Advice on my Paladin build...


I am playing a Teifling (Pit Born) Oath of Vengeance Pally and I'm looking for advice with regards to feat selection. We are playing RoTRL and I'm grouped with a Bard , Ranger and a cleric. I like to plan way ahead and our GM is generous and let's us spend skill points for extra feats every 6 levels. He also removed the -2 int racial negative stating that if Aasimars have no negatives to their stats neither should Teiflings (shrug). 25 point build.

Str 16 +2 (18)
DeX 10
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 8
Cha 16 +2 (18)

1 Fey foundling
3 Power attack
5 mystic healing
6 skill focus perception
7 unsanctioned knowledge (need int headband or ion stone to meet prerequisite)
9 eldritch heritage (minotaur)
11 improved Eldritch Heritage
12 ??? Need help ???
13 ??? Need help ???
15 ??? Need help ???

Should I grab extra lay on hands for more smites, or furious focus or combat expertise for its AC goodness or go greater mercy / ultimate mercy or extra traits or go some other direction I'm not thinking of?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

Hmm... Word of Healing + Sunblade might be fun. Dip Bloodrager and get Flumefire Rage to make Sunblade more useful?

Not much advice I can give otherwise, as you seem to be using some 3rd party material. The Minotaur bloodline seems ok, if you want to spend a full round making a single gore attack, but I suspect you were after the inherent strength bonus. Probably advise Abyssal or Orc for more usefulness.

Maybe switching to the Abyssal bloodline would fit better and it's more in line thematically with my character race. Just need to change my skill focus to acquire it. Also mystic healing is a 3rd party feat that I got permission to use. I think everything else is standard. The word of healing plus sunblade combo is interesting....

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Flumefire Rage doesn't help, you aren't casting a spell with Sunblade.

Kroliatar wrote:
6 skill focus perception

If you are a point-buy paladin with dumped wisdom; don't waste your time with Perception, and I mean seriously: don't even put a point in the skill. Seeing things is what your go-first-in-INIT teammates are for. They'll tell your last-in-INIT Dex10 paladin where the BBEG is, because they already saw it.

Take Greater Mercy instead of SF:X (and it's an excellent stack with Fey Foundling and Mystic Healing, although take note that MH is a non-Paizo feat). I'd take it at 3rd (before Power Attack even, especially if you're a sword-n-board).

Unsanctioned Knowledge...I never cared for in a high-charisma paladin. Take Dangerously Curious as a trait, and throw those skill points formerly wasted on Perception into Use Magic Device instead.

Con 14 can get by with a 12 in that score when you have all those Lay on Hands boosters. That frees up 3 build points to jump a starting 16 to a 17.

I also think that OoV paladin is a worse archetype than the core class, especially at higher level from 11th onward. (I take a dim view of any "feature" that sacrifices or nerfs your paladin auras, because those are free buffs you share with the party without needing to spend actions.) OoV Smites are also fueled at the rate of two LoH apiece, then very thing you're accumulating feats to maximize.

Slim Jim's appraisal of the paladin's role in the party: Meatwall damage sponge: If you can eat a ton of damage and then make most of it go away with a swift action, you're performing perfectly in a capacity your class does better than any other.

Not sure what you're going for with the minotaur stuff (if your goal is to be a big brute who gains natural attacks, barbarians are a better chassis than paladins).

IMO, your biggest combat limitation to be addressed is movement, since you're going to be in plate armor. I'd concentrate on becoming a more mobile fighter before worrying about gleaning additional damage. (Dangerously Curious > UMD > wand of Longstrider, etc.)

I really appreciate the advice....let me play devils advocate with some of my selections.

Actually Pit Born racial gives me +2 perception as a taking skill focus perception and seeker trait also magical knack, so i'm going to have a high perception even with the 8 in wisdom. I hate being surprised, sometimes it leads to really bad situations.

For movement I plan on taking Unsanctioned knowledge with these four spells.

1. Expeditios Retreat (+30 Movement 1 min per lvl)
2. Mirror image
3. Good Hope
4. Stone Skin

So Pit Born also receives a +2 bonus with UMD and I could take extra traits and aquire Dangerously Curious to take advantage of those wands and still have the perception I want.

Lastly going down the Eldritch Heritage Path with Minotaur gives me access to a Str Bump and fits well with my Skill Focus Perception. The Horns from Minotaur can be used as part of my full round attack action and this is my DM Ruling so it actually makes it quite nice. Im considering different Bloodlines if I can find something that mixes well with my LoH.

I really am interested in what feats to go with at lvls 12/13/15

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Slim Jim wrote:

If you are a point-buy paladin with dumped wisdom; don't waste your time with Perception[/url], and I mean seriously: don't even put a point in the skill. Seeing things is what your go-first-in-INIT teammates are for. They'll tell your last-in-INIT Dex10 paladin where the BBEG is, because they already saw it.

I disagree. Whether skill focus is a good choice is certainly debatable, but perception is the most rolled skill of the game for everyone.

Being able to avoid surprise, even some of the time, is usually worth sinking one of your skill points per level into as well as the other times it will come in handy.

The fact that your high perception companions are able to act doesn't help you at all.

My perception at lvl 1 is a 6

Class skill plus 1 bonus from seeker = 4
Wis -1
Ranks =1
Pit Born bonus =2
Total =6

By lvl 10 with skill focus I'll be at a 21 perception...not bad

But what I really wanna know is what feats to take at lvls 12 , 13 , 15 and should I dump Eldritch Heritage or choose a different bloodline. Our Dm is allowing 3rd party bloodlines.

I am not a fan at all of Unsanctioned Knowledge - 100% a trap option for Paladins.

a) Other classes get those spells, so the party as a whole gains nothing by you being able to cast them.

b) The spells are low level, so it is economical to just buy scrolls or a wand (and UMD them) - or even pearls of power for another party member to cast them! By the time the Paladin can cast the spells, other classes will have been able to do so for many levels!

c) The feat gives no slots, only spells added to the list. So, by casting those spells, the Paladin is not casting Paladin spells. This is a terrible mistake! Paladin spells are extremely powerful for their level, being either unique or several spell levels ahead of other classes. Using the same slot for a regular spell is just a waste.

d) Requires investing points into Int. This isn't terrible as it also gives skill points, but its an annoying burden.

Lets see, for other feats: Weapon Focus and Improved Critical are fantastic (yes you can get a keen weapon/use the class ability, but its cheaper and easier to use a feat instead and then use the equivalent power for other things). Furious Focus is good at upper levels, though runs into diminishing returns as the first attack usually hits anyways, unless fighting very high AC enemies.

Well I humbly disagree with regards to unsanctioned knowledge and here's why...

1st lvl expeditious retreat is self only and gives me +30 movement and it lasts a minute a lvl which is fantastic as a 1st lvl spell , plus no one else is casting that on me.

2nd mirror image also self only also lasts a minute a lvl and it's a huge life saver that carrys you through even upper lvls

3rd good hope (we do have a bard in the group that can cast this so instead i could swap it for fly or displacement or blink or see invisible all of these have merits and blink and see invisible are self only

4th stone skin as the only true tank and front line fighter this is super valuable and no one else in the party has access to it.

Although for 16500 gold I could buy a wizard wand of 1st 2nd and 3rd lvl and just UMD and save the int points and the feat....

Some of the spells provide some benefit, but they are not necessarily better than default paladin options. At the same time it costs a feat and 13 int to use.

1) Haste as a party buff also gives +30 speed and it does not stack (both enhancement). How often will your party be operating without haste when it matters? And in the mid/high levels, shouldn't you be flying anyways?

The dubious benefit of having the spell takes a spell slot that could be used on Hero's Defiance, Lesser Restoration, Word of Resolve, Litany of Duty, Divine Favor (at upper levels)... etc. These are very powerful spells.

2) Mirror image is legit a great spell, and I can see a lot worse uses of a Paladin's turn than casting it and moving into position. The 'if the enemy misses by 5 or less, a figment is destroyed' line is a bit rough, but the Paladin's high AC makes them still good against enemies with few attacks.

However, I think a more offensive option would usually be a better choice. Does a Paladin really need Mirror Image? They already have high AC, unmatched saves, good hitpoints, and incredible self healing (including reactive healing when they would otherwise go down). Usually, unless the Paladin is blocking a good choke point, it is the party that starts dying first rather than the Paladin.

Off the top of my head, the only 2cd level paladin spell that is much better is Litany of Righteousness, but thats more because its unbelievably powerful. I'm sure there are some others.

Its a good spell, but not one I think is worth a feat by itself.

3) As you pointed out, the rest of the party has it covered. Blink gives you your own miss chance (ow!) and see invisibility is much better as a scroll, even for classes that have it. Plenty of better options already on the Paladin spell list.

Displacement is a good option for a scroll or wand.

4) Stoneskin isn't bad. Its hitpoint protection though, which Paladin's often don't need, and its competing with things like Greater Angelic Aspect, Archon's Trumpet, or Chains of Light (or just adding bane against undead or evil outsiders to a weapon, which can be very powerful). At 13th level when it becomes castable, a tiefling's lay on hands is going to be doing 8d6 + 29 (with bracers of the merciful knight). If your GM allows the mystical healer 3rd party feat I see above, that becomes 12d6 + 37 - an average of 79 HP per cast! DR 10/adamantium with a max of 130 HP is not that impressive with that amount of self healing going on.

I'd rather have the above scroll/wand of 'displacement' going than stoneskin, at least for a Paladin with so much self healing.

Basically... I think these spells are only "ok", and the Paladin is spending a feat and 13 int to use them.

I was going to argue about the unsanctioned knowledge thing, but if you're already built for Charisma then you might as well spec for UMD. It's cheaper than the alternative, and I think I rolled a 1 exactly once in my druid's seventeen levels of cross-class wanding and scrolling so reliability ought to be good enough.

So I just talked to my GM and he said the availability of wands and other treasure are going to be hard to come by....he said it's not like going to walmart and just picking up whatever you want. It's weird how flexible he is with things like 3rd party feats and how unavailable magic items are going to be. Normal campaign if the settlement has a 12000 Gold peice value then items worth under that are available 75% of the time, but not in our campaign , which makes gold almost worthless as a treasure.

That said UMD diminishes in value. This makes me want Unsanctioned knowledge even more. I also dont think taking the Orc Bloodline or Abyssal or Minotaur bloodlines are worth it because you really dont get access to the +4 str bump until lvl 15 and by then the adventure is drawing to a close. I might go sorcerer Linnorm bloodline as a Multi class variant instead and ditch the skill focus perception. And take blind fighting at lvl 11.

Grand Lodge

Blind-Fight should be taken much earlier because unfavourable fighting conditions can possibly occur since level 1, and not having any blindsense/blindsight/tremorsense/etc to fight it off can be crippling. Sometimes it won't involve just darkvision, and as such the 60ft. of it will be of no use. There will be the need to be able do see even in deeper darkness.

Better initiative bonus could possibly be a plus because a decent number of fights won't last long, either way. Nothing else that immediately stands out for me (checking that today), the remainder is up to you.

Kroliatar wrote:
Actually Pit Born racial gives me +2 perception as a taking skill focus perception and seeker trait also magical knack, so i'm going to have a high perception even with the 8 in wisdom. I hate being surprised, sometimes it leads to really bad situations.
An INIT+12 *wizard* hates being surprised. But an INIT+0 paladin who can eat a tank-round to the chest has no reason to care when the rest of the party is blowing their points on "the most important skill in the game". Your paladin auras? They're already on, every moment of the day so long as you're awake. You don't need to activate them, and you don't need to be aware of enemies. The only thing you need to do in the surprise round is draw your weapon and move toward the enemies your high-INIT teammates have already pointed out.

For movement I plan on taking Unsanctioned knowledge with these four spells.

1. Expeditious Retreat (+30 Movement 1 min per lvl)

Or just buy a 750gp wand and UMD it via Dangerously Curious*. (True: it doesn't last as long, but unless your GM is a big fan of rapid-fire encounters, you don't typically have more than one every ten or twenty minutes even in stereotypical dungeon-crawls because there's still down-time for looting, etc.) Mobility concerns are usually why I choose a mount rather than bonded weapon in a Full Metal Stomper paladin. A horse is not only 50' of movement for free, but it's also +4 INIT and +8 Perception (not counting level advancements and gear you'll eventually give it as a bonded mount, assuming your GM doesn't find you a friendly juvenile dragon), and has low-light vision and scent. -- See? They thought of everything in Core! Your generic, mounted Sir Lancelot is better than the archetypes encrusted with splat bling).

*Fun things a paladin can do with UMD that don't even cost money!


2. Mirror image

3. Good Hope
4. Stone Skin
The time when a paladin needs any of that is a couple rounds after the rest of the party is already greasy paste. (I.e., the PCs went after something over their pay-grade, or your GM is a TPK-maniac.) Your class is a meatwall; you can not only take it, you seek to take it. You never want the enemy's attention to wander from you to, say, your low-HP caster teammates. You get right up in monster grill, and say, "Come at me, Bro!", then swift-LoH that damage away.
So Pit Born also receives a +2 bonus with UMD and I could take extra traits and aquire Dangerously Curious to take advantage of those wands and still have the perception I want.
Your INT 12 paladin running both UMD and Perception has 33.33% of his skill points points left for everything else. Reiterated advice: Pick one of those skills, thereby cleaving off half of your skill point expenses so far. Which one? Pick the one that your class and chosen race have charisma attribute focus in, and ditch the one you're dumping (wisdom).
Lastly going down the Eldritch Heritage Path with Minotaur gives me access to a Str Bump and fits well with my Skill Focus Perception. The Horns from Minotaur can be used as part of my full round attack action and this is my DM Ruling so it actually makes it quite nice.

Is he also waiving that your horns, as a natural-attack, become secondary (i.e., at -5) when combined with manufactured weapon attacks as part of a full-attack?

In any event, your modus of thinking while making these decisions appears to be DPR-obsessed "barbarian" rather than "paladin". Barbarians are purely offensive strikers whereas paladins are sponges who excel at defending their huddled-nearby-teammates just by remaining upright and bathing them in +4 aura bonuses. You intercept the enemy's mortar shells with your gigantic Jay Leno chin.

I'm considering different Bloodlines if I can find something that mixes well with my LoH.
See this thread post and its responses for ideas (it's aasimar rather than tiefling focused, but the gist applies).
I really am interested in what feats to go with at lvls 12/13/15

You'll have plenty of time, and use the Retraining rules as needed.

~ ~ ~

Slim Jim's paladin short-list feats:

Fey Foundling and Greater Mercy. (You are a meatwall, so these are your first two, with the second being delayed only if you're multiclassed.)

Mounted Combat and Indomitable Mount. (You critter is mobility, INIT, and Perception -- so you don't have to rob your point-buy and skill points to pay for those. Keeping said critter alive is more important than using it to do additional damage via charge feats. Buy a 24gp yak at 1st-level.)

Combat Reflexes ...if you're mounted with a reach-weapon, this is well worth it. (Unfortunately your Dex is 10, so it's not going to help this build. Maybe having a 12 in Dex is better, no? How to afford it? Dump that Wis to 7 from 8, and now you have two more points to get Dex from 10 to 12.)

Quick Draw (for being that switch-hitter machine; see follow-ups in that thread as well)

Power Attack (not necessary at low-level, especially as paladins are often better as a one-handed sword-and-shield AC beast rather than a two-hander. (What's better than being a meatwall with 50' move? Being a meatwall with AC. And your Smite bonus is the same regardless of weapon.)

Deadly Aim (not necessary at low-level, but quite nice at BAB6+ after you've spare cash for an Opalescent White Pyramid ioun tied to Heavy Repeating Crossbow...but would probably forgo in your lousy dexterity case, as ranged combat is something you're almost entirely eschewing. Your "archery" is a 100' lance charge.)

Additional Traits (because a pair of well-chosen traits are often better than a stand-alone feat; use to acquire Dangerously Curious if was not taken at 1st-level)

Extra Lay on Hands (providing fuel for Fey Foundling and Greater Mercy)

Ancestral Heritage (choosing elf, halfling, or gnome) (This is to take the selected-race's favored-class leveling bonus in Paladin; unfortunately Tieflings don't qualify for the feat because their race type isn't human, half-elf, or half-orc.)

Divine Interference (This permits you to force an opponent within 30' to re-roll an attack, with a minor penalty; it's an ace-in-the-hole feat to prevent character deaths from crits, etc.)

Unnecessary feats: Toughness, Spirited Charge feats, archery feats, other lengthy feat paths. -- You're not a fighter; you have to boil the game's thousand-odd feats down into the half dozen that you can reliable use in every encounter, if not every round, for differences that matter (rather than those that are only incremental -- and this means that the likes of Power Attack and Deadly Aim are actually on the chopping block when you lack room).

Silver Crusade

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I've played a paladin to level 15 throughout all the hard PFS modules, sometimes the hard mode of the hard PFS modules, so I can give you some advice on what kind of build will work in really though situations, focussing on maximum personal survivability, maximum ally protection and great ally buffing, and great personal damage.

As a first note, it seems that you have a very generous DM which means you have access to more stats than the typical character and aren't necessarilyrestricted to only PFS-legal feats.

If I understand correctly, you want general advice with a focus on feats, but you post the stat array as well. Can that one still be changed? Imo, you really lose a lot with that array. I would drop 2 points of charisma to get 4 points in dex. That will allow you to get 16 dex with only a +2 belt of physical perfection and up to dex 20 with a +6 belt if you ever get there. A mythril fullplate or breastplate then gives you the best possible ac. From there, boost charisma with all increases. Charisma is really good and should be your highest stat eventually, but dex is a really important stat both for offense and defense. At least, if you follow my build advice and some advanced tricks below.

A more optimal starting array IMO is 18 str, 14 dex, 14 con, 12 int, 8 wis, 16 cha, boost cha at every level. I assume the campaign ends before level 20 but will reach level 16.

Despite me recommending starting with 8 wis (or 7, if you want to go with 17 starting cha), I still highly recommend taking perception and boosting it whenever. While Slim Jim is right in that you won't be able to spot invisible assissins super specced into stealth, that will not be an issue for 99% of the campaign, if at all. however, you will very often get ambushed at far more reasonable DC's if your perception sucks. You simply need the skill to avoid getting less actions each fight by being surprised. yet, take fate's favored and dangerously curious as your traits, since we are taking a 1 level dip into one or optimally different class(es) that grant(s) perception as a class skill anyway. Your three skills will be diplomacy, perception and Use Magic Device.

I'm not sure if you are sword and board or a 2h paladin. I'm going to assume 2h since you don't seem to have any shield related options and that you want to at least deal competent damage. I'm not sure what diety you worship. I think the best one is Iomedae since it grants you good hope as third level paladin spells for free.

If you are not limited in any way by archetypes and classes and willing to go almost but not completely full paladin, I would strongly recommend a 1 level dip in urban bloodrager to get access to rage (this archetype makes rage only +4 str with no downside, since the normal rage penalty is too high imo). Take the extra rage feat to have a lot of it per day. Rage works really well on a paladin since you can pick fatigued as your third level mercy. You can go into rage, full attack, drop out of rage and then LoH yourself to heal and remove your faitgue if you wanted to (to save rage rounds, it removes the problem of having to stay in it for the entire duration of a fight. Also, you cannot cast during rage and thus also cannot use hero's defiance, the level 1 paladin spell, if you were raging outside your turn).

Secondly, the rage from bloodrager has a number of possible potent secondary benefits. Angel blooded is a basic one and fitting for a paladin and simply adds more damage. If you pick this, you could add the blood conduit archetype to bloodrager to get Improved trip as a bonus feat. If you want somethign more fancy, Id rager archetype for bloodrager with dedication emotional focus gives you iron will as a bonus feat during rage and +2 to hit/larger weapon damage dice against the last target that attacked you. Kindness emotional focus has a really powerful ability called opening strike that allows you to let an ally adjacent to an enemy attack that enemy if you hit it, for a standard action. That means that you can now move and let both you and your ally attack instead of just you, and potnetially greatly increases your damage contribution, but it requires a melee ally. I do not know if any of your allies is melee oriented.

Lastly, Rage allows you to purchase the very powerful Furious Enchant on a weapon, which is effectively a +2 weapon enchantment increase discounted to a +1 increase.

Ok, next, I would also recommend a level of rondelero/falcata swashbuckler at some point. this gives you the opportunity to parry incoming attacks, and grants you falcata proficiency, which you can wield as a good 2 handed weapon but still get swashbuckler benefits from in recharging penachy/parry points for crits and kills. The parry ability is critically important since at higher level, HP and AC sometimes simply don't matter. You can run into ghosts making touch attacks that nearly auto-hit touch ac (which is very low as a paladin) and deal 2d6 conDRAIN damage PER HIT, effectively completely bypassing AC and Hp and able to kill you in two hits. However, you can still easily parry that attack and make it do nothing to you since your melee attack is typically much higher than a common enemy and competetive against most boss-type enemies.

Parry is another line of defense, sort of like a secondary evasion ability that is extremely valuable. We are going to be building a set of four secondary evasions that should cover every scenario, which more than make up the loss of 1 stage of loH healing. The other lines are:

1. from use magic divice, which eventually gives us access to reliable use of wands of shield and scrolls of displacement/death ward/long arm/ whatever else you want, but those are probably the ones i use most next to potions of enlarge person.

2. From the targeted mercy at paladin level 6 or higher, which is the best core paladin defensive feature which almost never gets proper credit.

3. The cut from the air and smash from the air feats. Combined, whever anyone makes any ranged attack against you *or an adjacent ally*, even if it's a ranged spell attack, you can simply parry the attack and it does nothing. This means you can now actually counter normally uncounterable spells like enervation spam.

Being a swashbuckler also grants you access to the swordmaster's flair. This is an extremely powerful item that increases your melee reach by 5 ft for 10 rounds at the cost of only 1 penache and a swift action. It might not work with the falcata depending on GM ruling (it is clearly a swashbuckler item but the archetype doesn't list items as things the falcata works with for swashbuckler feature like for everything else), but there is a superior weapon in the weapon table you can buy weapon familiarity for, with an ioun stone for 1500 gold.

Thus, I think paladin x, swashbuckler 1, bloodrager 1 is optimal for a melee paladin. To make up for slightly lower LoH healing, buy a gauntlets of the merciful knight at some point. Though as a tiefling I imagine you have their FCB to massively boost LoH healing anyway.

Now focussing on the paladin side, if you go OoV then I would also go Sacred Servant. Getting a domain and bonus spells in addition to a powerful free summon once per week and even more LoH is just too good to not get. To touch on one point from slim Jim, no, I don't think the OoV level 11 aura change is bad. It has to work like aura of justice as a free action, even if it doesn't explicitely state it. Why? Because if id doesn't work like aura of justice, then it also has none of the drawbacks. Most notably, it would now be infinite duration, meaning using it once makes your entire party semi paladins forever who are smiting each day for their cha mod times per day at your bonusses. Let's take the sane interpretation that it simply should work as aura of justice.

For what Domain, if you picked Iomedae as a goddess I would go tactics. This allows you to let someone roll initative twice for (wismod) times per day. Yes, your wisdom is bad, but you will buy an icandescent Ioun stone socketed in a wayfinder somewhere during your trip for 8500 gold which boosts wis back to 10 and gives you blind fight as a bonus feat. you will want blind fight to not get completely screwed by the first cast of displacement the enemy uses. Also, at higher levels you can use the higher domain ability to pick an additional feat to use for a number of rounds per day for a swift. You could for instance use that domain feature as a swift action to get quick draw temporarily to quickly switch to a bow and full attack with it in the same round if that is ever needed.

If you did not pick iomedae, travel domain gods are always good. being able to teleport solves a lot of mobility problems.

Okay, so with classes out of the way, before we go deeply into detailed feats we should discuss the basic strategy. As the paladin, yes, we can facetank things by being in front, but that alone does not make you a good tank. Paladins are unique in that they can *actually* protect allies in a different way than simply hoping the enemy hits you. We do this starting at low to mid levels with the Shield Other spell. We are going to buy and use cheap lesser rods of extend and reach to increase the range of this spell to medium, meaning 100ft + 10ft/caster level. If you have this on all three your allies, then whenever they take damage, half of it is redirected to you, and you can heal your damage as a swift action. Also, you are a complete monster in melee and will kill everything if left alone. However, since your defense is so good, it is really hard to actually kill you. However, they also cannot kill your allies since by ignoring you, your allies still take only half damage. This places the enemy in a lose-lose situation.

The only way for an enemy to counter this is by using AOE spells in an attempt to 'focus fire' on your damage soaking self. For this, we will buy a ring of evasion late in the campaign. With really good saves all around and at least the ranger already having evasion, you will be fine all the way to that point. The ring of evasion will work on you since a mythril fullplate is treated like a medium armor and the stalker/ranger versions of evasion work in medium armor.

However, we can still do better than just redirecting damage to us. We are also going to be using Good Hope to boost *everyone*'s saves, attacks, skills, damage rolls and attack rolls by *+3*, yes, +3, not +2. We get to do this because we can do good hope better than the average bard sans duration, which frees him up to buff haste or use actual offensive magic. Giving a huge boost to everyone's saves is also a valuable form of protection and I can;t count how many times this has saves an ally from a save or die effect. The massive damage and skill boost to everyone is just icing :)

We try to act reasonably quickly in fights by a combination of decent dex and the reactionary trait, and the tactics domain ability which allows us to roll twice for our initiative (we try to go first to get good hope out ASAP if it is not up. However, you can givive the intiative buff to anyone depending on the situation. If is already up, we simply cast divine favor and move in to smash face quicker than usual).

Since we have both parry and the cut/smash from the air feats, we need combat reflexes to have more attacks of opportunity. Since we have those anyway, we use a combination of the swordmaster's flair, the longarm wand and a potion of enlarge person to get melee reach 15 to 20 feet with our two hander and go to town on anyone who comes even remotely close to us, effectively turning us into a 2h build with strong reach benefits in the mid to later game.

Finally, to cast the improved good hope we need the encouraging spell metamagic feat and extra traits as a feat. We pick reactionary and wayang spell hunter or any equivalent to that one to reduce the metamagic cost of good hope by 1. Since you can reflavor traits legally according to a paizo FAQ, your Wayang Spell Hunter trait is simply called 'inspiring leader'.

Final Build:

Paladin 13 (OoV/SS), Urban Id Bloodrager 1 (dedication emotional focus), rondelero swashbuckler 1 (or base swashbuckler if the Swashbuckler's flair is ruled to not work with falcata's).

Skills: UMD, perception, diplomacy.

Traits: Dangerously curious, fate's favored, Inspiring leader (wayang spell hunter), reactionary.

Domain: tactics.


1. Feywild foundling

3. Extra rage (assuming bloodrager is picked at level 3)

5. Power attack.

First campaign bonus feat: combat reflexes (assuming swashbuckler is picked at level 6. From here it's straight paladin)

7. Martial focus: Heavy Blades (like a falcata)

9. Cut from the air

11. Extra traits (reactionary, + any trait for -1 metamagic cost on good hope).

(11-ish: we buy the training weapon enchant to our falcata and gain smash from the air as a bonus feat)

Second campaign bonus feat: Encouraging Spell (should be level 12, when we get good hope).

Feats from here are optional. A suggestion if you have at least 1 reliable melee ally:

13: Improved trip (we qualify since as a swashbuckler we can treat our cha score as int for combat feats qualifications. We take it since we fight with large reach and can now more easily trip enemies, plus it qualifies us for":)

15: Greater trip.

A suggestion for if you do not have a melee ally:

13: (retrain your emotional focus from dedication to anger), you gain skill focus: Survival as a bonus feat from Id Bloodrager. Take lesser eldritch heritage: orc bloodline since we now qualify for this.

15: eldritch heritage: orc bloodline.

17: greater Eldritch heritage, orc bloodline. If you ever get there.

Feats I wouldn't take:

-Greater mercy. It's good, but not worth a feat. If you have this many different layers of defense in addition to the tiefling FCB and a cleric in the party, it is superfluous.

-Unsanctioned knowledge. An iomedae OoV Paladin has no weak spell levels and this is wasted. Level 1 has divine favor and hero's defiance. level 2 has shield other and energy resistance. Level 3 has good hope and if you somehow get too many pspellslots also blessing of fervor. level 4 has greater angelic aspect. You should never need other spells. Your focus is combat and being a backup face to the bard. Let the bard and the cleric handle other buffs and utility spells.

Must have items (other than basic Big six equipement): +1 Keen furious training Falcata (total: +4, in order of furious, keen, training whem money allows), swordmaster's flair, any item that allows you permanent flight, lesser rod of reach for Shield Other, gloves of the merciful knight. Nice to have but not mandatory: lesser extend rod, lucky horse shoe (after cloak +3). Later: Icandescent blue Ioun stone socketed in wayfinder, very late: ring of evasion.

-Divine interference. This is a really good feat and I would include it if we weren't at CL = charlevel -5, meaning it comes online at level 15 at the soonest. Also, between the swordmaster's flair, LoH, Smite evil and the tactics domain our swift action and immediates are fairly important and contested. plus since we have shield other our ally should survive that incoming crit since you automtically take half of all damage.

Wow a lot of good information from everyone and I really appreciate the tips and advice. With that said, I think I finally have everything put together in a way I think will work and fits my characters background. Some of the information will be useful with regard on my role and how to benefit my party to keep them alive as well as going to now give you a quick character background and show you the final product. The only thing im now debating is what Trevor86 said about lowering my charisma and adding dex…

Name: Malekhorne
Background (quick quick version)
..Found in the woods by a polymorphed gold dragon and raised up during his childhood and taught in the ways of ABSU....and then later sent to continue his studies further with a man nicknamed "Father Stache" in a church that continued the ways of ABSU and then in a Knightly order of the "Light and the Talon" During these years witnessed the Fall of his
Adopted Gold Dragon father in an amazingly brutal and courageous fight against 4 evil dragons. His Father slew 3 of the four dragons but an Old Red dragon delivered the fatal blow that sent him plummeting to the earth. Malekhorne watched his fathers light fade from his eyes as he said "Do not mourn my passing young one, for I will always be with you. Be a light in this world, and protect those who cannot protect themselves. May Absu be with you." With this Malekhorne swore an oath of vengeance to destroy the evil red dragon and all other evil dragons as they are an affliction that needs to be smited. His fathers spirit passed on, but part of that spirit entered into Malekhorne on that fateful day.

Ok so that is the quick quick version...Malekhorne is an Oath of Vengeance/Dragon Knight Paladin of Absu. Permission granted on 3rd party Dragon Knight Archetype.

He will be a Multi Class Variant Sorcerer Teifling Pit Born Paladin Oath of Vengeance/Dragon Knight taking the Horned Demon bloodline (which basically uses the Minotaur Bloodline stats). Phew that's a lot to say is his Stats and Feat build. 3rd party bloodline permission granted. What a Nice GM.

Str 16 (18)
Con 14
Dex 10 (debating changing it)
Int 12 (need ion stone to bump it to 14)
wis 8
cha 16 (18) All stat bumps go here at 4/8/12/16

1. Fey Foundling
3. Bloodline (Horns that my DM will allow as part of a full attack)
5. Power Attack
6. Mystic Healing (3rd Party Feat, permission granted)
7. Bloodline (Natural ac bump and energy resist bump)
9. Unsanctioned Knowledge (I know others hate it, but I love it)
11. Bloodline Feat (Toughness, but asking GM if I can take Blind Fight)
12. Combat Expertise (Personal choice, But I think its helpful)
13. Furious Focus or Extra LoH
15. Bloodline (+4 bump to Str at this lvl)
17. End of campaign Feat maybe Vital Strike

Silver Crusade

Well, with all those buffs and houserules working in your favor in addition to third party content all being allowed I don't see you ever running into any trouble regardless of how to play or build him. Mystic healing seems extremely overpowered, to name just one thing, and the minotaur bloodline is the orc bloodline without any downside on steroids. I guess the powergamer in me is jealous since I'd never be allowed to play a character this broken :) I also wasn't aware you were granted a VMC for free in addition to everything else, which again makes me wonder why you'd take unsanctioned knowledge if you already are sorceror in addition to a paladin, but w/e.

On the dex issue, I think it's generally accepted that a reach fighter with at least a decent focus in dex and number of attack of opportunities is better than a normal 2h melee (unless the normal melee has a pounce ability). You simply get more attacks and provoke less attacks by having good range + combat reflexes. But it will require some investment.

"also wasn't aware you were granted a VMC for free in addition to everything else, which again makes me wonder why you'd take unsanctioned knowledge if you already are sorceror in addition to a paladin, but w/e."

VMC isn't free you lose your 3rd 7th 11th 15th and 19th lvl feats in exchange for the bloodline powers but without the skill focus or charisma requirement that Eldritch Heritage requires.

It works like this for Multiclass Variant
3rd lvl feat exchanged for 1st lvl bloodline
7th lvl feat exchanged for 3rd lvl bloodline
11th feat must purchase bloodline feat
15th lvl feat exchanged for 9th lvl bloodline
19th lvl feat exchanged for 15th bloodline

So I'm not a sorcerer and do not gain sorcerer spells.

I'm getting permission to use the minotaur bloodline along with mystic healing and dragon knight archetype, which has no overlap with Oath of Vengeance Archetype.

In any event it's a 25 point that is going to Super fun to play. It's a low magic item atmosphere so strong builds are encouraged to balance our GM wants us to build something new and interesting and he is also making the content more challenging to spice things up.

Trevor86 wrote:
Despite me recommending starting with 8 wis (or 7, if you want to go with 17 starting cha), I still highly recommend taking perception and boosting it whenever. While Slim Jim is right in that you won't be able to spot invisible assissins super specced into stealth, that will not be an issue for 99% of the campaign, if at all.

The super assassins aren't the problem; it's that you're just lousy at Perception regardless as a straight-class, and trying to smash that square peg through the round is an exercise in gimp-building. For comparison, a halfling paladin multiclassed rogue (a species I really enjoy playing) is already +5 Perception versus straight-class other-race without any traits, feats, or spending a nickel -- and he actually has the points to throw at it, and is also getting UMD for free on the side.

~ ~ ~

An itemized list of reasons why full-plate, straight-class paladins shouldn't take Perception:

-- They don't have enough skill points. Perception will cost you at least 25% of them in a build with a positive intelligence modifier (few paladins are built with more than a 12 in point-buy, so we'll consider that the top-bound of normal default), and at least a third of your points in any non-human build with a 12 Int. Go lower, and you're looking at *half* prior to an 8K ioun to raise Int. If your GM is one of those sweet ol' guys who gives everybody 4pts/level min, then sure. But core? You have better places to put them.

-- You're slow. If your INIT is +1 or even +0, what's the point? You can't do anything until it's your turn.

-- Everybody else in the party is better at it than you. There will be that once-in-a-blue-moon they all roll under three and you toss a twenty, but daily-grind probability is the Baba Yaga you shouldn't tilt at.

-- Your gear priorities are different. For example, instead of taking the same Eyes of the Eagle that everyone else grabs at low/mid-level, I'm buying Horseshoes of Speed to get 80' move, or any of a number of other priorities.

-- While marching in "party formation", you're generally not the character "on point" who will be first to notice-or-be-ambushed. (That role is typically reserved for a highly-skilled, high-INIT, high-stealth character, or a sidekick or snoop spell of some kind.) Throwing all your points into Perception does you little good if you're not in that scouting position. Likewise, you're often the person doing the talking to major NPCs in OoC situations, in contrast to the other PCs who are surreptitiously lifting table-cloths, slinking about invisible to poke around in places they shouldn't be, etc. While gabbing, if you have ranks in any wisdom skill, Sense Motive will serve you better (not that you're likely to beat any aristocrat's Bluff score, but that's what pallyvision is for).

-- The siren-call of Perception seductively tempts you to start raising that wisdom and lowering your other attributes in point-buy. "You don't need to sack your wisdom that far down, do you? Lower charisma just a tiny bit to get it to 10 or even 12!" the evil gimp hisses in your ear, and before you know it, you're lowering the attribute that is the class' nitro fuel to raise one that is almost superfluous. (I would sack even strength before charisma -- you can play a perfectly good paladin with a strength of 14 who has the same attack-bonus as one with a starting 18: just don't Power Attack!)

-- Roleplaying hilarity: You are the walking punchline of the "What he doesn't know won't hurt him!" joke. (The irony being that very little hurts you regardless.)

I tend to agree with part of that assessment but the major reason for having the high perception is so you can have an action in the surprise round. An enemy who gets the drop on you has the clear upper hand and sometimes it can spell disaster. Also just because a party member has a high perception doesnt mean you shouldn't either. If they miss their perception check to notice something important you can pick up the slack.

I feel it is the most valuable skill, have your head on a swivel...

I think the point is not to focus on it. If you have points to spare, sure place them on perception, but otherwise go for things you would actually need and/or your team is neglecting.

As for surprise rounds, due to the default standard action limit, there are few cases were acting during it is valuable. Usually, its because you are a caster and want to buff/desintegrate; Or, you built to make the most of it, Ex: Rogue, Dragonscale Loyalist, Vanguard, etc.

Kroliatar wrote:
I tend to agree with part of that assessment but the major reason for having the high perception is so you can have an action in the surprise round. An enemy who gets the drop on you has the clear upper hand and sometimes it can spell disaster.

A paladin who has an INIT score of +0 is losing exactly none of his dexterity bonus to armor-class by being flat-footed.

Given the unlikelihood of an already-adjacent opponent, a low-Dex martial doesn't get that much out of having an action in a surprise round. (Yes, paladins do get a few spells after awhile, but I wouldn't gimp the character attempting to get one off at the beginning of ambush encounters.)

As the paladin, you are the reliable center of the party, emanation-point of defensive auras. One of the worst things you can do (from the standpoint of your teammates) is suddenly move, leaving them out of your auras. A +4 bonus is nothing to sneeze at. Being egocentric beings, your allies often forget where their best interests lay, and seek to run off to their save-or-suck doom. If you're sleeping at the outbreak of combat, it's ideal for that flighty, high-INIT character to use an aid-another to wake you up -- and that's at least one PC who hasn't voluntarily switched off the freebie mental defenses he receives just by being near you.

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