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5E swashbuckler or assassin for warlock-rogue multiclass

auburn2

Explorer
So in one of the campaigns I DM one of the players is a drow fiend-chain-warlock/swashbuckler (currently 5/4). It is a cool build and after seeing it I decided to try something similar out as a player in another campaign. My player is a half-elf, currently a 1-1 hexblade-rogue. My cantrips are friends and booming blade, spells are hex and comprehend languages.

I plan on going rogue to level 4 from here, then hexblade-chain to 5, then I am not sure maybe more rogue or fighter. I know many will say pact of blade, not chain. However I am committed to chain pact. Also our campaigns rarely get beyond level 12, so maxing out for a level 20 is not relevant. I am planning to pick up alert at rogue 4 which will give me a nice initiative bonus.

My real question is on the swashbuckler vs assassin for the rogue kit. The assassin advantage on first round is a big boost, as is the crits on surprise. Also the disguise kit would work really well with the RP and the characters role in the party.

On the other hand talking sawshbulcker will give unreal initiative (dex+charisma+5), more ways to get in sneak attack and more mobility to move around and do what I want.

The party I am in is quite standard - other players are a human fighter (2-handed slasher), a human cleric (not sure what she is good for ... dead weight :p) and a dwarf wizard (probably becomes an evoker). My player is the face of the party and has a slew of skills.
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
So in one of the campaigns I DM one of the players is a drow fiend-chain-warlock/swashbuckler (currently 5/4). It is a cool build and after seeing it I decided to try something similar out as a player in another campaign. My player is a half-elf, currently a 1-1 hexblade-rogue. My cantrips are friends and booming blade, spells are hex and comprehend languages.

I plan on going rogue to level 4 from here, then hexblade-chain to 5, then I am not sure maybe more rogue or fighter. I know many will say pact of blade, not chain. However I am committed to chain pact. Also our campaigns rarely get beyond level 12, so maxing out for a level 20 is not relevant. I am planning to pick up alert at rogue 4 which will give me a nice initiative bonus.

My real question is on the swashbuckler vs assassin for the rogue kit. The assassin advantage on first round is a big boost, as is the crits on surprise. Also the disguise kit would work really well with the RP and the characters role in the party.

On the other hand talking sawshbulcker will give unreal initiative (dex+charisma+5), more ways to get in sneak attack and more mobility to move around and do what I want.

The party I am in is quite standard - other players are a human fighter (2-handed slasher), a human cleric (not sure what she is good for ... dead weight :p) and a dwarf wizard (probably becomes an evoker). My player is the face of the party and has a slew of skills.
For a booming blade setup you would want swashbuckler or mobile feat so you can hit the enemy and back off so it has to take damage to move and retaliate.

I'm not understanding the need for chain warlock of level 5? I mean I get chain, but why level 5?
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Just curious, have you considered the inspiring leader feat over alert? What about Lucky?
 

auburn2

Explorer
For a booming blade setup you would want swashbuckler or mobile feat so you can hit the enemy and back off so it has to take damage to move and retaliate.

I'm not understanding the need for chain warlock of level 5? I mean I get chain, but why level 5?
Well if you go to level 3 you may as well go to level 4 for the feat .... if you go to level 4 you might as well go to level 5 for the 3rd level spells and extra invocation.

By going to level 5 in warlock I give up 1d6 in sneak attack but get 3rd level spell slots, a 3rd level spell, an invocation and a feat.
 
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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I love me some Assassin, but I think Swashbuckler is more fun and probably suits your build better.
 

auburn2

Explorer
Just curious, have you considered the inspiring leader feat over alert? What about Lucky?
I'm not a fan of inspiring leader, just not that fun for me. Lucky is awesome, probably the most powerful feat out there. It is one of the feats I would consider, but I also like alert because you can never be surprised and get the initiative bonus.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Well if you go to level 3 you may as well go to level 4 for the feat .... if you go to level 4 you might as well go to level 5 for the 3rd level spells and extra invocation.
I agree with going from level 4 to 5. I don't agree going from 3 to 4. I think you are valuing ASI too highly.

Consider a level 4 rogue / level 5 hexblade. You will do 2d8+2d6+5 = 21 Damage and have a higher level slot and higher level spells known.
Now consider a level 6 rogue / level 3 hexblade. You will do 2d8+3d6+4 = 23.5 Damage, have more expertise skills, a reaction to reduce damage.

The hexblade 3 version will be more durable and do a little more damage. The hexblade 5 version will be more versatile. I like the first version better myself. Both are good.

Just out of curiosity if you go full level 5 hexblade, EB does 21 Damage with just agonizing blast. I'm afraid that pushing to high on warlock levels will render the combination inferior compared to a pure warlock or pure rouge.
 

auburn2

Explorer
I agree with going from level 4 to 5. I don't agree going from 3 to 4. I think you are valuing ASI too highly.

Consider a level 4 rogue / level 5 hexblade. You will do 2d8+2d6+5 = 21 Damage and have a higher level slot and higher level spells known.
Now consider a level 6 rogue / level 3 hexblade. You will do 2d8+3d6+4 = 23.5 Damage, have more expertise skills, a reaction to reduce damage.

The hexblade 3 version will be more durable and do a little more damage. The hexblade 5 version will be more versatile. I like the first version better myself. Both are good.

Just out of curiosity if you go full level 5 hexblade, EB does 21 Damage with just agonizing blast. I'm afraid that pushing to high on warlock levels will render the combination inferior compared to a pure warlock or pure rouge.
Thanks. All good points and I get what you are saying. I use a shortsword most of the time, not a rapier, so damage would be a point less than you noted already. The other thing is the 3rd level spell slot means Hex lasts 8 hours vice 1 hour. Since it is usually less than 8 hours between short rests, I can pretty much always have hex active (unless I fail a concentration save). With a 3rd level warlock it would usually only last 1 battle, maybe two in a stretch. So I think that makes up for the damage difference I think.

I am also not taking an ASI, I will take a feat. Most likely one of the following: elven accuracy, lucky, sentinel or sharpshooter (I already will have alert).

I don't have EB yet and I don't think I am going to get it because to make it worthwhile I would need agonizing blast. I have neither of these right now, so to get both I would need to go to level 5 anyway (level 4 for the cantrip, level 5 for the invocation). With EB and AB, the warlock can pretty much keep up with the sneak attack damage regardless of the level I stop at but to be honest that is not what I really want from a role play perspective.
 




doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oh right! Duh!
I really like Hexblade with Chain or Tome Pact Boon.

I do still wish they'd just made the Blade Pact turn Eldritch Blast into melee attacks with the range replaced by that of your weapon, worded in a way where every Eldritch Blast Invocation worked for your Eldritch Strike feature. It just would have saved a lot of trouble and making the melee warlock so deeply invocation dependent just to work on any level.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I really like Hexblade with Chain or Tome Pact Boon.

I do still wish they'd just made the Blade Pact turn Eldritch Blast into melee attacks with the range replaced by that of your weapon, worded in a way where every Eldritch Blast Invocation worked for your Eldritch Strike feature. It just would have saved a lot of trouble and making the melee warlock so deeply invocation dependent just to work on any level.
IMO the only reason they didn't was cantrip scaling based off class level.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Possible, but...you’re still just casting a cantrip as an action, so I don’t see how it could possible be problematic.
multiclassing. If it were true 2 levels of warlock allow any class To attack like a fighter. Actually better as 4th attack comes 3 levels earlier.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
multiclassing. If it were true 2 levels of warlock allow any class To attack like a fighter. Actually better as 4th attack comes 3 levels earlier.
Not sure it’s different from EB as is, other than spending a pact boon to make it melee rather than ranged.
 



Coroc

Hero
So in one of the campaigns I DM one of the players is a drow fiend-chain-warlock/swashbuckler (currently 5/4). It is a cool build and after seeing it I decided to try something similar out as a player in another campaign. My player is a half-elf, currently a 1-1 hexblade-rogue. My cantrips are friends and booming blade, spells are hex and comprehend languages.

I plan on going rogue to level 4 from here, then hexblade-chain to 5, then I am not sure maybe more rogue or fighter. I know many will say pact of blade, not chain. However I am committed to chain pact. Also our campaigns rarely get beyond level 12, so maxing out for a level 20 is not relevant. I am planning to pick up alert at rogue 4 which will give me a nice initiative bonus.

My real question is on the swashbuckler vs assassin for the rogue kit. The assassin advantage on first round is a big boost, as is the crits on surprise. Also the disguise kit would work really well with the RP and the characters role in the party.

On the other hand talking sawshbulcker will give unreal initiative (dex+charisma+5), more ways to get in sneak attack and more mobility to move around and do what I want.

The party I am in is quite standard - other players are a human fighter (2-handed slasher), a human cleric (not sure what she is good for ... dead weight :p) and a dwarf wizard (probably becomes an evoker). My player is the face of the party and has a slew of skills.
Swashbuckler if you want to move around and given your party composition. The spike damage of an assassin is nice, but tbh. the 5e rogue assassin is rather good at being a disguise / forgery/impersonator expert imho.
 

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