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5E [5E] Cleric Twilight / Sorcerer Shadow help


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So I was reading the new UA with the Twilight domain in it. I really like the feel of it. One thing I noticed because I had looked for it elsewhere unsuccessfully - they have a way to make an area filled with Dim light, regardless of the lighting around. Now, it takes an action, their CD, and only lasts a minute, but still.

The reason for looking for this was for the Shadow Blade spell, which has advantage on attacks in dim light. But that's only on the Warlock, Sorcerer, and Wizard lists. Those also give the SCAG melee cantrips. Warlock won't add to casting, so it's not likely it. Wizard gives lots of spells - but only a few levels of it won't really take advantage of it, while Sorc gives metamagic I can use on clerical buffs. Okay, sorcerer it is.

And then there is a thematically gorgeous Shadow Sorcerer in XGtE. Not perhaps the best in terms of actual features, but oh so on point for flavor. 11/10.

So here's what I'm thinking.

Start Sorc 1 for CON and CHR saves. CON for Concentration, and CHR for the Strength of the Grave feature. Both Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade are among the cantrips picked up.
Cleric (Twilight) 1 next. Multiclassing cleric gets me medium and shields, and as a subclass feature the heavy armor and martial weapons still come into play. Go shield and a 1H weapon.
Cleric 2 gives me the CD and 2nd level slots.
Sorc 2 & 3 gives me 2nd level sorc spells known to pick up Shadow Blade, and 3rd level slots. I now have plenty of slots to use, including 3rd to upcast it for 3d8 base damage. It also give me metamagic - Twin for using with buffs and quickened to get a spell off as a bonus, then attack with one of the melee cantrips. Not a lot of SP though, may be breaking down slots for more if I do not use judiciously.

We're now character level 5 with 1st level cleric spells, 2nd level sorcerer spells - but full weapon & armor and cantrips to make up for the lack of extra attack.

Where from here? More sorcerer for SPs? Maybe cleric up to 8th for Divine Strike and ASIs. Where do we go from here?

Race also has me going wondering. Hill Dwarf gives me +2 CON, +1 HP on top of it, +1 WIS, and I can ignore STR for the heavy armor, so go DEX for weapons for the things it brings be. Elf gives me +2 DEX for weapons and Elven Accuracy, but I need to worry about STR for heavy armor unless my DEX is good enough to go for medium. Could also pick up EA with Half Elf which is +2 CHR and +1 probably DEX & CON, but that has even less DEX for getting away from STR for heavy armor.

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Never getting extra attack seems like wasted potential with shadow blade, especially if you have a reliable way to generate advantage on all your attacks. Also thematically it feels to me like a shadow blade user ought to be in light armor or no armor (mage armor). Something about being a shadow-based character clad in clunky armor just seems off to me.

Why not go high elf, do bladesinger instead of sorcerer, so you eventually get a second attack which you really want with a shadow blade, a concentration buff that largely replaces proficiency from sorcerer (and stacks with it if you get Resilient CON)?

I think I'd do

STR 9, DEX 14+2, CON 13, INT 15+1, WIS 13, CHA 8

grab Resilient CON at 6th, boost DEX at 10th.

At low levels wear the medium armor and shield, but when you get bladesong you can switch to unarmored with mage armor; with bladesong you have an AC of 19 (or 18 if you run out of bladesong and just equip a shield), which you can get up to 23/24 with the shield spell. You get extra attack at 8th, by which point you'll have five 3rd and 4th level slots, plus arcane recovery, so you can pretty much be using a 3d8 shadow blade all the time at (2 x (3d8 + 3) with advantage per turn; compare that to (1 x (4d8+3) using booming blade). In bladesong your concentration bonus will be +8, and you have a nice mobility boost. You won't have metamagic but you'll have more and better spells, and more utility than you would as a sorcerer.

The biggest downside I see is competition for your bonus action in the first round, but you're also still a wizard, so you could spend the first round casting a spell and entering bladesong (or using CD when needed), and then start with shadow blade in round 2.

Or you could start with one level of Fighter for CON save proficiency and dueling style, freeing up an ASI, but at the cost of delaying those key milestones (CD, shadow blade, extra attack). But then you could grab the 2nd fighter level at 10th to get action surge and make 4 x (3d8+6) attacks all at advantage. I think it would depend what level range you're planning to spend time in.

Edit: I forgot about elven accuracy. I might rather start with 9, 15+2, 14, 13+1, 13, 8, take Elven Accuracy at 6th, and then war caster after that (both for concentration and for shadow blade + booming blade AoOs)
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Why not go high elf, do bladesinger instead of sorcerer, so you eventually get a second attack which you really want with a shadow blade, a concentration buff that largely replaces proficiency from sorcerer (and stacks with it if you get Resilient CON)?

Sure, there are lots of possible builds around shadow blade. That's not the theme I'm trying to optimize here. I have more than one build around Shadow Blades I've build for the fun of it. I think the halfling fighter (EK)/warlock (Celestial / Chain) is my favorite, with warlock recharge on short rests plus auto-upcast making sure I had a shadowblade for every combat, and relying on the exta SCAG cantrip damage to offset the late arrival of Extra Attack.

Halfling (Stout) Warlock (Celestial / Chain)

Base Race 5th 11th
S 8
D 14 16 18 20
C 13 14
I 12
W 12
Ch 14

Halfling: Lucky, Brave, halfling nimbleness, stout resilience

[1] Fighter 1: Weapon/Armor prof, STR&CON saves, Fighting Style: Duelist, Second Wind
HP 12 AC 18 (Scale+Dex+Shield) Rapier [d8+5]+BB[d8 move], Heavy Crossbow [d10+3]

[2] Fgt 1 / Warlock 1: 1 x 1st slot, Celestial. Healing Light – Pool: 1+warlock lvl d6s. Bonus Action to spend up to CHR and heal anyone within 60’. Hex since we don’t have Shadow Blade
HP 18 Hex: Rapier [d8+d6+5]+BB[d8 move], Heavy Crossbow [d10+d6+3]

[3] Fgt 1 / Warlock 2: 2 x 1st slot. Beguiling Influence, Devil’s Sight
HP 24 AC 19 (Half Plate+Dex+Shield) [gold for armor upgrade]

[4] Fgt 1 / Warlock 3: 2 x 2nd slot. Pact of the chain. Familiar to turn invisible and use help action. Replace Beguiling Influence with Gift of the Ever-Living Ones to maximize healing. (From Healing Light & others). 2nd level slots so Shadow Blade comes online.
HP 30 Shadow Blade [2d8+5 psychic]+BB[d8 move], Rapier [d8+5]+BB[d8 move], Heavy Crossbow [d10+3]

[5] Fgt 1 / Warlock 4: +2 Dex [18], Booming Blade damage increases
HP 36 Shadow Blade [2d8+6 psychic +d8 thunder]+BB[2d8 move], Rapier [d8+6 + d8 thunder]+BB[2d8 move], Heavy Crossbow [d10+4]

[6] Fgt 1 / Warlock 5: 2 x 3rd level slot. Revivify from Celestial spell list? +1 Invocation
HP 42 Shadow Blade [3d8+6 psychic +d8 thunder]+BB[2d8 move]

[7] Fighter 2 / Wrlk 5: Action Surge
HP 49

[8] Fighter 3 / Wrlk 5: Eldritch Knight. 2 x 1st level slots. Shield
HP 56

[9] Fighter 4 / Wrlk 5: 3 x 1st slots. Feat: Warcaster [can cast Shield, plus advantage Concentration]
HP 63

[10] Fighter 5 / Wrlk 5: Extra Attack
HP 70 2x Shadow Blade [3d8+6 psychic], Rapier [d8+6], Long Bow [d8+4]

[11] Fighter 6 / Wrlk 5: +2 Dex [20], Cantrips inprove
HP 77 2x Shadow Blade [3d8+7 psychic], Rapier [d8+7], Long Bow [d8+5]

[12] Fighter 7 / Wrlk 5: 4 x 1st + 2 x 2nd slots; War magic – cantrip and 1 attack
HP 84 Shadow Blade [3d8+7 Psychic + 2d8 thunder]+BB[3d8 move] + Shadow Blade [no BB]

(DPR, no move: 8d8+14 = 50 avg hit * .65 hit = 32.5 expected DPR. More with advantage (dim or familiar. Also ignores crits and avoiding 1s from halfling lucky)
Melee with Hex and BB: Rapier [d8+d6+7 + 2d8 thunder]+BB[3d8 move] + Rapier [d8+d6+7]
Ranged with hex: 2x +5 attack, Longbow d8+d6+5 damage, OR 3x +2 attack EB d10+d6 plus +5 attack Hvy Crossbow d10+d8+5?

[13] Fighter 8 / Wrlk 5: +2 CON or CHR [16]
HP 104

Where to go from here?
+4W Warlock 9 - 5th level spells for better Shadow Blade, ASI (@ 8th), increases healing pool
+5W Warlock 10 – Celestial Radiance = 12 tHP to party every short rest.
+6W Warlock 11 – 3 x 5th level slots, +a daily 6th level slot.
+1F Fighter 9 – Indomitable
+3F Fighter 11 – Extra Attack [2], but this stops cantrip+1attack so lose BB damage. +1 2nd level slot @ 10th
+1S Sorc (Divine Soul) 1 – Favored by the gods (+2d4 to attack/dave 1/rest) and slots
+2S Sorc (any) Metamagic and higher level slots
+3S Sorc (Shadow) 3 – Darkness/Devil’s sight w/o needing Devil’s sight. Can swap out. 1/day make CHR save to stay at 1 HP instead of going to 0. Not we are not proficient in CHR saves.

Bladesinger has the additional penalty of needing a good INT for bladesinging to make up for both downgrading to no shield (and a bit for light armor) and for lack of CON save. That's hard to get when I need at least a 13 WIS to multiclass, a good DEX to attack with, and a decent CON to survive front lines.

Never getting extra attack seems like wasted potential with shadow blade, especially if you have a reliable way to generate advantage on all your attacks.

I hear this. But I'm not going to solely using Shadow Blade. The character doesn't have enough CDs to do that. It also has full casting slots, though it's a bit behind in spell known.

When using shadow blade, two attacks a round are achievable through quickening either Booming Blade or Greeen Flame blade for as long as SPs last. Which isn't that long even with breaking down slots to recharge until I go more levels of sorcerer, but is something.


Sure, there are lots of possible builds around shadow blade. That's not the theme I'm trying to optimize here.

Oh, well your OP made it sound like the core of the build was Twilight Cleric and some kind of arcane caster for shadow blade, with the arcane class somewhat up for grabs. That was the basis on which I was suggesting bladesinger in place of the sorcerer component.

At character level 8, comparing Twilight Cleric 2 / Shadow Sorcerer 6 to Twilight Cleric 2 / Bladesinger 6: the sorcerer can quicken booming blade a few times a day, getting a little more damage on those rounds than the bladesinger, but those rounds likely make up a pretty small share of the day's rounds, whereas the bladesinger can attack twice every round. And if you're burning most of your SP to do that, what are you getting from being a sorcerer?

As for the INT need, the sorcerer still needs a 13 CHA. Bladesinger could take 14 INT, 17 DEX and 14 CON, the sorcerer could take 13 CHA, 16 DEX, and 16 CON. By level 8 with elven accuracy, bladesinger is looking at 17 base AC, 19 with bladesong (which should be most of the time), 24 with Shield. With half-plate and shield, the sorcerer has 19 AC, and more HP (but may be cannibalizing their Shield slots for SP). So the sorc is a little more durable and has slightly better concentration saves. But the bladesinger has better offense, and more utility and versatility. (And despite the shadow in shadow sorcerer, is the better of the two at being in the shadows, not wearing loud armor)

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