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D&D 5E Starting to Hate Hexblades

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
3rd? This seems like a really convoluted method to express this concept. But if that is the route you deem best represents the character you're imagining? Go for it.

I mean the route I'd pick to express the concept would just be multiclassing sorcerer and fighter. But people here are acting like multiclassing is bad and feats can replace it easily.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
But people here are acting like multiclassing is bad and feats can replace it easily.
In my experience, feats have created more complications than solutions. But hey, some folks like a more complicated game and that's fine.

Multiclassing isn't a bad rule, it's an optional one. Not everyone is going to have problems with it, but if you do the easiest fix is to not use it. But if you prefer a more complicated solution, Feats can help fill some of the gaps. You've got other options, though...like working with your DM to develop a custom core class/subclass.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

My "problem" with how 3.x+ had handled Multiclassing is that you are never actually any of the classes you don't level in when you gain a level...in a manner of speaking, "experience-wise". Let me 'splain...

In 1e/HM, you were a "Fighter/Magic-User". As a F/MU, you gained experience; typically whatever you got it was divided in half. This wasn't always the case as most DM's I knew (and me) would give 'more' of the XP Percentage Pie to one class that seemed to be the one the PC was 'favouring' that adventure. For example, the F/MU who cast Detect Magic and one Sleep spell, but otherwise just got into combat for the whole adventure I'd be inclined to give upwards of 75% to F, and the remaining 25% to the MU side. Eventually, one of those classes would crest into the next level. The "feeling" for the group and the Player in particular, is that the character was learning Fighting and Magic-User stuff 'at the same time'...because he may have gotten 1,000xp for Fighter, but he also got 250xp for MU. It could go the complete opposite way, or, often enough, 500xp/500xp (as our example).

Bottom line...the Character was actually learning Fighting AND Magic-Using.

Contrast that to 3.x+...you get your xp as a F/W...and it's a lump sum for the PC's "Total Level". He gets enough XP to crest to the next level...but...what Class? Does the Player choose Fighter, or does he choose Wizard? Or does he just up and choose Ranger because...you know...'reasons'? Lets say the Player does indeed choose Fighter. Ok, so now he's a Fighter 2/Wizard 3. He's a "5th level PC". Even though he has been fighting mostly, and casting a few spells here and there, he, effectively, learned NOTHING of the Fighter class.

For me and my group...this is a 100% instant Wet-Fish-Of-Reality™ slap across the face. It completely sucks out out of any form of suspension of disbelief. It makes zero sense from a narrative point of view as well. Ergo, why we don't use MC'ing...and nobody has done it in 5e...ever...since it came out, what 6 years ago? "Technically" I guess we kinda sorta 'allow' it...but that's like saying we 'allow' poison as well; we do...but nobody ever uses it because...well...'consequences'. If someone ever DID want to MC, I don't think I'd give a Hard No...just a "No...unless you REALLY want to and have a good, in-game, campaign specific, roleplaying REASON for it".

As always... ymmv. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Hiya!

My "problem" with how 3.x+ had handled Multiclassing is that you are never actually any of the classes you don't level in when you gain a level...in a manner of speaking, "experience-wise". Let me 'splain...

In 1e/HM, you were a "Fighter/Magic-User". As a F/MU, you gained experience; typically whatever you got it was divided in half. This wasn't always the case as most DM's I knew (and me) would give 'more' of the XP Percentage Pie to one class that seemed to be the one the PC was 'favouring' that adventure. For example, the F/MU who cast Detect Magic and one Sleep spell, but otherwise just got into combat for the whole adventure I'd be inclined to give upwards of 75% to F, and the remaining 25% to the MU side. Eventually, one of those classes would crest into the next level. The "feeling" for the group and the Player in particular, is that the character was learning Fighting and Magic-User stuff 'at the same time'...because he may have gotten 1,000xp for Fighter, but he also got 250xp for MU. It could go the complete opposite way, or, often enough, 500xp/500xp (as our example).

Bottom line...the Character was actually learning Fighting AND Magic-Using.

Contrast that to 3.x+...you get your xp as a F/W...and it's a lump sum for the PC's "Total Level". He gets enough XP to crest to the next level...but...what Class? Does the Player choose Fighter, or does he choose Wizard? Or does he just up and choose Ranger because...you know...'reasons'? Lets say the Player does indeed choose Fighter. Ok, so now he's a Fighter 2/Wizard 3. He's a "5th level PC". Even though he has been fighting mostly, and casting a few spells here and there, he, effectively, learned NOTHING of the Fighter class.

For me and my group...this is a 100% instant Wet-Fish-Of-Reality™ slap across the face. It completely sucks out out of any form of suspension of disbelief. It makes zero sense from a narrative point of view as well. Ergo, why we don't use MC'ing...and nobody has done it in 5e...ever...since it came out, what 6 years ago? "Technically" I guess we kinda sorta 'allow' it...but that's like saying we 'allow' poison as well; we do...but nobody ever uses it because...well...'consequences'. If someone ever DID want to MC, I don't think I'd give a Hard No...just a "No...unless you REALLY want to and have a good, in-game, campaign specific, roleplaying REASON for it".

As always... ymmv. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
I think that is partly why they made hybrid classes like paladin, but we have never had a properly successful arcane gish.
 

One other point: I'm betting that for at least one of them, they've played MMOs but not ttrpgs before. A lot fo what they're expecting is totally reasonable for MMOs:
<snip>
Just a guess, but they have the symptoms.
I suppose that's a fair assessment, but if I'm being honest, D&D--even 5e--hasn't been much different on this front in a long time. The "brooding loner with no social skills who just kills things" is an often-discussed Problem Player archetype, and it predates the ubiquity of MMOs.

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.
Much of 5e was written on crunch time. Keep in mind that, while the Next playtest ran for multiple years, it was only in the last 3-ish months of public playtesting that several classes took anything like their final shape. Despite coming out pretty early, the playtest Warlock and Sorcerer were pulled so fast nobody really got the chance to iterate on them, and we got some pretty bland, flavorless product out at the end because they never showed us another version. Or how "Specialties" were a key feature right up until the last...six or eight months of public playtesting, something like that, at which point they were dropped like hot potatoes and nothing replaced them.

Most of 5e (I'd peg it at 60%ish) is back-of-the-envelope calculations, copying something 3e or 4e did, or ad-hoc fixes behind the scenes (e.g., some of the guest designers have claimed that the reason CRs in the MM differ from calculated values is that WotC often adjusted them, ad-hoc, if the actual monster didn't match its expected performance.) It really shouldn't be surprising that a complex and difficult-to-balance subsystem let a lot of bad edge cases through. I mean, for goodness' sake, one guy being on jury duty delayed the edition conversion document for something like a whole year....and when it did come out it was something any one of us could have written in an hour.

So just honoring the proud tradition of every edition that included multiclassing.
Except 4e! Where multiclassing was actually quite balanced in most cases. There were a couple edge cases (ironically, the hybrid Paladin|Warlock, though for very different reasons), but the balance overall was quite good. MC feats were probably a little too strong as standalone feats, but not to the point of being unbalanced.

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.
Yeah, that's rather important. The gap between "justified comeuppance" and "BS gotcha" is often crossed based on whether the consequences were clearly stated well ahead of their arrival.

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.
While that last sentence is true, "be obnoxious" is in general exactly the opposite of expressing that you have basic social skills. So...yeah, I'd argue that disclaimer is pretty important in this case, since the very thing you were advocating is, in general, a direct contradiction of the rules of social etiquette.

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.
This is much fairer, and more interesting to boot. In general, I find the best way to work with players is to be supportive and provide alternatives that match your expectations, rather than trying to "show" the player that their choice or preference is a bad one. For example, a player says they want to be a Paladin/Hexblade, and after some (friendly) conversation, you find out it's because they want to be able to use Charisma with a greatsword, due to loving the image of a scrawny young person who is chronically underestimated because nobody thinks they have what it takes to fight with such a big weapon.

If that's their main focus, I would probably tell them, "Stick with Paladin. We'll work something out." And then that opens up a whole plotline for me, where the character finds and bonds with a magic weapon (possibly intelligent!) that is all about flashy, twirling, fancy-looking swordplay that is mostly for show...until it isn't. Where would such a blade come from? Why would it bond with a Paladin? Will there be some sinister (or sacred) cost to such a thing? Who else might want this weapon--and be angry that it chose someone else? Etc. Suddenly, instead of a boring no-consequences multiclass build, you have an exciting new story that achieves what the player wanted, while having the potential to enrich everyone's experience, not just theirs.

Or perhaps it's a "Coffeelock" Sorcerer, someone who exploits the interaction of Warlock spell slots and Sorcerer spell-burning to rack up a bunch of sorcery points. Again, I'd tell them, "Stick with Sorcerer. I'll give you something better." Then I have the whole campaign to explain why THIS Sorcerer can pull spell points from the aether. Do they have a special item that can condense raw mana into usable form? Perhaps they have tattoos that can be tapped for spell energy, but at a cost to themselves (maybe a hit point per spell point, or rolling Hit Dice and getting SP instead of HP once per day). Such a secret would be very valuable....especially if someone can find out how to copy it. Now you have implied third parties, the danger of being hunted, questions about the origin or purpose of these abilities, etc.

IOW, if you're going to invent new things (narrative or mechanical) to make it suck to do something you don't like...why not instead find a way to embrace what the player does like, without doing the thing you dislike? Then both of you can have what you want. Obviously, this can't work every time. Sometimes, the player's desire is disruptive in some way (whether it be a bad thematic fit, or an actually abusive intent). But I find it is workable most of the time, and that this produces better gaming for everyone.

I need to write up a basic prospective/rules to hand out first.

The rolled stats+feats+multiclassing is the broken part of the game. Only doing that again with smaller parties.

Kind of a fan of pick one. You can roll for stats, multiclass or take feats pick one option only.
Feats really aren't that bad. The vast, vast majority of them are not as good as getting +2 to your most important stat--and the few that are that good are (in)famous enough that you can literally just look up a couple guides and ban them (SS, PAM, etc.) Feats, in general, are fine. So, unless you're especially worried about player exploitation/abuses, you could probably let people pick two and still not have broken characters.

Honestly, I'm not fond of multi-classing in 5E. The Multi-Class feats that WoTC have come up with so far, and ENWORLD's Multi-Class feats, are probably the best way of 5E to do any kind of "Multiclassing" since there is a bigger focus on Single Class and Capstones. (regardless of how crappy some of said Capstones can be.) I do hope we get more (and more) multiclass feats from WoTC or wherever.

But, the buff to CHA casters that happened this edition aside, I think the Hexblade is a nice choice for em due to the dip. MAD sucks, even if its supposed to be a kind of "balance" that is intended. And even if I wanted to play as a Paladin, that SAD is incredibly tempting.

Course, I blame that more on the fact that a Paladin/Warlock or Paladin/Sorc combo strangely seems to make a better Paladin than................the actual Paladin itself.
Sigh. The irony of yet another 4e method of doing things being crapped on for being terrible....and then getting copied by 5e and being called great.
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
I think that is partly why they made hybrid classes like paladin, but we have never had a properly successful arcane gish.
Something I'm still salty about...

I wouldn't be needing to multiclass stupidly obscure things if 5e actually included a spellstriking arcane gish. But instead they removed any spellstrike type spells from the arcane gish's, and gave them to paladin and ranger instead (apart from two cantrips). So If I want to play a character with those mechanics, I have to battle the class inbuilt flavour every step of the way.

Eldritch knight better off just ignoring its magic and just hitting with all its attacks, while occasionally spamming shield.
 

I think that is partly why they made hybrid classes like paladin, but we have never had a properly successful arcane gish.
Much as with some other class concepts, 5e decided that wasn't important enough to merit its own class, so they split it up between several subclasses. (EK, Valor/Swords, Hexblade, War/Bladesinger, etc.) But since it's something plenty of people want, it's often gonna get people who try to make it happen.

Something I'm still salty about...

I wouldn't be needing to multiclass stupidly obscure things if 5e actually included a spellstriking arcane gish. But instead they removed any spellstrike type spells from the arcane gish's, and gave them to paladin and ranger instead (apart from two cantrips). So If I want to play a character with those mechanics, I have to battle the class inbuilt flavour every step of the way.

Eldritch knight better off just ignoring its magic and just hitting with all its attacks, while occasionally spamming shield.
Like this!

This is exactly the problem I have when people tell me that the class list is "bloated" as it is, that we need fewer classes. There are already existing concepts that, while theoretically doable, are rather unsatisfying unless you pull some Shenanigans to make it happen. And then the very same DMs that want class reductionism will be right there, saying how dumb it is that people do weird MC combos or layering feats or whatever.

It's a rather deeply frustrating Catch-22. You aren't allowed to have a thing that directly gives you the fun you're looking for because that would be wasteful or bloated, and you aren't allowed to piecemeal together the thing you want because that would be munchkining or nonsensical.

And people wonder why I feel like these arguments are so hostile to the people who just want their cool thing!
 

And too often their cool thing is so over power that is exactly the reason why their cool thing isn't allowed in the first place. 5ed is one of the best balanced edition so far. It might not be perfect but at least their take is better than previous editions (I strongly remember the CODZILLA!!!!).

The weird MC can easily be stopped with a few homebrew. Some classes should have had exclusive spells or have spells that work in a unique way for them. For example, hunter's mark, in my games requires no concentration IF you are single class ranger. A MC ranger loses that benefit and having access to the spell through a subclass such as Avanger paladin does not give you this benefit. We did the same with Hex and the we see a lot less cheesy MC builds. We gave EK unique spells such as Spell Blade where an EK cast it to get an extra 1d4 arcane damage on all his attacks with his linked weapon (1st level spell, 1 minute duration, no concentration) up casting the spell only upped the duration to 10 min 2nd, 1 hour 3rd, 8 hour 3rd and 24h 5th. And all EK are now staying single classed. As the spell can only be upped by single classed EK. This means that an enlarged EK can add 2d4 to all his attacks.

The game does not need more subclasses. It needs more tools for single class subclasses.
 
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Much as with some other class concepts, 5e decided that wasn't important enough to merit its own class, so they split it up between several subclasses. (EK, Valor/Swords, Hexblade, War/Bladesinger, etc.) But since it's something plenty of people want, it's often gonna get people who try to make it happen.


Like this!

This is exactly the problem I have when people tell me that the class list is "bloated" as it is, that we need fewer classes. There are already existing concepts that, while theoretically doable, are rather unsatisfying unless you pull some Shenanigans to make it happen. And then the very same DMs that want class reductionism will be right there, saying how dumb it is that people do weird MC combos or layering feats or whatever.

It's a rather deeply frustrating Catch-22. You aren't allowed to have a thing that directly gives you the fun you're looking for because that would be wasteful or bloated, and you aren't allowed to piecemeal together the thing you want because that would be munchkining or nonsensical.

And people wonder why I feel like these arguments are so hostile to the people who just want their cool thing!
a badly done implementation likely doubles the hunger for it instead of sating it at all
Something I'm still salty about...

I wouldn't be needing to multiclass stupidly obscure things if 5e actually included a spellstriking arcane gish. But instead they removed any spellstrike type spells from the arcane gish's, and gave them to paladin and ranger instead (apart from two cantrips). So If I want to play a character with those mechanics, I have to battle the class inbuilt flavour every step of the way.

Eldritch knight better off just ignoring its magic and just hitting with all its attacks, while occasionally spamming shield.
it is one of those things they can get working mechanically but has fewer thematics than fighter which I did not even think was possible and the names always suck.
but we do need one.
 

it is one of those things they can get working mechanically but has fewer thematics than fighter which I did not even think was possible and the names always suck.
but we do need one.
I thought "swordmage" was a reasonable thing. Maybe not flashy, but "barbarian" and "fighter" aren't flashy either. You're a mage, who uses a sword. 4e even made sure you did use sword-like weapons, requiring you to use heavy blades (think greatswords and longswords) or light blades (think rapiers and daggers) to take advantage of your features.
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
it is one of those things they can get working mechanically but has fewer thematics than fighter which I did not even think was possible and the names always suck.
but we do need one.

Yeah I think that the lack of a class 'story' is the reason it's never stayed consistent or stuck between editions. The mechanics have always been great, but there has rarely been anything beyond 'mage who uses weapon' as a background. Even the class name hasn't been able to stick. Duskblade in 3e, Magus in Pathfinder, Swordmage in 4e.
 

Yeah I think that the lack of a class 'story' is the reason it's never stayed consistent or stuck between editions. The mechanics have always been great, but there has rarely been anything beyond 'mage who uses weapon' as a background. Even the class name hasn't been able to stick. Duskblade in 3e, Magus in Pathfinder, Swordmage in 4e.
Really? What about Elf or Elf Fighter/Magic User in OD&D, 1e and 2e? (The Bladesinger comes from 2e.)

The arcane/Fighter mix is actually one of the oldest aspects of the game.

It has always had the problem (in the Vancian systems) thought that the two halves of the class have kind of sat beside each other rather than interacted too closely, although why that hasn't been resolved through new and better spells in a system that allows such things easily is a bit of a mystery.

Perhaps it's because such spells would be new and therefore not iconic? (After all the Planescape Torment game written under 2e pretty much invented all new spells for it's spellcasters, including a whole bunch for it's Fighter-Mage Githzerai gish character Dakkon* - but that was back when D&D had the confidence to be new and wasn't so scared that playing D&D wouldn't remind people of playing D&D)

*Is this character the origin of the term "Gish"?

Edit: Corrected Dakkon's race - he's Githzerai, not Githyanki.
 
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Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
Just realised that Kaladin Stormblessed from the Stormlight series could be a good example of an actual hexadin from fiction.

He swears a series of oaths to gain his powers. But also bonded to a sentient creature/blade from the equivalent of the shadow realm in that setting (which he can make appear in his hand at will). As he swears each part of his oath they both grow in power.
 

Yeah the next time someone wants to play a single classes hexblade it will be the first.

I kind of look at the hexblade as a band aid to the failed gish concepts in the PHB.
I'm doing it right now with my new replacement character for my single-classed Diviner Wizard who died in RotFM recently.

Yeah, when Hexblade originally came out as a class in 3.5 it was explicitly a gish class. Always liked the concept.
 

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.
Yup. If you don't like the class, don't allow it. Trying to "balance" it by making it less fun or have obnoxious roleplay consequences, while exactly the sort of thing Gary tried in the 70s and 80s, turned out to be a bad approach. Not fun OR balanced. 🤷‍♂️

I definitely DO like the idea of making the Warlock patron an important part of the character and plot, as with other characters who have such built-in flavor. It does seem like a misuse of and wasted potential with classes like the Warlock and Paladin when a DM skips utilizing those inherent plot threads.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
I'm doing it right now with my new replacement character for my single-classed Diviner Wizard who died in RotFM recently.

Yeah, when Hexblade originally came out as a class in 3.5 it was explicitly a gish class. Always liked the concept.

I own The Complete arcane.

I'm fine with the concept.
 

Really? What about Elf or Elf Fighter/Magic User in OD&D, 1e and 2e? (The Bladesinger comes from 2e.)

The arcane/Fighter mix is actually one of the oldest aspects of the game.

It has always had the problem (in the Vancian systems) thought that the two halves of the class have kind of sat beside each other rather than interacted too closely, although why that hasn't been resolved through new and better spells in a system that allows such things easily is a bit of a mystery.
Yeah, in the past year of online old school play I've quite enjoyed one of my characters being an original 1974-style elf (Fighter / M-U), and another being an Old School Essentials advanced class Half-Elf (basically a weaker B/X Elf with faster advancement). Just casting good spells while wearing armor is pretty darn fun and strong. I agree with you that having spells that reinforce/work well with a character who's also a fighter-type is one of the simplest solutions. And TBF 0E & AD&D had some of these. Vampiric Touch, for example, or Fire Shield, were great on a fighter/mage, and not so hot for a single-classed wizard.

Perhaps it's because suc spells would be new and therefore not iconic? (After all the Planescape Torment game written under 2e pretty much invented all new spells for it's spellcasters, including a whole bunch for it's Fighter-Mage Githyanki gish character Dakkon* - but that was back when D&D had the confidence to be new and wasn't so scared that playing D&D wouldn't remind people of playing D&D)

*Is this character the origin of the term "Gish"?
If not that specific character, than definitely that word for Githyanki fighter/casters, yes. That's exactly where the term is taken from.

This is my first time hearing that Planscape: Torment had a bunch of new spells. I'd be very interested to see the details and write-ups for their use in tabletop!
 


Moorcrys

Explorer
I much prefer 1e/2e’s multi-classing to the 3e/5e multi class pick as you go rules but they both address different stories - the former involves someone who starts their career as two or more archetypes and the latter someone who finds a new calling as they go through their adventuring life. Both are legit but particularly the 3e+ version is a harder thing to balance, especially as more options become available.

I don’t think 5e hit quite hit the spot but I don’t blame them for it. But yeah, a lot of ‘sorcadins’ and ‘pal-locks’ with pretzel-envy storylines to make sense of it for my taste. I thought Ford’s take on it in critical role was a case where it actually made some kind of story sense. But at my table… not so much thought has gone into it… ‘Patron? Ohh uhhh… like you know…’
 

I thought "swordmage" was a reasonable thing. Maybe not flashy, but "barbarian" and "fighter" aren't flashy either. You're a mage, who uses a sword. 4e even made sure you did use sword-like weapons, requiring you to use heavy blades (think greatswords and longswords) or light blades (think rapiers and daggers) to take advantage of your features.
swordmage is just two words merged together and it sounds like a description of a thing, not a name of a concept
Really? What about Elf or Elf Fighter/Magic User in OD&D, 1e and 2e? (The Bladesinger comes from 2e.)

The arcane/Fighter mix is actually one of the oldest aspects of the game.

It has always had the problem (in the Vancian systems) thought that the two halves of the class have kind of sat beside each other rather than interacted too closely, although why that hasn't been resolved through new and better spells in a system that allows such things easily is a bit of a mystery.

Perhaps it's because such spells would be new and therefore not iconic? (After all the Planescape Torment game written under 2e pretty much invented all new spells for it's spellcasters, including a whole bunch for it's Fighter-Mage Githzerai gish character Dakkon* - but that was back when D&D had the confidence to be new and wasn't so scared that playing D&D wouldn't remind people of playing D&D)

*Is this character the origin of the term "Gish"?

Edit: Corrected Dakkon's race - he's Githzerai, not Githyanki.
gish is older I think but it was likely many introductions to it.
 

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