[GUIDE] My Word Is My Sword: The Paladin Guide

Benny89

Villager
Your test requeirements aren't accurate
Ok, what I need to fix?

First Paladin. Level 17:

Target has VoE on him and Paladin has Haste on him. 20 STR. Spear +2, PAM.

1 Turn: Burn smite for each attack starting from highest slot. 2 Turn: same, smite for each attack, starting from highest slot available.

Second Paladin. Level 17:

Target has VoE on him, Paladin has Holy Weapon on him. Spear + 2. 20 STR. PAM.

1 Turn: Burn smite for each attack starting from highest slot. 2 Turn: same, smite for each attack, starting from highest slot available.

Is it more clear now?
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Why do you care? The actual difference isn’t worth worrying about but how you RP the whole thing is. Do you move with the speed of your God or Lay the Pimp Hand of righteousness on them.

Don’t chase a small number you can’t catch.
 

Benny89

Villager
Why do you care? The actual difference isn’t worth worrying about but how you RP the whole thing is. Do you move with the speed of your God or Lay the Pimp Hand of righteousness on them.

Don’t chase a small number you can’t catch.
Its Character Optimization & Builds section on forum- chasing max numbers is what this is all about....
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Its Character Optimization & Builds section on forum- chasing max numbers is what this is all about....
At the levels you are discussing you are chasing a few points of damage vs creatures that will have hundreds. It’s like the people that weigh oranges when they are 3 for $1 trying to get the 3 heaviest ones.

There are more important things to think about in prep for the table, like how to tactically approach each situation and coordination with the team.
 

Benny89

Villager
At the levels you are discussing you are chasing a few points of damage vs creatures that will have hundreds. It’s like the people that weigh oranges when they are 3 for $1 trying to get the 3 heaviest ones.

There are more important things to think about in prep for the table, like how to tactically approach each situation and coordination with the team.
Still doesn't change the fact that this sub-forum is about optimization, which is about crunching and min-maxing numbers where you can.

I get what you are saying, but I don't think you are saying that in correct forum.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
Ok, what I need to fix?

First Paladin. Level 17:

Target has VoE on him and Paladin has Haste on him. 20 STR. Spear +2, PAM.

1 Turn: Burn smite for each attack starting from highest slot. 2 Turn: same, smite for each attack, starting from highest slot available.

Second Paladin. Level 17:

Target has VoE on him, Paladin has Holy Weapon on him. Spear + 2. 20 STR. PAM.

1 Turn: Burn smite for each attack starting from highest slot. 2 Turn: same, smite for each attack, starting from highest slot available.

Is it more clear now?
Ignoring Crits)

The haste Paladin do +3.6% to +5.8% (+9 to +16) more total damage than the Holy Weapon Paladin will do over those 2 rounds. We are talking in the ballpark of about 260-270 damage over those 2 rounds for either paladin.

The Haste Paladin will use 8-9 of his highest level spell slots.
The Holy Weapon Paladin will use 6-7 of his highest level spell slots.

Of course Haste offers movement benefits and AC. Holy Weapon offers an hour long duration and is better to cast in combat if you can't prebuff as you only give up 1 of 3 attacks to cast it instead of 2 of 4.

There's also the potential to get a reaction attack to consider and that attack is stronger with Holy Weapon.

All in all I'd call the overall comparison too close to call. Use Holy Weapon when resources might matter. Use haste when you are sure resources don't matter as the AC and movement bonuses are nice. Use haste if you are fighting an especially mobile enemy.
 
Still doesn't change the fact that this sub-forum is about optimization, which is about crunching and min-maxing numbers where you can.

I get what you are saying, but I don't think you are saying that in correct forum.
I disagree; optimization is fundamentally a question of the trade-offs that arise from decision points. The opportunity cost of a marginal increase in damage can often include foregone abilities that would improve overall party effectiveness, and as a result the true delta in damage is negative.

You can constrain your analysis to single-character damage per round if you want, but that's not the only way to slice what this forum is about.
 

FrogReaver

Adventurer
I disagree; optimization is fundamentally a question of the trade-offs that arise from decision points. The opportunity cost of a marginal increase in damage can often include foregone abilities that would improve overall party effectiveness, and as a result the true delta in damage is negative.

You can constrain your analysis to single-character damage per round if you want, but that's not the only way to slice what this forum is about.
You really disagree that optimization is about min-maxing numbers where you can? You really agree with the comment that Benny replied to that flat out dismisses the goal of optimizing damage any further because the difference won't matter much?

That's surprising to me. I think Benny was spot on. Min-maxing numbers is a big part of optimization. It's so much a part of it that it would be normal to describe optimization as about min-maxing. Those terms are even used interchangeably by most people.

If your point is just that we can optimize for other things than individual damage or that sometimes sacrificing a little bit of individual damage for something else can result in a wholly optimized character then no one has an issue with that. Your presentation of that point was off though. Arguing against Benny's correct point as a springboard for another correct point is bad form.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Still doesn't change the fact that this sub-forum is about optimization, which is about crunching and min-maxing numbers where you can.

I get what you are saying, but I don't think you are saying that in correct forum.
Wrong, this is the correct forum. Optimization of the numbers on your sheet is maybe %20 of optimization of your PC, how to interface your PC with your groups needs and how to play at the table to maximize your effectiveness is the other %80.
 

lkwpeter

Villager
Hi,

I was thinking about a Protector Aasimar Paladin, but from the perspective of optimization this race seems a bit behind (e. g. compared to an half-elf), isn't it?

Our camptaign starts at level 3 and I am looking for a good build with Vengeance Oath. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Hi,

I was thinking about a Protector Aasimar Paladin, but from the perspective of optimization this race seems a bit behind (e. g. compared to an half-elf), isn't it?

Our camptaign starts at level 3 and I am looking for a good build with Vengeance Oath. Any recommendations?
Aasimar make good paladins, just a little more focused around their auras and other CHR based their their attacking. And they are thematic as all get-out. They can do that as well, but several of the other Oaths work better with them than Vengeance.

Protector Aasimar increase WIS which doesn't do much for you. But Radiant Soul granting flight starting at 3rd covers a glaring weakness. The bonus damage each round is just a bonus.

Scourge Aasimar are more offensive and boost CON, but their Radiant Consumption is at direct conflict with your paladin auras, which is what your CHR buffs. I would recommend the others before them as a paladin.

Fallen Aasimar increase STR, letting you start with that 16 (assuming point buy/standard array) for STR. If you want Vengeance badly, they are the best for it.

Of the other oaths, Oath of Conquest from XGtE really works well with the +2 CHR. And if you play a Fallan Aasimar their Fear works really well into it.

Oath of Devotion can also really use that higher CHR for their Sacred Weapon CD.

Whatever you do, I would stay just paladin to level 6 at the absolute minimum, and even then be careful of what you will give up with multiclassing.
 

lkwpeter

Villager
Thanks for your comment!

1.) Would it be viable to ask my DM to change an ability bonus referring to the "variant race rules"?

2.) I could ask for ST/DEX/CON. That would make Aasimar great, wouldn't it?

3.) I still don't know which setup to go for. I was thinking to either go for Polearm Mastery (nice while flying) or Shield and Board. But I think Polearm needs more Feats to be great, right?

Should I better look for another race?
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
Thanks for your comment!

1.) Would it be viable to ask my DM to change an ability bonus referring to the "variant race rules"?

2.) I could ask for ST/DEX/CON. That would make Aasimar great, wouldn't it?

3.) I still don't know which setup to go for. I was thinking to either go for Polearm Mastery (nice while flying) or Shield and Board. But I think Polearm needs more Feats to be great, right?

Should I better look for another race?
1. Sure but don’t need to.

2. It would but see 1. Above

3. Shield and board would be interesting while flying since you can use Shield Mastery feat while flying to prone other flying creatures which causes them to fall. Or shove riders off the creatures they are flying on top of to make them fall.


Shield and board needs zero or one feat, leaving more feats for resilient or warcaster and ability bumps. For polearm you need 2 minimum, pole arm Mastery and Great Weapon Mastery.

Consider Oath of Crown for Spirit Guardians, as that spells radius is 15’ in all directions, which includes vertical dimensions while flying. The Oath feature also is also a radius in all directions.
 

smbakeresq

Explorer
BTW an advantage of using a d10 pole-arm like a halberd and taking GW fighter at second level is it allows you to ask DM to use a d12 instead of a d10 with the re-roll feature. The average damage is identical and you get to use the d12 that comes with every dice set and you don’t waste time on the re-roll.

I usually choose the weapon type no one else is using in the group so less competition for any magic weapon finds. If you use a shield, well some will also, but just tell everyone as a tank you have a higher priority on shield then everyone else.
 

lkwpeter

Villager
Thanks for your answers! Oh man, that's such a tough decision. All Oaths have pros and cons. And I am still not sure how to combine it with Aasimar.


That's what I know about the character I want to play:
  • Race: Protector Aasimar (for RP reasons) OR best optimized race (Human: Varian, Half-Elf)
  • Alignment: neutral or good
  • I want to be quite flexible with my class/race features (nothing too situational)
  • I want to be good in combat
  • Fighting style: Shield & Board


These are my concerns:
  1. I'd love Polearm, but it seems hardly possible with an Aasimar (lagging of feats). I was thinking about a middle course (like wearing a Polearm without GWM). But that wouldn't be worth it, would it? I guess as main tank (paladin, monk, wizard), Shield and Board would be best, wouldn't it?
  2. Don't know which Oath to pick. Considering Ancients, Vengeance or Conquest. Ancients offers a strong aura. Veangence has Vow of Emnity (but only 1 target). Conquest has mass fear and a medicore aura.
  3. Should I go for DEX or STR build? Isn't DEX always better? (Because of DEX saving throw, skillss like stealth, etc.?)
  4. Which feats would be best for shield and board? Shield Mastery (level 4), Resilient: CON (level 8)

Any more recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Gladius Legis

Explorer
Thanks for your answers! Oh man, that's such a tough decision. All Oaths have pros and cons. And I am still not sure how to combine it with Aasimar.




That's what I know about the character I want to play:

  • Race: Protector Aasimar (for RP reasons) OR best optimized race (Human: Varian, Half-Elf)
  • Alignment: neutral or good
  • I want to be quite flexible with my class/race features (nothing too situational)
  • I want to be good in combat
  • Fighting style: Shield & Board





These are my concerns:

  1. I'd love Polearm, but it seems hardly possible with an Aasimar (lagging of feats). I was thinking about a middle course (like wearing a Polearm without GWM). But that wouldn't be worth it, would it? I guess as main tank (paladin, monk, wizard), Shield and Board would be best, wouldn't it?
  2. Don't know which Oath to pick. Considering Ancients, Vengeance or Conquest. Ancients offers a strong aura. Veangence has Vow of Emnity (but only 1 target). Conquest has mass fear and a medicore aura.
  3. Should I go for DEX or STR build? Isn't DEX always better? (Because of DEX saving throw, skillss like stealth, etc.?)
  4. Which feats would be best for shield and board? Shield Mastery (level 4), Resilient: CON (level 8)



Any more recommendations?


Thanks in advance!
Both of Polearm Master's benefits work with spears now (after latest errata), so going spear + shield works. You just won't have reach. But you won't have a need to take GWM, either.

As for STR vs. DEX, if you want to use grapple and shove you need STR. STR also has better armor class because of plate armor. If you go DEX you pretty much have to race it to 20 ASAP and not take feats or your AC will suffer, which is not what you want as a tank. So, really, for a tank STR is better.

Shield Master ... consult your DM. If they rule you can use the bonus-action shove before you attack, or rule that you only need to make one attack of your action before shoving, then it may be worth it. If your DM rules that you must complete your entire attack action then I wouldn't bother.

Conquest's aura is not mediocre at all. It can really cripple an enemy if you frighten them. You just need to make sure you have enough frightening abilities on hand, which you can fix in a very large way by keeping Wrathful Smite prepared at all times. Ancients is generally good for defense. Vengeance is pretty much purely offensive, probably not the best for you since you want to be a tank.
 
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lkwpeter

Villager
Thanks for your recommendations!

Oh, did I say the "t-word"? Well, actually I see my party role as "tanky DD/Support" - not just the tank. My fault. ;-)

Considering your suggestions I came up with the following idea of build:

Race: Fallen Aasimar
Class: Pure Paladin
Oath: Conquest
Abilities: STR 15+1 | DEX 10 | CON 14 | WIS 10 | INT 8 | CHA 14+2
Skills: Athletics, Intimidation, Persuasion, Insight/Perception (not sure yet - playing Waterdeep campaign)
Fighting-Style: Duelist Longsword + Shield (perhaps later with Spear, see below)

The FA Race Feature (Necrotic Shroud) gives an extra Mass Fear vs. CHA, what seems pretty strong for a Conquest build. +1 Strength just perfectly fits for a ST-based build.

Feats:
The following feats seem viable for that build. If I see it right, it seems to be important to find a good use of my Bonus Action/Reaction, right?

Level 4 choice:
- Shield Master (BA) to shove (DM might allow full attack after shoving)
- Polearm Master (BA/R): BA attack + Reaction for opportunity attack (using a spear, pretty nice in the front lines)
- Sentinel (R): R for opportunity attack (playing with a monk in the group)

Level 8 choice:
- Resilient CON (mandatory for buffs and the ST is also strong)


What feat for level 4 is the strongest/most reasonable to pick? Is there anything I forgot/didn't take into account?

By the way: I was considering going for CON 13 and taking Resilient CON at level 4. Then I could go for DEX or WIS 12 (instead of 10). But that would delay the other feats until level 8. Reasonable?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Oh, did I say the "t-word"? Well, actually I see my party role as "tanky DD/Support" - not just the tank. My fault. ;-)

Considering your suggestions I came up with the following idea of build:

Race: Fallen Aasimar
Class: Pure Paladin
Oath: Conquest
Abilities: STR 15+1 | DEX 10 | CON 14 | WIS 10 | INT 8 | CHA 14+2

...

The FA Race Feature (Necrotic Shroud) gives an extra Mass Fear vs. CHA, what seems pretty strong for a Conquest build. +1 Strength just perfectly fits for a ST-based build.

Feats:
The following feats seem viable for that build. If I see it right, it seems to be important to find a good use of my Bonus Action/Reaction, right?

Level 4 choice:
- Shield Master (BA) to shove (DM might allow full attack after shoving)
- Polearm Master (BA/R): BA attack + Reaction for opportunity attack (using a spear, pretty nice in the front lines)
- Sentinel (R): R for opportunity attack (playing with a monk in the group)

Level 8 choice:
- Resilient CON (mandatory for buffs and the ST is also strong)
I really wouldn't pick feats for both 4th and 8th - Paladins are MAD, and ignoring your ASIs completely will leave you well behind. At 11th having only a +3 to hit/damage, +2 to HP for a somewhat tanky role, and missing out on some of your aura and Conquest saves with only a +3 CHR is well behind the curve.

If you want one of the styles from 4th, go for it but take +2 STR at 8th. If you want Resilient (CON) then take +2 STR at 4th, and rearrange your starting ability scores some to give you an odd CON so it boosts it. I'd suggest DEX 8 and CON 15. A DEX penalty won't hurt your AC in heavy armor.
 
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lkwpeter

Villager
I really wouldn't pick feats for both 4th and 8th - Paladins are MAD, and ignoring your ASIs completely will leave you well behind. At 11th having only a +3 to hit/damage, +2 to HP for a somewhat tanky role, and missing out on some of your aura and Conquest saves with only a +3 CHR is well behind the curve.

If you want one of the styles from 4th, go for it but take +2 STR at 8th. If you want Resilient (CON) then take +2 STR at 4th, and rearrange your starting ability scores some to give you an odd CON so it boosts it. I'd suggest DEX 8 and CON 15. A DEX penalty won't hurt your AC in heavy armor.
Thanks for your advice!


Resilient (CON):

You are right. Furthermore, I think Resilient is stronger on later levels, when the proficiency bonus that is added, is higher. I even might find out that there is no need for resilient, because the Aura of Protection (adding CHA mod. to all my saves) might be enough.


Dumping DEX:

If I see it right, dumping DEX doesn't make sense without Resilient, because there are no stats to put these points in, are there? In addition, I think DEX 10 is not the worst choice, because it's an important saving throw + gives a bonus initiative.

STR 15+1 | DEX 10 | CON 14 | WIS 10 | INT 8 | CHA 14+2


Feats:

Isn't it important to get a good use for my Bonus Action and Reaction? Polearm Master and Shield Master both offer good opportunities for that.

Polearm Master offers a Reaction attack + Bonus attack.
Shield Master offer Shove as a Bonus Action + Advantage for subsequent attacks.

If I see it right, this pretty much exceeds +1 STR mod, doesn't it?


Thanks in advance!
 
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