Help with a low level Warlock|Paladin

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I'm making a high defense striker for an upcoming campaign and I could use some advice.

Constraints:
Starting at level 2, I'm primarily focused on levels 2-4.
Magic items are a Amulet of Passage (+2) and a low level weapon (<4)
I am to play a Warlock|Paladin, although Warlock|Paladin (Variant) is OK. 

Here's what I think I should go with:
Build
====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Erik, level 2
Human, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier)
Virtue: Virtue of Valor
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Sorcerer-King Pact (Hybrid)
Eldritch Strike Option: Eldritch Strike Charisma
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Reflex
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Fortitude
Human Power Selection Option: Heroic Effort
Tarmalune (Tarmalune Benefit)
Theme: Guardian

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 11, WIS 8, CHA 20

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 11, WIS 8, CHA 18


AC: 21 Fort: 17 Ref: 17 Will: 19
HP: 32 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 10

TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +11, Diplomacy +13, History +6, Intimidate +11

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics –3, Arcana +1, Athletics –3, Dungeoneering +0, Endurance –1, Heal +0, Insight +0, Nature +0, Perception +0, Religion +1, Stealth –3, Streetwise +6, Thievery –3

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Guardian Attack: Guardian's Counter
Human Racial Power: Heroic Effort
Warlock's Curse Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack: Holy Smite
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Enfeebling Strike
Warlock Attack 1: Yan-C-Bin's Breath
Paladin Utility 2: Vice's Reward

FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 1: White Lotus Riposte
Level 2: Mindbite Scorn

ITEMS
Mage's Bastard sword +1 x1
Plate Armor x1
Heavy Shield x1
Amulet of Passage x1
Holy Symbol
Adventurer's Kit
====== End ======

 

This build:
Warlock|Paladin (Cavalier)
Advantages:
WLR + Defender mechanic means at least +CHR damage all the time, free
Only need to turn on aura once, after that use minor action to curse
Good encounter nova power in Holy Smite
Disadvantages:
Need AIP or Swordmage multi to overcome MID.  Feat tight, wants Expertise as well as MID-fix at level 4.
Poor Ranged options because of MID.
Possibly some difficulties interacting with other defenders

Other possibilities:
Fullblade over Broadsword + Heavy Shield
~+1 damage seems less important than +2 AC, +2 Ref, even for a striker

Warlock|Paladin + Crimson Fire
Advantages:  2d10 curse damage is very strong
Disadvantages:  Lose out on WLR, Terrible Action Economy, Defender mechanic is immediate

Warlock|Paladin ranged
Advantages: Any holy symbol or rod is implement, better warlock power options (like Crown of Stars)
Disadvantages: No MBA, plate armor is less important for back rank character, Paladin doesn't add much (other than Crimson Fire) 

In addition, how would you compare Vice's Reward with Virtue?
Vice's Reward: 5 THP, Save, +2 defences UEOT
Virtue: 10 THP, costs surge (of which we have 10!)  
Is there some other level 2 Utility I should be considering?

I'd love your thoughts.  Is there anything I'm missing here? 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

The Paladin's Mark Enforcement isn't an Immediate Action anymore. The builder is plain wrong.

As for what's better, depends on what levels you want, and whether you only want to be in melee.
If you want melee, I'd pick Cavalier, and pick up WLMR (you can't do that on a normal Paladin, as a Mark blocks that).

If you want ranged, of course go with Paladin.

Whatever you pick, Longsword/Rapier + Heavy Shield for Melee.
WLR works very well with the defender mechanic.  WLMR is where the conflict is.

WLR+Divine Challenge = attack me take damage, don't attack me, take damage

As a theme, you should look into elemental initiate.  You get attacked and missed(entirely possible since you are in plate and using a shield) and you get to smack them and slide them.  It also gives you ki focuses which has some good low level ones which means you can worry less about your weapon. 


Edit:  Forgot that the cavalier enforcement is not immediate, no conflict, take them both and load up. 
WLR works very well with the defender mechanic.  WLMR is where the conflict is.

WLR+Divine Challenge = attack me take damage, don't attack me, take damage

As a theme, you should look into elemental initiate.  You get attacked and missed(entirely possible since you are in plate and using a shield) and you get to smack them and slide them.  It also gives you ki focuses which has some good low level ones which means you can worry less about your weapon. 


Edit:  Forgot that the cavalier enforcement is not immediate, no conflict, take them both and load up. 



Also works famously for WLMR, since they aren't marked.  Just not at level 4 like he wants.

The Paladin's Mark Enforcement isn't an Immediate Action anymore. The builder is plain wrong.



Is the CB wrong too then?  According to both sources, the Paladin Hybrid mark enforcement is an immediate action (note, not normal paladin enforcement).

I really like the idea of Elemental Initiate, which fixes the MID problems.  I might hold off on it until the weapon options improve... the level 2 ki focii are not particularly compelling, especially compared to Mage's Blade.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

The Paladin's Mark Enforcement isn't an Immediate Action anymore. The builder is plain wrong.



Is the CB wrong too then?  According to both sources, the Paladin Hybrid mark enforcement is an immediate action (note, not normal paladin enforcement).

I really like the idea of Elemental Initiate, which fixes the MID problems.  I might hold off on it until the weapon options improve... the level 2 ki focii are not particularly compelling, especially compared to Mage's Blade.




The OCB is wrong, yes.  Its always been a no action.  Hybrid pallies would be useless if it was an IR.
The Paladin's Mark Enforcement isn't an Immediate Action anymore. The builder is plain wrong.



Is the CB wrong too then?  According to both sources, the Paladin Hybrid mark enforcement is an immediate action (note, not normal paladin enforcement).

I really like the idea of Elemental Initiate, which fixes the MID problems.  I might hold off on it until the weapon options improve... the level 2 ki focii are not particularly compelling, especially compared to Mage's Blade.




The OCB is wrong, yes.  Its always been a no action.  Hybrid pallies would be useless if it was an IR.



Actually it was an Immediate Reaction in the PHB 3. There was an update that changed it to just the reduced damage.


Divine Challenge (Hybrid)
Page 146: The feature now reads as follows: “You
gain the paladin power divine challenge. The power
functions as normal, except that the radiant damage
equals your Charisma modifier. The damage
increases to 2 + your Charisma modifier at 11th level
and 4 + your Charisma modifier at 21st level.”


 
Original hybrid rules and the ones published in the PHB3 it was an IR. It was changed in the update that transitioned a lot of content into essentials... and most of that update never made it into the CB/Compendium (hell, parts of it never made it into the compiled update doc).
Original hybrid rules and the ones published in the PHB3 it was an IR. It was changed in the update that transitioned a lot of content into essentials... and most of that update never made it into the CB/Compendium (hell, parts of it never made it into the compiled update doc).

And that's why this stuff is so confusing to people that started this far into the development cycle.  I missed the first 2 years, so a lot of the things I take for granted weren't the original rules (stealth was a big one).
I was thinking of making something similar. Although, I picked up virtuous strike for my paladin at-will so I can make use of the starfire womb feat at level 4. The idea being, if i get hit with some nasty save ends effect, I could use virtuous strike and get two chances with a +2 to save against it. I also traded in heroic effort for echoing dirge, so I could have a decent ranged option for dealing with minions and swarms.
Or you can get Echoing Dirge as your regular Warlock power for a Hybrid. It's not a bad choice, and you can already get a MBA from the Paladin side.

It's even Psychic, if you want to go for Psychic Lock later, or get the Elemental Pact.
I was thinking of making something similar. Although, I picked up virtuous strike for my paladin at-will so I can make use of the starfire womb feat at level 4. The idea being, if i get hit with some nasty save ends effect, I could use virtuous strike and get two chances with a +2 to save against it. I also traded in heroic effort for echoing dirge, so I could have a decent ranged option for dealing with minions and swarms.




Or you can get Echoing Dirge as your regular Warlock power for a Hybrid. It's not a bad choice, and you can already get a MBA from the Paladin side.
It's even Psychic, if you want to go for Psychic Lock later, or get the Elemental Pact.



Certainly Virtuous Strike is better than Enfeebling Strike (in the above build), which does nothing.  

I don't think that dropping Eldritch Strike is good... you only get Warlock curse damage on Warlock powers, and optimal damage is getting Eldritch Strike + curse damage on your turn as well as on an opponent's turn (when they draw an AoO).  If you consider that a monster can [shift + charge/ranged] or [(not shift) + move/charge/ranged] to avoid attacking you, if you don't have Eldritch Strike drawing an AoO may be a better option for them (8 sure damage for shift first, 1d10+5 if you hit if they don't shift).  By increasing AoO damage (as well as adding a nasty slide), shift first becomes their best option, not only improving off-turn damage but also keeping them closer to you.  Also WLR needs an arcane attack.  So Eldritch Strike is very important.

While Starfire womb is a nice effect, there are many other feats this character needs first, for example an Expertise feat, Deadly Draw, Improved Defenses, etc.

Here's an interesting question:
Suppose we assume that you get to make 5 attacks in a combat.
Suppose that you know the AC of your target (either the DM tells you, gives hints, or you can deduce it) 

How good is Heroic Effort?  Put another way:  How much would you have to increase your +hit chance to increase your expected number of hits by the same amount as having Heroic Effort? (not counting bonuses to saving throws, saving it for a daily, etc.)

Our hit percentage is 75% (+10 vs. 16 AC at level 2).  So our expected hits/combat is 3.75.  If we use Heroic Effort we hit except on a 1.  Ignoring for now the case where we only roll 1s when we miss we can assume Heroic Effort turns 1 miss/combat into a hit.  Thus with Heroic Effort our hits/combat is ~4.75.

If we find x*5=4.5, x = .9.  So Heroic Effort is very approximately as good as +3 to hit all the time for this character.  Thoughts?

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

There was an analysis a while back that showed how good Heroic Effort was.  It's really, really good.  Unless you get a really big boost from that third at-will, it's not worth it.  I wouldn't give it up just for a minion-popper.  Let another party member handle those.
Here's a question on this character's Daily (motivated by the discussion on the Warlock thread):

Which is better, at level 2 for this character:
Decree of Khirad or Yan-C-Bin's Breath?

Advantages of Decree:
Enemy-only
Free Slide
If you use Call of Challenge, each enemy that you hit takes an extra 8 damage
If the enemies have status effects on their MBA (which may be rare at this level), this can be a lot of control
A different defender in the party may get to trigger their mark punishment

Disadvantages of Decree:
Chance of "hitting" is compounded by both hero and monster having to hit.  Yes, there is some damage on any miss, but both powers have that.
To optimize, really should take Call of Challenge as a Level 2 Utility (which may not be a disadvantage) 
If you use Call of Challenge, you lose mark punishment over the enemies that you hit with it (divine sanction is 1/round, defender aura doesn't work on marked enemies) 

Advantages of Yan-C-Bin's Breath:
Does a hefty amount of damage
Triggers curse damage (on one hit target)
Zone is very strong since you can wade in after attack and your enemies have to draw AoO to get away in difficult terrain or sit there and take more damage while they dual you

Disadvantages of Yan-C-Bin's Breath: 
Not Friendly
Sustain has some randomness

Thoughts? 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

If going Hybrid Cavalier, grabbing Facinating Shadows could be interesting (though not character builder legal) as your Warlock At-will (or extra at-will).  Close blast, 2 targets get pulled into your Defender Aura, with built in WLR (that would stack with WLR).  Its not character builder legal because for some reason Facinating Shadows (binder fey pact at-will) is listed as a "Warlock Attack" without a level, while Echoing Dirge (binder gloom pact at-will) is listed as "Warlock Attack 1".   In the orginal book, both were without level, but it seems Echoing Dirge recieved some errata.

In fact, doing a little digging here, it seems the only errata to Echoing Dirge was to make it level 1 instead of un-leveled.  Why they changed that singular pact power instead of also changing the star pact and fey pact ones is beyond me.  And even stranger, the same errata made Shadow Warp (boon for gloom pact) have a level as well. 

Then in paragon you can grab Twofold pact for Elemental Pact, and give things vulnerability which will double (or triple or quadruple) tap if they attack you via Facinating Shadows with WLR and/or WLMR.  And then Tiefling, MC Wizard for Consuming the weak + Virtue of Sacrifice to set your elemental affinity to fire...  AIP Heavy Blades to use a Firewind Blade...  So you Curse with the boon from the previous combat giving them Vuln 10 fire. Facinating Shadows to tag Vuln once, + Firewind Blade to Tag it a second time.  They decide (stupidly) to attack you.  Facinating Shadows punishment (as fire, because its your affinity) to tag it a third time, White Lotus Riposte to Tag it a fourth time, and Master Riposte.. well that stays psychic damage, so it won't tag it a fifth... but it procs Firewind Blade so it actually does.  Oh and they are now taking Ongoing 5 fire (vuln 10) and if they do save, Hellfire Master to tag it again.  So potentially 7 vuln 10 procs in 1 full round.  Load up on fire damage enhancing feats and you are good to go.

The second wind from your virtue doesn't have to be wasted either, just have whoever you are going to use it on not heal to full on the previous short rest. 
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis
I like the idea of Facinating Shadows, but this probably isn't the character for it.

First of all, it's not legal, as you mention.  The fact that it was passed over for getting a level might mean that it was intentionally left only for binders.

Second of all, it has the MID problem.  It's a implement attack on a character that also needs to use weapons.  Ki Focus proficiency via theme can alliviate this somewhat, but honestly the Ki items are not strong compared to other weapon/implements (for non-Monk/Assassins).  Taking a bunch of feats can alleviate this.

Third, it uses Int, which otherwise may be a dump stat.  There are certainly lots of options for secondary stats, at level 2 constitution seems strong because there isn't a pressing need for other riders.  Certainly Int will be much less than Chr.

Fourth, it means giving up Eldritch Strike (or being a human and giving up Heroic Effort).  While Virtuous Strike is OK for an MBA, it doesn't do much damage and your enemies probably just move away from you rather than hit you and take all that damage.  The issue with Catch-22s is that you should only be expected to inflict the minimum damage of your two options.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I tried my hand at making something good with Fascinating Shadows. It's really rather nice, if not RAW legal, right now. If my DM allows it, I might well play it.

Damage is very nice, Punishment is HUGE. And you nab 2 targets every round.

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
level 17
Deva, Warlock/Paladin (Cavalier), Morninglord
Virtue: Virtue of Sacrifice
Eldritch Pact (Hybrid) Option: Star Pact (Hybrid)
Hybrid Warlock Option: Hybrid Warlock Will
Hybrid Paladin (Cavalier) Option: Hybrid Cavalier Will
Hybrid Talent Option: Paladin Armor Proficiency
Yakuza Level 10 Feature Option: Intimidate
Twofold Pact Option: Elemental Pact
Theme: Yakuza
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 12, DEX 11, INT 18, WIS 11, CHA 24
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 10, INT 14, WIS 8, CHA 18
 
 
AC: 22 Fort: 19 Ref: 22 Will: 27
HP: 105 Surges: 10 Surge Value: 26
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Endurance +14, Intimidate +22, Religion +19
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +8, Arcana +12, Athletics +8, Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Dungeoneering +8, Heal +8, History +14, Insight +8, Nature +8, Perception +8, Stealth +8, Streetwise +17, Thievery +8
 
POWERS
Warlock Attack: Fascinating Shadows
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Yakuza Utility: Ruthless Demonstration
Deva Racial Power: Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes
Warlock's Curse  Power: Warlock's Curse
Multiple Class Utility: Defender Aura
Paladin Attack: Righteous Radiance
Paladin Attack 1: Virtuous Strike
Warlock Attack 1: Malicious Shadow
Warlock Attack 1: Chromatic Bolt
Warlock Pact Boon 1: Accursed Affinity
Paladin Utility 2: Vice's Reward
Yakuza Utility 2: Life's Losing Hand
Warlock Utility 6: Fey Switch
Warlock Attack 7: Touch of Command
Paladin Attack 9: Radiant Pulse
Morninglord Attack 11: Pure Glow
Morninglord Utility 12: Rising Sun
Paladin Attack 13: Eye for an Eye
Warlock Attack 15: Menacing Shadow
Warlock Utility 16: Infuriating Elusiveness
Warlock Attack 17: Delban's Eye
 
FEATS
Level 1: Hybrid Talent
Level 2: Devout Protector Expertise
Level 4: Radiant Power
Level 6: Deadly Draw
Level 8: White Lotus Riposte
Level 11: Twofold Pact
Level 11: White Lotus Master Riposte
Level 12: Twofold Curse
Level 14: Protective Hex
Level 16: Psychic Lock
 
ITEMS

====== End ======
Have you considered going Teifling?
There are some good class/race feats that scale well for a pally-lock. 
Its strange to me.  Either Echoing Dirge should not have a level, or both Fascinating Shadows and the Star pact Mind Shadows should gain one.  And especially the pact boon for Gloom Binders should not have a level.  As it is, anyone can sub their level 2 utility for it because the same errata also gave it a level.  And since nothing about it screams "Pact boon" because it is in the essentials style, it even stacks with the normal pact boon... So a normal Warlock can just pick it up at level 2.
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis
Have you considered going Teifling?
There are some good class/race feats that scale well for a pally-lock. 



I don't think that Tiefling is that strong for this character, for levels 2-4.

I would say your feat priorities are:

1) Hybrid Talent (Paladin Armor)
2) White Lotus Reposte
3) Mindbite Scorn

4) Some expertise feat

That doesn't leave much room for Heroic Tiefling Paladin feats:
1) Mark of the Infernal (nice, but basically just a level 2 utility encounter)
2) Wrath of the Crimson Legion (same as Mark of the Infernal, because of Eldritch Strike)

Now if we're talking about a Paragon level character, Tiefling is much more interesting.  On the other hand, I think Warlock|Paladin is better than Warlock|Cavalier, once you have enough feat space to take things like Crimson Fire.

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

I tried my hand at making something good with Fascinating Shadows. It's really rather nice, if not RAW legal, right now. If my DM allows it, I might well play it.

Damage is very nice, Punishment is HUGE. And you nab 2 targets every round.




Could you figure out some way to prone your enemies with your At-Will?

The big problem is that enemies just won't attack you, nerfing your damage.  If you can prone them and have a decend AoO, then they have to spend their move action standing up, meaning they either attack you, charge/range someone, drawing an AoO, or attack an ally stupid enough to stand next to them.

 

Scorpion Knight: High Armor, High Damage in Heroic Safe Haven: Stay near me and never get hit Eldritch Avenger: Crit Fishing at level 12, LFR friendly

World Serpent's Grasp, but it requires your team to set it up.
Mark of Storms + Admix thunder/MKJ + Flail Expertise?  Admix is probably all you need (don't need to MC Swordmage) because Lightning/Thunder don't get replaced by Elemental Affinity.

Rules out Firewind Blade, unless there is a heavy blade flail out there I missed.  Actually, I suppose we have no way of using a flail as a implement...  Spiked Chain MC + AIP, but that'll get rid of Consuming the Weak.  Probably worth it though.  Kusari-Gama perhaps?  Lightblade one end, flail the other.  Not sure if using one end as an implement counts as using the whole thing.

Thats about all I got. 
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis
To use Flail as an implement get proficiency with Holy Symbols+weapon enchant that counts as a holy symbol. Or be a Monk.
So the only flail as holy symbol enchant being Disrupting Weapon.  Weapon of Evil Undone specifies divine powers only.  It could work, but I really miss Firewind Blade on this, its like 2 of the 5/7 vulnerability tags.  But I suppose forcing them to attack you is worth 2 tags and a Master Riposte, so its probably worth it.
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis


Could you figure out some way to prone your enemies with your At-Will?

 



Eldrict Strike + Flail Expertise + Alhulak = At-will prone...which you can afford at level 1 and should last you your entire career.
I think Billyh meant prone at-will using Fascinating Shadows, an implement power.  In the context of forcing the target to attack you rather then your allies, and triggering a whole load of punishment for doing so.
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis