D&D 5E Dhampir Undead-Patron Pact of Blade Warlock (Have concept, need implementation)

Sullivan's father came home one night... different. His wife wasn't sure exactly what had changed, but he never was quite the same again. Previously he had been a shining epitome of brightness and humanity amongst the dour forlk of the rain and mist-filled Kharhrndan valley. But after that night he'd lost his former warmth, both literally and figuratively. As the local veterinarian and emergency doctor, he kept performing his duties as usual. However, the animals -- which formerly he'd been able to bond with easily -- no longer trusted him. The people whose ailments he treated still did fine, for the most part, but he sure did focus a lot more on bloodletting. This charade went on for years -- enough time for Sullivan to be conceived, have a relatively normal childhood, and grow into an adventure-hungry young man. At that point his father revealed that he'd become a vampire that night, somehow managed to avoid having to go into the sunlight for 19 years, and had his duty. He'd sworn an oath to his wife that he'd give her a child and see that child to adulthood, and now he was off to somewhere with fewer churchbells and fewer requests that he go out into sunny fields that he'd have to convincingly subterfuge around. But in the meantime, here is an investiture of power, use it well.

That's the character concept for Sullivan. I am considering a Pact of Undead Bladelock, either straight up, or with a dip into fighter for heavier armor. We are starting at level 3. Do people think this is doable? If so, best options? The rest of the party are lizardfolk ranger, half-elf rogue-wizard and drow wizard.

Regarding straight bladelock: I'm a little concerned about all 3 characters who regularly pick up weapons all being Dex-based (who will wield the fancy longsword we come across? will we squabble over the +1 rapier or shortwords we come across? Who will open stuck pickle jars?), but at the same time a Str-bladelock build is tough. Plus I doubt I would have the ASIs free to grab the GWM/PAM/HAM that make Str-builds shine. If he were to be str-based for combat, a level of Fighter sounds tempting (plus some more appropriate skills, and starting out with Con proficiency), but it does delay progression. Working with middling dex and mage armor until level 4 and grabbing moderately armored then is another option, but is a precious feat. The Edritch Armor Unearthed Arcana invocation is a possibility, would have to check with DM.

That said, there's a lot to like about Undead Patron for a Bladelock. Form of Dread is offense, defense, requires no concentration, and only takes a bonus action (letting you attack on the same turn, unlike things like casting Cause Fear or Armor of Agathys or the like). Limited to 2/day at low levels, of course. There's also access to the spell Blindness/Deafness, which is a great concentration-less debuff that scales with casting level (so gets better as the warlock goes up in level).

For story reasons, I will want Mask of Many Faces or Disguise Self as a spell (perhaps through Shadow-Touched feat, if I decide to focusing on expanding my spell repertoire through that and Fey Touched). Other than that, it is relatively wide open.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Advice on which selection makes sense? Anyone played an undead pact bladelock before? How did it go?

And of course, thanks everyone!
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Advice on which selection makes sense? Anyone played an undead pact bladelock before? How did it go?

And of course, thanks everyone!

Just as an FYI, I had a somewhat similar concept I made recently (Reborn Hexblade/Pact of the Blade Warlock), although I veered hard into trying to create a character that would use a gun under the Tasha's feat + core DMG firearm rules.

I'm playing the result (at ninth level) in a PbP game.

The character is here.

As an FYI, having to take the feat for firearms did put Doc at a disadvantage. And there is customization that you might not get (such as free feat at first, and subbing a custom patron for a magic weapon for hexblade, because ... a weapon as your patron is stupid IMO).

Generally, he's been a blast. With the new rules, you can actually have fun at range with a bladelock. But ... you really have to do the following:
1. Have to go Hexblade and pact of blade.
2. Have to take Improved Pact Weapon and Thirsting Blade when available at 5th level. That means that 2/3 of your invocations are going to be spoken for at until you get to 7th level and a 4th invocation.
3. I ended up adding Phantom Rogue levels because I thought it was a cool character concept (and it is!) but it unexpectedly provided a consistent damage bonus due to sneak attack, which will be consistently generated at range if the rest of your party is melee'ing it up.


All that said, this is more about fun and flavor. If you're strictly looking to optimize, you should probably just go undead warlock, get some fun stuff, and then pew pew pew for damage. IMO.
 

Just as an FYI, I had a somewhat similar concept I made recently (Reborn Hexblade/Pact of the Blade Warlock), although I veered hard into trying to create a character that would use a gun under the Tasha's feat + core DMG firearm rules.
...
Generally, he's been a blast. With the new rules, you can actually have fun at range with a bladelock. But ... you really have to do the following:
1. Have to go Hexblade and pact of blade.
2. Have to take Improved Pact Weapon and Thirsting Blade when available at 5th level. That means that 2/3 of your invocations are going to be spoken for at until you get to 7th level and a 4th invocation.
3. I ended up adding Phantom Rogue levels because I thought it was a cool character concept (and it is!) but it unexpectedly provided a consistent damage bonus due to sneak attack, which will be consistently generated at range if the rest of your party is melee'ing it up.

It is really tempting to always go hexblade for bladelocks. If it were either the SAD factor or the med armor+shield/all weapons, it would be a tough decision. As it stands it's a solid always-go-to.
Undead Patron has lots of flavor potential for this character, however (maybe a hexblood hexblade at some point, but not now). It also has some nice abilities which do make for a good martial character -- temp HP, fear effects, some extra damage dice, and being able to make damage necrotic; plus some nice expansions to the spell list for both combat and OOC utility (the wizard stranglehold on utility spells rolls on unabated, but it is nice to see at least the other arcane classes nibbling around the edges).
All that said, this is more about fun and flavor. If you're strictly looking to optimize, you should probably just go undead warlock, get some fun stuff, and then pew pew pew for damage. IMO.
EB builds are more easy than optimal, IMO. The damage threshold is good, not great. Consistency and all that. It's also boring as can be. This character just has to be competitive in the damage, be able to stay up while the front line, and contribute decently in and out of combat. Nothing fancy, it's not a game with massive optimizers or anything (the wizard-rogues highest stat is charisma, for instance).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
It is really tempting to always go hexblade for bladelocks. If it were either the SAD factor or the med armor+shield/all weapons, it would be a tough decision. As it stands it's a solid always-go-to.
Undead Patron has lots of flavor potential for this character, however (maybe a hexblood hexblade at some point, but not now). It also has some nice abilities which do make for a good martial character -- temp HP, fear effects, some extra damage dice, and being able to make damage necrotic; plus some nice expansions to the spell list for both combat and OOC utility (the wizard stranglehold on utility spells rolls on unabated, but it is nice to see at least the other arcane classes nibbling around the edges).

EB builds are more easy than optimal, IMO. The damage threshold is good, not great. Consistency and all that. It's also boring as can be. This character just has to be competitive in the damage, be able to stay up while the front line, and contribute decently in and out of combat. Nothing fancy, it's not a game with massive optimizers or anything (the wizard-rogues highest stat is charisma, for instance).

Well, I think you've answered your own question! Undead patron w/melee sounds like the way you want go. You've got it themed and everything. :)

If that's what you're doing, I would suggest finding something flavorful to combine with it or enhance it. And you have to go pact of blade if you want the extra attack (level 5). Unless you go MC and take a lot of combat levels (Paladin, Fighter).

I think that making an Undead Patron melee character is going to be harder than you might think if you're worried about tradeoffs. But 5e is forgiving.
 

Well, I think you've answered your own question! Undead patron w/melee sounds like the way you want go. You've got it themed and everything. :)
I mean, I thought I made that part clear in the original post. The questions being Dex vs Str; Dip or Feat or Invocation for AC; and what invocations, feats, and spells to take to be effective while also matching the theme.
 


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