[RPG] What are some feats that are required to maximize eldritch blast damage output


I am working on a warlock build for my next campaign and I am having trouble finding feats that would apply and boost Warlock's eldritch blast damage output. This is because Warlock is not a traditional spell caster from PHB and I am unsure which feats would apply to EB as its a ranged touch attack. What are some of my options for EB feats and at what level they would come into play?

Best Answer

Strictly speaking, the single feat that amplifies the damage of eldritch blast the most is Eldritch Claws from Dragon vol. 358. That gives you a pair of claw attacks that deal damage equal to your unarmed strike + your eldritch blast, so you get to apply your eldritch blast damage twice in that situation. You can increase this by using Rapidstrike and Improved Rapidstrike from Draconomicon, which would get you four and then six attacks. Alternatively Beast Strike from Dragon vol. 355 would let your unarmed strike damage include your claw damage (which means your unarmed strikes would do unarmed strike damage + unarmed strike damage + eldritch blast damage, so doubling your unarmed strike damage). Since these are just regular unarmed strikes, you can perform a regular attack routine with them, and benefit from anything that gives bonus attacks or whatever.

A clawlock is a very specific build, though, and has some serious trade-offs—you’re melee, you’re making non-touch attacks, and so on. You need a bunch of feats just to make it work at all. It’s not compatible with eldritch essences or blast shapes. And on top of that, eldritch glaive from Dragon Magic is a blast shape, so you can take that as one invocation and get up to four attacks with eldritch blast damage, and it’s at reach and it’s a touch attack, so that starts to make Eldritch Claws look pretty poor in comparison (it is much harder to optimize eldritch glaive though, so with the enough investment Eldritch Claws is far superior).

Another sort of oblique feat that will do more to improve your eldritch blast damage more than any other is, arguably, Shape Soulmeld (strongheart vest) from Magic of Incarnum. The strongheart vest gives you “Constitution ability damage reduction” 1, that is, any Constitution damage dealt to you is reduced by 1. This is relevant because the hellfire warlock’s hellfire blast deals 1 Constitution damage to you when you use it, and hellfire blast adds up to +6d6 damage to eldritch blast (Fiendish Codex II). The rules for hellfire blast says it doesn’t work if you’re immune to Constitution damge, but strongheart vest doesn’t make you immune, it just reduces the damage by 1 (which happens to be enough to be safe with hellfire blast). RAW, it works, realistically, check with your DM first. (If it doesn’t, the other solution is to dip a level of binder from Tome of Magic for Naberius, who gives you ability damage fast healing to heal the damage up immediately.)

For more direct feat-based improvements to eldritch blast damage, Quicken Spell-like Ability (Monster Manual) and Maximize Spell-like Ability (Complete Arcane) are both potent, but limited in usage, since each can only be used 3 times per day. Note that eldritch blast counts as a 1st-level spell, per the Complete Arcane errata, which allows you to take these at the earliest-possible level.

For more direct “add some damage to your eldritch blast” effects, remember that as a “weapon-like spell,” you can use various options for ranged attacks. Your best single-feat option is Mortalbane from Book of Vile Darkness, which will add +2d6 damage to your eldritch blast 5 times per day. It doesn’t work on Constructs, Outsiders, or Undead, but still, that’s a lot of potential targets.

But with three feats (which is a ton but nonetheless), you could take Martial Study (something from Shadow Hand), Martial Stance (assassin’s stance), and Craven. Martial Study and Martial Stance are from Tome of Battle and allow you to pick up the maneuvers from that book without having levels in those classes, and assassin’s stance gives you +2d6 sneak attack damage. No 5/day limitation like Mortalbane, but the targeting restrictions are worse and you have to deny the target Dex to AC somehow, which is a pain. Craven is from Champions of Ruin, and adds your character level in extra damage to sneak attack, so your +2d6 becomes +2d6+level, which is pretty good. However, Craven has a massive drawback in that you are not allow fear immunity while using the feat, which also precludes mind-affecting immunity. At low-to-mid levels, it doesn’t matter since you can’t get those things anyway, but at mid-to-high levels they become available and then near-mandatory, which makes Craven very painful at that point. Still, there are some levels at which assassin’s stance and Craven are going to be the largest damage boost you can find.

Beyond that, the only other feats that are decent sources of direct improvements to eldritch blast damage are Psionic Shot and Greater Psionic Shot from Expanded Psionics Handbook (or here). Those will add +2d6 or +4d6 damage, respectively, but you need to be psionic (which might require the Wild Talent feat), and then you can only do it once per encounter, effectively, unless you take Psionic Meditation (which painfully requires Wis 13).

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