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Bodhizen's Guide to the Optimal Paladin & Antipaladin


Advice

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The Guide is a work in progress, and it's based upon some advice that I've taken to heart in playing Paladins, but it's my crack at a guide. Any constructive commentary is welcome. You can find the guide located here, and you are free to comment on the comment stream on Google Documents as well.

Thank you for your time.


Your roleplay advice is good, nice to take into account.

You should post a build for a sword and board paladin as well as a twin weapon paladin as well as they can be quite effective.

Twf paladins can work in a similar way to archer paladins taking advantage of multiple hits with smite bonuses but is quite feat intensive. Shield paladins can work either with imp shield bash as a twfer with a high ac or just with a floating shield, the "castigator" shield paladin the has the option of two handing his longsword (the base dice of damage don't matter when your smiting/power attacking) or one handing for slightly less damage but up to an extra 7 AC.

The castigator should really look at a reach weapon, if your going fully 2h theres no reason not to have a longer reach with the wide selection of crit ranges available on reach weapons in pathfinder.

When your recommending stat arrays bear in mind that 7 int and 8 int are functionally the same for skill points if you only have 2 base points, humans off set this back to 2 points automatically.

Races could do with a look at alternate options, craven and outrider from halfling are quite handy on a lancer who is better off small anyway, using the alternate favoured class bonus for extra hp healed with lay on hands might not seem that good but actually gives you more hp overall than just taking a hp boost. Human heart of the streets is decent for a castigator with a reach weapon who wants to be stood next to or between a close melee and a ranged attacker anyway, eye for talent may be good for a castigator animal companion if its going to be a flanking buddy.

There are a large number of so-so feats that you've skipped but one feat line really worth mentioning in its own section is eldritch heritage, as a cha class if you have feats to spare its a steal for example. Skill focus perception, eldritch heritage draconic claws, improved eldritch heritage draconic resistances or breath weapon (or both), greater eldritch heritage draconic wings, with a castigator spec that basicly need power attack to function your getting a claw attack to go with your fauchard (look it up its a reach falchion), free scaling natural armour bonus and scaling energy resistance, and/or a breath weapon which will be a far better option than vital strike when you have to move, and finally flight!

I'd also mention some of the other optimal things you coyld do rather than vital striking such as casting divine favour before moving into melee range, breath weapon, using an action to offer terms for surrender depending on your rp side of things or just not vital striking and waste a feat to get an extra few damage(scimitar 3.5, longbow 4.5, falchion 5, fauchard 5.5) compared to your overall damage. It really is a terrible feat.

Honourable mentions, lunge, furious focus, mounted skirmisher, reposition for reach weapons, the maneuver strike line of feats, the condition assault line of feats, divine interference, word of healing, a few of the aura and lay hands feats from ultimate magic, clustered shots, channelled revival, the quick maneuver line of feats, some of the combat style feats.

The spells section looks good, there are a few missing but overall its decent, one of my new favourites is kings castle which you missed off.

Finally you really need to discuss archtypes, oath of vengence is a staple of most optimal paladins especially archers to let them keep up with monks, rangers and fighters. Divine hunter gets you point blank shot, precise shot and rapid shot as a level 1 human paladin. Holy tactician is interesting from a group optimisation pov, empyreal knight is interesting for a reach castigator for a flanking buddy but probably just gives up too much stuff. Shining knight is great for a halfling lancer, sacred servant might be good for the planar ally but probably loses to much smiting and hospitalier could make an interesting redeemer character but once again might give up to much in smiting.

Sorry for the wall.


Egoish,

Thank you for the helpful suggestions. As this is my very first Guide, I'm hoping to make this as useful as possible.

Firstly, I've both heard and read that Two-Weapon Fighting Paladins and Sword & Board (especially) are sub-optimal options. Can you or someone else go into greater detail as to why they should be included as "you should go this route"? They deserve mention, if nothing else, as options not to take, since everything I've seen says, "Don't go there." As for stat arrays and Intelligence 8, it's a bumping point to eventually get up to 10 and remove the penalty for the purpose of skill points, which paladins are lean on to begin with, but I do note that it's functionally the same as a 7 for the purpose of skill modifiers.

Also, I appreciate your advice on feats and will look into them, although I'll ask your forgiveness if I skip most of the so-so ones in the end. With regard to the spells section, I'm only up through level 2 at present and headed toward completion. You may note that King's Castle is a level 4 spell, so I'll get there.

Now I'm looking at the fauchard, which does have reach, but sacrifices a bit in damage. It's something to take into account as an alternate weapon just for the reach. Now I don't know if I might take your advice on the armour class suggestions for a castigator paladin, since the point is to not bump your armour class up to the point where you can turtle, as opponents will avoid you and go for easier prey, but I will look over your suggestions nonetheless. :)

Archetypes are coming, so don't worry. Overall, thank you very much for your input. It will give me something else to go over as I complete the level 3 and level 4 spells.


Bodhizen wrote:


Firstly, I've both heard and read that Two-Weapon Fighting Paladins and Sword & Board (especially) are sub-optimal options. Can you or someone else go into greater detail as to why they should be included as "you should go this route"? They deserve mention, if nothing else, as options not to take, since everything I've seen says, "Don't go there." As for stat arrays and Intelligence 8, it's a bumping point to eventually get up to 10 and remove the penalty for the purpose of skill points, which paladins are lean on to begin with, but I do not that it's functionally the same as a 7 for the purpose of skill modifiers.

They're not bad characters. Merely feat starved. Agile weapons make high dex paladins much more feasible these days.

The primary appeal to TWF and shield mastery builds is that smiting evil becomes doubly effective. Everytime you hit you're dealing extra damage with smite evil, so if you're doubling the attacks, and doubling the hits you get double that damage.

Add that shield mastery effectively eliminates many of the downsides to TWF and throw in the absolutely fantastic bashing finish and high level sword board paladins are looking pretty sweet.

To date I've played one up from level 1 to 5 and theres a certain appeal to thwacking people about the head as I stand around with a 24 ac.

As for your lancer you should really put Furious Focus on it. Most mounted charge builds are only going to get 1 attack in a round anyway. So make it the attack with zero penalties from power attack.


I'll have a bash at explaining why twf and shield paladins are worth while, i think the shield side of things will also explain why a none reach weapon castigator may want to keep a shield handy.

starting with twf cause its the most complicated and builds onto the shield options. TWF has a large opportunity cost, it requires several feats and a lot of stat points to make it worthwhile, however depending on your game it can be absolutely huge in terms of damage.

a level one human paladin has 2 feats, if he takes weapon focus kukri and two weapon fighting he has to have a decent strength for his none smiting damage (this can be mitigated by agile enchancements, weapon finesse and pirahna strike) and a decent dex to qualify for two weapon fighting, if your on a point buy and points are tight its just not worth it unless your gonna really focus on a pure dex build but if your rolling or your on a 25 point buy its worth considering... heres why, with a modest cha of 15 your getting +2 to hit and +1 damage at level one with both your attacks(cancelling out the twf penalties), so a smiting level one paladin could be doing +5/+5 to hit (+1 bab, +3 str, +1 focus, +2 smite, -2 twf) and d4+4 18-20/x2 and d4+2 18-20/x2. its not bad but its not great, fast foward to level 7 and he's picked up imp twf and buffed himself, now he's +17/+17/+12/+12 (+7 bab, +4 str, +1 weapon, +1 focus, +4 smite, +2 favour -2 twf) on a full attack, without haste, dealing d4+12 18-20/x2 with every attack (double slice), at level 9 he gets improved crit and his smites are now doing nearly twice as much damage as a two handed paladin and he's on par with an archer on a full attack but he crits three times as often.

the biggest drawback to twf paladins is the fact they only get to weapon bond with one weapon so their off hand will always be neglected, but then you don't really need to take greater twf to really take advantage of your charisma to your attack rolls and a huge ammount of damage each hit with a decent crit rating. like i said its not recommended but twf "can" be the highest damage dealer in the right circumstances.

onto the shield, if you go twf with imp sheild bash you are not only suffering from the same problems as the twf paladin but your doing it with two different weapons and using even more feats, so its really not recommended for standard campaigns, shield mastery and bashing finish are truely amazing feats though and if you think you can squeeze it all in they will make a monster of combat (imagine at say level 12 having an AC in the high 30's, paladin save bonuses, 5 attacks while smiting at +mid 20's/+high 10's/+mid 10's dealing d6+30 15-20/x2 and +high 20's/+low 20's d8+25 19-20/x2).

however if your running a "castigator" paladin and your going to be using a flachion why not just use a scimitar, you still have the crit rate, your damage comes from static bonuses like power attack and smite which are the same for each weapon when you use them two handed, all you lose is an average of 1.5 damage per swing (d6 vs 2d4), you have to option of using your scimitar one handed and bringing a large shield into play, you might never use it but you have the option to increase your armour class by up to 7 with a +x large shield. thats why i suggested using either a scimitar two handed with a back up shield or just getting a reach weapon on the castigator, since using a falchion just cuts down your options for no real gain.

as a GM i love to see fully optimised parties, that means i can flex my optimisation muscles for their opponents, and vs an optimised come and get me barbarian a castigator without either a reach weapon or a shield would floating down a certain river without a means of propulsion. when i run games i often make NPC's with a certain task in mind, if your castigator has an ac of lets say 25, the barbarian might have +30 to hit if he's optimised, with come and get me and combat reflexes he can swing away at you 4 or 5 times a round at his maximum bonus and have a 95% hit chance, he can power attack for an extra 12 damage a swing and deal an extra 48 or 60 damage a round and still have +26 to hit and hit you 95% of the time, if you strap on an extra 5 AC you can mitigate a big chunk of that damage and all you lose in return is half your str bonus and 1/4 of your bab from power attack on your damage, when your smiting in the region of +16 str +6, pa +8, weapon +4, holy +2d6, flaming burst +1d6/+1d10, losing the extra 7 damage per swing to prevent 60 damage a round is a no brainer if you have the option.

thats an extreme example but if your running a full optimised group you have to expect challenges to suit your power.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

TWF is nice for a couple reasons:

1) It does a ton of smiting damage.
2) When not smiting it isn't far behind a 2hander. 2handers use PA and furious focus. Nothing prevents you from dropping your shield and wielding your scimitar in two hands. PA is a good feat even for TWF (against some foes) and so the feat isn't wasted on a TWF build.
3) Your AC can be way better on the cheap. Shields are cheap to enchant. It will cost way more to eek out the same AC without a shield.
4) The Dex isn't wasted. As to AC, with mithril plate you get better AC than a low dex paladin. Having a better touch AC and reflex save isn't too bad either.

Alternatively you can go full dex based, rock an agile weapon and skip strength (this does limit your effectiveness when you switch to wielding a weapon in 2 hands because you don't get a full attack).

It does cost a chunk of ability points. I wouldn't do it with less than a 20 PB (unless going full dex and agile weapons)


The smite damage is, indeed, wonderful, and you're absolutely right that if you find yourself in the right circumstances, the two weapon fighter can be the highest damage dealer. However, the damage output dramatically decreases if you're not smiting evil either because you're out of smites, they're not worth wasting on lesser foes or you're not fighting against evil opponents. There are just too many circumstances in which you've put yourself at a disadvantage in terms of feat selections and damage output when your smite evil cannot be brought into play. You must consider both optimal output and sub-prime output. That, and you edge closer to glass cannon with this build than I'm comfortable recommending to players.

So while you are, in essence, correct, there is a major flaw in builds that rely upon the Smite Evil ability to keep pace, particularly when you either sacrifice necessary defenses as the two-weapon fighter does or you become the power-turtle that the sword and shield fighter becomes (making you an unattractive target to foes). If you're not holding the attention of your foes because they know they can't hit you, they focus on your allies and avoid you, then pack-attack when you're the only one left. You want to keep yourself at a high enough armour class that you're not taking hits at all times, but low enough to make you attractive to attack.

Granted, the sword-and-shield type is attractive for solo play, but this isn't World of Warcraft. I doubt you're going on adventures solo. While this does not make them invalid builds, this does make them unattractive for optimisation.

No matter the build, you can come up with a response to take advantage of that build's weaknesses. So while you can design something to take down the Castigator (and let's be honest, it's not all that hard), someone could optimise against the barbarian you throw at them. It's totally valid as a tactic, and your players would have to and could figure out a counter. So, the fact that you could build a barbarian to defeat a castigator isn't especially meaningful.

But, I do thank you for your advice. I don't necessarily buy into all of it, especially the eldritch heritage feats that take up valuable feat picks to grant suboptimal weapons, additional armour (which isn't necessary for these builds) and wings (which is nice, but not irreplacible), but I have made some adjustments to the guide. This has been very helpful. :)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just to say it, the twfing with two weapons has problems casting spells and using lay on hands on himself, the same problem goes for those twfing with a heavy shield, this problem goes away if you are twfing with a light shield.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Added to the Guide to the Guides


Thank you for the pointer, leo1925, and thanks for adding this into the Guide, harmor! :)

Would you like to add it in under the Antipaladin entry as well?

Silver Crusade

Dotting.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bodhizen wrote:

Thank you for the pointer, leo1925, and thanks for adding this into the Guide, harmor! :)

Would you like to add it in under the Antipaladin entry as well?

You are welcome.

Just to add something more, if you are using a double weapon instead of two weapons then there is no problem with either spellcasting or lay on hands yourself.

I think that it needs to be said in the guide, the wonderful and powerful litany of righteousness is a language dependant spell, that means that the paladin needs to invest some skill points in linguistics.


Quote:
Smite Evil: This is another fantastic ability for paladins. Add your Charisma modifier to hit on your attacks, plus your level in damage, and then you get to double that against the true nasties.

It has been errataed: now you deal dowble damage against true nasties only for the first successful hit.

Spoiler:
If the target of smite evil is an outsider with the evil subtype, an evil-aligned dragon, or an undead creature, the bonus to damage on the first successful attack increases to 2 points of damage per level the paladin possesses.

I second the need to address the two other combat styles: in my opinion, they can be both very effective (sword and board may be the most effective style with shield master, even though it's also is one of the most demanding in therms of both ability scores and feats). Their main problem is that they can be more effective than the traditional styles but to do so you must make painful sacrifices in versatility.

Nice guide, thanks for your work.


A few things that seemed odd to me:

For the Archer Paladin:

Quote:


10 Point Buy: Str 12, Dex 15, Con 9, Int 9, Wis 7, Cha 12
25 Point Buy: Str 15, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 11, Wis 7, Cha 15

For the 10 point buy, why a 9 Con and a 9 Int, instead of an 8 in one and a 10 in the other? For the 25, why 11s in Con and Int, and so many odd numbers? Are you implying (for both of these stat builds) spending level up stat increases in anything but Dex? That seems highly counter-intuitive for an optimization guide.

I'd rank Rapid Shot a blue feat, because it's that good. A second arrow on a full-attack is incredibly good for any class that has high static damage modifiers, which a Paladin smiting definitely does. Secondly, this:

Quote:
Manyshot (6th): Putting two arrows into your foe with a standard attack, or an extra one on a full attack is quite powerful. I’d pick Deadly Aim before Manyshot, but it’s still a great choice if you’d rather take it first.

is wrong. Manyshot only gives you a second arrow on a full-attack, not a standard.

Last point about archers - Clustered Shots is less valuable for Paladin archers than any other class. When you Smite, it has no value. While it's still a good feat, archer Paladins are rather feat-starved. It's a good choice, but I think it would be wise to point out how Smite bypasses the feat.

I'll admit I just skimmed over the Lancer and Vindicator sections, but your stat choices just look weird. There's a large amount of odd numbers in there, which means you're spending points on useless increases to stats unless you advise spreading out the level up ability score increases, which, again, seems to go against the idea of optimization.


Why is there a 10 point buy?
As for the 25 pb that con can afford to be higher.

Grand Lodge

thanks for this.


Other random stuff:

You don't mention that laying on hands on yourself is a swift action: while you probably took it for granted I feel this one really should be mentioned, since this it one of the best abilities of the paladin. It help you keeping up with sub-optimal AC or hp.

Channel positive energy is not so good but can be useful for campaigns with very limited resources.

Archer paladins:
- In races you could also mention half-elves, elves and half-orcs: all are probably a bit under humans but probably worth mentioning (even only for saying so)
- I disagree with the feats rating a bit: the critical line is useful to have but quite feat intensive and you will crit at most with 19-20. Bows are not the optimal weapons for focusing on critical hits. Improved critical is a good choice though, think about is as +1&improved crit vs keen&weapon focus. You net a +1 to damage with the first choice. Clustered shots is a great feats for all archer but less so for the paladin, since you ignore DR while smiting. Precise shot, improved precise shot, rapid shot should all be blue in my opinion (only exception is improved precise shot but just if you intend to buy a seeking bow).
- divine hunter is decent but losing aura of justice is a terrible deal: still, I think that aura of justice is terrible in the first place as it is too good in a party with other damage dealers, it really breaks the game. The whole "make other good with a bow" however is not so exciting to me: if the sucked before they wont be that good now, if they where good before they already had all you can offer them.

Lastoths Guide to Archery Rangers also provide interesting (and uber-powerful) ideas for a mounted-archer ranger, which could work about as well for a paladin.

Lancer paladins:
- CHA is useful for handle animal but you would be fine with a few ranks and what you normally would have: I think STR should come first.

Spells:
- liberating command is an immediate action, can be very nice since you can try to free your ally with this AND your weapon in the same round.
- eagle splendor: not sure it's blue. when you can cast this you will have a +2 headband, so it's only a +1 to hit. If you need a bonus to hit you should cast divine favor instead.
- Vestment of the Champion: your bonuses will be +1 at 7th level, +2 at 11th, +3 at 15th, +4 at 19th, +5 at 23th. You will have a better armor that this can give you. Even with a bead of karma to rise your caster level you probably have already a enchantment bonus as good as the one this spell will give you.

Equipment:
- weapons: composite longbow is better that crossbow for other reasons beside what you mentioned (STR to damage and no feat to reload as a free action). As for property, straight +5 is arguably better than any energy type damage (I ran a few calculation for other builds and +1 to hit is HUGE, always better that a +2.5 damage and is not subject to energy resistance. Merciful is great, so is seeking: the energy burst however are not that good imo, as you will not be critting that much.
- armors: for archers, the vanilla version of celestial armor is +8 +8 vs +14 +4 of the mithril full plate. It's already a good deal since it's help against touch attacks (especially since you are outside of melee most of the time). Some GMs will also let you add additional properties to a named item, in that case it's the best armor in the game. (+5 celestial armor means +18 to AC for a very reasonable price).
For chargers,
- zephyr horseshoes or something should be mentioned for the charger.

I hope that this random collection of thoughts can help you: again, nice guide!


Sorry, you seem to have misunderstood what i ment by the example with the barbarian vs the castigator. You can spec entirely as a castigator and still do exactly what a castigator does with the falchion you recommended but with a scimitar instead and have the option of using a shield if you need to, you lose 1.5 damage per hit from the weapons base damage.

If your going to two hand a weapon and its not going to be a reach weapon you might as well use a one handed weapon in two hands and keep your options open, a true shield spec would be nothing like the castigator but the castigator can still benefit greatly from owning a shield.

I'm also a little put off by your dismissal of twf paladins as "sacrificing necessary defenses" when your castigator build actively encourages not having even basic defenses so you get targetted more often.

Its most certainly your guide so do as you will but giving people incomplete advice may as well be no advice at all.


I'm curious to know what do you consider the optimal defense for a castigator. With low DEX, no shield and no other defensive ability, even the best armor and best items (ring of protection and amulet of natural armor) you can reasonably afford will not render him untouchable.
My question is, what roll should the enemy need for it to be considered the right AC? Something like 12? or 15? or 18?


Crysknife wrote:
Nice guide, thanks for your work.

Thank you for your input. I considered much of what you said carefully in adjusting the guide.

Crysknife wrote:
I second the need to address the two other combat styles: in my opinion, they can be both very effective (sword and board may be the most effective style with shield master, even though it's also is one of the most demanding in therms of both ability scores and feats).

Both are mentioned, but you I think you said it best when you said the following:

Crysknife wrote:
Their main problem is that they can be more effective than the traditional styles but to do so you must make painful sacrifices in versatility.

I don't consider the one-trick-pony to be optimal. Granted, in order to optimize, you need to narrow your field of specialization, but to the point where you must exclusively fight nothing but evil creatures just so you can activate your Smite Evil ability just to make good use of your skills is not realistic in the average game. Still, both styles are mentioned, although I do not go into great detail at this time.

Crysknife wrote:
- In races you could also mention half-elves, elves and half-orcs: all are probably a bit under humans but probably worth mentioning (even only for saying so)

I could have included them in my mention of racial choices for Archer paladins, but here's why I didn't. The half-elf doesn't get you anything that humans can't already give you. Their "bonus feat" is in skill focus, which is not critical to any of the builds, and so they're not significantly different from the human, which is the better choice. I didn't feel that merited special mention. Elves had a poor ability adjustment set for any of the three types of paladins, and while you could offset that in your stat arrangement, they don't have a ton going for them specifically gearing toward the paladin build (again, I didn't feel it merited special attention).

Now Half-Orcs, on the other hand, get some good racial abilities for the castigator, but there's nothing particularly outstanding about them as choices for the Archer (despite Orc Ferocity being excellent all-around). You may notice that I didn't include many orange or red choices for races at all (with the exception of non-standard races which don't get covered all that much). You're free to consider them, and to play them, as people often will, but they didn't bring anything truly noteworthy to the table in my humble opinion.

Crysknife wrote:
Lastoths Guide to Archery Rangers also provide interesting (and uber-powerful) ideas for a mounted-archer ranger, which could work about as well for a paladin.

Thank you very much. I will give the guide a read-through.

Crysknife wrote:
I'm curious to know what do you consider the optimal defense for a castigator.

This is a fair question. The answer is naturally going to vary from game to game, but even with naught but Mithral Full Plate of Speed and the 25 point stat assignment, your armour class is 21. As you mention, you could tack on a Ring of Protection or an Amulet of Natural Armour, but the point is not to render him invulnerable (or power-turtle, as I like to call it). If you're the power-turtle, your foes are going to soon realize that you're too tough to crack and move on to easier prey. You want them to stay focused on you, and the fact that you can quickly heal yourself will help to keep you going. Does this make a little more sense?

Egoish wrote:
Its most certainly your guide so do as you will but giving people incomplete advice may as well be no advice at all.

Egoish, I very much appreciate and respect your input, but I would like to politely remind you of a couple of things.

First, I get that you have a special place in your heart for the two-weapon fighter build. Your input did cause me to put a mention of it into my guide, but the extreme specialization and a dependency on the Smite Evil ability (which while being the best thing about being a Paladin, it isn't always applicable) to make it work coupled with the fact that it interferes with your ability to use your Lay on Hands to heal yourself in combat without sacrificing the primary focus gives me significant pause to recommend it. Had I dismissed the two-weapon fighter or the "sword-and-board" builds out of hand, I would not have chosen to take a few hundred words to talk about them as valid options that are finicky to get to work right, yet are spectacular when you do.

Secondly, this guide is a work-in-progress, and while I am not convinced that the builds you endorse are ones that I recommend, I am not stubbornly clinging to the belief that they have zero merit and therefore will never include them. I am taking your suggestions under advisement, and I very much appreciate the fact that you've taken time out to try to help me make my guide better. It's flattering that you thought enough of my work to come here and comment on it. I'm sure you are aware that just because you offer a suggestion, I might not agree with it or act upon it, but that's the nature of giving advice. I may not utilise all that you have to offer, but on the other hand, you probably won't utilise all that I have to offer either. I still make the offer and still respect yours.

Therefore, I find your quoted statement to be an overreaction that is not equal to the advice you've already proffered. I fully recognize that my advice is (currently) incomplete (hence, why I made mention of the two builds you recommend), but that does not equate it to being the same as offering no advice and devalues the work that I put into this guide, as well as the work of others whose work I chose to build upon and those who choose to offer me suggestions for improvement (yourself included).

To all of the gentlemen and ladies offering feedback... Your help in strengthening this guide is most appreciated.


Bodhizen, i didn't quote as it would make my post huge. I apologise if i offended you with my off-hand remark (oh a bad pun). I actually prefer a reach weapon two handed paladin similar to your castigator build however i prefer a bit more AC than you recommend and i am currently playing an undead scourge fauchard wielding holy nut job of sarenrae with eldritch heritage gold dragon bloodline in carrion crown. It's like throwing undead in a blender.

I do love the idea of the twf build but we always play 15 point buy or maybe 20 and while the pure dex build starts working at level 5ish i couldn't stand to suck for that long.

Just to keep up with the current info i'd like to mention weapon cords and oath of vengence, weapon cords prevent the issue of not being able to lay on hands or cast spells and oath of vengence is the only way for paladin to keep up in any class to class dpr comparison.

One thing that i cannot understand from your responses is the idea of a difference in any spec smiting compared to not smiting, without smite any build will be sub par weather its archery, twf or castigator. From a purely optimisation stance archery oath of vengence is by far the best damage you can pull with a paladin, castigator is feat light soo good for lower levels, twf will produce the highest damage on full attacks in melee weather smiting or not smiting but the cost in dex and feats is high. The only difference between smiting and not smiting is the numbers are bigger.

Crysknife, i try to keep my AC up to the point my opponents need 11 or higher to hit me WITHOUT power attack, i find a 50% chance to eat damage on the first attack combined with a reach weapon (and an enlarge), a decent hp total and lay on hands is about ideal. If they start power attacking any iteratives or secondary naturals are unlikely to hit and it also means your better protected from crit threats. If something big is coming at you and its hitting on 4's your dead, lay on hands just won't keep up with it.


Bodhizen wrote:
Any constructive commentary is welcome.

I think the guide is beautifully laid out. Top marks there.

Regarding feats, you only rate Extra Lay on Hands as Orange. Fair enough if you don't take Oath of Vengeance. It is blue if you do take the oath. The reason? You are effectively taking an Extra Smite as the oath allows you to burn 2 LoH for a Smite. Plus it's got the versatility of giving you 2 extra LoH's if you need them in an emergency to stay alive as a swift action.

You should also mention that Oath of Vengeance and Divine Hunter are incompatible. Both are good options for the archer build but you can only choose one.

Also, no mention of Extra Channeling feat? This is actually a pretty good feat. While I think Channeling is a poor option for the Paladin, the extra Channeling feat translates as 4 extra LoH for the Paladin as written. That's got to be worth a green rating at least in my eyes.

Anyway, keep up the good work in the guide.


Thank for your answer Bodhizen. I think my doubts have all been addressed.
The only reason I suggested to mention half-elves, elves and half-orcs is because of their nice vision: nothing too impressive, of course, but something humans don't get.

Both you and Egoish seems to agree on the optimal value of AC: I was never a fan of "you-must-roll-20-to-hit-me" but I don't know if I would be comfortable with the enemy hitting me on a 11 (even if only not power-attacking). If the average monster can hit me that easily I fear that the BBEG would kill me in no time (and if a critical is threatened it's likely to be confirmed), and lay on hands is nice but can't keep up with damage from a full round attack. Note that "I don't know" doesn't mean "I don't think": I'm really puzzled about that would work for real (there are a lot of stuff I can't take into account in advance, like flanking, helping minions, buffs/debuffs). Did you try that in an actual game? How did it worked?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
c873788 wrote:
Bodhizen wrote:
Any constructive commentary is welcome.

I think the guide is beautifully laid out. Top marks there.

Regarding feats, you only rate Extra Lay on Hands as Orange. Fair enough if you don't take Oath of Vengeance. It is blue if you do take the oath. The reason? You are effectively taking an Extra Smite as the oath allows you to burn 2 LoH for a Smite. Plus it's got the versatility of giving you 2 extra LoH's if you need them in an emergency to stay alive as a swift action.

You should also mention that Oath of Vengeance and Divine Hunter are incompatible. Both are good options for the archer build but you can only choose one.

Also, no mention of Extra Channeling feat? This is actually a pretty good feat. While I think Channeling is a poor option for the Paladin, the extra Channeling feat translates as 4 extra LoH for the Paladin as written. That's got to be worth a green rating at least in my eyes.

Anyway, keep up the good work in the guide.

Read the feat better, it gives you 4 extra lay on hands but only for channeling energy, oh and the oath of vengeance paladin can't take that feat.


I find my AC a little low in "boss" fights but with a reach weapon and an enlarge from the sorc my survivability is still good due to 20ft reach. However "boss" fights tend to be over quickly and lay on hands makes the difference and i have a ring and an amulet and a feat for AC, what worries me more is being dragged down by a wave of minions.

If i wasn't using a reach weapon i'd want another 4 or 5 AC because i'd be getting attacked more often and taking full attacks more often as well. Depends how you play as well though, i'd like to think i'm a clever player taking advantage of cover, corners, concealment, height differences etc, if your just toe to toe you need more AC.

I think maybe bod and i have come to the same conclusion for different reasons, bod wants all the attacks focused on the castigator so the low AC tempts the attacks in. But since i know my group can all take a hit or avoid taking a hit i've not turtled cause i'm smashing not tanking, smashed stuff doesn't attack back.


leo1925 wrote:
Read the feat better, it gives you 4 extra lay on hands but only for channeling energy

I don't see what the problem is. You get 4 extra lay on hands per day to heal. Using the Lay on Hands to attack undead is very situational anyway. The main reason you want LoH is for the swift healing which is channeling positive energy. This feat is simply awesome.

leo1925 wrote:
oh and the oath of vengeance paladin can't take that feat.

Yes I know. That's why I suggested getting Extra LoH if you take the Oath of Vengeance.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
c873788 wrote:
leo1925 wrote:
Read the feat better, it gives you 4 extra lay on hands but only for channeling energy

I don't see what the problem is. You get 4 extra lay on hands per day to heal. Using the Lay on Hands to attack undead is very situational anyway. The main reason you want LoH is for the swift healing which is channeling positive energy. This feat is simply awesome.

leo1925 wrote:
oh and the oath of vengeance paladin can't take that feat.
Yes I know. That's why I suggested getting Extra LoH if you take the Oath of Vengeance.

You still don't understand it.

Those 4 extra lay on hands can only be used for channeling energy and by channeling energy i mean the 30 foot radius thing that spends 2 of your lay on hands.


leo1925 wrote:

You still don't understand it.

Those 4 extra lay on hands can only be used for channeling energy and by channeling energy i mean the 30 foot radius thing that spends 2 of your lay on hands.

According to the feat it reads as follows:

Benefit: You can channel energy two additional times per day.

Special: If a paladin with the ability to channel positive energy takes this feat, she can use lay on hands four additional times a day, but only to channel positive energy.

Why would they have a special section for paladins that listed lay on hands? Otherwise it would have just read as the Benefit of only channeling energy without mention of the Special note at all. When they mention "only to channel positive enery", I believe they mean that the paladin can't use it to harm undead but only for healing by touch which is effectively channeling positve energy.

You have not convinced me that the Special lay on hands reference actually means using the ranged channel ability only. That's not to say you are wrong but you will need to explain your understanding of how it works in more detail and why you disagree with how I see it. In fact I am happy to be proven wrong if it means we can have some clarity around this issue.

Andoran

For an archer paladin, I believe that you should strongly consider having a Mount as your Divine Bond (doubly so if you are Small) as it will enable you to move while still making a full-attack which is the archer's strongest point.

And if you go this way, be sure to take the Lookout feat for both you and your Mount. This will prevent quite a few surprised/flat-footed pains and sometimes both you AND your Mount will be able to full-attack on the surprise round.

Andoran

c873788 wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

You still don't understand it.

Those 4 extra lay on hands can only be used for channeling energy and by channeling energy i mean the 30 foot radius thing that spends 2 of your lay on hands.

According to the feat it reads as follows:

Benefit: You can channel energy two additional times per day.

Special: If a paladin with the ability to channel positive energy takes this feat, she can use lay on hands four additional times a day, but only to channel positive energy.

Why would they have a special section for paladins that listed lay on hands? Otherwise it would have just read as the Benefit of only channeling energy without mention of the Special note at all. When they mention "only to channel positive enery", I believe they mean that the paladin can't use it to harm undead but only for healing by touch which is effectively channeling positve energy.

You have not convinced me that the Special lay on hands reference actually means using the ranged channel ability only. That's not to say you are wrong but you will need to explain your understanding of how it works in more detail and why you disagree with how I see it. In fact I am happy to be proven wrong if it means we can have some clarity around this issue.

I agree with leo1925's take on the feat.

I believe that the Special part of the Extra Channel feat is meant to clarify that, as far as Paladins are concerned, these extra Channels are "paid for" by the additional Lay on hands it mentions, ie that they indeed come in addition of those the Paladin can get through his normal number of Lay on hands.

This clarification is necessary because the Channel Positive Energy ability of the Paladin states that "Using this ability consumes two uses of her lay on hands ability." while that of the Cleric clearly mentions "a number of times per day".

Note also that harming undead is still channeling positive energy.

Andoran

BTW, Bodhizen, you might also be interested in having a look at Tark's Big Holy Book of Clerical Optimization-Class Abilities and Skills which contains an analysis of the variant channelings of Clerics, some of which are available to Paladins.

Note that, for once, the variant is based on the portfolio of the god and not on its domains/subdomains.


Just a few more examples of eldritch heritage;

Abyssal: skill focus knowledge plains is ok, scaling claws, inherent str bonus that stacks with belts.
Arcane: skill focus any knowledge skill and another feat for : familiar, if you have use magic device you can get a wand monkey. If you want to spend another feat you can get some free wizard spells as well.
Celestial: skill focus heal is not useless, a damage or healing ray is so so, wings are sweet, a free reroll once per day if you invest that far.
Draconic: strong skill focus, scaling claws, scaling energy resist and natural armour, a breath weapon and wings, good feats.
Aquatic: if your playing a water based adventure for the swim speed(maybe the up coming adventure path), but thats really specialist.
Boreal: like aquatic if your in a cold enviroment could be excellent, the power gained from greater eldritch heritage is basicly win any outdoor encounter 1/day.
Serpentine: diplomacy is a useful skill, a poidoned bite is handy for most paladins, a scaling natural armour bonus and poison save bonus is handy, a swarm that doesn't effect you and deals con damage via poison is a strong capstone.
Shadow: so so again but could have applications for a rogue like paladin.
Stormborn: kind of meh skill focus, free scaling shock weapon, a lightning/sonic nuke and a cool movement ability that also does lightning/sonic nuke damage.
Accursed: strong skill focus, abilities to make people shaken or staggered, save bonuses and lots of em, not bad but if you pick an archtype that removes certain bonuses or immunities the save bonuses could be handy.
Last but not least Orc: meh skill focus, minor melee attack buffing, inherent str bonus that stacks with belts, and oh my god the daddy of all abilities become large, gain str and con bonuses, increased natural armour, for a reach castigator its probably the best feat tree available. If your a half orc you can also combine it with a bite attack and your reach weapon.

They are consuming feat trees but if your playing a castigator you only need a few feats so spending a few on str bonuses from abyssal or orc might be an option worth looking at, +6 inherent strength is like having 6 wishes for free. The other options are less optimisation and more characterful but several can fill feat slots after you get the ones you need.

Another wall of text, sorry.


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One last wall of text, i was thinking about the antipaladin portion of your guide and i thought that might be the best place to offer up the sword and board style since antipaladins will most often be on the other side of the screen and be looking at 4 people attacking them at once so i put together a little vampire example. some kind of undead template is a must for the antipaladin npc so it can heal itself and vampire was the first to come to mind, i guess wight or something similar would work as well.

using 20 point buy i present the Bunker of the Third Reich(its evil and hard to get into)...

Str 16 Dex 15 Con 10 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 15
human bonus goes into strength, level 4 increase goes to charisma then the rest goes into strength.
vampire gives +6 str, +4 dex, +2 int, +2 wis and +4 cha, you get a bucket load of free feats and skill bonuses, undead immunities and strong defensive abilities as well as fast healing and a big natural armour bonus, most importantly as undead you use your cha modifier for hp. this build works well without vampire if your playing it as a pc but the antipaladin is really a GM's playground.

feats: (human)two weapon fighting, (1st)improved shield bash, (3rd)power attack, (5th)double slice...

this gives you a huge AC and as much damage as a two hander due to double slice, when your smiting you do far more damage than a normal two hander.

after level 5 feats to consider;
improved two weapon fighting - more attacks = more damage
greater two weapon fighting - even more attacks = even more damage but will probably only land when your smiting and have your cha bonus added to your to hit
two weapon rend - an extra oportunity to add smite damage
shield slam - free bullrush that builds onto...
shield master - your shield just became epic...
bashing finish - even even more attacks = even even more damage(use a scimitar main hand)
improved critical scimitar - always worth while and makes bashing finish come online more often, if you can't afford it just use keen.
eldritch heritage abyssal - inherent str bonus stacks with everything, not something that you should priorities but worth while adding in if you have feats spare which you probably won't.

boon: weapon boon is probably the way to go so you can afford to skimp on your scimitar and buff up your shield.

equipment;
scimitar - weapon of choice for optimisers, you can use it two handed if your moving or if you don't need the ac or if for some reason your not smiting, enchanted with unholy/bane/keen/wounding/vicious
quickdraw light steel shield - you can use your hand to touch things while holding it and its fast to get out after you two hand your charge attack
shield spikes - maximum enchant bonus and defending, your getting your shields defensive bonus to attacks anyway with shield master, unholy/bane etc...
mithril full plate - use your dex bonus
ring/amulet/cloak - defence, it keeps you alive and smiting
belt/head - stats, always worthwhile

if you build him right an optimised party will have trouble hitting him with normal attacks, at high levels he would easily have an armour class in excess of 70 forcing optimised archers and melee to hit him on 16+ or worse without power attack or deadly aim. his saves will be very high due to his charisma and his touch ac while smiting will be passable(but the smite ac bonus and the ring do not stack).

i currently run for an optimised 5 man group of players and i honestly think it would tpk them any level after 7 unless they pulled out some crazy plan, if i was actually going to run it in a game as an NPC i'd probably tone it back a little.

if you want to run an antipaladin as a PC you really need to find some way to get negative energy affinity such as eldritch heritage undead bloodline, being a dhampir if your gm lets you or the necromantic affinity feat from inner sea world guide. dhampir being the easiest way to achieve the results, in that case i would aim to get my starting stats as str 15 dex 13 con 14 int 8 wis 8 cha 14 so after the dhampir racial modifiers you end up with:
Str 15 Dex 15 Con 12 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 16
first increase into str, put a couple in dex to qualify for imp twf, rest into cha or str as you prefer, you could use a belt to qualify for the twf feats but its risky.

that should be my last wall of text for a while.


c873788 wrote:
leo1925 wrote:

You still don't understand it.

Those 4 extra lay on hands can only be used for channeling energy and by channeling energy i mean the 30 foot radius thing that spends 2 of your lay on hands.

According to the feat it reads as follows:

Benefit: You can channel energy two additional times per day.

Special: If a paladin with the ability to channel positive energy takes this feat, she can use lay on hands four additional times a day, but only to channel positive energy.

Why would they have a special section for paladins that listed lay on hands? Otherwise it would have just read as the Benefit of only channeling energy without mention of the Special note at all. When they mention "only to channel positive enery", I believe they mean that the paladin can't use it to harm undead but only for healing by touch which is effectively channeling positve energy.

You have not convinced me that the Special lay on hands reference actually means using the ranged channel ability only. That's not to say you are wrong but you will need to explain your understanding of how it works in more detail and why you disagree with how I see it. In fact I am happy to be proven wrong if it means we can have some clarity around this issue.

You're reading to far into text, seeing subtext that isn't there. The "Special" line there is to clarify that Extra Channel ONLY gives you 2 extra uses of Channel Energy, otherwise this feat would make Extra Lay on Hands pointless. The difference in the wording is because a Cleric is limited on their ability to Channel Energy per day, where a Paladin's ability to Channel Energy is based on his ability to Lay Hands. Here's where you're getting caught up: Channeling Positive Energy is not using Channel Energy to heal - it means you are Channeling Positive Energy. Here is the text describing Channel Positive Energy from its entry in the PFRD (please pay attention to the bolded parts):

Quote:
Channel Positive Energy (Su): When a paladin reaches 4th level, she gains the supernatural ability to channel positive energy like a cleric. Using this ability consumes two uses of her lay on hands ability. A paladin uses her level as her effective cleric level when channeling positive energy. This is a Charisma-based ability.

So, we have to refer to the Cleric entry for more details:

Quote:
A good cleric (or one who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures.

Therefore, Channeling Positive Energy is the ability to either harm undead or heal yourself, not just heal yourself. So, the Extra Channeling feat is quite clear in that you get 4 extra Lay on Hands attempts that may ONLY be used to channel positive energy, not to use Lay on Hands.


The black raven wrote:
For an archer paladin, I believe that you should strongly consider having a Mount as your Divine Bond (doubly so if you are Small) as it will enable you to move while still making a full-attack which is the archer's strongest point.

I don't know that I would agree with you here. While mobility is a very useful thing to have indeed, the archer paladin is best put to use when he's not in the thick of melee combat and has a range that can account for a lot of the movement options their foes may utilise. A mount would be put to good use, to be sure, but the +X on top of current bonuses plus adding seeking to a bow is also incredibly tempting.

The black raven wrote:
BTW, Bodhizen, you might also be interested in having a look at Tark's Big Holy Book of Clerical Optimization-Class Abilities and Skills which contains an analysis of the variant channelings of Clerics, some of which are available to Paladins.

I will have to take some time to consider the advice listed on that page, but thank you for the link.

Egoish wrote:
One last wall of text, i was thinking about the antipaladin portion of your guide and i thought that might be the best place to offer up the sword and board style since antipaladins will most often be on the other side of the screen...

I was actually thinking about adding it into the antipaladin section, believe it or not, after our discussion yesterday. However, my first priority with the guide is to finish the level 3 and level 4 spell guide before going back to add more things in. This is partially because I want to complete older parts of the project before adding new and because I believe that a clean, easy to read guide is far more useful for players, mostly because they'll actually read it and I want to make sure it's properly laid out.

I think I'm still going to call it an Aegis Antipaladin, though. :-)


Will Black wrote:

You're reading to far into text, seeing subtext that isn't there. The "Special" line there is to clarify that Extra Channel ONLY gives you 2 extra uses of Channel Energy, otherwise this feat would make Extra Lay on Hands pointless. The difference in the wording is because a Cleric is limited on their ability to Channel Energy per day, where a Paladin's ability to Channel Energy is based on his ability to Lay Hands. Here's where you're getting caught up: Channeling Positive Energy is not using Channel Energy to heal - it means you are Channeling Positive Energy. Here is the text describing Channel Positive Energy from its entry in the PFRD (please pay attention to the bolded parts):

Ok, I can finally see where you and leo1925 are coming from. Frankly, I don't like how the feat is written up. It would have been less confusing if it was just written as:

Benefit: You can channel energy two additional times per day.

You don't get 4 extra LoH, you get none at all. On this basis, the feat is a poor choice for Paladins. Thanks to both of you for helping me see the light.


Bodhizen wrote:
The black raven wrote:
For an archer paladin, I believe that you should strongly consider having a Mount as your Divine Bond (doubly so if you are Small) as it will enable you to move while still making a full-attack which is the archer's strongest point.

I don't know that I would agree with you here. While mobility is a very useful thing to have indeed, the archer paladin is best put to use when he's not in the thick of melee combat and has a range that can account for a lot of the movement options their foes may utilise. A mount would be put to good use, to be sure, but the +X on top of current bonuses plus adding seeking to a bow is also incredibly tempting.

As good as the weapon version is you'll find out that being able to move 60ft. and full attack is more often then not invaluable. This puts them anywhere but the thick of battle. Plus this is something you can do for far longer then the weapon bond.

Actually let me post some relevant information from a rather good guide on pure archery rangers. Namely Lastoth's.

Lastoths' Archery Guide wrote:

Animal Companions:

The common perception is that Ranger companions are underpowered. Even James Jacobs has stated that in his campaigns he opens the list of creatures available to Rangers entirely. This is great, but I am not sure it matters. As far as the regular companions, everyone seems to agree how the wolf and the small cat are very close in effectiveness, even me. However, the wolf and small cat are a distant second place to the actual best companion before level 10, which is the horse. Allow me to illustrate:

That’s right, it’s a horse. Deal with it. Until now you’ve just been an archer. You’re a turret but not yet a full tank. I don’t mean a damage soaking tank, I mean an Abrams tank. Mobility is key when you can get it. At some point up there in the guide I told you the vast majority of the fights you encounter are inside or in constricted areas, and this is true. On the other hand there are those APs that occur in outdoor settings, and even in dungeon heavy themes you end up outside being jumped by some goblins who think they’re clever riding worgs.
Also, just the other night I had my horse tromping through the badguys church. I’m not sure how much more awesome it gets than stampeding through church with a bow and an angry horse.
Obviously when a wolf grows up (level 10 without Boon Companion feat) it becomes the dominant mount if only for its strength score.

Training an Abrams:
Of course you’re saying “But I don’t have any mounted combat feats!” Well good news! You don’t need any! Of course this comes with caveats:

Combat Training: Your mount must possess this. Train it up, if you don’t have it then it looks like you’re blowing a spell on it (Yeah, we have a spell to give this to our mounts).

Second Attack Trick: I say second because the first attack trick is part of combat training. This is required if your horse is going to attack anything mildly interesting, but the good news is that your bonus tricks come free on your companions, already trained. Oh yes, your little pony will be attacking more than just his feedbag. He’s the bottom half of your tank!

Masterwork saddle: It’s not a rule, it’s a mandate. What are you? Cheap? Snag this and get the free +2 ride check. In fact get the special kind that strap you in so you can ride up walls, you’ll do it once just to show off.

Rules for Abrams:
Three rules that make mounted archers without feats possible:

“Your mount acts on your initiative count as you direct it. You move at its speed, but the mount uses its action to move.” Don’t try to pull that thing where you fire without penalty and then have your mount double move. It’s cheesy! Your DM might not catch you but you have to sleep at night. You’re already overpowered for gods sake, slow down to single move or just accept the penalties. You and your mount act at the same time and incur the penalties of its movement during your firing. As far as I understand it you are free to fire at any point within that move increment, however.

“With a DC 5 Ride check, you can guide your mount with your knees so as to use both hands to attack or defend yourself. This is a free action.” You should be auto passing this check at level 1

“You can use ranged weapons while your mount is taking a double move, but at a –4 penalty on the attack roll. You can use ranged weapons while your mount is running (quadruple speed) at a –8 penalty. In either case, you make the attack roll when your mount has completed half its movement. You can make a full attack with a ranged weapon while your mount is moving. Likewise, you can take move actions normally.”
As you can see, a mount moving at regular speed applies no penalty to your shooting and lets you take a full attack. This can allow you to get behind full cover then hop out to fire on your turn and pop back into hiding. It also lets you move around or through the enemy lines to negate cover bonuses for your shot. Thus, adding longstrider to your mount is a good thing. Adding horseshoes of speed is obviously the goal though.

But I can’t fire a longbow from horseback!
All of the cool kids upgraded to composite longbows several levels ago. These can be fired from horseback.

But he’s too big for the dungeon!
Ever fought a large creature in a dungeon? I thought so. The truth is big creatures can squeeze, it’s a -4 to attack and no running but they can fit into a space one size smaller. Also your horse (or wolf) is large in the 1x2 sense, so he shouldn’t need to squeeze for normal hallways anyway. That rule is just for the 2x2 large creatures. Of course if you run into a rope ladder you’ll need to figure something out.

So what makes it an Abrams?
Your mounts source of awesome is its feats. At first it’s awesome just trickles out, but around level 8 or 9 a torrent of awesome spews forth in copious amounts. First of all since it is combat trained its hooves are no longer secondary attacks, they’re primary. This means that it does hoof/hoof/bite at its highest attack bonus on anyone who comes near you. When you first get the horse this is nice. As you and your horse level you give it feats. You’re looking to start things off with power attack and then move into the overrun chain. You can also use bull rush, but it depends too much on a super high CMD to really pay off and it’s focused more on sitting in melee rather than moving away from melee and firing.

So what is an overrun? It basically allows you to move through an enemy square while you are moving. This is handy for people who feel they can box you in. If successful you knock the enemy prone and continue your move, if you fail you end up just sitting right in front of the guy you failed to knock over.

Improved Overrun: No brainer, this is the gateway feat that gets you into the goods. It allows you to charge over your enemy without provoking an attack of opportunity, your target can no longer simply step aside and avoid you. The +2 bonus to the check doesn’t hurt either.
Greater Overrun: Another +2 bonus is great but now anyone you knock over provokes an attack of opportunity. Great for your horse, and later on for you too. Sadly prone creatures have an AC bonus from your bow, but it’s better than a standing opponent IMO.

Light Armor Proficiency: You want this at some point. It’s got no real drawback and can add up to 4 armor to your mount.

Bull Rush/Greater Bull Rush: On the other hand, these allow your mount to attack an enemy and move him back 5 feet for every 5 by which its CMB roll exceeded the enemies CMD. Perhaps this is possible, I have yet to find a way to make it worth my while. If I could routinely beat the enemy CMD by 15 (or heck, just 10) and push an enemy back through my entire 15’ threat range late in the game then this would be the best thing I’ve ever seen. Sadly the companions CMB just isn’t that good. If you find a way then by all means share, this clearly has the most room for growth.

In closing on the companion, it’s only to your benefit to have a good mount. Once you pass level 10 you can call a wolf mount. Tripping isn’t that great for you but nothing is stopping you from taking overrun on your wolf too. In any event I should advise you not to put your pet into harms way by trying to overrun or attack powerful creatures. Retraining the new pet is a pain, so rely on your pet only when you have to and only for things you feel confident in.


Lasloth had a point. He is wrong about horses and wolves being 2x4 squares. Thats a 3.5 rule. In PF Large is Large. Quadriped, Biped whatever. large is 4x4. Always!!


I've read through Lastoth's Guide. However, the assumption is there that you're going to need the Mount at all times, which is ideally not the case. If you're locked down to the point where you absolutely need the mount at all times, your range becomes less effective and you were better off going the Lancer Paladin route.

However, when you're an Archer paladin already, there are alternatives. A normal mount is not as good as a bonded mount, but for what you're generally using it for (the movement so you can have a full-action attack with great movement), it'll do in a pinch. As I said before, the movement is great (and when you hit 11th level things just keep getting better and better for the bonded mount), but you're likely to be on horseback less often than firing arrows. Not only that, but your skill-poor paladin might not be able to invest ranks in Ride and/or Handle Animal if they're not his principal focus.

While the time-drawback on your divine weapon is certainly limiting, by about fourth or fifth level, you should be set to have it as much as you need it. Four or five one-minute battles per day (which are 10 round battles) should be more than sufficient.

Your Archer paladin is intended to hang back, not fight from the front, although they should be capable of so doing. I understand that this is not always possible, but it is a first-choice tactic for the Archer.

Besides, investing in the feats to take advantage of your divine mount disadvantages your Archer to the point where he should be a Lancer.


The spells analysis is complete.


STR Ranger wrote:

Lasloth had a point. He is wrong about horses and wolves being 2x4 squares. Thats a 3.5 rule. In PF Large is Large. Quadriped, Biped whatever. large is 4x4. Always!!

Unless I missed something, Large is 2x2 and can squeeze to be 2x1.


Feedback for spells...

Not sure eagles splendor should be blue, your 7th level before you can cast it and probably 12th before you have a slot to dedicate to it. By then you should have spent 8k on a +4 headband, it would be good but most paladins will never cast it.

Remove paralysis can be done with mercys and is probably too situational to keep memorised all the time. Would rate orange not green.

I'd rate prayer as green since its a luck bonus and has no save so it gives an automatic two way swing, i'd rather see a paladin casting this on the first round of combat than using vital strike. Not a must have but certainly better than situational.

Bestow grace of the champion is green if you take an archtype that swaps out aura of justice, if your an oath of vengence paladin is red. Otherwise its a choice between using you smites to power aura or burning one of your best spell slots on a single target buff, i'd rate it orange.

Break enchantment is useful but not something you memorise until you need it, rated orange rather than green imo.

Neutralise poison, as above. Especially at the level you pick it up.

Symbol of healing, blue in an undead campaign. But heals opponents as well as allies, i'd rate that orange at best other than strange circumstances like cancelling out a red dragons fire aura.


Egoish wrote:
Feedback for spells...

Thank you! :)

Egoish wrote:
Not sure eagles splendor should be blue, your 7th level before you can cast it and probably 12th before you have a slot to dedicate to it. By then you should have spent 8k on a +4 headband, it would be good but most paladins will never cast it.

I must examine the spells and compare them to other abilities of the Paladin. I cannot assume that magical items will be available and/or purchasable from game to game, since your game mileage will vary. I will, however, consider your input.

However, since many of the paladin's best abilities are Charisma based, this can provide an incredibly useful boost to things like your Smite Evil (for example). That, and so far as I'm aware, there's not a cap on the bonuses you can obtain...

Egoish wrote:
Remove paralysis can be done with mercys and is probably too situational to keep memorised all the time. Would rate orange not green.

It's rating was based more upon what it does, not how critical it is to have memorised at all times, although that is a consideration, just not the primary. Having it on hand can ensure that you don't have to expend a Lay on Hands to remove the condition. Don't forget; being held is potentially fatal, and it will negate Hold Monster, and you can use it to help up to four allies (with diminishing return the more people you help with it).

Egoish wrote:
I'd rate prayer as green since its a luck bonus and has no save so it gives an automatic two way swing, i'd rather see a paladin casting this on the first round of combat than using vital strike. Not a must have but certainly better than situational.

The fact that it only lasts a few rounds means you can't prepare it much in advance, but it does have a decent effect. I'm on the fence about rating it green in comparison to other spells that you could use at that level. Good hope grants you a better bonus, has a much greater range and lasts much longer, while prayer is subject to spell resistance.

Egoish wrote:
Bestow grace of the champion is green if you take an archtype that swaps out aura of justice, if your an oath of vengence paladin is red. Otherwise its a choice between using you smites to power aura or burning one of your best spell slots on a single target buff, i'd rate it orange.

I'd much rather use a spell slot, and would thusly recommend such, to grant powers to another than sacrifice not one, but two smite evils to grant the power to others. The fact that it doesn't grant your full smite power to others or allow it to all allies within ten feet clearly keeps it from being blue, but your Aura of Justice will not grant immunity to disease & fear, the target's Charisma bonus to saves, and a Lay on Hands use. It's far more versatile than Aura of Justice, overall, so I can't justify it being orange for all that it does.

Egoish wrote:

Break enchantment is useful but not something you memorise until you need it, rated orange rather than green imo.

Neutralise poison, as above. Especially at the level you pick it up.

As I mentioned earlier, if it's not something you need all the time, that doesn't auto-qualify it for an orange rating. It's rating accommodates for that, but I must consider more what it does than how often it's used.

Egoish wrote:
Symbol of healing, blue in an undead campaign. But heals opponents as well as allies, i'd rate that orange at best other than strange circumstances like cancelling out a red dragons fire aura.

I think I meant to rate this green. Not sure what happened there. The healing and harming effects are only modest at best. The fact that you can make it permanent is a big boost to its utility, though, as is its range.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's nice to have roleplay advice as well as mechanical advice.

That said, a lot of times the paladin isn't so much about himself as about inspiring and buffing other people. A number of mercies, for instance, don't help the paladin much himself (disease, shaken, etc.) but they can be very nice for helping the rest of your party recover from various problems.


I'm glad you took the time to answer the feedback, it seems we have another disagreement on what the ratings should mean.

I believe that when tm wrote his oft copied wizard guide blue was a must have, green was a good spell, orange was mostly situational and red was just a poor option.

Both of the curative spells i mentioned will be rarely used, maybe once or twice over the course of an adventuring career. Remove paralysis is the epitomy of an orange spell as its extremely useful when you need it, carrying a scroll of it around with you from the day you are able to use it is a fine plan. Break enchantment is a very useful spell once again when you need it, its a specialised spell for countering really terrible things but the things it counters are normally day enders anyway. The problem i have with rating the spells green is that it is to my perception a recommendation to memorise them, and these are not spells that i'd be happy one of my party mates had memorised and not used for session after session. Just my perception ofc.

Eagles splendor and headband of cha are bith the same kind of bonus and don't stack, at level 7 you probably only have a +2 headband but your second level slots will be few and filled with better spells, by level 12 when you probably have a slot to dedicate to it you will most definately have a +4 headband if not better. If your playing by RAW the headbands should be relatively common items and i honestly cannot imagine a paladin ever casting that spell, if your playing in a low magic house rule enviroment its still worse than bulls strength which you rated green.

Qadira

Hello,

I should like to see a new Paladin role examined: The Hospitaler. Myself and my stepson play one each. With each session, other players value one or both of our Paladin Hospitalers over a standard Cleric. Perhaps in our roles of Tank / Healer we are valued for High AC, medium to high DPS, spells, Greater Mercy feat, Selective Channeling feat, and Ultimate Mercy feat. My stepson is sword and board, while my Hospitaler is always a Greatsword fan. I don't see a single player complaining about our heals, tanking, and acceptable DPS. Both of us feature Power Attack and Cleave feats as both are Humans. Being able to Channel without expending Lay On Hands adds to the number of stabilizing, healing and Mercies than any other Paladin role or Archetype. Sure, we don't Smite Evil as many times per day, but we found that this allows other party characters to have to spotlight more often. Hospitalers are not glory-hounds in our opinions.
Both of our Paladins may not top the DPS charts, but that's okay as we both play the Eternal Optimist, (thanks for putting a name to it). Naive and doe-eyed to the world, yet willing to give aid, our two Hospitalers make playing across from a Paladin fun again. Other players enjoy listening to our battle cries, "Taste holy steel, infidel!" and "Face the fire of Sarenrae, evildoer!" and more to snicker at.
In conclusion, I and my stepson felt that our Hospitalers are subtly valued without being hailed or spotlighted, dutiful in battle, personable to roleplay across and interact with.
Thank you for reading,

Echthros


I'm a little confused on your rating for the Suli race.

In your Lancer section you rate the Suli as green and your suggested stat arrays list INT at 10-11.

In the Castigator section you list the Suli as gold and your suggested stat arrays list INT 7-8 (10 for 25pt build)

If the feeling is that INT is less important for the Castigator vs the Lancer wouldn't you rank Suli higher (or at least equal) for the Castigator in comparison to the Lancer?

From reading some of the feedback on this thread I've decided to take a stab at building a Suli Eldritch Heritage: Draconic Paladin wielding a fauchard. Probably completely impractical, but it could be fun. Heck 3 levels of Phalanx Soldier would let me wield the falchard one handed with a shield and give me a couple extra feats, but I suspect the pally side might suffer too much for a 3 level fighter dip.


Just a quick point to consider for going the sword-and-board style paladin/antipaladin.

For maximum damage, use a heavy spiked shield with the Bashing ability. This increases the damage of the enchanted shield by two size categories, meaning your shield is dealing 2d6 damage, as much as a greatsword. By contrast, a light spiked shield deals 1d8 damage which is still more than any other light weapon. However, GMs may shoot this down, as it can be quite powerful.


Egoish wrote:
I'm glad you took the time to answer the feedback, it seems we have another disagreement on what the ratings should mean.
Egoish wrote:
I believe that when tm wrote his oft copied wizard guide blue was a must have, green was a good spell, orange was mostly situational and red was just a poor option.

Here is a copy of what Treantmonk wrote in his Wizard guide:

Red: Warning. This is a poor option and should be avoided
Orange: This is an OK option. I'm not recommending it, but it's not bad
Green: I recommend this option. It is a strong choice
Blue: A must have. Your best possible option

This is consistent with what he wrote in his Bard, Ranger and Monk guides. The only direct departure is in his Druid guide where he talks specifically about spells.

Egoish wrote:
Both of the curative spells i mentioned will be rarely used, maybe once or twice over the course of an adventuring career. Remove paralysis is the epitomy of an orange spell as its extremely useful when you need it, carrying a scroll of it around with you from the day you are able to use it is a fine plan. Break enchantment is a very useful spell once again when you need it, its a specialised spell for countering really terrible things but the things it counters are normally day enders anyway. The problem i have with rating the spells green is that it is to my perception a recommendation to memorise them, and these are not spells that i'd be happy one of my party mates had memorised and not used for session after session. Just my perception ofc.

Green is a recommendation of utility, not necessarily of memorisation. However, if it makes you feel more comfortable with the rating, I will note that you do not need to prepare them often.

Egoish wrote:
Eagles splendor and headband of cha are bith the same kind of bonus and don't stack, at level 7 you probably only have a +2 headband but your second level slots will be few and filled with better spells, by level 12 when you probably have a slot to dedicate to it you will most definately have a +4 headband if not better. If your playing by RAW the headbands should be relatively common items and i honestly cannot imagine a paladin ever casting that spell, if your playing in a low magic house rule enviroment its still worse than bulls strength which you rated green.

Again, the spell is worth what the spell is worth, regardless of any magical items you may be able to acquire, but I shall make a note that you won't need it if you acquire a Headband of Charisma; I will downgrade its rating, though, in recognition, despite it temporarily boosting far more for a paladin than Bull's Strength does.

Echthros wrote:
I should like to see a new Paladin role examined: The Hospitaler.

While the Hospitaler seems to be a fun character choice for you and your stepson, would you consider it to be an optimal use of paladin powers and abilities?

Also, I recognize that you speak a lot in World of Warcraft terminology.


Thunderforge wrote:


If the feeling is that INT is less important for the Castigator vs the Lancer wouldn't you rank Suli higher (or at least equal) for the Castigator in comparison to the Lancer?

Int is important to mounted characters so they can afford to put points into things like Ride and possibly Handle Animal. Considering that skill points are at a premium for a paladin this is generally a wise investment.

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