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Warlocks and Bonus Actions


One of my characters is a hexblade with Polearm Mastery. Having to sacrifice an attack to activate Hexblade's Curse is a significant nuisance. I chose to go with darkness (I have Devil's Sight) rather than hex as my concentration spell of choice, but if I were using hex, that would be another competitor.

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Magic stone and shillelagh are the only bonus action cantrips. Magic stone doesn't make much sense here. Shillelagh can be useful, but it's only needed once per combat probably.

I suppose shillelagh plus polearm master could be interesting, but then what are you doing in combat so much? :)

I play in your face warlocks! To date, they are all armored up and ready to fight! Moderately armored is my friend! I usually go blade and have one hexblade.

My current desire is to play a witch hunting celestial patron warlock. I am taking moderately armored and weapon master at 4th with green flame blade. Later, would love elemental adept (fire). By 8th level I plan to throw firebolts with CHR damage, Green Flame blade on a greatsword (and bonus CHR damage for fire).

I don't think it is really any crazier than a cleric in combat! Add to this his celestial healing on a bonus action and tomb of levistus and I plan to be right in the mix!


Oh this is where the title goes?
I play in your face warlocks! To date, they are all armored up and ready to fight! Moderately armored is my friend! I usually go blade and have on hexblade.
Absolutely. But that means you are not a tomelock, no? That was the context of my comment :)


Absolutely. But that means you are not a tomelock, no? That was the context of my comment :)

This time I WILL be one. Sorry, my post missed yours. Moderately armored, weapon master and invocations/cantrips as noted.

Elemental Adept would mean the fire damage on Greenflame blade would be slightly higher as with firebolts (via tome) and the various healing/invocations noted means more than normal hit points.

It is unconventional and not as tough as a hexblade, but I like doing things differently for a kick.

Arial Black

My current PC is Bar 1/War 4 (fiendish bladepact) built around armour of agathys.

My current options for my bonus actions include: starting my Rage, casting or moving hex, casting misty step, using the extra bonus action weapon attack generated by scoring a crit or reducing an enemy to zero HP from the GWM feat.

One trick I now have is to pre-cast AofA, cast the otherwise completely useless and rubbish cantrip blade ward, then use my bonus action to misty step into a bunch of mooks, hoping that they hit me!

The reason I have to use blade ward to get damage resistance rather than Rage is that I cannot cast spells while Raging.

If I want to Rage first and then misty step I can't because I can't cast while Raging.

If I misty step as my bonus action first then I cannot Rage when I arrive because that takes a bonus action and I've just used it!

Of course, I don't usually need this trick because I would usually be able to just move through the mooks normally, deliberately triggering OAs so they hurt themselves on AofA, but occasionally the terrain prevents that; chasms, balconies, big bags of HPs, and so on. It's nice to have the trick in reserve.


Wait, are you saying there's such a thing as a non-melee warlock that isn't into EB spam?

They are rare!

You can save an invocation if you are celestial pact and throw sacred flame or if you acquire it, fire bolt with you CHR bonus. It is not "optimized" or as good as agonizing blast, but fine and the things you can do with free invocations can be nice! I see the value of EB spam! But it bores me. And at certain levels really supporting EB means you won't get to take some fun invocations...when people say that warlocks are not versatile, I suspect they boost Eldritch blast and....blast. Its fine, but there are other fun things out there to do too!


The bonus action mechanic is not preferred by designer Mike Mearls. However, he is one of many designers on the team. I would expect a lot of variation from sub-class to sub-class on how the mechanic is used. The goal of any sub-class rule set, per Mearls, is to allow a player to feel like the rules support the style of game play that make the story with that character interesting and engages the player to think like the character. Not all rule sets meet this goal.

Another thing to consider with respect to how bonus action are used in any class is that the sub-classes are "asymmetrical". This is a term both Mearls and Crawford used to describe the game. Thus expect variation from class to class on how any specific mechanic is used. However, within the class, such as warlock, expect that a bonus action mechanic is considered to be used equally by each sub-class. As of right now, they attempt to design without giving too many options for the bonus action within a class so that a player is not stuck trying to choose the best option and feel like they are losing something for not choosing correctly. This design strategy was not followed with the sub-classes in the PH.

More information about Mike Mearls thoughts on the bonus action mechanic and design strategy can be found in Reddit and on YouTube, Mike Mearls Happy Fun Hour.

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