Archive for D&D Essentials

D&D 4e Essentials Hexblade: Other Pacts

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by Kullervo

The D&D Essentials player’s guide Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms gave us the Hexblade, a Warlock variant that draws on otherworldly power through pacts with powerful extraplanar beings and channels this power into a sorcerous weapon. This is, of course, insanely awesome.

In HoFK we get the Infernal Pact and the Fey Pact versions, and DDI gave us a Star Pact hexblade. The Fey Pact’s power comes from deals made with powerful archfey, the Infernal Pact’s power comes from deals made with archdevils (well, as per HoFK it draws on loopholes in ancient pacts that Bael Turath made with archdevils; I think this is a sissy move, but I will post more about that another time), and the Star Pact, assuming it is the same as the regular Star Pact Warlock in the 4e Player’s Handbook, has pacts made with the alien stars of the Far Realm.

All of this is great, and I lvoe this class and the ideas in it, but it leaves me wanting more. If this kind of power is available through deals with three different kinds of powerful extraplanar archbeings, why not all the other kinds of powerful extraplanar archbeings? Dark Sun has already given us a Sorcerer King pact Warlock. What else could we have?

Here are my ideas:

Grave Pact: Power from deals made with dead/undead ancestors or other powerful ghosts in the Shadowlands. Essentially the same as the Abyssal Exalted. Consequently, this is the idea I like best.

Demon Pact: If it’s okay to deal with the Far Realm, it’s okay to deal with the Abyss. At first glance, a Demon Pact might sound like it would be effectively identical to the Infernal PAct, and while that’s one way to take it, I think there are some interesting and diverse options. What would a warlock be like whose pact was made with Juiblex?

Titan Pact: Why not some kind of elemental pact, made with the titans of the Elemental Chaos? Or maybe zero in on just one interesting kind, like a Frost Titan pact or even an Eldritch Titan pact? What would that look like? It would be tempting to just come up with some generic “elemental pacts,” but I feel like the 4e cosmology offers more interesting options.

Void Pact: A pact made with a terrible slaad lord like Ygorl?

Primal Pact: What about pacts made with the powerful essence of the material plane? Instead of tapping that power in the usual way, what if you could bind it with eldritch rituals? Some kind of Druid/Warlock hybrid, perhaps?

Dragon Pact: Dragons so powerful and ancient that they spend almost all their time dormant, but are immense wellsprings of arcane power. Possibly based on lore passed down from the ancient empire of the Dragonborn?

Angel Pact? What other possibilities are out there? It seems like there’s a ton of untapped potential. I think most of it could be accomplished by cosmetic re-skinning of existing Warlock/Hexblade options, requiring minimal actual rules-tinkering, but maybe I am underestimating it.

Cavalier: WTF

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2010 by Kullervo

I just unwrapped the D&D Essentials book Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms this morning, and I’m sitting here perusing its pages, but I am baffled completely by the Paladin Cavalier class.

cav·a·lier /ˌkævəˈlɪər, ˈkævəˌlɪər/ –noun, 1. a horseman, esp. a mounted soldier; knight.

Definition number one: a cavalier is a dude who fights from horseback. Based on the name alone, and since I reasonably assumed that the class had nothing to do with the English Civil War, I thought that the Cavalier class was going to be some kind of mount-oriented paladin. And I was excited about the prospect.

But apparently that would be too obvious. Unless I’m missing something, the class has a grand total of one mount-related ability, a class feature that comes in at level four that gives you +2 speed while moving mounted.

That’s it.

30 pages of virtuous defender powers and features, and only one +2 bonus that’s even remotely related to fighting from horseback (or griffonback, or lionback, or whatever suits your paladin’s fancy). That’s total nonsense. Its like they just made a generic paladinesque class, looked up “paladin” in their thesaurus, and just picked the first thing that sounded cool with no regard whatsoever for the word’s actual denotation or connotation.

Anyone see the Friends episode where Joey wrote the letter to the adoption agency for Chandler and Monica and he used the thesaurus for every word? That’s pretty much what happened here.

I’m sure it’s a fine class, well-designed and fun to play. But the name had me anticipating something completely different, and I am disappointed about it.

Wizards of the Coast, you’re on notice. Good thing the Hexblade is pretty much the most awesome class ever invented.