Pathfinder RPG Paladin tank - your help appreciated


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  1. #1
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    Paladin tank - your help appreciated

    Hey guys! I'm looking to build a versatile tank for our group, whose lack of one nearly cost another PC her life yesterday evening... would kindly ask for your help!

    Supplements used are Core plus APG currently, but some 3.x stuff (especially Forgotten Realms) has been allowed in the past, and I'm confident stuff like Advanced Races Guide or Ultimate Magic would get the nod, too. No 3rd party, though.

    Current group setup is not that optimal, and the DM, while experienced in a lot of games, is rather new to D&D/Pathfinder. So I'm not looking for anything super-cheesy and would prefer to use as few supplements as possible. So far, we have:
    Human red dragon bloodline Sorcerer 5 (flashy fire blaster type),
    Human archery-focused Ranger 5 (rather effective at the job),
    Human Monk 1/Rogue 3 (some archetypes I don't know about, more of a pure skillmonkey),
    Human Evoker 5 (that's me: blasts, battlefield control, some utility)

    This is a very low treasure game. We'll get a signature item at some point in the campaign, whose power will improve with character level. We also get a "hero point" every encounters, which can be used for a re-roll, another standard action on your turn, or for a +4 to one roll. But I can't count on wands or even scrolls to be readily available anywhere, so almost all of my options will have to come from class levels. Most importantly, this also impacts our ability to heal between encounters, which sucks major moose testicles.


    It's not that I'm not enjoying my Evoker right now, but the game seems to have taken a turn for the deadlier, with one PC dead last week, and another one only surviving due to DM leniency this week (it was late in the evening, player forgot to add in an important bonus, DM put him at negative HP but stable, instead of outright dead). Our group has felt the lack of a dedicated melee guy/tank keenly in several encounters, so I hope to be ready and supply one should my Evoker bite the dust.

    So far, I'm in love with the idea of an Aasimar Paladin mostly for roleplaying reasons, and because I feel Paladins can really pull their weight in PF. I'm thinking about dipping Oracle or Cleric for at least some much-needed healing (Lay on Hands would probably be used up increasing my lifespan on the front lines...), as well as some spiffy revelations/domain powers. I'm not terribly interested in the casting aspect (having played enough pure casters for now), so pure Oracle or Cleric is out, I mostly want to bash some skulls and keep my party alive. Some general versatility would be greatly appreciated, though. So some sort of secondary role there must be.


    So here's some of my questions, assuming I start with an Aasimar Oracle 1/Paladin 4:

    1. Is dual-cursed Oracle worth it if you're only dipping? Maybe especially when you're only dipping? As I read it, the Misfortune Revelation can be used at will (as long as you pick different opponents each time), is that correct? And is it good?

    2. Which Mystery to pick for my Oracle dip? I can see myself benefitting from Battle (for Init re-rolls, save re-rolls, and/or immediate action movement, with Extra Revelation), but Lore (for Cha to AC and Reflex saves, instead of Dex, decreasing MAD, and a secondary role as Mr. Knowitall), Life (for Life Link, making me tank-ier, and maybe some small out of combat channel action), and Nature (Cha to AC and CMD, again instead of Dex, and maybe the Bonded Mount will stack with Paladin's Mount?) also look good.

    3. Paladin archetypes - which ones are good for the goals outlined above? I'm looking at the Sacred Shield and like what I'm seeing (half damage to allies from the BBEG sounds like a good deal), but now I can't use a reach weapon, since I obviously need a shield to use some of my tricks. Undead Scourge doesn't seem to cost my anything, really, and looks really good (some Undead have been sighted in this campaign, while dragons and outsiders are next to nonexistent), as long as I'm still getting regular smite evil - so it's out in combination with Sacred Shield. Sacred Servant looks good, too, but then I also have to decide on a domain to pick - preferably one whose granted powers don't rely on Cleric level.
    I haven't looked at the myriad Oathbound Paladin options yet, anything good there?

    4. Aasimar are pretty clear-cut, and I greatly doubt I'll be able to use the "combine racial traits/ability bonuses as needed" stuff (since it's 3rd party, AFAIK, and my DM doesn't like the pick-and-choose approach too much). So I'm probably going to go with a standard Aasimar. I am, however, contemplating Paizo's published alternate racial traits.
    Immortal Spark looks like a given: +1 to mental ability scores at no cost whatsoever? Thanks, I'll take that! Apart from that, I think I'm going to take the Halo instead of Darkvision (pure RP here, though), and maybe Deathless Spirit instead of elemental resistances, given what we've been facing so far (evil clerics, some more evil clerics, and entirely too few cold, lightning, or acid themed monsters).

    What do you guys think? I'd be grateful for short answers, in-depth analyses, anything!

 

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    Paladins are pretty bitching in Pathfinder, that's certain.

    The oracle dip is quite good most of the time. War is excellent and dual-cursed rocks. Misfortune can be used at-will, once per enemy, but also once per turn, since it eats up your immediate action (this takes up your swift action for your next turn!). But, truth be told, it is stupid good for 99% of builds.

    If you want to be the tank, the best chain of feats is, hands down, Step up. Get next to a caster and she's done, same goes for ranged enemies.

    If you keep one hand free (or with a buckler), you can lay on hands on yourself as a swift action. You won't be able to do this if you used Misfortune on your last round, but is decent for out-of combat healing, non the less.

    There is a trait that lets you pick a class and gives you +2 on your caster level for that class, as long as this doesn't surpass your HD. Picking Oracle with it will give all your heals +2 for a total of 1d8+3 per heal, so there's that. There is also a trait that lets you have a tattoo that acts as a holy symbol.

    From an optimization perspective, there are better races than aasimar, human being the most obvious example. That aasimar are, indeed, quite BITCHING with their +2 CHA +2 WIS (although paladins don't need that much wisdom anymore). The resistances are great, I suggest you keep them, but I agree with swapping darkvision for the halo. It is just THAT cool.

    as for your bullet points, this is what I think:

    1- Yes, dual cursed is worth it. I would pick Tongues (Pick Celestial or something like that and make someone spend 1 skill point on linguistics to understand you) and Haunted (No big deal and you get mage hand and ghost sound for free).

    2- I would pick Lore, with the revelation that swaps CHA for DEX on AC and REFLEX. If you get a spare feat, the one that gives you bonuses to all knowledges is useful too.

    3- Sacred shield might sound good in theory, but default paladin is better, IMO.

    4- As said above, Aasimar is good for the job, though some other races might be better (particularly races that give +2 STR and +2 CHA like Nagaji, which also have +1 to natural AC). Sulis are especially great at the class. +2 STR +2 CHA -2 INT, resistance 5 acid, cold, electricity and fire, +2 sense motive and diplomacy. Nice!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empirate View Post
    No 3rd party, though.
    That's too bad. I find most PF 3pp - like Super Genius Games and Rite Publishing to be far more balanced rules supplements than Paizo products themselves. Your GM should take a closer look at 3PP. PF 3PP is not the same as D20 glut, it's really not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gamerprinter View Post
    That's too bad. I find most PF 3pp - like Super Genius Games and Rite Publishing to be far more balanced rules supplements than Paizo products themselves. Your GM should take a closer look at 3PP. PF 3PP is not the same as D20 glut, it's really not.
    Seconded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramaster View Post
    Seconded.

    The Dreamscarred Press psionic books are of great quality.
    Not only that, but lots of 3PP authors are freelancers for Paizo and write official content as well. Owen Stevens of SGG; Steve Russell, Frank Carr and myself of Rite Publishing created content for Jade Regent (maps, monsters, gazetteer) - the list goes on.
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  • #6
    A couple comments:

    1) Re: dual-cursed - the one drawback for haunted can be a bit of a killer for a melee character - it's a standard action to draw your weapon instead of a move action that you can perform as part of movement. So unless I'm reading it wrong, if you have the Haunted curse and get caught when not holding a weapon, you'll lose your first round just getting the weapon out. Also, you will not be able to use Smite or the self-heal Lay on Hands on rounds where you use Misfortune, and vice-versa. If you're allowed to use Paizo supplements, you might want to look at the Legalistic curse that came from Blood of Fiends. It's technically infernal flavored, but could arguably work for an archon or angel based aasimar as well. Oracle Curses - Pathfinder_OGC

    2) All I'll say on mysteries - if you pick things that substitute charisma for dex to AC, you'll still hit whatever caps are imposed by your armor. I suppose you'll still be able to completely dump dex, though. Also, levels of nature oracle will stack with paladin for determining your mount abilities, if you take the bonded mount mystery.

    3) Default paladin is really good. Assuming you make it to L11, you'll be kicking yourself for losing Aura of Justice if you take an archetype. Aura of Justice is crazy strong. Like, it probably should've been the capstone strong. The first time Aura of Justice is used, your monk and archer will be thrilled and your DM will be horrified. In the game where I played a paladin, we combined Aura of Justice with a pouncing Eidolon. Very, very little ever survived that.

    4) You have plenty of good racial options. If your DM is fine with Paizo-published content, then you might want to look at the Angel-kin variant Aasimar from Blood of Angels. +2 str, +2 cha, and trade Daylight for Alter Self - which, amusingly enough, you can use to turn yourself into a human/elf/whatever for another +2 str. Aasimars - Pathfinder_OGC

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    Quote Originally Posted by gamerprinter View Post
    That's too bad. I find most PF 3pp - like Super Genius Games and Rite Publishing to be far more balanced rules supplements than Paizo products themselves. Your GM should take a closer look at 3PP. PF 3PP is not the same as D20 glut, it's really not.
    My DM unfortunately has very little prep time due to workload and doesn't feel like learning more content. As I said, he's still a bit inexperienced with d20 as a whole. That's not a problem though, I'm cool with that. I'm DMing a weekly game myself and sympathize...


    Quote Originally Posted by Epametheus View Post
    A couple comments:

    1) Re: dual-cursed - the one drawback for haunted can be a bit of a killer for a melee character - it's a standard action to draw your weapon instead of a move action that you can perform as part of movement. So unless I'm reading it wrong, if you have the Haunted curse and get caught when not holding a weapon, you'll lose your first round just getting the weapon out. Also, you will not be able to use Smite or the self-heal Lay on Hands on rounds where you use Misfortune, and vice-versa. If you're allowed to use Paizo supplements, you might want to look at the Legalistic curse that came from Blood of Fiends. It's technically infernal flavored, but could arguably work for an archon or angel based aasimar as well. Oracle Curses - Pathfinder_OGC
    You're right on the action economy thing... I'll have to think about it. Do you think Misfortune is powerful enough to warrant not smiting or healing though? It looks like a potential lifesaver to me!
    Legalistic looks very fitting for the character I have in mind, and the flavor could easily be altered. I just read "something something shackles of Hell something something" and skipped the paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by Epametheus View Post
    2) All I'll say on mysteries - if you pick things that substitute charisma for dex to AC, you'll still hit whatever caps are imposed by your armor. I suppose you'll still be able to completely dump dex, though. Also, levels of nature oracle will stack with paladin for determining your mount abilities, if you take the bonded mount mystery.
    Cha instead of Dex would not only let me dump Dex, decreasing MAD problems, but also allow me to wear light armor, which I'd really like to do (hate the hit to mobility in heavier armor!). Nice to have confirmation on the mount thing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Epametheus View Post
    3) Default paladin is really good. Assuming you make it to L11, you'll be kicking yourself for losing Aura of Justice if you take an archetype. Aura of Justice is crazy strong. Like, it probably should've been the capstone strong. The first time Aura of Justice is used, your monk and archer will be thrilled and your DM will be horrified. In the game where I played a paladin, we combined Aura of Justice with a pouncing Eidolon. Very, very little ever survived that.
    Unfortunately, I doubt our campaign will ever reach 11th level. Levelling has stayed at a crawl from the beginning (slow XP table), and I don't think double-digit levels are likely to be part of this game. Aura of Justice would be extremely fun, but alas, not for me this time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Epametheus View Post
    4) You have plenty of good racial options. If your DM is fine with Paizo-published content, then you might want to look at the Angel-kin variant Aasimar from Blood of Angels. +2 str, +2 cha, and trade Daylight for Alter Self - which, amusingly enough, you can use to turn yourself into a human/elf/whatever for another +2 str. Aasimars - Pathfinder_OGC
    I saw the Angel-kin variant and fell in love, actually. I wasn't aware it was Paizo content, though. Which book is it in though? We only own Core, Bestiaries I and II, and APG (these are the books that are officially open) - for other stuff I'm merely looking at the SRD you linked to.

    Thank you for your very helpful comments!

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    If:

    1) Pathfinder Paladins can Turn Undead

    AND

    2) you can use CompDiv from WotC

    ...then consider the feat Sacred Healing*. It lets you burn a Turn Undead (and no other kind of Turning) to give everything in a 60' burst Fast Heal3 for (1 + Cha bonus)rds. That may not sound like much, but I'm using that feat (in conjunction with Extra Healing) in a campaign in which my Clc3/Sorc4/M-T2/Geomancer4 almost never casts a healing spell...and I'm the primary medic.

    This is because, even though you're only healing the equivalent of a Cure Light to Cure Moderate wounds, it does so for everyone in that burst. One Turn burned this way in a typical party is thus equivalent to 4-6 cure spells. That is efficient. And when you rescue a whole bunch of emaciated prisoners after a pitched battle? "Everyone, gather 'round and experience the healing radiance of my god..." You just cast the equivalent of dozens of CLWs with one Turning...THAT borders on miraculous.

    And since it is an ability that is not level but instead attribute based, your Paladin will be just as good at using this as a cleric would be.






    * there is another feat by the same name that works completely differently. I have checked with WotC: it was not intended to replace the CompDiv version; nobody noticed there was already a feat by that name.
    Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; Friday, 26th October, 2012 at 12:32 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    If:

    1) Pathfinder Paladins can Turn Undead

    AND

    2) you can use CompDiv from WotC

    ...then consider the feat Sacred Healing*. It lets you burn a Turn Undead (and no other kind of Turning) to give everything in a 60' burst Fast Heal3 for (1 + Cha bonus)rds.
    Pathfinder Paladins can (at 4th level) channel positive energy, which instantly heals 1d6/two levels (round up) and is the Pathfinder equivalent of Turn Undead. (D&D 3.x Turn Undead is available as a feat.) Channeling also includes a feat to avoid healing your enemies.

    Each sacred healing would (eventually) heal 3*(1+cha) damage, with a 60' range.
    Each channel would (instantly) head 3.5*(level/2), with a 30' range.

    If you are a melee paladin, anyone who is injured is likely within the 30' range much of the time. So Sacred Healing, which requires two feats, is better if the extra range is important and/or if you can keep your charisma bonus higher than twice your level. Fast healing is also less useful during combat.

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    So Sacred Healing, which requires two feats
    How do you figure?
    Fast healing is also less useful during combat.
    That depends.

    You definitely don't want to cast it IN combat, but if you cast it BEFORE combat- or at least, before the enemy closes within the feat's radius- it will automatically end continuous wounding effects, such as from a sword of wounding and stabilizes the affected from bleeding out when in negative HP.
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