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5E Should the Hexblade Patron be Banned?

Should the Hexblade Patron be Banned?


  • Total voters
    140
  • Poll closed .
I recently watched a podcast review of the Hexblade Otherworldly Patron. I was surprised that both hosts hated it. Their main points were to the effect of it being broken particularly at first level.

I've played one to 14th now and I can say IMHO I would not ban it as a DM as these fellows seemed to find necessary. There has been criticism that I’ve thought quite a bit about.

Hex Warrior gets better Armor and weapons. I personally didn't care about the armor at all with my character and he's doing fine using Mage Armor instead. The martial weapons I grant are very good, especially with taking Pact of the Blade at 3rd and more so with Improved Pact Weapon. I don’t think either of these features are enough to call broken though it certainly gives a lot of ranged and melee options depending on what you like.

Hex Warrior gets to dump Strength and Dexterity and use Charisma to attack. This is a really good thing for the Hexblade, but I didn’t one level dip. If I did, I might dump one of these but not both, they are both too valuable for other things besides attacking. Unless you take Thirsting Blade later, you still only get one with the attack action. It’s an advantage that other warlocks don’t have access too but Fiend and Great Old One have some good stuff too. Again, In my experience; fair to call it very good, but not broken.

The spell list is really good. It is, but I’ve only used a couple of these. Shield is great, but it’s not the only reaction on the block. Phantasmal killer is really good by the time I got it, other options came into play and I don’t really use it. As a DM for a long time, I’ve never seen an encounter broken by either of these or any other spell on the list.

Accursed Specter is too good. It’s OK IMHO, but by the time you get it, a specter is almost never important in combat and as a scout it can be good, but you have to kill a humanoid first and have it not be outside in the daytime. If you are Pact of the Chain or if you pick up a familiar with another feature or feat, I think you have better options that aren’t as situational.

Every warlock will want to be a Hexblade. A lot of players already wanted to be Pact of the Blade, but they found Pact of the Blade unattractive without a new patron. Yes, the Hexblade assumes you’ll go Pact of the Blade, it is a natural choice and it’s what I picked, but you don’t have to. The features can be very good for other warlocks too, but some players really still like The Great Old One or the Fiend, and some Hexblades can still find value in the Tome or the Chain.

Hexblade’s Curse is broken because it gives bonuses to all attacks and not just melee. It is very good with Eldritch Blast against your cursed target, and yes, it gives you more damage and critical hit chance than the other patrons against that target. Is it enough difference to call it broken? This is a hard one to argue with because it makes you better at something than any other warlock. Does the limitation of having it against the target of your Hexblade’s Curse enough to not be broken? Personally, I find this one hard to argue with except that if Hexblade’s Curse only worked in melee, it would go from being amazing to being situational. You’re not a heavy combatant, you’re as sturdy as the rogue, but you don’t have Cunning Action, and if your Pact Weapon is a bow, then it goes from situational to useless.

So here's a poll. Do you agree that the Patron deserves be banned from tables?
 

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Aaron L

Hero
No, not at all. I've played one, whom I loved, but he died at 3rd level due to a heroic (perhaps foolishly so) final charge against an enemy to save another party member, after having just rolled a 20 on a Death Save and recovering to 1 HP. They are very cool, but not overpowered.

A lot of those D&D podcasts unfortunately don't really know what they're talking about. I recall one specifically that declared the Bard of the College of Swords to be all-but useless, which is just hogwash. My current primary PC is a Blade, and he is the single most valuable member of the party, being the primary healer, secondary artillery, a melee combatant almost on par with the Fighters (and can even put them to shame in brief bursts), and by far the stealthiest and most perceptive member of the party. He is a Jack of All Trades, Master of Being Awesome.
 
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Every warlock will want to be a Hexblade. A lot of players already wanted to be Pact of the Blade, but they found Pact of the Blade unattractive without a new patron

This seems like a post that was frozen in time. Hexblades have been around for awhile.
Pact of the Blade didn't exactly work smoothly before the Hexblade.

A 1 level dip in Hexblade is a DC20 CHA saving throw for a CharOP player.

Otherwise, I obsess over playing a Satyr Celestial Warlock with Pact of the Chain, the Gift of the Ever Living Ones Invocation, the Inspiring Leader feat, and the Create Bonfire Cantrip. Their Patron could be a figure like Dionysius....I envision going for a Slurm McKenzie vibe from Futurama....the PC used to PARTY with the godlike.

Everyone knows a good Bloody Mary takes at least 10 minutes to whip up, which accounts for Inspiring Leader.
 


6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I played one in CoS and I don't think they need to be nerfed or banned at all. Yes, the CHA-based attacks can be great, but honestly I ended up using my EBs more than anything else. The big boon from Hexblade for me was the Hexblade's Curse (combined with the hex spell) and the medium armor & shield proficiencies.

As far as their expanded spells, only Shield was really useful IME and occasionally blur. 🤷‍♂️
 

jgsugden

Legend
The game is not broken. We do not need to fix it.

Hexblade is fine.
Pact of the Blade didn't exactly work smoothly before the Hexblade.
It was actually fine. I played one, and then I played a Hexblade later. Both were very enjoyable.

My Great Old One Pact of the Blade PC used Armor of Agathys, Hex, Misty Step, Mirror Image, and other spells that didn't care about what his Charisma was at first. It was more fun to play him, I'd say, but that was likely due to the DM's fondness for Lovecraft mythos and how well he wrote my PC into a central role in the campaign. The Hexblade I played had a patron that wasn't really a sentient weapon ... it was a dark Sauron type figure that wanted to make a magic weapon.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I'm playing a shadow sorcerer hexblade warlock currently in our DiA campaign. The hexblade brings a lot. Broken? No. But probably one of the best classes a squishy character can take. I'm not even talking about the point trade off with warlock spells every short rest. Just being able to wear a breastplate and shield has saved my skin a lot. Mage armor and shield reaction is around AC 21 to ward off those attacks. It's 23 with armor and an actual shield (much higher potential with magic items), and you don't have to use up a spell slot. And with the curse, crits hit on a 19 and my EB do an extra 8 points of damage per blast. EB alone, I'm doing more damage than the melee classes.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
One thing I'd like to do but haven't because every creature in Avernus has devil's sight lol, is cast darkness and go to town with flame blade or booming blade. That's a combo my class set up is perfect for in any other campaign.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
One thing I'd like to do but haven't because every creature in Avernus has devil's sight lol, is cast darkness and go to town with flame blade or booming blade. That's a combo my class set up is perfect for in any other campaign.
It worked great in CoS. Darkness and Shadowblade was my thing for a while, but just getting advantage on EB shots at target's in darkness was sweet.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
single class it's not broken, in fact it's a bit weak if you play them as you are "supposed" to (ie attacking with a blade). It can be a bit... hmmm... much if multiclassed, but keep an eye on that. A fighter with a short dip in hexblade (or vice versa) makes for a very interesting gish (a few levels of hexblade gives a good dash of magic to a fighter, and a few levels of fighter toughens up the hexblade significantly)
 


ccs

40th lv DM
In general, No.
But as with anything in an RPG, the answer should be 100% dependent upon individual tables.
Not everything works for every group, but those groups should solve it for themselves & not effect anyone else.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I think that generally, the problem with the Warlock class is Eldritch Blast, full stop. I absolutely love Warlocks, but the fact that the class is designed around the use of that spell is very frustrating.

Generally, I ban Eldritch Blast in my games. The class becomes much more interesting and the characters become much more varied without it. For the record, we also don't use multiclassing.

With that out of the way: I've had two Hexblades in my campaigns, and neither was an issue. One expressed jealousy of the GOO warlock in the same campaign, but that was really just admiration for the way the GOO warlock's player approached the character.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I think that generally, the problem with the Warlock class is Eldritch Blast, full stop. I absolutely love Warlocks, but the fact that the class is designed around the use of that spell is very frustrating.

Generally, I ban Eldritch Blast in my games. The class becomes much more interesting and the characters become much more varied without it. For the record, we also don't use multiclassing.

With that out of the way: I've had two Hexblades in my campaigns, and neither was an issue. One expressed jealousy of the GOO warlock in the same campaign, but that was really just admiration for the way the GOO warlock's player approached the character.
Really, if you just ban Agonizing Blast, that would probably be enough. The d10 base damage is the same as Firebolt, so strong but not crazy. Eldritch Spear is ok, but if you use feats Spell Sniper is better over all IMO.

I can't imagine playing in a game without multiclassing, LOL! I get too bored with a class otherwise. 🤷‍♂️
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
I strongly dislike WotC-era multiclassing. Back when prestige classes were a thing I dealt with it, but it felt (and still feels) very gamist to me.

I much prefer a setup where choice in class abilities, either though new options or something like feats, adds variety and flavor while maintaining the class's core identity. I like characters to be defined by what they do and want rather than a collection of available actions, if that makes any sense.

I've fluctuated; I don't think I have run any two 5e campaigns using the same arrangement of options and houserules. But I've also gravitated much more heavily back to earlier editions lately, so there's that too.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Back when prestige classes were a thing I dealt with it, but it felt (and still feels) very gamist to me.
In many ways I agree.

We adopted a variant MC rule for a while and I think it works very well. The gist is your second class replaces your subclass option. A quick summary is:

First subclass (level 1-3) gives you level 1 of a second class.
Second subclass feature (level 6ish) gives you levels 2 and 3 in the second class.
Third subclass feature (level 10ish) gives you levels 4 and 5 in the second class.
Fourth subclass feature (level 15-20ish) give you levels 6 and 7 in the second class.

So, you could end up as a Cleric 20 (Wizard 7) or a Rogue 20 (Fighter 7), etc.

I got the idea from the EK and TA would would be sort of a Fighter 20 (Wizard 7) and a Rogue 20 (Wizard 7).

Some combinations are more powerful because the core classes are so strong, but otherwise if you are interested in MCing at all, maybe it will work for you??? This idea revolves around the idea that your PC is invested in the second class from the beginning (even if it takes a few levels to get there...).
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Hmm. That could work, and work well.

Among my biggest gripes in WotC multiclassing is the fact that ala carte leveling makes a character feel like it has two+ different classes, rather than a fused single class. There's just no way to be a 1st level mage/thief, for example (though a sidebar in the 3.0 DMG had an option for doing just that, and I was sorry to see it vanish from 3.5 and later editions).

Your solution addresses that, and though it's a little funky, it could well be worth the effort.
 

Azuresun

Explorer
If someone wanted to play an actual Hexblade, I'd be cool with that--and help them develop their patron beyond the anemic description in the book--but I'm also up front that I wouldn't allow the usual eye-rolling "1 level of Hexblade, roll it around in the other CHA-based classes" cheese. I also houseruled in that Hex Warrior gets moved to the Blade Pact.
 

6ENow!

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Hmm. That could work, and work well.

Among my biggest gripes in WotC multiclassing is the fact that ala carte leveling makes a character feel like it has two+ different classes, rather than a fused single class. There's just no way to be a 1st level mage/thief, for example (though a sidebar in the 3.0 DMG had an option for doing just that, and I was sorry to see it vanish from 3.5 and later editions).

Your solution addresses that, and though it's a little funky, it could well be worth the effort.
I hope it works for you. Like I said, we like it as a way to multiclass.

While you couldn't be a Wizard/Rogue 1/1 in the traditional sense, you could be a Wizard 2 (Rogue 1) or a Rogue 3 (Wizard 1) (the AT model).

You still have to follow the prerequisites for MCing, but you are giving up subclass features for other core class features (limited to 7th of course).
 

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