D&D 5E Companion thread to 5E Survivor - Subclasses (Part IX: Paladin)


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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I'm going to disagree with both and say that to me it's more like a Fey Knight.
buuuut it's more like a ranger than a druid ;)

In my first 5e campaign (the Yoon Suin one), for our "nature" person, one player made an Ancient paladin with the outlander background, and it was "good enough". I have to admit it is one of the features of 5e I like, this possibility to "soft multiclass" via background and subclass features.
 

Undrave

Hero
buuuut it's more like a ranger than a druid ;)

In my first 5e campaign (the Yoon Suin one), for our "nature" person, one player made an Ancient paladin with the outlander background, and it was "good enough". I have to admit it is one of the features of 5e I like, this possibility to "soft multiclass" via background and subclass features.
I'm a BIG fan of the 'soft multiclass' through subclass and feats. Way better than the level based one. It feels more integrated.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Okay let's see here. I've never played 4th Edition and therefore never played a "true" Warden, but a couple of folks have filled me in on what "makes a Warden" in 4th Edition. And by most accounts, a Warden is "a sticky nature-based melee tank with primal magic."

Here's how I would build one in 5E.
1st Level:
Race:
Variant Human. Starting feat: Magic Initiate; choose druid. Cantrips: thorn whip, mold earth. 1st level spell: entangle.
Class: Paladin
Background: Custom, "Warden." Your choice of Outlander or Hermit (or even Sage, I suppose), but with custom proficiencies (Nature and Survival, one language, and one tool)

2nd Level: Choose Protection for her combat style.
3rd Level: Choose Oath of the Ancients for her sacred oath.
4th Level: Select the Sentinel feat. Multiclass with Warlock. Choose Archfey, and Pact of the Blade. Cantrips: eldritch blast, green flame blade. 1st level spell: hex.
5th Level: Take 2nd (and final) level of Warlock. Choose two invocations (eldritch mind, grasp of hadar). Choose 1 spell (protection from evil and good)
That's about as "sticky" and "tanky" as I can make a melee fighter.

There's lots of room here for flavor and campaign setting-specific details; the "archfey" that you've formed a pact with might be a powerful and ancient spirit of the grove, or somesuch. You'll want to change up your descriptions of your abilities and magic, as well, so that they are more thematic (describe your Grasp of Hadar as being vines and leaves that erupt from the ground, instead of wispy black tentacles, etc.)

Still, I'm pretty sure this isn't a 4th Edition Warden. And that's fine; this isn't a 4th Edition ruleset either. But maybe it's close.

How would you build a Warden, using only existing 5E rules and components?
 
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Undrave

Hero
How would you build a Warden, using only existing 5E rules and components?
If I could home-brew I'd make it a new Barbarian Subclass, but out of existing components? Your is probably the best one can do.

Maybe a Way of the Beast Barbarian with the Sentinel feat at level 1? Level 4 feat to grab an extra saving throw proficiency?
 

Argyle King

Legend
buuuut it's more like a ranger than a druid ;)

In my first 5e campaign (the Yoon Suin one), for our "nature" person, one player made an Ancient paladin with the outlander background, and it was "good enough". I have to admit it is one of the features of 5e I like, this possibility to "soft multiclass" via background and subclass features.

I think Druid, Ancients, and Ranger are the nature-y counterparts to the Cleric, Paladin, and Rogue.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The Fighter:
1665780243187.png

Crunchy, salty, familiar, popular.
Exactly what you expect.
Some people are highly-allergic.

The Ranger:
1665780110148.png

Insipid, cheap, poorly-made.
Never as good as you want it to be.
Very few people actually like it.


The Oath of the Ancients Paladin:
1665780045961.png

Crunchy, salty, delicious, better than you thought it would be.
Exactly what you were looking for, where you least expected to find it.
Some people are still highly-allergic, though.
 
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How would you build a Warden, using only existing 5E rules and components?
Being perfectly honest: I wouldn't. I genuinely do not think 5e is capable of supporting it with only its existing mechanics. The places where it would need to be open-ended it is instead incredibly restrictive, and the places where it would need to be more restrictive (I would personally say "consistent") it is instead so open-ended it borders on empty. Indeed, I'm not even sure it is possible without actually rewriting the rules (e.g. as Level Up has done), that is, I'm almost convinced (call it 60% convinced) that even a new class wouldn't cut it.

I feel the same way about the Warlord, for example. Shaman and Avenger are borderline cases: if you're really rigorous about restricting things to absolute 5e RAW then I don't think they are doable either, but if you allow some small tweaks I think they can work just fine. Namely, for Avenger, let the Zealot Barbarian apply Barbarian features to Dexterity stuff and use Dexterity to hit/damage with big weapons (perhaps an "Avenger Training" feat to justify such things and make an Oath of Enmity option for Rage usage?) That would make a solid Avenger-alike in 5e terms. Likewise, some relatively minor tweaks to the Wildfire Druid would absolutely bring it at least within spitting distance of the Shaman, though I'm not entirely sure how to bridge that lingering gap between "still a bit disappointing" and "an acceptable translation even if it had to change."

Warlord and Warden, on the other hand, I don't actually believe can be built in 5e. You can make things clearly trying to imitate them. But they don't actually make it to "acceptable translation" territory the way "fully Dex-based Zealot Barbarian" would. The kludge of "play Ancients Paladin with a two level Archery Blade Warlock dip" shows how difficult this is: you can't get your core class concept until at least level 6, and that only if you plag variant human AND get your DM to approve an Unearthed Arcana fighting style that never made it to print. All of that, just to kinda-sorta half-resemble a Warden that doesn't have any forms.

5e has the clear design goal (one of the few explicit and identifiable ones therein!) that you should have your basic kit by level 2 or 3. Making it so the "Warden" wouldn't have it until 6th level and that only if you play a specific race is pretty far off that mark. Note: your suggestion cannot be completed as described, because if you multiclass Warlock at character level 4, you don't get a feat at that level. You must be Paladin 4 or Warlock 4 to get your first feat. And for anyone playing anything other than variant human, hope you're happy not getting to play your concept until 10th level!
 

I'm a BIG fan of the 'soft multiclass' through subclass and feats. Way better than the level based one. It feels more integrated.
Personally, I quite dislike it. Not strictly because it exists, but because it leads to endless and infuriating useless "advice" about how to soft multiclass when I don't want to soft multiclass, I want my gorram class concept.

Or, to put it differently, I dislike calling it "soft multiclass," because that's way way way WAY too strong a term for what it is. "Reskinning" is the much more correct term IMO, and even then that's a very strong word for "I got my choice of two skills and a prefab ribbon ability that will probably never matter."
 

Undrave

Hero
Personally, I quite dislike it. Not strictly because it exists, but because it leads to endless and infuriating useless "advice" about how to soft multiclass when I don't want to soft multiclass, I want my gorram class concept.

Or, to put it differently, I dislike calling it "soft multiclass," because that's way way way WAY too strong a term for what it is. "Reskinning" is the much more correct term IMO, and even then that's a very strong word for "I got my choice of two skills and a prefab ribbon ability that will probably never matter."
I don't include Background in my thinking about 'Soft Multiclass', as you say it's just ribbon stuff.

And I mean that I'm a fan of Soft Multiclass over the level-by-level Multiclass, but not as a replacement to a proper class.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Being perfectly honest: I wouldn't. I genuinely do not think 5e is capable of supporting it with only its existing mechanics. The places where it would need to be open-ended it is instead incredibly restrictive, and the places where it would need to be more restrictive (I would personally say "consistent") it is instead so open-ended it borders on empty. Indeed, I'm not even sure it is possible without actually rewriting the rules (e.g. as Level Up has done), that is, I'm almost convinced (call it 60% convinced) that even a new class wouldn't cut it.

I feel the same way about the Warlord, for example.
Yeah, it's true. Not everything in 4E can be supported very well by 5th Edition rules. Some things were bound to became redundant, unsupported, or obsolete in the new rules system. So the devs included what they did, gave us tools/options for everything else, and crossed their fingers. And I think that was the right call, but it's still a bummer for people with fond memories of psions in 1E AD&D, or wardens in 4E, or (thing) in (other edition).

But I'm confident you can get "close enough," if you and your DM are willing to make a few concessions. Like my reskinned "Padlock" for the Warden, or a spell-point Sorcerer for a psion. Kludgy? Yep. Perfect? Nope. Doable? Sure. Worth it? Debatable.
 

Kludgy? Yep. Perfect? Nope. Doable? Sure. Worth it? Debatable.
I guess what I'd say is, the way most people speak about 5e...

The first thing isn't supposed to ever be "yep," because the system is supposed to be more open, more accepting, more flexible than any version before. Admitting that it is a kludge, and more importantly that one is in fact needed to accomplish something, is a pretty major let-down from the system that supposedly touted modularity, flexibility, ease of modification, etc.

"Perfect" will never happen, so I don't expect that. It's about effective translation. I'm reminded of my Latin courses. Latin has several grammar structures that flat don't exist in English, e.g. the "ablative absolute" ("Militibus conventis, Caesar dixit." = "With the soldiers having been assembled, Caesar spoke.") or the gerundive (verbal adjectives that imply purpose or obligation, e.g. "libros legendos," "the books to-be-read" or "the must-read books.") For such things, meaning-for-meaning translation is necessary, sometimes with poetic license taken to give the experience or imagery when the structure itself is beyond reach. The fact that perfect translation may be impossible does not mean there are not better or worse translations of Latin works to English--and, likewise, translations of 4e's mechanics (or other editions') to 5e.

"Doable" and more importantly "worthwhile" are where the issues crop up. As stated, needing to wait until level 6 or even level 10, when many groups stop playing at 10th level, is a pretty big ask. Likewise, many of the proposed solutions are at best halfway measures even in a meaning-for-meaning sense, and often are nigh-pointless in a 5e context. That's, again, a pretty big ask, that someone wait six whole levels doing something that doesn't actually look like or work like what they wanted, delaying their own core progress (you aren't getting Cha or Str bonuses out of either proposed feat!), in order to get a weak showing both in purely "performance in 5e" terms and in "does it capture the spirit/meaning of the 4e thing" terms. Can we really call something "doable" if it is so long delayed? Can we really call it "worthwhile" in either the in-context or across-translation context? Both of those seem pretty major issues--particularly in light of the "big tent, modular, easy-to-modify" rhetoric so frequently used in favor of 5e (and, more pointedly, against 4e.)

'Cause...I just don't share your confidence on that. The Warlord is even worse, needing dips in Fighter, Rogue, and (as many have argued) also Bard, just to kinda-sorta approximate what Warlords do....with magic, rather than purely by grit, skill, planning, and education/psychology.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
The first thing isn't supposed to ever be "yep," because the system is supposed to be more open, more accepting, more flexible than any version before. Admitting that it is a kludge, and more importantly that one is in fact needed to accomplish something, is a pretty major let-down from the system that supposedly touted modularity, flexibility, ease of modification, etc.
Yes, but the 5E system isn't supposed to be backwards-compatible with 4E, either. I understand the disappointment, but I also understand why WotC had to move away from 4E. And even good-faith efforts to adapt pieces of it into 5E will be challenging to varying degrees. That's what I meant by "kludgy."

"Perfect" will never happen, so I don't expect that. It's about effective translation. I'm reminded of my Latin courses. Latin has several grammar structures that flat don't exist in English, e.g. the "ablative absolute" ("Militibus conventis, Caesar dixit." = "With the soldiers having been assembled, Caesar spoke.") or the gerundive (verbal adjectives that imply purpose or obligation, e.g. "libros legendos," "the books to-be-read" or "the must-read books.") For such things, meaning-for-meaning translation is necessary, sometimes with poetic license taken to give the experience or imagery when the structure itself is beyond reach. The fact that perfect translation may be impossible does not mean there are not better or worse translations of Latin works to English--and, likewise, translations of 4e's mechanics (or other editions') to 5e.
I didn't mean to imply that you were demanding perfection here; I just meant to say that I realize my "I've never played 4E but here's a Warden character build" might not be what people are looking for.

"Doable" and more importantly "worthwhile" are where the issues crop up. As stated, needing to wait until level 6 or even level 10, when many groups stop playing at 10th level, is a pretty big ask. Likewise, many of the proposed solutions are at best halfway measures even in a meaning-for-meaning sense, and often are nigh-pointless in a 5e context. That's, again, a pretty big ask, that someone wait six whole levels doing something that doesn't actually look like or work like what they wanted, delaying their own core progress (you aren't getting Cha or Str bonuses out of either proposed feat!), in order to get a weak showing both in purely "performance in 5e" terms and in "does it capture the spirit/meaning of the 4e thing" terms. Can we really call something "doable" if it is so long delayed? Can we really call it "worthwhile" in either the in-context or across-translation context? Both of those seem pretty major issues--particularly in light of the "big tent, modular, easy-to-modify" rhetoric so frequently used in favor of 5e (and, more pointedly, against 4e.)
I agree completely. The juice just isn't worth the squeeze sometimes...sure, you can try to hammer bits and pieces together like I did with this "Wierden" build. Or you can write a completely new subclass (or for the very brave, a completely new core class!) complete with new abilities. The best approach (according to me) would be to rebuild the Warlock: a core class with spells and abilities that reset on a short rest, and lots of Don't-Call-Them-Invocations that the player can choose from to outfit it properly. But that's a TON of work for one character class. (And the internet being what it is, no matter what you write most people will take one look at it and complain that it's too similar to This Other Class Over Here, or not good enough.)

'Cause...I just don't share your confidence on that. The Warlord is even worse, needing dips in Fighter, Rogue, and (as many have argued) also Bard, just to kinda-sorta approximate what Warlords do....with magic, rather than purely by grit, skill, planning, and education/psychology.
I'm familiar with the Warlord, but mostly from internet discussions here on ENWorld. (These discussions all come to the same conclusion: one person will suggest a way the Warlord could be done, and three others will say "no not like that.") What does the Warlord do in 4E that can't be done in 5E by, say, a College of Swords bard with the right feats/spells? (Again, serious question, I promise I'm not trolling.)
 

I don't include Background in my thinking about 'Soft Multiclass', as you say it's just ribbon stuff.

And I mean that I'm a fan of Soft Multiclass over the level-by-level Multiclass, but not as a replacement to a proper class.
Well, the person you replied to explicitly did. But let's take a look at the Oath of the Ancients Paladin as a "soft multiclass," presumably with Druid or Ranger?

Ancients gives the following features:
Bonus spells, which I guess technically kind of qualify? I don't like that Paladins cast spells at all, but yeah, I guess that counts.
Nature's Wrath. Not actually all that nature-y, since as someone said earlier it can be reflavored trivially. One can argue Vengeance is as good, capturing the idea of the predator stalking its prey (and several of its spells are Ranger and/or Druid.)
Turn the Faithless. Not really sure why fey (who seem to be allies to Rangers and Druids) are on there; you'd think it would be undead and fiends.
Spell damage resist aura. Seems pretty unrelated to nature to me. As noted, Vengeance's feature (Relentless Avenger) seems more fitting in a predator-and-prey way.
Undying Sentinel is a Barbarian feature, nothing Rangery or Druidy here.
Elder Champion: Again, nothing nature-y other than the flavor, and maybe the regen...?

Hence why I don't get the "soft multiclass" thing. Ancients has lots of vaguely nature-y fluff text and some Druid/Ranger spells, but fluff text seems no more significant than Background ribbons (IMO much less so). Several features don't seem all that Nature-y at all (Turn, aura). Plus, it seems like Vengeance can be just as good for capturing that "nature-y" feel, and also grants a number of "nature-y" spells, albeit like two less than Ancients gets.

I'm familiar with the Warlord, but mostly from internet discussions here on ENWorld. (These discussions all come to the same conclusion: one person will suggest a way the Warlord could be done, and three others will say "no not like that.") What does the Warlord do in 4E that can't be done in 5E by, say, a College of Swords bard with the right feats/spells? (Again, serious question, I promise I'm not trolling.)
Well, very simply put...not using magic.

The fact that the Warlord did not cast spells, but was still inspiring, granting attacks, providing actual healing (if, often, less than what a Cleric could do), repositioning, buffing, and all of that* while still being productive and enjoyable in its own right, was a huge part of the draw. Any "solution" to the Warlord that requires casting spells is an instant no-go for most Warlord fans. I am reminded of the honestly kind of cringe-worthy advice I saw on another forum where someone suggested that the best Pathfinder class for Hercules was clearly the Oracle, a full spellcaster, because of its curse-that-can-also-be-a-benefit feature.

*Note, not absolutely all of that every single turn. You had two basic heals per encounter, though those depended on the target having Healing Surges left to power them (imagine if every cure wounds or healing word actually required a Hit Die be expended in order to gain any HP, and people started with 5-8 hit dice depending on class but very rarely gained more.) This basic heal, "Inspiring Word," was in 5e terms a "bonus action," so you could use it and do something impactful/productive at the same time. And since it was an Encounter power, you could use it twice in every fight. You might use a Daily and Inspiring Word on the same turn, dishing out some real pain or setting up your allies to obliterate an enemy, while also saving a friend's bacon.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Well, very simply put...not using magic.

The fact that the Warlord did not cast spells, but was still inspiring, granting attacks, providing actual healing (if, often, less than what a Cleric could do), repositioning, buffing, and all of that* while still being productive and enjoyable in its own right, was a huge part of the draw. Any "solution" to the Warlord that requires casting spells is an instant no-go for most Warlord fans. I am reminded of the honestly kind of cringe-worthy advice I saw on another forum where someone suggested that the best Pathfinder class for Hercules was clearly the Oracle, a full spellcaster, because of its curse-that-can-also-be-a-benefit feature.

*Note, not absolutely all of that every single turn. You had two basic heals per encounter, though those depended on the target having Healing Surges left to power them (imagine if every cure wounds or healing word actually required a Hit Die be expended in order to gain any HP, and people started with 5-8 hit dice depending on class but very rarely gained more.) This basic heal, "Inspiring Word," was in 5e terms a "bonus action," so you could use it and do something impactful/productive at the same time. And since it was an Encounter power, you could use it twice in every fight. You might use a Daily and Inspiring Word on the same turn, dishing out some real pain or setting up your allies to obliterate an enemy, while also saving a friend's bacon.
There's something to be said for the "everything is a spellcaster" approach.

I promise I'm not trying to argue, but you say that the Warlord "did not cast spells," then go on to list some common spell effects like healing, repositioning, and buffing. To me, it seems like large parts of The Warlord Problem could be fixed with a vocabulary change. Strike the words "magic," "spells," and "casting," and replace them with "powers," "commands," and "rallying" respectively. (And in the case of the bard, maybe replace "music" with "battle cry," or whatever.)

Player: "I cast the cure wounds spell on the wounded cleric!"
Effect: you lose a 1st level spell slot, and the cleric heals 1d8+4 hit points.

vs.

Player: "I use war cry to inspire the wounded cleric!"
Effect: you lose a 1st level command slot, and the cleric heals 1d8+4 hit points.

Again, I promise I'm not trying to be contrary. I genuinely don't understand the disconnect. If the only thing that separates "magic powers" from "martial powers" is the description or flavor text, why not change the description or flavor text? I do it all the time; it's loads easier than trying to rewrite the game mechanics.
 


There's something to be said for the "everything is a spellcaster" approach.

I promise I'm not trying to argue, but you say that the Warlord "did not cast spells," then go on to list some common spell effects like healing, repositioning, and buffing. To me, it seems like large parts of The Warlord Problem could be fixed with a vocabulary change. Strike the words "magic," "spells," and "casting," and replace them with "powers," "commands," and "rallying" respectively. (And in the case of the bard, maybe replace "music" with "battle cry," or whatever.)
I get why you'd say it. It also doesn't work. I know that it's still actually magic.

Player: "I cast the cure wounds spell on the wounded cleric!"
Effect: you lose a 1st level spell slot, and the cleric heals 1d8+4 hit points.

vs.

Player: "I use war cry to inspire the wounded cleric!"
Effect: you lose a 1st level command slot, and the cleric heals 1d8+4 hit points.

Again, I promise I'm not trying to be contrary. I genuinely don't understand the disconnect. If the only thing that separates "magic powers" from "martial powers" is the description or flavor text, why not change the description or flavor text? I do it all the time; it's loads easier than trying to rewrite the game mechanics.
But "spell slot" isn't "flavor text," is it? It means something. Antimagic fields. Upcast--er, uprallying. "Countercommanding." You can't just change the names--they come with mechanical significance that matters, that runs deep into the heart of the system.

My reply to your earlier statement--that I went "on to list some common spell effects"--is that you seem to be trapped in the same kind of thinking I see from a variety of sources, the sources that say Ranger and Paladin needed to be spellcasters and that it was the right choice to offload a bunch of their class features into spells. You are talking about a game where the only way to do special things is to cast spells. I reject that notion entirely. Both the outrightly supernatural, and the more liminal stuff (what I call the "transmundane"), should absolutely be so much more than that. To limit things only to that one narrow mechanical expression is to weaken D&D as a game.

There's an underlying further issue though. Even if you could quickly and conveniently wipe away all the mechanical issues with a Warlord who simply takes spells and calls them something that isn't "spells," I would know what they are. I would know what the underlying system is, and it would chafe. Things that are clearly, explicitly not magic in the least and yet copy over the traditional structure of D&D magic? Yeah, that's a problem.

It wasn't a problem in 4e because powers aren't spells--they're more fundamental than that. Powers can be anything. Even Melee Basic Attack is a power--literally "I just threw a punch with my hand" can be expressed as a power, because that's just the framework that expresses defined actions. (Skills, meanwhile, cover undefined actions, which is why 4e pushes such an expansive, open-ended concept of skills, and why Skill Challenges are actually really important.)
 

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