Banishing Eldritch Blast

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
How about a duration of "Instantaneous"?
As opposed to a number of minutes?

In general, an instantaneous spell's effects all take effect at the same time.
Where is that written?

You don't, for instance, get to cast a spell that targets two creatures, choose one, then move, then choose the other. This isn't like using the Attack action, where you have multiple attacks happening in sequence. It's one spell, creating multiple beams.
Well, yeah, you have to resolve all of the effects of the spell before you can start using movement. But there is no rule against resolving those effects sequentially, except in the case of magic missile, which would seem to indicate that it is an exception to the general case.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
How about a duration of "Instantaneous"?

In general, an instantaneous spell's effects all take effect at the same time. You don't, for instance, get to cast a spell that targets two creatures, choose one, then move, then choose the other. This isn't like using the Attack action, where you have multiple attacks happening in sequence. It's one spell, creating multiple beams.

Not to make this a big thing, since this has been discussed ad nauseam on these boards, but Instantaneous does not mean all the magic happens all at once. It largely means that the magic cannot be dispelled.

Roll20.net said:
Instantaneous

Many spells are Instantaneous. The spell harms, heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way that can’t be dispelled, because its magic exists only for an instant.

One good example is Animate Dead. That is an instantaneous spell, but the magic clearly lingers beyond an instant. So one way that Eldritch Blast can be conceptualized it that in the instant of the spell it charges your body with a number of "bullets" that can be fired on your turn. Maybe a player describes it as a magic crossbow with a couple of bolts. They can fire those bolts in sequence, just as with a repeating crossbow.

Another example is Armor of Agathys. That is an instantaneous spell, but clearly those temporary hit points remain until they are gone. Additionally, the damage effect is not discharged only on the first hit or the first enemy the caster chooses. So the magic of Eldritch Blast, while yes, an instantaneous spell, also has precedent to last long enough for the caster to make subsequent and conscious choice on each blast.

I would argue that scorching ray is another similar and perhaps the most relevant example. That is an instantaneous spell, but I have never seen it played where a DM made them choose the target of each ray before hand.

This is further supported in a Sage Advice presented HERE.

Here, Jeremy Crawford stated that Scorching Ray is treated as a sequence of attacks, despite being an "Instantaneous" spell. This is further supported in Sage Advice specifically regarding Eldritch Blast presented HERE and HERE.
 
Last edited:

clearstream

(He, Him)
A concerning downside to hex is concentration and the ease in which a warlocks concentration can be broken. The higher level encounters you face the more likely your concentration is to get broken. Not to mention the warlock has some additional very good buffs and control spells that require concentration later which hex competes with.

For levels 1-10 hellish rebuke deals nearly identical damage to hex in typical encounters (if not better), does it's massive amount of damage earlier in the fight (damage earlier is always better than damage later) and is guaranteed unlike hex which can be ended by failing concentration saves the turn after you cast it or any turn after that.

The damage caused by hex with 4 attacks against a 15 ac foe at level 4 is 8.4 damage.
The damage caused by a level 2 hellish rebuke against a +2 dex save foe at level 4 is 12.7875 damage.

Even at Hex's sweet spot of level 5 and 6.

The damage caused by hex with 8 attacks against a 15 ac foe at level 5 is 18.2
The damage caused by a level 3 hellish rebuke against a +2 dex save enemy is 17.6
Please remember that I'm not arguing about Hex being good or bad, only about Eldritch Blast with the Agonizing invocation. As you say, at higher levels there are better casts than Hex. I also agree that Hex is not reliably "on", contrary to some analysis I've seen on these boards. In play, it's often down for some number of rounds. In an adventuring party, using the spell and concentration slot to grant GWM or SS weapon-attacker persistent advantage probably out-damages either.

I'm all for letting it apply to other cantrips. But why limit it for EB? The ranger already out damages you with no feats all the way until you hit level 11. Why further that gap. It's likely the battlemaster fighter outdamages you as well (even without feats). And both can definitely outdamage you with feats.

What melee character are you trying to compare the warlock to that you think doesn't get either the 20-30% higher damage than him or strong enough defensive abilities to compensate for the damage difference?
That's a fair question, and as you know one has to make some decisions when forming scenarios. The characters that I use as yardsticks are created along strong lines, without going far from what I see people creating at my table. For example -

Ranger Hunter with Archery style, longbow, Sharpshooter feat
Fighter Battlemaster with one-handed weapon and shield, Shieldmaster feat
Barbarian Totem (Bear), Reckless Attacking with greatsword or greataxe, GWM feat

The contexts in which I evaluate them are based on the game as I see it played. Roughly three encounters per long rest, about 5 rounds long each, facing mostly "hard" foes. That helps suggest the ACs, saves, and hits-back that are likely to arise, and the probable "up-time" for strategies based on resources, positioning, action-economy and ability to stay in the fight. Taken together, I'm not looking at some of the more optimistic builds like Precision/GWM/Battlemaster, or cheesier ones like CEx/SS/Hand-crossbow Archer.

It's a pretty big deal even at tier 2. You'll have somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 the time that you hit with both attacks on a turn. That's often enough to matter.

Sure, what melee character are you worried about outdamaging with the warlocks agonizing blast?
So the GWM Barbarian who is all-in on a toe-to-toe attack is for me the yardstick for repeatable, single-target damage in D&D. Discarding defences to wield the biggest weapon that they can find! For me, it'd be a bit underwhelming if that didn't define the envelope. On average over an adventuring day (i.e sustained DPS) I put them at about 10/round in tier 1, 20-30/round in tier 2, 30-40/round in tier 3. Those aren't the biggest numbers they can achieve, but over time it matches quite well what I see happening in play.

The 1HS Battlemaster has a solid AC and gets persistent advantage through Shieldmaster: I think they look like a good yardstick for a conservative melee strategy. I put them on average over an adventuring day at about 10/round in tier 1, about 20/round in tier 2, and about 30/round in tier 3.

In both cases, I expect the melee attacks to out-damage ranged. This means I am looking for a 120' ranged attack, like Eldritch Blast, to do say 7 in tier 1, 14-21 in tier 2, 21-28 in tier 3. Taking into account the possible on-hit crowd-control effects, and following what I've seen happen over numerous sessions of play, I'm drawn to the bottom end of this range. I find that with Once-per-turn it deals nearly exactly that. Without Once-per-turn, i.e. as RAW, it deals at the top. In tier 1 there is literally no difference. At tier 2, Warlock might roll for 30 beams a day, missing about 8 of them; the 22 hits distributed over 15 turns. Therefore losing on average about 2 damage a round. At tier 3, Warlock might roll for 45 beams a day, missing about 9 of them, losing a much more significant 7.5 damage per round.

But this is not what happens in play. In play, Warlock at tier 3 has 3 high-quality casts that they'll usually recover right after the fight. They'll drop Synaptic Static on some group. Greater Invis. their GWM Barbarian (persistent advantage does crazy things to their damage dealing.) D.Door out of trouble. I think they'll usually miss at least two rounds a combat. In that sense, your Rebuke strategy is actually kind of great! So that is really 27 beams, missing about 6 of them, or again about 2 damage a round.

It even seems possible that Agonizing was just a wording bug that they decided to go with, when I look at how hedged most other damage-adds for spells are (i.e. to once per time damage is dealt). Agonizing blasts are d10+stat attacks, that scale for extra attacks at the same rate that 1H fighters scale their d8+stat attacks, and then have 120' range, force damage type, and on-hit c-c effects to boot. Superiority dice keep the Battlemaster about even, and can provide c-c. So for me the direct contrast could be simplified down to what 120' range and force damage type are worth in play? I think they're worth something: what seems reasonable?
 

Ganymede81

First Post
Why not simply eliminate the multi-shot ability of Eldritch Blast and make it scale like every other cantrip instead? That'd go a long way to pruning down its excess.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
[MENTION=71699]clearstream[/MENTION] I'm curious your thoughts about the rogue. As has been mentioned, the history of the warlock would indicate that Eldritch Blast is more of a class feature than a traditional cantrip (to me the fact that it is a cantrip is a design flaw, even if technically it is exclusive to the warlock based on spell lists). So if a warlock largely relies on Eldritch Blast, is this not similar to how a rogue is constantly trying to maximize their use of sneak attack? In fact, their are archetypes out there that allow rogues to sneak attack under broader circumstances, or in the case of the scout even sneak attack twice a turn.

Warlocks are not casters in the way sorcerers or wizards are casters. They are more akin to monks and rogues in that they are supposed to be middle of the road in terms of damage output versus control and utility. They even have the same HP die. So I see them as a more appropriate point of comparison versus fighters, rangers, or barbarians. But again, rogues and monks have similar combat gimmicks with sneak attack and martial arts, respectively. So if a rogue is functioning as expected trying to use sneak attack each round, and a monk using unarmed strike is also functioning as intended, why would you expect this to be different from the warlock?

I suspect it is once again because Eldritch Blast counts against the cantrips known (once again, I think this is a mistake). Make this a class feature, and going for agonizing blast and other invocations that support Eldritch Blast is, in my perspective, little different than a rogue going Scout or Swashbuckler, or a monk going Kensei or Sun Soul. They still have the options to go for utility or control, but make a conscious choice to go for improving their signature attack.

Also you keep using this term "up time," and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I have not previously seen it used in these kinds of discussions.
 

Yeah, 'up time' is a term I always associated with buffs/debuffs, referring to the amount of time it's in effect.

Could it have been referring to hex? I generally consider that to be part of the damage calcs for a warlock's EB.
 
Last edited:

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Yeah, 'up time' is a term I always associated with buffs/debuffs, referring to the amount f time it's in effect.

Could it have been referring to hex? I generally consider that to be part of the damage calcs for a warlock's EB.

Hex is another spell that I feel is more appropriate as a class feature rather than a spell. It's like the designers had all these ideas and didn't know where to put em, so they just made them spells. Hunter's Mark is another spell that shouldn't be a spell but instead a class feature. This way, favored enemy can function as an increased step in the damage die from Hunter's Mark. Hence making Favored Enemy having a proper function.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
@clearstream I'm curious your thoughts about the rogue. As has been mentioned, the history of the warlock would indicate that Eldritch Blast is more of a class feature than a traditional cantrip (to me the fact that it is a cantrip is a design flaw, even if technically it is exclusive to the warlock based on spell lists). So if a warlock largely relies on Eldritch Blast, is this not similar to how a rogue is constantly trying to maximize their use of sneak attack? In fact, their are archetypes out there that allow rogues to sneak attack under broader circumstances, or in the case of the scout even sneak attack twice a turn.
I agree Eldritch Blast could be more of a class feature (see my question on that below), and for the sake of interesting play I am pursuing an intuition it that could be broadened to damage-dealing cantrips generally. Regarding Rogue maximising Sneak Attack versus Warlock maximising Eldritch Blast? I know the builds you mean and have played one, going the Riposte route. A Warlock needs to choose one invocation (which they can do at 2nd level) to gain a highly-optimised attack. Rogue needs to either cunningly multiclass, or take Scout archetype and wait until 17th (!) level, to optimise Sneak Attack, or pick-up Sentinel (at 4th level) to broaden their trigger conditions. Maybe all three :) Or choose one invocation. At level 2.

Warlocks are not casters in the way sorcerers or wizards are casters. They are more akin to monks and rogues in that they are supposed to be middle of the road in terms of damage output versus control and utility. They even have the same HP die. So I see them as a more appropriate point of comparison versus fighters, rangers, or barbarians. But again, rogues and monks have similar combat gimmicks with sneak attack and martial arts, respectively. So if a rogue is functioning as expected trying to use sneak attack each round, and a monk using unarmed strike is also functioning as intended, why would you expect this to be different from the warlock?
Agreed, strong Eldritch Blast is functioning as intended. So in my view nothing should pare it down to being a weak attack. I'm suggesting (admittedly, the jury is still out) that it could be "once-per-turn", and still be easily strong-enough. Posters here have brought in perspectives that make me want to go back and check my assumptions, of course. I don't want to pretend that I know the answer to the "how strong?" question right now.

I suspect it is once again because Eldritch Blast counts against the cantrips known (once again, I think this is a mistake). Make this a class feature, and going for agonizing blast and other invocations that support Eldritch Blast is, in my perspective, little different than a rogue going Scout or Swashbuckler, or a monk going Kensei or Sun Soul. They still have the options to go for utility or control, but make a conscious choice to go for improving their signature attack.
I'm thinking of tweaking my house rules to make Eldritch + Agonizing base class features. What is holding me up is Blade pact. I've lately been thinking about Hexblade characters that don't want Eldritch Blast because they'd never fit it into their action-economy. They don't have the spare actions to cast it with. What do you think about those? Doesn't it hem them in, or feel redundant to make them take Eldritch + Agonizing?

Also you keep using this term "up time," and I'm not sure what you mean by this. I have not previously seen it used in these kinds of discussions.
I mean that in comparing DPS, some analysis assumes that the character will be able to apply their attack every turn. A great example is GWM melee. I use a wide variety of battlemaps and on them I see melee characters typically spending either the first or a later turn of a fight positioning. So if a fight is typically 5 rounds long, they have 4 rounds of up-time. Conversely, ranged characters are often able to attack every round due to their reach. Their target selection is better, too. They probably drop a round over a couple of fights. Still, they have overall better "up-time". Sometimes I see ambitious builds that ignore attacks-back. Time spent dying is not time attacking, again reducing up-time. The final factor is resources. In tiers 2 and 3 for example, a Battlemaster can land far more hits than they have superiority dice to spend on.

So positioning, target selection, sustainability and resources = attacks/rounds = up-time.

Some examples: I currently put Hunter's Mark and Hex up-time at 0.65, GWM up-time at 0.8, and Cleave up-time at 0.43. Ranged attacks I put at 1.0. Abilities like Action Surge increase "up-time" so a 1HS Battlemaster can count their melee at 1.0. Inadequate defence reduces up-time by at least 0.2.
 
Last edited:

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
I agree Eldritch Blast could be more of a class feature (see my question on that below), and for the sake of interesting play I am pursuing an intuition it that could be broadened to damage-dealing cantrips generally. Regarding Rogue maximising Sneak Attack versus Warlock maximising Eldritch Blast? I know the builds you mean and have played one, going the Riposte route. A Warlock needs to choose one invocation (which they can do at 2nd level) to gain a highly-optimised attack. Rogue needs to either cunningly multiclass, or take Scout archetype and wait until 17th (!) level, to optimise Sneak Attack, or pick-up Sentinel (at 4th level) to broaden their trigger conditions. Maybe all three :) Or choose one invocation. At level 2.

While those are viable options for a Rogue, I think you are missing some things. A 3rd level Rogue going Assassin has a means to auto-crit a surprised enemy. A 3rd level Inquisitive or Swashbuckler have new routes to make it easier to Sneak Attack more often. A rogue that simply uses basic Two Weapon Fighting rules (can be achieve at level 1) instantly increases there opportunities for Sneak Attack. I think I have mentioned this previously in this conversation, but the point of Eldritch Blast is more consistent damage, while Sneak Attack offers a MUCH higher damage ceiling with the trade off of being less consistent. So fewer builds around Sneak Attack are able to replicate that more reliable damage since that is not what Sneak Attack is intended for.

But still, while a valid counter-point, it also misses the overall point. Which is that class features such as Sneak Attack and Martial Arts, as core features of their classes of origin, function as intended when they are used often and perhaps even in spite of other options being available.

My argument is the Eldritch Blast should be a core feature of the Warlock. But since it is not (as the designers wrongly chose to make it a cantrip), then spamming Eldritch Blast feels different than spamming Sneak Attack or Martial Arts.

I would also argue that the Warlock's class and archetype design is so different than other classes that it can lead to confusion and a sense of too many options. First, unlike other classes that have a clear archetype, the Warlock has a Patron (technically considered the archetype) and a Pact (somewhat of a mini-archetype). But the Patrons don't seem to mechanically function as other archetypes do. They add features that are thematic to the particular Patron, but none of them truly support existing core features of the warlock (as other archetypes tend to do), nor do they create any mechanics that are built upon as you continue in that archetype. Rather, each Patron seems a hodgepodge of interesting mechanics, linked by thematic description, but not in any way mechanically related to one another. Think of the Battlemaster. That archetype introduces a new mechanic, and builds upon it. Same with the Rogue Assassin, the Ranger Gloomstalker, any many, many others.

So with this, while other classes rely on archetypes to drive their character builds, a Warlock's character build is more related to their Pact and their choice of invocations. I would argue the problem with this is that you have invocations that improve Eldritch Blast, and you have a very few that are specific to your Pact, but the rest are just kind of all over. So it is much easier to build around Eldritch Blast, but because it is not a core feature of the Warlock it feels like a cantrip AND invocation tax to do so. And because there are so many choices but few invocation slots, each is extremely valuable and needs to be chosen carefully (I would say this is similar to a Sorcerer and their limited number of spells known).

So, Warlocks have archetypes that don't feel or function like an archetype (I would say Hexblade recognizes this but tries to over correct), Eldritch Blast incorporated and supported as if its a core feature despite being a cantrip, and mechanical support for Pacts and builds through invocations but very few actually related to your Pact. This last part is especially strange, since Pacts ARE core features but get less invocation support than Eldritch Blast, which IS NOT technically a core class feature.

All of this creates identity confusion about how a Warlock can or should function. It would be like if you were playing a rogue and could pick and chose which archetype feature you wanted at each level.

I'm thinking of tweaking my house rules to make Eldritch + Agonizing base class features. What is holding me up is Blade pact. I've lately been thinking about Hexblade characters that don't want Eldritch Blast because they'd never fit it into their action-economy. They don't have the spare actions to cast it with. What do you think about those? Doesn't it hem them in, or feel redundant to make them take Eldritch + Agonizing?

So I actually have a product on the dmsguild that addresses how to treat the Hexblade. I would link to it, but after engaging in the conversation in this thread, I feel like maybe the Warlock redesign I created could be tweaked. But, I can give you the basics of what I did.

1) Adjust the Warlock class. Hex becomes a class feature at level 2, usable 1/short rest for 1 min, no concentration. Still requires a bonus Action.

2) Hexblade level one grants proficiency in medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. This brings the first level of the Patron in line with relative power of the other patrons. Also stops the Hexblade from stepping on the toes of the Fiend patron.

3) Further levels in the Hexblade modify or improve how they use the Hex class feature.

4) Pact of the Blade provides the character with a new Eldritch Blast variant. You could call it Eldritch Weapon, and rather than a ranged spell attack, it is a melee spell attack.

This way, Hexblade remains thematic with regard to improving Hex and allowing more melee oriented warlocks. Hexblade still benefits from taking Pact of the Blade (As currently Hexblades have no reason to take Pact of the Blade). But Hexblades can function just as well without Pact of the Blade, and Pact of the Blade is still a viable option for any Patron.
 
Last edited:

5ekyu

Hero
While those are viable options for a Rogue, I think you are missing some things. A 3rd level Rogue going Assassin has a means to auto-crit a surprised enemy. A 3rd level Inquisitive or Swashbuckler have new routes to make it easier to Sneak Attack more often. A rogue that simply uses basic Two Weapon Fighting rules (can be achieve at level 1) instantly increases there opportunities for Sneak Attack. I think I have mentioned this previously in this conversation, but the point of Eldritch Blast is more consistent damage, while Sneak Attack offers a MUCH higher damage ceiling with the trade off of being less consistent. So fewer builds around Sneak Attack are able to replicate that more reliable damage since that is not what Sneak Attack is intended for.

But still, while a valid counter-point, it also misses the overall point. Which is that class features such as Sneak Attack and Martial Arts, as core features of their classes of origin, function as intended when they are used often and perhaps even in spite of other options being available.

My argument is the Eldritch Blast should be a core feature of the Warlock. But since it is not (as the designers wrongly chose to make it a cantrip), then spamming Eldritch Blast feels different than spamming Sneak Attack or Martial Arts.

I would also argue that the Warlock's class and archetype design is so different than other classes that it can lead to confusion and a sense of too many options. First, unlike other classes that have a clear archetype, the Warlock has a Patron (technically considered the archetype) and a Pact (somewhat of a mini-archetype). But the Patrons don't seem to mechanically function as other archetypes do. They add features that are thematic to the particular Patron, but none of them truly support existing core features of the warlock (as other archetypes tend to do), nor do they create any mechanics that are built upon as you continue in that archetype. Rather, each Patron seems a hodgepodge of interesting mechanics, linked by thematic description, but not in any way mechanically related to one another. Think of the Battlemaster. That archetype introduces a new mechanic, and builds upon it. Same with the Rogue Assassin, the Ranger Gloomstalker, any many, many others.

So with this, while other classes rely on archetypes to drive their character builds, a Warlock's character build is more related to their Pact and their choice of invocations. I would argue the problem with this is that you have invocations that improve Eldritch Blast, and you have a very few that are specific to your Pact, but the rest are just kind of all over. So it is much easier to build around Eldritch Blast, but because it is not a core feature of the Warlock it feels like a cantrip AND invocation tax to do so. And because there are so many choices but few invocation slots, each is extremely valuable and needs to be chosen carefully (I would say this is similar to a Sorcerer and their limited number of spells known).

So, Warlocks have archetypes that don't feel or function like an archetype (I would say Hexblade recognizes this but tries to over correct), Eldritch Blast incorporated and supported as if its a core feature despite being a cantrip, and mechanical support for Pacts and builds through invocations but very few actually related to your Pact. This last part is especially strange, since Pacts ARE core features but get less invocation support than Eldritch Blast, which IS NOT technically a core class feature.

All of this creates identity confusion about how a Warlock can or should function. It would be like if you were playing a rogue and could pick and chose which archetype feature you wanted at each level.



So I actually have a product on the dmsguild that addresses how to treat the Hexblade. I would link to it, but after engaging in the conversation in this thread, I feel like maybe the Warlock redesign I created could be tweaked. But, I can give you the basics of what I did.

1) Adjust the Warlock class. Hex becomes a class feature at level 2, usable 1/short rest for 1 min, no concentration. Still requires a bonus Action.

2) Hexblade level one grants proficiency in medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. This brings the first level of the Patron in line with relative power of the other patrons. Also stops the Hexblade from stepping on the toes of the Fiend patron.

3) Further levels in the Hexblade modify or improve how they use the Hex class feature.

4) Pact of the Blade provides the character with a new Eldritch Blast variant. You could call it Eldritch Weapon, and rather than a ranged spell attack, it is a melee spell attack.

This way, Hexblade remains thematic with regard to improving Hex and allowing more melee oriented warlocks. Hexblade still benefits from taking Pact of the Blade (As currently Hexblades have no reason to take Pact of the Blade). But Hexblades can function just as well without Pact of the Blade, and Pact of the Blade is still a viable option for any Patron.

Re this

"My argument is the Eldritch Blast should be a core feature of the Warlock. But since it is not (as the designers wrongly chose to make it a cantrip), then spamming Eldritch Blast feels different than spamming Sneak Attack or Martial Arts. "

Admitting from the outset that questioning a "feeling" might be considered pointless, but hey, when that feeling is a basis for a position, there is some merit to the question.

I see Eldritch blast *as* a warlock class feature because...

1 - It exists only on the Warlock class spells list. The only way non-warlocks get it is thru "other class swiping" abilities other classes have or feats that allow that kind of thing.

2 - As the start of this thread re-affirms, the majority of the Eldritch blast "problem" threads are not actually with Eb itself but with the EB *after* Warlock features like invocations and hex get added in. The het is not lit up with threads about how non-warlock EBs need to be changed.

3 - As a cantrip, it also serves the Hexblade and other builds where they focus on non-EB invocations and such.

So, to me, there is little difference to no difference in the feel of "most warlocks best option is to focus on EB" and "most rogues best option is to focus on sneak-able weapons" when one looks at "best options" being read as "damage".

So let me ask what specifically about the warlock cantrip Eb boosted by warlock class abilities vs warlock class ability Eb bothers you?
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top