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    Default [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    This is an update of an old thread, with new additions from Pathfinder and a few obscure splat books I've read recently. If you're interested in other similar lists, go check out my Melee Combo Guide.

    Key:

    Red = Generally should be avoided.
    Indigo = Potentially useful for specific Smite builds.
    Black = Generally a strong choice for any Smite related Build.
    Blue = Awesome.

    Why Optimize Smite?
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    So youíre probably asking yourself, why would I bother with optimizing the ability to Smite?

    Pro:
    • When you activate a Smite attack, you can yell "I SMITE EVIL!" or something similar. By comparison, yelling "I POWER ATTACK!" every turn gets very annoying very fast.
    • Unlike Power Attack, which subtracts from your to-hit or AC (with Shock Trooper), Smite attacks usually add to your to-hit. So Smite attacks rarely miss, and don't make you vulnerable to counter attack afterwards.
    • Smite damage can be multiplied, and by mid levels it's generally easy to do so for a low investment. By itself it's generally class level damage. With one spell and a lance it's class level *3. With one magic item and one feat, it's class level *5. If you invest heavily in it, you can get it up to class level *10ish or more.
    • Smite is a free action, and the bonuses are untyped. So if you have two or three different types of Smite attacks you can use all them at the same time. This is important both because it basically ensures that you have a 95% chance of hitting (or a 99.75% chance of hitting if you have a re-roll effect), and because if you're using damage multipliers, each Smite gets multiplied.
    • Smite attacks often bypass various forms of damage reduction. This is particularly important at mid-levels, when DR 5 or 10/Evil can drastically reduce the effectiveness of most melee builds.
    • Smite attacks can be used with any melee attack. This includes melee touch attacks and maneuvers. In particular, some enemies have surprisingly high touch AC. So if you have a spell or magic item or maneuver that absolutely must hit for you to win, Smite can often make a huge difference.
    • Smite Evil can be used to Inspire Courage via the from Smite to Song feat. Inspire Courage is fairly easy to optimize, and can grant fairly impressive bonuses to either to-hit or damage.
    • The Pathfinder Paladin gets a bunch of Smite Evil related abilities which drastically expands it's abilities.
    • From a metagame perspective, it's often better to have a rarely used "per-day" effect instead of an often used continuous effect. If you have optimized Power Attack and you use it every round, your DM will often (and sometimes unconsciously) adjust the difficulty of every upwards to compensate. (Smart players understand this as the key to Batman caster builds - focus on low key spells most of the time, and whip out Polymorph or some other game winner only when you really need it).


    Con:
    • Because it only applies to one attack and has limited uses, from a basic math perspective resources (feats, magic items, etc) spent on optimizing Smite are generally less effective then similar amount of resources spent on improving Power Attack, natural weapons, Sneak Attack, or the other common sources of bonus damage.
    • Many Smite abilities are limited to a single alignment or various racial groups. So in many combats it could be entirely useless.
    • Smite is generally Charisma based. Charisma is generally the least useful attribute to optimize, and usually causes MAD issues.
    • Smite abilities have fairly severe limited uses. In most cases you're using one per combat, or blowing them all against a single uber enemy and then being left on empty for the rest of the game day.
    • The benefits of Smite don't really "kick in" until mid levels or higher. At first level, a +4ish bonus to hit and +1 bonus to damage once per day is a joke. But by 10th level a +8ish or higher bonus to hit and a +50ish bonus to damage (assuming damage multipliers) can make a big difference.
    • As you will see from the sea of red ratings in the lists below, most crunch related to Smite is pure garbage. So if you just like Smite and invest whatever you've got on it from whatever books you own, you are probably making a bad decision. So if you're interested in Smite, take the time to read through this guide and make careful choices.


    Smite is not, repeat, NOT an efficient way to optimize your damage output. It is not something you want to center your build around. It's basically a sometimes handy side ability which, when carefully invested in, can be a fun extra for a full caster or tank build.

    Classes
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    Binder: Andras, Desharis, and The The Triad vestiges each grant Smite abilities, along with a host of other very useful abilities. Andras is particular notable in that you can bind it as early as Binder 5 (with the Improved Binder feat), can use it once every 5 rounds, and that it works against Good AND Evil enemies regardless of your alignment. Although 3/4 BAB prevents you from using the standard Power Attack combos, Binder is a solid Tier 3 class if you know what youíre doing, or Tier 2 if you use the online vestiges. Tome of Magic.

    Cleric: Cleric is always a strong choice. The Initiate of Bahamut feat gives you easy access to Smite Evil, and various prestige classes intended for Paladins provide divine spell progression, and are thus quite well suited to Clerics. The Destruction Domain gives also gives you a Smite ability that works against anyone once per day.
    Playerís Handbook.

    Crusader: A very well balanced and fun tank class that also gets a few Smite uses. You only get two and they come late in your progression, so the Crusader shouldn't be your first choice if you're looking to optimize Smite. But the Smites can be used against anyone, and if you happen to be going Crusader 1 to 20ish because of your love of Steely Resolve and Furious Counterstrike, then reviewing this thread might otherwise help your build. Tome of Battle.

    Paladin: The father of Smite Evil. Sadly, he's also one of the worst sources for gaining Smite attacks. There's not a lot of reasons to play one if you have enough splat books available. But if you donít, you can still coble together a good mobile tank build with the right feats and prestige classes. Playerís Handbook.

    Pathfinder Paladin: Pathfinder has gotten mixed reviews, but pretty much everyone agrees that they did a great job rewriting the Paladin. The most noteworthy power bump is the Smite Evil ability. By default, it works on any one attack, including ranged attacks. Once activated, the Smite Evil effect remains until the target of the Smite is dead or the next time the Paladin rests and regains her uses of this ability. If the target of Smite Evil is an Outsider with the Evil subtype, an Evil-aligned dragon, or an undead creature, the bonus to damage on the first successful attack increases to 2 points of damage per level. And Smite Evil attacks automatically bypass any DR the creature might possess. AND the Paladin gains a deflection bonus equal to her Charisma modifier to her AC against attacks made by the target of the Smite. AND at 11th level you can expend 2 Smite Evil uses to grant the ability to Smite Evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. AND as part of it's capstone ability at 20th level, when you Smite Evil against an Evil Outsider it is banished. If the Pathfinder Paladin is further optimized using non-Pathfinder material found in this thread, his Smite ability can become truly amazing. Pathfinder SRD.

    Soulborn: This class is utter garbage. However, on your first level you get the ability to Smite Opposition once per day. This is essentially the same thing as Smite Evil, except it can also Smite enemies who have a different Lawful/Chaotic axis then you. So if youíre only dipping 1 level to get Smite, this is better then core Paladin. But you would only do such a thing if you donít have access to most of the material on this list. Magic of Incarnum.

    Alternate Class Features and Substitution Levels
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    If youíre thinking about taking levels of Paladin, go read the alternate class features thread. Thereís literally dozens of variants that could help tweak your build. Here are the ones related to Smite:

    Charging Smite Paladin 5 alternate class feature: When you Charge and Smite Evil, you deal an extra 2 damage per Paladin level, and your Smite Evil use isn't used unless you hit. Unfortunately it replaces your Special Mount, which can easily be a Paladin's most powerful class feature. PHB II.

    Claw of the Sun and the Ankh Paladin 1 substitution level: Give up Smite Evil, gain good aligned claws a limited number of times per day. I have yet to see a Paladin build that focused on natural weapons. If for some reason you have one, this could theoretically be useful, but otherwise itís a waste. Champions of Valor pg 36.

    Claw of the Sun and the Ankh Paladin 6 Substitution Levels: Replaces the Paladinís Remove Disease ability. Works just like Smite Evil, but only against members of the Church of Set. This would obviously only be useful if your DM specifically tells you that you are going to have a campaign that focuses mostly on fighting said church. Champions of Valor pg 36.

    Eternal Order Paladin 1 substitution levels: You lose Smite Evil, and gain Corpsestrike. This allows you to bypass any Undead Damage Reduction, regardless of type. Although it has the same limited uses as Smite Evil, it lasts for minutes per level. So if you are NOT going to otherwise sink resources into optimizing Smite Evil, itís actually far superior to Smite Evil for any campaign with a heavy Undead presence. Champions of Valor pg 39.

    Golden Cup Paladin 10 substitution level: Give up a Smite Evil use, and you count as 3 levels higher for Lay on Hands pool and healing spells. While I would make this trade, I donít think I would ever take 10 levels of vanilla Paladin in order to get there. Champions of Valor pg 42.

    Golden Lion Paladin 4 substitution level: Give up Turn Undead, and gain a somewhat better Smite against members of the church of Bane and Cyric. Given how valuable Turn Undead can be for gaining additional Smite uses and fueling Divine and Domain feats, I would never trade it away, even if every enemy I fought belonged to the church of Bane. Champions of Valor pg 43.

    High One Warrior Wizard 2 substitution level: Wizard levels stack with Paladin levels for Smite, lose 1st-level spell slot. Paladin X/Wizard Y that attempted to use Smite and spells on a regular basis would have serious MAD issues. (Champions of Valor, web enhancement)

    Holy Judge Paladin 1 substitution levels: Give up Smite Evil, gain Favored Enemy (Devils). Not Evil Outsiders Ė just Devils. Way too specific to be useful in most campaigns, even ones where you specifically knew you would be traveling through the demonic planes. Champions of Valor pg 44.

    Lightbringer Paladin 2 substitution level: Give up Divine Grace, gain extra damage on Smite attempts against Undead. Giving up your best class ability would be nuts, even if you knew you would be fighting undead constantly. Expedition to Castle Ravenloft pg 208.

    Mystic Fire Knight Paladin 5 substitution level: If you successfully use Smite Evil on an enemy, for 1 round afterward it has to make a (moderately difficult) Concentration check to cast any spell or use any spell completion or spell trigger item. You give up nothing to gain this ability (other then having to worship a specific deity), so most builds with at least 5 levels of Paladin should take it. Champions of Valor pg 45.

    Noble Heart Paladin 4 substitution levels: Give up Turn Undead, gain the ability to use Smite Evil against objects and structures dedicated to Lovitar, and ignore their hardness. Again, I would never give up Turn Undead, and this is ridiculously specific. Champions of Valor pg 46.

    Paladin of Freedom: Although your Smite is unaffected, I felt it was important to add this because the Paladin of Freedom gains immunity to Compulsion effects, which is vastly superior to immunity to Fear (which is easy to get via other means, has less of an effect on your character, and provides immunity to fewer effects). And he gets Freedom of Movement on his spell list. So if youíre going to take levels of vanilla Paladin, I would definitely use this instead. Unearthed Arcana.

    Paladin of Tyranny or Slaughter: Although they also have auras that are superior to the vanilla Paladin, these variants have Smite Good instead of Smite Evil. There really arenít that many Good monsters. If youíre just going for the standard Hexblade/Paladin of Tyranny/PrC for uber Saves, then fine. But unless your DM has announced that the world is Good and you willing be playing in a rebel band of Evil merceneries, I would avoid these variants if you want to optimize your ability to Smite. Unearthed Arcana.

    Planar Paladin 4 substitution levels: Lose Turn Undead, gain the ability to Smite Evil Outsiders. Can be used 1 + Cha mod times per day, bypasses DR, and can be combined with standard Smite Evil. But again, I would never give up Turn Undead. Planar Handbook pg 33.

    Ranged Smite Evil Paladin 1 Elf substitution level: You can Smite Evil with a bow within 30 feet. Instead of being an elf, you can just take the Ranged Smite Evil feat (see below). And in general Iím not a fan of non-caster archers, as they tend to devote a huge number of feats on a very limited benefit. But if your DM lets you use this with a Pathfinder Elf and a Pathfinder Paladin, then it could be useful for some builds. Races of the Wild pg 155.

    Righteous Fury Half-Orc Paladin 1 substitution levels (RD, p 160): Lose Smite Evil, gain a Rage-like scaled morale bonus to melee damage rolls. While not huge, it does apply to all melee attacks and has a good duration. So I could see this as a viable alternative for specific mid-level builds, even if the Half-Orc does suck. Races of Destiny pg 160.

    Smite Giants Cleric 1 Dwarf substitution level: Gain the ability to Smite Giants, lose Turn Undead. I would never give up Turn Undead. Races of Stone pg 146.

    Smite Opposition Soulborn 1 Dwarf substitution level: You get an extra +1 to hit when you Smite Opposition with a warhammer. Magic of Incarnum pg 44.

    Smite Opposition Soulborn 1 Elf substitution level: You can Smite Opposition with an arrow within 30 feet. Why theoretically this would be useful for certain niche builds, the Soulborn is a horrible option. Magic of Incarnum pg 45.

    Strength of Conviction: Once per day you can sacrifice a Smite Good or Evil use to Smite anyone, giving up the bonus to-hit but keeping the bonus to damage. I would never take a feat that is only usable once per day unless it's effect was amazing, and this certainly isn't. Exemplars of Evil pg 26.

    Unholy Fury Barbarian 1 alternate class feature: Lose Fast Movement, gain Smite vs. non-Chaotic creature once every Rage. Although Rage is fairly easy to get every encounter for any mid-level Barbarian-ish build, and the "non-Chaotic" deal means you can Smite most enemies you'll encounter, the damage bonus is linked to your Barbarian level, and the 1 Smite per Rage thing basically limits you to 1 Smite per encounter. Exemplars of Evil pg 22.


    Pathfinder Paladin Archetypes

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    Divine Hunter: Give up aura of justice, gain the ability to burn a smite evil use to give allies within 10 feat some bonus ranged Feats for one minute. By 11th level, any party members using a ranged build will be built specifically for that purpose, and anyone who is not specifically built for that purpose will such at it, even with the bonus Feats. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.

    Holy Gun: You can spend a Grit Point to Smite with your gun. This is helpful in that it's a ranged attack, but you give up the Deflection bonus to AC that Pathfinder Paladin's normally get, and it's a Standard Action to use (limiting you to one attack), and multiclass Paladin/Gunslingers aren't particularly great. So I'd skip it. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.

    Holy Tactician : Give up the Deflection bonus to AC on a Smite, and add 1/2 your Cha bonus to non-evil allies as a competence bonus to-hit. Worthwhile for more offensive oriented Paladins, especially those in large parties. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.

    Knight of the Sepulcher (Antipaladin archetype): Give up a 10th level Smite Good use, gain immunity to energy drain and harmful negative energy and 50% fortification. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.

    Oathbound Paladin: Has a bunch of different options, depending on which oath you take. The Oath of Loyalty is the most useful, replacing your normal Smite bonuses with the ability to add your Cha bonus to an allies Saves and AC for 1 minute, or until you discharge it (gaining 1 extra attack). Though not as powerful as the Sacred Shield archetype, its more useful for protecting just 1 ally, and easier to trigger. Pathfinder Ultimate Magic, online.

    Sacred Shield: Give up bonus attack and damage from Smite. Instead, any attacks the target makes against allies within 10 feet of the paladin deal half damage. Attacks against the paladin deal full damage, and the paladin gains the normal deflection bonus to her AC equal to her Charisma bonus. This ability improves as you gain levels, and in general is one of the better Smite abilities out there, especially if you're in a party with 2-3 melee oriented characters. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.


    Prestige Classes
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    Argent Fist:This is a Monk/Paladin prestige class. Your Monk, Paladin, and Argent Fist levels stack for unarmed damage and Smite Evil. But most of the class abilities suck. Faiths of Eberron pg 70.

    Blackguard: Provides Evil Paladin-ish abilities, including Smite Evil. While this is viable for various tank builds around ECL 6-11ish, Smite Evil is so specific in who it effects that I wouldn't use it for the purpose of optimizing Smite. However, it is worth mentioning that if you have 10 or more Paladin levels, you can convert them to Paladin levels. Fallen Paladin 1 (previous Paladin 11)/Blackguard 10 is actually a strong build for that ECL - full BAB, divine grace, rebuke undead, sneak attack, fiendish companion, and 1st through 4th level spells from a decent list. Beyond that there's really no where to go, but at that ECL it's worth considering. DMG.

    Chameleon: Grants a limited Smite Evil limited times per day. But it has a good Skill list, Ability Boon, and can cast spells off of any list (Paladin, Ranger, Blackguard, Assassin, Wizard, Cleric, prestige classes, etc), which is particularly nifty at ECL10ish, because half-casters have some great 3rd and 4th level spells in the splat books which the Chameleon gets early access to. So it's actually a fairly strong PrC, even though it's not particularly well suited to Smite optimization. Races of Destiny (and online).

    Champion of Gwynharwyf: This is a Barbarian/Paladin-ish PrC. Unfortunately it's Rage and Smite abilities are nerfed, and you're better off with a standard Barbarian 1/Paladin of Freedom 4/Something Else X. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 56.

    Cyran Avenger: 5 level PrC with an Avenging Strike ability. Cha to hit, and 1d6 * class level bonus damage against an enemy that has damaged you. Usable Cha bonus times per day, or you can spend an action point. Can also eventually be used with a ranged attack. While Avenging Strike doesn't qualify for any Smite related feats or PrC progression, it does add Cha to-hit, and is usable many times per day. And the PrC progresses 4/5 of any casting, which makes a Smite-ish oriented arcane Gish feasible. Five Nations pg 86.

    Eldeen Ranger: Lousy PrC that also grants a nerfed Smite Evil. Eberron Campaign Setting

    Exorcist of the Silver Flame: Another lousy PrC that also grants a nerfed Smite Evil. Eberron Campaign Setting

    Holy Liberator: Another Chaotic Good Paladin-ish PrC that grants a nerfed Smite Evil. Complete Divine.

    Fist of Raziel: Full BAB, 9/10 divine casting progression (great for Clerics), and it gives 5 Smite Evil attempts over 9 levels, and your Smite damage stacks with Paladin levels for determining damage, and some other minor perks. Definitely a solid choice for a variety of builds. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 62.

    Grey Guard: This 10 level PrC gives 5 levels of any caster progression, full Lay on Hands and Smite Evil stacking/progression, and 2 interesting powers. First, it allows you to use your Lay on Hands pool (potentially quite big) to deal damage with a melee touch attack, and Evil creatures get no Save. If you add Smite on top of this for the To-Hit and damage bonus, it's basically gives you a 95% chance of killing any 1 Evil enemy once per day. Second, the Grey Guard gets the ability to use its Smite Evil on any creature, regardless of its alignment. This is useful if you augment your Smite Evil with some other feat, but need/want it to apply to all enemies. Complete Scoundrel pg 40.

    Initiate of Pistis Sophia: A lousy Monk-ish PrC that grants limited Smite Evil. Book of Exalted Deeds.

    Knight of the Raven: An odd PrC that grants 5 Smite Undead uses over ten levels. Also gives you full BAB, 9/10 divine casting progression, Turn Undead, the Sun Domain, and a variety of other undead fighting perks. So if you know for a fact that you're going to be fighting a ton of undead, this is a good choice. Expedition to Castle Ravenloft.

    Ordained Champion: As a Swift Action you can burn Turn Undead to gain a Smite attempt. The bonus to hit is equal to your Cha bonus, and the bonus to damage is equal to your total effective turning or rebuking level. This Smite is not limited by alignment or race. So if you can't use the Pathfinder Paladin, this is by far your most efficient and effective source of Smite. The class also progresses turn/rebuke undead AND any domain related abilities (a rarity), and in general it's a strong Cleric PrC all around. The only caveat is that it only provides 3/5 caster progression. Complete Champion pg 90.

    Pious Templar: Yet another lousy PrC that grants a nerfed Smite attack. Complete Divine.

    Prestige Paladin: Crams all of the Paladinís useful class abilities into just 2 levels, plus it provides a level of divine caster progression. So Cleric 5/Prestige Paladin 2/Some other PrC X is an excellent option. Unearthed Arcana.

    Scion of Tem-Et-Nu: Gains Smite Evil uses that stacks with levels of other classes to determine damage. Unfortunately virtually all of your other class abilities require that you be standing in a river in order for them to function. (Seriously. I'm not making that up. You need to stand in a freaking river. How often does that happen?) So this is pretty much an NPC prestige class. Sandstorm.

    Shadowbane Inquisitor: A Paladin/Rogue PrC. Grants a Smite ability that can be used against anyone you deem "corrupt" (which is pretty much anyone), a few dice of Sneak Attack, and a few other minor perks. But the Smite damage doesn't stack with your Paladin levels, the Sneak Attack progression isn't very impressive, and it doesn't progress casting, Special Mount, etc. So there's really not much of a reason to take this class given the existence of other similar and better PrC. Complete Adventurer pg. 68.

    Shadow Striker: Yet another garbage PrC, that offers one Smite Evil use. Complete Champion pg 108.

    Stalker of Kharesh: A decent Ranger PrC that provides Favored Enemy (Evil) and Hide in Plain Site plus some limited Smite Evil later in itís progression. However, the class isnít really worth more then a few levels, and it doesnít synergize with anything else Smite related. Book of Exalted Deeds

    Tattooed Monk: The Lion Tattoo gives you a limited Smite (+4 to hit, class level to damage) that works on anyone, that you can use # of tattoos per day (5 if you take 9 levels of the PrC). The Bellflower tattoo let's you add you Cha bonus as an enhancement bonus to any ability score (including Cha) for 1 round per PrC level, # of tattoo times per day. The Chameleon Tattoo let's you use Alter Self # of tattoo times per day, and it lasts 1 hour per class level. The Phoenix Tattoo gives you SR 15+class level, which is basically 50%ish Spell Resistance up until ECL 15. Also progresses Monk unarmed damage, AC, and speed. Although not a particularly strong PrC for Smite optimization, the Cha bonus + Alter Self + SR makes it a decent option for various other Cha based melee builds. Complete Warrior.

    Triadic Knight: This is basically a Prestige Paladin with slightly different progression and stacking rules and an interesting capstone ability. You gain Smite Evil uses that stacks with levels of other classes to determine damage (which is superior to the Prestige Paladinís Smite Evil, which is based solely on your Prestige Paladin level). You gain the Paladinís Special Mount, and the levels of Triadic Knight stack with levels of other classes that grant that ability. You get 5/7 spell progression of divine casting. And you get some minor spell like abilities (Shout, Shield Other, Discern Lies) and immunities (fear, nauseated, sickened, dazzled, blinded). As your capstone ability you get the Threefold Smite ability - you burn 3 Smite Evil attempts, and as a full round action you make a single attack and get 3x the damage bonus (the To-Hit bonus stays the same). Although this is nothing amazing, since you're giving up all of your other attacks and burning through some serious resources to use it, it does open up some interesting "one hit one kill" options, especially when combined with damage multipliers. Another attractive option for the Cleric, or even a Druid with the Devoted Tracker feat who prefers and ubermount and Smite over Wildshape. Champions of Valor.

    Feats
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    Ascetic Knight: Your Paladin and Monk levels stack for Unarmed Damage and Smite Evil. Monk and Paladin are generally a lousy combination. Complete Adventurer pg 105.

    Awesome Smite: Whenever you Smite and use Power Attack, you can ignore a certain amount of DR, or knock your enemy Prone, or ignore any miss chance your target might have - although as a tactical feat, you can only do one of these each time you Smite. Not limited to Smite Evil. But note that part of this feat is redundant with the Pathfinder Paladinís Smite ability. Comp Champion.

    Channel Smite: Spend one use of your channel energy ability as a swift action for bonus damage equal to the damage dealt by your channel positive energy ability. Positive energy channelers only deal bonus damage vs. undead, and negative energy channelers to the living, and it allows a Save. Pathfinder Core Rulebook, online.

    Channel Smite, Greater: A slightly better version of Channel Smite. Pathfinder Ultimate Combat, online.

    Devoted Inquisitor: If you use Smite Evil and Sneak Attack on the same enemy, the enemy must Save or be Dazed for one round. This is a particularly good feat for a Pathfinder Rogue 1/Pathfinder Paladin 2/Whatever 2/PrC X, because in Pathfinder very few things are immune to Sneak Attack. And if you're taking this, you definitely also need to take the Craven feat, which adds +1 damage per character level whenever you deal Sneak Attack damage. Comp Adventurer.

    Dragonmark Smite: When you Smite a foe you can expend an action point to make him Save or be Dazed for one round. If you invest a little further into your Dragonmarks, he can also be knocked Prone and rendered unconscious for 1 minute. And your Smite also deals extra damage. These are very potent effects. But because this uses action points, the use is fairly limited, and very Eberron specific. Though it's not limited to Smite Evil. Dragonmarked pg 139.

    Extra Smiting: You gain 2 extra Smite attempts per day. Not limited to Smite Evil. But I generally wouldn't bother with this unless you have some other ability keyed off of Smite. Complete Warrior.

    Exalted Smite: When you Smite your weapon is also Good aligned. Way to situational to be worth blowing a feat on. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 42.

    Improved Smiting: When you Smite, your attack overcomes DR as if it had an alignment and deals an extra 1d6 of damage to enemies of one alignment. Like the Awesome Smite feat, Improved Smiting is redundant with the Pathfinder Paladin's base Smite abilities. And it's inferior to Awesome Smite because it gives you fewer options. Complete Divine pg. 82.

    Initiate of Torm: You gain one Smite per day that can only be used against followers of Bane or Cyric. Even if it was a universal Smite, it wouldn't be worth spending a feat just to get one. Champion of Valor pg 32.

    Initiate of Milil: Your Bard, Paladin, and Cleric levels stack to determine what types of Bardic music you can use. This opens up some potentially interesting builds. Champion of Valor pg 32.

    From Smite to Song: Adds Perform to your class list, and allows you to burn Smite Evil attempts to Inspire Courage. While this may seem like a very minor thing, Inspire Courage can be ridiculously optimized with Dragonfire Inspiration and Words of Creation. And even if you only spend a modest amount on a few Inspire boosting magic items and/or spells, having a +4ish bonus to-hit for your entire party when needed is a fairly good deal. Champions of Valor pg 29.

    Initiate of Bahamut: Allows a Cleric to Smite Evil once per day, and your Cleric levels stack with levels of other classes for determining damage. If you're a Dragonborn, you can Smite Evil twice per day. And you add a few mediocre spells to your Cleric spell list. Since several prestige classes offer Smite progression and divine spell progression, this allows you to play a Tier 1 build focused on Smite. Dragon Magic pg. 20.

    Killoren Destroyer: When manifesting your Killoren Smite, any foe struck by your attack must Save or be Dazed for 1 round. Daze is a potent effect, but note that Killoren Smite can only be used once per hour, and only against certain creatures. Races of the Wild.

    Paladin of the Noble Heart: You gain one extra Smite Evil use per day that can only be used against followers of Lovitar, and +1 to Saves against them. Even if it was a universal Smite, it wouldn't be worth spending a feat just to get one. Champion of Valor pg 33.

    Ranged Smite Evil: You can Smite Evil on a missile that you fire. I'm not a huge fan of non-caster archers, but I could see this being useful for certain builds. Book of Exalted Deeds pg 45.

    Sapphire Smite: You gain 1 point of essentia, and for every point of essentia invested in this feat you gain one additional Smite use and +1 damage to each Smite. The essentia capacity of Incarnum Feats are limited by your hit dice and top out at 4 (or 5 if you want to spend a feat expanding it). Essentia can be very hard to come by. And you can only invest essentia in Incarnum Feats once per day. But a Cleric could use an alternate class feature or spell to get bonus essentia, so for him this feat is superior to Extra Smiting. Magic of Incarnum.

    Smiting Power: When you use a Smite during a Bull Rush or Overrun, you gain the To-Hit bonus as a bonus to the Str check, and if you win the opposed check you deal damage to the target equal to the bonus the Smite would grant on a damage roll. Since Smite bonuses aren't that hard to improve, this feat can give you a massive bonus to Bull Rush, which can be optimized a variety of ways. Champions of Valor.

    Races
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    Celestial/Fiendish templates: Once per day a celestial/fiendish creature can Smite Evil/Good to gain bonus damage (but not to-hit). Grants a variety of other perks as well. But regardless, the template is clearly not worth LA. Monster Manual.

    Dragonborn: +2 Con, -2 Dex, and your choice of wings or a breath weapon. Gains an extra use of Smite Evil if you're going the Cleric Initiate of Bahamut route (see Feats, above). It's also an all around excellent psuedo-template that can be added on top of other races (like Strongheart Halfling or Lesser Aasimar), and the Dragonblood subtype opens up access to various useful soulmelds and feats (like Dragonfire Inspiration). Races of the Dragon.

    Half-Orc (Pathfinder)[/B]: A Favored Class option adds +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made while using Smite Evil (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus. The Redeemer racial archetype also lets you deal non-lethal damage on a Smite, and eventually for allies. But Half-Orc is a cruddy race, and this doesn't add much to your abilities. Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide, online.

    Killoren: Although they lack an ability score adjustment, once per hour (up to your Cha bonus times per day) you can Smite (Cha to-hit, hit dice to damage) any aberration, construct, humanoid, ooze, outsider, or undead. The bonus is untyped, and thus stacks with other Smite abilities, and can be improved with the Killoren Smite feat (Save or Daze). You also have the Fey type, which opens up some Alter Self shenanigans. Races of the Wild pg 102.

    Lesser Aasimar: +2 Wis +2 Cha, no level adjustment. Playerís Guide to Faerun pg.191

    Strongheart Halfling: -2 Str +2 Dex. You trade the Halfling bonus to Saves for a bonus feat, which is a great deal. I included this on the list because small races make great mounted builds, as their medium mounts can go anywhere your medium sized party members can go. And most Smite related builds also make excellent mounted builds, because the lance doubles your damage on a Charge, and many Smite related classes and PrC get a Special Mount. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

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    Manyfang Dagger: Deals quadruple damage on each hit, or quintuple on a critical hit. Bonus dice of damage (like Sneak Attack) are never multiplied, and Power Attack canít be applied to light weapons. But it works VERY well with Smite (and Craven). 32,302 gp, Serpent Kingdoms pg 152.

    Mighty Smiting: +1 magical melee weapon enhancement that gives you a +2 bonus to hit and damage when you Smite, and one extra use of Smite per day. The cost of multiple copies would is too high for a low to mid level campaign, but in a high level campaign there's no reason you couldn't have 3-4 of these and swap them out as needed, especially if you're just using Smite as a back door for Inspire Courage via From Smite to Song. Magic Item Compendium.

    Sacrificial Smiting: +1 magical melee weapon enhancement that makes your weapon Good aligned and gives you an extra Smite Evil use in exchange for taking a negative level for 24 hours (it never results in actual level loss, but it also can't be restored by any means until the duration is up). I might give this to an NPC, but otherwise it's a very poor choice. Champions of Valor pg. 60.

    Silver Smite Bracelet: Your Paladin level is treated as +4 higher for the purpose of her smite evil class feature. Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide, online.

    Spell Storing: +1 magical melee weapon enhancement that allows you to store any spell of 3rd level or lower, and release it on a successful hit. Works particularly well with the to-hit bonus from Smite, basically ensuring that a specific spell will be delivered. DMG.

    Noble Pennon: Increases your Knight's Challenge DC by 1 and Smite Evil damage by 2, and you can spend renewable charges to improve your Will or Fort Save. Also, it doesn't take up any item slot. Not really worth 5,000 gp, but if youíre a mid-high level build you might as well pick it up. Magic Item Compendium pg 166

    Wands: Itís worth reiterating that a single level of a caster class allows you to use any spell trigger item for that class without a UMD check, including Wands. Also, any Cha based class can invest in UMD cross class and hit the DC needed to activate a wand by mid levels. Paladinís actually get some great spells, especially in the splat books. And you can store a wand in your weapon (so you don't have to spend an action to draw it) with a Wand Chamber (Dungeonscape pg 34).

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    Devastating Smite (Paladin/Blackguard/Cleric 1): Swift Action. Your next Smite attempt deals double damage. Not limited to Smite Evil. The Forge of War pg 113.

    Rhino's Rush (Pal 2): Immediate Action spell. Multiplies damage on a Charge. Spell Compendium.

    Smite of the Sacred Fire (Paladin 2): Swift Action: You deal 2d6 extra damage on your next Smite attempt. If you hit, you continue to deal 2d6 extra damage on that target until the spell expires. The Forge of War pg 116.

    Things that Multiply Smite Damage:
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    Most of these are repeats from other sections. But there are some things not related to Smite which multiply all damage, and so it's worth putting them on a separate list:
    • Charging Smite Paladin 5 alternate class feature: When you Charge and Smite Evil, you deal an extra 2 damage per Paladin level, and your Smite Evil use isn't used unless you hit. Unfortunately it replaces your Special Mount, which can easily be a Paladin's most powerful class feature. PHB II.
    • Triadic Knight: Capstone ability you get the Threefold Smite ability - you burn 3 Smite Evil attempts, and as a full round action you make a single attack and get 3x the damage bonus (the To-Hit bonus stays the same). Champions of Valor.
    • Manyfang Dagger: Deals quadruple damage on each hit, or quintuple on a critical hit. Bonus dice of damage (like Sneak Attack) are never multiplied, and Power Attack canít be applied to light weapons. But it works VERY well with Smite (and Craven). 32,302 gp, Serpent Kingdoms pg 152.
    • Devastating Smite (Paladin/Blackguard/Cleric 1): Swift Action. Your next Smite attempt deals double damage. Not limited to Smite Evil. The Forge of War pg 113.
    • Lance: Pretty basic piece of equipment which most melee characters should have. PHB.
    • Spirited Charge: Multiplies damage on Charge from a mount. PHB.
    • Riding Boots: Unnamed bonus to Ride, and if you have Spirited Charge you further multiply your damage when you Charge. DMGII pg 270.
    • Centaur: Multiplies damage on a Charge as a racial ability. It's noteworthy that Centaur are Monstrous Humanoids with fewer then 5 hit dice. So LA 0 races like the Lupin (Dragon Compendium) and Anthropomorphic creatures (Savage Species) can turn into one with Alter Self - and there are probably dozens of LA +1ish other monstrous humanoid races out there. Monster Manual.
    • Headlong Rush: Multiplies damage on any Charge, but provokes an attack of opportunity from everyone who threatens you (including your target). This can be avoided with a reach weapon. Or it can be used to your advantage with a King of Smack Karmic Strike/Vampiric Claws combo. Player's Guide to Faerun.
    • Rhino's Rush (Pal 2): Immediate Action spell. Multiplies damage on a Charge. Spell Compendium.
    • Battle Jump: Multiplies damage on a Charge if you drop from at least 10 feet above your enemy - which can be done with a moderately high Jump check, or by attacking from higher ground. Unapproachable East.
    • Valorous weapon enhancement: Multiplies damage on a Charge. Unapproachable East.
    • Anything with a good critical hit range or multiplier. Given the existence of the Scabbard of Keen Edges, I personally never bother with the Keen enhancement or wasting a feat on Improved Critical when there are so many other better options for feats. But this is debatable. PHB/DMG.


    Miscellaneous:
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    I highly suggest taking a look at the X to Y thread. It's quite easy to add your Charisma to lots of things. Most notably, Slippers of Battledancing (DMG II) allows you to replace your Str with Cha to hit with certain weapons, and Combat Panache (PHBII) lets you make an Intimidate check to impose your Cha bonus as a penalty to hit against one enemy until the end of the encounter.

    High level members of the Assembly of Balance gain a free Smite use on any creature they have Tracked once per day. There are better organizations to join, but hey, every extra Smite use is a handy one. Complete Champion pg 9.

    It's worth mentioning that stacking rules for various Smite effects very widely. Most things stack with Paladin, but nothing stacks with Binder, even though a Binder/Paladin would have great mechanical synergy. In such cases, I would ask your DM to allow it anyway. Feats like Ascetic Knight are just a pointless tax.


    Any and all suggestions and additions are welcome, especially sample builds. Pathfinder, magazine, and 3rd party material is welcome. I'd also be interested to hear peoples opinion on Smite in general, and whether or not it has every been useful to you in a real game.

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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Though it's not actually called Smite, Cyran Avenger's Avenging Strike might be worth mentioning. Cha to attack roll, 1d6 per CA level to damage, usable cha/day.
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    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    I'd just question "what happened with the Crusader's Smite?", but then again that's just an addition to maneuvers which do something better than smite and Steely Resolve/Furious Counterstrike which by itself is an extremely good tactic to use.

    But still: it's an ability that can be used up to twice per day (since you gain one use per 12 levels!!!), but it has the benefit of allowing smiting just about anyone, plus you keep advancing Steely Resolve which is exactly what you'd like to progress as a full Crusader, and with Furious Counterstrike you're actually adding some damage to that Smite; stuff like Awesome Smite (which you can access through Stone Power if you like, but you'll certainly have Power Attack) might add a benefit to that type of Smite, AND you might add some Boosts to that Smite so it becomes an odd type of maneuver which can only be used once or twice per day.

    Also, Improved Smiting. Sorta like Exalted Smite (adds a type of damage reduction to an alignment), but it also allows you to deal 1d6 points of damage with the smite. Should be purple if using a specific alignment smite because it adds stuff (punch DR and deals slightly more damage), but probably red for other kinds of smite because it actually limits your smite (and you can't multiply the extra damage acquired, unlike regular smite damage). You can find it at page 82 of Complete Divine.

    Also, I would like you to add a specific entry detailing the pro's and con's of smiting, because one of its best perks (that the damage is multiplied on a critical hit) is mentioned almost as a footnote. Again, it's not the best way to increase the damage you can deal (since Power Attack does almost the same thing but without that much hassle, and multiplies far easier) but it still has a great form of "optimization" (essentially damage multipliers that affect all types of static damage, as smite is considered static damage).
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    While definitely a Late Game thing, Pathfinder Paladins have the ability to give everyone in the party Smite temporarily. If you have an archer in the party, they will love you. DR is a <expletive redacted/> .
    And Pathfinder Smite includes Ranged Smite by default, your mini write up on them doesn't mention that.
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    You might want to mention the Sacrifical Smiting weapon property from Champions of Valor, if only to emphasize that it sucks. (Gives you 1 negative level that can't be removed by any means for 24 hours in exchange for another Smite Evil use)

    Valorous weapons are worth a specific mention along with damage multipliers in general.

    Note that Ordained Champion can do very well with things that increase your turning level. +1 from a Flametouched Iron Holy Symbol (750 gp, Eberron), +2 from See Through the Veil by taking a Paragnostic Apostle dip, +3 from a Sceptre of the Underworld (9,000 gp, LM) +4 from a Phylactery of Undead Turning (11,000 gp, SRD), and +1 from Improved Turning gives you +11 damage on your smite attempts for 20,750 gp, a feat, and a dip in a pretty good PrC.

    And I think you're seriously underrating Scion of Tem-Et-Nu. Divine Power that lasts forever as long as you stay waist-deep in a river is even better than DMM Persisted Divine Power because you don't have to spend feats or turn undead uses, Water Walk on rivers is great for fast long-distance travel, and Turn and Rebuke Hippos comes up all the time in any normal campaign.
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post

    And I think you're seriously underrating Scion of Tem-Et-Nu. Divine Power that lasts forever as long as you stay waist-deep in a river is even better than DMM Persisted Divine Power because you don't have to spend feats or turn undead uses, Water Walk on rivers is great for fast long-distance travel, and Turn and Rebuke Hippos comes up all the time in any normal campaign.
    *rolls to sense sarcasm*
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    And I think you're seriously underrating Scion of Tem-Et-Nu. Divine Power that lasts forever as long as you stay waist-deep in a river is even better than DMM Persisted Divine Power because you don't have to spend feats or turn undead uses, Water Walk on rivers is great for fast long-distance travel, and Turn and Rebuke Hippos comes up all the time in any normal campaign.
    I once considered building a Scion of Tem Et Nu for the Fast Healing, but decided that enough decanters of endless water to be a river source were prohibitively expensive.

    I wish I had something on-topic to add as well, so in the section on the benefits of smiting you could mention that you get to yell "I Smite Evil" whenever you use Smite.

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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    *rolls to sense sarcasm*
    It's DC -8. Though SoT-E-N would be a pretty solid paladin PrC if its class features worked outside rivers.
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Change log:
    • Added Cyran Avenger prestige class.
    • Added Crusader class.
    • Added Strongheart Halfling race. It's generally the best choice if you want to play a mounted build, and many Smite related builds will also be mounted builds.
    • Added Improved Smiting feat.
    • Added a "Why Optimize Smite" section, which goes over the pro's and con's of Smite.
    • Updated Pathfinder Paladin entry.
    • Added Sacrificial Smiting magic weapon.
    • Added section on ways to multiply damage.
    • Added a few other non-noteworthy feats and made various minor housekeeping changes.


    Thanks for the additions everyone. I'm thinking through some potential builds. Again, any and all suggestions for that or anything are welcome.

    Also, I felt that Scion of Tem-Et-Nu was a huge missed opportunity for WotC. It should have had the ability to Summon and Polymorph into a Hippopotamus. That would be hilariously awesome.

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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    You make mention of Devoted Inquisitor but not the PrC it's designed for, Shadowbane Inquisitor? The only restriction on Shadowbane Inquisitor's Smite is your judgment of who is corrupt (a.k.a. smite anybody). It has a built-in path into Combat Brute, advances Sneak Attack to make Devoted Inquisitor that much more deadly and you can't fall out of Shadowbane Inquisitor. The only thing holding it back from awesome is that it doesn't advance casting, when Sacred Stealth needs spell slots to work.

    Another thing you missed is Strength of Conviction from Exemplars of Evil, which converts a Smite Good or Evil into a Smite Any at the cost of extra bonus to hit. Your smite damage for that smite also goes up by your class level, which is rather nice. The only thing bad about that one is that it can only convert one smite per day.

    A build I found worked well is Rogue 2/Paladin 4/Shadowbane Inquisitor 10/Grey Guard 4, with Grey Guard interspersed with Inquisitor and Strength of Conviction to convert your sole Paladin smite into effectively a Inquisitor smite. Another nice build is Rogue 2/Shadowbane Inquisitor 10/Blackguard 8, converting your Pally levels into Blackguard and Inquisitor counts for fallen Paladin levels, so you get 3 Inquisitor smites, 5 Blackguard smites (one of which can be converted with Strength of Conviction), 7d6 Sneak Attack and other goodies. It's also neat for having a minimal amount of base class levels.
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Thanks Cieyrin - appropriate updates have been made. In particular, I had forgotten about the Fallen Paladin 1/Blackguard 10 thing, which is a fairly strong build at that ECL.

    Though I would differ from your opinion about the Shadowbane Inquisitor, in that I think that it's a pretty lousy option given the existence of Fist of Raziel, Ordained Champion, Triadic Knight, etc. 10 levels for 3 Smite uses and 3d6 Sneak Attack (and not much else) isn't very efficient. Though obviously optimization is in the eye of the beholder.

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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Thanks Cieyrin - appropriate updates have been made. In particular, I had forgotten about the Fallen Paladin 1/Blackguard 10 thing, which is a fairly strong build at that ECL.

    Though I would differ from your opinion about the Shadowbane Inquisitor, in that I think that it's a pretty lousy option given the existence of Fist of Raziel, Ordained Champion, Triadic Knight, etc. 10 levels for 3 Smite uses and 3d6 Sneak Attack (and not much else) isn't very efficient. Though obviously optimization is in the eye of the beholder.
    I think it's just that it semi-inspires Batman imagery, at least for me.

    You also forgot to include Strength of Conviction in the feat section.
    Last edited by Cieyrin; 2011-02-07 at 05:53 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    I realize this thread is a bit old, but something that might be worth mentioning.

    Blackguard's Blade, BoVD: +2 longsword that boosts Smite Good; nothing special on its own, but just adding the property itself seems like more bang for your buck.

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    Default Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    This guide is old, but is the only one on smite, so this must go here:

    Pious Templar is not half as bad as the original poster suggests, it advances any othes smite that you have and grants you extra uses at level 2 and 7. So a Paladin 5/Pious templar 8 will hav two smite abilities: smite evil 4/day with a +13 to damage, and pious templar smite 2/day with a +8 to damage. Combine it with the ACF Charge Smite and the Holy Warrios ACF from CW and it becomes a Better version of a paladin, with better spell casting, a very good will save, and 3 bonus feats.

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    Thumbs up Re: [3.X/PF] Smite Optimization

    Casting animate thread on a guide to optimize paladins... now that's new...
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