Paladin Issue Consolidation


Classes


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Here are the current mechanical issues in the Paladin as I, and others, have seen it. (Please, no Alignment stuff here? Thanks.)

1. Retributive Strike
There are numerous issues with Ret Strike. The Devs have confirmed that they are aware of the issue with it locking out bow users (Paladins of Erastil and Abadar) thus far. Devs have not commented, yet, on the issue of the difficulty to use it with non-reach melee weapons. Reach melee weapons, in testing, have shown that it is very effective on those builds. This creates an issue where it straight favors one build over others and hopefully all of this can be addressed.

2. Who counts as an Ally?
This is a big one. A really big one. Why? Paladins have several abilities that trigger when something happens to an ally. The first of which is Loyal Warhorse.

Loyal Warhorse contains the following line(s):

Quote:
Finally, you can make a Retributive Strike against anyone who hits your mount with a Strike, even if the attack was not a critical hit.

This seems to indicate that your mount is not an ally? I'm confused here. If your Mount is an Ally then you can Retributive Strike them if they hit it, critical or not. What is this supposed to actually mean?

The second thing this causes an issue with is with Shield of Reckoning. Now, this can count for your mount as well, if you are shield blocking for it, but in Pathfinder 1 you counted as an ally to yourself, is that still the case in Pathfinder 2? If so does that mean that you can Retributive Strike someone who hits you providing you use the Shield Block to protect yourself? That doesn't seem to be the intent, but depending on what Ally means it might.

3. Blade of Justice is just bad.
Blade of Justice is very weak. It is a 6th level ability that costs an action and adds 1 good damage per weapon damage die to all of your melee attacks for the next turn. Not only is 1 good damage per die absolutely terrible unless you have a +5 weapon or something, it is completely out-moded by Aura of Faith or just taking a Holy Weapon (which adds 1d6 good damage) and you can do a few levels later.

4. Instrument of Zeal is just as bad.
A power that only triggers on a critical hit with an already hard to get to fire Retributive Strike or a very weak Blade of Justice is rather poor. This should be looked at. It should really just add the damage to all Retributive Strikes and uses of Blade of Justice. (Which would actually make Blade of Justice much better in and of itself.)

5. Action Economy Woes.
By level 12 my Test Paladin has four (4!) different possible reactions per turn, but unlike other classes has no ways to get extra reactions. My reactions were: Retributive Strike, Shield Block, Holy (on my weapon), and Divine Grace. That is a lot. This needs to be looked at.

6. Our Level 20 Feat is... A level 12 Fighter Feat?
Shield Champion needs to be looked at. The Fighter has been able to have an always ready shield since level 12. We don't get that until level 20? I mean sure, it auto-repairing is cool and all, but this is way too weak for a level 20 capstone.

-----

I do hope that some of this the Devs are listening to. These are pretty big issues the class is facing.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Your lack of smite concerns me

I was looking at the class as a whole, and they lack
offensive capability. One of the hallmarks of every
edition of the Paladin from AD&D forward.

When I look at this edition of the Paladin, I see a
defensive fighter and not someone that can take a
fight to an enemy in a time of need.

Maybe make a feat chain decision path for offensive (smite),
defensive (retributive strike) and then use the progression
to modify these features, or maybe a third kind that gets
heals similar to a cleric instead of either of them.


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Don't forget the Warded feat. It just needs rolled into the base ability.

A player looking to play a LoH focused paladin will naturally gravitate towards LoH feats. These feats don't grant +SP, though. To gain more uses, they need to take non-LoH feats or multiclass. This reminds me of the old monk description versus its mechanics, in a way. It's a little of that.

For Blade of Justice, smite, etc: in general, some "smite" ability that was an effect on the paladin would be nice. If it matters, there's thematic issues with divine wrath being able to be flicked away by a disarm.

Reactive vs active flavor options.

Nice to have: Give the paladin Aura of Courage as a class feature, instead of a feat. This creates a natural launch point for other aura feats to be added in. Auras on paladins have always been popular, and the concept fits the support, tank, team player aspect in the current mechanics.


HWalsh wrote:

2. Who counts as an Ally?

This is a big one. A really big one. Why? Paladins have several abilities that trigger when something happens to an ally. The first of which is Loyal Warhorse.

Loyal Warhorse contains the following line(s):

Quote:
Finally, you can make a Retributive Strike against anyone who hits your mount with a Strike, even if the attack was not a critical hit.

This seems to indicate that your mount is not an ally? I'm confused here. If your Mount is an Ally then you can Retributive Strike them if they hit it, critical or not. What is this supposed to actually mean?

The second thing this causes an issue with is with Shield of Reckoning. Now, this can count for your mount as well, if you are shield blocking for it, but in Pathfinder 1 you counted as an ally to yourself, is that still the case in Pathfinder 2? If so does that mean that you can Retributive Strike someone who hits you providing you use the Shield Block to protect yourself? That doesn't seem to be the intent, but depending on what Ally means it might.

Leaving the other problems you mentioned aside (they are important as well, but i have nothing to comment right now) this looks less like a "who is considered an ally" problem (which is still the same as in PF1) and more like a legacy from and earlier draft of the book in which Ret Strike only triggered on a crit. This is similar to how we have a General Feat that gives us one Lore skill of our choice as a signature skil... despite de fact that all lore skills are signature for everyone.

However, both feats do something else, so it might just be a matter of removing the legacy text from them. In any case, all cases like those should be found and fixed as soon as posible.


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Quairon Nailo wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

2. Who counts as an Ally?

This is a big one. A really big one. Why? Paladins have several abilities that trigger when something happens to an ally. The first of which is Loyal Warhorse.

Loyal Warhorse contains the following line(s):

Quote:
Finally, you can make a Retributive Strike against anyone who hits your mount with a Strike, even if the attack was not a critical hit.

This seems to indicate that your mount is not an ally? I'm confused here. If your Mount is an Ally then you can Retributive Strike them if they hit it, critical or not. What is this supposed to actually mean?

The second thing this causes an issue with is with Shield of Reckoning. Now, this can count for your mount as well, if you are shield blocking for it, but in Pathfinder 1 you counted as an ally to yourself, is that still the case in Pathfinder 2? If so does that mean that you can Retributive Strike someone who hits you providing you use the Shield Block to protect yourself? That doesn't seem to be the intent, but depending on what Ally means it might.

Leaving the other problems you mentioned aside (they are important as well, but i have nothing to comment right now) this looks less like a "who is considered an ally" problem (which is still the same as in PF1) and more like a legacy from and earlier draft of the book in which Ret Strike only triggered on a crit. This is similar to how we have a General Feat that gives us one Lore skill of our choice as a signature skil... despite de fact that all lore skills are signature for everyone.

However, both feats do something else, so it might just be a matter of removing the legacy text from them. In any case, all cases like those should be found and fixed as soon as posible.

It may be Legacy Text, but the issue is if I am my own ally, once I get shield of Reckoning, then technically I can Ret Strike anyone who hits me if I shield block.

Which I'm fine with, but I wanna make sure that's the intent.


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I honestly feel like you can add Radiant Blade Master in as well. Both the level 20 capstone feats are pretty underwhelming. Spellcasters are getting level 10 spells, Fighters are getting perma-haste and you can add....keen to your righteous ally choices.


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've noticed a lot of games (e.g. Gloomhaven, for one) move towards the idea that you are not your own ally. It's possible that the idea of being your own ally has fallen out of favor for reasons of simple comprehension.


Another issue that I have recently discovered that concerns me more than most of the items you have mentioned HWalsh is that clerics make better paladins than paladins do.

The cleric channel(positive)energy class feature is roughly equal to Paladin lay on hands that has been enhanced by two paladin class feats. Clerics have an additional slight advantage in that they get to use their special channel energy uses per day instead of spell points

Clerics get smite abilities and paladins don't? Clerics can take a feat to smite undead that is exactly what you would want for a paladin (especially if you could also use it to smite fiends). With another feat, Clerics can "smite" fiends but only on a touch attack.

So clerics have two great iconic paladin abilities( healing separate from spell use and smite-like abilities) and on top of that they are divine casters.

Paladins have ... heavy armor proficiency...

Right now my next playtest Paladin is going to be a cleric :(


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I don't usually chime in on this board, but I do feel compelled to add something to the ongoing discussion around paladins, as it is one of my favorite classes hands down. I'll try to write something legible, but I can't make any promises.

I personally believe the paladin class, as it is now, should be rebuilt from the ground up. The current iteration of the class locks us into a singular role (that of the party defender), but fails to provide the necessary tools to fill out that role.

The paladin has few to no true offensive options available (smite being locked on a reaction comes to mind), and the defensive options depend highly on the generosity or foolhardiness of your GM. While thematically nice, retributive strike can more often than not be easily circumvented by enemy NPCs, and it is ridiculous to assume, that all campaigns will take part in a 3x3 rooms or corridors, just so that the paladin gets the possibility to shine.

I find most of the available champion powers to be lackluster at best. There are too few, with half level they don't scale that well, and frankly you don't get to have too many spell points to spend if you don't exclusively focus on charisma. Which ties into another gripe. I don't really see, how charisma actually benefits this martial class in this version of pathfinder. It gives you spell points, which is nice but can be substituted by multi-classing (Cleradin) and it boosts our smite. Which is tied to a reaction.

Permanent damage is powerful, but just to boost charisma to be able to douse demons in holy acid. Kind of a one trick pony.

I would propose that the class should be structured similarly to the druid or bard, as in that we need to choose the major theme at the start. Class feats associated with that theme get boosted, giving you an incentive to stay with that role. Call them orders or oaths, or something thematically appropriate. With this we can open up the possibilities, where the paladin can go and give more class and role playing opportunities to the player, instead of a singular role.

For example

Oath of the Crusader

Theme: "The crusader seeks out evil, where ever it may hide and roots it out with extreme force. There can be no mercy for those that pray on the innocent."

The crusader is a "proactive" defender. They gain a number of offensive options, while forgoing some of the defensive options a paladin normally gets. This could go along the line of increasing weapon proficiency for either a single weapon group or deific weapons at the cost of lower proficiency in heavy armor.

Add a holy smite action to the paladins arsenal.

General (all paladins): Use 1 spell point / champion power. Make a strike against a (visible, targetable) enemy within range. Add your charisma modifier (min 0) to your attack and damage roll. This bonus damage is good/holy damage.

Oath specific: the crusader turns all damage to good/holy.

Holy smite gains additional damage dice and debuff options further down the line. Also a two action version with charge (so two strides and a strike)

Crusaders must take the weapon ally.

A crusader adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct:"You may never back down from a challenge against a truly evil foe."

Oath of the Defender

Theme: "The defender holds the line against the enemies of his faith. They are the rock against wave after wave of enemies shatter themselves".

The defender keeps most of the same mechanics and themes of the current iteration the same. They focus on protecting the party and themselves with, thus becoming the groups prime tank.

Retributive strikes gets the following changes.

General (all oaths): Add a stride action to retributive strike. If a friendly or allied creature is attacked you may take a stride action to move up to your speed and intercept. You take attacks of opportunity as normal. If you can't get in range to strike the enemy you can't take this action.

Oath specific: While wielding your deities favorite weapon you may add reach to the weapon properties, when making a retributive strike.

Retributive strike can later be upgraded to use a step action (same range) instead of a stride action, you may gain additional uses per round, you can add more and nastier debuffs or you can use it on yourself as well.

Defenders must take the shield ally. They gain the divine grace feat, which grants static bonuses (instead of a reaction).

A defender adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct: "You may never abandon a party member as long as there is a chance to save them".

Oath of Heroism (Champion Powers, Leadership)

I was thinking of questing knights, healing the sick, rallying the local populace to overthrow tyranny and generally being the party face. Less martially inclined (or at least less hands on) as the other two variants.

The heroic paladin could focus on buffing his allies with auras and some better champion powers. Additionally they get the mount. This one I'd need to think through some more, but I liked the idea of the paladin being the shiny beacon of hope.

Going in this direction we open up so many possibilities to play the class as people would like. And with this I ran out of steam and ideas. I may edit this later for form, grammar and spelling, but I do hope my point (if any) came across.


Since I can no longer edit my original post, here is the bit on the last oath:

Oath of the Herald

Theme:"The paladin is a herald of the divine. They inspire those around them to achieve great deeds through leadership and force of personality".

The paladin is a supportive leader, that assists his team with passive bonuses (auras), healing and buffs. They are less martially inclined as the other two, gains bonuses on skill use and focuses on mobility

For this line of paladins I would suggest reevaluating the existing champions powers for utility, usability and effectiveness. I was thinking of merging some of the chevalier powers (banner) into the paladin.

The herald must take the mount ally. Any animal companion of the paladin gains the mount special ability (but only for their paladin partner). The paladin gains the ride feat.

The herald adds the following line to the paladin code of conduct:"Lead with courage or assist those worthy of leadership to the best of your abilities".

------

Obviously this is all up for debate, but I do believe that by splitting the paladin into thematic lines far more players would be inclined to play the class upon launch, as it would offer far greater customability mechanically and role playing wise and maybe more importantly more flavor.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do not like that paladins only advance in Heavy Armor Proficiency. Since the goal is to create any character in your head, paladin's should not be penalized for going with a lightly-armored more mobile build.


Byron Zibeck wrote:
I do not like that paladins only advance in Heavy Armor Proficiency. Since the goal is to create any character in your head, paladin's should not be penalized for going with a lightly-armored more mobile build.

Yeah, I was hoping that a light armour pally would at least be reasonable.

Pallies probably also need Emblazon Symbol, or for it to be somehow associated with Deific weapon (e.g. it being treated like how clerics treat their holy sumbol) -warded touch has been noted to not feel like a great pick, and the Domain feat means that a pally can end up in a situation where she can't actually use her domain power, thanks to hands being full.


.....
too many reaction abilities.
make ret strike a feat and replaced with a proper Smite evil. Also rename retributive strike to something else as it seems more like a revenge type name.
make Divine Grace to a base class ability and make a constant ability.
make it from 2 to saves to half your class level min 1. so at lvl 20 it will be +10 to your throws( hey I think its better than CHA to throws..)

Liberty's Edge

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Commander Crisp wrote:

I don't usually chime in on this board, but I do feel compelled to add something to the ongoing discussion around paladins, as it is one of my favorite classes hands down. I'll try to write something legible, but I can't make any promises.

I personally believe the paladin class, as it is now, should be rebuilt from the ground up. The current iteration of the class locks us into a singular role (that of the party defender), but fails to provide the necessary tools to fill out that role.

The paladin has few to no true offensive options available (smite being locked on a reaction comes to mind), and the defensive options depend highly on the generosity or foolhardiness of your GM. While thematically nice, retributive strike can more often than not be easily circumvented by enemy NPCs, and it is ridiculous to assume, that all campaigns will take part in a 3x3 rooms or corridors, just so that the paladin gets the possibility to shine.

I find most of the available champion powers to be lackluster at best. There are too few, with half level they don't scale that well, and frankly you don't get to have too many spell points to spend if you don't exclusively focus on charisma. Which ties into another gripe. I don't really see, how charisma actually benefits this martial class in this version of pathfinder. It gives you spell points, which is nice but can be substituted by multi-classing (Cleradin) and it boosts our smite. Which is tied to a reaction.

Permanent damage is powerful, but just to boost charisma to be able to douse demons in holy acid. Kind of a one trick pony.

I would propose that the class should be structured similarly to the druid or bard, as in that we need to choose the major theme at the start. Class feats associated with that theme get boosted, giving you an incentive to stay with that role. Call them orders or oaths, or something thematically appropriate. With this we can open up the possibilities, where the paladin can go and give more class and role playing opportunities to the...

^^ this

Like how the Barbarian has different Totems - the
Paladin could have different Oaths.

Divide them into Offensive, Defensive, and Heal/Support roles.

That kind of structure seems to work really well with
the Barbarian.

And then the feats build up from there.


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The paladin just needs a channel smite ability like the cleric already has. Maybe based off the paladin lay on hands or perhaps a separate channel ability like the cleric has. These could be added to the existing level 2 Paladin Oaths quite easily. Perhaps doing double LoH damage for the Dragon/Fiend/undead oaths and single LoH damage for the general evil Vengence oath.

My 7th level cleric chassis "paladin" has Channel Smite which is doing 2d8 + 4 weapon damage (+1 longsword) plus 7d8+3 positive to undead.

and he can touch attack fiends for the same 7d8+3 damage.

Paladins should have these toys!!!


Chiming in in agreement with the oaths and with not being restricted to heavy armor.


Vengeful Smite should be delivered through the weapon.

Problem solved? I'd still want to nix both Warded Touch and Hospice Knight because they should be baked into the class.

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