D&D 5E Variant Eldritch Blast and Pact of The Blade

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Okay, most fixes for Eldritch Blast and Pact of The Blade are too fiddly for my taste. I think the two can be fixed with essentially one thing

Class feature, part of Pact Magic, level 1.

Eldritch Blast. When you take the attack action on your turn, you can choose to make a ranged spell attack with your Eldritch Blast. The range for this attack is 120ft, and the damage is 1d10 force damage, and does not add your ability modifier to the damage. When you reach level 5 in this class, you can make this attack twice when you take the attack action, and can do so 3 times at level 11, [etc].
(this allows the EB invocations to work, ties scaling to warlock levels, and allows the second part to function)

Pact of The Blade: add the following text. "When you use the Eldritch Blast class feature, you can choose to make a melee spell attack instead. If you are weilding a pact weapon when you do, the attack has the properties of that weapon, except that it's damage is 1d10 force damage, you can add charisma to attack, and you do not add your ability modifier to damage. "

Now, this needs more precise language, etc, but that isn't something I care about right now. Right now is for the concept, not the details.

What this does is it allows for Pact of The Blade to just work, rather than requiring further invocations to work, and lets the same invocations a blaster warlock would take work with Pact of The Blade. Agonizing Blast adds Cha to damage with EB, regardless of whether it's a ranged or melee attack.

It also allows more freedom, and leaves more room for fun and interesting invocations. The obvious one is a Blade invocation that allows you to treat your EB attacks as weapon attacks, and/or one that gives you medium or even heavy armor, or maybe easy scaling temp HP instead.

It also allows you to use EB and have your Pact of The Chain familiar attack, if you go that way instead.

Thoughts? Would you use this, if it were an option?
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Maybe something like this:

''...Your pact weapon can be used as an arcane focus (see p. XX) for the purpose of the your pact magic feature. Furthermore, when casting a cantrip which requires an attack roll or using your Eldritch blast feature through your paqct weapon, you can make a melee spell attack instead of the usual ranged spell attack, with the same range as the pact weapon your are holding. ''

This is what I uses in my game (added the eldritch blast distinction since yours is not a cantrip).

So Agonizing blast would affect both, and the (IHMO) weak pact of the blade would get the small benefit of being able to use EB and other cantrips with a melee spell attack. No taxes, no drawback, and it fits what people want of a gish archetypes.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Maybe something like this:

''...Your pact weapon can be used as an arcane focus (see p. XX) for the purpose of the your pact magic feature. Furthermore, when casting a cantrip which requires an attack roll or using your Eldritch blast feature through your paqct weapon, you can make a melee spell attack instead of the usual ranged spell attack, with the same range as the pact weapon your are holding. ''

This is what I uses in my game (added the eldritch blast distinction since yours is not a cantrip).

So Agonizing blast would affect both, and the (IHMO) weak pact of the blade would get the small benefit of being able to use EB and other cantrips with a melee spell attack. No taxes, no drawback, and it fits what people want of a gish archetypes.
I think we are moving in the same direction, for sure. I think your wording for pact of the blade may be a little clearer than mine. I’ll review and iterate!
Yes, I think this would be a great fix. I hope we see something along these lines in the 50th anniversary revisions.
Thanks! I’m not sure whether I want to even put a strong gish in my binder class, outside of the guy who binds monstrous power into themselves to become a monster, but I really want to have a solid option for gish warlocks that doesn’t need a subclass to work well.
 


Al'Kelhar

Adventurer
Wow, bizarre. I just spent a couple of days rewriting the basic warlock class with this issue specifically addressed - an invocation that allows eldritch blast to be used as a melee spell attack, and which then forms the basis for a bunch of hexblade-themed invocations. Really, the class chassis only needs a few tweaks to make it a reasonable class to take as a single-classed character, with options for both a magic-focussed spellcaster that keeps up with other primary spellcasters, and also to have a true hexblade option. PM me if you'd like a copy of my prototype.

Cheers, Al'Kelhar
 

Something that never sat right with me was the fact that you could make a Hexblade that didn't have Pact of the Blade, and it was clearly a trap. All of the best weapon invocations are limited to Pact of the Blade, which means you're missing out (especially of a multi-attack feature) if you don't go Pact of the Blade. There are some kewl things you can do with Hexblade and the other two Pact features but really you're missing out if you don't take it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Something that never sat right with me was the fact that you could make a Hexblade that didn't have Pact of the Blade, and it was clearly a trap. All of the best weapon invocations are limited to Pact of the Blade, which means you're missing out (especially of a multi-attack feature) if you don't go Pact of the Blade. There are some kewl things you can do with Hexblade and the other two Pact features but really you're missing out if you don't take it.
Yeah that is a big weakness of the Hexblade, at least as a melee combatant that isn’t multiclassed fighter or paladin or rogue. Hex-Tome is a great mid/mixed-range blaster with great versatility, and Hex-Chain can really go well with a swashbuckler rogue.

But neither Blade pact nor Hexblade should require an invocation to get extra attack.
 

Yeah that is a big weakness of the Hexblade, at least as a melee combatant that isn’t multiclassed fighter or paladin or rogue. Hex-Tome is a great mid/mixed-range blaster with great versatility, and Hex-Chain can really go well with a swashbuckler rogue.

But neither Blade pact nor Hexblade should require an invocation to get extra attack.
I made a really kewl Peter Pan Warlock using Hexblade and Pact of the Chain with Pixie familiar. However, even though there were a lot of tricks I felt it hit hard when I was 5th level. When I first made the choice the DM was surprised that I wasn't Pact of the Blade. He didn't even know you could do that. In a way I'm glad it was a short campaign because I'd hate to commit to that long term.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
But neither Blade pact nor Hexblade should require an invocation to get extra attack.
I definitely think this is the biggest problem with the pact of the blade. While I think your fix is better because it ties EB scaling to Warlock level (curtailing the 1-3 level warlock dip), a simple hack for those who want to keep their homebrew footprint to a minimum would be to add to the blade pact “If you know the Eldritch Blast cantrip, you can channel the beam of force through your pact weapon when you cast it. If you do, make a melee spell attack against a creature within the reach of your pact weapon instead of a ranged spell attack. If the spell would create more than one beam, you can make up to one melee spell attack for each beam. You must be holding your pact weapon to use this feature.”

Or something along those lines.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I definitely think this is the biggest problem with the pact of the blade. While I think your fix is better because it ties EB scaling to Warlock level (curtailing the 1-3 level warlock dip), a simple hack for those who want to keep their homebrew footprint to a minimum would be to add to the blade pact “If you know the Eldritch Blast cantrip, you can channel the beam of force through your pact weapon when you cast it. If you do, make a melee spell attack against a creature within the reach of your pact weapon instead of a ranged spell attack. If the spell would create more than one beam, you can make up to one melee spell attack for each beam. You must be holding your pact weapon to use this feature.”

Or something along those lines.
Yeah honestly the scaling by warlock level might not even really be necessary anyway, and your wording might be a lot cleaner than mine, mechanically.

Id like for a fully invested BladeLock with several invocations geared toward gishing to be able to basically treat their melee attacks as both a melee weapon attack and a use of Eldritch Blast, both gaining the benefit of those invocations, and being able to take weapon oriented feats and benefit from them.

I don’t know if there is a balanced way to do that. Maybe some part of that has to live in Hexblade?
This really makes me want to write up a Stephen King style Gunslinger using Warlock template. Not useful for the convo at hand, but that's where I'm at.
Hell yeah, let’s talk about that in the alternate esoteric classes thread? I think there is something there, even if it overlaps with both Binder and Archer.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Id like for a fully invested BladeLock with several invocations geared toward gishing to be able to basically treat their melee attacks as both a melee weapon attack and a use of Eldritch Blast, both gaining the benefit of those invocations, and being able to take weapon oriented feats and benefit from them.

I don’t know if there is a balanced way to do that. Maybe some part of that has to live in Hexblade?

I've said a few times on these board that warlock (an cleric)'s archetypes should have been progressing along two lines.
1) Choose a Patron/Domain: gain an Extra spell list and a Boon (Dark One's Blessing, frex)
2) Choose an archetype: gain a feature at level 1, 6, 10 etc (Hexblade = gish, Occultist = rituals, Binder = summoner, Hexer = curses ++, Spellthief, Entrancing Mystic etc)

Then have the usual archetype's features (Fiendish resilience, hurl through hell, thrall master) become optional, Patron restricted Invocations.

Same for the cleric.
1) Pick a Domain: gain an Extra spell list and one special Channel Divinity.
2) Pick an archetype: gain a feature at 1st, 2nd, 6th level etc (Warpriest, Oracle, Divine Messenger, Condemner etc)
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Id like for a fully invested BladeLock with several invocations geared toward gishing to be able to basically treat their melee attacks as both a melee weapon attack and a use of Eldritch Blast, both gaining the benefit of those invocations, and being able to take weapon oriented feats and benefit from them.

I don’t know if there is a balanced way to do that. Maybe some part of that has to live in Hexblade?
Certainly not impossible, but challenging with the current setup of Warlock invocations. Assuming a simple swap of an EB attack for a pact blade attack, allowing weapon properties and feats to be carried over, you could be looking at 4 attacks for 1d10+20 damage each (5 stat, 10 GWM, 5 Thirsting Blade) at 17th level.

I think the core idea, that Eldritch Blast is the Warlock equivalent to the Extra Attack progression feature, and Invocations and Pact Boons can let you sub in other options for the standard 1d10+0 ranged force attack, has a ton of merit. Personally, I've always viewed the Blade pact warlock like Dante from Devil May Cry, and being able to freely switch between weapon attacks and magical blasts fits that to a T.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think you're right. Heck, if every class had two axes of subclasses to pick from, you probably could have done the PHB in 6-8 classes.
While I prefer to keep the 12 classes to be sure everyone have their preferences reflected, I think you are right.

I think there could have been a fighter who go like this:
1) Pick a Fighting Style (Defender, Slayer, Sharpshooter, Leader, Duelist), gain one feature at 1st level, 6th, 14th about HOW you fight.
2) Pick an archetype about your thematic specialty (Arcane Knight, Champion etc) for level 3, 7, 10 etc.

** If you'd like to reduce the number of class, Paladin and Ranger could be made into either archetype or fighting style.

I guess bards could have something like:
1) Pick a specialty: Chanter (Inspiration+), Loremaster (Skill+), Skald (Fighting+)
2) Pick an archetype: Glamour, Whisper, Dirgesinger, Storm caller etc

Ranger already had two lines, but would benefit from those line being more than ribbons.

Barbs could have a choice:
1) Pick a Warpath: Rager (Reckless+), Thane (Support+), Dreadnought (Armored+)
2) Pick an archetype
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
While I prefer to keep the 12 classes to be sure everyone have their preferences reflected, I think you are right.

I think there could have been a fighter who go like this:
1) Pick a Fighting Style (Defender, Slayer, Sharpshooter, Leader, Duelist), gain one feature at 1st level, 6th, 14th about HOW you fight.
2) Pick an archetype about your thematic specialty (Arcane Knight, Champion etc) for level 3, 7, 10 etc.
Yea, I like that. Make Fighting Style a second axis, and then have higher level features available at various intervals, OR you can go back and take a lower-level fighting style if you want diversity.

For Rogue, you could make SA and Cunning Action one of the options for a second subclass, and then have a Mastermind/Skill type rogue, a front-line combatant rogue, a tricky manuever rogue, etc.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Huh. I don't think I'm familiar with that thread.
Thread 'Interest In A More Esoteric 5e?'
D&D 5E - Interest In A More Esoteric 5e?
Certainly not impossible, but challenging with the current setup of Warlock invocations. Assuming a simple swap of an EB attack for a pact blade attack, allowing weapon properties and feats to be carried over, you could be looking at 4 attacks for 1d10+20 damage each (5 stat, 10 GWM, 5 Thirsting Blade) at 17th level.

I think the core idea, that Eldritch Blast is the Warlock equivalent to the Extra Attack progression feature, and Invocations and Pact Boons can let you sub in other options for the standard 1d10+0 ranged force attack, has a ton of merit. Personally, I've always viewed the Blade pact warlock like Dante from Devil May Cry, and being able to freely switch between weapon attacks and magical blasts fits that to a T.
Well, for one thing I’d get rid of Thirsting Blade (or just not make it compatible with this variant). You’ve got Agonizing Blast, you don’t need another stack of damage on top of that.

Beyond that, I don’t think the damage you could get to would necessarily be greater than what other melee combatants can do, so I don’t know that the cost needs to be super high.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Possible wording suggestion:

"When you make an attack using your Eldritch Blast feature with a melee weapon in hand, you can choose to make a melee spell attack instead, using the weapon as a spell focus (see page xxx) for the feature. When you do so, your Eldritch Blast attack gains the properties of the weapon used as a spell focus and you can add your Charisma modifier to the damage roll."

Potential caveat with this:
  • the finesse property would technically force your to use Str or Dex (instead of CHA) for attack and damage rolls AND add Cha as a bonus to the damage roll.
  • it synergizes weirdly with the net.
  • it leaves magical bonuses out of the equation.

Therefore...

"When you make an attack using your Eldritch Blast class feature with a melee weapon in hand, you can choose to make a melee spell attack instead, using the weapon as a spell focus (see page xxx) for the Eldritch Blast feature. When you do so, your Eldritch Blast attacks gains all properties from the weapon used as a spell focus with the exception of the finesse and special properties, including magical features and bonuses to attack and damage rolls. When you make a melee spell attack this way, you add your Charisma modifier to the damage roll."

It still leaves fighting styles out, for the better of the worse.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Thread 'Interest In A More Esoteric 5e?'
D&D 5E - Interest In A More Esoteric 5e?

Well, for one thing I’d get rid of Thirsting Blade (or just not make it compatible with this variant). You’ve got Agonizing Blast, you don’t need another stack of damage on top of that.

Beyond that, I don’t think the damage you could get to would necessarily be greater than what other melee combatants can do, so I don’t know that the cost needs to be super high.
Yea, if you get rid of Thirsting Blade I think you're OK. You get your 4th attack a little earlier than Fighter, but honestly Fighter should get attack #4 earlier anyway (that's one of my houserules).
 

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