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A brief study on Hexblade/Padlock/GWM/PAM

Content of the article: "A brief study on Hexblade/Padlock/GWM/PAM"

Hi, this post was made originally to 3d, but because I don't feel I won Karma enough I think this can be also useful to you too, I'm going to post it here too. Unfortunelly, I can't post images here, you need to open the links yourself. (Don't worry, most of them are .jpgs uploaded on reddit itself, two of them are from anydice.com and one is from rpgbot.net ). Here it goes:

Hello, I came back, and I've mathed harder than ever before.

Before we start, I'm going to point out the rules we are playing with:#1 – All characters will have 5 CHA from the beginning, but it will only affect the damage, the hit % chance will be 65%, as stated here.

#2 – Padlocks have more levels in Paladin than Warlocks, Hexadins have more levels in Warlock than Paladin

#3 – Character progression will always be 1 level into Paladin, 1 level Into Warlock, 5 or 10 levels in Paladin, rest of levels in Warlock.

#4 – New rules may come around along the way.


First I was wondering: "What can be the best Warlock combination with Paladin?", I thought it was only 6 levels into Paladin to get that almighty Aura, it was clear as crystal to me that NOTHING could be better than this, but just for Science I made my first chart:

This is how much damage per round each combination can make

#5 – Hexblaster means Hex + Eldritch Blast

#6 – No damage is calculated using the Hexblade's curse damage bonus

But my man /u/arisreddit pointed out that I should take hit % into account.

Notice that the graphs are almost the same, but, at between level 13 and 14 it's possible to see a big damage boost, that is because of the Eldritch Invocation Improved Pact Weapon, which gives +1 to your attack rolls, or 5% more to hit, this happens everytime a character gets this ability, but on Padlock it's, to me, the most perceivable. Other difference are the numbers on the left side, they are lower once you take hit % into account.

#7 – Rules start with #

#8 – All features are taken as soon as they are possible.

Padlock has the lowest damage, because while Hexblade 12 gives you Lifedrinker (add CHA to each damage roll), Paladin gives you at level 11 the ability to add 1d8 to each attack made, this is 0,5 less damage per hit. But, at the same time, the Lifedinker bonus comes in REALLY late in the game if you are planning on multiclassing. So I have a chosen one. From now on, we will only use Padlock. It is our labrat. Also, the more dice, the more cool.

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As my another man M0usTr4p/ pointed out, PAM and GWM are almost MUSTS to melee builds wanting to do HIGH DPS. Time for more graphs.

What can we learn here? GWM for itself sucks, while it looks to do a lot of damage, the -5 penalty to dice rolls makes it really harder to hit enemies. To calculate the damage I calculated the average of all dices assuming everything was hitting, since the normal hit % is 65, I multiplied the PAM damage by *0,65, and since GWM gives you a -5 Penalty and each 1 in dice roll or bonus to attack rolls means 5%, GWM is multiplied by *0,40. (Until level 14, when they get Improved Pact Weapon, when both recieve a +5% boost).


I'm so glad you asked. Paladins (Oath of Vengeance) get Haste as a 3rd level spell, that's good, isn't it? THAT IS THE BEST! And I'll prove you with my nasty graphs.

Each color means a set of Feats. Full lines means that all the attack hits, dashed lines take % into account.

From now one, we are always considering hit %. Red lines are always PAM+GWM, green lines are always PAM, blue lines are always GWM. Now I'm thinking I probably should have used blue for GWM, red for PAM and purple for GWM+PAM, but it's too late to go back in time. First thing we can notice is that PAM itself is better than GWM with Advantage, and that is pretty much it, nothing else matters on this graphic.

We are going to start with PAM, if you don't like it you may just try to read it backwards.

Advantage is good, Haste is a bit better, E.A. is a bit better. All around, they are all the same thing.

It's GWM time.
GWM is another story, Haste and E.A are the same thing, but even Advantage isn't enough to make it good.

PAM+GWM time.

LOOK TO THE LEFT NUMBERS! IT GOES AS HIGH AS 80! IT'S TOO MUCH! Mixing PAM and GWM gives you the best damage, but while all others had more benefits with Haste than Advantage, PAM+GWM is better with Advantage than Haste, and the damage boost KICKS IN with Elven Accuracy.

#9 – I forgot to tell you, but the hit percentage using Advantage and Elven Accuracy was calculated here.

Now we've seen the differences and capabilities of Concentration Spells, such as Haste (to give you… Haste) and Darkness or Shadow Moil (to give you Advantage or Elven Accuracy), we are going to look a final feat before moving on.

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Resilient. +1 to CON and Proficiency in CON. Why that? Paladin's aura gives you +CHA to your saves, Resilient makes you Proficient, I expect you to be +2 to +3 in CON, which means that at level 17 you have: +5 +6 +2 +1 (lowest dice roll possible) or 14, it takes a hit of 30 or higher to make you even touch the d20 to test your concentration. Surely the enemy can dispell magic, but I'm going to give you a pro tip, you can cast it again… Using Paladin spells slots…

Elven Accuracy is a tough one, I love it and I hate it, +1 to CHA, Super Advantage, boosts your critical chance, but only PAM+GWM needs it. But still is super cool, I don't know, you may just let it pass, but that removes some coolness points.


For this we are going to use this. And now we are able to do this chart:

Let's suppose an enemy needs to roll 1 to hit you, without shield, it has 100% of hitting you, but let's suppose you have a shield, it grants you +2 AC, so it needs 3 to hit you, 90% of hitting you, let's suppose you cast Shield of Faith, 80% of hitting you, that's how I made this chart.

While Disadvantage owns the middle numbers of d20, high AC rules the edges of the chart. I don't know if that means something, just thought it would be cool pointing out. My thought is that most enemies will need from 8 to 14 on dice to hit a PC, and from 8 to 14 Disadvantage is always better, if the "building" graph was made using only the numbers from 8th to 14th row, the difference would be a bit higher.

Blue is no shield, red is shield. As you guessed, wearing a shield helps your Defense.

The main point here is to understand what is better for not taking hits, thus not taking damage, +2 to AC or Disadvantage to enemies? Advantage and disadvantage make curvy lines, so it's kinda difficult to know for sure what is the ideal between +2 AC and Disadvantage. (No shield + Shield of Faith and Shield are overlaying each other because they are the same)

So I summed all the numbers from the probabilities to hit and divided them by 20, which is, I guess, your chance of being hit? Not sure on that one.

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It's better to not have shield and disadvantage to enemies than have a shield ( or no shield and Shield of Faith). Disadvantage to enemies is always better than +2 AC.

Thanks if you read this far.

It took me some good ammount of time to do it.The final things and most important that I've learned through this is:

1 – We tend to plan our characters thinking in the best outcome possible: "Yeah, GWM is great, all my hits are going to land and I'm going do 30 more damage" or "At level 20 I will be able to do this and that" without thinking about the levels between 1 and 20.

2 – If you really want to know what is the best option, just put it to numbers, they will show you the truth.

ps: #10 – Oh, I forgot to tell you, all weapons damage are calculated with 1d8, but to get the best out of PAM+GWM, you need a Glaive or Halberd, 1d10, and you can also use Quarterstaff while having only PAM and not GWM, the damage is 1d6. Since you have only 2 attacks, the damage can be 1 higher or 1 lower multiplied by the chance to hit, that is almost meaningless, but still… My bad :/

Source: reddit.com

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