The Final Bladelock

Xeviat

Explorer
Hi everyone! You probably all have noticed that I'm a rules nitpicker, and I believe in the possibility of balanced options.

I've disliked the Bladelock since day 1. I think the Hexblade is a poor patch for the issue. Today, I noticed someone point out "Just be a tomelock and take shillelagh, booming blade, and/or greenflame blade". So I ran the numbers. If their secondary effect hits, boomingblade and greenflame blade keep up with the damage of eldritch blast (with agonizing blast) perfectly.

The bladelock only keeps up with eldritch blast damage if they take 2 invocations (thirsting blade, lifedrinker) and use a greatsword and max Str. If they max Dex and use a rapier, they are behind by a little. You spend 1 extra invocation to lose range and have to focus on a subpar ability for the warlock to keep up damage with Eldritch Blast. But what do you gain? The ability to stack it with a magic weapon (there are magic wands/pack blades to give to-hit/damage bonuses to Eldritch Blast)? Better Opportunity Attacks without taking warcaster?

I'm really not sure what the base advantages are for blade pact once the melee cantrips were added. Were the melee cantrips bad? They did boost mid level Eldritch Knight damage.

My Fix is simple. Throw out thirsting blade and lifedrinker (eldritch smite and improved pact weapon from XGTE are cooler anyway). Instead of your pact weapon taking the stats of a weapon, you can use your eldritch blast in melee, and it takes the form of a weapon. It deals 1d12+Dex damage.

Basically, Pact of the Blade gives a +1 damage bonus per tier over Eldritch Blast but makes it melee. A pact of the blade warlock could forgo taking agonizing blast if they want. A few extra invocations could be made to add other effects to the pact weapon, like the invocations that add effects to Eldritch Blast (like one to attack everyone around you, or ones like booming blade/greenflame blade).

Thoughts?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Eh, Shadow Blade with a shortsword or scimitar pact weapon and the blade pact invocations seems good enough for me.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Eh, Shadow Blade with a shortsword or scimitar pact weapon and the blade pact invocations seems good enough for me.
TWFing I assume? So 1 spell known, 1 slot cast per combat, and a bonus action used at the start of combat, 2 invocations, and concentration nets you ...

2d6+20, +2d8, or 36 at 19th level (when you can regularly have 20 dex/cha). You're hitting slightly lower damage at 12th level (lower cha, so 2d6+16, when EB only has 3 attacks for 31.5, so you're even at that point without hex).

Eldritch Blast and Agonizing Blast is doing 4d10+20 at 17th, or 42, and can use a spell slot, concentration, and bonus action (per opponent) for Hex to up it by another 4d6 (14), and hex lasts for 24 hours at this level if you hold concentration.

Bladelock gets a lot of cool points, but it is costly and doesn't really gain anything.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
If the character goes blade pact he or she can still take booming blade and/or greenflame blade then skip thirsting blade to open up an invocation. Those builds are MAD but given the focus on an attack stat means shillelagh isn't really needed.

I'd probably still skip those cantrips and go with thirsting blade using a polearm build.

Just go with whatever matches your image of the concept better.
 

jaelis

Explorer
I suspect that someone who wants to play a bladelock would not feel satisfied subbing in eldritch blast.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Just go with whatever matches your image of the concept better.
I prefer when a good concept is backed up by good rules. Also, a blade pact warlock has to spend another limited resource to get booming blade/greenflame blade, and if they're doing that they might as well grab shillelagh instead of one of them. Magic Initiate or multiclassing is costly.

I suspect that someone who wants to play a bladelock would not feel satisfied subbing in eldritch blast.
I could write it as "1d12 damage, no weight, one-handed, finesse weapon. You gain an extra attack with it at 5th, 11th, and 17th level". Sure, some people might dip for it, but people do 2 warlock level dips for Eldritch Blast.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
They already are good rules. Because the numbers are all close enough that when you are playing what you want to play the game is more than satisfying enough to make very few people have a voice in the back of their head going "Gee, I dunno... you could have done an extra 3 points of damage on that attack had you been playing a ranged Warlock instead..."

I mean really, who in the middle of playing the game is comparing what they are doing to what they could have been doing had they selected different game mechanics? Does anyone roll a critical hit, luck out and roll close to max damage, and then get depressed because had they played a different build they would have done MORE damage? Sure, there probably are a couple out there... people who truly DO treat D&D as nothing more than a min-maxed board game where the numbers are the only thing that matters...

...but if those people exist and numbers trump everything else, then there's no need to try and balance every single character option to the decimal point because these people aren't concerned about the character options in the first place and have probably already selected the most min-maxed option to begin with.
 

Gadget

Explorer
I agree that the out of the box PHB blade lock is sub par, I've seen some suggest giving the opening Hexblade features to the blade'lock for a 'fix.'

I've thought of doing something similar to the OP in that a blade'lock forgoes EB to form a pact weapon that they use as a melee spell attack (thus adding CHA to the attack roll). Maybe say that, no matter what form the weapon takes, it does 1d8 or 1d10 damage. Invocations that modify EB affect the pact weapon, so you get Agonizing Blast on your weapon, the knockback effect, and the one that increases your range maybe gives you 10' reach with the pact weapon. You could then ditch thirsting blade and lifedrinker with an invocation to give armor and shield proficiency. But that would probably need some balance tweaks.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
I agree that the out of the box PHB blade lock is sub par, I've seen some suggest giving the opening Hexblade features to the blade'lock for a 'fix.'

I've thought of doing something similar to the OP in that a blade'lock forgoes EB to form a pact weapon that they use as a melee spell attack (thus adding CHA to the attack roll). Maybe say that, no matter what form the weapon takes, it does 1d8 or 1d10 damage. Invocations that modify EB affect the pact weapon, so you get Agonizing Blast on your weapon, the knockback effect, and the one that increases your range maybe gives you 10' reach with the pact weapon. You could then ditch thirsting blade and lifedrinker with an invocation to give armor and shield proficiency. But that would probably need some balance tweaks.

This was where I started. But when shillelagh and booming blade were pointed out to me, I wondered what was the bladelock paying for if they weren't really getting anything.

It's nice that some bladelocks are close to EB in damage, but the time and chain locks got something else and have interesting invocations and aren't just spending invocations to stay even.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I think that being able to wield a weapon helps not revealing that you are a warlock. It is also nice for a multiclassed weapon wielder. Not everyone wants 20 cha. 20 dex or str seems better to some people. Just using eldritch blast in melee dors not do the trick.
 
A maxed out dex bladelock is likely to have better AC, initiative and rogue skills.

A maxed out str bladelock who is a half orc with a greataxe can focus on using warlock abilities to fish for critical hits.

Not choosing Agonising Blast frees up an invocation slot which is especially useful if the warlock wants to focus on out of combat utility.

Without Agonising Blast, depending on spell choices, a warlock can do fine without a high charisma.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
A maxed out dex bladelock is likely to have better AC, initiative and rogue skills.

A maxed out str bladelock who is a half orc with a greataxe can focus on using warlock abilities to fish for critical hits.

Not choosing Agonising Blast frees up an invocation slot which is especially useful if the warlock wants to focus on out of combat utility.

Without Agonising Blast, depending on spell choices, a warlock can do fine without a high charisma.

But my point is that this is all for the low low price of 2 to 4 invocations to maximize bladelock when the tome lock gets all this from their cantrips. That's my issue.
 
But my point is that this is all for the low low price of 2 to 4 invocations to maximize bladelock when the tome lock gets all this from their cantrips. That's my issue.
You haven't really read what I said, have you?

A tomelock does not get "better AC, initiative and rogue skills" from cantrips. A half orc cannot use Shillelagh with a great axe, getting the most out of their racial strength bonus and Savage Attacks ability. Shillelagh and GFB do not allow you to forgo charisma.

Basically, you are looking at one question: "how can I maximise damage" and completely ignoring every other aspect of the game.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
You haven't really read what I said, have you?
Easy, no need to be rude.

A tomelock does not get "better AC, initiative and rogue skills" from cantrips. A half orc cannot use Shillelagh with a great axe, getting the most out of their racial strength bonus and Savage Attacks ability. Shillelagh and GFB do not allow you to forgo charisma.

Basically, you are looking at one question: "how can I maximise damage" and completely ignoring every other aspect of the game.
I guess I'm looking at 20th level when bladelock and tomelock can each have 20 Dex/Cha. But a hexblade doesn't need to push past 14 Dex to get max AC.

I'm just saying that Bladelock costs too many invocations to just keep up with the damage of one cantrip/invocation or two cantrips (that were given as part of the same resource as the bladelock's blade). Yes, I am looking only at attack and damage for this. I'm looking at an end point and seeing that one build is costing more resources to get to that same end point. Yes, a bladelock could go Str/Con or Dex/Con and forget their Cha entirely (but they can't, because then they lose the damage of thirsting blade).
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
you can use your eldritch blast in melee, and it takes the form of a weapon. It deals 1d12+Dex damage.
I just something similar. I didn't change the damage, but allowed the blade to gain any benefits of the blast. So invocations that give knockback for example, could be used. The invocation that adds your charisma mod would apply, etc.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
I just something similar. I didn't change the damage, but allowed the blade to gain any benefits of the blast. So invocations that give knockback for example, could be used. The invocation that adds your charisma mod would apply, etc.
It's a super simple solution, but it feels like it's only giving 1 cantrip at that point compared to tome's 3. Do you pair it with anything else, like armor or shield profs?
 
Easy, no need to be rude.



I guess I'm looking at 20th level when bladelock and tomelock can each have 20 Dex/Cha.
Which is pretty silly give that most characters never make it to 20, and if they do you are talking about the last session in a four year long campaign. It would also require the warlock to take no feats.

In the levels that people actually play the warlock will have one or two ASAs.

But a hexblade doesn't need to push past 14 Dex to get max AC.
So? a hexblade with pact of the blade will be using Cha, not Dex. It's a bladepact warlock who isn't a hexblade that will want to max dex (and dump cha).

I'm just saying that Bladelock costs too many invocations.


If you dump Cha Agonising Blast and Lifedrinker become pointless, saving you two invocations on the spot.

I assume you are also comparing to an Eldritch Blast warlock who doesn't take any of the invocations that add secondary effects to Eldritch Blast, on account of those secondary effects (although far more useful than damage) don't actually add to DPS.

Yes, I am looking only at attack and damage for this.
Which is also pretty silly. The game has three pillars, combat is only one of them, and damage output is only a part of the combat pillar. It doesn't matter how much damage you do if you have zero survivability and can't attack first because everyone else has higher dexterity than you do.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
A bladelock without charisma falls behind in the teens.

I'm only looking at damage. That's why I limited the scope of what I'm looking at. Yes, a high Dex bladelock at lower levels has things that a lower Dex, high charisma melee tomelock doesn't have; but the tomelock, without spending invocations, has more potent spells so we're already in hard to compare territory.
 
Do you expect all class/subclass choices to have the same HP, AC, skill points and utility powers?

Class/Subclass choices are NOT INTENDED TO DO EQUAL DAMAGE.

And this is a thoroughly good thing. You see in some MMOs where classes are "balanced" around the idea that they should all do the same damage. And what you get is a bland mess where choosing your class is as meaningful as choosing the colour of your cloak.

If you want to build a character who is focused solely on maximising damage then you should choose your class and subclass accordingly. Don't try and change a different class, because that leads to choices becoming meaningless and is an ABOMINATION UNTO NUGGEN.
 

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