Level Up (A5E) Runespell Rager: A Berserker/Warlock Synergy Feat Chain

Here's a sample for a berserker/warlock synergy feat chain that I've been tinkering with:
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Short version:
1st Feat (Runespell Rager): Make Eldritch Blast and your pact weapon compatible with Furious Critical and Crushing Blows. (Also, you can mix and match the barbarian and warlock exploration features—not necessary, but I thought it was fun.)
2nd Feat (Rune-linked Mind and Body): Cast (warlock) spells and maintain concentration while raging. Make those spells more powerful while raging by spending exertion.
3rd Feat (Pact and Rage Rescribed): Maintain concentration better while raging. Also, a grab bag of other features that you pick two of.
 
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W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
Mystic Maneuver: You may spend warlock spell points in place of exertion at a 1:1 rate. You may only do this to use maneuvers or class features that you learned through the berserker class, or the maneuver granted by Patron’s Martial Power (if you take that feature).
uh, boss - a thought occurs. the earliest point RAW at which you can have 3 feats while multiclassing with exactly 3 levels in another class is level 15. if you take 12 of these levels in warlock, you'll have 22 spell points. this effectively gives you the same exertion as a 20th level adept (who has the most exertion of any class normally) ON TOP of the 10 exertion you'll have from the berserker (since exertion pools scale directly off your proficiency bonus, which is not class dependent). i'm not sure 32 exertion at level 15 is sane.
you can also go 4 berserker/8 warlock to get basically 23 exertion this way at level 12, which is still higher then the adept.
now given, if you want 32 (or 23) exertion, you have to cast 0 leveled spells - but this still seems not exactly sane to me.

and on the other hand:
Spell-wrought Rage: You may enter a berserker rage by expending a number of warlock spell points. You must expend a number of spell points equal to your proficiency bonus or the cost to cast the highest spell level available to you through your warlock levels, whichever is higher.
the idea of making an ability that EXPLICITLY increases in cost as you level up with no other benefits for that increased cost is baffling to me.

other then those two things, this is cool i guess.
 


WarDriveWorley

Adventurer
uh, boss - a thought occurs. the earliest point RAW at which you can have 3 feats while multiclassing with exactly 3 levels in another class is level 15.
Do you mean level 12? Go 3 levels of each to qualify for the base feat (total of 6 levels), but no feat slot yet so you can't take the the feat. Gain 1 level in either class (let's say Berserker so you're 4/3) gets you an option for a feat that you use on the Runespell Rager Feat. Gain 1 level in the other class (so you're now 4/4) gets you another option for a feat (choosing Rune-Linked Mind and Body). Then gain another 4 levels in one of the classes (let's say Warlock, so you're now 4/8 Berserker/Warlock) get's you an another feat option where you choose the last feat (Pact and Rage Rescribed).

Here's a sample for a berserker/warlock synergy feat chain that I've been tinkering with:
That said in regards to the feat chain some observations (not necessarily critiques, but things that stand out to me) with explanations on why I'm pointing them out:

From Runespell Rager Feat: "You may use your Constitution modifier in place of your spellcasting ability modifier for attack and damage rolls; for damage this only applies to your Eldritch Blast attacks if you have the Agonizing Blast invocation" - I would be very wary of moving spellcasting to Con, especially in this way. Explanation: This makes the class combo more MAD since you have to level up Str, Con, and Cha to try and keep Melees Attacks, Magic Attacks, and Regular Spells all equally effective. I know in A5E this is less a factor than O5E, but it's still a factor and will affect some players. Also making Con a spellcasting ability MAY (I emphasize may here) create a bit of an imbalance with casting. You now have a character in melee with prof in Con saves (assuming Berserker first) and a high con mod so concentration checks may become moot. I'm not 100% sure that it's a big issue, but I've always been wary of it.

From Rune-linked Mind and Body Feat: "In addition, if you cast a warlock spell while raging you may spend one exertion to increase your warlock spell DC or your warlock spell attack modifier by an amount equal to the rage hit points you gain every turn." - This is insane to me. Explanation: Let's look at a few numbers here. Let's assume you're playing a character that focuses Berserker while taking this feat chain. You would qualify for this as early as 8th level (see my response to @ReadyButNot above) when you're a 4th Berserker/4th Warlock. At that level you're sacking an exertion (not a huge resource) to gain a +2 Spell Attack and DC. A +2 is significant in 5E. If you max out the Berserker side you're looking at a bonus of +3 gained at 13th level (9th Berserker/4th Warlock) and +4 gained at 20th level (16th Berserker/4th Warlock). That's not a fast progression, but in a system based on bounded accuracy those bonuses are huge. Is this to make up for the fact that caster may not be able to increase their Cha due to picking feasts over ASIs? If so it works for a character that emphasizes Str, but can get unwieldy if the character emphasizes Cha. Possible Change: Have you thought of allowing the character to cast through an attack? Maybe something like this "In addition, if you cast a warlock spell that targets a creature or has an area of effect you may spend one exertion to cast the spell through a melee attack. You make a single melee attack as normal and the target, regardless of if the attack hits or misses, is the target of the spell, if the spell targets a creature, or becomes the origin of the spell, if the spell is an area of effect."

From Pact and Rage Rescribed feat: "You may enter a berserker rage by expending a number of warlock spell points. You must expend a number of spell points equal to your proficiency bonus or the cost to cast the highest spell level available to you through your warlock levels, whichever is higher." - I have to agree with ReadyButNot that having an ability that costs more with no added benefit just because you're higher level doesn't make any sense to me.

Mystic Maneuver: I also agree with ReadyButNot that this is overpowered.

Overall I love it and hope to see more.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
Do you mean level 12? Go 3 levels of each to qualify for the base feat (total of 6 levels), but no feat slot yet so you can't take the the feat. Gain 1 level in either class (let's say Berserker so you're 4/3) gets you an option for a feat that you use on the Runespell Rager Feat. Gain 1 level in the other class (so you're now 4/4) gets you another option for a feat (choosing Rune-Linked Mind and Body). Then gain another 4 levels in one of the classes (let's say Warlock, so you're now 4/8 Berserker/Warlock) get's you an another feat option where you choose the last feat (Pact and Rage Rescribed).
i said exactly 3 for a reason...that reason being i realized you could do exactly that and didn't want to rewrite that section so i changed as little as possible, haha. i mention going berserker 4/warlock 8 later
 


I really appreciate this feedback! Here's a changelog:
  • Rune-linked Mind and Body: Now only grants half your per-turn rage HP added to your spell attack/save DC. Still only costs 1 exertion.
  • Spell-wrought Rage: Now costs 5 spell points, rather than a scaling cost. Figured a rage was roughly the same worth as a 3rd-level spell.
  • Mystic Maneuver: You may spend spell points to perform maneuvers, treating the maneuver degree as a spell level as far as spell point cost is concerned.
Now for discourse!
I would be very wary of moving spellcasting to Con, especially in this way. Explanation: This makes the class combo more MAD since you have to level up Str, Con, and Cha to try and keep Melees Attacks, Magic Attacks, and Regular Spells all equally effective.
I just want to clarify, this section ONLY allows you to substitute your CON mod for your spellcasting mod with Eldritch Blast and your pact weapon—not with spells. That said, I do agree with your observation that this class will be a bit MAD—most berserker abilities scale with Constitution and most Warlock abilities (most notably spells) scale with your spellcasting ability modifier, and then most characters will either want a good Dexterity (for better AC with Rugged Defense) or a good Strength (if they want to use Strength and their pact weapon to make attacks rather than Constitution and Eldritch Blast/a pact weapon; also for better AC if they want Juggernaut). I personally have no issues with the MADness, as other absolutely excellent classes—the Herald come to mind—are a little MAD and still make it work, and I think this combination has enough going for it that it might need the MADness as a balancing factor. Berserker adds great hit points and, through rage, awesome tankiness (also, as you mentioned, improves Concentration checks by a mile), while warlock adds a lot of flexibility, range, and other gishy goodness that the berserker is sorely lacking.
I did initially consider swapping the warlock's spellcasting ability modifier for Constitution in every instance, but decided that was too much and instead went for the feature that lets you add your rage HP to spell attacks and DCs.
Also making Con a spellcasting ability MAY (I emphasize may here) create a bit of an imbalance with casting. You now have a character in melee with prof in Con saves (assuming Berserker first) and a high con mod so concentration checks may become moot.
As noted, CON is only for Eldritch Blast and pact weapon attacks, not spellcasting. HOWEVER, I do agree that emphasizing Constitution will make for much easier Concentration checks, but I think this will be balanced by the fact that the berserker side of this combination heavily incentivizes getting into melee, so the character is very likely to be making more Concentration checks than the average caster. (Depending on your party's habits, I suppose.)
Possible Change: Have you thought of allowing the character to cast through an attack?
I did consider it, but I didn't go that direction for two reasons:
  • As a design goal for this synergy chain, I wanted to take what I viewed as the core berserker and warlock class features, which are normally entirely incompatible with each other, and make them synergize—that, to me, means Rage and Furious Critical/Crushing Blows for berserker, Eldritch Blast and spellcasting for warlock
  • The fighter/wizard synergy feat chains both already do that (with melee/ranged attacks respectively for the two different chains) and I wanted to make something that really hadn't been done before (in A5e).
have to agree with ReadyButNot that having an ability that costs more with no added benefit just because you're higher level doesn't make any sense to me.
I ultimately decided you two were right and set a flat cost. My original concern here was that having a flat cost risked the runespell rager being able to rage too often, showing up regular berserkers—then again, regular berserkers eventually get to rage infinitely, and you already slow down how many rages you get per day a lot by multiclassing out of berserker (plus multiclassing means that your rages will overall be weaker), etc. In short, I was persuaded a change was necessary.
 

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