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D&D 5E Whisper Padlock Build Feedback

WASDHammer

Villager
I am new to multiclassing, so looking for some feedback on a potential build I'm considering for my campaign. We are expected to go to level 15, so I will not have access to high level spells or capstones anyways.

My idea is to build a Greatsword wielding Whisper Padlock (Vengeance Paladin 6/Warlock 3/College of Whispers Bard 6).

Javik (Whisper Padlock)

My rationale is to create gain a sustained smite (or smite-like) ability vs. outright single-target Nova damage. With the Paladin 6, I am gaining extra attack, Divine Smite, and Vow of Emnity. The Warlock 3 will give me more of a SAD build which helps make up for the loss of an ASI, while also allowing for some sustained ranged cantrip dmg (eldritch blast), and using my CHA modifier for my greatsword (Improved Pact Weapon). It also gives me access to Shield, Armor of Agathys for survivability, and the dreaded Darkness/Devil's site if I so choose.

But the real draw for me was the 2-2nd level pact spell slots that refresh on a short rest from the Warlock, plus 5 bardic inspirations that ALSO renew on short rest that can be used to essentially add a bardic smite for 3d6 on every hit (once per turn). That is SEVEN smites I can essentially use that refresh on a short rest!

The downside is clearly missing out on 4th/5th level spells if I was to do a pure Paladin (Find Greater Steed, Banishment, Death Ward), Warlock (Shadow of Moil/Hold Monster), or even Bard (Polymorph, Greater Invisibility), but my total spell slots feel very favorable vs. my alternatives, leaving all that smiting goodness:

  • Pure Paladin (level 15) 4/3/3/2/0
  • Padlock (Paladin 6/Warlock 9) 4/2/-/-/2
  • Whisper Padlock (Paladin 6/Warlock 3/Bard 6) 4/5 (3+2 pact)/3/3/1 + 5 Bardic Inspirations (Physic Blades - 3d6 damage per inspiration by lvl 15) totaling 21 smiting slots (7 on short rest).
I clearly have much less spell utility outside of smites, but still have some useful ones for buffing (Shield, Armor of Agathys, Mirror Image), control (Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Dissonant Whispers, Hold Person, Phantasmal Force, Bestow Curse, Hypnotic Pattern), Travel (Find Steed, Misty Step), and damage (Eldritch Blast, Magic Weapon).

Icing on the cake to me is my ability scores end up through the roof. Without Res Con, I'm still +7 on Con saves, athletics ability scores are +14, and my passive perception is +21, to name a few. But in any case, would love to get everyone's opinion on this build, especially compared to a Pure Vengeance Paladin, or a Sorcadin (P 6/S 9). Thanks!
 

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NotAYakk

Legend
I'd cut Hex 2/3 and use a spear. Hex 1 gets you cha-to-attack and 19-20 crit range on bosses, and the key level 1 spells. Hex 2/3 has diminishing marginal returns.

Instead of "smiting slots", measure total smite damage.

Level 15 Paladin is 39d8 smite damage/day, and +1d8 per attack; assuming spear-adin your 3 turn burst at 50% accuracy is 6d6+3d4+9d8 +63 (.5) = 66 plus 4.5 smites at 5d8, 5d8, 4d8, 4d8, 4d8.5, or 20d8 (90) for a 156 damage burndown.

Pal 6/Hex 1/Whispers 8 is
433321
+1 slot.

59d8 smite/day (265.5), 2d8 +15d6/short rest (61.5).

Your 3 turn burst at 50% accuracy with Hexblade's curse is
6d6+2d4+96 (*.5) = 61 plus 4 whispers (12d6) plus 4 smites (5d8 each) (132) for a 193 damage burndown.

This ignores the 19-20 crit range.

Now you could go further. Pal 5/Whispers 10. This gets you magical secrets, so now you buff your spear with Holy Weapon, have a superior steed, and your bard-smites are 5d6 each.. But you do lose cha-to-attack and hexblade's curse and stuff.

Your 3 turn burst at 50% accuracy is
6d6+3d4+18d8+63 / 2 = 86.25 plus 4.5 whispers (22.5d6) (78.75) plus 4.5 smites (5d8 each) (101.25) for a 266.25 damage burndown.

54d8 smite/day (some taken by precasting holy weapon) (243), 25d6/short rest (87.5).

This loses cha-to-saves. Grab it next level, then continue to progress bard; at level 20 you get your 2nd dose of magical secrets as a capstone. Or do some dips, like Hex 1/BM 3, getting superiority dice, action surge, and hexblade's curse for your back 4 levels.
 

WASDHammer

Villager
A lot to think about, for sure. My initial intent was to go Greatsword or Glaive, since I have already committed to Variant (Human), GWM Feat at build (campaign is already level 2 so that ship has sailed). So I could do a spear (unless I am reading incorrectly, are your calculations above assuming a PM Feat on that spear damage?). If so, then I would need to lose another ASI to take PM, which would limit my attack bonus, as well as that +63 (although it still may be worth it based on the large damage burndown vs. the Level 15 paladin comparison. Thanks for the feedback.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Yes, that was a PAM spear+shield. The ability to make 3 attacks/round is large for Paladin burndown, and the +2 damage per tap and AC is also pretty good. PAM spear+shield with extra attack and +5 stat is 2d6+1d4+6 + stat*3 = 30.5, while with a 2H polearm and GWF it is 2d10+1d4+15 (reroll 1s and 2s once), or 6.3*2+3+15 or 30.6 (a wash damage wise). The reaction tap is 11.3 vs 10.5, pretty close. You lose 10' reach, and gain a shield.

In my experience, without consistent advantage, archery style, and/or many-taps, -5/+10 is not super duper strong. And with a paladin, you want to be able to land your attacks to deposit smites.

In any case, PAM+GWF with a 2H polearm gives about the same damage output as PAM with a 1 handed spear and Dueling. So you can use basically the same math.

Note that I didn't include the PAM reaction attack; that gives another chance to deposit smites.

Do be careful, however, with these builds. You can easily make a PC that overshadows your allies. A 250 point 3 turn burndown is a lot.

A naive rogue build, if it hits once every turn, does a bit over 100 damage in that same period. When you more than double another player's damage, you can be demoralizing.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Yea, you boxed yourself in a little bit by taking GWM at 1st level. GWM is great, but it doesn't synergize well with builds that are getting additional damage riders. Using Whisper Bard for extra dice damage is a nice idea, but I'd really focus on getting either Bard or Warlock up to 7 so you have Greater Invis or Shadow of Moil, which provide the accuracy bonus you really want for a GWM build.
 

WASDHammer

Villager
Thanks for the help. I was worried that I was boxing myself in with GWM so you certainly confirmed it. I suppose it fits my desired playstyle so all is not lost, but it sounds like my "genius" Whisper Bard idea is a bit of a flop. That said, I always worried about taking Warlock high because having only 8 smite spell slots seemed to me to be very low. But I certainly never did the great detailed analysis that @NotAYakk did above so I certainly could be wrong.
 

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