D&D 5E Would you allow switching shield proficiency for Agonizing Blast as a DM?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Hi!
From a DM's perspective:

A player wants to play a Hexblade 1 / Swords Bard 19.
Here are some build videos, it is a very Gishy build:

But he doesn't like using a shield on this character.
First, he imagines the character fighting more like Witcher Geralt of Rivia with all the fast, acrobatic 1.5 handed swordsplay.
Second, using a shield makes the character complicated in terms of hand usage and spell focuses.

Would you as a DM allow the player to swap shield proficiency for Agonizing Blast on level one?
Note: We're not talking about whether such homebrewed swaps should be used at all, just about this specific change.

Agonizing Blast would need a second level of Warlock or a feat usually, so it is something powerful to add.
On the other hand, losing shield proficiency is no small thing in terms of power level.
Also, the character would still be in melee a lot, Eldritch Blast would still remain a backup "weapon".
The change is meant for flavor, not for powercreep.

Thoughts? Would you allow it?
I would, especially because I believe this change would actually weaken the character.
I’d allow it. Honestly, I think the power level of AB is overrated in CharOp discussions. A bonus to AC is much bigger than a bonus to damage.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’d allow it. Honestly, I think the power level of AB is overrated in CharOp discussions. A bonus to AC is much bigger than a bonus to damage.
Actually what I’d do is;

Eldritch Duelist: When you take the Attack Action, you can choose to make an Eldritch Strike. An Eldritch Strike is either a melee or ranged weapon attack, with a range of 120ft. Your attacks use Charisma for determining the attack and damage, and on a hit deal 1d8 force damage. If you wield a melee weapon in both hands, the attack deals 1d10 damage instead.

I might also allow a burst that pushes enemies at a later level or perhaps as an invocation. In fact the basic Signs from the Witcher would be great Invocations that give you a new attack option as part of the attack action.

Edit: simpler wording is, you get a “weapon attack” options that can be ranged or melee, adds Cha to attack and damage but does 1d8, and you can take invocations to shape the attack differently.

If you use a weapon, the range or reach matches that weapon, and any magical effects work when making Eldritch strike attacks.
 

I wouldn't allow it. Agonizing Blast is way better than shield proficiency, for a character that isn't going to use a shield.

If you want me to approve to switching out character features outside of what the rules allow, they're going to have to be features that are more-or-less equally useful for that particular character.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
But it isn't, because if this character does not make the switch, having the proficiency means that shields are usable in an emergency with no penalty, and emergencies happen. So it's not a sidegrade unless the painters tools will add +2 to AC in an emergency.
First, You do not need proficiency to use a shield in an emergency. Any character can get the +2 AC from a shield.

Second, a shield is only usable if you are actually have it and if you do not intend to use it you will probably not buy it or carry it. Further it takes an action to don, making it generally less useful than dodging in "an emergency" even if you do have it. Since any character can use the shield, what the proficiency actually affords you is the ability to make checks, make attacks and cast spells without disadvantage. Yet here you are giving up an ability check, attack or spell casting opportunity to don this shield, meaning that passing a check, landing an attack or casting a spell is not that important in this particular "emergency" anyway.

Third, there is only a 10% chance per attack that the +2 bonus even matters, making it very ineffective in an "emergency". Where a sheild is effective is when you are targeted by hundreds of attacks over days or weeks resulting a significant statistical difference between wielding it and not wielding it. Since we are talking about "emergency" uses we do not have the high volume of attacks targeting the character that someone who regularly uses a shield will have and therefore it is MUCH less effective at protecting the character. If you are trying to don your shield to prevent getting swallowed by a purple worm there is a 10% chance it will work, the other 90% of the time it will be irrelevant. On average the chances are the+2 will make no difference at all unless you are targeted 7 or more times and you would need to be targeted 18 times before there would be a 80% chance that the +2 would make a difference. Since we do not normally use a shield, we are not targeted by the large numbers of attacks to make the bonus relevant.

Fourth, depending on the specifics of the "emergency" painters tools might actually be more useful. Originally I picked carpenters tools, but I changed it to painters tools because carpenters tools are way more useful than a shield you don't use, and carpenters tools would be a substantial upgrade in play.

Even with painters tools though let's compare what these two would offer:

Shield proficiency- RAW all this does is allow you to make checks without disadvantage, attacks without disadvantage and cast spells in combat, while using a shield that you do not ever intend to use, and probably are not carrying, and only after you spend an action to don it. Out of combat it has no use at all as you can simply doff it. So it has a miniscule chance at some point of coming into play in one of three of the game pillars.

Here are some of the things you can do with painters tools that are called out in the RAW, and for most of them you do not need the tools themselves:

Proficiency with painter's supplies represents your ability to paint and draw. You also acquire an understanding of art history, which can aid you in examining works of art.
Components. Painter's supplies include an easel, canvas, paints, brushes, charcoal sticks, and a palette.
Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon.
Investigation, Perception. When you inspect a painting or a similar work of visual art, your knowledge of the practices behind creating it can grant you additional insight.
Painting and Drawing. As part of a short or long rest, you can produce a simple work of art. Although your work might lack precision, you can capture an image or a scene, or make a quick copy of a piece of art you saw.


One of these will come into play at some point in many campaigns. So yes I would say in general I would say painters tools are a sidegrade if not an outright upgrade to a shield proficiency you do not intend to use.

Finally, exchanging a shield proficiency for the eldritch adept feat (which is what we are talking about doing here) is a huge upgrade. Under Tasha's racial rules you can exchange an armor proficiency (which shields is) for a tool, which puts them more or less on the same level and makes it an appropriate tradeoff.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
First, You do not need proficiency to use a shield in an emergency. Any character can get the +2 AC from a shield.

Second, a shield is only usable if you are actually have it and if you do not intend to use it you will probably not buy it or carry it. Further it takes an action to don, making it generally less useful than dodging in "an emergency" even if you do have it. Since any character can use the shield, what the proficiency actually affords you is the ability to make checks, make attacks and cast spells without disadvantage. Yet here you are giving up an ability check, attack or spell casting opportunity to don this shield, meaning that passing a check, landing an attack or casting a spell is not that important in this particular "emergency" anyway.

Third, there is only a 10% chance per attack that the +2 bonus even matters, making it very ineffective in an "emergency". Where a sheild is effective is when you are targeted by hundreds of attacks over days or weeks resulting a significant statistical difference between wielding it and not wielding it. Since we are talking about "emergency" uses we do not have the high volume of attacks targeting the character that someone who regularly uses a shield will have and therefore it is MUCH less effective at protecting the character. If you are trying to don your shield to prevent getting swallowed by a purple worm there is a 10% chance it will work, the other 90% of the time it will be irrelevant. On average the chances are the+2 will make no difference at all unless you are targeted 7 or more times and you would need to be targeted 18 times before there would be a 80% chance that the +2 would make a difference. Since we do not normally use a shield, we are not targeted by the large numbers of attacks to make the bonus relevant.

Fourth, depending on the specifics of the "emergency" painters tools might actually be more useful. Originally I picked carpenters tools, but I changed it to painters tools because carpenters tools are way more useful than a shield you don't use, and carpenters tools would be a substantial upgrade in play.

Even with painters tools though let's compare what these two would offer:

Shield proficiency- RAW all this does is allow you to make checks without disadvantage, attacks without disadvantage and cast spells in combat, while using a shield that you do not ever intend to use, and probably are not carrying, and only after you spend an action to don it. Out of combat it has no use at all as you can simply doff it. So it has a miniscule chance at some point of coming into play in one of three of the game pillars.

Here are some of the things you can do with painters tools that are called out in the RAW, and for most of them you do not need the tools themselves:

Proficiency with painter's supplies represents your ability to paint and draw. You also acquire an understanding of art history, which can aid you in examining works of art.
Components. Painter's supplies include an easel, canvas, paints, brushes, charcoal sticks, and a palette.
Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon.
Investigation, Perception. When you inspect a painting or a similar work of visual art, your knowledge of the practices behind creating it can grant you additional insight.
Painting and Drawing. As part of a short or long rest, you can produce a simple work of art. Although your work might lack precision, you can capture an image or a scene, or make a quick copy of a piece of art you saw.


One of these will come into play at some point in many campaigns. So yes I would say in general I would say painters tools are a sidegrade if not an outright upgrade to a shield proficiency you do not intend to use.

Finally, exchanging a shield proficiency for the eldritch adept feat (which is what we are talking about doing here) is a huge upgrade. Under Tasha's racial rules you can exchange an armor proficiency (which shields is) for a tool, which puts them more or less on the same level and makes it an appropriate tradeoff.
First, You do not need proficiency to use a shield in an emergency. Any character can get the +2 AC from a shield.

Second, a shield is only usable if you are actually have it and if you do not intend to use it you will probably not buy it or carry it. Further it takes an action to don, making it generally less useful than dodging in "an emergency" even if you do have it. Since any character can use the shield, what the proficiency actually affords you is the ability to make checks, make attacks and cast spells without disadvantage. Yet here you are giving up an ability check, attack or spell casting opportunity to don this shield, meaning that passing a check, landing an attack or casting a spell is not that important in this particular "emergency" anyway.

Third, there is only a 10% chance per attack that the +2 bonus even matters, making it very ineffective in an "emergency". Where a sheild is effective is when you are targeted by hundreds of attacks over days or weeks resulting a significant statistical difference between wielding it and not wielding it. Since we are talking about "emergency" uses we do not have the high volume of attacks targeting the character that someone who regularly uses a shield will have and therefore it is MUCH less effective at protecting the character. If you are trying to don your shield to prevent getting swallowed by a purple worm there is a 10% chance it will work, the other 90% of the time it will be irrelevant. On average the chances are the+2 will make no difference at all unless you are targeted 7 or more times and you would need to be targeted 18 times before there would be a 80% chance that the +2 would make a difference. Since we do not normally use a shield, we are not targeted by the large numbers of attacks to make the bonus relevant.

Fourth, depending on the specifics of the "emergency" painters tools might actually be more useful. Originally I picked carpenters tools, but I changed it to painters tools because carpenters tools are way more useful than a shield you don't use, and carpenters tools would be a substantial upgrade in play.

Even with painters tools though let's compare what these two would offer:

Shield proficiency- RAW all this does is allow you to make checks without disadvantage, attacks without disadvantage and cast spells in combat, while using a shield that you do not ever intend to use, and probably are not carrying, and only after you spend an action to don it. Out of combat it has no use at all as you can simply doff it. So it has a miniscule chance at some point of coming into play in one of three of the game pillars.
You typed out a whole lot for something I already knew and acknowledged. ;)

"But it isn't, because if this character does not make the switch, having the proficiency means that shields are usable in an emergency with no penalty..."

Disadvantage can kill. As can that 10% if the monster does enough damage. Sometimes the player will want to use the shield without penalty in an emergency.
Here are some of the things you can do with painters tools that are called out in the RAW, and for most of them you do not need the tools themselves:

Proficiency with painter's supplies represents your ability to paint and draw. You also acquire an understanding of art history, which can aid you in examining works of art.
Components. Painter's supplies include an easel, canvas, paints, brushes, charcoal sticks, and a palette.
Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon.
Investigation, Perception. When you inspect a painting or a similar work of visual art, your knowledge of the practices behind creating it can grant you additional insight.
Painting and Drawing. As part of a short or long rest, you can produce a simple work of art. Although your work might lack precision, you can capture an image or a scene, or make a quick copy of a piece of art you saw.


One of these will come into play at some point in many campaigns. So yes I would say in general I would say painters tools are a sidegrade if not an outright upgrade to a shield proficiency you do not intend to use.
They will typically come into play extremely rarely. typically far more rare than a situation where you might want to use a shield.
Finally, exchanging a shield proficiency for the eldritch adept feat (which is what we are talking about doing here) is a huge upgrade. Under Tasha's racial rules you can exchange an armor proficiency (which shields is) for a tool, which puts them more or less on the same level and makes it an appropriate tradeoff.
You think that just because Tasha's allows this trade that armor is = to a tool? The Tasha's swaps don't make any sense if you look at them. I mean, you can swap an armor proficiency for a martial weapon proficiency, but you cannot swap a martial weapon proficiency for an armor proficiency. If the swaps were based on equality, you could swap in both directions. Same with tools. You can swap down from an armor proficiency to a tool proficiency, but you cannot swap up from a tool proficiency to armor proficiency.

There's no way an armor proficiency is equal to a tool. Usefulness in 6-8 encounters per adventuring day is far, FAR superior to being rarely useful.
 

ECMO3

Hero
You typed out a whole lot for something I already knew and acknowledged. ;)

"But it isn't, because if this character does not make the switch, having the proficiency means that shields are usable in an emergency with no penalty..."

It is impossible to use a shield with "no penalty" because it weighs 6 lbs and takes an action to don. There is no way around those and proficiency does not cancel those "penalties".

And you can absolutely use it without getting disadvantage on ability checks, attacks or spells just by using your action for something other than an ability check, attack or spell

My non-shield proficient character can use a sheild with "no penalty" other than the weight and action cost. You can dodge all day long with a shield and no "penalty" (other than weight and action economy), you can use help all day long with no penalty. When that hypothetical emergency comes up and you really need to don a shield, you can still do all kinds of things without penatly.

Now you can't attack without penalty, but two things here - first an attack must not be that important if you are using an action to don a shield. Second if you are not a shield user then your attacks will usually be less effective while carrying a shield. So not only are you losing an attack (one penalty) your attacks are less effective (more penalites).


Disadvantage can kill. As can that 10% if the monster does enough damage. Sometimes the player will want to use the shield without penalty in an emergency.

If you are wasting a turn donning your shield an attack is not that important. Further the haracter we are talking about uses two hands in fighting meaning his attacks are less

Further the difference in damage is not relevant except over a large number of attacks. Damage relative to chance to hit is a MEAN calculation, for it to matter you need to be targeted a lot. The +2 does not cut the damage you take at all, not one bit. Every hit you take does the same damage whether your AC is 5 or 35. The higher AC only cuts the number of times you are hit and for that to matter with a 10% reduction you need to be targeted a lot.

I am not suggesting a shield is not useful in protecting you, I am saying it is not useful in protecting you in an "emergency" situation like you are describing. Certainly not as effective as say masons tool proficiency or carpenter tool proficiency would generally be in an "emergency" situation.


They will typically come into play extremely rarely. typically far more rare than a situation where you might want to use a shield.
Those checks will happen way, way more often than a character who does not use a shield, using a shield, especially since such characters are not usually even carrying a shield.

I have used skill checks to find out information from paintings or glyphs numerous times in numerous campaigns. Plenty of times there are murals you need to decipher and paitners tool proficiency would give you advantage on that. Most of the published WOTC campaigns are going to have this in the campaign somewhere. DIA, TOD, TOA all have this because I remember specific times from those campaigns, most of them have it multiple times.

I only had a character who did not use a shield use a shield once and that was not an "emergency situation". It was a duel, she was a dex fighter who usually went around in leather and a bow, someone in our party had to duel a champion to save the town. She volunteered and put on chainmail and a shield.

That is one time, in one fight, in one campaign out of dozens of campaigns and hundreds (thousands) of sessions I have played. FWIW she also lost the fight so the shield did not save the day.

I will go a step further - I can say confidently100% that I have been in at least 2 campaigns that went 10+ levels where no one in the entire party used a shiled in the entire campaign. I can not say with confidence that I have ever played a campaign that went that long where no one in the party tried to decipher a Glyph or painting or other clue. I may have, but I can't say confidently that I have.

And please keep in mind we are talking about one of the least useful tools there are and it is still going to be more useful.


You think that just because Tasha's allows this trade that armor is = to a tool?

If it wasn't no one would make that trade it would be a waste of words. FWIW I have used TCE to trade armor for tool proficiencies, usually alchemists tools or thieves tools and every time it was an upgrade on that character.

It depends entirely on the build and on this particular build (someone who does not use a shield) painters supplies would be a small step up. Something like carpenters tools, cartographers tools, thieves tools or alchemists Tools would be a major improvement.

There's no way an armor proficiency is equal to a tool. Usefulness in 6-8 encounters per adventuring day is far, FAR superior to being rarely useful.
Armor proficiency will never be useful for 6-8 encounters per day on average unless you are only proficient in a single type of armor.

If I have proficiency in heavy armor, medium armor and light armor I need to have at least 18 fights in a day for all those proficiencies to be useful in 6 encounters a day and I need to change armor between fights to make that happen and presumably carry all that armor around with me all day. Finally you would be hard pressed to build a character that would benefit from switching between all three armor types (you can easily build one that benefits from two).

If you are wearing plate all day your proficiency in medium and light armors is useless that particular day and anny day that you don't carry those other armors and change into them at some point.

The same is true for shield proficiency. If you never use a shield then shield proficiency is useless.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It is impossible to use a shield with "no penalty" because it weighs 6 lbs and takes an action to don. There is no way around those and proficiency does not cancel those "penalties".
So if something applies equally to anyone who uses it, it's not a penalty for using it that someone else doesn't have.
And you can absolutely use it without getting disadvantage on ability checks, attacks or spells just by using your action for something other than an ability check, attack or spell
It's not absolute at all. You don't get to control whether or not the DM calls for an ability check. If you cross the room during that fight and hit something unexpected, you're rolling at disadvantage. That's a penalty that only applies to the non-proficient shield user.
My non-shield proficient character can use a sheild with "no penalty" other than the weight and action cost
Nope! You have disadvantage on ability checks. You don't have complete control over when those happen. You can only control when you attack and when you cast spells, though if you've pulled out the shield for an emergency, you probably still want to make attacks or you're eventually going to die anyway.
Now you can't attack without penalty, but two things here - first an attack must not be that important if you are using an action to don a shield. Second if you are not a shield user then your attacks will usually be less effective while carrying a shield. So not only are you losing an attack (one penalty) your attacks are less effective (more penalites).
Less effective doesn't equal non-effective, and so what if it takes an action. You pulled it out in an emergency.
If you are wasting a turn donning your shield an attack is not that important.
That's untrue as a general statement. Circumstances might warrant giving up an important attack that round in order to gain the added defense. Further, other rounds may still have important attacks that happen in addition still wanting that defense.
The +2 does not cut the damage you take at all, not one bit. Every hit you take does the same damage whether your AC is 5 or 35. The higher AC only cuts the number of times you are hit and for that to matter with a 10% reduction you need to be targeted a lot.
Um. First off, the two bolded statements contradict each other. Second, you never know when that 10% is going to help out. It could be the first attack, or it could be the tenth. If you are close to death and the creature does a lot of damage, you might want to toss the Hail Mary and hope it works out in your favor.
I am not suggesting a shield is not useful in protecting you, I am saying it is not useful in protecting you in an "emergency" situation like you are describing.
And you are flat out wrong. Hail Mary's do happen. I've watched enough football to know that. You can say that it's unlikely to help, but you cannot say that it is not useful in an emergency, because you don't know whether it will be or not.
Certainly not as effective as say masons tool proficiency or carpenter tool proficiency would generally be in an "emergency" situation.
A 10% extra chance of the creature missing is going to be vastly more useful in an emergency combat situation than any carpenter or mason tool ever will be. Further, it will be helpful in far more combat scenarios than those tools will be useful in non-combat scenarios. You're going to get into emergency combat situations far more often than "emergency" carpenter or mason situations, whatever those look like. I've been playing since 1983 and I can't recall a single emergency instance where I needed to build a chair.
I have used skill checks to find out information from paintings or glyphs numerous times in numerous campaigns.
Same. Neither of those require tool proficiency, though. Those are knowledge checks to see what they mean. History, religion and arcana are going to be infinitely more useful than being able to mimic a painting or glyph. Being able to paint a glyph has no bearing on whether you know what it means or not.

Perhaps you are talking about the Xanathar suggestions for how to make tools more useful than they actually are. Those don't make any sense. Someone who knows the history of paintings or knowledge of arcane glyphs isn't going to be any better at knowing about either by virtue of being able to paint or draw a glyph. It's a contrived bonus to make subpar proficiencies better.
If it wasn't no one would make that trade it would be a waste of words. FWIW I have used TCE to trade armor for tool proficiencies, usually alchemists tools or thieves tools and every time it was an upgrade on that character.
Incorrect. People who do things for character concept can and will make the trade.
Armor proficiency will never be useful for 6-8 encounters per day on average unless you are only proficient in a single type of armor.
Even if you don't use the other proficiencies, the one of the type of armor you wear will be useful in 6-8 encounters per day. Further, the ability to just pick up and wear the magic armor you just found of one of the other types will still be more useful than a tool proficiency that will rarely, if ever used.
If you are wearing plate all day your proficiency in medium and light armors is useless that particular day and anny day that you don't carry those other armors and change into them at some point.
It would really suck to give up your medium armor proficiency right before you find that +3 medium armor.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Um. First off, the two bolded statements contradict each other. Second, you never know when that 10% is going to help out. It could be the first attack, or it could be the tenth. If you are close to death and the creature does a lot of damage, you might want to toss the Hail Mary and hope it works out in your favor.

To start with this has nothing to do with the proficiency. If the situation is dire so my non-shield user dons a shield and if by chance the dice fall such that you would last 10 rounds with a shield and only 2 rounds without one, then that is true whether you have proficiency in shields or not when you decided to don it.

Whether you have proficiency or not the effect is the same. You are arguing here that proficiency is important yet you are using examples where proficiency is irrelevant to prop up the argument.

That said, if you only don a shield in "an emergency" it will rarely reduce damage at all. The 10% reduction will over time help out in 10% of attacks directed at you, meaning if you only use it in an emergency (i.e. rarely) then it will very rarely help.


And you are flat out wrong. Hail Mary's do happen.

Sure they happen, but they are a random and rare occurrance, not one that you control

I've watched enough football to know that. You can say that it's unlikely to help, but you cannot say that it is not useful in an emergency, because you don't know whether it will be or not.

A 10% extra chance of the creature missing is going to be vastly more useful in an emergency combat situation than any carpenter or mason tool ever will be.

Carpenters tools can make it easier to to hide so you won't get hit at all. If you have masons tool proficiency you do double damage to structures. Both of those things are in the rules.

There will be more "emergencies" where those abilities will save you than emergencies where your non-shield user will be saved by having shield proficeincy.

I can give you a specific example from an official WOTC campaign - you spring a trap, a block comes down and shuts the way out of the room and the room starts to fill with wine (yes wine, not water). Water breathing also does not work in wine. Mason tool proficiency will help you break that stone block quicker and escape before you drown.

Finally the 10% difference has nothing to do with shield proficiency. Keep in mind in this discussion when talking about these "emergency" situations that anyone proficient or not can use a shield, but on the other hand you can't get the bonuses noted above without the respective tool proficiencies.

Further, it will be helpful in far more combat scenarios than those tools will be useful in non-combat scenarios. You're going to get into emergency combat situations far more often than "emergency" carpenter or mason situations, whatever those look like. I've been playing since 1983 and I can't recall a single emergency instance where I needed to build a chair.

I disagree completely and you have offered no examples or anecdotes to back up your claim.

Can you give me some examples that it will be far more useful and be likely to save you in an emergency please? Keep in mind we are talking specifically about shield proficiency here on a character who does not normally use a shield.


Same. Neither of those require tool proficiency, though.
And using a shield does not require a shield proficiency. More to the point they will be used more than shield proficiency on a char


Those are knowledge checks to see what they mean. History, religion and arcana are going to be infinitely more useful than being able to mimic a painting or glyph. Being able to paint a glyph has no bearing on whether you know what it means or not.

Having painters tools proficiency absolutely 100% gives you a bonus to understanding what a glyph means (as long as it is painted). It will give you proficiency on the check if you are not already proficient in the skill and it will give you advantage on the skill check if you are proficient in it. It is in XGE page 83:

Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon.


Perhaps you are talking about the Xanathar suggestions for how to make tools more useful than they actually are. Those don't make any sense.
Exactly. I am talking about RAW. Whether they make sense to you or not is irrelevant.

If you don't want to play with that it is fine, but every table I play at uses XGE.

But to be clear if you homebrew to make tools less useful, well then they will be less useful.


Someone who knows the history of paintings or knowledge of arcane glyphs isn't going to be any better at knowing about either by virtue of being able to paint or draw a glyph. It's a contrived bonus to make subpar proficiencies better.

Call it what you want, it is RAW.


Even if you don't use the other proficiencies, the one of the type of armor you wear will be useful in 6-8 encounters per day. Further, the ability to just pick up and wear the magic armor you just found of one of the other types will still be more useful than a tool proficiency that will rarely, if ever used.

And the types of armor you don't wear will not be useful in 6-8 encounters per day or generally at all.

If my character is wearing plate and never wears any other armor, my proficiency in light armor is going to be worth less in play than any tool in the game.


It would really suck to give up your medium armor proficiency right before you find that +3 medium armor.
Sure but once you do find it, then your heavy armor proficiency is no longer useful and if you never find it, or if you find +3 plate instead, then that medium armor proficiency stays useless.

If you decide to switch your elf weapon proficiency from longsword to rapier because you are a dex character, and then you find a gauntlets of ogre power and blackrazor your damage is going to be lower than if you had not done that. On the flip side if you had not swapped and you find a rapier +3 you will be worse off.

In all the campaigns I have played, I never had a character I played find any +3 medium armor. I have had characters use tools. Virtually all characters with a tool proficiency used that proficiency at some point. I have characters that use thieves tools, alchemists tools and cartographers tools daily. To be honest thieves tools are used more often in campaigns I have played than shields are and the other two are not far behind.
 
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Just how useful tools are varies a lot between tables. And some DMs, on seeing that a PC has an obscure skill, will drop in opportunities for that skill to be used, whilst others would not.

And it could go the other way: Give up shield proficiency? What a shame you will never be able to use that Shield of the Pactmaster +3 that you just found... :devilish:
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You can always switch the invocation out as you advance in levels so that's a bonus.
True. I’d still add a cantrip or 1st level spell or soemthing. Hell, I’d allow a feat with a pact boon choice. Let warlocks get 2, and nonlocks really feel like they made a minor pact.
 


Unwise

Adventurer
I'd vote no on allowing that. Warlocks are already too front loaded for dipping purposes, we want to see less of that, not more.

I allow people with shield proficiency to use another item for parrying for +1AC. So an off-hand dagger not used to attack with can be used to parry instead. Same with a torch (which can of course break). I also allow people to use heavy cloaks draped over the arm for +1AC in a fencing style defense. That allows people to keep a hand free for casting. I really dislike having to worry about what is in your hands for casting, so this means not everybody feels they need warcaster to play how they picture and melee caster working. This also opens up a lot of flavour, for fencing types in particular.
 


ehren37

Legend
I’d allow it. Honestly, I think the power level of AB is overrated in CharOp discussions. A bonus to AC is much bigger than a bonus to damage.

EB + AB is like 90% of a warlock's power. Slapping that on the bard, probably the best caster chassis in the game, is absolutely not overrated. You have a character that is good to great at everything. Social, exploration, damage, crowd control...

They never should have made EB a cantrip honestly. It should have remained a class feature.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
EB + AB is like 90% of a warlock's power. Slapping that on the bard, probably the best caster chassis in the game, is absolutely not overrated. You have a character that is good to great at everything. Social, exploration, damage, crowd control...

They never should have made EB a cantrip honestly. It should have remained a class feature.
If you want a warlock that is only "powerful" in terms of at-will damage, and even then only as good as a fighter with a heavy crossbow and no further class features, sure. You still need to add damage to all those attacks by spending a resource in order to surpass other at-will dpr classes. Doing good weapon damage plus ability modifier is...not especially impressive. You are basically 1 feat (crossbow expert) ahead of a ranged fighter. Cool. Compare DPR with a dex battlemaster with a longbow, and I bet the warlock loses, without requiring the fighter take a feat.

Meanwhile, our bard in the OP has fairly low AC as a non-dex primary light armor character with no shield, and idk even know where to begin addressing the idea that the bard is a strong full caster. Magical Secrets is good, sure, but it's still a known spells caster whose list is really only strong in control, which only "wins the game" in white rooms populated by spreadsheets. (don't get me wrong, I love a spreadsheet, but they don't give you all the necessary data to determine game balance)

It's a fun build, but it ain't breaking the game.
 

Unwise

Adventurer
They never should have made EB a cantrip honestly. It should have remained a class feature.
I made it a class feature. It means they don't need to spend a cantrip slot on it, and it scales off Warlock level, not total level. I give the 2nd melee attack for free for hexblades too.

I did not like the weak RP I was seeing in my games regarding people swearing themselves to entities, then forgetting about them for the rest of the campaign.

On a side note, we need an Arcane Archer warlock subclass, as effectively that is what they are. They are pretty much a bow fighter with 2 cool tricks per short rest. In a short lived game I played an elven archer who fired bolts of force from a magic bow, like in the old D&D cartoon (Eldtritch Blasts) and had a bunch of magic trick arrows (her spells). People assumed I was a fighter or ranger, until we hit higher level and I unleashed some pretty nasty spells.
 


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