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

Undrave

Legend
Whereas for me I think the theme is completely out of left field*, and it--like the Oath of Vengeance being "Avengers"--feels like a slap in the face to people who actually liked the 4e Warden.

Like, if someone told you you could play a Warlock, and it turned out Warlock was just a Wizard subclass that had spooky fluff and one "talk to your patron" feature, but no Hex, no eldritch blast, no invocations, literally nothing like either the 3e or 4e Warlock....would you think "hey, awesome, they gave us something kinda-sorta-vaguely Warlock-like"? Or would you think, "Wow, this was the best they could do, huh? And they're still calling it 'Warlock.' Just wow"?

I'm definitely in the latter camp. It's a similar stance to my rather significant frustration with the "no no no never EVER add more classes, in fact we should have fewer classes and condense everything down as much as possible." That is, trying to shoehorn too many distinct ideas into a single framework very frequently results in one of three things: (a) diluting those distinct ideas until they're barely there (as is the case with Paladin), (b) diluting the base so far that it ceases to have enough stuff in it to be compelling on its own (e.g. I would say Wizard and Fighter are in this camp), or (c) a power-creep spiral (Twilight Cleric being a good example here.)

The purpose of making an actually new class, if a new class is warranted, is to carve out a solid thematic-mechanical package and give it the solidity and support it needs. Subclasses then offer the opportunity to specialize, diversify, or present interesting contrast.

*The Green Knight already exists. It's called the Ranger. The fact that many folks, such as @CleverNickName, see a better Ranger in the Oath of the Ancients Paladin is a condemnation of both things IMO, not a positive about either.
I want to be clear: I'm not HAPPY we don't have a proper Warden, as it was probably one of the coolest new class of 4e (and I never got to play one myelf, booh!)

But I still like the 'Old Faith', slightly Celtic flavor of the Oath of the Ancient. It feels like a Paladin of an age past, that follows an almost forgotten god. The god an Oath of the Ancient Paladin follows is not one that most people have heard about, not because it's secret or anything, but just because of the lack of reach, maybe the lack of a need to proselytize? There's a certain noble loneliness to it.
 

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Undrave

Legend
I agree. When I made my Oath of Ancients Paladin I was really excited to try out the spells. It didn't take long for me to realize that the smite spells were mostly junk. Why cast a spell before you hit and then hope you haven't lost concentration by the time it is used, just to do less damage than a normal smite and get a small effect? Once I realized how good smite was, the only spell I ever cast was the occasional Misty Step to get up on someone fast or get to someone who was at the top of a 20 foot cliff or something. It was a shame, really.

What they should have done is give paladins smite dice based on level and limited the number you could spend also based on level. So a 3rd level paladin might have 8 smite dice and be able to use a max of 2 of them on any given hit.
The first fight I got into with my Oath of the Ancient Paladin involved some NPCs that were part of our caravan and we got into an ambush. I used Shield of Faith, spending one of my precious few slots, to protect one of the NPC that was in a bad position. Because that's what my character would do!

(Now that I think about it... I think I HADN'T went for Magic Initiate Druid and instead went for Inspiring Leader and I actually did a speech to rouse he NPCs and give them temp HP! I think it was with a Cleric that I grabbed Magc Initiate Druid - maybe more than once even... it's a good way to expend your cantrip options.)

I really want to recreate that character one day, especially now that we have the Chef feat in Tasha's!
 


Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
I want to be clear: I'm not HAPPY we don't have a proper Warden, as it was probably one of the coolest new class of 4e (and I never got to play one myelf, booh!)

But I still like the 'Old Faith', slightly Celtic flavor of the Oath of the Ancient. It feels like a Paladin of an age past, that follows an almost forgotten god. The god an Oath of the Ancient Paladin follows is not one that most people have heard about, not because it's secret or anything, but just because of the lack of reach, maybe the lack of a need to proselytize? There's a certain noble loneliness to it.
I have never gotten people craving for Celtic style stuff in fantasy it is a culture with more gaps in it than most lost cultures other than the sea people.
 

Undrave

Legend
I have never gotten people craving for Celtic style stuff in fantasy it is a culture with more gaps in it than most lost cultures other than the sea people.
I’m was just a big fan of Mystic Knights of Tyr Na Nog :p

Also, Celts are closer to what King Arthur would have been like than the romanticized knights in heavy gleaming armor. Hurray for Kaamelott.

Also usually involves a neat aesthetic and some cool animals like deers and ravens.
 

Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
I’m was just a big fan of Mystic Knights of Tyr Na Nog :p

Also, Celts are closer to what King Arthur would have been like than the romanticized knights in heavy gleaming armor. Hurray for Kaamelott.

Also usually involves a neat aesthetic and some cool animals like deers and ravens.
look as far as I know the Cymru know him best and still has his flag more or less but I have never felt any connection to any of it despite my blood, not that I feel connected to anything but that is beside the point.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
So for someone like myself, who never played 4th Edition: what does the "Warden" do that the Oath of Ancients paladin cannot do with the right feats and spells? Serious question, not trolling.
 

Undrave

Legend
So for someone like myself, who never played 4th Edition: what does the "Warden" do that the Oath of Ancients paladin cannot do with the right feats and spells? Serious question, not trolling.
For one thing the Warden was INCREDIBLY sticky. Spaces next to him were difficult terrain for enemy and he basically had the Druid's Thorn Whip to pull people in.

And (most of) his dailies were Guardian Forms where you Polymorph into an incarnation of Primal Spirits: Form of the Mountain's Thunder, Form of the Dread Serpent, Form of the Laughing Killer, Form of the Swamp Hunter, Form of the Walking Conflagration, Form of the Willow Sentinel, Form of Winter's Herald, Form of Paradise's Bounty, Form of Flame Snake, Form of the Storm Eagle, Form of the Avalanche Unleashed, Form of the Crushing Mountain, Form of the Autumn Reaper, Form of the Seething Sandstorm, Form of the World Forger etc.

Lots of evocative name. Each Guardian Form came with passive benefits and each came with a unique attack you could make once that Encounter. There was an element of Shape Shifting involved and an exploration of the Primal Spirits.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Thinking more...

Another reason for why I may like Oath of Ancients so much is because, thematically, it's dealing with godly forces which are more-roughly defined.

In general, I prefer otherworldly forces (in a fantasy setting) to have an element of uncertainty to them. Even for clerics, I would prefer a setting in which responses from "gods" (whether they actually be fey, gods, demons, or something else) be through vague omens, dreams, and a variety of other things. For a lack of better words, I prefer to have more of an Old Testament feel to things.

I know that, mechanically, that's not how 5e is built, but Ancients does a good job of helping me to buy into that idea.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
So for someone like myself, who never played 4th Edition: what does the "Warden" do that the Oath of Ancients paladin cannot do with the right feats and spells? Serious question, not trolling.
Well, let's see.

Wardens in 4e were, as stated, very "sticky." They were very, very good at keeping enemies locked down where the Warden wanted them, which usually meant "next to me, because I can take the hits." Stickiness is difficult to achieve in 5e in general for a variety of reasons, but you might be able to kludge something together, especially with UA and a DM open to favorable options (e.g. bringing back Marking and allowing non-Reaction OAs when opponents violate the mark.)

Wardens, like most Primal characters, tended to have absolute gobs of HP (most Primal classes had Con as a key stat, either prime or secondary, and tended to get more baseline HP per level, with the Warden getting more base HP than any other class in 4e.) This is theoretically doable with the Tough feat, but...well, that's honestly kind of a dull feat so it sucks to have to take that.

Wardens specialized in not wearing heavy armor (they had features vaguely like Unarmored Defense that only applied while wearing medium or light armor.) There are no 5e Paladin features which particularly support wearing medium armor, unfortunately.

Wardens called on the powers of the land itself to do damage. Some Earthbender-type stuff (due to one of the initial builds being "Earthstrength"), though they had no singular elemental affinity. Things like calling on spirits of thunder or physically zooming around the battlefield like a hungry predator.

The biggest thing though, at least for my money, was the Warden daily powers. Almost all* Warden daily powers were "Form of X," where X was some super thematic natural thing, which would give you (essentially) a stance effect for the remainder of the encounter. Notably, these powers all had the "Polymorph" keyword. This means they actually do physically transform the Warden while active. Each one would give some sort of significant effect, often changing terrain, making zones, or otherwise altering the world around the Warden--hence the emphasis on "stickiness" at the start, because by locking enemies down near herself, the Warden was very good at forcing enemies to deal with whatever Form she had manifested.

Here's an example of a 1st-level daily Warden power: Form of Winter's Herald.

Daily ✦ Cold, Polymorph, Primal
Minor Action | Personal
Effect:
You assume the guardian form of winter's herald until the end of the encounter. While you are in this form, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and resist 5 cold. In addition, each square within 2 squares of you, wherever you move, is difficult terrain for your enemies.
Special: Once during this encounter, you can use the Form of Winter's Herald Attack power while you are in this form.

Encounter
Cold, Polymorph, Primal, Weapon
Standard Action | Close
burst 1
Requirement: The Form of the Winter's Herald power must be active to use this power.
Target: Each enemy in the burst
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier cold damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends).
Miss: Half damage, and the target is immobilized until the end of your next turn.
For clarity, powers have a common format for the header:
<Type> ✦ <List of Keywords>
<Action> | <Range>
"Attack" defines the stat used for the bonus and the defense targeted (the options being AC, Fortitude, Reflex, or Will, which are static defenses on the target, not saves the target must roll.) "Effects" always occur, unless the text gives a reason why they shouldn't. "Special" things are additional characteristics or features which only apply under certain circumstances. "Resist N <type>" means you ignore the first N points of damage of the given type(s) from a particular action/source. (If the damage has multiple types, you must resist all of them to have resistance apply.) Note, I have cut out the fluff text at the head of the power, though all powers have such text between the name and the mechanics.

Notice how this power affects the Warden herself (+1 AC and resist 5 cold) as well as the world around her (difficult terrain in a 2-square--aka 10'--radius.) Further, her attack immobilizes an opponent no matter what, but that effect is stronger if she hits.

Past the early levels (that is, by level 9 or higher), this is the kind of thing a 4e Warden should be doing a couple of fights a day, every day. There's...really nothing comparable to this in the Paladin, be it spells or class/subclass features. The closest thing is their capstone ability, which they don't even get until 20th level, and that's once each day. You can kinda-sorta kludge something out of a few of the Paladin's aura spells...but nothing that says "nature" pops out at me from the spells I can see. Even the closest semi-examples require 3rd or higher level spells.

*The only exceptions are at level 5 and 19. Not really sure why those got the more "smite-y" kind of powers, but hey, it's what they are.
 

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