opinion on Paladin balance....


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I think what makes a pally seem overpowered might be that everything they have is pretty... obvious. You dont have to work to make a good pally, everything good they get is just handed to you. There arent really many choices or ways to "mess up" a paladin. Compare a pally to an optimzed (other martial) and they may look similar, but compare two completely new players, one making a pally and one a barbarian and the situation will probably look pretty favorable on the paladin side.

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Chris O'Reilly wrote:
I think what makes a pally seem overpowered might be that everything they have is pretty... obvious. You dont have to work to make a good pally, everything good they get is just handed to you. There arent really many choices or ways to "mess up" a paladin. Compare a pally to an optimzed (other martial) and they may look similar, but compare two completely new players, one making a pally and one a barbarian and the situation will probably look pretty favorable on the paladin side.

I agree. That has a lot to do with the perception of imbalance. Some classes have huge swings in capability based on system mastery (the Fighter, Rogue, and Monk are all great examples of this, since it's really easy to build a bad version of any of those classes, though powerful builds do exist), the Paladin doesn't really. The difference between a well made Paladin and a mediocre Paladin is not nearly as great as the difference between a mediocre Fighter, Rogue, or Monk and a well built versio of any of those classes. Really, the Paladin is almost a "training wheels" class; no matter what terrible choices you make for feats, or which stat you probably should have shored up but didn't, he's got a class feature that'll help keep him viable. So if your group doesn't have much system mastery, the Paladin will seem really good because he doesn't take much system mastery to do his thing. But the higher the system mastery of the group gets, the more the Paladin only shines when performing in his particular niche of smiting evil things. It's kind of a diminishing returns prospect; you start out good, but then you just kind of stay good while other classes go from crap to fantastic.

Long story short, the worse your group's system mastery, the better the Paladin looks. The better they get, the less he'll seem like an issue. I personally think more classes should be "idiot-proofed" like the Paladin; it'd make it easier to run games with groups of mixed system mastery players.


Chris O'Reilly wrote:
I think what makes a pally seem overpowered might be that everything they have is pretty... obvious. You dont have to work to make a good pally, everything good they get is just handed to you. There arent really many choices or ways to "mess up" a paladin. Compare a pally to an optimzed (other martial) and they may look similar, but compare two completely new players, one making a pally and one a barbarian and the situation will probably look pretty favorable on the paladin side.

Yeah, it's the old concept of optimization ceilings, and optimization floors: optimization ceilings being how strong a class gets when all the stops are pulled out, while the optimization floor represents how strong a class is when built with basic competence/not making a deliberately useless character.

The Paladin does have a pretty high optimization floor; it's abilities are effective and versatile while also being relatively straightforward and easy to use. If you have basic fluency in the rules, you can make a solid paladin character who effectively uses most of his class abilities.

Full casters, by contrast, have a much higher optimization ceiling, but are also a lot easier to mess up. A wizard who's carefully selected a wide range of the right spells break almost any encounter, but by the same token a wizard who picks spells on the basis of "This one looks cool!" could end up being close to useless.


LazarX wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
Seconding what was said before. It seems overpowered, because of what it's being compared to. Compared to the fighter, it's pretty good, but that's because the fighter doesn't really have much going for it besides Combat.

For games that run longer than 15 minute days, the Paladins endurance runs into a pretty important wall, his limit on Smites. At 7th level my Paladin has 3 smites a day for her. Period. Which means in the demon infested campaign that is Wrath of the Righteous, she actually has to be conservative about when she uses them. When a Paladin isn't smiting, he's considerably inferior in damage output to just about everyone.

Keep also in mind that Smite is a one target per smite proposition. If a Paladin's party runs into a room full of Demons, she'll run out of smites long before the room runs out of demons.

I'm not arguing on combat. I'm arguing on pretty much everything else. Saves, LoH, Divine Bond, Spells (only 4-levels, but still it's something the fighter doesn't get), ect. Give Fighters those types of things beyond hitting the enemy with a big chunk of metal, and I'd argue that's all it needs.


Tholomyes wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
Seconding what was said before. It seems overpowered, because of what it's being compared to. Compared to the fighter, it's pretty good, but that's because the fighter doesn't really have much going for it besides Combat.

For games that run longer than 15 minute days, the Paladins endurance runs into a pretty important wall, his limit on Smites. At 7th level my Paladin has 3 smites a day for her. Period. Which means in the demon infested campaign that is Wrath of the Righteous, she actually has to be conservative about when she uses them. When a Paladin isn't smiting, he's considerably inferior in damage output to just about everyone.

Keep also in mind that Smite is a one target per smite proposition. If a Paladin's party runs into a room full of Demons, she'll run out of smites long before the room runs out of demons.

I'm not arguing on combat. I'm arguing on pretty much everything else. Saves, LoH, Divine Bond, Spells (only 4-levels, but still it's something the fighter doesn't get), ect. Give Fighters those types of things beyond hitting the enemy with a big chunk of metal, and I'd argue that's all it needs.

Unfortunately, there's a common misconception out there that suggests a Paladin's effectiveness is defined by the number of Smites he has. Nothing could be further from the truth - Smite isn't even the Paladin's most powerful ability.

When looking at the class as a whole, a Smite-less Paladin still brings more to the table than your average Fighter.


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Which is a problem with the average Fighter, not the Smite-less Paladin.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Which is a problem with the average Fighter, not the Smite-less Paladin.

Which was the whole point of my original post.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

Hey I really appreciate all of the comments. As I respond to them I want to remind everyone that my personal focus here is group dynamics. I am not comparing level X paladin to level X (insert class here) I am speaking to the balance of the class in a group dynamic, how much do i have to modify the world to balance for any specific class, in this case the paladin.

Im going to try and collect a lot of points here pointing out why paladin is NOT overpowered.

Smite: Most people say something to the effect of
smite is highly limited to evil targets and is easily over come by spells and abilities which mitigate smite

what that argument means is that as a GM I should buff out most bad guys to counter the smite, I think if I find myself doing that its a sign that something is wrong.

Do you not have to do that with rangers though? A ranger with an undead enemy or a outsider enemy is going to more consistently tear apart enemies then the paladin will his 3-4 a day.

If there is a caster in the party, don't you have to prepare groups agains a caster?

blue_the_wolf wrote:


Resists: this one few people comment on but when they do its something like
Paladin has to have SOME form of awesome ability and/or its not that powerful

True, resists are not devastating but from a GM perspective they do skew the balance. as mentioned above the majority of the time things that bother the group are "fail on a 1" for the paladin or in order to make it interesting for the paladin I have to make it too dangerous for the rest of the group.

I guess I would have two responses to this...

1) Paladins are still going to be taking half damage from the stuff you hit them with. The tanks will shrug off a lot of damage this way... but not All.

The rogues and the monks? And anyone else with the access to the Evasion stuff? They are taking NONE. I've played with monks, rogues and paladins... and damage spells are much more dangerous to Paladins then they are the other classes.

2) What kind of game are you playing? Are you shooting for a TPK? I've heard of some setting that for their evening goal... but I never play in that kind of game.

honestly, is it THAT unbalancing... that ONE person in the group makes their save? And if everyone else DOES fail it... .isn't best that the one that still stands has a little healing?

blue_the_wolf wrote:


Action Economy the gist is
class X has action economy also

I think that many people are misunderstanding or underestimating the power of paladin action economy.
swift actions for other classes are a trade off, For the magus its their class defining skill, they dont get much else (but it makes them very powerful). casters give up spell slots and a feat. on the other side of the equation almost every form of healing takes up someones standard action... except for the paladins. and other burst abilities like Ranger 'smite' requires a standard action and/or a spell slot to initiate. Paladin has no such restriction.

I have no problem with action economy where there is a trade off. in many cases the...

As a paladin player, I'm usually more annoyed at the actions that I DON'T get to use... Those swifts are rarely an issue. They may look rough on paper for a GM... but in reality I haven't seen an issue.

Now the divine Bond? And all those combat spells I have access to? They hardly EVER get used. AS the tank, I simply don't have the time to sacrifice a standard or full attack to activate a spell. I Still get my in combat buffs from the sorcerer and druid. My spells are more 'in case of emergency' like if I'm attacked without armor, or a lesser restore in case someone gets ability damaged... I've gone entire levels without ever using the bond or a spell.. Detect evil? Rarely EVER use it... I get by better with Sense motive.

blue_the_wolf wrote:


Again my focus is this: individually the paladins signature abilities are great but not overpowered. but the paladin gets SO MANY signature abilities all of which are very powerful. They dont need any one in the party to heal or buff them. They have high resists AND high AC, AND high damage when it matters AND can be the "Face" during role play.

thus as a GM I find myself working most often to work around the paladin in order to give other players a chance to shine

If a paladin is not getting healed/buffed, then the buffer is being MORE useful and gaining a few Action economy boosts himself. They have high resists, but I find their AC middling, and their touch AC laughable. They need a lot of stats, and Dex is hardly ever on the list, and if they are going full plate then their dex is shot anyway. Does the buffer really need to buff every single person in the party? That doesn't sound like a fun role, and sounds like way too many rounds of prep. The early spells will be half gone before the fight starts.

Also, for some reason the monsters CR and the PCs AC simply do not scale well.. My Paladin has an AC 26 at level 9... almost everything we fight is hitting in the mid 30's. Every grapple is almost twice my CMD... he really has no trouble at all getting hit.

High damage when it matters... again 3-4 times a day. Others can do more damage more often and more consistently... Paladins can get a few good shots in but for the rest of the dungeon he's a feat starved fighter...

As for the Face? That depends entirely on skill deployment. My paladin-king has a high Diplomacy and a Chr 22... The sorcerer in the group has a higher Chr since I put some in strength and Con. the Rogue in the group has maxed out bluff and about 4 other 'face' skills... With 2+ skill points, Paladins can pull their weight if they need to. But he should NOT be the 'BEST' at everything. He's VERY well rounded, but he rarely soars to the heights that a well rounded group who is specializing in things (knowledge, buff, heal, face, whatever) will be.

I know you don't like to compare Paladin with XXXX Class, but that's what balance is all about. If the player was using a ranger instead of a Paladin, would that solve all the problems? Or if he went inquisitor or Monk or whatever, where is the power level you want that player to be to fit in with the group?

For Group Balance, its more along the lines of why aren't they stepping up? If a player wants to be the Face of the group... then why isn't he better at it then the Paladin? It's not hard. Just focus for your role, and of course make sure the rest of the party knows that's what your doing.

We have a rogue/spymaster who wants to gather all the information... I have awesome diplomacy, but if that's her character, by all means, go do it! :D


Quote:
While I agree that the pally has lots of decent abilities, nearly all of them are situational though. As mentioned by only one poster so far, the pally comes with his Lawful Good and Code of Conduct baggage, which I tend to think as a balancing factor for having so many differing abilities.

This is, along with the "only works against evil" defense are pretty meaningless in my eyes.

basically the paladin code of conduct baggage is pretty much a trap that leads to argument. Most players will always argue some kind of justification for their moral actions. And if the GM not only dissagrees but wants to punish the player for having a different moral view things do not end well. In the end I think most GMs just tend to let players put on the thinnest veneer of LG and call it a day.

and the Only works against evil defense is moot because no matter how many creatures you list from the bestiary that are not evil the fact of the matter is most baddies in most adventure paths are going to be evil. even if its a home brew that paladin is going to be rightfully upset if every big baddy is taylor made to negate his ability. besides, I dont want to take away the paladin smite... i just think it, combined with all of the other abilities, is a bit much.

Chris O'Reilly wrote:
I think what makes a pally seem overpowered might be that everything they have is pretty... obvious. You dont have to work to make a good pally, everything good they get is just handed to you. There arent really many choices or ways to "mess up" a paladin. Compare a pally to an optimzed (other martial) and they may look similar, but compare two completely new players, one making a pally and one a barbarian and the situation will probably look pretty favorable on the paladin side.

OUTSTANDING POINT. I had not thought of this.

it also explains a lot of the missunderstanding in the debate on the matter. people may say something like

Ranger 'smite' > paladin smite
superstitious invulnerable rager > Paladin resists
Druid action economy > paladin action economy

and consider the point made... but i look at that and say "do you realize you just specialized 3 different classes to out do the standard issue abilities of every paladin?

but at the same time people defending paladins are trying to point out that other a bow focused vengeance paladin they really dont get much more powerful than that same standard issue paladin.

but... still... is that a good thing or a bad thing for the paladin? that their standard issue build is so good that they cant really come up with any horizontal growth.


I like that there is a class out there that you can throw at a new player and it has something for them to do in most situations. I don't think the paladin is going to do everything better, but you don't have to look over a new players shoulder like you do when they inevitably try to make a fighter.


blue_the_wolf wrote:

but at the same time people defending paladins are trying to point out that other a bow focused vengeance paladin they really dont get much more powerful than that same standard issue paladin.

but... still... is that a good thing or a bad thing for the paladin? that their standard issue build is so good that they cant really come up with any horizontal growth.

Personally, I like the idea of Archtypes. It's nice to have some variety and specialize up some of these classes.

However when I think Paladin... I think Holy warrior with Sword/board and I've never seen an archtype I liked with it. Frankly, I think of a Paladin as an archtype of a cavalier which is a specialized archtype of a fighter.

Mechanics of course are completley different, but the 'theme' isn't much of a stretch.

As such I think it's a good thing that the core class is so playable on its own without getting bogged down with rules bloat or needing 3 different books in order to 'make it right'.

Core only monks are horrible... Monks with Core and Ultimate Combat are pretty cool.

Out of curiosity, are these questions theory-craft, or are you actually having trouble with the class in a game right now?

Any specific examples that have given you issues?


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voska66 wrote:


1) Smite is easy to avoid so it is not really all the powerful. A 2nd level spell on the Clerics list that can be in potion for called Corruption Resistance nullifies smite for 10 minutes per level. Any evil cleric would should have this prepared with Paladin's hunting them down all the time. Combined with the fact that no all bad guys need to be evil this suddenly becomes a pretty weak ability. In fact it's so bad you as GM should avoid negating this class feature on the bosses and give the Paladin someone to smite.

2) Saves are good. Chr bonus to save is all fine but unless you have high stats this really shouldn't be an issue. Thing is let the Paladin shine here because of what you can do with Smite Evil.

3) Action economy is not an issue. That's pretty minor compared so of the other classes. Thinking Magus and Inquisitor.

Then consider that Paladin has Alignment and Code issues they have to deal with or they lose all these class features until they can atone. There are so many ways a GM can mess with Paladin's abilities that I find they are no where near over powered.

Funny how something new like corruption resistance is introduced and I fail to notice it works against Smite Evil. I knew it worked against holy smite and the like. I did not realize is countered smite evil. That is going to help a ton.

I see why I missed it. Very limited number of classes that can cast it and it is only useful in certain situations. Good to know for the party I'm running right now. I believe an anti-paladin enemy is in order to deal with an Oath of Vengeance Paladin.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Blakmane wrote:
Blue, I can with almost certainty tell that your problem is running solo monsters against the party. The game balances very poorly around solo encounters. Enemies who are strong enough to survive against multiple characters are usually also strong enough to take down said characters in very few rounds. Thus, 2-3 rounds is completely standard for such an encounter: by this point either the boss enemy is dead, or the players are out of resources/HP.

And yet Paizo insists on throwing solo encounters at us all the time in their AP's. :-/


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Blakmane wrote:
Blue, I can with almost certainty tell that your problem is running solo monsters against the party. The game balances very poorly around solo encounters. Enemies who are strong enough to survive against multiple characters are usually also strong enough to take down said characters in very few rounds. Thus, 2-3 rounds is completely standard for such an encounter: by this point either the boss enemy is dead, or the players are out of resources/HP.
And yet Paizo insists on throwing solo encounters at us all the time in their AP's. :-/

Yea I hate this myself, and its immediately changed in any ap I run. Even if its a bit odd, there is NEVER a solo monster at my table. NEVER. Like baring the party starting a fight with someone that wasnt planned as an encounter there at least 2 usually more enemies per encounter. Luckily I have a large group (6-7) so I just increase the CR by doubling up on whats in the encounter, or adding different but equivalent CR enemies when things should be unique.


As a GM how can you say that the code that a Paladin follows isn't a mitigating factor? Or that not effecting evil is not a good arguement? If you tailor EVERY fight against the Paladin, sure, that's bad, but as the GM you control that, so what's bad about putting in different types of encounters? Ones where the Paladin can shine, and others where other characters will shine? If you vary your encounters and make the PCs think, and figure out creative solutions, you're doing your job, and the players are engaged. If you stick to tropes, then you're going to get a standard "Well, it's a bad guy, time to smite." reaction.

That's your job as the GM, to make encounters so that everyone gets their shot at the limelight. It's also your job as the GM to let your Paladin know what the code looks like, and enforce it. If you put that out there beforehand, how can the Paladin argue about it? Also, you don't have to immediately make the character a fallen Paladin. If he does something questionable, or in a grey area, have the Paladin's god "give him a sign" that the Paladin's treading a very fine line.

Do those things and you'll have a happy party, since everyone's getting their chance to shine, and you may actually have a happier Paladin since he's getting direct feedback both in game and out of game as to what's expected, and it also can be used as a story enhancer.

Being a GM...a GOOD GM is not the easiest thing to do. You have to come up with your concept, and then rework and rewrite that concept to suit 4-8 different personalities, and THEN be agile enough to react when those personalities do something totally unexpected, and trust me, they will.


Paladin is just about the best martial class. For some a well & carefully made BBn can do better, and a Inquisitor is really nice, except they don;t get full BAB. So yeah, Op if you were simply comparing the martial classes, the Paladin is pretty darn good. Throw in a campaign with a lot of undead, demons etc, and the paladin rules the martial niche.

Bt once you get past the low levels the spellcasters start to pull ahead, and depending on the campaign, can dominate as early as 12th level.

So, yeah, if we're just comparing martial classes, you might have a point. But once you get higher level, the spellcasters really rule.


Well the paladin is an interesting case.

1) smite is just great and I love it on all levels. My favorite part though is that unlike almost all other classes u don't have to worry, much, about DR bypass.

2) resistances. I love this and hate this at the same time. Love the signature to the paladin and how it's done. But I hate it that a level 2 dip is all u need to get it and just stay LG to keep it. In some ways this makes the paladin less meaningful and makes it abusive for power gamers. Add the anti paladin and u can get those resistances fairly easy. Add in racial resistances and b4 long it's semi hard to justify playing a paladin all 20 levels. I like the resistances of protection domain because of the scaling.

3) action economy: a good arguement u made but the paladin isn't the best at it. Support clerics, most bards, most summoners (the class) have more actions. The paladin probably has the most sound swifts but as mentioned they are almost all swifts.

I for one hate alignment more than anything.

Paladin is better made than most classes IMO so ill not bash it much. Paladin is probably the best martial/front liner.


If the Paladin is more unbalanced because it's more powerful than classes like the fighter, barbarians, ranger, fighter, or monk it's more because those classes aren't strong enough than the Paladin being too powerful.


Kelarith I know that your just giving advice... but what if you said you had an accident any my response was "a good driver knows how to pay attention to the road and avoid threats" I dont know why you had an accident but i immediatly imply that its obviously because you were not paying attention to the road.

My point is this. I DO talor to different members of the group. My entire issue is that the paladin has too many things to talor to.

Quote:

Out of curiosity, are these questions theory-craft, or are you actually having trouble with the class in a game right now?

Any specific examples that have given you issues?

combination of the two.

I was running the same campaign for 2 different groups and kept running into paladin problems. I then started examining WHY I was running into paladin problems and it mostly boiled down to the 3 reasons above. not that the paladin had one of those things... but that he had all 3.

so the debate raged in the groups and I decided to come here for an outside opinion.

to be honest I have been swayed that my opinion is not only the minority but the other side is completely valid in its point of view.


I have a player, 13th level paladin, in the group i gm, pathfinder rules, of course. He serves as the front line warrior. My only complaint about the class is how he can channel energy as a cleric of the same level, often better than his lay on hands. We look it up every time, as it doesn't feel right, I'm used to paladin level -3 or something, but No. I haven't seen an errata on that, though i haven't look in a long time, I would like to see errata on that. I hate it.

Liberty's Edge

David St. Augustine wrote:
I have a player, 13th level paladin, in the group i gm, pathfinder rules, of course. He serves as the front line warrior. My only complaint about the class is how he can channel energy as a cleric of the same level, often better than his lay on hands. We look it up every time, as it doesn't feel right, I'm used to paladin level -3 or something, but No. I haven't seen an errata on that, though i haven't look in a long time, I would like to see errata on that. I hate it.

You are aware this takes a standard action and two uses of Lay on Hands, right?


I feel the paladin' s channel energy should be level-3, and would be more of an out of combat thing to heal multiple allies at once, that way his lay on hands would be stronger. In our group, every time the paladin gives off a channel energy and destroys all the undead, I see the cleric player standing there like "thanks, guy, my one chance to do something", the cleric is a good sport about it, but i want to see that player having a good time, too, not getting his thunder stolen.


Yeah, he has plenty of those. Even took extra.

Liberty's Edge

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David St. Augustine wrote:
I feel the paladin' s channel energy should be level-3, and would be more of an out of combat thing to heal multiple allies at once, that way his lay on hands would be stronger. In our group, every time the paladin gives off a channel energy and destroys all the undead, I see the cleric player standing there like "thanks, guy, my one chance to do something", the cleric is a good sport about it, but i want to see that player having a good time, too, not getting his thunder stolen.

Uh...clerics are 9 level spellcasters, if Channel Energy is their only contribution, someone is doing something very, very, wrong.


David St. Augustine wrote:
Yeah, he has plenty of those. Even took extra.

He took extra Lay on Hands. Congratulations, he spent a limited resource on being able to channel reasonably reliably. Why shouldn't he be able to do so, then?


Random encounter in nightfang spire, not going to burn up spells on some shadows, saving spells in case gulthius showed up

I would even be willing to agree to let the paladin's channel equal lay on hands all the time, rather than creep ahead like it does.


David St. Augustine wrote:
I feel the paladin' s channel energy should be level-3, and would be more of an out of combat thing to heal multiple allies at once, that way his lay on hands would be stronger. In our group, every time the paladin gives off a channel energy and destroys all the undead, I see the cleric player standing there like "thanks, guy, my one chance to do something", the cleric is a good sport about it, but i want to see that player having a good time, too, not getting his thunder stolen.

I love the idea of Channel, but never get it to work right for me. Everytime I use a standard for that... it's only a fraction of the damage I do when I'm just swinging away.

In fact i did it again tonight against 4 zombie Cyclops... 5D6... got 14. Two of them saved for half... :-/

Honesly, if there had been a cleric in the group, I wouldn't have bothered with it. 2 lay on hands, and a standard action can get pricey after awhile...

With 22+ base classes... I wouldn't want any class 'scaled back' so it wouldn't overlap with any ONE class... Especially since in three APs and 14 characters I haven't seen a cleric amongst them yet...

As they are both the agents of their god, I think it's thematic that they both kick the crap out of hordes of undead.... Just gotta get the PLAYERS to play nice with each other ;P


Kolokotroni wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Blakmane wrote:
Blue, I can with almost certainty tell that your problem is running solo monsters against the party. The game balances very poorly around solo encounters. Enemies who are strong enough to survive against multiple characters are usually also strong enough to take down said characters in very few rounds. Thus, 2-3 rounds is completely standard for such an encounter: by this point either the boss enemy is dead, or the players are out of resources/HP.
And yet Paizo insists on throwing solo encounters at us all the time in their AP's. :-/
Yea I hate this myself, and its immediately changed in any ap I run. Even if its a bit odd, there is NEVER a solo monster at my table. NEVER. Like baring the party starting a fight with someone that wasnt planned as an encounter there at least 2 usually more enemies per encounter. Luckily I have a large group (6-7) so I just increase the CR by doubling up on whats in the encounter, or adding different but equivalent CR enemies when things should be unique.

Same here.

Unless Paizo starts inflating the hit points and defenses of monsters supposedly capable of being a solo challenge for a party, there's no point in running solo monster encounters. They have no chance. It's not worth the time to roll it out.

Liberty's Edge

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Paladin is overpowered because it forces the DM into a corner. He either has to let the paladin run rampant over every encounter or he has has to change every BBEG into a golem/plant/ooze (none of which are particular thematic). It's too focused on what it does and hurts the game as a result.

Liberty's Edge

Raith Shadar wrote:

Same here.

Unless Paizo starts inflating the hit points and defenses of monsters supposedly capable of being a solo challenge for a party, there's no point in running solo monster encounters. They have no chance. It's not worth the time to roll it out.

There's an element of truth here, but it's not always the case. I've nearly killed PC groups with single villains, both in APs (Legacy of Fire, to be specific) and non-AP games (an APL+4 CR Black Dragon can get nasty).

Feral wrote:
Paladin is overpowered because it forces the DM into a corner. He either has to let the paladin run rampant over every encounter or he has has to change every BBEG into a golem/plant/ooze (none of which are particular thematic). It's too focused on what it does and hurts the game as a result.

Having the Paladin do very well against main villains seems thematic and not game-breaking to me, as long as they don't do that well universally. And a humanoid, fey, aberration, magical beast, outsider, or dragon BBEG can easily be Neutral...and highly thematic.


Feral wrote:
Paladin is overpowered because it forces the DM into a corner. He either has to let the paladin run rampant over every encounter or he has has to change every BBEG into a golem/plant/ooze (none of which are particular thematic). It's too focused on what it does and hurts the game as a result.

I think the big problem is the BBEG concept (it's fairly ill-designed, even if you don't do a solo encounter, if you make the BBEG solely using the tools the game provides you), rather than the paladin. I've run BBEGs who don't die to Paladins so easily, while still not crushing the rest of the party.

And as an aside, beyond simply running non-evil BBEGs (a highly principled neutral character could still be a BBEG if their goals happen to oppose the party), it's not impossible to run golem/plant/ooze BBEGs, so long as you understand that the narrative and the mechanical BBEGs don't need to be one and the same. For example an evil nobleman might not be able to put up much of a fight, but so long as he's untouchable (either via story, such as, he's well liked and respected, and killing him without proof of his misdeeds would put the party in a rough spot, or physically, through Fiat-spells), you can put the mechanical big boss at the end of a campaign as a neutral entity. I did that with a first world elven prince, who managed to evade the Paladin's Detect Evil by virtue of being low level. At the end of the campaign, the final fight was a fey-plant-creature-thing in place of where a normal BBEG would be, as well as a number of actually Evil fey (so the paladin wasn't completely smiteless)

Liberty's Edge

Tholomyes wrote:
And as an aside, beyond simply running non-evil BBEGs (a highly principled neutral character could still be a BBEG if their goals happen to oppose the party), it's not impossible to run golem/plant/ooze BBEGs, so long as you understand that the narrative and the mechanical BBEGs don't need to be one and the same. For example an evil nobleman might not be able to put up much of a fight, but so long as he's untouchable (either via story, such as, he's well liked and respected, and killing him without proof of his misdeeds would put the party in a rough spot, or physically, through Fiat-spells), you can put the mechanical big boss at the end of a campaign as a neutral entity. I did that with a first world elven prince, who managed to evade the Paladin's Detect Evil by virtue of being low level. At the end of the campaign, the final fight was a fey-plant-creature-thing in place of where a normal BBEG would be, as well as a number of actually Evil fey (so the paladin wasn't completely smiteless)

That all sounds great but you pretty well illustrated my point. You had to remove your BBEG as a combatant in order to neuter the paladin. This is by no means not a viable option (in fact it sounds pretty cinematic) but your example doesn't do anything to convince me that paladins aren't broken.


Feral wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
And as an aside, beyond simply running non-evil BBEGs (a highly principled neutral character could still be a BBEG if their goals happen to oppose the party), it's not impossible to run golem/plant/ooze BBEGs, so long as you understand that the narrative and the mechanical BBEGs don't need to be one and the same. For example an evil nobleman might not be able to put up much of a fight, but so long as he's untouchable (either via story, such as, he's well liked and respected, and killing him without proof of his misdeeds would put the party in a rough spot, or physically, through Fiat-spells), you can put the mechanical big boss at the end of a campaign as a neutral entity. I did that with a first world elven prince, who managed to evade the Paladin's Detect Evil by virtue of being low level. At the end of the campaign, the final fight was a fey-plant-creature-thing in place of where a normal BBEG would be, as well as a number of actually Evil fey (so the paladin wasn't completely smiteless)
That all sounds great but you pretty well illustrated my point. You had to remove your BBEG as a combatant in order to neuter the paladin. This is by no means not a viable option (in fact it sounds pretty cinematic) but your example doesn't do anything to convince me that paladins aren't broken.

The example I gave was for an extreme case, where I had three new players, and a bit of a munchkin. Usually, I don't find the need to drastically alter my BBEG fights to account for the paladin (usually it's the casters which get that treatment), but the paladin was already going to pull a lot of weight in that fight. But my point was, it's not impossible to throw a thematic fight where the BBEG doesn't die immediately to the paladin, if you're having issues.


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If u are worried about a paladin warping your game, you must have never played with an optimized wizard...


Feral wrote:
Paladin is overpowered because it forces the DM into a corner. He either has to let the paladin run rampant over every encounter or he has has to change every BBEG into a golem/plant/ooze (none of which are particular thematic). It's too focused on what it does and hurts the game as a result.

I imagine it does hurt a game where those are the only two options, though I've never played in one where that was the case...

A Paladin's biggest strength isn't even his Smite. Barbarians and Rangers and even Fighters can match a Smiting Paladin for damage.


David St. Augustine wrote:

Random encounter in nightfang spire, not going to burn up spells on some shadows, saving spells in case gulthius showed up

I would even be willing to agree to let the paladin's channel equal lay on hands all the time, rather than creep ahead like it does.

Level 13 Clerics have an enormous number of available spells. Burning one or two on a random encounter shouldn't be an issue.


First of all, the point of this thread is one's opinion on paladins. From AD&D 2nd to v3.5, the paladin has never turn undead/ channeled energy as well as a cleric, now we're in pathfinder and they actually channel better, as their charisma is generally higher, making the DC higher. I was just a but of a shock coming in from those other editions. But the consensus seems to be that the channeling aspect of the paladin is legit, and it's other issues that make the class unbalanced.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David St. Augustine wrote:
First of all, the point of this thread is one's opinion on paladins. From AD&D 2nd to v3.5, the paladin has never turn undead/ channeled energy as well as a cleric, now we're in pathfinder and they actually channel better, as their charisma is generally higher, making the DC higher. I was just a but of a shock coming in from those other editions. But the consensus seems to be that the channeling aspect of the paladin is legit, and it's other issues that make the class unbalanced.

I've yet to see one game where a Paladin's ability to channel would want to make the player of a cleric or even a life oracle go home.

Also keep in mind that the popular "Oath of Vengeance" paladin build scuppers this option entirely to get a couple of extra smites.


LazarX wrote:
David St. Augustine wrote:
First of all, the point of this thread is one's opinion on paladins. From AD&D 2nd to v3.5, the paladin has never turn undead/ channeled energy as well as a cleric, now we're in pathfinder and they actually channel better, as their charisma is generally higher, making the DC higher. I was just a but of a shock coming in from those other editions. But the consensus seems to be that the channeling aspect of the paladin is legit, and it's other issues that make the class unbalanced.

I've yet to see one game where a Paladin's ability to channel would want to make the player of a cleric or even a life oracle go home.

Also keep in mind that the popular "Oath of Vengeance" paladin build scuppers this option entirely to get a couple of extra smites.

I generally don't care for channeling at all as a Paladin and Oath of Vengeance becomes a de facto decision for that reason alone... couple that with the fact that Lay on Hands is so potent, it makes the feat Extra Lay on Hands on of the best in the game - the versatility of an additional Smite OR two more swift-action self-heals from just one feat.


It's a legitimate complaint about their channeling only insofar as it relates to past editions, which may have the paladin's turn undead/ channel energy wrong. As, in fact, pathfinder is saying those editions were incorrect, the paladin should channel as a cleric of the same level. The deal with a paladin's caster level and channeling level being lower than his class level just always struck me as reasonable, as those weren't his focus, more martial, less magical. But i can see the general sentiment is that it's not really a big deal. Had pathfinder been all I've ever known, it wouldn't be, I imagine.

Shadow Lodge

the paladin is a solid class, by CRB standards not broken. once you take into account all of the feat choices and racial favord class bonuses it gets broken quick.

fey foundling and unsanctioned knowledge (i think thats the feat) lets them have access arcane spells, can be game breaking.

*edit* cant seem to find the feat, its not unsanctioned knowledge


TheSideKick wrote:

the paladin is a solid class, by CRB standards not broken. once you take into account all of the feat choices and racial favord class bonuses it gets broken quick.

fey foundling and unsanctioned knowledge (i think thats the feat) lets them have access arcane spells, can be game breaking.

*edit* cant seem to find the feat, its not unsanctioned knowledge

I'll be honest with you - I've never found Unsanctioned Knowledge to be as useful as some claim. For a 16th level Paladin, my spell selection would look something like this (assume an Oath of Vengeance archetype):

1st - Hero's Defiance x2, Lesser Restoration x2, Divine Favor
2nd - Litany of Righteousness x3, Protection vs. Evil - Communal
3rd - Blessing of Fervor x3
4th - Bloodsworn Retribution, Sacrificial Oath

What spells from the Bard/Cleric list do you (or anyone who might wish to chime in) think would better serve, recognizing that its costing one of your few feats to get them?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Wiggz wrote:
Feral wrote:
Paladin is overpowered because it forces the DM into a corner. He either has to let the paladin run rampant over every encounter or he has has to change every BBEG into a golem/plant/ooze (none of which are particular thematic). It's too focused on what it does and hurts the game as a result.

I imagine it does hurt a game where those are the only two options, though I've never played in one where that was the case...

A Paladin's biggest strength isn't even his Smite. Barbarians and Rangers and even Fighters can match a Smiting Paladin for damage.

And just amongst the martial classes, the Cavalier can actually pretty easily top it, and doesn't require the enemy to be a particular alignment.


Wiggz wrote:

I'll be honest with you - I've never found Unsanctioned Knowledge to be as useful as some claim. For a 16th level Paladin, my spell selection would look something like this (assume an Oath of Vengeance archetype):

1st - Hero's Defiance x2, Lesser Restoration x2, Divine Favor
2nd - Litany of Righteousness x3, Protection vs. Evil - Communal
3rd - Blessing of Fervor x3
4th - Bloodsworn Retribution, Sacrificial Oath

What spells from the Bard/Cleric list do you (or anyone who might wish to chime in) think would better serve, recognizing that its costing one of your few feats to get them?

You are much better off with Lesser restoration on some scrolls. It has no Caster Level dependant effects. Burst of Speed is a decent option for getting around the battlefield without provoking and is a swift action to cast.


andreww wrote:
You are much better off with Lesser restoration on some scrolls.

Probably so, but I never pre-plan characters with presumptions about gear. Its an easy change in-game should I decide to make it.


One of the nastiest things I have seen is a 8th level bow paladin (divine hunter) which the GM allowed him 1 level of half-celestial. The bow was a magical flaming burst bow, which he applied shocking burst for his special ability. With boots of speed, he would be hasted, deadly aim, point blank shot, rapid shot and smite evil. Also improved critical on the bow.

4 attacks, the first shot used many shot (so two arrows got smite damage), doing roughly 1d8+16+1d6fire+1d6 electrical. On average, 26 damage on each smite arrow (at +21/+21/+21/+16 to hit) and often a single round of damage would be >100 points. If he decided to double damage on his smite, we are looking at >130. If he was shooting at undead or got a critical hit (which is X3 + 2d10 fire + 2d10 electrical) the party was over. That's not even counting bow buffs from spells like divine arrow.

Even without smite, we were looking at roughly 60-90 points of a full round of shooting (not counting any critical hit).

The half celestial made him flying, spell resistance 20 and DR 5 as well, and gave him an extra smite per day...so 4 smites. Even without that added, it was still hard to hurt him. AC 24 (if you were smited by him you had to hit a 30 AC) and did I mention 10 times a day the paladin could heal 4d6 as a swift action on itself. Add to that, +16 fort save, +19 Ref save, +12 will save. Youch!

Paladins _can_ instagib pretty much any boss character that is evil. In that party, we had a bow ranger designed to be a heavy striker and he was just outclassed in damage doing what rangers do best.


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Not only is Paladin a balanced class, it's one of the best balanced classes in the game. In fact, the only changes I'd make to it would be giving it 4+Int skills per level and add Kn(Planes) and Intimidate to their list of class skills

Paladins shine when they are supposed to shine. They help on pretty much every situation without stealing the thunder of other (balanced) classes.

Barbarians and Rangers can have very similar utility and power of a Paladin. Rangers will have more out-of-combat versatility and Barbarian swill have higher overall combat raw power (Smite Evil is limited to uses per day, while Rage is all but enldess by 6th level or so)

If Fighters are overshadowed by Paladins, this is a problem with the Fighter class, not Paladins.


Raith Shadar wrote:

Unless Paizo starts inflating the hit points and defenses of monsters supposedly capable of being a solo challenge for a party, there's no point in running solo monster encounters. They have no chance. It's not worth the time to roll it out.

The problem isn't the AP, it's the optimization level. I see a lot of folks give 20 or 25 points, plus high WBL. They also allow everything from every book. That last increases power a lot. Some groups also have 5-6 players.

You won't see BBEG having bloodlines and regional feats, etc from all across Golarion spanning a half dozen handbooks.


Lemmy wrote:

Not only is Paladin a balanced class, it's one of the best balanced classes in the game. In fact, the only changes I'd make to it would be giving it 4+Int skills per level and add Kn(Planes) and Intimidate to their list of class skills

Paladins shine when they are supposed to shine. They help on pretty much every situation without stealing the thunder of other (balanced) classes.

If Fighters are overshadowed by Paladins, this is a problem with the Fighter class, not Paladins.

Agreed across the board. I would add that the Paladin could lose the doubling effect of his Smite and be fine.


Wiggz wrote:
Lemmy wrote:

Not only is Paladin a balanced class, it's one of the best balanced classes in the game. In fact, the only changes I'd make to it would be giving it 4+Int skills per level and add Kn(Planes) and Intimidate to their list of class skills

Paladins shine when they are supposed to shine. They help on pretty much every situation without stealing the thunder of other (balanced) classes.

If Fighters are overshadowed by Paladins, this is a problem with the Fighter class, not Paladins.

Agreed across the board. I would add that the Paladin could lose the doubling effect of his Smite and be fine.

The doubling is only for the first successful hit...I had that confused the first couple nights but was quickly corrected.

Soooo one hit with an extra +X... I suppose it COULD go, but I don't see it as breaking.

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