Blog Archive

The quality control on the 3rd party D&D books? Not so much.
I'm reading a book on paladins, the quintessential paladin 2, and in the section on multi-classing, their pally rogue sucks.

First off, they have you grab 8 levels of rogue.
That's not a paladin who has a few levels of rogue to supplement her abilities. That's a rogue who found faith in the middle of her life. Their 20 level build has 10 levels of rogue.

8 levels of rogue is stupid.
Let's look at their 9th level build. This is the first level where they have any paladin. We'll compare it with a Rogue 4/Pally 5, my preferred 9th. (no outstanding ability scores)

Hd 8d6+1d10, avg 36 (first level maximum hp)
Saves Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +2
Bab +7/+2
Sneak Attack +4d6
Improved Uncanny Dodge
Trap Sense +2
Trap Finding
Aura of good,
detect evil
smite evil 1/day
2 ability increases
4 Feats
2+int bonus paladin skill slots
88+11*int bonus rogue skill slots

Hd 4d6+5d10 (avg 44 hp)
Saves Fort 5 Ref 5 Will 2
Bab +8/+3
Sneak Attack +2d6
Uncanny Dodge
Trap Finding
Trap Sense +1
Aura of good,
detect evil
Divine Grace
Lay on Hands
Aura of Courage
Divine Health
Turn Undead
Smite Evil 2/day
Special Mount (*)

2 ability increases
4 Feats
28+7*int bonus rogue skill points
10+5*int bonus paladin skill points

* I'd usually ask to play the non-mounted paladin variant from the PHB2 unless this is going to be very low on indoor encounters.

If this character has straight 10s, then I'd put both ability scores into Cha (empowers Turn Undead and Divine Grace with Cha vs gaining a single spell and a bonus to that poor will save with Wis. No contest.)

HP: My build averages better. This is important for any Pally Build.
Saving Throws: Look like they balance, but keep in mind that evasion lets you avoid all of the damage on successful save for 1/2 damage reflex saves. On the other hand, my build gets divine grace and thus at 9th has overall better saves than theirs.

Bab Mine wins, though not by a lot. The rogue's advancement doesn't really fall behind until 10th level.

The extra 7 points of sneak attack damage are nice, though unreliable.
Improved Uncanny Dodge lacking this hurts my build more than anything else. It is balanced by better HP and me not being stupid about armor selections (more on that later)

Trap Sense One point of difference is actually mostly made up with by divine grace.

Divine Grace is probably the Pally's best early ability. Add your charisma modifier to all saving throws. Yum.

Lay on Hands: Extra healing.

Aura of Courage Immunity to fear and a +4 morale bonus for your party vs fear effects? Load me up. This helps mitigate some of that awful awful will save.

Turn Undead, best for a pally if you have access to some of the turn undead powered feats.

Smite Evil helps with some of that damage loss, and it is level based, so more pally levels = better

The poke-mount is nice, but I prefer the charging smite from the PHB2.

Skills are the thing, other than Improved Evasion that hurts my build the most.

Ability scores in priority order for most of my pallys:
Cha/Str (Str 13+ lets you take power attack. You want power attack.)
Wis (Wis 12+ lets you cast Bless Weapon. One of the nicest low level spells in the game)
Con (HP Nice)
Int/Dex (Skills are nice, but..., and you can turtle up in your armor.)

From their writeup:
The best compromise armour is the chain shirt – it has
only a –2 armour check penalty, but gives a +4 bonus to
Armour Class and allows a high Dexterity bonus.

Their build has you 9th level before you are a paladin. The best compromise armor is not chain shirt.

Chain Shirt: +4 AC, +4 Maximum Dex Bonus, -2 Armor Check, weight 25 lbs. 100 gp. Light Armor
Mithril Breast Plate +5 AC, +4 Maximum Dex Bonus, -1 armor check penalty, weight 15 lbs, 4200 gp. Light Armor.
You have 35,000 gp worth of gear at this point in your career.
As an aside I'd also pitch in the 10,020 gp for an animated mithril heavy shield +1 (for a total additional +3 AC bonus. No additional Armor Check Penalty. (By the way, pure rogues can use this enchantment combo for a shield even though they aren't proficient with it. No Armor Check Penalty = ignore non-proficiency for shields.)

No comments: