Durable Chaladin?

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So I'm running around in a couple campaigns at once, and it came as no surprise that I was voted to be Defender in at least one of them. Thing is, one of the constraints is that we must all be drow. First thing that came to mind: Paladins! They're charisma-tanks, right?

WELL! I took a look at the paladin guide "Pillars of Faith", and am no closer to making a decision here. My DM is extremely, I mean EXTREMELY hellbent on killing us PCs when the opportunity arises, so survivability is top priority here. I see that Straladins seem bulkier, but the charisma-based leadery powers look like they offset this somewhat...

So my question is, can Chaladins be as as durable as Straladins? Would I be better off just grabbing Melee-Training (Dexterity I guess?) and going with Knight? I'm pretty nubbish when it comes to defenders, so I need all the help I can get just to not get smashed in the first round after I've marked something.

On another note, this campaign will only last a few sessions. It won't be going past level 10. 
Cha/Wis Paladins are very durable. Plate+Heavy shield, Lay on Hands. They really take off in Paragon but are good in Heroic.
So my question is, can Chaladins be as as durable as Straladins?



I don't see why not, there's nothing stopping a Chaladin from wearing the same plate armour, wielding the same heavy shield, and putting the same amount of points into Con as a Straladin.  Plus, being a Chaladin, you're probably going to have a better Will defence, and I find that while Will is targeted fairly rarely, it also tends to be the defence that is targeted by the attacks with the nastiest effects (dominates, stuns, that sort of thing).

Would I be better off just grabbing Melee-Training (Dexterity I guess?) and going with Knight?



No.
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Wow, yeah. After taking a look at some of the Divine Power and Dragon feats, I'm....well, I'm a bit embarassed to have asked. Hell, it looks like Chaladins were built to never die! I'm still a bit skeptical about having redundant defenses in my two main stats (Cha/Wis), but the level of self-healing and party buffing I can do is crazy...

Definitely picking up a paladin now. Thanks guys!

Also, guessing that Melee-Training isn't all it's cracked up to be? 
Take Virtuous Strike as one of your at-wills. It's a cha-based MBA.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
For truly impressive durability, get a Ring of Tenacious Will.


Yep, having upwards of 18 surges is just funny.
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Wow, yeah. After taking a look at some of the Divine Power and Dragon feats, I'm....well, I'm a bit embarassed to have asked. Hell, it looks like Chaladins were built to never die! I'm still a bit skeptical about having redundant defenses in my two main stats (Cha/Wis), but the level of self-healing and party buffing I can do is crazy...

Definitely picking up a paladin now. Thanks guys!

Also, guessing that Melee-Training isn't all it's cracked up to be? 

Will is the best NAD to have be high. Fort/Ref are pretty trivial, though you will have to deal with forced movement (Fort) slightly  more than average. So even though it isn't great to deal with, it isn't all that bad in your case. Int/Dex is the really sucky pair in that regard (Str/Con usually means enough surges to deal with things).
I've played a Cha-paladin in LFR up from level 1 and I assure you, he is quite durable. Of course, I've invested many feats and items into making him more so.

Ring of Tenacious Will is indeed ridiculously good for Cha-based PCs of all sorts. Its daily power has saved this PC's life twice.

Even at lower levels, though, and prior to having all the equipment I wanted, this PC was still nice and durable.

fairly generic dragonborn paladin

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Sseklah - Epic, level 24
Dragonborn, Paladin, Questing Knight, Legendary Sovereign
Dragonborn Racial Power Option: Dragon Breath
Dragon Breath Key Ability: Dragon Breath Constitution
Dragon Breath Damage Type: Dragon Breath Lightning
Cormyr (General) (Cormyr (General) Benefit)
Theme: Knight Hospitaler  

FINAL ABILITY SCORES STR 14, CON 18, DEX 10, INT 12, WIS 20, CHA 28  
STARTING ABILITY SCORES STR 12, CON 13, DEX 8, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 17    

AC: 41 Fort: 39 Ref: 34 Will: 42
HP: 171 Surges: 19 Surge Value: 54  

TRAINED SKILLS Athletics +15, Diplomacy +26, Endurance +17, Insight +26, Religion +18
UNTRAINED SKILLS Acrobatics +8, Arcana +13, Bluff +21, Dungeoneering +17, Heal +17, History +15, Intimidate +23, Nature +17, Perception +17, Stealth +8, Streetwise +21, Thievery +8  

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Knight Hospitaler Utility: Shield of Devotion
Dragonborn Racial Power: Dragon Breath
Paladin Feature: Divine Mettle
Paladin Feature: Divine Strength
Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge
Paladin Feature: Virtue's Touch
Paladin Attack 1: Virtuous Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Enfeebling Strike
Paladin Utility 2: Virtue
Paladin Attack 5: Name of Might
Athletics Utility 6: Mighty Sprint
Paladin Attack 9: Ray of Reprisal
Paladin Utility 10: Guiding Verse
Questing Knight Attack 11: Strength of Ten
Questing Knight Utility 12: Quester's Discipline
Paladin Attack 13: Castigating Strike
Paladin Attack 15: Knight's Defiance
Paladin Utility 16: Divine Aegis
Paladin Attack 17: Wrathful Smite
Paladin Attack 19: Corona of Blinding Radiance
Questing Knight Attack 20: Virtuous Wrath
Paladin Utility 22: Shared Valor
Paladin Attack 23: Demand Respect  

FEATS
Level 1: Draconic Challenge
Level 4: Resourceful Leader
Level 6: Superior Will
Level 8: Devout Protector Expertise
Level 10: Battlewise
Level 11: Improved Defenses
Level 12: Focused Mind
Level 14: Swift Recovery
Level 16: Hero's Poise
Level 20: Shield Mastery
Level 21: Weakening Challenge
Level 21: Superior Initiative
Level 22: Champion's Countenance
Level 22: Strength Through Challenge
Level 24: Pious Champion  

ITEMS
Heavy Shield x1
Iron Armbands of Power (paragon tier) x1
Lesser Shadowbane +5 x1
Legion Plate Armor of Cleansing +5 x1
Boots of Free Movement Strikebacks x1
Helm of Able Defense x1
Symbol of the Champion's Code +5 x1
Battle-Scarred Champion (epic tier)
Golden Ring of Teros x1
Ring of Tenacious Will x1
Ring of the Fallen
Shepherd's Battle Standard
Stone of Earth 
Belt of Vim (paragon tier) x1 
Brimstone Cloak +5 x1
Airstriders x1
Solitaire (Violet)
Avandra's Boon of Escape (level 28)
Demonskin Tattoo (epic tier)
====== End ======
Something to remember, as a chaladin, grabs and that pesky 10 foot deep pit/acid pool etc are your bane. I'd suggest having at least 1 way of breaking a grab and some way to get around athletics checks.
wrt physical skills - It takes some doing (multiclass rogue, so dex 13 which isn't impossibe for a Drow) but there is Duelist's Panache to add Cha to acrobatics and athletics.
Though there's probably better options than a two-feat combo. ;)

@joshua_randall - I've been goofing around with a theoretical dragonborn chaladin build designed to get his healing surge value as high as possible (toughness, swift recovery, belt of vigor, armor of durability, etc) then use lend health to give that out as healing (lay on hands and multi-class-feat healing and item-based healing).
It's probably ineffective compared to an average healing-cleric, but it's been an interesting thought exercise.  And it's somewhat similar to what you posted, though obviously more fine-tuned to the one aspect.

Have fun.

Depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

Or be a tiefling and grab Ethereal Sidestep.
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I've played a Challadin from level 1 to level 22 in LFR. Very durable. I will second the comments about the Ring and the problems with grabs (especially creatures that have reach and grab) and being able to get over obsticals.
@AH_Iceman: yes, optimizing surge value is fun, although I haven't gone whole-hog with this particular PC. (I do plan to retrain for Lay on Hands instead of Virtue's Touch, and take the Epic feat that lets LoH target two people, because spending one HS to heal two allies for 55+ hp is pretty good as a non-Leader.)

Threads about HS value:
I play a tiefling chaladin with Cha primary, Wis secondardy and Con tertiary, and I agree that athletics checks and grabs are absolutely your bane.  To address this I've intentionally grabbed items that grant teleports and multiclassed into Bard.  The shift 1 associated with Majestic Word has been better than the healing at getting me out of a bind.
I was actually going to suggest what Zelink did, as tieflings make amazing paladins, and the ability to steal any utility power is awesome.
Thing is, one of the constraints is that we must all be drow.



Yeah :/ I would totally play a Tiefling if I could, they have wicked feat-support, but I can't!

Hm. Another question: Is there any sort of masterwork armor I could use in Heroic? Like, something that can be used with a +2 enhancement? I've only seen +4 and higher minimum enhancement requirements on masterwork so far. 
Yeah :/ I would totally play a Tiefling if I could, they have wicked feat-support, but I can't!

Hm. Another question: Is there any sort of masterwork armor I could use in Heroic? Like, something that can be used with a +2 enhancement? I've only seen +4 and higher minimum enhancement requirements on masterwork so far. 

AV introduced Masterwork that smoothed the scaling somewhat, and Heroes of the... basically got rid of it and made the AC addition automatic. Bonus points: you can by RAW wear one of the Masterworks that gives a NAD or (in the case of plate) Resist All instead of an AC bonus, and you still automatically get the AC bonus as well, because of the Heroes of books made the AC an inherent property of wearing armor of a particular enhance.
Multiclass Warlord for the Athletics training is a big help. It doesn't hurt that the warlord multiclass feats is one of the best in the game.

P.S. Pet peeve about D&D is the harsh skill penalties for wearing heavy armor/shield. Grr. (And no I'm not wasting feats to get rid of the penalties.) 
Yeah :/ I would totally play a Tiefling if I could, they have wicked feat-support, but I can't!

Hm. Another question: Is there any sort of masterwork armor I could use in Heroic? Like, something that can be used with a +2 enhancement? I've only seen +4 and higher minimum enhancement requirements on masterwork so far. 

AV introduced Masterwork that smoothed the scaling somewhat, and Heroes of the... basically got rid of it and made the AC addition automatic. Bonus points: you can by RAW wear one of the Masterworks that gives a NAD or (in the case of plate) Resist All instead of an AC bonus, and you still automatically get the AC bonus as well, because of the Heroes of books made the AC an inherent property of wearing armor of a particular enhance.



Whoa, really? What book is this awesome plate armor in? And I'm pretty feat starved as it is, so I think the only reason I would multi-class would be if my DM catches on that i'm not the impenetrable bulwark his monsters will think I am.

EDIT: Oops, nevermind. I forgot that you said AV xD 

Back to the environmental hazards and grappling: Being stuck as a Drow, I'd be tempted to invest in Twilight Adept and Duelist's Panache if I could afford both. I'd want to use the River Smuggler background for a skill set of Acrobatics (untrained but decent), Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Religion, Stealth. You should be able to do something useful combining Cunning Sneak 1/enc with Cloud of Darkness and a decent Stealth skill.

You could even go so far as to take the Watershaper theme, which isn't entirely terrible. The Aquatic trait and swim speed are really, really nice for a Chaladin. Keep in mind that having an X speed negates the need to roll vs Athletics. For that reason, in mid-Paragon, if like a lot of Chaladins you settle on a Radiant Weapon, the humble Bracers of Brachiation should be considered for your arms slot.

If you had your choice of race, a Watershaper Crane Hengeyokai Chaladin can fly or float over or through any environmental hazard from level 1.

If you have a teammate that laughs at grapples, the E7 Benign Transposition could be a life-saver, though the opportunity cost of that slot is pretty steep. That said, if your DM has a taste for tentacles, it's probably your earliest and bestest option.
Whoa, really? What book is this awesome plate armor in? And I'm pretty feat starved as it is, so I think the only reason I would multi-class would be if my DM catches on that i'm not the impenetrable bulwark his monsters will think I am.

Multi-class feats tend to be extremely stong in comparison to other feats.  There is very likely an MC feat that's better than something on your list.  Or at the least, gives you access to feats (or PPs) that are better than things on your list.  It's very rare you see an optimized build that doesn't MC by level 10 or so.
Leaders.  They tend to have the superior in-class PPs.

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It's just that there are about 4 stupidly good ones.

Yeah, I didn't mean to imply all MC feats, but just about every build can make use of those few gems, and the things they open up.  It just sounded like the OP didn't really understand what multiclassing does for you in 4e.

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