D&D 5E Starting to Hate Hexblades

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I guess this is why the half-casters in the various editions always seem to be clerical or druidical? Fighter/magic-user is just too powerful a build, from the BECMI D&D elf to the modern hexblade problems you mention.

One of the things that always got me about powergaming, though...if half of these things were real, people really would be exploiting the wazoo out of them. Wizards would haste armies, flaming spheres would be cast into the enemy's granary, lords would send clerics to cast contagion on the enemy's troops...

Don't hate the player, hate the game. ;)

That's why as a DM I really only ban classes and multiclasses that don'tmatch the setting, over or under power the base assumption of the game by a lot, or obviousl take up too much spotlight.

Because if D&D were real, 40-60% of adventurers would be powergamed and munckined to hell.
80% of the humans.
And I'm lowballing.
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
And never even seen one in action.
85565554.jpg
 

If I don't want something in my game, I say, "No [whatever] in my game."

It's the simplest and most reliable way of accomplishing the goal. Never understood the need to complicate it.

The point of complicating it is so that you have a rich gameworld of free choice with consequences rather than a constrained gameworld of "DM may I".

But yes, if the thing will really ruin the game for you, you should just say you're not okay with it (whatever your role at the table).
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I don't let people dip.

If you're gonna multiclass in one of my games, which I generally try to avoid, it's going to be a commitment on your part, not a 1 and done "Oh, I just wanted these benefits".

Talk to me about what you wanna have from your class and we'll work something out that doesn't involve a dip. If that means designing or re-building a subclass or entire class to cover what you're hoping to do, so be it.
Multiclassing seemed to be a big thing in 3.5/PF (in spite of all of the classes in PF). How important is it in 5e? How important is it that 6e (or an alternative to 5e) support it now.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
That's why as a DM I really only ban classes and multiclasses that don'tmatch the setting, over or under power the base assumption of the game by a lot, or obviousl take up too much spotlight.

Because if D&D were real, 40-60% of adventurers would be powergamed and munckined to hell.
80% of the humans.
And I'm lowballing.
If D&D were real no one would be powergamed or munchkinned out.

Because if D&D were real, none of us would know the rules of the game.
 

I guess this is why the half-casters in the various editions always seem to be clerical or druidical? Fighter/magic-user is just too powerful a build, from the BECMI D&D elf to the modern hexblade problems you mention.

One of the things that always got me about powergaming, though...if half of these things were real, people really would be exploiting the wazoo out of them. Wizards would haste armies, flaming spheres would be cast into the enemy's granary, lords would send clerics to cast contagion on the enemy's troops...

Don't hate the player, hate the game. ;)
it is not too powerful it is a problem of spells on offer properly curated list solves that, it worked for the paladin.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
The point of complicating it is so that you have a rich gameworld of free choice with consequences rather than a constrained gameworld of "DM may I".
Passive aggressive punishment for making choices you don't approve of isn't a more healthy play dynamic. If you want to ban powergaming, then just ban powergaming. Deliberately giving your players a miserable time for picking what they believe if a perfectly acceptable character choice is just ruining everyone's fun.

For my part, having played a straight Hexblade PC in a couple year campaign, the subclass is nothing special. What's driving the crazy munchkin builds is multiclassing, and even then like the Zardnaar reported a lot of the builds don't come together until very high level. Even 99% of feats aren't any sort of problem. The real issues are GWF and Sharpshooter, which are well outside the usual power range for feats. Outside of those they're nothing special.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Hexblade is potentially overpowered as a class dip. The solution is to just emphasize, repeatedly in all situations, what a loser the Hexblade is. I mean selling your soul for power is one thing, but selling your soul to be the minion of an uppity, inanimate weapon is quite another. If you don't want Hexblades in your game, make the Hexblade patron obnoxious.
Yeah, harassing the player for their class choices certainly sounds like a fun idea that won't make the player hate you personally for being a jerk to them.
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
Honestly single class hexblade is fine. I'm playing a reskinned one right now. DM has let me permanently switch eldritch blast from force to cold as well, in order to suit the ice theme I'm going for.

Due to the multiclassing rules, they're pretty badly designed though. Too front loaded which means people just want to take all the benefits of the class as a tiny dip and leave it as that. The attack on charisma should be moved to pact of the blade imo, which would push it back to lvl 3.

The multiclass system this edition is... just awful. It's stupidly unbalanced, doesn't respect tiers of play, and generally feels like the entire thing was wrote on a friday afternoon right as an afterthought right before publishing.
 




Kurotowa

Legend
I think this will be a controversial take especially with us old fogies about in the threads but traditionalism is something that has done more harm than good in D&D, especially 5e.
Yeah, but if you look at the context you can see why it happened the way it did. They did the "break from tradition" thing with 4e and that went wrong. More because they wildly misread what new direction most of the players wanted things to go in, rather than the break itself being a bad idea. But the 4e situation left them wanting to dive deep into traditionalism when designing 5e, in an attempt to reassure and lure back the lost players.

Of course, then 5e turned out to be just enough of the right thing, arriving at the right place and time, to be the most successful edition of D&D ever published. So now the game devs are trying to walk a fine line between sanding off the warts from overindulging in traditionalism and not forking the game by having a redo of the 3.5e mess. As we've discussed in some length in the "Are we getting something that might generously be called a 5.5e?" type threads.

But that's evolution from you. You're never designing from a clean slate, you're iterating from the previous version and limited in how wildly you can revise things.
 

Passive aggressive punishment for making choices you don't approve of isn't a more healthy play dynamic. If you want to ban powergaming, then just ban powergaming.

Would that powergaming were a clearly delineated thing that could be "just banned". Instead attempts to "just ban" it usually end up cutting off all sorts of completely unproblematic character building options (like say, all feats or all multiclassing) because they could potentially be used by someone for powergaming.

Yeah, harassing the player for their class choices certainly sounds like a fun idea that won't make the player hate you personally for being a jerk to them.

Okay, perhaps I need to clarify that "this class choice may have consequences" is something that should be expressed in clear, frank metagame discussion with a player when they mention that maybe they are thinking about playing a Hexblade, not sprung on them as a "ha ha I screwed you" surprise.

And I guess I'll add "CAUTION: Do not attempt if you lack the most basic social skills." I was throwing out a suggestion on the presumption that people reading it knew how to communicate with players in a non-jerklike fashion. There is literally no DM suggestion that the wrong DM couldn't find a way to turn into a horror story if they have the right ineptitude.

I will certainly concede that in the wrong hands, or just having the wrong relationship with the wrong player, making a Warlock patron of any kind obnoxious is prime fuel for being a jerk DM. My suggestion was really more about having a bit of fun giving the player character and lore reasons to have second thoughts about their munchkining character building decision when they are on the cusp of making it, not to keep harping on it to punish them for their decision after they have committed to it. So yeah, an obnoxious patron's relationship with a PC should improve (or at least become less obtrusive) once they have settled into actually being a Warlock.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Okay, perhaps I need to clarify that "this class choice may have consequences" is something that should be expressed in clear, frank metagame discussion with a player when they mention that maybe they are thinking about playing a Hexblade, not sprung on them as a "ha ha I screwed you" surprise.

And I guess I'll add "CAUTION: Do not attempt if you lack the most basic social skills." I was throwing out a suggestion on the presumption that people reading it knew how to communicate with players in a non-jerklike fashion. There is literally no DM suggestion that the wrong DM couldn't find a way to turn into a horror story if they have the right ineptitude.

I will certainly concede that in the wrong hands, or just having the wrong relationship with the wrong player, making a Warlock patron of any kind obnoxious is prime fuel for being a jerk DM. My suggestion was really more about having a bit of fun giving the player character and lore reasons to have second thoughts about their munchkining character building decision when they are on the cusp of making it, not to keep harping on it to punish them for their decision after they have committed to it. So yeah, an obnoxious patron's relationship with a PC should improve (or at least become less obtrusive) once they have settled into actually being a Warlock.
There's really no social skill that can fix the suggestion of 'make sure the world thinks the character is a loser' and 'make sure the character-attached NPC is obnoxious' besides the one that stops you from doing it.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
I played a Hexblade for a couple of years, and made it all the way to level 15 in the Storm King's Thunder adventure path. It was one of the most fun classes I ever played...but my DM had to take a hands-on approach to keep things balanced. Some of the changes he made:
  • The Grasp of Hadar and Repelling Blast invocations were removed from the game. I'm not sure why, but that's what the DM wanted. I thought that there were far worse offenders on that list than these two.
  • Spellcasters couldn't multiclass with other spellcasters. So no Sorlocks or Bardlocks or other broken combos. (This was true for all characters in the campaign, not just my Hexblade.)
  • Non-PHB feats weren't allowed. This was also true for all characters in the campaign.
There were others, but these were the only ones I really noticed.

EDIT: Writing that list made me realize that all of the "broken character combos" and "bad character design" that I've experienced in actual play (as opposed to theorycraft, or stuff I've only read about online), can be traced back to two things: FEATS and MULTICLASSING. I'm starting to think I might disallow both in my upcoming campaign.
I’ve found that the real recipe for a mess is feats plus multi-classing plus not using standard array or point buy.

I have had several conversations with DMs complaining that a character in their game is broken. Upon investigation it almost invariably turns out that the campaign used some form of rolling ability scores that allowed characters to start with inflated stats and thereby bypass the balancing ASI/Feat choices, and/or the complaining DM allowed everyone to begin at level one with a “starter feat” to “differentiate” the characters (from whom?).
 

Multiclassing usually ends up less powerful than just sticking with a single class. There are certainly some exceptions, like dipping a martial for Heavy Armor or Unarmored Defense, or dipping Hexblade for that sweet SAD. But even with those dips, I still watch those players struggle until about 6-7th level (where they finally get most goodies from their primary class).
 

Kurotowa

Legend
Would that powergaming were a clearly delineated thing that could be "just banned". Instead attempts to "just ban" it usually end up cutting off all sorts of completely unproblematic character building options (like say, all feats or all multiclassing) because they could potentially be used by someone for powergaming.
That's not really a problem with banning powergaming. That's a problem with trying to define powergaming in a way you can write into the bylaws. If you write the definition too broad, it cuts off legitimate play. If you write it too narrow, players have loopholes to exploit for getting around it.

This is not a new problem. There's a reason that many real world laws and regulations are a few short pages on what's required and incredibly lengthy sections trying to pin down exactly what every term means. But that's only a downside when you have to hard code your laws, and a DM doesn't have to do that. They can just say, "No crazy powergaming multiclass builds, I'll know it when I see it, please be good players." and handle problems as they crop up on a case by case basis.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I’ve found that the real recipe for a mess is feats plus multi-classing plus not using standard array or point buy.

I have had several conversations with DMs complaining that a character in their game is broken. Upon investigation it almost invariably turns out that the campaign used some form of rolling ability scores that allowed characters to start with inflated stats and thereby bypass the balancing ASI/Feat choices, and/or the complaining DM allowed everyone to begin at level one with a “starter feat” to “differentiate” the characters (from whom?).
I've spent a bit of the afternoon looking at different house rules for feats (in the context of how to allow them but prevent their abuse). I found some pretty interesting ones:
  • The DM institutes some kind of banned list or approval process
  • No feats are allowed until after 5th level
  • If you use Feats, you cannot Multiclass.
  • If you Multiclass, you cannot use Feats.
But honestly, it all just feels like more trouble than it's worth. If you have to police something this hard to prevent your players from abusing them, you should consider just not allowing them in the first place. And maybe have a chat with your players about what kind of game you (and they) expect to be playing.

That's not really a problem with banning powergaming. That's a problem with trying to define powergaming in a way you can write into the bylaws. If you write the definition too broad, it cuts off legitimate play. If you write it too narrow, players have loopholes to exploit for getting around it.

This is not a new problem. There's a reason that many real world laws and regulations are a few short pages on what's required and incredibly lengthy sections trying to pin down exactly what every term means. But that's only a downside when you have to hard code you laws, and a DM doesn't have to do that. They can just say, "No crazy powergaming multiclass builds, I'll know it when I see it, please be good players." and handle problems as they crop up on a case by case basis.
EDIT: And then there's this elegant solution right here. Scratch what I wrote above, this is the way to handle it.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
A hexblade with a fighter dip works really well without being crazy OP, IMO, but it definitely takes some time to come online.

I just don't like cheese builds in general, and caster/caster multiclass rub me the wrong way as a GM.
 

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