Bard / Paladin Advice


So I've got a new campaign coming up in a couple of weeks, and I'm going to be going in as a Bard/Paladin. (Of Shelyn, but that doesn't matter much for this situation.)

Part of the issue is I may wind up being the party's only frontliner, depending on how recruitment goes. I'm fairly positive we'll have a Cleric, Alchemist, and Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster in the group, with possibilities of a Ranger. Builds unknown by me, other than the Cleric is not melee-capable, and if the Ranger does join, he will be melee capable.
I suppose a lot of that comes down to self-survivability, which will have to be mostly covered via equipment and magic (Mithril Breastplate, Blur, +Dex and +Con items or spells, etc).

I have read Bard and Paladin guides.
Here's what I have so far. We're starting at level 1, and I'm presuming it'll end near 16.

I'd much prefer to use a Glaive for flavor reasons.

And I suppose my real question here is feats. Did I pick decent enough? Anything I'm missing I should have? Should I rearrange anything? Level 1 is kind of set but the rest is up in the air. Would more Paladin benefit me instead of this much Bard? Drop the archetype and go normal?

I think another part of the issue is I'm insecure starting at level 1.

Str:16 Dex:12 Con:12 Int:10 Wis:9 Cha:15
1st level up point will be into Cha, and then the rest likely into Str.

1 Bard1 (default class abilities) Feats: Arcane Strike, Lingering Performance. Traits: Ear for Music, Unhappy Childhood(Religious)
2 Paladin1 (Warrior of Holy Light archetype)
3 Bard2 Feat: Devoted Performer (DM nerfed it slightly from 3.5 after taking into consideration the power of Smite Evil now)
4 Paladin2
5 Bard3 Feat: Power Attack
6 Paladin3
7 Bard4 Feat: Lunge
8 Paladin4
9 Bard5 Feat: Combat Reflexes
10 Bard6
11 Bard7 Feat: ?
12 Bard8
13 Bard9 Feat: Improved Critical
14 Bard10
15 Bard11 Feat: Power Critical?
16 Bard12

Liberty's Edge

I'd go with the third level as Paladin, not Bard. Paladins get most of their cool stuff (including both 3d6 per day swift action healing, and +2 to all Saves) at 2nd level. Bards get Versatile Performance and Well Versed plus one extra Spell a day. Not nearly as cool a list.

You could then take two levels of Bard to compensate, of course.

So you recommend frontloading with more paladin? I was considering that.

I'm just kind of paranoid/anxious about this character for some reason.

Liberty's Edge

A little, yeah. The second level is where Paladins get really cool. The first is honestly kinda meh. I mean, Detect Evil is nice, and Smite Evil is all right, but at Level 1 on this character it's a total of +2 to hit and +1 damage. Barely better than his Bard's Song. It does take only a Swift Action to use, and does give +2 AC as well, but it's not all that.

Paladin 2 on the other hand, includes adding Charisma to saves and Lay on Hands (which is a Swift action to do on yourself, making it actually usable in the midst of combat). Those are where the Class starts getting really interesting. Levels 3 and 4 are cool, too, but not nearly as essential.

My original plan has it as Bard 1, Pally 1-2, Bard 2, Pally 3-4, rest Bard. I'll come up with something. For some reason I was thinking a more balanced progression would be better. (I also wish I could be both Bard and Paladin at level 1, but alas.)

I know 2 gets the juicy saves, but 3 has some immunities and going to 4 gets me a second smite and lay on hands (and a third lay on hands from the archetype, and they bump to 2d6 instead of 1d6, which I realize isn't much either way; I thought it'd be better than 1 cast of 1 spell at such a low caster level)

I think my real worry is the feats. Is Power Attack okay that early? I've never played a character with it yet, and since I'll be at less than full BAB, although with bard songs and smite to make up for some of the to-hit...
Power Critical okay to take despite not being able to take any Critical feats past it?
Any recommendations for level 11? Toughness? Weapon Focus: Glaive? Dodge?

Power Attack is something you CHOOSE to use. Since it's a choice, it's an incredibly useful feat to have.

Hitting a lot? Turn on Power Attack to hit even harder. Missing a lot? Turn Power Attack off.

Push your AC up, and get a shield (if only for a few levels). The longer you can last, the more time your allies have to help you from range.

Using you lay on hands ability for yourself is also a great trick; try not to waste it on anyone else; that's the cleric's job.

+1 for bard/paladin/paladin to get to 3rd.

You're good to 6th level. Play the guy. It'll take a while to level up. As you do so, try to get a feel for how you are doing. Use your higher level feats to help you get to what you want.

If you're totally sold on glaive; that's okay, but it's not always the best choice. Use it when there's another melee guy around. Also get a sense for how helpful the rest of the party is. If you have reliable support, it's a different situation than if you are pulling the wagon yourself.

I should have listened to you guys. Took Bard2 at level 3 for Versatile Performance (we had been doing a lot of Diplomacy prior to then, and I wanted the boost to it, as I had not any ranks in it yet).

And then a TPK based on failed saves. Although, I suppose the +2/3 wouldn't have mattered; I was the longest lasting anyway, and when I failed it was with a really poor roll. A bout of DM fiat later and we're back on the road (albeit with a neg level and losing 18k gp worth of upcoming rewards. ouch)

I took Weapon Focus: Glaive at level 3, as well, since Devoted Performer really wouldn't do much at this level. My plan is looking like this so far:

1 Bard1 Arcane Strike, Lingering Performance
2 Paladin1
3 Bard2 WF: Glaive
4 Paladin2
--- (Already at that point above)
5 Bard3 Spear Dancer -or- Lunge
6 Bard4
7 Bard5 Spear Dancer -or- Lunge -or- Devoted Performer
8 Bard6
9 Bard7 Spear Dancer -or- Lunge -or- Devoted Performer
10 Paladin3
11 Paladin 4 Power Attack
--- (Leaving it off there until I get closer)

The push to Bard7 is to get the buffs running better, as the Rogue/Wizard really really needs some help, and the ranger will kick even more arse should we buff him.

I'm also delaying Power Attack so much until I get some decent buffs running to counter the attack penalties. My rolls tend towards sub-10, so I need as many buffs as I can. Will probably take Furious Focus afterwards, if I do take Power Attack.

An option I noticed is to take 2 levels of Polearm Fighter at some point to be able to shorten the reach on my glaive, albeit at a -4. It'll also get me some feats, and you can never have enough feats. The downside is it's even more dilution of my bardic and paladin abilities and loss of favored class bonus.

My AC (at level 4, heh) isn't too far off from the sword+shield ranger (but he bashes a lot, which may be why). He does have the most HP, but everyone in the party has been rolling real well on HP anyway. And the cleric is being an obsessive healer. We're having to talk him down from healing into offense on occasion.
And having Reach has come in real handy quite a few times.

I don't have Ultimate Magic yet to see if there are any options in there I can use, but as a more martial character I doubt there are many.

Honestly, I would forget lunge. With a 5ft step and a reach weapon, you'll get there 90% of the time. And burning a feat for the remaining 10% is a waste. Take another feat that's good 90% of the time.

Sometimes you're on plan B. You can't stop it, don't try. Just prepare for it.

Example: I have a reach weapon, and I'm facing a bunch of dudes who are swarming inside my reach, since my allies are way over there.

Solution for plan B:Buy a spiked gauntlet. Wear it all the time. Punch people when they get close.

If you think about it, 1d4 at your regular attack bonus is better than 1d10 at -4 to hit. Plus, it's only 2gp.

And, if you really want to get wacky, buy a one-handed weapon. I recommend a MW silver morningstar. That way, you can do bludgeoning damage, piercing damage, and silver damage. You can even hold the glaive in your off hand, while you draw and fight with the morningstar.

I'm I'm going to urge against two levels of fighter. You don't want to create a character that's mediocre at a lot of things, you want a character that's really good at a few things.

The key is to not spend feats poorly.

So ask yourself, will I use this feat all the time?
Is this feat better than improved initiative?

Answer needs to be yes to both.

rkraus2 wrote:

Solution for plan B:Buy a spiked gauntlet. Wear it all the time. Punch people when they get close.

Already done, after the last session. I'd have tacked on a special material, but we're down a bunch of money, so it's just MW. (Nobody has magic weapons yet, though we could afford one or two +1s right this moment if we really wanted. I'm personally content with MW and Arcane Strike for another few sessions.)

I do have a longsword (mostly because at level one non-proficiency with glaive sucked too much), but neither stowing nor dropping my glaive are things I want to do when someone is in my face.

And yeah, the 2 fighter levels is not a very good solution, but it was something I noticed as a possibility regardless. If I was less of a caster class I'd consider it more seriously.

Skipping Lunge is doable, but I thought it would be nice to Lunge-attack, and then get an AoO against anyone (without reach) that tried to move into melee range with me. AND it would stop them from 5-ft + full attack. Pick up Combat Reflexes at some point, if I can get a Dex item to actually make it worth it.

Liberty's Edge

1) First Rule of Pathfinder Multiclassing: there is no longer any not to take the higher hitpoint melee class at first level, since you'll get the same number of skills no matter which of them you take first (but you will get a different amount of "maxed" hitpoints).

My original plan has it as Bard 1, Pally 1-2, Bard 2, Pally 3-4, rest Bard.

2) I tried to make this work once, and you have no idea how agonizingly slow the "goodies" come when you take two mainly end-loaded classes and nerf them. You're not getting 2nd-level bard spells until 8th level, and will never have more than one smite per day.

-- IMO, if your party has a full-time cleric and an at least part-time wizard, then you don't need a bard at all. -- They'll be tons of spellcasting, and the arcane-tricker will have most of the skill-checks covered. Bards are also ill-suited to being the sole responsible "front-liner" since they have low hitpoints and low saves (starting with a CON of only 12 makes it even worse).

2) If you're a bard/paladin multiclass, CHA should be an all-bumps stats.

Given the current party make-up, I think you'd have a lot more fun playing something like a dwarf barbarian wielding a fauchard (glaive-like polearm with extended threat-range) right from first level. You'll be able to really relish beating on things that would munch the other PCs in one bite.


STR:15 (bump 4th -- note STR doesn't have to be excess since rages)
CON+16 (bump 8th/12th)
CHA-10 (trash for a mix/max obnoxious dwarf)

Build: mix of barbarian and fighter; maybe one dip level of cleric for domain powers (strength, community and travel domains are especially good for dwarf ragers; pick any two).

I would have taken Paladin first, I realize it's more optimal, but RP reasons had me taking Bard.

I've realized how slow it will be, and that's why my revised plan has me starting from my current spot (Bard2/Paladin2) and going predominantly Bard from here on out. The next 5 levels at a minimum, and I'll see how comfortable I am there in regards to what to do next.

The Paladin2 boosts my survivability a bit, with Divine Grace, some swift action self heals (which I realize will be inferior soon, but the only other thing to spend my swift action on is +1 damage from Arcane Strike) from Lay on Hands, and that stuff.

Using a reach weapon, perhaps with Lunge in a couple of levels, will keep me a little safer than being right on top of someone, and we send the ranger in first. I usually don't like playing an in-your-face smashy type, and I'm inclined towards possibly odd builds.

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