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Switch Hitter Paladin optimization


Advice


wanted to take a stab at this, in my groups homebrew we've ruled that a paladins alignment requirement is it must exactly match that of the selected deity and if neutral must choose to advance as paladin or Anti-paladin. I have for a while now thought a switch hitting paladin in the tradition of Treantmonks switch hitter Ranger would be awesome. Could it be done effectively? How would you do it?


It's much harder to do a switch hitter paladin than a similar ranger, because a paladin is much more feat-starved than a ranger. It's probably best to stick with one combat style and use it as much as possible, rather than trying to optimize for both.

If you want to do a switch-hitter you probably still have to focus primarily on archery feats, since certain feats are mandatory for a viable archer, whereas melee is less steep with requirements. When forced/choosing to fight in melee you could then rely on smites to offset the relative lack of melee-oriented feats.

Ability scores will also be a problem, because you probably can't afford to have very high scores in both strength and dex. Here it's a matter of choosing your focus - strength will benefit both melee and ranged in some ways, but you still need enough dex to afford archery feats.


It is hard to do because it is mad mad mad. As a paladin you need Str and Cha already. It is good to have con at a decent score as well. Well if you wanted to add archery to that you need a decent score in dex as well.

Unless you are rolling stats or getting a ridic PB (30+) it is probably good to avoid.

Also a paladin is pretty feat starve and barely has enough to cover the basics of archery much less trying to do both.

If you must do it Corlindale's suggestion is good, focus on archery feats and only grab power attack for melee.

Rely on smite + PA for your melee schtick.


@ Gignere, I think it COULD be done with a 20 pt buy if the right race was selected, I think ARG had a Str and Cha race and with a good cha you wouldn't need wis and who needs skill points any way so dump in as well right?or go with a 7 if the race gives a penalty.


Conundrum wrote:
@ Gignere, I think it COULD be done with a 20 pt buy if the right race was selected, I think ARG had a Str and Cha race and with a good cha you wouldn't need wis and who needs skill points any way so dump in as well right?or go with a 7 if the race gives a penalty.

You'll probably want to be human and get the alt racial for +2 to 2 ability.

Or you might want the Aasimar Angelkin +2 str and +2 cha with no penalties.

I hate dumping int and wis for a pally because if you can be easily tricked, you can easily fall or at least frequently need atonements.


Conundrum wrote:
@ Gignere, I think it COULD be done with a 20 pt buy if the right race was selected, I think ARG had a Str and Cha race and with a good cha you wouldn't need wis and who needs skill points any way so dump in as well right?or go with a 7 if the race gives a penalty.

Well....I know many rogues that like skill points. :P

And yes,playing a paladin with a 7 intelligence and 7 wisdom can be hard,trust me.

Your stats could look like(with the Angelkin Aasimar)
Strength 18
Dexterity 16
Constitution 12
Intelligence 7
Charisma 15
Wisdom 8

Bump your Charisma at 4th level.

Feat-wise,like the others have said;pick up Power Attack and all the archery feats(Rapid Shot,Manyshot,etc).

The problem with that is while the ranger can bypass the requirements for those feats,you cannot.This means you are going to be even more feat-starved.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My advice (although admittedly I know little about switch hitter builds) would be to go the Dex route. Go elf or human with the adoptive parentage trait to make Elven Curved Blades martial. Get Weapon Finesse, Power Attack, and the Agile weapon enhancement. Two feats and a +1 bonus and you are a decent THF high dex character. Spend the rest of your feats on Archery related stuff.

Still multiple ability dependant but now int and str both can be a little on the low side.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Conundrum wrote:
wanted to take a stab at this, in my groups homebrew we've ruled that a paladins alignment requirement is it must exactly match that of the selected deity and if neutral must choose to advance as paladin or Anti-paladin. I have for a while now thought a switch hitting paladin in the tradition of Treantmonks switch hitter Ranger would be awesome. Could it be done effectively? How would you do it?

I've run a 'switch-hitter' Paladin, but I did it a slightly different way... I made an Elven Paladin (Oath of Vengeance) so that I would have plenty of Smites to use with sword or bow and then took this feat tree:

1st - Fey Foundling
3rd - Power Attack
5th - Deadly Aim
7th - Extra Lay on Hands
9th - Extra Lay on Hands
11th - Extra Lay on Hands
13th - Extra Lay on Hands
15th - Greater Mercy
17th - Ultimate Mercy
19th - Radiant Charge

She wielded at times elven curved blade and a longbow and relied on her Smites to maximize PA/DA, but also made tremendous use of her spells (Hero's Defiance, Litany of Righteousness, Blessing of Fervor, Bloodsworn Retribution), her Paladin abilities and the little known favored class option for elven Paladins. The character only had a Strength and Dexterity of 14 each but had a very, very high Charisma. Basically her saves were out of this world, she could heal herself mid-combat like nothing I've ever seen and while she wasn't technically optimized for damage, she was very effective in melee or at range.

Attributes: (20 point buy)
STR - 14
DEX - 12 (+2 racial bonus)
CON - 12 (-2 racial bonus)
INT - 10 (+2 racial bonus)
WIS - 8
CHA - 17 (+1 at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 20th level)

The results for Lay on Hands, following the above build and NOT taking into account any potential magic items - and remember, using LoH on yourself is a swift action, meaning that you can still full attack every round:

4th level
4+2+0 = 6/day
2d6+6/use (or 2d6+2 on others)
Equivalent to an average of 78 extra hit points/day.

8th level
4+4+2 = 10/day
4d6+12/use (or 4d6+4 on others)
Equivalent to an average of 260 extra hit points/day

12th level
5+6+6 = 17/day
6d6+18/use (or 6d6+6 on others)
Equivalent to an average of 663 extra hit points/day

16th level
5+8+8 = 21/day
9d6+26/use (or 9d6+8 on others)
Equivalent to an average of 1207.5 extra hit points/day

20th level
6+10+8 = 24/day
66+32/use (or 66+10 on others)
Equivalent to 2352 extra hit points/day.

Of course its likely that you won't need all of that, but keep in mind that you can use those LoH's to heal party members, to remove conditions like poison, disease or fatigue (hello, Barbarian!) or to power additional Smites so that you always have one available.

She was utterly unkillable, and prevented more than a few TPK's because of it. Figure she's the primary tank, secondary melee combatant, secondary ranged combatant, secondary healer and secondary buffer all in one. A lot of fun to play and a pairing you don't often see.

EDIT: Another option with this character would be to bump the feats up at 5th or 7th, getting rid of Radiant Charge and instead taking Combat Reflexes earlier on, and then weilding a reach weapon instead of (or in addition to) the curve blade.


Thats a very cool build and yes, that is why I like the Paladin, good in combat and great self healing and possible party synergy!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Conundrum wrote:
Thats a very cool build and yes, that is why I like the Paladin, good in combat and great self healing and possible party synergy!

One of the mistakes people make sometimes is trying to make one type of character into another type that won't be as good... for instance, trying to make a 'Paladin switch-hitter' in the same way you do a Ranger would be a mistake - its what Rangers do best after all. So if you're interested in playing a Paladin, play to their strengths rather than to those of another class's.

In my opinion, a switch-hitter is someone who is equally effective in melee or at range, not necessarily someone who is utterly dominant in that capacity. If you wanted a Ranger-type switch-hitter, you'd be playing a Ranger but you're not. You're playing a Paladin because you want to be a Paladin first and foremost - and if you're going to be a Paladin, this is the switch-hitter build I recommend.

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