Trouble with my Gnome Paladin...


Hey guys! So I'm new to playing pathfinder (I've only played D&D 5e), and made a gnome paladin during the first session of a pathfinder Kingsmaker campaign. I originally planned on making a cleric, but changed my plan at the last minute once I learned we didn't have a tank. I took the "sword Scion" trait, and made it so my character wanted to learn to be an aldori sword fighter as his background. I made the mistake of trying to build my character as a dex fighter (with 12 str and 16 dex). I took Weapon Finesse as my first feat.

We played our first two sessions and I realized I messed up. We are level 1 and my character has these problems:

- he's slow - with a movement of 20 ft, it takes me two moves to keep up with my fast teammates. So I'm not there to protect them

- he does no damage - the combination of being small, and not realizing the aldori dueling sword applies to weapon finesse only if you have proficiency in the dueling sword means I do no damage

- he's not a threat - I learned quickly that the way to tank in pathfinder is to be a threat. My character is a 3 ft gnome who barely does damage and is slow and late to battle, so enemies always attack the rest of the party.

I talked to the DM, who told me he's let me change the class archetype of my character, but not the stats or the class. I want to make this character work with the original idea I had. I've thought of making my character a holy Tactician, but I'm still having trouble with making my character a viable tank. Do you guys have any suggestions on how to do that for my character without having to just dump him?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Changing your archetype probably won't help too much, especially at 1st level. Equipment could make a world of difference, however. Have you considered mounted combat or archery?

As a small-sized character you can use smaller mounts than humans, such as riding dogs, which allow you to more easily perform mounted combat indoors. You would still have trouble with your low strength, since you really want to be using a lance, but this would alleviate your speed issue and also give you at least a little oomph when you charge into battle.

Another option is archery. Your character's stats are fairly well placed for it, and it allows you to contribute from a range. This perhaps moves away from your concept more than the mounted option does, but better fits your character's stats.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given the constraints your are working with I'd suggest you the Divine Hunter paladin archetype. Get yourself a longbow and even that 12 str won't be so bad.

Of course you won't be an effective tank and your role will become that of a raned damage dealer but as you noted you can't be a tank in Pathfinder with those stats. Invest in handle animal, train a riding dog and you'll also gain mobility which is good to have with archery.

Divine hunter is amazingly fun, I fully recommend trying it out

Thanks for the suggestions!

I've looked at a finesse guide that basically said that a finesse melee fighter will never do as much damage as a strength melee fighter, and that finesse fighting is more about doing combat maneuvers (so controlling the fight?) and getting in multiple attacks that have stacking damage on them. ( here's a link to it). The guide talks about monk and how unarmed strike can be good.

Based on those suggestions, I'm thinking that maybe enlightened paladin might work. I'd keep weapon finesse, and at level 3 take two weapon fighting and instead of attacking twice each turn I'd just try to trip enemies each turn to help my teammates. With Confident Defense, I'd have a really good AC by level 3. At level 4, the ki points also solve my speed issues. I'm just not a fan of the rest of the archetype abilities.

After looking more at Divine Hunter, it seems to be the better choice. I can attack at melee range, so I can still tank. I can wear a buckler, so I only lose 1 AC. It also does more damage, and I can switch weapon finesse with another feat. So I think I could actually tank better with divine hunter, which is kinda funny XD

I kinda wish I made a monk at this point though. I just think a tiny gnome punching and tripping large creatures would look hilarious XD.

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