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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    hey guys I am going over the various classes that are somewhat lacking in their abilities. and Now i am deciding to work on the hexblade.

    But never actually having played one in a game; let alone play with any optimizers, im not too sure where the lacking of coolness is.

    SO my question to you all is, where and in what forms are the hexblade lacking and what can be done with the class to bump it up to tier 3.

    First off I cna already say there are two things I am going to do to 'fix' it. 1) give it a larger spell list. I feel the spell list is a bit too small and does not encompass enough situations.
    2) the 'core' ability Hexblade curse seems like utter CRAP to me. SO i am going to definately tweak that a lot. maybe make it a swift action and lose the per day uses and make it unlimited but one one active at a time.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    I think the better question would be "What's right with hexblade?"

    They made a whole ton of familiar mistakes.

    Arcane Resistance: Should probably work for Divine Spells as well.

    Their Curse should probably be at-will, and/or better integrated into an action economy. Swift action, maybe? The DC should get a buff, to lower the want for Cha.

    Personally, I'd like to see a 5/9 or 6/9 spell list. The 4/9 is a little weak, and they start with no spells.

    As a melee, they should probably have a good Fort Save.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    The guy who wrote the Hexblade was apparently not too chuffed with the final product either, since he wrote a few ideas out on what could be done to 'fix' it.

    You may want to consider some or all of his ideas when doing your own rewrite.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Arcane Resistance: Should probably work for Divine Spells as well.
    It does-- the ability name says arcane, but the text just says "spells and spell-like effects." (Which probably means SLAs). Nothing about it not working for divine spells.

    Their Curse should probably be at-will, and/or better integrated into an action economy. Swift action, maybe? The DC should get a buff, to lower the want for Cha.
    I don't know about totally at will, but it certainly needs to be more useful. I think the class' creator suggested 1+level/day somewhere; personally, I'd go with X/encounter, once every 1d4 rounds, or something like that.

    Also, their curse is a free action.

    Personally, I'd like to see a 5/9 or 6/9 spell list. The 4/9 is a little weak, and they start with no spells.
    I'd add 0-level spells, but seriously, have you looked at their list? It's fantastic! Look at some of the gems it gives you:
    • Charm Person/Monster
    • Hideous Laughter
    • Glitterdust
    • Invisibility (normal and greater)
    • Mirror Image
    • Arcane Sight
    • Wind Wall
    • Baleful Polymorph
    • Dominate Person
    • Enervation
    • Fear
    • Polymorph
    • Scrying
    • Solid Fog

    The spells/day table is a little on the anemic side, but you know a pretty solid number.

    As a melee, they should probably have a good Fort Save.
    Well, yes.

    I would offer a few more spells-- say, +1 spell/level/day and +1 spell known/level/day, let their caster level equal their class level -3-- or better yet, give them 0-level spells from level 1 and let their CL=level-- and let them pick fighter bonus feats as well as their own crappy list.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    It does-- the ability name says arcane, but the text just says "spells and spell-like effects." (Which probably means SLAs). Nothing about it not working for divine spells.
    My bad, confusing the really rules with an awful houserule.

    Also, their curse is a free action.
    Free actions aren't a thing if they do something useful. If you have at-will curse, it's best that you don't spam it on everything first round.
    I'd add 0-level spells, but seriously, have you looked at their list? It's fantastic! Look at some of the gems it gives you:
    • Charm Person/Monster
    • Hideous Laughter
    • Glitterdust
    • Invisibility (normal and greater)
    • Mirror Image
    • Arcane Sight
    • Wind Wall
    • Baleful Polymorph
    • Dominate Person
    • Enervation
    • Fear
    • Polymorph
    • Scrying
    • Solid Fog

    The spells/day table is a little on the anemic side, but you know a pretty solid number.
    Progression is the issue. Nice spells, but it would be nicer if they got them sooner. Also, 1/2 CL severely limits the effectiveness of the spells.

    Well, yes.


    I would offer a few more spells-- say, +1 spell/level/day and +1 spell known/level/day, let their caster level equal their class level -3-- or better yet, give them 0-level spells from level 1 and let their CL=level-- and let them pick fighter bonus feats as well as their own crappy list.
    I don't think they need the whole fighter feat list.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Every since they printed the Duskblade I've been saying that it's the way they should have handled the 4/9s melee classes. The Hexblade could use more spells per day and 5th level spells (along with a spell list overhaul for balance purposes).

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Hexblade's low FORT is at least partly compensated by the fact that, as melee and caster, they'll want a good CON anyway. The fact that most PrC out into something with a decent FORT progression also eases the pain here, but that's hardly what I'd call a "good design feature."

    The Dark Companion Variant is a straight upgrade over the by-the-book Hexblade; I firmly believe every Hexblade should take it.

    Google "Mearls Hexblade Fix" for ideas from the Hexblade's designer on how he'd improve the Class after seeing the emergent meta of 3.5 evolve.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    There are a number of different hexblade fixes here. Subtle, minor, tweaky ones and major re-dos. Warlock-style invoking ones and completely spell-less ones. There are also feats and new spells and PrCs if your interested in that, too. By all means, don't let this stop you from making your own. Just some other possibilities to get you started!

    In practice, I've found the Mearls fix to be a lot of fun, especially if you throw the dark companion ACF in for good measure. Lots of fun stuff to do with swift and mental-only actions, leaving you plenty of time for spellcasting or full attacking. Definitely not the most powerful class but it holds its own fairly well, at least at mid levels. More spells/day at earlier levels would definitely help; I found myself always reserving my spells for fear of wasting them on a non-climactic combat, which effectively kept me from ever really using them.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-05-06 at 08:06 PM.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Free actions aren't a thing if they do something useful. If you have at-will curse, it's best that you don't spam it on everything first round.
    I can't tell what you're saying here at all.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    There are a number of different hexblade fixes here. Subtle, minor, tweaky ones and major re-dos. Warlock-style invoking ones and completely spell-less ones. There are also feats and new spells and PrCs if your interested in that, too. By all means, don't let this stop you from making your own. Just some other possibilities to get you started!
    Has anyone considered a Duskblade style casting? More spells/day, up to 5th casting, starting at 1st. (other than Pathfinder one linked)

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    Has anyone considered a Duskblade style casting? More spells/day, up to 5th casting, starting at 1st. (other than Pathfinder one linked)
    I've seen the idea proposed several times and I'm sure someone's implemented it. I can't remember if any of the fixes I linked includes duskblade-style casting. And I know there are fixes (many, many fixes) out there I haven't seen. So, my guess is, "probably."
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post
    SO my question to you all is, where and in what forms are the hexblade lacking and what can be done with the class to bump it up to tier 3.
    Copy the Bard's spellcasting progression and glue it over the Hexblade's Spells known/Spells per day table, scribble out the line about half CL and tape a list of the Bard's level 5/6 enchantments and the core Sorc/Wiz's level 5/6 debuffs to the end of the Hexblade's spell list. Voila.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Honestly, I would make it like the arcane answer to a cleric.

    D6 Hit die
    No armor proficiency
    Simple and martial weapon proficiency
    4 skill points+Cha
    3/4 bab

    Wiz/sorcerer spells per day.
    Spirit Shaman casting mechanics.

    Has an assortment of buffs and curses that sacrifice spell slots for use under the HEX list. Maybe ten different hexes.

    1. Armor of Malice (Basically Mage armor that shoots out negative energy when hit.)

    2. Empower weapon (Arcane strike for free)

    3. Drain Life (Works as vampiric touch)

    4. Strange swiftness (Speed 10/spell level)

    5. Arcane might (Divine power but arcane)

    6. Ennui (Attack halves enemy speed and initiative)

    7. Enrage (Attack makes enemy unable to concentrate)

    8. Frighten (Attack has fear effects)

    9. HURT (Constitution damage)

    10.Blade Burst (Duskblade stuff.)

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    The problem was the philosophy when it was created. At the time they were horrified of the thought of combining a warrior and a magic user. They wanted to make an arcane version of the paladin, a warrior with some magical abilities but arcane instead of divine, yet they hated the idea of a fighter casting Fireball so anything that could be perceived like that had to go out the window and nerfed down hard. Anything magical had to be put to the microscope to make sure it wasn't "overpowered". What they came up with was little power at all.

    Eventually they started seeing the light. Eventually they learned they undervalued casting a spell and overvalued making a melee attack roll. They gave warriors Nice Things with Tome of Battle. They gave magic more flair instead of flash with Incarnum. Instead of Eldritch Knight they gave us Abjurant Champion. They went back to the drawing board of the built-in single class warrior-arcane gish with a fresh new look and gave us the Duskblade.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    I like the idea of hexes.. time to steal stuff from pathfinder some more LOL.

    I definately do not want to give the hexblade higher level spells, as to me they are not supposed to be mainly casters

    thats teh realsm of the duskblade and the bard.. I want teh hexblade to be more of an arcane paladin, instead of being about protecting his allies though, the hexblade is all about debuffing his enemies in some way.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Free actions aren't a thing if they do something useful. If you have at-will curse, it's best that you don't spam it on everything first round.
    Progression is the issue. Nice spells, but it would be nicer if they got them sooner. Also, 1/2 CL severely limits the effectiveness of the spells.
    I can't tell what you're saying here at all.
    Translation: If the Curse was usable At-Will, AND useable as a Free Action then EVERY encounter EVER would start with "I Curse EVERYTHING" while still retaining Full/Standard/Move/Swift actions for everything else.
    So by making it At-Will it NEEDS to NOT be a Free Action.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
    So by making it At-Will it NEEDS to NOT be a Free Action.
    This is certainly true.

    I have to chime in again on the "giving more spells" thing-- don't. Yes, you can power up just about anything in 3.5 by giving it more magic, but that's the boring solution. The game is more interesting when everyone's not a primary caster. The Hexblade has some crappy-but-flavorful class abilities and a fine, flavorful spell list. Yes, it gets its magic a lot later than a wizard does, but it's still useful when it arrives (or, at least, it would be with a proper caster level). He doesn't need much more magic. He needs better class features.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    EXACTLYT Grod, that is my main get to here for just about every class re-work ive ever done Ive tried to give them more and more useful class features.

    I want them to stay where they are in term sof spell casting, but i am going to be bumping their caster level up to be lvl-3, like i did for the paladin and ranger.

    I am probably going to glean some thematic hexes from the PF witch, drop their HD to d8, but maybe i could keep them at d10 idk yet.

    I am getting rid of that crappy familair, as it makes no sense to me, ive heard that dark companion is good but i have no idea what it is nor what it does.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by grarrrg View Post
    Translation: If the Curse was usable At-Will, AND useable as a Free Action then EVERY encounter EVER would start with "I Curse EVERYTHING" while still retaining Full/Standard/Move/Swift actions for everything else.
    So by making it At-Will it NEEDS to NOT be a Free Action.
    Well, the curse 'is' free action and it has limits per day.

    From book:
    Once per day, as a free action, a hexblade can unlease a curse upon a foe.
    From errata:
    Page 6: Hexblade’s Curse (class feature)
    A hexblade can utter only one hexblade’s curse per
    round, even if he gets multiple curses per day.
    It would be nice if there was a way to get extra curses (like extra rage/extra smite, etc...), though I suspect Ability Focus wouldn't be a bad start.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    The problem was the philosophy when it was created. At the time they were horrified of the thought of combining a warrior and a magic user. They wanted to make an arcane version of the paladin, a warrior with some magical abilities but arcane instead of divine, yet they hated the idea of a fighter casting Fireball so anything that could be perceived like that had to go out the window and nerfed down hard. Anything magical had to be put to the microscope to make sure it wasn't "overpowered". What they came up with was little power at all.
    There is a genuine potential problem: how to blend "spells" into a full BAB class without it being too good as a dip. +2 will and access to some wands is pretty nice.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by ngilop View Post
    I am getting rid of that crappy familair, as it makes no sense to me, ive heard that dark companion is good but i have no idea what it is nor what it does.
    Er, there's a reason many duskblade builds shell out a feat for the familiar. Familiars derive their stats from an arcane spellcaster's and shares their buff spells, so with just a quick investment in Improved Familiar, you can get a pretty potent ally from that class feature.

    Dark Companion's good too though. It's a continuous moveable no-save zone that bestows a -2 modifier to basically all rolls made in its area of effect.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    If you use the fix Mearls posted and Dark Companion it isn't a bad Class really. Certainly something you'd PrC out of as soon as you can and it's no Sorcerer, but it is better than pure mundanes and competent as a Paladin analog.

    Also check out Hexbands from the MiC, +1 to Save DC and 5/day Cha-to-Damage on a cursed foe. So you get Cha to Saves/Uses/Damage easy enough. And a custom Runestaff granting Vampiric Touch is super gravy.
    Last edited by Mato; 2013-05-06 at 11:16 PM.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mato View Post
    If you use the fix Mearls posted and Dark Companion it isn't a bad Class really. Certainly something you'd PrC out of as soon as you can and it's no Sorcerer, but it is better than pure mundanes and competent as a Paladin analog.

    Also check out Hexbands from the MiC, +1 to Save DC and 5/day Cha-to-Damage on a cursed foe. So you get Cha to Saves/Uses/Damage easy enough. And a custom Runestaff granting Vampiric Touch is super gravy.
    There's always the dead levels fix which is from wotc, so it's official at least.

    Character Class: Dead Levels 1: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cwc/20061013a

    Character Class: Dead Levels 2: (Hexblade is in this one) http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cwc/20070227x

    HEXBLADE

    Complete Warrior, pg. 5

    The hexblade has five dead levels, the first of which occurs at 6th level. Their hexblade's curse and aura of unluck abilities both follow a logical progression (one every four levels) as do their bonus feats (one every five levels). Hexblades consistently gain new spells per day during all of their dead levels, and so their dead level ability simply embellishes what is normally a 0-level spell to sorcerers and wizards.

    Designer's Note: Despite the fact that prestidigitation is designed to be an ineffectual cantrip, a clever hexblade will find new and resourceful uses for this spell beyond simply creating a dramatic entrance. Keep in mind that prestidigitation has a range of 10 feet, can only lift 1 pound of weight, and is restricted to affecting non-living material.

    Forced Omens (Ex): At 6th level, a foreboding sense of doom travels with the hexblade, as candle lights flicker, fresh food turns green, or the air becomes stale. A hexblade adds prestidigitation to their list of spells known. See the spell description on pg. 264 of the Player's Handbook. If a hexblade already knows this spell, the character may choose a different 1st level spell. As a bonus spell, prestidigitation cannot be traded for another 1st level spell.

    At 8th level, a hexblade may cast prestidigitation as if augmented by the Silent Spell feat without using up a higher-level spell slot. At 11th level, a hexblade may cast prestidigitation as a spell-like ability, lacking both somatic and verbal components, but is still limited to their spell slots per day. At 14th level, a hexblade may cast prestidigitation a number of additional times per day equal to 3 + their Charisma modifier. At 18th level, a hexblade can cast prestidigitation at will. The prestidigitation spell disappears from their list of spells known at this level.
    Not bad I suppose considering how much love I've seen prestidigitation get.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Perhaps give them some martial maneuvers? Say, pick two schools, get maneuvers readied and known like a warblade and recover like a swordsage?

    That would help some I think.
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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    If you like Maneuvers, don't forget the Hexblade gains four Bonus Feats. If you were to allow Martial Study/Stance to be taken...

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    My biggest complaint? That Bestow Curse wasn't on their spell list. It's kind of their thing, and it not being there was kind of odd.

    As for the class it's self... I like them, but they do require some tweaking. My Hexblade build is;

    Human/Unseelie Fey (Dragon Magazine Compendium) Hexblade 7/ Black Guard 3/ Hexblade 10

    Feats: Dreadful Wrath, Power attack, cleave, improved sunder, brutal strike, bind vestige, improved bind vestige, netherese battle curse.

    Choose the Winter Chill ability from Unseelie fey. Also take the Dark Companion alternative class feature from the PH2.

    So... lets add up what everything does.

    Features

    Winter Chill: All living, non-fey within 5ft take a moral penalty to their saves equal to your Charisma modifier.

    Hex Blade Curse: You won't have the dire version, but will have the greater version, which is a -4 penalty to saves, attacks, damage, skill, and ability rolls.

    Dark Companion: Replaces your familiar. It gives a -2 to saves and Ac to enemies within 5ft.

    Aura of Despair: -2 to saves on enemies adjacent to you.

    Feats

    Bind Vestige & Improved Bind Vestige: You want Focalor's Aura of Sadness, which gives you a 5ft aura that gives -2 to saves, attacks, and skill checks.

    Dreadful Wrath: When you charge, cast a spell, or full attack, enemies close by have to make a save or be shaken (-2 to a bunch of stuff).

    Brutal Strike: Use as part of a power attack, if they fail a check, they become sickened (Also a -2 penalty to a bunch of stuff).

    Netherese Battle Curse: Sacrifice a spell, and make an attack with an attack bonus equal to spell sacrificed. If it lands, they have to make a save or take a -2 penalty to a bunch of stuff.

    So add it all up. Most things adjacent to you will be debuffed -6 plus your charisma mod to saves, and -2 to ac, attack rolls, and skill checks. Charge the biggest threat, triggering dreadful wrath, brutal strike, and Netherese battle curse as part of your charge. Then hit them with your Hexblade curse. If all goes well, the target will be debuffed by -16 (plus Charisma modifier) to saves, -12 to attack rolls, -10 to damage rolls, -12 to skill checks, -10 to ability checks, and -2 to AC.

    You are now an enabler for the party. Combats will be less dangerous, and aside from SR casters spells will almost always succeed. What I like about it, is that even passively, you are providing a significant de-buff. Outside of de-buffing, you are full BAB. Unseelie Fey gives you some nice bonuses including DR. Blackguard also gives you +Charisma to saves, which you should max out anyway. Combined with Mettle, aura of unluck, etc... and you have a lot of nifty defensive abilities as well. Overall I like the build a lot, but DM's may hate it once they see it in action, and it does involve a 3rd party source. Even without unseelie fey, it is still an effective build.

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Bestow Curse should not be on their list. The DC would be lousy since they aren't crazy SAD like an actual caster and they don't have full casting.

    As for giving them spells, all of the better classes have better spells. As for 5/9 or 6/9 casting, that would mean they are casters from level one since they'll have something to cast.

    As far as class features, changing them too much would mean we would not have a Hexblade anymore. Which might be good, since Hexblade is awful...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Bestow Curse should not be on their list. The DC would be lousy since they aren't crazy SAD like an actual caster and they don't have full casting.
    Your right, now if only we had a way to lower their saves.....

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Snowbluff's Avatar

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    Sep 2011

    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzai View Post
    Your right, now if only we had a way to lower their saves.....
    Which, again, would be they have to make a save. The difference in DCs is pretty high. At 20 levels, and average Hexblade with 14 Cha, +6 Item, (+5) would have to compare to a 18 stat, +6 Item, +5 Levels, +5 Inherent (+12) SAD caster. Add in the fact that the caster have spell levels, you would need a -12 to their saves, not -4, to be even.
    Avatar of Rudisplork Avatar of PC-dom and Slayer of the Internet. Extended sig
    GitP Regulars as: Vestiges Spells Weapons Races Deities Feats Soulmelds/Veils
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Person_Man's Avatar

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    Default Re: What is wrong with the Hexblade?

    Here's my homebrew fixed Hexblade. I put a lot of work into it and play

    This big design flaw is that like every full BAB base class written prior to the Tome of Battle, they really have very little that they can do other then melee attacks. The signature class ability (in this case the Curse) needs to be useful and usable in every combat, and they need enough other stuff (spells, Skills, etc) so that they're not just a one trick pony.

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