Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Pathfinder Paladin for Our Next Campaign

Okay, so my group is getting ready to try doing a game using Roll20.  Over time our group has become more spread out geographically.  For our Monday night games we already have one player Skype in.  Naturally that brought up the idea of doing a totally virtual game.  My buddy Bill volunteered to run one with Roll20 and the rest of us are working up our characters.  This time I've decided to try a paladin.  In general I like the idea of the paladin.  But when I look at the actual structure of the class in D&D/Pathfinder my enthusiasm wanes.  However, I've never actually played one and so I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's the design for the character up through level 5.  In the old days I just picked a class and started playing.  But with all the feats and other options for a Pathfinder class, you really have to look ahead a few levels.  Note that this is not meant to be an "optimized build".  This is more about the flavor

Torathiel-yng-Ulathual-min-Calaisse IV (or "Cal")
Paladin (hospitaler archetype)
Male elf, Lawful Good <--Lawful Good elf? What's wrong with this picture? No wonder he left home.

STR 14 (+2)
DEX 16 (+3)
CON 10 (+0)
INT 14 (+2)
WIS 12 (+1)
CHA 16 (+3)
*Note: the GM had us start with an array of 16, 14, 14, 12, 12, 12 for the stats, placed as desired; at the first session we will get an extra 1d4 of points to play with.

FORT    2 + 0 = +2
REF    0 + 3 = +3
WIL    2 + 1 = +3

Elf Favored Class Bonus: Per level, add +1/2 hit point to the paladin's lay on hands ability (whether using it to heal or harm).

Elven Immunities: Elves are immune to magic sleep effects and gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.

Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.

Skills: (2 points/level)
Knowledge (nobility) (Int): 1 + 3 + 2 = 6
Ride (Dex): 1 + 3 + 3 = 7

1st Level
Aura of Good, Detect Evil, Smite Evil 1/Day
Feat: <see ideas below>

2nd Level
Divine Grace (add CHA bonus to all saving throws), and Lay on Hands (1/2 Paladin level + <CHA mod> times per day, heals 1d6 per 2 paladin levels)

3rd Level
Aura of Courage (immune to fear/+4 to ally saves), Divine Health (immune to diseases), Mercy
Feat: <see ideas below>

4th Level
Channel Positive Energy (3 + <CHA mod> times per day for 1d6)
Spells: one 1st level paladin spell
+1 to ability score

5th Level
Divine Bond (mount or weapon; maybe I can talk the GM into doing shield instead of weapon)
Feat: <see ideas below>

Feat Ideas
Pathfinder has probably way too many feats now.  Picking feats for your character is half the work of leveling up.  I went through the feats on the d20 Pathfinder SRD site

Arcane Talent (Cast a 0-level spell 3 times per day as a spell-like ability: maybe detect magic, dancing lights, or light) this is just to add some elf/magical "flavor"
Disarm, Improved (+2 to disarm) this character will fight for good, but he's not a natural born killer so disarming fits
Dodge (+1 AC) elves are supposed to be quick and a bit of extra AC helps keep him alive in battle
Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) I just like the idea of an extra huge sword, but maybe this is an expensive use of a feat
Extra Channel (+2/day) this is a hospitaler type paladin, so healing channels fits well here; channeling comes at level 4, so this would be good for the level 5 feat
Lightning Reflexes (+2 to REF) this one would be to represent elvish quickness, but he's pretty quick already in this area
Mobility (+4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity) this allows him to be mobile in battle, elf style, rather than standing in one place battling it out, but as the only fighter type so far he have to play that role
Persuasive (+2 bonus on Diplomacy and Intimidate checks) "Now see here old chap, you really must put your weapon down or I shall be forced to smite you..."
Point-Blank Shot (+1 hit and damage within 30') as an elf he'll likely be shooting a lot and this is the "must have" basic feat for archery
Scholar (Gain a bonus to two Knowledge skills) represents his well-educated family background
Sharp Senses (+4 racial bonus on Perception checks) more elf flavor, but maybe a waste of a feat on top of the existing racial bonus
Shield Focus (+1 to shield AC) part of the character background is the shield of his uncle who was a paladin
Toughness (+3 HP and +1 per level) just a generally good feat for keeping any character alive
Weapon Focus (+1 attack with a weapon) a good basic feat for fighty types, but longsword or long bow...hmm

Primary Equipment Ideas
Scale Mail/50gp
Shield, Heavy Wooden/7gp
Longsword/15gp [or Bastard Sword/35gp]
Arrows (20)/20gp

1 comment:

  1. As Ed knows, I play a Pathfinder paladin character in his campaign, so he is well aware of the strengths and limitations of the class from the perspective of a GM. I thought I would join in here to share my experiences playing a Pathfinder paladin.

    My character is slightly unconventional. Trenzan Fenholder is a half-orc paladin of Erastil who is dual classed as a bard. His high charisma, and little else, makes that paring work, although the real complication of any paladin is dependent upon the deity to which one is committed. Trenzan is a Divine Defender archetype, which I thought was pretty true to Erastil’s world view. In my case, following Erastil created a nice complication for our adventure path and for Trenzan.

    Trenzan joined a party of established adventurers in a big(-gish) city, and as our play has evolved, I have enjoyed evolving him away from protector of his small home village of Hollowsky into a protector of his companions. The Divine Defender archetype smoothed that transition quite a bit, although I am still working through Erastil’s grumpy hind-headedness with to regard to other religions and their priests. To get there, I am finding my paladin to be a little less bound by the “law” (Erastil’s laws are pretty short-sighted) and much more energized by the “good” that Erastil always delivers.

    Erastil gave me a chance to focus Trenzan upon a single weapon – Erastil’s favoured longbow – and I set aside other weapons for the most part (dagger and sword for extreme situations), and focused totally on archery feats. The longbow compliments Trenzan’s bardic skills as an Arcane Duellist, and although that archetype led me away from some of the more roguish skills of the bard to which I was attracted, it does allow me to bind the bardic magic to the paladin combat skills pretty seamlessly. Now Trenzan is well-adapted to protecting our party’s spellcasters while providing archery in support of our impressive melee fighters, even if he looks like a ranger-bard (an image illusion that is dispelled by one night in the wild).
    Being dual-classed means one spends a lot of time ANTICIPATING higher-level skills rather than actually gaining them. Trenzan has many more adventurers ahead before he can channel positive energy…
    I am going to enjoy, as a player, watching Ed play his Hospitaller. If more fighters don’t join our party, I am sure his experience will be quite different from mine. Then there is the whole elf thing – that will be cool to see as well, although from a player standpoint my half-elf outcast wizard will likely regard the paladin with a mixture of envy, awe and disdain…at least until the first combat!