Is a full melee combatant party for Rise of the Runelords viable?

So I’m a DM with a bit of previous experience who discovered the wonderful world of Pathfinder Adventure Guides, and decided to try my first campaign of those with the classic Rise of the Runelords to see how fun they can be.

I’ve gathered three players who made the following characters: A Magus of the Mindblade archetype, a Paladin, and a Valkyrie player (from a third party publishing, essentially a tier-3 full BAB combatant). They are all level 1, and about to start the Burnt Offerings adventure.

I want to give them the freedom of choice to play whatever characters they want to play, and I could allow them to recruit NPC from the or even add in a support NPC to make up a fourth party member and therefore give them whatever support they need, but reading some feedback from people who played the module got me worried.

Is the module forgiving enough for they to be able to clear it with this party make-up? Am I going to have to create a supporting NPC? If so, what sort of support would be best to be focused on to allow them to deal with the campaign on the long term?

GURPS – How does melee combat work between fighters with different weapon ranges?

Let’s say in a classic fantasy medieval world there are two warriors fighting, one with a spear and the other with a sword or one with a halberd and the other using martial arts with bare hands.

I usually use simple rules for melee combats, ignoring the range of the weapons, but in some cases the difference between the range of the weapons is too big or the player wants to do some special move and asks to take that into account.

I’ve read the advanced combat system, but couldn’t understand exactly what is the rule for this. How can the warrior with the halberd attack the martial artist if he is in close range? And how can the warrior with the sword pass by the spear to get close to his enemy?

Can you use darts as improvised “light melee weapons” to trigger Two-Weapon Fighting?

Can you take the Attack action and use darts as improvised “light melee weapons” to trigger Two-Weapon Fighting for the purpose of making two thrown attacks?

My financially challenged first level wizard chooses the attack action. He declares the darts to be improvised daggers so they are “treated as such”.

This declaration requires a ruling that a dart “is akin” to a dagger. This declaration; using the “as if it were that weapon” clause; changes them to “simple melee weapons” with 1d4 piercing damage, adds the “finesse”, “light” and “thrown” properties, and gives a range of 20/60.

Improvised Weapons PHB p.147. “In many cases, an improvised weapon is similar to an actual weapon and can be treated as such. For example, a table leg is akin to a club. At the DM’s option, a character proficient with a weapon can use a similar object as if it were that weapon and use his or her proficiency bonus.”

He holds them in each hand, this triggers a bonus action per Two-Weapon fighting. The thrown property permits me to thrown them in place of a melee attack. Negating the need for a melee attack.

Two-Weapon Fighting PHB p. 195 “When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand. You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

This resolves the thematic head scratching of why I can uses daggers to make two attacks, but not darts due to its placement on a weapon table. It also saves a poor 1st level wizard a few coins.

Is this interpretation correct RAW?

By what factor does weight of a melee weapon change if created for a creature with a size class other than medium

So it’s safe to assume that a small creature will have a lighter weapon than a medium creature and a large creature will have a heavier weapon than a medium creature since the amount of material used in the weapon will differ. How much of a factor would the weapons weight change by? My best guess would be two since each size class is effectively twice as large as the previous size class.

How can I further optimize this melee Hexblade Warlock build?

I’m looking for a highly-optimized melee build, abusing Elven Accuracy and Hexblade’s Curse. My current build and criteria are as follows:

  • STR/DEX/CON/INT/WIS/CHA are 15/9/18/12/11/20 after racial modifiers and feats.
  • PC is planned as a Half-Elven Battle Master Fighter 12, Hexblade Warlock 8.
  • Relevant class features chosen are Pact of the Blade and the Great Weapon Fighting Style.
  • The relevant Eldritch Invocations are Improved Pact Weapon, Eldritch Smite.
  • Relevant Battle Maneuver is Feinting Attack.
  • Feats chosen are Savage Attacker, Great Weapon Master, and Elven Accuracy.

Remaining options for the build:

  • Three Feats/ASIs
  • Two Eldritch Invocations
  • Warlock Spells
  • Five Battle Master Maneuvers

Criteria for optimization:

  • Class features/feats/subclass options/spells only. The build should be optimized outside of magical gear/boons.
  • The goal of the build is to find the highest potential and/or highest expected damage in one round of combat, using as many resources as necessary/able.
  • Alternate subclass proposals are welcome, provided they follow the play style of a heavily-armored, front-line melee Warlock.
  • Assume target is Large or smaller for the purposes of Eldritch Smite knocking them prone.

Combat Sequence (Turns):

  1. Action to summon Pact Weapon Greatsword, Bonus Action to use Hexblade’s Curse on target.

  2. Bonus Action to use Feinting Attack, Attack action (3 attacks), Action Surge, Attack action (3 more attacks).

Turn Breakdown:

  • The first attack of turn 2 will use Feinting Attack to gain Advantage, activating Elven Accuracy. On hit, Eldritch Smite will knock the target prone.

  • All subsequent attacks will dump all remaining Superiority Dice into Goading Attack for extra damage, and burn up Pact Magic spell slots on Eldritch Smite.

  • Great Weapon Fighting will be used to reroll damage where appropriate.

  • Savage Attacker will be used on the first crit to reroll the weapon’s damage dice for a potentially higher output, or the final hit if no crits occur.

  • Great Weapon Master will be activated on each swing for the bonus damage.

Current Damage Rolls:

Turn 2, assuming all attacks hit and none are criticals, will result in the following:

  • The first two attacks will deal 2d6+1d10+5d8+22 each. (GWM, Smite, and Maneuvers)
  • The third through fifth attacks will deal 2d6+1d10+22 (GWM and remaining Maneuvers)
  • The final attack will deal 2d6+22. Total base damage calculation is 12d6+5d10+10d8+132.

In addition to this base damage, the attacks can crit on 19-20 and attack rolls will be the highest of 3 d20s thanks to the brokenness that is Elven Accuracy.

I don’t need to get too crazy into the math of crit rates and expected averages. I’m just looking for areas where I can possibly squeeze in a few more dice or extra damage in addition to the chosen features. As stated earlier, replacement features or subclasses/multi-classing are viable submissions, the only core feature is that it is a melee-oriented Hexblade Warlock.

What is the rarity of my homebrew melee weapon that banishes on critical hits?

I want to make a melee weapon that, if you score a critical hit, casts banishment on the target. I don’t mind it being of a high rarity, but I don’t want it to be broken. I wasn’t planning on making this effect limited to once per day or even limited by charges (although if it turns out that this weapon is broken without it, I will consider charges). The spell save DC of 15 is also arbitrary at the moment, based on a very rare weapon.

Banisher

Weapon (any melee weapon), ??? (requires attunement)

When you roll a 20 on an attack roll made with this weapon, you cast banishment on the target you hit if the target is a creature (save DC 15). The weapon maintains concentration on the spell, which can only be interrupted if you roll another 20 on an attack roll made with this weapon before the spell’s duration has elapsed.

(In other words, with respect to that last sentence in my magic item’s description, if you crit twice within a minute, then the first target reappears again, i.e. isn’t banished)

It’s only a 4th level spell, which you cannot cast by choice but rather is cast on random chance, so I’m not sure what the rarity of this effect will be. If it’s super-legendary or something, I can introduce charges to limit it and bring the rarity back down to something balanced, but if it’s actually not as bad as I’m thinking, then I might make it a +1 or +2 weapon as well to bump it up to very rare (which is roughly what I’m aiming for).

So, what is the rarity of a melee weapon that casts banishment every time you crit?

Can a Rogue exploit a tiny familiar for automatic Sneak Attack in melee?

A Rogue’s Sneak Attack can be triggered “if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it”. As discussed here, such another enemy may also be a familiar, and the Sage Advice Compendium seems to confirm this (even though I am a bit confused that it does not emphasize the fact that the familiar qualifies as “another enemy”, but rather that it is “an allied creature”).

While it hardly makes sense in view of the narrative behind a Sneak Attack, this technically means that a spider familiar located in some reasonably safe spot on a Rogue’s body lets them always use their Sneak Attack in melee. Using the Cunning Action to Disengage, the Rogue can immediately retreat, taking the familiar with them and thus taking it out of immediate danger.

Am I missing something? What’s the catch? How can a DM deal with that apart from flat out prohibiting it?

How do I maximize my turns for damage with this Battle Smith melee character?

What would be the correct sequence of actions on 1st turn, and following turns for an Battle Smith Artificer to Maximize damage?

They are a 3rd level variant human (Dual Wielder feat) with a Strength and Intelligence modifier of +3. We are using the 2019-2 version of the Artificer.

They are armed with

  • 2 Yklwa 1d8 (with throwing property) using TWF

    • One being infused with Enchant Weapon +1,
    • and the second with Returning Weapon +1 (no action on return).

They could cast either

  • Arcane weapon 1d6 (variable) or
  • Searing Smite 1d6 (fire)

And they have the ability to command their Iron Defender as a Bonus Action to attack with a 1d8 + 2 damage attack, or take the help action.

What is the most damage that can be done in a single melee attack?

So, I was attempting to theory-craft a character that could deliver a massive amount of damage in a single melee attack. I know that there are builds to deliver a massive amount of damage in a single round that can most definitely out-damage this one, but I was specifically looking for a single melee attack.

So, my idea was a Half-Orc Paladin/Hexblade Warlock/Sorcerer multiclass. Using a combination of Divine Smite, the Warlock’s Eldritch Smite Invocation, a +3 magic weapon, the Half-Orc’s Savage Attack feature, Absorb Elements, and Hex, with max damage and crits, I got a lot of damage (I don’t have the exact math’s, I lost the paper I was doing my calculations on). I think it was over 100.

However, I’m sure that this is nowhere near as high as it can possibly be. So what is the greatest maximum amount of damage you can do with a single melee attack?

Anything from books published by Wizards is allowed, whether it be race, class, magic items, etc, as long as you make it a single melee attack. This includes 20th level characters and epic boons. UA should not be considered.