"The Paladin is King!"
I've seeing this expression pop up several times on different forums, but I'm not completely sold yet. Though I have read through the various paladin guides, I have not actually seen a paladin in action. I'm therefore curious to hear from people who have. What makes the paladin so great? Here is what I'm seeing superficially, without any actual play experience to back my observations up:
1. Great burst damage with the ability to convert spell slots into Divine Smite. With the exception of rogues, paladins potentially have the best single attack damage in the game.
2. Paladin auras are really good.
3. Access to the best weapons and armor.
4. Decent HP and some self-healing via Lay on Hands and healing spells.
4. Access to some decent spells.
Paladins are MAD as hell, with most ASI's needed to bump up their main combat attribute (STR or DEX) and CHA. This has a couple of negative side effects:
1. The Paladin will have very few points left over for Constitution. They will likely lag behind other front-liners in terms of HP. Lay on Hands and access to healing spells help mitigate this, but LOH takes an action, so I speculate that a lot of Paladins will end up taking frequent dirt naps, especially if they are not maximizing their AC by going sword-and-board style. They just don't seem to have to durability of, say, a barbarian, so I'm just not sure how well equipped they are to stand on the front lines without significant support.
2. Lower Constitution, and lack of proficiency with Constitution saves suggests that maintaining Concentration will be a dicey proposition for paladins at best. As a front-liner, the Paladin will take a lot of hits every round, so I wouldn't expect a Concentration spell to last more than a round or two, given the law of averages. Since so many of the Paladin's best spells require Concentration, Resilient (Con) becomes a must, which uses up yet another ASI slot.
3. ASI's are at such a premium for Paladins that playing anything other than a Variant Human will render you a shackled runner, since you will have almost zero room to round out your build with some of the best feats in the game.
With all of that stated, I am really curious to hear from people who are actually playing paladins. How do you deal with these challenges in practice? Do paladins only shine when they have other strong front-liners to help shoulder the burden or am I overestimating their squishiness. Are paladins as challenged in the Concentration department as I'm guessing, or are you actually able to maintain, say, a bless spell over the course of an entire combat while getting pummeled repeatedly on the front line? If the former, then do you compensate by steering clear of Concentration spells? Do you use most of your spell slots on Divine Smite, and if so, do you find it hard to budget them? What do you love the most about your paladin?
Disclaimer: The intent of this thread is to talk about paladin mechanics. If you want to touch on topics other than mechanics, please start a different thread. Thank you!