D&D 5E High DPR Paladin-Rogue-Bard Will it work?

ECMO3

Hero
So I have always liked the idea of a melee DPR Paladin-Rogue with sneak attack. A player had one very early in 5E, and it works but I have always fell short on a build with it because it is so MAD and Rogue levels for sneak attack means not enough smites and Paladin levels mean not enough sneak attack. This resulted in them being good at low level but really petering off by the end of tier 2. At that level they did not have enough Rogue levels to make SA good and not enough slots to really smite.

I think I have came up with a 1-20 build that leverages Bard for this:

Shaddar Kai S13 D16 C12* I8 W8 CH17
Start with Paladin 1, then go Rogue/Arcane Trickster 4, Then Paladin 2, Then Whispers Bard 10, Then Conquest Paladin 4, Then Bard 12

I think this is going to be good/viable at all levels. Early tier 2 it slows down a bit, but picks up at the end.

Starting Paladin sacrifices a skill proficiency but I will have jack of all trades eventually and it gets me heavy armor proficiency and Wisdom saves. We don't play variant encumberance, so Chain is fine but Plate means a move of 20, but I think that is doable with bonus action dash and as my Shaddar Kai teleport gets more uses. Take Dueling at Paladin 2 (character 6)

Get Booming Blade and Green Flame Blade through Rogue to boost attack damage and rely on 1 attack a turn. Also pick up Shield, Silvery Barbs and 2 illusions.

As far as Bard goes I would get some buff spells, some offensive spells and probably Banishing Smite and Destructive Wave for Magical secrets. Psychic Blades keeps up with sneak in terms of damage. It is just limited uses. With a 20 Charisma after Bard 5 (character level 11) I should be able to use it most of the time though.

I would go Elven Accuracy with Charisma at level 5 and Charisma ASI at level 10. I think Charisma is more important than Dexterity because I will be using Bard inspiration for Psychic Blades. After that either Dex ASIs or maybe Warcaster..

I think this character works in all tiers. It is ok tier 1, probably a little behind, I might concentrate on Ranged with a heavy crossbow in tier 1. Tier 2 it starts out with 2d6 sneak attack, which would be slightly low but the cantrip keeps it slightly better than base sneak. It then gets smite and then finally stack up bard levels for slots, becoming more of a smiter at the end of tier 2. Tier 3 Psychic Blades really comes online with short rest recharge.

DPR (includes sneak atttack):
Level 1: 7.5
Level 2-3: 11
Level 4: 14.5
Level 5: 19 + occasional 3.5 secondary cantrip damage
Level 6-8: 21 + occasional 3,5 secondary cantrip damage + rare smites
Level 9-10: 21 + occasional 3.5 secondary cantrip damage + occasional 7 psychic blades + regular smites
Level 11-13: 25.5 + occasional 8 secondary cantrip + regular 10.5 psychic blades + regular smites
Level 14-15: 26.5 + occasional 8 secondary cantrip + regular 10.5 psychic blades + regular smites
Level 16: 26.5 + occasional 8 secondary cantrip + regular 17.5 psychic blades + regular smites
Level 17: 31 + occasional 12.5 secondary cantrip + regular 17.5 psychic blades + regular smites
Level 18-20: 31 + occasional 12.5 secondary cantrip + regular 17.5 psychic blades + regular smites

At level 20 this build I have a caster level of 15, way ahead of a single class Paladin. With a 20 Charisma this character has some ability to flex to magic (spells) when warranted and some (not great) ranged ability as well. If you compare it to a straight Paladin I would be 1 caster level behind at 2nd level, 2 behind at 3rd level, one behind at 4th-7th, equal at 8th-9th and ahead after 9th level.

What do you think? Any good?

*note a lot of people won't like a 12 Con on a melee build, but it is fairly common for my melee characters. I usually rely on AC and spells and abilities to bolster my durability and it will be the same here. This character will have a high AC, shield, Silvery Barbs and Shaddar Kai resistance from teleporting and very late she will have Armor of Agathys. I am not worried about the Constitution, it is mostly the other parts of the build I am concerned about.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
I theory crafted a rogue/ fighter low dex build using rapier and shield.

Something has got to give. Probably go rogue arcane trickster. Paladin can be a dip to get smite.

Or by level 20 6-8 levels or Paladin rest in rogue. Shield master feat expertise in athletics.

Arcane trickster slots can fuel smiting. Knock them prone bonus action shield bash advantage, sneak attack.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
I theory crafted a rogue/ fighter low dex build using rapier and shield.

Something has got to give. Probably go rogue arcane trickster. Paladin can be a dip to get smite.

Or by level 20 6-8 levels or Paladin rest in rogue. Shield master feat expertise in athletics.

Arcane trickster slots can fuel smiting. Knock them prone bonus action shield bash advantage, sneak attack.

The thing is you don't get enough slots with AT to really be an effective smiter. You pay the multiclass caster penalty on this. A 7th level Paladin is a 4th level caster and that is the baseline to smite. A 7th level AT is a 3rd level caster which is close but a 5th level Rogue/2nd level Paladin is only a 2nd level caster, 2 full levels behind.
 

This is where the paladin/bard/hexlock-1 pops up. It cuts down MAD as melee attack & spell bonus is Cha, you get a 1/rest combat boost with Curse, Hex is a sneak-attack-like boost, and eldritch bolt handles most ranged combat with Cha. Warlock doesn't blend spell levels with other classes but that 1st/short rest spell means you can use hex pretty freely.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
The thing is you don't get enough slots with AT to really be an effective smiter. You pay the multiclass caster penalty on this. A 7th level Paladin is a 4th level caster and that is the baseline to smite. A 7th level AT is a 3rd level caster which is close but a 5th level Rogue/2nd level Paladin is only a 2nd level caster, 2 full levels behind.

AT also comes with sneak attack.

So it's really up to you what you want. More sneak attack or more spell slots.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Would it not be better to use Warlock instead of Bard, if your concern is insufficient spell slots? Sneak attack only requires a Finesse weapon, not actually using Dexterity, so you can totally do Hexblade and be all in for Charisma. You'd have Agonizing Blast to fall back on for ranged damage (no Sneak Attack with cantrips, sadly, unless there's some Arcane Trickster stuff I'm not aware of), and always have relatively high-level spell slots for juicing your Smites with. Plus, Warlock gives you a way to pick up Extra Attack (via invocation), so you get twice as many Sneak Attack dice per Attack action. (If you can use the UA rules from the playtest 7 packet, it would get even better, since Thirsting Blade lets you make three attacks per Attack action at Warlock 11, and you don't have to take the Hexblade patron, you can pick something more flavorful.)
 

ECMO3

Hero
AT also comes with sneak attack.

So it's really up to you what you want. More sneak attack or more spell slots.

See I want both, and that is where bard comes in. Psychic Blades scales pretty well with sneak attack after you start recharging it on a short rest and the Bard levels give you full caster levels for smites.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
See I want both, and that is where bard comes in. Psychic Blades scales pretty well with sneak attack after you start recharging it on a short rest and the Bard levels give you full caster levels for smites.

Bard doesn't come with sneak attack.

Some sort if hexblade, Paladin, Bard might be Mir what you are after.

You're basically going to have to make a decision on spells vs sneak attack or make do with Arcane Trickster in some capacity.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Would it not be better to use Warlock instead of Bard,

There are two problems here.

First Warlock does not have Psychic Blades and that is quite a bit of damage I am losing (although I am getting extra attack).

Second, Divine Smite only works with spell slots. You can use pact slots to cast spells from spell casting classes, but you can't use them for divine smite. I could get Eldritch Smite invocation, but that requires a lot of levels and I still would not have many slots to use.


if your concern is insufficient spell slots? Sneak attack only requires a Finesse weapon, not actually using Dexterity, so you can totally do Hexblade and be all in for Charisma.

I could probably add that as a 4th class on just a 1-level dip. With a Shaddar Kai it is pretty thematic too. This might be a good idea to be all in with Charisma.

no Sneak Attack with cantrips, sadly, unless there's some Arcane Trickster stuff I'm not aware of),

Sneak attack works great with Booming Blade or Green Flame Blade and at high levels this adds a lot of damage. Extra attack is sometimes better, but not always better, especially after character level 11. Three attacks would still outrun a Cantrip, but that is based on Warlock level, not character level, so it would be later.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Bard doesn't come with sneak attack.

Psychic Blades is just about the equivalent of Sneak Attack. It scales almost the same although the steps are not as consistent (there is a gap between level 5 and level 10). That is really why I want the Bard. You get the single weapon attack damage boost comparable to sneak attack and the spell slots for smite.

For example:

5th level Rogue does 3d6 sneak attack, 5th level Whispers Bard does 3d6 Psychic Blades

11th level Rogue does 6d6 sneak attack, 11th level Whispers Bard does 5d6 Psychic Blades. This character at 11th level (P2/R4/B5) will do 2d6 sneak+3d6 psychic blades.

16th level Rogue is 8d6 sneak attack, this character at 16th level is 2d6 sneak attack + 5d6 psychic blades.

So it pretty close to a single class Rogue at high level, but this character is coming in with more smite slots than a Paladin of the same level on top of that and can stack all of that.

Psychic Blades is limited use, but not very limited. It is 5 uses per short rest with a 20 Charisma, but you are only attacking nominally 8 times per short rest and you are not hitting with all of those attacks, so most of the time you hit an enemy you can use it.
 
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