D&D 5E Best Magic Initiate spell for a scout Rogue

ECMO3

Hero
I have a level 3 scout Rogue I am playing, the character is part of a small party with 2 wizards (evoker, diviner) and a sword and board Paladin. Due to the lack of martials, I find the party relies on my character a good bit for damage and I use a mix of a crossbow and a magic dagger. The dagger is similar to a dagger of venom except the poision damage is 1d6 instead of 2d10 and is unlimited use instead of once a day. My character is S11, D16, C10, I10, W14, Ch14. When he does melee he uses cunning action and kites and tries to avoid direct melee as much as possible. He wears elven chain for a 16AC which is great for a Rogue but not great overall considering how often he gets attacked.

I am going to take magic initiate at level 4, mostly for the Booming Blade damage boost and to keep enemies I attack from walking up and following me on their turn when I melee (or at least to make them take damage if they do it). I am also going to take minor illusion so that means Warlock or Sorcerer. Wizard is an option too, but I only have a 10 intelligence so the others would be better. Two party members already have familiars, so I don't really want to do find familiar. I need something that will be more useful in combat especially with my low hps and mediocre AC.

What is a good spell option? It is single use since I don't have slots. I am thinking maybe Hex because it has an hour duration so I might get a couple combats out of it and it has good out of combat uses, but I am only attacking once a turn so the damage boost is not great. Also thinking about shield, but I will have uncanny dodge in a couple levels so how valuable will one shield spell a day be? Absorb elements is another option as that will work on some things uncanny dodge doesn't work on. The campaign is taking place in Icewind Dale where it is cold and cold damage is fairly common (along with acid for some reason) so I might get some use out of AE. Maybe cause fear, make one enemy afraid and then he can't close with me. Probably good for 2 or 3 turns a day at the cost of a 1st turn attack. I might get some use out of this as I often win initiative and sometimes have trouble setting up SA on the first turn. So losing an action to throw a spell is not always be that bad.

Opinions??
 

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darjr

I crit!
I have a swashbuckler that will be taking the feat Fey Touched and with it the spell Compelled Duel and a level of wild sorcerer. Though I might take hunters mark instead. Also booming blade as a sorcerer.

He’s also an Eladrin trying to deny his heritage as a Fey prince, hence the wild sorcery.

If that gives you any ideas. He’s going to fey step a lot.

High Dex and Cha stats.
 

As a Rogue, I'd personally favor the Reaction spells and steer clear of concentration spells. You've mentioned Shield and Absorb Elements already. I'd consider Hellish Rebuke and even Feather Fall. Since anything you choose is just once a day, it will end up being situational anyway. Or... forget all that and go for Chaos Bolt!
 

ECMO3

Hero
I have a swashbuckler that will be taking the feat Fey Touched and with it the spell Compelled Duel and a level of wild sorcerer. Though I might take hunters mark instead. Also booming blade as a sorcerer.

He’s also an Eladrin trying to deny his heritage as a Fey prince, hence the wild sorcery.

If that gives you any ideas. He’s going to fey step a lot.

High Dex and Cha stats.
Fey touched is pretty awesome, especially at low level. I prefer Hex to Hunters mark myself because being able to pick an ability and give your enemy disadvantage on checks seems more useful than the other way around.

I thought about a multiclass as well but that just seems too much.
 


tommybahama

Adventurer
If you insist on going with Magic Initiate then I suggest Gift of Alacrity for a 1d8 bonus to initiative for eight hours.

I think a better option would be Crossbow expert, hand crossbow, and a riding horse. You'll get two chances to hit your sneak attack, 60 foot movement, and a free dash or disengage.

Dancing lights could be a good cantrip. You'll provide light up to 120 feet away for your party's familiars to scout with.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Have you considered find familiar? Aside from the insane utility value of the spell, you can use a familiar such as an owl with the flyby feature to take the help action to set up sneak attack.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Have you considered find familiar? Aside from the insane utility value of the spell, you can use a familiar such as an owl with the flyby feature to take the help action to set up sneak attack.
Yes. I have done this before and they are great. There are already 2 familiars in the party (from the other wizards) and as often as not they are helping me already. The DM makes it a point to attack them too.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Do you sneak ahead much? Message to tell the party what you find.

For a 1/day spell, look for things with longer duration, so they have a better chance to pay off for you.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Find Familiar is a good choice, but you've already shot it down.

Hex has already been brought up, but you missed some of the advantages of it. It is great to help you slip by guards by giving them disadvantage on their wisdom checks, to help you break a grapple if you're caught by giving the guard disadvantage on their athletics checks, to hide your deception by giving disadvantage on wisdom ability checks, etc... My monk has it, and it is used for the disadvantage on the ability check more often than for the damage boost (although the damage boost on ranged attacks is nice for him).

Gift of Alacrity is good if allowed as discussed above.

Bless as a cleric spell is nice - especially because it allows you to take guidance as a cantrip which is really useful for a skill centric class like rogue. That however does not play nice with your goal of Booming Blade (which is noise for a rogue). Healing Word is an option to consider to allow you to bounce back up an ally. Command also if you have the DC to make it useful, and it gets high RP scores from me.

Comprehend Languages is not something you think of all the time, but it useful for a scout to be able to understand any language.

Unseen Servant gives you a lot of capability to control your environment without exposing yourself to danger. It is also a lot of RP fun.

Silent Image may be a good option depending upon how your DM rules illusions. Under RAW, the enemy should see the illusion and not recognize it as an illusion unless there is physical interaction or an action used to investigate it - meaning that the spell DC is rarely relevant as physical interaction is usually easier than using up an action to investigate it. The monk I mentioned above also has Silent Image from the Shadow Touched feat and it is a real useful spell for him.

Shield and Absorb Elements use our reaction, which is nice for a rogue that already has uses for their action and bonus action on most turns. Hellish Rebuke also uses a reaction, but is DC dependent and really just does damage - and the damage is just gravy to a rogue.

Dissonant Whispers is a very versatile spell. If you have a good ability score (and thus high DC to your save) it can be used creatively for a lot of purposes, such as breaking grapples, wasting reactions to prevent OAs, positioning enemies where you want them, getting away from a guard, etc... Most rogues will not have the DC to make it really worthwhile, but from an RP perspective it gets a really high score in my book.

Goodberry gives you a lot of tiny heals, and also access to Guidance as a cantrip. Again, this doesn't work with Booming Blade.

Finally, consider asking the DM if you can make up a spell, or if there are any campaign specific homebrew spells the DM has created they'd recommend. One of my players is a Harry Potter fan and designed a spell called Accio that they took with this feat. It allows them to pull any object of up to 5 lbs they've touched in the last day to them, with the object taking the shortest path and traveling 80 feet a round (concentration, up to 1 minute). I also have a spell that is a 1st level 5' teleport (as an action - somatic components only) that is great to break grapples, get past doors, enter a building, etc... and a 1st level polymorph self spell that allows the caster to turn the casterinto a hamster for up to 1 minute (as the 4th level polymorph spell, but limited to self and the form of a hamster), and a bonus action spell that shunts the PC to the Shadowfell until the end of their turn (allowing them to relocate in the Shadowfell version of where they are and return to the Prime in that new location - they run a risk of the Shadowfell not being empty where they are).
 

Quartz

Hero
Rather than Booming Blade, how about taking Vicious Mockery? You already have a weapon damage attack and you should be getting Sneak Attack damage quite often. But Vicious Mockery is Psychic damage.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Rather than Booming Blade, how about taking Vicious Mockery? You already have a weapon damage attack and you should be getting Sneak Attack damage quite often. But Vicious Mockery is Psychic damage.
Yeah but with booming blade, I can get the weapon attack, the sneak attack and the cantrip damage all in one attack. At level 5 that is about 4 times as much damage as VM and it does even more if he moves.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Do you sneak ahead much? Message to tell the party what you find.

For a 1/day spell, look for things with longer duration, so they have a better chance to pay off for you.
This wass definately a thought. When I weighed message vs minor illusion and minor illusion won. Reason why with two familiars in the party, they scout ahead more than I do.
 

Quartz

Hero
Yeah but with booming blade, I can get the weapon attack, the sneak attack and the cantrip damage all in one attack.

With Booming Blade you just get the weapon's normal effects, not SA damage as well, so for the dagger you only get 1d4 + 3. You don't even get the +1d6 poison damage since that's not a normal effect. (And 1d4 + 3 + 1d6 is hugely powerful at level 3.) Until level 5 you're dropping +2d6 SA and +1d6 poison damage for 1d8 thunder damage if the target moves; at 5th level you'll be dropping +3d6 SA and +1d6 poison for +1d8 thunder and +2d8 thunder damage if the target moves. I don't think it's a good trade-off.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
With Booming Blade you just get the weapon's normal effects, not SA damage as well, so for the dagger you only get 1d4 + 3. You don't even get the +1d6 poison damage since that's not a normal effect. (And 1d4 + 3 + 1d6 is hugely powerful at level 3.) Until level 5 you're dropping +2d6 SA and +1d6 poison damage for 1d8 thunder damage if the target moves; at 5th level you'll be dropping +3d6 SA and +1d6 poison for +1d8 thunder and +2d8 thunder damage if the target moves. I don't think it's a good trade-off.

You get the sneak attack damage with both Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade.

Sage Advice:

Can you use green-flame blade and booming blade with Extra Attack, opportunity attacks, Sneak Attack, and other weapon attack options?

Introduced in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the green-flame blade and booming blade spells pose a number of questions, because they each do something unusual: require you to make a melee attack with a weapon as part of the spell’s casting. First, each of these spells involves a normal melee weapon attack, not a spell attack, so you use whatever ability modifier you normally use with the weapon. (A spell tells you if it includes a spell attack, and neither of these spells do.) For example, if you use a longsword with green-flame blade, you use your Strength modifier for the weapon’s attack and damage rolls.

Second, neither green-flame blade nor booming blade works with Extra Attack or any other feature that requires the Attack action. Like other spells, these cantrips require the Cast a Spell action, not the Attack action, and they can’t be used to make an opportunity attack, unless a special feature allows you to do so.

Third, these weapon attacks work with Sneak Attack if they fulfill the normal requirements for that feature. For example, if you have the Sneak Attack feature and cast greenflame blade with a finesse weapon, you can deal Sneak Attack damage to the target of the weapon attack if you have advantage on the attack roll and hit.
 


ECMO3

Hero
With Booming Blade you just get the weapon's normal effects, not SA damage as well, so for the dagger you only get 1d4 + 3. You don't even get the +1d6 poison damage since that's not a normal effect. (And 1d4 + 3 + 1d6 is hugely powerful at level 3.) Until level 5 you're dropping +2d6 SA and +1d6 poison damage for 1d8 thunder damage if the target moves; at 5th level you'll be dropping +3d6 SA and +1d6 poison for +1d8 thunder and +2d8 thunder damage if the target moves. I don't think it's a good trade-off.

1d4+1d6 is not as huge as it seems. It is nominally 1.5 damage higher than using a Rapier, but there is a constitution save against the poison damage and the poison damage is also commonly resisted or immune, so in play it is quite a bit less than 1.5 damage over a Rapier. It is a pretty cool weapon though and thematically is a lot more fun than a Rapier would be.

As for the poison damage with booming blade, I have not thought about that. But I think you would get that too. Here is the text:

"You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects and then becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before then, the target takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends."

I think because it says "normal effects" and not "weapon's damage" I think you would get the poison damage too as it is a normal effect of the particular weapon, although I will ask my DM to make sure.
 
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