View Full Version : Hexblade character optimization

2009-02-05, 12:11 AM
Looking for help optimizing a character
Human Hexblade 8/Spellthief 1/ ???
Starting at first level, taking 1 level of spellthief at 9th level along with the master spellthief feat.
DM is letting me use both dark companion variant and Mike Mearls upgrades, featured here:
He is allowing up to 2 flaws which can be chosen from UA as well as the Swashbuckling Adventures book.
He is also letting me count the hex feats from dragon 339 as feats I can take with the hexblade bonus feats.
Setting is Ebberon

The character concept is a ladies-man gambling type akin to Gambit, who believes he gets his powers from "Lady Luck"

2009-02-05, 12:42 AM
That fix really makes me wonder what's motivating you to actually take levels in the Hexblade class past level 4. It seems like you get all your daily uses from level 1 on and the save DC becomes much less important.

I would recommend replacing your Hexblade levels with Abjurant Champion levels (CM) after Hex 5. The AC capstone will increase your CL, which will make both your casting and your Master Spellthief feat more effective. Also, I would make sure to take the Spellthief level at level 1 to maximize your skill points.

And what are you trying to do? Right now I'm going to assume curses are your schtick. If that's the case, take the PHB2 Dark Companion variant. It's a free -2 debuff to all enemy saving throws. If you want a familiar, CArcane's Obtain Familiar feat is actually better than the class ability. You might give that a look, maybe picking it up later on.

I would recommend Able Learner (RoD) to get the most out of that Spellthief dip. It'll give you some better uses for yer skill points during your Hexblade levels.

If you're running a high BAB, Power Attack is going to be your friend. With Charismatic characters like a Spellthief/Hexblade, I like Combat Panache from PHB2. You might have to stretch for the skill points.

I've found Hexblade meshes well with Binder. If you can do that, especially if you use Knight of the Sacred Seal, many of the vestiges' abilities let you make the most of your high Charisma and save debuffs. Some (Focalor, I think) even improve them.

And I'll look up the feats, maybe throwing in other ideas later.

[edit:]Also: Sudden Stunning Weapons (DMG2, I think)--Get one!

And Curse of Paranoia seems pretty okay.

And you might think about the Anvil of Thunder and Three Mountains combat styles (CW). They're have strength-based 1-round disablement effects with a save. AoT Requires you to TWF with a Hammer and an Axe and has some pretty nasty prerequisites. Three Mountains is more reasonable--you just have to use a heavy cudgel and some pretty standard Power Attack feats (Improved Bull Rush and Cleave). And Weapon Focus (it might be worth it, especially if you go the Binder route). There's also Brutal Strike from the PHB2--if you hit something with a bludgeoning weapon, it gets a save based on your damage or becomes Shaken (Sickened? I don't remember).

Keld Denar
2009-02-05, 05:53 AM
Unfortunately for the evil thing, but Blackguard is actually a pretty sweet PrC to head into for a Hexblade. Their Command Undead feature gives access to [Divine] feats like Divine Might (Cha to damage) and the Sneak Attack opens up the Craven feat (+character level to damage) while maintaining high BAB (great for PAing). See if you can stretch some of the awesome new Pally spells from Spell Compendium onto the BG list (with a little reflaver, Righteous Fury becomes Unholy Fervor, etc). Aura of Dispair is then pretty awesome combined with your Dark Companion (-4 saves, no save) which you stack before cursing (another -2 saves). If you want to be a total badass, pick up Dreadful Wrath(PGtF) or Frightful Presence (Draconomicon) and instill fear when you attack or charge. The Shacken condition causes another -2 to all saves. Then you can hit with the above mentioned 3 Mountains combat style, your save DC will be incredible due to all of the penalties you've imposed. Your foe won't have any choice but to be nausiated by you, which means that they can't attack you back. Its pretty much awesome.

2009-02-05, 11:41 AM
I've been compiling a tank handbook. Here are my suggestions from the Hexblade related material:


Frightful Presence or Dreadful Wrath feats: Fear effect.

Combat Panache: Make an Intimidate check to impose your Cha bonus as a penalty to hit against one enemy until the end of the encounter. In addition, after any enemy hits you, you can make a Bluff check to play dead (but not actually be dead, thus your penalties persist, and enemies ignore you while you heal or whatnot). PHBII pg 93.

Goad feat: Enemy must Save or attack just you, and not your squishy friends. Comp Adventurer pg 109.

Improved Familiar: Drastically improves your familiar.

Improved Unarmed Strike -> Improved Grapple -> Scorpion's Grasp: Free Grapple check whenever you hit an enemy. Grapple is probably the best way to lock down a single enemy, and you can use Fear effects ward off mobs. Remember, even after you're Grappled, you can use your iterative attacks to make more Grapple checks (to Pin your enemy or deal more damage) and the penalties you impose through Hex and Fear and other feats usually apply to opposed checks and Skills. Scorpion's Grasp is from Sandstorm.

If you want to be more offensive, then Netherese Battle Curse (www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20050202a), Brutal Strike, and Three Mountains will certainly work. But my opinion is that you should focus on defense and debuffs. If you go Blackguard, that opens up a ton of very useful Divine and Sneak Attack feat options.


Subjugating weapon enhancement: Enemy must make a DC 20 Will Save or be Shaken for 5 rounds. Stacks with other Fear effects, but not with itself. +2 bonus. Heroes of Battle pg 130.

Sudden Stunning weapon enhancement: When you hit enemy, they must Save or be Stunned for 1d4+1 rounds. Usable 1 + Cha bonus times per day. 2,000 gp, DMG II pg 261.

Spell Storing Weapon: Have a friend put another debuff spell into it. +1, Core.

Slippers of Battledancing: +10 land speed, +5 competence bonus to Tumble, and if you have 5 ranks in Perform (dance) you can use your Cha instead of Str or Dex as your bonus to attack with one handed or light weapons. 33,750 gp, DMGII pg 272.

Mithrilmist Shirt: +2 Mithril Shirt that also provides 20% concealment and Gaseous Form. 21,300 gp, Complete Arcane pg 142.

Fearsome armor enhancement: May Demoralize as a Move Action. 2,500 gp, Drow of the Underdark pg 97.

Tabard of Valor: When reduced to 50% hit points or less, you gain Mettle. If you already have Mettle, you gain Improved Mettle. 16,000 gp, Complete Champion pg 142.

Spellguard Rings: Allows you to ignore the spells cast by an ally. For example, they could lob a Fireball at a group of enemies even though you’re standing in the middle of them without effecting you. 4,000 gp, Complete Mage pg 127.

Cloak of Charisma (www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Cloak_of_Charisma): Buy the most expensive one you can afford. Your Cha should be your highest stat, and you should put all of your points from levels into it as well. Core.

Crystal Mask of Dread: +10 competence bonus to your intimidate skill for 10.000 gp, Magic Item Compendium. You can make custom magic items that grant competence bonuses for bonus squared * 100 gp. DMG.

Chain of Obeisance: +2 Unholy Spiked Chain. If you successfully Pin your enemy in a Grapple (which will be easy thanks to Alter Self abuse and help from your Familiar), they must make a DC 22 Will Save (which you will make impossible through your debuffs) or be dominated as per Dominate Monster. Requires True Believer feat and 13 HD, so you can't take it yet. And it's not a one handed weapon, so you can't use it with Slippers of Battledancing. But if you decide to go with a Hexblade Grapple build, this is the way to go. 35,600 gp, Complete Divine pg 94.


Screw Power Attack: Your goal is not to deal damage, because you're not very good at it. Your goal is to be a meatshield and debuff the enemy as much as possible, and let the casters kill them. If you want to be a cannon, play something else.

Get a Familiar: Your Familiar shares your BAB and can Share Spells. This makes him ridiculously easy to buff, essentially giving you two characters to control. The easiest method is to take the Improved Familiar feat and abuse Alter Self (forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=176246). For example you could turn into a Tren (+8 natural armor, claws, bite, multiattack), and your familiar could turn into a Fleshraker (exactly what it sounds like) or something with Poison (remember, your enemy's Save sucks). But even without Alter Self, you have some potent options available. If you really want the PHBII variant, then you can still have a familiar by taking the Obtain Familiar feat.

Learn to Demoralize (http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archive/index.php/t-911167): Works extremely well against enemies that are subject to Fear. Remember, Fear effects from different sources stack unless they explicitly say otherwise.

Mundane Debuffs: Nets, razor nets, lasso are touch attacks (don't even bother with proficiency). Each imposes a -4 penalty to Dex. Penalties from different sources stack. An enemy with 0 Dex is helpless, and you can Coup de Grace them.

Party Face: You're great at it, and Skills are ridiculously easy to boost. Search for Diplomancer on this board and gleemax and spend ten minutes reading about it.

Take One for the Team: The first round of each combat, use all of your debuffs (especially Combat Panache) against the worst enemy. Goad them into attacking you. He'll miss, a lot. If you're really in trouble, you can play dead or go into Gaseous Form.

Go into Blackguard: Master Spellthief doesn't work like you probably think it does. It only drains spells, it doesn't let you use them. So you're probably much better off going Hexblade 4/Fighter 2/Blackguard X. Blackguard synergizes ridiculously well with Hexblade. Keld has already given some great advice, and I have some additional tips if you decide to go that way.

Learn to Use Wands: Once you take one level of a class you can use spell trigger items for any spell on their spell list without having to make a UMD check, even if you can't currently cast that spell. So there's really not much of a benefit to going strait Hexblade if you're going to be using the same 2-4 spells every day. 1-3 levels of Marshal (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20030906b) for your Cha bonus to Cha checks (and Str checks, if you use a Grapple build) would be a good idea as well.

I think everything I've suggested can be found on crystalkeep or the links I posted. Obviously, you won't be able to afford all of the feats and equipment I suggest, you'll have to choose what works best for you. Let me know if you have any questions.