Defending Paladin

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Me and a group of friends have gotten sucked into the awesomeness that is D&D by our DM that has been playing since 2e.  This is all our first time (aside from the DM's) with all of this.  I think we're planning on doing a 1-30 run, but I'm having difficulty deciding on how I want to build my paladin.

Here is our group so far:
Wizard (Focus on Blaster, Player isn't very tatically minded)
Archer Ranger (Twin Strike spam)
Cleric (Laser varity)
Paladin (Me, undecided)

We're getting a Bard in a month or two (she's in the process of moving).

We've done two "practice" encounters (just random encounters with our characters) before any story begins.  I'm a former WoW player, so I'm used to the tank grabbing everything while everyone else kills it.  From what I understand, that's not how it's supposed to work in D&D.  It also seems that my DM NEVER ignores marks.  I think in both encounters, my mark was triggered once because I moved out of LoS.  Because of this, I take a ton of hits and it seems like my DM has to "cheat" to keep me from falling down dying.

I'm trying to find a build that will work better at taking hits, or making it so unattractive to hit me, that my mark will punish them.

My original build was this:
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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Xytan-Original, level 1
Half-Elf, Paladin
Build: Protecting Paladin
Half-Elf Power Selection Option: Dilettante

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 14, DEX 11, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 18

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 12, DEX 11, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 16


AC: 20 Fort: 13 Ref: 13 Will: 15
HP: 29 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 7

TRAINED SKILLS
Diplomacy +11, Insight +10, Intimidate +9, Religion +4

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics –4, Arcana –1, Athletics –4, Bluff +4, Dungeoneering +3, Endurance –2, Heal +3, History –1, Nature +3, Perception +3, Stealth –4, Streetwise +4, Thievery –4

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Paladin Feature: Divine Mettle
Paladin Feature: Divine Strength
Paladin Feature: Divine Challenge
Paladin Feature: Lay on Hands
Ardent Attack 1: Intent Laid Bare
Paladin Attack 1: Virtuous Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Ardent Strike
Paladin Attack 1: Valorous Smite
Paladin Attack 1: Majestic Halo

FEATS
Level 1: Virtuous Recovery

ITEMS
Plate Armor x1
Adventurer's Kit
Longsword x1
Heavy Shield x1
Holy Symbol
====== End ======



Virtuous Recovery really saved my bacon many times, but by the end of 1 encounter, I used all 3 of my Lay on Hands and our Cleric had to heal me once.  I also missed... a lot (I blame my dice, used another d20 and that rolled better haha).

Anyways, to the point of this post.  I'm trying to decide what to change to see if I can maybe make myself a bit more durable.  Here are my ideas:

1) Switch to Human:
- Get Enfeebling Strike as Bonus At-Will
- Replace Virtuous Recovery with Devout Protector Expertise
- Bonus Feat: Improved Defenses
- Lose 2 WIS or CON
2) Stay Half-Elf:
- Replace Virtuous Strike with Enfeebling Strike - I'd lose my OA attack, but I never used it in 2 encounters =/
- Replace Virtuous Recovery with Devout Protector Expertise
3) Switch to Dragonborn:
- Focus on STR - 18 STR 12 CON 10 DEX 8 INT 16 WIS 14 CHA
- Replace Virtuous Strike with Holy Strike/Valiant Strike
- Replace Valourous Smite with Divine Persuit
- Replace Majestic Halo with Blazing Brand
- Replace Virtuous Recovery with Dragonic Challenge
4) Switch to a Con'lock
- I kind of want to play a warlock after looking at their abilities.  Haha.

I know I should be worshipping a Sun domain, but I don't really understand all of the "Domain" stuff I've read about and I want my character to be Lawful Neutral.  All of the Sun domain gods seem to be of the Good alignment.  We also aren't using Themes or Backgrounds, so those are out.  I only picked Kord because I only have the PHB1 and didn't really want to read through all of them before deciding, heh.

Any ideas? Switching to a warlock might not be "possible" as I already gave my backstory to our DM so he could write the main story. 
That looks fairly standard. If your DM never disobeys your mark, that he's obviously not very tactically-minded and may be throwing over-levelled encounters at you. You get a large bump at level two, where you can pick virtue (2nd level encounter utility) to turn one of your surges into temps ever encounter. Level one can be swingy so don't worry too much about it. There is nothing wrong with your build, though I'm not entirely convinced by intent laid bare. I might be inclined to take either focusing strike or brand of the sun to allow you to grant a save. The former requires a hit but is off your primary stat whereas the latter is an effect but is based off wis.
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
A personal preference: I don't like wiz/cha both high. You are ignoring two of your defenses rather than just 1. I might lower the wiz to 14 and raise con to 16 and dex to 12. Although you lose a Lay on Hands, you gain 2 hp, a surge and a +1 to your fort and ref. Two nads that will be attacked a lot being in the front line.
I suggest reading the Paladin forum here to get an idea of what is available short and long game.

     Second since you look to be best for the role of defender in the party look into Cha-Paladin and boost the basic attack. And last but most important, do what's fun. Its a role playing game so watch some of the PAX games on youtube and see how to make the game fun.
   
     I play divine classes if I have the chance because of one specific kind of Feat. The ones that let me pick other classes special powers. As a pally you can have pick up Abjure Undead, Turn Undead, or Rebuke Undead. I know limits of Divine is an encounter power and its not optimal but the excitement when undead creatures show up is what makes the game fun.

      After a little time readying Feats you will start to see links between them and an idea will hit you to pick them and role play them. I see this with my players and almost have to force them to sit and read through it for a min, but once they start the fall into the excitement and come up with chars that excite them.
I picked up Intent Laid Bare mostly to get a bit of "sticky" into my skillset.  Focusing Strike might not be too bad though, although I already have Divine Mettle.  Eldrick Strike is the other skill I was looking at taking.  Sliding the target away and then "running" away might be a good way to get them to trigger my mark.  Too bad I'll have to wait til level 11 or so to turn it into a true At-Will.

You make a great point, I didn't even think of that.  I mostly had +3 WIS due to the fact we didn't have the cleric at the time of creation, so I was trying to pick up as much healing as I could.  I forgot that point and left WIS at +3.   I'll change my WIS to 14 and CON to 16 (after racials).

I know I should play what's fun.  I really do enjoy the paladin (especially the story I wrote for him), but I also really enjoy creating characters and learning about all of the classes, their abilities, and how to squeeze out every bit of effectiveness from them.  I've read the Paladin, Wizard, Cleric, Archer, Bard, and Warlock handbooks so far.  It's a lot to take in, there's so many options, it's quite overwhelming at first.