Chaladin of the Ravenqueen. Will it work?

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Just thought I'd tap your collective wisdom for a little help.

My friend is running a game tonight and the party is entirely without a defender. They are:

Invoker of the Ravenqueen
Gloom Pact Hexblade (with some sort of pact with the Ravenqueen)
Sorceress (whom the hexblade saved by selling his soul to the Ravenqueen)
Bard/Warlock (whom the Invoker looks after because he has a bit of a nasty streak)

What I'm looking for is a character that can decently tank, has ties with the Ravenqueen (to mesh well with game-play elements), but who can also dish out some serious damage and pull some surprises when needed.

So far, this is my build:

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Tirna, level 5
Hamadryad, Paladin
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Student of Evard
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 19
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 8, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 10, WIS 15, CHA 16
 
 
AC: 23 Fort: 15 Ref: 17 Will: 18
HP: 58 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 14
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +13, Heal +11, Insight +11, Religion +7, Thievery +4
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics –1, Arcana +2, Athletics –3, Bluff +6, Dungeoneering +6, Endurance –1, History +2, Intimidate +6, Nature +8, Perception +6, Stealth –1, Streetwise +6
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Student of Evard Attack: Essence of Death
Hamadryad Utility: Hamadryad Aspects
Paladin Feature: Divine Mettle
Paladin Feature: Divine Strength
Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge
Paladin Feature: Lay on Hands
Paladin Attack 1: Bolstering Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Virtuous Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Valorous Smite
Paladin Attack 1: Frost of Letherna
Paladin Utility 2: Bless Weapon
Paladin Attack 3: Mocking Smite
Paladin Attack 5: Sign of Vulnerability
 
FEATS
Level 1: Devout Protector Expertise
Level 2: Sneak of Shadows
Level 4: Virtuous Recovery
 
ITEMS
Heavy Shield x1
Vanguard Rapier +1 x1
Ebon Plate Armor +1 x1
Horned Helm (heroic tier) x1
Amulet of Protection +1 x1
Magic Holy Symbol +1 x1
Last Sight Vision
====== End ======

I picked Hamadryad both for flavor and for the ability to grant combat advantage as a minor action or significantly boost her defenses. Multi-class Rogue meshes well with this, giving her the ability to capitalize on CA. I thought Student of Evard meshed well with the Raven Queen theme as well as a mojo of blood sacrifice I'm working on for the character.

For tanking, I took virtuous recovery (4 dr), ebon plate (4 thp), and bolstering strike (4) thp. The AC, at 23, is decent for this level and I plan on taking warding implement (feat) and astral thunder (power) as she progresses. Valorous smite is a nice multi-mark that, I think, gives her a nice tank-surge when needed.

Frost of letherna struck me as a bit sticky, so I took that. And for the nova I have sign of vulnerability + bless weapon + charge with virtuous strike, horned helm, vanguard weapon, mocking smite and sneak attack with combat advantage (crits on 18-20 if sign of vuln works).

My concerns for this build are that it's very weak on Athletics, Acrobatics, and Endurance (I had considered lightening up the armor for this). In addition, I feel a general concern for lack of versatility. I tend to like versatile characters and tanks just seem to get stuck a bit here.

I had considered a Paladin/Warlock but couldn't quite figure out how to make the tanking/toughness work with the needs of this party. In any case, your thoughts are much appreciated!
Student of Evard is flavorfull, but doesn't really add much.  If you want to toughen up your PC or do more damage there are many better options.

Also your party is very heavy on charisma PCs.  Not that you have to do a strength defender, but you might consider it.

If you are worried about wieght and skills at the very least switch int and str around.  Most groups kind of ignore encumbrance, but you will be in trouble if you don't.
RE: Student of Evard. Well, +6.5 damage compares well to sneak attack at +7, though it doesn't scale as well. The guardian would probably do better overall, but match the flavor less. And Sohei... well everyone takes that these days. I might just stick with flavor in this case... But you're right that it's a bit less optimal.

RE: Charisma Pcs... Hmm... very true. I might go strength if Hamadryad's abilities were more suited to it. And, honestly, I'd rather be weak than stupid. 10 int is average and passable, especially with that high wis. 8 ... yuck.

Looking at going light shield and scale armor or re-skinning into an 18 strength build... Will post if I have anything that work...

Nah, too focused for my taste. Light shield and scale it is...

Ah the gods of Char op must be crying!
RE: Charisma Pcs... Hmm... very true. I might go strength if Hamadryad's abilities were more suited to it. And, honestly, I'd rather be weak than stupid. 10 int is average and passable, especially with that high wis. 8 ... yuck.

Well first of all, 8 INT isn't exactly stupid. Secondly, INT is completely useless for you (the Invoker and/or Bard will doubtless be better at Religion), whereas STR at least compensates for checks you might be forced to make. Third, WIS and INT have no correlation at all. And forth, wanting to be a Hamadryad of the Raven Queen seems like a greater stretch of fluff than most of the advice you're turning down because it doesn't fit your concept.

And finally, your build should do fine. Most of the limitations here stem from the core conceptual things like being a Chaladin, wanting to do damage as a Chaladin, and a theme picked for flavor - all of which are suboptimal for this party. If you're certain you want to keep those pieces together, you're probably about as optimized as you're going to get.
OK. Fair enough advice on the int. I'll think a bit about concept to see if I can make it work. A bit more feral and less reasonable, perhaps.

As for Hamadryad Paladin of the Raven Queen being a fluff stretch... I couldn't disagree more. The Autumn fey and winter fey would intuitively see death as part of the natural order. The end of life's last season.

The other observations are fair enough.
The Autumn fey and winter fey would intuitively see death as part of the natural order. The end of life's last season.

But that's the whole thing - winter isn't the last season, it's part of a cycle that renews in spring. Winter isn't death at all, it's just a period of sleep before awakening again. It all seems very Hindu/Buddhist cycle-type stuff whereas the Raven Queen is totally linear - "you live until you die and then you belong to me. The End." Returning to life again in the spring would be stealing her precious souls - probably no different to her than reanimating the dead.
But that's just my take on it.

FluffOp!
Well, then, a heretical Hamadryad Paladin of the Raven Queen who wrongly believes in the Goddess of Winter/Death (Raven Queen) as part of the natural order ;)
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