Paladin Problem Design....REACTIVE not PROACTIVE


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master_marshmallow wrote:
I mean, do you have examples of paladins who don't vanquish evil? Who stands back and babysits the weak party members and still serves as a paladin and not a generic bodyguard or knight?

Do I ever.

The premade Crusader class in The Elder Scrolls series focused on heavy martial combat and restoration magic. No offensive capability besides what a weapon normally afforded you.

In Final Fantasy IV (and I think a couple others? been a while), your Knight character later upgrades into a Paladin, which allows you to continue swinging your sword like a normal Knight and affords you low level support magic.

I have to be careful even mentioning Warcraft on these boards, but like it or not, Warcraft is one of the most iconic sources of Paladins that exists. The Warcraft III paladins had healing, a defensive aura, and a mass resurrection ability. Their healing ability could harm undead etc like Lay on Hands. Not much offensive focus there.

In the NPCs book series, heavily founded on tabletop tropes as that is what it is parodying, the party's paladin does something that could be considered a smite once or twice? But uses healing magic and normal martial combat consistently throughout the series.

So to be clear, these characters do vanquish evil... in precisely the same way a Fighter or Barbarian could. What defined them as a Paladin was their support/defense role. That's not to say that 3E's concept of a Paladin is wrong per se, just that there is plenty of genre support for the direction Paizo has taken.


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When it comes to opinion, WatersLethe, there isn't going to be a right or wrong, just different perspectives with various amounts of support. In my reply to master_marshmallow, I gave several genre examples of Paladins with the defense/support emphasis I'm talking about. That doesn't make your opinion wrong, just shows that there is precedent for the direction Paizo has taken the Paladin.

From a design standpoint, I also think their decision is smart because the paladin has a mechanical niche, instead of being just another martial damage engine that has to be balanced against the Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, etc etc for damage contribution. Ignoring that in most comparisons, the Paladin did way too much damage compared to its fellows against a category of enemies that pretty much defines the genre.

WatersLethe wrote:
That being said, I haven't had a problem with unlimited detect evils in my games, and if I did I would say "No paladins this time, sorry."

If an ability has to be banned to not completely undermine the story, that ability should probably be replaced with something that doesn't cause such an issue. Some campaigns are going to have specific needs that mean certain abilities are problematic where they weren't normally, but Detect Villains has been an oft complained about source of disruption. It's a problem that is hardly limited to any specific theme or conceit of a campaign.

WatersLethe wrote:
I have no problem with there being a class that's going to lead the pack in damage against an evil boss. In fact, it's been very fun to have the Paladin act as the party's ace in that regard, and if anyone is going to pull top dog damage, I think it should be the one with the strictest moral code.

When the bosses are usually evil, that becomes "leads the pack in damage, pretty much always." Who is that fun for? Are you sure it's fun for one player, whose primary contribution is damage, to usually be overshadowed by another player who contributes the same way?

WatersLethe wrote:
and no Divine Grace does not do that just fine, at least as long as the Reaction is tied up in the paladin's ability to deal damage.

Abilities often compete for resources. Use too many Lay on Hands, you can use your domain powers. Make too many attacks and you can't cast a spell. That doesn't necessarily make any of those abilities bad. Defensive abilities don't have to be always-on and without competition to be good. Now, it might be bad, in fact, but it is not necessarily so because it shares the reaction. It'd take a lot of playtesting to prove that it is truly not effective enough.


Pandora's wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:
I mean, do you have examples of paladins who don't vanquish evil? Who stands back and babysits the weak party members and still serves as a paladin and not a generic bodyguard or knight?

Do I ever.

The premade Crusader class in The Elder Scrolls series focused on heavy martial combat and restoration magic. No offensive capability besides what a weapon normally afforded you.

In Final Fantasy IV (and I think a couple others? been a while), your Knight character later upgrades into a Paladin, which allows you to continue swinging your sword like a normal Knight and affords you low level support magic.

I have to be careful even mentioning Warcraft on these boards, but like it or not, Warcraft is one of the most iconic sources of Paladins that exists. The Warcraft III paladins had healing, a defensive aura, and a mass resurrection ability. Their healing ability could harm undead etc like Lay on Hands. Not much offensive focus there.

In the NPCs book series, heavily founded on tabletop tropes as that is what it is parodying, the party's paladin does something that could be considered a smite once or twice? But uses healing magic and normal martial combat consistently throughout the series.

So to be clear, these characters do vanquish evil... in precisely the same way a Fighter or Barbarian could. What defined them as a Paladin was their support/defense role. That's not to say that 3E's concept of a Paladin is wrong per se, just that there is plenty of genre support for the direction Paizo has taken.

on the WoW topic, i pretty distinctly remember retribution paladins (funny coincidence there) being a thing, and being hilariously offensive.

they also had a LOT more abilities than just the three you picked to support your argument there.


Pandora's wrote:
The premade Crusader class in The Elder Scrolls series focused on heavy martial combat and restoration magic. No offensive capability besides what a weapon normally afforded you.

Not a good example. Classes in The Elder Scrolls were a superfluous construct in general. Major and minor skills, which is all classes were in those games, didn't affect what kind of build anybody could be in the end. Every class was capable of being any build.

They finally recognized that when they removed classes altogether for Skyrim.

Quote:
In Final Fantasy IV (and I think a couple others? been a while), your Knight character later upgrades into a Paladin, which allows you to continue swinging your sword like a normal Knight and affords you low level support magic.

In FFIV, Cecil's best weapons still did the most damage against undead creatures. A Paladin staple. Again, not the best example to use for the point you're trying to make.

Quote:
I have to be careful even mentioning Warcraft on these boards, but like it or not, Warcraft is one of the most iconic sources of Paladins that exists. The Warcraft III paladins had healing, a defensive aura, and a mass resurrection ability. Their healing ability could harm undead etc like Lay on Hands. Not much offensive focus there.

Someone already mentioned the Retribution Paladin, which is meant to deal a lot of damage.

Silver Crusade

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SwordOfTheLaw wrote:
Quote:
I have to be careful even mentioning Warcraft on these boards, but like it or not, Warcraft is one of the most iconic sources of Paladins that exists. The Warcraft III paladins had healing, a defensive aura, and a mass resurrection ability. Their healing ability could harm undead etc like Lay on Hands. Not much offensive focus there.
Someone already mentioned the Retribution Paladin, which is meant to deal a lot of damage.

Pandora's was talking about Warcraft 3's Paladins, Ret Pallies are from WoW.

Silver Crusade

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MuddyVolcano wrote:
I hope it's helpful in some way.

It has been illuminating. I like Retributive Strike, but in my mind I hadn't considered it the "core" of the class.


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Rysky wrote:
SwordOfTheLaw wrote:
Quote:
I have to be careful even mentioning Warcraft on these boards, but like it or not, Warcraft is one of the most iconic sources of Paladins that exists. The Warcraft III paladins had healing, a defensive aura, and a mass resurrection ability. Their healing ability could harm undead etc like Lay on Hands. Not much offensive focus there.
Someone already mentioned the Retribution Paladin, which is meant to deal a lot of damage.
Pandora's was talking about Warcraft 3's Paladins, Ret Pallies are from WoW.

Ret Pallies also (A) didn't really do bonus damage against evil enemies, and (B) generally (through the end of Cataclysm, when I stopped playing) didn't top the raid DPS charts. "Dealing a lot of damage" just meant "getting in the ballpark with everyone else." Their contributions to a raid were more in the form of some utility while also doing respectable DPS ... similar to what Pandora's is describing.


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The Paladin design drastically changed from being the damage dealer to being the protector of the group. Of course this doesn't appeal to anyone.

The question also isn't if paladins should get their big smite damage back. That ship has sailed. The intended concept of the paladin in this edition is obviously that of a protector.

So the real question is if they can fill this role properly. The whole premise of this thread is that paladins are reactive and not proactive. That is a basic misconception of what retributive strike is supposed to do. It's a carrot and a stick. Don't hit my friends or I hit you. So you better hit me. It's an elegant solution to what was lacking in RPG's. It's a taunt. Sure you can reposition as an opponent. But that messes with the action economy. It's a win win situaton for the paladin with this simple retributive strike mechanic. It is not about the reaction at all. It's about how retributive strike changes the decisionmaking and actioneconomy of the opponents.
That being said, it's not his only mechanic to be the protector. Lay on hands and later on the ability to block damage with his shield for other players rounds it up. He is the best in his role. Being the protector.

Pathfinder 2 attempts to give every class it's own niche. That doesn't take away from the experience. You want to deal a lot of damage? Play fighter. That's their dedicated role.

And to this whole fluff debate: Paladins in old editions didn't have smite at all. That was added later to make that class more appealing. The big mistake was to make that way too strong and to make it the big centerpiece of the class.


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and you've fallen into the trap: you cant RS and block an ally at the same time until literally halfway into your career.
and only after four levels of them fighting each other over whether you're gently discouraging enemies from attacking allies or literally protecting them.
you certainly eat into the action economy of the enemy if they play around you... if they don't simply ignore your 1 attack reaction for their possible 3 against a juicier target (especially when there's multiple enemies involved and you can only punish one of them).
you're also ruining your own action economy to accommodate it.
which further hurts your action-hog of LoH (and we all know how in-combat healing is basically a wasted action by now, since you're undoing an enemy action that they'll just repeat with interest the next round).

i mean, it's helpful for patching them up (if they're not dead) after you let them get mauled all combat!

if they're going to do the role-shift and give the smiting to cleric (because they sure needed it didnt they) and make paladin the protector, make them THE protector: things like making the penalties worse than a paltry 5% accuracy debuff (monster's hypercharged offenses compared to PCs won't notice the difference).
perhaps increase the range of retributive strike (maybe scale it as you level) so you're not pigeonholed into a reach weapon to use it effectively, perhaps retributive strike gets to bull rush or trip on a crit (on TOP of other critical effects, because again we dont want to pigeonhole the class into one "correct" weapon), or gains extra uses on a turn as you level up, perhaps your AoOs get the 1e Stand Still feat property later, or perhaps get an attack or other ACTIVE ABILITY that lets you slap some decent penalties on an enemy/enemies upfront, with them ignoring or reducing it if they attack you instead of someone else (like lasting reprisal, but with a less completely inconsequential debuff. you could call it... "punish villain", or something i'm sure there's a catchier name around here somewhere).
something--anything that allows them to actually protect their allies from harm, or to actively (keyword) incentivize enemies to focus on you.
give the paladin tools to actually stop the enemy, and properly serve as the party's bastion, rather than let them harm allies and wag your finger at them.

Darkness from konosuba and should NOT be emulated when designing the class, and is in fact a terrible example of a paladin since she directly invites harm onto her allies.


Asuet wrote:
The Paladin design drastically changed from being the damage dealer to being the protector of the group. Of course this doesn't appeal to anyone.

Doesn't appeal to everyone. Quite a few people, most of the thread in fact (myself included), happily accept paladins as defenders.


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CommanderCoyler wrote:


Doesn't appeal to everyone. Quite a few people, most of the thread in fact (myself included), happily accept paladins as defenders.

This Paladin is terrible at being even a defender, though. It's even worse than the 4e version of the class, which I didn't think was even possible.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

People are allowed to want a defensive focused Paladin, but to make all Paladins defensive focused is just wrong. That doesn't fit a lot of people's Paladin fantasy.

Let's look at the core class features:

(1st) Retributive Strike: Offensive boost tied to ally getting attacked, making it a defensive tactic. Essentially a taunt.

(3rd) Righteous Ally: Doing good. Choose offensive, defensive or mounted flavor.

(5th) Weapon Expertise: Offensive boost.

(7th) Armored Fortitude: Defensive boost.

(9th) Holy Smite: Offensive boost tied to Retributive Strike, limiting its use to a defensive role.

(11th) Aura of Justice: Offensive boost tied to Retributive Strike, limiting its use to a defensive role.

(13th) Armor Mastery: Defensive boost

(15th) Weapon Mastery: Offensive boost

(17th) Legendary Armor: Defensive boost

(19th) Hero's Defiance: Defensive boost

So, the base class features are telling you that you have to wear heavy armor, and you have to either be a low damage tank or let a friend get clobbered. Also you have to use a melee weapon.

If Holy Smite and Aura of Justice were de-coupled from Retributive strike, you would see the base class chassis would have 4 offensive boosts and 5 defensive boosts, and one free choice. Someone who wants to play a "tank" has retributive strike to "taunt", and someone who wants to be able to dish out damage before a team mate gets skewered has some features in support of that (and those features could be used with ranged weapons). There looks to be a fair amount of non-retributive strike coupled class feats to support that dynamic, too.

I'd seriously like it if all classes that progressed in an armor proficiency also progressed in the tiers below that, as well.

It'd also be nice if Paladins could get more from the Fighter Dedication feat, so that it wasn't such a feat tax for an offensive paladin to go digging for more options.

To sum up: Tying multiple baseline class features to Retributive strike serves only melee "tank" style Paladins. De-coupling those abilities unlocks other modes of play without causing any harm to the "tank" style role.


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Thanks commander. That's what I meant.

@AndIMustMask
I didn't fall into any traps. Being able to shield others still rounds up the protective capabilities. I can imagine many situations where blocking is more beneficial than hitting the enemy and the other way around. And it still doesn't change the fact that retributive strike is not about hitting. It's about changing the combat behaviour of the enemy.

@WatersLethe
The whole idea that paladins use ranged weapons is completely stupid and by the way wasn't possible in early eaditions. It contradicts the chivalry code on which the paladin was built in early editions and i'm glad the bow using paladin now is gimping himself deservedly by doing that.
Why are you complaining that a paladin gets shoehorned into using heavy armor and defensive skills. It's like complaining wizards get shoehorned into casting spells.


Asuet wrote:


The question also isn't if paladins should get their big smite damage back. That ship has sailed. The intended concept of the paladin in this edition is obviously that of a protector.

... It's a carrot and a stick. Don't hit my friends or I hit you. So you better hit me. It's an elegant solution to what was lacking in RPG's. It's a taunt. Sure you can reposition as an opponent. But that messes with the action economy. It's a win win situaton for the paladin with this simple retributive strike mechanic. It is not about the reaction at all. It's about how retributive strike changes the decisionmaking and actioneconomy of the opponents.

I agree that it's a carrot and a stick but I disagree that it's effective or elegant. At least at low levels, taking a Step or Stride to get out of the Paladin's range is only forgoing a 3rd attack that probably only had a 20% or so chance to hit, so it's not much of a sacrifice.

Also, if Retributive Strike is mostly just there as a deterrent so that it doesn't get used much (and I do agree with this), then it is just terrible to require a Retributive Strike to use a Smite, since you will basically never get to use it.


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Asuet wrote:
The question also isn't if paladins should get their big smite damage back. That ship has sailed. The intended concept of the paladin in this edition is obviously that of a protector.

It's an inherently flawed design that has upset a lot of people. With fierce enough backlash Paizo can either redesign the Paladin to what it should be, or delete the class outright.

Quote:
So the real question is if they can fill this role properly. The whole premise of this thread is that paladins are reactive and not proactive. That is a basic misconception of what retributive strike is supposed to do. It's a carrot and a stick. Don't hit my friends or I hit you. So you better hit me. It's an elegant solution to what was lacking in RPG's. It's a taunt. Sure you can reposition as an opponent. But that messes with the action economy. It's a win win situaton for the paladin with this simple retributive strike mechanic. It is not about the reaction at all. It's about how retributive strike changes the decisionmaking and actioneconomy of the opponents.

It's terrible at doing what you suggest. It has no range, other than your weapons. Enemies with reach can avoid ever triggering it, very easily. And it forces the Paladin to stay next to backline allies.

There's also the fact the concept of a defender is inherently flawed. The best way to defend is by killing things effectively. Paladins in the past have been defined by what they can kill effectively (a.k.a. big bad evil things). Actual defensive abilities have always come secondary.

Quote:
That being said, it's not his only mechanic to be the protector. Lay on hands and later on the ability to block damage with his shield for other players rounds it up. He is the best in his role. Being the protector.

Lay on Hands is weak in this playtest and shield block also has real problems with action economy, especially competing with Retributive Strike and having similarly awful range.

Quote:
Pathfinder 2 attempts to give every class it's own niche. That doesn't take away from the experience. You want to deal a lot of damage? Play fighter. That's their dedicated role.

The Fighter's role is to be the best over the course of a long adventuring day. In the skirmishes leading up to the BBEG? The Fighter should be better than the Paladin. In the BBEG fight? That's where the Paladin is meant to shine. This is how it worked in PF1.

Quote:
And to this whole fluff debate: Paladins in old editions didn't have smite at all. That was added later to make that class more appealing. The big mistake was to make that way too strong and to make it the big centerpiece of the class.

Giving the Paladin a meaningful reason to exist was not a mistake.

This PF2 version of the Paladin class is a mistake.


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If smite was the paladins meaningful reason to exist then good riddance.


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SwordOfTheLaw wrote:
The Fighter's role is to be the best over the course of a long adventuring day. In the skirmishes leading up to the BBEG? The Fighter should be better than the Paladin. In the BBEG fight? That's where the Paladin is meant to shine. This is how it worked in PF1.

Good post SwordOfTheLaw. This part in particular has proven true in my games.

Having a Paladin in the group can be a bit of a headache before the boss. They're not sneaky, they discourage taking shady shortcuts, they're not quite as good as a Fighter against many enemies, and they can run out of resources.

Bringing them along is worth it when they put the fear of good into the big bads. The party has always shared grins when the Paladin declares that he's going to smite the big evil guy for his wickedness and then proceeds to follow up with that threat.

If you need a meat shield, bring a Barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a Fighter. If you want to ruin a particular evil doer's day, bring a Paladin.


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If you want a meat shield, bring a barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a fighter. If you want a chivalrous leader looking out for his comrades, bring a paladin. Welcome to Pathfinder 2.


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Asuet wrote:
If smite was the paladins meaningful reason to exist then good riddance.

See, I'd rather bring back Smite and expunge the notion that the game needs a "tank" with a "taunt".

I've always told people "This isn't an MMO, we don't need a dedicated healer/tank/dps. It's nice to have someone sturdy enough to take some hits, and someone with the ability to patch people up in a pinch, but play what you want."

So please keep in mind that your and my experiences and desires aren't universal, and that the current Paladin design doesn't meet a lot of people's needs and we should work toward making more people happy, not dismissing one playstyle outright.


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Asuet wrote:
If you want a meat shield, bring a barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a fighter. If you want a chivalrous leader looking out for his comrades, bring a paladin. Welcome to Pathfinder 2.

As it stands, I'd stick with PF1.


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Asuet wrote:
If you want a meat shield, bring a barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a fighter. If you want a chivalrous leader looking out for his comrades, bring a paladin. Welcome to Pathfinder 2.

Pump your brakes. That's "Pathfinder 2 Playtest"


The thing is, you can find that playstyle already in other classes. Want to make a crusader who roots out evil? Make a LG fighter and roleplay him being a zealot to fight the enemies of the church. Just one of many examples. You don't need smite for that.


SwordOfTheLaw wrote:
CommanderCoyler wrote:


Doesn't appeal to everyone. Quite a few people, most of the thread in fact (myself included), happily accept paladins as defenders.
This Paladin is terrible at being even a defender, though. It's even worse than the 4e version of the class, which I didn't think was even possible.

4e Paladin improved a lot with splatbooks though. It got a way of multi-marking through 'Divine Sanction' powers, becoming one of the better defenders (fighters can lock down foes better, but only really one at a time). Something like that is what the pf2 paladin could do with, especially as that also worked at range.

Would fit in the flavour too: The punishment for ignoring the Paladin is 'radiant' damage (would be 'good' damage in pf2), works with them being pseudo-casters


WatersLethe wrote:
Asuet wrote:
If you want a meat shield, bring a barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a fighter. If you want a chivalrous leader looking out for his comrades, bring a paladin. Welcome to Pathfinder 2.
Pump your brakes. That's "Pathfinder 2 Playtest"

I think at this point the basic concept of classes won't be thrown overboard. I assume the developers were fully aware that the 10 dice smite fans would make a ruckus after seeing the changes.


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Asuet wrote:
The thing is, you can find that playstyle already in other classes. Want to make a crusader who roots out evil? Make a LG fighter and roleplay him being a zealot to fight the enemies of the church. Just one of many examples. You don't need smite for that.

I will vehemently oppose any suggestions that lock out modes of play because someone wants to keep toys to themselves.

What you're saying is "My way of playing a paladin is the one true way, and if you don't like it go play another class or whatever." That's not a healthy outlook.

I want to play a Paladin who can smite evil. You want to play a paladin that can "tank". What's wrong with allowing both? Customization is Pathfinder's entire thing.

Also, it's inherently unsatisfying to tell someone who wants to play a paladin to kick evil butt "Oh, no, paladins are tanks only. If you want to deal damage roll up a fighter and pretend it does holy damage and stuff."


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Asuet wrote:
I think at this point the basic concept of classes won't be thrown overboard. I assume the developers were fully aware that the 10 dice smite fans would make a ruckus after seeing the changes.

Well, all I can say is don't bet the farm on things not changing during a Playtest that the Devs have said is subject to significant change.

At this point, we don't even know if they have other class features and feats held back because they wanted to test out the new Retributive strike. They know the old Paladin paradigm works because it was very popular, so as far as I'm concerned the new Reactive paladin paradigm definitely *is* subject to adjustment.


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I really like the new paladin. Not sure yet how it plays on higher levels. My first doomsday dawn group had not really the opportunity to let it shine, however they were steamrolling the dungeon anyway.

Does it need some revision, maybe. But over all this feels way closer to my expectation of a paladin.

I could see an updated trigger condition with: A creature moves out of your reach to hit an ally. Or a merge feat that makes retributive strike and AoO work together. Or a range increase by 5 feet while using retributive strike. If it plays out poorly for the majority.

The detect/smite evil part always seemed sketchy/lazy to me especially in a system where alignment is inherent and not something you as a paladin needed to observe/judge on your own. All that especially from level 1, sure a veteran who fought countless of evildoers might get the gist of it quickly but a beginner?


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Wow this way more response than I expected! Clearly a contentious issue!

I think one of the biggest points talked about is being a defender rather than striker as compared to 1E, and I feel it is a missed point. They could easily be a defender in 1E as they were reliable and feat buildable. This edition they are not reliable as they were.

Now, let us discuss the Paladin as a defender and striker from 1E to 2E. I think the biggest point that can be made about such roles is Smite Evil, Feats like Step-Up, Divine Grace, Lay on hands and SPELLS

In Pathfinder 1, Paladins smote as an offensive option of reliability, and defensive option of divine grace, they were RELIABLE. Far beyond fighters Paladins were reliable. They warded against magic, and resisted such attempts to control so they could do what needs to be done. Lay on hands was reliable, a swift action to tank for oneself or a single action for others. If you wanted to be a reliable defender feats like Step Up were available and AoO were DEFAULT. Last but definitely not least was spell options. Far beyond this a paladin could be a defender with these alone, taking half damage for an ally and having wards and control effects!

So here is why I am disappointed with Retributive strike, lay on hands, and the actions paladins have as is in 2E. First of all the action economy of Lay on Hands and having a Somatic Component completely changes it from a reliable, defender, in combat heal to a ineffective action cost. Smite is no longer reliable way to support your damage necessities. Retributive strike is not a reliable way to reduce ally damage or protect them. Divine Grace is not a reliable way for the Paladin to pull through the effects that would falter others. They have 1 reaction folks, They can only chose between Grace and Retributive when that wizard throws a fireball or control spell. They can only smite in "defense." Part of a defender is also being able to look at the enemy needing killing and chosing to face it head on while it runs and avoids you, taking it's actions away.

TLDR: Pathfinder 1E had the options intrinsic to a defender, People have always accepted the Paladin as a protector. The problems are the action economy of their defense, the re-activeness rather than proactive spell casts and other abilities, and the loss of reliability you expect the the faithful good hero archetype they once retained. A weapon master did more damage, but a paladin was always there by your side ready to do what needed to be done.

The trick to PF1 was options and reliability to use them, PF2 does not have such intrinsic flavor or usable options to the Paladin.

(Also there needs to be more use for Charisma over Dexterity, Charisma is core and fairly ineffective here)


Asuet wrote:
If you want a meat shield, bring a barbarian. If you want damage and capable defenses, bring a fighter. If you want a chivalrous leader looking out for his comrades, bring a paladin. Welcome to Pathfinder 2.

The difference is, the barbarian and fighter have actual mechanical support for what you say their roles are, and those are mechanical roles.

What you say the paladin's role is isn't a mechanical role at all, it's a personality, and the mechanical support for it (Retributive Strike) does not particularly even support that role. Something like a 5e Paladin Aura would support that, but Retributive Strike really doesn't.


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WatersLethe wrote:


I want to play a Paladin who can smite evil.

I don't believe you. I think you want a paladin who can smite whatever. Would you have fun playing a paladin who can't use smite because the campaign basically doesn't have evil monsters? How fun would that be?

So with smite being the core mechanic you would be fine if you could not use it at all? But potentially you could so that concept is awesome?
The whole smite mechanic is utterly idiotic if you can use it against everything. People don't want to smite evil. They want big damage bursts.


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I want to smite evil because of the reliable RP aspect in the face of such. The Paladin see's the lich and unwavering declares it a true enemy to good, bringing his dieties dogma upon them. Aura of Justice got out of hand, smite never was a huge bother, especially when 1 BBEG to burst was never a good idea later in the parties life. Do not insinuate people just want damage, read the post above about reliable options.


I personally don't like Retributive Strike, but I wouldn't mind if it stayed as a class feature. Just decouple Smite/Aura of Justice from it (or at least one of them). (Also, as other people have said, make it not so easily ruined by intelligent enemies).

With Righteous Ally, there seems like there's intended to be three Paladin builds: offensive, defensive, and horse. Retributive Strike is pretty key to most of the defensive abilities. And I guess it helps deter people from attacking your horse for that build - so there's some marginal use there. But it just absolutely sucks that the offensively focused Paladin has 3 different core class features tied to a very niche ability for them (and the selfishly defensive Paladin I suppose).

Look at Fighters. They have feat support for being an Archer, which completely makes AOO useless. But they only lose the usefulness of one core class feature for taking it.

It's weird that Paladins are so tied to this ability when it isn't necessarily a core way to play the class - which, going by the class features, is an intended playstyle. It's like if Rogue's debilitating strike was limited to melee.


Asuet wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


I want to play a Paladin who can smite evil.

I don't believe you. I think you want a paladin who can smite whatever. Would you have fun playing a paladin who can't use smite because the campaign basically doesn't have evil monsters? How fun would that be?

So with smite being the core mechanic you would be fine if you could not use it at all? But potentially you could so that concept is awesome?
The whole smite mechanic is utterly idiotic if you can use it against everything. People don't want to smite evil. They want big damage bursts.

I think you unintentionally missed the entire point of my post, and some of the points of this thread. The latter statement also came across as fairly insulting.

Let's please all dial back. It will help us all have a better conversation.

Reactive versus proactive is a different mindset than "wanting damage." There's also issues with RS's mechanics and what it takes away from player agency. SA has had these issues for a long time, and makes a good comparison; I personally don't want the new paladin inherit the 3.x's rogue's old issues. We've learned since then.


NEVER SAY DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Asuet wrote:
I don't believe you.

I'm going to need you to reel in the cynicism and contemptuous language for other people's opinions.

I am an RPer and I have played a lot of paladins in a lot of different systems. It's usually the first concept I try out in a given game. I have played tanky paladins, healing paladins and smiting paladins. I've gone into a game with a paladin on many occasions knowing full well that there wasn't going to be a wealth of smite targets, because that was the character I wanted to play.

You do not get to decide what I do and do not enjoy.

What limits my ability to play a Paladin is far more likely to be the campaign's theme with regard to alignment. If the GM wants to play a morally grey game, I won't play a paladin. Paladins are also very frequently banned or discouraged because of their inflexible code ruining other people's fun.

So, yes. I do enjoy having the capability to unleash holy fury on a deserving target even if that doesn't come up every day.


Yeah Asuets been trolling pretty hard. I'd flag the posts more, but enough sensible people have been around to point out the absurdity.


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Soulboundx wrote:

Wow this way more response than I expected! Clearly a contentious issue!

I think one of the biggest points talked about is being a defender rather than striker as compared to 1E, and I feel it is a missed point. They could easily be a defender in 1E as they were reliable and feat buildable. This edition they are not reliable as they were.

Now, let us discuss the Paladin as a defender and striker from 1E to 2E. I think the biggest point that can be made about such roles is Smite Evil, Feats like Step-Up, Divine Grace, Lay on hands and SPELLS

In Pathfinder 1, Paladins smote as an offensive option of reliability, and defensive option of divine grace, they were RELIABLE. Far beyond fighters Paladins were reliable. They warded against magic, and resisted such attempts to control so they could do what needs to be done. Lay on hands was reliable, a swift action to tank for oneself or a single action for others. If you wanted to be a reliable defender feats like Step Up were available and AoO were DEFAULT. Last but definitely not least was spell options. Far beyond this a paladin could be a defender with these alone, taking half damage for an ally and having wards and control effects!

So here is why I am disappointed with Retributive strike, lay on hands, and the actions paladins have as is in 2E. First of all the action economy of Lay on Hands and having a Somatic Component completely changes it from a reliable, defender, in combat heal to a ineffective action cost. Smite is no longer reliable way to support your damage necessities. Retributive strike is not a reliable way to reduce ally damage or protect them. Divine Grace is not a reliable way for the Paladin to pull through the effects that would falter others. They have 1 reaction folks, They can only chose between Grace and Retributive when that wizard throws a fireball or control spell. They can only smite in "defense." Part of a defender is also being able to look at the enemy needing killing and chosing to face it head on while it runs and avoids...

You've expressed this so well.

Thank you.


Asuet wrote:
So with smite being the core mechanic you would be fine if you could not use it at all? But potentially you could so that concept is awesome?

That's the way Smite already works currently, because it's tied to Retributive Strike, which you rarely if ever get to use. In addition to that, you also can't use it until level 9, and even then only on evil creatures, so it's far more limited than it seems like even you would want Smiting to be.

Asuet wrote:
The whole smite mechanic is utterly idiotic if you can use it against everything. People don't want to smite evil. They want big damage bursts.

You're wrong. People like Smite because it's thematically interesting. I'd be fine with it being a Champion Power even though this would severely limit its use, because then you can bust it out against the big evil boss monster or Antipaladin. Basically, Soulboundx has the right of it.


Smiting is not unique to paladins.

We have alchemists and Cavaliers in the playtest, so antipaladins should at least be on the table.

Hellknights also smite things.

Those are the big three.


master_marshmallow wrote:

Smiting is not unique to paladins.

We have alchemists and Cavaliers in the playtest, so antipaladins should at least be on the table.

Hellknights also smite things.

Those are the big three.

Clerics get to smite things too, in 2e.


{A} Retributive Strike
Make a Strike with the following enhancement:
The target is subject to your Divine Retribution until the end of your next turn. It takes a -2 penalty to any attack that doesn't include you as a target. The first time it makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target it takes good damage equal to 3 + your Charisma Modifier.

What do you think? Allows a Paladin to be a bit more proactive, as well as letting it work with ranged attacks. Might be worth making it two actions to not just be strictly better than a strike.
Also some feats that could modifiy it:

{F} Divine Smite (Feat 1)
Trigger: You would subject a creature to your Divine Retribution.
The creature instead takes good damage equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier.

{F} Group Retribution (Feat X)
Frequency: Once per minute
Trigger: You use Retributive Strike
Each enemy within 15ft of the target is also subject to your Divine Retribution


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CommanderCoyler wrote:

{A} Retributive Strike

Make a Strike with the following enhancement:
The target is subject to your Divine Retribution until the end of your next turn. It takes a -2 penalty to any attack that doesn't include you as a target. The first time it makes an attack that doesn't include you as a target it takes good damage equal to 3 + your Charisma Modifier.

I really like the trigger of retributive strike, however it might be too tightly knit. I proposed earlier to modify the strike however we could also just modify the duration: Make retributive strike a reaction or action with the same trigger, essentially let the paladin follow the evildoer to smite him after he attacked an ally.

Making it fully proactive feels wrong for me. While messing with the duration we could introduce new feats to create storyline smiting, lets say you can chose this from level 6 ooooooooonward:

Endless Retribution:
If you witnessed a creature attack an ally/citizen or you witnessed it committing other atrocities (needs specification) you can mark that creature for retribution, your next strike against that creature counts as a retributive strike.

For smiting in general I think the blade ally + feats qualifies for that, especially against undead.


vestris wrote:


I really like the trigger of retributive strike, however it might be too tightly knit. I proposed earlier to modify the strike however we could also just modify the duration: Make retributive strike a reaction or action with the same trigger, essentially let the paladin follow the evildoer to smite him after he attacked an ally.

That would be fine, as it would let you actually "punish" an enemy for attacking your allies like the feature seems to intend, instead of them just being able to re-position or something. I think your level 6 feat should just be part of Retributive Strike, if it's meant to be part of the core Paladin class.

vestris wrote:


For smiting in general I think the blade ally + feats qualifies for that, especially against undead.

Only if you know at the beginning of the day that you'll be facing a certain enemy. Clerics are still way better at smiting than Paladins (because Clerics can actually Smite), which seems wrong.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Asuet wrote:
I don't believe you.

I'm going to need you to reel in the cynicism and contemptuous language for other people's opinions.

I am an RPer and I have played a lot of paladins in a lot of different systems. It's usually the first concept I try out in a given game. I have played tanky paladins, healing paladins and smiting paladins. I've gone into a game with a paladin on many occasions knowing full well that there wasn't going to be a wealth of smite targets, because that was the character I wanted to play.

You do not get to decide what I do and do not enjoy.

What limits my ability to play a Paladin is far more likely to be the campaign's theme with regard to alignment. If the GM wants to play a morally grey game, I won't play a paladin. Paladins are also very frequently banned or discouraged because of their inflexible code ruining other people's fun.

So, yes. I do enjoy having the capability to unleash holy fury on a deserving target even if that doesn't come up every day.

Based on your comments here it is pretty obvious that for you it's about the damage and as you said yourself, you wouldn't even play a paladin in a campaign with a morally grey theme. That's not me being cynical.

Well now you can play in that kind of campaign. The damage is no longer the deciding factor.

For everybody who wants smite back. Ask yourself one thing. Would you be content if smite came back and did minor extra damage? Lets say 1 extra dice.
Would you still be upset or would that be enough to appease you? Or do you want to be the one on the table who deals the massive damage blow?
I can understand the people who want a cinematic effect of the divine energy channeled through the paladins weapon (which I think is already properly implemented in the game). I have no understanding for people who just want to be the big damage dealers on the table. There are enough other classes to do that.


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Asuet wrote:
Based on your comments here it is pretty obvious that for you it's about the damage and as you said yourself, you wouldn't even play a paladin in a campaign with a morally grey theme. That's not me being cynical.

Ok, stop the personal attacks, flagging.

Quote:
Well now you can play in that kind of campaign. The damage is no longer the deciding factor.

Unless there needs to be a compromise between good and evil PCs? Damage was never the deciding factor in morally questionable games.

Quote:
For everybody who wants smite back. Ask yourself one thing. Would you be content if smite came back and did minor extra damage? Lets say 1 extra dice.

No I would not, I did the math on this and getting smite back would be more important to add an addition to hit, rather than damage, as trading an action without a bonus to hit is almost never worth the minimal damage trade-off for abilities like Blade of Justice. If you instead could toggle your ability to reliably land a crit with primary attacks, it would be worth the action cost of losing out on secondary/tertiary attacks that otherwise could land a hit more reliably than I can count on a crit.

Quote:
Would you still be upset or would that be enough to appease you? Or do you want to be the one on the table who deals the massive damage blow?

I want every class to have a different way to deal the damage blow in different circumstances that diversify play. Locking classes into specific combat styles is going to make a very boring, homogeneous, and non-customizable game.

Quote:
I can understand the people who want a cinematic effect of the divine energy channeled through the paladins weapon (which I think is already properly implemented in the game). I have no understanding for people who just want to be the big damage dealers on the table. There are enough other classes to do that.

There really isn't, considering most of those other classes that put up massive damage are just the fighter and ranger, they have the best feat in the game currently (Double Slice) and thus have the best odds of triggering crits. Barbarians and paladins don't even come close to the damage they can put out, because increased dice pools and crit chances are more important than tiny flat numbers now given the game's math. Rogues are better at damage than paladins are. Actually, rogues might be one of the best damage classes in the game given their ability to specialize in landing crits with a rapier and doubling sneak attack.

Did you even read the book?


Asuet wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


...

What limits my ability to play a Paladin is far more likely to be the campaign's theme with regard to alignment. If the GM wants to play a morally grey game, I won't play a paladin. Paladins are also very frequently banned or discouraged because of their inflexible code ruining other people's fun.

Based on your comments here it is pretty obvious that for you it's about the damage and as you said yourself, you wouldn't even play a paladin in a campaign with a morally grey theme. That's not me being cynical.

Well now you can play in that kind of campaign. The damage is no longer the deciding factor.

He literally said verbatim that the reason he wouldn't play in that kind of campaign is so the rest of his table would have fun and not get derailed by a paladin derailing the campaign.

Asuet wrote:


For everybody who wants smite back. Ask yourself one thing. Would you be content if smite came back and did minor extra damage? Lets say 1 extra dice.

Yes, depending on what the cost for triggering a Smite is. I don't even mind the effect that Smite currently has, it's just that it is basically never going to trigger due to the fact that it is tied to Retributive Strike... which basically never triggers (by design). I don't see why it shouldn't be on the level of Cleric's Channel Smite, though, especially if you're not getting it until level 9.

Asuet wrote:


Would you still be upset or would that be enough to appease you? Or do you want to be the one on the table who deals the massive damage blow?

I don't care about "massive damage," I care because it is cool thematically, and I want to be able to pick when I can use it (even if it is just a Champion Power limited by Spell Points) so that it can actually be used.

Asuet wrote:


I can understand the people who want a cinematic effect of the divine energy channeled through the paladins weapon (which I think is already properly implemented in the game).

How do you think it is properly implemented? Through the current Smite feature? I disagree, because it's tied to Retributive Strike, so you don't get to pick when it triggers. Do you mean Blade Ally? Blade of Justice is OK (but it sucks that it competes with Attack of Opportunity, which all martials should get, though that's a whole other discussion), and Radiant Blade Spirit is also an OK analogue because you can make your weapon Holy, but that's very high level. You don't get to trigger Blade of Justice, though, it's just a flat +X damage to evil enemies, and that's just not as interesting or exciting as something like Channel Smite.


Asuet wrote:


For everybody who wants smite back. Ask yourself one thing. Would you be content if smite came back and did minor extra damage? Lets say 1 extra dice.
Would you still be upset or would that be enough to appease you? Or do you want to be the one on the table who deals the massive damage blow?
I can understand the people who want a cinematic effect of the divine energy channeled through the paladins weapon (which I think is already properly implemented in the game). I have no understanding for people who just want to be the big damage dealers on the table. There are enough other classes to do that.

Honestly, it would depend on how they did it. If it's an unlimited free action extra die once per turn on a successful hit (somewhat equivalent to the current version as it's persistent damage) to an evil target, then sure. It's still neat and free damage.

Even if it's that but there's a limited number of targets you can do it to a day (and you need an action to declare your smite target) then one extra die still sounds cool.

If it's a nuke you can only do like 3 times a day, then I'd want it to at least scale a bit with level so it's not pointless at higher levels. But it could even be as low as or even slightly less than the scaling of sneak attack or cantrips and I'd be cool with it.


I generally like retributive strike as is, as I think it does a good job in filling both the roles of "protect ally, by reducing damage they would take from an enemy's attacks" and "incentivize a (smart) enemy to target the paladin as opposed to their allies"

That being said, I think this is something where it would be best as a feat, still with a good amount of support, but optional, and reintroducing Smite as a core concept, even something just as simple as extra good damage per weapon die on a hit, with feats that might add some other effects, like a bonus to AC against foes you hit with your smite, or something like the fighter's certain strike, where your smite still does its extra damage on a (non-critical) failure.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Asuet wrote:
The thing is, you can find that playstyle already in other classes. Want to make a crusader who roots out evil? Make a LG fighter and roleplay him being a zealot to fight the enemies of the church. Just one of many examples. You don't need smite for that.

I will vehemently oppose any suggestions that lock out modes of play because someone wants to keep toys to themselves.

What you're saying is "My way of playing a paladin is the one true way, and if you don't like it go play another class or whatever." That's not a healthy outlook.

I want to play a Paladin who can smite evil. You want to play a paladin that can "tank". What's wrong with allowing both? Customization is Pathfinder's entire thing.

Also, it's inherently unsatisfying to tell someone who wants to play a paladin to kick evil butt "Oh, no, paladins are tanks only. If you want to deal damage roll up a fighter and pretend it does holy damage and stuff."

I've played D&D (1E, 2E, 3E, 3.5E) and Pathfinder for years. Choice and customization is what the game is all about. We all want to play what we want to play, and when we couldn't we altered rules so we could. When it comes to paladins, I see them as first, protectors, taking the brunt in battle protecting those who can't or saving their companions, second as evil smiting champions of good, and heroic and charismatic leaders influencing and bolstering their companions. That's the options I want to have. As it sits, the paladin isn't right (yet). That's what the playtest is for.

If I choose to play a paladin, I better be able to protect my friends, giving even the ultimate sacrifice to do so, strike down the BBEG for the good of all, and lead and bolster my companions or forces to victory against the forces of evil.

They need to find a happy median between PF1E version and what they are trying to create here. Perhaps Retributive Strike should be an option within a base class feature that allows that as a choice, and a more overt proactive type of strike like Smite was. They should be able to have both, but allow for choice and customization for those who want to be the big tank protector or a demon destroying smiter. Perhaps something like the initial PF1E Mythic Paths where you can chose from 3 choices, and can gain the others later on as they level up?

Three options
-Evil smiter (something akin to smite)
-Protector (retributive strike)
-Inspiring hero (companion booster)

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