0
\$\begingroup\$

I've been inspired to make an Eldritch Invocation for warlocks that allows you to use the damage from eldritch blast, and make use of it like the dice rolled for sleep:

Eldritch Slumber

Prerequisites: eldritch blast cantrip

When you cast eldritch blast, instead of rolling 1d10 per beam, you make any spell attacks as normal and roll 2d10 per beam (plus any additional modifiers from additional abilities or critical hits). Rather than deal damage, the number rolled per beam is instead the number of hit points of creatures that beam can affect. You may target the same creature with additional beams, but the effects do not stack.

All affected creatures are rendered unconscious, until a number of rounds have passed equal to your charisma modifier, the sleeper takes damage, or someone uses an action to shake or slap the sleeper awake.

Balance Assessment

I think this is balanced because while you do not affect many creatures, you can cast it at will. At higher levels, this scales but should not past the usefulness of the original cantrip.

It also feels like where sleep affects 5d8+2d8/level, other damaging effects of the same level deal half as much damage. It stands to reason if eldritch blast deals 1d10+1d10/4 levels, sending twice as many hit points of creatures to sleep is fair, but still behind what sleep can do.

I've tried to word it so that you can't stack beams together, but I don't know if that is too big of a nerf. Also as Eldritch Blast doesn't have a duration, I have supplied one.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ How does "roll twice as many di[c]e" interact with additional damage dice, such as from hex or other features? \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Jul 15 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret I believe substantial question edits in response to answers is somewhat frowned upon here, since it makes the answers useless (they don't make sense anymore) \$\endgroup\$ – J.E Jul 15 at 14:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @J.E To a degree, worse if they substantially change the content of the question (which therefore invalids answers, as you say), but in this case, I think we're on the right side of the line, just adding clarification. I didn't need to change much of my answer (if anything, I mostly just added to it based on the new information, and only took a little away that was basically just asking about missing details anyway, such as a lack of duration, etc). \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 15 at 14:51
7
\$\begingroup\$

In practice, this is just adding 1d10 "damage" to eldritch blast

The trouble with this invocation, as I see it, is that it is a free mini sleep spell, and the problem with that is that, unless you are fighting a horde of minions with really low HP, sleep is more often (in my experience) used to put an injured enemy to sleep, whose HP you think is probably below the average of 5d8, thereby taking them out of the fight.

If you can do this for free, then instead of blasting someone for 1d10, you will instead blast them for 2d10 (if you think their HP is low enough that it'll work) and hope that it puts them to sleep. This gets even worse if you manage to land a critical hit, since now that's 4d10, against one enemy, at which point this is outpacing the sleep spell (of course, you still have to roll that critical hit, but the chance is there, unlike with the sleep spell).

Unless they have friends to wake them up, this puts them out of the fight, which means you can just crit them after the fight (since the fight likely won't last more than a few rounds after this point), or even during the fight, to take them down to 0 HP. Even if they are woken up by allies, or they wake up a few rounds later and you're still fighting, you can just do it again next turn.

Just to make that more explicit; the reason I said above "this is just adding 1d10 "damage" to eldritch blast" is because with 2d10, you have a higher chance of taking someone out of the fight that the 1d10 from using eldritch blast "normally". The fact that they are asleep rather than dead doesn't matter that much, especially as you can just cast it each turn to keep them out of the fight.

This only gets worse at higher levels. Although it's not an area of effect like sleep, it can target creatures individually, which means if you roll low on the first beam and don't send creature #1 to sleep, you can just try again, either at the same creature or a different one, and the poor roll on the previous beam doesn't affect the next beam's rolls, whereas sleep has to share from the same pool. With Agonizing Blast, each beam is dealing between 7 and 25 points of "sleep" damage (assuming CHA of 20), across four beams once we're into Tier 4.

Therefore, at higher levels, this could potentially have a better chance of putting more creatures to sleep than the sleep spell (although it possibly can't compete with an upcast sleep spell, but upcasting sleep just makes it more expensive, whereas this is a cantrip we're comparing it to).

Furthermore, is it intended to affect all beams of eldritch blast at higher levels, or can you switch between "normal blasts" and "sleep blasts"? For example, a high level warlock going "blast, blast, blast, sleep" for 3d10+15 damage, then a sleep effect on the weakened enemy, would be a pretty strong combo for one action that costs them no resources.

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also edited in that you can't stack the beams, so that means if someone has <25hp, you can have 4 attempts at making them sleep, but not if they had 100hp (25*4). I'm not sure if you have considered that? As it stands, not adding additional damage means you may as well just kill them with your blast damage. \$\endgroup\$ – AncientSwordRage Jul 15 at 14:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret No, that's fine. My answer always held the assumption that you can't stack the beams. My answer hinges on the fact that killing them with 1d10 vs. putting them to sleep with 2d10 isn't much different regarding the ultimate outcome, hence the "it's basically just an extra 1d10" argument. The last three paragraphs also describe how multiple beams exacerbates the issue, but again, assuming that each beam is its own beam, no stacking. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 15 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes sense. I'm finding it hard to figure out a way to balance this invocation then. I was hoping to be able to emulate sleep without breaking things, but the difference between a cantrip and a 1st level spell seems to be too great. Would it change matters if I made this more limited, maybe tacking on "Once you use this feature, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest." ? \$\endgroup\$ – AncientSwordRage Jul 15 at 14:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Hmm, well at minimum, making it a "once per short or long rest" invocation would go a long way, since then it's not much different from just casting sleep regarding resources, it's at worst like you have a free spell slot, but one that can only be used for sleep. You can still do all the things that my answer says it can do, but it now costs something, so you've got to be a bit more thoughtful as to when you use it. I'm not sure if that's enough, but I think that would go a long way... In fact, this reminds me of stuff like "bewitching blast" from 3.5e (by which I mean NWN2)... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 15 at 15:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @stevenjackson121 However, if you keep putting someone to sleep, that takes them out of the fight, and if they keep getting woken up, that's also taking up another creature's action, so that's still quite an effective way of potentially tying up two hostile creatures in one fight (depending on the initiative order) whilst only costing you your action. Also remember that, unless one of their friends keeps taking their action to wake them up, that enemy you put to sleep is staying asleep for CHA * rounds. Finally, it goes without saying that the average of 1d10 + CHA is less than 2d10 + CHA. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 15 at 15:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.