5.5E Monsters of the Multiverse: the death of eldritch blast?

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I never enjoyed stuff like this. It's like the weapon that does 9999 damage Final Fantasy gives you on the first disc then makes you afraid to use so you never use it. So why even have it?
To be fair, the player gets two. So there is some freedom to use at least one of them.
 

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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Character death is just a dumb thing that impedes this and prevents real stakes from materializing. How can you follow through with actual stakes if the character might be removed from the story at random at any time, leaving plot thread hanging uselessly in the wind?
I agree with this.

While death needs to be a real risk, it can get in the way of deeper stories.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
The Paladin has been the gish for a number of editions.

The 5e Warlock Hexblade is arguably the first successful arcane gish.

I can see 50e emphasizing that success.
4Essentials Hexblade was a very effective Gish and was able to do Pact blades of each different type of Pact - even more than one for some types, like we had both an Excalibur-esque Pact Blade for Hexblades with Archfey Pacts of the Lady of the White Well, and an Icy Rapier Pact Blade for Hexblades that made their Archfey Pact with the Prince of Frost.

Hexblade in 5e is locked into the Gloom Pact / Shadowfell Pact "Frostmourne-Hungers" flavour by explicitely tying all Hexblades to the Shadowfell, and that was because it was an inelegant solution to Pact of the Blade being underpowered and not doing what people wanted it to do. I could see a 5.5e Warlock having Hexblade-type options built into Pact of the Blade, but each of the other three Pact Boons would have to be made much more robust as well to be comparable.

Just for some background,. 4Essentials had Original Warlock, Binder, and Hexblade - each able to explore different Pacts. Binder had a bit of Tomelock's shtick in terms of being a more Intelligent, almost Wizardly warlock, but functionally was more like Pact of the Chains in terms of summoning and binding spirits. Original Warlock was trying to do multiple things too, so they merged Hexblade and Binder into the Original Warlock, and split the Binder up into two separate Pact Boons. Pact of the Talisman had no equivalent in 4e.

I would be very upset if all Warlocks were now Hexblades. That isn't what people want out of a Warlock. I don't think that's happening. I also don't think they're turning Hexblade into a core class feature of the Warlock in 2024, since the Rules Expansion set is supposed to complement both the 2014 rules and the 2024 rules. They're not going to replace something from Xanathar's Guide with the new PHB.
 

Is it that it can't or that industry is too lazy and has trained the fanbase to expect it?
It can't in a scale in which D&D operates. Would work for a more niche game that has different (and way smaller) playerbase. But course even though the narrative stakes cannot work as the default stakes in D&D, the DMG could still offer better advice on how to build them.

I like rolling dice to do cool stuff. Character death is just a dumb thing that impedes this and prevents real stakes from materializing. How can you follow through with actual stakes if the character might be removed from the story at random at any time, leaving plot thread hanging uselessly in the wind?
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Nefermandias

Adventurer
Is it that it can't or that industry is too lazy and has trained the fanbase to expect it?

I like rolling dice to do cool stuff. Character death is just a dumb thing that impedes this and prevents real stakes from materializing. How can you follow through with actual stakes if the character might be removed from the story at random at any time, leaving plot thread hanging uselessly in the wind?
Character death isn't dumb. I have a lot of fun murdering my player's characters and they have fun trying to survive my murderous adventures. It's just not for you and I'll admit it's not the base assumption for most modern D&D games.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
4Essentials Hexblade was a very effective Gish and was able to do Pact blades of each different type of Pact - even more than one for some types, like we had both an Excalibur-esque Pact Blade for Hexblades with Archfey Pacts of the Lady of the White Well, and an Icy Rapier Pact Blade for Hexblades that made their Archfey Pact with the Prince of Frost.

Hexblade in 5e is locked into the Gloom Pact / Shadowfell Pact "Frostmourne-Hungers" flavour by explicitely tying all Hexblades to the Shadowfell, and that was because it was an inelegant solution to Pact of the Blade being underpowered and not doing what people wanted it to do. I could see a 5.5e Warlock having Hexblade-type options built into Pact of the Blade, but each of the other three Pact Boons would have to be made much more robust as well to be comparable.

Just for some background,. 4Essentials had Original Warlock, Binder, and Hexblade - each able to explore different Pacts. Binder had a bit of Tomelock's shtick in terms of being a more Intelligent, almost Wizardly warlock, but functionally was more like Pact of the Chains in terms of summoning and binding spirits. Original Warlock was trying to do multiple things too, so they merged Hexblade and Binder into the Original Warlock, and split the Binder up into two separate Pact Boons. Pact of the Talisman had no equivalent in 4e.

I would be very upset if all Warlocks were now Hexblades. That isn't what people want out of a Warlock. I don't think that's happening. I also don't think they're turning Hexblade into a core class feature of the Warlock in 2024, since the Rules Expansion set is supposed to complement both the 2014 rules and the 2024 rules. They're not going to replace something from Xanathar's Guide with the new PHB.

@Crimson Longinus changes all of the Pact Boons into Invocations instead. In this way, the Hexblade can be an Invocation too. And a Warlock of any Patron can choose the Hexblade, including a Fey Hexblade that has a more King Arthur vibe (who got his sword Excalibur from the Fey lady of the lake).
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
It can't in a scale in which D&D operates. Would work for a more niche game that has different (and way smaller) playerbase. But course even though the narrative stakes cannot work as the default stakes in D&D, the DMG could still offer better advice on how to build them.


DecimalAthleticFrog-size_restricted.gif
Plus, no worries for Boromir's player: he rolled up a not-quite-identical brother character for the next adventure they ran, only he joined up with Frodo and Sam while Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli's players split off to do their own party.

And Gandalf's player suddenly got some free time again and got to rejoin Aragorn and crew, while they brought in another new friend to join Frodo's team as the Chaotic Neutral Rogue Sméagol.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I don't think maths are on your side on this. Or if you disagree, I'd really like to see what you actually mean.
I mean, Eldritch Blast is fine? It keeps up with baseline at-will DPR. It’s probably smart for most warlocks to take it as a backup attack. But you get a lot more mileage out of your non-cantrip spells anyway.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It can't in a scale in which D&D operates. Would work for a more niche game that has different (and way smaller) playerbase. But course even though the narrative stakes cannot work as the default stakes in D&D, the DMG could still offer better advice on how to build them.


DecimalAthleticFrog-size_restricted.gif
D&D games are not novels. Boromir is killed for a narrative purpose, not because the dice were more important than the story.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Plus, no worries for Boromir's player: he rolled up a not-quite-identical brother character for the next adventure they ran, only he joined up with Frodo and Sam while Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli's players split off to do their own party.

And Gandalf's player suddenly got some free time again and got to rejoin Aragorn and crew, while they brought in another new friend to join Frodo's team as the Chaotic Neutral Rogue Sméagol.
Nah dude, Boromir’s player switched to Sméagol. That’s why they were both so disruptive, working against the party, trying to steal Frodo’s ring of invisibility. Faramir was an element of Boromir’s backstory that the DM spun off into an NPC to try and use to force the Frodo/Sam/Sméagol party back onto the rails.

Gandalf has always been the overpowered DMPC.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
@Crimson Longinus changes all of the Pact Boons into Invocations instead. In this way, the Hexblade can be an Invocation too. And a Warlock of any Patron can choose the Hexblade, including a Fey Hexblade that has a more King Arthur vibe (who got his sword Excalibur from the Fey lady of the lake).
That makes somewhat sense. I'd maybe add Invocation chains of a sort for Hexblade's beefier features to be locked behind higher levels and multiple invocation requirements.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Nah dude, Boromir’s player switched to Sméagol. That’s why they were both so disruptive, working against the party, trying to steal Frodo’s ring of invisibility. Faramir was an element of Boromir’s backstory that the DM spun off into an NPC to try and use to force the Frodo/Sam/Sméagol party back onto the rails.

Gandalf has always been the overpowered DMPC.
That's a better take, yeah.

My point wasn't to go one to one with LotR so much as to say that you can have a meaningful character death, and then roll up a new character and join the party again.

Or you can use a meaningful character death as an out when life gets you too busy. Ghim the Dwarf Fighter's heroic sacrifice at the end of Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch (the first campaign set in the world; adapted into the first 8 episodes of the OVA) was actually just because Ghim's player said they had to stop playing and they wanted to go out like a badass. Later, you might rejoin - I think Greevus/Grievus the Dwarf Cleric from the 4th campaign (Spark's party) was the same player as Ghim in the first, but he hadn't played in either the Parn & Deedlit in Flaim campaign nor the Orson and Shiris and Parn campaign?
 

I mean, Eldritch Blast is fine? It keeps up with baseline at-will DPR. It’s probably smart for most warlocks to take it as a backup attack. But you get a lot more mileage out of your non-cantrip spells anyway.
Sure. But Warlocks have less spells than there are rounds in typical combat. So you want an attack cantrip. And Eldritch Blas is so good, it makes other attack cantrips look like jokes. And as agonising blast is such a good investment, you take it too. That's all you really need. Though Hex is super good with it too.
 


Yaarel

Mind Mage
Flavor creates a design dilemma.

On the one hand, flavor is so important for the enjoyment of a mechanical benefit.

But on the other hand, for the same reason, getting stuck with an unwanted flavor can impair the enjoyment of the benefit.

(Here, the question is whether the Hexblade needs to be gloomy.)

A solid solution is offer three vivid flavors, as examples, plus mention the DM might have a different flavor for it (depending on the setting that the DM is running). But then, it duplicates the amount of flavor design necessary for each significant mechanical feature.

Maybe two examples, plus DM choice as the third, is enough as a rule of thumb.



Personally as DM, if a player chooses the Hexblade Invocation, I want the player to cohere it with the overall character concept, in a narrative way.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
D&D games are not novels. Boromir is killed for a narrative purpose, not because the dice were more important than the story.
Tolkien didn't write the way most other novelists write. Yes, he plotted out rough sketches of where the story was going to take him, but Faramir for example was completely unexpected, emerging from the woods of Ithilien fully formed as he is in the final books.

Boromir wasn't originally planned to die. Tolkien envisioned the Breaking of the Fellowship relatively early on, but Boromir's death doesn't enter the story until literally as Tolkien is writing the Breaking of the Fellowship (which at the time included the Departure of Boromir; a split that only happened once it was decided that the story would be broken up into 3 volumes/6 books). Originally, Trotter (proto-Aragorn), Legolas, and Gimli were planned to head south to the Land of Ondor with Boromir after the split, while Merry and Pippin vanish and Frodo and Sam join up with Gollum on the way to Mordor. This sketch of the story as foreseen from Lothlorien took Frodo and Sam all the way to the Cracks of Doom, but completely dropped the rest of the Fellowship out of the picture upon the Breaking of the Fellowship. Tolkien had no idea that Boromir was going to die, he thought Trotter was going to go help Boromir defend Ondor.

Boromir's death occurs because in the first draft of the fight, Tolkien writes in the margins that this battle is inartistic.

For all intents and purposes, we can call Boromir's death a bad dice roll in Tolkien's brain as he put pen to paper.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
I havent seen that yet, and hope to bingewatch it some day.
Sorry if I spoiled you a bit then! eeech. It's a really good series, probably the best D&D-based cartoon out there (especially the OVA, though I find the TV series and manga and novels to be more politically-intrique-focused in a way that's a lot more Lord of the Rings and a lot less 80s Dungeons & Dragons, by virtue of having a lot more time to explore things).
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I don't find a Xd10 force attack at 120 ft range to be complicated. Certainly, it's not for wizard analogs. Add it to the actions list and be done.
You aren't supposed to use Eldritch Blast when the Monster has Fireball in it's stat block.
Here is a better video that tells you what they were thinking:

 

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