D&D 5E Single class Hexblade - missing something?

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The thing to realize about hexblade is that warlock is a full caster class and is balanced that way.
I strongly disagree with the notion that a warlock is a "full caster". The cleric, druid, bard, wizard and sorcerers are full casters.

The warlock is... someone who couldn't cut it and made a pact with some mysterious power and got the semblance of being a full caster. You know one spell per level level 6-9, and you can cast it once. The magical resources the full casters can bring to bear are far greater. It's a fun class, and a useful one, but it's not really a full caster.

It shouldn't be as good as a tank as a paladin, barbarian, etc that are melee classes. It should be in the same category as college of valor or swords bard, or bladesinger wizard. That's its target level of melee competence.

As I said above, a hexblade uses almost all their resources to be a 2nd rate melee fighter. The bard or wizard have much more magical resources at their disposal.
 

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The issue seems more an issue with short rests than with warlock. The only thing really wrong with hexblade is that its curse ability works just as well with eldritch blast, which means at epic tier it's better. Nerfing that feature so that the first couple bullet points only work with weapons is actually a way to make the class play more how it's supposed to, and it's my solution (despite my normal dislike of nerf-fixes).
The hexblade is not supposed to be locked into a melee playstyle. Tome and Chain hexblades are intended to be just as valid choices as Blade hexblades.
 

I strongly disagree with the notion that a warlock is a "full caster". The cleric, druid, bard, wizard and sorcerers are full casters.

The warlock is... someone who couldn't cut it and made a pact with some mysterious power and got the semblance of being a full caster. You know one spell per level level 6-9, and you can cast it once. The magical resources the full casters can bring to bear are far greater. It's a fun class, and a useful one, but it's not really a full caster.

Here's a comparison I did a while ago of the wizard and a warlock built to be a caster (Pact of the Tome, etc).

Warlock to Wizard Comparison.PNG


As you can see, the total number of spell levels they can access in a day, assuming the standard 2 short rests, is on par for a full caster. Wizard only ever gets 2 spells each of 6th and 7th level. Warlocks can get a ton of cantrips, rituals, at-will invocation spells, etc. You can also see some of the differences in the classes here. It is easy to build a warlock as a full caster, I'm pretty sure that's intentional, as it's the "baseline" warlock experience. (Pact of the Tome is the one in the SRD.) As I said, the class is highly customizable and you can do things with it that cut into those resources to make them do other things instead of focusing on a being a caster, but the chassis is there.

The hexblade is not supposed to be locked into a melee playstyle. Tome and Chain hexblades are intended to be just as valid choices as Blade hexblades.

I actually don't know what design intent was on that, so you're guess is as good as mine. I will say that as it is I think an eldritch blast hexblade is better than a melee hexblade, and I don't think that was intended.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
As you can see, the total number of spell levels they can access in a day, assuming the standard 2 short rests, is on par for a full caster. Wizard only ever gets 2 spells each of 6th and 7th level. Warlocks can get a ton of cantrips, rituals, at-will invocation spells, etc. You can also see some of the differences in the classes here. It is easy to build a warlock as a full caster, I'm pretty sure that's intentional, as it's the "baseline" warlock experience. (Pact of the Tome is the one in the SRD.) As I said, the class is highly customizable and you can do things with it that cut into those resources to make them do other things instead of focusing on a being a caster, but the chassis is there.
I agree with you that quantitatively the warlock matches up with the general full caster progression in terms of spell levels they can leverage (assuming 2 SRs, of course). But, I would say that qualitatively the experience of playing a full caster who can leverage low level slots and has no problem using up 5-6 spells in a harder fight is a very different experience. Having access to the bulk of your resources right now, as opposed to having them parceled out during the adventuring day, is a major tactical advantage. (Which can certainly be squandered by bad luck/bad play, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an advantage.)
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
@Sword of Spirit

It's a nice analysis, but 2 things

First, minor quibbles - I think it's not fair to include the subclass for one and not the other. I also note that the warlock only really catches up once they get 3 slots per short rest.

(I do like how you set aside 2 evocations. for the hexblade, this tends to be even higher. also good catch on arcane recovery)

Second, I completely agree with @TwoSix comment. Having all of it accessible at once is huge.
 

#1 I have rare played past level 10 and that is common based on statistics from wizards of the coast and D&D Beyond. That means no Mystic Arcanum and rarely more than 2 spell slots.

#2 It may be on the "full caster" list but it has about as much magic as a barbarian with the magic initiate feat on average (I am exaggerating but not by a lot). If your using a level 5 pact slot to cast hex is basically a level one spell even if your level 5 and its a level 3 spell slot.
In a standard adventuring day, a 5th level warlock will have 6 spell slots usable. This is the same number of spells as a Paladin or Artificer. However the half-caster classes only have two 2nd level spells, and the rest are 1st level. - All of the Warlock's spells are 3rd level, and 3rd level spells are considerably more powerful than 1st or 2nd spells.
I still think that the warlock does have the magic that a paladin does.

#3 Its also very common to have one encounter days or multiple encounter days in dungeon where short rests are not possible and this has been true for me under every GM I have ever played under (only about 6 GMs but still). These are not "running seriously messed-up adventuring days", is an in and out mission in enemy territory. You pass your stealth checks to avoid patrols hit your target and get out. Your attacking the enemy strong hold the alarm is sound and the guards are looking for you... it doesn't make since to stop some where for an hour to rest for the warlock when its putting the rest of the party in damager. The long rest "actual" full casters running spells with duration are pushing to move to the next room before their level 3 spell slot runs out such as spiritual guardians to conserve their resources before the be boss fight. These are common and all driven outside of the players control. It makes since that players would want to mitigate this. I have very rarely been able to use short rests to help the team unless the GM specifically wrote some in for me. 1/3rd casters like the Eldritch Knight and Arcane trickster have more spell slots at level 4 than warlocks do at level 10.
You can't rely on a standard adventuring day all of the time. Sometimes you get more or less than 7ish encounters a day, sometimes you get more or less than 2 short rests between long rests.
However the game is balanced around those numbers as an average. If you're getting much shorter adventuring days with harder encounters, or fewer short rests on a regular basis, that is going to throw the balance out of whack for more classes than the Warlock: It is a massive boost to long-rest-based classes like the other full casters, and is seriously limiting the short-rest-based classes.
At that point, it is probably better to just triple all short-rest-based resources for those classes and make them refresh on a long rest instead. Any issues your are encountering with class effectiveness is an artefact of your DM's and the party's playstyle, and not with the class itself as designed.

This does not have a strength requirement for plate armor. Hexblades don't have a strength or dex requirement for their weapons to include two handed pact weapons. So you might have an AC16-20 pact of the Blade swinging a great sword pact weapon only using one invocation, with only constitution and charisma requirements. This means they can play with a third stat and/or relax survivability spells/invocations for equivalent fun as most other "gish" options.
The Eldritch Armour invocation gives you proficiency, but it does not remove the Strength requirement for the armour.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
There is also the problem about this new invocation that it's yet another invocation that the hexblade more or less has to take, thus limiting their bag of utility magical tricks.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
This does not have a strength requirement for plate armor. Hexblades don't have a strength or dex requirement for their weapons to include two handed pact weapons.

You have it a bit wrong. Eldritch Armor, at least in the UA version, lets you ignore the armor proficiency requirement that imposes disadvantage if you lack it. It doesn't do anything to remove the Strength requirement on Heavy Armor, although that only imposes a speed penalty.

So as I see it there's two paths being deliberately offered. You can go Hexblade, gain Medium Armor Prof, and be able to make melee attacks with Cha while ignoring Str. Or you can roll a Blade Pact Warlock that's Str primary and Cha secondary, take Eldritch Armor to equip Plate, and make your melee attacks with Str while picking spells that don't lose as much from a lower casting stat. The big feature of the latter being, of course, that you're free to have a patron that's not Hexblade. Like, say, that nifty looking new Undead Patron that has some good Blade Pact synergy.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So I've been trying to think about how to express this disquiet I have towards the single-class hexblade - clearly I'm not getting my point accross to many. So let's compare it to the Eldritch Knight.

On a very surface scan, the EK is a better fighter and had less magic. The Hexblade has more magic and is less of a fighter. Balanced right? Yay!

The problem is that the hexblade's fighting is... quite limited, and has to be boosted by invocations and spell slots. If you don't well... you might as well be using Eldritch blast, and and that point, why play a hexblade at all?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
So I've been trying to think about how to express this disquiet I have towards the single-class hexblade - clearly I'm not getting my point accross to many. So let's compare it to the Eldritch Knight.

On a very surface scan, the EK is a better fighter and had less magic. The Hexblade has more magic and is less of a fighter. Balanced right? Yay!

The problem is that the hexblade's fighting is... quite limited, and has to be boosted by invocations and spell slots. If you don't well... you might as well be using Eldritch blast, and and that point, why play a hexblade at all?
Simplistic answer: Why am I playing an EK at all, when I could be playing a Battle Master with Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert?

Slightly more complex answer: I think everyone has a certain level of optimization, and certain types of optimization, that they're not comfortable letting go of. You can see in the "racial bonuses" discussions that not everyone is comfortable leaving stat bonuses on the table simply to play a different race. You can see that in some early 5e discussions around using a greatsword versus a greataxe, and the minor damage discrepancy between 2 otherwise identical weapons.

Your optimization hangup, here, seems to be that it bothers you to play a particular subclass in a non-optimal manner. I sympathize; but I think hexblade is hardly alone in that concern. Ranged attacks' overall superiority to melee has been a major optimization theme/pain point since 5e's release.

I also think you're still laboring under the idea that hexblade somehow has some sort of at-will damage lag compared to other melee classes, I simply think that isn't true. 2 invocations (thirsting blade and lifedrinker) keep hexblade on-par with all non-fighter melee well into Tier 3, and none of those classes can both boost their attacks AND their spell/save DCs with the same ASIs, so any minor divergence between hexblade and the other classes is more than justified.
 

I agree with you that quantitatively the warlock matches up with the general full caster progression in terms of spell levels they can leverage (assuming 2 SRs, of course). But, I would say that qualitatively the experience of playing a full caster who can leverage low level slots and has no problem using up 5-6 spells in a harder fight is a very different experience. Having access to the bulk of your resources right now, as opposed to having them parceled out during the adventuring day, is a major tactical advantage. (Which can certainly be squandered by bad luck/bad play, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an advantage.)

You’re right, it is (intentionally) a different play experience. While I think the warlock’s invocations allowing a variety of at-will utility spells make up for the wizard‘s other advantages in terms of overall ”spellcastingness”, I agree that the wizard does have the sort of overall play advantages you’re talking about. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be fair for warlocks to have their other little perks like bigger HD. My point is just that it isn’t really accurate to say they aren’t a valid full-caster.

@Sword of Spirit

It's a nice analysis, but 2 things

First, minor quibbles - I think it's not fair to include the subclass for one and not the other.

That definitely would be unfair, but if you look closer you’ll note that’s not actually what I did. I included their pact boon, of which no other class has an equivalent, so it must be considered part of the base class, but not their patron, which is their standard subclass. Warlock patrons are just as stromg as wizard arcane traditions, so I figured it was a fair omission.

I also note that the warlock only really catches up once they get 3 slots per short rest.

They both have levels where they are on top, but I’m not really seeing the discrepancy you‘re mentioning. However, if that were the case, I think it would be balanced by the access to at-will spells from invocations being more useful at lower levels due to the lower number of spell slots both classes can bring to bear.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
You have it a bit wrong. Eldritch Armor, at least in the UA version, lets you ignore the armor proficiency requirement that imposes disadvantage if you lack it. It doesn't do anything to remove the Strength requirement on Heavy Armor, although that only imposes a speed penalty.

So as I see it there's two paths being deliberately offered. You can go Hexblade, gain Medium Armor Prof, and be able to make melee attacks with Cha while ignoring Str. Or you can roll a Blade Pact Warlock that's Str primary and Cha secondary, take Eldritch Armor to equip Plate, and make your melee attacks with Str while picking spells that don't lose as much from a lower casting stat. The big feature of the latter being, of course, that you're free to have a patron that's not Hexblade. Like, say, that nifty looking new Undead Patron that has some good Blade Pact synergy.
I double checked and you are correct about the strength requirement for Heavy Armor, but Ring Mail does not have a strength requirement or the Mithral versions of heavy armor. That makes is so it is still possible for a hexblade to drop strength and dex using this invocation.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
You’re right, it is (intentionally) a different play experience. While I think the warlock’s invocations allowing a variety of at-will utility spells make up for the wizard‘s other advantages in terms of overall ”spellcastingness”, I agree that the wizard does have the sort of overall play advantages you’re talking about. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be fair for warlocks to have their other little perks like bigger HD. My point is just that it isn’t really accurate to say they aren’t a valid full-caster.
I agree with you that a warlock can fill the party role and fits the overall fantasy trope of a "caster". I would differ in that I think "full caster" is mechanical jargon used in 5e to indicate the pattern of spell slot and spell level progression, not an indication of the worth of the role. The warlock isn't a "full caster" in technical 5e parlance, but it also isn't a "partial caster"; it's very much its own thing, more of an "alternate caster".
 

Kurotowa

Legend
I double checked and you are correct about the strength requirement for Heavy Armor, but Ring Mail does not have a strength requirement or the Mithral versions of heavy armor. That makes is so it is still possible for a hexblade to drop strength and dex using this invocation.

Right, but at a certain point you have to stop and ask if it's worth it. If we're comparing Dex 14 and +1 Half Plate versus Eldritch Armor and Mithral Plate, they're the exact same AC. It's just a question of where you're having to invest your character creation resources. And honestly, for a generally SAD class like Hexblade I'd say it's cheaper to spare a 14 in Dex than it is to spend an invocation. But if you really want to do it for flavor sake, then go right ahread.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
In a standard adventuring day, a 5th level warlock will have 6 spell slots usable. This is the same number of spells as a Paladin or Artificer. However the half-caster classes only have two 2nd level spells, and the rest are 1st level. - All of the Warlock's spells are 3rd level, and 3rd level spells are considerably more powerful than 1st or 2nd spells.
I still think that the warlock does have the magic that a paladin does.

I have never played in seen or heard anyone say they played a campaign where every adventuring day was was standard. "The standard adventuring day" in practice is a good target that story GMs ignore pretty much ignore entirely and tactical/realism GMs only situationally allow when it makes since. It rarely does. Most enemy strong holds don't have safe rooms for attackers. Many missions only have a requirement of one goal which might force one fight. It is completely reasonable to the party to talk or sneak past as many other encounters as possible. On top of that if the Warlock is the only party who will benefit from a short rest because everyone else still has resources and only recovers on a long rest, it is very possible in dangerous and/or time sensitive situations the party over rules the warlocks request to take a short rest. Using "Standard adventuring days" as a premise for power equality it faulty logic when it is not even possible in most adventures made by wizards of the coast or by then issues I mentioned above. "The standard" is actually the oddity meaning that even you being right about warlocks being equivalent during those days your validating that they are not the rest of the time as such the mechanic puts them at a diadvantage.

You can't rely on a standard adventuring day all of the time. Sometimes you get more or less than 7ish encounters a day, sometimes you get more or less than 2 short rests between long rests.
However the game is balanced around those numbers as an average. If you're getting much shorter adventuring days with harder encounters, or fewer short rests on a regular basis, that is going to throw the balance out of whack for more classes than the Warlock: It is a massive boost to long-rest-based classes like the other full casters, and is seriously limiting the short-rest-based classes.

I completely agree and this is what happens the majority of the time. Less than 2 short rests are common, more than 2 short rests is so rare that its not a valid target. That established the "The standard adventuring day" for the need to base number on something and ignoring short rests entirely and warlock might have been broken the other way. However, defensively warlock were screwed by this, which is why every single warlock but the hexblade has a defensive ability at level 6. Wizards are aware of the problem this created. Hexblades were given better armor, shields, shield spell, blur, and blink but not the means to effectivity use them in large fights on single fight adventuring days.

At that point, it is probably better to just triple all short-rest-based resources for those classes and make them refresh on a long rest instead. Any issues your are encountering with class effectiveness is an artefact of your DM's and the party's playstyle, and not with the class itself as designed.

I don't disagree but there is a large bias about homebrewing and it creates conflict. Its also not important that warlock get greater nova potential only survivability and the flexibility people play warlocks for. The limited resources can make for interesting play which is why the variant rules for short rests and long rest are in the DMG. If we acknowledge the warlocks defense problem is inflated by removing the range advantage of spells, the pact of the blade needs a defensive boost to even hold up to other warlocks of the same subclass. I have said a number of times in this thread, Hexblades as eldritch blast pact of the tome or chain builds are not bad. The Eldrithc Armour invocation is really a step in the right direction because of Ring Mail which is easily obtainable at lower levels since it gold cost is not prohibitive and you could pull it off and enemy corpse. I would argue though that using invocations is as a fix then takes away from the warlock flexibility which is also worse on pact of the blade than any other pact. Instead, I wish that they would simply errata Pact of the blade to include heavy armor proficiency (for ring mail) and medium armor on eldritch blast hexblades would still be fine for pact of the chain and pact of the tome. I also think that the level 6 defensive abilities that use charges should all recover at least one charge on short rest to sync with pact slots like The Archfey's Misty escape does. They should have 2 charges up front as a minimum because warlock are generally weak on defense. Then lastly, that level 6 feature should scale roughly with pact slots because at lower levels warlock defense is bad but at higher levels the mystic Arcanum cant up cast or choose from a list. Add to that there are not many defensive spells available to warlock for arcanim and the pact slots stop scaling at level 5 limiting their defense options even more as the threat them increases.

The Eldritch Armour invocation gives you proficiency, but it does not remove the Strength requirement for the armour.
[/QUOTE]
Access to Ring Mail which is AC14 heavy armor with no strength requirement does. Also mithril armor variant of heavy armor have no strength requirement so the invocation still provides Warlocks the option to drop strength and dexterity and still have an AC16-AC20.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Right, but at a certain point you have to stop and ask if it's worth it. If we're comparing Dex 14 and +1 Half Plate versus Eldritch Armor and Mithral Plate, they're the exact same AC. It's just a question of where you're having to invest your character creation resources. And honestly, for a generally SAD class like Hexblade I'd say it's cheaper to spare a 14 in Dex than it is to spend an invocation. But if you really want to do it for flavor sake, then go right ahread.
Your already likely pushing for max constitution to maintain concentration on spells both due to your lack of spell slots and due simply to most of the good spells on the warlock list being concentration. Your also pushing Charisma to make your spell casting functional because a low DC means again your success rate when you cast versus enemies will be low and with only two spell slots most of your life you can't afford that. Dropping a dexterity requirement opens up strength, intelligence, or wisdom as possible choices you would not already have, or simply spreading the stats around a bit. If you wanted to push dexterity for stealth, athletics, or slight of hand... sure. .....But what if you don't? What if you want strength to carry more gear? wisdom to be more insightful in conversation or more perceptive as a scout with devil's sight? intelligence for investigation or down time research? maybe a bit of each to remove the -1 to those stats. In those cases, having the ability to drop dex to 8, get AC14 form armor +2 from shield for an AC16 and still be able to do that is significant and worth it to the character design.

We are not talking optimization here, we are talking minimum survivability with enough flexibility to build it your way and be distinct from other pact of the blade builds. The frustration of pact of the blade is that you have one of he most flexible classes in the game but it puts it in a box and takes a lot of your flexibility away. Eldritch Armor makes a huge step in giving you an option to return that flexibility if you need it. The only problem is its another pact of the blade tax on invocations.

... I really wish, hexblades got a defensive abitliy at level 6 instead of pet, something more like he Archfey's Misty escape that recharges on short rest but with 2 charges for single combat days, and some "at higher level" scaling around levels 11 and 17. So much so I made a homebrew that uses a "lesser blink" mechanic to try and get it and I really don't do homebrew much because it causes arguments and RAW short a RAI sage advice clarification prevents a lot of problems. My GM feels the same but actually encouraged this homebrew build because it should support any pact, but it should make a significantly more functional pact of the blade without adding anything to its damage.
 
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Personally I have seen multiple pact of the blade warlocks, both as hexblade and celestial patron (don't underestimate a "dex pally" warlock blade build as a celestial patron). I do agree that they are slightly less survivable but I would hardly claim they aren't at least decent. As said earlier, medium armor and shields in the case of hexblade is not that bad. And I'm sorry but even with so few spell slots do not underestimate their versatility compared to paladins or eldritch knights.

Auto leveling up spells to 5th level should not be underestimated in usefulness, nor should the out of combat utility a warlock provides with their spellcasting or invocations. In any sort of social/exploration focused session or any environment that isn't 100% dungeoncrawling it is trivially easy for a warlock to short rest between encounters, especially if said game isn't relying on the full adventuring day model for number of encounters. A warlock in such an environment can literally blow all their spell slots for fun while a sorcerer or wizard will REALLY feel it later in the day. That is a perk that we can't ignore that comes up in more games than not.

Not to mention, do not underestimate how much impact a delayed spell progression for paladin/ranger/artificer/eldritch knight is in play, not being able to cast fireball or other powerful spells like fly, haste, etc. until 9th level or higher REALLY sucks in a game that only lasts until 10th level or so, and I have seen no less than three different players try out artificer or eldritch knight thiking they would mix martial and magic only to annoyed that they cannot even do what the wizard/sorcerer could do 3 or 4 levels ago. I realize warlock doesn't have the greatest of spell lists but let's not kid ourselves on it's usefulness.

I do say this though, thirsting blade should probably be part of pact of the blade, my only real gripe with the pact is that it is in fact too starved for invocations. That is definitely a problem and rolling thirsting blade in would be a big step towards fixing it.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Simplistic answer: Why am I playing an EK at all, when I could be playing a Battle Master with Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert?

Slightly more complex answer: I think everyone has a certain level of optimization, and certain types of optimization, that they're not comfortable letting go of. You can see in the "racial bonuses" discussions that not everyone is comfortable leaving stat bonuses on the table simply to play a different race. You can see that in some early 5e discussions around using a greatsword versus a greataxe, and the minor damage discrepancy between 2 otherwise identical weapons.

Your optimization hangup, here, seems to be that it bothers you to play a particular subclass in a non-optimal manner. I sympathize; but I think hexblade is hardly alone in that concern. Ranged attacks' overall superiority to melee has been a major optimization theme/pain point since 5e's release.

I also think you're still laboring under the idea that hexblade somehow has some sort of at-will damage lag compared to other melee classes, I simply think that isn't true. 2 invocations (thirsting blade and lifedrinker) keep hexblade on-par with all non-fighter melee well into Tier 3, and none of those classes can both boost their attacks AND their spell/save DCs with the same ASIs, so any minor divergence between hexblade and the other classes is more than justified.
I think your right but your responding to the wrong issue. I think the complaint about Pact of the blade warlocks is actually largely about the comparison to other warlock pacts and why they choose warlock to begin with. The comparison of pact of the blades to other fighter builds is not about them falling short of other melee fighters so much as their agility to do that and maintain the reasons players chose warlock to begin with.

Warlock Pact vs Warlock Pact, Pact of the Blade is the only warlock pact that becomes the core of your build and requires your invocations to maintain it. This is dramatically less flexible than other pacts one because its font heavy with Thristy Blade, improved pact weapon, and likely eldritch armor when it comes out taking all of your invocations to level 6. Some might take Eldritch smite instead of Eldritch Armor... I wouldn't I consider Eldritch smite a resource trap twice over, but some might. Your likely taking Life drinker at level 12 if you make it that far. Most people are not likely to hit 12 or go much further so many people are investing 3/3, 3-4/5, or 4-5/6 invocations into pact pact of the blade. With the other pacts you might be using 1... ever. The invocations absolutely make Pact of the Blade capable enough in melee to work. If however, your used to have 5-6 toys by level 12 but now your there with 1 toy your likely not getting the warlock feel your used to. The only reason this is a Hexblade thread is that many people envision the hexblade fixing this by adding damage and defense.

Pact of the Blade Warlock vs Other melee. When you used pact of the blade and all its invocations which until Eldritch Armor is officially released are all damage scaling, you keep up with damage. That's not a problem. However unless your using the Armor of Shadows invocation or playing a hexblade warlock lock your AC defense is lower and your not getting shields, stealth or any of the defensive abilities that other fighters get. You can with a dex build and back ground use stealth, but you don't have rogues disengage or hide as a bonus action mechanic. You don't have the HP or half damage of other fighters. Being happy with even or lower damage is fine, but dying is not fun so a minimum survivability is expected. Using Armor of Shadows is another invocation fix and leaves you in the same spot as Eldritch Armor. Hexblade allows for a more functional dex build than Armor of Shadows because of a lesser investment in dex by using shields which is good because you want good constitution and charisma and don't have any ASI to spare. Hexblade also presents you some defensive spells so when you take the Hexblade Warlock with a name that has blade in it many immediately think Pact of the Blade but as stated lack the flexibility of warlock and tied to dexterity they are afraid of dying without it but as a warlock subclass expect magic to help that.

Warlock defense vs other caster class defense. So you invested all your invocations you normally play with, your invested into constitution because your afraid of losing one of your two spell slots, you invested into charisma because you don't want to waste one of your two spell slots on a failure if you can help it and your a warlock after all. You invested in the hexblade subclass and dex for better defense. Your holding your own in damage but your still fearing death, because while your AC is about the same your HP is bit lower and you don't have evasion or any other trick to save you. You gave that up when you took Hexblade. But your a spell casters and your spells are going to save you! ... your two spells... at level 6 when most warlocks have 2 spell slots paladins have 6 and Eldritch Knights have 3 plus one more feat than you, "other" full casters have 10. So its good that you have concentration spells so you can stretch out those spell slots... unless you hit because then you could lose it so its good its for defense and you have the second for a back up... but wait... your a warlock! A Full caster! surely you have some magical toys to play with thats why you took warlock! ... well no. You don't. Your one spell is keeping you alive your second is backing that up incase it fails because being with out that defense would be bad. Your ASI are spent on Charisma because your using that to attack and cast spell... so what do you get as a full caster warlock going pact of the blade? Likely 1 invocation. Maybe two. Choose wisely, because chances are every other pact of the blade warlock looks just like you! That's not going to keep everyone from saying your fine with toys and defense because your a full caster! when the reality is your likely casting one spell most fights recasting it if it fails instead of the 1-10 every other full caster uses.

The truth is most pact of the blades warlocks will end up dropping dumping Charisma because they never cast spell one enemies but on themselves for survival. They will push dex and constitution for AC and HP. Then they will cast the same defensive spell once or twice every battle. This is not the gish they expected to play. They expected more magic form a full caster. They expected more toys from a warlock. They expected more ways to play and not fear death than one. ... Pact of the Blade... was a trap. Hexblades allow charisma for several features including the use of the weapon for attack, which reduces the need for high dex but does not remove the need for dex or constitution actually making the build harder on resources forcing a M.A.D. (multiple attribute depend, being more than 2, Con, Dex, & Cha) build with its feature. ...This often means Hexblade Pact of the Blade is more of a trap than other pact of the blades. This is not true for everyone. I know. It depends on your table. A care bear table never has to worry about dying. A story board table may have a full party of charismatic and insightful characters that never seem to fight because they talk their way out of everything. ... but for a lot of tables this is true. The Eldritch Armor invocation can lossen the load on Hexblade Pact of the blades by allowing ring mail or heavy mithril armor variant that allow focus on the two stats of Charisma and Constitution. If they had something to reduce the fear of insufficient defense caused by the loss of the range and the lack of supplemented defense that all other medium armor melee fighters get in the form of greater spell flexiblity or features like the rogues cunning action and evasion Hex blades Pact of the blades would feel more free to cast spells on enemies since they have higher charisma and would feel save enough to do it. A better level 6 defense ability would go along way to that. Additionally if there invocations were not so heavily realized on to bring pact of the blade to where it does poeple would feel more like they were playing a warlock.

Three things that would dramatically change how players feel when they play a Hexblade pact of the blade:
1. Remove the Thirsty Blade invocation tax by taking Booming blade and green flame-blade and use them every time to free up and invocation and feel a bit more like a warlock since you get the cantrips and they are using your whole action making them incompatible with Thirsty Blade.

2. Ignore the Eldritch smite invocation and get a +1 magic weapon instead of improved pact weapon.

That gets two maybe 3 invocations back.

3. Consider the idea of using heavy armor to play with low dex focusing on Constriction and Charisma, then use ring mail and mithril armor to reduce the M.A.D. requirement while Eldritch Armor would be on way to this and Heavily Armored feat another, I would suggest asking your GM to let you use Training Down Time in Xanthar's Guide Everything to Learn Proficiency in heavy armor. It normally only does tools and Languages but it would be reasonable to use it to pick up a weapon or then next level of armor prophecy with a character's access to a teacher, time, and gold. I would personally just give them the heavily armored feat on completion of the training. This might make things hard for the first few levels until you get it or you might convince a GM to take let you take a commutative and permanent -2 from from your stats at level one to start with the feat, or perhaps more simply take human variant to pick it up from the start.
 

I have never played in seen or heard anyone say they played a campaign where every adventuring day was was standard. "The standard adventuring day" in practice is a good target that story GMs ignore pretty much ignore entirely and tactical/realism GMs only situationally allow when it makes since. It rarely does. Most enemy strong holds don't have safe rooms for attackers. Many missions only have a requirement of one goal which might force one fight. It is completely reasonable to the party to talk or sneak past as many other encounters as possible.
It is meant to be an average, not a set structure. For every 24 hour day where there are no short rests, there should be days where you might have 12+ encounters and lots of short rests, likely more open-world, or where the party isn't in a patrolled area.

On top of that if the Warlock is the only party who will benefit from a short rest because everyone else still has resources and only recovers on a long rest, it is very possible in dangerous and/or time sensitive situations the party over rules the warlocks request to take a short rest.
That is an issue with your DM and other players. If there was a Fighter, or Monk, or other short-rest-based class in the group, they would also be discriminated against.

Using "Standard adventuring days" as a premise for power equality it faulty logic when it is not even possible in most adventures made by wizards of the coast or by then issues I mentioned above. "The standard" is actually the oddity meaning that even you being right about warlocks being equivalent during those days your validating that they are not the rest of the time as such the mechanic puts them at a diadvantage.
It is what the classes appear to be balanced around, for better or worse. Not just the Warlock: Fighters and Monks are balanced against Paladins on that same basis for example. Reducing short rests boosts the Paladins and undermines the Fighter and Monk's capabilities in the same way.
As a good rule of thumb, even the full casters should be reduced to their at-will attacks maybe a third of the time. Here is also where the Warlock can catch up: their at-wills are better than the cantrips or melee of the other full casters.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
It is meant to be an average, not a set structure. For every 24 hour day where there are no short rests, there should be days where you might have 12+ encounters and lots of short rests, likely more open-world, or where the party isn't in a patrolled area.

So when it doesn't matter and you can sneak around it or talk your way out of it... as I said.

That is an issue with your DM and other players. If there was a Fighter, or Monk, or other short-rest-based class in the group, they would also be discriminated against.

Or it could be the party doesn't feel like stopping in danger zones and risking their characters so that the one Player playing a battle master, monk, or warlock, having nothing to do with the GM and really also not making since. If your in danger its not a good time to rest. If your not endanger you have no indication your going to need the spell slots but thats where warlocks shine with utility spells that are mostly left off their list.

It is what the classes appear to be balanced around, for better or worse. Not just the Warlock: Fighters and Monks are balanced against Paladins on that same basis for example. Reducing short rests boosts the Paladins and undermines the Fighter and Monk's capabilities in the same way.
As a good rule of thumb, even the full casters should be reduced to their at-will attacks maybe a third of the time. Here is also where the Warlock can catch up: their at-wills are better than the cantrips or melee of the other full casters.

Your arguing for what here? I have no complaint about the warlocks not having the same spell power as standard full casters (they don't but that's fine), I also never said warlocks should do more damage. I also never said to give warlocks more spell slots ( can see the argument for 6 up front and recharge on long rest, but I don't think its necessary)

Pact of the blade is invocation heavy compared to other pact. Thristy Blade should be part of the pact.

Warlocks have less defense than other class in general which is why all but the hexblade get defensive bump at level 6. This was a mistake because hexblades appear to rely on forcing dex while saying "sure use charisma for your weapon" and spells like shield for defense when you only have two spell slots at least half the time by your argument of it being an average. The average is meaningless when every game day without rests is potentially lethal because your subclass was built to rely on your lowest resource. Hexblades should have had a defensive class feature at level 6 instead of dog, in fact I would say this discussion wouldn't have come up if the level 6 defense all warlocks get was a class feature instead of a subclass feature based on Archery's misty escape but twice up front to be stronger in combat days but regain one charge per short rest to remain functional with pact slots.

You can gain heavy armor proficiency and use ring mail or heavy armor made from mithril to removed the forced dex for hexblades, use green flame blade and booming blade to free one invocations, ignore eldritch smite because its like shield spell sucking up your flexibly and options, and get a magic weapon for your pact/imbued hexblade weapon instead of the improved pact weapon invocation. These will help to avoid a lot of the problems, but you have to know to do this. Anyone grabbing hexblade to be a warlock, thinking hexblade should take the pact of the blade because blade is right there in the name, then taking all the invocations for hexblade because they look good up front, could very well be walking into a trap if they have ever played a none pact of the blade warlock and/or a different melee fighter. It has a very natural misdirection here. Its like I said in my first post on this thread, the best hexblades are pact of the tome and pact of the chain because they don't have that issue but you don't read hexblade and think hmm I should carry a book without really understanding it.
 
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