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5E Should the Hexblade Patron be Banned?

Should the Hexblade Patron be Banned?


  • Total voters
    140
  • Poll closed .

Benjamin Olson

Adventurer
I don't care for them. It creates a single stat character who can do a lot of things. The goodies are so front-loaded it becomes an overly attractive dip. One level is all you need to solve the MADness of a Paladin or martial Bard. And lorewise it really doesn't make much sense. Powerful sentient artifact weapons don't really have the sort of magical abilities in lore or in stats to support being Warlock patrons.

But, the subclass is it's own punishment, because it requires you to take orders from an inanimate object.
 

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NotAYakk

Legend
Hexblade is a bad pact because it lacks substance.

Every other pact is with some relatively specific kind of entity. The hexblade is with a "mysterious" weapon, and is vague. This result in the hexblade being a bundle of almost completely "kill stuff better" powers (with the spectre as the one exception; it isn't purely "kill stuff better", just half or so).

The other pacts have things they can hang off the patron's story; dark one's luck, awakened mind, etc. Things that come from the story of the patron give the pact a tiny bit more depth.

The second reason is that the pact is crazy front loaded. This is the dip problem. Hexblade curse, Medium armor+shields, Cha-to-attack are all decently strong to top notch features, and they all arrive at level 1.

The third reason is that some of those features are by themselves over powered. Hexblade's curse is a short rest bonus action 19-20 crit range +prof to damage on all hits ability on one target, and that is only part of it. It is a feature strong enough to hang entire builds off of, on the scale of action surge or smite. Giving it at level 1 as part of a package of abilities on a spellcasting class in a subclass is just crazy.

The forth reason is that it was designed as a pact of the blade patch, and pact of the blade should have been fixed instead. The result is that fey-blades still don't work very well.

The fifth reason is that it isn't a very good pact of the blade patch. A non-multiclasses hexblade is still probably better off with a non-pact-of-the-blade pact! Hexblade's curse works better with EB than it does with a blade, because EB scales to 4 taps.

The sixth reason is that it introduced "alt-ability-to-attack" to 5e. And it did so on an attribute that was already crazy stacked -- charisma.
 

yakuba

Explorer
I think overall it's a good addition. Most of the other full caster classes have at least one martial arts oriented subclass. I don't think it outshines the other Pacts except as a direct damage dealer, which is as designed. The features are strong, but, except for the specter, they''re really more obligatory for effectiveness than innovative and interesting. Also, the concept is not fully baked; unless you really put thought into it, it's more just a power source than a patron that can actually interact with the character and the campaign.

I would slightly nerf the Hexblade by moving Hex Warrior to the Pact of the Blade both to improve that pact and to make the Hexblade subclass a more balanced multi class option. I think it's really bad that a 1/1 Paladin(Any)/Hexblade is strictly better than a level 2 Paladin.
 


Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
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.
I actually have a cleric/warlock with celestial patron. He is LG after being a mercenary veteran for a long time with what would probably fit a LN outlook. Getting ready to play him in an hour!!! He is currently cleric 1 warlock 7. Thinking about doing more with cleric next level.

that being said, that sounds like a GREAT character concept! Get into it!

I have a 4th level hexblade. It’s fine but I have to work to give it flavor for sure and honestly and not really into physically feeble warriors. Elric is cool but I dunno...

I am thinking about a fiend patron blade pact. After reading your post it got me thinking about taking the invocation with buzzing flies (cloak of flies) and perhaps going with other options to play up character.

i had one fiend patron blade pact previously. Had to end the campaign due to real life tragedy but he was an acolyte deceived by an angel. Just so happened to be a fallen angel, of course so while he is preaching about lawlessness etc., his muse is actually an evil entity. add cloak of flies when he gets mad and fun stuff.

I am not against optimization or power gaming per se. I don’t make feeble characters! But I have learned the hard way: if I am mainly into mechanics I will inevitably get bored and think up another build.

however if I am playing a character with some substance I get into it more including the fights! Which I love.

I am not tempted by the hexblade personally. It’s fine and should not be disallowed.
 


I have a player with an Hexblade in one of my groups. His patron is not a mysterious blade but the Raven Queen. We are playing in FR (DH) and I made her not a god in the FR because Kelemvor already has the portfolio. But she is trying hard so sin e she can't have clerics for the moment, she made a pact with the player (with very specific clauses). So the player must promote the Raven Queen over the clergy of Kelemvor. Which is quite interesting because the party os interacting a lot with Kelemvor's church as they are the ones providing the city with speak with dead spells.

Warlock specs shouldn't be restricted to one patron only. When a player comes up with an interesting build, don't stop at the patron. This hexblade is much more than just a fighting machine as the player is actively promoting his patron as a true god of the dead...

But yes, the hexblade is really good for a one dip multiclassing. This is one of the reason that multiclassing is heavily restricted in my games. Sorlock, pal lock or whatever. When you switch class, there is no turning back. This has limited multiclassing a lot along with a few other restrictions.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If the choice is between "ban/nerf Hexblade" and "keep it as is," I pick the latter, so that's what I voted for.

However, what I would most like to see would be a lot of the hexblade's features parceled out among the Pact of the Blade and the base class. Medium armor proficiency, shield proficiency, and Charisma weapon attacks should be Pact of the Blade features, not dependent on patron. (This would also avert many of the multiclassing issues, since you would now have to put 3 levels in warlock to get Cha on attacks.)
 

Aaron L

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

Hexblade is fine.

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.
Before my Hexblade I had played another Warlock, of the Pact of the Blade Warlock with the Great Old One Patron. He had the Sage background and had originally been a mathematical prodigy, and at 25 years old was the youngest-ever professor of mathematics at the prestigious University of New Aberdeen (an ancient establishment much like Oxford.)

But one day, while researching old books for possible insights into a solution for a difficult mathematical proof he was working on, he stumbled across an utterly bizarre and ancient tome that he had never even heard of before: A Treatise on Hyper-Spatial Calculations in 5-Dimensional Spacetime.

Someone (or something) had intentionally planted this eldritch tome among the otherwise normal mathematical treatises in the University library, and this young mathematical prodigy became utterly obsessed with it. He read it from cover to cover, virtually inhaling its contents, and was just barely able to grasp the concepts presented in the book due to his innate mathematical skills... which caused his mind to make contact with Yog-Sothoth, and his continued obsessive study of it unintentionally forged a Pact with the Outer God, rendering the young man (Professor Eldred Eldridge, the most perfect name for a Great Old One Warlock I could think of) stark raving mad, which lead to him writing a rambling, nonsensical, 3,000 page mathematics paper (which itself was a minor Mythos Tome) before the being locked in a madhouse due to his insane behavior for the next three years.

After three years he escaped during a fire at the madhouse, but by this time he had recovered enough of his senses to pass as sane most of the time, and began a wandering adventuring career. He devised a method of creating a staff-shaped area of spatial-distortion for use in combat (IE he took the Pact of the Blade) and came to realize that his mathematical studies had accidentally stumbled upon a form of magic which was unlike Wizardry, and that he was somehow mentally connected to some form of vast, inhuman consciousness (Yog-Sothoth, the Outer God connected to all of spacetime) which continuously whispered to him in the dark recesses of his mind.

He was a fascinating character to play; Chaotic Neutral (while trying to remain Good,) always battling to remain in control of his mind, but slowly losing the battle. He had no idea what he was going through, as he had never had any magical training, although he did realize that he had stumbled upon some kind of magical secrets, and he was slowly attempting to conduct magical research into what possibly could have happened to him.

Unfortunately that campaign group fell apart around 7th level, and when we started a new campaign soon after it was with new characters at 1st level. I always wished I could have continued that character, as he was just so damn cool, and he was the character I had been wanting to play ever since I first read the D&D 5th Edition PHB and saw that one of the options for Warlock Patrons was the Great Old One, with Great Cthulhu actually listed as one of the possibilities. I though "If Cthulhu, then why not Yog-Sothoth, an Outer God that was overwhelmingly worshiped by cabals and covens of Wizards of Witches (and Warlocks are absolutely Witches, with Warlock magic totally being Witchcraft.)

He was an incredibly fun character to play, but he was not at all overpowered. The Pact of the Blade was very cool and allowed for some neat conceptual ideas as to the origination of his Pact Weapon, but it hardly made him a combat monster.
 

Azuresun

Explorer
I have a player with an Hexblade in one of my groups. His patron is not a mysterious blade but the Raven Queen. We are playing in FR (DH) and I made her not a god in the FR because Kelemvor already has the portfolio. But she is trying hard so sin e she can't have clerics for the moment, she made a pact with the player (with very specific clauses). So the player must promote the Raven Queen over the clergy of Kelemvor. Which is quite interesting because the party os interacting a lot with Kelemvor's church as they are the ones providing the city with speak with dead spells.

Warlock specs shouldn't be restricted to one patron only. When a player comes up with an interesting build, don't stop at the patron. This hexblade is much more than just a fighting machine as the player is actively promoting his patron as a true god of the dead...

But yes, the hexblade is really good for a one dip multiclassing. This is one of the reason that multiclassing is heavily restricted in my games. Sorlock, pal lock or whatever. When you switch class, there is no turning back. This has limited multiclassing a lot along with a few other restrictions.

Why not just ban multiclassing when it's obviously only for CharOp purposes?
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I think a couple of the level 1 features need to be shifted to the 3rd level Blade Pact. This reduces 1-level dips, and makes Blade Pact more viable for non-Hexblades.

I came here to say this.

Also, to address the OP's friends' points, or at least the few I thought were important:

Hexblade can't "dump" Str and Dex if they want to go with their Medium Armor. Medium Armor requires some Dex to have decent AC, and since it has weight you're going to want some Strength. "Dump", to me, means an 8 or 10, since baseline stats are typically around 16, 14, 14, 12, 10, 8.

I don't think the spells are super great. Shield is rough as a Warlock spell. It doesn't scale with level, so you're going to be hard pressed to justify spending a 5th level spell slot to cast a 1st level spell. Kinda rough. I wouldn't call their spell list "the best". The smites are nice and really help pact of the blade warlocks though.

The hexblade curse is, in my opinion, something that should have been worked into the Warlock class progression to begin with. It was kind of the warlock's thing in 4th edition, and to have that just become a spell was ... Weird.
 

Why not just ban multiclassing when it's obviously only for CharOp purposes?
Because I no longer need to to that. When you change classes you can't go back and if you abandon a divine class without the accord of your god, patron, you lose all powers associated with the class. This prevents one level dips or just starting one level then switch. It works remarkably well and all muticlassing is now done via RP and not via power gaming.
 
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Why not just ban multiclassing when it's obviously only for CharOp purposes?
Is all CharOP necessarily something to be avoided?
An Evoker that grabs HBC for some extra damage, essentially just traded their soul for a SR recharging, situational bonus to damage.

Just asking a player to think about what that means, often is enough to dissuade people. I would also point out the author Jim Butcher, has a very popular Wizard character that in 5e terms has a Hexblade Dip.

Sometimes, the dip is exactly what people want thematically.

I have a player that has a Hexblade/Paladin character. The player also has a 1 year old and a 5 year old, so she built a Single Attribute Dependent character, not to be more powerful...but for ease of play.

Mechanically, as others have indicated, a Hexblade is easy to play.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Complaining about single attribute characters when most classes are (and aren't) single attribute dependent is ... Interesting. I think only the Monk, Paladin, and Ranger stress too much about ability scores more than everyone else. Everyone worries about their primary stat, worries about Con, and worries about Dex if they're not heavy armor. Considering 2 or 3 stats is pretty normal.

Hexblade still needs moderate Dex and Con to be effective.

My simple solution is to have pact weapons use Cha for attack and damage. But I use a wildly houseruled pact of the blade anyway.
 

Lots of good feedback. I'm looking forward to the final result and I'm heartened that everyone doesn't think it's drek because I've played the class for months now. My character knows who made the hexblade. His ancestor took a merchant voyage to a far away land and disappeared for years. He returned with a sword from the far away land and his knowledge of the pact. His ancestors (specters now haunting his house) at some point found out that this long sword was the Black Blade of Fu Leng. They were cursed when they failed him and the character survived because he was a baby and raised in an orphanage, found out about his family later and discovered their secret altar.
 

No. Not broken in any way.
If your charisma is higher than your strength, then eldritch blast is still very hard to compete with. The best you get is being on par with it, and maybe better scaling with magic items.
Also if you want to make best use of medium armor, you need 14 dex anyway and it is not easy to be better than just using mage armor (of shadows). Or you want to be hit anyway.
So all pact of the blade does is giving you a very powerful single target curse that you need to hold on if you want to make best use of it, while pact of the fiend generates temp hp over and over again.
 

Azuresun

Explorer
Probably because...
  1. Multiclassing isn't only for CharOp purposes
  2. Optimization isn't inherently bad
  3. The Warlock being super frontloaded is biggest source of such eyerolling

Sorry, that wasn't very clear, I'll try and rephrase. Why not ban multiclassing only when it's clearly just for CharOp purposes instead of something reasonably powered that makes sense for the chararacter?

And thinking on it, I think one of the reason I dislike the Hexblade dip is that it makes optimising discussions feel very dull and repetitive. I was never into 3e optimisation culture, but it was fun to spectate on just for the crazy stuff that came out of it. Now, nearly every discussion seems to go back to "Just take Hexblade 1" sooner or later.
 

MiraMels

Explorer
I don't allow the Hexblade as an option when i run games, but not because it's OP or mechanically imbalanced or anything like that.

I don't allow it because I find the story of the patron to be agonizingly dull. The Hexblade's description doesn't tell you anything about who they are, what they want, or why they take warlocks. What's the point of a warlock if not for the pact between them and their patron? It'd be like allowing a paladin with no oath or tenets. Hard pass.

Besides, you can play a fun and effective Pact of the Blade warlock with any of the Player's Handbook patrons. I personally find the Fiend to give the most bang for your buck (and prefer it over Hexblade if i'm playing in a game where both are available), but I've seen all of them used by players who had fun with them.
 

Iry

Hero
Why not ban multiclassing only when it's clearly just for CharOp purposes instead of something reasonably powered that makes sense for the chararacter?
Optimization is quite fun for many people. If my player is having fun, and not making things uncomfortable for anyone else, I'm going to let her do it. As a bonus prize, most optimization can make sense for the character.
 

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