Paladin Build Guidance (Too many options! lol)


Advice

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Hi there everyone. I am venturing into a pathfinder game starting at level 1 (well level 2) and was wondering if everyone can help me with figuring out a few things. My GM has asked I play a paladin (or reasonable facsimile). I know for the sake of story and role play factor that I'd like to play a Tiefling. Now this is where I run into a few uncertainties. I've read a lot of posts and I am looking at what might be some of the better builds to work towards. So this leaves a few things.
1. Trying to figure out which type of Paladin to be (Oradin, Tortured Crusader, Hospitaler with life link, etc. I even saw someone do a build that was just focused on Extra Lay On Hands combined with Oath of Vengence). All of these seem viable options but I am not sure what to pursue.
2. Upon figuring out which Paladin build to work on I would try to pick a Tiefling Heritage that would compliment well.
3. Weapons and equipment. My group has requested I not do a ranged Paladin (Although I suppose a Dex build would still be an option potentially). I think they are just wanting someone who can get in the enemies face with some staying power.
Even though I am only level 2, I like to get a build mapped out for an eventual goal to get to. Thanks for the time and consideration and I will be glad to answer any further questions anyone has.


Do you have a deity picked out? Also, are there certain class features your GM wants you to have, or are they just looking for a “Holy Warrior/Champion of Justice” sort of vibe? If the latter, you could theoretically consider Warpriest, Crusader Cleric, or Zealot Vigilante. If the former, which class features do you want to capitalize on? Losing Divine Grace hurts some concepts a bunch, while others don’t mind, for example. Same with the Auras, LoH/Mercies, etc.


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Angdril wrote:
Decision paralysis!
HedwickTheWordly wrote:
MOAR options!!


To actually contribute, though, what exactly do you want this character to do, thematically? Or, if you don't have a solid feel for the character yet, what build do you think sounds the most fun?

Lantern Lodge

A straight up paladin is a great class with lots of staying power.

Get high Str, Con and Cha.
A dex build is possible, but not recommended due to the limited number of feats a Paladin get. Assuming you want to use feat slots to get other feats.

You don't need a archetype to make a Paladin work.


Fey Foundling and Fast Healer are a great combo for a Paladin who wants to heal and shield his buddies. You would be extremely tough to kill and you can still bring the pain with a two-hander and Power Attack too ;)

lvl1 Fey Foundling
lvl3 Power Attack, Fatigued Mercy
lvl5 Endurance
lvl6 Targeted Mercy
lvl7 Diehard (start preparing Shield Other spells and soak damage from your party)
lvl9 Fast Healer, Restorative Mercy
lvl11 Greater Mercy
lvl12 Ensorcelled Mercy
lvl13 Extra Mercy: Cursed Mercy
etc.

for 25pt buy on this build, I'd suggest 18str (16+2), 10dex, 16con, 10int, 10wis, 14cha


Or you can just go Fey Foundling and Power Attack, then start pumping your LoH/Mercies like crazy.

lvl1 Fey Foundling
lvl3 Power Attack, Fatigued Mercy
lvl5 Extra Lay on Hands
lvl6 Targeted Mercy
lvl7 Greater Mercy (start preparing Shield Other spells and soak damage from your party)
lvl9 Extra Mercy, Restorative Mercy, Cursed Mercy
lvl11 Extra Mercy: Diseased Mercy
lvl12 Ensorcelled Mercy
lvl13 Extra Mercy: Poisoned Mercy

Your LoH would be godly.

for 25pt buy on this build, I'd suggest 18str (16+2), 10dex, 14con, 10int, 10wis, 16cha


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Ryze Kuja wrote:
Fey Foundling and Fast Healer are a great combo for a Paladin who wants to heal and shield his buddies. You would be extremely tough to kill and you can still bring the pain with a two-hander and Power Attack too ;)

I think three feats is a fairly tough sell for fast healer, I don't know that that is worth it.

Considering that they're already a teifling paladin, at level nine when they get the feat they'll already be healing 4d6+17 with favored class bonus and fey foundling. (Average 31) Assuming 14 CON, they've only got 59 hit points - do you really need to heal more than half your hitpoints in a round? If you're getting bursted down that fast, you'd be better off taking toughness ... instead of endurance, diehard, and a feat you actually plan to use.

As far as shield other goes, if our goal is healing the entire party, than our best option is an oradin build. We'd also get more feats and a mite customizable character that way.

And, finally, though this one isn't anything against the viability of the build ... I intensely dislike fey foundling. I dislike how it's become a go to feat for paladins, just because it's strong. Perhaps that's a little silly of me, since I've nothing against fighters taking power attack, but everyone I read a backstory for a paladin that has "as a kid I was found in the forest by fey" shoehorned into a backstory, I want to murderhobo it's author for their XPs.


HedwickTheWorldly wrote:
Do you have a deity picked out? Also, are there certain class features your GM wants you to have, or are they just looking for a “Holy Warrior/Champion of Justice” sort of vibe? If the latter, you could theoretically consider Warpriest, Crusader Cleric, or Zealot Vigilante. If the former, which class features do you want to capitalize on? Losing Divine Grace hurts some concepts a bunch, while others don’t mind, for example. Same with the Auras, LoH/Mercies, etc.

I don't have a deity selected just yet. I was kind of eyeing Shizuru and or Tsukiyo but I'm open to recommendations. The Group is looking more for the vibe of a holy warrior. We have a Cleric in the group as well as a Ranger and a Wizard.

Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
To actually contribute, though, what exactly do you want this character to do, thematically? Or, if you don't have a solid feel for the character yet, what build do you think sounds the most fun?

Hard to say. I do like a little versatility but I also know from experience that typically a character designed for 1 or 2 jobs and do those jobs REALLY well, is going to be more successful under the Keep It Simple.

Ryze. Both those builds sound good, I just don't know in the grand scheme if they are better or worse than Oradin in the keeping team healed department for the passive bonus with Life Link. I have saved both down and am looking them over. I'm just still trying to pick out what is the most efficient thing.


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Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
Ryze Kuja wrote:
Fey Foundling and Fast Healer are a great combo for a Paladin who wants to heal and shield his buddies. You would be extremely tough to kill and you can still bring the pain with a two-hander and Power Attack too ;)
I think three feats is a fairly tough sell for fast healer, I don't know that that is worth it.

Yeah, probably not. It's an option though if he wants to be mostly-impossible to kill. Personally, I like Vital Strike (or Cleave) and LoH builds with at least 16 base Charisma. You can ace just about any BBEG if they're actually evil.

Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
As far as shield other goes, if our goal is healing the entire party, than our best option is an oradin build. We'd also get more feats and a mite customizable character that way.

I dislike dipping for Paladins, they get too much from getting Aura of Justice (best buff in the game) and their mercies on time. That's my two cents anyway.

Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
And, finally, though this one isn't anything against the viability of the build ... I intensely dislike fey foundling. I dislike how it's become a go to feat for paladins, just because it's strong. Perhaps that's a little silly of me, since I've nothing against fighters taking power attack, but everyone I read a backstory for a paladin that has "as a kid I was found in the forest by fey" shoehorned into a backstory, I want to murderhobo it's author for their XPs.

this made me lol ;)


Asmodeus' Advocate wrote:
And, finally, though this one isn't anything against the viability of the build ... I intensely dislike fey foundling. I dislike how it's become a go to feat for paladins, just because it's strong. Perhaps that's a little silly of me, since I've nothing against fighters taking power attack, but everyone I read a backstory for a paladin that has "as a kid I was found in the forest by fey" shoehorned into a backstory, I want to murderhobo it's author for their XPs.

Funny you should mention that. While I was reading peoples recommendations and saw that, I gave some thought to how it would play in with story. One consideration I had was that if I did end up taking that feat is that is to play up the Tiefling/Faye combination as per a story. As a general idea is something akin to (for example) an Oni Tiefling with Fey Foundling, might just well have been the offspring of an Oni that forced itself on a Kami.


Angdril wrote:


Ryze. Both those builds sound good, I just don't know in the grand scheme if they are better or worse than Oradin in the keeping team healed department for the passive bonus with Life Link. I have saved both down and am looking them over. I'm just still trying to pick out what is the most efficient thing.

If you're going to be going Oradin and using Life Link with multiple group members, you absolutely should consider Fast Healer + Fey Foundling. You will be soaking damage like crazy, and you might even go below 0 a few times and still need to keep going (so you absolutely need Die Hard too).


Ryze Kuja wrote:
If you're going to be going Oradin and using Life Link with multiple group members, you absolutely should consider Fast Healer + Fey Foundling. You will be soaking damage like crazy, and you might even go below 0 a few times and still need to keep going (so you absolutely need Die Hard too).

Well I'm not saying with 100% certainty that is what I am doing. I'm just trying to feel out each suggestion. But again I do like those builds. I am just trying to be efficient.


I’ll be honest, I generally dislike LoH Paladin Builds, but they seem to be in vogue right now. That said, Shizuru is the goddess of swordplay and honor, and that strikes me as a much more martial sort of Paladin. I’d pick up a Katana 2-handed, snag Shield Focus and Unhindering Shield later (for essentially 7 free AC), Power Attack at level 1, and maybe go Oath of Vengeance to get Smites for DAYS. You don’t need any other archetype or anything beyond that, IMO. You’ll have Charisma to all of your saves, immunity to buckets of things, and you’ll hit like a truck (and more importantly, stand in front of your wizard)


Angdril wrote:

My GM has asked I play a paladin (or reasonable facsimile). I know for the sake of story and role play factor that I'd like to play a Tiefling. Now this is where I run into a few uncertainties. I've read a lot of posts and I am looking at what might be some of the better builds to work towards. So this leaves a few things.

1. Trying to figure out which type of Paladin to be (Oradin, Tortured Crusader, Hospitaler with life link, etc.
Core, straight out of the PHB, is stronger than most (if not all) archetypes.
Quote:
I even saw someone do a build that was just focused on Extra Lay On Hands combined with Oath of Vengence).
Fey Foundling + Greater Mercy ...it's kinda stupid how much free healing you'll have on-demain (although halflings are slightly better at it than others).
Quote:
2. Upon figuring out which Paladin build to work on I would try to pick a Tiefling Heritage that would compliment well.
If you mean Fiendish Heritage, then Demon-Spawn (+2 Strength, +2 Charisma, –2 Intelligence) is the best fit for a melee paladin. --But note that you'll have two fewer skillpoints per level (probably) than a human with the same stat distribution.
Quote:
3. Weapons and equipment. My group has requested I not do a ranged Paladin ... I think they are just wanting someone who can get in the enemies face with some staying power.
You will be exactly that...especially with a dip into Bloodrager (+ Extra Rage feat)
Quote:
Even though I am only level 2, I like to get a build mapped out for an eventual goal to get to. Thanks for the time and consideration and I will be glad to answer any further questions anyone has.

(This is 20pt-buy; if you die-roll, allocate stats with similar emphasis.)

STR+ 16
DEX: 14
CON: 14
INT- 10 (demon-spawn tiefling)
WIS: 7
CHA+ 17 (all bumps)

traits: Berserker of the Society, Accelerated Drinker
01. Bloodrager1 [Urban bloodrager], Extra Rage
02. Paladin1 [core] ...etc.
03. Paladin2 [divine grace], Combat Reflexes
05 ...Power Attack

Backstory: Anger management issues, in character form!

Use a bardiche at low level, then switch to a fauchard after purchasing an opalescent white pyramid. Controlled rage all strength or half strength/dex. (Alternatively, be a normal bloodrager and forfeit a feat to pick up extra HP and will-saves while raging, but that will eventually require higher base con for Raging Vitality.)


I like offensive paladins as well. Dead mobs can't damage you ;)

lvl1 Power Attack
lvl3 Cleave, Fatigued Mercy
lvl5 Greater Cleave
lvl6 Targeted Mercy
lvl7 Vital Strike
lvl9 All-Consuming Swing, Restorative Mercy
lvl11 Improved Vital Strike
lvl12 Ensorcelled Mercy
lvl13 Eldritch Heritage (Orc1)
lvl15 Imp. Eldritch Heritage (Orc9 - +2/+4/+6 inherent bonus to strength), Mercy
lvl17 Greater Vital Strike
lvl18 Mercy
lvl19 Greater Eldritch Heritage (Orc15 - +6 size bonus to strength and large)

So if you start the game with 18 str, and take it up to 22 with lvls, you could have a +6 bonus to Str from inherent, enhancement (get a belt of physical perfection), and a +6 size bonus. So, 40 Str at lvl 20. You'd have a large weapon that causes 4x it's damage on Vital Strike.

And you can Vital Strike on Cleaves once you get All-Consuming Swing.

If you do decide to go this route, you can get really creative with using the Targeted Mercy on yourself while you're in nomnomnom mode and you've taken a bit of damage and need healing. Basically take use your swift to LoH yourself at the end of your turn instead of at the beginning of your turn, you'll have Sanctuary almost one full round, at least until you attack again. This can mitigate quite a bit of hits/spells aimed at you that you'd otherwise have to suffer before the next time you can attack.


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I'll weigh in on a couple of things:

1. Fast Healer LINK.
This seems like a total waste of a feat. Fey Foundling gives +2hp PER DIE, which means an 8th level Paladin is getting +8hp per LoH (not including Greater Mercy, Bracers etc). Fast Healer on the other hand is only ever giving it's bonus HP once per heal, and you need 18 CON for that to even get to +2hp per heal. You'd be much better off with Extra Lay on Hands, or even Toughness in my opinion. If you really want Endurance and Diehard (which aren't terrible) then I'd recommend STALWART instead (although to make the most of it you'd also want Combat Expertise, so it does become Feat intensive).

2. Fey Foundling LINK
I get that people might not like it, but it is the best self-heal feat for a Paladin there is. Also, for me I kind of love that it's so popular. If you look at the macro-statistics for Pathfinder you'll see that a disproportionate number of Fey Foundlings become Paladins. What does that tell us about Golarion? To me it says that the church (all the "good" churches) is setting up orphanages and vetting their kids for potential recruitment later on. I kind of love this unwritten story going on behind the scenes, it makes the world a little deeper. I also like things like Every Magus having the "Magical Lineage" trait ... it seems to show that magic really is hereditary - even those who want to become sword-saints end up with a magical affinity.
TLDR - Fey foundling is amazing, if someone doesn't like the flavour that's their problem.

3. Oradin LINK (just the first "guide" I found on google)
If you want to be an in-combat party-healer and still contribute then this is pretty much your best bet. Yes there are some amazing things you miss out on by dipping out of Paladin, but you really do become an amazing healer. As Ryze Kuja said, Aura of Justice is an amazing offensive buff, but you still have Smite Evil, and your ability to keep everyone alive comes online much earlier than Aura of Justice and realistically you're only pushing AoJ back 3-4 levels. This really depends what levels you think you'll be playing at. If you're finishing at level 10 or earlier then AoJ doesn't matter at all, and if you're going to levels 15+ then you'll get it anyway (just later). Look at the levels you'll be playing at and work out which abilities you care more about. The last thing about this is that an Oradin usually uses the HOSPITALER archetype so they get another channel energy pool. Get yourself at least one MEDITATION CRYSTAL and you can convert your channels into more LoH uses between battles. Between your normal LoH uses and the extras you get from channels (from Hospitaler and Oracle) you end up with: (CHA X 3) + (1/2 Paladin level) + 4 uses of Lay on Hands per day. Finally, you should definitely get yourself a set of BRACERS OF THE MERCIFUL KNIGHT if you want to be an Oradin.

4. Oath of the People's Council (OotPC) LINK
This is my own personal thing, but I love this archetype. It does replace Aura of Justice (I know I just told you how amazing that is, but hear me out), but what it gives you is a group buff right from level one, and it'll be on all day rather than just for boss-fights by the time Aura of Justice would be relevant. Personally I think OotPC makes a great substitute for Hospitaler for an Oradin. You lose some LoH uses, but you buff your team up instead. If you take the FLAGBEARER feat, grab a BANNER OF THE ANCIENT KINGS and a DERVISH SIKKE, and pick up DISCORDANT VOICE at level 11 and you'll be giving your entire party +6 to hit and +1d6+6 damage by level 11 while you're healing everyone 5hp per round.

5. Tiefling TIEFLING
As far as racial variants, here are the options that I'd consider:
A) Demon-Spawn (Pitborn): +2 STR, +2 CHA, –2 INT. This is the go-to for Melee Paladins.
B)Kyton-Spawn (Shackleborn): +2 CON, +2 CHA, –2 WIS. The CON bonus makes this a pretty good option for an Oradin since you need HP in order to tank for the party.
C) Div-Spawn (Spitespawn): +2 Dex, +2 Cha, –2 Int. OR Rakshasa-Spawn (Beastbrood): +2 Dex, +2 Cha, –2 Wis. These would be good options for a ranged Paladin.
Tieflings obviously get a great FCB for Paladins (making them probably the best Oradins).
The "Soul Seer" alternate racial trait seems pretty fitting (and useful) for an Oradin.
Tieflings also get some interesting feats: ANCESTRAL SCORN seems pretty great, and if you pick up Power Attack and CORNUGON SMASH (and maybe INTIMIDATING PROWESS) and you'll be great at fighting Demons/Daemons/Devils. FIEND SIGHT and GRASPING TAIL are both pretty nice utility feats too.
As for traits, UNSCATHED is pretty great for a Tiefling.

That's all I got for now, but hopefully you get something from that wall of text =P


Thanks guys. This is really great so far. Please if you have more recommendations please keep it coming. Mr Charisma I love your layout of things so far. Thank you!


Alright. After a great deal of research (that is still making my head hurt lol) I think I'm leaning towards more of the offense style builds and less healing. Given that we have a cleric whom (I hope) will have the groups back in need of larger healing and since I seem to be our primary damage at the second. I also figure that going out of my way to buff my allies might be counter intuitive if the group stays as small as it is. I do want to retain some healing ability though and not focus strictly on smite (in case of encounters that are not against purely evil enemies I don't want to be too badly handicapped).

I think for my own staying power I am likely to still try and build tiefling LOH combo but I am wondering if it is at all possible to build a decent mixed damage build that can go between two handed weapon to a bow? My concern being that all my power means nothing if I can't get in close to the enemy but also not wanting to become helpless at close range. I'm opting also not to go for mounted since the mount might not always be accessible. Looking at the bloodrager (Urban) class as a dip does seem to add quite a bit in the offense department.

I rolled for my ability scores and managed to secure a 17, 17, 16, 13, 13, 12 so that was nice at least. Too bad no 18s though.


MrCharisma wrote:

4. Oath of the People's Council (OotPC) LINK

This is my own personal thing, but I love this archetype. It does replace Aura of Justice (I know I just told you how amazing that is, but hear me out), but what it gives you is a group buff right from level one, and it'll be on all day rather than just for boss-fights by the time Aura of Justice would be relevant. Personally I think OotPC makes a great substitute for Hospitaler for an Oradin. You lose some LoH uses, but you buff your team up instead. If you take the FLAGBEARER feat, grab a BANNER OF THE ANCIENT KINGS and a DERVISH SIKKE, and pick up DISCORDANT VOICE at level 11 and you'll be giving your entire party +6 to hit and +1d6+6 damage by level 11 while you're healing everyone 5hp per round.

It's pretty good (you're basically a bard with a weaker paladin spell list and full BAB) and most other pally benefits -- but you do give up Smite.

Depending upon your GM, the Dervish Sikke may not work (it's text specifically refers to bards, i.e., not anyone capable of inspire courage or competence).


Angdril wrote:
...I am wondering if it is at all possible to build a decent mixed damage build that can go between two handed weapon to a bow?
All you need is Quick Draw to get the bow up fast, and Deadly Aim (I'd wait on both of these in your case, however, until you reliably have a second attack available after BAB6). If you're very strong, an ordinary sling will dish out the pain to anything not terribly far away.
Quote:
I'm opting also not to go for mounted since the mount might not always be accessible.

It really depends on the campaign. --Just buy a warhorse (i.e., heavy horse, trained-for-war) for 450gp early on and see how it goes. If you GM doesn't try to murder the thing every two seconds or exclude it from encounters, then go with the flow (especially if an improved mount is granted at some point). There are several ways to transport animals through chokepoints (invariably costing gold, so YMMV depending upon how often treasure gets dolled out). The stats you rolled (see below) also suggest wearing heavy armor, so at least you're moving 50' while mounted instead of 20'.

Also, don't forget that you're +1 to attack targets on foot that are smaller than your mount, and you get double-damage with a lance.

Quote:
I rolled for my ability scores and managed to secure a 17, 17, 16, 13, 13, 12 so that was nice at least. Too bad no 18s though.

Look at this kid; gets 42pt-buy and he's cryin'.

;-)

Here's your demon-spawn tiefling, after racial adjustments:

STR+ 19 (raise 4th or 8th)
DEX: 13
CON: 16
INT- 11 (raise 12th, and max out UMD, or Ride, if your GM is handing out dragon mounts)
WIS: 10
CHA+ 19 (raise 4th or 8th)

This leaves Con high enough for Raging Vitality (a necessary feat if you dip a Bloodrager archetype that isn't Urban to enjoy faster movement and more hitpoints -- which is quite handy if you're not going to be a Fey Foundling/Greater Mercy LoH swift-fapper.

traits: Berserker of the Society, Dangerously Curious
01. Bloodrager1 [Id Rager][Skill Focus:Intimidate], Extra Rage
02. Paladin1 [core] ...etc.
03. Paladin2 [divine grace], Quick Draw or Raging Vitality


Slim Jim wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:
4. Oath of the People's Council

It's pretty good (you're basically a bard with a weaker paladin spell list and full BAB) and most other pally benefits -- but you do give up Smite.

Depending upon your GM, the Dervish Sikke may not work (it's text specifically refers to bards, i.e., not anyone capable of inspire courage or competence).

Yeah I made a thread asking about the OotPC a little while back, and the basic conclusion was that you become a tanky-bard. I really like it for an Oradin because you're dishing out damage and healing the party just by standing there. If the enemy doesn't come straight at you then the whole party is dealing and tanking way more damage. When they do turn their attention towards you they have to deal with all the things that make Paladins hard to kill (heavy armour, D10hp, Full BAB for CMD, best saves in the game, immunity to stuff). If you're going to play the buffer you don't want to be fragile.

As for the Dervish Sikke, you're right it might not be legal (also I don't think it's PFS legal for anyone who's looking for that). This is a "Check with your GM before you buy" scenario.

Angdril wrote:
I rolled for my ability scores and managed to secure a 17, 17, 16, 13, 13, 12 so that was nice at least. Too bad no 18s though.

Those are some pretty great stats. If you're going Melee I'd put the 17's in STR and CHA, and the 16 in CON (the other's don't matter too much). If you pick Pitborn Tiefling you're starting with 19 STR/CHA and 16 CON, and your lowest stat would be INT (probably at 10).

When you talk about wanting to be proficient with a bow in case you can't close with the enemy, how proficient do you want to be?
If you only need it for enemies that are running away then simply picking yourself up a MW Composite Longbow (+4 STR-rating would be fine) would let you deal damage when they won't come to you. If they're Evil you can add some Smite and you'll still be out-damaging a lot of people.
If you want to be able to shoot into Melee (with your allies) then I think the minimum would be Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot. Paladins don't get any bonus feats, and there are some feats that are almost too good not to take (Fey Foundling for example), so they tend to be pretty feat-starved. With archery being so feat-intensive I wouldn't want to invest more than 2 feats into archery unless you're going to make it your main tactic.
(TLDR you can use a bow fine without any feats if it's not your primary strategy).

Bloodrager is a great dip for a Paladin (you can take the Fatigue Mercy at level 3 and ignore the penalty for ending a rage). Urban Bloodrager gives you more options at range, so it's definitely a strong option (It also won't stop you casting/etc so it's really all positive). If you're Bloodrager I'd say take 4 levels of Paladin (those first 4 levels get you a lot) then dip 1 level into Bloodrager at 5 and take Extra Rage. Usually I'd say the thematic choice is the Celestial Bloodline (although a few abilities don't stack with Paladin abilities), but since you're a tiefling and maybe a fey foundling you have a bunch of options that fit (and really you can choose any bloodline you like).

Sounds like a strong character, let us know if you need more help.


Angdril wrote:

Alright. After a great deal of research (that is still making my head hurt lol) I think I'm leaning towards more of the offense style builds and less healing. Given that we have a cleric whom (I hope) will have the groups back in need of larger healing and since I seem to be our primary damage at the second. I also figure that going out of my way to buff my allies might be counter intuitive if the group stays as small as it is. I do want to retain some healing ability though and not focus strictly on smite (in case of encounters that are not against purely evil enemies I don't want to be too badly handicapped).

I think for my own staying power I am likely to still try and build tiefling LOH combo but I am wondering if it is at all possible to build a decent mixed damage build that can go between two handed weapon to a bow? My concern being that all my power means nothing if I can't get in close to the enemy but also not wanting to become helpless at close range. I'm opting also not to go for mounted since the mount might not always be accessible. Looking at the bloodrager (Urban) class as a dip does seem to add quite a bit in the offense department.

I rolled for my ability scores and managed to secure a 17, 17, 16, 13, 13, 12 so that was nice at least. Too bad no 18s though.

Nice rolls. I'd go Pitborn, 19(17+2)str, 19(17+2)cha, 16con, 13dex, 11(13-2)int, 12wis personally.

Remember that you have an amazing FCB for Tiefling Paladin: Add +1 to the amount of damage the paladin heals with lay on hands, but only when the paladin uses that ability on herself.

So you could probably survive just fine without getting Fey Foundling feat, but if your Cleric is going to be healing you most of the time, Fey Foundling is still a really solid lvl1 feat. Anywho, I'm going to put Fey Foundling in this build idea below, but you can drop it for something else if you don't want it.

Also, don't try to go melee and ranged, you should pick either one and stick to it. Ranged is quite feat intensive to make it good, and Paladins are already feat starved enough as it is.

Basically, this is a BBEG slayer build. You're a BBEG's absolute nightmare who's really tough to kill and with strong debuffing as well.

lvl1 Fey Foundling
lvl3 Power Attack, Fatigued Mercy
lvl5 Greatsword Battler (Divine Fighting Technique - allows Vital Strike on AoO's and Charge) or Extra Lay on Hands or Greater Mercy
lvl6 Targeted Mercy
lvl7 Vital Strike
lvl9 Cornugon Smash, Restorative Mercy (Get a Cruel Enchant on your weapon for Shaken/Sicken combo: -4att, skills, saves, abilchecks, and -2 damage)
lvl10 Greatsword Battler Advanced Benefit(s): When you use Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike with a greatsword, the damage counts as continuous damage from an injury for the purpose of determining whether a target must attempt a concentration check to cast spells. <--- This is so annoying for casters
lvl11 Improved Vital Strike
lvl12 Ensorcelled Mercy
lvl13 Intimidating Prowess
lvl15 Extra Mercy: Diseased Mercy, Cursed Mercy
lvl17 Greater Vital Strike
lvl18 Poisoned Mercy
lvl19 Extra Lay on Hands or Extra Mercy: Blinded Mercy


Ryze Kuja wrote:

lvl1 Fey Foundling

lvl3 Power Attack, Fatigued Mercy
lvl5 Greatsword Battler (Divine Fighting Technique - allows Vital Strike on AoO's and Charge) or Extra Lay on Hands or Greater Mercy
lvl6 Targeted Mercy
lvl7 Vital Strike
lvl9 Cornugon Smash, Restorative Mercy (Get a Cruel Enchant on your weapon for Shaken/Sicken combo: -4att, skills, saves, abilchecks, and -2 damage)
lvl11 Improved Vital Strike
lvl12 Ensorcelled Mercy
lvl13 Intimidating Prowess
lvl15 Extra Mercy: Diseased Mercy, Cursed Mercy
lvl17 Greater Vital Strike
lvl18 Poisoned Mercy
lvl19 Extra Lay on Hands or Extra Mercy: Blinded Mercy

It's a good build, but I should point out that "Greatsword Battler" is actually called "Gorum's Swordsmanship" (FOUND HERE). Since you have to worship Gorum to get the benefit you'll probably have to check with your GM about this one.

Technically Paladin's don't have to receive their powers from a specific god (outside of PFS), so you could be getting your powers from somewhere in the great beyond while worshipping Gorum as a more personal thing, but it's entirely up to the GM's discretion. As a Chaotic Neutral god Gorum isn't exactly the first choice for the average Paladin, and since his domains are Chaos, Destruction, Glory, Strength, and War (subdomains: Blood, Duels, Ferocity, Fist, Legend, Protean, Rage, Resolve, Tactics) he doesn't seem particularly fitting. I could imagine a Paladin focusing on Glory and Strength (plus Duels, Legends and Resolve) but again you'd really have to check with your GM first.


They're the same thing pretty much.

Greatsword Battler - Divine Fighting Techniques

Scroll down to Greatsword Battler. As far as I'm aware, you can do this as long as you worship a deity.

And technically, Paladins 'can' worship deities. It's encouraged, but not required. Paladins can also just devote themselves to an ideal of doing good or upholding the law.

Holy Champion (Su)

At 20th level, a paladin becomes a conduit for the power of her god. Her DR increases to 10/evil. Whenever she uses smite evil and successfully strikes an evil outsider, the outsider is also subject to a banishment, using her paladin level as the caster level (her weapon and holy symbol automatically count as objects that the subject hates). After the banishment effect and the damage from the attack is resolved, the smite immediately ends. In addition, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount.


The d20pfsrd site is restricted in what it can publish under fair use. As such they don't publish certain brand-specific names (for example the names of deities). This means that they sometimes re-name feats/etc to avoid breaching copyright.

DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQE <- d20pfsrd
DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQUE <- archivesofnethys.com
(archivesofnethys.com is a not-for-profit, and is therefore allowed to use certain materials under fair use.)

You can see on the archivesofnethys page the "Divine Fighting Technique" feat (which is actually the feat you're taking) has the following text at the top of the page: "Prerequisites: Must worship a single patron deity that has an established divine fighting technique."

As to worshipping a deity, you're correct - technically Paladins don't have to worship a deity to receive their powers. Having said that I wouldn't think a GM was being unfair if they didn't allow my Paladin to worship a Chaotic-Neutral god of destruction and war.

Personally I'm all for allowing things like this, I'm just pointing out that you shouldn't base your build on a feat that your GM may not let you take.

If your GM can't rationalise it, try to play up the Glory and Strength aspects of Gorum (plus Duels, Legends and Resolve). If your GM is on the fence this might be enough to convince them.


The one right next to it, Iomedae's Inspiring Sword, is pretty damn good too.


Slim Jim wrote:
The one right next to it, Iomedae's Inspiring Sword, is pretty damn good too.

Oh man, mind-blowingly good!


The builds look spectacular. My only concern with the Divine Fighting is that I think they are trying to have me go Lawful Good so I'm not sure in the worship of Gourn. That being said, I think that Iomedaes Inspiring Sword might be a suitable replacement for it.


@angdril if the DFT doesn't work, you can always grab Extra Lay on Hands or Greater Mercy. I think Extra Lay on Hands will probably net you the most benefit though.


Angdril wrote:
The builds look spectacular. My only concern with the Divine Fighting is that I think they are trying to have me go Lawful Good so I'm not sure in the worship of Gourn. That being said, I think that Iomedaes Inspiring Sword might be a suitable replacement for it.

Yeah, the problem with Divine Fighting Technique is that your alignment must match the deity (as per the source material). Learning the technique and then switching alignment might be possible.


DeathlessOne wrote:
Angdril wrote:
The builds look spectacular. My only concern with the Divine Fighting is that I think they are trying to have me go Lawful Good so I'm not sure in the worship of Gourn. That being said, I think that Iomedaes Inspiring Sword might be a suitable replacement for it.
Yeah, the problem with Divine Fighting Technique is that your alignment must match the deity (as per the source material). Learning the technique and then switching alignment might be possible.

Nope, if you fail to meet a feat's prerequisites then you lose access to that feat. If a Fighter using Power Attack has their Strength drained to less than 13 then they can't use Power Attack till they restore their Strength.

Having said that, I'm not sure Divine Fighting Technique actually has that requirement:

DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQUE on d20pfsrd says it does but ...
DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQUE on archivesofnethys has a different requirement. If this is correct you would have to worship the god, but you wouldn't have to have the same alignment.


MrCharisma wrote:

Having said that, I'm not sure Divine Fighting Technique actually has that requirement:

DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQUE on d20pfsrd says it does but ...
DIVINE FIGHTING TECHNIQUE on archivesofnethys has a different requirement. If this is correct you would have to worship the god, but you wouldn't have to have the same alignment.

It does have that requirement, which was why I mentioned the source material (the book it was printed in). Divine Anthology, page 28.

Divine Fighting Technique, Divine Anthology wrote:

Prerequisite: Must worship a single patron deity that has an established divine fighting technique.

Benefit: You can use your patron deity’s fighting technique and receive any benef it associated with that technique for which you qualify, as described in the Divine Fighting Techniques section below.

Weapon Master's Handbook adds a few other Divine Fighting Techniques and an alteration to the feat:

Divine Fighting Technique, Weapon Master's Handbook wrote:

Prerequisite: Same alignment as chosen deity.

Benefit: Select a deity. You can use that deity’s fighting technique and receive any benef it for which you qualify, as described in the Divine Fighting Techniques section below.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time you take this feat, it applies to a new deity’s divine fighting technique.

All this serves to prove that you really should not rely on online material (except errata) and why having the source material is important. Archives on Nethys only references the Divine Anthology as the source of the feat, which is why it lacks the alignment requirement. The good news is that it removed the 'patron' requirement, so you COULD learn multiple styles, just needing to have a matching alignment.

I was merely suggesting that you could have worshiped Gorum at one time, since the feat says you must have similar outlooks in order to learn the fighting style. Once learned, however, nothing (realistically) prevent you from changing outlooks and still using the skills you piked up. You are correct however that no longer meeting the requirements of the feat renders it unusable.


Read this topic a few days ago and throught I'd drop by to offer some additional advice, now that I'm home and able to post. I'm going to semi copy paste this advice from a similar thread some months ago:

You rolled rediculous stats, so allocate them in this order: cha >>> str > con > dex > int > wis.

This is the best combination of damage and accuracy from str and charisma (smite evil), and defensive options which all scale from charisma. Your hidden main defensive feature, the 'targeted' mercy at level 6 (look it up on the compendium), scales off of charisma, as do the number of LoH and spells you get per day. All other stats are just icing on the cake, really.

I'd recommend not going pure paladin and taking 1 level in bloodrager. A 1 level multiclass in bloodrager (celestial I.E., or even better, Id rager with the kindness emotional focus) opens up the rage class feature, being able to take the extra rage feats and the Id rager also allowing your main melee ally to also attack when you attack, for that ultimate teamplayer vibe (if you don't have melee allies, hatred is a good alternative to kindness, gives you another self buff during rage and grants skill focus: perception as a bonus feat). Rage also effectively gives you the effects of 2 toughness feats, Iron will, Great fortitude, 2 x weapon focus and 2x weapon specialisation. Personally I'd say rage in general is too powerful for any melee character not to have, especially if it costs only 1 level and 1 feat. But you might want to be a pure paladin from 1 to 20, of course.

For weapons, use a nodachi. When your hits start doing around 30 damage per hit (very easy with all your buffs), if you have the imporved critical feat, this weapon starts dealing more damage than the other 2 handers.

Now, you should probably ask yourself how exactly you want to best serve your party. Do you want to go offense only, or also protect your allies? If the latter, there are three paladin archetype options available to you:
-Hospitaler, which can channel positive energy well but heavily lacks offensive options.
-Divine defender, which gives all allies within 20 feet of you a 50% damage reduction. This is really solid on defensive but lacks smite evil, again limiting your offense. Might be worth it for you, though.
-Third, and my personal favorite option, is using the oath of vengeance subtype for extra smite evils per day (this costs channel energy, which you ideally never want to use since it's so bad outside of hospitaler, and even then it's bad), and then using the 'shield other' spell on vulnerable targets in the party. This transfers half the damage they take to you, which you can then heal with your swift action lay on hands on yourself while still full attacking each turn. Use a rod of reach to make shield other 100 ft +10 ft/level in range, use it on everyone when danger is expected in the next x hours.

On traits, take dangerously curious to get use magic device as a class skill. This will allow you to use wands and scrolls from other caster classes, greatly increasing your versatility. Many of these protect yourself or your party, such as shield or obscuring mist. The other trait can be fate's favored for more damage and accuracy or the perception skill as a class skill (note: 1 level bloodrager gives perception as a class skill already, so don't combine those options), to protect the party from ambushes better.

Assuming you go for option 3 and prioritise charisma (even when gearing up), I'd go for this on feats. I'm assuming that with such high charisma, you generally won't need to use extra LoH as a feat. At mid to high level you can also buy the bracers of the merciful knight to both increase the number or uses per day and the amount healed per use. If you find your pool is lacking though, you can always slot one of them in somewhere.

Feat order:
1. Fey Foundling. Mandatory survivability feat, can only be taken at first level. Make sure you also put your favored class bonus of tiefling into the extra LoH healing on yourself.

3. Power attack. Almost everything on level 2 and below already dies to 1 hit of a nodachi wielded by an 18 str character, so having it before level 3 is not really needed.

5. Extra rage (if 1 level multiclass in a rage class) or Vision mastery. This second feat lets you cast darkvision or see invisibility x times per day at character level as caster level. I can tell you from experience that nothing completely destroys a melee character like being unable to see or find targets. Normally you'd be helpless, hanging around until your caster makes the targets visible for you. Well, not anymore. Let your caster friend do something more useful :)

7. Vision mastery (if you didn't take it yet) or toughness. Toughness has value here since we're using shield other to protect your teammates. You will be taking a lot of damage, best make sure we can take it. Also, with toughness you arguably don't need a belt that increases your constitution score further, enabling you to cheaply get only the str and cha increasing belt and headband. A belt that increases both str and con by 2, for instance, costs 10 k with an upgrade to +4 copsting a whopping 30 k. A belt of only str costs 4 k, while buffing this to +4 costs only 12k and then to +6 'only' 20k.

9. Improved critical (nodachi). With this and power attack, your main two damage feats are set. Your main utility and defensive feats are now also set and the rest is personal preference.

11. Extra traits. We are picking adopted > tusked (half orc trait, grants a basic bite attack, can be refluffed since it's a trait, such as dirty fighting. This greatly increases our damage during full attacks if we are buffed up, even smite evil alone makes the otherwise fairly weak bite quite deadly. A full attack is now all our weapon attacks but also this additional natural attack. To gain one more natural attack, buy a helm of the mammoth lord. Trust me, 2 natural attacks comined with your normal 2 h and smite evil is really fun).

We have one more trait to pick from this feat. If we don't have a bard in the party and are worshipping iomedae, I'd recommand Wayang spell hunter (reflavored to something else, inspiring leader perhaps), to lower the metamagic cost of the 'good hope' spell by 1. This is in preparation of the level 13 feat. Worshipping Iomedae adds the good hope spell to your paladin list as a third level spell, according to inner sea gods.

13: Encouraging spell (assuming you are going the good hope route). We now get to cast good hope from a +2 to a +3 version for free, thanks to our extra trait at level 11. An upcasted good hope is a party wide buff that is one of the very best buffs in the game. It adds +3 to all damage rolls, all attack rolls, all saving throws, all skill checks, and all ability checks, for everyone (initiative and concentration are ability checks, for instance). Everyone will love you for it. It is totally worth casting this on turn one alongside smite evil or LoH. Even better, if you have a scout, walk into the fight with this precast. It lasts 1 minute per caster level, so that's totally doable :)

15: Quick Draw. This is mostly for the quickdraw shield, which we put up at the end of each of our turns, after attacking, to gain a large additional shield bonus to our armor during the enemy turn. This does cause us to not hold the weapon in 2 hands during the enmy turn and means we can no longer use attacks of oppurtunity (we only have 1 max, btw), but we weren't doing that anyway, since we often don't want to break the sanctuary LoH on ourself.

(17 and 19: whatever you want. Lunge, toughness and improved sunder are good options though you already have all the best feats)

Now, to recap, what we bring to the party with this build and strategy:
-We have huge damage from rage + smite evil + 2h nodachi +2 additional natural attacks + other paladin buffs (I.E. divine favor, weapon bond, good hope).
-We buff all stats of the entire party by a significant amount, either +2 or +3, with a spell otherwise only available to bards.
-We have shield other active on all party members, meaning 50% of all their damage taken is redirected to us. Suddenly, they can no longer die in 1 hit from lucky criticals with x3/x4 weapons and such. And the fun thing is, we can use swift actions to heal all that redirected damage to ourselves (of course, at the end of your turns, to put up the targeted mercy buff on ourself after full attacking).
-Our personal defenses are godly. Our saves are top notch. Our AC is good, but more importantly, we have the targeted mercy. So to focus fire us, all enemies need to pass a willsave of 10+ cha mod + half our paladin level. This is REALLY hard for many enemies to do and puts them in a predicament, do we attack other party members for only half damage or try to beat that save? We can even go crazier here and use UMD to use scrolls of displacement/stoneskin, or whatever other buff you want. If you're worried about aoe damage, buy a ring of evasion.

In short, you're a nearly unstoppable killing machine that constantly actively protects all your other allies in multiple ways. Now go out there and smite some evil :)

p.s. If you're going way up to level 17 and up, you can alternatively drop the good hope feats and instead take skill focus: survival, enabling you to take eldritch heritage (orc bloodline), improved eldritch hertiage and greater eldritch heritage. They grant you a +6 inherant bonus to strength and a rediculous power boost at level 17 from their giant form, more than worth losing 2 feats on the skill focus and the first heritage feat.

One last piece of advice, get an icandescent blue ioun stone at one point and slot it into a wayfinder. This grants the blind fight feat as a bonus feat. You will want this at some point to counter concealment effects like displacement, which also completely destroy a melee character who doesn't have this.


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If you're going to dip 1 level into Bloodrager, consider swapping your 1st level Bloodline ability for a Bloodline Familiar (from "Familiar Folio"). This grants a familiar with an additional ability, based on your Bloodline.

For a Paladin, the Celestial bloodline seems like a natural fit, and has a useful Bloodline Familiar ability. You'll be giving up the 1st level Bloodline ability Angelic Attacks, but it's just an extra 1d6 damage against evil outsiders and the ability to overcome DR/Good, which is less useful to a Paladin who can do the same with things like a Holy Bonded Weapon, Smite Evil, or the 1st level Paladin spell Weapons Against Evil. Most importantly, Angelic Attacks only applies while raging, which with only one level of Bloodrager would be just a few rounds per day.

If you swap that out for a Celestial Bloodline Familiar, your familiar is around even when you're not raging, and a Celestial Bloodline Familiar has the added bonus of granting you Fast Healing 1 for CHA mod rounds at a time, usable 3+CHA Mod times per day. With a 20 CHA, that's 40 total HP of healing per day. It's only 1 HP per round, but it's useful for healing between battles without expending other resources.

This Fast Healing is in addition to the familiar's normal bonus, so the familiar can also boost your weakest save, or grant +1 to natural armor, or grant +4 to initiative, or grant +3 to a useful skill.

Next, you can also apply the Protector Familiar Archetype from the same Familiar Folio book. This allows your Familiar to provide you with a a +2 Aid Another bonus to your AC.

Then, if you have a feat to spare, taking the Boon Companion feat would put the Celestial Protector Familiar up to Level 5, which with a Protector allows for the familiar to also soak half your damage at will. This effectively grants you 50% more hit points (since you can share damage, and your familiar has half as many HP as you do).

Granted, the familiar wouldn't be able to progress past Level 5 for Natural Armor, Intelligence, or familiar abilities, but 5th level is enough for Speak with Master and the aforementioned Protector abilities (AC bonus and damage sharing). And the familiar would continue to gain BAB, HP, saves, and skills as the Paladin continues to level, since those attributes are not based on Bloodrager class level.

Basically, you're giving up Angelic Attacks' ~3.5 extra damage against evil outsiders for a few rounds per day, but gaining 40+ HP of Fast Healing, +2 AC, an additional bonus to save/AC/initiative/skill equivalent to a feat, and a pet/scout. That's a heck of a good deal.

Then spending the feat on Boon Companion grants you effectively 150% HP, which is well worth the feat.


Ooo, nice catch. --With Berserker of the Society and Extra Rage, a 14 Con paladin can enjoy 15 rounds of rage per day. (You could also be a Chosen One archetype paladin and keep your familiar full-level without needing Boon Companion unless you multiclass further.)


A Chosen One Paladin's familiar has to be an Emissary archetype, which isn't compatible with the Protector archetype.


If you are going to use a Protector Familiar, it is actually worth your investment to get it to effective level 11, because it receives the SAME hit points that you possess, instead of half. That alone is worth grabbing the Eldritch heritage and Skill focus feats needed for an Arcane bloodline (or Orc if bloodline Familiar is allowed). You won’t even need Toughness or Boon companion, as it will scale at your character level -2.


Orc Bloodline doesn't allow a Bloodline Familiar, as written. Familiar Folio only includes Bloodline Familiars for the Aberrant, Abyssal, Arcane, Celestial, Destined, Draconic, Elemental, Fey, Infernal, and Undead bloodlines. However, it does mention that "GMs may use the following bloodline familiar abilities as written, or employ them as guidelines for devising bloodline familiar abilities for bloodlines not listed below", so your GM could allow an Orc Bloodline Familiar.

In addition, you probably can't use Eldritch Heritage to gain a Bloodline Familiar anyway. RAW and likely RAI, Eldritch Heritage doesn't necessarily grant a bloodline, just an ability from said bloodline. But your GM may rule otherwise.

However, if you really want a higher level familiar than the Level 5 that Celestial Bloodline Familiar plus Boon Companion allows, then Eldritch Heritage: Arcane would get you a familiar at Character Level -2, (without relying on Bloodline Familiar). It just won't have the extra Fast Healing ability from the Celestial Bloodline, it would cost an additional feat, and it would somewhat lessens the value of that Bloodrager dip.


If you are open to a more ... slow cooking, unconventional “Oradin” build, I might have something for you. It requires the variant multiclassing rules and while being effective at the beginning of the game, it doesn’t really get into its true role until level 7, it then takes off like a rocket.

The formula is easy. We are using variant Multiclass: Paladin

Bloodrager (Primalist) 4: We start off like almost every other Barbarian, except we have slightly less hitpoints and we have a familiar (Protector/Bloodline). That will pay for itself in spades. Start with Fey Foundling and, if human, take the Shadowhunter alternate racial trait for the free Iron Will and misc bonuses. At level 4, take Lesser Celestial Totem and Superstitious. Now we get +3 hp per die of healing we receive.

VMC Paladin: This is really not going to benefit us much until level 7 and is NOT designed for the impatient. Acquire bracers of the merciful knight and at level 7, your Lay on Hands come online at full character level.

Shaman 3: We are here for very specific reasons. 1) The boost to familiar level. 2) Level 2 Divine spellcasting that includes shield other. 3) Hexes (including, but not limited to, life link). Your choice of archetype is not important. One spell to pay attention to is the 2nd Level “Healing Token”.

At this point, the build is ONLINE and how you continue to level is up to you. Personally, I’d invest in a few more levels of Shaman (up to 6) and then finish out with Bloodrager. Perhaps a three level deviation in Chevalier prestige class to pick up a few Paladin-esque abilities. It is really up to you.

The one downside to this build, aside from the slow start, is the feat tax from VMC. This can, and most likely will, feel very restrictive. I say just focus on the other abilities you receive. You will mostly likely end up fairly versatile, and powerful.


Hey there guys! I wanted to give everyone who has posted a HUGE thank you for the recommendations. I've been reading over everything and trying to find the best options of what was listed. I've mostly come down for a few small questions that I am trying to figure out.

1. Regular Paladin or Oath Of Vengeance.
The loss of Channel doesn't seem that big a deal to possibly get more uses of Smite. Similarly only giving up 1 Smite for Powerful Justice instead of 2 for Aura of Justice seems good but is the loss of the attack bonus and loss of DR pierce worth the trade?

2. Which form of Bloodrager to take.
The recommendations have chiefly been
Bloodrager (Celestial), Bloodrager (Urban), Bloodrager Id (kindness), and Bloodrager Id (Hatred). I'm not sure of the legality of Id Kindness although otherwise it sure would be neat to incorporate as sort of that Holy Warrior aspect. I'm also assuming it is safe to just take 1 level in bloodrager and the remaining 19 in Paladin. (Figuring I'd start the first 4 levels as Paladin, then the 1 dip).

Does anyone also have recommendations as far as dealing with possible ranged and or flight problems in the future? Again everyone thank you so much for your input. And Deathless I think that's a fascinating Oradin build that I might have to try in another game setting.


Angdril wrote:

Hey there guys! I wanted to give everyone who has posted a HUGE thank you for the recommendations. I've been reading over everything and trying to find the best options of what was listed. I've mostly come down for a few small questions that I am trying to figure out.

1. Regular Paladin or Oath Of Vengeance.
The loss of Channel doesn't seem that big a deal to possibly get more uses of Smite. Similarly only giving up 1 Smite for Powerful Justice instead of 2 for Aura of Justice seems good but is the loss of the attack bonus and loss of DR pierce worth the trade?

2. Which form of Bloodrager to take.
The recommendations have chiefly been
Bloodrager (Celestial), Bloodrager (Urban), Bloodrager Id (kindness), and Bloodrager Id (Hatred). I'm not sure of the legality of Id Kindness although otherwise it sure would be neat to incorporate as sort of that Holy Warrior aspect. I'm also assuming it is safe to just take 1 level in bloodrager and the remaining 19 in Paladin. (Figuring I'd start the first 4 levels as Paladin, then the 1 dip).

Does anyone also have recommendations as far as dealing with possible ranged and or flight problems in the future? Again everyone thank you so much for your input. And Deathless I think that's a fascinating Oradin build that I might have to try in another game setting.

Sure, and no problem. Following up on my post a few ones above and regarding your questions:

1. Normally, oath of vengeance is flat out better than a regular paladin, due to how bad in combat channel divinity is in actual fights. It doesn't heal for much, uses your standard action (meaning you can't atack), also heals enemies unless you use feats and eats up LoH uses. Additionally, paladins have a weaker version of it than clerics; it starts at 1d6 at level 4 instead of 1, and both progress at 1d6/2 levels.

Contrary to this, having access to more smite evils every day is always powerful and useful. Without this feature, you will probably struggle to keep smiting enemies on longer days. And up to level 10, there is almost no cost for this ability.

However, depending on your party, the level 11 aura of the normal paladin might be so good that you can live with saving your smites just to give your allies large attack bonus buffs. If your charisma is like 26 like mine was at level 11/12, a +8 bonus to attack rolls and ignore damage reduction can be really good, IF you have a lot of martial characters who can make use of it (especially archers). Just remember that you can only use it twice each day and that's assuming you never need to attack something yourself.

If you have more casters and less ranged/teleporting/pouncing martials in the party, I'd pick oath of vengeance. It's worth remembering that using the aura ability is a free action and that the defensive benefit, granting your charisma as a deflection bonus to ac to everyone, is always useful to everyone, even if they dont have multiple attacks each turn. And if you want to use it mainly for the defensive buff, Oath of Vengeance's one costs 1 smite evil less. Also, some casters have ranged touch attacks with multiple hits (scorching ray for instance) that tend to always hit anyway, so the to hit bonus is a bit less valuable for them due to overkill (unless they have no dex at all, in which case they will need it).

Additionally, this becomes a bit more complicated depending on your ally performance. Are your martials so optimized that they virtually cannot miss anyway (possibly with external buffs from a bard-like character if present?) If yes, the to hit bonus from smite evil becomes overkill and unneccesary. Also, archers have a feat that allows them to add up all their damage from every hit before substracting enemy damage resistance once, which makes the damage reduction less valuable.

Personally, overall, I'd still take oath of vengeance almost every time. The aura benefit is party dependant and debatable, possibly restricts optimal tactics for you (holding smites) and before level 11 oath of vengeance is already great, where normal paladin doesn't get that bonus flexibility. And if you're following my good hope build, we are already buffing everyone's attack by +3 anyway.

2. Kindness Id rager is PFS legal, so it should be legal to other paizo products too. Their special ability is incredibly powerful at lower levels but starts dropping off a bit at higher ones. At higher levels, maps get spread out a lot and it becomes less easy to have a martial to trigger it reliably (remember your allies may also need to use their swift action for other things). But if you can trigger it or reposition reliably, it's a good way to compensate for the damage loss if you have to move around a lot and thus cannot full attack as often.

Having one bloodrager level is plenty, so long as you take the extra rage feat. With 16 con, that gives me 13 rounds of rage each day. To me, that is plenty, since you can always drop out of rage and use the fatigued mercy at level 3 to remove the fatigued condition. Thus, you can just save rage rounds for when it's really needed, and you're not committed to continue using it once you turn it on. You can take the bloodrager level anywhere between level 3 and 5, there are arguments for each level.

3. ranged problems and flight:

If you have the quick draw feat, you can switch between a melee weapon and a bow easily (it's a very powerful feat when used to it's full potential, see the quickdraw shield when you can stick to melee).

However, sometimes it is best to just have flight, you may fall, or you may need to get to a different spot on the map. I used the winged boots for this, gives fly 3x/day with a +4 bonus. There are some ways that might be arguably better (flying carpets, since you can start combat on them and do not need ranks in fly as a skill), but those last so long as the GM is nice and doesn't try to destroy the carpet/broom, which to me seems like an obvious counter. At spell level 4, you get greater angelic aspect for your flying needs as a backup (the normal one is at level 3, if you;re not using those spellslots for good hope or blessing of fervor, which IMO you should be using instead).

My build got quickdraw very late; my solution was to brute force flying enemies with the winged boots, flying through their fire and killing them in melee. The targetted mercy allowed me to do this and survive the by far the deadliest PFS encounter ever vs ambushing harpies with bows from the sky, though that was barely. I'd recommand using the UMD skill to use a scroll of displacement on yourself before charging into really dangerous flying scenario's. Displacement + sanctuary from LoH + high ac = grin evily at those flying archers :)


Angdril wrote:

Hey there guys! I wanted to give everyone who has posted a HUGE thank you for the recommendations. I've been reading over everything and trying to find the best options of what was listed. I've mostly come down for a few small questions that I am trying to figure out.

1. Regular Paladin or Oath Of Vengeance.
The loss of Channel doesn't seem that big a deal to possibly get more uses of Smite. Similarly only giving up 1 Smite for Powerful Justice instead of 2 for Aura of Justice seems good but is the loss of the attack bonus and loss of DR pierce worth the trade?

Let's take a look:
Oath of Vengeance wrote:

Channel Wrath (Su)

When an oathbound paladin reach 4th level, she can spend two uses of her lay on hands ability to gain an extra use of smite evil that day. This ability has no effect for a paladin who does not have the smite evil ability.

This ability replaces channel positive energy.

Powerful Justice (Su)
At 11th level, an oathbound paladin may spends one use of her smite evil ability to grant her allies within 10 feet the ability to smite evil, except they only gain the paladin’s bonus to damage, not her smite’s attack bonus or ability to bypass DR.

This ability replaces aura of justice.

When you get into the teen levels, if the party is ever in over its head, enemy DR is often a factor. Also, unbreakable AC is more likely to be a problem (especially for the 3/4ths BAB people) than ability to dish out damage on a successful hit. --Sharing your probable +8 Cha bonus to attack at that point is HUGELY instrumental for getting those hits in when everybody's simultaneously -4 or worse due to a bunch of enemy status effects dumped on the party.
Aura of Justice wrote:

Aura of Justice (Su)

At 11th level, a paladin can expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability.

Now, in this 11th-level and higher party, your allies are either (a) more caster than martial, or (b) more martial than caster.

-- In the case of (a), there are fewer tanks, of which you are the primary, meaning you're the ground-zero nuclear detonation site for everything the GM unloads, and you'll need every one of those LoH swift-actions and a few more more sucked out of meditation crystals before the next onslaught.

-- In the case of (b), there are a lot of friendlies making weapon attacks who'll surely appreciate your fat bonus to attack granted by Aura of Justice. Especially the TWF and archer types.

Quote:
2. Which form of Bloodrager to take. Bloodrager (Celestial), Bloodrager (Urban), Bloodrager Id (kindness), and Bloodrager Id (Hatred). I'm not sure of the legality of Id Kindness although otherwise it sure would be neat to incorporate as sort of that Holy Warrior aspect. I'm also assuming it is safe to just take 1 level in bloodrager and the remaining 19 in Paladin. (Figuring I'd start the first 4 levels as Paladin, then the 1 dip).

Doing paladin first gets Greater Mercy squirreled away at 3rd, but rage class at 1st permits taking the Berserker of the Society Trait and Extra Rage feat for +9 rounds of rage right away.

Id Rager has some weird Phantom stuff going that you can make work for you if you can make sense of some of the most elliptical and obtuse rules of any class in the entire Paiza library. (If you can't figure it out, it won't matter and you just rage; if you do and you master it, your GM's eyelids will narrow to hooded slits -- and then you know you're in real trouble.)

Feat slots are also extremely tight, meaning that having to budget Raging Vitality is an annoyance. So, I'd go with the Urban archetype. --You don't need extra HP (that's what LoH is for) and you shouldn't need will saves that often after Divine Grace (which is granting a +6 bonus to saves after 4th with a headband). What will be nice is having a little extra dexterity for filling out Celestial Plate when that is picked up around 8th or so.

Bloodrager archetypes that also stack with Urban and are applicable to a single-level dip:
* Blood Conduit. --This grants you a feat at 1st level, drawn from a list of (Improved Bull Rush, Improved Grapple, Improved Reposition, Improved Trip, and Improved Unarmed Strike.). Gives up Fast Movement (which is bloody annoying for you because you're going to be in heavy armor from word "Go!". Well, that's what the mount is for.)
* Id Rager. -- Discussed above. Gives up Bloodline (and that really sucks).

Bloodlines that the "dipper" can make the most use of:

-- Celestial (built-in Align Weapon(good) and free melee +1d6 to evil-outsiders)
-- Infernal (free +1d6 fire on melee damage)
-- Martyred (free +1d6 good-aligned melee damage)
-- Either of several bloodlines granting two claw attacks.

IMO the Martyred one is very nice, because that damage is untyped and bypasses energy resistance. If your GM likes to throw the party in jail a lot where you have to figure out how to do the "prison break" thing without your equipment and not so much as a rusty pipe laying around to swing two-handed, then consider the claws.

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Does anyone also have recommendations as far as dealing with possible ranged and or flight problems in the future?

1) In the OP, you stated that your party didn't want a ranged paladin (so don't go overboard).

2) In the post-BAB6 range when the party wizard is spamming Haste, you'll frequently find yourself with a fresh corpse at your feat and one or two attacks left. Take Quick Draw at 5th or 7th, and simultaneously buy an Opalescent White Pyramid Ioun stone and an +1/Adaptable Orc Hornbow. Don't put any feats into archery, except maybe Deadly Aim later on when your BAB is high enough to make it worthwhile.

3) Celestial Plate (grants flight for a limited duration). -- You WILL want this at some point anyway; might as well plan for it from the beginning.

4) Buy a 5x5 flying carpet ofrUMD (if Dangerously Curious trait) a wand of Fly. If your GM let's you do x2 lance charge stuff on a carpet, $$DOUBLEPLUSWIN$$ without having to take Mounted Combat or bonding a mount.

5) At 13th, dip a single level of Fighter [Dragoon (Mounted Combat, Skill Focus:Ride], take Leadership for a Silver Dragon (young) cohort, and buy an Int+2 item to max out Ride with the skill points. Then instead of shooting arrows, you're zooming in for double lance damage. And 200' flight movement is, uhm, yeah, way better than 20' or 30' ground-pound movement. Neat thing about silver dragon is they get Hover (gold dragons don't), they have a generally more useful breath weapon (paralyzing poison) than a Gold's fire cone, and hit-dice are one lower so you're able to get earliest Large-sized metallic dragon cohort at 13th rather than 15th with Leadership.


Slim Jim wrote:
Angdril wrote:

Hey there guys! I wanted to give everyone who has posted a HUGE thank you for the recommendations. I've been reading over everything and trying to find the best options of what was listed. I've mostly come down for a few small questions that I am trying to figure out.

1. Regular Paladin or Oath Of Vengeance.
The loss of Channel doesn't seem that big a deal to possibly get more uses of Smite. Similarly only giving up 1 Smite for Powerful Justice instead of 2 for Aura of Justice seems good but is the loss of the attack bonus and loss of DR pierce worth the trade?

Let's take a look:
Oath of Vengeance wrote:

Channel Wrath (Su)

When an oathbound paladin reach 4th level, she can spend two uses of her lay on hands ability to gain an extra use of smite evil that day. This ability has no effect for a paladin who does not have the smite evil ability.

This ability replaces channel positive energy.

Powerful Justice (Su)
At 11th level, an oathbound paladin may spends one use of her smite evil ability to grant her allies within 10 feet the ability to smite evil, except they only gain the paladin’s bonus to damage, not her smite’s attack bonus or ability to bypass DR.

This ability replaces aura of justice.

When you get into the teen levels, if the party is ever in over its head, enemy DR is often a factor. Also, unbreakable AC is more likely to be a problem (especially for the 3/4ths BAB people) than ability to dish out damage on a successful hit. --Sharing your probable +8 Cha bonus to attack at that point is HUGELY instrumental for getting those hits in when everybody's simultaneously u-4 or worse due to a bunch of enemy status effects dumped on the party.
Aura of Justice wrote:

Aura of Justice (Su)

At 11th level, a paladin can expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin’s next turn and the
...

One quick thing, wasnt berserker of the society restricted to barbarians?


If you're not wanting the Celestial Protector Bloodline Familiar as I mentioned in my earlier post, then another good option for your Bloodrager dip is a combo Urban Bloodrager/Id Rager. (Those two archetypes can stack.)

Kindness and Hatred have already been mentioned as emotional focus for the Id Rager, but I'd suggest Dedication instead.

Dedication gets you:
-Skill Focus Diplomacy or Sense Motive, which is useful for a Paladin, which tend to go for Face skills.
-Iron Will while raging, which brings back the Will bonus that you give up with the Urban Bloodrager's Controlled Rage.
-Dutiful Strike while raging, which is a nice bonus. Against the most recent enemy to attack you (just attack; doesn't necessarily have to hit you), this grants +2 to hit and you deal damage against that enemy as if one size category larger, which means increasing your base damage die similar to an Enlarge Person spell. This is usable an unlimited number of times per day.

And importantly, an emotion like Dedication is a better fit (roleplay-wise) for a Paladin than something like Hatred/Jealousy/Greed/Fear/Despair/etc.

Id Ragers give up their Bloodrager Bloodline, but from a damage-dealing point of view, those attack and damage benefits are potentially better than merely an extra 1d6 damage from a Bloodline like Celestial's basic 1st level ability. Increasing your base damage is especially good on critical hits, or for something like a Vital Strike build. And the Bloodline extra damages don't stack with weapon enhancements, so they will eventually be semi-obsolete as you gain levels.

However, the Id Rager's attack and damage benefits are not necessarily better than the Celestial Protector Bloodline Familiar's benefits of extra AC, 150% HP, and Fast Healing, as described earlier, especially if you're going for a Tank/Oradin damage-soaking/healing build.


Alright. So after reading over more suggestions, it seems I am still stuck in a conundrum of Oath of Vengeance Vs traditional Paladin. I'm seeing some really good reasons towards either one. And also between Urban Bloodrager and traditional Bloodrager. I did decide to go for the Celestial bloodline (Either way) and take the Familiar opt out for the free heals that RogueJK suggested (Just seems useful both for me and keeping the group alive in general)... Although now I need to figure out what the familiar should be.

I also love the idea of the dip of a level into dragoon for the Silver Dragon cohort in the later game. (Unless people think the other dip and loss of more Smite a day would make a major difference.) I still can't express enough how helpful and wonderful these suggestions have been so far. You guys have mapped out some really amazing stuff and it makes it hard to pick lol. Slim and Trevor both have made some great compelling arguments both ways. I hope it doesn't feel like I'm ignoring anyone, all of your posts have been super helpful in seeing the value in different things.


Angdril wrote:

Alright. So after reading over more suggestions, it seems I am still stuck in a conundrum of Oath of Vengeance Vs traditional Paladin. I'm seeing some really good reasons towards either one. And also between Urban Bloodrager and traditional Bloodrager. I did decide to go for the Celestial bloodline (Either way) and take the Familiar opt out for the free heals that RogueJK suggested (Just seems useful both for me and keeping the group alive in general)... Although now I need to figure out what the familiar should be.

I also love the idea of the dip of a level into dragoon for the Silver Dragon cohort in the later game. (Unless people think the other dip and loss of more Smite a day would make a major difference.) I still can't express enough how helpful and wonderful these suggestions have been so far. You guys have mapped out some really amazing stuff and it makes it hard to pick lol. Slim and Trevor both have made some great compelling arguments both ways. I hope it doesn't feel like I'm ignoring anyone, all of your posts have been super helpful in seeing the value in different things.

Well, no one forced me to post :) And I feel like I learned some interesting things from reading Slim and Rogue's alternate options as well.

Regarding that dragon mount, I probably kind of hindered myself here as my build was constricted to only PFS-legal options wheras leadership and cohorts are illegal there, but for a homegame an option like that does seem awesome at higher levels.


Angdril wrote:

Although now I need to figure out what the familiar should be.

A Celestial Protector Familiar will most likely remain with you most of the time. Especially during combat. The AC boosting, damage sharing, and Fast Healing doesn't do you any good unless it's touching you. But that doesn't mean it can't be used as a scout at times.

Note that in order for the Protector familiar to grant you that Aid Another AC bonus, they have to be able to reliably hit a 10 AC. So you don't want a familiar with a large negative to attack, like some of them have. That becomes less of an issue as your BAB increases, since your familiar shares your BAB, but you don't want to have to wait until mid/high levels to be able to make reliable use of that ability.

From a powergaming standpoint:

As a Paladin, your saves are already good, so I wouldn't worry about any of the familiars that boost saves. (Unless you want to boost one to even more ridiculous heights...)

And +3 HP, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty minimal.

Some of the skill bonuses from various familiars are useless to you, but if you're focusing on certain skills, you could get a familiar that boost one of those skills. With a Paladin, something like a Thrush might be a good choice. +3 to Diplomacy, plus the handy ability to speak 1 language (so they can speak Common), and the ability to fly for scouting purposes.

Something like a Hawk or a Bat makes for a nice flying scout too. The Hawk gives a nice boost to Perception, and has a high Perception of its own. The Bat's bonus to Fly is less useful to you, but it has Blindsense to help you ferret out invisible enemies.

Or one of the familiars that grants a +1 natural armor bonus could help offset your -2 AC while raging.

But honestly, I'd go with one of the familiars that grants +4 to Initiative. It's not only a very strong bonus ability, but it will be especially helpful for you since one of your Paladin's lowest ability scores is likely Dexterity. Something like a Greensting Scorpion makes for a nice ground-based scout as well, with its high Stealth, and it also has one of the higher attack bonuses among the standard familiars, to help with those Aid Another AC rolls. Or you could go with something like a Rhamphorhynchus for a flying scout that also boosts your initiative.

From a roleplaying standpoint:

Go with something fitting to your character's backstory, their personality, or to their deity. (Most of the deities have a handful of favored animals listed.)


Trevor86 wrote:
One quick thing, wasnt berserker of the society restricted to barbarians?

It is in PFS. --But if your GM permits any society feats in a non-PFS game (when being a member of the Pathfinder Society is requirement for them), he'll probably waive the class requirement as well.


Slim Jim wrote:
Trevor86 wrote:
One quick thing, wasnt berserker of the society restricted to barbarians?
It is in PFS. --But if your GM permits any society feats in a non-PFS game (when being a member of the Pathfinder Society is requirement for them), he'll probably waive the class requirement as well.

Fair enough. Though, even if it is legal, do you feel that trait is worth it compared to things like dangerously curious, fate's favored, adopted > tusked and wayang spell hunter?

If we're taking extra rage anyway, considering we have the faitgued mercy, this trait sort of feels like a waste.

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