Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
Spoiler: danse macabre
EW with PAM, sentinel and lifedrinker does not fall that far behind, making some broad assumptions about how often you can count on that reaction (from either PAM or sentinel) and about hit chance. But if falls behind, and moreover the dance macabre build does not really have to rely on feats like sentinel and PAM or wait for lifedrinker. Damage wise, and speaking completely theoretically, I don't see any way beating danse macabre. And the awesome thing about it is that it lasts for one hour, so in most cases you could theoretically count on that one casting to go from short rest to short rest, leaving you more spell slots to spare for other stuff. In fact, we could use it on a hexblade as well, and still take stuff like sentinel and lifedrinker if we really wanted to, just for the sake of comparing with the EW hexblade PAM, sentinel build. That will further increase the dpr difference somewhat, also making less important the accuracy of our assumption regarding how often our reaction attacks proc. And it still leaves us with one more feat, which we could use to boos our charisma to 20 (I've been using 18 charisma at lvl 12 for comparisons, cause I included resilient con for every build), or perhaps in better ways. In short, yeah, the dpr potential of danse macabre is very good, and the duration really solves a lot of problems regarding our spellcasting.

And while in theory it seems the perfect warlock spell to me, I have second thoughts about how effective it really is in actual play. That's because of how fragile the minions are, especially at these levels. And especially if the plan is to go with danse macabre through multiple encounters (for me, that adds a LOT of value to this spell). How have you seen it hold up? I am asking cause I haven't used it (or undead minions at these levels). I am thinking that spending a feat n inspiring leader would really help with that spell. Cause our minions have great attack bonus and good damage, though their hp really need some boosting. And if we are planning on going through multiple encounters with this spell, then inspiring leader would really help with keeping that added dpr high, cause our minions would be better at surviving. Plus, the added hp play well with if you ever want to send them in melee (cause if the DM allows dual wielding short swords, then the dpr raises considerably). Though I would still not do that unless really necessary, or unless I was pretty certain that I would be getting a short rest before the next fight. So we could have resilient con and inspiring leader by level 9, and even one more feat or charisma boost if we start at vhuman. In case we are going hexblade and pact of the blade, we could still grab something like sentinel at level 12, ie at the same time we would be getting lifedrinker. Thoughts?

I was thinking of what archetype would work best if we aimed at a warlock planning to spam danse macabre from level 9 and onwards. So I was looking at the archetypes, though without paying much attention to any concentration spells on their bonus list. Goo loses a lot of value if we are not planning to combine evard's with repelling EB's, fiend has lost a lot of value for me ever since synaptic static came online and ever since hexblade became a thing, and we wont really rely on wall of fire and repelling EB's since we plan on using danse macabre (I guess fiend still gets command, which is a good use of our slots). I never really saw any mechanical value in the undying patron (though I do like the fluff). And I am a little unfamiliar with the celestial patron (do you see anything that synergizes with danse macabre there?). That leaves me with two choices. Archfey and hexblade. What archetype is your friend using?

Completelly disregarding fluff, I think archefey is good cause really, it has good features (spell slot free escape from melee with pseudo misty step, and the charm works well when we have trouble being in melee; I consider these things pretty good for a ranged warlock who has limited slots so it wouldn't be ideal to rely on actual misty step or far step to get out of trouble). They also get plant growth, which is a good no-concentration spell.

And the hexblade is basically good cause it deals with the getting in melee problem of the ranged warlock in a completely different way. Ie it gives us a good AC (and some melee potential through hex warrior and we can boost that if we go as far as to grab pact of the blade). Though I was thinking, that if the plan is to have these 5 fragile skeletons adding dpr to the side by staying back and shooting arrows, and we plan on keeping safe as many of them as we can cause we want to run them through more than 1 encounter ideally, then it would be a good thing to be in melee (AC 18 or 19 depending stealth, con mod of +3), cause throwing another body in melee means a little less danger for our dpr machines. Hence why I am thinking that the hexblade might actually be the best archtype for making the most out of danse macabre. Of course, the group composition plays a part, for example danse macabre (and a melee hexblade for that matter) would do poorly in a ranged heavy group, so I am not assuming such a unfavorable scenario in the first place. Plus, being a melee warlock who economizes spell slots (so, hexblade running danse macabre fits), allows us to use armor of agathys more frequently, which is another thing that also adds to our dpr. Or save that slot for synaptic static. Or for counterspell (cause blasting can bring our dpr low if it catches enough skeletons in it). Level 11 is helpful cause it's adding one more slot.

Essentially, this is forming into a build that plans to solve most of the combat issues through damage. Danse macabre adds damage, armor of agathys is an option since we will be in melee, synaptic static is another option for when we can target an area with many enemies in it. And it's very decent damage. All we really need aside for the charisma boosts (that I personally wouldn't mind delaying somewhat) is resilient and probably inspiring leader. And we still have some good utility for out of combat through spells and invocations presumably. Then we would be looking what we could be doing with mystic Arcanum, though I digress since I was more interested in talking about danse macabre in the first place.

Any thoughts?
What archetype is your friend using?

My friend was playing a Half-Orc Necromancer, so no Lock archetype.

How have you seen it hold up?

They did good, they were his strongest minions on top of the AD ones, and the boosted To Hit was really noticeable, and if enemies target them they are absorbing hits which is good in and of itself.

If playing this a Lock, I'd prolly go GOO, Dissonant Whispers can make melee minions a viable strategy (DM dependant), and eventually Create Thrall may give you one more minion (also DM dependant). If DM doesn't roll with DW's movement provoking AoO, and treats Create Thrall as just getting a friend, then Hexblade would be my second best option because of Accursed Sepctre, adding an extra minion for minionmancy.

Whichever subclass I take, I would definitely go Pact of the Chain for an extra minion to throw at my foes, and Magic Stone is your most important cantrip, since it will turn your bonus action into 3 attacks for +12 to hit, 1d6+10 magical bludgeoning damage (to hit is Dex + Cha from MS, and Skellys add your Cha to all their attacks and damage). So your BA is comparable to (or better than) the standard attack routine of a Fighter lvl 11.