Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 90
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    A Guide to the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3rd Edition Player

    Arguably one of the most controversial character classes if only for its restrictive code, the Paladin is often a misunderstood class. A penchant for Lawful Goodness often turned into extremism, the Paladin is expected to do daring feats of heroism without the tools a scoundrel or amoral warrior have. In exchange, they gain powers and abilities to give the good fight against evil creatures, and also being a survivor against the worst Evil can muster.

    Or so it was on 3rd Edition. The 4th Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons books eliminated all of this. For once, Paladins were now capable of the worst depravities, being the armed hand of the deity rather than a champion of Good, and thus bound to the tenets of their faith; their main concept (that of a heavily-armored warrior empowered by the divine) changed little, but with a new and encompassing flavor. It also broke with some of the sacred cows that were standard with the Paladin, replacing it with a chassis shared by nearly all classes but with its own twist (as befitting the Defender chassis). It is arguable that the edition was divisive, if the popularity of a variant of the 3.5 edition rules (the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game) is any indication.

    Not long ago, Wizards of the Coast released the newest edition of the rules, dropping the prefixes of “Advanced” and the edition concept itself, trying to start anew. Somewhat controversial in its attempt to unify players of all editions, the new edition has its ups and downs, bringing a different gaming experience through the concept of “Theater of the Mind” and retaining classic concepts while drawing new concepts from the latest edition.

    This guide is not a critique of 5th Edition, which I must admit I actually like; it’s an Optimization Guide. It’s probably the first, or one of the earliest around. Perhaps too early, but it’s been some time since the Player’s Handbook has been released and discussion is well underway. Therefore, this guide is a Work in Progress: once the Dungeon Master’s Guide is released, it will be mostly complete, but this will help you make an efficient character. The roleplaying part, on the other hand, is left to you, the reader.

    A key part that I hope distinguishes this guide from upcoming ones is a focus on the changes. Being a 3.5 player, some things might be a bit disconcerting to players transitioning from an edition to other, though not as jarring as the shift from 3rd to 4th. There may be better guides that showcase this transition (such as Person Man’s handy guide for Grognards), but for the most part, this will deal with the changes specific between 3.5 and 5th, and mostly related to the Paladin. Note that this will be mostly subjective, but I’ll try my best to be objective.

    So, without further ado, let’s begin with this journey, shall we?

    Table of Contents
    1. Introduction. What you should expect from this guide that makes it different.
    2. Transition Guide. What should 3.5 players expect when playing 5th Edition, with an emphasis on the Paladin
    3. Class Features. A notice about the core Paladin’s class features.
    4. Sacred Oaths. A run-down on each sacred oath.
    5. Approaches to Paladin. The various different combat styles a Paladin may use, and their degree of effectiveness.
    6. Optimal Races. Which races are natural fits, which races are decent alternatives, and which races are not, alongside the best subrace for each race.
    7. Backgrounds. A brief mention of each background, and what can a Paladin gain from it.
    8. Optimal Feats. Which feats work well with the Paladin, if allowed, based on their combat styles.
    9. Optimal Spells. Which spells should be part of the Paladin’s prepared spells per day, which ones should be left best to scrolls and wands, and which ones should be ignored.
    10. Optimal Equipment. A run-down on each bit of equipment, including magic items (to be completed on the release of the Dungeon Master’s Guide).
    11. Conclusion. Final words.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-09-26 at 05:05 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player


    Playing a Paladin can be jarring at first, because of how stereotype can work against you. It’s not as simple as saying “a Paladin is a LG blend of Fighter and Cleric traits set into a single class, with a code that forces them to be sticks in the mud”, because that would be not only a disservice, but wrong. The original intention of the Paladin was to be a variant of the Fighter, and the 1st Edition Player’s Handbook of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game clearly points it out: they get the same progression of abilities as a Fighter, but replace their ability to build a castle and become a baron with some divine blessings. At most, their original intention was to evoke the feel of the knights in chivalric stories, such as the noble Paladins of the Chanson de Roland, the Knights of the Round Table from the Arthurian Cycle, and even the various famous knights that filled the imagination of Don Quixote in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (though, I’d be sure that Cervantes would point out that the real writer, or rather, herald, was Mr. Ahmed Eggplant ;P). However, they have evolved into the divine champions of the gods, despite their original intention not being that, and thus people have compared them with the real divine champions of the faith, the Cleric. It doesn’t help that in nearly all editions the Cleric and the Paladin are quite similar. Still, even as the divine champions of their faith, they are still perceived as warriors first and foremost, clad in shiny heavy armor and brandishing a gleaming shield, living a virtuous path. This is certainly a way to play it, but if focusing on playing a good Paladin (an effective one, in comparison to a Good Paladin, who follows the tenets of altruism and self-sacrifice), it’s not the best. The guide, thus, is designed to point out where the Paladin excels and where it falters, but from a point of view of a 3.5 player.

    Regarding format, I will use a simple color-coding system seen in other guides, particularly those of 4th Edition:

    • Red means a bad option; a “trap”, in geek parlance. This color appears when there’s an option that may seem good for Paladins, but actually isn’t. If the option doesn’t apply for Paladins, then it won’t even appear here.
    • Black means it’s a neutral option: not good, but not bad either. Most options will end up here.
    • Blue means it’s a good option, if not the best.
    • Light Blue means that, of all options, it’s the absolute best. Expect few of these.

    Finally, there’s a few phrases I’ll point out.

    • Bear with Me: this is a mini-rant about something. I may be enthusiast to 5th Edition, but some things just bug me. Just as I asked you to “bear with me” regarding some things I didn’t agree with Pathfinder, this will be the same for 5th Edition.
    • Friendly Reminder: this is mostly to people who usually play 3.5, so that they remember that some rules have changed, wherever they’re appropriate.

    Transition Guide

    Very well, so you’re a 3.5 player, someone who knows how to play a Paladin, or love the “A-Game Paladin” cooked by Tempest Stormwind & friends. You’ve read Dictum Mortuum’s Paladin’s Handbook and you’re confident you can make a Paladin that would get the approval of Sameo and sir Peter Fairgrave. But, you have a problem.

    You’re not a good DM, and you really WANT to play. Your group decided “hey, let’s test the 5th Edition rules!” Most of you will have a free copy of the Player’s Basic Rules (It’s on the Wizard’s page, BTW), which has mostly basic options. However, let’s say the DM was kind enough to grab a copy of the Player’s Handbook, for additional options. Don’t fret, my good friend: this small transition guide is for you.

    The game uses the same Core Mechanic (what would you expect from Wizards of the Coast, anyways?), but the playstyle can range from “a bit different” to a “whole new ballpark”. Things you used to rely may or may no longer be here, and those that do might have changed enough to matter. You may be surprised to hear you can play a Paladin for all 20 levels (though Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is still in effect), in fact! Then again, you could play a Paladin for 30 levels in 4th Edition, and it wasn’t bad at all, so YMMV. If you want to do it right, though, you’ll need to know a few things.

    First: Theater of the Mind. Why I set this before anything else? Well: 3.x and 4th Edition pushed a lot for the use of miniatures and grid-based combat, and most players will be used to such mechanics. 5th Edition is assuming you’ll keep using it, but is pretty lax on this. Instead, it pushes a new kind of experience, that being the “theater of the mind”. In other words: all the events occurring are done in your mind, without any physical prop. Thus, instead of counting how many squares you’re away from the opponent, you count how many feet, and you’re not limited to 5-ft. steps worth of movement. Likewise, combat is more abstract. Chances are not all DMs will use this, but take note if this happens; it can be an interesting experience, but jarring for people used to grids and minis.

    Spoiler: Bear with Me: Ambiguity vs. clarity. Or: Rules Lawyers vs. Magic Tea Partygoers.
    One thing you may notice is that 5th Edition is pretty lax with the rules. How lax? Well, type “D&D 5th Stealth rules”, and you’ll see peculiar discussions about how Stealth works in the game. This may not seem like it fits with the concept of “theater of the mind”, and in a way, it’s true; in a way, however, it works as a perfect introduction to what may seem like a big problem.

    Currently, there’s two main lines of thought regarding the game. One espouses the benefits of ambiguity, considering that ambiguity correlates with expediency (that is, the game flows faster because you’re not focused on the letter of the rule) and reduces exploits, while the detractors mention that ambiguity leads to potential contradictions, multiple dysfunctional rules and lack of unity between tables. The detractors, those who prefer clarity, champion the importance of clear and concise rules to prevent dysfunctionality, not to mention the importance of strict rules in case of Organized Play; its detractors (those who prefer ambiguity) mention that sometimes, rules that are too rigid lead to discussions that slow gameplay or stunt player creativity by means of restrictions that may be senseless or completely absurd.

    The subtitle refers to the euphemisms by which both sides’ extremists are better known. “Rules lawyers” vie for clarity of rules, but detractors consider them disruptive as they seek to use the rules to their advantage, particularly when a specific read of the rules lead to an exploit. While not a defining factor, the essential tool of a Rules Lawyer is “Rules as Written” (RAW), which implies that the rule must be followed to the letter (whether the player’s character is Lawful or Chaotic). “Magic Tea Partygoers” vie for the value of ambiguity in rules, but detractors attack said support as it gives the Dungeon Master WAY too much power and makes the game irregular. You can identify an attack to MTP rules if you hear the words “Mommy, may I?” (referring to how a player may end up having to convince the DM that the action is successful, even if the result would otherwise be a success on a stricter ruleset). A huge argument used by detractors against MTP is the concept of non-specific Difficulty Class parameters: without a defined table specifying the exact DC for the action, a DM may arbitrarily set a DC too high to succeed, thus denying the player success despite its skill (proficiency). A supporter of ambiguity may consider this an opportunity to be creative, suggesting a different course of action; a detractor of ambiguity may use this as an example of how a DM will eventually determine, arbitrarily, if a character succeeds or not regardless of the character’s stats.

    Now, this is my interpretation of both sides, and of course, being a subjective matter it might be wrong. I don’t intend this to take a side for one or another: I personally prefer concise rules, but have absolutely no problem with sensible interpretations of the rules, even if strict and concise, if it helps the story. You’re free to look for both sides, but make sure you wear a flame-retardant suit while doing that surf. Maybe with an acid-resistant coating, for the vitriol.

    Second: Proficiency bonus. You may remember that each class had huge amounts of numbers: 1e had the to-hit matrix, 2e had THAC0, 3.x had BAB; all classes had saving throws that ranged from the specific (save vs. petrifaction, save vs. system shock) to the abstract (Fortitude, Reflex, Will). 4th Edition changed some of this by providing a fixed bonus, but wasn’t truly unified. 5th Edition decided to unify everything in a single bonus, which is the proficiency bonus.

    All characters have a proficiency bonus, which starts at +2 and ends at +6 at 20th level. The key isn’t on the existence, but how it applies: as the name implies, you apply this bonus on all things you’re proficient with. Proficient with martial weapons? Add this to your attack roll. Proficient with a skill (or tool)? Add your proficiency bonus to the ability check. Proficient with a saving throw? Add it to your saving throw. As you can see, it is simpler, but it leads to little distinction between classes. This is an example of what the 5e developers call “bounded accuracy”: that is, rather than have big numbers, you have a deliberately small amount of numbers (more often than not your proficiency bonus and your ability score modifier) that form a lower and an upper boundary. This allows for challenges on every level (or so the devs claim) as the progression between characters of different levels are not entirely distant (oftentimes a difference in numbers of 1 or 2). This also makes small numeric bonuses important, as they’re also deliberately few.

    Third: Proficiencies. Redundant? Well, the reason why I split the bonus and the concept of proficiency is simple: this is a HUGE change.

    There’s several kinds of proficiencies, which I’ll detail briefly:

    • Weapon Proficiency: this implies that you’re proficient with a specific weapon, or a type of weapon. You apply your proficiency bonus to an attack roll if you’re proficient in the weapon. This is simple enough.
    • Skill Proficiency: this implies that you’re proficient in a specific application of an ability. Before, skills were defined by ranks, with each rank adding a +1 bonus to a skill check. In 5th Edition, skill checks are a thing of the past: all skill checks are ability checks. However, for specific applications of a skill (such as Stealth), you can gain proficiency and thus apply the bonus. To put it simpler: rather than make a Hide check, you make a Dexterity (Stealth) check; if you don’t have proficiency in Stealth, you make a Dexterity check when attempting to hide; if you do, you add your proficiency bonus to your Dexterity check in the same action. Some classic skills were collapsed: Climb, Jump and Swim are now Athletics, Balance and Tumble are now Acrobatics, Hide and Move Silently are now Stealth, Listen and Spot are now Perception. Likewise, some skills were split: Search is now divided between Perception and Investigation, where one is a glance and another is thorough (both are good to detect traps). Some skills got a name change: Sense Motive is now Insight, Heal is now Medicine, the Knowledge skills are now known by their name (though Nobility and Royalty was folded into History), and so on.
    • Tool Proficiency: this implies you’re proficient in a tool. Some skills now pass to be tools: Disable Device and Open Lock are now actions you make with thieves’ tools, so you need proficiency in them to do so. Same for Forgery, which now requires a forger’s kit. Most Craft and Profession skills are now tool-based. You can also be proficient in vehicles (you add your proficiency bonus to driving or piloting them) and games (yes: you need proficiency in a gaming set to gamble or cheat).
    • Saving Throw: this is another big difference, but to put it simply: there’s now six saving throws. Each saving throw relates to its ability score. Fortitude is now a Constitution save, Reflex is now a Dexterity save and Will is now a Wisdom save. Strength saves deal with resisting things like being pushed or tripped, and also to escape from physical bonds. Intelligence and Charisma saves are incredibly rare, but deal mostly with mental assault (Maze, the Intellect Devourer’s incredibly broken attack) or force of personality (Banishment, for example).

    Fourth: Concentration and buffing spells have been incredibly nerfed. Concentration as a skill no longer exists; it’s a Constitution save now, and you can’t “cast defensively” anymore. However, this is of little importance compared to the biggest change: most spells have “Concentration, up to X” durations. The concept can be a bit alien to people who haven’t played other systems than D&D, but to Shadowrun players it should be familiar: Concentration implies sustaining a spell. Sustaining a Concentration spell takes no action, but if you’re attacked, you need to make a Constitution save or have your spell disrupted. A lot of spells are now Concentration-based, including uber-powerful spells like Gate, and some old stalwarts like Dominate Monster. Note that some spells have no such durations, particularly old broken spells like Mirror Image

    Fifth: Spellcasting itself. 5th Edition returns to a “Vancian” format of casting (that is, fire and forget), except they forgot about the “forget” part (pardon the redundancy; I find it hilarious). There are prepared (that is, they prepare their spells each day) and spontaneous spellcasters, but prepared spells have a huge advantage now: they can cast their prepared spells each day without losing the spell, so as long as they have a spell slot of the right level. Thus, a Cleric can prepare Cure Wounds and cast it as many times as it has 1st level or higher spells.

    You may have noticed the “or higher” bit. You see, spells no longer scale with “caster level”, as it was on nearly every edition before 4th (unless you entered Epic territory); spells now scale based on the spell level you cast them, so a 2nd level spell will be slightly more powerful or affect more people than a 1st level spell. Think of it as psionic augmentation, except with spell slots. The sole exception to this are cantrips, which have another peculiarity: they’re at-will spells. The best way to put it would be the reserve feats from Complete Mage: at-will, and technically based on your spellcaster level to an extent.

    Spell save DCs are also different. No longer does a spell save DC need to be based on its spell level; now, it’s a simple calculation of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your key ability modifier (Bards, Paladins, Sorcerers and Warlocks use Charisma; Clerics, Druids and Rangers use Wisdom, while Wizards use Intelligence). Thus, everyone has a range from 10 (+2 proficiency bonus, average ability score) to 19 (+6 proficiency bonus, maximum ability score). This includes the Paladin, BTW.

    Sixth: Ability scores. They’re still the same we know and love: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. The difference? You can’t have an ability score higher than 20 (with some exceptions). You heard that right. Monsters can have higher scores, but no higher than 30. On the other hand, ability score increases are more generous (2 per level), and races have no more ability score penalties, so it’s a big win. Again: “bonded accuracy”. So not only does your proficiency bonus is deliberately small, your ability score modifier is also small. There’s only three known ways to beat this: Polymorph (and its ilk, but beware of losing your mind!), magic items (which set your score to the defined amount, rather than give a boost), and the Barbarian capstone.

    Seventh: Actions in combat. You have only one Action (think Standard Action), one bonus action (think Swift/Minor) and one Reaction (think Immediate Action/Interrupt). You can move up to your speed, but it’s no longer its own action; on the other hand, you can move between your Action, so as long as you save some movement for the end of the Action. This is of great boon to melee characters, because you can move between attacks. You can make some specific actions “freely” during movement, and talk is as always a free action.

    Some classics also changed. Hiding is an Action now: you can’t move while Hiding (though some classes provide a way to make it a Bonus Action, so…) There’s no flanking bonus; Aid Another is now known as “Help” and it provides Advantage to one ally’s action by sacrificing yours. Withdraw is now “Disengage”, and…erm, Total Defense is now Dodge (except you can move while getting it). Of the combat maneuvers, only Bull Rush, Grapple and Trip survived.

    Speaking of combat maneuvers: they’re now very simple. How simple?

    • Make a Strength (Athletics) check against your opponent’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.
    • Profit! (Bounded Accuracy means it can also be a Loss)

    Compared to old-school maneuvers, these are hilariously easy. There’s only two, thus far. Shove combines Bull Rush and Trip, and replaces one melee attack (in most occasions, your only attack, but martial characters get more than one attack eventually): you can either push a target 5 ft. or knock it prone. Grapple simply adds the Grappled condition, which hinders movement. From there, you can keep attacking. BTW: Attacks of Opportunity are now a Reaction (i.e. can only be used once) and Two-Weapon Fighting requires your bonus action and fighting with two light weapons.

    Eighth: Feats and Multiclassing. That is, they have their changes, but here’s the big one: they’re OPTIONAL. You heard it right, sir (or madam); you can’t assume that you’ll have free access to them anymore. They’re also somewhat different.

    Ability score increases are no longer something you gain from progressing a level by itself; they’re tied to class level. Instead of increasing your ability scores, you can choose to replace it with a feat. Feats in 5th are better for the most part: some duds, some broken ones, some that make you roll your eyes in disgust, but you’ll notice that each and every one grants two or three features. Thus, the dilemma: feats are great, but you have to choose between your ability score increase and your feat every four levels, although most have their last ability score increase at 19th level. Thus, you’ll have to make extremely hard choices.

    This complicates with multiclassing. MC’ing is similar to 3.5: you start as a 1st level character of another class, but with some limitations. First, you don’t get all proficiencies of the class; only a handful, and NEVER another saving throw proficiency. Second, you need to meet a specific ability score requirement for both classes to pull off multiclassing (some require one score, some require one of two, some require two). Third, multiclassing delays your ability score increases by at least 4 levels, since ability score increases are no longer tied to character level progression. If done correctly, though, you can net some surprising boons; otherwise, you’re hindering yourself.

    Ninth: Backgrounds. If you’ve played only D&D, these may seem weird, but if you managed to play d20 Modern, these should be familiar: they’re Occupations. Backgrounds imply what you did before entering adventuring: you could have been a Sailor, a Noble, an Acolyte, or something like that. Mechanically, Backgrounds offer proficiency in at least two skills, plus a set of tools or languages. They also grant a Trait, which is a minor benefit that ranges from free lodging to having contacts to knowing Thieves’ Cant (a Rogue class feature). Backgrounds can be completely different from the class’ fluff (thus, a Paladin could have begun as a Criminal and thus knows Thieves’ Cant and has proficiency with Thieves’ Tools), making for interesting characters. However, Backgrounds are a superb roleplaying tool: they provide examples of Personality Traits (quirks about your character), their Ideal (what they strive for), their Bond (what they consider important) and their Flaw (something that they hide or make them disgusting). Thus, they are tools for novice roleplayers in order to make interesting characters, rather than a bland Fred the Fighter. They also provide one more mechanical benefit: Inspiration. If your actions conflict or concord with the story in such a way, you can draw Inspiration from them (for example, staying true to your Bond, facing your Flaw and changing because of it, defending and promoting your Ideal, or simply having a Personality Trait become essential to the progression of the story). It’s a Boolean concept: either you have it (TRUE) or you don’t (FALSE; the concept of opposite, not that it’s actually false). If you have it, you can spend it to gain Advantage on one roll. Simple enough, no? They also determine your starting package, if you chose your class’ starting package.

    Tenth: Subraces and Subclasses. You may have noticed that, with Feats and Multiclassing being optional, there’s not enough difference between characters other than their Class, Background and Race, right? Thus, two Elf Fighters with the Soldier Backgrouund would be effectively the same, no? Enter Subraces and Subclasses. Subraces are the old distinctions between the races: for example, one Elf Fighter could be a High Elf, while the other could be a Wood Elf. Subclasses (which have their own names, actually; Paladin subclasses are Sacred Oaths) allow a character of the same class to distinguish by adding features related to a theme. Thus, the High Elf Fighter could be an Eldritch Knight (!!) while the Wood Elf Fighter could be a Champion. One could wield sword and steel, the other a mighty longbow. See how they allow distinctions, even if at the core they’re Elf Fighters with the Soldier Background? Not all races have subraces, but ALL classes have subclasses.

    Eleventh: Death. Rather than use “negative hit points” or ending your life at 0 hit points, 5th Edition used 4th Edition’s concept of Death Saves. All Death Saves are Concentration saves, but instead of spending one to survive unscathed, you make saves every round. If you succeed on three, you’re safe and stable; fail three, and you’re dead. Negative hit points are still used, though: one hit makes you auto-fail a save, a critical hit means you fail two saves, and if the damage exceeds your maximum hit point amount, you’re dead no matter what. Raise Dead and its progeny still exist, though.

    Twelfth: Healing (see what I did there?). Healing returned to old-school, rather than spending Healing Surges (though at higher levels 4th Edition characters could heal without spending surges), but the concept still remains with Hit Dice. Hit Dice can only be used with a Short Rest, and you effectively roll 1dX + Con modifier, with the X being the Hit Die you rolled for your classes (for a Paladin, that’s a d10), you can spend up to your maximum amount of Hit Dice, but once spent, they aren’t recovered until you make a Long Rest. On a Long Rest, you recover all Hit Points and a considerable amount of Hit Die. Simple, no? Multiclassing complicates this, as you’ll need to jot down the different Hit Dice of all classes because you could end up spending all your higher Hit Dice on a Short Rest.

    War (dur-hur-hur!): Passive checks. A returning aspect of 4th Edition, you may not be required to roll a check, instead determining the average of your check (10 + proficiency bonus + ability modifier) and use that as the hallmark. The only defined Passive check is Passive Perception, for when someone attempts to ambush you. You can extrapolate other Passive checks, such as Passive Investigation when looking for clues, or Passive Persuasion…if you’re a fan of Shadowrun and want to duplicate the effect of Etiquette on high social circles.

    Joanna Lumley (GAH-HA-HAH!!): Resistance and Vulnerability (and energy types). In other words: damage reduction and energy resistance went the way of the Dodo. Resistance is simple: if you’re resistant, you take half damage instead of full. If you’re vulnerable, you take double damage. If you’re Immune, you take no damage. Also, get used to the following terms: Fire, Cold, Electricity, Acid, Thundering, Force, Poison, Radiant, Necrotic and Psychic. Those are the damage types other than Slashing, Bludgeoning or Piercing that exist. They’re taken straight from 4e. Thundering replaces Sonic, Poison involves its own kind of damage, Radiant replaces positive energy (and light spells) while Necrotic replaces negative energy. Psychic is unique in that it’s not tied to actual psionics, but instead groups all mind-affecting abilities that deal damage (such as Phantasmal Killer).

    These are nearly all the changes, but there’s a lot more changes spread around. Person Man’s guide for Grognards is a better guide for the changes than this.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Class Features

    At its core, the Paladin is a class meant for combat, with some divine magic and powers as back-up. They are immune to a good amount of conditions, and the rest they can survive, with good choices of armor, class features that provide better saving throws and some solid amount of spells. Unlike earlier editions, Paladins are no longer bound to Good, though the flavor certainly leads to it.

    Hit Dice: A respectable d10, the baseline for all combat-oriented classes. Only the Barbarian has a d12 Hit Dice, but that doesn’t mean the Paladin is deprived of hit points. You also have a respectable amount of healing on Short Rests, making you last quite a bit.

    Weapon Proficiencies: All simple and martial weapons, giving them a respectable selection.

    Armor Proficiencies: All armor, plus shields. Also quite respectable, allowing them to have a potentially high amount of AC, which is scarce here.

    Skill Proficiencies:
    As with most classes, Paladins get two skill proficiencies. They have a respectable amount of six skills, from a nice list.
    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Backgrounds also grant Skill Proficiencies
    In case you may have wondered, a Paladin can get more skill proficiencies by carefully choosing their starting background. You may also gain proficiency with tools, something a Paladin lacks.

    Athletics: a superb Strength-based skill proficiency that aids you when you need to climb, jump or swim. It is also used for the Grapple and Shove skills, which are phenomenal for battlefield control (particularly knocking prone via Shove, which is now a far more dangerous condition than before).
    Insight: a Wisdom-based skill that helps you sense something’s wrong, or catch someone in a lie. A great defense against mundane ways of fooling you.
    Intimidation: somewhat less useful than before, you use this Charisma-based skill to threaten an opponent. You can no longer demoralize an opponent with it, unless your DM finds it appropriate.
    Medicine: somewhat more useful than before, you use this Wisdom-based skill to help someone fend the effects of disease and poison. You can also stabilize creatures (as with the Heal skill, though the exact procedure is not defined), and with a feat, provide some degree of healing.
    Persuasion: this Charisma-based skill replaces Diplomacy, allowing you to amicably solve a predicament. Your DM may determine if it also works to Gather Information, though that’s most likely a Charisma check.
    Religion: the only knowledge proficiency you get, this Intelligence-based skill allows you to know the specific rites and lore of all religions, organized or wild. Other than that, not very useful.

    Saving Throw Proficiencies:
    Paladins add their proficiency bonus on Wisdom and Charisma checks.
    Spoiler: Bear with Me: Why drop Constitution, Wizards?
    Traditionally, Paladins were always considered as having superb saving throws against physical effects, mostly poison, petrifaction and death/necromantic effects. These eventually collapsed into a good Fortitude save, as befitting a front-liner. Even 4th Edition and Pathfinder kept it, though they also made their Will saves/defenses pretty good.

    5th chopped this sacred cow by making Paladins proficient in what’s essentially a Will save, but dropping their Fortitude save. Before the final release, the Paladin was proficient with Constitution and Charisma saves, which wasn’t so bad at all. Unfortunately, a last-minute change (who knows why) made them stronger-willed, at the expense of their superior resilience to physical ailments.

    This is inane. Paladins, as you’ll see later, have little to worry about Will saves other than maybe Hold Person, so dropping their traditionally-good save is…I doubt there’s a good word that doesn’t sound insulting but keeps the same impact and meaning as what I intend to say, but here it goes: brutish. Or better yet, provoking.

    Honestly: are you guys worried so much that the Paladin will be the only class that has almost unbreakable Concentration? Note that NONE of the casting classes, with the sole exception of the Eldritch Knight Martial Archetype for the Fighter, have proficiency in Constitution saves. Thus, a Paladin will suck at casting Concentration spells, because its frickin’ job is to make enemies hit him instead of the squishies!!!!!! That choice defies explanation, and changing one good, essential and thematic save for another good and thematic but not-essential save is absurd beyond belief. At least it’s not Intelligence and Charisma; that would be downright insulting.

    There’s the bit about a specific aura that causes me glee, which might explain why, but it’s still inane IMO.

    Divine Sense: aka, Nerfed Detect Evil. Yes, nerfed. Sure, it no longer detects ONLY evil, but it detects more things: fiends, celestials, undead, consecrated or desecrated areas…and that’s it. Oh, and you can only use it an amount of times equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier, instead of at-will. And it requires an Action, meaning you can’t use it in combat.

    Lay on Hands: Another standard of the Paladin, straight from 1st Edition AD&D. The touch is no longer based on Charisma (!!), instead being your paladin level times five. It still requires an Action, so you’re on your own if you want to use it on combat. Seems they took a page from Pathfinder (or rather, from the Dragon Shaman and its Touch of Vitality), as you can use it to remove a disease or a poison straight from 1st level. You can’t use it to harm undead this time, though, but it’s no big loss. All in all, a fair improvement.

    Fighting Style: You get one of four Fighting Styles, related to the four ways you can play a Paladin: a survivor, a Sword & Boarder, a Two-Hander, or a tank.

    • Defense: you gain a mere +1 to AC, but consider that bonuses to AC are rare beyond magic items. It’s also ONLY while wearing armor. So, you can reach a maximum of AC 21 with Full Plate: a Wizard can achieve AC 23, but only if it spends spell slots on a Shield spell (which it won’t get indefinitely until 18th level) and its reaction, and you’re only 2 points behind. Bounded Accuracy, gentlemen!
    • Dueling: a surprisingly good feature. A +2 to damage is actually pretty huge in this edition, since there’s few damage boosts lying around. Now, note what it says: if you wield a melee weapon in one hand and NO OTHER WEAPON, you gain the bonus. That means no two-handed weapons and no two-hand fighting, but wielding a Shield is fair play. So much, that a developer confirmed it. So: you can have your cake (Sword & Board) and eat it too (high damage and decent AC).
    • Great Weapon Fighting: an interesting ability, if not awesome. You reroll all 1s and 2s on a damage die, but it doesn’t mean that it’s only ONE die. Rules Lawyers will support the idea that it’s EVERY damage die that falls into 1 or 2, though only if rerolled once (thus, two straight 1s or 2s, or a 1 followed by a 2 or viceversa won’t help, but everything else does). That also means…Sneak Attack damage dice, damage dice from spells, damage dice from Smites… Notice just how good it is?
    • Protection: the tanking style. It’s pretty specific (creature that you can see, that attacks a target other than you, and the target must be within 5 ft. of you), and it eats your reaction, but it provokes Disadvantage, which is huge. Turn a critical into a miss, or even a fumble? Well worth it. Opportunity Attacks also use Reactions, so be careful when and how to use it, but for the most part, a great tactic. Requires a Shield to use, BTW.

    Spoiler: Unearthed Arcana Fighting Styles
    • Close Quarters Shooter (Thr): +1 to attack rolls with ranged weapons, ignore disadvantage when shooting on melee range, ignore half-cover and three-quarters cover when shooting within 30 ft. of target. For someone based on archery (or better yet, throwing weapons!), it's an amazing catch - you get half the benefit of the Archery fighting style, but with greater benefits (pretty much tacking the Sharpshooter feat on top of it).
    • Mariner: +1 to AC and climb/swim speed = base land speed when not wearing heavy armor and/or using a shield. On one hand, you get an excuse to use medium armor and still have decent AC, and alternative movement speeds are very, VERY good. On the other hand, most builds will rely on heavy armor, so Mariner is not for everyone. Still - it's better than Defense: you get an actual benefit other than AC, even if your total AC is actually lower.
    • Tunnel Fighter (LD): Enter defensive stance as bonus action; while on stance, make opportunity attacks without spending reaction, use reaction to make melee attack against creature that moves more than 5 ft. This is basic Lockdown strategy, when mixed with other options (like turning that free reaction attack into Shove, since it is a melee attack, or using the Sentinel feat). The primary benefit is somewhat lost if you use the Marking optional rule in the DMG, which grants a similar benefit.

    Spellcasting: This area is big, and thus requires its own page, but it has changed from its earlier incarnation. First, you gain it at 2nd level; second ,you can cast up to 5th level spells; third, you use Charisma for your spell save DCs (and spell attack rolls, if any). You’re still a prepared caster, though you can only prepare a number of spells equal to ½ your level plus your Charisma (between 1 to 15 spells, essentially); once you cast them, you can use any of them so as long as you have the right spell slot. You also get a fairly high amount of spells, as well.
    Divine Smite: Your friendly 3.5’s Smite Evil, but improved. Improved, you say? It’s still one attack, sure, but it deals a fairly high amount of damage (2d8 from the start, which is an average of 9 points), and it gets better if the target is a fiend or undead (1d8; average of 4 or 5 points). Still, I have my qualms with it, but despite that, I must recognize that it’s a superb ability. That qualm being…

    Spoiler: Bear with Me: Casting a Spell or Smiting?
    You may know how bad was my rant when Pathfinder decided to call its marking effect “Smite Evil”, so this is a touchy subject for me. Yes, I feel this is a smite: it is a sudden, dramatic effect. However, the problem is not with its execution, but with its resource.

    What is the problem, then? You need to spend a spell slot to smite. YES. How do you think I feel about this? At 2nd level, I can smite twice per day (er-hem, per “long rest”), but I can’t cast any spell if I do so. I have a limited resource that becomes even MORE limited. Considering there are Short Rest abilities, this is kinda bad. By 19th level, I get 15 spell slots (no less, no more), which I can spend on spells or smites. Both the spell and the smiting have strong competition between each other, because some Paladin spells are awesome.

    This is reduced by one thing: most of the Paladin’s unique spells ALSO happen to be Smites with Rider effects. In a way, you can cast a spell and smite (and add a nasty effect) all at once, but it forces a Paladin player to care for its resources. This isn’t a very good idea: a Paladin can happily go nova (i.e. spend its entire resources thin rather than saving them for a rainy day) in one battle, potentially.

    I wouldn’t have cared if Smite was once per Short Rest, even if that has its own set of problems (Short Rests last for 1 hour, meaning sometimes it’s more effective to go all 8 hours and get a Long Rest, meaning all Short Rest-recoverable abilities suddenly turn into daily effects); that said, it would be comparable to Action Surge, which is a phenomenal Fighter class feature.

    Divine Health: An old stalwart, this makes you immune to all diseases. No biggie. Somewhat more important because, again, Paladins have no Constitution save proficiency.

    Sacred Oath: Another feature with its own section, but to boot: it gives you more spells, it gives you Channel Divinity (read: Turn Undead), a new aura and a cool class feature.

    Ability Score Improvement: Paladins get five Ability Score Improvements, much like all other races (save for the Fighter and the Rogue).

    Extra Attack: This ability allows you to attack twice when making the Attack action. Remember you can move and attack, so you can spread your attacks (and make a “full” attack after moving). You can also Shove and Attack, which is a strong tactic now. A necessity for a martial character.

    Aura of Protection: Ahem. SQUEEEEEEEEEE! Holy mother of all that’s Good and Sacred, this is why I want to be a Paladin, dammit! In case you haven’t figured: it’s Divine Grace, gained a bit late. However, it’s now an Area of Effect, making the Paladin the ONLY class to grant the HIGHEST saving throw bonus. It’s still based on your Charisma (but isn’t it obvious that you’re a sucker for Charisma!?), so chances are you’ll get a +5 to ALL your saves, PLUS you grant that to all allies. So yeah: 20 Constitution, 20 Charisma, and you get a +10 to your Constitution save. This is probably why having no Constitution save proficiency wasn’t an issue, but to me, this is the ultimate example of WHY a Paladin had to have Constitution save proficiency. How else can you make a character implacable? I mean, a +16 to your Constitution save would have meant effectively permanent Concentration effects. Note that this also means you’re the best friend of ALL casters, since it allows them to extend their Concentration-based spells. Oh, and it also works with all other saves, but chances are those saves won’t be as high.

    Aura of Courage: Although somewhat late, this version of Aura of Courage is actually worthwhile. You still retain immunity to the frightened condition (fear effects have been collapsed to frightened now), but now you grant that benefit to all allies. That said: you are already factually immune, and the Aura of Protection you gain earlier on actually makes failing a save against Frightened somewhat difficult.
    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Wider Auras at 18[SUP
    th[/SUP] level]In case granting immunity to the frightened condition and a whopping +5 bonus to all saves wasn’t enough, the Paladin has another nifty gift by 18th level. The range of all these auras triple, meaning you don’t need to be that close (and thus set up for a Fireball) to gain the benefit. This also includes the auras gained via Sacred Oath.

    Improved Divine Smite: Jumpin’ Jehosaphat on a Pogo Stick; is there a way to make this any better? The Cleric has a way to add 1d8 to its attacks, but no Extra Attacks unless it multiclasses; the Fighter has lots of attacks but requires spending a not-exactly renewable resource (Superiority Dice) to gain the extra 1d8 (or higher) on its attacks, and only if they take a specific Martial Archetype (the Battlemaster). The Paladin has both the damage AND the Extra Attack, but it also applies to any other attack. Two-Weapon Fighting? All attacks get the extra damage. Opportunity Attacks? All the attacks gain the extra damage. Compared to the Cleric’s Divine Strike, this works with every attack, not just one. It’s also right when you cross the half-mark threshold, so it’s pretty good. AND it stacks with Divine Smite.

    Cleansing Touch: This is a genuinely new class feature, though probably based on a 4e power (or a 3.5 Alternate Class Feature). This feature is separate from Lay on Hands, and has limited uses (up to your Charisma modifier), but it allows you to end one spell on yourself or one willing creature. In other words: Break Enchantment, people! Well, only applying to ONE spell, but it’s automatic and requires no roll. Petrified? Cleansing Touch. Polymorphed and about to lose your mind? Difficult on yourself, but you can help an ally with Cleansing Touch. It’s not clear whether it works only with ongoing (read: Concentration-based) spells or with any other spell, but it’s clearly good.
    Spoiler: Bear with Me: Dude, Where’s My Capstone?
    Let’s face it; you may have missed it. All classes get a capstone. Some are fascinating (Primal Champion, Stroke of Luck, Signature Spell), others are disappointing (Foe Slayer, Perfect Self, Eldritch Master to an extent), and others are improvement to earlier features (the 3rd Extra Attack for a total of 4 attacks, Divine Intervention at 100% chance of success) However, ALL classes get a capstone, right?

    You may notice that the Paladin also has a capstone, but instead of being a specific one (You turn into a Celestial creature! …For example), it is a mutable one. Yes, this is a unique aspect of the Paladin, in that its capstone is related to its choice of Sacred Oath. Most subclass options end at 18th level, but the Paladin is unique in that it ends at 20th level, making it the ONLY class that has MORE than one capstone. So there’s your capstone. Interesting, huh?

    Sacred Oaths

    By now, other than the loss of the capstone, you might be missing something. In all editions save for 4th, the Paladin has a shackle that it can’t ignore: the Code of Conduct. The discussions are decenal (think millenary, but speaking in terms of decades and not of millions of years): “my DM forced me to fall”; “how can I make my Paladin player fall?”, and so on. 4th Edition broke with this paradigm, and 5th attempted to bridge this.

    It just happened that they needed a flavorful and mechanically sound subclass. Thus, they bound the old Code of Conduct with the concept of the Subclass and created the Sacred Oaths.

    More than any other class, the Paladin’s choice of Sacred Oath affects the character’s roleplaying and mechanical aspects. Rather than have a single kind of character (the holy knight crusading against evil), the Paladin is defined by the oath it takes. Based on that oath, it gains unique powers that follow a similar format, but are distinct from each other. On the other hand, they are somewhat bound to follow the tenets of the oath, or else they may end up losing their powers (or gaining access to the Oathbreaker). However, the penalty for the transgression is not immediate revocation of its powers, so it allows for fallible Paladins that nonetheless strive to follow the good path.

    To which I say: about fraggin’ time, Wizards! (No, the “Paladins don’t care about Oaths anymore” doesn’t count.)

    Because they’re what defines each type of Paladin, all Sacred Oaths are treated separately, and evaluated as a whole and as the sum of their parts. The format used will be similar to the one I used for Archetypes in my Pathfinder Paladin Guide, specifically on…what else, the Oaths. Two things merit their own discussion:

    Oath Spells: All Sacred Oaths grant the Paladin their own set of spells. These spells work a lot like a Cleric’s Domain (or the Warlock’s Otherworldly Patron), in which they can expand the Paladin’s list of spells (and also expand the list of spells they can prepare). All Paladins get 10 spells from each Oath, and they don’t need to prepare the spell to cast it: they know it automatically (meaning a 20th level Paladin with Charisma 20 has actually 25 prepared spells). These are the same amount of spells gained as the Cleric and the Warlock via their subclasses, so they’re mostly equivalent. The levels indicated are when you get the spell, not its spell level.
    Channel Divinity: All Sacred Oaths grant the Paladin two sets of Channel Divinity options. This is a concept from 4th Edition, where you had a unified method of Channeling Divinity that makes it unique to each deity, except in this case it varies by Oath. You can Channel Divinity only ONCE PER SHORT REST, so make sure that decision counts. On the other hand, by being recovered as a Short Rest, that means you’re not entirely limited to one use per round. You do get less uses than a Cleric overall, though.

    Oath of Devotion: A Paladin swearing this oath upholds, protects and serves the Greater Good and the Law, adhering to rigid standards of conduct. In other words: vanilla Paladin flavor.
    Channel Divinity – Sacred Weapon: 1/Short Rest add Charisma modifier to attack rolls for 1 minute; weapon becomes magical and emits light (20 ft. bright/20 ft. dim) while the effect lasts. It’s a strange mix, but an effective one: it’s like Bless Weapon (in terms of bypassing resistance against non-magical weapons), but mixed with a great benefit.
    Channel Divinity – Turn the Unholy: 1/Short Rest, each fiend or undead within 30 ft. is turned if it fails a Wisdom save. In other words: the Cleric’s Turn Undead ability, but boosted to add Fiends as well (and usable only once per round). Can be useful when surrounded by Undead or Fiends, and you want them to disperse a bit instead of ganging up on you. The Wisdom save is based on your spell save DC.
    Aura of Devotion: You and all creatures within 10 ft. (30 ft. at 18th level) gain immunity to charmed effect while you’re conscious. Shamelessly lifted Inspired from the Pathfinder Paladin’s Aura of Resolve, except it’s better because it grants immunity to everyone else, and the area gets wide enough.
    Purity of Spirit: Permanent Protection from Evil and Good effect. The spell changed between editions, eschewing the bonuses for applying Disadvantage, which is pretty nasty. Also, it is race-based, rather than alignment-based. You gain immunity to possession as well, since you’re already immune to charmed and frightened (because of your auras). Because of the actual immunities, you’re mostly using this for the Disadvantage, which means you’re darn hard to kill because opponents have two chances to fail against your (arguably high) AC.
    Holy Nimbus: The Devotion capstone; create an aura of sunlight (30 ft. bright/30 ft. dim) for 1 minute, which damages opponents that start their round inside the bright area (10 radiant); gain advantage on saving throws against spells of fiends and undead. A decent combination of offense (damage over time, and radiant is pretty hard to resist) and resilience (Disadvantage on attacks and spells means you’re hard to pin down), but somewhat poor compared to the other two.
    Oath Spells: 3rdProtection from Evil and Good, Sanctuary, 5thLesser Restoration, Zone of Truth, 9thBeacon of Hope, Dispel Magic, 13thFreedom of Movement, Guardian of Faith, 17thCommune, Flame Strike
    Tenets: This oath is essentially the traditional Code of Conduct, but revised and tempered. It’s actually better explained: you still can’t lie or cheat, and you must aid and protect the weak, but you must also treat others fairly, be fearless, do as much good with the least amount of harm, and most importantly, be responsible for your acts. Duty also adds the “respect legitimate authority”, but only authority over you, and only if it’s just. So, again: revised Code of Conduct.

    Oath of the Ancients: A Paladin swearing this oath devotes its life to protect the beauty of nature and to take the side of Light against Darkness. 4e players may recognize the Warden in this Oath, but for the most part it is a unique interpretation of the Paladin.
    Channel Divinity – Nature’s Wrath: 1/Short Rest ensnare a foe (apply restrained effect) unless (or until) it succeeds on a Strength or Dexterity save (against your spell save DC). Somewhat pisspoor unless the target has Disadvantage against your saves.
    Channel Divinity – Turn the Faithless: 1/Short Rest, each fey or fiend within 30 ft. is turned if it fails a Wisdom save; reveal creature if hiding behind illusions or shapeshifting. Like Turn Undead (and Turn the Unholy), except it affects fey instead of undead and has a rider effect.
    Aura of Warding: You and all creatures within 10 ft. (30 ft. at 18th level) gain resistance to damage from spells. This is HUGE; almost the same kind of protection as Aura of Protection, but adding another layer. In short: you make the live of all Evokers twice as hard. Paladins get Circle of Power which grants Advantage on spells, which means you can reduce spell damage by a fourth. Most likely the best aura after Aura of Protection, if not better.
    Undying Sentinel: 1/long rest, if dropped to 0 hit points but not killed, drop to 1 hit point instead; ignore drawbacks of old age and can’t be aged. In short: once per day (pretty much) you can last for probably one more round (that valuable round that turns the tide of battle) and you gain the benefits of Timeless Body as well. Makes you slightly harder to kill, but not for that much.
    Elder Champion: The Ancients’ capstone; assume a fey-like form that grants fast healing 10, allows casting certain Paladin spells as bonus actions and impose Disadvantage on saving throws against your Paladin spells and Channel Divinity options. Read the first two again very closely. Yes: for 1 minute (and only 1/day), you get fast healing AND Battle Blessing. You’re already hard to kill, and this not only makes you HARDER to kill, but also lets you cast spells and make full attacks, something the College of War Bard and the Eldritch Knight Fighter only DREAM of. Arguably the best of the Paladin’s capstones, bar none.

    Oath Spells: 3rdEnsnaring Strike, Speak with Animals, 5thMoonbeam, Misty Step, 9thPlant Growth, Protection from Energy, 13thIce Storm, Stoneskin, 17thCommune with Nature, Tree Stride
    Tenets: The Oath’s tenets involve being the champion of Light: be kind, merciful, forgiving; fight against those who would ruin all that’s good and beautiful; admire art and song, and look for great deeds. In other words: take a hint of Tinkerbell, mix it with a dash of a Swashbuckler, a shot of Bard, a drop of hedonism…well, it is a pretty complicated set of tenets, I can say. Mostly: do good, fight evil, and cheer up sad pandas. That’s pretty much it.

    Oath of Vengeance: A Paladin swearing this oath is implacable in its fight against evil, at all costs. Basically: Powder Keg of Justice + Grey Guard as a subclass
    Channel Divinity – Abjure Enemy: 1/Short Rest, one target within 60 ft. is frightened if it fails a Wisdom saving throw (Fiends and Undead have Disadvantage) for 1 minute or until hit; target also acts as if restrained. This feature is pretty decent, particularly since it has a “suck it” effect on a successful save. It’s not really meant to disable an opponent, but rather to stop it from leaving; however, you can use it as a way of leaving an opponent for last (such as stopping the BBEG or its Dragon while mowing mooks or dealing with the most difficult target).
    Channel Divinity – Vow of Enmity: 1/Short Rest, gain Advantage on attack rolls against single creature for 1 round. This is a pretty nice ability, though somewhat diminished by Sacred Weapon. However, if you have a high attack bonus, chances are it can help on overall damage by denying you the chance of low rolls. Use it on bosses, pretty much.
    Relentless Avenger: Hit target with Opportunity Attack, move up to half your speed after doing so. This is a weird move, but it works. Ideally, rather than pursuing your opponent, you cut off its path of escape to allow you another Opportunity Attack next round. Somewhat less useful with the Sentinel feat and/or Polearm Master, but the movement rate is fairly high enough to set up controlled movement towards a bunch of enemies.
    Soul of Vengeance: Target of Vow of Enmity provokes Opportunity Attacks when making its own attack. Normally, this would be a truly awesome move, since it’s effectively Robilar’s Gambit and/or Karmic Strike coupled with a variant of Opportunist, except without penalties. So far, so good; the problem is that it won’t work unless you use Vow of Enmity, and you only have one use of it per short rest (which, in some cases, it could be once per day). On the other hand, it increases your attacks per round even if the target focuses on you, since it’ll provoke an Opportunity Attack no matter what it does (unless it casts a spell or something, maybe).
    Avenging Angel: The Vengeance capstone; for 1 hour you gain 60 ft. flight speed and aura of menace (30 ft. radius, Wisdom save or be frightened for 1 minute or until damaged, and attack rolls against the creature have Advantage). The flight speed for 1 hour is great, but somewhat late. The Aura of Menace, on the other hand, wants to make me cry: the DC is fairly high (based on your spell save DC), but the effect lasts for at least 1 round and is no longer penalized. The effect is not THAT great to matter: in many ways, it’s Abjure Enemy as an emanation. Still better than Nimbus of Light, and that’s saying something (flight is ALWAYS good, and the Aura of Menace means you can demoralize mooks while focusing on the real deal).
    Oath Spells: 3rdBane, Hunter’s Mark, 5thHold Person, Misty Step, 9thHaste, Protection from Energy, 13thBanishment, Dimension Door, 17thHold Monster, Scrying
    Tenets: If anything, this Oath has the most flexible tenet: choose to fight the greater evil over lesser ones, by all means necessary, and without mercy. Show your brass spheres with pride! There is one little caveat, though: you still should offer mercy to foes other than your sworn enemies, you’re not given carte blanche to do Evil, and you’re duty-bound to provide restitution to those hurt by your enemies. This last one is the actual caveat: you’re implacable, but still noble at heart. I actually like this tenet, because it lets you be a badass and still be noble enough to matter.

    Oathbreaker: Missed the Blackguard? Well, the Oathbreaker is what happens when you break your Sacred Oath and fully embrace Evil. These are meant to be Evil characters (and probably won’t be accessible to you; quite the contrary, you’ll have to face them), but if you can snatch one…
    Channel Divinity – Control Undead: 1/Short Rest, one undead creature within 30 ft. must succeed on a Wisdom save or obey your commands for 24 hours. A pretty useful way to get a temporary ally, and the higher your level, the better the creature becomes. If your saving throw DC grows up to be high enough, you could even snatch a Lich! But, again – it relies on having a high saving throw DC, and that the enemy’s Challenge rating isn’t higher than yours.
    Channel Divinity – Dreadful Aspect: 1/Short Rest, each creature within 30 ft. of you must make a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute; they are allowed new saves if they’re more than 30 ft. away from you. The frightened condition is pretty nice, but the way the frightened condition works means that they’ll pretty much always have a chance to save, as they’ll spend the round running away from you. That said, on creatures with lousy Wisdom saves, it’s a superb debuff.
    Aura of Hate: You and any fiend or undead within 10 ft. gain a bonus to melee weapon damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier. Hot. Dang! Since you ALWAYS benefit from it (as well as any creature that you control via your Channel Divinity), you’re effectively adding your Charisma to your damage rolls, meaning you hit pretty hard. At 18th level, the aura naturally improves to 30 ft., so your undead creature doesn’t have to be close. On a party with a Necromancer Wizard, this is insane.
    Supernatural Resistance: You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons, which is pretty par for the course. You do get it late, though, and it’s not like the Aura of Warding from the Oath of the Ancients which works against what high-level creatures might be constantly using. Most high-CR enemies also count their weapons as magical, so…
    Dread Lord: The Oathbreaker capstone; for 1 minute you create an aura that reduces light around you, allows you to protect allies by granting enemies disadvantage on their attack rolls, and any frightened opponent on range automatically takes 4d10 psychic damage, no save and no action whatsoever. This already makes it one hell of a capstone, but you get ONE more thing – as a bonus action, you can make a melee spell attack (using your Charisma, natch) and deal 3d10 + Cha mod. worth of necrotic damage as well, so you’re always dealing damage! Against a frightened enemy with no resistances, that’s a pretty hefty amount of damage while doing pretty much nothing. Of course, it’s a long rest action, but it’s one hell of a capstone.
    Oath Spells: 3rdhellish rebuke, inflict wounds; 5thcrown of madness, darkness; 9thanimate dead, bestow curse; 13thblight, confusion; 17thcontagion (with slimy doom), dominate person
    Tenets: None! Yes, the Oathbreaker exists because you broke tenets, so why follow them? That said – you are evil. Changing your alignment to any non-evil and demonstrating it makes you lose your powers and grants eligibility to any of the other Sacred Oaths, so might as well consider if it’s worthwhile to change alignment. Even being a rocky neutral won’t work.

    Oath of the Crown (DR): Yay, a new Oath! You choose to uphold the virtues of civilization (you're not gonna be close friends with your party druid, tho), and while you can follow a deity of law and righteousness, you don't necessarily have to - you could gain your power from defending the values of your country or following your ruler's wisdom (or lack of it).
    Channel Divinity - Champion Challenge: Creatures of your choice within 30 ft. must make a Wisdom saving throw or cannot move more than 30 ft. away from you. In short - a taunt. Archers won't mind, but melee creatures will have it somewhat difficult to ignore you. That's basically the intent, right? Except that, if you get incapacitated or move 30 ft. away from them, the effect ends. Kinda weak, particularly when your aura gets better, as allies will have to be very close, right where those melee creatures are.
    Channel Divinity - Turn the Tide: Heal 1d6 + Cha mod to all allies within 30 ft. less than half their hit points. While not entirely solid, it's still good as an emergency heal, sorta like your Lay on Hands. Best use of Channel Divinity for the Oath.
    Divine Allegiance (DR): As a reaction, take damage for ally within 5 ft. Alright, so the range is hilariously small, but hey - it's textbook Damage Redirection. You, the frickin' tank with mondo HP and defenses up the wazoo, takes damage for the squishy. For most people, it's nice. For a Damage Redirection specialist, it's the closest thing to the Holy Grail.
    Unyielding Spirit: Advantage on saving throws against being paralyzed or stunned. This is very nice - between your Aura of Protection, your likely high Constitution and this, it has to take a really nasty DC or a bout of bad luck to be hit with these...and they can be nasty (paralysis specifically, since it can be tantamount to instant death).
    Exalted Champion:: The capstone: as an action, for 1 hour you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons, you and allies gain advantage on death saves and Wisdom saving throws. While the Oath of Devotion and Oath of the Ancients have cooler capstones, this one is effective in a spartan way (aka, boring but practical). What it does is make you undefeatable in war. Advantage on Wisdom saving throws (which are one of your highest) works well against most spellcasters using mind-affecting abilities.
    Oath Spells: 3rdcommand, compelled duel; 5thwarding bond (DR), zone of truth; 9thaura of vitality, spirit guardians; 13thbanishment, guardian of faith; 17thcircle of power, geas
    Tenets: You wanted a more Lawful Paladin? Here's it - this is a Lawful Paladin first and foremost. Sure - Courage is seen as good, but the way it's written, it's more "take the courage to follow the law". Heck: the first of the tenets is Law, and not just in the figurative sense. Loyalty? Also a lawful thing, though also suitable for Chaotic people who want to survive. I do like the last one - Responsibility, where you have to know the consequences of your actions and act upon them. This is the one that strikes me the most "good", and even then, it's more wise than good.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2016-02-19 at 02:26 AM. Reason: Adding the UA Fighting Styles and the SCAG's Oath of the Crown

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Approaches to the Paladin

    Part of various Optimization Guides meant for Paladin players deal with the challenge of the Code of Conduct and how Paladins lose their powers through “gross violations”, including ways on how to roleplay a Paladin without falling and/or playing it too harshly (the oft-mentioned “Lawful Stupid” method of play, the one that does Detect+Smite first and then asks questions). 5th Edition broke in a way with this trend, but the existence of Sacred Oaths still suggest the idea that a Paladin must be played carefully, particularly because a suggestion for unruly Paladins is to force a class change, so the threat of “falling” is still imminent.

    This section deals with this, but also on the mechanical approaches to play a Paladin: that is, the most effective strategies in terms of their combat styles.

    Roleplaying a Paladin

    Although the Paladin has changed from its early incarnation of a virtuous knight into a champion of the Faith, playing one can be still a challenge. There is a lot of baggage regarding what it means to be a Paladin and how to be an effective one, and this is complicated further by the existence of Backgrounds and the implications of Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds and Flaws (explained later) and the Tenets of Sacred Oaths (mentioned below).

    First, let’s dismiss some of the misconceptions of the Paladin, shall we?

    • The Paladin must be Good: mostly, but that is no longer the case. 4th Edition broke with that concept almost a decade ago, so it no longer applies. 5th Edition chose to backtrack by giving the class a very strong vibe of Good, but the last paragraph that closes the fluff regarding the Paladin mentions that they are “rarely of any evil alignment”. Certainly, a Paladin *could* be Lawful Evil, but it would conflict with its choice of Sacred Oath. That doesn’t mean a Paladin can’t be any Neutral, and the Oath of Vengeance certainly requires some degree of Neutrality (as in, they are tainted by spite to be genuinely Good; that doesn’t mean they can’t, but most of the time, they can’t worry about being Good when Evil is spreading out).
    • Paladins must serve a deity: not necessarily. There’s a huge step between Faith and deity. In fact, and this is something I might be partly guilty about, but a Paladin doesn’t need to be a believer in religion to devote to said cause. Certainly, a Paladin must believe, but their belief and devotion doesn’t need to be to gods; they can be devoted to an ideal (to the ideal of Good itself, to the ideal of Chivalry, to the ancient idea of Light, or some other ideal). This is true in worlds where worship of a deity is almost mandatory for access to divine magic (such as Faerun and Krynn), but for the most part, the default is that a Paladin doesn’t need to be a believer to be a Paladin.
    • A Paladin will fall if it fails its tenets: yes and no. The “sidebar” on the PHB regarding “Breaking your Oath” mentions that a Paladin is fallible; it’s not perfect, and it can fail. However, the penance is very light, in fact lighter than before: certainly not the 1st/2nd Edition concept of “fail once, fall forever” or the lighter 3.x version of “fail once, fall until atoned”. In this edition, falling is solely the discretion of the DM, and only if s/he deems it appropriate, and even then it requires that the Paladin is unwilling to repent. Certainly, this is a delicate matter: if you repent but keep doing the same things (and you’re not on the Oath of Vengeance), are you truly repentant? This is a philosophical discussion more than a mechanical one, but the general gist is that, as long as you try to follow your tenets and repent when you don’t, you’ll eventually get the hang of it and stop doing it, therefore not becoming liable to fall. This comes in line with the “apprentice levels” of Paladinhood, and in fact, a 2nd level Paladin isn’t liable to fall as it hasn’t taken its vows yet.

    The following are especially suitable to the Oath of Devotion, given that it inherited the baggage of the Code of Conduct:

    • A Paladin can’t lie, ever, even if s/he doesn’t know what you say is a lie. Note the name of the tenet is “Honesty”: if you don’t honestly know it’s a lie, then you couldn’t have lied; for all you know, it’s the truth. It means something, though: you’re not going to lie deliberately. Lying to protect someone, particularly if you swore to protect someone (following your promise) might be more honest (honest to yourself and to the person you swore to protect) than telling the truth (because then you break the spirit).
    • A Paladin seeking tactical advantages is cheating. Not really; in fact, that’d be the opposite. A Paladin that doesn’t seek a tactical advantage is either reckless, careless, or naïve. Note that nowhere does it say that a Paladin can’t use poison (something that the other editions treated as anathema), but it means that you’ll seek to be fair in all possible ways.
    • A Paladin can’t run away from battle. The tenet of Courage is pretty clear in this: “[taking] caution is wise”. If the battle is too difficult, it takes a lot of Courage to accept it and run, but at least you’ll stay to provide others with a way to escape. Once they do, then caution implies that you should remain alive if possible.
    • A Paladin must be always merciful. To an extent, yes, but again: “[…] temper it with wisdom”. If you know someone will betray you, they insulted your mercy, and thus they can’t be allowed to live.
    • A Paladin must blindly obey those who have authority over you, even if they order you to do something against your tenets. Obedience and blind obedience are very different: obedient involves showing respect, while blind obedience implies a lack of common sense. If someone orders you to do something against your beliefs (coupled in your Tenets, and to an extent in your Ideal and Bond), you have the right to question why. The response will determine if the one who has authority over you is exercising that authority correctly or not. Remember that you are also bound to be responsible for your actions and their consequences, and if you consider those actions will stain your honor and cause much ill (and would cause you to break your tenets), chances are you’d do worse by following the order than refusing to, and that the person who ordered you to do so has breached its own “just authority”.

    These are especially fitting for the Oath of the Ancients, being the more “lax” of the three:

    • The Paladin must protect everything that provides beauty and laughter, even bars and brothels. That is debatable, but think of it this way: the Oath of the Ancients prefers a more natural approach to beauty, love, song and laughter than that of civilization. Beauty is only skin deep, and laughter can hide deep sorrow. The Paladin that follows the Oath of the Ancients seeks to protect genuine beauty (that of people who are noble and kind in word and deed, even if they don’t ascribe to higher standards) and genuine laughter (the one of a child, or that of a good joke, or of an entertaining act). If the bar (or the brothel) provides that genuine happiness, then chances are they’re worth protecting. As a Paladin of the Ancients, you might notice that is genuine when people of that place approach you: even as business, a place to protect is one where they make you feel like family, and that probably hear your sorrows and help you forget them, or even solve them.
    • The Paladin must “delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art”; therefore, it must be a hedonist. That isn’t entirely true, but it’s pretty close: you’re still a warrior of the Light, first and foremost. You’re not enjoying things because of personal pleasure; you’re doing it because it’s important to others. You may spend time enjoying it (in fact, it’s part of your tenets), but mostly when others do; in many ways, you share that joy rather than hog it. A hedonist wouldn’t.

    This one is especially fitting for the Oath of Vengeance, being darker in nature:

    • Vengeance at all costs. That is one of the tenets, actually, but the tenet of Restitution is there to temper it. To put it in simpler terms: if you’re looking for ideas, think of the Punisher (from Marvel) and the Eradicator (from DC) as exaggerations of the Oath of Vengeance. A Vengeance Paladin isn’t worried about staining itself in the fight against evil, but deep down, it still has a seed of Good within. Restitution is the way they do so; after beating down the orcs that ravage the village, reconstruct it. There’s always a greater Evil in the world, but for the time being, it hasn’t shown yet. Perhaps there is still some evil in the area (maybe a thief who wants to take advantage of the run-down village to pilfer), but that should be the least of your concern; if the thief shows, then give him/her a lesson. The Vengeance Paladin works with priorities, and they’re always shifting.

    These bits fit most the Oath of the Crown, the newest of the Sacred Oaths and the more "Lawful" one:
    • "The Law is Paramount". Take this with a big grain of salt - remember that, by choosing the Oath of the Crown, you're not necessarily forced to be Good or Evil. What your moral compass does is dictate how that Law is absolute. If you're Good-aligned, Law must work to serve the greater Good, not to serve the whims of others; an Evil-aligned one might think the opposite, and a Neutral character will rarely question the law. That said, the biggest conflict comes as follows - to what extent do I follow the Law? When you're in a lawless place, you ARE the Law, and most likely, you'll follow the Law of your country or deity; after all, you are the champion of Law. If you're on a place with different laws, then it's best to follow those. When those laws conflict with those of your country, consider your country's relationship to it. The blurb of the tenet is what makes it easier to comprehend; it is the setting stone of civilization, so your adherence to the law works to the extent it upholds, forms and strengthens civilization.
    • A Lawful Paladin cannot relate with a Chaotic character. Well, that's pretty wrong - you can relate with a Chaotic character. You don't have to police that character, but you have the gift of gab and the strength of arms to gently (or strong-armed) indicate s/he's stepping on your beliefs. You're NOT the party's police - you adhere to the rules, the rest doesn't have to. However, if they constantly offend your beliefs, kindly (or firmly) give them notice that you're not stepping on theirs. Remember responsibility - everyone is responsible for their actions, so if they screw it up, let them deal with it. When they see the party doesn't support them, they'll learn responsibility.

    As you can see, there are various misconceptions that could be taken from a strict reading of the Tenets of each Oath. The Oath of Devotion, being the closest to the old Code of Conduct, will have the largest amount of misconceptions, but the other two could easily bring a headache to any player with a sadistic DM, or to any DM with a disruptive player (or shared between the sadistic DM and the disruptive player). Note that this is completely subjective, as some might end up being exaggerations made for the sake of an example, but they are still valid nonetheless as they can exist in a lesser, but still disruptive, degree.

    The following are ways to play Paladins, from the trouble-less to the awesome:

    • Powder Keg of Justice: as shown by the elegan/tg/entlemen in 4chan, a Paladin doesn’t have to fear falling. In fact, it may actually seek to fall. The trick in here is to understand the nature of sacrifice: how far are you willing to tarnish yourself, when the time comes? As sir Peter Fairgrave would say, “is this the moment I’ve been waiting for? Is this action worthy enough to make my eventual fall necessary?” A Powder Keg of Justice shows restraint, but gently and sternly mentions everyone that the fuse is really short. It’s not the Paladin who should worry about that one wrong step that makes them fall; it should be Evil who worries, because once the Paladin falls, so do the fetters. That anger and that resentment towards Evil is gone in a flash, and you only remain with the Unfettered. The Oath of Vengeance was made with this kind of character in mind. Your Ideal would be Sacrifice, and your Flaw would be the very definition of the Powder Keg.
    • The Martyr: worrying about falling means that you’re worried about dying. Plain and simple: you’re not there to give the ultimate sacrifice, you’re there for the shiny bling and the attitude that comes with it. A Paladin who’s willing to give his or her life for the sake of others is a Paladin who doesn’t care about falling. After all: if you die after the fall, that means your deity is (or the forces of Good are) angry with you. You’re the first to engage, and the last to leave, and you’re sure not to die until everyone leaves safely. Once that happens, well…you stay, and you finish the battle until the very end. If you die, chances are your deity (or your friends) will come back, ready to revive you. If they don’t…expect tales of bravery and heroism from you. The Oath of Devotion is the one that fits the most, but all Oaths could harbor martyrs. The choice of background is not as important, but the choice of Ideal is: Faith, Greater Good, and Responsibility fit nicely.
    • The Surgical Smiter: sometimes, the most effective way to deal with evil is just cutting it from the root. However, what to do when there’s so much Evil in the world? The forces of Good left you quite a bit of tools to fulfill this: a keen sense to detect Evil in people’s hearts, a mark that makes the poor fool writhe as you land every blow unopposed, a strong arm to hit like a truck, and spells that make your blow even more lethal. You spend every time of your day looking for the signs: you don’t care about the small fries, after all. You’re merciful; letting them live because they’re beneath your notice is as much mercy as they can get, because at the moment they cross you, they find out why you’re divinely empowered. However, when you get to see that person whose very presence churns your stomach and burns your eyes, that’s the moment where you smite that bastard into utter oblivion. Do so, clean your blade, set the bloodstain as an example of what happens to those that fall into depravation, and leave. Trust me; when people see that, they’ll be flooding into redemption. Just make sure to drop classics such as “that could have been you”, or “my blade is merciful, for it desires no further blood; you may want to think about that”. The Surgical Smiter overlaps a bit with the Powder Keg of Justice, but whereas the PKoJ uses the threat of force as a weapon, the Surgical Smiter uses directed force as a threat. Another dead-on for the Oath of Vengeance, particularly on the second and third tenets. If you plan to be a Surgical Smiter, you’ll benefit greatly from the Outlander background, particularly using the Bounty Hunter origin (particularly for Survival, to find the next target). Fitting Ideals are Responsibility (“Only I can deal with the greatest of Evils”), Retribution (“Make Evil pay for what it does to those Good”) or, ironically, Might (“Crush Evil where it stands, and it will never stand up again”)
    • The Knight in Sour Armor: most people expect the Paladin to have armor as shiny as the sun, and a brain just as scrubbed. Sadly, when you see Evil in the face, it sees you back, and it marks you (you know, just as you mark Evil for obliteration). Yes, you are Good, but you’re definitely not Nice. You’re not looking for Evil to slay; you’re looking for that bit of Good that makes everything worthwhile, but while at it, you’re as offensive as the smell of a troglodyte clutch. You know for a fact that the party’s friendly Rogue is just waiting for its time to steal your stuff and make a run for it, and you’re perfectly willing to fight for HIS share because he’ll eventually take it anyways. All you know is that you’re the only Good guy, that there’s probably some good out there, but if it is, it’s well hidden and precious. Sometimes, when you really find genuine Goodness, you drop the charade and maybe believe in idealism again, but for the meanwhile, you choose to fight the good fight until the world ends, because the world’s gonna end anyway. Might as well start the eventual fight against Evil by now, rather than hope it never happens, right? The Oath of Vengeance fits a Knight in Sour Armor, but so does the Oath of Devotion; both are opposites in approach, though (the Vengeance KiSA is not the reason, but the greatest example of the Restitution Tenet, while the Devotion KiSA fits the “Good is not Nice” trope). The Noble and Soldier backgrounds are good fits, and for extra irony, the Folk Hero (what happens when the good and noble hero suffers many defeats and becomes jaded, but not broken). Good Ideals involve Responsibility (“I must fight the good fight for the sake of others”), Sincerity (“I know the world is a dark, rotten place. Does it look like I care? Because I do.”)
    • The Exemplar: going through the path of idealism, you could prefer to set the example rather than chastise everyone about it. If people see that being Good is its own reward, and that the reward is good, then people will turn to Good in a heartbeat. You’re probably nice to people, willing to help in every bit, and eager to accept change, because change is possible. Just remember: you’re there to set the example. Sometimes, setting the example means showing why Evil doesn’t pay. The Exemplar doesn’t have to be ALWAYS nice; just pepper that niceness with some grimness, and you’re set for life. People will want to be in your nice side rather than seeing the bad side come forth. Maybe being grim hurts, but eventually, you’ll let that sit aside. You’re willing to forgive and forget, but eventually, when the CN fool believes that he finally got into your nerves, you gently set the example of why it’s not nice to play with the Dragon. Gently set the example to the haughty mage who thinks he can solve everything that there are bigger fish to fry. Just know when to smile. Paladins who swear the Oaths of the Ancients are excellent fits (a big deal of their tenets is to live and breathe being a follower of the Light), but those who swear Oaths of Devotion also work. The Entertainer background is a great fit for you, as well as the Guild Artisan, focusing on the Beauty or Aspiration ideals (respectively)
    • Sergeant Rock: sometimes, it’s best to take the reins of the group rather than play with them. However, there’s nothing that people respect more than efficiency, and you’re built for it. You set the rules, you set the tactics, you leave the Rogue to rot because he didn’t follow your rules, but there’s one good reason for it. It works. Don’t nag people because what they do offends you; quite the contrary, point to them that all the bad stuff that happens to them is because of their own damn fault. In battle and out of battle, work as a well-greased unit. Oftentimes, it’ll be the offender who leaves, not you...and when his (or her) luck runs dry, then it’s the time for the lecture to end all lectures. This is more of an “expert” character, meant for expert players who are teaching newbies the rungs of the game. In that way, you can take leadership, and probably teach people how to respect a Paladin. The Oath of Devotion is fit for this, as Chivalry demands an inspiring leader, but those Paladins following the Oath of the Ancients could also gallantly set the example. This method of play fits perfectly with the Soldier (particularly if the Military Rank is of an Officer), but Nobles (particularly of the Knight variant) are also fair fits. Good Ideals to follow are Aspiration (“I’ll make Good out of my ragtag bunch of partners”) or Responsibility (“I must hold their leash, or we’ll all get into trouble”; think Roy Greenhilt for how a Sergeant Rock with this ideal works).

    Gaming a Paladin

    Mechanically speaking, a Paladin is a “combat-focused” character, akin to the Fighter. This is in contrast with the Rogue, who merely dabbles in combat but focuses more on skills, to the Cleric that focuses on divine magic (healing, buffing and laying divine fury) and the Wizard, who specializes in arcane magic (battlefield control, buffing and dropping the bombs). Your focus is frontline combat; stay in the forefront, and lure enemies to you so that they don’t get

    Before we begin, we need to see the ability scores and how they apply to the Paladin. New players will like to see how each ability score applies to the Paladin and why it’s best to leave a few scores behind, while transitioning 3.5 players should look this for re-adjustment.

    • Strength (SnB, THF, TWF, US, MC)is used to determine your attack rolls and damage rolls with melee weapons, your carrying capacity and your Strength saving throw (bonds and restraints). If you intend to be on the frontlines wielding ANY weapon and dealing enough damage to matter, you need Strength. Also a must if you intend to use Shove or Grapple.
    • Dexterity (Fen, TWF, Arc)is used to determine your initiative, a portion of your Armor Class (depending on your armor) and your Dexterity saves (halving area of effect attacks, reacting with reflexes). Likewise, it determines the attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons of any kind, as well as melee weapons with the finesse property. As you can see, while having good initiative and padding your Reflex saves is important, you won’t get as much benefit from Dexterity as you’d do with Strength unless you focus on certain weapons. Medium armor fixes how much of your Dexterity modifier you can apply to your Armor Class, and heavy armor eschews it altogether. Being that you don’t have much support for it (you have heavy armor proficiency and no real incentive to use ranged weapons, Dexterity is not that essential (unless you intend to go Light Armor/Ranged Combat). Dex 10 to 14 is fairly good if possible; keep it at 10 if you don’t plan on using this score at all.
    • Constitution is used to determine your hit points (and the extra amount healed by your Hit Dice when doing a Short Rest) and your Constitution saves (physical ailments, concentration). Being on the frontlines, you need as much hit points as possible, and your lack of proficiency with Constitution saves means you should have this high enough.
    • Intelligence determines your Intelligence saves (detecting illusions, Maze spell, the Intellect Devourer). Being the least useful skill for you, you can safely dump it (a 10 is fair enough). You draw absolutely nothing from it, and the Intelligence save DCs are often relatively low enough to pass about 50% of the times.
    • Wisdom is used to determine your Wisdom saving throw (mind-affecting abilities). You have proficiency on Wisdom saves and Aura of Protection works wonders with it. If you don’t use Insight or Medicine that much, you could dump it and lose little, if anything (particularly at 6th level with Aura of Protection kicking in).
    • Charisma generally is used to determine your success with social skills, and your Charisma saves (probably the rarest of them all, but often used against Banishment spells). Normally, this score would be worthless, but it determines the save DC of your spells, the number of uses of Cleansing Touch (and Divine Sense) and the bonus from your Aura of Protection, so it’s extremely useful for you.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Paladins and Spellcasting
    3.5 players will remember that they need to have at least a 14 in Wisdom to cast spells, because the edition made prepared divine spellcasting (the kind of spellcasting that Paladins use) fixed on Wisdom. 5th Edition changed the key ability modifier for Paladin spellcasting to Charisma, so they no longer need to raise Wisdom at all.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Multiple Ability Dependency
    Grizzled 3.5 veterans may scare new players with tales of how the Paladin is “MAD”, and not necessarily because being a champion of Good requires being mentally maladjusted. “MAD” is an acronym for “multiple ability dependency”, or the need for a character to depend on multiple ability scores to be effective. Some classes, such as the Wizard or Sorcerer, will depend on a single ability score (Intelligence for Wizards, Charisma for Sorcerers) to be effective because that is the source of their power. Likewise, melee characters will probably focus on Strength (save for some like Rogues which will prefer Dexterity for weapons with the Finesse property), while ranged combat characters will focus on Dexterity. This is known as “single ability dependency”, or SAD, but it seems a bit misleading. A character can, if it wants to, focus on a single ability score, but a well-built character will have two or three scores that are “secondary”. Generally, a Wizard or Sorcerer will have Dexterity or Constitution as its secondary scores, because it wants the traits these offer: good hit points, better AC, high saves related to these two (alongside with Wisdom, they’re the three saves most aimed against), going first in battle, etc. However, the priority for a Wizard or a Sorcerer is its primary ability score, which would be Intelligence or Charisma (respectively). Sometimes, a class may have a primary ability score, but depend on another one so badly that neglecting it will harm the character. For example: a Ranger will often depend on Dexterity for its AC, and can probably focus on Finesse weapons and/or ranged weapons (and Light Armor or the Barkskin spell to pad out its AC), but it also needs Wisdom for its spellcasting, Constitution for its HP and Concentration-duration spells, and even some Strength as Finesse weapons don’t hit as hard. When a class depends greatly on more than four ability scores, it is considered to depend on “multiple abilities” (rather than one [SAD] or two [DAD; “dual-ability dependency”]), and thus is considered “MAD”. Multiple Ability Dependency is a danger, because it either forces you to spread out your ability scores to balance things out, or sacrifice one to empower the others. With good rolls or enough points to buy ability scores, this may not be noticeable, but when you have only one or two good scores, being “MAD” hurts. In 3.5, Paladins depended on good Strength (because they were inclined towards melee combat), Constitution (for their HP and Fortitude saves), Wisdom (for their spellcasting) and Charisma (for their class features), making them MAD. 5th Edition removed the need for Wisdom, making them less “MAD”, making them dependent on mostly Strength and Charisma (with a hint of Constitution). This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add points (or spend your ability score improvements) only on those scores and not on scores like Intelligence; nothing stops you from doing so. After all, the idea of optimization isn’t to condemn you to cookie-cutter builds, but to take your build and make it more efficient.

    “Combat-focused” characters, like Fighters and Paladins, are more efficient when they’re using weapons and tactics to fight, rather than using skills (like the Rogue) or spells (like the Wizard). Being a spellcaster and having class features that allow for healing, the Paladin can certainly focus on its spellcasting or being a combat medic, but this isn’t as efficient as contributing to finishing the battle earlier. The following are the combat styles drawn from the Fighting Styles available to Fighters, Paladins and Rangers: sword & board, fencing, two-hander, archery and two weapons

    • Sword & Board (SnB): this fighting style relies on using a weapon in one hand (not necessarily a sword) and a shield in the other (the “board”), relying on a combination of offense and defense. Because of bonded accuracy, the added AC bonus from the shield is easily noted, and while two-handed weapons are still kings of damage dealing, the exchange is somewhat equivalent (the two-handed weapon ends up winning because of eventual improvement via magic items, whereas the shield has no such benefit). The signature Fighting Style, Protection, is mostly a tanking style which uses your reaction (often used for Opportunity Attacks) to impose disadvantage on a single attack made by the opponent, which is somewhat disappointing compared to other tactics (such as the Sentinel feat). Sword & Boarders also have access to the Defense and Duelist fighting styles, which increase offensive or defensive capabilities, making them fairly useful overall. If you're using Unearthed Arcana content, the Tunnel Fighter fighting style is also very nice.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha = Con > Wis > Dex > Int
    Signature Style: Protection
    Options: Defense fighting style, Duelist fighting style, Tunnel Fighter fighting styleUA, Sentinel feat, Shield Master feat

    • Fencing (Fen): this fighting style relies on using weapons with the Finesse property such as the rapier. Because of this, the style favors Light Armor and high Dexterity, which because of how it applies it allows ignoring Strength to an extent. Finesse weapons deal slightly less damage than Strength-based one-handed weapons or two-handed weapons, but allow using the more favorable Dexterity score. Furthermore, their signature fighting style, Duelist, allows using a shield, therefore providing superb defense in addition to decent offense (almost as good as that of a Sword & Boarder without the Duelist style). Fencers will still like a smidgeon of Strength for the Shove technique, and may want to dip three levels in Fighter or get the Martial Adept feat for Battlemaster maneuvers, in order to use fancy maneuvers reliably. If using Unearthed Arcana content, the Mariner fighting style adds mobility and defense to light armor combat.

    Ability Score Priorities: Dex > Cha > Con = Str > Wis > Int
    Signature Style: Duelist
    Options: Defense fighting style, Mariner fighting styleUA, Martial Adept feat

    • Two-Hander (THF): this fighting style relies on wielding two-handed weapons and brute force. The simplest of all fighting styles, Two-Handers will deal the highest amount of damage, with a surprisingly lower floor because of Great Weapon Fighting, their signature fighting style. Two-Handers lost their Strength multiplier for wielding a weapon in two hands (this still survives to an extent in weapons like the Longsword and Battleaxe, which have the Versatile property instead, acting like Bastard Swords and Dwarven War-Axes instead), but they still are capable of dealing surprisingly good damage. Great Weapon Master, their key feat, makes them veritable powerhouses by adding the bonus of 3.5’s Power Attack in a fixed ratio, a penalty that is less noticeable with the concept of Advantage. Because they rely on Strength, they also make good use of the Shove maneuver, particularly after getting Extra Attack. Finally, most two-handed weapons have Reach, which while less effective as before, it still can be quite useful.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha = Con > Wis > Dex > Int
    Signature Style: Great Weapon Fighting
    Options: Great Weapon Master feat, Polearm Master feat

    • Two-Weapon (TWF): this fighting style relies on wielding a weapon in each hand, typically a pair of weapons with the Light property. Two-Weapon Paladins seek to maximize their damage potential with each attack, using their bonus action as an additional attack. Paladins are not natively efficient with the Two-Weapon fighting style, as they lack the Dual Weapon fighting style (their signature) other than by dipping on Fighter or Ranger, but they have the advantage of applying various damage boosters (such as Improved Divine Smite and Divine Favor/Crusader’s Mantle) into their attacks, therefore compensating. Their key feat, Two-Weapon Fighting, allows wielding one-handed weapons regardless of whether they have the Light property, allowing for a slight boost of damage on each hit. As a clear distinction, Two-Weapon Paladins no longer need to rely on high Dexterity, therefore making them easier to work with.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha = Con > Wis > Dex > Int
    Signature Style: Two-Weapon Fighting (unavailable, requires multiclassing)
    Options: Dual Weapon feat

    • Archery (Arc): this fighting style relies on using ranged weapons, such as a bow or crossbow. The addition of Dexterity to damage rolls with ranged attacks means they can ignore Strength for the most part, particularly since they can’t use the Shove maneuver at range. Paladins lack access to the signature fighting style of Archery, which grants them a rare static bonus to attack rolls, but this is less necessary than the benefit of other Fighting Styles, so they can be quite efficient regardless of it. Archer Paladins cannot make Opportunity Attacks, however, and fight at Disadvantage if someone is nearby, which serve as weaknesses to this fighting style. Furthermore, they're the only build that can't use Divine Smite, Improved Divine Smite or the Smite-based spells with ranged weapons, though they can still benefit from Elemental Weapons and Divine Favor/Crusader's Mantle, further weakening a pure build and its suitability. They can benefit from using maneuvers with ranged weapons, making the Martial Adept feat very suitable for them. If using Unearthed Arcana content, Close Quarters Shooter provides benefits to Archery styles, making them less inefficient than before.

    Ability Score Priorities: Dex > Cha > Con >Wis > Str > Int
    Signature Style: Archery (unavailable, requires multiclassing)
    Options: Crossbow Expert feat (for crossbows), Martial Adept feat, Sharpshooter feat

    • Throwing (Thr): this fighting style relies on using specifically thrown weapons. While it overlaps with the Archery style, the Throwing style sacrifices range for flexibility; most of the game's thrown weapons are also useful at melee. A key aspect of thrown weapons is that they use the same modifier as their melee version; ergo, they use Strength, and Strength is good. The choice of weapon is also pretty fair - while you get daggers and handaxes that deal poor damage, you also get javelins (great range), spears and tridents (versatile, meaning you can two-hand them, and deal nice damage). The signature fighting style, Close Quarters Shooter, is available on Unearthed Arcana (and as the time I write this, not available in any other book), and it aids immensely with the fighting style - better to-hit chance, the ability to ignore most cover, and able to fight in melee. This is mostly a secondary fighting style, but with the right weapon, it can become a viable, versatile fighting style. Just remember to have more than one available.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha > Con >Wis > Dex = Int
    Signature Style: Close Quarters ShooterUA
    Options: Sharpshooter feat

    • Lockdown (LD): an unusual fighting style, this style relies on using reach weapons and keeping the enemy from moving or acting, hence "locking it down". It's not an offensive fighting style but a tanking one first and foremost. It overlaps with Two-Hander because it relies on reach weapons, which are almost often heavy and two-handed; this places Small Paladins at a massive disadvantage. Proficiency with Athletics and high Strength is a must, as the most basic form of lockdown is to knock the enemy prone - feats make this much better, as Sentinel has another form of lockdown, and Martial Adept gives access to Tripping Attack. Its signature fighting style, Tunnel Fighter, sets you on a defensive stance where you can make opportunity attacks without using reactions; while it cancels extra attacks from other feats (like Polearm Master), combined with Sentinel it makes you more difficult to beat. Even without feats, spending your reaction to knock the target prone via Shove is a viable strategy. Do note, of course, that if you use the DMG's optional rules, Marking becomes another excellent lockdown tactic; in fact, one that combined with Sentinel and Polearm Master may allow you to use another fighting style of your choice.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str> Cha > Con >Wis > Dex = Int
    Signature Style: Tunnel FighterUA
    Options: Duelist fighting style, Marking optional rule, Polearm Master feat, Sentinel feat

    The following combat styles also exist, but aren’t tied to Fighting Styles and thus are added as an afterthought:

    • Unarmed (US): this fighting style involves fighting without any weapon. Generally, this involves maximizing the damage from the Paladin’s unarmed strike and use Grapple and Shove reliably. Unfortunately, the base damage of unarmed strikes is pitiful (1 damage!!), requiring a dip in Monk (for the Martial Arts class feature) or taking the Tavern Brawler feat. Even then, the amount of damage is too little to matter, compared to other fighting styles.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha = Con > Wis > Dex > Int
    Signature Style: None (closest approach is the Monk’s Martial Arts class feature)
    Options: Tavern Brawler feat

    • Mounted Combat (MC): a traditional fighting style of Paladins, this involves fighting in tandem with a mount. This is a fighting style by a technicality, because it has no actual support: the mount may or may not fight on its own terms, and only one weapon (the Lance) benefits from mounted combat at all. There’s also the Mounted Combatant feat, which provides some interesting benefits. The Paladin is unique in that it has a third way of providing support, by means of the Find Steed spell exclusive to them (and to Bards, by technicalities), which provides with a mount they can revive if necessary. Mounted Combat, in many ways, is something you can tag to another fighting style, particularly Sword & Board or, strangely enough, Fencing. As a curious comment (thank Person_Man for it), another way a Paladin can benefit from Mounted Combat is with a Moon Druid ally, since it can protect the ally while the latter uses Sentinel for you, bypasses your troubles with the Lance (the Druid attacks for you) and you can have two Concentration-duration spells cast on whomever needs them the most.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str > Cha = Con > Wis > Dex > Int
    Signature Style: None
    Options: Duelist fighting style, Protection fighting style, Mounted Combatant feat.

    • Damage Redirection (DR): Not exactly a fighting style at all, it's more of a philosophy - take damage instead of your allies. 5e made it incredibly hard to achieve this, mostly because it removed access to Paladins to the Warding Bond feat, which is textbook Damage Redirection. With the Oath of the Crown subclass from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, this was rectified. That said, it's not exactly well-supported, other than casting Warding Bond and using the subclass feature to turn your reaction into taking damage for a nearby ally.

    Ability Score Priorities: Str> Cha > Con >Wis > Dex = Int
    [B]Signature Style: None
    Options: None
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2016-02-19 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Expanding Fighting Styles based on new content.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Optimal Races

    As a rule of thumb, when choosing a race fit for a Paladin, focus first on what you want to do with the build, then choose which race can fit this better. Generally, races that grant boosts to Strength, Constitution and Charisma are preferred, unless they grant a class feature that’s worthwhile.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Changes to Races
    Races got a pretty huge change between editions. The first thing you’ll most certainly notice is that no race imposes a penalty to ability scores; in fact, they grant a +2 to one ability score and a +1 to a certain other, generally by means of a subrace (unless it’s an uncommon race, in which case the +1 bonus is fixed). The second big change is the concept of “Sub-Races”: most races will allow you to make a choice between two distinct flavors of the same race, with their own mechanical aspects. Sub-races technically existed in 3.5: an Elf could easily be a High Elf (the default), a Wood Elf, a Wild Elf, a Gray Elf, an Aquatic Elf, or a Drow (each with their own benefits); a Dwarf could be a Hill Dwarf or a Mountain Dwarf (with no apparent changes), while a Halfling could be a Lightfoot or a Tallfellow (with no apparent changes, either). In 5th Edition, they are now distinct enough. This is a pretty strong change, considering that most races are comparable to Humans in most cases.

    Common Races
    Humans: the rule of thumb for just about every game based on the d20 System is simple: when in doubt, always go for Humans. In 5th Edition, the key trait of humans is that they gain a +1 on all ability scores, which can be marginally useful. If the variant Human that grants a free feat for about 3 ability score points is allowed, by all means go for it.

    Dwarves: a fitting thematical choice, Dwarves got rid of their Charisma penalty (and good riddance!), while retaining most of their earlier edition benefits. Dwarves retain their movement penalty (though now reduced to 25 ft. , compared to the 20 ft. reduction of earlier editions), proficiency with four worthwhile weapons, and Dwarven Resilience, which provides advantage on poison saves and a very rare resistance to poison damage (which is incredibly good, given that poison damage is rare but hard to resist). You also gain a free tool proficiency, which is great (particularly since they relate to useful professions, such as blacksmith). Dwarves have two subraces:

    • Hill Dwarf: with a +1 to Wisdom and +1 hit point every round, they are decent choices for a Paladin, but not a must-have choice.
    • Mountain Dwarf: one of the few subraces that has another +2 bonus (this time to Strength), they are excellent choices for Paladins. On the other hand, their granted proficiency is entirely redundant, but the Strength bonus more than compensates.
    • DuergarSCAG: another great choice, because of the +1 to Strength and the 1/day use of Enlarge, which grants a nice set of benefits (particularly the extra 1d4 to damage). You also get free Invisibility. The drawback is the disadvantage on attack rolls on direct sunlight, so better get some cool glasses of some sort.

    Elves: strange choice, but not entirely bad. Elves gain a +2 to Dexterity, which is great for Fencing or Archery builds, immunity to magic sleep, free proficiency with Perception skill (something Paladins lack) and their Trance ability which halves the duration of a Long Rest. They also recovered Darkvision (once known as Infravision, for all you nostalgic grognards). Elves have three subraces:
    • High Elf: while seemingly a bad choice (+1 to Intelligence, redundant weapon proficiencies), they’re one of the few classes that grant free access to cantrips (which are now at-will abilities). Granted, you still need good Intelligence to make good use of them, but you could easily get a spell that has no Intelligence requirement and exploit it (Prestidigitation is a great one!). That said, they’re not the most useful choice.
    • Wood Elf (Fen, Arc): a slightly better choice, they’re fairly good for Fencers and Archers. They gain an improvement to walking speed (+5 ft.) and the ability to hide even when lightly obscured, but no other clear benefit.
    • Drow: a somewhat “optional” choice because they’re rare and mostly evil (and non-existent in some worlds, such as Krynn), they are actually superb choices. With their +1 to Charisma, double-range Darkvision and free Charisma-based magic (you gain a free cantrip, a free 1st level and 2nd level spell), you can’t really go wrong. That said, they are one of the few races with a horrendous penalty, and that is Sunlight Sensitivity: Disadvantage can be quite nasty, and it affects attack rolls which can be devastating for you. If you can find a way to surpass Sunlight Sensitivity, though, they can be nasty Paladins. Remember that Paladins can now be Evil (though rare), so Drow Paladins aren’t necessarily an oxymoron.
    • Eladrin DMG: more of an example to create a new subrace, Eladrin return from 4e as a subrace for Elves rather than their own race. In practice, though, they’re High Elves who replace their free cantrip for a 1/short or long rest misty step spell. Kinda disappointing, though it’s obvious they weren’t made with Paladins in mind.

    Halflings: the only Small race amongst the Common races, the Halfling has gained the most changes overall. For starters, they are no longer penalized on Strength, nor on their damage with weapons, dealing the same damage as a Medium-sized character. On the other hand, they no longer gain bonuses or penalties for being Small, so it balances out. Halflings have high Dexterity and a VERY powerful class feature, being capable of rerolling a 1 on almost any kind of roll (anything that demands a d20, mostly). Halflings have two subraces:
    • Lightfoot (Arc): the “default” subrace and the closest to a Kender in terms of traits, Lightfoot Halflings gain a +1 to Charisma and a pretty controversial ability to hide behind a creature of one size category larger than you; the controversy lies on whether you can hide after being seen, something that the Stealth rules don’t have clear but seem to discourage. Even then, the benefit of Dexterity and Charisma should make for decent Archer Paladins, who lose virtually nothing.
    • Stout: a hardier kind of Halfling, Stouts gain a bonus to Constitution and the resilience to poison from Dwarves, which is pretty nice combined with the Lucky trait.
    • GhostwiseSCAG: a shiftier kind of Halfling, though somewhat disappointing. Bonus to Wisdom (which is no longer that important), and small-distance telepathy, which is good for coordinating tactics but not much else.

    Uncommon Races
    Dragonborn: a refugee from 4th Edition, the Dragonborn was an attempt (in 3.5) to create a playable race related deeply to dragons. In this edition, they went with the idea of being descended directly from dragons, in a way being something akin to half-dragons and dragons in the same way Tieflings are to half-fiends and Fiends overall. Dragonborn have a +2 to Strength and a +1 to Charisma, making them excellent choices for the Paladin class: not only that, they have resistance to a certain energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire or poison) and a breath weapon which can be used as an area attack (something Paladins lack) and increases in potency with levels. A great choice, as all of its class features are useful choices.

    Gnomes: after their stint as monsters (who could forget the “I’m a monster! Rawr!” stint in early 4e promotion?), Gnomes return as a playable race from the very beginning, eschewing their fey attunement for a strong mix of community and tinkering. Harkening to 2nd Edition, Gnomes grant a +2 to Intelligence, which is not that useful to a Paladin; advantage on all mental saves against spells, on the other hand, is rather useful (particularly when the Paladin has proficiency in two mental saves). Gnomes have two subraces, being the only uncommon race that does:
    • Forest Gnome: somewhat based on the 3rd Edition version (and the tradition), Forest Gnomes retain their skill with illusions by having the extremely useful Minor Illusion cantrip at-will, and the ability to speak with small beasts. Their bonus to Dexterity is useful for Archer or Fencer Paladins, but not that much.
    • Rock Gnome: drawing from Dragonlance’s Tinker gnomes, the rock gnome grants a bonus to Constitution and the ability to make small constructs that are mostly meant for very minor utility (distraction, fire-starter). They share a similar trait to the Dwarf, being one of the few classes that grant double proficiency bonus in specific applications of skills (which are already specific). All in all, very few utility from this subrace.
    • Deep GnomeEEPC/SCAG: one of the new subraces (and the only official one, aside the Eladrin on the DMG), the svirfneblin only gets a bonus to Dexterity (like forest gnomes), double-range darkvision and advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in rocky terrain, which isn’t much (and a far cry from their 3.5 incarnation). They get their own unique feat, which adds at-will nondetection, two illusions and one debuff usable per long rest, which lifts them somewhat.

    Half-Elves: no longer the laughingstock of the races, Half-Elves have grown a lot since their 3.5 incarnation, though they lost the extremely useful Dilettante racial trait. They share most traits with Elves, including darkvision, Advantage to charm spells and immunity to magical sleep; however, they have a fixed +2 to Charisma and the flexibility to choose the other ability scores to add a +1 (muchlike the variant human), not to mention free proficiency in two skills. Between the boost to Charisma and the free skills, Half-Elves make decent choices for a Paladin with a wide variety of choices.
    Note: if you have the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, the following variants can be used to modify the Half-Elf, by replacing its Skill Versatility.
    • Half-Wood Elf: Replaces Skill Versatility with Elven Weapon Training, Fleet of Foot or Mask of the WIld. Of the three, the best is Fleet of Foot for the extra speed.
    • Half-High Elf: Replaces Skill Versatility with Elven Weapon Training or Cantrip. The SCAG has really, REALLY nice cantrips. You take one, no questions asked, and make sure it's Booming Blade. It's free damage + a rider effect that's awesome for Lockdown.
    • Half-Drow: Replaces Skill Versatility with Drow Magic. While getting the full extent of Drow Magic is quite strong, the skills end up being somewhat better in the long run
    • Half-Aquatic Elf: Replaces Skill Versatility with a swim speed of 30 ft. While nice, the Mariner fighting style from Unearthed Arcana offers the same, plus more.
    • Common: Replace Skill Versatility with Keen Senses, which is basically...a washed down, fixed version of Skill Versatility. What?

    Half-Orcs: as the Half-Elf, the Half-Orc has grown quite a lot since 3.5; they lose their ridiculous penalties to Intelligence and Charisma, and gained a few tricks along the way. With bonuses to Strength and Constitution, they make a superb frontliner, and this is further emphasized with Relentless Endurance (which allows you to ignore a death-blow once per Long Rest) and Savage Attacks (which make critical hits deadlier than before). They also gain free proficiency in Intimidation, which helps with your choice of skills.

    Tieflings: the other immigrant from 4th Edition, Tieflings fight with Drow for the “cool antihero race” archetype. They retain their 4e fluff, including their origin and focus in life, and some traits of 3.5. They have a strong bonus to Charisma, a mild bonus to Intelligence (not exactly that good for a Paladin), darkvision, fire resistance (good as it’s a common form of attack) and a set of innate spells including a super-useful cantrip (Thaumaturgy, the divine version of Prestidigitation), the Hellish Rebuke cantrip and the Darkness spell. Aside from the Darkness spell and the boost to Intelligence, Tieflings make oddly decent Paladins.
    Note: if you have the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, you can replace some of your racial traits with the following:
    • Feral: Replace your ability score improvements for Dexterity +2 and Intelligence +1. Evidently, the two scores considered "dump stats" to a Paladin. Avoid, even as a Fencer.
    • Devil's Tongue: Replace your cantrip and innate spellcasting for mind-affecting spells. Of those, you get a VERY nice cantrip in Vicious Mockery, as it allows you to deal psychic damage and impose disadvantage (not the utility of Thaumaturgy, but it's better offensively). Charm Person and Enthrall are somewhat less useful, though note that they're more flexible in the long-term when dealing with social encounters. Overall, nice switch.
    • Hellfire: Replaces Hellish Rebuke with Burning Hands augmented to 2nd level. You're replacing a somewhat decent reactive spell for an offensive spell, for the same amount of uses. Bad trade.
    • Winged: Replace Infernal Legacy with a 30 ft. fly speed. What do you want - an awesome cantrip and bleh spells, or permanent flight? Yeah, I thought so. Alright, so Thaumaturgy is awesome, but flight is even more, right?

    Other Races

    Dungeon Master’s Guide

    Aasimar: First things first – as much as a Paladin fanboy that I am, I also like Aasimar. A lot. That said, I’ll seek to be impartial with this, and they’re not a MUST have race for Paladins (they’re also fluff-aborted, unlike the Tieflings – I half-expected them to devour the Deva fluff!). Anyways – a huge bonus to Charisma (tied with Half-Elves and Tieflings) and resistance to both radiant and necrotic damage is HUGE, alongside a free Light cantrip (though not as effective as the Tiefling’s Thaumaturgy) would make them a shoe-in choice, but this is tempered by a bonus to Wisdom (useful, but not as much as Strength or Constitution) and the other traits being so bland (Lesser Restoration and Daylight as 1/long rest spells). The best way to handle this is to compare them to Tieflings (fair, as they’re only a sample race AND they’re pretty much good-aligned Tiefling ripoffs), and as you can easily look from above, they’re no better or worse than them. I would say “choose them for the flavor”, but I’m not much of a fan of Diet Light so…

    Elemental Evil Player’s Companion

    Aarakocra: The only race banned thus far from the Adventurer’s League, for good reason. Well, not so much for Paladins – Dexterity isn’t that useful unless you’re going for Finessable weapons and light armor (not quite Paladin-ish), and the other bonus is to Wisdom, so they’re not exactly awesome in that area. They get three languages (that’s nice; one of them is Auran), and their unarmed strikes deal 1d4 slashing damage which is quite good. So…why are they banned? Well, they’re the only race that has innate flight capabilities (Winged Tiefling and Avariel notwithstanding), without the need for spells or magic items. That would be huge, except…you can’t wear medium or heavy armor, which is one of the advantages of going Paladin in the first place. To be honest, the race screams “I’m not a Paladin!”, but if you play a very different kind of Paladin…it might work.
    Genasi: Returning to their 3e roots (no funny names like Stormsoul, for example), the Genasi are to elementals what Aasimar are to celestials (not Tieflings, though, since they became their own race after the transition to 4th Edition). They’re VERY obviously Faerun-specific, but you can shoe-horn them in Athas (the Dark Sun campaign world). Anyways, all of them have good Constitution, which is an auspicious beginning, and are one of the few races that begins speaking the Primordial language, which is essentially Aquan, Auran, Ignan and Terran mixed in. They have four subraces, as anyone who played 3e and 4e could have telegraphed by a mile.
    • Air Genasi: the swiftest of the quartet, Air Genasi have a bonus to Dexterity, the ability to hold their breath indefinitely, and Levitate as a 1/long rest spell. Unless you plan to make a Paladin that’s reliant on Dexterity, skip.
    • Earth Genasi: the brutes of the quartet, Earth Genasi have a bonus to Strength (always good for the typical Paladin), the ability to walk unimpeded in terrain made of earth or stone (pretty much all kinds of terrain, other than within forests?) and 1/long rest Pass Without Trace. While the spell isn’t so great, the other abilities make for a really good Paladin, particularly since difficult terrain hampers your ability to move to the enemy and deliver divine deliverance (redundancy be darned!). Not a must-have, but a good choice.
    • Fire Genasi: the smart-alecks of the quartet, Fire Genasi have a bonus to Intelligence (a dump stat) and darkvision, which normally would be disappointing. On the other hand, you get a very decent resistance to Fire (a common type of attack), the Produce Flame cantrip (a combination Light/damage spell, though it’s fire damage) and Burning Hands after 3rd level (but as a 1st level spell, 1/long rest and never increasing), and having both your “innate” spells work off Constitution, which is very decent. In the end, it’s all about Constitution, the resistance and the useful cantrip.
    • Water Genasi: the serene members of the quartet, Water Genasi have a bonus to Wisdom (to pad up your Wisdom saves, but useless otherwise), a swimming speed and the ability to breathe underwater, resistance to acid, a pretty cool at-will cantrip (Shape Water, which is like Prestidigitation/Thaumaturgy but specific to water) and a so-so spell cast at 2nd level (though useful to destroy fogs or extinguish flames). While pretty average normally, on an aquatic campaign, they’re invaluable.

    Goliath: Apparently a race with traction, ever since they appeared on Races of the Wild. They take some of the best traits of their 3e and 4e incarnations – they get a huge bonus to Strength and Constitution, natural proficiency in Athletics and natural adaptation to cold climates and high altitude, 4e’s ability to ignore damage through Stone’s Endurance (1d12 + Con reduced damage on a reaction) and 3e’s…Powerful Build. No, it’s not THAT kind of Powerful Build – what you get is only an increase to size in regards to carrying capacity, but you can’t use weapons meant for Large creatures anymore, or this would have been a must-have race. Still, for the typical Paladin, it’s a superb choice – stats on the right places, and the uncanny ability to shrug off damage 1/short rest, plus you don’t have to worry about spending one of your precious skill proficiencies on THE skill for any conscious character entering the front lines. Really – what more to ask?
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2016-02-19 at 03:33 AM. Reason: Adding Races/Subraces from the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player


    A third tier of character development, Backgrounds grant characters access to additional skills, tool proficiencies, new languages and a useful roleplaying feature. The choice of Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds and Flaws allows you to distinguish your character from others, and also as a guide on how to roleplay it; it depends on you to play it as-is or change those concepts as you game, until you’re comfortable with it. Since the discussion of all Personality Traits, Ideals, Bonds and Flaws would be too expensive, I’ll focus mostly on the mechanical benefits of each background.

    Acolyte: encompassing all the lesser priests, laymen and people ordered into a faith, the Acolyte offers two redundant skill choices and two languages. The languages can be useful if you have Persuasion with you, and of the two skills, Insight is the most useful one. Their feature, Shelter of the Faithful, allow you to live in temples or shrines for free (quite useful as you could find presence of your faith almost anywhere) and free healing (though not free resurrections).

    Charlatan: an ill-fitting choice, doubly so if you choose the Oath of Devotion. Deception can help you as it is a Charisma skill; Sleight of Hand is of dubious value. The tool proficiencies are useful to help you hide in plain sight, which alongside Deception means you can easily convince anyone you’re someone else. The background’s feature, False Identity, is a more limited version of a class feature from the Assassin (a Roguish Archetype from the Rogue); it is useful if you need to travel or work incognito, but otherwise it’ll see little use.

    Criminal: not as bad as you’d think; you could be a redeeming criminal who uses his/her old ways for the benefit of the party. Deception can be used as a way to assist Persuasion (or replace it), and Stealth can be useful for ambushes (but is worthless if you wield heavy armor). The gaming set bonus is mostly for fluff, but if you have good Dexterity, proficiency with thieves’ tools means you can be the party trap-buster (though never as good as a Rogue; note that you can resist a failed trap-defusing attempt probably better than a Rogue, though). The background’s feature, Criminal Contact, is as useful as your imagination; it allows you to keep in touch with the underground world (not the Underdark!), which could have anything from trouble to magic items. Note that if you don’t like the connotations of crime, you can choose the Spy variant and refluff.

    Entertainer: a good fit for an Oath of the Ancients Paladin, this background gives you so-so benefits, but a really awesome feature. Acrobatics is good if you have high Dexterity, but for the most part it’ll conflict with Athletics in some cases; Performance only works with non-instrumental performances, though you get free access to a musical instrument of your choice. The disguise kit is a nice touch, something you can take advantage of if trying to lay low or add some flair to your interpretation. The roleplaying feature, however, is really good: By Popular Demand relies on you performing a lot, but it can save your hide when the time comes to attempt Persuading them. Furthermore, you can always get to the local bar and stay the night for free as long as you perform, and with high Charisma, that’ll be no problem.

    • Gladiator: a combat-based version of the Entertainer, the Gladiator is somewhat less useful, but if you choose the background item “package”, you can get a third weapon (an unusual one, so you may get saddled with a bad choice; tridents and nets aren’t so bad, though). However, your performance venues are far more limited, making it a bad trade.

    Folk Hero:
    rather than be a Commoner, why not be a Commoner turned Hero? Animal Handling can be a very useful skill as it can be used to convince animals and low-Int beasts, while Survival allows you to subsist just about everywhere and help with tracking. You can choose smith’s tools as your artisan tool if you need to work on your armor, and proficiency with all land-based vehicles means you can drive chariots and wagons with great skill, allowing your party to move faster. The background’s feature, Rustic Hospitality, blends extraordinarily well with the class; keep protecting the common folk, and you can benefit from free rest (albeit not comfortable) and help muddle your tracks, which can be really useful just about any time. Just don’t expect getting a commoner army, tho.

    Guild Artisan:
    think of this as the “crafter” background. Insight and Persuasion are already at your skill list, but both are very useful. You can choose one language and one artisan’s tool, making it quite balanced. Their background feature, Guild Membership, requires a small fee to be paid every month, but it grants superb benefits such as access to patrons and hirelings, free lodging and food, and most importantly, a degree of political power (read: become part of the bourgeoisie).

    • Guild Merchant: rather than be the crafter, you can be the vendor. This variant allows more flexibility with your tool proficiency (you can be the party’s navigator or get two languages to use with your profession), and you get free transportation as well (a cart is pretty fair, compared to nothing). The background feature remains the same, which doesn’t really help you with selling stuff (something that would have fit like a million dollars).

    an interesting background, to say the very least. Medicine and Religion are already in your skill list, and they aren’t must-have choices for you to swoon upon. The Herbalism Kit, on the other hand, can be used to make all kinds of medicines, and if your DM allows, even magic Potions (the ones that cost 50 gp, you know). You also get a free language, which is no slouch. That said, their roleplaying feature, Discovery, is either the greatest railroading tool or a gamebreaking tool: you gain one piece of information whose weight is mostly determined by the DM and you. That means one of three things: the DM and you work something balanced, the DM screws you with its choice, or you screw the DM by carefully wording the revelation to appear just about every time in your adventure (“I found the ancient legendary book known as the Monster Manual! That means I can read the Monster Manual IRL to know what kind of enemy I face!”).

    almost tailor-made for Paladins, the Noble has an interesting roleplaying feature you could easily exploit. History and Persuasion are skills you already have, but Persuasion is particularly useful to have. You get one free language (which is good), and proficiency with a single gaming set (which is somewhat bad, unless you swindle people out of money with it). The Noble background feature, Position of Privilege, is great as it combines to an extent part of the Folk Hero’s benefit (commoners could give you free lodging and food) while still remain on good graces with the upper echelons of society (which means being invited as a guest of honor, and therefore free lodging and food with Luxury standards). The feature also helps with Persuasion, as people look favorably towards you.

    • Knight: a lower-ranked version of a Noble, the Knight replaces the useful Position of Privilege with the even MORE useful Retainers feature. The Noble can choose the Retainers feature, but the Knight is the only one that gets a free hireling (of sorts; you get a squire, which you could use as one) with it. Note that you get three people to play with, which can be disruptive to gameplay, but on the other hand, you’re one of the few people who might provide another fighting hand.

    encompassing all kinds of people that live beyond civilization (tribal hunter-gatherers, for example), this background has some decent utilities. Athletics is a skill you already have, but a skill you’ll love; Survival is quite useful for tracking, though the roleplaying feature of this background makes one of its benefits somewhat moot. Proficiency with a musical instrument is not very useful (strange that you can’t get a Cartographer’s kit?), but a free language is never bad. The background’s roleplaying feature, Wanderer, could have benefit from proficiency in a Cartographer’s kit, making you the official cartographer (between the kit and excellent memory for geography, you could map a place with great reliability). Furthermore, you’ll never be deprived of food and water so as long as you’re on a suitable environment, and this also extends to your allies (and maybe a guest or two as well?)

    Sage: not a very good choice. Both skill proficiencies are knowledge-based: you already get History in your skill list, and while quite good, you won’t get much from Arcana than a Knowledge Domain Cleric or Wizard will. The two languages are decent, but the package is not so great. The roleplaying feature, Researcher, is akin to the Lore class feature of the Loremaster or the Bardic Knowledge feature of the bard, except it only leads you where to get it; you don’t get the information.

    Sailor: a surprisingly GOOD choice. You get Athletics for free (liberating your skill choices), and you also get the valuable Perception skill (if you haven’t gotten it from, say, the Elf race). You get tool proficiency with Navigator’s tools (meaning you’ll rarely get lost and you can follow maps with ease), and the background offers the ONLY way to gain proficiency with water-based vehicles, from small rafts to large galleons. You also get 50 ft. of silk rope for free if you choose the package. The roleplaying feature, Ship’s Passage, allows you free passage on certain ships, provided you have good relations with the crew; it is treated as a favor, so expect battles during the trip.

    • Pirate: the variant for the Sailor replaces Ship’s Passage for Bad Reputation, which allows you to get away with minor offenses. Being a class that thrives on having a good reputation, this is the antithesis of what you’re expected to do. It’s worse with Devotion Paladins, because they’re oath-bound to be honorable, and Bad Reputation relies on being dishonorable.

    another solid fit for the Paladin, the Soldier background has two good skills which you already have access to (Athletics and Intimidation), plus proficiency in land vehicles. Proficiency with a gaming set isn’t so great, unless you plan on gambling for money. The roleplaying feature, Military Rank, let’s you effectively “pull rank” on other warriors, though not your companions: you can get lodging and supplies from forts and other military installations where your rank is recognized.

    Urchin: a weak choice, though it has an interesting roleplaying feature. Sleight of Hand can have its uses, but isn’t particularly worth your salt; Stealth is slightly more useful, but it depends on having high Dexterity (and thus, preferring Fencing or Archery as combat styles) and eschewing heavy armor. The disguise kit is a weird choice, but it can help you blend in; thieves’ tools are particularly useful, though other backgrounds also offer them. Their roleplaying feature, City Secrets, has a practical use, though: it allows you to move between cities twice as fast as your speed would allow, which is not exactly that great on a small town, but on a huge metropolis (think Sharn, Stormreach, Sigil or Waterdeep), which can have multiple adventures without ever leaving town, it can be invaluable.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2014-09-24 at 07:42 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Optimal Feats

    If your DM allows replacing ability score improvements with feats, you gain a whole new set of options, but at the expense of numerical increases (to an extent).
    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Feats are Optional
    Perhaps it may seem to you that realizing this would be redundant and pointless, but it bears repetition: feats are not considered part of the core gameplay, and some DMs might forbid their access. If that is the case with you, this entire section is pointless. If not…keep reading.

    Feats are different from their original incarnations in 3.x (and also in 4th Edition). Originally, they provided for a way to distinguish characters, but were a given part of the game; you gained a feat at 1st level, and then every few levels afterwards. However, some feats (owing probably to early-installment weirdness) were weak, and others served as gateways to more useful or more powerful feats. Some feats granted only numerical bonuses on a system with unbounded accuracy, making those boosts meaningless compared to the cost of spending one of your few slots on it. In 5th, the cost is somewhat higher, as they conflict with your ability score improvements, and these are already few and far between (and better than before, in that you get a +2 increase rather than a +1, though not like in 4th where you got an increase in all stats after reaching a certain point in game). That said, there are less feats than before (in terms of choices and actual examples), but their benefits are far, far wider. As a rule of thumb, a feat in 5th Edition is worth two or three feats in 3.x, and are somewhat more noticeable. That doesn’t mean there are weak feats, but the overall effect is that feats are far more powerful.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Old Feats
    The terms under parenthesis reference, whenever available, feats that belonged to the 3rd Edition of the game that offer similar qualities to the feats presented here. This is for the benefit of gamers of that edition.

    Alert: This feat helps you to prevent being ambushed and always be on the lookout. Giving a HUGE static bonus to Initiative on a system with few bonuses means you’ll most likely go first (unless you can add your proficiency bonus or gain advantage on Dexterity checks). (Alertness, Improved Initiative)

    Athlete: A practical feat that improves the Athletics skill applications. The ability to climb at full speed is great, and overall it helps you maximize your speed. You also get a boost to Strength or Dexterity, so the feat is considerably good despite not offering a combat bonus. (Athlete)

    Actor: A feat better suited for performers (like the Bard). While it boosts Charisma, the other benefits aren’t that useful to you. (Deceptive)

    Charger: A disappointing feat, if only because the Charge mechanic is not a default option. If you can choose it at 1st level, it can be very useful as you get only one attack, but once you get Extra Attack, the honeymoon ends badly. The benefits when you reach the correct amount of movement can be good (the attack bonus) or somewhat weak (the doubled Shove distance).

    Crossbow Expert (Arc): A feat meant for users of crossbows, these allow you to effectively ignore longbows as ranged attacks. All three benefits are superb, but the ability to ignore the loading quality is greater, as it implies that you can make Extra Attacks with the crossbow, which has a larger distance and better damage ratio. It also helps for non-archers, since you can effectively dual-wield and fight in both melee and ranged. (Rapid Reload, Versatile Combatant [DotU])

    Defensive Duelist (Fen): One of the few feats with prerequisites, but a disappointing one. Adding your proficiency bonus to your AC is formidable, but when it applies only for ONE attack, then it’s not so much. It also consumes your reaction, which could be used on Opportunity Attacks, spells or otherwise. (Combat Expertise)

    Dual Wielder (TWF): A must have if you’re a Two-Weapon specialist. The AC bonus helps offset somewhat the loss of defensive qualities by wielding two weapons, but the increase in damage from removing the Light property requirement in the wielded weapons definitely helps. (Two-Weapon Defense, Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting [CW])

    Dungeon Delver: A useful feat for, what else, dungeon delving. It’s strange that the feat doesn’t allow you to detect traps better, limiting you to secret doors only (a trait an Elf already has), though it quickens the search. That said, if the dungeon has lots of traps littered around the place, the ability to reduce the damage to a nuisance is welcome. This feat depends greatly on the amount of traps you’ll see in your lifetime, mostly.

    Durable: a bland feat, for the most part. You can heal better on Short Rests, since your minimum amount of healing is based on your Constitution. Since that’s the only benefit, a direct increase to Constitution is arguably better in the long run, as it offers more.

    Elemental Adept: a must have for characters with multiple damage-dealing spells, which means it doesn’t apply to you. You can use them for your spell-Smites, so that you can ignore resistance to damage when using one with the right energy type, but for the most part it won’t be enough to justify the losses.

    Grappler (US): Another feat with a Strength requirement, but a useful one nonetheless. Advantage on attack rolls while grappling means you’ll want to keep grappling as much as possible, but the true benefit of this feat is the ability to affect creatures one size category larger than you; that way, you extend your effective grappling rate to Large creatures, or to Huge creatures if already Large.

    Great Weapon Master (THF): If you attempt to wield a two-handed weapon, get this. Critical hits are rare, but if you can land them, you can get an additional attack and improve your damage even further. As well, if you have a huge bonus to attack rolls (or supernatural luck), you can deal large amounts of static damage by sacrificing a portion of your accuracy; combined with the Great Weapon Fighting style, that means you’re sure to deal easily between 15 to 20 points of damage per hit. (Power Attack, Cleave)

    Healer: A quirky feat, but useful to extend your healing potential. The secondary benefit (healing by using a healer’s kit) should have been a core feature IMO, but it’s actually useful (particularly if you didn’t use it before a Short Rest, meaning you effectively increase the healing from the rest by using it).

    Heavily Armored: Don’t get it. You’re already proficient with heavy armor, remember?

    Heavy Armor Master: This, on the other hand, can be useful. It used to be powerful (in the playtest),but as it stands it still has some benefit; while you get less reduction, the effect stacks with damage resistance, thus helping you resist more damage. The amount reduced is too little, though.

    Inspiring Leader: A feat you’ll rarely hear from, but if your table uses Short Rests frequently, it can be powerful. In essence, it allows you and your party to gain a buffer against the first attack (or spell!) that deals damage to you in combat. If Short Rests are limited, that means the effect is useful only once per day, whereas if more numerous, you can use it even out of combat. It actually applies to ANY form of hit point damage, to be precise. You’ll easily make the Charisma requirement, but it’s not that great compared to other feats.

    Keen Mind: A fluffy feat, not of great interest to you. It boosts a dump stat for you (Intelligence), and its main benefits are somewhat lackluster for you.

    Lightly Armored: See Heavily Armored.

    Linguist: Fair feat if you’re interested in being the party face, but otherwise not as interesting. It boosts a dump stat for you (Intelligence), and for the most part it’s only useful to get more languages. The written ciphers bit can be useful on a war-based campaign, though. You can only choose this feat once.

    Lucky: A must-have, if you can afford it. In effect, it grants you somewhere between a re-roll and Advantage, since it works exactly like Advantage (roll d20, choose the best of two), but applies after you make the roll (whereas Advantage is rolled at the moment). It can also be used to deny an enemy its superior attack roll (again, somewhat like Disadvantage). Given that it reacts in the same way as Advantage, it effectively works as Inspiration without the need for roleplaying.

    Mage Slayer: A crucial feat if your campaign has one too many spellslingers. The key benefit is the advantage on saving throws against spells, since that is the way Spell Resistance works in this Edition. Imposing disadvantage in Concentration checks is also brutal, since it means you can easily undo buffing spells in enemies. You can also make an Opportunity Attack against a creature that casts a spell, increasing your damage potential and hindering the opponent (doubly so if they cast a spell with a duration of Concentration). All in all, a feat you should easily consider. (Mage Slayer [CArc])

    Magic Initiate: A curious feat, of potential utility for you. You get 2 cantrips and one 1st level spell, from the main casting classes. This can help you pad your spellcasting potential by adding spells you could benefit from, and gain reliable ranged attacks. Choose spells with non-Concentration based durations or that complement your fighting style, whenever possible. As for cantrips, you’ll never go wrong with Prestidigitation/Thaumaturgy/Druidcraft and one attack cantrip, particularly if from a class that has Charisma-based spellcasting. It might conflict with other feats you might want to access, though.

    Martial Adept: As Magic Initiate, but with the Battlemaster’s maneuvers. You’ll only have one Superiority Dice, so the feat will be more useful if you have several Short Rests. Note that the maneuver doesn’t consume an action, so it can be combined with a Smite for maximum effectiveness. Just about ANY build can benefit from this feat.

    Medium Armor Master: A curious feat that works to make medium armor more useful. You can closely approach the AC of Full Plate without spending the money (or gaining the Disadvantage on Stealth checks). More useful the higher your Dexterity is (more than 16, in fact), but less useful the HIGHER your Dexterity is (more than 17, in fact). The narrow sweet spot is what really kills it.

    Mobile (Fen): As the feat mentions, you become more mobile, gaining a direct (and sizeable) boost to speed and the ability to ignore Opportunity Attacks from a creature you attack, meaning you can ignore the Disengage function and always keep on the move.

    Moderately Armored: See Heavily Armored.

    Mounted Combatant (MC): The feat that enables Mounted Combat as a fighting style. The primary benefit is superb, as it gives you free Advantage on a wide variety of enemies (though not on the ones that really matter, that is). The others make your mount much more resilient. (Mounted Combat)

    Observant: Like Alert, but for the Perception skill; this feat adds some additional properties to sense-based skills. The bonus to Intelligence or Wisdom are somewhat needless, as does the ability to read lips, but the passive bonus to passive scores (pardon the redundancy) can be useful, as improving these beyond proficiency bonus and ability scores can be notoriously hard. Even then, it’s not worth it for one benefit.

    Polearm Master (THF, LD): A must-have if you’re wielding a weapon with reach. The additional attack can be useful if you have many damage modifiers (such as Imp. Divine Smite or Divine Favor), even if the raw damage is poor. The secondary ability allows an extra method of making Opportunity Attacks, but is best paired with Sentinel for its main benefit.

    Resilient: If there’s a feat that should be chosen by default, Resilient is most likely that one. This is the ONLY way to gain additional saving throw proficiencies barring class features for Monk and Rogue. Paladins might want to replace one of their ability score increases for proficiency with Constitution saves, increasing their Constitution as well.

    Ritual Caster: While the requirements for it can be somewhat hard to meet (one’s a dump stat and the other is a stat you won’t be favoring that much), this is one of the few ways to increase your spellcasting potential even further (besides your Sacred Oath and the Magic Initiate feat). You only gain access to rituals, but you don’t need to prepare them in your spell slots, which is beneficial. That said, ritual spells are few and mostly useful outside of combat, and chances are you’ll get one of the Big Four (Bard, Cleric, Druid or Wizard) in the party, so the feat is not that important.

    Savage Attacker: A modestly useful feat. If you feel you rolled poorly on terms of damage (way below the average damage for the dice), you can use the benefit of this feat to compensate. If gained before 5th level, you can use it every round to gain a modicum of increase to damage.

    Sentinel (LD): A crucial feat for any melee combatant seeking to tank effectively. All three benefits are useful for tanking purposes: disabling movement on Opportunity Attacks prevents the opponent from escaping your grasp (or approaching you, if mixing it with Polearm Master), and the enemy can’t Disengage from you which makes it impossible to escape your grasp (unless you have Disadvantage, but chances are you’ll prevent this one way or another). You can also make a retributive attack against someone that hits your ally, which may conflict with the benefit of the Protection fighting style. If you plan to be on the frontlines, make sure to consider this feat. (Stand Still [XPH])

    Sharpshooter ([COLOR=#add8e6]Arc, Thr/COLOR]): A must-have for anyone who attacks at a distance with throwing weapons or longbows, and even with crossbows. Ignoring Disadvantage on long range means you effectively double your range with attacks, and ignoring all but full cover means the enemy can’t hide from you. The third benefit stacks way too nicely with the Archery Fighting Style benefit, but unfortunately you lack native access to it (though you can compensate in other ways; Close Quarters Shooter is one). If you plan to focus on ranged combat, consider it very carefully. (Far Shot, Improved Precise Shot, Power Attack/Power Throw [CWar]; also Deadly Aim [Pathfinder Campaign Setting])

    Shield Master (SnB): A solid feat for Sword & Boarders, though it suffers somewhat with one of the benefits. Single-target Dexterity save-based attacks are few and far between, so you’ll rarely see the feat’s second benefit. That said, the third benefit blends VERY nicely with your Aura of Protection. The ability to shove with your shield is also very good, although you need to consider whether you’re allowed to do it before starting your attacks, or afterwards. This feat is better by 6th level and higher, as it allows your second attack to be done at Advantage (provided you succeed on the Shove attack to knock the target prone) reliably.

    Skilled: The only way to get fast proficiency in skills or tools beyond multiclassing. Note that you can choose this feat only once.

    Skulker: Another feat with a Dexterity requirement, and similar to Alert except for the Stealth skill. That said, Archers can get good use from it if you Hide in the first place, but mostly until you make your first successful attack. Otherwise, little benefit for you.

    Spell Sniper: You lack attack spells that require a spell attack roll, so this feat is of little benefit, but at least you get a free damage-dealing cantrip (so as long as it requires an attack roll). If you plan in getting this feat, think of Eldritch Blast (uses Charisma and allows for multiple attacks per round, more than you’d normally get; note that you can’t add Imp. Divine Smite to the rays, though).

    Tavern Brawler (US): The only way to make a reliable Unarmed build other than dipping Monk, this gives you proficiency with improvised weapons and improves the damage of your unarmed strikes. The increase in damage is poor (comparable to a dagger), which compared to your other weapons is quite pitiful. That said, the free ability to grapple after hitting with unarmed strikes or improvised weapons can be useful, particularly if combined with the Grappler feat.

    Tough: If you need more hit points for some reason, go for it. However, compared to other feats, this is really a wash. It’s comparable to getting a +4 on Constitution, or getting a +2 in Constitution and raising your Hit Dice by 1, but without the other benefits. (Toughness -> Improved Toughness [CWar, LM])

    War Caster: Strange as it may seem, you may want to consider getting this feat. The reason is as follows: you’re a front-liner, and chances are you’ll face opponents that’ll hit you without problem. When that happens, you’ll want to have proficiency with Constitution checks; as you haven’t, Advantage on Constitution saves for Concentration is the second best. Also, you can fight with weapon and shield (or a weapon in each hand, or a weapon held in two hands; in other words, anything but the Fencer and Unarmed fighting styles) and cast spells at the same time. Finally, you can use certain spells as Opportunity Attacks, though chances are you won’t get enough spells that might benefit from it.

    Weapon Master: See Heavily Armored, except this time it applies to weapons.

    Optimal Spells
    Starting at 2nd level, a Paladin gets to cast a small number of divine spells, based on its Charisma and its class level. Paladins get a bunch of spells, but they aren’t as powerful as a dedicated spellcaster would. Most Paladin spells focus on expanding the character’s choice of Auras or serving as Smites with rider effects, with a smattering of spells from the Cleric spell list.

    The following list will include all the spells on the Paladin’s list, but not the ones a Paladin can cast by means of its Sacred Oath choice. Paladins have no access to Ritual Casting except for a feat, so any mention of Ritual spells will be ignored.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Paladins cast differently now.
    If you recall the way Paladins cast in earlier editions (save for 4th, because of its chassis), you’ll recall that Paladins gained spellcasting ability late, and their spellcasting potential wasn’t as strong as before; furthermore, they had to prepare spells in true Vancian fashion. 5th Edition did a lot to boost Paladin (and Ranger) spellcasting, and thus you’ll notice quite a bit of changes.

    The first change you’ll notice is that Paladins have up to 5th level spells, a huge change from earlier editions where they had access to 3rd level or 4th level spells at most. Paladins still lack access to Cantrips (or, as they were known in terms of divine magic, Orisons), but their spellcasting is slightly better now. The second thing you’ll notice is that they can cast magic right from 2nd level, fitting a ½ level spellcasting progression (that is why they gain new spells at 5th, 9th, 13th and 17th, which would correlate to 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th level in full spellcasting classes). The third thing you’ll notice is that their spellcasting stat is now Charisma, which is a huge benefit as they’re less MAD than before (though still a bit MAD because of their dependency on Strength and Constitution).

    Paladin spellcasting is an odd hybrid of prepared and spontaneous spellcasting, which should be familiar to anyone who played a Spirit Shaman. A Paladin has to prepare a small set of spells each day from its list, but once it does, it can cast from them at all times so as long as they have the appropriate spell slot (or a spell slot of higher level than the spell). This influences greatly the choice of optimal spells, given that they can prepare less spells than their full spellcaster counterparts, but aren’t restricted to specific spells as the Bard, the Sorcerer, the Warlock or the Ranger.

    Finally, recall that the Paladin’s spell slots can be used for Divine Smite, so the optimal spells are those that would be stronger or more useful than spending the slot on Smiting in the first place.

    1st Level

    Bless: An amazing buff for a good amount of allies. Concentration-based, but affects three creatures right from the get-go (higher spell levels merely increase the amount of allies affected). You can gain an average bonus of +2 or +3 every time you make an attack or save, which is a pretty strong bonus (note that this affects Constitution saves, so it makes Concentration saves easier). Note the “every time”; this, plus the level of the spell, makes it one of the best buffs you can grant an ally. A Cleric can probably do it better, but if you don’t, get it. Period.

    Command: Fun spell, though other casters can add it more punch. You can order it to do five specific things, but you can issue other commands. The duration is severely limited (1 round) and it requires a Wisdom save, but for the most part is a decent spell. “Halt” can disable the opponent that fails the save for 1 turn, so if you’re under the Elder Champion boon, abuse this spell.

    Compelled Duel: A sort of “Command” but with longer duration. If the target fails its save, it gains a series of disadvantages, so as long as you face it exclusively. If you can compel a boss to duel you, go for it, and have your allies serve as cheerleaders.

    Cure Wounds: One of your few healing spells. In battle, it’s a bad idea unless you desperately need to cast it, and even then, Lay on Hands or Aura of Vitality heal for more. Outside…is just as bad. And it scales poorly, all the more in your case where you have few spell slots to spare.

    Detect Evil and Good: In essence, your Divine Sense but lasting for a long time, at half the range. It’s Concentration-based, so don’t expect it to be better. Divine Sense is better in that regard because it doesn’t require you to spend your precious spell slots.

    Detect Magic: A spell that helps you detect magic, but unfortunately other casters can do so as a ritual (and Wizards can cast it without even preparing it). Pass.

    Detect Poison and Disease: See Detect Magic. Again, pass.

    Divine Favor: A relatively decent spell to have early on. The extra radiant damage is actually good, though a smite does better damage overall. Later on, with other spells at tow, this spell loses some of its shine, and by third level Crusader’s Mantle replaces it entirely. It also affects only you, so you can’t use it on others. That said, between 5th level and 11th level, the spell shines brightly.

    Heroism: A nifty spell, though half of its benefit is already provided by you. It has a duration of Concentration, which makes it a poor choice for you…except for its other benefit. You see, when you grant an ally temporary HP equal to your Charisma modifier every turn for 1 minute (and potentially to all allies, if you use a higher-level spell slot), you can really improve their survivability, redeeming this spell. It’s also 1st level, which means you have several chances to use it.

    Protection from Evil and Good: A very nice spell, which provides a large set of benefits. Disadvantage on attack rolls imposed on six creature types (all of which are menaces) is huge, not to mention immunity to charm and possession (in addition to being frightened, although your aura provides that already). Lasts for a good time, though it’s a Concentration-based duration spell.

    Purify Food and Drink: Other casters can do this as a ritual. Pass.

    Searing Smite: Somewhat disappointing compared to your regular smite, but if aimed at the right target, it can be actually better. As with Divine Smite, the spell scales based on the level of the spell slot expended. Fire damage is often resisted, but the reduction is not as wild as before, so it actually has some worth.

    Shield of Faith: Look at this, about time WotC added this to the Paladin’s arsenal! Not only that, it’s no longer touch-range, AND it has a decent range to boot. But wait, there’s more! It’s a bonus action to cast, so you can cast it and still act! And finally, it’s one of the few spells that adds a numeric bonus rather than Disadvantage, so it stacks with the former. That said, it’s Concentration-based, so it may conflict with other, better spells. However, for what it’s worth, it’s a superb spell to have prepared at all times.

    Thunderous Smite: A pretty spell. The damage is actually pretty close to your Divine Smite, but as if you added a Shove effect alongside it. Considering the level of the spell, this is a must-have at all times, particularly if you need a breather (and even then, you can simply move and keep bashing away, with Advantage to boot!)

    Wrathful Smite: Nifty spell. Though the damage is lower than you’d deal with Divine Smite, it does have a hard to resist damage type (Psychic). Furthermore, the Frightened condition is quite nasty, as it imposes Disadvantage as long as you can see it. Can be resisted with a Wisdom saving throw, though. Concentration-based, but note that the target can’t willingly approach you, and with Disadvantage on its attack rolls, chances are you’ll be capable of keeping it for the entire duration. All in all, it’s a very nice spell to have prepared.

    2nd Level
    Aid: One of the few spells without a duration of Concentration. The benefit is decent, though you need to get a high spell slot to make the effect slightly more worthwhile.

    Branding Smite: Fairly decent, but not by much. The damage is less than a basic smite, but it’s one of the few smites that scales with level. On the other hand, the ability to negate invisibility is a great boon, and it lasts for a fairly good duration. Concentration-based, though.

    Find Steed (MC): The only way to get a Special Mount. That said, the mount is not really spectacular, though if you speak with your DM, you might get other creatures to mount. It has a few benefits, such as the ability to share spells with you, the fact that it’s a celestial, fey or fiend instead of an animal (and all that implies), and is considered relatively intelligent (Int 6) so it can fight alongside you (and since it’s friendly and loyal to you, you fight as a single unit). If you intend to fight while mounted, this is a must-have; otherwise, keep a scroll or two handy (if you can get them; they’re probably of Legendary status) or prepare it before a journey. The fact that the steed remains indefinitely (or at least until you dismiss it) means that you only need to have this spell prepared when you’re ready to use it.

    Lesser Restoration: Another spell that changed greatly between editions. Rather than healing ability score damage, it now removes one of four conditions. It requires an action and is low-level, and the conditions can be truly incapacitating, but nearly all of them can be removed by subsequent saving throws, making the effectiveness of this spell moot.

    Locate Object: Strangely enough NOT a Ritual spell. That said, unless you’re specifically looking for something that you know is on the area, this spell is not really that useful. There’s several ways to block it, as well, so for the most part, it’s essentially a spell that works by DM fiat. Kinda feels like the devs were padding for spells (could have added a specific spell, you know…*coughcoughWardingBondcoughcough*)

    Magic Weapon: An old stalwart, but this time has a casting time of 1 bonus action so you don’t need to have it previously cast. Has a Concentration-based duration, so it might conflict with other spells you cast. Fairly good when you get it, but Elemental Weapons beats it four levels later.

    Protection from Poison: You may remember Neutralize Poison and Delay Poison from earlier editions; this is an immense change. In short, it removes one kind of poison upon being cast, and then provides the Resilience effect typical to Dwarves (and Stout Halflings) for 1 hour, making it one of the few spells without duration of Concentration. At the level you get it, it’s a bargain.

    Zone of Truth: A valuable spell if you need to interrogate someone, though the target can still be evasive (but then again, that’s why you have Insight as a skill proficiency, no?) Most useful in roleplaying situations (mostly Social ones), but other casters (Bards and Clerics) also have the spell. Even then, it’s still fairly good to have when there’s some non-combat time.

    3rd Level
    Aura of Vitality: Interesting spell, to say the least. The healing is sorta small, but it requires only a bonus action. It can be used outside of combat, and you can recover an average of 70 hit points per casting spread between your party. Somewhat more efficient than other similar spells at 3rd level. It is also useful in-combat, but it’s Concentration-based so make sure you can resist the save reliably.

    Blinding Smite: Deals one less die of damage than your smite, but imposes a chance of Blindness. It can be resisted with a Constitution saving throw and the effect can be worn off by making a save every turn, which makes this otherwise decent spell a bad choice. Concentration-based, to boot, unlike its counterpart spell; the damage is not enough to make it worthwhile.

    Create Food and Water: Pass. Other casters could do better, and if you can get a scroll, get it.

    Crusader’s Mantle: In short: the Divine Favor spell spread through an area, as if an aura. This is a fairly good boost to all your allies that rely on weapon attacks, and ranged weapon attacks benefit from it. Bonuses to damage rolls are scarce, making this a solid boost. Concentration-based, so it might conflict with spells of similar duration.

    Daylight: One of the few spells without Concentration-based duration, but mostly useful for out-of-combat uses. Other spellcasters can make better use of it, though.

    Dispel Magic: A far cry from its earlier incarnations, this is actually a really nice spell to have. This spell dispels all other spells of 3rd level and lower automatically, and the other spells are dealt with a simple dispel check against your key spellcasting ability score (Charisma). That said, you’re starting with a dispel check DC of 14, up to a DC of 19; with a Charisma of 18, that’s a 50-50 chance of success or failure. Other spellcasters can do better than you, but for the most part it’s good as a fail-safe.

    Elemental Weapon: A superb spell. This spell improves your attack rolls and also adds damage, not to mention that it treats your weapon as if magical for its duration. In essence: Divine Favor married with Magic Weapon, and had this as a baby. Has a duration based on Concentration, but it lasts a whole hour, which is great. Also, if you’re on an area where you know several opponents have Vulnerability against a specific energy type, you can really exploit this. Finally, you can spend one of your precious 5th level spell slots to gain a greater bonus AND deal greater damage. Keep it on the ready, always.

    Magic Circle: See Protection from Good and Evil, except it lacks a Concentration-based duration (it lasts for a fixed hour, or higher with higher spell slots) and also prevents entry from the target creatures. Has a 1 minute casting time and is fixed on a surface, reducing its application in combat.

    Remove Curse: Another healing spell, except it works mostly on curses. Other casters can make better use of this, so don’t have this constantly prepared.

    Revivify: A life-saver, or I should say (to be literal), a life-returner. The range of effectiveness is of one minute, so you can wait until the end of combat, or if you desperately need the services of your ally, It can be done immediately. It still consumes an action, but it’s probably the best action you can spend on (also, with Aura of Vitality, you can heal it to within 10 HP in a single go, and your other Auras will probably make it survive that round). Keep it always ready, even if a Cleric is also near you; double up on this important resource.

    4th Level
    Aura of Life: A solid buff, and can be cast only by speaking. The duration is fair enough (though it’s Concentration-based). Invaluable against undead, and a huge help when an ally is near death. Could be better, though.

    Aura of Purity: An amazing buff that protects all allies (and yourself) from a myriad of status effects. It extends your Divine Health to everyone, grants resistance to poison damage, and grants Advantage on just about every other status effect other than Grappled, Restrained and Prone. Concentration-based, however.

    Banishment: A pretty nice spell, judging by the change. No longer limited to extraplanar beings, this can serve as a way to make hard battles easier by removing certain creatures from the field to fight at your own pace. Charisma saves are few, so it’s actually quite effective, and if using a 5th level spell slot, you can remove two enemies from combat. Concentration-based, so prepare to feel the brunt of the other enemies hitting you mercilessly. Banishing Smite is better on that regard, even if its one level later.

    Death Ward: A long-lasting spell without a duration of Concentration, but its effect is far, far different than before. It works more like the Death Pact spell of 3.5; saves you from one situation where you might be killed, and then it dissipates. It works on both hit point-based death and on instant death effects. While other spellcasters will have earlier access, you can help them a lot by having the spell prepared. More valuable if you have a scroll for it, but this would be a pretty rare scroll.

    Locate Creature: See Locate Object. Also, WAY too high for you.

    Staggering Smite: One of the weirdest Smite-based spells around. The damage is less than a Divine Smite using the spell slot, but the damage is very hard to resist (Psychic). Not only that, if the Wisdom save is failed, you disable the opponent on nearly everything it does, and can’t react against you. Problem is, the debuff lasts for 1 round, compared to the other Smite-based spells. Kinda disappointing in that regard, but nonetheless, a fairly good spell to have.

    5th Level
    Banishing Smite: One of your strongest smites. The damage is higher than a Divine Smite, is hard to resist (Force damage, after all) and auto-banishes an opponent, potentially removing it from combat. Concentration-based, so make sure you can resist the barrage of hits (alternatively; you draw aggro, so you’re doing your job right!)

    Circle of Power: Incredibly good spell. In short, it works like Spell Resistance (advantage on saving throws against spells) mixed with Evasion on ALL ALLIES (which includes you!) within range, and it has the same range as your aura at 18th level. Superior protection for you and your allies. Concentration-based, but lasts a surprisingly good time. Also: only a Bard wasting one of its Magical Secrets can gain access to it, so it’s for the most part an exclusive for you.

    Destructive Wave:
    The Paladin spell list has this as “Destructive Smite”, but they’re meant to be the same spell. That said: while it requires a Constitution saving throw, it is a superb spell that deals quite a bit of damage, and from two kinds to boot (thunder and radiant/necrotic), AND can knock your target prone. It’s also your only actual Area of Effect spell. Have it ready to fire when things get rough.

    Dispel Evil and Good: A decent spell that protects you against various kinds of supernatural creatures, including undead. You can expend the spell to duplicate Break Enchantment or a more limited version of Banishment. Unfortunately, it’s a spell that has a Concentration-based duration, lasts for a really small amount of time, and takes your highest spell slot, so it competes brutally against other spells. Also, it targets only you, so its benefit is really reduced. A shame, as it’s actually a decent spell otherwise.

    Geas: A pretty nasty spell to cast. It requires 1 minute of casting, so it’ll be relatively useless in battle unless you can stall combat, but if you do, you can have a target charmed for 30 days AND taking hefty damage if it doesn’t follow your command. You can also change your instructions, which is excellent. Mostly a roleplaying spell, but pretty useful to have when you do.

    Raise Dead: Yes, it’s true: even D&D considers that a Paladin must revive the dead. Hooray for that? Well, it lasts for an hour, and has a 10-day duration, and the penalty is actually bearable. It’s not a spell that you plan to have always ready (particularly when there’s other spells that you’ll probably always want to have), but when the need arises, be glad that you can cast it. Always out of combat, of course.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2016-02-19 at 03:38 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Optimal Equipment

    A big part of all adventurers, particularly combat-focused ones, is the equipment they possess; Paladins, naturally, are no exception. The section on Weapons and Armor will include both mundane and magical equipment. Weapons will detail the best choice for each combat style, while the Armor section will collapse Shields as well. Wondrous Items will have their own section, divided by body slot, except for Rings which will have their own section. Rods will also be analyzed separately.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Magic Items, Rarity, and the lack of the Magic-Mart
    If you’ve seen the Dungeon Master’s Guide, you’ll quickly notice that there’s no more costs for items. Instead, they are defined by rarity. Common items can be bought, and generally include potions and scrolls; Uncommon items and higher can’t be bought, unless the DM allows it, and in that case on a RP-basis (you need to spend time finding the buyer, and that buyer will give you a price for it, which will almost always be a rip-off). Wealth by Level doesn’t exist anymore, so any magic item you acquire is based on whether the DM allows you to have it or not. The guide assumes you’ll have a Magic-Mart ®, in order to evaluate the benefits of the item itself, but be forewarned – you may never see the item you desire, so focus on your build!


    Being a primarily combat-focused character, every Paladin must have a weapon. IMO, a Paladin should have at least four weapons: its primary weapon, two good secondary weapons that deal the type of damage the primary weapon doesn’t deal, and a decent ranged weapon. This may change based on the combat style, but for the most part a melee weapon and a ranged weapon are always a must.
    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: What happened to all the Materials?
    So…where’s the Adamantine and the Mithral? Before the DMG arrived, the only special material was Alchemical Silver, which allowed you to bypass the resistance and immunity of certain creatures, for an added price. That is the ONLY material that exists now – Adamantine and Mithral are now “properties” rather than ways to improve items on their own, and they’re mostly for armor. You can’t have stacked items now (unless the DM homebrews one), so the properties will be part of the magic item descriptions now.

    Simple Weapons

    Club: Not very cheap, and the damage is par for the course regarding similar weapons. Pass.

    Dagger (Fen, Thr): A reliable secondary weapon for just about anything, being one of the few weapons that has the Light, Finesse and Thrown properties. The damage is poor, though par for the course regarding similar weapons.

    Dart (Thr): The only reason why you’d get this is because it’s insanely cheap. You can buy a set of 40 darts for the cost of a dagger. Or, if you find it appropriate, you can buy 10 darts for a quarter of the cost of one dagger. Otherwise, they’re identical to the dagger, except they can’t be used in melee.

    Greatclub: One of the few native two-handed weapons of the Simple Weapons table for melee characters, and deals the highest damage between all Simple Weapons (save for the Light Crossbow). Doesn’t compare to Martial Weapons, though, except in that it’s really, REALLY cheap.

    Handaxe (TWF, Thr): A great choice for any respectable Two-Weapon specialist, barring two other Martial Weapons. Being Light, you can equip one in each hand; you can throw them or use them in melee, and the damage is respectable. A truly flexible weapon, even as a secondary one.

    Javelin (Thr): A great choice of weapon. This version of the Javelin behaves more like a Shortspear, in that you can fight in melee with it or throw it. It has the best throwing range of any other weapon, and the damage is respectable. Also, very cheap.

    Light Hammer: Downgraded from Martial Weapons in this Edition, the Light Hammer is a respectable counterpart to the Handaxe, albeit cheaper and dealing less damage overall.

    Mace: The humble mace got nerfed a bit, dealing less damage than a previous edition Heavy Mace but without the Light quality of the Light Mace. It still deals respectable damage, but other weapons are better.

    Quarterstaff: A surprisingly good choice. The Quarterstaff can be wielded in one hand or two hands, and deals respectable damage while wielded in one hand, for a cheaper price than the Mace. As well, the Quarterstaff deals good damage if wielded in two hands, because of its Versatile property. The cost is excellent for a Simple Weapon, and it ALSO happens to benefit from the Polearm Master feat, so you can make a second damage with it!

    Shortbow: Respectable range, respectable damage, but you have access to Longbows already so this weapon suffers for it. Only useful if you’re Small-sized.

    Sickle: This weapon is bad and should feel ashamed for it. Unless you’re a Druid, don’t even look at it.

    Sling: Cheap weapon, and has as much range as a Javelin while dealing the same damage as a Light Hammer. That said, it’s bludgeoning damage, which is somewhat rare, so it’s still useful at times.

    Spear (Thr): Lovely weapon, only beaten barely by the Javelin (they actually are both great choices). While somewhat more expensive (you can buy 2 Javelins for one Spear), this one is actually better with Two-Handers because of its Versatile property. That said, it doesn’t benefit AT ALL from the Polearm Master feat, which is a true shame.

    Martial Weapons
    Battleaxe: A good default weapon, even more than the archetypal Longsword. It deals a respectable 1d8 slashing damage, but unlike other weapons, it has the Versatile property for when you need to go with two hands. Best one-handed slashing weapon, as well.

    Blowgun: No idea why you’d get this. It has no special property at all. Pass (makes me wonder why it’s a Martial Weapon with such a pitiful damage ratio…)

    Flail (SnB): A decent weapon that suffers from being outmatched by another. The Warhammer, for 5 more gp, adds the Versatile property. That said, its price and damage make it a good choice for Sword & Boarders, who’ll never worry about wielding a weapon in two hands (or a weapon in their off-hand, for that matter).

    Glaive/Halberd (LD): A solid polearm, dealing good damage and with reach. Also benefits greatly from the Polearm Mastery feat. The Glaive and the Halberd are identical in all aspects, so they’re lumped in together.

    Greataxe: A two-handed weapon that has always fought for superiority over the humble Greatsword, and this one is no exception. While cheaper, the Greatsword beats it in nearly all aspects. It only edges ahead when something like the Half-Orc’s racial feature kicks in, but otherwise, the Greatsword is a better weapon, bar none.

    Greatsword (THF): One of the two most powerful weapons you can wield. The damage is superior to none, and works wonders when coupled with Great Weapon Fighting. Best slashing weapon, as well. The second most expensive weapon, tying with the Heavy Crossbow and the Longbow.

    Hand Crossbow (Arc, TWF): Surprisingly enough, a very decent weapon. It’s mostly like a Javelin, except far more expensive and having the Loading property. You can only attack with it once, unlike the Javelin, but you can dual-wield it. With Crossbow Mastery, you can fire a veritable barrage of shots from it, all of them benefitting from your Imp. Divine Smite and your other weapons.

    Heavy Crossbow (Arc): Upgrading to a Martial Weapon in this edition, the Heavy Crossbow deals a large amount of damage, but is offset by the Loading property (and being prohibitively heavy; it can’t be wielded by a Small character at all). If you have the Crossbow Mastery feat, this weapon becomes a deadly damage-dealing machine of destruction; otherwise, it becomes a poor choice when compared to the humble Longbow. Also, has less range than the Longbow, for some reason.

    Lance (MC): Another weapon that got a buff between editions, the Lance is the best weapon for a Mounted Combatant, since it allows you to wield a shield with it and have Reach with a one-handed weapon. That said, you gain Disadvantage when fighting within 5 ft., which lessens its worth. Surprisingly cheap, actually.

    Longbow (Arc): A weapon that can’t be beat in terms of efficiency, other than the Heavy Crossbow (and only with a feat). Great damage, maximum possible range of effectiveness, good price… Even if you’re a Sword & Boarder or a Fencer, or your Dexterity is on the rut, think about getting one whenever you need to fight at a range.

    Longsword: A classic, but this time, it’s somewhat less worthwhile than other choices. The Battleaxe beats it almost every time, save for maybe weight.

    Maul: Between the heavyweight contenders, this is probably the best weapon you’ll be capable of wielding. It has the SAME damage rating as a Greatsword, but at a fifth of its cost, and it deals Bludgeoning damage as well, blowing just about EVERY other Bludgeoning weapon away. Quite heavy, too, weighing around 10 lbs. (beaten only by the Pike and the Heavy Crossbow, and tying with the poor Greatclub).

    Morningstar: A mighty weapon that fell hard, just like its namesake. Since it lost its double damage feature, and since being upgraded into a Martial Weapon, the Morningstar suffers from being overpriced, heavier and overall less attractive than the War Pick, which beats it in nearly EVERY point. There’s no reason why to even CONSIDER getting one, sadly enough.

    Net (Thr): Less of a weapon and more of a disabling object, the Net has a pitifully small range and is easy to destroy. That said, restraining the target can be quite useful. This is the only way to restrain a target aside from spellcasting or class features, BTW.

    Pike (LD): If the Javelin is equivalent to a Shortspear, the Pike is the Longspear turned Martial Weapon. The Pike deals a very interesting amount of damage, beaten only by the Lance, but without the special disadvantage of the latter. Cheap, but also VERY heavy (as in, the heaviest melee weapon around). Best melee Piercing damage overall.

    Rapier (Fen): One of the best weapons for the discerning Fencer, even if quite expensive. The Rapier has the Finesse property, making it a must have for Dex-using Paladins.

    Scimitar (Fen, TWF): A very interesting weapon for many reasons. It’s one of the two only Light melee weapons in the Martial Weapons list, one of the few slashing Light weapons (aside from the Handaxe), and ALSO happens to have the Finesse property; in fact, it’s one of the few Slashing weapons with Finesse. While other weapons have similar properties, this is the only one that reunites all three. The damage is low (comparable to your average Simple Weapon) but the benefits are far, far greater.

    Shortsword (TWF): A cheap Light weapon with the Finesse property, and better than the Dagger except for being unable to throw.

    Trident (Thr: Not the most attractive choice: like the Spear (which is a SIMPLE Weapon) but 4 gp more expensive. It has no special traits whatsoever; not even benefit from Polearm Master. If you really need to have a weapon with these properties, might as well go for the humble Spear.

    War Pick: A surprisingly good weapon, being a cheap weapon that deals Piercing damage, and less heavy. Strictly better than a Morningstar, and if you don’t care for Dexterity, than the Rapier as well. Sadly, it has no other distinctive properties.

    Warhammer: A decent bludgeoning weapon for your one-handed needs. In many ways, it behaves like a Flail, but with the Versatile property for added punch. Also, 5 gp more expensive.

    Whip (Fen): Originally an “Exotic” Weapon, the Whip is now available to anyone with Martial Weapon proficiency. The damage is somewhat low (comparable to Simple Weapons),but has the benefits of Finesse (for those who prefer Dexterity to Strength, like the Fencer), and most specifically Reach in a one-handed weapon. Excellent choice for Fencers, in order to exploit Duellist with suitable reach.

    Weapon Special Qualities

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Attunement
    You might see this a lot on magic items: requires attunement. This is a new trait when using magic items – a magic item that requires attunement doesn’t grant its powers unless you spend a short rest attuning to it, though a special trait can reduce this to 1 minute. What “attunement” does is restrict the selection of magic items, so you no longer suffer from the “Christmas Tree” effect. This also makes ANY item that doesn’t require attunement far more valuable, because that means you can wear it without sacrificing one of your valuable attunement slots. You get up to 3 attunement slots, so be careful of which items to attune to – generally, the items you want the most are the ones that require attunement in the first place.

    +1, +2 or +3 Weapon: Yeah, it might be a joke to do this, but it’s a fact – this might be the closest thing to a magic weapon you’ll ever see. Bounded accuracy means that these items will be very useful, even the +1 (but obviously, you want a +3 item). Also – no item over +3, folks.
    Arrow of Slaying: Ammunition-specific property. While it no longer kills the target, it deals a pretty decent amount of damage even on a miss. However, it’s a 1/use effect, and it’s a very rare item, which kills its otherwise nice trait, plus it’s specific to one kind of creature. Oh, well.
    Berserker Axe: Axe-specific property, requires attunement. A +1 axe that grants 1 hp/level is great. It’s cursed, though, and the curse should be familiar to 3.5 players who had the (mis)fortune of playing a Frenzied Berserker – that is, you go on a rampage and kill everything. Even your allies. Oh, and since it’s cursed, you don’t want to get rid of it, and you get disadvantage on attack rolls OTHER than this, unless no foe is within 60 ft. (so you can use a longbow to start, then switch when the enemy gets close). One of the few axe-native properties, tho.
    Dagger of Venom: Dagger-specific property. A +1 dagger that allows you to add poison (DC 15 Constitution save, 2d10 poison damage and poisoned effect for 1 minute) as an action once per day (yep, no long rest shenanigans on this one!). Relatively useful, but most of the enemies you really want the dagger to work with will probably resist the effect, and the poison is consumed once you manage to hit. Plus, it’s a dagger. At least a Paladin can seriously consider using poison now (maybe not one following an Oath of Devotion, but surely one that follows the Oath of Vengeance).
    Dancing Sword: Sword-specific property, requires attunement. Other than the dancing effect, this does nothing more. That said, it allows you to wield another weapon and use your bonus action to make another attack, though only up to four times before it returns. Somewhat useful, since it uses your bonuses.
    Defender: Sword-specific property, requires attunement. A +3 weapon that lets you shift part of the bonus from attack/damage to AC. In other words, a defending weapon…shouldn’t it be obvious? That said – it IS a +3 weapon, and when you hit reliably but need to protect yourself otherwise, it has a decent property. It’s also a stacking AC bonus, which is VERY rare in this edition.
    Dragon Slayer: Sword-specific property (yes, you’ll see MANY sword-specific properties!). +1 weapon that adds 3d6 damage to any enemy of the dragon type. While dragons aren’t THAT numerous, they ARE the most annoying, so a weapon like this is gold for these occasions…and relatively useful for when you don’t.
    Dwarven Thrower: Warhammer-specific, requires attunement by a dwarf. While very rare, it is a sweet +3 weapon that has the thrown property (and a decent distance), and keeps its extra damage when you throw it, so it’s a very nice weapon for Dwarven Paladins. It also keeps the extra damage against giants. Note, though, that the extra damage ONLY works when thrown, but it automatically returns to your hand, so you can make your Extra Attack with it. Mmm…sweet 2d8+3+Str mod damage…
    Flame Tongue: Sword-specific property, requires attunement. While it doesn’t have a bonus to attack and damage, you can activate it to deal an extra 2d6 fire damage, which isn’t that great but not so bad either. It’s basically a double-power flaming property, in case you’re interested, though with a super-lighting feature.
    Frost Brand: Sword-specific property, requires attunement. Like the Flame Tongue, this weapon has no bonus, but it has a set of nice properties. The extra cold damage is always welcome (it’s less resisted than fire, for starters), and you get resistance to fire damage, which is a sweet trait. You can also use it to extinguish non-magical flames, but only 1/hour, so it’s not something you can rely with (that said, you can use it to extinguish an out of control fire.
    Giant Slayer: Axe- or sword-specific property. +1 weapon, and not only deals extra damage to giants, but also potentially makes them fall prone. That said, it’s a Strength saving throw, and…giants are the exemplars of Strength, so expect never to succeed on this (DC 15 is easy to succeed for even the typical Hill Giant). That said, it requires no attunement, and it’s pretty flexible in that regard.
    Hammer of Thunderbolts: Maul-specific. It’s legendary, so celebrate if you get it. The +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls requires no attunement, but the other traits do (and you need both a gauntlets of ogre power and any of the belts of giant strength to do so, though it seems that you don’t have to attune to them to gain the benefit). That said, the benefits are insanely good –you get a +4 to Strength and the ability to exceed 20, but not 30 (might conflict with the belt of giant strength you’re wearing, though), and you can potentially kill any giant on a nat 20 critical hit (DC 17 Constitution, so note that). The item is ALSO charged, and nets a nifty area stun effect (same DC as the killing effect) plus the ability to throw it. All in all, it’s a fairly good collection of traits – if you don’t have to attune to the gauntlets and the belt, it’s really good.
    Holy Avenger: Sword-specific property, requires attunement (by a paladin, obviously). The king of Paladin weapons, and for good reason - +3 weapon, and you deal extra radiant damage to any fiend or undead, which are pretty numerous. That said, it also reclaimed a form of its old “circle of power” effect, granting a permanent aura while drawn that grants spell resistance (i.e. advantage on saving throws against spells), which increases with your own auras. If you use a sword, there’s NO excuse not to wield one, particularly since it can be a shortsword, rapier or greatsword now (yay!)
    Javelin of Lightning: Javelin-specific property. It’s pretty easy to find (being uncommon) and requires no attunement. The best part, though, is how it works now: in 3.5, a javelin of lightning was a consumable item, but not now – now, it loses its property until the next dawn (so it’s usable only 1/day). The lightning bolt effect is somewhat weak (DC 13 Dexterity save or take 4d6 lightning damage), but at least you still do full lightning damage to the target on a successful ranged attack. Afterwards…at least it can bypass resistances from non-magical weapons, but it doesn’t return to you. Since javelins are now both melee and ranged (taking a cue from the now-lost shortspear), they’re pretty good choices.
    Luck Blade: Sword-specific property, requires attunement. +1 weapon that ALSO grants a +1 to saving throws, so it’s great overall. 1/day, you can reroll one attack roll, ability check or saving throw, which is ALSO great. However, if the weapon has Wishes, then you’re set- as before, the item can only have between 1 to 3 wishes overall, so spend them wisely.
    Mace of Disruption: Mace-specific, requires attunement. Has no enhancement bonus, but lets you deal extra damage to a pretty common type of enemy, that being undead. Not only that, if the enemy reaches a threshold, it ALSO forces a saving throw to destroy the undead creature (with every hit!), with a frightened effect on a successful save. If you face undead, this is a MUST have (other than a Holy Avenger, of course!), but it’s good even then.
    Mace of Smiting: Mace-specific. +1 bonus, but increases to +3 when fighting constructs. While constructs are not that common, they can be annoying (particularly Golems). The item works like a mace of disruption but only on a nat. 20 critical hit, where it deals an extra amount of fixed damage rather than a set of dice worth of it. You deal extra damage to any other creature on a natural 20, though, so it’s good as a secondary weapon.
    Mace of Terror: Mace-specific, requires attunement (hey, maces are almost as common as swords in this regard!). Has no enhancement bonus, but you can use it between 1 to 3 times per day to cause a frighten effect similar to the Oathbreaker’s Channel Divinity effect. Pretty nice, though many enemies become immune to the frighten effect. Superb for Oathbreakers.
    Nine Lives’ Stealer: Sword-specific weapon, requires attunement. A decent +2 weapon, but its true benefit is the ability to kill any creature under 100 hp if you deal a critical hit and the target fails its Constitution save. That would have made it super-awesome, but unfortunately the weapon has limited charges, and once they’re gone, the property is lost. Considering you’ll see this very rarely, I would have expected them to recharge daily (at dusk, maybe?) Kinda disappointing, though it still remains as a +2 weapon (but, if what you wanted is a +2 weapon, you can…you know, get a +2 weapon from somewhere else?)
    Oathbow (Arc): Longbow-specific property, requires attunement. Another item without an enhancement bonus, but you don’t need it – advantage on attack rolls, the ability to ignore all but total cover and no disadvantage from long range means you’ll pretty much hit from anywhere, and the extra piercing damage is just lovely. While Paladins are not ranged specialists, you might want to keep the weapon handy. Archers, of course, will adore this weapon, even if its property is usable only daily (it’s like using Smite on range!)
    Scimitar of Speed (Fen, TWF): Scimitar-specific, requires attunement. A +2 weapon that allows an extra attack as a bonus action – not too shabby. In fact, not shabby at all. As a fencer, you’ll definitely want this; as a Two-Weapon Paladin, this is…pretty much what you do already, but better, so it’s an insult to your combat style.
    Staff of Striking: Quarterstaff-specific, requires attunement. One of the two staves you can attune to (others are specific to full spellcasters), and counts as a +3 weapon that lets you deal extra force damage by spending charges. Just make sure to not abuse of the property, or else you’ll end up with a 5% chance of making the item useless. If you have the Polearm Master feat, then get this item. No exceptions.
    Staff of Thunder and Lightning: Quarterstaff-specific, requires attunement. The other staff you can attune to. Counts as a +2 weapon, and 1/day it can either add extra lightning damage, impose a chance to stun, duplicate a strong lightning bolt effect, make an AoE thunder damage/deafen effect, or combine both as a separate property. Not too shabby.
    Sunblade (Fen): Longsword-specific, requires attunement. Another must-have weapon, particularly if you’re a fan of longswords. For starters, it counts as a Finesse weapon, so it’s great for Fencers (better damage overall, and you can switch to two hands for 1d10 + Dex damage). Then, it’s a +2 weapon, but ALL the damage is radiant damage, so you don’t have to worry about most resistances or immunities (other than, you know, radiant…), plus you get extra damage against undead. There’s little excuse to NOT have this if you’re a Fencer, unless…well, you get a Holy Avenger that happens to be a rapier, scimitar or shortsword.
    Sword of Answering: Longsword-specific, requires attunement based on the alignment. There’s a 1 in 8 chance that the weapon is useless to you, but if your alignment matches, then you’re set…though it’s legendary, so you’re most likely to NEVER see it. It’s a +3 weapon, which is already good, but you can also use it to make a counter-attack as a reaction, which is awesome because it’s an attack that doesn’t consume your action (it does consume your opportunity attacks, but if you’re marking…) It’s also done at advantage, which is pretty nice.
    Sword of Life-Stealing: Sword-specific, requires attunement. You deal extra damage on a nat 20 critical hit, and you absorb that as temp. HP. Not too shabby, but it could be…less rare, you know. At least, require no attunement.
    Sword of Sharpness (THF): Sword-specific (must deal slashing damage), requires attunement. Dealing 12 + Str damage on a greatsword is GLORIOUS. That’s enough…oh wait, there’s MORE? Yeah – on a nat. 20 roll, you deal extra damage, AND the chance to lop off some of the target’s limbs, but only if you roll the elusive “double 20”. Good luck!
    Sword of Vengeance: Sword-specific, requires attunement. A +1 weapon, but it’s cursed. The curse? Well, you can’t drop it, you take disadvantage on all attack rolls, and if you get hit (and fail the Wisdom save, which can be possible before you get Aura of Protection), you MUST attack the creature that hit you until you kill it. You can banish the spirit that possesses the weapon, but…you only get a +1 weapon. Why bother, then?
    Sword of Wounding: Sword-specific, requires attunement. It’s worse against you than against the enemy, but at least you can prevent it from healing. The really good benefit is the ability to deal 1d4 necrotic damage as a non-action, though every time you do it, you force a Constitution saving throw to negate ALL the wounds from this source (well, the necrotic damage you deal, of course). Try to have a way to impose Disadvantage on Constitution saving throws, and the damage will quickly scale up; at the very best, you can make it lose 1 turn (by making a Medicine check, of course).
    Trident of Fish Command (Thr): Trident-specific, requires attunement. While it says “fish”, it’s not limited to them – as long as the creature is a beast with an innate swimming speed (which doesn’t necessarily means that it has to be aquatic), you can spend a charge and attempt to dominate it, with a fairly decent save. Decent, but not overwhelmingly so.
    Vicious Weapon: On a nat. 20 roll, you deal 7 damage. Yes. You noticed it right – it has no attunement, not specific to any weapon…just plain extra damage on a nat. 20 roll. Simple, but not efficient, because by the time you could roll a natural 20, you’d deal that damage almost three times! If you can get advantage on your attack rolls at all times, it obviously becomes better.
    Vorpal Sword: Sword-specific (must deal slashing damage), requires attunement. +3 weapon that ignores ALL kinds of resistance to slashing damage, so that alone makes it good. On a nat. 20, though, it’s an instant kill…unless the enemy is immune to slashing damage, immune to death by beheading, has legendary actions or is just too darned big (why, you’re explaining the toughest monsters on the Monster Manual!), in which case…you deal extra slashing damage. Other than enemies just plain immune to slashing damage, this is leagues better than the expensive load of dung of its 3.5 counterpart.
    Weapon of Warning: Requires attunement. Gain advantage on initiative rolls, you and allies in 18th-level aura range can’t be surprised unless magically incapacitated, and you’re magically awakened if combat begins and you are naturally asleep. A no-nonsense item, useful as a secondary weapon if you’re not already overloaded by items requiring attunement.

    Specific Weapons

    Blackrazor: Greatsword, requires attunement from non-lawful aligned creature, sentient. +3 weapon with two pretty decent properties. One is that you completely annihilate any enemy you slay, and the other is that you can’t be charmed or frightened, lets you be aware of any living creatures, and the weapon itself (remember, it’s sentient) can cast Haste on your behalf, which is awesome. Just…don’t fight undead, and consume at least one soul a day (remember, it’s Chaotic, not Evil, so it doesn’t force you to discern).
    Moonblade: Longsword, requires attunement from an elf or half-elf of Neutral Good alignment, sentient. Ever played Baldur’s Gate? If you did, you probably met Xan, and his…tendencies. You probably also saw his awesome weapon. This is one of such – a customizable item that grows better based on how many owners it had. Thus, you’ll never know what powers it might have – it might be a +2 or +3 weapon, it may be great for Fencers, it might be thrown, it might deal extra damage… The weapon can have up to 7 such traits, aside from the +1 benefit and being intelligent which are innate. Obviously a source of DM fiat, but if the weapon ends up being a +3 vorpal defender with 19-20 critical threat range and dealing 1d6 extra slashing damage on a hit, you might just have a weapon that’s far, far better than a Holy Avenger. Just saying.
    Wave (Thr): Trident, requires attunement by a creature that worships a god of the sea, sentient. Another of the White Plume legendary weapons (much like Blackrazor and Whelm), it’s pretty good – a +3 weapon that also works as a trident of fish command and a weapon of warning, a cap of water breathing and a cube of force, so that’s 5 items in one! Oh yeah…and a critical hit can take anyone from full HP to half, or from half HP to death, as long as it’s not immune or resistant to necrotic damage. Really, this is one AWESOME weapon!
    Whelm: Warhammer, requires attunement by a dwarf, sentient. Another of the White Plume weapons, and you get the idea that sentient weapons are MEANT to be powerful. So yeah – a +3 weapon, but you get disadvantage after your first attack on many things, which is a MAJOR disappointment. That said, you can use it as a thrown weapon like a dwarven thrower, a 1/day area stun effect against enemies on the ground, auto-awareness of secret/concealed doors and 1/day use of Detect Evil and Good or Locate Object. Its effectiveness relies on fighting any moment OTHER than daytime, this is a fairly good weapon. However, the DM may be out to get you, so if your adventures are on daytime, you’re screwed.

    Since they’re combat-focused characters, every Paladin must have one suit or armor. Some Paladins may choose to wield a shield early on, and for Sword & Boarders, this is their primary focus. The following are the options for each weight category (Light, Medium, Heavy).

    Light Armor
    Padded: The cheapest armor around. Offers the same protection as Leather, but with disadvantage in Stealth. Pass.

    Leather: Cheap armor, easily accessible. Offers the same protection as Padded. Pass.

    Studded Leather: If you’re looking for the best protection around while having Dexterity over 15, this is your choice. No less, no more.

    Medium Armor
    Hide: The second cheapest armor, beaten only by Padded armor. The protection is kinda low, comparable to Studded Leather. Pass.

    Chain Shirt: Originally lighter, the Chain Shirt offers cheap protection against most everything thrown against you, although far less expensive. Good AC/cost ratio.

    Scale Mail: Having the same cost as the Chain Shirt, the Scale Mail offers one point of AC worth of better protection, but with Disadvantage on Stealth checks. If you’re wearing Medium Armor, you’re probably not looking for Stealth, so its a strictly better choice. Pointless if you have no Dexterity, however. Also, quite heavy.

    Breastplate: Having the same protection capabilities as Scale Mail, the Breastplate is more expensive, but lighter and imposes no Disadvantage on Stealth. Somewhat strange, but there you have it.

    Half-Plate: Although expensive, if you have Dexterity 14 or higher, this is the best protection you can get other than Full Plate. It imposes Disadvantage on Stealth checks, so if you care about that, the Breastplate is far better.

    Heavy Armor
    Ring Mail: While not as cheap as Hide armor or Padded Armor, it is still the third cheapest armor you can get. Add to it that you don’t need Dexterity to use it (and no Strength requirement either), and you get a pretty useful set of armor until you can afford something better.

    Chain Mail: This armor is to Heavy Armor what Chain Shirt is to Medium Armor. Good AC/cost ratio, though you need some decent Strength to wield it.

    Splint: This suit of armor offers some of the best protection you can afford, being less expensive than a Breastplate while offering better protection. You need a hefty amount of Strength to wear it, though.

    Plate: Best protection, ever. It offers even MORE protection than Half-Plate or Studded Leather with the right amount of Dexterity (though not as much as Mage Armor or Barkskin with the right amount of Dex; then again, it can’t be dispelled, no?)

    Shield (SnB, Fen): There’s only one, so make good use of it. The AC from the Shield stacks with everything else, and the protection is fairly good. Sword & Boarders OBVIOUSLY need it, whereas Fencers can strangely enough afford to get it, particularly since their signature Fighting Style doesn’t preclude the use of one, nor does it restrict Dexterity at all.
    Armor and Shield Special Qualities

    +1, +2 or +3 Armor: Another “not a joke”, but it’s true – usually, the best form of protection is just having a +1 armor, and probably the one you’ll access the most. Better armor is rarer than better weapons, though.
    +1, +2 or +3 Shield (SnB): Since shields add to your AC, a +1 shield may be enough to make you pretty much invincible. That said, if you’re a Sword & Boarder, this is an invaluable addition to your arsenal, other than a proper magic shield WITH an additional enhancement other than a +1, +2 or +3. Well, save for some exceptions.
    Adamantine Armor: Any medium or heavy armor except hide. While you’re not exactly immune to critical hits, you don’t get the extra damage from a critical hit. A far cry from its earlier incarnation (where it reduced damage), but with all the ways to get resistances and immunities, it’s not bad.
    Animated Shield (SnB, THF, TWF): Requires attunement. Any character that relies on using a weapon on both hands (or each hand) will appreciate that the item lasts for 1 minute, can be activated as a bonus action while granting the benefit. Sword & Boarders, though, excel at using a shield, so most likely they’ll ignore the effect, as it only lets them use a Versatile weapon in both hands while keeping the shield bonus to AC.
    Armor of Invulnerability: Plate-specific property, requires attunement. While you don’t get an enhancement bonus to AC, you do get the ability to halve non-magical damage, and on a pinch, become completely immune to it. The item is gained pretty late, though, so it’s not going to be that effective at all times; being plate armor, though, it’s still useful.
    Armor of Resistance: Requires attunement. It can run the gamut – Fire is pretty common, while Force is very rare but also annoying when it DOES happen. Necrotic and Radiant are relatively common. Of all, perhaps the best is Psychic, since it’s relatively common AND it’s annoying.
    Armor of Vulnerability: Plate-specific property, requires attunement. Essentially, it’s a third of the armor of invulnerability, but cursed to give you vulnerability to the other two. It can have its uses, but since vulnerability is NASTY, you don’t want to be hit that hard.
    Arrow-Catching Shield (SnB, DR): Requires attunement. You gain a +2 to AC against all ranged attacks, and you can spend your reaction to make any ranged attack made against a target within 5 ft. of you hit you instead. This is damage redirection at its finest. The benefit is great, but there’s a little catch – there’s another shield that does this better. This isn’t bad, of course, but nowhere near as good as that one.
    Demon Armor: Plate-specific, requires attunement. While it has a +1 bonus to AC and lets your unarmed strikes be lethal magic weapons (no, really – 1d8 and count as +1 weapons), the curse can be…annoying. At least it’s not specific to evil creatures only, but demons can be pretty nasty, and having disadvantage on their attack rolls and on saving throws against them can be annoying. Other than that…it’s a pretty cool suit of armor.
    Dragon Scale Mail: Scale-specific, requires attunement. +1 to AC, advantage against dragon’s special attacks, and resistance to the dragon’s element, plus the ability to discern where’s the closest dragon. VERY nice, if you choose to wear scale and not plate (huge difference in AC, on a system where it matters). Also mixes well with a dragon slayer weapon.
    Dwarven Plate: Plate-specific. Grants a +2 to AC and you can use your reaction to reduce any distance you’re forcefully moved. Particularly good if the enemy attempts to shove you. Pretty simple, no-nonsense armor that will take you quite far, particularly since it requires no attunement.
    Efreeti Chain: Chainmail, requires attunement. A hefty +3 bonus to AC, plus immunity to fire damage works wonders.
    Elven Chain: Chain shirt. This item is really for mages and bards who want to have the defense of a +1 chain shirt without proficiency, not for someone who already has it and is most likely in need of heavier armor.
    Glamoured Studded Leather: Studded leather. +1 bonus to AC is nice, but this is more for Rogues and Bards who want to have good defense without having attention pointed to them, not for someone who most likely wants better armor.
    Mariner’s Armor: Gain a swim speed equal to your land speed, and you start to float if unconscious. The benefit of this armor is that it requires no attunement and works for any kind of armor. On underwater adventures, it is invaluable, as long as you get a way to breathe water.
    Mithral Armor: Any medium or heavy armor except hide. The armor no longer has a Strength requirement, and imposes no penalty on Dexterity (Stealth) checks, and if a certain kind of medium armor (most notably, chain shirt or breastplate), it can be worn under normal clothes. Decent for heavy armor, but a pale reminder of its old glory.
    Plate Armor of Etherealness: Plate armor, requires attunement. 1/day, you can become ethereal for 10 minutes, which means all the benefits of incorporeality, without concentration. This is really good. It doesn’t allow you to spread the uses, like other items, though.
    Sentinel Shield (SnB): Gain advantage on initiative rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks. Requires no attunement, so keep it on your bag when you need it.
    Shield of Missile Attraction (SnB, DR): Requires attunement. You have resistance from ALL ranged weapon attacks, but its curse makes ANY attack done against a target within 10 ft. of you also hit you, period. In short – a souped-up arrow catching shield. It’s the sole reason why I didn’t gave the arrow-catching shield a higher rating, and one of the few cursed items I’m actually excited for. Since it works even if you don’t have it equipped, it’s an excellent form of damage redirection, and if it hits, you end up with a hefty reduction in its damage as long as you hold it. To be honest – the curse is on the Ranger, since it can’t use its specialty any longer against enemies you face.
    Spellguard Shield (SnB): Requires attunement. Gains spell resistance (advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects), AND any spell attack has disadvantage against you, which is better than most similar items of its kind. That said – keep it around for as long as you lack the Holy Avenger, and then ditch it otherwise.

    Assorted Equipment
    Acid: When you need to deal Acid damage, reliably. Almost as good, if not better, than the Acid Splash cantrip for a few levels, but usable with everyone.

    Alchemist’s Fire: While the damage is poor, it’s Fire damage and it lasts for a while. At best, it can disable an opponent for 1 turn by forcing it to use an action.

    Ball Bearings: Though the saving throw is low, you can use this item to make enemies go slower OR knock them prone. Use them if you feel they’re weak in terms of Dexterity.

    Caltrops: A decent trap, this deals pitiful damage but reduce the target’s speed. Use it on a chokepoint for greater effectiveness.

    Component Pouch: For most spells with material components, although you can also use a Holy Symbol for these purposes.

    Crowbar: If you lack an ally with Thieves’ Tools (and proficiency with them), you can use this to open any lock, chest or stuck door you find by giving you valuable Advantage on the check.

    Healer’s Kit: If you have the Healer feat, this is crucial to provide out-of-combat healing. If not, it’s still useful to heal someone without requiring a Medicine check.

    Hooded Lantern: An effective way to produce light, barring a Light cantrip cast on an item. The range is decent, the duration is pretty fair, and you can dim the light as necessary.

    Holy Symbol (Emblem): You’ll need this to cast most of your spells. Emblems are better than Amulets or Reliquaries, because you can place them in your Shield and proudly emblazon it. Since you require to have your Holy Symbol visible to make proper use of it, this is the easiest way. Furthermore, it weighs nothing, and it costs the same as all the other Holy Symbols.

    Holy Water: If you’re facing a lot of Fiends or Undead, this is a decent way to deal Radiant damage to them at a range. The range is decent (20 ft.), so you can treat this as a “cantrip”.

    Lamp: Effective source of light: decent range, cheap, and has good duration.

    Oil: An item with a multitude of uses. You can use it to magnify fire damage, or set it as a “trap” that affects creatures within a small area for a longer duration. If you have an ally that casts said spells, go ahead and make his day with this.

    Poison: Paladins are no longer bound by oath to refrain from using poison, so exploit this. This is a moderate boost to damage, adding a reasonable 1d4 points of damage unless the target succeeds on a pretty simple Constitution save. It lasts for 1 minute, and it says nothing about being used after one attack, so it’s evidently better on melee weapons.

    Potion of Healing: Yes, in case you haven’t noticed, potions are now easily accessible. They’re 50 gp a vial (about a third cheaper than in 3.5) and provide suitable healing. Given that Wands are a rare commodity now, stock on a bunch of this and keep them safe.

    Artisan’s Tools: This encompasses all kinds of tools that you might require to craft an item. Of these, the most useful are Alchemist’s supplies (to create Acid and Alchemist’s Fire, mostly) and Leatherworker’s or Smith’s Tools (to repair armor and weapons). Cartographer’s Tools may be useful if you’re creating a map in-game.

    Disguise Kit: Useful if you want to keep a low profile, but not for much.

    Forgery Kit: The remnant of the old Forgery skill, this allows you to create forgeries of physical documents. If creative enough, you could probably create letters of credit for purchasing supplies.

    Gaming Set: You have dice and playing cards, plus two references to D&D Lore (Dragonchess, a Chess variant, and Three Dragon Ante, a physical playing card set). The best application you can get from them relies on gambling, though the DM might bust you on that one.

    Herbalism Kit: Interestingly useful tool, this allows you to create Antitoxin and Potions of Healing. If you can get proficiency with it, go ahead and do so.

    Musical Instrument: For when you need to play an instrument well. There’s no parameters to earning money with this tool, so it’s mostly for fluff.

    Navigator’s Tools: You can’t use Survival on the sea, but the Navigator’s tools let you do so. You may argue that this is applicable on flying contraptions as well, such as Skyships or Lyrandar Airships.

    Poisoner’s Kit: If you want to create poisons, you’ll need this. Note that the only poison you can create thus far is a basic poison; the DMG may have more details on the matter.

    Thieves’ Tools: If you have good Dexterity and proficiency, go for it. They replace Disable Device and Open Lock, and can help your party’s Rogue if necessary (you can use the Help action to provide it with Advantage).
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2016-02-19 at 04:02 AM. Reason: Adjusting for new fighting styles

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Wondrous Items

    Amulet of Health: Requires attunement. If your Constitution is lacking, you can get this to raise it to 19. Pretty simple and effective.
    Bag of Holding: Hold a load of items easily, though note that if it’s pierced or torn, you lose everything inside. Be forewarned.
    Belt of Dwarvenkind: Requires attunement. If you’re a Dwarf, you won’t get much benefit, but you do get an increase to Constitution (up to a maximum of 20, tho) and advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks with dwarves, not to mention a 50% chance to grow a luscious pair of glorious Dwarven test- beard (if you can grow it – too bad, Elves!). If you don’t…you get ALL of that, plus darkvision, free Dwarvish language, advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance to poison damage. So yeah – be a Dwarf without being one!
    Belt of Giant Strength: Requires attunement. You turn your Strength into one of those amounts. All are better than what you’ll get eventually, so might as well get one.
    Boots of Speed: Requires attunement. For a total of 10 non-consecutive minutes, you can double your walking speed and impose disadvantage on the attack roll of any opportunity attack. Fairly good, though a far cry from its original incarnation.
    Boots of Striding and Springing: Requires attunement. Sets your walking speed to a minimum of 30 ft., and lets you leap three times the normal distance. More useful if you’re of a Small race, since it doesn’t work if you’re wearing heavy armor (a reason why you’d wear them).
    Bracers of Archery (Arc): Requires attunement. You gain (a redundant) proficiency with the longbow and shortbow, as well as a +2 bonus on damage rolls with them. You obviously want them for the damage bonus, particularly if your attacks rely on them. Kind of a shame they don’t apply to crossbows…
    Bracers of Defense: Requires attunement. Even if they added to your AC, the fact that you need to attune to them makes them already a bad idea. A bit more solid if you’re MC’ing into Barbarian or Monk, which have Unarmored Defense and thus can afford it.
    Brooch of Shielding: Requires attunement. Magic missile might be an annoying cantrip, but attuning to an item just to gain immunity to it? Better attune to a ring of resistance set to force damage and forget about it.
    Cap of Water Breathing: Lets you breathe underwater. The best part is that it doesn’t require attunement, so keep one at all moments.
    Cape of the Mountebank: Allows you to use Dimension Door 1/day. The best part is that it doesn’t require attunement, so keep it nearby for when you need to make a quick escape.
    Circlet of Blasting: 1/day Scorching Ray with an attack bonus of +5. Being uncommon, it means you have access to a pretty useful 2nd level spell early on, but as you progress levels, it’ll be less useful (mostly because of fire resistance/immunity).
    Cloak of Arachnida: Requires attunement. You get a handful of benefits, including resistance to poison damage, a climb speed, the ability to move on vertical surfaces and hang on ceilings without problems, immunity to webs and the ability to use Web 1/day. A pretty interesting set of traits, which exemplifies what kind of items should require attunement.
    Cloak of Displacement: Requires attunement. Attacks against you have disadvantage until you take damage, where it gets suppressed until the next turn. If you can remain in complete movement, you’re pretty much invincible – with high AC, that’s pretty much a given. Note that the property is disabled if you take damage, so you’re not entirely invincible. One of the better defensive items.
    Cloak of Invisibilty: Requires attunement. You can become invisible for up to 2 hours, in 1-minute increments. Useful if you need to hide.
    Cloak of Protection: Requires attunement. A simple +1 to AC and saves is always welcome.
    Cloak of the Bat: Requires attunement. Be Batman, except replace Frightful Presence for the ability to turn into a bat. I mean – advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and the ability to fly as long as you’re within dim light or darkness? Awesome! The ability to turn into a bat, not so much, and it only works 1/day.
    Cloak of the Manta Ray: Lets you breathe underwater and gain a swim speed of 60 ft. Better than the cap of water breathing in every way, as it doesn’t require attunement either.
    Driftglobe: Emanates light or 1/day daylight effect, can be commanded to float. Uncommon, so you’re likely to see one, and great way to have light in all places.
    Figurines of Wondrous Power: A collection of famous items that allow you to turn them into magic creatures. Of those, the Bronze Griffon (flying mount and decent fighting creature for up to 6 hours), Ebony Fly (flying mount, recharges relatively fast), Ivory Goat of Terror (long recharge time, but gives you two magic weapons for as long as it’s active and also a free fear aura effect) and Serpentine Owl (flying mount, allows telepathic communication) are the ones you might like.
    Gauntlets of Ogre Power: Requires attunement. Unless you’re aiming to use a hammer of thunderbolts, ignore. Most likely, you’ll get Str 20 by the time you get one, and any belt of giant strength overpowers it.
    Gloves of Missile Snaring (SnB, Fen): Requires attunement. If you don’t wield a shield, this allows you to reduce the damage from one weapon attack as long as you have a free hand, but the amount of damage you can reduce depends greatly on your Dexterity modifier.
    Helm of Brilliance: Requires attunement. As long as you don’t roll a nat. 1 on a saving throw against a fire spell that deals damage (goodness, how specific!), this is a pretty awesome item. Resistance to fire (always useful!), a small “aura” that deals radiant damage to undead, a load of spells, and the ability to add fire damage to your attacks (easily resisted, but you don’t have to keep it active at all times) are very good effects. A long cry from its 3.5 incarnation, which was…identical, but more volatile (so to speak).
    Heward’s Handy Haversack: As the bag of holding, but holds less. On the other hand, it always lets you have the right item on hand.
    Horn of Blasting: Decent thunder damage on a cone, with half damage on a successful save. It has a 1 in 5 chance of blowing up, so be careful (it’s fire damage, so if you’re wearing anything other than a helm of brilliance that grants advantage on the save, you’re set).
    Horn of Valhalla: One of three items that allows you to summon a bunch of berserkers that serve you willingly, but can’t be used until one week has passed. Unlike in 3.5, these guys can, with enough time, beat just about everything, so the item always has some use (even if only as a way to escape).
    Horseshoes of a Zephyr (MC): If you have a mount, this allows you to draw more utility from them.
    Horseshoes of Speed (MC): If you have a mount, this allows you to draw more speed from them. Fun fact – on chase scenes, this item has no benefit, since you’re allowed up to 1 hour of increased speed before going at the speed of a 30 ft. creature (no, really!)
    Ioun Stone: Requires attunement. One of the greatest items you can have, though you can’t have too many of them at once. ALL of them are good (probably save Strength, because you can get better items for it). Special attention goes to the ioun stone of Reserve, for its ability to reserve up to 3 levels worth of spells – good for when you need a 3rd level spell without wanting to expend it.
    Keoghtom’s Ointment: Unlike in 3.5, where you could only have one of the benefits, this version of the ointment grants all three – that is, healing HP damage, removing all poisons and all diseases. You only have a few uses, though; luckily it is an uncommon item, so you might find it lying around.
    Lantern of Revealing: Invisible creatures are annoying. Have a way to hold a lantern, and as long as they’re within 30 ft. from you, you have nothing to worry about them.
    Mantle of Spell Resistance: Requires attunement. There’s various ways to get this benefit, such as the Holy Avenger and the spellguard shield, so this is less useful than you’d think.
    Manual of Bodily Health/Gainful Exercise/Quickness in Action: If you get one of these, congratulations – you get the ONLY official way (other than the Barbarian’s capstone) to officially increase your physical ability scores over the norm. Be mindful of them in your travels, and make sure to share with your allies those you don’t use (in hopes they do the same to you).
    Necklace of Adaptation: Requires attunement. A combination of breathing underwater, in a vacuum, and on any place where air is harmful. Decent protection, but not something you should strive for.
    Necklace of Prayer Beads: Requires attunement by certain divine spellcasters (that includes you, but NOT a Ranger). 1/day, you can cast spells contained in the prayer beads as a bonus action – this includes bonus action Bless (the best bonus you’ll ever grant), Cure Wounds (so-so healing via touch, but as a bonus action it becomes better), Branding Smite (already a bonus action, but it means a free smite for you, using your save DC!) and Planar Ally (yes, a bonus action way to get a strong ally). Note that you can have more than one bead of the same kind, so it can be good or bad. Also, for all of you 3.5 veterans – notice the karma bead isn’t there anymore?
    Oil of Sharpness: One-use item (works different from a potion, though). Essentially works as a Magic Weapon spell, except requiring no concentration and granting max bonus to attack and damage rolls with any weapon. Very rare, so keep them safe.
    Oil of Slipperyness: One-use item (works different from a potion, though). A long-lasting Freedom of Movement or Grease effect, depending on how it’s used. It’s of Uncommon rarity, so you might see it often.
    Periapt of Health: You’re already immune to disease. Avoid like the plague (pun intended!)
    Periapt of Proof against Poison: Immunity to poison (both the condition and the damage). Did I mention that it requires no attunement?
    Periapt of Wound Closure: Requires attunement. Death saving throws are rolled at the start of your next turn. This stabilizes you, if you’re dying, at the start of your next turn. Make the math: as long as you lose no more HP, you cannot die. Furthermore, it’s also useful if you make lots of uses of short rests, because then you can double the healing from your Hit Dice.
    Quaal’s Feather Tokens: One-use items that have a set of decent benefits. Swan Boat gives you a large boat for an entire day, Tree allows you to spring a 60-ft. tall tree immediately (which can be used as a vertical ram, an elevator, for cover, etc.) Whip provides a magical force whip that deals decent damage up to mid levels as a bonus action.
    Robe of Eyes: Requires attunement. You get a lot of benefits related to sight, such as advantage on Perception checks, superior darkvision and the ability to see invisible and ethereal creatures, but you can’t avert your eyes and you can be easily blinded. Still – it is pretty useful, particularly for the HUGE range of See Invisibility effect done permanently.
    Robe of Scintillating Colors: Requires attunement. While the benefits are pretty good (impose disadvantage on all attack rolls against you, plus a stun effect with decent save DC), it only lasts for one turn and you only get somewhere between 1-3 charges per day. It would have been better if it was a bonus action or a reaction, but it consumes an action, so you’re pretty much wasting 1 turn to get a minor benefit. Reminds me of 4e items. Bleh.
    Saddle of the Cavalier (MC): Cannot be dismounted against your will, and attack rolls against mount have disadvantage. If you fight while mounted, this is a MUST–have item, particularly since it doesn’t require attunement.
    Scarab of Protection: Requires attunement. You gain “spell resistance” (advantage on saving throws against spells, but nothing else), and you can ignore up to 12 failed saves against necromancy spells or effects from undead, but once they’re all gone, the scarab is destroyed. You get a better benefit from other items (that also require attunement), and even while it has a lot of charges, its “legendary” rarity makes it insanely hard to get. Too rare for a meager benefit.
    Scroll of Protection: Yes, so this is a scroll, but its effects are pretty different. You see, this spell works…somewhat like a Magic Circle spell, except specific to one type of creature. Such creature cannot enter the area unless it succeeds on a Charisma save (one of the rarest saves around, actually),and protects for a good amount of time. It’s a personal effect, though, and anyone can use it, so make sure to give it to anyone who really needs it.
    Slippers of Spider Climbing: Cloak of arachnida does this better.
    Stone of Good Luck: Requires attunement. The bad news? Well, it requires attunement. The good ones? +1 to ability checks, which includes initiative checks. It’s pretty obvious why it requires attunement, and being uncommon, you’ll see it soon enough.
    Talisman of Pure Good/Ultimate Evil: Requires attunement by good-aligned/evil aligned creature. You want it for the +2 bonus on spell attack rolls (if you use them, that is) rather than for the insta-destroy effect, even if it’s a good one.
    Tome of Clear Thought/Leadership and Influence/Understanding: As with the manuals above, but for mental stats. Boosting Intelligence or Wisdom isn’t as important as Charisma, tho.
    Winged Boots: Requires attunement. You gain the ability to fly for 4 hours, in 1-minute increments. Other than overland flight, this is a very useful item to have.
    Wings of Flying: Requires attunement. You fly up to 1 hour at a speed of 60 ft. The problem is that you have to use the flight duration ALL AT ONCE, and you have to wait somewhere between 1 hour and 12 hours for the effect to recharge. Not so great, all in all, compared to the winged boots (plus, the boots are uncommon, these are rare. WTF, Wizards?)


    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Potion Miscibility
    As a student of Chemical Engineering, I never had the joy of enjoying (redundancy intended) mixing potions to see their effect. They were gone from 3e, and didn’t return up until now. Thus, for those who never experienced the effect – you can only drink one potion safely, until its duration expires. If you drink more than one (or mix them in one bottle), you can get strange effects, which can be beneficial or harmful. As an example – you can have one or all of the potions lose their effect, turn the potions into a poison, create a bomb of sorts, double the effects and duration of one potion or halve the duration and effects of all, or make one effect permanent. You should be wary of this last one, because it can be both harmful and beneficial – a potion of healing turned permanent might not heal you, but instead increase your max HP amount.

    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Duration of Potion Effects
    As you may have noticed with spells, some now have a duration of “Concentration”, which, as explained on the spells section, it’s essentially a way to hinder the power of casters by making a large amount of spells require sustainment in order to work. Potions blur these, but not constantly. Assume that, unless explicitly said, potions don't require you to concentrate on the effect for it to work.

    Alchemy Jug: Alright, so this isn’t really a poison, but it works. 1/day, you can make the jug produce one kind of liquid, which can be as inoffensive as fresh water (to us carbon-based beings, anyways) to something as dangerous as a vial of poison or a flask of acid. Or, a bunch of condiments, or even booze such as beer and wine. A very useful item, since it can provide a free flask of acid, a free vial of poison, or free booze and water when needed.
    Elixir of Health: A pretty simple potion that heals the blinded, deafened, diseased, paralyzed and poisoned conditions, much like a Restoration spell. Rare, though, so keep relying on your spells (or Cleansing Touch).
    Oil of Etherealness: While it doesn’t work like a typical potion, it does affect only a creature (and not an item), so it appears here. Etherealness for 1 hour is pretty useful as a defensive measure, being a very nasty way to impose disadvantage on attack rolls.
    Philter of Love: Anyone who imbibes this is charmed for 1 hour. The charmed condition is no longer as powerful as it was before, but on the other hand, it makes your Charisma ability checks far, far more potent than before, and that is usually enough.
    Potion of Animal Friendship: As the spell Animal Friendship for 1 hour. Look at the Philter of Love, now look at this. Same thing.
    Potion of Clairvoyance: As the spell Clairvoyance. Requires concentration. The effect is limited, but it’s good as a spying asset of sorts, as long as the area is familiar or you place it somewhere obvious but unfamiliar. The spell itself doesn’t upgrade with higher spell slots (and isn’t part of your list, either), so the potion retains utility until your friendly Wizard gets to Scry on people.
    Potion of Climbing: Gain climbing speed equal to walking speed, advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks to climb for 1 hour. As a common (hence, cheap) potion with no concentration requirement, it’s useful at all times, or at least until you get a reliable way to fly.
    Potion of Diminution: As the “reduce” effect of the Enlarge/Reduce spell for 1d4 hours. While it requires no concentration, you’d prefer the opposite benefit. If you really needed to be Small-sized for some reason, might as well get someone to cast the spell on you, no?
    Potion of Fire Breath: For up to 3 uses or 1 hour, gain ability to breathe fire. It’s uncommon, requires concentration, and allows you to deal damage as the breath weapon of an 11th level Dragonborn with red/gold dragon ancestry – even Dragonborn might want to think about it. Fire, however, is easily resisted.
    Potion of Flying: Gain flying speed equal to walking speed for 1 hour, can hover. Very rare, but if you have it, it’s very useful in case you’re in a dungeon. However, there’s other ways to get flight speeds, and some are more permanent than others.
    Potion of Gaseous Form: As the Gaseous Form spell for 1 hour. Requires no concentration, which is pretty good, though you can drop the effect earlier. If you really need to escape, this is a superb potion, as while you can’t attack or cast spells, you get decent resistances and advantage on physical saving throws, as well as a way of (slowly) flying.
    Potion of Giant Strength (SnB, Fen, THF, MC, Arc): Increases your Strength to that of the specific giant. These potions range from uncommon (Hill) to legendary (Storm), and all of them increase your scores beyond 20, so they’re really good. While the effect lasts for only 1 hour, you don’t require attunement to gain the benefit, so it’s always useful on a pinch. You might only get to find (and probably purchase in bulk) potions of Hill Giant strength, though, which stop being useful as soon as you get Str 20. Nonetheless, they’re must-haves for any character using Strength as their way to deal damage.
    Potion of Growth: As the “enlarge” version of the Enlarge/Reduce spell for 1d4 hours. Now this is more like it – advantage on Strength checks, Strength saving throws, and your weapons deal extra damage…any weapon, not just those that rely on Strength, so it’s free damage. Oh, and it requires no concentration, so it’s even better!
    Potion of Healing: Heals wounds based on rarity. The potion of healing is on the Player’s Handbook, BTW, and was present before – you can get them at 50 gp a vial. The rest are more expensive, but heal slightly more: a potion of supreme healing heals about 45 hp on average, which is a far cry from the 4d8+7 (25) points healed by the strongest potion in 3.5. Keep them around, as there’s no more wand of cure light wounds, and while there’s a staff of healing that restores charges daily, chances are you’ll find potions more accessible. Plus – you can’t use the staff of healing, so there…
    Potion of Heroism: 10 temp. HP, plus the effect of Bless for 1 hour. The temporary hit points will go early on, but the true benefit is the no-concentration Bless effect: +1d4 to any d20 roll you make is IMMENSE on this kind of system with bounded accuracy. If curious: go read the description for the Guidance spell, and now read that of the Bless spell. You get a pretty hefty bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws for up to 1 hour.
    Potion of Invisibility: Invisibility for 1hour or until you attack/cast a spell. For some reason, it’s very rare. The ring is actually better, but chances are you’ll never see one. That said…you don’t need invisibility as the Rogue or Ranger would.
    Potion of Invulnerability: Resistance to all damage for 1 minute. That’s pretty solid. It’s rare, though, so save it for the BBEG.
    Potion of Longevity: Have your physical age reduced. Well…that’s odd, since there’s no mechanical advantages to aging, so it’s purely a roleplaying item. It’s also very rare, and Haste no longer ages you…so it’s purely a roleplaying item.
    Potion of Mind Reading: As the Detect Thoughts spell. Unlike other potions, this one DOES require concentration, so it won’t last for long…and its save DC is pretty low. Oh yeah, and the spell can end if the target passes an Intelligence check against yours, which means the effect also ends.
    Potion of Poison: Cursed item that poisons the drinker. Of course, if you get its true nature, it’s conspicuously hidden as a potion of healing, so you can use it for subtle assassination. Remember: the Paladin no longer loses its powers when using poison in any way, except if it follows the Oath of Devotion (and even then!), so you’re not prevented from using it. In fact, it can be a clever way to deal with evil for an Oath of Vengeance Paladin.
    Potion of Resistance: Resistance to 1 type of damage for 1 hour. This works with all 10 kinds of energy damage, making it pretty useful. You have no control over its type, but it’s uncommon, so you’ll see most of them. Any one is useful, as long as it isn’t redundant – that makes a potion of poison resistance somewhat useless compared to the rest.
    Potion of Speed: As the Haste spell for 1 minute. It requires no concentration, making this potion incredibly valuable. Note that the extra attack gained via the Haste spell doesn’t consume your bonus action, so you can really exploit it.
    Potion of Vitality: Removes exhaustion, disease or poison, and allows you to regain max HP with your Hit Dice when resting. The primary benefit is already good; the secondary benefit not as much, but you get a lot of mileage out of it, since if you haven’t spent all your Hit Dice (or, say, less than a quarter of your Hit Dice), you can heal completely with a short rest afterwards. Not essential, but nice to have nonetheless.
    Potion of Water Breathing: Allows breathing underwater for 1 hour. If it had a swim speed, it would be better. The only reason why it’s not worse is because the wondrous item that grants this permanently is rarer, and it helps you on a pinch. If your DM is stingy with selling potions or you’re mostly on land, this potion will be less useful.


    Ring of Animal Influence: Allows using Animal Friendship, Fear or Speak with Animals by expending charges. The Fear spell only works on beasts, though. Useful if you need to handle beasts, but for the most part, not that impressive.
    Ring of Djinni Summoning: Allows you to summon a djinni for 1 hour. Djinn are pretty decent elemental creatures, but you’ll seek to use it for more menial uses…something like what you’d command an unseen servant for, except the djinni has better stats. If the djinni dies, though, the item becomes worthless.
    Ring of Elemental Command: Grants specific benefits, based on the element. Requires attunement, and all are legendary, so consider yourself lucky to have one. All rings allow you to use Dominate Monster on the elemental to which the ring is attuned to, and the ability to speak one of the elemental languages as well.
    • Ring of Air Elemental Command: Permanent Feather Fall effect, and if you slay an air elemental, you also get resistance to lightning damage, permanent flying speed (and ability to hover) and the ability to cast Chain Lightning, Gust of Wind or Wind Wall. Arguably the best of the bunch, if only because of the permanent flight effect and the fact that lightning damage can be pretty bothersome.
    • Ring of Earth Elemental Command: Able to walk on difficult terrain, and if you slay an earth elemental, you also get resistance to acid damage, the ability to walk through solid earth or rock as difficult terrain, and the ability to cast Stone Shape, Stoneskin or Wall of Stone. While you might only be interested in the Stoneskin spell, the ring is nonetheless pretty solid.
    • Ring of Fire Elemental Command: Resistance to fire damage, and if you slay a fire elemental, you instead gain immunity to fire damage and the ability to cast Burning Hands, Fireball and Wall of Fire. I’d say it’s the weakest of the rings, but immunity to fire (a pretty common element used by enemies) is completely worthwhile. The spells are nothing to celebrate at, tho.
    • Ring of Water Elemental Command: Able to walk through water, and if you slay a water elemental, you get the ability to breathe underwater, a swim speed = your walking speed, and the ability to cast Create or Destroy Water, Control Water, Ice Storm or Wall of Ice. Arguably the weakest of the rings (even more than the ring of fire elemental command) since it provides no resistance, and you can get both the ability to breathe underwater and a swim speed without attunement.

    Ring of Evasion: 1-3 times per day, turn a failed Dexterity save into a successful one. Pretty useful, though a far cry from the 3.5 version. Still, not bad, now that spells and AoE effects can be pretty devastating.
    Ring of Feather Falling: As the Feather Fall spell but permanent. Requires attunement, though, and it’s rare enough that you’d prefer a different way to gain the benefit. Not like you’re going to fall a lot anyways.
    Ring of Free Action: As the Freedom of Movement spell, but permanent and requires no concentration. Immunity to paralysis and the restrained condition is excellent, and you’re not devoid of movement. Note that the Oath of Devotion gets Freedom of Movement as an Oath spell, so it’s less useful for them.
    Ring of Invisibility: Turn invisible as an action, lasts until attacking, casting a spell, or spending a bonus action to dismiss the effect. You might not need to use it a lot, so give it to your friendly Rogue or Ranger (or Bard!) ASAP. Requires attunement AND is insanely hard to find, though.
    Ring of Jumping: Allows you to cast the Jump spell at-will, but only on yourself. Requires attunement (boo!). It’s uncommon and the benefit is pretty nice, though.
    Ring of Mind Shielding: Immunity to most divination effects, but if you die, it traps your soul. The four kinds of immunities are not that impressive, and the effect that you get if you die barely helps for purposes of Raise Dead and other spells that can revive you. Requires attunement, as well, which sorta ruins it.
    Ring of Protection: +1 to AC and saving throws, but requires attunement and is rare. No different than the cloak of protection in any case, except it’s on a ring. If you find a useful cloak, then the ring might be worthwhile.
    Ring of Regeneration: Regain HP every 10 minutes and regrow body parts. The amount of HP you regenerate is decent, and better than other kinds of regeneration.
    Ring of Resistance: Resistance to one damage type. Requires attunement. A good complement to an armor of resistance.
    Ring of Shooting Stars: Expend charges to duplicate Faerie Fire, create ball lightning or shooting stars; can cast Dancing Lights and Light at-will. The at-will cantrips are pretty nice, and the effects are actually pretty good (and the effects regenerate, making the ring pretty useful). Very rare, though, and requires attunement.
    Ring of Spell Storing: Allows you to store up to 5 levels worth of spells. Requires attunement, though it’s not so rare actually. This allows you to save a spell you consider important, provided you have some downtime. Very useful for you.
    Ring of Spell Turning: Gain advantage on saving throws against spells that target only you; reflect spell of 7th level or lower on a nat 20 saving throw. Requires attunement, and is insanely rare, so you might never get to see it…but if you do, it’s a pretty awesome item that nonetheless gets upstaged by other spells and class features (see: Oath of Ancients). Even then, it’s worthwhile to have, though maybe another character may benefit more.
    Ring of Swimming: Gain swim speed of 40 ft. One of the few rings that requires no attunement, and you get a faster swimming speed than most similar items that grant swim speeds.
    Ring of Telekinesis: Allows using Telekinesis spell at-will. Requires attunement and is very rare, but otherwise pretty useful. The effect is limited to objects, and only those that aren’t worn or carried, but works automatically otherwise.
    Ring of the Ram: Up to 3/day, expend charges to attack 1 creature (+7 bonus, 2d10/charge damage, push 5 ft.) or break an object within 60 ft. Unlike in 3.5, the ring of the ram reloads each day and remains useful for longer. Requires attunement, though.
    Ring of Three Wishes: Get 3 wishes. Simple and effective. Requires no attunement, but loses its power once discharged. Use wisely.
    Ring of Warmth: Resistance to cold damage, unharmed by temperatures of -50 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s uncommon and requires attunement, but otherwise it’s a nice alternative to a ring of cold resistance.
    Ring of Water Walking: Allows walking on any liquid surface. Another ring that requires NO attunement, so it’s pretty good to have stowed on hand for when you need it.
    Ring of X-Ray Vision: Allows to see through solid matter for 1 minute. Requires attunement, and unless you succeed on a Constitution save, you gain one level of exhaustion (which is BAD, since 6 levels of exhaustion equal death) if used subsequently before taking a long rest. A quirky item, great for when you absolutely need to check what’s behind the door.


    Rod of Absorption: As a reaction, absorb a spell targeting you (up to 50 levels worth of spells). The effect itself is already good, but as a spellcaster, you can expend the stored energy to cast your own spells. Note, though, that you can’t recharge the item once it absorbs up to its limit, so use sparingly. Requires attunement.
    Rod of Alertness: Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks, able to cast four detection spells, or make a protective aura 1/day that provides a protective aura for 10 minutes. ALL of the properties are extremely useful – the detection spells allow you to sense invisible creatures, magical objects and auras, a wide variety of creatures, as well as diseases and poisons, for a wide variety of options (note, though, just as the spells), but there’s no limit to their use. The only limited ability grants the benefit of a Cloak or Ring of Protection, but in a wide area and stacking with the bonus, which is valuable on a system with bounded accuracy. Requires attunement, though.
    Rod of Lordly Might: As +3 mace, but with a variety of properties. The one. The only. The legendary (no, really; that’s its rarity!) Rod of Lordly Might. Arguably one of the most useful tools at your disposal, since it has the equivalent of three different one-handed weapons, one of them being a flametongue (the other being a battleaxe and a spear, thus hitting all three physical damage types). It also keeps the pole version, the battering ram and the ability to detect magnetic north and depth. As well, you get three 1/day powers, including the ability to paralyze or drain the life of a struck creature, or frighten all enemies within range, which are no slouches. The only real problem is that it requires attunement, but you’d require attunement for the flametongue alone, so it’s a bargain for all you get. The closest thing you’ll get to an artifact without being one.
    Rod of Resurrection: Spend charges to heal or resurrect. Requires attunement and is legendary, but it’s one of the few items where it explicitly says that attunement is restricted to certain divine classes, which include the Paladin. Using the item to resurrect incurs, much like with wands, a 5% chance that the item is lost (or destroyed?), but if used to Heal, you can use it 4 times/day without penalty.
    Rod of Rulership: 1/day, creatures within a wide range are charmed for 8 hours. The effect is closer to a dominate effect than a charm effect, since they regard you as a trusted leader, but other than that, it’s relatively easy to break. Also, requires attunement.
    Rod of Security: Allows transport to a safe demiplane with variable duration. Your party can spend time in relative comfort for about 40-50 days. The effect lets you recover HP really fast, and you’re always provided with water and food, so it’s good for a protracted stay. The only rod that doesn’t require attunement, though it takes 10 days to recharge (not even a week! A tenday!)
    Tentacle Rod: Use to deal damage and grapple opponents. The restrictions are fiercer than actually grappling the opponent, but you need to bind it with all three tentacles. Requires attunement. Almost a challenge for the rod of lordly might, if you know what I mean. If you know what I mean.


    Spoiler: Friendly Reminder: Wands are no longer expendable
    One of the big problems of wands were that they were expendable. Once created, you had about 50 uses (2nd Edition had about 20?), and then the effect ended. 3.5 changed this with the eternal wand, and 4e switched it around with permanent uses (and made them implements, too). 5e takes a hybrid approach – you get less uses, but they recharge daily; however, spend all charges, and you have a chance of destroying the wand. All wands are pretty rare, and a good deal require attunement, but they’re not specific to any spellcaster, so you can make use of all of them.

    Wand of Binding: Allows using Hold Monster and Hold Person, or assist in escaping binds and grapples. The save DCs for both spells are relatively high, so all three effects are quite useful. The assisted escape is merely advantage, but with your saves, that is almost dead certainty.
    Wand of Enemy Detection: Detects nearest hostile creature for up to 1 minute. You only know its direction, not exactly where it is, but it’s still useful nonetheless. That said, it’s as rare as other wands and requires attunement, so it’s not the best of wands.
    Wand of Fear: Allows using Command specifically to make enemies flee, or create a cone of fear. The cone spends more charges, and has a decent saving throw DC. Both effects are useful early on, but start losing their shine as you gain more levels.
    Wand of Fireballs: Allows using Fireball, with the level of the spell based on how many charges you expend. You need to expend all charges to use Fireball at full strength, but you risk destroying the wand in the process. Used tactically, you can make it last for quite some time – however, by the time you reach level 15, you’ll probably make all the use of it that you would. By that moment, either give it to an ally, or make it blow by always using it at full strength.
    Wand of Lightning Bolts: Allows using Lightning Bolt, with the level of the spell based on how many charges you expend. Same as with the wand of fireballs, except you get a better spell in exchange.
    Wand of Magic Detection: Allows using Detect Magic. Unlike other wands, this one is never destroyed, and doesn’t require attunement. That said, the rod of lordly might offers the same benefit and never discharges, so it’s useful early on. Has less charges than other wands, as well.
    Wand of Magic Missiles: Allows using Magic Missile, with the level of the spell based on how many charges you expend. One of the few spells anyone, not just you, can use (it doesn’t require attunement, actually), but not very powerful.
    Wand of Paralysis: Paralyze a target by expending charges. This wand requires an attack roll (with your spell attack bonus, BTW), so it’s insanely powerful, and lasts for long. It requires a saving throw each round, but since it doesn’t specify which, the best assumption is that it uses your own saving throw, which is also pretty nice if your Charisma is as high as it should. Very useful item.
    Wand of Polymorph: Allows using Polymorph. Take note – Polymorph works quite differently, essentially letting you play any beast (and only beasts!) by replacing the target’s traits for the creature’s ones. Early on, it can be useful, but later on you’ll find yourself devoid of good beasts to use (other than dinosaurs, maybe). Note that it replaces EVERYTHING: even Extra Attack, the ability to cast spells or use class features, amongst others. You can use it against unwilling targets, but it ends up giving them a bunch of HP and a new form (albeit it can be a weaker form), reverting once killed. It can be used tactically – have a weak opponent, then keep the enemy transformed for a while (you need to concentrate on the effect, BTW) while you down the others, and then focus fire on it to hope the damage overflow causes damage to the original target.
    Wand of Secrets: Allows detecting secret doors or traps. Like the wand of magic detection, it has few charges, but requires no attunement. Super-useful when you don’t have someone trained at Perception or Investigate.
    Wand of the War Mage: +1, +2 or +3 to spell attack rolls, and ignore half cover when making a spell attack. You lack spells that require spell attack rolls, though.
    Wand of Web: Allows using Web. Remember that Web is a Strength saving throw, so use it on weak enemies to keep them bound for a long time. The saving throw is pretty high, as well. Just…don’t waste it on strong (or huge) enemies, and you’ll be fine.
    Wand of Wonder: Allows using a variety of effects. This is essentially the Rod of Wonder but as a wand instead. You can get positive or negative effects, but since you determine the target before the effect is done, you never have control over it.
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2015-04-09 at 10:03 PM. Reason: Adding Wondrous Items from the DMG

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player


    After such an extensive analysis of the class, its class features and subclasses, all races, feats and spells released so far, what else is left to say? Perhaps it’s a moment to address the changes between editions.

    If compared to earlier editions, the Paladin has improved considerably. Its spellcasting has improved, it has combat skill comparable to that of the Fighter, and it has respectable survivability. Its Sacred Oath options provide for distinction in builds beyond the “mounted knight/ubercharger”, and the class gains new features almost every level, rather than mere improvements to existing abilities after a certain point (roughly 6th to 9th level). When compared to martial characters, the Paladin is comparable to the Fighter (if not superior, based on the choice of Martial Archetype vs. Sacred Oath), though the Barbarian has a slight edge in terms of survivability due to its class features providing a great deal of reductions. The Paladin specializes on neutralization of status effects through immunities and bonuses to Saving Throws coupled with a variety of ways to grant bonuses or Advantage to such via spells; in contrast, the Barbarian can resist virtually all kinds of physical damage and extend that benefit to allies. When compared to full spellcasters, the Paladin remains behind the full spellcasters of the game, lacking the flexibility of higher-level spell slots and the flexibility of spells in general. The theme of the Paladin has expanded to “support allies or deal burst damage with riders”, and most of its spell list reflects that; however, they lack access to some solid buffs or thematic fits, and suffer from the lack of proficiency in Constitution saves and cantrips to mitigate this (in terms of preventing damage and thus the constant roll of Constitution saves). Despite the early onset of the rules, it’s pretty obvious that some of the problem spells of earlier editions passed almost unscathed, and some still retain their old durations; some, like Gate, are somewhat more controlled, but others like Polymorph, Shapechange and Animate Dead can be a menace. Furthermore, with the loss of Base Attack Bonus and the unification of Proficiency Rules, the gulf between martial characters and spellcasters is somewhat minimal, which exacerbates the problem: the difference between martial characters is Extra Attack and a few boosts to damage, which can be compensated with some choices. The greatest example is the War Domain Cleric compared to the Paladin; the War Cleric has the same proficiencies as the Paladin in terms of weapons and armor, shares some of the Paladin’s spells, has a simulation of the Extra Attack feature and the same effect as Improved Divine Smite through its Divine Strike feature, but has 9th level spells and resistance to physical damage whereas the Paladin has 5th level spellcasting and no such resistance. Even if equating the resistances and giving the Paladin advantage on that regard, 9th level spells are very powerful. This is ONLY dealing with the Cleric’s spellcasting and its domain feature. A College of War Bard has actual Extra Attack, almost the same proficiencies as the Paladin save for Heavy Armor, and the ability to blend spellcasting and swordplay (or sharpshooting) seamlessly, whereas the Paladin can only do so with bonus action spells or through a specific class feature; that said, they also have 9th level spells, Expertise and the ability to apply their proficiency bonus to a bunch of ability checks, including Shove, Grapple, Initiative and spells that require making ability checks (like Dispel Magic), albeit not to saving throws lacking proficiency. Both classes can stumble upon the Paladin’s turf (physical combat) reliably, but the Paladin lacks things to stumble upon the other territory (high-level spellcasting) to compensate.

    Even then, the Paladin still has merit, though its merit is passive rather than active. Between the Auras and the passive nature of some spells, the Paladin aids the party just by being there, something other classes can’t really boast of. Furthermore, the Smite-based spells provide a good amount of lockdown, something only the Fighter and the Monk can truly boast about (and the Fighter only through the Battlemaster Martial Archetype). They suffer a lot from the loss of proficiency with Constitution saving throws and some spells that should have been exclusive to them (Warding Bond, for example), but they have a good amount of staying power without much thought.

    As a final bit of food for thought, Person_Man made a comment while asking for suggestions about the guide (thanks also to CyberThread for his assistance on color-coding; both were in agreement even if separately). While different, his point is interesting to hear: “Paladin in particular reads like a class that's very cool and balanced at low-mid levels, but is increasingly not worth it beyond level 6 or 7. In particular, the Paladin's spellcasting progression just sucks compared to every other spellcasters, and their high level class abilities, many of which are limited by Rests, are not nearly as impressive as those granted by spells. Also, Divine Smite depends on spell slots, and not your Paladin class level. Mearls confirmed this in a tweet. So Paladin 2/Bard or Sorcerer gets a lot more slots to draw upon then a strait Paladin. Similarly, Paladin/Warlock gets slots that can be refreshed by a Short Rest, instead of a Long Rest. (Though their usefulness is obviously dependent on how often your DM lets you take Short Rests). And while the Paladin capstone is cool (and probably a Blue ability), its pretty weak compared to Wish or Simulacrum or auto-Divine Intervention.”
    Last edited by T.G. Oskar; 2015-04-09 at 10:05 PM. Reason: Finally, the Conclusion!

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    (...and one for just plain Paranoia)
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    I just want to note that Half-Elves get +2 to Charisma and +1 to two other stats. I don't know if the reference to one stat in your synopsis was a typo or an omission, but I figured I'd point it out regardless. Besides that, I think this is a great look at the Paladin class, and it's entertaining too. (My own Paladin, a Half-Elf who's going to take Oath of the Ancients and act as a more damage-focused, heal-y Ranger, wouldn't fall under most of what you're suggesting but he's not really the typical Paladin so I suppose I can't complain about that!)

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Yorrin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Great looking guide! After having looked the whole thing over I notice that you're greatly favoring Str builds over Dex builds, when things aren't nearly as clear-cut as that. Dex can be used for a wide variety of builds (SnB with Rapier, TWF with shortswords (or rapiers with the feat), Duelist- as you've already pointed out, and Ranged). It also is used for Dex saves and Initiative both of which are important (as opposed to Str, which is only useful for athletics based checks aside from str-based weapons). Considering both ability scores equally viable should be a starting place for any serious Paladin (or Fighter). This in turn greatly improves the rating of Dex races like Elves and Halflings.

    Aside from that I think you've got an excellent analysis of the class and I'll certainly point my party's Paladin in this direction if he starts looking for some insight.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by nmott View Post
    I just want to note that Half-Elves get +2 to Charisma and +1 to two other stats. I don't know if the reference to one stat in your synopsis was a typo or an omission, but I figured I'd point it out regardless. Besides that, I think this is a great look at the Paladin class, and it's entertaining too. (My own Paladin, a Half-Elf who's going to take Oath of the Ancients and act as a more damage-focused, heal-y Ranger, wouldn't fall under most of what you're suggesting but he's not really the typical Paladin so I suppose I can't complain about that!)
    Omission, really. I made the reference to variant Human, which has a similar setup (but with completely free choice in ability scores), but other things have escaped my analysis (such as, for example, that Sorcerers also have proficiency in Constitution saves, something I figured when I had written the guide already).

    That said: there is "support" of sorts for an Archer or TWF Paladin, if you look at the feats, and the spells have the right amount of bonus damage (Elemental Weapons, Divine Favor/Crusader's Mark; Imp. Divine Smite applies to all attacks you make) and spike damage (all Smites have no range restriction), so it's not entirely bad. My suggestions aim to be less inclined towards one side or the other, but it's hard to make a Paladin beyond a THF weapon, weapon & shield or fencing because the Fighting Style provides yet another benefit.
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Great Weapon Fighting: an interesting ability, if not awesome. You reroll all 1s and 2s on a damage die, but it doesn’t mean that it’s only ONE die. Rules Lawyers will support the idea that it’s EVERY damage die that falls into 1 or 2, though only if rerolled once (thus, two straight 1s or 2s, or a 1 followed by a 2 or viceversa won’t help, but everything else does). That also means…Sneak Attack damage dice, damage dice from spells, damage dice from Smites… Notice just how good it is?
    It's good, but you're overestimating it. It, together with a greatsword, comes out to a +10% to +15% overall damage boost over Dueling fighting style + longsword, which puts it on par with any of the other fighting styles.

    Also it specifically says that when you reroll a die you have to keep the new result.

    Improved Divine Smite: Jumpin’ Jehosaphat on a Pogo Stick; is there a way to make this any better? The Cleric has a way to add 1d8 to its attacks, but no Extra Attacks unless it multiclasses; the Fighter has lots of attacks but requires spending a not-exactly renewable resource (Superiority Dice) to gain the extra 1d8 (or higher) on its attacks, and only if they take a specific Martial Archetype (the Battlemaster). The Paladin has both the damage AND the Extra Attack, but it also applies to any other attack. Two-Weapon Fighting? All attacks get the extra damage. Opportunity Attacks? All the attacks gain the extra damage. Compared to the Cleric’s Divine Strike, this works with every attack, not just one. It’s also right when you cross the half-mark threshold, so it’s pretty good. AND it stacks with Divine Smite.
    You're selling Clerics short. Clerics get their 1d8 (or 2d8) damage per TURN, not per ROUND. That means they can get it twice per round if they make an opportunity attack, or a fighter uses Commanding Shout on them.

    The same applies to the Rogue's Sneak Attack as well.

    You seriously don't think haste is amazing on a Paladin? Are you nuts?

    Defensive Duelist (Fen): One of the few feats with prerequisites, but a disappointing one. Adding your proficiency bonus to your AC is formidable, but when it applies only for ONE attack, then it’s not so much. It also consumes your reaction, which could be used on Opportunity Attacks, spells or otherwise. (Combat Expertise)
    You get the AC bonus AFTER you've already been hit, thus negating the attack. Whenever you activate it, you negate an attack that would've otherwise hit you. This feat is incredibly good.

    That said, the mount is not really spectacular
    You are nuts. The mount is not only permanent, but unlike any other mount, it's both intelligent, and under your control. In the mount rules, it says that normal mounts can't be commanded to attack, and intelligent mounts can't be controlled. Your mount is both intelligent AND under your control, so you're basically getting free attacks every turn. The Warhorse's attack is the same damage as a greatsword, the Warhorse has 18 strength, and if it traveled 10 feet towards its target before attacking it gets a free knockdown, and the chance for a second attack! This thing is leaps and bounds ahead of a Ranger's animal companion, and you get it for FREE!
    Last edited by Strill; 2014-09-25 at 12:22 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Vow of enmity last for one minute or until the target drops to 0. So that is 10 rounds of having advantage. VoE is for sure a light blue ability in my book. this also makes Soul of Vengeance better and at LEAST a blue ability.
    Last edited by Tiren; 2014-09-25 at 12:27 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Another little thing you missed: If you get certain skill proficiencies from a background that you already have, you get to pick new ones instead. From any of the skills.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Might I ask how the longsword is definitively beaten out by the battleaxe? LS costs 5 gp more and weights 1 lb less, but aside from that the statistics are identical.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Person_Man's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Bravo on this well thought out guide. You obviously put a ton of work into it, and its appreciated.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Great guide! I haven't finished yet, but I plan to. Personally, I'm very excited to play a paladin.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    GMT +1

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    I'd like to point out that SnB allows you to cast all of your spells, as you can provide S/M components with you shield hand if you put your symbol on it.
    Just a little thing THF lacks.

    And could you list all applicable mounts? It would be nice.
    Last edited by Yenek; 2014-09-25 at 12:16 PM. Reason: plural ffs
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Burlew
    (again I have to wonder why anyone gives a crap about whether it's fair to depict monsters are evil in fantasy games)
    I CARE. I care, and every goddamn person in the world should care, because it's objectification of a sentient being. It doesn't matter that the sentient being in question is a fictional species, it's saying that it's OK for people who look funny to be labeled as Evil by default.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    I have nothing to add really but thanks for putting together such a thorough guide. When I get around to making a paladin I'll definitely be giving this a good read :)

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Albuquerque, NM

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Daishain View Post
    Might I ask how the longsword is definitively beaten out by the battleaxe? LS costs 5 gp more and weights 1 lb less, but aside from that the statistics are identical.
    Yeah, I was particularly struck by this thought as well.

    In general, because the weapons are internally consistent with themselves, there is a lot less wiggle room for what is better - you can simply figure out what damage type, attribute type, versatility and handedness and build whatever you want.
    Trollbait extraordinaire

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Might be worth noting that Disadvantage for fighting an adjacent opponent with a Lance is a minor annoyance if you are gaining Advantage from the Mounted Combat feat. Plus, if you are using Find Steed, your mount can help you kill an adjacent foe.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
    T.G. Oskar's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin
    Great looking guide! After having looked the whole thing over I notice that you're greatly favoring Str builds over Dex builds, when things aren't nearly as clear-cut as that. Dex can be used for a wide variety of builds (SnB with Rapier, TWF with shortswords (or rapiers with the feat), Duelist- as you've already pointed out, and Ranged). It also is used for Dex saves and Initiative both of which are important (as opposed to Str, which is only useful for athletics based checks aside from str-based weapons). Considering both ability scores equally viable should be a starting place for any serious Paladin (or Fighter). This in turn greatly improves the rating of Dex races like Elves and Halflings.
    Chalk it up to how the Fighting Styles appear before the Approaches to the Paladin. This would be a moment in which I'd use the combat style abbreviations and color-code differently. Indeed, the Fencer and the Archer make far better use of Dexterity than Strength. The TWF Paladin swings equally in both ways: the Handaxe and the Shortsword are both very nice weapons for them, and once you get Dual Wielder, you could easily get two Battleaxes and deal quite a bit of damage with Strength alone; Two-Weapon Fighting is unique now in that it no longer favors Dexterity over Strength.

    That said, a Sword & Boarder and a Two-Hander will favor Strength over Dexterity, since they're most likely to wear Heavy Armor. The TWF Paladin, no longer bound to high Dexterity scores, can apply Strength or Dexterity equally.

    Indeed, Dexterity saves are one of the three most common saves (Strength is the fourth most common, as spells like Web and Entangle require them), and winning Initiative is key to winning the battle, but that doesn't mean Strength is unimportant. Indeed, I may have over-favored Strength, but when re-adjusting, chances are that you'll need to have both Strength AND Dexterity at Black, since Encumbrance (which is still there, even if only briefly mentioned), Strength saves and Strength checks for special melee attacks like Shove and Grapple are just as important, but some of them won't really apply to the classes that favor Dexterity after all. I'll probably adjust the scoring based on the fighting style, though if you look at each Fighting Style in detail, you'll notice Dexterity will go over Strength in the classes I mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    It's good, but you're overestimating it. It, together with a greatsword, comes out to a +10% to +15% overall damage boost over Dueling fighting style + longsword, which puts it on par with any of the other fighting styles.

    Also it specifically says that when you reroll a die you have to keep the new result.
    It depends on what you define as "damage dice". The first time I dealt with it, I went with the strict definition of the reroll: you can do only one reroll (it happened because one of my players did that question, and he's a HUGE fan of Two-Handers, and there was a slight rules debate on that). Subsequent readings and forum consensus made me think otherwise: the damage dice is not limited to the weapon's damage dice, but also all added damage. In this case, if your weapon damage dice (i.e. the 2d6 from a Greatsword or Maul) and your Imp. Divine Smite damage all range between 1 and 2, you'd reroll all three, thus improving the average damage from all styles. That makes GWF more powerful than it seems, at least when dealing with dynamic damage; the average roll is slightly higher than usual, but it ends up better if you have multiple damage dice.

    You're selling Clerics short. Clerics get their 1d8 (or 2d8) damage per TURN, not per ROUND. That means they can get it twice per round if they make an opportunity attack, or a fighter uses Commanding Shout on them.

    The same applies to the Rogue's Sneak Attack as well.
    Yet, the Paladin's wording on nearly all added damage (Divine Smite, Imp. Divine Smite, the Divine Favor/Crusader's Mark and Elemental Weapons spells) is less ambiguous: if a DM rules that "turn" only applies to your turn, then those two classes suffer. Trust me, I'm aware that the consensus is that "turn" doesn't apply to your specific turn and thus the damage can apply in those other cases; it is the ambiguity that makes me sell the Paladin slightly higher. Also: note that the War Cleric (which fits most of the traits that would make it a challenge to the Paladin) and the Rogue lack Fighting Styles beyond multiclassing, which can be an advantage to the martial classes (also, the Rogue lacks Extra Attack and the War Cleric can do additional attacks a limted amount of times per day only).

    You seriously don't think haste is amazing on a Paladin? Are you nuts?
    Yes, I don't think it's amazing, because it's not what Haste originally was. There's a reason for it, and it's not that far-fetched.

    First, it requires an action to cast: that is, you can't cast it and benefit from it in the same turn (or at least, not in the same way as you'd like it). Thus, you need to spend your first turn limiting your attack potential for it.

    Second, it's Concentration-duration. It WILL conflict with many other spells, such as Crusader's Mantle, Elemental Weapons and Hunter's Mark (which you also get). You need to get loads of damage-dealing on each of your attacks to make the extra attack worthwhile; note that this is the most efficient use of your extra action, because you'll rarely Disengage or Hide, and you'll rarely Dash. The Paladin has very good Concentration-duration spells which compete directly with it.

    Third, its actual duration. Its 1-minute duration means you can't cast it before battle (though it lasts somewhat longer than before, where it was 1 round/CL). Thus, you HAVE to cast it once battle commences.

    Think of what you said, and think of this corollary/counterpoint: Haste is AMAZING on a Paladin...when cast on him/her by someone else. Your party Wizard (or Bard) will have only ONE Concentration slot, so you're competing for his attention. If you can justify that attention by ensuring that extra action, the AC and the bonus to Dexterity saves is better on you than on the party's Rogue, Cleric or Fighter (or Barbarian, or Monk, or Ranger), and that is better than disabling a target or buffing itself, then chances are you'll get it. In the same way, if Hasting yourself is better than providing +1d4 damage to all allies in range (or +1d4 bonus to attack rolls and ability checks on three or more allies), 2d6 points of healing as a bonus action, or a plethora of boons, then by all means do so. I'm sure it'd be better if you can save that slot by having someone else cast the spell on you, then cast that spell you desire.

    It's still Black, if only because it's still a very good spell. It just conflicts with other spells. That said, if there's further discussion about the benefits of the spell, I might raise it to Blue (but never to Light Blue; the original versions of Haste were better, drawback or not).

    You get the AC bonus AFTER you've already been hit, thus negating the attack. Whenever you activate it, you negate an attack that would've otherwise hit you. This feat is incredibly good.
    Feats in this game are pretty scarce, and they compete with ability score improvements. There's also bounded accuracy. Other feats grant you up to three benefits, while this one (and Charger) grant only one, which is why they're normally so low. Also, it requires wielding a Finesse weapon AND having Dex 13, meaning you have to be a Fencer to gain the most benefit.

    Going by these parameters, it'd be normally Red for everyone, since Sword & Boarders will rarely have good Dex (if they choose to wear Heavy Armor), Archers can't wield a Finesse weapon while attacking on range, and the rest involve deliberately choosing to use Light Armor and have high Dexterity (TWF now equally favors Strength or Dexterity). And, of course, Two-Handers lack a two-handed Finesse weapon (and no Finesse weapon is also Versatile). Only the Fencer gains real benefit.

    On the Fencer, you might get more punch out of it, but you have another thing that competes for your reaction: Opportunity Attacks. The Fencer can also use the Sentinel feat reliably, which has two ways to consume your Reaction as well (which is why it's Blue overall). Sentinel alone is a very strong feat that competes with Defensive Duelist directly; with 5 "slots" to fill with Feats (6 if you count variant Human), you have to carefully consider which is better.

    Now, let's say you're not interested in tanking (which is the focus of Sentinel after all), and that you want to have something to neglect the blow (that is, you're interested in the "parry" mechanic of Defensive Duelist). The Reaction only protects you from ONE attack, not from all subsequent attacks. If an enemy attacks you once (because it chooses to), then the feat is nearly 100% efficient in negating that attack, since you can choose when to apply it to effectively negate the attack. However, what if the opponent has Multiattack? A good deal of monsters of all Challenges have Multiattack, meaning that, at best, you'll block one of the many attacks they'll make on you. At best, you'll block 1 of 2 attacks; at worst, you'll be playing roulette to negate the worst of six to seven attacks at once (Marilith, Hydra; it might change in the actual MM, but for the most part, they're the kings of attacks). Once it's used, you consume your ONLY Reaction for the round, meaning you're vulnerable to other attacks AND you can't take advantage of Reactions for something else (like Commander's Strike or Opportunity Attacks). In that regard, it ends up being Black for the Fencer: good choice, but not as good when you see it overall.

    You are nuts. The mount is not only permanent, but unlike any other mount, it's both intelligent, and under your control. In the mount rules, it says that normal mounts can't be commanded to attack, and intelligent mounts can't be controlled. Your mount is both intelligent AND under your control, so you're basically getting free attacks every turn. The Warhorse's attack is the same damage as a greatsword, the Warhorse has 18 strength, and if it traveled 10 feet towards its target before attacking it gets a free knockdown, and the chance for a second attack! This thing is leaps and bounds ahead of a Ranger's animal companion, and you get it for FREE!
    Note the example you give of a mount: the Warhorse. The weight of the spell is focused on your choice of mount.

    That said: you have few spell slots all around: only 4 spell slots of 2nd level tops, which means 4 daily uses of Find Steed per day. You spend 1 to get the Mount, but once it's done, it's permanent: that'd make it useful. You mention the perks of the spell: the mount is intelligent, it's loyal (therefore it will follow your commands). The trouble of the spell is that it doesn't really improve its survivability: the Warhorse still has 3d10+3 hit points, still has an AC of 11 (unless you buy barding), and has no bonuses on saves, so it'll remain with the same weaknesses to Charisma saves (and Intelligence saves will still be low, even though the loss will be mitigated by having Int 6). Therefore, if the Warhorse is dead, you need to cast Find Steed again to revive it.

    Now, consider the second point: the Paladin has a limited amount of spells it can prepare each day. Thus, Find Steed is competing with every other spell in the Paladin's list. This requires setting up priorities: what spell from the (1/2 Paladin level + Cha mod) "slots" I have to sacrifice for Find Steed? With full Charisma, that's 15 slots for the Paladin, which has 45 spells total (not counting the 10 free ones you get from your Sacred Oath). Of those, 4 are Light Blue (you'd be nuts not to have them), and 8 which are Blue (that is, you should seriously consider getting them). That leaves three spells from all the Black choices, one of which is Find Steed. If you don't have full Charisma (it can happen) that's one or two less slots. If you aren't Paladin 20, that means one or two less slots. A Paladin 16 with Cha 18 will have exactly 12 spells to prepare each day; that means it'll compete with the best spells the Paladin has to offer. Are you willing to sacrifice a spell that could be far better to have your Mount survive each battle?

    There's one more thing. Find Steed competes with Divine Smite as well. All spells do. Find Steed has to be far, far better than Divine Smite or the Blue spells to earn a slot permanently. Else, you can cast the spell on downtime (if it exists) and then prepare better spells. See why I set it up as Blue? The color-coding on the spells implies which of them should be part of your daily repertoire, not just the actual worth of the spell. Perhaps I went a bit too far when I mentioned that the mount wasn't that valuable (not a hyperbole, since the mount gains some boons but not the survivability of 3.5's mount), but it doesn't merit having the spell prepared at all times...

    ...unless you're focusing on Mounted Combat. If you have the Mounted Combatant feat and you wield a Lance, chances are you want a strong and efficient mount every time. In that regard, Find Steed becomes Blue. I could debate that Find Steed becomes Light Blue because a Mounted Combatant is nothing without its Mount, but YMMV. Otherwise, Mounted Combat becomes secondary to your primary style of combat.

    One more thing: I presume that most dungeons won't have size enough for your Mount. Unless you're small (in which case, you're not using a Warhorse), you won't be able to take your mount with you. In this case, you'd have to leave your mount behind (or dismiss it), meaning you'd have a slot you can't use, and you can't take full advantage of your mount.

    In short: unless you focus on being on a mount at all times, the spell is not a must-have on your list, as it would be the 1st level Smites (scaling damage and nasty condition riders) or Destructive Wave (AoE Smite).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiren View Post
    Vow of enmity last for one minute or until the target drops to 0. So that is 10 rounds of having advantage. VoE is for sure a light blue ability in my book. this also makes Soul of Vengeance better and at LEAST a blue ability.
    It works against one opponent, however, and only once per Short Rest. To make it Light Blue, it'd have to be an at-will ability, usable as a bonus action, and that can be used against more than one opponent. There's easier ways to gain Advantage (Shove, Mounted Combatant and being on a mount) than this. Once the opponent dies, you don't have a way to shift that Advantage to someone else (like you can do with Hunter's Mark). Sacred Weapon lasts for the same time, the bonus might start small (Cha modifier), but if you get full Charisma, it's almost the equivalent of Advantage on Passive Checks, and it applies to anyone you attack, PLUS it has additional benefits. If it can't truly compare to Sacred Weapon, which is a Blue ability, how do you expect it to be Light Blue?

    Soul of Vengeance would have been Blue if it wasn't tied to Vow of Enmity, but in this case, it does. You only have ONE use of Channel Divinity per Short Rest; if you use it on Abjure Enemy (for some reason), Soul of Vengeance won't activate. Thus, it implies that you MUST choose Vow of Enmity every time (and, to be fair, it is the better of the duo), but then it only applies to ONE enemy. If you don't make a Short Rest every now and then, chances are it's only ONE enemy per day. You might have noticed that there's some serious debate regarding Short Rests, which makes any ability that depends on Short Rests a wild card.

    On a boss, though? BBEG, Dragon, big meaty monster...sure, these abilities can climb up to Blue. However, it doesn't mean they're actually things you should consider using every battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Totema View Post
    Another little thing you missed: If you get certain skill proficiencies from a background that you already have, you get to pick new ones instead. From any of the skills.
    Yeah, that one I missed. It's a bit weird, though: you could deliberately choose class skill proficiencies that are identical to your chosen background and net other skills of your choice. That said, if you do some previous planning, there'll rarely be overlap between Backgrounds and skill proficiencies from class (or even Race). I'd go with applying that bit when Racial proficiencies and Background-granted proficiencies overlap: very few skills really merit choice after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daishain View Post
    Might I ask how the longsword is definitively beaten out by the battleaxe? LS costs 5 gp more and weights 1 lb less, but aside from that the statistics are identical.
    That is exactly the reason: the cost. The longsword may be lighter, but if you use Strength (which you need for both weapons), chances are the weight difference will be negligible. Early on, the difference between GP will matter a lot, which is why I went for Battleaxe over Longsword.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yenek View Post
    I'd like to point out that SnB allows you to cast all of your spells, as you can provide S/M components with you shield hand if you put your symbol on it.
    Just a little thing THF lacks.

    And could you list all applicable mounts? It would be nice.
    That is still on the debate table, since it specifically allows you to ignore Material Components (a huge reason why I made the Emblem version of Holy Symbol Light Blue; you'll almost always have it with you), but not any other components (such as Somatic ones). Even then, it's reasonable to think that you could quickly make a Somatic component while taking advantage of your enemy's parry, or just setting the weapon down and casting the spell, then returning to fighting stance afterwards.

    As for the mounts...mentioning Mounted Combat is an afterthought at most, since there's not really that much support. While discussing with collaborators on checking up the guide (specifically, CyberThread and Person_Man), P_M told me that there were some things that went a bit away from the scope of the Paladin guide; while I mentioned that they would be opinions and whatnot, after reading your request, it made sense to mention part of his answer: it would be better as part of its own (mini-)guide. Mounts can be used by any class, after all, and Mounted Combatant isn't restricted to specific classes; it just happens that the Paladin (and to an extent the Ranger, and the Bard if you REALLY stretch it) are the best at it because they interact with mounts in a way other classes can't. However, beyond these interactions, mounts will be the same no matter between each other no matter who mounts them. To make this clearer: the Paladin's mount will be better than a Fighter's mount if they're the same kind of mount, but not better than the Barbarian's mount if they're the same kind. In that regard, the difference between mounts isn't something that's really on the scope of a Paladin guide, but on a guide of its own.

    But if you need it: Moon Druid > other mounts.
    Retooler of D&D 3.5 (and 5e/Next) content. See here for more.
    Now with a comprehensive guide for 3.5 Paladin players porting to Pathfinder. Also available for 5th Edition
    On Lawful Good:
    Quote Originally Posted by firebrandtoluc View Post
    My friend is currently playing a paladin. It's way outside his normal zone. I told him to try to channel Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. Until someone refuses to try to get off the naughty list. Then become Optimus Prime.
    T.G. Oskar profile by Specter.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Person_Man's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Snails View Post
    Might be worth noting that Disadvantage for fighting an adjacent opponent with a Lance is a minor annoyance if you are gaining Advantage from the Mounted Combat feat. Plus, if you are using Find Steed, your mount can help you kill an adjacent foe.
    You can also just drop your lance and draw another weapon as a free action. Attack whomever you want to attack. Then at the start of your next turn, you can draw another lance (or ranged weapon, or whatever) if you need to. 5E is super flexible that way.

    Similarly, every player that is Proficient with shields should walk around carrying one, just in case they stumble upon or get ambushed by enemies, so that their AC is two points higher the first round of combat before they act and they lose Initiative. Then on their turn, they can drop the shield and draw whatever weapon they prefer.

    Mearls has also tweeted somewhere that its reasonable for a DM to rule that a player can sheath one weapon and draw another with a single free action, because the intent of the rule is to not punish players for switching weapons as needed.

    The caveat to this strategy is that once magic items exist and start getting integrated into most (many? some?) games, most players will probably stick with a single weapon and (if its one handed) a shield, without swapping them around.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    I think your still underestimating VoE. Shove and mounted combat advantage is more situational for granting advantage then VoE (being outside for mount, size difference for shove etc.). Again, it last for 10 rounds and requires no concentration. If you want to go nova on the boss you just have to declare it. Now add this to THF and take the -5 attack for 10 extra damage, your going to do more damage then just adding CHA. Plus it does double your chance to crit sort of. Now the ability to take a short rest does depend on your DM, but most games that I've played in I'd say I get at least one short rest for the day. Now with the other power tied with VoE it's like 1/3 of the sentinel feat. This also makes you a great tank because it makes the boss focus on the paladin or he will regret it.
    Last edited by Tiren; 2014-09-25 at 07:35 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    Note the example you give of a mount: the Warhorse. The weight of the spell is focused on your choice of mount.

    That said: you have few spell slots all around: only 4 spell slots of 2nd level tops, which means 4 daily uses of Find Steed per day. You spend 1 to get the Mount, but once it's done, it's permanent: that'd make it useful. You mention the perks of the spell: the mount is intelligent, it's loyal (therefore it will follow your commands). The trouble of the spell is that it doesn't really improve its survivability: the Warhorse still has 3d10+3 hit points, still has an AC of 11 (unless you buy barding), and has no bonuses on saves, so it'll remain with the same weaknesses to Charisma saves (and Intelligence saves will still be low, even though the loss will be mitigated by having Int 6). Therefore, if the Warhorse is dead, you need to cast Find Steed again to revive it.

    Now, consider the second point: the Paladin has a limited amount of spells it can prepare each day. Thus, Find Steed is competing with every other spell in the Paladin's list. This requires setting up priorities: what spell from the (1/2 Paladin level + Cha mod) "slots" I have to sacrifice for Find Steed? With full Charisma, that's 15 slots for the Paladin, which has 45 spells total (not counting the 10 free ones you get from your Sacred Oath). Of those, 4 are Light Blue (you'd be nuts not to have them), and 8 which are Blue (that is, you should seriously consider getting them). That leaves three spells from all the Black choices, one of which is Find Steed. If you don't have full Charisma (it can happen) that's one or two less slots. If you aren't Paladin 20, that means one or two less slots. A Paladin 16 with Cha 18 will have exactly 12 spells to prepare each day; that means it'll compete with the best spells the Paladin has to offer. Are you willing to sacrifice a spell that could be far better to have your Mount survive each battle?

    There's one more thing. Find Steed competes with Divine Smite as well. All spells do. Find Steed has to be far, far better than Divine Smite or the Blue spells to earn a slot permanently. Else, you can cast the spell on downtime (if it exists) and then prepare better spells. See why I set it up as Blue? The color-coding on the spells implies which of them should be part of your daily repertoire, not just the actual worth of the spell. Perhaps I went a bit too far when I mentioned that the mount wasn't that valuable (not a hyperbole, since the mount gains some boons but not the survivability of 3.5's mount), but it doesn't merit having the spell prepared at all times...

    ...unless you're focusing on Mounted Combat. If you have the Mounted Combatant feat and you wield a Lance, chances are you want a strong and efficient mount every time. In that regard, Find Steed becomes Blue. I could debate that Find Steed becomes Light Blue because a Mounted Combatant is nothing without its Mount, but YMMV. Otherwise, Mounted Combat becomes secondary to your primary style of combat.

    One more thing: I presume that most dungeons won't have size enough for your Mount. Unless you're small (in which case, you're not using a Warhorse), you won't be able to take your mount with you. In this case, you'd have to leave your mount behind (or dismiss it), meaning you'd have a slot you can't use, and you can't take full advantage of your mount.

    In short: unless you focus on being on a mount at all times, the spell is not a must-have on your list, as it would be the 1st level Smites (scaling damage and nasty condition riders) or Destructive Wave (AoE Smite).
    I don't understand. Are you saying that you expect the mount to die every day and need to be resummoned? It gets your CHA bonus to all its saves, and once you get plate armor there's not much else to spend gold on other than barding for your horse.

    Also Intelligence saves are almost nonexistent.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Troll in the Playground
    toapat's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by Yenek View Post
    I'd like to point out that SnB allows you to cast all of your spells, as you can provide S/M components with you shield hand if you put your symbol on it.
    No, you cant. The Holy Symbol Material component exception only applies to A: Held (and Reliquaries are terrible and occupy a known Item slot, vs Amulets that might although the variant Charsheets suggest theres only 6 itemslots (Head, Body, Forearms, Gloves, belt, and Boots)) holy symbols. You arent holding the Holy symbol with a shield attached to it, You are holding a Shield, which definitely is not mentioned in the Material component rules or states that it leaves the hand free. Claiming that the shield is now the holy symbol is not even or ever implied anywhere, and B: Only Applies to spells with Material Components, which is fewer then those that have Somatic components which are obstructed by equipment. In other words, Warcaster is virtually manditory So basically it should be Half red/half lightblue because Awesomesuck

    As for arguing the mount, We need the DMG for the rest of the paladin rules since both Oathbreaker (which honestly sounds more like Rhonin to Samurai then Blackguard to paladin), possibly an actual blackguard, and the guidelines for Find steed will be in there.

    Unfortunately, Divine smite and Improved Divine smite say Melee weapons only. (at least in my PHB). so the paladin isnt exactly inherently competent at ranged combat
    Last edited by toapat; 2014-09-25 at 10:10 PM.
    My Homebrew: found here.
    When you Absolutely, Positively, Gotta Drop some Huge rocks, Accept NO Substitutes

    PM Me if you would like a table from my homebrew reconstructed.

    Drow avatar @ myself

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: A Guide to the D&D 5th Edition Paladin through the eyes of a 3.5 Player

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    Claiming that the shield is now the holy symbol is not even or ever implied anywhere
    "A cleric or paladin can use a holy symbol as a spellcasting focus, as described in chapter 10. To use the symbol in this way, the caster must hold it in hand, wear it visibly, or bear it on a shield."

    -Player's Handbook, page 151

    Only Applies to spells with Material Components
    "A spellcaster must have a hand free to access [material] components, but it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components."

    -Player's Handbook, page 203

    If a spell requires both material and somatic components, a holy symbol shield works. If it requires just somatic components, it doesn't and you need war caster. I know it's bizarre and weird, but that's what the book says and it's been confirmed by the devs.
    Last edited by Strill; 2014-09-26 at 12:32 AM.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts