Pathfinder – character Optimization
Pathfinder – basic Classes
Pathfinder – The Paladin Handbook
Pathfinder – The Paladin Handbook
thedesigningfairy.comJune 5, 2021
Last Updated: June 20, 2021
IntroductionThe Paladin is a divine-powered martial class. Similar to the Fighter, the Paladin provides an effective Defender and also Striker, however the Paladin’s other choices also allow them to offer as a Face and also as a Healer, though you’ll have to take traits to get lacking class an abilities to serve as a Face, and also a Paladin can’t match the healing capacity of a complete caster like a Cleric.
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Despite a relatively narrow collection of roles, the Paladin’s organic survivability and self-sufficiency do it great choice for single-character campaigns.
I assistance a minimal subset the Pathfinder’s rules content. If you would like aid with Pathfinder player optionsnot spanned here, please email me and also I to be happy come provide added assistance.thedesigningfairy.com uses the shade coding plan which has come to be common amongst Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that countless colored items are likewise links to the Paizo SRD.Red: Bad, useless options, or alternatives whichare very situational. Practically never useful.Orange: yes sir options, or helpful optionsthat only apply in rare circumstances. Helpful sometimes.Green: an excellent options. Helpful often.Blue: an excellent options, regularly essentialto the duty of your character. Useful really frequently.
Paladin class FeaturesHit Points: d10 hit points is standard formartial classes.Base strike Bonus: full BAB.Saves: Paladins have actually the best saves in thegame without making any particular efforts to enhance them. An excellent Fortitude andWill saves, and also Divine grace adds an massive bonus the stacks through nearlyeverything else.Proficiencies: heavy armor, shields, andmartial weapons.Skills: 2+ ability ranks and a really sparseskill list.
Aura of great (Ex): virtually never matters.Detect evil (Sp): Not always important, butI have seen lot of of Paladins walk into social situations with this runningso that they know who they can trust, and who demands a good smiting.Smite angry (Sp): A wonderful offensiveoption.Divine elegant (Su): one of the Paladin’s bestabilities, this to add a large bonus to your saving throws.Lay on hands (Su): wonderful healingmechanic. Mercies enable you to eliminate harmful conditions, and you have the right to use iton yourself together a swift activity so that you don’t have actually to reduced into her fullattack.Aura of courage (Su): Situational.Divine health and wellness (Ex): Diseases become morecommon at high levels, which deserve to make this an extremely useful.Mercy (Su): Mercies offer the capability toheal problems which generally require a Cleric. However, remember that yourpaladin spells can often handle the very same conditions.BaseFatigued: Fatigued is just one of the leastproblematic conditions in the game for everyone except barbarians.Shaken: Frustrating, and also effects whichcause girlfriend to it is in shaken can have fairly long durations. Aura of Courageshould enhance your party’s saves versus these effects, yet it doesn’twork for Intimidate and it’s not 100% effective.Sickened: results which causeSickened tend to have relatively short durations, but there space annoyingexceptions and also being Sickened because that a lengthy time deserve to be a significantdebuff.6th-levelDazed: impacts which cause Dazed ittend to have very short durations, however losing a turn always hurts. Ofcourse, if she spending your Standard action to eliminate Dazed, you’reprobably shedding the exact same amount of actions by security your turn healingthe target.Diseased: diseases can be annoying todeal with, and also some have actually horrifying second effects like BlindingSickness. Paladins likewise can’t cast Remove Disease.Staggered: Staggered quiet allowsyou to take actions, and effects which reason it often tend to have an extremely shortdurations. The exemption is being at 0 fight points, which will beresolved through the healing from place on Hands.9th-levelCursed: Curses are permanent anddebilitating, but Paladins can likewise cast remove Curse.Exhausted: go take a nap.Frightened: Potions that Remove fear cost50 gp. Go buy one.Nauseated: effects which causenauseated often tend to have very short durations, despite exceptions likeStinking Cloud exist.Poisoned: poison will an extremely rarelykill her party, but sometimes it gets scary.12th-levelBlinded: Being remote sucks, and it’soften permanent.Deafened: gift deaf is annoying atworst.Paralyzed: A paralyzed personality isjust waiting for a coup de grace.Stunned: being stunned makes youextremely delicate to attack.Channel Positive energy (Su): Paladinsaren’t an excellent at channeling energy, however if you have to heal much more than twopeople in the party it’s an ext efficient than use Lay on hand on each of them.If you firmly insist on utilizing Channel Energy, view myPractical overview to Channel Energy.Spells: Paladins are 1/2 casters, and getvery couple of spells per day indigenous a limited spell list. However, your spellselection complements their various other abilities really well. Lock get practically noutility options, however they obtain spells which help them offer as healers,strikers, and also defenders. Watch the “Spells” section, below, for part notablespells.Divine link (Sp): Both alternatives arefantastic. The ability to enhance your weapon can solve a lot of problems,including DR, yet a mount is vital part the any mounted combat build.For aid with the Paladins’s Mount, view myPractical overview to pet Companions.Spells: Paladins only go up to 4th-levelspells, however what little spellcasting they obtain can be really effective is usedcarefully. Paladins cast spells at a caster level 3 reduced than your classlevel, which seriously handicaps their spells, so think about the wonder Knacktrait to an increase your caster level.Aura of settle (Su): Charm impacts are veryrare.Aura of justice (Su): Fantastic, butremember the allies should still usage a swift activity to activate Smite Evil.Aura of faith (Su): terrific for combatingevil-aligned outsiders, and saves friend the problem of spreading Bless Weapon.Aura of justice (Su): DR 5/evil willprotect friend from every little thing except enemy divine spellcasters and eviloutsiders prefer demons.Holy Champion (Su): Good, however not great.The Banishment result forcibly ends her Smite also if that fails, and you can’tchoose come forego the effect. Personally i would fairly outright kill theoutsider so that it can not come back.
Paladin ability look comparable to any type of other melee martial character, but Divine Grace substantially reduces the need for Dexterity and also Wisdom to fix negative saves.Str: Paladins are almost exclusively meleecharacters, so toughness is essential.Dex: In hefty armor and also with magnificent Grace,Dexterity no paticularly important. Take it 12 in ~ most, however you can survivewith less.Con: important for struggle points, butFortitude saves shouldn’t be a problem.Int: The Paladin’s skill list is better thanthe Fighters, however 2+ ability ranks offer you very limited options.Wis: With divine Grace and good Will savesyou can conveniently dump Wisdom to 8 without any type of problems.Cha: fuels the Paladin’s spells andabilities.
RacesBonuses to stamin of Charisma space nice, and medium dimension is nice if you arrangement to play a Defender so the you have the right to be enlarged.Dwarf: The Charisma penalty is annoying,but the Dwarf’s other racial characteristics still make it a viable option. The bonusesto Constitution and Wisdom offset most of the lost bonus from magnificent Grace,and the Dwarf’s other abilities match the Paladin’s organic durabilityvery well. Unfortunately the Dwarf favored course bonus adds to Concentration,which is nearly worthless for Paladins.Elf: Nothing useful for the Paladin, andbonuses to two of the Paladin’s least crucial abilities.Gnome: Bonuses to Constitution and also Charismaare sufficient to counter the penalty to Strength, do the Gnome a hard choicefor tiny Paladins. This can be beneficial for an installed combat builds because youcan fit into spaces which are too small for horses. The Gnome favored classbonus improves the healing/damage noted by place on Hands.Half-Elf: The flexible capability bonus isnice, and also the Half-Elf has actually some nice alternate racial attributes which deserve to workwell for the Paladin. The Half-Elf’s favored class bonus expands the area ofthe Paladin’s auras. Considering the Paladin has actually 5 auras (not counting Aura ofGood), this can be a terrific buff.Half-Orc: Flexible capacity bonus and somenice gyeongju abilities which match the Paladin well. Unfortunately, theHalf-Orc favored class bonus is awful, so take the human favored class bonusinstead.Halfling: A small less reliable than theGnome because the Dexterity bonus isn’t together helpful.Human: always a an excellent option, and also the Humanfavored class bonus adds power resistance to one form of energy. Pick up afew clues in the four basic energy types (acid, cold, electricity, fire), butdon’t worry about sonic. Remember the this resistance stacks through magicalenergy resistance such together the Resist energy spell.
TraitsAxe come Grind (Combat): Paladins invest alot of time in melee by themselves, therefore this have the right to pay off generally if youdon’t have any other melee allies.Deft Dodger (Combat): Reflex saves areyour worst save, despite they’ll quiet be great thanks to DivineGrace.Birthmark (Faith): Charm and also compulsioneffects are scary, but you have magnificent grace and good Will saves. The freeholy symbol is neat, but not yes, really necessary.Omen (Faith): Intimidate is just one of yourmissing confront skills. On optimal of the usual +1 bonus and cost-free class skill, youalso acquire to Demoralize once per day as a swift action!Magical Knack (Magic): +2 caster leveladds hours to her buffs. Almost every Paladin must take this.Dangerously Curious (Magic): A weirdchoice for a Paladin, but you have the Charisma to use UMD, and also it’s stillthe best skill in the game.Unscathed (Magic): If she human, thisis a close challenger with wonder Knack. The person favored course bonus is aneasy way to gain a couple of points of power resistance in every type, and thiscan as much as quintuple its efficiency if you pick up 1 allude of resistanceto every 5 energy damages types. Even if you skip sonic damages you’re stillgetting 8 levels precious of favored course bonus out of one trait. Generally Idon’t worry about sonic damage, yet I think you deserve to spare one suggest to gain 3points the resistance, specifically for the smug satisfaction of telling peoplethat you’ve gained sonic damage resistance.Bully (Social): Omen is better.Fast Talker (Social): Bluff is one ofyour absent Face skills, though together a Paladin you may have moral obejctionsto lying.Influence (Social): choose up whichevermissing face skill girlfriend didn’t currently get.Seeker (Social): The many rolled skill ingame.Unpredictable (Social): Bluff is one ofyour absent Face skills, though together a Paladin friend may have actually moral obejctionsto lying.Brute (Half-orc Racial): Omen isbetter.
SkillsDiplomacy (Cha): vital for anyFace.Handle animal (Cha): useful fortraining and also handling her mount, yet you most likely won’t must maximizeit.Heal (Wis): A advantageous supplement tomagical healing, yet Paladins generally dump Wisdom, so they won’t be aseffective together someone with a kind Wisdom score.Knowledge (nobility) (Int): Situational,and an extremely depenedent on your campaign.Knowledge (religion) (Int): among themost necessary Knowledge an abilities in the game.Ride (Dex): beneficial if you take the Mountoption of divine Bond, yet otherwise useless.Sense motive (Wis): valuable for anyFace.Spellcraft (Int): Situational, and Paladinsaren’t an especially suited to carry out anything v the details which theycould gain.
FeatsPaladins fight much like a fighter with a comparable combat strategy would, for this reason your tasks will commonly depend on her combat style. Instead or re-hashing an evaluation of every combat feat available, this ar will emphasis primarily on accomplishments which cater especially to the Paladin.Adept Champion: This can add animpressive bonus to your CMB at the expense of damage, which is terrific ifyou’re building a Defender.Channel Smite: unless you’re fightingundead, this won’t assist you transaction damage.Greater Channel Smite: permits you tosplit up the bonus damage dice from Channel Smite. Largelypointless.Guided Hand: This is because that Clerics.Channeled Revival: If your party lackssomeone who can cast Breath of Life, this is a great investment. It takesthree provides of Channel Energy, which means 6 offers of place on Hands, for this reason youwon’t have the ability to use this until 12th level uneven you take Extra put OnHands or you walk for the Hospitaler archetype.Extra Channel: The Paladin isn’t great atchanneling energy, yet this can administer some extra healing because that yourparty.Extra lay On Hands: If you choose Lay onHands a many (and friend should), this is precious considering.Extra Mercy: It’s daunting to understand whatMercies come select, however you can probably pick ones that work-related well enoughthat girlfriend don’t have to spend a feat top top this. If you feel absolutelycompelled to choose up added mercies, purchase a Merciful Baldric.Radiant Charge: Consumes every one of yourremaining offers of place on Hands for the day, so you can only use it once perday. The most efficient use is to usage it v your last charge of place onHands, however that makes it really difficult to find time to usage the feat.Reward that Grace: most likely only valuable ifyou use Lay on hands on you yourself a lot. Tiny bonus through 1 ring duration.Sacred bonuses room really rare, however Weapon emphasis is probably better.Reward of Life: If her party doesn’thave a cleric or someone else who is better than you are at healing, this isa great way to increase the efficiency of put on Hands together a resource ofhealing.Unsanctioned Knowledge: UnsanctionedKnowledge deserve to open up a the majority of really great spell options. Clerics inparticular have actually a the majority of really great buffs, and many have actually long durations.Magic Vestments, because that example, is a 3rd-level Cleric spell with hours/levelduration that have the right to save you a fortune on armor enhancement. However, rememberthat Paladins obtain very few spells every day and that the Paladin’s casterlevel is 3 lower than their class level.Word that Healing: A standard activity and30 foot variety to heal fifty percent as lot as normal. Walking over to her targetwill typically be better.
WeaponsFalchion: If you desire a two-handed weaponwithout reach, the Falchion is the two-handed identical of theScimitar.Longsword: Iconic and also flashy, yet pastlow level the Scimitar’s vital threat range will have actually a betterpayoff.Greatsword: Iconic and flashy, however pastlow level the Falchions’s critical threat variety will have a betterpayoff.Reach Weapons: any type of reach weapon is a goodchoice for a Defender. If you setup to usage combat maneuvers, the Guisarme isan obvious choice, but past that polearms are mainly interchangeable.Scimitar: A slightly low damage die, butthe threat variety will pay off much better beyond short levels when your bonusdamage eclipses your weapon’s base damage.
ArmorHide: Good, cheap starting armor if youdon’t desire to invest the yellow to gain four-mirror.Four-Mirror: The finest AC bonus i m sorry youcan afford at level 1.Heavy Shield: uneven you plan to use atwo-handed weapon, a hefty shield is a great choice.Full Plate: The best armor you canget.
SpellsThis section won’t deal with every spell on her spell list, but it will suggest out some especially notable options. For a complete list of spells, view the SRD assignment Index.
1st-Level SpellsChallenge Evil: incredibly tempting, butsince Paladins don’t have supremacy-caster Charisma and since they gain spelllevels so late the DC is going come be yes, really low. Don’t mean this come workreliably. Even when it does work, it only causes Sickened, which might not beenough of a deterrent to force targets to strike you.Compel Hostility: A fantastic option fordefenders. You’ll have trouble v your assignment DC, but because you deserve to useyour Immediate action every ring to try to influence an attack, that likelythat at least some the the saves will fail.Hero’s Defiance: You require this, withoutquestion. This means that you can afford to spend your swift activity onsomething other than healing, also if her hit clues are gaining low.Honeyed Tongue: great for a Face, butI would only prepare this if you have time to rest before going into aseries of negotiation or something of the sort.Knight’s Calling: much more effective thanChallenge Evil, however only one round duration and all of the exact same DC issues.If the works, the fantastic.
2nd-Level SpellsFire of Entanglement: Paladins constantly havetrouble with spell DCs, however even if the target succeds castle stillentangled for one round. An for sure essential method to keep adversaries pinneddown. If girlfriend can actors this repeatedly, you deserve to hold adversaries in placeindefinitely.Litany of Righteousness: If paladins didn’tsuck in ~ spell DCs, this would certainly be one amazing way to an increase your chargedamage.Paladin’s Sacrifice: only works as soon as percasting, but as an immediate activity you deserve to use this at any time you need it.Paladins room notoriously difficult to kill, so this extends the durability toyour allies. Remember that instant actions expense your swift activity in thefollowing turn, so friend won’t have the ability to spend a swift action to usage Lay onHands in the complying with turn.Righteous Vigor: combined with Smite Evilthis is an absolutely remarkable option. The short-lived hit points will certainly allowyou come focus fully on attacking, and also the scaling assault bonus will certainly makeyour assaults extremely reliable. Was standing toe-to-toe with the scariest enemyyou can find.Saddle Surge: Absolutely important formounted builds. The damages should be multiplied by Spirited Charge and also byusing a lance. Get as far ago as girlfriend can, boost your mount’s speed as muchas possible, and get a massive damages spike on her charge. A horse has actually 50base speed, for this reason you have the right to move 100 ft. Top top a charge. Horsehsooes of rate addanother 30 feet. Imagine charging 160 feet, including 32 to your typical damage,then trippling every one of it. Horrifying.Shield Other: You have the capability toheal yourself together a swift action, so soaking up some damage dealt to an allymeans that you can effectively heal that damage as a swift action. Thismeans the you’re spending your transforms fighting stuff instead of heal yourallies. However, it deserve to be daunting to understand which ally to usage this on. Youmay usage this and find the it never comes right into play.
3rd-Level SpellsDeadly Juggernaut: In an conference withseveral weak foes come feed right into this spell, this is absolutely amazing. Luckbonuses are tough to find, and also luck bonuses to damages are even less common.With minutes every level duration, girlfriend may be able to carry it into multipleencounters through a solitary casting.Fire of Judgement: through this levelcreatures should nearly always pass your spell saves, so you will do it only obtain oneround the end of this. Also if the creature stops working the save, 1d6 damage isn’tmuch that a deterrant unless the creature has a huge number of attacks. Still,a swift activity casting time renders this fairly viable if you can make the1-round duration job-related for you.Magic Weapon, Greater: With hrs perlevel duration, there’s no excuse to buy a magic weapon with much more than a +1enhancement bonus. If you have a complete caster willing to cast this because that you,let them execute it. If not, setup to cast this assignment every day.Sanctify Armor: effectively MagicVestments, however with minutes/level duration and the DR ingredient if friend useSmite Evil.
4th-Level SpellsBlaze the Glory: This is a complicatedspell, and I’m not sure how efficient it will certainly be in genuine play. Normally Iwould fairly use Hero’s Defiance as soon as I fight 0 struggle points, however if friend havemultiple allies unconcious this can turn the tide of a fight. The damageis neat, but not significant enough come realistically kill anything. Theprayer effect is great, and doesn’t appear to be affected by a conserving throw.Break Enchanment: through this level, otherspellcasters will quickly outpace the maximum caster level bonus ~ above BreakEnchantment, so you’ll have actually trouble utilizing this effectively.Fire of Vengeance: Swift action, no save,no spell resistance, and 3d8 damages is enough to be a passable deterrant.However, it only works top top one attack. Fire that Judgement might actually bebetter unless your foe is especially low on hit points.Holy Sword: really good, yet standardaction to cast and also only rounds/level duration mean that it will certainly be hard tobring this into play conveniently without cutting into your common actions. Theeffects additionally overlap the weapon choice for divine Bond, permitting you rotate amundane weapon into a truly terrifying magic weapon in a hurry.Resounding Blow: basic to overlook, butwith a swift action casting time Resounding punch is a an excellent combat buff.Rounds/level duration and also 1d6 damages per attack means that friend can gain animpressive quantity of extra damage out of this. The stun impact works evenagainst creatures which you’re not smiting, for this reason strongly take into consideration using aweapon v a high critical threat range.Sacrificial Oath: A lot favor ShieldOther, yet you can choose to take the effects, and it likewise works on failedsaving throws. If you’re ready to absorb every little thing that targets acreature, this is the method to do it.
WeaponsHoly Avenger: +5 divine cold stole is prettygreat on its own, but the capability to cast Greater Dispel Magic as countless timesas you desire is certain astounding. You’re restricted to the area version,but that’s still sufficient to perform this favor dispel revolution magic results ordebuff rooms complete of buffed enemies.
Armor/ShieldsChampion (+1): A +2 bonus to AC againstthe target of your smite is nice, yet a flat +1 will certainly be much an ext beneficialunless you’re somehow able to smite in practically every fight.
RingsProtection: also though Smite provides aDeflection bonus, a ring of protection is still a good investment since youwon’t be able to smite every adversary you face. You also have security FromGood/Law, i beg your pardon can carry out the exact same bonus.
RodsMetamagic (Any): Metamagic rods inPathfinder are cheap, and also since your spellcasting only goes approximately 4th-levelyou deserve to cover nearly all of your spells v lesser rods. If your party hasdedicated spellcasters that supplied lesser metamagic rods at short levels, youmay have the ability to buy them off of her allies at a far-ranging discount. Forhelp through metamagic options, examine myPractical guide to Metamagic.
WandsHoneyed Tongue: A 1st-level Paladinspell, it has a 10 minute duration at caster level 1. Because that 15 gp every charge,you can reroll diplomat checks because that 10 minutes. If you’re her party’s face,this is a an excellent investment.Saddle Surge: If girlfriend use an installed combat,this is precious considering. You need to cast Saddle Surge together a standardaction anyway and move ago to get as lot distance as you can. The roundsper level expression will acquire you a minimum increase 5 rounds, however the wand will certainly beexpensive due to the fact that the minimum caster level because that the assignment is 5 instead of 3like most 2nd-level spells.
Wondrous ItemsBelt of gigantic Strength / Belt of physical Might: You require Strength and also Constitution, yet most paladins won’t have a usefor Dexterity.Bracelet that Mercy: Good, but not worth15,000gp. Obtain Bracers of the Merciful items instead.Bracers the The Avenging Knight: Fourmore level of Smite method 4 much more damage per hit. Neat, however Bracers of theMerciful Knight expenses less and also are much much more useful.Bracers that The Merciful Knight: four morelevels of lay on Hands way 2d6 much more healing and 2 an ext uses per day. TheLesser Restoration effect is nice, yet it’s a 1st-level spell because that paladinsso it’s not a substantial benefit.Boots of Speed: At just 12,000gp this area steal. Activate them together a totally free action one ring at a time, and also you caneasily stretch their use throughout whole day. An essential for nearlyany melee character.Cloak of Resistance: Too an essential toforego, also with divine Grace.Crystal that the heal Hands: This issomething her allies should buy so that you deserve to charge it because that them.Insignia of Valor: Paladins aren’t great atChannel power unless you build for it, and if friend really want to useChannel energy as a swift activity you want to get quick Channel.Merciful Vambraces: as soon as per work isn’tenough. If you’re utilizing Lay on hands it’s rare the you’ll be removing morethan one condition, so suppose to go long periods without these beinguseful.Headband of Alluring Charisma: Crucial.Boosts all of your saves, to add the typical benefits that Charisma.Merciful Baldric: You most likely won’tneed this. You get sufficient mercies for many campaigns, and if you can not covereverything it’s much cheaper to buy scrolls that the spells that will removewhatever status problems you can’t cover.Ornament of healing Light: 15 ft. Is notenough range to justification 10,000gp. Phylactery that the Shepherd prices 7,500,does more, and has twice the range.Phylactery that the Shepherd: put theStatus result on allies (it will last for three hours), then usage Lay onHands at 30 ft. Range as a swift action when one of them picks up a nastystatus condition.Pearl the Power: Paladins get really fewspell slots, however their spells have the right to be much more powerful than their assignment levelimplies. A pearl of power 1 ~ above a high level sorcerer’s is largely useless; apearl of power 1 top top a Paladin method another usage of Hero’s Defiance.
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