I am starting a campaign and I am looking to play a pact of the blade warlock.

So at first I was thinking of creating a human character in order to get 1st level feat finesse which would allow me to boost my dexterity and overall gain in both AC and in attack rolls.

The problem is that, the only simple weapon which can be used with "finesse" is a dagger; this gives 15 AC (studded leather + 3) and 1d4 + 3 on attack rolls, which is lower than I'd like.

Pact weapon states that the wielder of the pact weapon is proficient with the weapon created by this magical means

I wasn't happy with my initial plan, so started investigating an alternative I read about which is creating a mountain dwarf instead in order to get proficiency with medium armor.

Practically I could dump dexterity boosting and "finesse" and go for strength instead. I could gain a higher AC from a decent medium armor (half-plate) plus I am going to be able to use non-finesse weapons (say a quarterstaff). This will result in 18 AC and 1d6+3 on attack rolls.

Dwarves are proficient with certain weapons like battleaxe, warhammer etc. Can a warlock use weapons as such or not because of the "simple weapons" class restriction?

EDIT: For documentation purposes, I 'll leave this here: There is no finesse feat in 5e but rather finesse as a weapon attribute

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    \$\begingroup\$ You seem to have a misconception about finesse weapons. There is no feat requirement (and no feat called "Weapon Finesse" at all) to use them in D&D 5. It's a weapon property only. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not in 5e, there's not, nor do feats have levels. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2016 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ To clarify: There is no feat called Finesse in 5e. Finesse is only a weapon property. If you wield a Finesse weapon in 5e, you can use your dex mod instead of your strength mod for attack and damage. You don't need any feat to do this, only proficiency with the Finesse weapon. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Sep 21, 2016 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ While the title question seems clear enough, there are several incorrect assumptions about how the rules of 5e work here that I really don't know what the actual problem the OP is trying to solve is. I think the problem is about weapon choice for warlocks at low level. OP, if you're trying to get advice about what weapon to use as a low-level warlock, I suggest you make a new question focused on that. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Sep 22, 2016 at 7:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question has deviated so much from its original form. The original question was answerable, and the new form I believe is answerable. It went through many different versions. I think some of those versions weren't answerable as a stack question. I suggest revert this question back to the question about proficiency and opening a new question about the comparison of the two builds. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2016 at 15:24

3 Answers 3


Anyone can use any weapon or wear any armor.

Proficiency is overall character proficiency, and doesn't have to come from class, but can come from race. Even if you weren't proficient, you can still use any weapon or armor you like -- but there are drawbacks to using equipment you're not trained in.

Armor Proficiency

If you aren't proficient in an armor you are wearing you suffer the following side-effects (PHB 144):

If you wear armor that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can't cast spells.

Since the dawrven sub-race gives you proficiency in armor, you won't suffer the ill effects as your proposed dwarf.

Weapon Proficiency

Using a weapon you're not profiecent would give you the following side-effects (PHB 146):

Proficiency with a weapon allows you lo add your proficiency bonus lo the attack roll for any attack you make with that weapon. If you make an attack roll using a weapon with which you lack proficiency, you do not add your proficiency bonus lo the attack roll.

Your dwarf, though he is a Warlock, would be proficient in all weapons for which the race gives you proficiency. So, he would be able to add his bonus to attack rolls.

Pact of Blade

Moreover, any weapon you create or bond with you gain proficiency in, once you gain your Pact Boon and select Pact of Blade (PHB 107):


You can use your action lo create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon lakes each time you create it (see chapter 5 for weapon options). You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity lo non-magical attacks and damage.

This might make the human build viable if you can use other weapons until you get to level 3.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This to me seems like it's not addressing the core of the question, and that is comparing a STR and a DEX build for a bladelock. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    Sep 22, 2016 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I noticed the question changed after my comment. There isn't really any way to prevent these kind of situations except holding on to an answer until the question is clear (asking for clarifications in comments is highly recommended). In this case, as it is on hold, I'd say the best course of action is to wait for it to be reopened, which would signal that it reached a decent form. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    Sep 22, 2016 at 15:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Point buy allows for a 16 in both Cha and Dex, and would change this build. The other benefit of the Dex build is better initiative, better attempts at hide/stealth. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2016 at 17:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Korvin, Yes there would be other benifits to both, but that wasn't in the question, it was about HP, AC, Attack, and Damage. Yes, point buy would be different (as would rolling), but since the question didn't specify I picked one. Now, I might remove it as the question was reverted. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2016 at 17:21

Racial proficiencies are in addition to class features/proficiencies

Choosing warlock will not remove racial proficiency in armor or weapons.

Before you abandon that human ...

... make sure that you know how Pact of the Blade works. (SRD p. 47/ PHB p. 107-108)

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Specific over General

This means that if you wanted to summon as your blade pact weapon a rapier or a short sword, then the specific rule of Pact of the Blade will override the general rule on simple weapons: the short sword does 1d6(piercing) and the rapier does 1d8 (piercing) and are both finesse weapons. If you use your summoned short sword or rapier, then you are proficient with it. If you try to use another martial weapon, then you are not proficient.

Your dwarf plan will work

The choice of battleaxe would work as well, for your dwarf. You will have fewer bonuses to Hide, Stealth and Initiative, however, if that matters for your play style.

Your class and race proficiencies combine

If you are an elf

You have proficiency with longsword, shotsword, shortbow, longbow

regardless of class.
If you are a dwarf

You have proficiency with the battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer, and warhammer

If you are a mountain dwarf, you gain medium armor proficiency regardless of class. Choosing to be a warlock will not overwrite your racial benefits.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @J. A. Streich I concluded that a variant humn build + finesse is overall better in terms of stats, AC and rolls. \$\endgroup\$
    – user8393
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:56


First off, the most important feature of the Pact Blade feature is

You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it. You are proficient with it while you wield it.

The main thing here is that if you choose to go Pact of the Blade, you will be proficient with your pact weapon, which can take the form of any melee weapon. So long as you're ok with having a single weapon at a time, the pact essentially frees you from any melee proficiency.

Second, the Warlock proficiency in simple weapons is not a restriction. The proficiencies from race, class, background, and the like are all additive. Thus, the weapon proficiencies you gain from Hill Dwarf racial traits are in addition to the simple weapon proficiencies granted by Warlock.