 1, since youíll have the Dex for it. Youíll also start with a 16 in Charisma, which isnít bad.

    If youíre using a longsword, go High Elf with a 15 in Str and a 12 in Dex so after Racials your Dex will be a 14, and when you get Moderately Armored, put 1 point in Str to bring it up to 16. Youíll have a 14 in Charisma, which is ok, but youíll not be relying on Charisma spells for a good, long while.

    If you want an axe, then go Hill Dwarf, put a 15 in Str which will give you a 17 after Racials, and a 14 in Dex, grab Heavily Armored at lvl 4 to bring Str up to 18, and then bring it to 20 at lvl 8. Youíll only have a 13 in Charisma, though. Thatís what you give up for getting both Medium Armor and weapon proficiency in the race and getting Heavy Armor at lvl 4. But your AC will be a straight 18 with Plate Armor, which is nothing to sneeze at, and youíll be able to use a two handed Axe for even more damage.

    If you donít mind using Simple Weapons, the best one is a Quarterstaff which is not a Finesse weapon, so go with Human variant with the Moderately Armored Feat, put Str at 15, bump it to 16 with Racials and 17 with Moderately Armored, grab Heavily Armored at lvl 4 to make it an 18, then push it to 20 by lvl 8. Put Charisma at 14, donít worry about Dex at all with this build. Take Athletic as a skill to take advantage of your high strength. Donít forget about Grapple, it can be a game changer if you do it right, and itís an Athletics check. Itís similar to the Dwarf, except you have a 20 AC instead of 18, and your weapon damage suffers a little. So thereís a trade off.


    As for Invocations, there are a few that will help with melee combat, but youíll likely use them more for Out of Combat Utility. Armor of Shadows is a waste, since I think you should just use Medium Armor. But Misty Visions, casting Silent Image at will, can be amazing. Voice of the Chain Master is a given. Cloak of Flies at lvl 5 does Charisma Damage to anyone standing next to you, and you can have it up indefinitely if you want(if you donít mind having flies buzzing around you at all times). Maddening Hex and Relentless Hex are also good for extra damage. They all key off Charisma, so better for the Dark Elf, but if you wind up playing to higher levels, youíll wind up with a 20 in Charisma in almost all of these builds eventually.

    As for spells, Hex is important, and Armor of Agathys is amazing for defense. Besides those two, go to town. Experiment. You have combat taken care of, so donít be afraid of taking utility spells. Donít forget with all these builds, Charisma suffers until higher levels, so some spells will be better than others.

    And lastly, donít forget about your Patron abilities and the Pseudodragon. Use the familiar to grant Advantage on everything, let it scout ahead and trip traps for you, and see if your DM will let you harvest its poison. And with an Archfey, you can charm or frighten once a day.

    You COULD start as a Fighter or something to gain proficiencies and armor. One level of Fighter means you can grab Heavy Armor and any weapon you want for any race you want. You just need a 15 str for Plate Armor, and your set. Dump dex, boost Str and Cha, and go to town. You could even do Variant Human, Heavy Armor Master, put 15 in Str, +1 from racials, +1 from HAM for a total starting str of 17, then just boost Str and Cha with your ASIís. But I wanted to look at options for a pure warlock, because there is something to be said at actually getting your higher level abilities and spells when youíre supposed to.

  4. #14
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)



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    Fighter1/fiendpact XYZ starting as 1st level fighter for the heavy armor.

    Your spells like hex and armor of agathys are there to buff the fighter part, and the fiend pat temp HP when you kill stuff make you fairly tanky.

  5. #15
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    5ekyu's approach is a good one and I recommend it. Here is another build you could consider:

    Race: Half-elf (put the stat bonuses in Dex and Con)
    Stat allocation: Str 13, Dex 15+1, Con 13+1, Int 8, Wis 9, Cha 14+2

    Levels 1-2: Paladin. Take the Duelist fighting style, and fight with rapier and shield (describe the shield as a buckler).
    Levels 3-5: Warlock. Take Pact of the Chain. Be sure to pick up green-flame blade and/or booming blade right away.
    Levels 6-8: Paladin. Take Oath of the Ancients.
    Level 9: Warlock.
    Level 10: Paladin.
    Levels 11+: Any mix of paladin and warlock levels you like.

    This has the advantage of keeping your entire build on theme (using Oath of the Ancients), and offers some nifty synergies. You don't get Extra Attack until level 8, so you'll be behind the curve from levels 5-7; but green-flame blade and/or booming blade can tide you over in the meantime, the fighting style also helps, and you can take advantage of those fast-refreshing warlock spell slots with Divine Smite.

    At level 8, you get Extra Attack, which gets you back on track. At level 9, you pick up your second ASI and reach Dex 20. Level 10 gives you Aura of Protection, which does very nice things with your high Charisma. After that, you can mix and match warlock and paladin levels however you like.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    As per monster manual you can take a pseudodragon for a familiar without needing to be a warlock at all.
    Are you talking about if you happen to encounter one as an NPC and ask it really nicely?

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flobby View Post
    Long time D&D player but first time playing 5e. (I've had the main books forever though so I'm pretty familiar with the rules and all.)

    Starting at 3rd level and I'm thinking of making a Warlock.
    I want to be fast Dex-based sword wielder, but I want to go with the archfey for flavory reasons and pact of the chain (because I'm a dork and just really want a pet dragon...)

    I'm not too nuts about optimizing the character (obviously...), but at the same time I don't want a useless character at the same time. So my question is... is it just hopeless to have a melee-focused warlock who is not a hexblade or blade pact? Do you think it would be doable by taking a few levels in fighter first?
    Use shadowblade spell and booming blade. Take the mobile feat. Rely on hit and run tactics. Would work great as a wood elf for extra speed and dex bonus. Consider starting with a level of fighter or dragon sorcerer for con saves and an ac fix.

    At level 5 you can do 4d8 +mod damage. And if the enemy moves you will do extra damage. Mobile allows you to move away without oa.

    You can invest in more fighter or sorcerer levels latter to improve your damage if you fell it falling behind. Action surge or meta magic twin or quicken would be great for you.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    5ekyu's approach is a good one and I recommend it. Here is another build you could consider:

    Race: Half-elf (put the stat bonuses in Dex and Con)
    Stat allocation: Str 13, Dex 15+1, Con 13+1, Int 8, Wis 9, Cha 14+2

    Levels 1-2: Paladin. Take the Duelist fighting style, and fight with rapier and shield (describe the shield as a buckler).
    Levels 3-5: Warlock. Take Pact of the Chain. Be sure to pick up green-flame blade and/or booming blade right away.
    Levels 6-8: Paladin. Take Oath of the Ancients.
    Level 9: Warlock.
    Level 10: Paladin.
    Levels 11+: Any mix of paladin and warlock levels you like.

    This has the advantage of keeping your entire build on theme (using Oath of the Ancients), and offers some nifty synergies. You don't get Extra Attack until level 8, so you'll be behind the curve from levels 5-7; but green-flame blade and/or booming blade can tide you over in the meantime, the fighting style also helps, and you can take advantage of those fast-refreshing warlock spell slots with Divine Smite.

    At level 8, you get Extra Attack, which gets you back on track. At level 9, you pick up your second ASI and reach Dex 20. Level 10 gives you Aura of Protection, which does very nice things with your high Charisma. After that, you can mix and match warlock and paladin levels however you like.

    Adding in my agreement - a paladin works too and syncs well with the warlock - maybe better than the rogue.

  9. #19
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    Shadow Blade and Booming Blade is definitely the way Iíd go to make a non-hexblade, non-pact of the blade melee warlock. Mobile is a good idea to keep you from getting too beat up since youíll be squishy (go Variant Human to get it at 1st level so you can spend your other ASIs on Dexterity). Probably best to keep a dagger in your off hand so if two enemies get in close you can attack them each once and escape without having to spend your action to disengage.

  10. #20
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    Just a note with shadow blade: It is a concentration spell, and concentration is very difficult to sustain in melee. The Mobile feat will help a little, but you'll still be a lot closer to the enemy than a concentrating caster wants to be. If you go this route, consider taking your first level in a class that gets proficiency in Constitution saving throws.

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