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Advice for a Two-Weapon Paladin Please


Advice

Andoran

I'm looking for some basic advice on ability/feat choices for a paladin I am currently playing. I haven't played a pally since 2nd Ed so I'm a little rusty. That Sorcerer 8/Paladin 2/Eldrich Knight 10 I played in 3.5 doesn't count.

The game is RP heavy and we don't need optimized characters and I don't want to blow the power curve but I still like to get the most out of a character concept. This is also the first Pathfinder character I have actually played since I am usually behind the screen. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

--

First Level

The concept is a light and fast two-weapon fighter. The game is a homebrew with an 'old west' feel so I made a gunslinger meets Apache warrior type. He is already in play and working quite nicely (when the dice cooperate) at first level. The game meets for a limited time weekly and we're using slow progression so I'd like to optimize for each tier of play to maximize fun; low 1-7, mid 8-13, high 14-20.

We are using the Core Rulebook only.

Aaron Proudheart, Human Paladin of Erastil.

Str 14, Dex 15 (13+2), Con 14, Int 5, Wis 15, Cha 16
That Int of 5 isn't a typo. Stats were rolled 4d6 drop the lowest arrange to taste. Given what I rolled I decided to let them lie where they fell.

I outfitted him with throwing axes to serve as melee and ranged weapons as well as studded leather to keep him light and fast.

With those stats clearly any optimization based on skills is right out.

Feats
1. Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting

So far this build has been working nicely with the exception of a sub-optimal AC (14) but I can improve that later with feats and magic.

--

Low Level
level 2-6

I'm a little torn on how to maximize his concept. I want to keep him a solid fast and light dual wielder but I need to improve that AC. Tentatively I have chosen the following abilities/feats:

3. Quick Draw
4. Dex 16
5. Two-Weapon Defense, Divine Bond: Weapon

I really want to take Dodge but that increase to speed that comes with Quick Draw is important. I'd also like to make use of Weapon Finesse early on but that may have to wait. I'm also not sure how useful Divine Bond is going to be since we have so far been outdoors and I bothered to purchase a mule as a mount (he's sensitive so be careful you don't hurt his feelings).

--

Mid level
level 7-13

I'm really not sure what to do here to keep the concept as solid as it is at first level. The abilities/feats to stay light and fast don't seem to remain easy choices. However, magic will factor in at this point with a ring of protection, amulet of natural armor, and magic weapons and armor.

My choices right now are:
7. Weapon Finesse
8. Dex 17
9. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
11. Double Slice
12. Dex 18
13. Vital Strike

I'd love to get Cleave, Power Attack, and Weapon Focus but I'm not sure how to make it work.

--

High Level
level 14-20

At this point I'm pretty lost to keep him straight pally. Here is what I chose as of right now:

15. Improved Vital Strike
16. Dex 19
19. ????
20. Dex 20

--

Any thoughts?

Andoran

I'm usually pretty solid at working out an optimized character that fleshes out a concept well but I couldn't seem to make this one work once he gained a few levels. With his high Charisma his Smite is pretty formidable and with a Wisdom of 15 he can make good use of his spells so advice along those lines would be appreciated too.

Andoran

I'm usually pretty solid at working out an optimized character that fleshes out a concept well but I couldn't seem to make this one work once he gained a few levels. With his high Charisma his Smite is pretty formidable and with a Wisdom of 15 he can make good use of his spells but I haven't really looked at what he has available yet.


TWF Paladin is really really starved for feats and tends to be a really MAD build so it's never going to be strictly optimal in terms of combat effectiveness.

TWF with sword and board is probably the most efficient build but basically you are really locked into it but it does do well in terms of shoring up you defense. TWF with short swords can be done but the difficulty of boosting smite damage can make it frustrating against more powerful foes.

Andoran

Hm, I really like the dual-wielding tomahawks thing. Plus the use of the axe to throw has already proven useful. I wear four of them so I can still fight and throw. As backup weapons I have two Apache war clubs and a sling, but I have yet use them.

The lower damage and critical with a throwing axe I think balances out with the ability to throw and attack multiple times. Plus once I Smite it gets pretty formidable when dual-wielding. Add the attack boosting spells that kick in 4th level and attack and damage don't seem to be as much of a concern.

I'll probably have to rely on hit points, saves, magic, and healing to compensate for the lower AC. You can't have everything I guess. lol

I really expected the concept to hold true once I gained a couple of levels so I was surprised when the ability and feat choices weren't obvious. I guess that's what I get for trying to take what seems more like a ranger style concept and apply it to a paladin.

Maybe if I sacrifice Quick Draw for Dodge I can get the bonus from that and Two-Weapon Defense to boost my AC. Of course, drawing weapons as a free action gets an axe in my hand as soon as I throw one, which really allows me to make the most of dual-wielding.

This is a tough build.

Silver Crusade

With those stats I'd go:-

1st: Quick Draw, TWF
3rd: Weapon focus (whatever axe you're using)
5th: Weapon Finesse
7th: Dodge
9th: Improved TWF

If you can't change your first level feats, then:-

1st: Improved Initiative, TWF
3rd: Quick Draw
5th: Weapon Finesse
7th: Weapon Focus
9th: Improved TWF

If your armour at 1st level is studded leather and your Dex is 15, then your AC is 15 (+3 armour, +2 Dex)

I honestly don't think Improved Initiative is crucial to your concept, certainly not as important as the other feats on this list. After these feats I'd choose TWDefence and (if you're stronger by then) Double Slice.


Joshua Goudreau wrote:
I'm usually pretty solid at working out an optimized character that fleshes out a concept well but I couldn't seem to make this one work once he gained a few levels. With his high Charisma his Smite is pretty formidable and with a Wisdom of 15 he can make good use of his spells but I haven't really looked at what he has available yet.

Paladin spells are off Charisma not Wisdom, so that Wisdom 15 doesn't seem necessary to me.


I'd take Dodge before Two-weapon defense--you still get the AC bonus when you're not wielding two weapons, and you open up a whole new feat tree, much of which focuses on defense.

Unless you plan to buff your strength often, Double Slice is only getting you +1 damage on your off hand. Weapon Specialization gets you +2 damage on both hands (if you use the same weapon in both hands, which it sounds like you plan to).

I'd also hold off on Weapon Finesse until my Dex bonus was at least 2 higher than my strength. I don't think it's worth it to burn a feat (and restrict myself to light weapons in my primary hand) just to get +1 to hit. Once your Dex is 18, Weapon Finesse has a lot more value.

Honestly, with the 15 Wis, I'd look at taking a dip into Monk, just to see if I could make Flurry of Blows and Wis bonus to AC work out. Flurry of Blows essentially counts as TWF and Double Slice, so it might be worth a look.

"Maybe if I sacrifice Quick Draw for Dodge I can get the bonus from that and Two-Weapon Defense to boost my AC. Of course, drawing weapons as a free action gets an axe in my hand as soon as I throw one, which really allows me to make the most of dual-wielding."

I took the Quick Draw direction with a throwing character, too. So far, it seems to work pretty well.

Andoran

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
If your armour at 1st level is studded leather and your Dex is 15, then your AC is 15 (+3 armour, +2 Dex)

Damn, must have misread my character sheet earlier, you are right, it's 15.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

With those stats I'd go:-

1st: Quick Draw, TWF
3rd: Weapon focus (whatever axe you're using)
5th: Weapon Finesse
7th: Dodge
9th: Improved TWF

If you can't change your first level feats, then:-

1st: Improved Initiative, TWF
3rd: Quick Draw
5th: Weapon Finesse
7th: Weapon Focus
9th: Improved TWF

These are great suggestions and will help me greatly.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I honestly don't think Improved Initiative is crucial to your concept, certainly not as important as the other feats on this list.

My thinking is, first, I always take Improved Initiative at first level because I like to go fast, and second, the idea of a quick drawing gunslinger came up in my head and reinforced the choice. I don;t know if I want to get rid of it though, of course I do have the Dex to fall back on. I'm not sure if the GM would even let me swap it or if I want to.

I wish I'd realized a dual-wielding pally was tough to make effective or I would have rethought the concept. My concern is that I have had characters start off cool and spot on concept but after a little while something happens and the pieces aren't falling into place anymore and all that's left is a watered down and boring character. I definitely don't want that to happen here because he really is a very effective character now.

Daelen wrote:
Paladin spells are off Charisma not Wisdom, so that Wisdom 15 doesn't seem necessary to me.

Oh yeah! I forgot Pathfinder changed that. Well the Wisdom is good for Will saves... because paladins don't have good... saves...

Gwen Smith wrote:
I'd take Dodge before Two-weapon defense--you still get the AC bonus when you're not wielding two weapons, and you open up a whole new feat tree, much of which focuses on defense.

I was actually thinking this because I'd lose my AC bonus if I had just thrown and hadn't drawn a new axe yet so why take the feat that is conditional first?

Gwen Smith wrote:

Unless you plan to buff your strength often, Double Slice is only getting you +1 damage on your off hand. Weapon Specialization gets you +2 damage on both hands (if you use the same weapon in both hands, which it sounds like you plan to).

I'd also hold off on Weapon Finesse until my Dex bonus was at least 2 higher than my strength. I don't think it's worth it to burn a feat (and restrict myself to light weapons in my primary hand) just to get +1 to hit. Once your Dex is 18, Weapon Finesse has a lot more value.

Good points, especially about the Double Slice.

Gwen Smith wrote:
Honestly, with the 15 Wis, I'd look at taking a dip into Monk...

I want to keep him straight paladin. Not for any special reason.

Gwen Smith wrote:
I took the Quick Draw direction with a throwing character, too. So far, it seems to work pretty well.

I'm glad to hear that it worked. I had been planning on Quick Draw at 3rd level. I was quite surprised when I sat down earlier to do a 20 level build and it didn't come together easily. Usually I spend some time with the book and a piece of paper and end up with a fully built character that fills a concept and role and is super fun to play.

Has anyone out there made an effective two-weapon fighter that wasn't a sword and board type? I'd imagine it's probably easier if you make them a tank, however, I've already made the joke at the table that my character is too dumb to know what the paladin stereotype is supposed to be.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You could use twin Madu or Quickdraw Throwing(not the enchantment) Light Shields for a "board and board" build.

Once you have Shield Master, you will have no penalties when you two weapon fight.

Andoran

blackbloodtroll wrote:
...a "board and board" build.

This sounds like an exercise in absurdity. lol

Gwen Smith wrote:
Weapon Specialization...

This feat is fighter only. :(

So here is what I think I'll be doing:

1. Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting
3. Quick Draw
4. Dex 16
5. Dodge, Divine Bond: Weapon
--
7. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8. Dex 17
9. Two-Weapon Defense
11. Weapon Finesse
12. Dex 18
13. Double Slice
--
15. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16. Dex 19
17. Two-Weapon Rend
19. Vital Strike
20. Dex 20

Thanks everybody for your advice and suggestions. I think Aaron 'What Are You A Carebear?' Proudheart will remain an effective character at each tier of play now.

Silver Crusade

Slight adjustment needed.

Improved TWF requires a Dex of 17, which you don't get until 8th; this is why I put it in level 9's feat slot. If you had the Dex I'd have put in 7's feat slot.

Same with Greater TWF; that requires a Dex of 19, which you don't get until 16th.

Of couse, if you get your Dex up there ahead of schedule then go for it! Get those feats asap!


5 int.. ouch.. Good luck doing anything but being led around by your party members and pointed in the direction of the enemy. Seriously id talk with your dm about spliting that 15 wisdom and have a 10 in each.. Unless you want a pc that Forest Gump would put to shame..

Andoran

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Improved TWF requires a Dex of 17, which you don't get until 8th; this is why I put it in level 9's feat slot. If you had the Dex I'd have put in 7's feat slot.

Same with Greater TWF; that requires a Dex of 19, which you don't get until 16th.

Damnit! How did I miss that? That would mean swapping Improved Two-Weapon Fighting with Two-Weapon Defense and Greater Two-Weapon Fighting with Two-Weapon Rend. I liked the fact that the 'tier' of play kicked off with a new Two-Weapon Fighting feat.

Given the fact that I forgot pally spells weren't based on Wisdom anymore I texted the GM to see if I could swap my rolled Dex and Wis. That would put my starting Dex at 17 and Wis at 13. I'd loose out on a point of Will save and Heal but I'd get the needed bonus to AC and feat qualification. He said to arrange to taste and I didn't move anything, thinking Wis 15 let me have 4th level spells.

WerePox47 wrote:
5 int.. ouch.. Good luck doing anything but being led around by your party members and pointed in the direction of the enemy. Seriously id talk with your dm about spliting that 15 wisdom and have a 10 in each.. Unless you want a pc that Forest Gump would put to shame..

Yeah, it's an interesting experience trying to play it. I have to limit my vocabulary to words with only one or two syllables. He's the strong, silent type. Or as my girlfriend put it "shh, don't talk, you'll spoil it."

Silver Crusade

It is better to stay silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and confirm it beyond doubt!

Andoran

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
It is better to stay silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and confirm it beyond doubt!

Exactly!

The GM gave me the go ahead to swap Dex and Wis and when we played last night we ended in a TPK. Woo! There was some dues ex action that let up keep going since the GM and I are the only experienced players, the other three are virtually brand new to RPGs.

So for anyone who wants to use this as a template to make a viable dual-wielding/throwing paladin, in the end my character looks like this:

--

Aaron Proudheart, Human Paladin of Erastil

STR 14, DEX 17 (15+2), CON 14, INT 5, WIS 13, CHA 16
(4d6, arrange to taste)

Character is outfitted with throwing axes and studded leather armor.

First Level
1. Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting

Low Level
3. Quick Draw
4. Dex 18
5. Divine Bond: Weapon, Dodge

Mid Level
7. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
8. Dex 19
9. Weapon Finesse
11. Two-Weapon Defense
12. Dex 20
13. Double Slice

High Level
15. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
16. Dex 21
17. Two-Weapon Rend
19. Vital Strike
20. Dex 22

--

Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions.

Silver Crusade

You're welcome! : )

The newbies will soon get the hang of it. In my experience they benefit more from characters that are full of role-playing possibilities yet still capable of doing their job, than from highly optimised characters with great crunch but no fluff. Once they've got some games under their belt they'll start thinking about how to make their PC better crunch-wise.

Happy slaying!...er...I mean...'Happy bringing villains to justice!'

(phew! Nearly fell, there!)


I would suggest you pick up weapon finesse at 5th in place of dodge as once you dex hits 18 it basicily cancels your twf penalty.

Andoran

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
(phew! Nearly fell, there!)

That was close!

The newbies are getting the hang of it slowly but surely and their characters are far from optimized. They are basic and straightforward builds to allow the players the opportunity to get a feel for gaming. The GM and I have both been lending advice and letting them know the best way to handle situations when they don't think of them on their own.

Bertious wrote:
I would suggest you pick up weapon finesse at 5th in place of dodge as once you dex hits 18 it basicily cancels your twf penalty.

I thought about that, but I really want to boost my AC. With studded leather it's 16 (19 with Smite) at 1st level. By 5th level (if I stick with studded leather) it will only be 17 (20 with Smite). That extra +1 from Dodge is important. My attack bonus will be +7 (+5/+5) at 5th level which seems adequate until I can get Weapon Finesse, giving me a pretty substantial boost when I do get it.

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