PALADIN Levels 1 – 4: In the Name of Good: A Guide to the Holy Warrior Class – RPGBOT.Podcast S4E32

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Show Notes

Enter the world of fantasy and embark on a heroic journey as we uncover the mysterious and powerful class of the Paladin in tabletop roleplaying games.  Unwavering in their devotion and fearless in battle, the Paladin is a class that strikes awe and admiration in the hearts of many tabletop roleplayers. With their righteous cause and unbreakable code of honor, these holy warriors stand ready to defend the innocent and vanquish evil. So grab your dice and join us as we explore the origins and incredible abilities of this revered class in the realm of tabletop RPGs. In this episode of the RPGBOT.Podcast, we unlock the secrets of the Paladin and journey into a world of fantasy and adventure like never before.

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Tyler Kamstra

Ash Ely

Randall James

Producer Dan

Transcript

This transcript is a work in progress. If you would like to help improve this transcript, please contribute corrections to the accompanying Google Doc, and we will update this page periodically as corrections are made.

Randall James (01:30.239)

Welcome to the RPG about that podcast. I’m reynoldsjames and with me is Tyler campstra and as she lies

Tyler (01:35.146)

Hi everybody.

Ash (01:37.654)

Halt, fiend! In the name of my oath, I will smite thee!

Randall James (01:43.303)

That’s all you’re gonna do is smithy.

Ash (01:45.758)

Mm-hmm.

Tyler (01:47.329)

Alright.

Randall James (01:48.299)

Oh man, what’s the name of the Paladin from the new D&D movie? Cause that dude was awesome. Yeah!

Tyler (01:53.299)

Ah, Zenk, yeah. Ha ha ha.

Ash (01:53.655)

Oh, Zank.

He’s basically a DMPC and I love it. It’s great. Everybody has something awesome to say about him. You can tell, like, everybody’s passing those, like, knowledge checks and he’s like, yeah, you heard this awesome story about saying, Zank is so cool.

Tyler (01:59.794)

Yeah. Ha ha ha.

Randall James (02:00.891)

Yeah.

Tyler (02:10.297)

Hahaha

Randall James (02:16.575)

bring him to my game.

Tyler (02:16.678)

In times like these, I like to remember the words of the ancients and just cut off. Goodbye, Zank. Nice knowing you.

We’ll never know the words of the ancients.

Ash (02:28.71)

Nope. Speaking of which, there’s an ancient paladin. So there you go.

Randall James (02:30.83)

Alright team

Tyler (02:34.96)

Yeah! Hahahaha!

Randall James (02:37.315)

Was that a druid? Did he smite me? What? Anyway.

Randall James (02:43.407)

Alright, Tyler, what is happening?

Tyler (02:45.874)

Well, tonight we are talking about Paladins. We’re gonna talk about optimizing Paladins in D&D 5e. So we’ve done, at this point, Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Sorcerer.

Bard had to think about it. So I know. And now we’re going to look at Paladins. So Paladins are… Kind of, yeah. Paladins… All right. So Paladins have a long storied history in D&D. So forgive me for just a moment as we jump into the way back.

Ash (03:05.307)

Wow.

Ash (03:10.578)

Everybody’s favorite choir boy

Mm-hmm

Randall James (03:15.721)

What instrument do you play? The sword.

Tyler (03:31.222)

machine. In very early editions, it was actually incredibly difficult to become a Paladin because you had to have really, really high starting stats in strength, constitution, and charisma. So just the prestige of being able to start as a Paladin was a huge deal. They weren’t actually all that much better, but it felt cool. Until third edition, Paladins were all required to be lawful good. So like if you ever hear…

Tyler (04:01.778)

If you ever hear stereotypes about Paladins being like morally rigid, lawful stupid, like a pain to have in the party because they have to adhere to their oath, all of those things, a lot of that comes from long before fifth edition, where Paladins were much more restrictive. Like their code of ethics was very, very strictly defined and the DM was expected to enforce it. Like among other things, you could never launch a surprise attack. You had to offer your opponents.

a fair fight and a chance to surrender before you attacked them. So like, all of this stuff made Paladins a ni- Oh yeah, huge pain.

Randall James (04:36.415)

That’s awful. No, just let’s immediately pause and appreciate. That’s terrible. Like imagine being an assassin running around with a paladin. It’s like, you know, wait, let them know we’re here.

Tyler (04:42.484)

Yeah.

Tyler (04:48.566)

Mm-hmm. Yeah, exactly. So things got better eventually.

Ash (04:55.554)

Yeah, that’s terrible. I believe Pathfinder 2 still holds a well until the remaster held some of that with the champions. Like you had your creed that you couldn’t violate anathema sort of stuff. Although barbarians have that too weirdly.

Tyler (05:14.206)

Yeah, the pre remaster the Pathfinder second edition champions, which is Paladin subclass of champion. They’re all key to a specific alignment. So there’s three for good aligned and three for evil aligned. So you know, lawful, neutral, chaotic, you get it. And you have to stick to that alignment and specific tenets of the oath. Now in the remaster, they’ve gotten rid of alignment. So it’s just the like,

edicts and anathemas. You must do these things. You must not do these things.

Ash (05:42.53)

the tenants.

Ash (05:47.382)

Which, you know, to be fair, I think there’s something to that. I think there’s some interesting stuff. It’s definitely good for people to have role play limits so that they makes characters a bit more interesting. You just have to be careful with it because it can really sort of pigeonhole you into one type of character. And that’s where we get a lot of the stereotypes about Paladins like lawful stupid, which is what Tyler just described is like, wait, no rogue.

Tyler (06:12.984)

Yeah. Ha ha ha.

Ash (06:16.81)

We will not approach them from behind. We must offer them an honorable chance at surrender. Well, he’s stabbing me in the stomach. Well, that’s just rude and dishonorable. Ha ha ha.

Tyler (06:29.81)

Yeah, yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Randall James (06:32.511)

It’s the line from the first season of Game of Thrones. It’s like, you know, you don’t fight with honor. No, but he did. To the dude still falling through the sky hole. It’s like, yeah.

Tyler (06:40.822)

Hehehehe. Mm. Hehehehe.

Ash (06:43.85)

Yeah, if you want an example of a lawful, stupid paladin deconstructed, Ned Stark. Ned Stark is what happens to lawful, stupid paladins in a realistic setting. He tried so hard to be honorable in a city that did not reward being honorable at all.

Randall James (06:50.943)

Yeah.

Tyler (06:56.115)

He tried so hard.

Tyler (07:03.046)

and also he made the mistake of being played by Sean Bean.

Ash (07:07.801)

Yeah.

Randall James (07:09.437)

Nah. I don’t really… That’ll do my character.

Tyler (07:11.731)

Yeah.

Ash (07:11.927)

Poor Sean Bean. Poor Sean Bean.

Randall James (07:14.315)

I feel like we all have a friend at the table like that, right? It doesn’t matter what the character is, the player driving… ..

Tyler (07:20.582)

Hahaha

Ash (07:21.738)

Yeah, it’s like that one player who is always reckless and for some reason, just as always the first person to die in your campaigns or they lose at least one character. I actually have a friend like that. I kill more of his characters than anybody else because he does really reckless, stupid stuff.

Tyler (07:33.002)

Hahaha!

Tyler (07:40.362)

Yeah, that’ll do it. All right, well, let’s jump into the optimization. So I mentioned charisma a little bit earlier. So if you’ve looked at Paladins, none of this should surprise you. They depend on strength or dexterity for weapons, constitution for hit points, charisma for spells and other features. So this is a MAD, Mult MAD map.

This is a mad class, so if you’re using point buy, it’s very common to go 15 in either Strength or Dexterity, 15 in Con, 15 in Charisma, and 8 in whatever’s left, and then just increase from there. You will be rewarded for having high ability scores and all of those things. It does mean dumping everything else, most likely.

Now you can probably get away with 14 constitutions, especially since Paladins have heavy armor and lay on hands, so you’ve got a ton of durability. But most of the time you’re going to see 15, 15.

Ash (08:47.43)

also why Hexaden is one of the most popular multi classes in the game because it makes up for a lot of what makes Paladins kind of underwhelming at least in 5e is because there’s some multi-ability score dependent being able to just dump everything but charisma and Khan makes them way more powerful.

Tyler (09:08.122)

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so single level of Hexblade, it’s the MSG of subclasses.

Ash (09:13.966)

Mm-hmm.

Randall James (09:15.239)

And the benefit there is now I get to use my charisma modifier for striking as well.

Ash (09:19.154)

Yeah. Mm hmm. It’s gotten to the point where if you don’t multiclass into hexane, you’re actually playing paladin suboptimally.

Tyler (09:19.198)

Yes. All right.

Tyler (09:29.086)

Yeah, it is that bad, unfortunately. Uh… Yeah, if you never plan on making it to level 20, you’re probably gonna take a level of Hexblade.

Anyway, yeah. Anyway, so proficiencies, they get martial weapons, heavy armor, shields. Their best saves are wisdom and charisma. So like fighters by comparison get strength and constitution, paladin saves are much more mental. Now you will eventually get aura of protection which lets you add charisma to all of your saves which is just absolutely phenomenal. But that’s not until level six. So you have to limp along until then on.

Randall James (09:39.912)

Which is most of us.

Tyler (10:08.714)

your actual stats. Dexterity saves easily the paladin’s biggest weakness.

Tyler (10:17.214)

Let’s see, in terms of skills, you get the standard 2, just like almost everybody, plus 2 from your background. Most of the Paladin skills are charisma based. Since you’re a high charisma class, you’re going to be predisposed to being your party’s face.

Ash (10:36.27)

actually only two of them are. So intimidation and persuasion, then you have athletics, insight, medicine, and religion. So, yeah.

Tyler (10:39.859)

Ah, I don’t know, yeah.

Tyler (10:45.362)

Okay, yeah, you’ve got me there. All right, so two out of six is not most, that is true. Let’s see, so you can take athletics if you plan on shoving, which is always a great choice. Insight, intimidation, persuasion, all great options. Notably, deception isn’t on here. When they, yeah, no one expects paladins to be dishonest. And weirdly, they don’t change that.

Ash (10:50.526)

Hehehehehe

Randall James (11:04.639)

Makes sense though.

Ash (11:05.958)

Yeah.

Unless you know you’re… Unless you’re an evil paladin or a Northbreaker.

Tyler (11:13.618)

Yeah. Ha ha ha. There’s this weird word between intimidation and persuasion. Medicine? That doesn’t do anything.

Ash (11:24.234)

Yeah, now that’s not, this isn’t Pathfinder 2. What are you doing, medicine? Get out of here.

Tyler (11:29.299)

Yeah.

Randall James (11:29.907)

I think it’s actually the Italian, it’s a Medici. It’s like a, it’s a patron thing. Anyway.

Ash (11:32.494)

I’m a teacher.

Tyler (11:32.852)

Hahaha

That’s right.

Alright, so those are the absolute basics. But, let’s see, so… I want to hit on a couple of things before we go any further. Paladins have a ton of buttons to push. Of the martial characters, they are one of the most complicated. So if you’re going into a brand new… If you’re coming into 5e fresh, if you’ve never played the game…

Ash (11:59.276)

Yeah.

Tyler (12:08.118)

Paladins can be very intimidating because you need to know basically everything about how the game works to play them. But at the same time, since they have so many of these things, since they touch on so many of these subsystems, you can learn the entire game from one character. Like, if you come in and you play a wizard, you’re gonna understand how spellcasting works really well. If you come in and you play, like, a high skill character, like a rogue or a bard, you’re gonna understand how skills work a lot. You’re probably gonna interact a lot socially.

If you come in as Paladin, you are a martial character, so you’ve got to have combat down. You’re going to learn how spellcasting works because you’re a spellcaster. You have the skills so you can do like the social interactions, the role playing, all those things. So like a Paladin is a great crash course in how to play the game. And also they’re stupidly difficult to kill, which is great for new players.

Ash (13:00.37)

Yeah, there’s a reason why Paladins are pretty popular, especially with like, veteran players. They are outside of a few subclasses and niche builds. Paladins are the only real GISH class, which for those who are new to the know, that’s like a spellblade, like a person who is just as good at melee as they are with magic or about equal. And…

So those GISH builds are very popular with veterans and optimizers because you can really specialize and make a really powerful character that is not caught off guard in any situation. You have the versatility of like a spellcaster, and you have the strength of a melee fighter. So yeah.

Tyler (13:48.958)

All right, so back to our features, level one, we get a couple of interesting things. So Divine Sense. In previous editions where alignment mattered more, this was detect evil and you could at will detect any creature with an evil alignment within a cone. And you could literally like sweep it around, like who’s the worst person in the room, you smite. And like that was…

very much how people played Paladins. Like, you looked around, you made sure no one in your party was evil, because that was another thing. You weren’t allowed to willingly be in a party with an evil character. So like, yeah, huge pain.

Ash (14:25.155)

Huh.

Ash (14:29.578)

Although I will say having a paladin in a party with an evil character, at least a good aligned paladin with an evil character, does cause conflict anyway. So, that makes sense, actually.

Tyler (14:37.972)

Yeah.

Tyler (14:41.51)

So now Divine Sense lets you detect Fae elementals, undead, and dragons, I believe. It doesn’t get used very much. You only get it a few times per day. The range isn’t amazing.

Randall James (14:55.715)

Celestial Fiend or Undead.

Tyler (14:58.106)

Oh, that’s right. Yeah, in previous editions, what we would call outsiders and also undead.

Ash (15:05.334)

You know where this ability does get used a lot though? Curse of Strahd. Domains of Dread. Yeah, anything in the Domains of Dread or anything that takes place in the Hells, this is going to be used a lot. Outside of that, probably not that much.

Randall James (15:10.064)

Domains of dread. Yeah.

Tyler (15:10.207)

Ha ha ha.

Tyler (15:14.608)

Mm.

Tyler (15:21.398)

Yeah, definitely true.

Randall James (15:22.311)

Yeah. So you know the type, uh, celestial fiend or undead, you do not know their identity. And so the example they give is like, if you were in a room with Strahd, you would know there’s a vampire in the room. And then you would look and you’d see the sweet cape and the fangs and be like, that guy, right? Yeah. What’s your name? Like

Tyler (15:35.99)

I’m sorry.

Hahaha

Ash (15:39.406)

Mm-hmm.

Tyler (15:43.974)

Count Strahd von Zarovich like vampire never heard those words for but vampire

Randall James (15:49.545)

Absolutely.

Ash (15:50.77)

Yeah, so I think the way that that’s kind of interpreted it is that like, well, how would I not know that it’s that’s like, it doesn’t give me the identity, but Strahd’s right there. Well, I think the situation is like, if you’re in like, let’s say a fancy dinner party and you put up divine sense, you don’t know who Strahd is or what his deal is. You’re it would ping that, hey, there’s a vampire somewhere in this crowd. I don’t know who, but it’s there.

Tyler (16:17.13)

hahahaha yep ahh

Randall James (16:20.219)

Yeah, well, and actually, you know the location of them as well. So as long as yeah, actually, let me read this, because let’s just get it right.

Tyler (16:27.358)

Yeah, go for it.

Randall James (16:32.603)

Until the end of your next turn, you know the location of any celestial fiend or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. You know the type? Celestial fiend or undead of any being whose presence you sense, but not the identity. Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated. So, yeah, so-

Ash (16:52.858)

Okay, I gotcha. So basically like if you don’t know who strata is it won’t tell you his name. I’ll just be like vampire who knows

Randall James (16:58.999)

Exactly. If you’re looking for one vampire and you go into a dinner party and there’s one vampire, that’s wonderful. You go into a dinner party and everybody’s vampires leave. Just, we’re done.

Tyler (17:03.277)

Hahaha

Tyler (17:12.025)

Hahahaha

Ash (17:12.475)

Yeah, because there is something on the menu and it’s probably you.

Randall James (17:16.003)

Exactly. Like this, this table is barren, but there’s all these leather straps anyway. The other thing this is

Tyler (17:16.542)

Yeah. Hahaha.

Tyler (17:20.874)

No

Ash (17:21.813)

Hahahaha

Randall James (17:25.351)

The other thing this isn’t doing is you can’t like walk into the dining room and know there’s a vampire in the kitchen. Right, you actually have to enter the room. Otherwise, right, these creatures would be behind total cover because there’s a wall and walls are great total covers. You do actually have to be able to see some part of the creature in order to leverage divine sense.

Tyler (17:44.318)

Yeah. All right, also at level one, we get Lay on Hands. Now this is gonna be a very, very important feature for your entire career. Lay on Hands gives you a pool of healing equal to five times your Paladin level, and you get that back on a long rest. Anytime you heal someone, you can choose however many points you want to spend. Now it’s an action to use, so ideally you don’t wanna use it in combat, but this is also one of those abilities where you’re restoring a huge amount of hit points all at once.

instead of just like, here’s 1d8, great, you’re about to be stabbed again. At high levels, you have enough hit points that you can get somebody back up to half hit points, which is going to keep them in a fight for another round or two. So it’s more likely to be useful in a fight than most healing options. But at the same time…

You may want to reserve a point or two for when allies go down, so you can like, here’s one, you’re back up, take your turn, I know you’re probably gonna fall down again, but at least you’re not dead, right?

Tyler (18:46.81)

Yeah, so that’s level one. You got a whole bunch. You’re level one, you’re already swinging weapons, you’re already healing, you’re already looking for creatures that don’t belong on the material plane. So right from level one.

Randall James (18:59.251)

Yeah. You make big Django when you walk places cause that heavy armor. Yeah.

Tyler (19:02.398)

Strudy. Yeah. Technically, there’s nothing stopping paladins from being dexterity-based, so like, if you want to be a sneaky paladin, it’s entirely possible.

Ash (19:13.758)

Yeah, but you’re wearing heavy… If you’re not wearing heavy armor, then what are you doing here? Come on.

Tyler (19:20.293)

What? You don’t want to be like a swashbuckling rope swinging cool paladin?

Randall James (19:20.541)

We dumped Khan, we said that.

Ash (19:29.482)

I guess you could argue that you’re kind of like a chevalier or a musketeer.

Tyler (19:34.088)

Sure.

Tyler (19:37.49)

Yeah.

Randall James (19:38.415)

Yeah, I’m actually I’m trying to distinguish at this point between like the paladin not okay, not D&D just thematically. If I’m a dexterity based paladin, am I just a monk?

Tyler (19:50.197)

No.

Randall James (19:52.183)

Okay.

Tyler (19:54.327)

Monks are wise, paladins famously dummies.

Randall James (19:57.968)

Okay, that’s fair.

Ash (19:59.586)

They’re not dumb. They’re just they’re not very insightful. They take things at face value.

Tyler (20:04.338)

I mean…

Randall James (20:06.715)

No, I’m just thinking of something like I’m high Dex. I’m very nimble. I can do the thing where I hop from like, you know, post to post to post without falling down. And I’m very spiritual. Like at that point, I thematically, I’m getting pretty close to being a monk. I’d probably rather be a Dex-based Paladin.

Tyler (20:06.906)

I…

Tyler (20:23.97)

Yeah, yeah, all right.

Ash (20:24.17)

Yeah, most typical conversation with the Paladin would be like, I handed my sword to that nice fellow with the cloak. He said he could take a look at it for me and that he’d be back in a day’s time. I entrusted my sword to him. What? Of course he’s coming back. He made a promise, didn’t he?

Tyler (20:37.066)

Ha ha ha!

Tyler (20:40.728)

Yeah

Tyler (20:45.398)

Yeah, eight intelligence, eight wisdom, maybe not proficiency and insight yet. I believe the word people use is himbo. Not to gender all palatants, but.

Ash (20:48.535)

HNNN

Hehehehehehe

Ash (20:56.54)

Yep.

Ash (21:01.611)

Yeah, real himbo energy big Long blonde flowing locks square chiseled jaw not a lot going up on upstairs

Tyler (21:14.138)

Uh… kinda yeah. Alright, level 2. You’ve made it through level 1, the single session of just figuring out how dice work and having a character. You’ve made it to level 2. At level 2, you get more stress. I mean, more class features. Starting off, fighting style. So you get a lot of the same options as fighters, but fighters get…

Randall James (21:16.067)

It’s fair.

Tyler (21:42.19)

Almost every fighting style option, Paladins get like a handful. Notably, they don’t get archery or thrown weapon fighting style. Like Paladins absolutely suck at ranged combat. Like that is one of the things that they’re just absolutely not built to do. And, uh…

In the 1D&D playtest, they briefly experimented with paladins being able to smite at range, and then had to walk it back, because at that point, like, the paladin and the ranger start to step on each other’s toes a little bit too much. Yeah, so…

Randall James (22:12.915)

makes sense.

Ash (22:13.894)

And also, like, it’s very broken.

Tyler (22:19.306)

Yes, yeah. Let’s see. So you know, you get your classics, dueling, defense, protection, interception, great weapon fighting. Paladins also get an exclusive fighting style called Blessed Warrior. Now this lets you pick two Cleric Cantrips and they become Paladin spells for you. So you cast them using Charisma. Now, you know, this gets you your classics,

Tyler (22:48.35)

Because paladins don’t normally get cantrips, you’ll only ever get those two. So, you know, choose well.

Ash (22:57.202)

Yeah. If you think.

Randall James (22:58.535)

Although you can, right, whenever you get in a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another cantrip from the cleric spell list.

Ash (23:05.91)

I would say that this is a fighting style that’s useful if you know you’re going to be fighting a lot of things at range. Or like it’s good to fair chance that you’re going to be fighting. Because paladins notoriously bad when things fly out of their range. They’re like barbarians in that place. Like get down here and fight me like a man so I can smite thee.

Tyler (23:19.705)

Yes.

Randall James (23:29.881)

The dragon’s like, lol, nope.

Tyler (23:32.734)

Hahaha

Ash (23:33.387)

Yeah, I never if you’re a DM who plays a dragon as fighting them on the ground You’re very nice of a DM most dragons if they’re smart are just gonna hang up here and take pot shots of people

Tyler (23:39.742)

Hahaha

Tyler (23:45.803)

Yeah, you swipe down to eat the wizard and then you fight the rest. Just breath weapons at range.

Ash (23:50.61)

Yeah, exactly. No reason to fight them on the ground. Toshis.

Randall James (23:55.155)

So do you know where does the blessed what book is the blessed warrior fighting style? Tasha’s okay. Is that when blind finding and interception also got added to the Paladin list? Okay.

Tyler (23:59.958)

Tasha’s. Yeah.

Tyler (24:03.974)

Yeah. Yeah, uh, the, let’s see, every fighting style is either in the player’s handbook or in Tasha’s.

Randall James (24:12.095)

Okay.

Tyler (24:14.331)

Uh, let’s see, so…

Tyler (24:21.258)

Alright, so we’ve built ourselves characters on every one of these episodes. Normally we start at the subclass, which weirdly has not been… I guess fighting… oh, we did fighters. Anyway, hey, let’s start building characters. What fighting style is everyone gonna take?

Ash (24:41.186)

Hmm

Randall James (24:43.007)

Well, I think it actually makes sense. But here’s what I’m going to offer to the team. Let’s talk through it right quick. Uh, you normally take us on a guide of, uh, of subclasses and we, we say yay or nay, good or bad. I think what we ought to do, uh, I know it’s out of order, but let’s go ahead and call out the oaths. Let’s tell folks what we’re going to do because otherwise the fighting style we choose might not make any sense.

Tyler (24:46.95)

Okay.

Tyler (24:57.686)

Hehehe

Ash (25:05.198)

Sure. Okay.

Tyler (25:06.142)

Yeah, that’s fair. All right, we’ll jump ahead and we’ll peek at the oaths

Ash (25:09.55)

Okay, and then we’ll talk about them in more detail when we get to them. So, ye or ne? Ancients.

Randall James (25:12.723)

Perfect.

Ash (25:18.358)

I would say I would say meh. I think it’s fine. I think if you want to do ancients, maybe just go play Ranger. Especially now that Tasha’s kind of made Ranger better. Conquest. Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah, I like it. Crown. Classic.

Randall James (25:18.496)

Yay.

Tyler (25:26.107)

Kind of, yeah.

Tyler (25:33.918)

Very good. Yeah.

Randall James (25:34.068)

Yes.

Randall James (25:39.709)

No.

Tyler (25:42.531)

It’s… It’s good, it’s a really good bodyguard, but like, you have to go in knowing like…

Ash (25:48.054)

It’s a it’s a real it’s like the tank like I’ve seen. One of my players played this brief briefly in my Ravenloft campaign to great effect. You can make them really good at just not dying. Like they are extremely tough to kill. But it is kind of a boring class to play. I will say that.

Tyler (25:52.295)

Yeah, yes.

Tyler (26:02.895)

Yeah.

Ash (26:12.053)

Devotion, another classic. I would say it’s kind of middle of the road.

Tyler (26:15.826)

Yeah. It’s good, you won’t suffer playing it, but you’re not gonna be like, wow, that was great!

Ash (26:25.274)

Glory? I don’t actually know that much about Glory.

Randall James (26:28.068)

No.

Tyler (26:29.522)

Uh, it’s it really likes to make athletics checks. And that’s its best thing. Yeah.

Ash (26:37.654)

Woo, yay.

Randall James (26:40.331)

Uh, so you get everybody around you. If they start near you, get faster in combat. You know what happens when you give people a speed boost when they start their turn near you, um, they get away from you. Yeah.

Tyler (26:50.858)

They stop being near you. Yeah. Oath of Glory would be really good at competing in the Olympics and that’s probably their best situation.

Randall James (27:02.923)

It’s the nicest thing you can say about them? Okay.

Tyler (27:04.83)

Yeah.

Ash (27:06.81)

Uh, oathbreaker, I would say really good a lot of fun, especially flavor For the fun thematically they have a lot of really cool powers Especially especially if you’re gonna play in a raven loft game where they become Very very good But we’ll get into why later, um redemption

Tyler (27:10.706)

Yeah, that’s… yeah.

Randall James (27:11.615)

Fun thematically.

Tyler (27:24.244)

Yeah.

If you have a necromancer in the party, they’re just so good. Yeah.

Ash (27:31.598)

Oh, yeah, another really, really good like Oathbreaker and Necromancer wizards together. Just like the ultimate team Like you can you can play with just those two characters and have a really fun time is like And very big anti-heroes or maybe just villain protagonists, which would be great. I would I would watch a show where an oathbreaker Paladin and a necromancer wizard are just Fighting things together I think that would be fun

Tyler (27:39.172)

Yeah.

Tyler (27:59.401)

Yeah.

Ash (28:01.754)

I know this one is controversial because some people love it, some people hate it. I know a lot of DMs think it’s really broken. I’ve only seen it a few times, but yeah.

Tyler (28:14.371)

It’s very powerful. I would not want it at my table.

Ash (28:19.238)

Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard. Like people put this in the same realm as peace clerics or Twilight clerics and be like, no, no. Vengeance also very good, especially if you want to do a ton of damage, I would say. Probably the biggest damage dealers of the Paladin class.

Tyler (28:27.626)

Ha ha ha!

Randall James (28:35.336)

Yeah.

Tyler (28:35.519)

Yeah.

Heh heh.

Tyler (28:43.531)

You can get as close as you can to a barbarian rage. Like, just the angriest paladin.

Ash (28:48.253)

Yeah.

Mm-hmm Watchers

Randall James (28:55.231)

Meh.

Ash (28:56.095)

Yeah, I would say meh.

Tyler (28:57.894)

Yeah, only in campaigns where their specific capabilities are going to matter. Like, they’re built to do one thing very, very well, and if you’re not doing that one thing, they’re extremely disappointing.

Ash (29:10.623)

And what is that one thing?

Randall James (29:10.719)

So, whoa.

Tyler (29:12.779)

uh, fighting outsiders.

Randall James (29:15.007)

Just watching.

Ash (29:15.278)

Yeah, so Planescape. Yeah. Planescape, really good. Avernus, very good. Everywhere else, not so great.

Tyler (29:17.662)

I’m watching, yeah.

Tyler (29:24.082)

Yeah.

Randall James (29:27.06)

Krinn not gonna have a great time. Yeah, it’s like watching the rest of the characters have a lot of fun.

Tyler (29:28.915)

Yeah.

Tyler (29:32.575)

Hahaha!

Ash (29:34.404)

Or like if your DM does like a Diablo inspired sort of setting, you’re gonna have a great time as a watcher because you’re gonna be fighting fiends all the time. It’s gonna be great. And maybe some Celestials. So yeah. Cool. So which ones are we going with? Randall?

Tyler (29:43.173)

Yep.

Randall James (29:53.126)

I think I’m gonna go Conquest.

Ash (29:56.27)

conquest. Oh, Quasit brought up a good point. So OpenSea, not official, but it is Tal’Dorei. We’ve mentioned Tal’Dorei ones before, like we talked about tragedy briefly. Have you taken a look at OpenSea? I think it’s hyper specific. It’s like, it’s if you’re going to be it’s specifically like if you’re going to be in like a naval campaign, I feel.

Randall James (29:57.547)

This can be a great time.

Tyler (30:10.98)

We have a-

Tyler (30:21.05)

Um, yeah, I agree. It’s, it’s gonna be great and enable campaign anywhere else. It’s kind of hit or miss. We do have an optimization guide for it on the site. So we’ll link that in the show notes.

Randall James (30:21.051)

Makes a lot of sense.

Ash (30:32.158)

Yeah, it’s based off of the Critical Role fans. It’s based purely off of Ford from Campaign 2. That’s why they made OpenSea.

Randall James (30:42.835)

I’m just imagining a paladin wearing full heavy armor trying to leap from like ship to ship and failing and then just that’s… That’s it.

Ash (30:51.79)

Well, I think they get like I think they get some like they get some stuff that makes them really maneuverable in the water. So that kind of bounces out. But yeah, like if you’re playing in a desert campaign, don’t pick up and see what are you doing? Yeah, that doesn’t mean it still is unless you even want to go with technicality and be like, oh, it’s like an ocean of sand. We’re in Dune now.

Tyler (30:52.595)

Hahaha

Randall James (30:59.577)

Okay.

Tyler (31:05.798)

Look, it was a C once.

Tyler (31:13.893)

Hahaha

Tyler (31:18.576)

Alright.

Randall James (31:19.727)

I went and saw it today, it was great.

Ash (31:23.293)

I need to see it.

Randall James (31:24.431)

Okay, no spoilers.

Tyler (31:25.782)

Okay, real quick, what are…

Tyler (31:34.974)

Real quick, what are everybody’s tenets?

Ash (31:38.238)

Oh yeah, so Randall, you said which one you were going? Conquest, yes? Right, so what are your tenants?

Randall James (31:41.795)

Conquest. Yeah. A paladin who takes this oath has the tenets of conquest seared on the upper arm. So tattoos immediately and that’s exciting. Douse the Flame of Hope. It is not enough to merely defeat an enemy in battle. Your victory must be so overwhelming that your enemies’ will to fight is shattered forever. A blade can end a life. Fear can end an empire. Rule with an iron fist. Once you have conquered, tolerate no dissent. Your word is law. Those who obey it shall be favored.

Those who defy it shall be punished as an example to all who might follow. Strength above all. You shall rule until a stronger one arises. Then you must grow mightier and meet the challenge, or fall to your own ruin.

Ash (32:24.034)

So basically an evil paladin. One that has an oath and follows it. Kind of like a tyrant from Pathfinder 2.

Tyler (32:26.182)

Yeah, kind of yeah

Randall James (32:27.689)

A little bit, yeah.

Randall James (32:33.958)

A great example given, Hell Knights. Hell Knights would be considered Conquest Paladins.

Ash (32:42.034)

If you like Hell Knights, Matt Covell released a custom class called Ill Rigger, which is basically like an evil paladin and it’s really, really good. Check it out.

Tyler (32:58.622)

All right, Ash, how about you? Oh. Hey.

Ash (33:00.064)

Yeah. Tyler. Okay. I’m an I’m an oathbreaker. I don’t have tenets. I specific that’s kind of my whole point is an oathbreaker is a paladin who breaks his or her sacred oaths to pursue some dark ambition or serve an evil power. Whatever light burned in a paladin’s heart has been extinguished only darkness remains.

Tyler (33:05.622)

Cool. Ah, cheater.

Ash (33:24.342)

Now that’s how it is in 5e. I do actually kind of like how Baldur’s Gate does it, which is that it is a neutral power, but you can use it to serve either evil or good. It just fundamentally comes from a paladin breaking their oath. So if you like the idea of playing into the tenants, most people kind of ignore them. But that is a way that you can approach it being like anybody who breaks their oath too much, you’re going to become an oath breaker. Doesn’t mean that you have to be evil.

just means that you’re getting Oathbreaker powers instead.

Randall James (33:58.403)

Yeah, so like in my case, like if I one day was like, you know, what if strength wasn’t everything, and then all of a sudden, like the tattoo falls off my arm and boom, I’m an oathbreaker.

Tyler (34:06.96)

Kind of, yeah.

Ash (34:08.188)

Yeah I’m not i’m not a huge fan of classes that pigeonhole you into an alignment Which is why if you’re gonna play an oathbreaker, you don’t have to be evil. I don’t think I don’t think that makes a lot of sense Um, anyway, tyler, what about you? Yeah

Randall James (34:21.203)

just disillusioned.

Tyler (34:24.462)

Okay, alright, so I’m going for Oath of Redemption, because I’m gonna cause a problem. So my tenets are peace, violence is a weapon of last resort, innocence, all people begin life in an innocent state and is their environment or the influence of dark forces that drive them to be evil. Patience, change takes time. Wisdom, your heart and mind must stay clear for eventually you will be forced to admit defeat.

So basically, actually I’m gonna read the rest of this one. While every creature can be redeemed, some are so far along the path of evil that you have no choice but to end their lives for the greater good. Any such action must be carefully weighed and the consequences fully understood. But once you have made the decision, follow through with it, knowing your path is just. So I have to assume good intent, be patient with other creatures trying to be better.

and only use violence as a last resort, which in a game which is fundamentally about kicking in doors, killing monsters, and taking their shoes, it is very difficult to be a pacifist.

Ash (35:35.366)

AKA, which is why Redemption Paladin is so controversial.

Randall James (35:35.723)

The flip side.

Tyler (35:40.775)

Exactly. Yeah.

Randall James (35:42.983)

On the flip side though, like if you were a paladin, you just described, like you’re super patient, especially with things that are trying to better themselves. Yeah.

Tyler (35:47.679)

Yeah.

Mm-hmm. Hahaha!

Ash (35:51.678)

Yeah. I would say so I would say this is a little bit of a tangent, but if you’re going to play a redemption Paladin, that’s a conversation you need to have at session zero, because it does it definitely forces a style of play that not everybody would be comfortable with. Because redemption Paladin is very much focused on avoiding fights, shutting down fights before they even happen. And in that in that case, it’s going to be more of a role play heavy game. So if everybody’s on board with that, great.

Tyler (36:01.194)

Yeah.

Ash (36:18.914)

But don’t force that style of play on people who are expecting to do some dungeoning because it’s, it’s not fun for your DM. And it’s not fun for your fellow players because they want to kill things and you don’t let them.

Tyler (36:27.923)

Yeah.

Randall James (36:31.123)

So actually, so as a redemption paladin, like mechanically is one thing, but thematically, would you be opposed to, let’s say we go into a jungle and we’re fighting a bunch of like beasts and monstrosities. You’d be all about killing them, right? Like.

Ash (36:46.638)

Probably not. No. I mean, yeah. Well, I mean, yeah, it’s always because the thing is that even beasts like it’s like a person, they’re living creature and they deserve to be treated with respect. So Paladin would probably tell you, let’s try to knock it out or leave, go or find another way around. The one exception I would say is probably like undead, like

Tyler (36:48.861)

Ugh.

Randall James (36:49.227)

Because violence is violence the last resort always or just amongst intelligent creatures?

Tyler (36:52.466)

Yeah. Always.

Ash (37:16.07)

non-sapient undead because they’re classified as evil and you can’t reason with them, so a paladin would be okay with that. So if you’re playing a redemption paladin and you want combat, just throw them into like a tomb of horror situation.

Tyler (37:30.73)

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. Okay, alright, so let’s jump back to level two, fighting styles. What is everyone going for?

Ash (37:41.77)

I think I’m going to go defense. And the reason why I’m doing that is I’m not going to use a shield.

Tyler (37:43.894)

Okay, solid choice.

Tyler (37:49.874)

Yeah. That’s always my advice for two-handed weapons, like go for defense to make up for the lack of AC. Great weapon fighting isn’t good enough.

Ash (37:56.202)

Yeah, don’t do it. Yeah, don’t do great weapon fighting. It’s a trap.

Tyler (38:00.566)

Hehehehe

Tyler (38:04.03)

How about you, Randall? Oh, OK. All right. OK, so I’m going to go for Blessed Warrior. Since Oath of Redemption is really heavy on spellcasting special abilities, my spell save DC is going to be really, really important. So focusing on charisma is going to get me a lot more mileage than trying to be good at stabbing stuff. So I would.

Randall James (38:04.107)

What about you? What do you think? Actually, I’m going to pick on you first and then I’m going to ask for help.

Ash (38:13.698)

Interesting.

Tyler (38:30.382)

I would likely build this character 15 strength, 15 co- Like, 15 strength so I can wear heavy armor without any issues, 14 constitution, splash of wisdom, and then 15 charisma, just max charisma as quickly as possible.

And then I would probably go for guidance and word of radiance for my cantrips.

How about you Randall?

Randall James (38:56.927)

All right, so I’m looking at Interception. Interception, when a creature within five defeat of you is attacked, you can use your reaction to reduce the damage they take by one to 10 plus your proficiency bonus. This feels really good early on. And then by the time we hit the level six, level eight, I don’t wanna say useless, but practically useless. Do you think that reads right?

Tyler (38:59.926)

Okay.

Tyler (39:21.094)

That, yeah, it’s…

Tyler (39:25.798)

You have to compare it to the protection fighting style, which works in a similar niche, like both of them use a reaction in response to an incoming attack. Protection imposes disadvantage, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll completely negate the attack, but if whoever or whatever you’re protecting has a really, really bad AC, like a horse, then imposing disadvantage is only useful at low levels because everyone’s going to hit that 10

Tyler (39:55.166)

By comparison, Interception always works, but it doesn’t scale much, so it doesn’t stay as effective. But even so, you’re still subtracting a few hit points off of an attack, so at least you get something, Gary.

Randall James (40:12.359)

Yeah, okay. That’s rough.

Tyler (40:16.136)

Yeah, I always prefer protection, personally.

Randall James (40:19.219)

Okay. One that I’m looking at that. And I’m also thinking about dueling. I think I’m going to go for protection. We’ll see how this works out.

Ash (40:25.022)

I will say a feature that I gave one of my players that I think would be not too powerful of a fighting style, but I want your guys’ opinion, which is I called it interposing charge, which is when a creature takes damage within a certain or is targeted at attack within a certain amount of feet of you, you move to them and redirect the attack onto yourself instead of.

Tyler (40:49.61)

Hmm. That is really powerful. Like, Oath of the Crown can, as a reaction, take the damage from an attack for somebody else, and that’s like a level 7 feature, I think, and they don’t get to move. So, yeah, that’s really good. I would love to have that on a character. Oh, yeah.

Ash (41:05.95)

Yeah, that was that was that was that was an epic level boon. That wasn’t like a fighting style. I let people do I’m thinking maybe it’s just within five feet and you don’t get to move as a fighting style, which is still really good. But I don’t think it’s like game breaking.

Tyler (41:19.741)

Yeah.

Tyler (41:23.836)

I would play with it. That could work really well, yeah.

Ash (41:29.618)

Yeah, because I feel like it fulfills the fantasy of the protector more than interception or protection does, which are kind of not really worth taking.

Tyler (41:41.65)

I wouldn’t quite say that they’re not worth taking. You kind of just have to know what you’re in for, I guess.

Ash (41:47.158)

Yeah.

Tyler (41:48.814)

Alright, so fighting styles. Alright, alright, now the thing that everybody’s here for, divine spellcasting.

Ash (41:59.125)

Woo!

Tyler (41:59.715)

No, nobody. All right. OK, so Paladins are half casters. This is our first half caster on this series of episodes. So when I say half caster, I mean your spell casting advances at a rate equal to half of your class level. So if you go and you look at the multi-class spell casting table, it essentially explains that.

you add up levels and then look at that table for how many spell slots you get. Paladins add half of their level to that progression. Wizards, clerics, bards, they’re all full spellcasters, so they add their full level. Paladins only add half. So the highest level spells you’re going to get are fifth level spells. You get way fewer spell slots than full casters, but you get to cast spells a lot like a cleric.

which means you get to change your prepared spells daily. And yeah, like Paladins actually have a weirdly large number of exclusive spells. Most of them are smiting related, but they do have quite a few exclusives, which is cool.

Ash (43:05.686)

Like what is the one that everybody kind of likes? The enforced duel, is that what it is? Compelled duel. That one’s fun. It is fun when it works. It’s very fun.

Tyler (43:12.866)

Compelled duel, yeah. Yeah. Yes. Yeah, compelled duel, you force a creature to basically stay within 30 feet of you and they take disadvantage to attack other creatures. So like, if you are a defender, there are two things you need. You need to be sticky and you need to be durable. Sticky means you have to have a way to keep enemies focused on you or at least keep them near you so they can’t get to your ass.

Compel Duel solves the sticky problem. One spell, you’re done. Now, a lot of Paladins aren’t going to have Charisma above 16, so your save DC won’t be amazing most of the time. But especially at low levels when save bonuses are pretty small, most creatures only have one saving throw proficiency, Compel Duel is going to be pretty

Ash (44:06.926)

Unless you’re a hexadent, in which case this is just a no brainer. It’s going to be really good.

Tyler (44:11.398)

Yeah. Okay. So we also get Divine Smite at this level, which is arguably the Paladin’s most iconic feature. Yeah. Like, people play Paladins because they want to smite. It feels good. You had radiant damage in exchange for a spell slot. Now, notably, it is magical, but it is not a spell.

Ash (44:24.802)

Yay!

Tyler (44:39.562)

Divine Smite is not a spell, which means it doesn’t interfere with concentration, it doesn’t care if you’ve cast other spells during the same turn, any of that. It can’t be counterspelled. Yeah, exactly. Now that said, there are also Smite spells. My favorite level one Smite spell is Wrathful Smite. You hit the creature, they make a save. If they fail, they’re frightened of you.

Randall James (44:50.059)

I don’t understand this, you filthy casual. Yeah.

Tyler (45:07.506)

for the duration of the spell and weirdly on Wrathful Smite they have to make a wisdom check to end the Frightened effect. So like the math is very much in your favor there. It’s a weird spell but these Smite spells will typically do less damage than just straight Divine Smite, but they add a Rider effect which can be really effective. So it is very common for Paladins to like walk in, start a fight, cast a Smite spell, hit something, have both the

Like the attack damage, the smite spell, and then use Divine Smite on top of that and just drop a mountain of damage in one attack. And like that burstiness is one of the most appealing parts of playing it.

Ash (45:52.798)

Yeah, and like with rogues when you crit, it’s like Christmas come early. Or crit or critmas if you will.

Tyler (45:58.521)

Yes

Tyler (46:03.478)

Uh, uh, oh, let’s see. Very important to note. So you decide to use Divine Smite after you know the results of the attack. So like you’re choosing use Divine Smite after you have hit, which means you can reserve Divine Smite for when you score crit. And like keeping a spell slot or two around specifically for that eventuality feels very, very good. Because yeah, like Ash said.

It’s Critmas. Dice everywhere.

Randall James (46:34.599)

And then there’s no, there’s no limit to how many times I had defined smite in a turn, right?

Ash (46:34.655)

Yeah, that’s great.

Tyler (46:39.845)

Correct, only once per attack.

Randall James (46:42.383)

Once per attack, okay, beautiful. All right.

Tyler (46:43.538)

Yeah.

Ash (46:44.802)

So yeah, if you want to do a hasted four attacks, all of them just smite, you can do that. Although you will run out of your resources super quick.

Randall James (46:57.287)

I’m a sleepy paladin. I’m gonna have this fight and I’m taking a nap. It’s gonna be great.

Tyler (46:57.414)

Yeah. Let’s see, it’s really common for Paladins to take Pullarm Master because the bonus action attack gives you another chance to apply a Smite. Just as many attacks as you can get on Paladin. It feels really good. It’s also pretty common for Paladins to multiclass into Sorcerer to get Font of Magic.

because you can melt all of your higher level spell slots down into first level spell slots and just divine smite on every attack. You can smite with higher level spell slots, but it’s less efficient than just using the first level spell slots because it’s 1d8 plus 1d8 per spell level. So like 2d8 for first level, 3d8 for second level. And you look at that damage like that’s maybe not actually worth a second level spell slot unless I.

Randall James (47:55.199)

Yeah, that makes sense.

Ash (47:56.322)

So you have the higher level spell slots for crits.

Tyler (48:00.219)

Exactly, exactly.

Tyler (48:10.93)

Alright, so that’s level two. Let’s look at level three. So we recorded this episode later than I expected because I was sick. Level three, paladins get divine health. And as the folks in our Patreon Discord pointed out, like Tyler, you should have played a paladin so you’d be immune to disease. They were right.

Ash (48:33.634)

Yeah, that would be nice. That’d be very nice. And but it’s again, just the reason why disease and five is just a non starter. And it makes me sad. It makes me sad because diseases are fun.

Tyler (48:42.602)

Yeah.

Randall James (48:42.921)

Yes, sir.

Randall James (48:48.007)

Okay. Not immune to curses.

Tyler (48:48.311)

Yeah.

Tyler (48:52.485)

Look, I want my adventuring wizard to also have to deal with dysentery. Like sure there’s dragons, but also dysentery.

Ash (49:02.234)

Maybe not desentery, but let’s be honest like we’re playing the middle ages like Diseases made them defined the middle ages and made them into what they are like the bubonic plague and stuff That’s like intricate to the you can’t just ignore it, but this is a rant for another time Have we done it? Have we done an episode on diseases? I think we have yeah Yeah

Tyler (49:10.935)

Yeah.

Tyler (49:18.366)

Yeah.

Tyler (49:22.358)

I think we have, yeah.

Randall James (49:23.839)

but there’s nothing to say that there isn’t one coming around.

Tyler (49:30.745)

All right. So also at this level, we get our subclass.

Randall James (49:31.272)

Okay.

Ash (49:34.289)

It’s

Tyler (49:38.938)

Ah

Ash (49:39.391)

Quaset said dragons and dysentery is not a game I want to play.

Tyler (49:45.623)

Way to go chat. Forbidden lands, it’s basically that. Dragons and dysentery.

Ash (49:54.322)

Look, you don’t have to do dysentery, but let me use a threatening plague, okay? Let me do a threatening plague. That’s fun.

Tyler (49:59.266)

Okay. All right. Okay.

Randall James (50:04.715)

Okay, so we picked our subclasses, so Oath of Conquest for me.

Tyler (50:09.575)

Oath of Redemption for me.

Ash (50:11.471)

Earthbreaker for moi.

Tyler (50:14.778)

All right, so we talked about those, so we’ll skip over that for now. All right, also at this level, we get the optional class feature, Harness Divine Power. Now, Randall, you’ve seen our cleric in our Dragonlance game use this a couple of times. It’s exactly the same for Paladins. So you can trade your channel divinity to recharge a spell slot a few times per day. You get at most three, and then, I mean…

So you get at most three uses per day, and even then not until level 17.

Ash (50:49.346)

Boo. Don’t be boring. The channel divinities for most paladins are actually pretty decent, I will say. Most, not all.

Randall James (50:50.887)

It could be better.

Tyler (50:52.132)

Yeah.

I mean, okay, so this is…

Tyler (51:00.534)

Most. Yeah. So most Paladins aren’t going to use this. Yeah. The rest of them that have like really, really specific situational channel divinities, like they’re going to use this more frequently. And hey, you’ve got more spell slots to smite with and that feels good.

Randall James (51:17.023)

I need Smite Fuel. Smite-er-8.

Ash (51:17.6)

So what are your channel divinities?

Tyler (51:21.05)

Oh, good question. Okay, so mine, Emissary of Peace and Rebuke the Violent. Emissary of Peace.

Ash (51:31.356)

I remember these like it’s PTSD.

Tyler (51:34.802)

Yeah, bonus action, grant yourself a plus five bonus to charisma persuasion checks for the next 10 minutes. So like me and the eloquence bar just hanging out. And then.

Ash (51:42.387)

Okay, that’s not too bad.

Ash (51:46.962)

Yeah, but Elekoine’s part is worse.

Tyler (51:50.854)

Yeah, and then let’s see, Rebuke the Violent, immediately after an attacker within 30 feet of me deals damage with an attack against a creature other than you, you can use your reaction to force the attacker to make a wisdom save on Fail, they take radiant damage equal to the damage it just dealt. Save for half. Yeah.

Ash (52:10.702)

That is rough. So if a dragon breathes on you, you can redirect it at the dragon. That’s brutal. Okay. All right.

Tyler (52:14.664)

Uh.

Tyler (52:18.307)

It does have, it has to be an attack.

But still, like, somebody crits your friend. It’s like, ah, how about you also?

Ash (52:25.373)

or

You know what’s also technically an attack? A disintegrate spell.

Tyler (52:34.031)

I thought it disintegrates a dex save, isn’t it? Yeah, it used to be an attack in previous editions.

Ash (52:36.838)

Oh, you’re right. My mistake. There’s some that are attack spells, but there’s some brutal attack spells that you can redirect.

Tyler (52:44.178)

Yeah.

Randall James (52:47.623)

And so the distinction here though, it’s like, it doesn’t matter what kind of attack, a melee attack, a spell attack, a ranged attack, as long as it’s an attack, we can use this and it’s like, yeah, you take it to write that down. Okay.

Ash (52:59.306)

Yeah, it’s brutal. Yeah. Oh, God, closet suggested multiclass into eloquence, Barton and redemption pod. And if you’re doing that, get away from my table, please. Bye.

Tyler (53:10.358)

Ha ha

Randall James (53:17.035)

Okay.

Tyler (53:18.183)

I think that would be the highest Charisma Persuasion modifier you could possibly get. High level eloquence bard, three levels of redemption paladin. Yep. Yeah.

Ash (53:26.914)

Oh, God, I hate it already. All right, Randall, what’d you get?

Randall James (53:34.872)

Alright.

Okay, so Conquering Presence and Guided Strike. Conquering Presence, you can use your channel divinity to exude.

Randall James (53:48.391)

You can use your channel divinity to exude a terrifying presence as an action. You force each creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you to make a wisdom saving throw on a failed save. A creature becomes frightened of you for one minute. The frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on success. So basically boom, frightening aura get away from me. Uh, and we’re going to have a good time. Guided strike. You can use your channel divinity to strike with supernatural accuracy. When you make an attack roll.

Tyler (54:09.686)

Hehehehe

Randall James (54:16.827)

You can use your channel divinity to gain plus 10 bonus to the roll. You make this choice after you see the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses.

Ash (54:25.41)

So it’s kind of like war domain clerics to Vyton. Challenge Vendy.

Tyler (54:28.818)

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I really like that fear effect. That is great crowd control. Like fears, disadvantage on ability checks and attack roles, and you can’t move closer to the source of your fear. So just like, enemies are over there, buddies are behind me, all of the enemies are frightened, they’re not gonna come any closer. So we can just like pew, knock them down. It’s real good.

Randall James (54:50.455)

It’s going to be great, yeah.

Ash (54:54.022)

Well, I get I get dreadful aspect which hey Randall we have the same thing which is that each creature within 30 feet of me must make a wisdom saving throw if it can see me on a failed save the target is frightened of the paladin for one minute but it can’t remake the save it can only try to attempt to save when it’s 30 feet or more away from me so that’s pretty that’s pretty brutal.

Tyler (54:54.518)

How about you, Ash?

Tyler (55:00.232)

Hahahaha

Randall James (55:19.591)

Ooh, that’s nice.

Tyler (55:20.789)

Yeah.

Ash (55:22.483)

Uh, yeah, there’s a reason why.

Randall James (55:23.044)

That’s a little better. It’s a lot better, honestly.

Tyler (55:27.386)

If you can corner them so they can’t get past you or around you, like, yeah, they’re toast.

Ash (55:32.458)

Yeah, the other one and the reason why I love Earthbreaker so much is control undead. As an action, the paladin targets one undead creature he or she can see within 30 feet of him. The target must make a wisdom saving throw and a failed save the target must obey the paladin’s commands for the next 24 hours or until the paladin uses this channel to be the option again. An undead whose challenge drain is equal to or greater than the paladin’s level is immune to this effect.

Tyler (55:40.094)

Yeah.

Ash (55:58.326)

This is great. Like if you’re in a Ravenloft game, it’s like, Oh, vampire spawn. You work for me now. Strahd, who? No, I’m your master now.

Tyler (56:07.611)

Yep. It’s pretty good.

Tyler (56:14.975)

Yeah.

Ash (56:16.999)

Also, we get free spells. What’s everybody get at third level?

Tyler (56:20.33)

That’s right. Yup. Oh god. I get sanctuary and sleep?

Ash (56:25.714)

Oh, brutal. Sanctuaries is good too, but it’s all about avoiding combat. That’s all redemption paladins are. It’s really about just avoiding combat.

Randall James (56:26.939)

Sleep’s fun, especially at low levels, right?

Tyler (56:31.774)

Yeah. Really.

Tyler (56:38.006)

Ha ha

Randall James (56:39.195)

Armor of Agathys and Command.

Tyler (56:42.026)

Armor Vagas is so good. Yeah.

Ash (56:42.21)

Both very good. Very good. I get hellish rebuke and inflict wounds. Not great on a paladin, but I’m not bad. So

Randall James (56:43.987)

Yeah. I’m stoked.

Tyler (56:56.167)

Yeah, I mean Hellish Rebuke works at range, which is pretty nice, since Paladins have such poor range options.

Ash (56:59.819)

Yeah.

I don’t see myself ever really using inflict wounds on a Earthbreaker Paladin because I will do way more damage with my melee attacks and smites.

Tyler (57:06.974)

No.

Tyler (57:13.026)

Yeah, for the same spell slot, you could be dealing with a Longsword and Divine Smite, 3d8 plus whatever, and that’s gonna at least match inflict wounds, yeah?

Ash (57:24.085)

Yeah, yeah.

Tyler (57:27.326)

Alright, so that’s level three. Let’s look at level four. So we get an ability score increase or feat, and much like the fighter, we get the martial versatility optional class feature. So if we have decided that we no longer like our fighting style, we can retrain every time we get an ability score increase. So level four, what’s everybody taking?

Randall James (57:48.035)

Okay.

Randall James (57:53.177)

Oh.

Ash (57:56.278)

What are you taking, Tyler?

Tyler (57:58.65)

Uh, let’s see. So I think I’m going to go for a half feet because I figure like I started with 15 charisma plus two from my race. So I’ll go for a half feet, something that will give me plus one charisma. I think I think it could be fun to go for shadow touched on this one. So I can get I get invisibility and a first level spell from like a specific list of schools. So I would probably go for something like Bane.

like a debuff or something like that I could throw on enemies and just make them bad at fighting. Feels thematically appropriate and appropriately annoying.

Randall James (58:37.255)

I’m following the advice from earlier, I’m going Polarm Master. I’m gonna get me some bonus mites, it’s gonna be great.

Tyler (58:41.419)

There you go.

Tyler (58:45.514)

Alright, now are you going sword and board, or are you going for a two-handed pull arm?

Randall James (58:52.643)

Okay, now here’s where I may need to immediately leverage trading in my fighting style protection. Actually, are any of these pull arms considered great weapons? No. Okay, all right. We’re going to great weapon fighting and I am going to go…

Tyler (58:59.83)

Okay?

Tyler (59:03.863)

anything that’s two-handed.

Tyler (59:10.198)

Okay.

Randall James (59:14.675)

Take a look.

Tyler (59:15.774)

Pike, Glaive, Halberd.

Randall James (59:18.299)

We’re going to go Halvard. It’s going to be wonderful. Okay.

Tyler (59:19.825)

Alright.

There you go. And yeah, now you get that bonus action extra attack, you get to make an attack of opportunity, or sorry, an opportunity attack when enemies move into your reach, which is pretty cool. Uh, Polarmaster’s a really good feat. You sure can. Yeah, exactly.

Randall James (59:35.231)

Can I smite on that, on that opportunity attack? It’s gonna be great. I’m gonna have no spells left.

Ash (59:43.234)

Hmm. I am because I just I just found something that is going to be very fun. So it does depend on how lenient my DM is with me because. Oh, crap. I didn’t realize this. No. Hold on. Oh, no. OK, yes, I can take that as part of my background. OK, so if my DM allows me and cause it can attest to this because they

Tyler (59:43.302)

As she looks excited, what’s your plan?

Tyler (59:49.238)

Okay.

Tyler (01:00:01.743)

No?

Ash (01:00:12.386)

they let, I let them do this when I wasn’t really thinking about it. Take a background and defeat from the, uh, the dragon queen, uh, campaign.

Tyler (01:00:17.25)

Hahaha

Tyler (01:00:24.534)

Oh, one of the Dragonlance backgrounds where you get a free feed at first level. Yeah. Becoming more and more common.

Ash (01:00:53.232)

Yeah, yeah.

is an undead that I control. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tyler (01:00:59.03)

Very good. Yeah.

Tyler (01:01:06.374)

Yeah, okay, that’s good. Yeah, we haven’t talked about those backgrounds on the show. All right, just super quick aside. Starting with Dragonlance, we started getting backgrounds in 5e that grant a feat at first level. Actually, I guess it wasn’t Dragonlance. It was Strixhaven where we first saw it. It was very controversial at first because it was clear power creep.

Ash (01:01:09.156)

Mm-hmm.

Ash (01:01:14.324)

Mm-hmm. But if.

Randall James (01:01:28.273)

Yeah.

Tyler (01:01:30.858)

But it’s become like that is just how backgrounds work now in any new material. And in the 2024 rules, that is how backgrounds will work. They will come with a fee.

Ash (01:01:41.022)

Yeah, it’s an ask for sure. So if my DM is not going to be willing to let me do that, then I’d probably take something like athlete to get that plus one because I don’t want to do a plus two to strength if I have a fifteen because then that gets me to an odd number and that’s just not worth it when I can take a half feet or I might just do plus one to strengthen plus one to charisma.

Tyler (01:01:48.242)

Yeah. Ha ha ha.

Tyler (01:02:01.184)

Yeah.

Tyler (01:02:06.664)

Well, don’t forget you also have your racial ability modifiers at level one

Ash (01:02:11.714)

Oh, yeah, that’s true. But it would be a plus two plus one. So then it would be a 17 strength. I would put that in and as 16. Yeah, I don’t want to do that. Yeah, no, we’re not going jack of all trades. We’re going specialist here. So I would probably put the two into the strength to get 17, and I put a one in the charisma to get 16. So then, yeah, that would bump my strength up to 18. So, yeah, that’s what I’m going to do.

Tyler (01:02:13.618)

Yeah. Hahaha. Mm.

Or you could do three plus ones.

Tyler (01:02:23.552)

I know.

Tyler (01:02:29.723)

Okay.

Tyler (01:02:39.41)

Yep. Perfectly normal for Paladins, yeah. Okay, so that’s level four. That brings us to the end of tier one. We’re smiting. We’re stomping around in heavy armor. I am asking people to stop stabbing each other. That feels right. No, stop, don’t. Violence isn’t the answer.

Ash (01:02:59.126)

And I’m ignoring you. Sorry, what was that? I was busy removing this man’s spine. What’s that? I can’t hear you over me controlling this undead.

Randall James (01:02:59.263)

What? Yeah.

Randall James (01:03:08.342)

If… ..errrr

Tyler (01:03:14.183)

Okay, violence is an answer, it’s not the right answer.

Tyler (01:03:23.89)

Hahaha

Ash (01:03:28.347)

Uhhh…

Randall James (01:03:30.411)

beautiful.

Tyler (01:03:30.566)

Uh, Paladins are good.

Ash (01:03:32.778)

Yeah, they’re fun.

Randall James (01:03:38.867)

All right, folks, we’re gonna break it here. This is the end of the first part of the Paladin optimization walkthrough. Join us next time for the second part and the conclusion of our exciting Paladin builds. Well, two of them will be. Anyway.

Ash (01:03:54.462)

Yes. Who knows? Hey, you’re going to have fun making the DM frustrated.

Tyler (01:03:55.286)

Which two? Who knows?

Randall James (01:03:57.486)

Hahaha

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