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.