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D&D 3E
A Paladin - 
15th-Jul-2005 07:18 pm
The DM is switching campaigns, so I figure I'll switch characters. I'm hanging up the 8th Level Kobold Monk I've been playing and taking a crack at playing a Paladin. I'll be creating him 8th or 9th level and will probably have a good amount of gold to buy items and crap with. I'm running into a problem designing him, though. From what I can tell.. la-di-da vanilla Paladins suck (sorta). It doesn't fit the idea of a Paladin that I have in my mind (or the one that I've created for my campaigns).

The character concept I have for him is a bit off the beaten path. I don't want the pansy-ass shining chunk of armor that has 57 ranks in "Diplomacy" and "Ettiquite". I want the rough, war torn, god damn killing machine. One eyed, scar'd up, dented armor, dinged up shield, smells like sweat and leather, exists to slay the f*ck out of evil. He can't be bothered to look good and smell pretty, spend 17 hours feeding the homeless in a soup kitchen, or help old ladies cross streets. He has a mission and he lives to fulfill that mission.

Now that's all well and good for a character concept, but the problem is transferring that into the technical aspects of the game. If I design a regular old 8th level Paladin, he'll get his ass HANDED to him on the battlefield (my DM plays a little rough). There's no way he'll even be able to hold a candle to the party's fighter... and well.. unless he can hold his own and kick maximum amounts of evil ass, then he's not really fitting the character concept much and ends up looking like a jackass, which in turn makes me look like a jackass. He doesn't need to be a 24/7 twinked out pain train, but it would be nice if he could at least go toe to toe with the same ferocity and efficiency as the party's fighter.

So it's become apparent to me that I cannot give him 8 straight up levels of Paladin. I need to "crossbreed" him with something else... but what? My IDEAL answer to this would be at least one level of Barbarian (Rage; "DIE EVIL!") and a few levels of Fighter to give him more beat-down feats. I'm not sure how I should design this though. The concept in my head is something like this:

1st Level - Barbarian
2nd Level - Fighter
3rd Level - Fighter
4th Level - Paladin
5th Level - Paladin
6th Level - Paladin
7th Level - Paladin
8th Level - Fighter

Part of me wants to mix two levels of Ranger into the fold to give him two weapon fighting. It's sort of cool to envision him being a complete psycho on the battlefield.. Holy Avenger in one hand and hatchet in the other hand, just completely rending his way through swarms of icky bad evil stuff that needs to be purged from the world. Methinks that would be a tad twinkish though (first of all), and not necessarily fit in 100% with the character design I have in mind.

How would you fellas design a Paladin that fits the character concept that I've layed down? Power gaming is welcome with open arms... I'm one of those rare beasts that can mix Role-Playing and Roll-Playing very well, plus the DM plays rough... so Power gaming is never frowned upon. The only problem is that I'm a newbie with bashers. I always play casters, so I don't know much about designing efficient bashers.
15th-Jul-2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
Boy, if Barbarians could be lawful, that would be cool.
15th-Jul-2005 11:31 pm (UTC)
If a Barbarian undergoes an alignment change does he lose all his rage abilities and such? I was assuming that they just couldn't progress as a Bararian if they shifted to lawful.

If what I assume is true, then it really doesn’t make a big deal if his first level is Barbarian because I'm never going back to that class anyway, lol.

Simply tailor the character concept so he started his career as a brainless thug, started to mature, and eventually found his calling. Hence “Barbarian > Fighter > Paladin”

15th-Jul-2005 11:57 pm (UTC)
You lose the rage and some of the abilities, but keep others.

It's in the SRD.
16th-Jul-2005 12:00 am (UTC)

15th-Jul-2005 11:52 pm (UTC)
Lawful Barbarians cannot Rage - problem #1
You're done being a Paladin now that you've picked up Fighter again - problem #2
With only 4 levels of Paladin, you're getting the Worst of All Worlds, IMHO - problem #3

Paladins have a number of powers that get truly awesome as they advance in level. Smite Evil starts off modest (once per day +small number to hit/+small number to damage, yay) but quickly becomes monstrous. "Let's see, I'm Power Attacking for three, plus Smite Evil, plus my strength bonus ... so I'm dealing about 2d6+19 damage with this hit ..." The caveat is that it only works against evil opponents, but in most campaigns that's the bulk of what you're fighting. Lay on Hands gets better and better as well, and it's a neat way to finish off nasty undead bad guys.

Two basic tricks to make a Paladin a combat monster:
1) Mounted Combat Feat tree - particularly Spirited Charge and Ride-By-Attack. A heavy lance is a nice solid weapon for this. If your GM rules that Smite Evil damage is doubled by things that double damage, this is even better.

2) Snag some of those nasty Complete Divine feats that can buff you up. I don't have the book and haven't done this myself, but Paladins I've played with have. Ow.

This seems to be the major hangup ... Paladins need a high Charisma. They are heroes, icons, inspiring figures up to which others look. They do not necessarily have to be well-spoken or handsome, but they need to have Charisma. The character concept you describe doesn't sound heroic or inspiring - he sounds like a Fighter.

Consider how you can have a character who is tough-as-nails and bad-ass and hard-boiled and a vicious combatant, and still has enough Charisma that men will stand beside him in battle. Ultimate Captain America springs to mind, and to a certain extent Wolverine, and Bulvyd from the 13th Warrior.
15th-Jul-2005 11:56 pm (UTC)
I have the complete Divine, if you want it.

I also have the Book of Exaulted Deeds.

They're great for Paladins and Clerics both. *snuggles them.*

16th-Jul-2005 12:02 am (UTC)
Who are you offering to? :P

I have the book (*cough* .pdf *cough*) :)

16th-Jul-2005 12:58 am (UTC)
Anyone that wants the *coughpdf* information.
16th-Jul-2005 12:02 am (UTC)
Excellent points, I'll take all that into consideration.

16th-Jul-2005 12:11 am (UTC)
I don't know if anyone mentioned it or not, but I thought once you take the paladin class, and then stop gaining levels in paladin and switch to another class, you can no longer gain levels in the paladin quest (it's something about how you have to focus on it to be good at it.)

Maybe I'm wrong, but I swear I read that somewhere in the paladin section.
16th-Jul-2005 12:31 am (UTC)
Sounds to me like you don't want to play a Paladin, but a good-aligned fighter or barbarian. Check out the Book of Exalted Deeds and maybe make an exalted fighter or barbarian. You could always take a level or two of cleric and then a spell-casting PrC to gain the divine abilities. But considering that you don't want to play a character who is in any way charismatic and who only has half his levels in paladin, why play one at all? It doesn't seem like the right class for the character.
16th-Jul-2005 01:08 am (UTC)
something i came across in complete divine (earlier called something else) is the holy liberator.

you may prefer something like that.

chaotic good paladin, normally rangers, essentially.
16th-Jul-2005 04:11 am (UTC)
I second this. Our campaign's human fighter/holy liberator, who has focused on two-weapon fighting, is a holy terror (pun!) on the battlefield.
16th-Jul-2005 01:56 am (UTC)
What you gotta find is feats that make a normal paladin beat harder. One I like is in Complete Adventurer, lets you use Sense Motive to gain bonuses to hit in combat. The above-mentioned mounted feats are handy, especially when he can whip a mount out (which requires more than four levels in the class).
16th-Jul-2005 02:03 am (UTC)
Prestige Paladin from Unearthed Arcana.
16th-Jul-2005 03:52 am (UTC)
Don't know what books you're allowed to grab feats/equip/classes and such from, but in the Eberron Campaign book there's one feat that solves your problem of multi-classing as a Paladin (I have NO idea if it's in other books. X_X). Anyways, the feat is called Knight Training, and it basically just removes the multi-classing restriction for (I'm assuming) one other class that you have.

>_> I wish Barbarians could still Rage and retain Fast Movement if they go lawful, but unfortunately they do not. Otherwise there would be too many Barbarian/Monks running around at 80mph beating the crap out of everything with their bare hands and then probably devouring the raw flesh. ._. Scary.

I like your character idea. ^_^ It appeals to me on many levels. Basically what you're looking for is a Paladin with, according to all descriptions of abilities, has a low Charisma score. The problem with that is the Paladin relies on his Charsima score for a hunk of abilities. Solution?

Screw the stat crap, there's no reason to put points into Diplomacy, Knowledge (hoity-toity-crap) or anything like that. Put it into manly things like Proffession (ass-kicker) or something else. Or just practical things. ;D Seriously though, if he's the Total War type, go for practical everyday skills that become invaluable in the middle of combat.

Jump (ACP, ranks help muchly), Intimidate (oh yes...Paladins can be rough. :] Just don't toe the line too much, or your alignment may shift. To solve this, get a Phylactery of Faith so your DM can tell you flatout if any given course of action is just too much =D ), Tumble (ACP again), Use Rope, etc etc. You get the idea. Cross-class be damned, it's only a waste of skill points if you never use the skills. There's always a way. :)
16th-Jul-2005 07:18 am (UTC)
I agree with the taking dif feats trick...however keep in mind that while paldins require a high charisma, that doesnt mean that they have to be "just stepped out of the salon" gorgeous.

I have a 10th level paly of Helm that is scarred and beaten up just as you described. I took the feats for mounted combat and all that entailed and brother...the amount of damage you can do from a horse is ungodly. My char is sullen, moody and prone to angry retorts, but when he is armored and on horseback, his charisma shines as he starts to lay the smack down on those around him.

Yes, you are not quite as strong as the meat shields, but then again, you have a lot more abilities than what they do. Besides..if you are starting off at that level, there are plenty of magical items that cater to the lawful crowd. Just cause your a paly, doesnt mean you have a corn cob up your ass...just means your a servant for a higher power.
16th-Jul-2005 09:44 pm (UTC)
Smite Evil for Great Justice!
16th-Jul-2005 11:43 am (UTC)
Charisma can mean strong sense of self as often as good-looking. His charisma could mean that he believes in himself second only to his god. It could represent a measure of confidence and that carries over into things like bluffing and intimidation. Complete Adventurer has a ton of nice feats for this, particularly their Devoted series which allow paladin free multiclasses with a specific other class as well as level stacking bonuses for things like smite or turning undead. Another winner in there for me was Force of PErsonality, which swaps the Cha bonus instead of Wis for will saves.
16th-Jul-2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
I don't know if anyone's suggested this or not, but what about a prestige class? I know when I want to do something kewl with my character, I try to find the prestige class that clicks with me, then I try to figure out how to get there. And in the long run, aiming for a prestige class will, IMHO, give you more power, then just randomly watering your character down with multiclassing.

My suggestion would be to check out the Complete Warrior, or maybe Complete Adventurer (which includes prestige classes aimed towards multiclassing characters).
16th-Jul-2005 01:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know why, but for some reason, the picture of an old solamnic knight from Dragonlance comes to mind. Are you allowed to pull material from those books? I know Dragonlance has several different knight/fighting classes that aren't strictly paladins.
16th-Jul-2005 03:56 pm (UTC)
I don't often comment here because I'm not a D&D rules lawyer, not that its a bad thing to be one. I know enough to really enjoy the games, I've been playing for a good 14 years, and whenever I need more info I sit and page through either my collection or my DMs extensive one. Still, I would agree with many of the other people that commented: check out feats that would beef up your paladin. I've personally never been a big fan of multi-class characters. Yes, you can play around with new skills, etc., but you never get to realize the full potential of a really high level in one cless. I'm currently playing a character with two initial levels of rogue then 10 levels cleric. The 1st two levels in rogue helped to flesh out the personality of the character, but I have to wait that much longer to get the really high level cleric spells.

Also, rather than a solamnic knight, your idea for a paladin reminds me of the pandion knights in the David Eddings books starting with the Elenium trilogy. No, they're not part of an rpg game (I don't think) but they're really very cool for providing some insight on how a bad-ass paladin can be played. I'm more about the character's personality then how to make it into the ultimate fightin and spell-casting machine. All characters need to have strong points and also weaknesses to even them out and make them interesting. That is, unless you want to play the boring, "yep, we can kill anything in our path without a problem" kind of game. Look for strengths for a character that would balance any weakneses in your current party.
16th-Jul-2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
Dude, Unearthed Arcana. There are class variants out the wazoo, and at the very least there's a good set up for switching class abilities back and forth and such. Me, I'd think you could ditch the mount and the spells, gain some kind of holy rage or something. In fact, I'm pretty sure there's something in Complete Warrior that sets up the paly with no spells gaining a few cool abilities and such. Also, there's feats enough out there for making smiting and turning attempts more flexible and combat related, so you could probably, if you tweak just right, get your hardass holy man without multiclassing. Just an idea, really.
17th-Jul-2005 02:42 am (UTC) - Straight Paladins Rock.
Don't multiclass until you get a chance to play it straight. (A good idea in general for D&D, actually.)

Yes, a paladin isn't a fighter. But a Paladin should be able to almost-match a fighter -- go for mounetd combat, which lets you maximize your mount (by going Pal 8 instead of multiclassing, you literally double your horse's HD) and maximizes the holy abilites of the paladin.

The key is in ability scores. Your priorities should be Strength, Charisma, Consitution, Wisdom, Dexterity, and then Intelligence. Pick Ride and Concentration for your skills, and be sure to pick up ability enhancement bonuses both for Charisma and for Strength.

Presuming you roll well enough to have a 16 Charisma and an 18 strength at 8th level, along with the Mounted Combat/Ride By Attack/Spirited Charge feats, and you picked up a Cloak of Charisma +2, Gauntlets of Ogre Power +2 (4k each), and blow the rest of your 27k gp (19k) on weapons and armor (Let's say a +1 Lance, +1 Longsword, and some other goodies), you'll be able to charge opponents at +16, 3d8+18 damage -- which becomes +20, 3d8+42 when you smite evil. (Damage smiting with a longsword while you walk is less, but still nasty - 1d8+14)

Having +4 to all saves -- which means that even your weakest saves would be +6! -- just makes you tougher.

But, if you must multiclass, I say have a character who started with four levels of fighter, and then had a holy inspiration and took the remainder as a straight Paladin. You'll cut your smite and lay on hands by half, but you'll gain +2 Fort and enough feats to pick up Weapon Specalization in your favored weapon--which would bump up that charge by another +6.
18th-Jul-2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
Unearthed Arcana, paladin of freedom?
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