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I'm trying to build a dual wielding warlock. I'm thinking:

Fighter 1

  • Armor skills
  • Two weapon fighting

Warlock 1-19

  • Fiend
  • Pact of the Blade (duh.)
  • Max DEX and CHA
  • Talking my DM into letting me summon 2 rapiers
  • Thirsting blade (giving me 4 attacks per turn, two per pact blade)
  • even more damage from Lifedrinker

Something along those lines on the offense. I haven't looked too far into Bladelock defense yet. I should probably add I've just recently started playing D&D and am not yet quite accustomed with the rules and customs. Now I see some problems with this build.

  1. I want to play as a half-orc that is all about selling his soul for power and revenge and whatnot, and getting up close and personal, unleashing his inner demon. (see warcraft) The hack-and-slash kind of fighting style. This means I'd much rather take two battleaxes. Even just the thought of modern style fencing makes this build nigh unplayable to me. Even Scimitars would be better, but those are 1d6.
  2. Getting two pact blades. But my DM is cool. I think.
  3. Applying Thirsting blade to both of them. I don't have access to the rules right now to look up the proper wording.
  4. Bonus action conflicts between Darkness, Hex and offhand attack. Or can I use multiple bonus actions per turn? Do I have a general misconception of how they work?

 

  1. Is this DW Warlock build feasible or am I overlooking major flaws?
  2. How does it compare to eg. this build, DPR-wise?
  3. How does it do survivability-wise?

Whew, first question on rpg.se and I took up D&D only recently, thanks for answers and comments. What I was looking for was the tag , and the hint that optimization based on house rules is not something this site can or should do. Also, that I was actually looking for something like a Highest DPR Dual Wield Warlock, STR or DEX based, which is probably going to be my next question after I've taken it to chat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The last bit about an established dual wield warlock build might be pushing it, but the other 2 look OK. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Nov 9 '15 at 16:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ You cannot compare this build to any other build because it requires the "yes" of your DM on the second pact weapon, which the rules clearly state is not allowed. Even if the DM were to say yes, it would fall under house-rules. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Nov 10 '15 at 10:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 ...and that is why this question is not really suited for rpg.se, because no one else can really benefit from it, unless we all cater strictly to the rules. I see, thanks for the clarification. I got some downvotes but didn't understand why. \$\endgroup\$ – ammut Nov 10 '15 at 14:41
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Yes, you are overlooking some major flaws

I'm only going to address the Major Flaws you're concerned with, since the rest is subjective to both your game play and how people play the class. This should help you get through at least a couple of misconceptions you have.

  1. Pact Weapon (PHB. pg 108) - You can only have one of these, and due to that, Thirsting Blade can only be used with your one pact weapon. If your DM does happen to allow you to take two pact weapons, that's cool, but is clearly a house rule. Make sure your DM knows about the wording of Thirsting Blade with respect to Pact Weapons.
  2. You have only one bonus action possible per turn (PHB. pg 189). If you have many abilities that use the bonus action (Cunning action, offhand attack, specific spells, etc) you have to choose which ONE to use.
  3. Survival wise - largely dependent on magical item availability, your feats, and potion use. If you take fighter at level 1, you'll have higher hit points to start, but your saves will leave you mentally vulnerable. That's why I recommend Archfey pact below, to remove that problem.

The following part is only my opinion on the build itself, and where I would make changes to better fit your stated style of play.

Personal build recommendations:

  1. Take 3 levels of fighter to become an Eldritch Knight so you can have weapon bond (two weapons bonded, functions very similar to Weapon Pact, allowing for 3 summonable weapons.)
  2. Instead of Fiend, use Archfey as patron because the up close abilities and immunity to charm are superior for an up close fighter. Especially since Misty Escape gives you a free exit in overwhelming situations.
  3. Feats - Heavy Armor Mastery, Tough.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another advantage of going with an Archfey patron is that you may have more latitude re: alignment than with a Fiend, depending on your DM's vision of how feylocks work. \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 9 '15 at 23:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the Questioners stated goal of maximizing dexterity and charisma, and two weapon fighting with rapiers, the Heavy Armor Mastery and Tough feats are insufficient. Since Rapiers aren't light, RAW would prevent the use of the bonus action to attack with the off hand (PHB 195); Dual Wielder solves that, while also increasing AC and allowing for drawing both blades. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Nov 10 '15 at 1:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem with Eldritch Knight's bonded weapons are, that they dont benefit from Lifedrinker and Thirsting Blade. \$\endgroup\$ – ammut Nov 10 '15 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fiend is superior to Archfey, the temporary hit points help a lot with survivability, especially with the low Con he can afford. \$\endgroup\$ – András Sep 1 '17 at 9:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Getting the temp hp from fiend is actually fairly difficult since YOU have to reduce the target to 0 hp. As for temp hp, that's what armor of agathys is for. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Sep 1 '17 at 12:13
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As a side note, you can wield two axes using the Dual Weapon Fighting feat (allows you to wield 2 one-handed weapons instead of light weapons) and also gives you a nifty +1 AC to boot. Downside is that axes are not finessable which means you'll need Strength to hit.

If you start in Fighter though, you have access to heavier armors which means you can neglect Dexterity a bit and max out Strength, which makes your AC fairly solid. Depending on what Warlock Invocations you pick up, you can be fairly durable too (False Life at will comes to mind).

Another thing that may or may not come up depending on how strict your DM is, is how you cast your spells. Spells with a Somatic (S) component require the use of one free hand and since you're dual wielding, you won't have that immediately available - though you could sheath, cast, then draw the weapon again in the same turn.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome to Stack Exchange. Your answer reads a lot like a continuation of a discussion, rather than a direct answer to the question being asked. I'd recommend taking the tour and possibly checking out the help center if you have further queries about how this site works. \$\endgroup\$ – Aiken Nov 10 '15 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aiken While it's phrased as a comment, it pretty much stands on its own and seems like a better answer than the accepted one anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 10 '15 at 21:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I was a bit on the fence regarding this so I restrained myself to just leaving a comment. It's certainly not a flagrant non-answer but I think it could be a lot more direct as it reads more like a meandering discussion of options than a recommended course of action. There are lots of 'If's, 'Can's and 'Depending on's which may be guilty of nothing more than rubbing me the wrong way. Either way my involvement ends here, directing a new user towards the tour and help center was my main purpose in leaving the comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Aiken Nov 12 '15 at 13:01
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Another option for a decent sword slinging DX based warlock is to start out as a rogue to get the proficiency in Short Sword/Scimitar, which is both light and finesse, which you will need for Sneak Attack from Rogue and to allow two-weapon fighting at LVL1 without a feat. Dagger also qualifies, but only does 1D4, but it can be thrown, so have one available!

Race could be Elf, if you want to start as Warlock as they have Short Sword proficiency from the race and is not a bad choice with +2 to DX, but any other race needs to start as Rogue to get the Short Sword proficiency needed and Half-elf is a great choice with the +2 to CH and +1 to DX and CN are the obvious other choices for Rogue/Warlocks.

RAW (Rules As Written) state that any character can have two attacks with two light weapons using their bonus action. (see Light weapon description PHB p. 148 and this from PHB p. 196) "When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative. If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

Bonus actions are not something you need to earn or gain via a class or ability, the limitation is simply this. You have only one bonus action per turn and can only do things with the flag of "bonus action". Anyone could use a bonus action if they had an ability, spell, etc that must be used as a bonus action. Here's the Dice: SS = Short Sword 1D6, SA = Sneak Attack 1D6 at Rogue Lvl1, Let's assume Dex is moderately high 16 or 17 +3 to hit and damage with Finesse weapons.

So, starting off as a Rogue, LVL1, you get yourself two short shorts, each with 1D6 damage. The first attack gets, if qualified, the Sneak damage and Dex bonus to damage, second attack does not get Dx damage bonus. Assuming you hit both times, you just did 3D6 +3 damage or average 14 HP. Not bad for a 1st Lvl Rogue. But now things are going to get interesting as you multi-class into Warlock and take Hex as one of our two first Lvl Spells. Hex will add addition 1D6 to EACH attack you hit on, so that same scenario of hitting twice with your two short short while Hex is in effect on the creature(s) you attack your damage just became 5D6+3 ((SS1 + SA+ HEX +DX) +SS2 + HEX) or 21HP average. Now you can either continue with Rogue and gain an additional 1D6 every time you hit an odd numbered level or since this is about Pact of the Blade, continuing with Warlock to Level 3, my preference is to go with the Fiend for the synergy of Dark One's Blessing of tmp HP upon slaying foes, but other patrons still work great for Blade, Fey if your not an elf is a great choice.

Assuming we stayed at Rogue Lvl1 and when straight to on through Warlock Lvls bumping our DX up to 18 (+4) at Warlock4, and take the Eldritch Invocation of Thirsty Blade Lvl5 we now get another attack. This is where it gets a little tricky, but conservatively, this would work. To have the two main attacks and the bonus attack, RAW state that we must have light weapons, so we will make our Pact Blade a Short Sword. Why choose a weapon that only does 1D6 when we could use a Great Sword for 2D6? Because we are still trying to take advantage of our Rogue Sneak attack. You may be able to argue for a Rapier and go to 1D8 for your pact weapon, but it really doesn't change the coming numbers much. All those D6's really start to add up!

So, here's the numbers at Rogue1/Warlock5: SS1 + SA + Hex + DX + SS2 + HEX +DX + SS3 + HEX or 7D6 + 8. That's 32.5 Average. Now, we continue to increase Rogue to squeeze another D6 each couple of Levels. At Rogue3/Warlock5, it's 8D8 +8 now with 2D6 for our SA and if we choose to be an assassin, that first attack is an auto crit on surprise with SS + HEX + SA +DX or 8D6+4 for the assassin blow!

At Rogue4/Warlock5, we can bump DEX again to 20, to make our three attacks total 8D6 +10! At rogue5/Warlock5, SA goes to 3D6 and all three attacks with hits now total 9D6 +10. Now, granted, we are not always going to be able to use our bonus action as a third attack. That drops 2d6 for the numbers above when you need to use your bonus action for something other than the 2nd attack prior to Warlock5 or third attack thereafter.

All the while, if we also started with a decent Charisma of 16 or more, we have also been able to deal damage at a distance with Eldritch Blast for 1d10 at Lvl1 and get to add our CH bonus if we take Agonizing Blast Invocation at Lvl2 for 1d10+3. At Warlock5, it jumps to 2d10+6 (separate attack roles for each beam) for average of 14HP.

The big downside of this build is that lack of good armor and without a decent CON, you will not be able to maintain concentration on HEX or last in the melee. However, there are many other synergies with Fiendish Vigor invocation, Armor of Agathys, and if your DM allows feats(optional), forgo a DX bump for a CN bump, or go with Moderately Armored feat and/or Dual Wielder feat which allows you to go to two rapiers or a rapier for your SA pact weapon and another non-light weapon in the offhand and gain +1 to AC.

Also, continuing on in Rogue gives you Stat bumps at 4,8,10,12, along with the two others for Warlock at 4 and 8, so you'd get 6 stat bumps and/or feats if allowed by your DM. Which, by the way is the only way you get them. A lot of folks post that they would get a bump at Rogue1/Warlock3 (character LVL4), but that is NOT how it works in the RAW. Also, you only get the new proficiencies of the new class as shown on PHB p.164-164. You do total your levels for proficiency bonuses at character lvl 5, 9, etc and for Cantrip Damage.

All the while, you still have all the spells and abilities of a warlock along the way and all the cool stuff you get as a rogue, like the cunning action, expertise in skills, uncanny dodge and thieve's picks and tools, making you a very versatile character.

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