Weekly Poll #3: If you have played a Pathfinder paladin, how balanced do you find the class?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


This week's poll is located here:
www.pathfinderportal.com/poll.html

Past polls can be found at the bottom of the page.

Future polls suggestions are welcome. Email me here with your suggestions or just post in this thread.

Shadow Lodge

The class itself isn't to bad. The big problem is that it steps on the Cleric's toes too much, from what I've seen. Both fun and function. I'm half tempted to drop Undead and Outsider from the Smite x2 and just leave Dragon.

Sovereign Court Wayfinder, PaizoCon Founder

I've been playing a 3rd level paladin in James Jacobs' campaign recently.

I think that the paladin definitely has a good amount of beefing up with the new rules, but, no, I do not see the "Smite Evil is EVIL" thing. It's not broken...no way. Smite can indeed open a can of whoopass, but let's be honest...it is really, really focused. The paladin isn't doing that on every opponent he comes up against...and he isn't doing it very often, either.

Here is my first experience with smite: We were facing a dark stalker mummy, and I announced my intent to smite it. I charged up, and smacked it....doing some truly significant damage. And then....failed a Will Save and ended up paralyzed. Made my Will Save, and became freed. Then failed my Will Save again, and became paralyzed again. My paladin got ONE good smite hit in, before the creature pretty much neutralized him.

Sure, the paladin has some great abilities, and has the POTENTIAL to really go to the mat with evil....but a paladin is only going to outshine other classes if all you are battling is EVIL. Specifically, evil undead, outsiders, or dragons.

As for stealing the cleric's thunder? Haven't seen that yet either. A little lay on hands is no match for a cleric's channel ability, or the cleric's spell arsenal. In our game, healing seems to be the only area that the cleric and paladin seem to overlap, and that is actually pretty fortunate, because this party needs the extra healing!

Lastly, my paladin is pretty weighed down by the heavy armor. He's definitely NOT as mobile as the barbarian, sort of average with a ranged weapon....

No, I find the paladin to be pretty well balanced thus far.

Shadow Lodge

What I mean is with dealing with Undead and Outsiders, which should [debatably] really be a cleric thing.

Sovereign Court

Beckett wrote:
What I mean is with dealing with Undead and Outsiders, which should [debatably] really be a Ranger thing.

when speaking of extra damage against creature types I had to correct that for you :).

As far as dealing with undead, I never saw clerics really tear apart demons or undead that you seem to think is their arena, yeah they'd make undead run, but that didn't deal with them, they'd run till the effect wore off then come back, the fighter types (granted in 3.5 the cleric could then be the fighting type) dealt with them. And for demons the cleric didn't deal with them, they just neutralized the demons nasty effects with spells like break curse, heal, remove disease, etc. So I don't get your supposed overlap where the cleric shined in those encounters, especially with high level undead where I never even saw turn undead work.

I mean I'll be the first to admit I hate hate hate the paladin dealing double damage against certain creature types. I'm houseruling it out in my games, and I fought against it with all my might during the design forums. But it was never from a point of it steps on the clerics toes. It was never from a power perspective either.


6 days left to vote.


5 days left to vote.


GMed one, and didn't have any earth shattering problems. The biggest paladin power he found useful is swift healing but that was all of 1d6/ time.

Unfortunately didn't get to see smite in action. It's a third level paladin though and the BBEG wasn't one of the double bonus baddies so I don't expect it will be a huge issue.

So I'm not sure I can really vote in good conscience.


I cannot participate in this poll (yet)
I'd be more interested in seeing a similar poll ~6-9 months from now when people have play with the PF rules more, but limited to those having played/ GMed *HIGH LEVEL* (14th+?) Paladins.

I think the poll shouldn't attempt to focus on "overall" Power Balance,
but focus on the fights where Smite is actually used. Everybody already knows it's not used against the vast majority of enemies per/day, but the BIG bad guys. Given that, it'd be interesting to see if people think the bonus Paladins have on the few BIG guys balances out with a LACK (?) vs the rest... OR NOT. (skewed one way or the other)

And have a sub-poll for Aura of Justice in particular and "Double Smite Enemies" in particular. I just think results from people who've seen the Paladin played 1-14+ will be more valuable than people just seeing bits of low-level play.

Liberty's Edge

Playing a 7th level Paladin atm and our group is about to go head to head with a big bad solo demon. In the group is a Ranger specialized against Demons, a Sorcerer, a Monk, a Rogue, and a Cleric. Should be an interesting encounter. I'll report back after Wed's game. :)

Scarab Sages

I haven't played or GM'd one yet, so no vote this week from me.

Dark Archive

Jal Dorak wrote:
I haven't played or GM'd one yet, so no vote this week from me.

Playing and GMing one. I think they're strong and slightly powerful. They have a good feel to them, and I don't mind seeing the smite come down on my enemies. I mean the point is for them to die. If I want to make it harder, I can easily conceive of ways.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quandary wrote:

I cannot participate in this poll (yet)

I'd be more interested in seeing a similar poll ~6-9 months from now when people have play with the PF rules more, but limited to those having played/ GMed *HIGH LEVEL* (14th+?) Paladins.

I think the poll shouldn't attempt to focus on "overall" Power Balance,
but focus on the fights where Smite is actually used. Everybody already knows it's not used against the vast majority of enemies per/day, but the BIG bad guys. Given that, it'd be interesting to see if people think the bonus Paladins have on the few BIG guys balances out with a LACK (?) vs the rest... OR NOT. (skewed one way or the other)

And have a sub-poll for Aura of Justice in particular and "Double Smite Enemies" in particular. I just think results from people who've seen the Paladin played 1-14+ will be more valuable than people just seeing bits of low-level play.

I dont think that would be a fair comparison. Every class has it's bailiwick, and every class has their weak points. If an ability is situational it should be included in the context of it's power. Should we try to evaluate the abilities of the Bard based soley on social interaction encounters? The Ranger only when tracking a specific known enemy? To me the fact that there is a whole host of enemies out there that the paladin's main combat ability is not very useful for is an important part of the balance discussion.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Haven't had a paladin in our games yet either so I can't vote in this one.


I'm running the last parts of Second Darkness. There's tons and tons of Demons in it. My players' party has a Paladin in it.

Said paladin makes everyone else look like a side-kick in comparison.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

How is he doing that? Is he only fighting against 5 opponents a day?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
How is he doing that? Is he only fighting against 5 opponents a day?

No. She fights several opponents a day. I think the average is like 40 opponents a day.

She just saves up the smites for the ones that matter.

Besides, I don't think the smiting is the main problem. It's her ability to self-heal as a free action that put her head and shoulders over everyone else when it comes to melee.

I'm not bent out of shape about it. If any class should stand out as most powerful it's the Paladin. But still... most powerful by far.


3 days left to vote.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Since my post got eaten before.

Thank you for explaining it. It is nice to see people aren't just complaining about Smite Evil endlessly.

I'm looking forward to seeing someone play one in my game so I can see it firsthand as well.


2 days left to vote.


Final day to vote.

Liberty's Edge

Well we fought the big bad demon on Wed night. A brutal fight. The demon had DR 10/evil and magic, decent SR, the normal demon resistances, and was huge size. Natural reach, Step-up, and Stand Still pathfinder feats made for an interesting fight. While the party tried to move around the demon they would often get stopped in their tracks. Several times we ran the demon out of AoOs even with Combat Reflexes heh. Kept the Cleric pinned down for most of the fight, unable to heal individual party members effectively.

Ranger (+4 vs. Evil Outsiders) still did a solid amount of damage by shear number of arrows fired (manyshot + rapid shot). Highest attack bonuses in the group.

Sorcerer got off one lucky spell (ray of enfeeblement) but for the most part just buffed and aided party members not wanting to waste spells against the demon's SR and resistances.

Cleric channeled energy and kept trying to move and cast but kept losing spells and getting interrupted. Cast a Holy Smite but it never made it past the SR. Still barely managed to keep everyone alive. Channel energy at 4d6 healing sounds good but really only heals on average 14 HPs per use and in combat that doesn't amount to much when attacks are on average dealing ~45 points of damage.

Rogue did decent damage with sneak attack. 2nd highest attack bonus in the group.

Monk didn't seem to do so well but that was mostly due to his bad rolling. Didn't hit once to any effect, poor fella.

My paladin did fairly decent and just barely edged out the Ranger for most damage in the fight. Had a pretty decent attack bonus but had a Bull's Strength and Smite for buffs which helped. Missed a fair amount of times. Began TWF longsword and spiked light shield. Kept missing so switched to regular attacks. Maybe hit 3-4 times with one early crit with the shield. Each time dealing 1d8+20 or 1d4+16 with the shield.

Because of wearing the light shield my Paladin was able to have a hand free by switching longsword to the shield hand (not possible with a heavy shield), healing as a swift action, and switching the sword back and continuing with his normal round. Healed 3d6 each time for an average of 10.5 HPs. When you are taking on average ~45 damage out of 75 HPs each round the demon attacks you 10 points doesn't really matter so much. In fact, it felt kind of silly. Luckily with the additional ~14 HPs from the Cleric channeling it was enough to keep him alive for the two rounds the demon focused attacks on him.

While the Paladin didn't exactly rock the demon's world or shine head and shoulders above all the other party members, I recall it having more impact on the way some of the player's acted. Several tried to aid and buff the Paladin's attacks since they knew the bonus damage was pretty high. I can see this happening often with a savy group that uber focuses on aiding and buffing the paladin every time the party fights a big bad evil.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Quandary wrote:

I think the poll shouldn't attempt to focus on "overall" Power Balance,

but focus on the fights where Smite is actually used. Everybody already knows it's not used against the vast majority of enemies per/day, but the BIG bad guys. Given that, it'd be interesting to see if people think the bonus Paladins have on the few BIG guys balances out with a LACK (?) vs the rest... OR NOT. (skewed one way or the other)
I dont think that would be a fair comparison. Every class has it's bailiwick, and every class has their weak points. If an ability is situational it should be included in the context of it's power. Should we try to evaluate the abilities of the Bard based soley on social interaction encounters? The Ranger only when tracking a specific known enemy? To me the fact that there is a whole host of enemies out there that the paladin's main combat ability is not very useful for is an important part of the balance discussion.

I think you're misunderstanding my point. I'm clearly acknowledging the ability isn't working against the vast majority of enemies, if only because it maxes out a 7 uses/day at 20th level, if not the fact plenty of enemies are neutral - that's obvious, as I already said. Evaluating the effectiveness of a Bard for social encounters specifically or Rangers vs. Favored Enemies specifically seems completely valid to me: That defines their peak performance.

If you re-read what I wrote, I'm simply emphasizing more granularity in determining if people think the case of Smiting is too much/perfect/too low DISTINCTLY from the (more common) case when Paladins are NOT Smiting, AND if those balance out. "Overall balance" could be achieved by MANY combinations of those two regimes, though some combinations might not be judged good for the game over-all (having no utility whatsoever vs. 99.9% of opponents but insta-killing all Chaotic Neutral Outsiders on the same plane does not create a very 'supple' game-space to play with).

Also note, I'm not necessarily insisting on "total balance" between classes - I'm actually somewhat OK with returning to more of a 2nd Edition-like scenario, where Paladins' onerous stat and behavior requirements "justified" their great power at what they're supposed to do. I'm honestly more interested that the 'suppleness' of game-play is maintained - thus my suggestions re: Aura of Justice making it work more like an AoE buff like the other Auras and forcing the same Smite Target, which really only reigns in THE most powerful 'corner cases' of it's application, not materially affecting it's general power/usefulness. In any case, given it can easily effect ALL other melee combatants, it seems reasonable to look at Aura of Justice distinctly.

Likewise, my question to Jason & Paizo: DO they forsee needing to specify specific tactics/alternatives to keep "Double Smite Enemies" a challenge to parties w/ Paladins, or do think that is un-necessary either because it balances out with the rest of non-Smited enemies, or they don't actually think there's a balance issue at all (solely dealing with the Smited Enemies). No answer on that yet, as far as I've seen

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