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Author Topic: The Path to Righteousness: X-Codes' Guide to Paladins in 4e.  (Read 7940 times)
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X-Codes
Organ Grinder
*****
Posts: 3941



« on: June 09, 2008, 07:07:44 AM »

The Guide is now mostly done.  Some art will be stolen off teh Google and WotC soon enough and some editing changes will be done to make the guide more readable in some parts (Powers and Multiclassing), but as of right now it's working.

Post #
1. ) What's a Paladin?
2. ) Races and Racial Feats
3. ) Ability Scores
4. ) Powers
5. ) Feats
6. ) Paragon Paths
7. ) Multiclassing
8. ) Epic Destinies

What's a Paladin?

The Paladin is, in short, a Defender.  Their duty is to make attacking other members of the party less than ideal for the enemy, if not outright impossible.

That said, Paladins do a bit more than just that.  Their variety of powers reveal a number of Leader-like abilities with powers that heal and grant AC bonuses, even a few others are present that grant bonuses to Attack rolls or Combat Advantage.  That said, they lack the at-will powers granting such bonuses and encounter-based, high-power healing abilities that could otherwise make them true Leaders.

To get more into the raw numbers of the class, here is the basic information:
Power Source – Divine
Armor Proficiencies – Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chain, Scale, Plate; Light and Heavy Shields
Weapon Proficiencies – Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged
Implement – Holy Symbol
Bonuses to Defense – +1 Fort, Ref, and Will
Hit Points – 15 + Constitution Modifier + 6 per level
Healing Surges – 10 + Constitution Modifier per day
Trained Skills – Religion and three of the following: Diplomacy, Endurance, Heal, History, Insight, and Intimidate

Objectives

The objectives of the Paladin are a short list indeed, and ranked here in order of importance.

1. ) Keep the enemy focused on you.  You have high HP and Defenses and more Healing Surges than any other class per day, and that means you should be the one taking the hits.

2. ) Keep the rest of the party healthy.  Sometimes, especially early on, monsters will get past you and attack squishier members.  Between Lay on Hands and your various healing powers, however, you should be able to keep their HP nice and high.

3. ) Aid the Strikers and Controllers of the party in landing their attacks.  They easily do more damage than you, and if you can do this while also getting in some damage yourself then you've got a good system going.

4. ) Smite the enemy.  Paladins have a couple vicious attack powers at their disposal, and even if they're not as strong as the strongest Striker powers, the Strikers are still limited by uses per encounter and day.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 06:57:07 AM by X-Codes » Logged

X-Codes
Organ Grinder
*****
Posts: 3941



« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 07:08:19 AM »

Races and Racial Feats

Humans aren't the default best pick anymore; the toning down of feat power in 4e has seen to that.  Indeed, most every race in the PHB can make a good Paladin, and likely there are a few that would wind up being better at the job than a Human.  Anyway, the race you pick will go a long way in defining what kind of Paladin you're going to be.

PHB Races

Dragonborn
It seems to me that Dragonborn are the new "default" Paladin race, and for good reason.  It's damn hard to make a bad Dragonborn Paladin, and not terribly difficult to make a good one.  That said, it really makes for kind of a bland Paladin in my opinion.

+2 Strength, +2 Charisma – Bonuses to two primary Paladin stats.  That said, having bonuses to these two stats in particular isn't quite as good as having +2 Wisdom and +2 to one of these.
+2 History, +2 Intimidate – Both skill bonuses are Paladin class skills.
Dragonborn Fury – Dragonborn are at their best when taking damage, and Defenders want to take damage already.  While it's generally best to avoid taking damage altogether, taking damage is inevitable and with this you can take advantage of that.
Draconic Heritage – High Healing Surge values are wonderful for Defenders, but because of the Paladin's reliance on Strength/Charisma and Wisdom taking precedent, this ability just won't give that big of a boost.
Dragon Breath – High-accuracy AoE attack, ideal for taking out minions (a task that Paladins never excel at on their own).

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Adaptable Breath Drag365 - Don't make me laugh.  The damage of your breath weapon is either thematic (you breathe fire because you want to), strategic (you breathe cold for Wintertouched), or simply consistent (you don't breathe poison because lots of things are immune).  In two of these situations you're likely to want to use your chosen breath regardless of resistances/immunities.  In the third, you've already picked a damage type with few, if any, immunities, so you're pretty much good.
Avowed Dragonfoe FRPG - Feats specialized against a monster type are typically bad in and of themselves, but when that type is Dragon then it's especially bad due to the fact that the vast majority of Dragons are Solo monsters and thus a very rare encounter.
Broken Shackles FRPG - Given that the bonus to your Will defense is a feat bonus, this feat isn't great.  It's good and can be useful for a while, but when you get right down to it there's probably better stuff out there.
Dragonborn Frenzy – Pretty good feat to take early on, but probably out-lives it's usefulness when you hit Paragon tier.
Dragonborn Senses – Low-light vision is an exceptional ability and Perception bonuses are always welcome.  Every Dragonborn that trains Perception should take this feat, and most that don't should as well.
Enlarged Dragon Breath – Bigger blast means more minions fried by it.  If you compare it to Hurl Breath, however, then more often than not you're going to want to go for that one.  The two feats do not stack, so do not take them both.
Hurl Breath Drag365 - My new marginal favorite for feats altering your Breath Weapon.  The thing that gives this feat an edge over Enlarged Dragon Breath is that you don't have to use it.  Normally that's not such a bad thing, but by making it an Area blast attack it now draws OAs.  Unless you're a hardcore Defender you're probably going to net more benefit from this feat than Enlarged Dragon Breath.

Paragon:
Admixture Breath Drag365 - See what I said for the pre-requisite, Adaptable Breath.
Dragonborn Zeal Drag365 - Extremely situational feat to take.  Chances are you're going to want to take this feat when your Paragon Path's utility power isn't very good or isn't very useful to you.  In those cases, it's a perfectly good feat to take since it will give you more options.
Empowered Dragon Breath – This one I see as less useful.  Paragon Minions have 1 HP just like Heroic Minions, and this is really just a +2 damage per tier once per encounter.  Not really a good investment.

Dwarf
Dwarves make an interesting choice for Paladin.  They're really absurdly tough, and can likely contribute to encounters by exemplifying the Defender role as a Paladin.  The downside is that they're weaker on the offensive than most Paladins, but who really cares when it's impossible to kill you?

+2 Wisdom – Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Constitution – More HP and Healing Surges is good for Defenders, but Paladins don't have any sort of special use for this.
Low-Light Vision - Low-light vision opens a number of tactical options the party can adopt for huge advantages in certain situations.
+2 Endurance – Bonus to a Paladin class skill.
+2 Dungeoneering – Paladins tend to have low Int and Dungeoneering isn't a class skill, so this bonus will likely be wasted.
Cast-Iron Stomach – Excellent bonus to a common and annoying condition, especially for the guy getting hit a lot.
Dwarven Resilience – Very useful ability, this will keep you smiting even while you're recovering.
Dwarven Weapon Proficiency – Completely Wasted.
Encumbered Speed – A good ability, but really just makes up for the fact that Dwarves have a speed of 5 instead of 6.  Scale armor specialists can get this on the Paragon tier.
Stand Your Ground – Excellent defensive ability.  Staying one square closer makes you that much more able to get back in the fray, and staying on your feet will take away a common method of gaining combat advantage in 4e.

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Dodge Giants – The AC bonus can be ignored, but the Reflex bonus is extremely helpful.  Also, Large+ creatures are really quite common beyond low Heric tier.
Dwarven Weapon Training – As I predicted, superior Axes and Hammers have arrived.  Adventurer's Vault gives 6 new weapons options that this feat gives proficiency with, and I'll bet that just about all of you can find a Paladin build out there that can really take advantage of one of them.
Gold Dwarf Pride FRPG - Stuff that works when you either die or almost die is generally not very good, and this gives such a small bonus that it's really not good at all.
Shield the Fallen FRPG - There are both good and bad things with this feat.  One good thing is that the feat does provide a solid bonus.  One bad thing is that you (the defender) must be right next to the wounded ally to provide that bonus, which consequently means that the front line is right next to a wounded ally.  It's really a good feat for someone else to take.

Paragon:
Dwarven Durability – Really great feat for Defenders.  Paladins get a lot out of the two extra surges because of their rather low Con, even if what they get out of adding Con to their Surge value isn't as significant.

Eladrin
Truly a terrible choice for Paladin.  The good abilities here are seen in other races and the other races don't have to deal with the rest of the Eladrin abilities, which truly are garbage for a Paladin.

+2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence – Bonuses to two primary Paladin dump stats.  Completely wasted here.
Low-Light Vision - Low-light vision opens a number of tactical options the party can adopt for huge advantages in certain situations.
+2 History – Bonus to a Paladin class skill.
+2 Arcana – Low Int, not a Class skill.  Eladrin Education might make this more useful, but there are much better skills to use that on.
Eladrin Education – Lots of good uses for this.  As an example, Thievery on a Defender means that someone more likely to resist the traps will be disarming them.
Eladrin Weapon Proficiency – Completely wasted here.
Eladrin Will – Bonuses to Will defense are always nice, and Charm effects can be the most devastating in the game, especially since Lay on Hands qualifies as an at-will Power usable while Dominated.
Fey Origin – I'm sure it's useful, but nothing special for Paladins here.
Trance – In an all-Eladrin party, this might make a difference.  Otherwise, you're likely waiting the full 6 hours anyway.
Fey Step – Battlefield Positioning is always nice, but Paladins already get ways to bring the fight to them and also get their own teleportation.

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Eladrin Soldier – Adventurer's Vault brought us the Tratnyr and the Greatspear, neither of which is particularly amazing for a Paladin.
Moon Elf Resilience FRPG - It's another way to get a Healing Surge off as a defender, which is always good.
Sun Elf Grace FRPG - Too small of a bonus coming too infrequently.  I expect there will be a way to use this power later on, but for now it's just not very good.

Paragon:
Feywild Protection – Excellent boost.  Even if it's just once per encounter, it will better protect you as you teleport in to unleash a burst or teleport to an ally to take some heat off them.

Elf
This rating is based on a personal philosphy of mine: every party should have ONE elf.  If that Elf happens to be a Paladin then so be it, it won't make a bad Paladin.  If the Elf isn't a Paladin, then making an Elf Paladin yourself will be a bit less useful for the party as a whole.

+2 Wisdom – Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Dexterity – Bonus to a Paladin dump stat.  Will still be useful for the +1 bonus to Reflex defense, but not much else.
Low-Light Vision - Low-light vision opens a number of tactical options the party can adopt for huge advantages in certain situations.
+2 Perception – One of the few skills that most every character should have.
+2 Nature – Not a Class skill, but based off Wis.  If nobody else has it trained then you'll probably have the highest modifier.
Elven Weapon Proficiency – Poor weapons for Paladins to use.  They're much better off with heavy thrown weapons or even Implement Powers for ranged attacks.
Fey Origin – I'm sure it's useful, but nothing special for Paladins here.
Group Awareness – It's because of this ability that every party should have 1 elf.
Wild Step – Excellent mobility bonus.  Difficult Terrain is very common and can also be generated by a few powers.
Elven Accuracy – Reroll an attack?  Always a good option.

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Elven Precision – 100% required for any full-blooded Elf.
Light Step – Overland travel is inevitable, for not even long-range teleportation will be wholly reliable anymore, and this makes it easier.  Another reason there should always be an Elf in the party.
Wild Elf Luck FRPG - Someone at WotC was smoking something when they made this feat.  It's 100% stackable with Elven Precision, and even a little better by itself.
Wood Elf Agility FRPG - It's kinda unfair to this feat that the exact same book brought us Wild Elf Luck.  In and of itself, Wood Elf Agility is not a bad feat, but the line where you can't take Wild Elf Luck if you take this one just plain sinks it.

Paragon:
Running Shot – Paladins don't run and make ranged attacks.

Half-Elf
No longer the red-headed stepchildren of the Elven Bloodline, Half-Elves now get the best of both the Human and Elven bloodlines.  Needless to say, this gives them a lot of potential to be great Paladins.

+2 Charisma – Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Constitution – Always good for defenders, but Paladins don't do anything special with it.
Low-Light Vision - Low-light vision opens a number of tactical options the party can adopt for huge advantages in certain situations.
+2 Diplomacy, +2 Insight – Two bonuses to two excellent Paladin skills.
Dilettante – Excellent ability.  Look in the Spoiler below for power suggestions.
Notable powers to get with this are Furious Smash and Righteous Brand.  More to come.
Dual Heritage – Humans have excellent racial feats.  The Elf ones really do you no good, though.
Group Diplomacy – You have a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy, an Ability Score bonus to Charisma, and Diplomacy on your class skills list.  If you aren't the party Diplomat, then there is something seriously wrong.

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Action Surge – Get the most out of your Encounter and Daily powers with this feat.  If you can get it, theres no reason not to.
Elven Precision – Listed for completeness, you don't actually qualify.
Group Insight – Excellent ability.  Initiative bonuses are always great and Insight is a great skill to have.
Human Perseverance – Bonuses to saving throws are few and far between, but at the same time you always want to make them.  Thus, if you can get this feat, theres no reason not to.
Light Step – The party Elf should take this feat.  If you are the party elf, then go into the forest and recruit a new one.
Stubborn Survivor FRPG - A substantial bonus that only gets better after taking Action Recovery.  One simple truth about Humans and Half-Elves is that they constantly use Action Points, which means they're often out of Action Points, which means that they're getting nice bonuses from this feat.
Wild Elf Luck FRPG - Awesome feat for Elves.  Half-Elves gain absolutely no benefit.
Wood Elf Agility FRPG - Acrobatics and Athletics are two very useful skills, and the latter at least should be high for a strength-based Paladin.  Normally a skill feat is a skill feat, but Athletics gets you out of grabs, and being out of grabs lets you do your job.  You shouldn't ignore this feat ever.

Paragon:
Action Recovery – Take it at level 11.  One of the best feats in the book, hands down.
Running Shot – Paladins don't run and make ranged attacks.

Halfling
At best an interesting pick.  There were unique advantages to being small-sized in 3e, but those are gone as of 4e.  This race is saved from being panned by the fact that Thievery on a Defender isn't a bad idea, and Halflings are the only race in the PHB that grants bonuses to it.  Furthermore, Second Chance will be used often as a Defender, making the Halflings uniquely useful.

+2 Charisma – Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Dexterity – Bonus to a Paladin dump stat.
+2 Thievery – IMO, it's quite possibly worth a Skill Training feat to use this skill well.  As a paladin you have high HP and Defenses and thus weather traps better than a Rogue.
+2 Acrobatics – Don't make me laugh...
Bold – Excellent bonus against a troublesome effect.
Nimble Reaction – Your AC is already high, and it's generally better to just avoid Opportunity Attacks.  You can't even intentionally draw Opportunity Attacks so that your allies can move freely since everyone gets an Opportunity Attack on every other creature's turn.
Second Chance – You're getting attacked a lot, making the dangerous attacks miss is always a good idea.
Small Size – Small size is just plain terrible in 4e.  That said, Paladins can, for the most part, overcome their small stature by avoiding versatile weapons and/or using more Implement powers instead of Weapon powers.

Heroic:
Ghostwise Heritage FRPG - Use this with the party Elf and you both could receive a nice boost to your Perception checks.  That said, you're already picking up Skill Training (Thievery) so also adding in this feat and Skill Training (Perception) could be pushing it.
Halfling Agility – An extra bonus to really evade an attack.
Lost in the Crowd – +2 AC for a feat is almost always a good deal, but as I said before your AC is already high.

Human
The only non-human in 3e was Pun-Pun, but now that the huge advantages enjoyed by Humans have been marginalized in 4e, they're back to being on-par with other races now.  Anyway, that said, I strongly recommend going Human if you want to do some Paragon Multiclassing out of Paladin, and I really don't recommend using Human if you're not.  The facts that Humans only get a single ability boost and that the extra at-will power really does nothing for Paladins make them kind of middling if you're not looking to multiclass.  Of course, this may change later on as more Splatbooks are released.

+2 to any score – Bonus to the primary Paladin stat you really want.
Bonus At-Will Power – For Paladins, this actually isn't very helpful at all.  Paladins with higher Strength than Charisma are almost pigeonholed into two at-will powers and vice-versa.  That said, you can get a reasonably useful at-will powers out of Holy Strike and Enfeebling Strike regardless of your exact scores and then use Paragon Multiclassing at 11 to swap it for a more useful at-will power from another list.
Bonus Feat – Always a good thing, especially with the Humans' excellent racial feats.
Bonus Skill – The Paladin has a skill list well worth the extra skill.
Human Defense Bonus – Absolutely excellent bonus for Paladins.

Heroic:
Action Surge – Get the most out of your Encounter and Daily powers with this feat.  If you can get it, theres no reason not to.
Human Perseverance – Bonuses to saving throws are few and far between, but at the same time you always want to make them.  Thus, if you can get this feat, theres no reason not to.
Stubborn Survivor FRPG - Humans thrive off of Action Points, so having a bonus once your Action Points are gone is a good thing indeed.

Paragon:
Action Recovery – Take it at level 11.  One of the best feats in the book, hands down.

Tiefling
A very offensive pick for being a Paladin.  The bonus to Charisma and the Charisma-based Infernal Wrath will really aid your damage output, and Bloodhunt really only amplifies that.  If you want to put the "mite!" in "Smite!" then Tiefling is the race for you.

+2 Charisma – Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Intelligence – Bonus to a Paladin dump stat.
Low-Light Vision - Low-light vision opens a number of tactical options the party can adopt for huge advantages in certain situations.
+2 Bluff – Not a bad skill for someone in the party to have, and with your Charisma it may as well be you.  That said, it will entail burning a Skill Training feat to get good at it.
+2 Stealth – Your Dexterity will be terrible, your armor will be heavy, your training will not be in this skill.  Total waste.
Bloodhunt – You will encounter Bloodied foes very often, so this bonus will be useful to finishing them off.
Fire Resistance – Fire is the most common non-physical damage in 4e.  Resisting it is awesome.
Infernal Wrath – You want people to attack you as the party defender, and now you want people to attack you so you can hit them back harder.  If that's not good enough, it's even Charisma-based.

Heroic:
Ferocious Rebuke – More useful for Tiefling Strikers and Controllers looking to cover their retreat, but can still be used here to great effect thanks to the Paladin's scant pushing powers.
Hellfire Blood – Paladins have virtually no abilities with either the Fire or Fear keyword, and such abilities from other classes are often keyed to an ability score Paladins don't commonly use.

Paragon:
Fiery Rebuke – A huge damage boost to the ability that draws you to making a Tiefling Paladin in the first place.  All Tiefling Paladins should take this feat!

FRPG Races

Drow
A very un-paladin-like race with a deceptively short list of abilities in their Racial Traits block.  Drow have the potential to be exceptional Paladins by wisely using their racial powers to hold back the front line and mark enemies for a swift death.

+2 Charisma - Bonus to a primary Paladin stat.
+2 Dexterity - Bonus to a Paladin dump stat, but can be taken advantage of.
Darkvision - Wonderful ability, highly underrated in 3e IMO.  With magical light sources being increasingly rare, however, Darkvision should play a larger role in interested parties.  You can get huge advantages with this ability if you're smart about it.
+2 Intimidate - Bonus to a Paladin class skill with some very potent uses.
+2 Stealth - Completely wasted on a Paladin.
Fey Origin - I'm sure this has some impact on the game, I'm just not sure what it is yet.
Trance - Can be taken advantage of, but generally won't be by Paladins.  Of course, sleeping less is never a drawback in D&D.
Cloud of Darkness - Think of this as a big, fat wall.  Monsters will want to avoid it because it blocks vision, and furthermore any monsters already inside or along the edges will grant you significant bonuses when attacking them.
Darkfire - A very easy power to use.  Hit an enemy with it and they generally lose a lot of defense against your allies' attacks.  Use it in a situation where your party can gang up on the poor sod you target with this and they'll go down within the round barring Elite or Solo status.

Racial Feats
Heroic:
Clutch of Darkness FRPG - Must have.  The boost to Cloud of Darkness is enough to justify the feat, but it also boosts Darkfire.
Ruthless Hunter FRPG - A good Heroic tier feat... for someone else.  Your Dex will not be high enough to support ranged basic attacks.
Shield of Shadows FRPG - The only fault that can be seen with this feat is that it only lasts 1 round each encounter.  That said, Paladins have relatively crappy Reflex defense.  If you feel the need to add this boost, do so.

Paragon:
Master of Fire and Darkness FRPG - If you are playing a Drow, you take this feat.  This is pure gold.
Merciless Killer FRPG - Absolutely not impressed with this feat.  Two conditions are required for it to give any benefit at all, and even you're getting a benefit only a little better than Weapon Focus.  Avoid this feat like the plague.
Venomous Heritage FRPG - Poison is a common attack type, and there are some crippling poison attacks that you will want to make saves on.  The question here is if it's worth a Paragon feat, but unless you can find 12 Paragon feats better than it (re-training all your Heroic-tier feats as well) then you want this feat.

Genasi
A race that can make for good Paladins.  The racial traits all Genasi share form a solid foundation for good Paladins, but when it comes to Manifestations then some are rather clearly better than others.  This rating assumes you use one of the better manifestations, otherwise it's an average race for the job.

+2 Strength - Bonus to a primary Paladin score.
+2 Intelligence - Pretty much wasted.  No real uses for Intelligence on a Paladin.
+2 Endurance - Bonus to a Paladin class skill.
+2 Nature - Bonus to a Wisdom-based skill, so it could work for you on occasion.
Elemental Origin - I'm sure this has some impact on the game, but there's nothing special for Paladins here.

Elemental Manifestation - This is the ability that can make the case for having Genasi Paladins.  Some are strong, others are nifty.  I personally prefer strong.
Earthsoul - A solid pick.  Bonus to Fortitude defense and saving throws.  The racial power Earthshock provides a little stickiness for a round as well as providing support for other melee allies.
Firesoul - My personal favorite here.  You get a common energy resistance, a bonus to your weak defense, and a power that triggers when you're hit in melee.  Very little to not like.
Stormsoul - Again a bonus to Fortitude defense and a less common energy resistance, although the Promise of Storm power has some uses for higher level Paladins if you're willing to wait.
Watersoul - A racial bonus to saves against ongoing damage, which sometimes also includes less desirable effects.  You also get the swiftcurrent power which isn't really useful for a Paladin, but it's not bad.
Windsoul - Energy resistance is the only passive effect of the Windsoul, and the Windwalker power doesn't quite make up for that IMO.  Flying is certainly a useful power, but in such small amounts I don't see it being particularly useful for most Paladins.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 01:40:08 AM by X-Codes » Logged

X-Codes
Organ Grinder
*****
Posts: 3941



« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2008, 07:11:38 AM »

Ability Scores

Here it is.  Paladins are still a class suffering of MAD as they did in 3e, but with the new point-buy system and easier access to racial ability score bonuses, it's actually often more beneficial to spread around the love then it is to super-specialize.  Whats more, a Paladin's MAD actually isn't as bad as it was in 3e, since now you can choose to either go with Strength *or* Charisma and still make a fully functioning Paladin.

Strength and Charisma - Strength and Charisma are the ability scores that will guide the Paladin's attack and damage rolls, and each have their own pros and cons.  Strength will guide your opportunity attacks without a feat, and instead allow you to focus on axes for pure damage output as well as having a much easier time qualifying for Axe Mastery (requiring a whopping 21 Str, 17 Con).  That said, Charisma is far more versatile, even if you get pigeonholed into taking Heavy Blade Opportunity in order to apply your favorite ability score to your opportunity attacks.  One way or another, you're likely to want to take at least a starting 14 in Strength to get Power Attack in decent time and Charisma powers Divine Challenge and Divine Mettle in addition to some Utility powers.

The earth-shattering decision here is which one will take the lead, as your choice will essentially decide which half of the Paladin's powers you're picking from.  If you're only concerned about power, then here's how it stands now: in the PHB, there is a noticable trend for Charisma powers to out-shine Strength powers early on, but on the other hand you'll quickly find Charisma powers to become slim pickings at the Epic tier while Strength powers become well and truly awesome.  Therefore, if you want to make a high-powered Strength-based Paladin early on, my suggestion is to take on some Multiclass feats and dip into either Cleric, Fighter, or Warlord to get some of their amazing powers which just so happen to come at levels where Strength-based Paladins are weak.

Wisdom - Wisdom plays an important supporting role for every Paladin.  About a third of the Paladin's Attack powers have a secondary effect keyed to Wisdom.  Furthermore, the number of times per day you can use Lay on Hands is equal to your Wisdom modifier.  For the powers, getting a 12 is the minimum just so the secondary effect is there, but 13 is just one point more.  After that, 14 gets you another use of Lay on Hands and really makes your secondary effects noticable.

Constitution - All defenders need a solid Constitution score for the HP and Healing Surges.  In all seriousness, for any defender a starting score of 13 Constitution is too cheap to pass up.  Going as high as 15 can be done without sacrificing too much, but beyond that you're going to start seriously impacting your effectiveness.

Dexterity - One of the least useful Paladin stats, but still worth some points on occasion.  If you're going for Heavy Blade Opportunity, which Charisma-based Paladins generally should but Strength-based Paladins have other viable options, then putting some points here early will make it easier to qualify later without sacrificing too many stat bumps to other scores.  Fact is, though, most Paladins are safe dumping this one.

Intelligence - Intelligence is the true Paladin dump stat.  The only time you don't put your starting 8 score in Intelligence is if you're playing a race with an Intelligence bonus and not a Dexterity bonus.  This will let you apply your racial bonus to your Reflex defense, which is marginally more important than not taking a penalty on Initiative and, in games starting from level 1, often a better idea than fronting the points needed to eventually get Heavy Blade Opportunity.

How to assign points in a point buy:

As a Defender, the 13 Con is too cheap to pass up at this point, so start there.

Wisdom is important for all Paladins starting right from level 1.  Since this is still early in the point buy process, start with a 13 here as well.

Now is the point where you decide on Strength and Charisma.  An interesting thing about Paladin stats is that Strength-based Paladins really don't need Charisma all that much while the opposite is very true for those still seeking to grab Heavy Blade Opportunity, Power Attack, and other such feats.  If going Strength, you will need at least a 16 before racial bonuses.  If you don't get a racial bonus, then putting it up to 17 likely isn't a bad idea, but save it for later.  For Charisma, you'll need a minimum of 13 Strength to eventually qualify for your feats if you so choose, and then can grab a 16 in Charisma.  If you choose to not go for Heavy Blade Opportunity or Power Attack, then Strength *can* be left at 10.

Now is the time to consider which score gets your 8: Dex or Int.  If you are going for Heavy Blade Opportunity, Dex gets the 10 regardless of anything else you see in this Paragraph.  If your Race gives bonuses to Dex and Int then I think you're a little crazy, but Dex gets the 10 here, as well.  If your Race gives a bonus to just one of the two, then the score that gets the bonus gets the 10.  Finally, If your race doesn't get a bonus to either Dex or Int then the Dex gets the 10.

You now have somewhere between 4 and 7 points left and have a good idea where your character is going.  If you want Heavy Blade Opportunity then you want your Dex to be at least 13 after Racial bonuses.  If you're going for Heavy Blade Mastery then you'll have to pay for the 13 regardless of whether or not you have the Racial bonus (remember that it also requires 21 Strength, so Charisma-based Paladins are inherently not going for that feat).  At the same time, see if you can boost Wisdom to 14 if you have the two points while still satisfying the above.  Once your Dex and Wis scores are finalized, spend whatever points you have left however you want and apply Racial modifiers.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 06:31:35 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 07:12:16 AM »

Powers

Paladin powers are easily split into two categories: those that rely on Strength for attack and damage rolls and those that rely on Charisma for attack and damage rolls.  Needless to say, if your Strength is higher than your Charisma then you should invest more in Maroon powers (signifying that it's based on Strength) and if the opposite is true then you should be looking at the Purple powers.  Black powers are powers that can be used by either sort of Paladin effectively.

At-Will Powers:

Bolstering Strike: Excellent power for mitigating damage.  If you are a Dragonborn, you should consider focusing on Charisma so that you can use this power well and repeatedly while Bloodied and maintain your +1 on attack rolls while still having respectable HP.  If you're a Human Paladin with high Strength, then I recommend taking this as your third at-will power.

Enfeebling Strike: This power is solid.  Think of it this way, as good as combat advantage is for whoever has it, this is just as bad for whoever you hit with it.  If you are facing one major threat in a battle, then stacking this with Divine Challenge will keep them on you.

Holy Strike: A respectable damage power, especially the part where it's Radiant damage instead of physical damage.  That's really all there is to it.

Valiant Strike: For an at-will power, this one has excellent accuracy.  Minions especially love to engage in swarm tactics, and this will make picking them off easy assuming you don't just ignore them and go after beefier enemies with it until the Controller mops up the minions.  If you're a Human Paladin with high Charisma, then I recommend taking this as your third at-will power.

1st-level Encounter Powers:

Fearsome Smite: Similar to Enfeebling Smite.  This really would have been more useful if it was based off Strength instead of Charisma.  To be completely honest, I don't think I can really justify taking this one over Shielding Smite unless you have at least 16 Wisdom at first level, which should only happen if you're an Elf or a Dwarf.

Piercing Smite: Amazing power.  Applying the marked condition to multiple enemies will really take a lot of heat off your allies, and the fact that it hits Reflex instead of AC is almost as good as a +4 bonus on the attack.  It's really a clear favorite over Radiant Smite.

Radiant Smite: Essentially Holy Strike with an extra 1[W] damage, totally lackluster.  Take Piercing Smite instead.

Shielding Smite: If an ally is getting mobbed, this power will really help their survivability long enough for you and the Controller to clear the enemies off him.

1st-level Daily Powers:

On Pain of Death: Short-range Implement Power.  Honestly this power has very high damage for a 1st-level daily, and even has a partial effect on a miss.  It's really hard to go wrong here.

Paladin's Judgment:  You know whether or not you're going to take this power before you even started looking at the powers.  That said, it's not a bad power.

Radiant Delirium: Another short-range implement power.  Respectable damage, excellent effect.  After hitting something with this power, they really should be killed within a round because of the combined penalty of a -2 to AC and granting Combat Advantage.  Even if you miss they're going to be crippled for a round.

2nd-level Utility Powers:

Astral Speech: Whether or not you use this power is 100% dependent on the style of campaign you're in.  If you're in a heavy hack-and-slash campaign, this will be almost useless.  If you're in a deep political intrigue setting, then it will likely get more use than the other powers.

Martyr's Blessing: This power depends heavily on your party composition.  Basically, if you have a TWF Ranger or a Rogue in the party, then this will likely see some use.  Warlords and melee Clerics will generally not be impacted negatively by just one more hit.

Sacred Circle: Unlike the other two powers, this one is never a bad pick.  Also unlike the other two powers, this one is never an especially good pick either.

3rd-level Encounter Powers
:

Arcing Smite: A decent minion-clearer, but generally speaking Piercing Smite would be better for Marking.

Invigorating Smite: One of two really good powers.  If your party doesn't like being Bloodied, then this power can do something about it, but if you're doing your job well then they're not going to get Bloodied all that often.  On the other hand, the real selling point of this power is that it's a weapon attack against Will; offering you a huge advantage.

Righteous Smite: The other of two really good powers.  This one gives temporary HP to everyone instead of healing the bloodied ones.  However, like most Weapon powers it targets AC.  It's really your pick which one you would prefer.

Staggering Smite: Your first push power, and a decent one at that.  I'd say more, but chances are you're picking this because you don't like Arcing Smite either.

5th-level Daily Powers:

Hallowed Circle: Excellent power.  Wipes out Minions fairly easily and gives a solid, lasting defense bonus.  That's really all there is to it.

Martyr's Retribution: How good this power is depends on how big of a sword you swing.  4[W] Radiant damage is nothing to sneeze at if you're using a two-handed weapon or a battleaxe, and chances are you're going to have trouble spending those 10+Con Healing Surges anyway.  The half damage on a miss is also nice to have.

Sign of Vulnerability: This is a power that kinda bugs me.  It's primary function is obviously the Vulnerability 5 Radiant, but the main sources of Radiant damage are actually coming from Strength-based Paladins.  Unless there's a Cleric in the party throwing around Lance of Faith and/or Sacred Flame powers, then a Paladin that primarily uses Charisma won't get much use out of this power.  On the other hand, a Strength-based Paladin will need a decent Charisma to ensure a hit with this power and then use the Vulnerability with Holy Strike to run up the damage.

6th-level Utility Powers:

Divine Bodyguard: Excellent power to use on a Cleric, Ranger, Rogue, or Warlord.  They're all significantly less durable than you are and, despite that, will be on the front-lines anyway.  You can't go wrong picking this power.

One Heart, One Mind: Another excellent power, but much moreso for fights against Elite or Solo monsters where the Aid Another bonus is needed to land hits with the stronger powers.  Since mileage varies on how often you encounter Elite and Solo monsters, mileage varies with this power.

Wrath of the Gods: A solid power for a time when you just want to beat shit up.  Rangers become especially fearsome when you fire off this one.  The best time to use it would be in an encounter with a number of regular monsters, but if you're concerned about Elites and Solos then One Heart, One Mind really is the better power.

7th-level Encounter Powers:

Beckon Foe: A decent Pull power intended to forcibly remove enemies from your allies.  It's Implement vs. Will with solid damage, so depending on your style it might be for you.

Benign Transposition:  Unlike Beckon Foe, you bring the attack to your enemy with this one while simultaneously getting the ally out of the way.  This is Weapon vs. AC, so whether you use this one or Beckon Foe is really a matter of preference.

Divine Reverence:  Weak damage, but decent AoE and Dazed is definitely a favorable condition to inflict on enemies.

Thunder Smite: Again the only Strength-based power for the level, but boy is it a good one.  Thunder Damage is a rare one for Paladins, and knocking enemies prone only got nastier with 4e.

9th-level Daily Powers:

Crown of Glory: Assuming you keep your allies at least 6 squares away from you, you basically make it impossible for enemies adjacent to you to attack anyone else.  Because of this interesting bit, it's useful to Strength-based Paladins even if it's not at it's full potential in their hands.

One Stands Alone: Like Crown of Glory, this one is used while removed from the group.  The difference is that this one is rather enforced.  The idea behind this power is that you use it to help in waiting for backup as opposed to using Crown of Glory to essentially force your enemies to attack you.

Radiant Pulse: This is a strange power.  If there's a member of the party casting Blood Pulse or Wall of Fire then you can really pull some shenanigans using this and Beckon Foe to just constantly throw enemies around.  Granted that's more of a thing for a Striker to do, but it's still amusing and probably a worthwhile shtick for an encounter or two.

10th-level Utility Powers
:

Cleansing Spirit
: Solid encounter power.  Strength-based Paladins will like it because it will give them more opportunities to use Divine Strength while Charisma-based Paladins will find it somewhat redundant.

Noble Shield: A potentially useful power.  The problem I have with it is that Area and Close powers are not particularly common among enemies.  That said, the fact that it's a rare Immediate power gives it some extra usefulness.

Turn the Tide: If a Charisma-based Paladin is looking to end effects that allow saves even more than she does already, then this is the power she wants instead of Cleansing Spirit.

13th-level Encounter Powers:

Entangling Smite: Excellent power.  Weapon vs. Will gives an advantage in hitting and the immobilization effect only helps to keep your enemies away from your allies.

Radiant Charge: This power gives you a short-duration Flight, which is interesting.  Basically, you'll be able to charge over small patches of difficult terrain and hit enemies that are flying low to the ground or on an elevated position.  Certainly a power that is worthwhile.

Renewing Smite: As far as healing goes, this is pretty standard fare.  Chances are you can do more by preventing an ally from getting attacked in the first place with Entangling Smite, but there is always the option of healing yourself with this power.

Whirlwind Smite: Good damage to all the enemies around you, and furthermore they all get Marked.  Pretty good encounter power.

15th-level Daily Powers[/u]:

Bloodied Retribution: 4[W] damage is still solid at this point, especially with the half damage on a miss, and the ability to use a Healing Surge at the same time you use this power is great.

Break the Wall: This ability is... meh.  To put it bluntly, Radiant Delirium is about as good as this power is 55% of the time on a hit, and absolutely better than this power on a miss.  Simply unacceptable.

True Nemesis: This power, on the other hand, is actually a pretty good damaging power.  Initial damage is pretty weak, so save it for a high-level Brute if not an Elite or Solo.  The immediate attacks granted by this power will quickly add up to the point where you just might get 10d10 or more out of it when all is said and done.

16th-level Utility Powers:

Angelic Intercession: The first really useful taking-the-bullet power.  The teleport can be mis-used to take you out of position in a fight and consequently do more harm than good, but if used properly it can be very helpful to the ally you just protected and prevent more than just the one attack.

Death Ward
: Dying is likely starting to get somewhat common now, so this power will definitely go a long way towards preventing the need for expensive material components to bring allies back from the dead.

17th-level Encounter Powers[/u]:

Enervating Smite: Weapon vs. Will for a hit advantage and a very useful status condition on top of that.  Solid power.

Fortifying Smite: AC is important to Paladins, and this attack is both a solid damaging attack at 3[W] and gives a significant boost to AC.  The only downsides I can think of is that it's Weapon vs. AC on the attack.

Hand of the Gods: This ability has a lot of potential if the party works together.  Now, the damage and marked condition is nothing new, but the power bonus on attack rolls makes this one of the Paladin's better powers.  The thing is, it only affects allies also inside the burst, and most of the time that's only going to be 1 or 2 people.  Strength-based Paladins can likely forego the offensive portion of the power altogether and just use it to buff his allies for the party's opening volley.

Terrifying Smite: As of now, a rare power utilizing both Strength and Charisma, but anticipate errata.  If you are between the enemy and the party, then this power is going to take whatever you hit with it out of the fight for at least 1 round.  Furthermore, it deals respectable damage and can be used in Blood Pulse shenanigans.

19th-level Daily Powers:

Corona of Blinding Radiance: This is a damn impressive power.  Weapon vs. Reflex in an AoE dealing solid damage and inflicting a crippling status condition on everything, regardless of hit or miss.  You can really tell that it's almost Epic time.

Crusader's Boon: Yet another Strength-based power that deals 4[W] damage with half on a miss.  The difference with this one is that you grant a +1 bonus on yours and adjacent allies attacks for the rest of the encounter.  Good, but not great honestly.

Righteous Inferno: Apparently having to compete with Corona of Blinding Radiance we get yet another awesome Charisma-based daily.  This attack constantly generates damage and Combat Advantage for your allies.  It has to be sustained, but that's not a big deal.  If you want, you could take this as a Strength-Based Paladin and use it.  That said, it's really not a worthwhile use of a 19th-level Daily Power unless you have at least respectable Charisma.

22nd-level Utility Powers
:

Angelic Rescue: Honestly, this power can be useful.  The problem is that in the situations where it can be useful, it's likely because someone else screwed up.  The key is really not screwing up in the first place.  I would give this power more of a recommendation if it didn't take a Standard Action to use.

Cleansing Burst: Insanely powerful utility spell.  Excellent for turning around a battle that's been going badly.  That said, if you've already got Turn the Tide then that power will likely be sufficient.

Gift of Life: You can now truly tell that it's epic when heroes can revive each other with a Standard Action.  Excellent power.  If you aren't interested in Cleansing Burst then this is probably the power you are going to pick.

United in Faith: This power isn't bad, but compared to Gift of Life it's tough to recommend.  If your group really needs the mass healing and there isn't going to be a Warlord or Cleric providing it, then go ahead and pick it.  The Raise Dead ritual is still there.

23rd-level Encounter Powers:

Here Waits Thy Doom: Simple upgrade to the Beckon Foe power.

Martyr's Smite: One of two unusually good Strength-based powers in the same tier.  Taking the hit for someone else is no longer a daily thing, but an encounter thing, and you don't even have to be adjacent to them anymore.  Furthermore, 4[W] is about as good as it gets in terms of an Encounter Power's damage.

Resounding Smite: A very impressive upgrade to Thunder Smite.  Now instead of only knocking one enemy prone, you knock every enemy adjacent to you prone.

Sublime Transposition: An incredibly impressive upgrade to Benign Transposition.  The range is now set at 5, which may or may not be a good thing, but now you're giving a power bonus to all defenses, nearly making your ally invulnerable while you yourself pummel the enemy threatening him.

25th-level Daily Powers:

Exalted Retribution: Frankly, I'm not sure about this one.  It's probably more likely than not that you're going to get 7[W] out of the power, but it's very possible that theres simply not going to be any incentive for the enemy to stay within melee range of you to take the beefed up opportunity attack.  The base effect of 4[W] with half on a miss really just isn't enough anymore.

To The Nine Hells With You: The saving grace of this power is that it almost doesn't matter whether you hit or miss with it to get the effects off, and because of that any Paladin can use it effectively.  That said, the effects of Ongoing Damage 10 Fire with a save to end and the Marked condition are not very special at all.

27th-level Encounter Powers:

Blinding Smite: Weapon vs. Will is usually an easy hit and you get both solid damage and a crippling condition added to your attack.  Excellent power.

Brand of Judgment: Implement attack with melee touch range.  Against a Solo or Elite Brute, this power can really pack a significant punch.  That said, I'm honestly just not a fan.  There are other smites here that I feel are just plain better.

Deific Vengance: Nice power.  You get an accurate Implement attack as an immediate reaction.  The downside is that since it's an immediate reaction, the weakened effect tied to it is basically a wash since the only attack it can affect is the enemy's opportunity attack.

Restricting Smite: Very nice power.  Weapon vs. Will again and the blocking of Line of Effect is interesting.  I haven't read the 4e line of effect rules yet, but I'm thinking that the Marked condition also applied by this attack means that there are still some ways for the enemy to attack your allies.  On the other hand, it might simply be there to erase other Marks, which would kinda suck.

Stunning Smite: The damage on this one is low for the level, but for damn good reason.  Weapon vs. Will, horribly crippling status condition, and a secondary attack that can affect everything else next to you with the same.

29th-level Daily Powers:

Even Hand of Justice:  Short-range Implement attack that always deals full damage, hit or miss.  The difference is that on a hit, the target takes all the damage they dish out.  Honestly, considering that theres no real choice about which power you take at this level, it's a pretty good power.

Powerful Faith: 7[W].  Need I say more?  Ok, if you hit you get a burst 10 attack, Weapon vs. Fort, to cause blindness.  Here's one that lives up to a 29th level power.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 06:40:20 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2008, 07:12:29 AM »

Feats

First off, I'm going to put a few disclaimers here.  Multiclass feats will not be addressed here, or even really addressed at all.  The Multiclassing post has information on good powers you can multiclass into.  Furthermore, Racial Feats aren't addressed here either, they're in the Races post.  Finally, I'm going to start with class-specific feats, including the Divinity feats.  Many Paladin builds would do well to include a Divinity feat in their build to add more options for their Channel Divinity power.  Finally, I'm going to just leave out feats that I feel no sane Paladin would ever get any use out of or ever qualify for.

Class-Specific Feats
:

Armor of Bahamut: In 4e, critical hits are more a matter of "when" as opposed to "if."  That said, at this level they're significantly less impressive than they were in 3.X.  If you find yourself with a Heroic feat you'd rather re-train once you hit higher tiers, then re-training into this feat is certainly a good idea.

Avandra's Rescue: An extremely situational feat.  If the party gets attacked from behind while the front ranks are already engaged in combat, then this could be useful to get the Controllers and Strikers an extra shift to get them out of threatened squares so they can run on their turn.

Corellon's Grace: This will give you a great deal of mobility on the battlefield.  Considering that about half of a given party is going to blow their Action Points during a battle, you'll have plenty of opportunities to use this power.

Harmony of Erathis: Exceptional power.  Bonuses to attack rolls are hard to come by, especially when Feats are involved.

Healing Hands: A must-have for Charisma-based Paladins.  Strength-based Paladins with a decent Charisma score anyway should also consider using it.

Ioun's Poise: This is a tough power to use properly, but if you figure out when your Will defense is going to get attacked then by all means take it.

Kord's Favor
: As I said above, critical hits are more a matter of "when" than "if" nowandays.  This is a nice healing power for when it happens.

Melora's Tide: A useful power.  Can potentially heal a great deal of HP without a trigger like Kord's Favor.  If a Dragonorn Paladin is in the thick of things, he can use this to continue to regenerate HP while remaining bloodied because of the attacks of his enemies.

Moradin's Resolve: Very useful.  Bonuses to attack rolls are rare.

Pelor's Radiance: If you have high Wisdom as a Paladin, then this feat might be useful to cause some heavy damage to undead.  That said, your weapon should already cause heavy damage to undead.  I really just don't see what the developers had in mind when they made this feat.

Raven Queen's Blessing: Another conditional healing power, but dropping an enemy happens a lot more often than scoring a critical hit and this one also gives you a lot more control over who can spend the healing surge.

Sehanine's Reversal: Interesting ability to say the least.  Not a lot of effects at low levels incur saving throws, however, so it might be better to hold off on it until Paragon levels and then re-train another feat that's lost it's usefulness.

General Feats
:

Alertness: Not a bad feat anymore.  Of course, if you get ambushed then chances are the enemy is going to be going after squishier members first.

Astral Fire: More likely than not you're going to have quite a few powers that deal Radiant damage, but a lot of them will also be Weapon powers and thus gain the benefit of Weapon Focus.

Blade Opportunist: Many Paladins will never meet the pre-requisites, but it's not a bad feat to re-train into if you're, say, a Halfling that just hit Paragon tier, or you made an investment in Dexterity to qualify for Heavy Blade Mastery down the road.

Combat Reflexes: On the other hand, Combat Reflexes is pretty much wasted.  What a sad fate for what was such an awesome feat in 3.5e.

Defensive Mobility: Very little that a Paladin does draws opportunity attacks.  There are some Ranged powers to be concerned about, but obviously you can just use those at range.

Durable: Not a bad filler feat.  Of course, there may or may not be room for filler feats in the future.

Far Shot/Throw: Paladins are not ranged attackers.  Focusing on ranged attacks as a Paladin is a bad idea.

Fast Runner: Considering that you're stuck in Heavy Armor most of the time, this might be a good feat to pick up on the off chance you have to flee.  Of course, the idea here is that you want to be at the front of the group to clear any obstacles there are ahead of you, not outspeed them so that you have the best chance of survival.  Smile

Improved Initiative: Great feat as always.  Even later on when you have a +16ish bonus to Initiative, bumping that up to +20 will keep you on-par with high dexterity enemies.

Jack of All Trades: While at least one member of every party would do well to take this feat, the party Paladin is generally not one of them.  Furthermore, only Paladins with a racial Int bonus can qualify for this feat assuming they've already hit Paragon tier.  Not that great.

Linguist: If acting as the party's face, this may be an important feat to take.  That said, you'd have to play a race with an intelligence bonus and wait until Paragon tier to qualify.

Mounted Combat: Excellent feat if you're going to have ready access to your mount and your DM has houserules in place that can counteract the "low-level mounts die ridiculously fast in high-level play" thing.

Power Attack: Great feat for Strength-oriented Paladins.  That said, waiting until Paragon tier to re-train another feat into this one isn't a bad idea.

Quick Draw: Just keep your weapon at the ready.  If you have to switch rapidly between Weapon and Implement then re-training Improved Initiative to this for a short period of time until you get a Holy Avenger is a feasible solution, but still... just keep your weapon at the ready.

Ritual Caster: The thing is, a Wizard can totally satisfy all need for Ritual casting there is.  Considering the fact that Wizards are the only Controllers in the game right now, there's really no need for Paladins to take this feat... yet.

Skill Focus: Since the advancement of skills has now been set to a fixed rate, this may see more use.  Not by Paladins, though.

Skill Training: This can be a useful feat.  If you already have a Multiclass feat and want to get more trained skills, then this is how you get them.  That said, a well-balanced party shouldn't need to make much use of this feat.

Toughness: Solid filler feat.

Two-Weapon Defense/Fighting: Don't use two weapons, just use a shield.

Weapon Focus: Basically the most reasonable feat to use to enhance the damage of a Paladin's attacks.

Weapon Proficiency: The primary use of this feat is to gain proficiency with a Superior weapon.  Since there are virtually no worthwhile Superior weapons in the PHB, however, there's not a lot of point to this feat... yet.

Paragon Feats
:

Back to the Wall: Not a terrible feat in a dungeon environment, so if you frequent dungeons then most every melee character could do well to pick it up.

Blood Thirst: Ok, heres the short version:  Don't take this feat, take Weapon Focus instead.  The long version:  Unless your DM used the captured prisoners cliche on you, you're going to get about twice as much milage out of Weapon Focus right now and easily three times as much out of Weapon Focus when you hit Epic, and Weapon Focus really isn't that spectacular of a feat.

Combat Anticipation: The fact is, you're going to be subject to more of these attacks than any other character, especially if you work to provide them cover against ranged attacks.  Take this feat.

Danger Sense: If you can take both this and Improved Initiative then do so.  If you don't have enough room in your build for that then just shoot for Improved Initiative instead.  This feat isn't that significant of an upgrade from it to warrant using a Paragon feat instead of a Heroic feat.

Deadly Axe: Excellent feat if you like Axes and have the Strength to swing them.

Devastating Critical: This feat sucks.  The math simply doesn't add up.  If you hit 11 times out of 20, this adds an average of .5 damage per hit.  Thats right, not even a full point of damage per hit.  Even with Weapon Mastery it still only goes to 1 damage per hit.

Distant Shot: What did I tell you about Far Shot and Far Throw?

Fleet-Footed: Not absolutely required, but makes a solid filler feat.  Considering how light on quality Paragon tier feats we are right now, you might just take it.

Great Fortitude: A good filler feat for Charisma-based Paladins.  Strength-based Paladins shouldn't have to worry about their Fortitude defense.

Hammer Rhythm: Strength-based Paladins are better off with Axe Mastery while Charisma-based Paladins won't be as likely to qualify for this feat.  That said, it's still a decent option for those few Charisma-based Paladins that don't like Heavy Blades.  It may just be my opinion, but I much prefer getting the most out of my hits than doing a pittance of damage on a miss.

Heavy Blade Opportunity: There are two reasons to use this feat.  One is for Charisma-based Paladins to be able to use their Charisma bonus on opportunity attacks instead of their Strength bonus, which can be a significant bonus.  The other is for a Strength-based Paladin to combine this feat with several Epic feats to repeatedly trigger Font of Radiance.

Improved Second Wind: Decent filler feat during the early Paragon tier.  At that time, your Second Wind is healing about 15-20 HP, so another +5 would be a fairly significant bonus.  At the end, however, it could be healing as much as 50, where it's not really all that great at all.  If you have feats that you want to wait for the Epic +1 all stats to qualify for, then stick this one in until you get there.

Iron Will: Decent filler feat for Strength-based Paladins.  Charisma-based Paladins really won't get much use out of this.

Lightning Reflexes: Decent filler feat for Paladins.  Most paladins have issues with Reflex defense.

Polearm Gamble: For some classes this can be a really nasty feat if combined with Heavy Blade Opportunity on a Glaive, and while Paladins should qualify for it relatively easily that combo just isn't well utilized with the Paladin's at-will powers.  Enfeebling Strike would really be the best, but that just offsets the penalty this feat imposes.  Furthermore, Paladins like Shields as their Reflex defense is almost always low without them.

Uncanny Dodge: Yet again, decent filler feat for Paladins.

Epic Feats:

[Weapon] Mastery: This is meant to include all Weapon Mastery feats.  The only ones you need concern yourselves with are Axe Mastery and Heavy Blade Mastery, which you will absolutely take if you qualify... for now.

Blind-Fight: Excellent feat for any meleeist, especially Defenders.  For Paladins in particular, this can combo really well with Font of Radiance.

Epic Resurgence: Excellent feat.  Really a staple for anyone that doesn't have another recovery mechanic for Encounter powers (read: Demigods).

Font of Radiance: Spectacular feat for Strength-based Paladins, somewhat useful for Charisma-based Paladins.  Strength-based Paladins have Holy Strike and Weapon Masteries while Charisma-based Paladins... don't.  Combine with Weapon Mastery and potentially Heavy Blade Opportunity for some truly devastating criticals.

Triumphant Attack: Yet another good feat for any meleeist.  Really just plain good.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 06:41:42 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2008, 07:12:46 AM »

Paragon Paths

Let me make this point clear now.  This post contains my opinion of Paladin Paragon Paths and how they can be used by Paladins.  If you want to make a Fighter/Astral Weapon, then you probably aren't going to learn a lot about that here!  Also note that unlike the rest of the guide, I'm not really critiquing the Paragon Paths.  They've all got their good points.  My intent here is to break down what you should expect out of a given Paragon Path.

The Astral Weapon:

The Astral Weapon is for Strength-based Paladins.  The goal of the Astral Weapon path is to break down the enemy's defenses so that your allies can pick them off.  Yes, that's it.  While the name Astral Weapon may imply that you're supposed to deal copious amounts of damage yourself, that simply doesn't happen with the meager 2[W] daily and utter lack of passive damage bonuses such as those enjoyed by the Pit Fighter, AoE on the Daily Power be damned.

Astral Judgment: If you look, you'll notice that Strength-based Paladins have a lot of powers that Mark enemies, not just Divine Challenge.  As such, there is a lot of potential here for enemies that don't focus on you to suffer from brutal counterattacks.

Astral Rejuvenation Action: Recovering Encounter Powers is definitely nice, but if you intend to go Demigod (the best ED for Paladins as of the PHB) then this ability is completely redundant.

Courage From On High: Useful ability since fear effects will take you out of the fight.  That said, it's hardly a selling point of the Path.

Carving a Path of Light: Pretty standard Encounter power.  Damage likely won't stand up at later levels, but granting Combat Advantage for a turn always has it's uses.

Pray for More: This really only counteracts the rare low roll, but then again it might not.  Personally I don't find it that helpful unless you're using one of the Paladin's many 4[W] dailies, but hey, eventually you're going to be using 4[W] powers on an encounter basis anyway.  I suppose that basically it's not very useful when you get it, but steadily becomes better with time.

Astral Whirlwind: Takes some thinking to use properly.  The idea is that you mow down minions with this power at the same time that you're hitting something more important to apply the -2 defenses.  If you get two or three uses of this ability off, then you're rather getting your money's worth out of it.  If not then the power basically falls flat.

Champion of Order:

The Champion of Order is another path for Strength-based Paladins.  It takes the Fighter's usual shtick of gaining immediate attacks against enemies and turns it into far more useful opportunity attacks and tacks it onto Divine Challenge as well as the already present radiant damage.  In other words, the Champion of Order is basically the definition of a Defender Paladin at least as far as a Strength-based Paladin can live up to the name.

Champion's Action: A small bonus, but still one that I'll gladly take.

In Defense of Order: The defining ability of the Champion of Order.  Gaining Opportunity Attacks against enemies is always nice, and this can be combined with a number of feats to make it very dangerous for enemies to try and ignore you.

Champion's Hammer: Ignoring resistances is nice considering the new addition of variable resistances.  That said, if you're not fighting demons and elementals then you're kinda out of luck here.

Certain Justice: Ok, it's 1[W].  Get over it.  It's a highly accurate attack that will basically remove the thing you hit with it from combat.  Seriously, nothing stays effective while it's Marked, Weakened, and Dazed.

None Shall Pass: Decent daily power.  When you come across a rough encounter with a couple Brutes then you can use this to help with the crowd control, especially if you use Certain Justice.

Rule of Order: This power is awesome.  If an enemy deals a critical hit, then this basically becomes a highly-accurate 6[W] attack that deals half-damage on a miss and weakens the enemy (save ends) regardless of the effect, all at level 20!  Seriously worthy of being a level 29 daily considering that Critical Hits are more a question of "when" than "if" in 4e, especially in the Epic tier.

Hospitaler:

Hospitaler is pretty much *the* healing Paragon Path for Paladins.  The only ability the class has that doesn't heal grants saving throws.  If your party is light in the Leader role then this is Path will make you a little more like a second leader than a first or second defender.  Of course, if you're the only defender in the party then that might not be a good thing, so consider this carefully.

Hospitaler's Blessing: This ability is insane.  If your marked enemy attacks an ally, then hit or miss the ally is going to heal HP about on par with how much damage they would have taken from a hit.  In other words, if the creature you challenge with this ability wants to do anything at all then they better just attack you.  This is an incredibly powerful Defender-style ability.

Hospitaler's Action: Less insane, this ability is still kinda nice.  When you use an action point to gain an action, everyone gets a minor heal.

Hospitaler's Care: This ability looks familiar.  The Healing Hands feat does this as well, and it would seem that they do stack.

Warding Blow:  Here is the one ability that doesn't heal HP.  Once per encounter you make an attack and then lots of allies get to make saving throws.  Solid ability.

Healing Font:  Here's one that can get ridiculous.  Every time you hit an enemy, you heal an ally.  Maybe you can add it to the healing from Hospitaler's Blessing to make the marked enemy well and truly impotent.  There may be some questions raised about what [ts] means in the book, and while WotC hasn't addressed it in the Product Updates (their new way of saying "Oops, we fucked up so here's the corrections" without the "Oops, we fucked up" part) I can almost guarantee you that it means plus (+).  I don't believe WotC would create an ability that relied solely on the dice anymore.

Life-Giving Smite: Heavy radiant damage and an ally gets to spend a healing surge with bonus HP added.  Not bad at all.

Justicar:

Justicar is another one of those ultimate defenders, but this time it's for Charisma-based Paladins.  It's very straight-forward and, in that respect, honestly a little bland.  It even has the shortest entry in the PHB of all the Paladin Paragon Paths.  All that said, it's still very powerful.

Just Action: Weaken enemies with action points.  Solid ability.

Just Spirit: Allies adjacent to you get to make a saving throw when you end your turn.  Very impressive ability.

Just Shelter: ...and now they're immune to Fear and Charm and get a +1 bonus to those saving throws.  Pretty amazing, honestly.  This will sharply reduce the capability for enemies to inflict the party with Save Ends effects.

Just Radiance: The key to using this ability is to be able to mark multiple enemies, since only enemies that are marked can be targeted.  For Charisma-based Paladins, that's likely going to come from Hand of the Gods, a 17th-level Encounter power.  If you want to mark enemies before then then you're best off just using Divine Challenge.

Strike Me Instead: The ultimate taking-the-bullet power.  It's best used for Area and Close attacks, since even though the power will hit you the net damage taken will be far less than if it was left alone.

Challenge the Unjust:  Honestly, I stopped reading when it said "burst 10."  Awesome Paladin power.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 07:12:25 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2008, 07:13:02 AM »

Multiclassing

Many may knock 4e multiclassing, but just because it isn't as versatile as it was in 3e doesn't mean that there aren't any options at all.  I'm going to focus on levels where Paladins get a weak power selection, levels where truly awesome powers are there for the Paladin to obtain, and levels where you get a power from Paragon Multiclassing.  Further down you'll see non-Paladin Paragon Paths that Paladins will almost certainly be interested in.  I will not list any power options given by the Half-Elf's ability to take at-will powers from other classes, that will be handled on the Races page.

At-Will Powers:

Righteous Brand (Cleric): Required if you are seeking to become a Paladin that can fulfill the Leader role as well as the Defender role.  Solid at-will power.

Cleave (Fighter): Depending on what you're looking to accomplish, this might be the power you pick as a Paladin/Fighter.  If you don't have many (or even any) of those burst Weapon powers, then this will definitely be good to pick up.

Reaping Strike (Fighter): Potential consideration if you use a two-handed axe.  With swords and hammers you're likely using Holy Strike instead (maybe combined with Hammer Rhythm, no less).

Tide of Iron (Fighter): Basic pushing power that should be considered if you go with a sword and board.  Paladins don't get many of these, so this at-will can prove very useful.

Furious Smash (Warlord): Weapon vs. Fortitude for a hit advantage, but unlike Righteous Brand the bonus to hit and damage here is based off Charisma, which as a Strength-based Paladin could be very low.

Viper's Strke (Warlord)
: A much better power to take if you have a low Charisma.  Basically this will allow an ally to get in an extra attack, which gives this excellent damage potential.

Level 2 Utility Powers:

Boundless Endurance (Fighter)
:  If you want to get Fighter Paragon Multiclassing, then you're probably going to wind up getting this power.  It's probably the best swap you can make out of your utility powers.

Level 3 Encounter Powers:

Blazing Beacon (Cleric): An excellent power in a team heavy on ranged attackers.  Note that this bonus only applies to Ranged attack rolls, not Area or Close attack rolls.  Regardless, the more Archery Rangers, Ranged Rogues, Warlocks, Implement Clerics, and Wizards you have on your team, the more use you can get out of this.

Split the Sky (Cleric): Take everything I said about Blazing Beacon, but now apply it to melee attacks.

Dance of Steel (Fighter): While it's not hard to find a situation where slowing an opponent isn't useful, in most of the situations where it is someone has already screwed up terribly.  In other words, this power will be useful.

Sweeping Blow (Fighter): This is a far more effective means of dealing damage to multiple targets than Arcing Smite, and like I said, if you want to Mark multiple targets then Piercing Smite does a much better job of that.

Disruptive Strike (Ranger): A strange power to find in the hands of a Ranger, to be sure.  That said, this is actually a fantastic power for a Paladin to use, especially considering it gives said Paladin an early use for the rarely used Immediate Action.

Steel Monsoon (Warlord): While the attack itself doesn't really do anything, the ability to grant an ally a free shift is useful in so many ways.  You can use this power to create a flanking situation, end a flanking situation, or allow an ally to retreat and be healed.

Level 5 Daily Powers
:

Rune of Peace (Cleric): MUCH lower damage than Martyr's Retribution, but the ability to take an enemy completely out of a fight for multiple rounds is tantalizing.  Whats more, it's Weapon vs. Will, so you have an edge in landing your hit.

Weapon of the Gods (Cleric)
: Useful ability here.  If you use it at the beginning of a rough encounter, it will likely add a half-dozen or more dice of damage to your overall damage output, to say nothing of the -2 penalty to AC it imposes.

Rain of Steel (Fighter)
: Can really be vicious.  Arguably static bonuses to damage (outside of your Strength bonus) add to the damage dealt by this ability.  If your DM affirms that, then this can cause some significant damage.

Stand the Fallen (Warlord)
: For the cost of 1[W], you get to actually use that Healing Surge to heal yourself.  Furthermore, your allies will all get to heal themselves, too.  Good power.

Villain's Nightmare (Warlord)
: This power just screams "unfair" to me.  Regardless of whether you hit or miss them, they're stuck to you.  It's even Weapon vs. Reflex and deals the still solid 3[W] damage.  Villain's Nightmare indeed!

Level 6 Utility Powers:

Bastion of Health (Cleric): A very nice ability to supplement Lay on Hands.  If there isn't a true Leader in the party, then this is a great ability to take.  Should be noted that this is virtually identical to Inspiring Reaction.

Evade Ambush (Ranger): People constantly drool over Divine Oracle's ability to evade surprises, but really it's not something exclusive to that Path.  If you have a Ranger in the party already, chances are they're taking this power.

Fey Switch (Warlock): Excellent teleportation ability for a defender.  Interesting thing, even though this power is a full level before Benign Transposition, it actually comes a level after since you need to be level 8 to take the Utility Power Swap feat.

Inspiring Reaction (Warlord): A very nice ability to supplement Lay on Hands.  If there isn't a true Leader in the party, then this is a great ability to take.  Should be noted that this is virtually identical to Bastion of Health.

Level 7 Encounter Powers:

NOTE: These powers are listed exclusively for the purpose of people who decide to use Paragon Multiclassing.  Paladins should always pick from their own Power List at 7th level, they're all at least as good as powers from other classes.

Strengthen the Faithful (Cleric):  The only Cleric power of this level that remains relevant at higher levels.  Considering the fact that you can't swap out this power, that's an important consideration.

Come and Get It (Fighter): A pull by another name.  While this doesn't do much damage, it can give a wounded ally a much-needed opportunity to get away from further attacks.

Sunder Armor (Warlord): Wonderful strike at all levels.  While it's significantly less impressive for melee fighters at Epic levels, there are still ranged attackers and spellcasters that will benefit greatly from this.

Level 9 Daily Powers:

Divine Power (Cleric)
: Lots of potential for nastiness here.  While the attack itself isn't particularly powerful, not considering the AoE, you gain some pretty significant buffs until the end of the encounter.

Thicket of Blades (Fighter): Pretty standard fare for Fighters here.  Small AoE attack that also lands a status condition.  As a Reliable attack, you won't expend it if it misses, which is always good.

Attacks on the Run (Ranger): Deals heavy damage in the hands of a Paladin carrying a two-handed weapon.  Absolutely worth it if you are multiclassing Ranger.

Iron Dragon Charge (Warlord): Solid attack power in itself with the added bonus of giving your allies lots of opportunities to get extra attacks in if you keep charging.

Knock Them Down (Warlord): I honestly prefer this one to Iron Dragon Charge, but they are both really good powers.  Knocking just about everything on the battlefield down is impressive, and even if nothing is within reach all your allies can still move 3.

Level 10 Utility Powers
:

NOTE: These powers are listed exclusively for the purpose of people who decide to use Paragon Multiclassing.  Paladins should always pick from their own Power List at 10th level, they're all at least as good as powers from other classes.

Knights of Unyielding Valor (Cleric): An easily abused utility power that can severely hamper enemy attempts to attack allies.  Make good use of it if you decide to go with it.

Mass Cure Light Wounds (Cleric): The Paladin doesn't have a power that's quite like this.  The fact that the healing is based off Healing Surge values also makes it stay relevant at much higher levels.

Shielding Word (Cleric): Interrupt powers are rare, and this is certainly a good one to have.

Into the Fray (Fighter): If you're a Paladin/Fighter that wields a two-handed weapon, this is your power.

Stalwart Guard (Fighter): If you're a Paladin/Fighter that goes Sword and Board, this is your power.

Defensive Rally (Warlord): Plain better than Ease Suffering in my opinion, since you can't make saving throws at all while under the effect of Ease Suffering.  Whats more, the only real reason to want to stop it immediately instead of just giving another saving throw would be because the ally is near death, something that Defensive Rally solves by granting a healing surge.

Level 15 Daily Powers:

Dragon's Fangs (Fighter)
: Strictly better damage output than Bloodied Retribution, but doesn't allow you to use a Healing Surge.  With all the other powers that allow the use of a Healing Surge, that's not a significant drawback.

Serpent Dance Strike (Fighter)
: Interesting power where you can knock multiple enemies prone and get into a better position to protect the party.  Definitely useful.

Unyielding Avalanche (Fighter)
: Excellent stance.  Both a strict and fantastic upgrade to Rain of Steel.  This one gets my full recommendation, but I know that not everyone will share my opinion about this one.

Warlord's Gambit (Warlord): Another nasty power when put in the hands of a Defender.  The big problem here is that most Paladins simply aren't going to have an Intelligence bonus or they'll have a very small one if they do.

Level 16 Utility Powers
:

Hallowed Ground (Cleric)
: Huge zone giving excellent bonuses.  Great way to play up the Leadership aspects of a Paladin.

Level 17 Encounter Powers
:

Mountain Breaking Blow (Fighter): Virtually Identical to Terrifying Smite.  If you multiclassed Fighter, however, then it's likely that you simply didn't pick up much Charisma at all and are using the Multiclass feats to cover weak levels.  In that case, this is strictly superior to Terrifying Smite.

Vorpal Tornado (Fighter)
: Excellent power.  Basically makes it impossible for anything you hit with it to attack the next turn unless they have reach or you knock them next to another character.

Hail of Steel (Warlord): The damage looks small, but it will stack up quick when the basic attacks land.

Level 19 Daily Powers:

Indomitable Spirit (Cleric)
: Good damage, mass healing.  Potentially more useful than Crusader's Boon, but it would still be best to keep your 9th-level Daily swapped at this point.

Reaving Strike (Fighter): Heavy damage and reliable.  Solid power to take.

Strike of the Watchful Guard (Fighter): Amazing power.  While it's about on par with Reaving Strike when you get it, at 21st level it gains an extra 1[W] damage each time the target triggers your basic attack.

Victory Surge (Warlord): Another Warlord power that will stack on the basic attacks.  This is a great way to maximize Action Points especially when party members have Paragon Paths such as Pit Fighter with an added effect that's triggered by using an Action Point.

Level 25 Daily Powers
:

Nimbus of Doom (Cleric)
: Slightly less in potential but much more reliable than Exalted Retribution.  If you're a Strength-Based Paladin with Cleric multiclassing, this makes for a good pick.

Reign of Terror (Fighter): Amazing effect on a hit and it's Reliable.  Simply the best Fighter power that a Paladin can use.

Tiger's Reflex (Ranger)
: Very mediocre power in the hands of a Ranger.  Very frightening power in the hands of a Defender.  The whole point of Defenders is to punish creatures for attacking allies, and now creatures are getting punished for attacking you.

Curse of the Twin Princes (Warlock): Absolutely brutal power for a Defender to use, especially if you are keeping multiple enemies on you at once.  It's really a shame that there aren't more Warlock powers this good for Defenders, especially early on.

Relentless Assault (Warlord): This is downright nasty if you have party members with high threat ranges.  If you picked up Sunder Armor through Paragon Multiclassing, then combining the two will have the potential to blitz the guy you sundered with attacks until they're dead.

Level 27 Encounter Powers:

Sunburst (Cleric)
: This is an implement Wisdom vs. Will attack, which puts you at a slight disadvantage because your Charisma will generally be 2-4 points higher.  That said, the reason this is noted is because of the Effect.  You could fairly safely use this and forego your save-granting utility spells in favor of others and take this instead.

Curse of the Fey King (Warlock): More novelty than anything else.  If you're affected by something you need a saving throw to end, then you will have a good chance of getting that roll here.  Otherwise, you're likely only looking for a good d20 to steal for your own attack roll, which may or may not happen.  The more d20's you are looking to use the next time around, the better this power is.

Paragon Paths:

Divine Oracle (Cleric): Ok, this path is just plain good.  That simply cannot be denied.  Furthermore, it's completely unhinged from any and all ability scores except the Wisdom-based daily that is essentially a reliable attack that deals fairly heavy damage to a creature that can be a very long ways away, and even benefits from Terrifying Insight.  Speaking of which, Paladins of both varieties have a decent number of high-level powers that attack Will defense.  If you really want a no-duh pick for a really good Paragon Path, then Divine Oracle is the way to go.

Warpriest (Cleric): Another defender option similar to Champion of Order and Justicar.  You can use Warpriest's Challenge and Divine Challenge simultaneously to mark multiple enemies and Battle Favor is an incredible ability that is likely the reason you picked this path.  That said, the path is currently broken.  Battle Cry is an implement attack that deals 2[W] damage.  Needless to say, Implements don't have weapon damage and Cleric Weapon attacks generally use Strength, not Wisdom.  If you want to make a Paladin/Warpriest, ask your DM how he wants you to work Battle Cry.

Pit Fighter (Fighter): Simply brutal.  Pit Fighter is the best Path for pure damage output so long as the character has a decent Wisdom investment and uses a weapon.  In other words, Paladins.

Combat Veteran (Warlord): An interesting option.  While this path isn't utilized to it's best potential by non-Warlords, it's still got a solid durability boost for any Defender built-in as well as a Slide power, something Paladins simply don't get.  Furthermore, Miss Me Once and Superior Tactics are plain awesome.

Sword Marshal (Warlord): The main draws of this path are Disciplined Blade and Skewer the Weak.  The powers are neat, but not amazing.

Pack Master (Warlord)DRG364: A simple-yet-effective paragon path.  Fact is, Manticore-and-Wyvern is a solid encounter that stays very relevant at higher levels and Straw Soldiers is an amazing daily.  Everything else about the class is pure options, and good ones at that.  This was released as part of Dragon 364, free to download of the WotC website.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 06:34:37 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2008, 07:13:24 AM »

Epic Destinies

Given that there are only 4 Epic Destinies out and Paladins are only likely to even qualify for 2 of them, this will easily be the shortest part of the guide.  Like the Paragon Paths, I'm not going to rank Epic Destinies.  They all have their high-points.

Deadly Trickster:
I know I kinda-sorta suggested that I'd only list 2 Epic Destinies here, but there is an outside chance that it's possible to make a Paladin that qualifies as a Deadly Trickster.  Something you must have seen me elude to before was the benefit of having a Defender using the Thievery ability to disable traps instead of a Rogue because of the much higher durability that a Defender has.  Therefore, if you apply that logic to a Charisma-based Paladin, you qualify for this Epic Destiny.  I've gotta tell you, it's really not that bad for a Paladin to take, either.

Sly Fortune's Favor: This is how Blade Cascade abusers one-shot Orcus.  That said, you can also use this ability to end crippling Save Ends effects more effectively which will allow you to get back to your job of keeping everyone alive, or turn a missed daily power into an encounter-ending hit.  There are options here to be used.

Trickster's Control: Would be a good way to recover powers if Sly Fortune's Favor worked with it.  Since it doesn't, it's really random and not something you can seriously build a strategy around.

Trickster's Disposition: This is one of two reasons a Defender takes this path.  The ability to negate anything an enemy does can easily save an ally's life.

Epic Trick: The second of two reasons a Defender takes this path.  With the Paladin's absurd number of Healing Surges each day and much higher HP than your typical Striker, this power will make it so you're always ready to act as the party's Defender, that that's worth talking about.

Demigod:
Demigod is, plain and simple, the default option for an Epic Character that only has access to the first PHB.  It will just plain make you better at what you do.

Divine Spark: Two ability scores get bumped by 2.  That's it.  Simple, yet really quite useful.

Divine Recovery: The first time you start dying each day, to recover to just bloodied.  Again, simple and very useful.

Divine Miracle: This is why people flock to Demigod as the default path.  When you run out of Encounter powers, you get one of them renewed.  There's no real need for any more At-Will powers so long as you have a little foresight.

Divine Regeneration: Read that.  Highest Ability Score.  In other words, activate this power and you get a ton of Regeneration, and as it turns out that's really good for Defenders.

Eternal Seeker:
This is, to put it lightly, a very strange destiny.  It's completely open-ended in that by following this destiny you're basically picking the abilities of other classes and destinies and turning them into an amalgom of whatever you're looking at doing with your character.  Eventually Eternal Seeker might well become the Default option for characters hitting 21st level, but right now it's mostly mooching off Demigod anyway, so theres little-to-no reason to not take Demigod instead of this.

Seeker of Many Paths: Basically, from 21st onward you get to pick powers from *any* class.  That said, it's not a bad idea to stick with your own list since those powers will tend to do what you want better than most others.  For a reference, check the Multiclassing post just above this one.

Eternal Action: Wonderful ability, more actions in combat are always welcome.

Seeker's Lore: Don't get me wrong, this ability can be useful.  That said, I really don't like any of the level 22 Utility powers that we've got now more than I like actual Epic Destiny utility powers.  They're just better.

Seeking Destiny: Not a bad ability in theory, but right now it's just not doing anything for me.  It's likely that every single Paladin that takes this Destiny uses this particular ability to get Divine Recovery.  Don't get me wrong, Divine Recovery is nice and all, but Demigod does a lot more than just Divine Recovery, and it arguably does some things better.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 06:53:13 AM by X-Codes » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2008, 07:17:22 AM »

The guide is now basically complete.  I'm going to be adding some graphics and cosmetic changes to make it a bit more readable later on, and of course I'm going to put in a few words about good suggestions other people make, but for now it's working, and that's better than not working.

If I missed a typo, if you have new material, or if you have opinions about the Paladin, then go ahead and post it.  Also, if you see some nitwit carrying a crystal ball and calling himself GOD, go ahead and smite him like you know you want to and keep following the Path of Righteousness.  Smile
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 06:55:30 AM by X-Codes » Logged

Bill Bisco: Eloquent Elf
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2008, 03:49:25 PM »

I wanna know from someone who has the actual books with them if Divine Challenge works if you attack the enemy or are adjacent to them.  The reason for this is because if you can make a ranged attack at someone, then you can be a Javelin PaladinTM.  Your tactic is to Divine Challenge an Enemy, throw a Javelin at your enemies and then hide behind your party members or a wall. 

If this is possible, the benfits are that if they attack someone else, the enemy takes a -2 penalty to attacks or if they try to ranged attack you, they take a -2 penalty since you have cover behind your allies (or wall).  This might go against the flavor of the paladin, but it seems a viable tactic to me. 

Another discussion, I wonder about the viability of a Paladin.  Even with Full Plate + Heavy Shield, Paladins aren't very hard to hit.  Other character classes can get just as good or better AC as a Paladin.  So I really wonder if 4e rules as a whole give you an incentive to get into melee combat.
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2008, 03:56:27 PM »

Confirming the ranged Divine Challenge. You have to engage the enemy, which is either attacking it or ending your turn next to it. No stipulation about ranged/melee attacks that I can see. It is, however, rather against the flavor, methinks.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 03:59:00 PM by AlterFrom » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2008, 04:00:23 PM »

I wanna know from someone who has the actual books with them if Divine Challenge works if you attack the enemy or are adjacent to them.  The reason for this is because if you can make a ranged attack at someone, then you can be a Javelin PaladinTM.  Your tactic is to Divine Challenge an Enemy, throw a Javelin at your enemies and then hide behind your party members or a wall. 

If this is possible, the benfits are that if they attack someone else, the enemy takes a -2 penalty to attacks or if they try to ranged attack you, they take a -2 penalty since you have cover behind your allies (or wall).  This might go against the flavor of the paladin, but it seems a viable tactic to me. 
This works, but denies a Paladin most of their Class-related Powers, as they are almost all Melee.  I also think this is a perfectly valid tactic from a flavor perspective for champions of Avandra, Corellon, Erathis, Ioun, Melora, The Raven Queen, and Sehanine.

Another discussion, I wonder about the viability of a Paladin.  Even with Full Plate + Heavy Shield, Paladins aren't very hard to hit.  Other character classes can get just as good or better AC as a Paladin.  So I really wonder if 4e rules as a whole give you an incentive to get into melee combat.

Untrue, simply untrue.  In equivalent equipment, Full Plate is just better.  You would need to get your Int or Dex to 22 in Hide with a Light Shield to match a Paladin in Full Plate with a Light Shield.  At that point, you're not far off from getting +4 armor, at which time the Paladin's AC jumps ahead again.
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Bill Bisco: Eloquent Elf
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2008, 04:35:57 PM »

Aren't people with light armor going to have access to +4 armor as well though?  I mean Hide + Large Shield +20 Dex or Int is just as good as Full Plate + Large Shield, right?

I forgot to mention the benefit of Divine Challenge hurting your enemies if they attack your friend.  I'm curious if the net benefit from a Javelin Paladin is greater than the conventional Paladin.  No matter how you slice it vs. that enemy, you and your friend have effectively +2 to Defenses. and if your enemy doesn't have a ranged attack, he has to attack your friend and suffer 3+Cha damage.  It seems that the Javelin damage + Divine Challenge Damage might exceed the damage of the conventional at-will powers and worth the un-use of the non-ranged encounter and daily powers.
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heffroncm
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2008, 04:57:21 PM »

Aren't people with light armor going to have access to +4 armor as well though?  I mean Hide + Large Shield +20 Dex or Int is just as good as Full Plate + Large Shield, right?
You'll never have Hide + Large Shield + 20 Dex or Int without basing your ENTIRE CHARACTER for the first few levels around defense.  Starting with a more realistic 18 stats, you can have that by 8th level, in which case you'll just equal behind Plate + Heavy Shield.  You'll have spent 3 or 4 feats on it, because no Ranger in their right mind would use a shield, and you'll need a STR of 15 and CON of 13 to pull it off, which costs more than you think.

Link here:
http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=641.0

I forgot to mention the benefit of Divine Challenge hurting your enemies if they attack your friend.  I'm curious if the net benefit from a Javelin Paladin is greater than the conventional Paladin.  No matter how you slice it vs. that enemy, you and your friend have effectively +2 to Defenses. and if your enemy doesn't have a ranged attack, he has to attack your friend and suffer 3+Cha damage.  It seems that the Javelin damage + Divine Challenge Damage might exceed the damage of the conventional at-will powers and worth the un-use of the non-ranged encounter and daily powers.

I disagree.  You're giving up a potential 6d8 for a measly 9+cha at high levels.  You'd need a Charisma of 46 to match the average damage of a 6w attack, and that's not considering any other benies form that attack.

You can, however, make a decent Charisma based ranged nuker out of a Paladin.  I still think you're better off physically controlling the battle by getting into melee, though.
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Squirrelloid
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2008, 06:24:57 PM »

Note on races: Nature is a wisdom skill (except possibly for wizards...?), so the elven bonus to nature checks may actually be useful.
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2008, 11:55:14 PM »

First off, good catch on the Nature skill.

Secondly, the shortest route to a high AC really is heavy armor.  The only classes with potential on this path are Rangers that will never use a Shield and Rogues that will have extremely low Will defense compared to the Paladin because of their investment in AC (I'm talking a difference in the neighborhood of +4 or more).  Furthermore, Paladins have more surges per day than any other base class.  Think about it this way, each healing surge is basically a 25% increase in your HP over the course of a day.  Paladins have 10, Fighters have 9, Clerics and Warlords have 7, and all the other classes have 6, so Paladins effectively have 100% more HP per day than most of the other classes without doing anything, and can almost second-wind multiple times per battle thanks to Lay on Hands.

Also, the important distinction between Defenders and Strikers is that Defenders can Mark, Strikers can't.  Defenders have solid Opportunity attacks, Strikers don't.

As for the Javelin Paladin, while it's a neat trick it's self-defeating.  You are the most durable member of the party, therefore you should be the one getting attacked.  Mark powers are supposed to get the enemy to attack you, not make it a little harder to attack your allies.
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Bill Bisco: Eloquent Elf
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2008, 08:41:12 AM »

I realize that the game would like us to think that Defenders shouldn't hide behind their allies, but I wonder how effective this tactic is at least in the heroic tier.  Also, think about the situation in which there are a majority of defenders in the party or all defenders, that might also be a place where the Javelin (or axe throwing, hammer throwing) Paladin would shine.
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phelanarcetus
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2008, 11:35:34 AM »

Aren't people with light armor going to have access to +4 armor as well though?  I mean Hide + Large Shield +20 Dex or Int is just as good as Full Plate + Large Shield, right?

It's the way the base armor bumps up when you move to +4 and when you move to +6.  The enhancement bonuses remain the same across armor types, but the basic armor bonus differential actually expands.  Darkhide Armor (minimum enhancement +4) is a +4 armor bonus, while Hide is +3.  Warplate is +11, while Plate is +8.  The process repeats with Elderhide/Godplate; when you move up a tier of armor quality, you also expand the AC differential, presumably to maintain/solidify the higher AC of the heavy armor wearers.

And of course if Dex or Int isn't a primary stat for you, you're going to want the heavy armor because you can't afford a high score in that stat.

Regarding the Divine Challenge + ranged attack, I tend to agree that for a paladin, it will not amount to sufficient damage to be worthwhile.  It forces an enemy to choose something suboptimal, especially should it not have ranged attacks, but at the cost of a relatively low power action from you and no rider effects from your action.  However, it seems an excellent trick for an archery ranger or more likely, warlock who picks up the multiclass feat.  It can even work better against a ranged attacker with Eyebite.
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DaveTheMagicWeasel
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2008, 02:44:57 PM »

I don't think the javelin Paladin is a particularly good use of the class - it's more of a useful option if your opponent is out of melee reach than something to design a character round.

However, it does make the Paladin multiclass feat an interesting option for a ranged attacker - namely a Ranger or a Warlock.  Warlock would seem the better choice as you want Cha anyway.

Basically, you mark them with the challenge and then keep shooting at them to engage.  And with the Warlock teleports/eyebite/etc it's damn hard to attack you - so that should force them into taking the radiant damage as well.
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sombrastewart
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2009, 11:44:33 PM »

I'm bumping this just in case X-Codes might be willing to update it for PHB2 stuff.  I think X-Codes did a great job with this handbook, and would greatly appreciate such content.
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