Pathfinder - The Antipaladin Handbook
I will use content from the core rules, but will intentionally omit any content not published on the official Pathfinder SRD due to the unmanageable volume of non-SRD content, and the wildly varying quality of non-SRD content. If you would like me to write handbooks for specific content not published on the official SRD, please email me and I will consider it on a case-by-case basis. I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.
- Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- Green: Good options.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
Temporary Note: Pathfinder Unchained and Occult Adventures were both recently added to the SRD. I'm excited to explore them, and I am actively working on adding their contents to my collection of handbooks. I appreciate your patience while I make these changes.
The Antipaladin is mechanically very similar to the Paladin, but the differences in their abilities reflect the difference in their alignments. Where the Paladin is a capable warrior supplemented by healing and support abilities, the Antipaladin drops all pretense of healing and support in favor of additional damage output and debuff options. The Antipaladin gets every social skill except Diplomacy, so if you plan to play a Face be sure to use a trait to pick up Diplomacy as a class skill.
The Antipaladin is an alternate class of the Paladin, so any archetypes, feats, or class features for which the Antipaladin has the correct ability applies to the Antipaladin. Many of the Antipaladin's abilities are identical to Paladin abilities but with different names, so consult your GM about using options which apply to Paladins with your Antipaladin.
Antipaladin Class Features
Hit Points: d10 hit points is standard for front-line melee characters.
Base Attack Bonus: Full BAB.
Saves: Despite a "bad" Reflex saves, Unholy Resilience gives the Antipaladin some of the best saves in the game.
Proficiencies: Heavy armor, shields, and martial weapons.
Skills: 2+ skill ranks and not a lot of options.
Aura of Evil (Ex): This hardly ever matters.
Detect Good (Sp): Situational.
Smite Good (Su): Your enemies will primarily be good, and Smite Good gives you a pile of damage and a nice bonus to AC. It remains useful at any level, and is limited only by the small number of uses per day.
Unholy Resilience (Su): The equivalent of Divine Grace, Unholy Resilience
Touch of Corruption (Su): The damage behind Touch of Corruption is not the primary draw. Instead, look at the effects of Cruelties. Also note that Touch of Corruption does not allow you to use it on yourself as a swift action the same way that a Paladin can. Your GM may allow you to do so if you are healed by negative energy, but check with your GM to be sure.
Aura of Cowardice (Su): While this is normally not very helpful, it becomes very useful when you pick up the Shaken and Frightened cruelties.
Plague Bringer (Ex): Immunity to disease becomes important at high levels when disease and poison become more common, but not as important as it is for good-aligned characters because good-aligned outsiders don't typically use poison or disease.
Cruelty (Su): Cruelties turn Touch of Corruption into a powerful single-target crowd-control effect.
- Fatigued: Worthless.
- Shaken: A nice debuff, and Aura of Cowardice imposes a -4 penalty on the save.
- Sickened: A slightly better debuff than Shaken, but you can't stack Sickened to get better debuffs.
- Dazed: Rob the target of their next turn. Very tempting, but hard to justify compared to the durations of other options.
- Diseased: This opens up a variety of useful ability damage options. Blinding Sickness is always a favorite.
- Staggered: Nice for enemies who depend on full attacks, and a decent duration.
- Cursed: Three options, all of which are excellent.
- Exhausted: Hardly better than Fatigued.
- Frightened: Frightened enemies run away unless they are cornered, effectively taking them out of combat for several rounds.
- Nauseated: Doesn't make the target run, but prevents them from fighting back for several rounds.
- Poisoned: Constitution damage is terrifying and frequently lethal, and it lowers the targets save against the poison and potential additional Cruelties.
- Blinded: Use Diseased with Blinding Sickness and the target is permanently blinded and takes Strength damage.
- Deafened: Only effects spellcasters, and even then not very well.
- Paralyzed: Save or suck. Coupe de grace next round.
- Stunned: If you can't afford to take a coupe de grace for some reason, stun the target for a few rounds and come back to them later.
Channel Negative Energy (Su): Very difficult to bring into play without hurting your allies unless your party heals based on negative energy. Even then, your saving throw won't be great. If you insist on using Channel Energy, see my Practical Guide to Channel Energy.
Spells: Antipaladins are 1/2 casters, and their spell list strongly resembles the Paladin spell list. However, the Antipaladin lacks many of the Paladin's best buffs because they are good-aligned and lack alignment-agnostic versions.
Fiendish Boon (Sp): Both options are fantastic. The ability to enhance your weapon can solve a lot of problems, including DR, but fiendish companions offer a lot of amazing options. For help with Fiendish Companions, see my Practical Guide to Fiendish Companions.
Aura of Despair (Su): This has the fantastic side-effect of making enemies more susceptible to your Touch of Corruption, but your allies will also appreciate the penalty against their spells and abilities.
Aura of Vengeance (Su): Fantastic, but remember that allies must still use a swift action to activate Smite Good.
Aura of Sin (Su): Fantastic for combating good-aligned outsiders.
Aura of Depravity (Su): DR 5/good will protect you from everything except enemy divine spellcasters and good-aligned outsiders.
Unholy Champion (Su): Good, but not great. The Banishment effect forcible ends your Smite even if it fails, and you can't choose to forego the effect. Personally I would rather outright kill the outsider so that it can't come back.
The Antipaladin's abilities are much the same as any heavy armored melee character, but the Antipaladin's divine abilities add a dependence on Charisma.
Str: The Antipaladin is a strictly melee class, which means that you need Strength.
Dex: You need 12 to fill out full plate, but even that isn't strictly necessary, especially if you plan to use a shield.
Con: As a front-line character, hit points are always important.
Int: The Antipaladin's skill list is very short, and more skill ranks won't fix that. Unless you plan to play a Face, dump Intelligence.
Wis: Only required for will saves, and Unholy Resilience and the Antipaladin's good Will saves greatly reduce this dependence.
Cha: Powers many of the Antipaladins important abilities, include Unholy Resilience.
|25 Point Buy||20 Point Buy||15 Point Buy||Elite Array|
Bonuses to Strength and Charisma are great, and medium size is helpful if you want to be enlarged.
Dwarf: The Charisma penalty is annoying, but the Dwarf's other racial traits still make it a viable option. The bonuses to Constitution and Wisdom offset most of the lost bonus from Unholy Resilience, and the Dwarf's other abilities complement the Antipaladin's natural durability very well. Unfortunately the Dwarf favored class bonus adds to Concentration, which is nearly worthless for Antipaladins.
Elf: Nothing useful for the Antipaladin.
Gnome: Despite small size and a strength penalty, the Gnome isn't completely awful as an Antipaladin. Bonuses to both Constitution and Charisma work well with the Antipaladin's abilities, but many of the Gnome's other abilities may be wasted. The Gnome Paladin favored class bonus adds to Lay of Hands healing, so you could reasonably alter it to improve Touch of Corruption damage.
Half-Elf: The flexible ability bonus is nice, and the Half-Elf has some nice alternate racial features which can work well for the Antipaladin. The Half-Elf's favored class bonus expands the area of the Paladin's auras. Considering the Antipaladin has 5 auras (not counting Aura of Evil), this can be a fantastic buff. If you're happy with your aura range, pick up the Human favored class bonus for some permanent energy resistance.
Half-Orc: Flexible ability bonus and some nice racial abilities which complement the Antipaladin well. Unfortunately, the Half-Orc favored class bonus is awful, so pick up the Human favored class bonus for some permanent energy resistance.
Halfling: A little less effective than the Gnome because the Dexterity bonus isn't as helpful.
Human: Always a good option, and the Human favored class bonus adds energy resistance to one type of energy. Pick up a few points in the four basic energy types (acid, cold, electricity, fire), but don't worry about sonic. Remember that this resistance stacks with magical energy resistance such as the Resist Energy spell.
- Bluff (Cha): Essential if you plan to play a Face.
- Disguise (Cha): Too situational.
- Handle Animal (Cha): The Fiendish Companion is not technically an animal companion, and you can't teach it tricks.
- Intimidate (Cha): Essential if you plan to play a Face.
- Knowledge (religion) (Int): One of the most important Knowledge skills.
- Ride (Dex): Helpful if you plan to ride your fiendish companion, but otherwise useless.
- Sense Motive (Wis): Essential if you plan to play a Face.
- Spellcraft (Int): Situational.
- Stealth (Dex): In full plate you're not going to have much luck sneaking around.
- Adept Champion: Technically requires Smite Evil, but any reasonable GM should allow this to work with Smite Good. This can add an impressive bonus to your CMB at the expense of damage.
- Extra Channel: The Antipaladin isn't good at channeling energy.
- Extra Lay On Hands: 4 levels worth of additional uses of Touch of Corruption. If you like Touch of Corruption a lot, this is worth considering.
- Extra Mercy: Being active instead of reactive, Touch of Corruption has the luxury of not needing to guess what you might need. You get to pick what you want, and everyone else gets to save or suck. Where a Paladin might need an extra Mercy to cover an additional potential crippling effect, the Antipaladin can already get all of the good Cruelty options without spending a feat.
- Unsanctioned Knowledge: Intelligence is a dump stat for Antipaladins, but Unsanctioned Knowledge can open up a lot of really great spell options. Clerics in particular have a lot of really great buffs, and many have long durations. Magic Vestments, for example, is a 3rd-level Cleric spell with hours/level duration that can save you a fortune on armor enhancement. However, remember that Antipaladins get very few spells per day.
Channel Smite: An excellent way to get some burst
damage, but the target still gets a Will save to halve the damage.
- Greater Channel Smite: Allows you to split up the bonus damage dice from Channel Smite. Largely pointless.
- Guided Hand: This is for Clerics.
Your choice of weapon isn't particularly important to the Antipaladin.
Full plate. Get it as soon as you can afford it. If you want to use a one-handed weapon, pick up a heavy shield.