[Paladin] Weapon properties granted by righteous blade ally


Classes


Looking at building a paladin here, and I do see that it specifies that you select one weapon during daily preparations, and in your hands it gains one of the properties. Is the property fixed for the day, chosen during the daily preparation, or is only the weapon itself fixed, with the ability to change the property on the weapon itself based on what is needed at the time?


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It's ambiguous, but the wording of the Radiant Blade Spirit and Radiant Blade Master feats makes me think you have to choose the property during daily prep. That and the fact that if you could switch it at will they'd tell you what kind of action(s) it was.

page 111, Radiant Blade Master wrote:
Your righteous ally is a paragon of the chosen weapon. When you choose the weapon for your blade righteous ally during daily preparations, add the following properties to the list of those you can choose from: dancing, greater disrupting, and keen.

If the choice wasn't tied to daily prep the bolded phrase would presumably be omitted.

It would be cool if you could re-choose with a minute of meditation or something. EDIT: And then Radiant Blade Spirit and/or Radiant Blade Master could reduce the time to combat scale (say 3 actions and then 1 action respectively).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

As you gain these, you should be able to pick 2 from a lower list instead of one from the highest list you can access.


JoelF847 wrote:
As you gain these, you should be able to pick 2 from a lower list instead of one from the highest list you can access.

I was disappointed not to see the ability to start stacking the effects of the Blade Ally... picking up a dagger in a dungeon, and then shifting it into a holy longsword to fight your way out freeing all the prisoners.... ahhh i can dream. ;)

Saying that... the flexibility of ability is very good; especially when combined with magical weapons.

Silver Crusade

Speaking of blade ally, is it just me or is it the very inferior option when compared to shield ally, at least until level 10? I'm just not seeing much value from the basic blade ally or the level 6 feat. Am I missing something?


Joe M. wrote:
Speaking of blade ally, is it just me or is it the very inferior option when compared to shield ally, at least until level 10? I'm just not seeing much value from the basic blade ally or the level 6 feat. Am I missing something?

It's the only way to get critical specialization effects on the paladin as they don;t get it with their increase to proficiency like rangers, fighters, and barbarians.

Silver Crusade

master_marshmallow wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Speaking of blade ally, is it just me or is it the very inferior option when compared to shield ally, at least until level 10? I'm just not seeing much value from the basic blade ally or the level 6 feat. Am I missing something?
It's the only way to get critical specialization effects on the paladin as they don;t get it with their increase to proficiency like rangers, fighters, and barbarians.

Yeah, that's something. But is it worth all that much? (At least compared to the shield ally.)

Even if critical effects are really great, my instinct is that without much in the way of accuracy boosts, the Paladin won't end up critting all that often so specialization boosts won't make a huge difference.

If my quick eyeballing of the numbers is correct, the Paladin will only really ever crit a standard enemy on a 19 or 20 without additional attack boosts or AC penalties (this is using: the average numbers spreadsheet somebody put together; the standard challenge of lvl-1 specified in the Bestiary; the treasure tables assuming highest level item is invested in a weapon).

So, what, knocking an enemy prone 5-10% of the time as opposed to with a shield ally being able to prevent 30+ damage each fight? That doesn't sound like a great tradeoff to me.

I don't have time for a very thorough look at things right now so I hope some other folks can double-check my numbers.

But I just watched a blade-ally Paladin struggle to contribute to melee in Doomsday Dawn Ch. 2, and I wondered why one of the core martial classes built with the "melee damage" looking option and putting all options toward melee damage ... wasn't putting out much melee damage. After looking through the book for a bit, my take for the moment is that if I play a Paladin I can't see myself ever selecting blade ally unless it's via the Second Ally feat.


Well two-handed weapons does do more damage especially when you start getting +1/+2 etc. And if you don't need to spend an action raising your shield and your reaction to use "Shield Block" you can do other stuff, like deal even more damage. I don't know if its ever "better" to do this, but it certainly allows you to play with another style of paladin which is good.


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There's a reason it's called blade ally, swords are the one true weapon.

With the new update, it's totally possible to build for what the paladin should be good at: skill combat.

Either multiclass rogue to get Dread Striker (amazing after the errata) or just build for Deception and Intimidate. Feint is a much better tactic than blade of justice. With the ability to pump any skill up, and the paladins natural attraction to CHA, you'll be able to feint consistently which is essentially trading an action for a +2 bonus on attack rolls. It also improves crit chance, which matters a lot. It's how I built my paladin.

With the new rule on demoralize, the feat dread striker will be either a +3 or +4 on attack rolls, and it being a charisma based check means the paladin should be great at it. Synergy yo.

Then there's the skill feat, Battle Cry, which gives you a free demoralize and removes the language barrier. I've been running it as if it allowed your charisma to be used as initiative making it really strong for the paladin.

Swords deal out the flat footed condition on a crit, and getting that bonus on attack rolls is the most important bonus in the game. Even if you don't crit on your demoralize, you'll have a real chance to crit on the attack maintaining your better hit range.

The problem is, it has very little to do with the paladin class.


Personally, I'm considering playing a Blade Ally Paladin in the Level 4 playtest adventure so I can give Returning to a hammer and pretend I'm Thor. I also like the idea of using Shifting to switch from a two-handed weapon to a bow.


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I suspect the Blade Ally doesn't look especially impressive in one white room DPR calculations because it really leans into this trend for Paladins to excel at fighting particular enemies. (Seriously, it feels like Paladins took the "favored enemy" design space from rangers.) But unlike the Oath feats, which seem way too niche for most people to take, Blade Ally lets you swap these abilities out with far more flexibility.

Let's go through what we have.

DIsrupting: OK, right off the bat we have something that gives us 1d6 against one of the most common enemies out there and an extra debuff on a crit. If you know you will be fighting undead, and you often do, this is pretty great.

Ghost Touch: See Disrupting, really. I reckon Disrupting is usually the better pick at low levels since most incoproreals are undead anyway, but at the resistance values begin to outstrip 1d6 pretty quickly.

Returning: Useless for many, but absolutely essential for anyone who wants to be competent with thrown weapons (hello Starknife fans.)

Shifting: The low level "go to" for when you don't have reason to think the others will come up. I think Shifitng costs resonance, which sucks, but Paladins have some buffer room there thanks to their CHA. Aside from being metal af, this power lets you do a lot of interesting things while only investing in a single melee weapon. The most basic thing it does is let you change your damage type on the fly to exploit weakness/resistance on what you are fighting. But it also lets you call upon any weapon properties or critical specializations that might seem beneficial in the moment as you see fit, including stuff like Reach.

Blade of Justice: The damage doesn't look exciting, but a lot of really terrible enemies have a pretty enormous weakness to good damage. A paladin with this will probably do quite nicely in part 5.

I'm not saying this is the right direction for the Paladin to go, but it seems like the blade ally makes them the master of killing very specific things.


Shifting is kinda useless because you only improve proficiency with one weapon group.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the thoughts, folks. These are some good suggestions. I like the returning hammer idea.

I continue to think that the blade ally is a trap option (as your first ally/for the first 10 levels).

My basic take is that I should be able to roll any of the mainline martial classes (Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, Ranger) with a greatsword, pick all of the obvious "this is for melee" options, and do fine. Right now, I think the Ranger and the Paladin fail that test. That's my worry.


It's a legitimate concern. It removes an entire layer of customization.

You'd think a separate pool of weapon feats would be attractive.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, I should add that I'm open to the idea that my "basic test" might not be the best one. My husband was suggesting that the much more role-defined classes setup is very MMO/computer game in flavor. Maybe that's fine! But my 3.X background says to me I should be able to grab any decent martial weapon with any mainline martial class and have it work without much tinkering.

Speaking of the starknife, though, that's also a tempting returning Paladin build. (Basically returning looks like the only useful build baseline from blade ally, so any thrown weapon you can build around.)


Joe M. wrote:

Yeah, I should add that I'm open to the idea that my "basic test" might not be the best one. My husband was suggesting that the much more role-defined classes setup is very MMO/computer game in flavor. Maybe that's fine! But my 3.X background says to me I should be able to grab any decent martial weapon with any mainline martial class and have it work without much tinkering.

Speaking of the starknife, though, that's also a tempting returning Paladin build. (Basically returning looks like the only useful build baseline from blade ally, so any thrown weapon you can build around.)

The damage is pitiful.

I tested them on a fighter built with rogue dedication.
They needed to land a crit, with sneak attack (I built for feint) just to match the output of the d12 weapons regular hits.
I felt useless.

Silver Crusade

master_marshmallow wrote:
Joe M. wrote:

Yeah, I should add that I'm open to the idea that my "basic test" might not be the best one. My husband was suggesting that the much more role-defined classes setup is very MMO/computer game in flavor. Maybe that's fine! But my 3.X background says to me I should be able to grab any decent martial weapon with any mainline martial class and have it work without much tinkering.

Speaking of the starknife, though, that's also a tempting returning Paladin build. (Basically returning looks like the only useful build baseline from blade ally, so any thrown weapon you can build around.)

The damage is pitiful.

I tested them on a fighter built with rogue dedication.
They needed to land a crit, with sneak attack (I built for feint) just to match the output of the d12 weapons regular hits.
I felt useless.

Hmmm. Yeah. I really don't have the best feel for the dynamics of the playtest rules yet. I liked the starknife idea on paper but I can see how the actual date might not stack up. Another disappointment for the blade ally.


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The conversation in DMW's thread gave me an idea for a feat (or feature) that I think would fix a lot of issues people have with the Paladin. It requires one other easy fix: remove the word "melee" from the "Make a melee strike" sentence in Retributive Strike. (Which should go anyway TBH.)

[[R]] Avenging Strike ------------- FEAT 4
Paladin
Prerequisites Righteous Ally (blade)
Trigger A Seen creature within 15 feet of you hits an ally or friendly creature, and you are holding your righteous weapon.

You can make a Retributive Strike against the target with your held righteous weapon. You do so by projecting a spectral bolt of righteous fury in the shape of your weapon or its ammunition. This allows you to melee strike outside of your normal reach or make a ranged strike without your weapon being loaded. It uses the same damage as your normal strike. Apply cover and screening as normal. This behaves as your Retributive Strike in all other ways.

This does a lot of cool stuff.

1. Enables ranged Paladins in a major way. Admittedly, your Paladin of Erastil wants to stay closer to the action than your average archer, but that puts your heavy armor proficiency to good use, and a couple of the Fighter feats would help offset the issues with using a bow at point blank range.

2. Makes reach weapons competitive with reach weapons.

3. Makes it so R. Strike isn't easily negated by the enemy adjusting their positioning.

4. Helps make R. Strike relevant against, say, huge enemies who can attack your allies from outside of your reach.

5. The improved consistency of R. Strike should alleviate a lot of concerns about both the Paladin's DPR and whether they actually fulfill the tank role.

6. Launching an energy blade or arrow is metal AF. Very Legend of Zelda.

Issues

1. Broadly speaking, it might be a little too powerful and could make Blade Ally the automatic choice. I don't think it is, but I also think it could be finetuned to bring it back into balance. (See below.)

2. The exact range it works can be adjusted to taste.

3. It feels like the "spectral weapon" should deal good damage, rather than s/b/p as normal. Maybe force, but probably good. I'm not sure if that is balanced. Could play havoc with Weakness and Resistance expectations. Then again, the Paladin is being pushed in the direction of "messes up particular sorts of enemies particularly hard" and being able to bypass certain resistances would help with that.

4. It raises a question of "why can't you launch these bolts on your normal strikes." Potential solution: change it from a new reaction to an action you can take that modifies your Retributive Strike for a round. You spend an action concentrating the energy slash calling upon the favor of your diety to protect your allies.

Second Potential Solution: Let Paladins launch spectral good blasts on the regular, it is metal af. ^_^ That doesn't actually seem outrageous if it takes an action to charge your blade until the start of your next turn. It basically becomes the new Blade of Justice, only it provides an interesting tactical option against everything, rather than just against fiends and such.


That does sound metal AF, I would really enjoy playing something like that.


Honestly, just let vengeful oath be delivered by a weapon and give them a bunch of cool spell powers. Worth it.

Minimalist change.


master_marshmallow wrote:

Honestly, just let vengeful oath be delivered by a weapon and give them a bunch of cool spell powers. Worth it.

Minimalist change.

Eh. They don't have enough spell points to make that the quick fix for them, IMO. You burn your spell points that way you won't actually be able to lay on hands. I'd say you could just increase their spell point pool, but Paizo has seemed really stingy with that for reasons I don't entirely understand so there's probably a balance concern we are overlooking.

It also doesn't address Retributive Strike having working better with reach weapons than normal melee and not working at all with ranged.


Captain Morgan wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

Honestly, just let vengeful oath be delivered by a weapon and give them a bunch of cool spell powers. Worth it.

Minimalist change.

Eh. They don't have enough spell points to make that the quick fix for them, IMO. You burn your spell points that way you won't actually be able to lay on hands. I'd say you could just increase their spell point pool, but Paizo has seemed really stingy with that for reasons I don't entirely understand so there's probably a balance concern we are overlooking.

It also doesn't address Retributive Strike having working better with reach weapons than normal melee and not working at all with ranged.

If vengeful oath delivered through a weapon, I wouldn't care about literally any of the other features. They'd all be superfluous.

I think it'd be worth it to dump all the rest of my feats on getting more spell points. Might be worth a multiclass, might not.

I wanna know how people feel about hospice knight now that signature skills are gone. Does the feat do enough?


master_marshmallow wrote:
I wanna know how people feel about hospice knight now that signature skills are gone. Does the feat do enough?

I think it does just barely enough, but I think it does lose quite a bit, not necessarily because of the removal of signature skills, but because it seems like skill training is easier to come by. First, paladins get 5 instead of 4 base skills, and any multiclassing grants you additional skills, whereas before it not only granted only signature skills, but effectively cost you skill choice, because it required those skills to already be trained. My current paladin wound up with 8 skills, 5 of which were a free choice, due to taking cleric dedication (since I had religion and the Deity's skill trained already, those became free choices), which meant the extra training in medicine wasn't all that valuable to me, because all it meant was that when I went through skills that I'd like to have trained, I wound up picking up Stealth, because maybe it'll be useful, not because it was in any way key to the character.

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