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Pathfinder Revision - Hexblade: The Jinx Warrior

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"I'm sorry, but luck is not on your side." - Athain, hexblade.

Perhaps you've seem my little project to bring some of the other classes from various D&D 3.5 supplements up to date for use with Pathfinder. I'll be posting a series of blogs to go in depth into the changes I've made to those classes. This time, we'll be looking at the Hexblade.

Overview: Being a melee/arcane class, the hexblade is undoubtably being compared to the duskblade from Player's Handbook II. I have stolen a few elements from the duskblade and given them to the hexblade, while without making the hexblade treading on the duskblade's main territory. While the duskblade is adept at mixing melee and offensive spellcasting, the hexblade's focus is at debuffing and disabling his opponents not with force, but with afflicted ineptitude.

The Basics: They still have a full BAB progression, martial weapon proficiency and a good Will save. They are now able to wear and cast hexblade arcane spells in medium armor and also have a good Fortitude save, too. The good fortitude save makes mettle even more valuable. While many hexblade would still only wear light armor for the extra speed, being able to cast spells in medium armor allows them to improve this into heavy armor with the Battle Caster (Complete Arcane) feat, giving them that option too.
Skills have remained largely the same, except the addition of Use Magic Device as a class skill. They lack pure offensive abilities (besides simple melee), and this could open some window to put additional use for having a high Charisma score. The merge of Concentrate and Spellcraft in Pathfinder means hexblade have one less must-have skill to pick up.

The Old Schticks: The most notable difference is hexblade's curse is now a number of times per encounter instead of per day. This makes one of the hexblade's signature ability something they use often, and no longer a source of hesitation.
They now gain a bonus feat every 3 level, this is to allow for more opportunity to allow for hex feats, we'll get into that later.
Both Aura of Unluck and Dire Hexblade's curse are obtained earlier. Instead of a number of times per day, the hexblade can activate Aura of Unluck a certain number of rounds a day that can be split between encounters. You still gain less rounds per day compared to the barbarian's rage, so conservation is still wise. Aura of Unluck now also stacks with concealment and other miss chance.
The other partial casters in the Pathfinder Rulebook (Paladin and Ranger) receive additional spells per day compared to 3.5 SRD, and a similar change is provided for the hexblade. However, they must pick a number of spells to be learned like a sorcerer, unlike the paladin and the ranger.

The New Schticks: You might have noticed that the familiar is no more. This is not something the Pathfinder creators have demonstrated as doing, as they don't seem to have removed any of the ability from any of the core classes, only changed them. I feel the familiar is too unfitting for a hexblade, but I retain the familiar as an option availble as a bonus feat.
In the familiar's place, is the Dark Companion from PHBII. Alternatively, the bonded object similar to the Pathfinder wizard is availble. This allows for the hexblade to craft his own magic weapon, or make his own wand. Later on, this choice becomes improved. The dark companion is able to become an area debuff, and the bonded object allows you to gain an extra swift action to barrage your foes with curses.
Quick cast is a feature that the hexblade now share with the duskblade. It's no arcane channeling, but this can nevertheless provide a quick curse for an enemy or a quick enhancement for the hexblade.
The bonus feats and the hex feats are a list of minor options in addition to a range of effects the hexblade can achieve to stop an enemy at its tracks. The hex feats are a way to give the hexblade a tool for every occasion. I've considered letting these hex feats simply be a list of class features you can choose from, similar to barbarian's rage powers or the rogue's rogue talent, but this way the hexblade can pick up extra hex feats with his regular feat slots. The Master Hexer feat provide benefit for characters who wish to multiclass into another arcane class, but this will also be useful to pure hexblades who attain 7th level to increase their spell's caster level.
Scent of Misfortune and Greater Aura of unluck are pretty straightforward changes. It patches some areas the hexblade might struggle with, namely against large groups and against enemy spellcasters.
Gambler's Fallacy is likely not going to be an ability you'd rely on to win your battle for you, but it's largely for flavour. Casino's are so successful thank in part to this behavior, and on the battlefield, you might be in for a pleasant surprised when your enemy is stuck in a loop attempting a long shot over and over.
Menacing Hexer is the capstone ability for the hexblade, and yet one of its main benefit is a mind-affecting fear effect, which a large number of creatures are immune to. It's true that Hexblade abilities such as Gambler's Fallacy and a good portion of their spells are mind-affecting. Their dominion over susceptible minds is unquestioned, but the key ability the hexblade has is his hexblade's curse, which will remain useful against any enemy.


"Sure, he got rid of the monsters, but now every time I think about it I think the whole village's cursed." - Dan Custard, mayor of Bluestone village

The hexblade described here doesn't deviate a lot in terms of flavour to the hexblade describe in Complete Warrior. The information provided in Complete Warrior and PHBII are useful advice when you're trying to draw a concept of what a hexblade would be like. Here are a few short suggestions to compliment the hexblade.

Voodoo: The talent the hexblade possess over probability is described as something innate, as in, you either have it or you don't. Though of course that doesn't have to be the case here. Either way, it is easy to include tribal mysticism into the D&D world, and equally easy to imagine the hexblade's magic stem from superstition and rituals. This allows for a more savage variation as opposed to the urban mercenary described in the books.

Guardian: Despite the stereotype of the anti-social hexblade, they often work best in a group of other characters able to eliminate the enemy while the hexblade make sure they are offered no chance to return the favour. An easy way to accommondate the two concepts is to bind the hexblade with duty of protecting another, possibly out of great affection, but if not, wealth. Perhaps even a superior if the hexblade belong in an organization.

Outcast: Their unique expertise over bad luck is out of the grasp of the majority of even the most accomplished wizards, so their abilities can often seem alien to most. Most NPC would likely treat hexblade at least as badly as they treat necromancers or warlocks. Given their strong personality, it's not beyond their ability to overcome the attached misconception of their profession, but most choose to utilize fear and intimidation instead.

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Updated 03-16-2010 at 03:10 AM by thisisaspace

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Pathfinder Revision

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