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I have a Warlock in my group that rarely ever gets his pact blade out, since it takes an action to summon it. Given that drawing a regular weapon doesn't even take a bonus action, is there anything in the rules that could break if I allow the weapon to be summoned using a bonus action instead?

The use case is to seem as harmless as possible - none of the Warlocks features are openly visible or rely on bulky equipment. But if there is a fight, time is of the essence and wasting a round's action on calling the weapon seems too ineffective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 The issue is that weighting the options of casting a spell or wasting an action on calling the blade and then attacking in the second turn make the pact weapon a rather unattractive option until the character gets his hands on a good magic weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neuneck
    Sep 24 '15 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ But why would summoning the weapon be a problem at all? Just summon it as soon as you wake up, and keep it all day long. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25 '15 at 6:30
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There might be some synergy issues with other melee or Warlock abilities- Hex is a nice potential chunk of Warlock DPR and takes a Bonus Action to cast/retarget, while Polearm Mastery's extra attack or Great Weapon Fighting's cleave also take that extra attack. But if your Warlock is willing to give that up, I don't see much problem.

That said, I can't tell from your question if your Warlock knows s/he doesn't need to resummon the weapon every combat? Once the weapon is summoned, it stays with the character like any regular weapon, and can be safely sheathed or stowed like a regular sword/axe/spear/staff/hammer or whatever. I don't have my book on hand to find the quote, but the pact weapon is only dismissed by staying a certain distance from the warlock for a minute, or by the Warlock's conscious choice (no action required). This shouldn't be any more of a problem than a fighter drawing his sword.

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It may take an action to summon it, but nobody told you that you could not have summoned it before it gets nasty, the nice thing about the summoning is, you can always choose a new weapon, but you do not necessarily have to dismiss it (for style, maybe you have to).

So, if it is not because of style, the warlock should be aware that he does not have to resummon his weapon and can carry it somewhere before the combat started.

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I recently ran a campaign where I used this houserule and there did not seem to be any major balance issues.

The biggest impact it had was after discussing the change with the player he decided not to take Shocking Grasp as one of his spells. Since he always had access to a melee weapon on command he no longer felt the need to take a melee spell for the situations where he couldn't get away and start Eldrich Blasting.

This campaign was quick and brutal. The Warlock in question did not live past level 4, so I cannot say with certainty it remains balanced at higher levels when the Warlock has access to more abilities and magic items.

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The biggest problem with it is that it would encroach on the abilities of other classes, specifically the Eldritch Knight. The warlock, of any pact, was designed to get most of their damage output from the Eldritch Blast cantrip. Not from their familiar, not from their pact weapon. The pact benefits are designed to give the warlock greater versatility, not completely change their role in combat. Making the pact weapon even more versatile makes the Eldritch Knight less attractive as it becomes less unique.

That said, if there is not an Eldritch Knight in the same group, this becomes fairly inconsequential. Homebrewing this is not going to upset encounter balance.

However, might I suggest that the warlock simply summon the pact weapon before combat begins to avoid the whole issue?

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I'm a bit late to the party, but I homebrewed it so that my player could summon the pact weapon as a bonus action the first turn of combat.
Of course you could have summoned it beforehand but its way more badass to make the weapon appear at the start of combat and the versatility for the price of a bonus action is fair I think.

The warlocks misses the chance to cast hex during the first round, but if you do that to be cool its ok. :D

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you see any change in the comparative power of the Warlock when this was done, from session to session? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12 '20 at 1:27

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