I've always wanted to play a Varisian Bard/Paladin and now that it is possible in Pathfinder, I've found myself almost fearful of playing one. Would anyone care to help me dispel my fear? I know I'd most likely end up being support, but I'm not entirely sure how to build such a wonderful combination. Any advice?
Yes, it can be a fun combo. Shelyn, goddess of the arts, music, love and beauty would make an excellent deity for a paladin/bard.
Become a ranged support. Smite Evil works with ranged weapons. Focus on Dex and Charisma. Consider Divine Hunter, which is a paladin archetype focused on ranged combat. You lose Heavy Armor Proficiency, which is fine since you want to remain in light armor because of Bard spells. So, once you can afford it, a mithral breastplate is great (since you still have Medium armour proficiency, but the armor is considered Light for bard spells).
Open combat with a song, then fire away from the rear while singing. Smite Evil with your bow when necessary.
What would be the level progression on a build like this? It seems to me that levels spent on paladin takes away from the bard spell progression and rounds of bardic performance per day, and levels spent on bard cut into the uses and effectiveness of smite evil and lay on hands.
So would you really go for equal levels of both? Or go primary in one with just a dip in the other?
|David knott 242|
Paladin (Divine Hunter) 2 > Bard (Archaeologist) +
is a combo that's worked well for me. Your saves are crazy, you have evasion, uncanny dodge, you can deal with traps, you get some Rogue Talents (which you can use for combat feats), and you're a mean archer (Archaeologist's Luck + Arcane Strike + sometimes Smite Evil adds insane amounts to each arrow).
You *do* lose traditional bardic music, though you keep the casting. That's the tradeoff. Look into it, though, before you dismiss the idea.
For this route, consider Aasimar (Azata-Blooded). +2 Cha, +2 Dex. Use the aasimar bard favored class bonus to boost your Archaelogist's Luck. Grab the Magical Knack trait to keep your bard caster level maxed. Consider also the trait that boosts your rounds of bardic performance.
You'll need Precise Shot (you get this from Divine Hunter), Rapid Shot, Multi-Shot, Arcane Strike, Lingering Song eventually. Order is somewhat malleable.
Yes. Two Paladin levels get you their best ability. You can use wands and scrolls of Paladin spells, get proficiencies, get divine grace, and smite still adds charisma to hit and bypasses DR even if you aren't getting much damage from it.
Paladin and bard have synergy through Charisma.
I would recommend taking at least 4 levels of Paladin, to get Smite Evil 2/day (Channeling Positive Energy is a useful addition to your list of options as well). 5 levels of Paladin is even better, to get Divine Weapon Bond. If you're going Divine Hunter, I would finally recommend taking 6 levels of Paladin, to get Distant Mercy, where you could use your lay on hands within 15 feet of any ally. All great options for adaptability to many combat situations.
I don't particularly recommend going 4 levels of Paladin, because at that point your bard casting is so far behind it's very sad.
That being said, if you *do* go 4 levels, strongly consider Oath of Vengeance for the Paladin, which will let you have several more Smite Evils (much better than the 2d6 Channel Energy you give up for it)
As far as prestige classes, for a melee build Dragon Disciple is a good and flavorful addition, for at least a 4 level dip into. I've got a Paladin of Bahamut/Bard doing that in a game I'm running.
For a ranged build, Arcane Archer is nice, but there's nothing about that that's particular to the Paladin/Bard combination.