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Starting a Paladin

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Starting a...


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.

What is a Paladin in DDO?[edit]

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. And while their AC might be lower, a Paladin pulls ahead of the Fighter in being able to easily heal himself and others, a talent which Fighters sorely lack.

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 that 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 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, so long as they do not violate their lawful good alignment requirements: Paladins cannot multiclass with bards, druids, and barbarians due to this.

Paladin Strengths and Weaknesses[edit]

Paladin Strengths[edit]

  • 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.

Paladin Weaknesses[edit]

  • 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).
  • Cannot multiclass with druids, bards, or barbarians due to alignment restrictions.
  • Unless multiclassed, paladins are considered 'feat-starved', meaning they only have the standard seven feats available to all classes, meaning they must pick and choose which feats they wish to use, sometimes needing to sacrifice some optional (but useful) feats for more important ones.

Tips for Playing a Paladin in DDO[edit]

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.

Choosing a Race for your Paladin[edit]

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.

The Human Paladin[edit]


  • +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

The Aasimar Paladin[edit]


  • Racial bonus to wisdom with the option of more wisdom, strength, or charisma (all useful to paladins)
  • Healing Hands gives Paladins even more options for instant healing.
  • Special bonds that can greatly improve strength and offense or charisma and defense.
  • Racial tree has many enhancements that can benefit any type of Paladin due to the Aasimar being a divine-oriented race.

Common Builds:

  • Intimitank
  • 2-Handed DPS Paladin
  • Evasion Paladin

The Dwarven Paladin[edit]


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


  • 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.

The Warforged Paladin[edit]


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


  • 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.


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

Common Builds:

  • IntimiTank.
  • 2-Handed DPS Paladin.

The Elven Paladin[edit]


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


  • 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


  • Lower CON

Common Builds:

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

The Drow Paladin[edit]


  • Shortsword Enhancements
  • Follower of Vulkoor
  • Starting 10 CHA, which means extra strength from Divine Might
  • Drow SR
  • Effectively 32 p builds for free-to-play players


  • Drow Paladins are usually Shortsword users, as the Racial Enhancements and Follower of Vulkoor make them deal extra 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 survivability.

Preferred Weapons:

  • Rapier or Shortsword


  • Lower CON

Common Builds:

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

The Halfling Paladin[edit]


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


  • 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.


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

Common Builds:

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

Building a Paladin[edit]

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 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.

Paladin Feats[edit]

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.

Paladin Enhancement Trees[edit]

  • Knight of the Chalice: This tree focuses primarily on melee damage capabilities of the paladin. They gain several bonuses to fighting evil creatures (such as undead, demons, and devils) and inflict added light damage on their weapon attacks. Knights also gain two cleave-like abilities, which share cooldowns with the actual cleave feats, giving paladins two extra feats which they usually desperately need. They also have a powerful area ability that can instantly kill evil creatures.
  • Sacred Defender: Like the Fighter's Stalwart Defender tree, this focuses on defensive abilities. While the Fighter's tree is a bit more offensively oriented, the Paladin's counterpart is focused almost entirely on self defense with boosts to their healing capabilities, as well as strengthening their aura of courage. Defenders make excellent tanks, capable of taking large amounts of punishment and have added support for heavy armor and shields.
  • Vanguard: This tree is shared by both the Fighter and Paladin classes. It strikes a balance between offense and defense, providing the paladin with excellent support for using shields for both attack and defense. The vanguard uses its shield as a weapon, passively bashing their opponents every few strikes, providing a free attack that can be quite devastating when built for it. The vanguard is also quite mobile and gains movement bonuses and two charge attacks to launch them into battle: hence the name vanguard, as they are usually the first to the fight, acting as a shock trooper before the bulk of the party can reach the fray. Lastly, vanguards gain several crowd control abilities, including a very potent stun that can work on enemies that are usually immune to stuns (like the undead or golems) making them very powerful for locking down dangerous targets.

Paladins and Armor Class[edit]

(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 ... then AC less than 80 is basically not worth worrying about, given that most paladins focus on dealing damage wielding either two weapons or a two handed weapon your AC will most likely be sub-par, but you can always work in other forms of defense, wear heavy armor to get the maximum number of physical resistance rating (PRR) that you can, wear items with the "incorporeality" property or buff yourself with blur/displacement scrolls and wands.

Paladins can certainly hit a meaningful AC, if they really focus on it, have some very high-end gear, raid loot, and Combat Expertise... but most players do not have access to that type of gear.

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.

Multiclassing a Paladin in DDO[edit]

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 (though you'll need a higher dexterity than other paladins to make up for the fact you can no longer use heavy armor), 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 - +1 Dexterity, +1d6 Sneak Attack, +Skill Points (UMD)
  • Monk 2 - 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; uses Arcane wands/scrolls, and (via Master's Touch) Tower Shields

Equipping a Paladin[edit]

See Paladin equipment

Playing a Paladin in DDO[edit]

See Paladin playstyle

Paladin Template Builds[edit]