Fighter/Paladin, or How to Get Everything Awesome

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Don't know if something like this has been posted before, but I just thought I'd share what I'm playing atm.  This build combines the stickiness of a fighter with the durability of a paladin, plus dps wisdom adders. 


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 16
Dwarf, Fighter|Paladin, Kensei
Hybrid Paladin: Hybrid Paladin Will
Hybrid Talent: Combat Specialty
Combat Specialty: Combat Superiority (Hybrid)
Kensei Focus: Kensei Focus Waraxe

Str 20, Con 16, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 22, Cha 12.

Str 16, Con 13, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 11.

AC: 35 Fort: 28 Reflex: 24 Will: 29
HP: 121 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 30

Religion +13, Endurance +14, Athletics +14

Acrobatics +3, Arcana +8, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +9, Dungeoneering +16, Heal +14, History +8, Insight +14, Intimidate +9, Nature +14, Perception +14, Stealth +3, Streetwise +9, Thievery +3

Level 1: Dwarven Weapon Training
Level 2: Armor Proficiency (Plate)
Level 4: Hybrid Talent (Combat Superiority)
Level 6: Virtuous Recovery
Level 8: Devoted Challenge
Level 10: Focused Superiority
Level 11: Marked Scourge
Level 12: Honored Foe
Level 14: Weapon Expertise (Axe)
Level 16: Tactical Superiority

Hybrid at-will 1: Tide of Iron
Hybrid at-will 1: Holy Strike
Hybrid encounter 1: Piercing Smite
Hybrid daily 1: Villain's Menace
Hybrid utility 2: Virtue
Hybrid encounter 3: Sweeping Blow
Hybrid daily 5: Martyr's Retribution
Hybrid utility 6: Pass Forward
Hybrid encounter 7: Come and Get It
Hybrid daily 9: Rain of Steel
Hybrid utility 10: Font of Healing
Hybrid encounter 13: Whirlwind Smite (replaces Piercing Smite)
Hybrid daily 15: Bloodied Retribution (replaces Martyr's Retribution)
Hybrid utility 16: Death Ward

Jagged Waraxe +4, Heavy Shield, Magic Warplate Armor +4, Cloak of the Walking Wounded +3, Iron Armbands of Power (heroic tier), Boots of Quickness (heroic tier), Circlet of Indomitability (heroic tier), Diamond Cincture (heroic tier), Parry Gauntlets (heroic tier), Symbol of Shared Healing +2
====== Copy to Clipboard and Press the Import Button on the Summary Tab ======

A typical combat is something like, run into a mass of mobs and use come and get it to draw as many of them to you as possible.  Then use virtue, and not only do you have resist 6, you also gain thp.  Now the monsters have many lose/lose choices:  They can shift, which provokes your combat challenge, which you have a +6 to hit with on a 1d12+25 attack (+31 if you use marked scourge).  Or they can move away, which provokes combat superiority, which is another +6 to hit, that's also 1d12+25 (+31 if you use marked scourge), and their move is wasted.  If they double move or charge, they are still slowed from tactical superiority.

So let's say they decide to pound on you instead:  You have plate and shield, +1 ac from pit fighter, and resist 6 all pretty much every turn since you can spend a healing surge from one of your many healing surge type powers, and whoever you divine challenged is also giving you thp from honored foe if they manage to hit you.  You can second wind as a free action, which gives you +4 to all defenses, and a double healing surge.  All the while, they are eating rain of steel damage, plus your aoe encounter powers, and if it's a solo or elite, you can spam holy strike for 1d12+35 damage.  (W+str+wis*3+4 from villian's menace)  Use divine challenge to keep the mark, but only to proc combat challenge.

Depending on your party, I'd switch out a healing surge proc for some saving throw adders (like guiding verse).

Why is this build better than a single classed fighter or paladin?

A fighter lacks the survivability powers of a paladin.  Fighter utilities pretty much suck imo.  You also don't get an awesome dps ability for when the monsters decide to focus on you.  Spamming tide of iron is not that great if there is nowhere to push the bad guys to. 

Paladins are split in half:  if you go str/wis, then your divine challenge/sanction sucks, and you have no stickiness.  If you go str/chr, then your dc/ds are awesome, but you don't have durability or dps.

This build combines the strengths of all three defenders into one, and negates the weaknesses of each.  That's all sorts of awesome. 

*edit* switched the PP to Kensai.
Yay, posted this one day before the pit fighter nerf!

Of course, the paragon path will probably switch to kensai, because at least I can still get the static damage on my opp attacks and combat challenge.  It's minus two damage at L16, and a bit more at L30, but oh well.  At least the AP ability is better for this build, since I generally have less of a need to nova, and more of a need to make sure villain's menace hits.

So to recap, the reasons why this build is a superior tank:

  • Combat challenge attack (shift/attacks ally):  +wisdom mod to hit and damage.

  • Opportunity attack: +wisdom mod to hit and damage, stops movement, enemy slowed.

  • Can mark with Divine Challenge when using paladin powers, then follow-up with Combat Challenge

  • Single target damage: Holy strike is + wisdom mod to damage, + kensai +4 to damage.

  • Marked scourge is an additional +wisdom mod to damage on any of the above, 1/round

  • Aoe encounter powers, plus fighter aoe pull (Come and get it, Warrior's Urging in epic)

  • Epic is additional damage with Slashing Storm: +wisdom mod to damage in an aoe

  • Resist all wisdom mod to damage whenever you spend a healing surge.

  • Relatively easy source of THPs

  • Self-healing

  • Plate + shield

  • high fort and will nads

Why is this better than having a single classed fighter or paladin?
  • str/wis fighter: no self healing, no resist all, no thps, crappy utility powers

  • str/con fighter: no dpr unless pushing, low will nad, crappy utility powers

  • str/wis paladin: no stickiness vs shifts, opp attacks, lower dpr

  • str/chr paladin: no self healing, no resist all, no thps, no dpr

  • wis/chr paladin: no dpr, no stickiness vs shifts, opp attacks, low fort nad

Any thoughts as to how to build this without being a hybrid? My play group doesn't use the hybrid rules.
Unfortunately, this build cherry picks the best aspects of each class: combat superiority and devoted challenge for stickiness, holy strike for DPS, and virtuous recovery and honored foe for survivability.

If you go single classed, you are going to miss out on some key features.  So I'd look at what your party needs, and pick a class/build that complements your party.  For example, if you have plenty of strikers, then you can be a str/wis fighter with devoted challenge and focused superiority, then MC paladin for virtuous recovery.  You lose honored foe and holy strike, plus multiple ways to trigger a healing surge, but you can make that up if your party has a good healer.

OTOH, if your party has horrible DPR, then you can play an ardent vow paladin, or switch to a str/con draconic arrogance push fighter, both of which are more squishy, but at least you'll be bringing up your party's burst damage.  If you need heals though, a chr/wis paladin can tank and heal in the same build, though your DPR sucks, worse than a str/wis fighter.

Any way you go, you will have a weakness, which the above build attempts to eliminate.  So in order to compensate, you need to adapt to whatever your party is lacking.
Yay, posted this one day before the pit fighter nerf!

Of course, the paragon path will probably switch to kensai, because at least I can still get the static damage on my opp attacks and combat challenge.  It's minus two damage at L16, and a bit more at L30, but oh well.  At least the AP ability is better for this build, since I generally have less of a need to nova, and more of a need to make sure villain's menace hits.

You should go Son of Mercy. 
Kensai damage applies to aoes, while son of mercy is one target.  Plus, kensai also applies to basic attacks against other targets, plus combat challenge and opp attacks (and rain of steel) versus enemies other than your lawbreaker's doom target.  You also have a setup time with lawbreaker's doom, where the first attack doesn't apply the wisdom modifier damage, only additional attacks (which matters when you use a power like come and get it).

Granted, you can use red death to effect multiple targets, but that is once an encounter.  The L16 utility isn't that great either, since you are getting THPs from honored foe and virtue, and you are much less likely to drop foes with this build.  The goal is to be sticky without sacrificing DPR, and kensai helps with this, especially with the additional +1 to hit, which Son of Mercy also doesn't have (since I lost both the fighter weapon talent and a +2 to str from a racial).

Yes, Kensai is boring.  But I personally think it's better than Son of Mercy for this build.  Not by much, of course, because that would probably be my runner up PP if Kensai were unavailable for some reason.
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