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Brom
2009-01-01, 10:43 AM
I want to do a rehaul of the Paladin class, and am looking for ideas. I have a few goals with this overhaul. My hope is that I can propose to the DM's I play with that this become the new Paladin class officially, so it has to be balanced. I'm looking for a few things in this:

* No dead levels; or, at the very least, an improvement from the current situation. That shouldn't be hard; as it is, the Paladin gets new things up to 6th level -- at that point, I feel like multiclassing to Fighter or Monk. More Remove Disease uses per week and more hit points/BAB/saves/skills/Lay on Hands usage doesn't feel like a good reason to stick Paladin, and the Paladin really is a class that rewards sticking to it.
* Right now, the Paladin feels like a roleplaying class rather than one that has true tactical validity -- like, if I had to pick a class to fill a purpose, I doubt Paladin would do it. But even as a roleplaying class? It feels flawed. The Paladin's Code is too outward directed, in my mind.

Additionally, a paladinís code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

I like the 'respect legitimate authority' part of the code. The acting with honor bit makes me wince -- the idea that a Paladin couldn't lie if he had to, couldn't use poison if he had to. Helping those in need is fine to me, and punishing those who harm or threaten innocents is fine to me as well. However, I'd like to work out a really solid, great code that doesn't feel choking but still feels interesting and significant to live up to.

* Make the class the ideal Holy Warrior. Right now, Paladin's don't get enough feats to generate damage as it is. The most damaging feat chain I could think of for a Paladin was Power Attack/Cleave/Great Cleave/Short Haft, while wielding a halberd and employing smite evil, perhaps mounted. Holy abilities would be nice; preferably some that aren't purely defensive, as the class has too many of that. In high level games, I don't want the sole claim of my 15th level Paladin to be, ''I generate damage like an 8th level fighter, but I'm resistant, immune, or can safely ignore pretty much everything you do.'' This both takes out the element of risk to me, which isn't enjoyable, and takes out the element of pwning to me, which also isn't enjoyable. A melee class should be effective, dammit.
* Overhaul smite, unless I see persuasive opinions saying otherwise and arguing for the idea that it's already balanced. This ability seems to be the mainstay for damage for the Paladin, but I can think of several arcane spells off the top of my head that would provide better damage and could be used more times per day. Enlarge Person comes to mind. If a first level spell can be used more times per day and generates more damage overall than a classes most showcased ability...
* Skills; my idea is to rework the Paladin skill list to have more skills/level and have a better range of skills.

To accomplish all of this, I'm looking for feedback and responses talking about what could be done to improve the Paladin class. For balance range, I'm looking to make the Paladin roughly as effective as a Ranger or Monk is (I'm not using Barbarian/Fighter as my standards as those are pure fighting classes; a paladin occupies other roles, giving diplomacy, healing, and knowledge to the group, so their combat power can be slightly more scaled back.)

Frog Dragon
2009-01-01, 11:08 AM
Makes no sense using the monk or ranger as a power baseline when the ranger is roughly equivalent to the paladin and the monk plain sucks. A ToB based fix could be good.
How about giving an aura progression Btw? And maybe a couple of bonus feats. That could make for a paladin that stands next to ToB classes in power. And by auras i mean like something that you activate as a swift action and it does stuff for one or two rounds. Like this

Divine Might
The paladin turns into a fearsome figure to all evil making them fear holy justice.
Prequisite: Paladin level 10
As a swift action you may actiavate this ability. Upon activating all evil creatures within 30 feet must make a will save [DC 10 + half paladin level (round up)]
or be shaken and take a -4 to attack and -2 to AC for one round.
This is usable once per encounter.

Feel free to steal it. That's just an example of what i think the paladin could be given. Also customization. If you do an aura progression with more auras than you can get then it allows a route for customizing your character mechanically more. As do bonus feats

Brom
2009-01-01, 11:19 AM
That sounds fine, although I don't use the Tome of Battle and neither does anyone I know; on top of this, I hear the ToB classes make the PHB melee classes look awful, which means if I used the ToB standard of balance, Paladins would seem OP to all the people who run in my groups.

We have a Monk in a 13th level D&D campaign that I've been in for three years, and I've never felt she sucks. Sure, our arcane caster is a sorcerer, so no one has quite felt the full bite of the power differential between casters and noncasters, but our Monk is pretty rad.

Frog Dragon
2009-01-01, 11:28 AM
If you feel the balance is good, but you want to chance the paladins function then you could slow down the rate at which they get improvements to the core abilities like smite. Scrap the bonus feats idea and give them a limited aura progression. That doesn't actually make it a more powerful melee class, but it does temporarily help your side with bonuses and make the other one suck with penalties. Thus the paladin would be helping other classes do their job better and could also solo with powers that affect enemies. Make them suck and put them to the sword.

Brom
2009-01-01, 11:37 AM
I'd like to rework smite to be more effective if I was to slow down times per day -- I'd like a Paladin to feel that he could tip the progress of a difficult battle with that ability. I'd like for a party to feel that they can put the Paladin into the fight with a BBEG and have him be the one who puts the thing down to size.

I'm liking you're aura idea -- the auras for the Paladin always looked stunted to me, anyways. Fear resistance...then nothing. :P

Making the healing/turn undead functions more versatile; respectively, healing could amp up and come to remove curses, break enchantments, reverse petrification, and turn undead could nullify spells as a counterspell, force concentration checks, turn outsiders, etc.

At least this way, the Paladin could act as a vital support unit to the party -- something of a backbone. Your Paladin is the one you turn to when you want bad things to stop happening, like stopping that evil cleric from swamping your party under tides of undead and evil summoned monsters, or the guy who fixes you after you get petrified.

As a mainline fighter, after the rehaul I hope that a Paladin can be a good front line and good for other things besides. Not the ideal member of the team if you're looking to slaughter platoons of enemies in battle, but someone who will feel like a real front line but make up for mild ineffectiveness there for being plenty worthwhile in other arenas.

Mando Knight
2009-01-01, 01:48 PM
I hear the ToB classes make the PHB melee classes look awful,

The ToB makes PHB melee look awful because those classes are easier to optimize to the point that they remain useful in the face of Bat-Wizard and the Broken League. PHB melee is roughly balanced with healbot Clerics, blasty mages, and non-creative Druids. ToB creeps up closer into competition with CoDzilla and Bat-Wizard.

If you find a monk and a sorcerer as competent characters, then the base Paladin can be played at least as optimally in your campaign.

If you're decreasing the Paladin's Smite/Day progression, then you've better got a rather powerful damage progression, like replacing the existing progression with +1d6 per 2 levels (i.e. Rogue's Sneak Attack progression) or +(level*Charisma).

That said, Fax Celestis made a How-It-Should-Be Paladin (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33551) for a paladin rebuild... who's on a completely different power scale than the Monk and Ranger.

Frog Dragon
2009-01-01, 02:18 PM
He mentioned in another thread he doesn't like the mantle idea. Specifically my barbarian fix thread.

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-01-01, 04:08 PM
One easy way to improve the paladin's damage output is to make his smites per-encounter or per-combat rather than per-day. A paladin is supposed to be good at smiting evil; ensuring that a paladin will be able to smite evil creatures no matter how many battles he fights in a day would reinforce that.

Brom
2009-01-01, 07:15 PM
Even the Monk is above the Paladin in my mind. The ranger, fair enough, is also pretty snarky, I want to get around to overhauling that class, too. I simply came to the conclusion that using Fighter or Barbarian wouldn't be a good baseline if I was increasing power, as I wanted to compare apple to apples, and that meant looking at classes that did fighting but occupied valuable support roles.

I like the idea of Smite taking on a d6 + CHA + level damage progression, as well as it being usable 1/encounter. I think I'm going to incorporate that.

I'm not familiar with all the names you threw out there. CoDzilla?

My idea isn't a Paladin that's balanced to the Wizard class. No one in my campaign groups finds Wizards that powerful anyway because no one chooses optimum actions and builds. The only person who plays a Wizard at all, actually, is me -- and forgive me if I don't want my 5th level Wizard nerfed :P

So, yea. Continue giving feedback, posting sample abilities that you might think of, etc -- I'm looking forward to hearing more great feedback. Pretty soon here I'll post my own rehaul and see what you all think.

Mando Knight
2009-01-01, 08:09 PM
CoDzilla is a 3.5 optimization method in which the Cleric and Druid classes become more powerful in melee combat than any of the PHB combat-focused classes... i.e. a "Cleric or Druid" "Godzilla". The Druid uses Natural Spell and polymorph (not exactly clear on the rest of the build), while the Cleric uses Divine Metamagic to Persist a horde of buffs, usually Divine Power for its massive Strength bonus and full BAB. When they're done properly, they're full spellcasters (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards) that can curb stomp (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CurbStompBattle) a fighter (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EpicFail) (who is really a template, not a real class) in one on one combat. Tome of Battle may or may not have been written to give martial classes a bit of their thunder back.

The Paladin, by core RAW, isn't that bad (compared to other core melee classes). If you believe that it's weaker than a Monk, then your DM may not have been throwing out monsters with very high AC or attack bonus (the monsters against which the Paladin shines: high to-hit and defenses, probably high enough to unleash a massive Power Attack and still hit rather reliably)... or the monk got really good stat rolls. Basically, make the Paladin with high Strength and Charisma and at least 14 Wisdom. Put him on his celestial mount, give him a lance and full plate. Charging Smite. The 14's for his Wisdom... when he gets his 4th level spells, he should cast Holy Sword (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/holySword.htm) as often as he needs.

wadledo
2009-01-02, 01:19 AM
Dzilla is just Natural spell and wild shape used both intelligently and with a number of books to add to the number of actualy decent forms to use.

JodtraSor
2009-01-02, 11:11 AM
You could use the DragonShamen (PHB2) as a baseline for the Paladin's power level. They use auras, and they have an ability that works like Lay on Hands only better called Touch of Vitallity. I play Paladins up to level five and then just play Dragonshamon the rest of the way all the time.

Another thing is there are alot of varients to the Paladin in several different books.
For example, in the PHB2 instead of a mount a Paladin can get a ability called "Charging Smite". This makes their smite HUGE, and if they still miss they don't loss the smite.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-01-02, 03:41 PM
* Right now, the Paladin feels like a roleplaying class rather than one that has true tactical validity -- like, if I had to pick a class to fill a purpose, I doubt Paladin would do it. But even as a roleplaying class? It feels flawed. The Paladin's Code is too outward directed, in my mind.
This has a really simple solution: all you have to do is drop the alignment restrictions and CoC. Treat paladins like clerics; they must choose a god and then stay within one alignment step of that god, and follow a rough Code of Conduct appropriate to that god. Just like a cleric. A paladin chooses at 1st level to smite evil, good, chaos or law, as appropriate to his/her alignment.

Paladin abilities that allow the character to add an ability bonus to a stat should be capped by the paladin's class level, to prevent level dipping. Or, they should be capped in that way if the character multiclasses. For example a paladin 1/fighter 1 with a 16 Cha should only add +1 to smite attacks.

Hope that helps,
TS

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-02, 04:04 PM
Some suggestions:

For the Code of Honor change -

"A Paladin's Code of Honor necessarily depends on the diety they serve. A Paladin of Pelor, for example, would likely have a different Code to follow than a Paladin of Hextor.

In light of this, the Paladin must choose one Major Vow, and a number of Minor Vows at every other level, which are in keeping with the diety he serves.

A Major Vow is something that will be a significant problem in it's own right. For example, a Paladin of Pelor may make a Major Vow to never voluntarily go underground for longer than a week. This severely limits his ability to go on 'dungeon runs'.

A Minor Vow is something that may pose a problem, but is either highly situational, or the circumstances are not as common. For example, the above Paladin of Pelor may make a minor vow to seek out undead and either destroy them if he has the power to do so, or to inform his superiors of them if he is clearly not powerful enough."

Then, you can start giving him auras. For examples, check out the Marshall (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20030906b) class. This will provide him something useful to be able to offer his allies.

You can also start giving him additional options vs things he should be more effective against. Smite Evil just... doesn't cut it. He needs a bit more 'boom' to his 'chuck'. At higher levels you can do things like "If he sucessfully smites an evil Outsider, the Outsider must make a save or be Banished", or "If Undead is sucessfully hit, must make save or be affected as Disruption". This grants him situational power vs things he should darn well be effective against, since that's kinda the point of him being around. At the same time, this also keeps him from being overly powerful in most situations.

I would also give him benefits like "Any weapon he picks up is considered to be Good and Lawful for purposes of overcoming DR", then later on "Any weapon he picks up is considered to be Holy"... this, again, increases his power somewhat, but it is also very situational, very flavorful, and is just plain cool.

I would also like to point out that Detect Evil (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/detectEvil.htm) is NOT the 'I can tell if anything is evil' that most people think it is. If you limit the Paladin's 'at will' ability to be unable to pick up Faint auras, this eliminates 99% of it's abuse.

So from 1-5, he looks pretty typical, at 6+, instead of Remove Disease, which is just kind of silly, he gets things like Auras and extra benefits to weapons he wields vs Evil Outsiders and Undead.

Mando Knight
2009-01-02, 04:46 PM
Some suggestions:

For the Code of Honor change -

"A Paladin's Code of Honor necessarily depends on the diety they serve. A Paladin of Pelor, for example, would likely have a different Code to follow than a Paladin of Hextor.

In light of this, the Paladin must choose one Major Vow, and a number of Minor Vows at every other level, which are in keeping with the diety he serves.

A Major Vow is something that will be a significant problem in it's own right. For example, a Paladin of Pelor may make a Major Vow to never voluntarily go underground for longer than a week. This severely limits his ability to go on 'dungeon runs'.

A Minor Vow is something that may pose a problem, but is either highly situational, or the circumstances are not as common. For example, the above Paladin of Pelor may make a minor vow to seek out undead and either destroy them if he has the power to do so, or to inform his superiors of them if he is clearly not powerful enough."

Then, you can start giving him auras. For examples, check out the Marshall (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20030906b) class. This will provide him something useful to be able to offer his allies.

This ends up to be similar to Fax Celestis' How-It-Should-Be Paladin's Mantles (customizable code of behavior (not honor, as there are Chaos and Evil ones) that provide a benefit), which the OP has already said he doesn't like.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-02, 06:53 PM
This ends up to be similar to Fax Celestis' How-It-Should-Be Paladin's Mantles (customizable code of behavior (not honor, as there are Chaos and Evil ones) that provide a benefit), which the OP has already said he doesn't like.

Umm... no. Re-read.

The Vows do absolutely nothing to benefit the character, they simply replace the CoC that the OP doesn't like. Auras/abilites/etc... are all completely independent of any Vows you take. If you prefer, you can just eliminate any sort of Code entirely and use the rest of it.

I've also very carefully avoided any of the 'mantles' that Fax's Paladins have, which was what the OP was specifically objecting to.

I'll have some kind of proper build up in a few, which should probably be able to explain it better.

Brom
2009-01-03, 12:17 AM
Thank you guys. I am considering all of this and working on a Paladin overhaul, which should be done by tomorrow.

I like the idea of a scaling smite ability that is extra effective vs things Paladins should be >>>>>> than anyways.

I'm going to throw in a few auras, a few defensive abilities, a few offensive abilities; to keep the balance for the Paladin's defensive, battlefield, boosts, debuffs, and offensive options, to stop it from being the ''resist all'' class I described.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-01-03, 05:03 PM
Thank you guys. I am considering all of this and working on a Paladin overhaul, which should be done by tomorrow.

I like the idea of a scaling smite ability that is extra effective vs things Paladins should be >>>>>> than anyways.

I'm going to throw in a few auras, a few defensive abilities, a few offensive abilities; to keep the balance for the Paladin's defensive, battlefield, boosts, debuffs, and offensive options, to stop it from being the ''resist all'' class I described.

That was one reason why I was mentioning the improved smites (to destroy undead/banish evil outsiders) and the auras. It provides use, without being 'immune to all'. Also, auras are handy because they are party buffs, so instead of personal power, they bring improved group power to the table.

Fax Celestis
2009-01-03, 05:16 PM
You may want to look at my Paladin rewrite for ideas.