Paladin smite evil and two weapons.


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So I've been running an adventure with the new rules of the paladin as found in the playtest forum.

While I liked the idea of lay on hands becoming swift when using it upon the paladin herself, and I liked the mechanic behind smite evil lasting a full round, here's the problem I faced.

My players (and I) at first liked this. Then, one of the players who was playing a paladin, picked up the two weapon fighting feat because of the potential he saw in smite evil lasting a full round of attacks.

I fear that if this mechanic is kept, paladins of pathfinder will develop the 'habit' of going for 2-weapon fighting like 95% of the rogue populace to exploit their sneak attack bonus dice.
While its fine for the rogue concept to go with 2 knives, the paladin, smiting evil in a dexterous flurry with a longsword and shortsword in hand
seems quite off to me.

Perhaps smite could be limited to the paladin's 'main hand' if the mechanic to keep full round o' smites is kept. For now, I've reverted to the old rules to avoid munchkinism :P


While I don't necessarily see the paladin using two shortswords, I will generally use the TWF feat with a shield bash. I feel that makes sense thematically. So the whole smite evil lasting one round thing works just fine for me.


Vak wrote:

So I've been running an adventure with the new rules of the paladin as found in the playtest forum.

While I liked the idea of lay on hands becoming swift when using it upon the paladin herself, and I liked the mechanic behind smite evil lasting a full round, here's the problem I faced.

My players (and I) at first liked this. Then, one of the players who was playing a paladin, picked up the two weapon fighting feat because of the potential he saw in smite evil lasting a full round of attacks.

I fear that if this mechanic is kept, paladins of pathfinder will develop the 'habit' of going for 2-weapon fighting like 95% of the rogue populace to exploit their sneak attack bonus dice.
While its fine for the rogue concept to go with 2 knives, the paladin, smiting evil in a dexterous flurry with a longsword and shortsword in hand
seems quite off to me.

Perhaps smite could be limited to the paladin's 'main hand' if the mechanic to keep full round o' smites is kept. For now, I've reverted to the old rules to avoid munchkinism :P

Well, the same thing could be said for a Fighter and his Weapon Specialization/ Greater Weapon Specialization/ Weapon Training bonus.

Or for a Ranger and his Favored enemy bonus (ok, Rangers are already Two-weapon fighters, but you get my point...)

The fact is, such a Paladin would be high-dependant on a Feat chain that:
1) requires at the bare minimum 1 feat just to be able to hit the enemy (or he would have a -4/-8 with a one-handed and a light weapon) - more to be able to make more attacks with the second hand
2) requires at the bare minimum 13 Dex (usually, one of the dump stats of a Paladin) - WAY MORE to be able to take the Improved and Greater Feats for TWF
3) lowers the AC of the Paladin (unless he is an atypical Paladin with EXTREMELY high Dex and a light armor; in that case, it would be more or less the same)

A Paladin has not bonus Feats like Fighters or Rangers, and has not (usually) high Dexterity like Rogues. If such a Paladin is made, it would be a great change of pace (IMHO) from the classical 'Man into the Heater' (aka Full Plate). All Paladins would follow this route? I personally don't think so.

Just my 2c.


Me, I would change the new, improved Smite Evil to last a specific number of rounds each day. The paladin can spread this around. I would suggest 1 round per paladin class level.

The most recent write up gives Smite Evil 1/day at level 1, then gains 1/day every 3 levels. In addition, the duration increases to 2 rounds at 8th level and 3 rounds at 16th level.

Doing the math, assuming the paladin uses all her smites each day:

Level / # rounds suggested / #rounds RAW / difference
01 / 01 / 01 (1 smite, 1 round) / 0
02 / 02 / 01 (1 smite, 1 round) / 1
03 / 03 / 01 (1 smite, 1 round) / 2
04 / 04 / 02 (2 smites, 1 roun) / 2
05 / 05 / 02 (2 smites, 1 round) / 3
06 / 06 / 02 (2 smites, 1 round) / 4
07 / 07 / 03 (3 smites, 1 round) / 4
08 / 08 / 06 (3 smites, 2 rounds) / 2
09 / 09 / 06 (3 smites, 2 rounds) / 3
10 / 10 / 08 (4 smites, 2 rounds) / 2
11 / 11 / 08 (4 smites, 2 rounds) / 3
12 / 12 / 08 (4 smites, 2 rounds) / 4
13 / 13 / 10 (5 smites, 2 rounds) / 3
14 / 14 / 10 (5 smites, 2 rounds) / 4
15 / 15 / 10 (5 smites, 2 rounds) / 5
16 / 16 / 18 (6 smites, 3 rounds) / -2
17 / 17 / 18 (6 smites, 3 rounds) / -1
18 / 18 / 18 (6 smites, 3 rounds) / 0
19 / 19 / 21 (7 smites, 3 rounds) / -2
20 / 20 / 21 (7 smites, 3 rounds) / -1

Based on this suggestion, at the lowest levels, the paladin gets to use her most destructive class feature one or two rounds extra each day, in the mid levels, that number is more like 3-5 rounds extra each day, and at the highest levels she will use her class feature 0-2 rounds less each day.

Averaged across her 20-level career, a paladin using this suggestion will get, on average, 1.8 extra rounds of Smite Evil per day.

Benefits:
1. Easy to remember. Class level = rounds per day.
2. No awkward plateu levels like level 16 where the paladin goes from 10 rounds to 18 rounds in one level.
3. For most levels, paladins can use their Smite Evil a little more often than with the adjusted RAW, something paladins really need to even try to match other melee characters for damage output just some of the time.
4. Breaking it into 1-round slices means no wasting of rounds. By the adjusted RAW, a 16th level paladin might declare a 3-round Smite, then kill the foe in the first round, wasting two rounds. Or her ally next to her drops next round so she spends a round healing her companion, wasting a round of her Smite.

Concerns:
1. Overpowering? Maybe, but at most a paladin of 15th level would get 15 Smites instead of 10. That's 5 extra. A 50% increase, and only at that one level. If you believe Smite Evil is a weak class ability, especially as the one useful offensive ability of a melee class, then an average of 1.8 extra rounds per day is probably not overpowering.

As a final note, I might even suggest that, while it requires a swift action to initiate a Smite Evil, it is a free action to continue it in subsequent rounds. This somewhat mirrors the adjusted RAW at higher levels when a single swift action gives a paladin multiple rounds of Smite.

Any thoughts?

Viable houserule?


As to the original topic, dual wielding with Smite Evil, I had originally started out that long post with counting the number of attacks and doing math on the number of iterative attacks multiplied by the other math I did.

I dropped that. It wasn't relevent (the iterative attacks increase the same for the adjusted RAW and my proposed version, so it just cluttered up the numbers).

Once I dropped it, I realized my post doesn't fit the topic anymore.

I don't see any easy way to limit dual wielding, or really any reason to limit dual wielding, without feeling gamist and arbitrary.

Sovereign Court

I would say play it out and see how it works for her, it's a concern, but I don't think it's something thats going to be as common as you think.

As for my personal fix, I prefer that rather than getting additional round at level 8 the paladin just gains an additional attack at their highest attack bonus level 1-20. This helps the low level whiff factor, doesn't greatly encourage TWF (not anymore than the already implemented full round does), and keep smite useful from level 1 instead of having to have a certain creature type or higher level to be useful.


The Wraith wrote:


Well, the same thing could be said for a Fighter and his Weapon Specialization/ Greater Weapon Specialization/ Weapon Training bonus.

Or for a Ranger and his Favored enemy bonus (ok, Rangers are already Two-weapon fighters, but you get my point...)

The fact is, such a Paladin would be high-dependant on a Feat chain that:
1) requires at the bare minimum 1 feat just to be able to hit the enemy (or he would have a -4/-8 with a one-handed and a light weapon) - more to be able to make more attacks with the second hand
2) requires at the bare minimum 13 Dex (usually, one of the dump stats of a Paladin) - WAY MORE to be able to take the Improved and Greater Feats for TWF
3) lowers the AC of the Paladin (unless he is an atypical Paladin with EXTREMELY high Dex and a light armor; in that case, it would be more or less the same)

A Paladin has not bonus Feats like Fighters or Rangers, and has not (usually) high Dexterity like Rogues. If such a Paladin is...

A few points I'd like to make out:

Smite now boosts the paladin's AC by his cha modifier, so the lack of a shield is not as dreadful as it would be otherwise.
In 3.5, the feat 'divine shield' which gave you your cha bonus to AC required a shield in both versions of the feat, which did drive the paladin down the typical sword + shield crusader style, but people still played paladins with 2h weapons now and then.

I'm with you on the high dex requirement and the number of feats you need to spend to get the 2WF tree, but remember, PF gives you +2 to your stats more than 3.5 did. Furthermore, PF gives you 1 new feat/2 levels instead of the 3.5 1+1/3levels system. Also a lot of 'old feats' like divine might, divine shield, extra smiting, extra turning etc, that a typical charisma-based paladin would take up, do not exist in the PF system so if you run a PF-exclusive game like I am, you'll not leave the paladin with many options, so they will probably notice the 2wf tree and go for it out of lack of 'better options' (tongue in cheek)


Ok, looking at this I'm still seeing a non-problem. Fighting styles currently equal out over time no matter the additional damages racked up due to class features. Would you still be upset if the paladin was racking up two-handed weapon damage then stacking on the smite evil on top of that?

In the end you have a limited use power that a two weapon fighting character that might spike in damage occasionally. What about the times they miss due to the extra penalties they take from two weapon fighting? Or all the damage they are missing out on for not using a two handed weapon?

Empirically you have a non-issue here, it just feels like an issue because humans aren't built to see empirical evidence easily.


Abraham spalding wrote:


Empirically you have a non-issue here, it just feels like an issue because humans aren't built to see empirical evidence easily.

I see what you're saying and I can't say you aren't right in a degree, but from experience, I still think that if pathfinder were to have the RPG influence 3d edition has had on rpg society, all paladins will eventually end up using 2 weapons.

I mean how long has it been since rogues went from holding a single dagger to being trademarked multi-weapon fighters that always fight with 2 pointy things in their hands? I know for sure they rarely held two weapons in 2nd, and they only started appearing with 2 weapons when 3d came out, and the 'exploit' of using 2 swords in combination with sneak attack came to play.

It probably is a non-issue, as you say, but I think that charisma-based paladins, that I like to call Charismadins or Smitadins when I'm joking around, are generally weak with non-smite attacks so the miss chance when not smiting is pretty high in any rate. The -2 penalty however does become nearly obsolete with a high charisma. Of course with a 2h you can take better advantage of the better attack bonus with power attack but it still won't outweigh the doubled damage taken from 2 weapon fighting.

In the end, this is probably not enough a reason to call full round smites as a reason, but I do think it deserves some better looking into to see if there's a better option, keeping the paladin buff while not pushing the class to get as many attacks as possible to get more 'juice' out of their smites, and that includes many other things other than two weapon fighting, such as paladins starting with Aldori dueling mastery feat, or paladins begging for haste, et cetera et cetera.


The Wraith wrote:


Well, the same thing could be said for a Fighter and his Weapon Specialization/ Greater Weapon Specialization/ Weapon Training bonus.

Or for a Ranger and his Favored enemy bonus (ok, Rangers are already Two-weapon fighters, but you get my point...)

The fact is, such a Paladin would be high-dependant on a Feat chain that:
1) requires at the bare minimum 1 feat just to be able to hit the enemy (or he would have a -4/-8 with a one-handed and a light weapon) - more to be able to make more attacks with the second hand
2) requires at the bare minimum 13 Dex (usually, one of the dump stats of a Paladin) - WAY MORE to be able to take the Improved and Greater Feats for TWF
3) lowers the AC of the Paladin (unless he is an atypical Paladin with EXTREMELY high Dex and a light armor; in that case, it would be more or less the same)

A Paladin has not bonus Feats like Fighters or Rangers, and has not (usually) high Dexterity like Rogues. If such a Paladin is...

I can agree with the OP, I've personally seen a two-weapon paladin playtested, and their smiting ability from mid-to-high levels increases dramatically.

1. Giving up a single feat to deal alot mroe damage was never much of a sacrifice before, it wll be so even less with more feats being avalible to characters.
2. It might just be my groups personal playing style, but I've never seen dexterity taken as a dump stat. That bonus to intiative and to AC is just too valuble at the low-to-mid levels.
3. A paladin's AC getting lower is less of a problem than before, since paladins can now get their Charisma Modifier to AC.

Remember that the "Man in the Heater" style has alot of problems. Having a high armour class isn't too helpful when the foes target everyone else. Being able to dish out additional damage is always useful.

Personally, I would say that paladin's only get the smites on their "main" attacks, and need another feat to apply it to their off-hand attacks. As you said, paladins don't get any bonus feats, so forcing that option to be feat intensive makes it far less likely that every paladin will go for it.


Vak wrote:


Perhaps smite could be limited to the paladin's 'main hand' if the mechanic to keep full round o' smites is kept. For now, I've reverted to the old rules to avoid munchkinism :P

I liek the idea of using my paladin smite with two weapons but I wouldn't do that all the time. You'll alswyas have to take feats to accomplish such fighting stylings.

Also, munchkinism isn't a problem with the rules, its a problem iwth the player. If your players decide to milk the two-weapon fighting cow, then milk back with as many multiarmed weapon wielding apponents as possible.


the problem is clearly in the burst dmg.

as a gm in the rise of the runelords campign(modified for PF rules) i have a player playing a paladin(we are curently at the last part of the adventure so he is about lvl 14)

undeads and outsiders a pretty screwed vs. a paladin(and this paladin is using sword and board)

lets see: base attack 14 + 1 weapon focus + 4 sword(with divine spirit it has speed and flaming on it)+ 3 str + 8 cha TO HIT. thats a total of +30/30/25/20 on the main hand

the dmg output is: 1d8+8d6+7 vs outsiders for an avarage total of about 60 pr hit of witch 2 almost always hits. that is without considering critical hits with inproved crit.

looking at the same paladin with 2 weapons the dmg output is much greater.and remember the divine spirit thing.

so that mignt be somthing like main hand: +28/+23/+18(but with briliant energy on the mainhand we will have 3 hits for about slightly less dmg. 1d8+7d6+0str. (46 on avarage without crits. and there will be more crits with more attacks) thats about 138. or if the paladin is smart he will be using 2 kukries with max enchantment on em. for more crits. 15-20 meens every 4th rolle is a potential crit. with 5 attack pr round we have at least 1 crit.

so the dmg starts racking up,

the worst thing however is the abbility to grand smite to other players. my abbaration vampire lasted 1 round vs the monk and paladin ones they smited. ever seen a monk use flury with +8 to hit and +7d6 dmg on every hit. thats is a lot of dmg. and almost all hits.

by the end of the turn the monster was a -100 and somthing. i dread the battle with the arc mage. he will be dead before he gets into his first spell.


Niels wrote:
i dread the battle with the arc mage. he will be dead before he gets into his first spell.

I don't know any details about the adventure, and don't want them since I'm a player in the first book of RotRL campaign, so no spoilers please.

However, I would think that an arch mage should have some ways to prepare.

How about miss chances? Improved Invis? Walls (Force, Prismatic, etc.)? Repulsion? Contingency spells (how about a Contingeny Heal set to go off when he drops to 25% of his total HP)?

What about henchmen, summoned pets, conjured pets, animated pets?

What about magic item creation feats? Isn't this guy loaded with magic items?

One of the most useful effects is a quickened Mirror Image. Let the party waste their smite evils on bursting the illusionary images.

Does the enemy know the PCs are coming? If so, maybe he throws a bunch of summoned/conjured/necromancied evil stuff in their way, inviting the paladin to waste his Smite Evils so he has none available for the final confrontation.

Lots of stuff an arch mage can do to even the odds.


Not so much on topic but I'd like to drop some thoughts on that:

A mage can't really contingency heal unless he's a mystic theurge with enough levels. Remember contingency only allows spells that you yourself cast to become contingent. You also can't cast contingency on another person.

Mirror image can be negated by an experience adventurer who closes his eyes just before attacking, taking instead the 50% miss chance and -2 (or was it -4) to attack due to not being able to see the target (as with darkness or invisibility). If the adventurer in question has blindfighting even, his chances of ignoring mirror images increase drastically.

As for invisibility, if the party is not in some way locating invisible when facing the arch enemy wizard, they're doing something wrong but, the paladin can at least make use of his detect evil ability to pinpoint the location of the wizard, if all else fails.

Yes, smite is all about chances to hit. With the old smite rules, I used to smite either on a charge, or in one of the 2nd or 3d attacks of a high level paladin, as to increase the chances of secondary attacks hitting, beyond the first.
The way smite works now, it is too much of a 'waste' to use it on a round you can't let your entire full attack out. When there's no 'extra smiting' feat available too, those smites are even more precious to spend in a situation you are not certain wether you'll be hitting or not.

More on topic, whoever it was that said that munchkinism isn't a rule problem but a player problem, for the most part you are right, but I will point once again to rogues. When 3d started they were not immediately 2 weapon wielders, they developed into such because of the sneak attack mechanic. The system is not to blame for munchkinism, but it can sure help. Universalist mages are right now facing the same problem. The universal school abilities are too good to give away for spell like abilities with DC's based on your charisma. Yeah, the players who really want to play an evoker will play an evoker but, if you look at it from a different perspective it starts to look as if RPG's have started penalizing those who stick to RP and favoring those who go with the obvious choice. In the case of rogue, that choice isn't even considered munchkinism anymore, it's just the standard. When a player first told me he'd be playing with 2 weapons to dish more sneak damage, I frothed at the mouth. Now, its just another 'well-played' rogue.
I'm afraid the same might happen to the paladin, is all.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
vak wrote:

A mage can't really contingency heal unless he's a mystic theurge with enough levels. Remember contingency only allows spells that you yourself cast to become contingent. You also can't cast contingency on another person.

Mirror image can be negated by an experience adventurer who closes his eyes just before attacking, taking instead the 50% miss chance and -2 (or was it -4) to attack due to not being able to see the target (as with darkness or invisibility). If the adventurer in question has blindfighting even, his chances of ignoring mirror images increase drastically.

As for invisibility, if the party is not in some way locating invisible when facing the arch enemy wizard, they're doing something wrong but, the paladin can at least make use of his detect evil ability to pinpoint the location of the wizard, if all else fails.

Just to add a couple notes on that, since if you are talking archmage you are talking quite a high level caster, assuming that you are looking at someone with 9th level spells, then the person could always contingent a heal by using wish.

Also, with invisibility, see invisibilty is a personal spell, so in this case, either only those who have it prepped or have items that allow it are able to see, or you are wasting high level slots by dropping true seeing on everyone. Either way it makes it pretty effective.

Now that isn't to say a dispel or a glitterdust or something else couldn't bring it down, but just pointing out that these all are very good tactics and just a couple of the dozens a high level caster who is prepared for the party might have up. Of course if he is unprepared and turns around to see a paladin with a sword running at him then he probably deserves what he gets.

-Tarlane


Vak wrote:
A mage can't really contingency heal unless he's a mystic theurge with enough levels. Remember contingency only allows spells that you yourself cast to become contingent. You also can't cast contingency on another person.

I have always played under the assumption that the 2nd spell doesn't have to be cast by the recipient. Thus, an archmage could cast Contingency on himself while a friend casts the other spell.

Even without contingency wishes, it's hard to imagine that someone powerful enough to call themselves an archmage doesn't know a cleric of some church, somewhere, who would cast the Heal on him, even if he won't do it for free.

Now, reading Contingency, it doesn't specifically say that you have to cast both spells, though I think it might be implied.

I don't rembember if my version of cooperative Contingency started as a house rule or if it was an errata/FAQ/clarification I read somewhere.

So I apologize if I misrepresented a rule. Contingency/Heal might be a tough combo for an arcane caster if the spell does in fact require the mage to cast both spells.

Someone mentioned Contingency/Wish, but that would require a level 27 caster. Truly an arch mage!


If you're caster level 21 then you can contingency a heal spell by yourself as a wizard.

You contingency a limited wish to with the limited wish duplicating the Heal spell... off of the adept's spell list! The Adept Heal spell is only 5th level so limited wish can cover it, course this still costs a lot of gold to do for the limited wish but if you want a contingency heal that's how I would do it.


Abraham spalding wrote:

If you're caster level 21 then you can contingency a heal spell by yourself as a wizard.

You contingency a limited wish to with the limited wish duplicating the Heal spell... off of the adept's spell list! The Adept Heal spell is only 5th level so limited wish can cover it, course this still costs a lot of gold to do for the limited wish but if you want a contingency heal that's how I would do it.

...except that Contingency specifically says that the maximum level of the spell you 'link' is 6th.

DM_Blake wrote:

So I apologize if I misrepresented a rule. Contingency/Heal might be a tough combo for an arcane caster if the spell does in fact require the mage to cast both spells.

Someone mentioned Contingency/Wish, but that would require a level 27 caster. Truly an arch mage!

Same as above.

And I personally think that the spell Contingency requires the same caster to provide the spell (although I'm unsure about spells cast from other sources, like a Wizard or Sorcerer with a scroll of Heal and a good roll on Use Magic Device...).


The Wraith wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

If you're caster level 21 then you can contingency a heal spell by yourself as a wizard.

You contingency a limited wish to with the limited wish duplicating the Heal spell... off of the adept's spell list! The Adept Heal spell is only 5th level so limited wish can cover it, course this still costs a lot of gold to do for the limited wish but if you want a contingency heal that's how I would do it.

...except that Contingency specifically says that the maximum level of the spell you 'link' is 6th.

Knew I missed something. So could you contingency a scroll?

If not a sanctum spell metamagic feat might be in order, but we are off the 'core' with that.


Vak wrote:

I fear that if this mechanic is kept, paladins of pathfinder will develop the 'habit' of going for 2-weapon fighting like 95% of the rogue populace to exploit their sneak attack bonus dice.

While its fine for the rogue concept to go with 2 knives, the paladin, smiting evil in a dexterous flurry with a longsword and shortsword in hand seems quite off to me. {snip}For now, I've reverted to the old rules to avoid munchkinism :P

You mean like the 'habit' of taking a 2-handed weapon that has been developing since 3.0 started?

I think you are picking on the fact that the Paladin actually found a way to get squeeze some damage out of relatively suck abilities. After all he is (usually)suppose to be a "tank" and hold aggro, it's a bit hard to justify that when a barbarian/fighter hits something for 2-3 times more damage every round. AND... as Stonechild mentioned it's something that can be used with Shield Bash and therefore a keeper IMO. Doing a d6 per level against evil outsiders/undead IS a bit much and should probably be just 2 points per level, instead of the usual 1.

Since when is a rogue getting sneak attack dice on a 2nd attack an exploit? If I stab you twice in the kidneys within 6 secs, you would know it. Calling something in pre-existing rules an exploit is just kinda lame, they have to burn a feat to get that extra damage, at least if they expect to use it without a -6/-6 penalty. The rogue does 2 things well, fix the traps/locks and provide flank with tons of damage, it's their job, not an exploit. :p

So the Paladin using a core ability(smite evil) that replaces an Extra Feat/Rage and doing so to the point where he resembles a viable combatant is 'munchkinism'? They only get it once a day, plus 1 for every 3 levels AND it's only a viable attack against evil, which is also a swift action... which means detect evil has to be done the round before hand. If there were anymore restrictions on this ability it would be as worthless as 'Aura of Good'.

The terms 'Exploit' and 'Munchkinism' being used in reference to core mechanics? Not hardly, you want to see a 'Munchkin', play a Duskblade.


Daniel Moyer wrote:

I think you are picking on the fact that the Paladin actually found a way to get squeeze some damage out of relatively suck abilities. After all he is (usually)suppose to be a "tank" and hold aggro, it's a bit hard to justify that when a barbarian/fighter hits something for 2-3 times more damage every round. AND... as Stonechild mentioned it's something that can be used with Shield Bash and therefore a keeper IMO. Doing a d6 per level against evil outsiders/undead IS a bit much and should probably be just 2 points per level, instead of the usual 1.

Actually, it's 1d6 every 2 levels, not every level. But I agree, it should be 2 points per level - in order to let Critical Hits and other abilties/feats that multiply damage (like Spirited Charge) be effective (otherwise, as I've stated many times, a Paladin with such a build would deal LESS damage against Fiends and Undead than against 'vanilla evil' creatures...)

Paladin 10, Str +3, Spirited Charge with Lance:

- Against 'vanilla evil' creature: 3d8+39 (5d8+65 on a Critical Hit)
average 52,5 (87,5 on Critical Hit)
- Against Fiend or Undead: 3d8+9 plus 5d6 (5d8+15 plus 5d6 on a Critical Hit)
average 40 (55 on Critical Hit)

Just my 2c.


Hehe. Actually when I saw the duskblade for the first time I screamed like a girl and threw the book towards the nearest wall. It is quite possible however that our playstyles are immensely different, since in my campaigns, the paladin's smite evil has always been one of the most fearsome abilities in the system, and the paladin class arguably the most powerful class there is, which is why they are so limited (in my campaigns) to their RP, and may fall from favor at the slightest mistake, such as not upholding their word, being wrong, and so on.

This of course was all in 3-3.5

With pathfinder, its a fact that the paladin needed a buff. I dislike giving nicknames to classes such as 'tank' or 'dps' because I find that any character can be played to fit any of those roles. To me, its all about how someone chooses to play his/her character and not predetermined by the class, as per the logic mmorpg's and 4th edition want us to assimilate.
When you look at a class, however, you need to look at all of its features. I've read the other thread where it was discussed that the paladin class was sub-par to the other warriors in pathfinder, and the smite ability being the only thing that separates the paladin from the warrior npc class.

Perhaps in levels 1-2 this is the case, but you need to keep in mind of what other abilities the paladin earns through the levels. If you play a paladin whose main stat is charisma, It is unlikely you will be failing any important saves during the game. With the new ability to lay on hands as a swift action on yourself, you can keep taking hits without requiring the party's cleric to heal you every 2nd turn, and so giving the cleric time to do something else.
A paladin also has spells, some of which unique to the paladin, such as bless weapon, a truly fearsome spell, especially when combined with smite evil. (glory domain priests now get bless weapon too, something that made me squint, but I accepted it eventually)

I suppose you can see the paladin as a weaker class to the fighter or barbarian in any one fight, and you would be right. However, in my experience both in pathfinder and 3-3.5, there is nothing more fearful than a paladin against those encounters in which the paladin will use his smite evil effectively.

As an example, It was a paladin who saved the party from an old green dragon, when he was grabbed by the dragon's flyby snatch and then proceeded to full attack the dragon's face from where he was being gnawed, with his smite evil fists. The damage was quite astronomical for my campaigns, even with fists, and resulted in the dragon's death.

In conclusion, I'd suggest looking at the full package before writing the paladin off as underpowered. To me, that is like suggesting the wizard is underpowered because he runs out of spells. What is true however, is that a feat similar to extra smiting needs to appear in the pathfinder books.

My 2 cents.


On another note and rather off topic, I was miffed about the original pathfinder version to lay on hands myself, to the point where I didn't use it at all and just went with the classic lay on hands, and left all the other abilities that consumed lay on hands uses to times per day.

Now with the d6/2 paladin levels and the ability to heal himself as swift action, I'm using it, for the sake of playtesting. I still like the paladin's awesome ability in 3-3.5 to heal amazing amounts of hp in one standard action, but I'm waiting to see how the paladin plays out in a full campaign with pf rules before making any final decisions.


It should also be noted that while the paladin's smite does little extra damage at low levels, this is off-set by the bonus to attack rolls. At low levels monsters don't have too many hit points and attacks are more random, so at low levels I personally feel the bonus to hit is more powerful. All in all, I feel the paladin's smite is a well written class feature that scales well (as though the attack becomes less relevent at higher levels, the bonus to damage only gets more useful).

Liberty's Edge

DM Blake wrote:
Me, I would change the new, improved Smite Evil to last a specific number of rounds each day. The paladin can spread this around. I would suggest 1 round per paladin class level.

A proposal like this I can agree with!

Make it match the mechanic for # of rounds that the Alternate version of Rage uses and that would solve two problems...

1). A single mechanic just different uses (easy to remember).

2). Makes Paladins more appealing to players (the alignment restrictions kind of slow down any enthusiasm for this class).

Add to that the potential for Smite powers (as Rage powers) and the paladin becomes a whole lot more exciting.

I have always felt that in 3.5 the emphasis on the Barbarian and Paladin seemed to put them at opposite sides of the Warrior type class. One (the paladin) is a servant of a higher calling, disciplined and faith driven. The other (the barbarian) is more free-wheeling and chaotic. Using a unified mechanic-type for two opposite classes would show how the mechanic could be used for varying concepts.


I agree with whoever pointed out the "habit" of going for 2-Handed Weapons.

And given a Paladins' Smite Evil is a limited usage ability that won't be used for most enemies, if they are somehow 'optimizing' for Smite with 2WF that means they are 'un-optimized' because they are stuck with the same Feats for whenever they AREN'T Smiting.

I've actually advocated for Rogues' Sneak Attack to also be normalized to not favor one style over another, but I don't think it's the end of the world in either case. Actually, since someone mentioned Shield Bash working with Smite, it would actually be great if "Paladin with Sword and Shield" was actually favored by the rules :-) And in any case, I think the Pathfinder Paladin is an IMMENSE improvement over the 3.5 version!


Hearty agreement Quandry on that last point. I think the shield mastery line of feats is great for the paladin even though it requires a significant investment in Dex. A good investment in Dex is a great idea for a paladin anyways though, helps with AC, Init, and those Ref save throws (his only weak save... add in a decent to good CHA and he'll be in great shape to make them).


Vak wrote:
in my campaigns, the paladin's smite evil has always been one of the most fearsome abilities in the system, and the paladin class arguably the most powerful class there is, which is why they are so limited (in my campaigns) to their RP, and may fall from favor at the slightest mistake, such as not upholding their word, being wrong, and so on.

Your campaigns must feature lots of evil stuff, and not many fights per day.

In campaigns where evil masterminds have non-evil henchmen, and where combats may occur a half-dozen times, or more, every day, being able to smite evil a few times against a few enemies isn't earth-shattering.

It's cool when you can use it, but the rest of the time, say fighting purple worms and griffons and golems and elementals and dinosaurs and (etc.) the paladin just watches in awe as the barbarian rages (well, he always rages, whether the monster is undead, or demons, or dinosaurs, or angels, or whatever) and the fighter utilizes his impressive array of feats, and the rogue sneak attaks (almost always in Pathfinder), etc.

Vak wrote:

If you play a paladin whose main stat is charisma, It is unlikely you will be failing any important saves during the game. /QUOTE]

True, but your damage output on every single swing of your weapon will be lower, and you won't hit as often, unless your STR is equal to your "main stat charisma". Sure, when you smite and get your CHA mod added in, you make up for the lower STR, but as I've mentioned, you can't always smite. Even when all the henchmen are evil too, you won't be smiting them because you'll be saving a few smites for the boss.

Vak wrote:
With the new ability to lay on hands as a swift action on yourself, you can keep taking hits without requiring the party's cleric to heal you every 2nd turn, and so giving the cleric time to do something else.

This is truly awesome. I love it.

Vak wrote:

A paladin also has spells, some of which unique to the paladin, such as bless weapon, a truly fearsome spell, especially when combined with smite evil. (glory domain priests now get bless weapon too, something that made me squint, but I accepted it eventually) /QUOTE]

Yep, but he can only use a few spells each day.

If the adventuring day is 15 minutes long, consising of fighting one or two fights, when the paladin can prepare in advance with a buff or two before he kicks down the door, then these spells are awesome.

When the paladin has to spend the first few rounds buffing, and the barbarian has already killed three foes before the paladin even draws his sword, these spells become mediocre.

When the paladin is fighitng the 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th encounter for the day and all his spells have been gone since the 3rd encounter, these spells are worthless. But, the barbarian is probably out of rages sometime in there, too. The fighter, however, still has all his feat chains and is going strong.

Vak wrote:
I suppose you can see the paladin as a weaker class to the fighter or barbarian in any one fight, and you would be right. However, in my experience both in pathfinder and 3-3.5, there is nothing more fearful than a paladin against those encounters in which the paladin will use his smite evil effectively.

And there you have it. You said it yourself: "against those encounters in which the paladin will use his smite evil effectively"

Unfortunately for the paladin, there are far more encounters in the monster manuals and in the published adventures where Rage works, and where having nearly a couple dozen feats works, than where Smite Evil works.

Vak wrote:
As an example, It was a paladin who saved the party from an old green dragon, when he was grabbed by the dragon's flyby snatch and then proceeded to full attack the dragon's face from where he was being gnawed, with his smite evil fists. The damage was quite astronomical for my campaigns, even with fists, and resulted in the dragon's death.

What if that had been a hungry Amethyst dragon? I bet the paladin would have wished he could Rage...

Vak wrote:

In conclusion, I'd suggest looking at the full package before writing the paladin off as underpowered. To me, that is like suggesting the wizard is underpowered because he runs out of spells. What is true however, is that a feat similar to extra smiting needs to appear in the pathfinder books.

My 2 cents.

I do look at the whole package.

The paladin is a good class, and Pathfinder has really upgraded him with the enhanced version (still have to fix that whole combining channeling and lay on hands).

But in looking at the whole package, I also realize that the paladin's features make him a very situational character, and those features have limited uses too.

So if he doesn't get enough of the right situations he will feel 2nd rate, or if he gets too many of hte right situations, he will burn out his usefulness early and will feel 2nd rate the rest of the day.

Sure, a good DM will tailor the campaign to the players. Have a paladin PC? Well then, make sure you get lots of undead, evils, and especially evil outsiders for him to shine, shine shine.

But some DMs want to run premade adventure paths, or just premade dungeons.

If you're considering making a new character with that kind of DM, you may find choosing a paladin will eventually make you feel, far too often, like you're a 2nd rate character, outclased by almost everyone else in the PC group.

Maybe two-weapon fighting will help them shine even more in the right times, so when they're fighting a dungeon full of purple worms and earth elementals, they can reminesce about the good old days when they hit that demon five times for 200 damage...

Sovereign Court

Vak wrote:
As an example, It was a paladin who saved the party from an old green dragon, when he was grabbed by the dragon's flyby snatch and then proceeded to full attack the dragon's face from where he was being gnawed, with his smite evil fists. The damage was quite astronomical for my campaigns, even with fists, and resulted in the dragon's death.

Okay I'm really curious about this one, an old green dragon is neither undead nor outsider and has DR10/magic. He used his fists I must assume he had +1 spiked gauntlets, I'm assuming the fight was CR appropriate which puts your paladin at level 18-19. two weapon fighting without the feats would negate his cha bonus or take it down to a plus one or two, so he must have had the two weapon fighting feat and even then the damage is 1d4+18+str mod he hits the AC 33 with every attack is going to be 7 hits. That does half the dragons HP in one round but the paladin had the just right situation to provide for it, without those gauntlets he's doing basically 1d4+8+str mod which is about 1/6 of an old dragons hp and that's if every attack hit, which in most every game I've ever played in isn't the case for those last two to three hits so astronomical damage seems quite impressive but was also more a result of his having the right feats and equipment at the right time than the results of smite.


Vak wrote:
Hehe. Actually when I saw the duskblade for the first time I screamed like a girl and threw the book towards the nearest wall.

If I somehow knew I would never be selling my PHB2, I would've taken a large 'Sharpie' marker and drawn a big 'X' over every page of the Duskblade as it's something none of my DMs would ever let me use... EVER!

Vak wrote:


It is quite possible however that our playstyles are immensely different, since in my campaigns, the paladin's smite evil has always been one of the most fearsome abilities in the system...

I personally would rather play a Fighter(for the customization) or a Barbarian(for the raw damage), but as many other have stated, I can see that the Paladin needed some love and I'm happy with the current Pathfinder version. I have discussed this with my group and we all came to the conclusion that a Paladin should 'Defensively' be on par with a Barbarian's 'Offensive' capabilities, which he really isn't in 3.5E. In the years I've played D&D, Smite Evil is synonimous with MISS,(also See Stunning Fist) and not very fearsome at all, but makes for classic comic relief.

Vak wrote:


I dislike giving nicknames to classes such as 'tank' or 'dps' because I find that any character can be played to fit any of those roles.{snip} as per the logic mmorpg's and 4th edition want us to assimilate.

I agree this is terminology spawned from MMOs, which is most likely where 4E decided to pick it up from, however 90% of the time your chosen class is going to fit the appropriate nickname regardless of skill/feat/race choices. Example: A Rogue with all Skill-based feats, is still going to do extreme damage through sneak attack, or a STR-based Rogue, etc. Short of declaring him a pacifist, he is DPS or a STRIKER. It's just a nickname/skill interpretation that more recent generations identify with. Personally, I would much rather just play GAUNTLET when I feel the need to beat on tons of low health monsters with 1 or 2 attacks for levels on end.

Vak wrote:


I suppose you can see the paladin as a weaker class to the fighter or barbarian in any one fight, and you would be right. However, in my experience both in pathfinder and 3-3.5, there is nothing more fearful than a paladin against those encounters in which the paladin will use his smite evil effectively.

Others have already covered this a few times over, but I agree with them in that a Paladin only gets to be this cool "X" number of times per day and between Rage(with points) & +10 Movement the Paladin simply isn't on par with other martial characters, specifically Barbarian & Ranger.

Aura of Good,(should just die! die! die!) shouldn't be an ability, especially not one counted against his class capabilties. Make that "Protection from Evil/Personal" and now we're talking. "I glow good" doesn't cut it.

Liberty's Edge

Daniel Moyer wrote:
"I glow good" doesn't cut it.

I can see this quote being used my my paladin PC in the near future!


Arnim Thayer wrote:
Daniel Moyer wrote:
"I glow good" doesn't cut it.
I can see this quote being used my my paladin PC in the near future!

Yea, that's a HUGE pet peeve of mine concerning the Paladin. Aura of Good, pffft!

Here's another quote for you that our group saw a MULTIPLE times in our first campaign from our Paladin player... "I charge the (insert Large/Huge Monster HERE) with my lance, on my mount and use Smite Evil... oh... I rolled a 1."

*points and laughs* The Paladin pole vaulting event!


No +1 spiked gauntlets involved. In my games smite evil always bypassed any DR of anything that was evil, just like detect evil always bypassed most spells that cover evil alignment.

The paladin dropped his greatsword when the dragon picked him up in his maw and started punching the dragon. The paladin was actually level 21 with the epic smite which doubles smite damage, and also had divine power available to him. This effectively gave him his charisma bonus, and double his level to damage. He also used a fair amount of power attack on his blows and also scored one critical hit. Exceptional situation? Maybe, but even without that, the damage would be quite high.

About the "I glow good" thing, as a DM I always give paladins a glamorous introduction and keep reminding the party how secure they feel next to the paladin and how all of their worries seem to shrink, and that now that the paladin is here, everything feels like it is going to be just fine.
Unless of course one of the pcs is evil, in which case he gets an ominous description on how he feels the paladin's gaze pierce through him and burn whatever possible places there are left on this world for him to hide.

Back to the balance issue, yeah I am inclined to agree that the paladin needed a boost to come up to par with the lovely PF barb and fighter.
In my eyes he was even 'nerfed' by taking away the whole divine might/extra smiting etc feat selection from him. Still, I don't think full round smites is really the answer.
Lets not forget though, the paladin has some pretty awesome points, especially now with the good will save. A paladin with cha as his main stat is unlikely to fail saves, lets not forget.

About running many encounters per day, I run quite a few encounters per day. This is why I compared the paladin to the wizard. The wizard runs out of good spells after the first few important encounters, too. The only difference is that it is smite evil that the paladin runs out of, not fireball. He can also put up a fight still. Not like a warrior can, but better than a wizard can so there.


The funny thing is paladin's don't really need the good will save now as they become immune to most everything that requires a will save.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Aura of Good actually got my paladin killed, as the blackguard didn't have any trouble finding his unconcious body in the woods. :(


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Aura of Good actually got my paladin killed, as the blackguard didn't have any trouble finding his unconcious body in the woods. :(

Sorry, but this sounds more like your DM trying to screw with you. This blackgaurd is conveinently using detect good as he walks around?

Besides, theres always one thing alot of folk seem to forget.
Just being good gives off a good aura, Aura of good makes your aura stronger, which increases your chances of giving out headaches when someone tries to use it.

If there is a good reason for this blackguard using that ability, odds are he would have found your character anyway, unless he just happens to be non-good.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Nero24200 wrote:
Sorry, but this sounds more like your DM trying to screw with you. This blackgaurd is conveinently using detect good as he walks around?

No, he was one of the other two paladins who turned blackguard on the party. ^_^


Nero24200 wrote:


Besides, theres always one thing alot of folk seem to forget.
Just being good gives off a good aura, Aura of good makes your aura stronger, which increases your chances of giving out headaches when someone tries to use it.

But you have to be twice their level before you stun them for one round, and it's only a stunning for a single round. How often is that going to happen for a player (that they are twice the level of the baddie)?

Scarab Sages

Vak wrote:
I mean how long has it been since rogues went from holding a single dagger to being trademarked multi-weapon fighters that always fight with 2 pointy things in their hands? I know for sure they rarely held two weapons in 2nd, and they only started appearing with 2 weapons when 3d came out, and the 'exploit' of using 2 swords in combination with sneak attack came to play.

For our groups, it was a regular feature of 2nd Edition play.

Back then, a 2WF PC had a better relative chance to hit, since anyone with the non-weapon proficiency and Dex 16+ totally negated the penalties, and fought with mods of +0/+0. Fighter-types also got their iterative attacks on the main hand with no penalty, so come level 7, that made 3 attacks/round, at full bonus (not -2/-2/-7, as in D&D3E).

It's true that a Thief (*ahem*, Rogue) wasn't always as capable of dealing as much damage over long combats, since Backstab only applied vs surprised or unaware enemies, and didn't carry on for round after round, vs flanked opponents.

However, the possibility of winning surprise, then winning initiative, and making 4 attacks, all at double/treble/quadruple/quintuple damage (at level 1/5/9/13, multiplying everything), in conjunction with full movement, before, during and after each strike, before any of the opponents could act, often meant they didn't need to remain standing toe-to-toe very often.


Not often, but the ammount of cool points earned for the paladin when someone DOES go 'augh, Nooo! Chardun! My light!' as it did in one of my previous scarred lands campaigns, is quite priceless.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Smite evil lasts until your target is dead.

So. Since no one else mentioned this, I think if this is a fully accurate depiction of the ability, it actually alleviates this debate a bit, since our theoretical two-weapon-fighting paladin won't be marching through hordes to obliterate them with his many strikes while smiting.

Still leaves quite a solid "ack, my type VI demon is next to the twf paladin!" issue that could be debated. However I feel that two-weapon-fighing kinda makes a paladin more of a.. what's it called?.. cannon? When they smite - get out of the way. The rest of the time, oo, scary knives Mr. Knight. (I just don't think they have the feats to sustain the style sufficiently)


Thanks Majuba, I was about to mention that.
I feel the "Smite until the sucker's dead" is pretty much the perfect solution to this. 2-Handed/ 2WF/ S&B all have their own Strengths but I don't see any one being favored "hands down" by Paladins at large... Perhaps Paladins might be slightly less prone to go 2-Handed than Fighters/Barbarians, but only by a degree: They don't have enough Smites to use it on 80-90% of their Enemies, after all.

Sovereign Court

Majuba wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Smite evil lasts until your target is dead.

So. Since no one else mentioned this, I think if this is a fully accurate depiction of the ability, it actually alleviates this debate a bit, since our theoretical two-weapon-fighting paladin won't be marching through hordes to obliterate them with his many strikes while smiting.

Still leaves quite a solid "ack, my type VI demon is next to the twf paladin!" issue that could be debated. However I feel that two-weapon-fighing kinda makes a paladin more of a.. what's it called?.. cannon? When they smite - get out of the way. The rest of the time, oo, scary knives Mr. Knight. (I just don't think they have the feats to sustain the style sufficiently)

Hmm I hope this means a change to the entire smite system and not the current version where that statement is an outright lie until level 6 at least.


Yeah, a 2wf paladin at the first levels will basically get double damage smites for holding two weapons.

I always kinda hated the transition between lv 5 and 6, or lv 10 and 11, in 'good batk' characters. Lv 5: suck. lv 6: god. lv 10: trying. lv 11: bloody murder. lv 15: being owned, lv 16: owning, etc. Oh well. Necessary evil! :p


Abraham spalding wrote:


But you have to be twice their level before you stun them for one round, and it's only a stunning for a single round. How often is that going to happen for a player (that they are twice the level of the baddie)?

Fair enough, it's a rare event. But the point of my post is that aura of good, whilst it might not be a tremedously useful ability, it isn't exactly a curse either. Besides, if a paladin is unhappy with it, that's what magic's for. Paladins get a spell specifically for this purpose called Undetectable alignment. It's only 2nd level, meaning a paladin has to be 8th level to access it (that is, baring scrolls or wands if the paladin really needs it).

Though personally, I like the idea of paladins and blackgaurds being able to track each other. The whole point of their abilities is to allow them to fight each other, so it only makes sense to give them abilities which make these fights more likely.


To me a paladin who hides his aura is not really a paladin.

There's always the case of a paladin working undercover in an evil city with a rebellious organization in order to overthrow the evil rule, but that's questionable and in my opinion, dependant on the paladin's deity. A paladin of law would for example, in my eyes, fall the moment he tries to circumvent present law through the shadows. It might be fine for a paladin of a less lawful more good deity, though. I dunno. Its a fine line anyway.


Let them do it. If they want to add Dex to Str, Con and Cha as stats they need. They need to start with Dex 15 for this, and if they want all three off-hand attacks, they need to boost it to 19.

This means that str and cha (other damage stats) and con (HP stat) will suffer. Together with the fact that their attacks now suffer -2, the attacks they have will hit less often.


I do like the idea of a dragon paladin, though.

Hm... but smite evil doesn't work against your average player character. If only I'd start an evil campaign soon.... }>

Scarab Sages

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Smite evil lasts until your target is dead.

<nosebleed>

<faints>


I don't see how you can prevent a smite with 2wf without also taking away sneak attack. 2 weapon sneak attack is one of the most over the top things in 3.5. It's not a problem with smite, it's a problem with 2wf.

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