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D&D 5E Character Thoughts -- Primary Warlock Build

Azaar

Explorer
So, with the idea of (hopefully) finding a 5E game that I can play and get back into D&D again, I've been thinking about what sort of character I wanted to play. My main idea is Warlock -- specifically Genie Patron, Pact of the Chain (with the idea that, while using either the imp or sprite stats for the Chain-enhanced familiar, I'd see about it actually having the appearance of my patron's elemental affinity). The backstory is that the character would be a tweaked High Elf with perhaps swapping out the extra cantrip for one of the air genasi abilities, with a High Elf and djinni parents... and yes, the djinn would be the Patron in question, if nothing else for the comedic value of having one parent constantly looking over their child's shoulder (the alternative to the parentage would be doing something with Custom Lineage, if only for the bonus feat).

In all likelihood, for a regular game I'd likely just go straight Warlock with no multi-classing, since the one campaign I've been in, we ended at 15th level. For kicks, however, I like to work up a potential full 20th-level build... and honestly, I don't feel like the CL18 invocation, CL19 ASI or the Warlock's CL20 "capstone" are worth attaining -- getting the wish spell for the Mystic Arcanum (9th) is the capstone, so far as I'm concerned. So, Warlock (Genie Pact of the Chain) 17 would be the max.

The question then becomes: what's the best bet for the remaining three levels?

I've had a couple of ideas about this:

1) Bard (College of Lore) 3 would make the character a skill powerhouse, especially if I did the multiclassing early on -- Warlock 1 to start, and the next three levels would give me medium armor, shields, a skill of my choice and bard spellcasting, not to mention Jack of All Trades at Bard 2 for half-proficiency bonus to all skills you don't have proficiency in) and Bonus Proficiencies (+3 skills) and Expertise at Bard 3.

2) Rogue 3 (subclass undecided, leaning towards either Arcane Trickster or maybe Soulknife) would be nice for skills as well -- 4 skills to start (since I'd start as Rogue instead of Warlock for this) and Expertise at level 1, Cunning Action at level 2. Depending on subclass choice, there's those additional bonuses as well.

The main reason I'm angling towards stealth-oriented characters is because, if I do this right, I can make the party infiltration specialists, after a fashion... at least, once I hit Warlock 10.

That said, I'm curious to see what others think.
 

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jgsugden

Legend
If you're talking about the last 3 levels - 18 to 20 of the 20 level build - it won't matter that much. The majority of your abilities will come from your Warlock features and class. To that end, there is no wrong choice.

For a Genie Pact Warlock, I'd pair it with the Lore Bard. It gives you a chance to go from the role of follower (due to your pact) to leader.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
So, with the idea of (hopefully) finding a 5E game that I can play and get back into D&D again, I've been thinking about what sort of character I wanted to play. My main idea is Warlock -- specifically Genie Patron, Pact of the Chain (with the idea that, while using either the imp or sprite stats for the Chain-enhanced familiar, I'd see about it actually having the appearance of my patron's elemental affinity). The backstory is that the character would be a tweaked High Elf with perhaps swapping out the extra cantrip for one of the air genasi abilities, with a High Elf and djinni parents... and yes, the djinn would be the Patron in question, if nothing else for the comedic value of having one parent constantly looking over their child's shoulder (the alternative to the parentage would be doing something with Custom Lineage, if only for the bonus feat).
Custom Lineage where you appear as a high-elf, but you can use the feat to pick up something like Magic Initiate (Sorcerer) with Lightning Lure, Shocking Grasp, and Fog Cloud as your spell (or something like that). Finding a DM willing to swap a cantrip for Air Genasi stuff isn't a guarantee.
1) Bard (College of Lore) 3 would make the character a skill powerhouse, especially if I did the multiclassing early on -- Warlock 1 to start, and the next three levels would give me medium armor, shields, a skill of my choice and bard spellcasting, not to mention Jack of All Trades at Bard 2 for half-proficiency bonus to all skills you don't have proficiency in) and Bonus Proficiencies (+3 skills) and Expertise at Bard 3.
Lore Bard is a great way to go, but neither Genie patron or Lore Bard grand medium armor proficiency or shields. Swords bard gives medium armor, and Valor give medium armor + shields. But with Lore bard you'd get a total of 4 skills + Jack of all trades + 2x expertise. More importantly IMO is the 4x 1st level slots and 2x 2nd level slots you'd have as a Bard 3. That really helps with Warlock casting throughout an adventuring day. There is a lot there, but you'd also then be delaying all your warlock goodies by 3 levels. So you wouldn't get the BA flight from Genie patron until level 9, Limited Wish at level 17, and Wish from Mystic Arcanum at 20th
2) Rogue 3 (subclass undecided, leaning towards either Arcane Trickster or maybe Soulknife) would be nice for skills as well -- 4 skills to start (since I'd start as Rogue instead of Warlock for this) and Expertise at level 1, Cunning Action at level 2. Depending on subclass choice, there's those additional bonuses as well.
If you decided rogue was the way to go, I'd agree that starting Rogue is the way to go. Honestly? I might start Bard as well since you get three instruments on top of the staring three skills. but anyway.

I've found/thought that Swashbuckler Rogue goes really well with Cha caster builds because you get to add your Cha mod to initiative. I have a high stat Rogue 3 (Swashbuckler)/Warlock (Genie) 3 who has a +8 init mod and at Warlock 4 he's grabbing Alert feat to boost that all the way to +13 for Init checks. It's good to go first if you can. Also if you do find yourself in melee but don't want to be, you can make a melee attack, and then move and dash away without provoking OA.
 

That said, I'm curious to see what others think.
Take 3 levels in something that thematically fits with the PC.

I loathe talk of PCs as 'builds'.

3 levels of Sorcerer works, and it also gets you metamagic. Wild, Storm, Divine all work well thematically.
 

Azaar

Explorer
Take 3 levels in something that thematically fits with the PC.

I loathe talk of PCs as 'builds'.

3 levels of Sorcerer works, and it also gets you metamagic. Wild, Storm, Divine all work well thematically.

I get that. 'Builds' is just how I've always defined it; to each their own in that regard.

As for Sorcerer -- I did stare long and hard at Storm Sorcery, seeing as how the air/thunder side of the fence was where I was going. The only reason I looked elsewhere was that Bard could make me a major skill monkey, particularly with Jack of All Trades in the mix. Rogue, by contrast, had me considering the prospect of being a bit of a bounty hunter (if not with my background, then definitely with the Rogue skill selection). Either choice would let me be a bit of an infiltration specialist... especially given certain Pact of the Chain-specific familiars and their abilities, coupled with what the Genie patron gives you to begin with.
 

Arcane Trickster is what I would go with. Nab a few more spells and some good skills/expertise and cunning action. Sneak attack is technically a benefit but if you are mostly casting then it is not that great obviously.
 

Depends on what your role is in the party, and how to progress it. I myself am doing something similar. Currently, I am a Half-Elf, Warlock (Feylock, Pact of the Tome) 9, Sorcerer 1 (Divine Soul, will explain in a bit). I wanted to get to 5th level spells before I multiclassed. My choice was: 17 Warlock / 3 (something). As you mentioned, the Warlock capstone is meh, and missing out on one ASI isn't really a killer at level 19, presuming your CHA is 20 by then.

In all cases, ask yourself this: What's your role in the party, and what do you do best? For example, I am the party's primary caster, healer and 50% of the time, the face. In case you ask why, we had no original true caster other than myself - A paladin, a Barbarian, A Rogue and a bard. Then, a Druid came into the party, but she left, so I became the party's lone player with any healing skill - largely because I was good at identifying magic items and used them, not because I was any good at healing naturally. The paladin and I usually can handle most heals. The bard has excellent in-combat buffs, but she's less assertive in social situations, and the rogue is more of a stabby type than a face. Thus, I've leaned heavily into casting and picked up the Divine Soul Sorcerer a bit to eventually add the metamagic powers. So, when you think of the class, think about the role(s) you have, and how best to achieve that.

Bard and Sorcerer both are Charisma-based, and so they are more likely to be single-ability dependent. Bards are ridiculously good at buffing, and if the party needs that, then great. If you've got the Dex to back up rogue, that can make you toolsy and skillsy - if you're needed more in that direction, great.
 

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