Advice on a Mountain Dwarf Vengeance Paladin
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  1. #1

    Advice on a Mountain Dwarf Vengeance Paladin

    Hi! I am fairly new to D&D and I am looking for advice on a Mountain Dwarf Vengeance Paladin I am planning to create for an upcoming campaign. Here is what I have so far, together with some notes explaining my decisions. Note that I do not know the composition of the party I'll be playing with, and there are no restrictions on which books we can pull from.

    Quick Elevator Pitch:

    A grizzled veteran of many battles, he took a blow to the head when a massive orc horde overran his clanhold, awakening later to learn that the battle had been lost and that everyone else was dead. As he lay there contemplating a suicidal charge, he received a vision from the Father of Battles in which he saw himself marching on the orcs at the head of a mighty army. He swore a battlefield oath right there and then to become an instrument of Clangeddin Silverbeard’s vengeance, never resting until the enemies of his people were dead and the clanhold was restored. He knew that he would need a lot of gold to raise the army he had seen in the vision, and he determined that the best way to gather this much coin was to become an adventurer.


    Ability scores after racial adjustments:

    STR 17 DEX 8* CON 14 INT 10 WIS 10 CHA 15

    * I know that this is sub-optimal, and that I would be better off dumping INT, but I just don't want to play this guy as an 80 IQ idiot. A low Dexterity makes a lot more sense to me from an RP perspective.

    Background: Soldier (Infantry)
    Skills: Athletics, Intimidation, Perception, Persuasion
    Tools: Smith's Tools, Dice Set, Vehicles (Land)

    Proposed Progression:

    I plan to start off as a Fighter wielding a warhammer and shield in order to maximize survivability through the lowest levels of play. Fighter also seems justifiable from a role-playing perspective given that he spent years as a low-ranked soldier before becoming a paladin. From a mechanical perspective, it gives him the Defense fighting style and Second Wind for added survivability, and most importantly, it enables him to pick up proficiency with Constitution saves without burning a feat. The ability to maintain Concentration while still being a focal point for enemy attacks seems particularly important to me. Without it, I would have to write off several spells that seem quite useful to me, including Bless, Hunter's Mark, Haste, etc. If I were to burn a feat at level 4 for Great Weapon Master, and then another one at 8 for Resilient (Con), I'd be pushing off improvements to my main stats until level 12, which seems quite late to me.

    I thought strongly about picking up a second Fighter level for Action Surge, but decided that I did not want to give up one ASI and delay the other ASIs for it.

    Once my character obtains the Great Weapon Master feat at level 5, he should have enough survivability to make the switch from a defensive combat style to a more offensive combat style, wielding a two-handed maul.


    Level 1 - Fighter 1: Fighting Style (Defense), Second Wind
    Level 2 - Paladin 1: Divine Sense, Lay on Hands
    Level 3 - Paladin 2: Fighting Style (Great Weapon Fighting), Divine Smite
    Level 4 - Paladin 3: Divine Health, Sacred Oath (Vengeance)
    Level 5 - Paladin 4: Feat (Great Weapon Master)

    For the remaining levels I plan to stick with Paladin, using the rest of my ASIs as follows:

    Level 9: +1 STR, +1 CHA
    Level 13: +2 STR
    Level 17: +2 CHA
    Level 20: +2 CHA


    So, am I missing anything important? Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance!


    Last edited by Maezor; Sunday, 27th May, 2018 at 05:55 PM.

  2. #2
    I feel like if you're only taking a single feat, I'd rather have Polearm Master. In addition to getting an extra bonus action attack, you also get a free OA whenever a target enters your range, which combos extremely well with the Vengeance oath's level 7 ability to move for free after an opportunity attack.

  3. #3
    So you would take the Polearm Master feat over the Great Weapon Master feat for this build? Interesting. I don't want to take both, and I can see where you're coming from. Do other people agree that Polearm Master is the better choice for this build?
    Last edited by Maezor; Sunday, 27th May, 2018 at 07:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Maezor View Post
    So you would take the Polearm Master feat over the Great Weapon Master feat for this build? Interesting. I don't want to take both, and I can see where you're coming from. Do other people agree that Polearm Master is the better choice for this build?
    If you don't have advantage (remember, Vow of Enmity gives you advantage against one foe for a minute per short rest, you most often won't have advantage), then Great Weapon Master isn't adding much damage. Let's say you're at level 4, attacking a target with an AC of 16, and your bonus to hit is +5 (2 from Proficiency and 3 from Strength). You have to roll an 11 or higher to hit, which you have a 50% chance of doing. The average damage on a hit (using a greatsword) is 2d6+3, or 10, so your expected damage per round is 5. 10 damage per hit, 50% chance of hitting.

    Compare to using Great Weapon Master: your bonus to hit is now +0, which means you need to roll a 16 to hit. You have a 25% chance of rolling 16 or higher. The average damage of your hit becomes 2d6+13, or 20, but since you only hit one quarter of the time, your expected damage per round is still 5. You've not gained anything by doing this and you've given up an ASI or a better feat to get it.

    If you're using Polearm Master, you'd be using a glaive, so your first attack would be with a d10, 1d10+3 is 8.5, and since your chance to hit is 50%, your expected damage from that attack is 4.25.
    You also get another attack. The damage dice is 1d4, so your expected damage is 5.5. You have a 50% chance to hit this attack, so the expected damage is 2.25. Add those two numbers together and your total expected damage is 6.5, a significant increase.
    XP Maezor gave XP for this post

  5. #5
    Thank you for this analysis, Gavin O.!

  6. #6
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    I also prefer PAM to GWM

    I think the 1st level of Fighter is unnecessary but understand it from a story perspective. I'm not sure a Fighter 1 has any more survivability than a Paladin 1 though.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CTurbo View Post
    I also prefer PAM to GWM

    I think the 1st level of Fighter is unnecessary but understand it from a story perspective. I'm not sure a Fighter 1 has any more survivability than a Paladin 1 though.
    From a mechanical perspective, I am mostly looking for Con save proficiency without burning a feat so that I can make Concentration saves reliably as a frontline melee combatant. I am assuming that a paladin will get attacked a lot more than say a wizard who skulks around towards the rear of the party, and so will have a much higher chance to lose Concentration. Having only +2 to Concentration saves means that spells like Bless, Hunter's Mark, and Haste would only last for a round or two.

  8. #8
    Did you roll your stats?

    If you did point buy
    15+2,8,12+2,10,10,15 leaves you with an unspent point, which could raise your con to 15. Important if you take resilient con.
    Don't underestimate wisdom saving throw proficiwncy as paladin. Beeing the target of mind effecting spells can prove equally devasting for keeping up concentration. Your best bet is just increasing charisma for your aura of protection. So First ASI would be +1str +1cha.
    I would skip the fighter level to be honest and just be paladin up to level 5 at least. Soldier background makes sure that you have it fit your backstory. Don't bother with PAM or GWM until you have 18 str and 16 cha. Nothing boosts you more than evening out your scores first. Then at level 8 or a bit later if you chose to multiclass fighter, you cab take anything you like.

    Of course, fighter 1 is probably the best 1 level dip you can do. Fighting style and second wind are 2 great features which not a lot classes can compete with.

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