Is Booming Blade that unbalanced? How could it be rebalanced?

Up until now, we had quite the terrible party lineup (a Rogue, two Paladins and a Barbarian; we soon discovered the game is simply not enjoyable without casters), and we all decided to fix this by designing a new party together: our next lineup will consist of the same Rogue and the Barbarian, but the Paladins (one of which was me) will be replaced by a Divination Wizard and an unholyly multiclassed Bard. Since the Wizard and the Rogue are quite squishy, we decided I should take the role of a frontliner, so I designed the character to be at least kind of an off-tank.

Long story short, I built my character based around a sword and board build with the Ruby of the War Mage and the War Caster feat. Flavour-wise, this character was designed to be both air-headed and hot-headed (hot-air-balloon-headed, if you will), and as such is prone to engage in melee combat if only to feel the thrill of the fight. Since I will only pick three levels of Warlock (the Pact of the Tome is integral to the flavour of my character concept), I won’t be able to access the Pact of the Blade’s Extra Attack invocation. Thus, I based the character’s melee DPR output around Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade.

I discussed with my GM the possibility of being able to trigger Booming Blade via Command, and he said it was not possible, which is reasonable. However, he started looking into the cantrip itself and some (hastily) made damage comparison tables, and said it is broken and should be nerfed to avoid overshadowing the martial characters. Some of the proposed nerfs were:

  • Blade cantrips are now a level 1 spell.
  • Blade cantrips don’t trigger the primary effect, only the secondary one (that is, BB’s movement damage and GFB’s "cleaving" damage)
  • Blade cantrips don’t trigger the primary effect, but the secondary one is increased by one die size (BB’s movement and GFB’s "cleaving" would use d12)
  • Reduced dice size for the cantrip’s damage (for example, d8 to d6).
  • Reduced dice size for the cantrip’s primary effect, but augmented for the secondary effect (d8 to d12)

Needless to say, I’m kinda bummed by this change since the whole gish appeal of this character concept was based around being able to use these cantrips, since playing a melee character with a single attack, only 1d6 at Sneak Attack and the very limited magic items we have would suck hard; I would feel stupid using a single attack when I could be spamming Eldritch Blast instead. The secondary effects of these cantrips are extremely situational and I am sure they won’t come up many times since we often face intelligent enemies. I would be kinda okay with the last proposal, but still, I’m not convinced. I proposed the DM to write some homebrew (I consider myself fairly good at balancing) martial weapons and mechanics to make martials more flexible instead of outright nerfing the cantrip, but he said he wants this campaign to be as vanilla as possible.

How can I convince my DM that the Blade cantrips aren’t that unbalanced? Alternatively, what’s a reasonable way to rebalance them?

Does standing up from prone trigger the secondary damage from the Booming Blade cantrip?

Does spending movement to stand up from prone trigger the secondary damage effect of the booming blade spell from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (p. 142)? The spell says:

If the target willingly moves before the duration expires, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.

I want to play a Hexblade/pact of the blade warlock what’s the optimal way to play/use the character in combat? [closed]

I’m about to play my third ever session of D&D. I’ve been watching live-play for a while but haven’t played much. I’ve made a Levistus Tiefling Warlock with Pact of the Blade and a Hexblade patron starting at level 15.

character info:

Eldritch Invocations.

1-Agonizing Blast. 2-Lifedrinker. 3-Thirsting Blade. 4-Devil’s Sight. 5-Shroud of Shadow. 6-Visions of Distant Realms. 7-Mask of Many Faces.

Spells

cantrips: Eldritch Blast – Mage Hand – Minor Illusion – Prestidigitation – Ray of Frost

1-level spells: Charm person – Hex – Armor of Agathys(1/long rest) – Disguise Self(at will) – Arms of Hadar

2-level spells: Hold person – Crown of madness – Darkness(1/long rest) – Invisibility(at will)

3-level spells: hyponatic pattern – Thunder step

4-level spells: Banishment – Summon Greater Demon – Arcane Eye(at will)

5-level spells: Hold Monster – Cone of cold – Far Step – Stynaptic Static

Arcanum spells: Circle of death(6 level) – Forcecage (7 level) – Dominate Monster(8 level)

The main idea is that I’m really loving the idea and roleplay of being a warlock/cursed deal being the faceless charismatic type character and being tied to a weapon as in what the pact of the blade offers.

I prefer a ranged combat character, but I don’t want to be useless in melee. How can I optimally play this build?

How can a player effectively use Booming Blade in combat?

Booming Blade is a fascinating cantrip. Between somewhat murky language and unclear use-cases, there’s a lot of confusion among the 5e community about how exactly you’re supposed to use the Asmodeus-blasted spell.

Booming Blade’s description reads as follows:

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects, and it becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves before then, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.

Most of the confusion about its use cases stems from the following fact: if you’re in range to use the cantrip on an enemy, then they’re in range to hit you, so why would they ever move from their position, thereby triggering the damage? This leads to all kinds of theory-crafting on how to force target of the spell to move, which inevitably leads to strategies that are either too difficult or too costly (in terms of action economy or combat resources) to be practical.

So, how can a player effectively use Booming Blade in combat?

In order to narrow down potential answers and prevent opinion-based responses, the following criteria define “effective use” of Booming Blade:

  1. The cantrip is used in a way that guarantees one of the following:
    • The target suffers the secondary portion of the damage.
    • The player is able to influence the battlefield in such a way that increases their odds of success in some way that does not involve directly dealing damage via the cantrip; e.g. forcing the enemy to move into a desirable location.
  2. The usage of the cantrip is “economically efficient” with respects to action-economy; i.e. the player is not reducing their effectiveness by choosing this Action over another.

What’s the exact meaning of the phrase “when the target willingly moves” in Booming Blade?

The Booming Blade cantrip’s secondary effect states that “[the target] becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves before then, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends”. We can deduce, then:

  • That the damage does not trigger when the target is dragged or pushed around via physical means (grappling, shoving, scenario effects, etc.)
  • That the damage does not trigger when the target is dragged or pushed around via magical means (Gust, Eldritch Blast with Grasp of Hadar, Graviturgist’s Gravity Well, etc.)

This seems pretty clear. However, what happens when the following cases arise?

  • The target is ordered to move via the use of Command (assuming they don’t know yet that the thunderous aura is damaging).
  • The target is forced to move via the use of Compulsion.
  • The target is invited to move via the use of Suggestion.
  • The target is Turned.
  • The target is Frightened and forced to run via Dissonant Whispers.
  • The target has a Geas that prohibits them from ending a turn next to an enemy if they can avoid it.
  • The target is threatened into leaving the area or else. This one seems “willingly”, but are they truly willing if they are panicking because you are telling them you will cut their heads off if they don’t run?

This SageAdvice entry seems to suggest that forcing people to move via mind control spells doesn’t count as willing. However, from what I understand, Jeremy Crawford’s Twitter rulings are no longer considered official, so I was looking for something more solid to make a RAW judgement of this interaction.

Can a Swords bard benefit from Blade Flourish’s speed increase again if they take the Attack action again?

The Swords Bard’s 3rd level feature, Blade Flourish, states:

[…] Whenever you take the Attack action on your turn, your walking speed increases by 10 feet until the end of the turn […]

So if a Bard took the Attack action multiple times (through something like haste or Action Surge) would they gain the speed increase multiple times as well?

What happens when a Shadow Blade on which Darkness has been cast disappears?

The darkness spells states the following:

If the point the darkness spreads from is an object you’re holding or one that isn’t being worn or carried, the darkness comes from and moves with the object.

However, there is no prescription for what happens if the object that the darkness is following is broken (What happens to the darkness spell if it is cast on an object that then breaks?) or destroyed, such as when shadow blade disappears after being let go of by the wielder/caster. What would happen to the darkness spell and its positioning? What would happen if the same object were to reappear in space, as is in this case suggested by the phrasing of the shadow blade spell (emphasis mine):

While the spell lasts, you can use a bonus action to make the sword reappear in your hand.

To me, the most reasonable outcome in the event of the object outright being removed from existence is that the darkness stops being emitted, as the darkness is stated to ‘come from’ the object. The darkness would then reappear should the same object reappear, provided that the spell hasn’t ended (no trigger for which has been activated).

Artificer Armorer Guardian attack and cantrips like Booming blade

So the UA specialist for the Artificer, the Armorer, has an interesting ability for one of the models you can take.

Thunder Gauntlets. Your armored fists each count as a simple melee weapon, and each deals 1d8 thunder damage on a hit. A creature hit by the gauntlet has disadvantage on attack rolls against targets other than you until the start of your next turn, as the armor magically emits a distracting pulse when the creature attacks someone else.

Should you end up with a cantrip like Booming Blade through some means, could you use Thunder Gauntlets to perform it? Would you then get the unique effect of Thunder Gauntlet alongside the normal effects of such a cantrip?

Is the damage to the second target from the Green-Flame Blade cantrip also doubled on a critical hit?

I’m thinking of a concept of a spellcaster that fight in melee from the moment I re-read the “blade” cantrips (green-flame blade and booming blade), and realized that they can deal a lot of damage. Long story short, I re-read the Assassin subclass, and was thinking about how they interact with critical hits.

If it is obvious that the secondary damage from booming blade doesn’t care about whether or not the initial attack was a critical hit, but how about green-flame blade (which basically gives you an automatic hit on another enemy)? How does green-flame blade‘s secondary damage interact with critical hits?

If I get a critical hit on the attack roll of green-flame blade, is the number of damage dice doubled for the damage to both targets? Or does it only double the damage dice for the first target?

Does the extra damage from Booming Blade stack if the spell is cast twice on the same target?

The booming blade spell (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, p. 142) says:

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects, and it becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves before then, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.

Does the secondary effect of booming blade (which does extra damage if the target moves before my next turn) stack if the spell is cast a second time as a bonus action through the sorcerer’s Quickened Spell metamagic?