D&D 4E [4e] Paladin (feat) advice needed

Hey all. I'm very happily back to gaming in 4e again, but I'm looking for some advice do to a slightly unusual situation.

My DM is a self-avowed grognard/old-school type who found some 4e books for dirt cheap, thought, "Hey, I wonder what all the fuss was about, and I can do a Let's Read of it as I do." Some issues of phrasing ("ignore the X, get to the FUN (where FUN = combat!!)" aside, he was rather pleased with what he found, and decided to run a campaign to put the system through its paces and such. But he has one big caveat for us (at least for the time being):

Only PHB1 and PHB2 resources. No *Power, no Dragon mag, no PHB3, no Eberron or Dark Sun or features pioneered/starting there (like Themes), no PHB Races stuff. This is of course a little awkward for me, playing a Dragonborn Paladin. Lots of the best Pally support was in DP, and lots of the best Dragonborn stuff is PHBR/Dragon material. I don't at all want to challenge the limit, he has perfectly valid reasons (that I can agree with, even) for it and I have no interest in being That Guy who whines because he can't get the superultrabest "official" content. (I'm already potentially pushing it as it is--DM has said he loves to see mounts used in his campaigns, so I'm trying to see if he'll let me steal the Call Celestial Steed power at level 6, should we make it that far. Here's hoping!)

But anyway, that also means that a lot of the best advice floating around out there--Litigation's guide, for example--is a little more difficult to use, particularly for feats. So as an opening question (since I've already made the character and thus all the basic choices are out of the way):

We just hit level 2, and I need Athletics training badly. Even if my Strength were the highest it could be, I'd still be scraping a 0 Athletics because of plate+shield armor check penalties, and due to the setting (soft sci-fi/sci-fantasy on an ocean planet) Athletics checks are bound to come up a lot. Is the standard (PHB) Fighter MC feat bad enough that I should look elsewhere? Perhaps Barbarian? We could use a little more offensive oomph, as our party is very support-heavy: Paladin (me), Wizard with Cleric multiclass feat, Bard, Shaman, Ranger.

Also: whether or not it's within the PHB 1/2 limit, does anyone know of anything that can reduce the check penalty of armor? :p
 

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Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Student of the Sword (PH, multiclass Fighter) is... OK, not great. A free +1 is a free +1, and automatically marking a target is better than nothing. Unfortunately it's a generic mark, not a Divine Challenge, so it does nothing for you as a paladin.

Student of Battle (PH, multiclass Warlord) might be a little better. It gives you a skill training from the Warlord list, which includes Athletics. Also a 1/day inspiring word.

Berserker's Fury (PH2, multiclass Barbarian) also gives a skill training, but has higher prerequisites (Str 13 *and* Con 13... which you probably have anyway, heh). Its +2 damage for one encounter per day is pretty solid.

Armor Finesse is the feat to remove the armor check penalty, but unfortunately it's from the Heroes of... books.

Honestly, though, if you're the Cha-paladin? It's not your job to make Athletics checks. You suck 'em up when they happen.
 

MwaO

Adventurer
I'd look at Warrior of the Wild for a few reasons:
It gets you Athletics as a class skill option.
It gives you Quarry, which is some reasonably easy to access damage. +7/14/21 front loaded damage over the course of a combat is good damage for PHB only. Divine Challenge your target, Quarry them, then charge.
Str 13 ought to be easy.
It opens up Disruptive Strike as a power swap via Novice Power - someone makes a melee attack against you, you get to try to smack them.

But, I'd also point out something here - as a Paladin, something you're going to want is the ability to make a melee basic attack. Charging is a great option for Paladins when they get option constrained because of Divine Challenge. So you're going to want to invest in Str/Cha and keep investing in them.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
But, I'd also point out something here - as a Paladin, something you're going to want is the ability to make a melee basic attack.
That's a great point -- of course the PH/PH2 only paladin does not have Virtuous Strike which is the usual Cha-paladin MBA answer.

Thus you'll want to be Str/Cha anyway (which, of course, dragonborn is perfect for) instead of Cha/Con or whatever.
 


darkbard

Hero
Actually you can. Those who run an optimized game will tell you that most combats should run in the range of 3 - 4 rounds and resources spent on boosting healing rather than taking down monsters quicker or preventing hits that require healing in the first place beyond those parameters are traps.
 

MwaO

Adventurer
Actually you can. Those who run an optimized game will tell you that most combats should run in the range of 3 - 4 rounds and resources spent on boosting healing rather than taking down monsters quicker or preventing hits that require healing in the first place beyond those parameters are traps.

Right. For a Paladin in a core-only game, they have a couple of issues:
Divine Challenge isn't particularly spectacular. It is a mark that for the most part, DMs should ignore once they get to high heroic unless something else is going on - 7-8 points of damage isn't that great when the expectation is about 20-30 hp of damage a round. Divine Sanction is really good because there are a couple of 'close burst 3 Divine Challenge everyone until end of next turn' powers that are obvious choices. Doing 7-8 damage to one target isn't a big deal. Doing 7-8 damage to half the encounter really shortens the length of an encounter.

Given it isn't spectacular, monsters have two ways of getting to do what they want - shift/charge or use ranged attack or move/do whatever they want. On a melee monster, they probably want to use move/big encounter power. If you have a good MBA, you make them want to instead do shift/charge for melee basic. Or you punish them for using their best option, shortening the combat.

i.e. you want to establish a catch-22 - attack me or have bad things happen. The stronger both sides are of the equation, the less choices the target has and the less healing the party will need as a whole.
 

Actually you can. Those who run an optimized game will tell you that most combats should run in the range of 3 - 4 rounds and resources spent on boosting healing rather than taking down monsters quicker or preventing hits that require healing in the first place beyond those parameters are traps.

Yeah, as long as our Wizard keeps out of trouble, we've got plenty of healing going around right now (2/day Lay on Hands, 1/day Healing Word, 2/enc Healing Spirit, 2/enc Majestic Word.) Going for anything heavier support focus than I am naturally as a Paladin seems unwise.

The bigger issue, at least as I foresee it, is that we've only got the one striker, and IIRC he's all about the ranged combat. Having a Valor Bard certainly helps, but I worry fights may drag especially as we gain levels. Hunter's Quarry for two rounds per encounter could be good...though beyond that it seems a little wan, as most melee Ranger powers are meant for dual-wielders (which I'm not.) Barbarian has some nice powers sprinkled over many levels, and +2 damage to every damage roll for a single encounter seems like it could be on par with the Ranger feat (especially since, at least with the few sessions we've had thus far, there haven't been too many encounters per day yet). Both get me the skill training I'm looking for, so it's mostly a matter of what the per-day and long-run benefits would be. Fighter makes me a better tank, of course, and potentially opens the option of juicy paragon paths later down the line--there's the possibility that restrictions on non-PHB1/2 options will be relaxed once we get to higher levels (since things get a little gonzo in Paragon and Epic anyway :p).

Anyway, useful food for thought thus far, so thanks for that!

Also, on the subject of pushing both sides, I'm definitely doing that. It's left me with some slightly low prime stats at first level (16) because I value my secondary stats, but with Valiant Strike buoying my hit chance and strict adherence to +Str/Cha as I level it should work out just fine.
 

MwaO

Adventurer
Disruptive Strike is weapon-independent, doesn't conflict with Divine Challenge or Opportunity Attacks and tends to do both damage and negate an attack. It is awesome. Melee monster swings at you and you hit him before he gets a chance to hit you - if you hit him, you just reduced his attack roll by 3+wis...great catch-22 for a core-only Paladin - attack me and take damage or don't attack me and take damage...
 

Disruptive Strike is weapon-independent, doesn't conflict with Divine Challenge or Opportunity Attacks and tends to do both damage and negate an attack. It is awesome. Melee monster swings at you and you hit him before he gets a chance to hit you - if you hit him, you just reduced his attack roll by 3+wis...great catch-22 for a core-only Paladin - attack me and take damage or don't attack me and take damage...

Yes, that's definitely a keeper--and mentioned in Litigation's guide for those reasons. That said, such concerns are for at least a couple levels down the line at present. I'm still leaning toward Barbarian, but some of the options opened up by Fighter, even PHB-only, are tempting. Has anyone tried any of the three themselves? That is, MC Fighter/Barb/Ranger--even without the source restriction, I'd be interested to hear how others have made use of it.

Also, my DM was cool with me sort of winging it for this session, taking the skill training and just holding off on whatever MC feat benefits I'd get (probably because that's equivalent to just taking a Skill Training feat anyway)--and boy howdy was that Athletics training useful! We had two skill challenges tonight and I used Athletics twice in both, to great effect.
 



pemerton

Legend
The bigger issue, at least as I foresee it, is that we've only got the one striker, and IIRC he's all about the ranged combat. Having a Valor Bard certainly helps, but I worry fights may drag especially as we gain levels.
Has anyone tried any of the three themselves? That is, MC Fighter/Barb/Ranger--even without the source restriction, I'd be interested to hear how others have made use of it.
The paladin in my game is CHA-based (STR of 14). I think he finally took Athletics training at 30th level, but really could have benefited from it many levels ago.

His MC feat is Avenger (but the Divine Power one, so not open to you). We haven't had any of the MC feats you mention in our game (we have had wizard, invoker, monk, cleric, bard, warlord and the DP paladin one).

Personally I would incline towards the fighter feat over the barbarian. The barbarian one, to be used optimally, requires declaring its use early; but you are not guaranteed to know that you need it until later. Whereas an encounter mark that also gives you a bonus to land your good daily or encounter power fits well with your overall paladin functions and doesn't produce any anxiety or analysis paralysis over its optimal use. Plus being a fighter just seems more dignified than being a barbarian!
 

The paladin in my game is CHA-based (STR of 14). I think he finally took Athletics training at 30th level, but really could have benefited from it many levels ago.

His MC feat is Avenger (but the Divine Power one, so not open to you). We haven't had any of the MC feats you mention in our game (we have had wizard, invoker, monk, cleric, bard, warlord and the DP paladin one).

Personally I would incline towards the fighter feat over the barbarian. The barbarian one, to be used optimally, requires declaring its use early; but you are not guaranteed to know that you need it until later. Whereas an encounter mark that also gives you a bonus to land your good daily or encounter power fits well with your overall paladin functions and doesn't produce any anxiety or analysis paralysis over its optimal use. Plus being a fighter just seems more dignified than being a barbarian!

I always wanted to know how you multiclassed into being a primitive tribesperson... "Hey guys! I just found out my REAL father was Cronan!" lol. I guess barbarian is one of those classes I never really grasped. I get its a sort of "archetype", but in a system where "class is profession" it really doesn't fit. 4e could have more profitably had a 'berserker' class and a 'barbarian' theme.
 

MwaO

Adventurer
I always wanted to know how you multiclassed into being a primitive tribesperson... "Hey guys! I just found out my REAL father was Cronan!" lol. I guess barbarian is one of those classes I never really grasped. I get its a sort of "archetype", but in a system where "class is profession" it really doesn't fit. 4e could have more profitably had a 'berserker' class and a 'barbarian' theme.

Yeah, the only edition where that really made sense for me was 4e. Where because pick the mechanics you want and then refluff, you're just someone who has massive anger issues that you just realized existed...
 

I always wanted to know how you multiclassed into being a primitive tribesperson... "Hey guys! I just found out my REAL father was Cronan!" lol. I guess barbarian is one of those classes I never really grasped. I get its a sort of "archetype", but in a system where "class is profession" it really doesn't fit. 4e could have more profitably had a 'berserker' class and a 'barbarian' theme.

I think it can be done, it just requires tweaking for the individual character a little more than some other classes. First, a background blurb for my character:

Once, he sailed the Void on shining wings, chosen of Bahamut; once, he swam the currents of the Deep, drinking his fill of its fire and ice. He served his people proudly, defending creche-worlds from those who would conquer or destroy them. A great battle raged over one such world, and he was gravely wounded, but carried the day; others bore him to a safe place, a secret place, a shrine of healing sleep. So he slept.

His name was--is--Seth. At one time, other names and titles followed that name, earned by valor and sacrifice...but now they mean nothing. He is a stranger in a strange time; the sleep that healed became the sleep that imprisoned. Now, he is the last of his race. The great Or'im, whose dominion shone brightly in the Deep, are now barely even a memory, recognized only by those who study the ancient past (sages and...entrepreneurs alike). Rescued from merely a different kind of imprisonment (at corporate hands) by a noble cyborg, Seth has come to Ged--bastion of the long-gone, but not at all forgotten Eidolons, whose technology remains nearly magical in an age of space-flight. Surely there, if nowhere else, he can find some inkling of where his people went--and what, if anything, he can do to bring them back.

--

So, having said that, I have a few options for how to explain it. One is simply that Seth's people--whom no one has seen for thousands of years, and perhaps longer--naturally possess an unusual form of altered consciousness, whether by training or by biology, which amplifies strength and lets an individual surpass their pain thresholds. There is at least some precedent for Or'im (= Dragonborn, natch) to have unusual quirks of biology, simply because of the bonus attack while bloodied (perhaps the nascent, untrained form of this altered-consciousness state?) combined with the accelerated healing factor (+Con to HS value).

Another option is that the Or'im could have similarities to Vulcans: that is, a people who experience emotion very strongly, but learn to exercise great control over their thoughts and behaviors. I've presented the character as being very deliberative, though (partially intentionally and partially not) he sometimes realizes an important connection a little later than ideal (but still before his party members half the time :p) At the same time, I've presented him as having a strong compulsion to act, which then gets reined in, implicitly by the way he was trained. So perhaps this could be less a matter of "learning to tap into the rage," and more "learning to let go when it's needed."

There might be others, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. And all of that said? This is just me spitballing explanations--I'm still super on the fence about all of it. Fighter makes me better at my core competency, but the only available feat is...lackluster. Barbarian would add welcome damage potential, but (ironically) requires more finesse on my part. Ranger ups the damage, but other than one really solid power-swap, it's a bit thin on future options. I'll have to make a decision by Wednesday--no point delaying any longer than that--but what it'll be I'm still not sure.
 

Nastra

First Post
Hey, friendly neighborhood cybard (Isolde) here! You're not the only one worried about bringing in the DPR or burst damage! That's why I'm focusing on attack granting/attack bonuses and dmg buffs. Especially since I'm used to being in offense heavy parties (warlord/rogue, ranger/grappler monk FTW).

So to help inform your decision here's what I'm planning to build towards. And since we're the only melee dudes we're going to be next to each other a lot in this best case scenerios.

Staying power:
Scale armor. Shield. Lots of Con. And probably toughness if I can squeeze it in.

Enabling: Blunder. Victorious Smite. Any power that slides party members with agile opprotunist which is most likely only going to be you. (Shout of Triumph, Scorpion's Claw Strike, Illusory Erasure.) So pweety please take agile opprotunist :)!

Buffs: Mostly attack and damage. Valrous Bard has three abilities that do this. Also thinking of multiclassing paladin to get wrath of the gods. +charisma to damage for the whole encounter is too tasty even if the range is a bit short. Lef me know if you're cool with me doing this. Maybe Seth trains her in your paladiny ways?

Soft Control: Slides to set up our flanks and shove enemies into hazardous terrian or zones. Psychic lock with githyanki silver weapon and psychic implement powers for constant -2 attack rolls to assist in your defender routine.

So now that you know what I'm planning this should give you some context. Here's my opinions:

Ranger is probably the best choice... Mostly because disruptive strike and attacks on the run don't need two melee weapons. Seriously, disruptive strike is a beyond silly power. And Attacks on the Run needs no explanation. Having our ranger and you having those powers is powerful, even if a bit redundant. Because let's be honest I don't think he's skipping out on those.

Buuuut, if you don't want to step on any toes, Barbarian is a competetive option. Curtain of Steel is amazing. Even non-thaneborns get it. You trade in the sure fire trigger and attack debuff for a sudden burst of damage for those that obey your mark. Afterwards you can upgrade to Hurricane of Blades. Oak Hammer Rage or White Tiger Rage are good defendery level 9 dailys if you want to continue poaching powers.

And of course there is considering using two-hander for a bit more dmg if you're not opposed to losing 2 AC. But, as we all know weapon dice start to matter less and less as static damage increases.

But whatever you do please get agile opprotunist :D
 

Hey, friendly neighborhood cybard (Isolde) here! You're not the only one worried about bringing in the DPR or burst damage! That's why I'm focusing on attack granting/attack bonuses and dmg buffs. Especially since I'm used to being in offense heavy parties (warlord/rogue, ranger/grappler monk FTW).

Well hello! Fancy meeting you here. :)

So to help inform your decision here's what I'm planning to build towards. And since we're the only melee dudes we're going to be next to each other a lot in this best case scenerios.

Staying power:
Scale armor. Shield. Lots of Con. And probably toughness if I can squeeze it in.

Enabling: Blunder. Victorious Smite. Any power that slides party members with agile opprotunist which is most likely only going to be you. (Shout of Triumph, Scorpion's Claw Strike, Illusory Erasure.) So pweety please take agile opprotunist :)!

Sounds good to me. Bit of a ways off though so I'll just have to make a note of it for the future. Good thing I'm pushing both Str and Cha!

Buffs: Mostly attack and damage. Valrous Bard has three abilities that do this. Also thinking of multiclassing paladin to get wrath of the gods. +charisma to damage for the whole encounter is too tasty even if the range is a bit short. Lef me know if you're cool with me doing this. Maybe Seth trains her in your paladiny ways?

That's precisely what I was thinking, actually--he already has good reason to feel a certain camaraderie with Isolde, so if we can

Soft Control: Slides to set up our flanks and shove enemies into hazardous terrian or zones. Psychic lock with githyanki silver weapon and psychic implement powers for constant -2 attack rolls to assist in your defender routine.

Mm, juicy, that, though be careful about sources--is githyanki silver present in PHB 1 or 2? I doubt our DM will mind overmuch--I've made my own little requests and we'll see how those work out--but it's definitely something to keep in mind. (From what I can tell it's a Manual of the Planes thing?)

So now that you know what I'm planning this should give you some context. Here's my opinions:

Ranger is probably the best choice... Mostly because disruptive strike and attacks on the run don't need two melee weapons. Seriously, disruptive strike is a beyond silly power. And Attacks on the Run needs no explanation. Having our ranger and you having those powers is powerful, even if a bit redundant. Because let's be honest I don't think he's skipping out on those.

Buuuut, if you don't want to step on any toes, Barbarian is a competetive option. Curtain of Steel is amazing. Even non-thaneborns get it. You trade in the sure fire trigger and attack debuff for a sudden burst of damage for those that obey your mark. Afterwards you can upgrade to Hurricane of Blades. Oak Hammer Rage or White Tiger Rage are good defendery level 9 dailys if you want to continue poaching powers.

And of course there is considering using two-hander for a bit more dmg if you're not opposed to losing 2 AC. But, as we all know weapon dice start to matter less and less as static damage increases.

But whatever you do please get agile opprotunist :D

I'll keep it in mind. At the same time, without all the errata and such, Pit Fighter is a highly attractive paragon path for pure damage (especially since I'll end up with a +3 Wis mod by Epic), giving some bonus damage for literally all weapon attacks (the errata made it Fighter/Pit Fighter attacks only). So...I guess I'll have to sleep on it and decide before tonight's session!
 

Nastra

First Post
Yay! Paladin training here we come!

Ooh. I forgot about pit fighter! Extra damage action is pretty tasty also. Though the wis damage feature does come at 16 : 0!
 

Yay! Paladin training here we come!

Ooh. I forgot about pit fighter! Extra damage action is pretty tasty also. Though the wis damage feature does come at 16 : 0!

Oops, looks like I left a dangling sentence. "If we can come up with a good story for it, I'm game." I've also got a few ideas percolating for what we could do. We can discuss that later though.
 

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