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D&D 5E Shadow Sorcerer + Warcaster + Polearm Master + Eye of Darkness = Is It insane?

ECMO3

Adventurer
Lance is a skin of table. (It's a glaive weapon).
PAM and Warcaster works by RAW and RAI.

I already play with Metamagic Adept and Boosting Cha.
If you have warcaster, polearm master and metamagic adept you can't boost charisma until 16th level, or 12th if you are a variant human or custom. At this point you are playing against many enemies with true sight or devils sight, both of which mean they will see as good as you in the magical darkness.
Thanks.
The Sorcerer just hit and run. The Darkness moves with him, the hound (with advantage) and allies can attack normally without disadvantage. It's not 100%, but It just move out and your friends will do their job normally.
If the enemy is prone because your hound does, just cast a saving throw spell (applying disadvantage). It's so flexible.

If the enemy doesn't come close enough, just cast firebolt or empowered fireball like a standard sorcerer does, but with advantage on attack rolls and applying disadvantage against your spells.
The idea here is, if the threatining enemy tries come close enough, It's dead.

"Finally they can also grapple you and then move you out of the darkness. All of these things involve wasted turns for the enemy, so it is not ideal for them, but they will try to counter your power base."

It doesnt work, because the darkness moves with the weapon. Also, Sorcerer's Magical Guidance helps him on skills checks. It isn't a good idea.
The Sorcerer can dash, move to a better position or just "bye" and still cast quicken empowered fireball.
It isn't unkillable, but It isn't easy to defeat.
Have you actually played it? I don't think it is going to OP or "insane" against large numbers of enemies. Against a single enemy that is not strong enough to grapple you sure. I don't believe magical guidance will work as well as you think and it costs a sorcery point. Unless you have a high athletics or acrobatics, even with that you will still lose often and when that happens you will be quickly overwhelmed. Not to mention you won't actually have SPs to use magical guidance since they will be used up.

Based on your scenarion on turn one you burn 2 SPs to cast your magical darkness and another 3 to summon your hound. An enemy comes at you and you use empower schorching ray and burn another SP. Then you burn 2 more to quicken a spell on your turn. Guess what your 8th-level sorcerer is out of sorcery points and you are only in the second turn of combat for the entire day.

The sorcerer only has a 30 move (barring bonuses from other classes). You can dash, but that is a lost action and will typically require another dash to get back into range to make PAM work.
 

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Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Does Warcaster's opportunity attack really override the spellcasting limit of 1 action spell, 1 cantrip, 1 reaction?
There isn't actually a limit like that. Instead, the only limit on the number of spells you can cast in a round comes into play if (and only if) you cast a spell (leveled or cantrip) as a bonus action. If you do cast a spell as a bonus action, the only other spells you can cast that turn are cantrips with a casting time of one action.

So if you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can't cast a reaction spell the same turn, because a reaction spell doesn't have a casting time of one action. So in the unlikely event that someone triggers an opportunity attack from you on your own turn, you wouldn't be able to use War Caster to cast a spell as a reaction if you previously cast a spell as a bonus action that turn. Similarly, if a creature triggers an opportunity on your own turn and you use War Caster to cast a spell as a reaction, you cannot then cast a spell as a bonus action on the same turn.

This is the same reason you can't cast Counterspell on the same turn you cast Shillelagh, even though you can cast Counterspell on the same turn you cast Fireball.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
But the idea of the PAM feat is pretty clearly that the reach of the pole-weapon (whether it has more than 5 foot reach or not) makes it easy to offend approaching enemies with the weapon, not that it somehow increases your general ability to make opportunity attacks in other ways.
I don't really buy that. If that was the intent they would have worded it like the Sentinel feat and said "you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack"

The wording on Sentinel is specifically so that the reaction attack is not considered an OA.

I also think they almost certainly had EKs with PAM and warcaster during the D&D Next playtesting, so I am sure this would have come up in play. Now I do not believe they envisioned a Sorcerer who is not even proficient in any polearms doing it.

I think the logic here is you have your polearm out, the enemy has to navigate around that and it gives you an opportunity or opening, it makes sense that if you had warcaster a spell would be doable there.

The arguement that the polearm is the specific weapon the OA is intended to enable falls flat in my mind because the same could be said for any OA - the designers intended for you to use your sword, your dagger, your mace or whatever was in your hand on a normal OA too and warcaster clearly overrides that.
 
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ECMO3

Adventurer
This is the same reason you can't cast Counterspell on the same turn you cast Shillelagh, even though you can cast Counterspell on the same turn you cast Fireball.
Shillelagh is a cantrip so you can actually Shillelagh, Fireball and counterspell all on your turn.

On the other hand, if you cast say hex you would not be able to cast any other leveled spell that turn.

The one that really hangs me up is misty step. It is very useful to grapple flying enemies you can't attack ... however if you fail the grapple check you can't cast feather fall and end up going splat.
 
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Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Shillelagh is a cantrip so you can actually Shillelagh, Fireball and counterspell all on your turn.

On the other hand, if you cast say hex you would not be able to cast any other leveled spell that turn.
No you can't. If you can any Bonus Action spell on your turn--even if it is a cantrip--the only other spells you can cast that turn are cantrips with a casting time one action. So no casting leveled spells as an action, and no casting reaction spells at all.

Edit: here's the text from the PHB:
PHB said:
A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn. You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.
 
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I also think they almost certainly had EKs with PAM and warcaster during the D&D Next playtesting, so I am sure this would have come up in play.
I wouldn't be so sure that every multi-feat power combo came up in playtesting of a game where characters only ever get a few feats and this specific formulation of the feats (or even the feat system) would not have been in every version tested. I don't know that much about the playtesting process, but the latest public playtest packet I can find (October 2013) has no Warcaster feat nor any equivalent I can see. It also, incidentally, has no Eldritch Knight.

The arguement that the polearm is the specific weapon the OA is intended to enable falls flat in my mind because the same could be said for any OA - the designers intended for you to use your sword, your dagger, your mace or whatever was in your hand on a normal OA too and warcaster clearly overrides that.

Normal opportunity attacks are triggered when someone leaves your reach. The triggering is not connected to melee weapons in your hand in any way, with the exception that reach weapons modify your normal 5 foot reach. PAM meanwhile creates a type of opportunity attack wholly dependent on wielding one of a specific set of weapons.

I think the logic here is you have your polearm out, the enemy has to navigate around that and it gives you an opportunity or opening, it makes sense that if you had warcaster a spell would be doable there.
That's a fair lore justification for how it works, but it's a lot to interpolate into whatever the author of that particular feat was thinking.

I do think, however, that at this point, whatever the original intentions when the feat was written or intentions at time of publication, they have errated the PHB several times after years of the game being played, people doing this feat combo, people talking about this combo on the internet, and even occasionally tweeting at designers about this combo. The erratas have included substantially rewriting the PAM feat specifically, and yet they have not chosen to rewrite the opportunity attack part of it to specify using the polearm or otherwise not seem to jive with Warcaster. So maybe at this point it really is intentional.
 

No you can't. If you can any Bonus Action spell on your turn--even if it is a cantrip--the only other spells you can cast that turn are cantrips with a casting time one action. So no casting leveled spells as an action, and no casting reaction spells at all.

Edit: here's the text from the PHB:
A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven’t already taken a bonus action this turn. You can’t cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

You're not casting counterspell on your turn though.
 


clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I don't really buy that. If that was the intent they would have worded it like the Sentinel feat and said "you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack"

The wording on Sentinel is specifically so that the reaction attack is not considered an OA.

I also think they almost certainly had EKs with PAM and warcaster during the D&D Next playtesting, so I am sure this would have come up in play. Now I do not believe they envisioned a Sorcerer who is not even proficient in any polearms doing it.

I think the logic here is you have your polearm out, the enemy has to navigate around that and it gives you an opportunity or opening, it makes sense that if you had warcaster a spell would be doable there.

The arguement that the polearm is the specific weapon the OA is intended to enable falls flat in my mind because the same could be said for any OA - the designers intended for you to use your sword, your dagger, your mace or whatever was in your hand on a normal OA too and warcaster clearly overrides that.
Perhaps the designers are taking it as one of those rare cases of two specifics that both override generals, one must decide - do they override each other? As a technical matter, I think the designers are right: you would have to let them both stand, which you can only do by supposing they don't overlap.

That said, the RAW does seem to offer your RAI. The conflict or narrowing supposed by the designers doesn't seem to exist in the RAW.
 
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There are plenty of times you might (if you could). Examples include if you want to counterspell a shield or endure elements. Or if you want to counterspell a Counterspell.

If you've cast a bonus action spell during the turn, you can't.
I think counterspelling a counterspell or provoking an OA and using shield are probably the only times I've seen someone need a reaction on their turn but, yes, you're right. Up thread they're talking about getting a polearm opportunity attack on your own turn though, which is I can't even imagine coming up.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I think counterspelling a counterspell or provoking an OA and using shield are probably the only times I've seen someone need a reaction on their turn but, yes, you're right. Up thread they're talking about getting a polearm opportunity attack on your own turn though, which is I can't even imagine coming up.
I guess if an opponent had readied an action to close with you upon some trigger they could perceive, that can occur within your turn. Kind of corner case, certainly.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
I think counterspelling a counterspell or provoking an OA and using shield are probably the only times I've seen someone need a reaction on their turn but, yes, you're right. Up thread they're talking about getting a polearm opportunity attack on your own turn though, which is I can't even imagine coming up.
Dissonant Whispers and fear effects are the main ways one can get a War Caster reaction spell on one's turn, although they don't involve PAM. For PAM to enter the picture the situation would probably need to involve readied actions, as @clearstream noted above.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The Sorcerer just hit and run. The Darkness moves with him, the hound (with advantage) and allies can attack normally without disadvantage. It's not 100%, but It just move out and your friends will do their job normally.
I think you may be underestimating the proportion of the battlefield a 15 foot radius sphere will take up. Yes, you can try to hit and run, but you can only move so far on your turn, and ultimately you will still be blocking your allies’ lines of sight to everything within 3 squares of you to either side, and everything “behind” that area from their perspective. Smart opponents can actually take advantage of this, using your darkness to hide from your allies, without even putting themselves within your reach.
 

I think you may be underestimating the proportion of the battlefield a 15 foot radius sphere will take up. Yes, you can try to hit and run, but you can only move so far on your turn, and ultimately you will still be blocking your allies’ lines of sight to everything within 3 squares of you to either side...
It really is pretty obnoxious, in play. I was in a game with a devil's sight warlock and a shadow sorc. We played up to level 12 and guess how many times we were able to use the darkness trick to get advantage? Zero. Not one time was it tactically advantageous to pull off without messing up melee players in the combat.

Technically, I did get to try it once when I got separated from the party but... the mark I was chasing ended up being a devil with devil's sight.
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
I played a vanilla Warlock from the PHB all of the way to level 20. Darkness is a huge problem for your allies. I traded it in for Greater Invisibility. For a while I was the only one with Devil Sight. Then we were fighting Devils and my friends were the only ones without Devil Sight. Even at 20th Level, Darkness can be a problem for allies.
 
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Mort

Legend
It really is pretty obnoxious, in play. I was in a game with a devil's sight warlock and a shadow sorc. We played up to level 12 and guess how many times we were able to use the darkness trick to get advantage? Zero. Not one time was it tactically advantageous to pull off without messing up melee players in the combat.

Technically, I did get to try it once when I got separated from the party but... the mark I was chasing ended up being a devil with devil's sight.

Yeah, between Tremorsense, blindsight, trusesight etc. There are A LOT of monsters that this trick doesn't work on - while there are not many ways at all to make it party friendly!

Plus, most of the time, the LAST place a pure sorcerer wants to be is melee - especially alone in melee!
 

Hohige

Explorer
Yeah, between Tremorsense, blindsight, trusesight etc. There are A LOT of monsters that this trick doesn't work on - while there are not many ways at all to make it party friendly!

Plus, most of the time, the LAST place a pure sorcerer wants to be is melee - especially alone in melee!
That why It is insane. The Shadow Sorcerer doesnt need fight in melee, you are a Full Caster, With metamagic and The hound. You can easily move out of melee players.

If The enemies try melee, well, good Lucky 🤣
 

TheSword

Legend
A 7th level sorcerer?

You just used 3 sorcery points to summon the hound to affect, one enemy. How many empowered quickened scorching rays are you casting? The answer is not many.

30’ diameter orb of ally annoyance.

If the DM wants to make his BBEG safe, it moves 5’ into your darkness and then readies it’s attacks. You get an attack… once it’s your turn and everyone else is left waiting.

Darkness does nothing to protect you from AOE powers and spells

It also stops your friends being able to find you when you drop to 0 hp and need stabilizing.

All these powers… the hound, the scorching ray warcaster etc all affect one foe. Making them limited use only. An interesting gimmick but not worth building a character around. Long term warcaster PAM is going to get used for single target cantrips which are not much better than a normal attack.
 
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Mort

Legend
That why It is insane. The Shadow Sorcerer doesnt need fight in melee, you are a Full Caster, With metamagic and The hound. You can easily move out of melee players.

If The enemies try melee, well, good Lucky 🤣

My point is, the shadow sorcerer combo (Hound and everything else) works well enough without devoting 2 melee focused feats.

IMO the feats provide a benefit that's just too fringe to justify 2 full ASIs and the shadow sorcerer's schtick works just as well without them.
 


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