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Starting a Paladin

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Paladin
Starting a...

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The Paladin in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition is a powerhouse against the forces of evil, if built right. So to get you off on the right foot, here are a few pointers.


Contents

[edit] What is a Paladin in DDO?

While many may be familiar with the PnP Paladin, the DDO Paladin is a bit of a different beast. DDO Paladins are, usually, front-line melee characters, with limited spell-casting for buffs, healing wand usage, and Lay on Hands for Emergency Healing. Paladins, in general, will have a higher “standing, unbuffed, unstanced” AC than most other classes. Fully buffed and stanced, the Fighter will usually surpass the Paladin in AC, but the Paladin will still have a respectable AC on his own.

The Paladin’s Aura is beneficial to the entire party, including himself, providing bonuses to AC, All Saves, and vs. Fear, and possibly even to boost Concentration. Think of the Paladin as a front-line fighter than can self-heal, cast most of his own buffs, and use Lay on Hands for emergency burst healing to save himself or someone else in the party.

The Paladin won’t always be the on the top of the kills list, but he can be; they make very good melee fighter-types, and their versatility in spell-casting and wand/scroll usage makes them a boon to every party.

Think of the Paladin as a Melee Fighter, not bound by multiclassing restrictions, as in PnP, with no mount. Yes, this means that the DDO Paladin can multiclass without losing their Paladin Abilities, including Rogue!

[edit] Paladin Strengths and Weaknesses

[edit] Paladin Strengths

  • Paladins are capable of achieving an armor class that outstrips any other character class with comparable equipment.
  • Paladins are capable of achieving saving throws that outstrip any other character class with comparable equipment.
  • Paladins become immune to both fear (at level 3) and all diseases (at level 3). With the Update 14 changes to poison and disease, Paladins are now the only class that can be immune to magical and supernatural diseases. No enhancements or items can grant that ability either.
  • Paladins get minor divine spellcasting ability at fourth level and later, which can aid a party in a limited manner.
  • Paladins can turn undead at level 4 and later, though not as well as a cleric of the same level.

[edit] Paladin Weaknesses

  • Paladins require at least some points in 4 of the 6 ability scores (5 out of 6 if using two weapon fighting) to function properly, ability points will be very tight without either 32-point builds or reincarnating.
  • Paladins get one of worst class skill lists in the game and get few skill points to spend elsewhere.
  • Many paladin class features only work against certain types of enemies (general evil or undead enemies).

[edit] Tips for Playing a Paladin in DDO

The Paladin is a versatile, self-healing melee class, with some of the best overall saves in the game, so use that to your advantage. Paladins make one of the best classes for "pulling" (moving ahead of the party to get the monster's attention, then moving backwards to bring them a few at a time back to the rest of the party to kill), as their saves will help prevent enemy casters from hitting them with hold, command, or instant death spells. Paladins are also excellent hunters for enemy spellcasters, especially Evasion-Paladins, as their saves will help them to avoid the enemy spellcasters' spells, allowing them to close in for the kill quickly. Paladins can also help off-load the burden of casting certain buff spells, specifically the Resist Energy spells, thus saving the Cleric or Arcane Caster's spell points for healing and killing. And always remember that a Paladin's Lay on Hands can be used on any party member, and will heal Warforged without the normal healing penalty, even Warforged that are immune to normal cure and heal spells.

[edit] Choosing a Race for your Paladin

Any of the common races make fine paladins, and all have one or more traditions amongst them as paladins in the service of good. However the vast majority of Paladins in Eberron are Human. This is an important choice for players, as all races in DDO, are quite playable as Paladins, and each have their pluses and minuses. Yes, even Warforged, with their -2 Wisdom & -2 Charisma can make excellent Paladins.

[edit] The Human Paladin

Advantages:

  • +1 Feat (often exotic weapon proficiency: Khopesh)
  • +1 Skill Point/Level
  • +1 to 2 Stats
  • Human Versatility
  • many dragonmark options (however, paladin does not have the feat slots to take them)
  • Healing Amplification

Common Builds:

  • IntimiTank
  • Evasion Paladin
  • Evasion Paladin with Rogue Skills
  • 2-Handed DPS Paladin

[edit] The Dwarven Paladin

Advantages:

  • Axe/Armor/Tactics/Toughness Enhancements
  • Racial Saves
  • Con Bonuses

Characteristics:

  • Usually sticks to Dwarven Axes, but will use other axes, and occasionally 2-handed weapons.
  • Often has a higher Dexterity, due to Racial Armor Mastery or TWF for dual Dwarven Axes.
  • Usually has the most hit points of all Paladins.

Preferred Weapons:

  • Axes: Dwarven Axe, Hand Axe, Great Axe, Battle Axe.

Common Builds:

  • IntimiTank.
  • 2-Handed DPS Paladin.

[edit] The Warforged Paladin

Advantages:

  • Con Bonuses
  • Racial Immunities
  • Follow of Lord of Blades
  • Warforged Tactics Enhancements

Characteristics:

  • Usually goes with greatswords for the Lord of Blades Enhancements.
  • Lowest CHA and WIS of most Paladins, but Immunities make up for it.
  • High DR + High Saves + WF Immunities can create a nearly unstoppable build.

Cons:

  • Body Feat is costly
  • Lower CHA & WIS
  • No Dragonmark

Common Builds:

  • IntimiTank.
  • 2-Handed DPS Paladin.

[edit] The Elven Paladin

Advantages:

  • Longsword Enhancements
  • Follower of Sovereign Host
  • Arcane Archer
  • Dragonmark of Shadow

Characteristics:

  • Elven Paladins are almost exclusively Longsword users, as the Racial Bonus and Sovereign Host make them deal a lot of damage.
  • Usually tied with Drow for the lowest Hit points of all Paladins, but higher Dexterity, and occasionally 2-Weapon Fighters.
  • Elven Arcane Archer provides an option for a Ranged Paladin.
  • Mark of Shadow is very powerful mark for Displacement.

Dragonmark Options:

  • Mark of Shadow - Invisibility, Displacement, Shadow Walk

Preferred Weapons:

  • Longsword or Longbow

Cons:

  • Lower CON

Common Builds:

  • Evasion Paladin.
  • Evasion Paladin with Rogue Skills.
  • Two-Weapon Paladin.
  • Displacement Paladin.
  • Ranged Paladin.

[edit] The Drow Paladin

Advantages:

  • Shortsword Enhancements
  • Follower of Vulkoorim
  • Starting 10 CHA, which means, easier to get Divine Might IV
  • Drow SR
  • Effectively 32 p builds for free-to-play players

Characteristics:

  • Drow Paladins are usually Shortsword users, as the Racial Enhancements and Follower of Vulkoor make them deal a lot of damage.
  • Usually tied with Elves for the lowest Hit points of all Paladins, but higher Dexterity, and occasionally 2-Weapon Fighters.
  • Drow also start with 10 in CHA, INT, and DEX... making a higher Charisma cost less.
  • Drow SR can help augment a Paladin's Saves for survivability.

Preferred Weapons:

  • Rapier or Shortsword

Cons:

  • Lower CON

Common Builds:

  • Evasion Paladin.
  • Evasion Paladin with Rogue Skills.
  • Two-Weapon Paladin.

[edit] The Halfling Paladin

Advantages:

  • +1 To-Hit
  • +Dexterity Bonuses
  • +1 AC Size Bonus

Characteristics:

  • Halfling Paladins tend to be Finesse Fighters, and very often 2-Weapon due to Racial Dexterity, and low starting STR.
  • Usually have some of the best saves of all Paladins.
  • Mark of Healing is useful for healing/utility Paladin.

Cons:

  • STR penalty usually means Dexterity-based or TWF, Intimidate Penalty.

Common Builds:

  • Evasion Paladin.
  • Two-Weapon Paladin.
  • Healing Paladin.

[edit] Important Level Points for Paladin Builds

Listed Below are the important “Break Points” for Paladins. These are the levels at which a Paladin gains Key Abilities, Feats, Spells, or Enhancements.

Toughness Enhancements:

  • Paladin 1 - Paladin Toughness 1 (+10 Hit Points)
  • Paladin 4 - Paladin Toughness 2 (+10 Hit Points for a total of +20HP)
  • Paladin 7 - Paladin Toughness 3 (+10 Hit Points for a total of +30HP)
  • Paladin 10 - Paladin Toughness 4 (+10 Hit Points for a total of +40HP)

Class Stat Enhancements (Charisma):

  • Paladin 2 - Stat +1
  • Paladin 6 - Stat +2
  • Paladin 10 - Stat +3

Paladin Break Points:

  • Paladin 1 - Limited Divine Wand Usage, Paladin Aura (+1 AC, +1 Saves)
  • Paladin 2 - Divine Grace (Cha Bonus to Saves), Lay on Hands, Enhancement: CHA +1
  • Paladin 3 - Divine Health (Disease Immunity) & Fear Immunity, Enhancement: Resistance/Bulwark of Good 1, Enhancement: +1 Lay On Hands
  • Paladin 4 - Level 1 Spells, Turn Undead, Divine Favor Spell +1/+1
  • Paladin 5 - Enhancements: Divine Sacrifice 1 and Divine Might 1
  • Paladin 6 - Divine Favor Spell +2/+2, Enhancements: CHA +2, Tier 1 Prestige Enhancements, Exalted Smite 1
  • Paladin 7 - Enhancement: Resistance/Bulwark of Good 2
  • Paladin 8 - Level 2 Spells, Enhancement: +1 Lay on Hands
  • Paladin 9 - Divine Favor +3/+3 (Cap)
  • Paladin 10 - Enhancements: CHA +3, Divine Might 2, Exalted Smite 2
  • Paladin 11 - 30-point Resist Energy, Enhancement: Resistance/Bulwark of Good 3
  • Paladin 12 - Level 3 Spells, Enhancement: Divine Sacrifice 2, Tier 2 Prestige Enhancements
  • Paladin 13 - Enhancement: Extra Lay on Hands 3
  • Paladin 14 - Level 4 Spells, Spell: Zeal, Enhancement: Exalted Smite 3
  • Paladin 15 - Enhancements: Divine Might 3 and Bulwark of Good 4
  • Paladin 18 - Tier 3 Prestige Enhancements, Exalted Smite 4
  • Paladin 19 - Enhancement: Divine Sacrifice 3
  • Paladin 20 - Enhancement: Weapons of Good Capstone

[edit] Multiclassing a Paladin in DDO

Paladins in DDO don't suffer from multiclassing penalties like those in PnP. However, the Paladin capstone ability is very good and therefore, multiclassing comes at a cost. Fighter/Paladin mixes are popular to get the badly needed feats. Rogue/Paladin builds are solid options to mix the Paladins high saves with Evasion, and many times with full UMD and/or even rogue skills. Both Fighter and Rogue offer Haste boost.

Common Options for Multiclassing:

  • Fighter 1-2 - Splash for Tower Shield, Bonus Feats and Haste boost
  • Rogue 2 - Evasion, +1 Dexterity, +1d6 Sneak Attack, +Skill Points (UMD)
  • Monk 2 - Evasion, feats and saves

Rare Options for Multiclassing

  • Cleric 1 - More Turn Undead, Full Divine Wand Usage, Divine Vitality 1, More SP
  • Wizard 1 - Same as Sorcerer, but uncommon due to lower INT than CHA for most Paladins
  • Sorcerer 6/8 - Self-buffing melee fighter

[edit] Building a Paladin

Paladins can be one of the more challenging classes to plan out for building, as their reliance on 4-5 of the 6 stats require many critical decisions while rolling. Some important decisions must be made on the eventual class breakdown of your Paladin to help determine your stats.

Strength (High Priority) Strength determines your to-hit and damage, as well the the DC's of abilities like Trip and Stunning Blow, so you will want to get your strength as high as possible. Starting strength should not be below 15 or 16.

Constitution (High Priority) Paladins will often be on the front lines of a fight. As a result they need a relatively high constitution. Starting constitution should not be below 14. Paladin tanks may opt to max constitution by sacrificing some ability points in strength. A tank would be using two handed fighting, which frees up the points that would be used in dexterity as well.

Dexterity (Low Priority if using two handed fighting, Moderate if using two weapon fighting) Paladins fighting with two-handed weapon can dump dexterity to 8; Paladins fighting with two weapons usually start with 15 or 16 (so that with a +1 or +2 dexterity tome they can reach 17 required for Greater Two Weapon Fighting). AC focused paladins will need to put just enough points in dexterity to reach the max dex bonus of their armor.

Intelligence (Low Priority) is often a dump stat at 8. AC builds need 13 for Combat Expertise. Builds dipping rogue can also benefit from more a little more int to boost their trap skills.

Wisdom (Moderate Priority) is the key to spell points and casting spells. Paladins are Divine caster and must have 10 Wisdom + 1 Wisdom per spell level, so the highest Wisdom a Paladin will ever need to cast spells is 14 Wisdom. Remember: A Paladin’s ability to cast spells is based on his current Wisdom, so 8 Base Wisdom and a +6 Wisdom Item will allow a Paladin to cast any Paladin spell in the Game!

Charisma (High Priority) is also important to all Paladins, as Divine Grace adds his Charisma Modifier to all saves, as well as the Charisma modifier powering Lay on Hands and Smite Evil. Divine Might IV enhancement requires 20 base charisma.

Taken all together, the “typical” Paladin will start with 15-18 Strength, 8-16 Dexterity, 14-18 Constitution, 8 or 12/13 Intelligence, 8-11 Wisdom, and 14-17 Charisma.

[edit] Paladin Feats

As the Paladin is a Melee class, many of the feats are easy to select, such as Weapon Focus, Improved Critical, and Toughness. Depending on their weapon choice, two-handed fighting or two-weapon fighting feat line is often taken. Extend spell is another common choice, as is weapon proficiency Khopesh.

Beyond those, the feats differ depending on the Build and role of the Paladin. Paladins that splash Rogue will typically take Skill Focus: UMD, while healing/casting oriented Pure Paladins will take Mental Toughness / Improved Mental Toughness. AC-focused builds will often take Combat Expertise and Dodge, and Skill Focus: Intimidate for IntimiTanks, along with Shield Mastery and Improved Shield Mastery. Force of Personality substitutes his Charisma modifier in place of Wisdom for the Will Save. This can be a useful feat for higher Charisma builds, or builds that are not as dependent on their Wisdom for casting, or have sufficient Wisdom without an item to cast the needed spells, thus potentially freeing an item slot. Dragonmarks are also a flavor consideration for Halflings, Elves, and Humans, as the Halfling Healing Mark provides strong Healing abilities, the Elven Shadow Mark offers Displacement, and the Human Passage Mark gives Expeditious Retreat and Dimension Door.

Paladins usually do not need to invest their feats into saves-based feats, such as Luck of Heroes or Iron Will, but Bullheaded is a common choice for IntimiTanks due to the bonus to Intimidate. Other specialty multiclassed Paladin builds may take feats to complement their other classes, such as Nimble Fingers of Skill Focus: Disable for Rogue skills enabled Paladins.

[edit] Paladins and Armor Class

(This section is severely outdated) AC is a highly debated subject for DDO, but to break the discussion down, when you are talking the current "end-game" in DDO (Gianthold, Orchard, Stormreaver, etc)... than AC less than 50 is basically not worth worrying about, and that 55 is the real "magic number" to go from getting hit almost all the time to getting hit rarely. This target number may change with the upcoming Mod 6, but for now we will use 55 as the "Magic Number"

Ok, so given a Magic Number of 55 AC, then what does this mean for the Paladin. Paladins can certainly hit 55 AC, if they really focus on AC, have some very high-end gear, raid loot, and Combat Expertise... but most players do not have access to that type of gear. So, what other numbers "Matter". Outside of the Gianthold, 40-45 AC is a great target range, very easily hit by Paladins with easily obtainable gear. On Normal, many Evasion Paladins have reported tanking Velah on Normal and never getting hit with around a 45 AC!

So, if you are going to focus on AC, then you need to focus on it completely, with Combat Expertise, and probably a 12F/4P or 11P/5F or 7F/7P split to really focus on AC. If you are not building a primarily AC-focused Paladin, then avoid Feats such as Dodge and Combat Expertise, and focus on DPS or Utility, or whatever your desired role for your Paladin, and don’t worry about AC.

Rule of Thumb: 42-45 AC is great for everything up to the Desert. 55 AC is needed from the Gianthold on.

[edit] Equipping a Paladin

See Paladin equipment


[edit] Playing a Paladin in DDO

See Paladin playstyle


[edit] Paladin Template Builds

Pure Paladin
IntimiTank Paladin (11P/5F Version)
IntimiTank Paladin (12F/4P Version)
Max-AC Paladin
Evasion Paladin
Evasion Paladin with Rogue Skills

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