Sunday, September 19, 2010

the hexblade

personally, i love this class, but felt that they got the extreme short end of the stick (at least they aren't fighters, right?). i mean, in their original incarnations, they were basically a fighter with good will saves, light armour, and a once-a-day curse that basically made a single foe easier. worst of all, if you killed said foe (which was fairly common, even for a hexblade), they'd die and your single "class" ability (hexblade's curse) was used up for the day. yeah, that was about as much fun as a doo-doo pickle, so i decided to overhaul the class. we saw some really nice results from the reworking, and had several players actually say they *gasp* enjoyed the class!

even when they first came out in complete warrior i liked them. perhaps because it was i had an inkling that they needed slightly more work than a standard class. say what you like of hexblades, but i really adore this class for its quirks...or because i've been playing beside one in an exceptionally slow campaign that's stretched nearly four years now. still, i felt our old friend needed something besides a craptastic ability and cardboard armour. one last thing - forced omens is pretty thematic and fluffy, but i really enjoyed tinkering with it in game, or having it activate on my PCs hexblades without their knowledge - anything to really spice up the atmosphere and depth of a session will greatly benefit the entire game. failing that, having a smoke-cloud hanging around a PC when they're angry, or a constant and ominous ghostly-mooing noise while they're hitting on girls at a tavern is actually fairly funny too:
  • Good Fortitude and Will saves.
  • Curse ability usable (1 + Cha. modifier) per day
  • Curse ability usable as a swift action
  • Curse ability does not count as used if the target makes his saving throw
  • Ability to cast in light armor and while carrying a light shield or buckler; At 8th level, gain the ability to cast in medium armour as well.
  • Hexblades may take the various luck feats from Complete Scoundrel as their bonus feats instead, in addition to their normal bonus feats.
  • At 6th level, the hexblade can cast one hexblade spell per day as a swift action, as long as its original casting time is a standard action or faster. He gains an additional use of this power at levels 8, 11, 14, and 18.
  • 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 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 9th level, a hexblade may cast prestidigitation a number of additional times per day equal to 3 + their Charisma modifier. At 12th level and higher, a hexblade can cast prestidigitation at will. The prestidigitation spell disappears from their list of spells known at this level.
I also heartily suggest the use of the new (they were when i originally wrote this!) hexblade curses featured in Dragon #339, as they tend to really expand the boundaries of what a curse can do. Also, check out the PHB2, because you do WANT the Dark Companion class feature, instead of the all-too-killable familiar.

The key to the hexblade is his curse ability, but it’s a little un-fun to have it so limited in use. The hexblade also has trouble casting spells and using his melee attacks, so shifting spells to swift actions fits in with the idea of an armored mage. also, when you realize that the whole "fights and uses spells" wasn't as overpowered as 1st, 2nd and most of 3rd edition had told us, the changes are much more palatable. that it nearly took 25 years for the community as a whole to learn this lesson is pretty crazy if you ask me.


  1. I had a fling with a hexblade once. It was pretty hot. But you'd know all about that, wouldn't you?

  2. eep! this better not be who i think it is! how'd you find me? am i as popular as i'd like to think i am? :)