My proposed rogue/wizard

krunchyfrogg

Explorer
I plan on playing a rogue/wizard in an upcoming game. We use standard array for stats. I’m kind of excited about this character and I’d really like to hear if there’s anything I should change before the game starts.

Eladrin (DMG)
8/16/13/16/10/12

Level 1: rogue 1
Level 2: wizard 1
Level 3: wizard 2 - bladesinger (rapier focus)
Level 4: rogue 2
Level 5: rogue 3 - swashbuckler
Level 6+ will all be wizard, increasing INT with ASI’s until it’s at 20 and then increasing DEX.

Question 1: am I better off wizard at level 1? I’d lose a skill, but gain WIS proficiency to saves, which would help mitigate my average WIS?

Question 2: how is the initial leveling order?

Question 3: since I want to be more bladesinger than rogue, is a 2/X split better?

Question 4: is swashbuckler worth it? I really want booming blade (I’m not 100% sure if it’ll be allowed), and if it’s not allowed, am I better off with arcane trickster over swashbuckler (I’d switch WIS and CHA if I did this).

Question 5: should I max INT with ASI’s before DEX? Should it be the other way around? Or should I get both to 18 before deciding? Which of the two stats matters more for this character?

Thanks.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Hi,

I would start with a much less detailed plan.
I think 16 Dex and Int are a very good start. I´d also say, that Con 13 is also a good choice. You ASI come quite late however. I am currently playing an arcane trickster/college of sword bard mix, with a lot lower (rolled) stats actually. My observation is, that 14 in your main stats still works, but is noticable. A 16 should be quite confortable for quite a while.
So going rogue 2/ bladesinger 3 as fast as possible is no bad idea.
My next concern would be getting 3rd level spells and an ASI and extra attack. that is level 4, 5 and 6 of wizard.
What is swasbuckler bringing to the table? An easy way of applying sneak attack and mobility. Nice but not essential. So it is not terrible to hold it back for a while.
So what ASI? If you want to be a gish, spells like haste or blurr are really good. So it might be a good Idea to now increase Concentration and maybe your lousy HP. So my first ASI goes to Resilient (Con). A different possibility would be warcaster to cast shield with two weapons in hand, but I`d try to get along without casting it all the time. And if you are surrounded you can just drop a short sword and attack only once.

So you are now level 6-8: rogue2/wizard4-6. Your Con is 14 (+2), your int is 16 (+3), your prof bonus is +3 that is a Con save bonus of +8. You are nearly sure to save against DC 10 Con checks. Next level your bonus is +9.

I think this is the real decision point how to advance further. You probably now know, what your party role is: primary caster or primary melee guy or a mix. If you are a caster, just advance as wizard, increase Int and don´t look back. You are only one spell level behind and have great stats and can still hold yourself against most enemies easily. At level 10 you have a great damage reducin reaction.

If your main thing is melee, you might be served well increasing dexterity and maybe even take warcaster for shield and two weapons in tandem. You might also increase rogue over wizard. At level 5 you get a damage reducing reaction, so warcaster is not as essential. You can also decide if swashbuckler might be helpful or not. Arcane trickster will immediately allow you to upcast your 3rd level spells to 4th level.

If booming blade and greenflame blade are allowed, you don´t really need an offhand weapon. You should use a rapier and have a hand free to cast shield. In that case you might go a different route:
Only increase wizard to level 5. That gives you haste and fireball. When you reach that level however, you might actually go back to two short swords. A nice combination is haste action used for "attack (1 attack only) and then use your bonus action for the offhand attack, which is allowed because it is apart from the action restricton. You can use your normal action to cast the attack cantrip.
In this case, arcane trickster and swasbuckler both come in very handy, as the former gives you more uses of haste per day, the latter makes your two weapon attacks a lot sweeter.
When you increase wizard only to level 5, you will catch up at level 10 as rogue, and you will pick up uncanny dodge on the way. You should also think about increasing dex before int, because you attack less often and you want to increase your to hit chances as much as possible.

Sorry for the wall of text.
 

Esker

Explorer
Are you looking to be primarily melee-oriented or primarily a wizard with strong defenses?

If the former you're probably better suited focusing on DEX and likely by taking more rogue levels after you get extra attack, since bladesinger doesn't offer you much for melee after that until level 14. With my melee eladrin rogue wizard with very similar starting stats (in particular, 13 CON), I found that by my second ASI I really wanted some more HP, so I went for Resilient (CON) in lieu of 20 DEX.

If on the other hand you want to spend more of your time as a caster and less in melee as you level, I might stop at rogue 2 so you are at most one spell level behind single classed casters rather than spending every odd level two down. If the campaign goes to 20 you also get an extra fantastic wizard feature that way, but that's a minor consideration. You give up 1d6 damage, but apart from that, the swashbuckler features may not be that useful to you, particularly if you are planning to use a rapier instead of two shortswords, since you'll usually have your bonus action free to disengage. Initiative bonuses are great for a wizard but you won't have the CHA for it to be significant. By the time you get to your third ASI you may find that you aren't meleeing enough any more to bother with DEX, and may prefer a feat like Alert or Resilient (CON).
 

Esker

Explorer
My next concern would be getting 3rd level spells and an ASI and extra attack. that is level 4, 5 and 6 of wizard.
If you are planning to use your concentration and 3rd level slots primarily on self-buffing (i.e., haste), you can do just as well or better by upcasting shadow blade (if Xanathar's is available to you, which OP didn't specify; it's not AL legal on a bladesinger, but we're already using DMG eladrin so I assume that part isn't a concern). When in dim light and with no other source of advantage it's no contest: shadow blade has both higher average damage and a lower chance of doing no damage, and doesn't use your bonus action or fill your off-hand. Even a 2nd level shadow blade yields more damage in this case.

If shadow blade isn't providing advantage that you wouldn't otherwise have (maybe you have an owl, or a battlemaster that regularly gives you advantage, etc.), the average damage is about the same, though haste does provide more consistent damage, giving it a somewhat better upside all else equal; however, you need to weigh that against taking up your bonus action, making shield unavailable, the high risk if you lose concentration, as well as the opportunity cost.

If I'm a melee-focused Rogue 2 / Wizard 4 and deciding what to do on level-up, particularly if I'm not planning to go for extra attack any time soon, taking Rogue 3 and arcane trickster gives me 3rd level slots I can use with shadow blade, and another sneak attack die, and some more cantrips and 1st level spells; plus it puts me only one level away from another ASI. If planning to go swashbuckler instead of arcane trickster, then yes, I'd probably level wizard. I'd probably take wizard 6 right away as well, since shadow blade makes extra attack better than booming blade in many cases. But I may not take haste.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Swashbuckler is great fun. Allowing you to move away without taking OppAtt is a good thing, its the best feature of Swashbuckler IMO. Don't forget the level 3 function applies if you make an attack, it doesn't matter if the attack is any good. Even if you just punch at someone for no damage as a bonus action it cuts off their OppAtt, so you can prevent 2 different creatures OppAtt against you. This doesn't work with BB, as its casting a spell so wont let you make a bonus action attack.

You will have low HP and lowish AC, so SHIELD spell is MANDATORY.

I would make CHR your third highest. A bonus to initiative is big, you can get off that buff spell before anyone else goes or get that Wall of Force up to divide the enemy. Or run in to save a teammate and then Thunder Step away. Or just dive in and attack and then pop Shield when they attack you to tank a little. Its very niche but you could dive into a group and cast Earth Tremor, controlling them some, and then cast Shield of you take to much heat, and then next turn attack and run out or Misty Step or Thunder Step away next turn.

If you are going mostly wizard, figure out your spell selection all the way to level 6 right away, with emphasis on spells that do not allow a save. This way you can focus DEX more, as that will power your booming blade. You will mostly be attacking with your DEX so you can get sneak attack damage in. You can build an effective wizard with spells that don't allow saves.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
If you are planning to use your concentration and 3rd level slots primarily on self-buffing (i.e., haste), you can do just as well or better by upcasting shadow blade (if Xanathar's is available to you, which OP didn't specify; it's not AL legal on a bladesinger, but we're already using DMG eladrin so I assume that part isn't a concern). When in dim light and with no other source of advantage it's no contest: shadow blade has both higher average damage and a lower chance of doing no damage, and doesn't use your bonus action or fill your off-hand. Even a 2nd level shadow blade yields more damage in this case.

If shadow blade isn't providing advantage that you wouldn't otherwise have (maybe you have an owl, or a battlemaster that regularly gives you advantage, etc.), the average damage is about the same, though haste does provide more consistent damage, giving it a somewhat better upside all else equal; however, you need to weigh that against taking up your bonus action, making shield unavailable, the high risk if you lose concentration, as well as the opportunity cost.

If I'm a melee-focused Rogue 2 / Wizard 4 and deciding what to do on level-up, particularly if I'm not planning to go for extra attack any time soon, taking Rogue 3 and arcane trickster gives me 3rd level slots I can use with shadow blade, and another sneak attack die, and some more cantrips and 1st level spells; plus it puts me only one level away from another ASI. If planning to go swashbuckler instead of arcane trickster, then yes, I'd probably level wizard. I'd probably take wizard 6 right away as well, since shadow blade makes extra attack better than booming blade in many cases. But I may not take haste.
I was under the impression, that shadowblade would be ruled out*. So I tried a PHB/SCAG (amd DMG) solution. If shadow blade is available, I agree with your analysis.

edit:* because of his other thread that states: (PHB only). So I assumed his DM was benevolent and allowed SCAG classes and DMG races, but in the OP he talks about not knowing if Booming blade is allowed (although it is from SCAG).
 
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Esker

Explorer
I was under the impression, that shadowblade would be ruled out*. So I tried a PHB/SCAG (amd DMG) solution. If shadow blade is available, I agree with your analysis.

edit:* because of his other thread that states: (PHB only). So I assumed his DM was benevolent and allowed SCAG classes and DMG races, but in the OP he talks about not knowing if Booming blade is allowed (although it is from SCAG).
Ah, right. I guess the consideration of bladesinger implies that it's not strictly PHB-only, booming blade being up in the air suggests source restrictions in play. But yeah, I agree, if no shadow blade, haste is the next best self-buff when you can get it; at least prior to greater invisibility.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Ah, right. I guess the consideration of bladesinger implies that it's not strictly PHB-only, booming blade being up in the air suggests source restrictions in play. But yeah, I agree, if no shadow blade, haste is the next best self-buff when you can get it; at least prior to greater invisibility.
... and only if your concentration bonus is high enough!
 

Esker

Explorer
... and only if your concentration bonus is high enough!
True true. Start bladesong on or before the turn when you cast it for sure. And if you're planning on using it regularly before your second ASI, your approach of taking Resilient CON with your very first one is probably wise.
 

Esker

Explorer
Allowing you to move away without taking OppAtt is a good thing, its the best feature of Swashbuckler IMO. Even if you just punch at someone for no damage as a bonus action it cuts off their OppAtt, so you can prevent 2 different creatures OppAtt against you.
But it's only adding something if you regularly use your bonus action for something else (presumably an off-hand attack). OP indicated an interest in rapier+booming blade, so cunning action disengage would work just fine; better actually, since it cuts off all opportunity attacks.

Can you make a bonus action punch? Is your fist considered a light weapon?

You will have low HP and lowish AC, so SHIELD spell is MANDATORY.
Low HP yes, but bladesingers have quite high AC (after their turn, at least). With bladesong and studded leather, you'll have 18 AC from the time you get the subclass, and it only goes up from there as you get ASIs. But I agree with your conclusion is true nonetheless; shield is invaluable. And sometimes you will get attacked either before you have bladesong up or when you're out of uses.

I would make CHR your third highest. A bonus to initiative is big, you can get off that buff spell before anyone else goes or get that Wall of Force up to divide the enemy. Or run in to save a teammate and then Thunder Step away. Or just dive in and attack and then pop Shield when they attack you to tank a little.
But even making CHA your third highest, you're talking +2 at the most, and you can only get that if you bump INT down (which hurts prep slots, and for a bladesinger, concentration and AC). More likely it's a +1 as in the OP array. Not a big reason to consider giving up a wizard level IMO. Plan on taking Alert at some point, and hint to your DM that you are interested in a weapon of warning.

If you are going mostly wizard, figure out your spell selection all the way to level 6 right away, with emphasis on spells that do not allow a save. This way you can focus DEX more, as that will power your booming blade. You will mostly be attacking with your DEX so you can get sneak attack damage in. You can build an effective wizard with spells that don't allow saves.
If prioritizing weapon use to the point where you take DEX increases over INT ones it's hard for me to see going mostly wizard. More rogue levels (at least after extra attack) offer more DEX-build-compatible goodies. Not to say you shouldn't do it if that's the character you want to play, but from an optimization perspective, I think it muddies your role. Even if you focus on non-save spells like Wall of Force, you still need to be able to maintain concentration, and INT helps you more with that than DEX. Much of the design of bladesinger seems to be based on letting you use INT for things that you'd normally want DEX for (AC, and, after level 14, damage) so you can go into melee without having as much of a DEX-focus.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
CHR use is the point of Swashbuckler, its not mathematically optimized but it is RP wise.

If you use BB you cant use a bonus action to attack again, you have to use cunning action to disengage. The use of a bonus action to attack again is to get 2 chances to land a sneak attack. You have to decide which one you want to go for.

You don't give up a wizard level by making CHR higher, just your INT score. If you can squeeze in Alert its fine, IMO Alert is more of a luxury for MC build like this as you will only get 4 feats or bumps anyway if going to rogue 3.


I wouldn't prioritize weapon use either. It just seems that's what he wants to do. I wouldn't even play a bladesinger to even use weapons that much unless I was a 5th member of the party, you are far more effective just being a wizard and using your ever expanding, controlling spell list and just enjoying the defensive benefits. Every bladesinger I have seen played weapon-aggressive against any competent DM ends up face down in the dirt, just like most bards who try to front line all the time, hence the wall of bards meme. Yes your AC gets higher but as you go up in level enemy attacks scale faster then your AC and HP does and area attacks still get you.

As far as concentration resilient or warcaster is probably still needed at some point.

Bladesingers to me are greatly game dependent. If you use the easy mode of 2 encounter then SR, then you always have everything available. I play in and DM 4-6 encounter as an average between SR, so you need to actually manage resources and play as group; the group needs to rotate who is using their SR recharge abilities this encounter and so on. This has the side benefit of players taking turns who is the "hero" for this encounter.
 

Esker

Explorer
If you use BB you cant use a bonus action to attack again, you have to use cunning action to disengage. The use of a bonus action to attack again is to get 2 chances to land a sneak attack. You have to decide which one you want to go for.
For sure. If you want to dual wield then the third rogue level becomes more valuable.

You don't give up a wizard level by making CHR higher, just your INT score. If you can squeeze in Alert its fine, IMO Alert is more of a luxury for MC build like this as you will only get 4 feats or bumps anyway if going to rogue 3.
Not by making CHR higher, but by taking the rogue level to get swashbuckler features. And the initiative part of swashbuckler isn't worth that much unless you have the charisma to back it up, which means sacrificing INT, which means giving up bladesinger stuff. Overall seems like a bad trade to me.

I wouldn't prioritize weapon use either. It just seems that's what he wants to do.
I didn't think it was clear that was what he wanted to do. His instinct was to boost INT first, which suggests that he wasn't planning to be very weapon-focused. If he is though, then my suggestion was to put more levels into rogue. And if he's not, stop at rogue 2. Rogue 3 strikes me as an awkward in between space.

I wouldn't even play a bladesinger to even use weapons that much unless I was a 5th member of the party, you are far more effective just being a wizard and using your ever expanding, controlling spell list and just enjoying the defensive benefits. Every bladesinger I have seen played weapon-aggressive against any competent DM ends up face down in the dirt, just like most bards who try to front line all the time, hence the wall of bards meme. Yes your AC gets higher but as you go up in level enemy attacks scale faster then your AC and HP does and area attacks still get you.
I don't disagree, hence the recommendation to lean more into rogue if you want to be more weapon-oriented. Because then you get features like uncanny dodge and evasion that help you survive when a high AC doesn't cut it.

If you use the easy mode of 2 encounter then SR, then you always have everything available. I play in and DM 4-6 encounter as an average between SR, so you need to actually manage resources and play as group; the group needs to rotate who is using their SR recharge abilities this encounter and so on. This has the side benefit of players taking turns who is the "hero" for this encounter.
I wouldn't call 2 encouters per short rest "easy mode". I'd call 4-6 encounters per short rest "intense". Isn't the default recommendation is 6-8 encounters per long rest, with two short rests in between? That means roughly 2 encounters per short rest, occasionally 3. That suggests to me that the intent is that the bladesinger gets about one bladesong per combat, so if they don't get incapacitated and have to double dip, then they pretty much have it on except for during the first round prior to their turn (and some encounters will be easy and not require it). Even then, most groups I've seen don't actually do 6-8 combat encounters in a day. Your group might be the outlier here, whatever the merits of the approach might be.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Every build here is premised on 2 encounters per SR. They fail unless played well over that. The BS is is an example of that, it’s a class that was created entirely around the 2 SR mechanic. That’s clear
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Every build here is premised on 2 encounters per SR. They fail unless played well over that. The BS is is an example of that, it’s a class that was created entirely around the 2 SR mechanic. That’s clear
Its still 2-3 encounters on average. IF the premise was: every day 2 encounters per short rest, the feature would just be at will... because there is no difference.

I'd also not call 2 - 3 encounters easy mode. It is actually more than most people here state. Many tell about 2 encounters per day being a problem and then short rest classes or classes who don't really need short rests fall behind.
It is also not essential that every day actualy has more than 1 or 2 encounters (per short rest)... it is just important that the can. It is important that you have to play every fight as if it was just the beginning of a long adventuring day.
I can easily see that in dungeons it might be fairly hard to rest between encounters so I'd say 5 or 6 before short rest does not sound unreasonable here.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Thanks for all the feedback guys.

Going primarily wizard, perhaps I’d be better served just getting 2 rogue levels.
Why do you want to be rogue at all? Is cunning action so important to you that you need 2 levels of rogue at all?

It is a great feature to let you enter and leave close combat easily. I'd probably say that it won't make you really better. You could solve that with magic. 1d6 sneak attack is nice but does not help you a lot.
Maybe wizard 1 is indeed the stronger choice. Wis save proficiency is rather important. Dex proficiency only prevents damage. Nice but often not as big as resisting hold person and such.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
I thought he was doing it for RP purposes no?

An interesting take might be trickery Cleric then Wizard....


The SR recharge classes are fine with more encounters as long as you realize that you will not be able to nova in every encounter, some you just contribute to.

Wizards get a deep spell pool as you go up so can handle almost anything. BS get a fall back option in they can be ok melee for the cleanup phase of encounters, extending their spell slots. They are like Valor Bards in that way.
 
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