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I am building a level 2 character for D&D 5e.

For story reasons (I just had to break ties with my patron, in a very fun way), I can no longer be a warlock.

Is there a class (Unearthed Arcana is allowed) that will allow me to basically use the Hexblade warlock's Hex Warrior feature with a weapon (XGtE, p. 55)? Specifically, this benefit of the feature:

When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Charisma modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls.

My goal is to dip a max of 3 levels in a class other than bard. But a pure bard build is preferable!


I can also use anything in the official rule-books such as Xanathar's Guide to Everything, and Volo's Guide to Monsters.

I also saw many people say that "That's not how pacts work" and while you are technically correct, this was a ruling from my DM for story reasons, not from us misinterpreting the rules.

Imagine a reincarnation where the character stays exactly the same, but I need to switch classes.

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One niche method of doing this is the shillelagh cantrip

The shillelagh spell states:

The wood of a club or quarterstaff you are holding is imbued with nature's power. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon's damage die becomes a d8. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn't already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.

One way to acquire this spell is the Bard's Magical Secrets feature which states:

[...] Choose two spells from any class, including this one. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip.

The chosen spells count as bard spells for you and are included in the number in the Spells Known column of the Bard table [...]

Because shillelagh would count as a Bard spell, it would allow you to use Charisma (your spellcasting ability) for attacks and damage.

Another similar method, pointed out by user @Ruse in a comment, is the Pact of the Tome for a Warlock - it lets you treat the cantrips you choose to learn as Warlock spells, and thus they would use Charisma as well.

Note any other methods that allow shillelagh to count as a Bard, Warlock, or Sorcerer spell will also accomplish this. Overall, this is a rather small use-case, as it only applies to clubs and quarterstaves, but it is better than nothing.


Besides features like the above, the cantrip is only available to the Druid, the Nature Cleric, and the Unearthed Arcana Giant Soul Sorcerer (specifically the Hill Giant subclass). Of these the only one that has Charisma as its spellcasting ability is the UA Sorcerer subclass. You could take this class/subclass, and it would require at least one level into Sorcerer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I cannot take any warlock levels \$\endgroup\$ – Flotolk Oct 23 at 11:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if there's a similar feature or feat for Paladins, but if there is, they use Cha as their spellcasting ability as well. \$\endgroup\$ – T.E.D. Oct 23 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Devotion Paladin's Sacred Weapon option for Channel Divinity doesn't allow using CHA instead of STR or DEX per se but adds CHA modifier to an attack roll. \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Oct 24 at 14:48
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I am about 95% certain the direct answer to your question is “no, there is no other class that offers Charisma to attack and damage.” The only thing remotely similar that I’m aware of is the battle smith artificer, which gets a similar feature—but for Intelligence—at 3rd level. Aside from that, it’s all Strength or Dexterity. Considering the widely-discussed potency of the Hexblade, I would be very surprised if there was a comparable alternative that isn’t mentioned in those discussions.

But I also think your premise here is off-base. A warlock isn’t a paladin. They aren’t empowered by an oath—a pact is different. Unlike the paladin—which has a description of what happens if the oath is broken, to say nothing of the entire oathbreaker archetype—the warlock description makes no mention of “breaking” the pact. It’s not at all clear that you can break from your patron—or that they can break from you. A god not part of the pact is even less likely to be able to do so—and reincarnate certainly doesn’t break it, nor does death and rebirth through any other means.

I would therefore simply multiclass into something else, but keep the warlock levels you have—including the hex warrior feature for which I don’t think you’ll find any alternative. I know you have said—repeatedly—that you “cannot” use Hexblade, but I think you’re mistaken about how pacts work and I think you not only can but—in my games anyway—you must. To my mind, the entire point of warlocks and their pacts is the permanent, irrevocable nature of it—and its defiance of the gods. Having a god just let you out of it, or force you out of it, waters the warlock class down and makes it far less interesting in my eyes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I came here to answer about keeping the warlock level too, by far the best option. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Oct 23 at 8:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ The no more hexblad rule was given by the DM, not the rulebook. explaining how/why would take a lot of off topic discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – Flotolk Oct 23 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Flotolk Then I think your DM has either misunderstood the nature of warlock pacts, or made a rather-bad houserule changing them, because I do not think that this ruling is good for your game; in fact I think it’s quite bad for your game. “Ex-warlocks” are bad for the game, and especially so when your character mechanically relies on a unique feature available only through that class. Even if you wanted a storyline about a rift between patron and warlock, there are other, better ways to handle it—the tension of the two stuck with one another, for one, but a replacement patron is another. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 23 at 12:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 23 at 13:55
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Yes (with limits), if you multiclass into an Illrigger1.

You've put limits at Unearthed Arcana, but I wanted to share my experiences with a homebrew class.

One of my players was in a similar situation: his character was abandoned by his patron, and he lost all his Warlock (Old One) powers after dying to a Roper. Around that time I've come to know about the Illrigger class by Matthew Colville of MCDM fame, and decided to propose that this character change his three levels of Warlock entirely for three levels of Illrigger, his backstory justifying a vested interest of Asmodeus to bring him back to life as his servant. In the Illrigger class you can find some new fighting styles, most importantly:

Lies

While wielding a two-handed weapon, you may choose to use your Strength or Charisma modifier for the attack and damage rolls. You must use the same modifier for both rolls.

This is what I was searching for, as I didn't want to force the player to rewrite his entire character sheet, and he was (still is) strongly Charisma focused, both in combat and out of it. True, it's only for two-handed weapons, and you'll lose that sweet Eldritch Blast, but it's better than nothing. My player is level 5 right now, and has expressed his enjoyment at playing the class so far. I have some concerns with the character seldom using any of his ability scores aside from Charisma, but that was a problem with Hexblade already.


1 The Illrigger class, as presented in the free PDF available from the MCDM Productions website or on the MCDM fandom wiki, is, let's say, questionably balanced, and is not the version of the class that is currently played on the mcdm streams. It breaks a few established conventions on class building (the spell progression being the biggest offender), and the feature text is quite imprecise in places, but if you're willing to put a bit of work into it, it can become a fun option. Or you can just rip the Lies Fighting Style from it and add it to normal fighting styles available or put it into a feat. What I did is make the class a half-caster, converted the Baleful Interdict to not use spell slots, but be limited by Charisma modifier, and reworked the spells that refer to Interdict seals as a collection of Battle Master's maneuver-like actions in a new class feature, among smaller changes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Why the downvotes? I'd like to improve my answer if I can, but I need to know what's wrong with it first. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark says Reinstate Monica Oct 25 at 9:30
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Without a DM Fiat, there is no reasonable way* to salvage this character using offically published materials.

In my play experience, removing a players agency to continue progressing as the class they set out with (and likely had long-term plans for) has ALWAYS been grounds for either an amicable retiring of a character or a complete respec (including ability scores and race) lest the DM risk losing the player and possibly the entire playgroup.

Before I rush to determine what my next level will be, I'd think long and hard about requesting an entire rebuild of the character. Barring something that drastic, perhaps they can allow you to swap cantrips known in your Warlock class to take Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade. Alternately, they could give you a free Magic Initiate Feat to learn the cantrips - but it seems counter to what their intent is.

It's my understanding that Bardlocks are great (I'm playing a 5th level one right now in my monthly game) but watering down that caster progression by picking an additional multiclass could be a dangerous road.

To summarize - by trying to help and reviving you, your DM threw your character a huge roadblock in terms of game mechanics. They should put in the effort to keep you engaged as an active participant with a character you enjoy in the game.

ADDENDUM

It's now my understanding that you're re-building this character from scratch. In that case, I'd just choose a Variant human, play a bard and pick Magic Initiate (Warlock, no pact required) to have either of the Booming Blade or Greenflame Blade cantrips. It's not exactly what you wanted - but it's close.

Footnote: By 'reasonable way' I mean that (as an example) waiting from 2nd level to 7th to get one of these cantrips by means of Magical Secrets in order to participate meaningfully in melee combat is not reasonable.

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People seem to agree that you can't have what you want without compromise. Either you turn your weapon to wood for shillelagh, or you actually keep a few levels warlock, or you accept a homebrew. Here's a different option for a compromise:

Pretend Shocking Grasp Is a Weapon

If you take 6 levels in draconic bloodline sorcerer, and your draconic color is either blue or bronze, then you can add your charisma to attack damage. This will give you a melee attack that does similar damage to a weapon attack, but scales slightly worse than multi-attack.

Shocking grasp also gets advantage on creatures with metal armor, and stops them from getting reactions. It's a great little cantrip.

I know 6 levels is a lot, and you wanted to only put three levels in another class, but sorcerer/bard is a great combo and I think this is an option worth considering.

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I think before asking that question you should look more at the way the Warlock works:

A warlock is defined by a pact with an otherworldly being. Sometimes the relationship between warlock and patron is like that of a cleric and a deity, though the beings that serve as patrons for warlocks are not gods. A warlock might lead a cult dedicated to a demon prince, an archdevil, or an utterly alien entity—beings not typically served by clerics. More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron’s behalf.

...

Once a pact is made, a warlock’s thirst for knowledge and power can’t be slaked with mere study and research. No one makes a pact with such a mighty patron if he or she doesn’t intend to use the power thus gained. Rather, the vast majority of warlocks spend their days in active pursuit of their goals, which typically means some kind of adventuring. Furthermore, the demands of their patrons drive warlocks toward adventure.

The Warlock's growth is dependent on the entity, but their power usage is not usually a direct result of the entity's continued efforts.

The entity agrees to help the Warlock grow, in exchange for the Warlock doing what the entity asks. Think of a mafia mob boss giving money to someone, in exchange for occasional favors. Contrast this to a Cleric who is an avatar of their god, empowered by their position (much like a police officer serving the city) they contains skills like Divine Intervention which are explicitly the Cleric asking their god for help. But even a police officer gets to keep their knowledge when they are fired. (though they have to turn in their gun right? I'm not sure how that fits into the metaphor, perhaps Divine Intervention is the gun)

As such, losing your pact would not mean you cannot continue using the power that you have already gained, but it would prevent you from gaining more power. To continue gaining Warlock levels you need to establish a new pact with some entity or find another method to increase power that your DM approves.

It seems like you have a creative and interesting game going, so I'm sure you can find some way for your character to reestablish a flow of power--perhaps finding some artifact, harvesting power from their former master, finding a new (and competing?) master, or perhaps abandoning the path of the Warlock and pursing a new way to gain power (the path of the Wizard or Bard perhaps?).

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    \$\begingroup\$ in an RP standpoint, you gain power through a pact so why couldn't the being stop giving you the power? Mechanics say it can't but RP it makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Oct 23 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66: RP-wise, the warlock patron gives the warlock knowledge, unlike the cleric's god who gives the cleric power directly. So unlike a cleric whose power can be directly taken away if the cleric's god stops favoring them, the warlock's existing knowledge remains even if the relationship with the patron is ended. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Oct 23 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I just don't see that anywhere in the text of a warlock. Maybe it was stated elsewhere than the PHB. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Oct 23 at 18:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes extra sense to me for the Hexblade, given that the example patron is Blackrazor, who gives the warlock spellcasting ability which it itself lacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Benjamin Olson Oct 23 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66: "More often, though, the arrangement is similar to that between a master and an apprentice. The warlock learns and grows in power, at the cost of occasional services performed on the patron’s behalf." The power that the Warlock gains is their own, their patron just helps them grow. It is not implied that the Warlock is merely channelling their patron's power. Such is the Warlock's thirst for power, they would never settle for borrowing. \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Oct 23 at 22:27

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