• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E rogue-bladesinger?

auburn2

Explorer
Has anyone tried this combo? I have played bladesinger before but I never multiclassed one of them and I have always thought it was a bad idea to multiclass them beacues you need to spam shield and can not afford to lose the slots.

I joined a group though and the character I wanted to play was not really a good option considering the party. I was going to play an Arcane archer but two of three players are already ranged characters.

So I decided I would go with a melee oriented rogue. I rolled into a 18 dex and 16 intelligence after Variant Human bonuses and fey touched feat. The idea is to act like a rogue but with shield spell and bladesong for a kicking AC and things like blur and shadow blade at later levels. I figure I will subclass into Arcane Trickster so as not to fall as far behind on spell slots.

Progression is R1-W2-R4-W6- then rogue until we quit.

Feats:
Level 1 Fey touched (spells Hex, Misty Step)
level 6 (R4) - Dex +2
Level 8 (W4) - Int +2
I probably won't get another Feat.

I am thinking at 10th level (Blade singer 6, arcane trickster 4) I will be able to do booming blade and a weapon attack in the same turn while also concentrating on hex, shadow blade or blur for extra damage or a killer AC.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Rogue/Bladesinger is very good.

mine doesn’t even know Shield, much less have it prepared. He has Absorb Elements, Expertise in Stealth, and as a Swahsbuckler can get away from enemies easily, has high AC, and Uncanny Dodge, and I wish he had higher Con but oh well.
 

It works, but you can do most of what you want with a single class arcane trickster.

A few specific comments:

BB/GFB: as per rules, you can sneak attack with these, so you don't need an extra weapon attack (check with your DM though).

Hex: Rogues are very busy with their bonus actions, with hide, disengage, off-hand attacks (when the main hand sneak attack is a miss) and Aim (post Tasha's). They are unlikely to find room to cast Hex, which doesn't contribute much if you are not making many attacks per round.

Shield: Arcane Tricksters can get this anyway, but swap it out after level 5, where uncanny dodge functions as a kind of shield-lite. With bladesong, any extra AC is mostly overkill anyway. And lower hp and no evasion (rogue 7) makes the character vulnerable to AoE damage. Might get more mileage from Absorb Elements. It's also worth noting that powergaming rogues try to use their reaction for an extra sneak attack (there are feats that can help with this).

Shadow Blade: ATs can get this at level 7.
 

I am thinking at 10th level (Blade singer 6, arcane trickster 4) I will be able to do booming blade and a weapon attack in the same turn while also concentrating on hex, shadow blade or blur for extra damage or a killer AC.

At 10th level you'll be kind of a subpar melee fighter, who should be hanging back and casting spells. Prior to that you'll be an awful melee fighter who should be hanging back and casting spells.

I would have thought a melee fighting tank would be a better option in a party with 2-3 ranged PCs.

Dex based Elven (+2 Dex) Eldritch Knight using a Double bladed Scimitar looks pretty good with those stats, taking the Revenant blade feat at 4th level (which also raises your Dex to 20 as an Elf), and then taking GWM at 6th, and whatever else you want at 8th and 10th.

Your AC should be fine with +1 from the Revenant blade feat, a high Dex (or heavy armour) and Defence style (AC 20) with Shield online from 3rd.

If your DM considers Custom lineage [Elf] to qualify for Elven feats, take Revenant Blade at 1st level for a Starting Dex of 20 (plus a finessable and heavy double weapon).
 

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
Rogue Bladesingers are awesome, and I'll evangelize for them any day. It's one of the few multiclasses that doesn't have a bunch of waiting to come online levels, and almost any split you do works. I particularly love Arcane Trickster-Bladesinger because it solves my problems with both those subclasses (AT just doesn't get enough spell slots and variety soon enough, a couple Wizard levels fixes that right up, and Bladesinger just doesn't have enough incentive to be in melee, even a little sneak attack and easy disengaging after booming blade up their melee damage considerably).

Also can't recommend Shadow Blade enough for such builds. Advantage in dim light and darkness is the most Rogue friendly weapon you can possibly find, and one of the most satisfying spells to upcast which, since you'll often have higher level slots than you have spells with the multiclass, is pretty damned awesome. Even if your DM won't play ball on using it with the SCAG cantrips after the Tashas rewrites it is still a mandatory part of a melee Rogue/Wizard's toolkit as soon as you can pick it up.

You might consider going custom lineage rather than variant human so that you can pick up darkvision. Being a Rogue without darkvision often sucks under any circumstance, and once you pick up Shadow Blade it will be especially painful to not be able to

The only issue I've had playing my AT/Bladesinger is that it has really serious bonus action demand. Between Bladesong, Shadowblade, Cunning Actions, and other bonus action spells, you have some really tough calls to make on how to spend the bonus action, and may find yourself getting surprisingly far into combat without actually getting around to activating your Bladesong (which is fine because you can cast Shield). Probably worth considering before committing to a feat for Hex, yet another bonus action hog. But it sounds like you might have your heart set on that. On the bright side you'll probably never once waste your bonus action.

Progression is R1-W2-R4-W6- then rogue until we quit.

Personally with those stats I would consider putting off Rogue level 4 until a little later. If you had a 16 or less Dex it would be one thing, but at 18 you have good enough Dex to put off the ASI, and Wizard 3 unlocks the whole world of 2nd level magic that Arcane Tricksters usually have to wait for level 7 for. A familiar will likely be giving you advantage most turns so you'll usually still hit, and between the Bladesong and Shield your AC is insane even without maxed Dex. What ups your Rogue skills more, an additional +1 to stealth rolls or a spell that lets you BE INVISIBLE? But obviously you can feel things out as you go
 

auburn2

Explorer
It works, but you can do most of what you want with a single class arcane trickster.

A few specific comments:

BB/GFB: as per rules, you can sneak attack with these, so you don't need an extra weapon attack (check with your DM though).

Hex: Rogues are very busy with their bonus actions, with hide, disengage, off-hand attacks (when the main hand sneak attack is a miss) and Aim (post Tasha's). They are unlikely to find room to cast Hex, which doesn't contribute much if you are not making many attacks per round.

Shield: Arcane Tricksters can get this anyway, but swap it out after level 5, where uncanny dodge functions as a kind of shield-lite. With bladesong, any extra AC is mostly overkill anyway. And lower hp and no evasion (rogue 7) makes the character vulnerable to AoE damage. Might get more mileage from Absorb Elements. It's also worth noting that powergaming rogues try to use their reaction for an extra sneak attack (there are feats that can help with this).

Shadow Blade: ATs can get this at level 7.
I think the problem with a straight arcane trickster is they don't get bladesong and that is 3 worse AC to start without shield it is effectively 8 worse. Mage Armor, + shield, + bladesong is an effective 24 AC (higher at later levels with ASI). I don't think 16 will be good enough for a character on the front line. I have played bladesingers that purposely went to the front every time to control the battllefield. Bladesingers just do not get hit in melee, like almost never. I don't think I can do that with a 16AC. Where the bladsoinger is weak is damage. If they use a lot of damage spells they run out of shield. That is why I want to be a Rogue to bump the damage with SA.

Absorb elements is one of the spells I am planning to take.

I have used hex with rogue before, it is not just the damage that makes this combo good but the disadvantage on wisdom checks, strength checks or dexterity checks which makes hide and shove a lot easier.
 
Last edited:

Rogues function on the front line just fine. Of course they don't tank, they use disengage and hide to reduce the chance of being attacked. They usually max out dex early so AC is at least 16 by level 6, and can mitigate damage using Uncanny Dodge and evasion. A single level multiclass dip can net you shield proficiency and more hp.

Low hit points is a bigger problem than low AC, and Bladesingers get that worse.

AC much over 22 is often wasted - those times you are hit, it is probably a crit, and with low hp, that probably means you go down.

If you actually need to tank, neither rogue nor bladesinger are up to the job.
 
Last edited:

auburn2

Explorer
Rogue Bladesingers are awesome, and I'll evangelize for them any day. It's one of the few multiclasses that doesn't have a bunch of waiting to come online levels, and almost any split you do works. I particularly love Arcane Trickster-Bladesinger because it solves my problems with both those subclasses (AT just doesn't get enough spell slots and variety soon enough, a couple Wizard levels fixes that right up, and Bladesinger just doesn't have enough incentive to be in melee, even a little sneak attack and easy disengaging after booming blade up their melee damage considerably).

Also can't recommend Shadow Blade enough for such builds. Advantage in dim light and darkness is the most Rogue friendly weapon you can possibly find, and one of the most satisfying spells to upcast which, since you'll often have higher level slots than you have spells with the multiclass, is pretty damned awesome. Even if your DM won't play ball on using it with the SCAG cantrips after the Tashas rewrites it is still a mandatory part of a melee Rogue/Wizard's toolkit as soon as you can pick it up.

You might consider going custom lineage rather than variant human so that you can pick up darkvision. Being a Rogue without darkvision often sucks under any circumstance, and once you pick up Shadow Blade it will be especially painful to not be able to

The only issue I've had playing my AT/Bladesinger is that it has really serious bonus action demand. Between Bladesong, Shadowblade, Cunning Actions, and other bonus action spells, you have some really tough calls to make on how to spend the bonus action, and may find yourself getting surprisingly far into combat without actually getting around to activating your Bladesong (which is fine because you can cast Shield). Probably worth considering before committing to a feat for Hex, yet another bonus action hog. But it sounds like you might have your heart set on that. On the bright side you'll probably never once waste your bonus action.



Personally with those stats I would consider putting off Rogue level 4 until a little later. If you had a 16 or less Dex it would be one thing, but at 18 you have good enough Dex to put off the ASI, and Wizard 3 unlocks the whole world of 2nd level magic that Arcane Tricksters usually have to wait for level 7 for. A familiar will likely be giving you advantage most turns so you'll usually still hit, and between the Bladesong and Shield your AC is insane even without maxed Dex. What ups your Rogue skills more, an additional +1 to stealth rolls or a spell that lets you BE INVISIBLE? But obviously you can feel things out as you go
Good points thanks. I am planning to take darkvision as a spell, I know that is a crutch and a weakness compared to a non-human but I think it is one I can live with especially at higher levels where the slot is more expendable. I also won't be using it all the time.

On the level progression, I see your point. My big issue is cunning action does not come until 2nd level and if you go to level 2 you should go to 3 because that will get you another level of spell slots .... and if you go to 3 then 4 is only 1 more for the feat. I can see the value in going Rogue 2 and then pushing Bladesinger to 4 or even all the way to 6 though. The main issue is less cantrips and less SA damage for a while. I will think on it though.

Reguarding shadow blade and booming blade I think that is pretty easy once you make wizard 6 - use a weapon in each hand - attack with the shadow blade in one hand then cast the cantrip using the weapon in the other hand (which is not an offhand attack so you get your modifier) as part of the same action. You still have your bonus for cunning action (assuming you already have the shadow blade running).
 
Last edited:

auburn2

Explorer
Rogues function on the front line just fine. Of course they don't tank, they use disengage and hide to reduce the chance of being attacked. They usually max out dex early so AC is at least 16 by level 6, and can mitigate damage using Uncanny Dodge and evasion. A single level multiclass dip can net you shield proficiency and more hp.

Low hit points is a bigger problem than low AC, and Bladesingers get that worse.

AC much over 22 is often wasted - those times you are hit, it is probably a crit, and with low hp, that probably means you go down.

If you actually need to tank, neither rogue nor bladesinger are up to the job.
Have you played a bladesinger? Single class Bladesingers are one of the best if not the best "tank" in the game in terms of surviving in melee. They almost never get hit so low hit points are not relevant in melee (and at higher levels they can use spell slots to take no damage from rare attacks that do hit). A single-class bladesinger will outlast any character except a Barbarian in straight up melee on the front line, they will easily outlast most Rangers, Fighters and Paladins. Those classes have a little less than twice as many hit points but they get hit about 4 times as often. Barbarians get hit more too but being getting resistance to damage evens it up so Barbarians effectively have about four times as many hit points.

To be clear, by outlast I mean stay alive. What they won't do is much damage in melee so they can't win a melee fight on their own, but they will survive as well as anyone. They are not better all around front line melee characters than the martial classes I mentioned, but they are better at defense and staying alive in melee than they are.

I have played twice with a single class bladesinger and against most foes she is the character in the party that moves to block the enemy and never leaves melee range and keeps the enemy off the rear area characters (to be clear she does not use weapon attacks every round, she uses spells but from the front). One of these characters got hit twice in melee total between level 2 and level 8. She went multiple levels in a row without having anyone hit her at all even though she was in the thick of it. Now she went down several times from other stuff (spells mostly), but not from melee.

Against really tough enemies that can 1-shot you go with Blur and mirror image and the chance of a critical hit on you is 1 in 1600 while all your images are up. Like I said, you are not doing a lot of damage as a bladesinger though, unless you are hitting them with hard spells. A side benifit is being at the front also makes AOE spells, especially cone spells a lot easier to cast without party members in the way.

Considering the rest of the party my plan is not to always disengage, that is why I am looking at a multiclass. That said booming blade plus disengage looks very attractive.
 
Last edited:

Have you played a bladesinger?
I've seen them played.
Bladesingers are the second best "tank" in the game in terms of surviving in melee. They almost never get hit so low hit points are not relevant
HPs are never irrelevant, since not all attacks target your AC. What are you going to do when the dragon breathes fire on you? Absorb Elements only halves the damage. And it's worse when the damage type isn't elemental. Here comes a mind flayer psionic blast. Enemy cleric zaps you with Toll the Dead.

And 20 always critically hits, no matter what your AC.
 

auburn2

Explorer
At 10th level you'll be kind of a subpar melee fighter, who should be hanging back and casting spells. Prior to that you'll be an awful melee fighter who should be hanging back and casting spells.

I would have thought a melee fighting tank would be a better option in a party with 2-3 ranged PCs.

Dex based Elven (+2 Dex) Eldritch Knight using a Double bladed Scimitar looks pretty good with those stats, taking the Revenant blade feat at 4th level (which also raises your Dex to 20 as an Elf), and then taking GWM at 6th, and whatever else you want at 8th and 10th.

Your AC should be fine with +1 from the Revenant blade feat, a high Dex (or heavy armour) and Defence style (AC 20) with Shield online from 3rd.

If your DM considers Custom lineage [Elf] to qualify for Elven feats, take Revenant Blade at 1st level for a Starting Dex of 20 (plus a finessable and heavy double weapon).
I have never played this multiclass, but I never hang back with a single class bladesinger. If you are doing that you are playing the subclass wrong IMO and your AC needs to be above 22 with shield and bladesong active at low levels to do it well. Having fewer spell slots for shield might change that a bit though and this character will be a little softer than a single-class mage.

Regarding damage I think this is better than you might think with this multiclass - assuming you land sneak attack, damage without shadow blade at 10th level is 30.5DPR to one enemy and 7.5DPR to another within 5 feet: 2d8(rapier twice) + 1d8(GFB) + 2d6(SA) + 10(Dex) plus another 1d8+3(GFB) to the second enemy. 38 points a turn is not that bad and that is without using any limited use abilities or a -5 to hit. If you use shadow blade that would be 35 against one enemy or 44 if you use a 3rd/4th level slot. There are lots of other variations too; shadow blade with short sword GFB - 34 to one enemy, 7.5 to a second. With shadow blade there is another 3.5 on the table for a BA offhand attack too (although there are lots of other BA options).
 
Last edited:

auburn2

Explorer
I've seen them played.

HPs are never irrelevant, since not all attacks target your AC. What are you going to do when the dragon breathes fire on you? Absorb Elements only halves the damage. And it's worse when the damage type isn't elemental. Here comes a mind flayer psionic blast. Enemy cleric zaps you with Toll the Dead.

And 20 always critically hits, no matter what your AC.
I agree about hp. I said they are irrelevant in melee - meaning someone swinging weapons, claws, tentacals at you and making an attack roll against your AC. When the dragon breathes fire on you then you die, and you die regardless of where you are standing when he does it. Same with psionic blast and toll the dead. I will note though that a 10th level bladesinger can reduce the damage done by all of those by 25 points with song of defense, which is more than the difference in hp between a 10th level wizard (42hp) and 10th level fighter (64hp). So all else being equal; at 10th level, if an enemy is going to one shot you with enough save damage to kill the bladesinger, it is going to kill the fighters in the party too. Note against the dragon she could alternatively use absorb elements and half the damage, which again more than evens up the difference in hp.

A 20 with disadvantage is only a critical if you roll two of them on the same attack (1 in 400) and only if it targets you and not one of your images. Playing two bladesingers for 3 years I have never had a critical hit on them while both blur and mirror image were up. I have had one critical hit with just blur up and that was a one-shot. Some dragon-hybrid rolled two 20s and downed my 6th level wizard straight out with one hit and a 6th level fighter I think would have survived that hit (although I am not sure a fighter would have survived the turn). That has happened once, total, in 3 years of games, and that was the only time that particular character got hit by a melee attack at all the entire time she was 6th level.
 
Last edited:

When the dragon breathes fire on you then you die, and you die regardless of where you are standing when he does it. Same with psionic blast and toll the dead.
Which is why your party needs a high hp meatsack (or at least a rogue with evasion)!

Blur is certainly a good way to reduce the chance of being critically hit, but in my experience, buy the time a character has Mirror Image, Blur and Bladesong up the fight is over.
 

auburn2

Explorer
Which is why your party needs a high hp meatsack (or at least a rogue with evasion)!

Blur is certainly a good way to reduce the chance of being critically hit, but in my experience, buy the time a character has Mirror Image, Blur and Bladesong up the fight is over.
Above 10th level a bladesinger is going to keep up with a fighter by using spell slots and absorb elements to reduce damage. Below that yeah sure. As for evasion it is nice when you can use it, but that is far from all the time (it will not work on two of the three save examples you gave above). I think AE is going to be able to be used more often that evasion, albeit without the option for no damage and the need for a spell slot.

Bladesong is a bonus action so it takes two rounds to get blur, bladesong and mirror image up and the whole idea of the build is to not get hit while keeping the enemy off your rear area party members, so if your allies kill the enemy from the back in that time, it is a success. If they don't you are pretty much now unhittable going into turn 3 so you start unleashing with damaging spells or alternatively just wear them down slowly. One thing that can be a drag is higher-level monsters that get multi-attack. That starts eating into your images pretty quick and it can turn into you putting up new images every other round or even every round. One other option is to forego blur and just use dodge action.

One other tactic is bladesong and crown of madness. Crown of madness is such a cool spell thematically but in general it sucks in combat. Bladesinger with the sentinel feat is the only build I have got it to work well. With the sentinel feat you can lock down the bad guy so he can't run away to get separation from his allies and end COM. If he gets a lucky save cast it again. Depending on the DM if he gets away because you have to use a shield or miss with your reaction then you can walk back up to him and make him attack you since he probably won't hit you anyway. Some DM's won't allow this last bit though. This can be so cool with 2+ strong melee enemies with low wisdom saves. You can even swap it up. Charmed enemy gets away and ends the spell, then wait until he comes back into the fricas and then hit the other enemy with it.
 
Last edited:

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
Above 10th level a bladesinger is going to keep up with a fighter by using spell slots and absorb elements to reduce damage. Below that yeah sure. As for evasion it is nice when you can use it, but that is far from all the time (it will not work on two of the three save examples you gave above). I think AE is going to be able to be used more often that evasion, albeit without the option for no damage and the need for a spell slot.

I think this gets to the flaw with this theory of Bladesingers being great tanks, in that the spell slot thing, absorb elements, and shield are all competing for the same reaction, but the first two only work one time a round. It is similar to how getting all their various potential buffs up and running at the same time can easily take the whole combat.

I do not think they are great tanks. I think they are circumstantially overpowered tanks whose weakness is being reliant on fiddly activation of limited resources (which is one thing I like about them, there are a lot of strategic decisions to make). With a melee ready ally or two they generally go a long way to collectively eliminating the need for a traditional tank. Whether they can hold their own as the entire front line for a small group is going to depend a lot on group tactics, DM tactics, and encounter design. Bladesingers can deal very well with a single instance of massive damage, or make themself virtually immune to attacks by a bunch of weak enemies, but when there are several high powered attacks and spells coming their way the same round their bag of off-brand tanking tricks doesn't fair so well compared to having actual HP.

To me their combat strength is not that they are among the best at any particular combat role, but that they can switch hit between basically every combat role other than healing.
 

I have never played this multiclass, but I never hang back with a single class bladesinger. If you are doing that you are playing the subclass wrong IMO and your AC needs to be above 22 with shield and bladesong active at low levels to do it well.

You're a Wizard with a solid bonus action defensive ability. Being in melee is the last place you want to be.

Those slots used on Shield at low levels would be far better spent on Sleep or similar spells.
 

if your allies kill the enemy from the back in that time, it is a success
It's a very expensive success, to burn through two second level spell slots, an X per long rest resource, and possibly a couple of first level slots to do what a guy in full plate with a shield can do whilst catching up on the Football scores on their mobile phone...
 

It's a very expensive success, to burn through two second level spell slots, an X per long rest resource, and possibly a couple of first level slots to do what a guy in full plate with a shield can do whilst catching up on the Football scores on their mobile phone...

This.

Making a Bladesinger a melee fighter is like trying to turn an Eldritch Knight into a full time caster.

Just... dont.

Great for a 2 level dip in some Dex/ Int EK builds though.
 

auburn2

Explorer
I think this gets to the flaw with this theory of Bladesingers being great tanks, in that the spell slot thing, absorb elements, and shield are all competing for the same reaction, but the first two only work one time a round. It is similar to how getting all their various potential buffs up and running at the same time can easily take the whole combat.

I do not think they are great tanks. I think they are circumstantially overpowered tanks whose weakness is being reliant on fiddly activation of limited resources (which is one thing I like about them, there are a lot of strategic decisions to make). With a melee ready ally or two they generally go a long way to collectively eliminating the need for a traditional tank. Whether they can hold their own as the entire front line for a small group is going to depend a lot on group tactics, DM tactics, and encounter design. Bladesingers can deal very well with a single instance of massive damage, or make themself virtually immune to attacks by a bunch of weak enemies, but when there are several high powered attacks and spells coming their way the same round their bag of off-brand tanking tricks doesn't fair so well compared to having actual HP.

To me their combat strength is not that they are among the best at any particular combat role, but that they can switch hit between basically every combat role other than healing.
Spell slot limits aside there is not much difference between a tanking fighter and a tanking wizard. If the wizard has 42 hp and gets hit with a 50hp fireball and cuts it to 25 and then gets hit again for another 25 he can't use a nother reaction and is at zero hit points. Fighter with 64 hit points gets hit with 50hp fireball gets hit again for another 25 and he is at zero. The only time it does not work is if the other tank you are comparing him to can likewise use a reaction to reduce damage (many can), or to a Rogue or Barbarian that don't need to use a reaction to do it.

There are limited uses, you are right about that and it is a concern. That is also why I have never mutliclassed a bladesinger until now (and I am not sure how it is going to work now). If you concentrate your limited use resources primarily on defense you typically will not run out. You do have some versatility because you are a wizard with a full range of offensive magic at your disposal and I do use offense at times, but usually when I am pretty confident I won't run out later in the day or when it is needed to go "nova" and kill an enemy. I am typically not going to use offensive spells to take down enemies that my party is going to deal with in another 1 or 2 rounds anyway and often I won't even attack them.
 

auburn2

Explorer
This.

Making a Bladesinger a melee fighter is like trying to turn an Eldritch Knight into a full time caster.

Just... dont.

Great for a 2 level dip in some Dex/ Int EK builds though.
I never said she was a melee fighter. Often I don't even attack and just take the dodge action.

I said she will survive in melee longer than a fighter. Bladesinger has a better AC, more defensive spells and at higher levels effectively more hit points. If she and an EK with similar ability scores are in battle the same number or rounds and get targeted the same number of times with identical attacks of the appropriate CR and average rolls it will take more rounds to push her to 0 hp.

To turn that upside down - If bladesinger and EK are fighting an enemy in melee, the EK has far better melee attacks and more melee attacks. If she and an EK with similar ability scores are fighting an enemy of the appropriate CR and average rolls the EK has a much better chance of winning the fight outright, will always finish a melee fight quicker and as a result will be targeted less during the course of the battle.

Both of the above statements are undeniably true.
 
Last edited:

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top