The Paladin is exactly what I feared it was going to be.

Half-Fighter, half-Cleric, all useless. Just like 3.5.

Or, if you prefer, gimp Cleric with a few numbers rearranged.

Either way, completely unacceptable. Weak in play and has no identity. 
The paladin in 5e is a useless class with no clear concept or defining mechanics. It would be better served as a feat chain to be added to either a full cleric or full fighter.

Of course if they actually bothered to design a class that was significantly different from both cleric and fighter in mechanics and function the paladin could totally be a class. But the designers are held back by tradition so I'm not counting on any innovation or interesting mechanics heading the 5e paladins way.
The paladin in my group totally kicks donkey. Good offense, good defense, plus healing ability makes for one tough hombre. The rest of us are going through a bit of paladin envy right now.

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The paladin in my group totally kicks donkey. Good offense, good defense, plus healing ability makes for one tough hombre. The rest of us are going through a bit of paladin envy right now.


He'd kick even more "donkey" as a Fighter or (especially) a Cleric.
I think the bad part of current Paladin is the scaling of abilities as he levels... or should I say : Lack thereof.

It's all good @ lvl 1 to be doing kickass 3d10 extra damage to the big baddie.. or healing 15hp..

@lvl20, those 15hp aren't going to save anyone.. and while 3d10 is still respectable, it fades at bit compared to what clerics can output at those levels.

So at low levels, 1-3 round combat duration and only 1 encounter per day so the Pala has his Channel Divinity = pretty solid pwnage. Later on : Not so much.

I think that the Paladin needs some more loving.. possibly some lvl-scaling CD uses and abilities.
I don't disagree with your assessment, just curious -- what do you think would be some unique (ie not-fighter, not-cleric) features to make the Paladin shine?

Personally, I like the thought of a challenge style ability (similar to the PF Cavalier or 4e whatever-Aeofel-was in flavor but not necessarily design). Let the paladin call someone out to personal combat, and give him or her advantages against that target for the cost of disadvantage against other targets.
Simple answer is to make "cleric" more like a WoW priest: a clothie with divine spells.

Then the paladin becomes kind of a cross between a fighter and this new form of cleric/priest. 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
I agree elfcrusher. Its this idea people have that clerics have to be full spellcasters and "hold their own" in combat that goes against making the fighting ability of the paladin more unique.
That said I think the OPs opinion is lacking any facts to back up the claims that the paladin dont have any unique features....I look down the right column of his leveling table and count no features he shares with the cleric or fighter except for deadly strike which everyone has.
But Clerics AREN'T Full Spellcasters.  Druids and Wizards already have more spells than Clerics do. 

And SOME Clerics make sense as having armour and heavier weapons, like Warbringer Clerics, while others do not – Trickster Clerics feel more like Rogues or Illusionists; Lifebringer Clerics are more Squishy Clothes. 

The Cleric is one of the best-made Classes at this point in time; I do NOT want to see it ruined just because the Paladin hasn't found it's unique place yet. 

What Paladins actually NEED are more class features died to their Oath, and for Divine Smite to not be caught up in Channel Divinity (and to be a choice of Radiant or Necrotic regardless of alignment). 

Right now, the Warden casts Cleric spells with only a handful of Druidic spells added, a couple Channel Divinities that feel more Nature-themed, and King Thranduil and/or Ashitaka's Elk as a mount thrown in to make it less Cleric-y- and more Druid-y.  The Blackguard is the same with the dark features.  It still is, by-and-large, very similar to the Cavalier in terms of features simply because basic physical attacks (and what you can do from the How To Play booklet) and your Paladin spells make up the bulk of what the Paladin does right now. 

The Paladin needs more UMPH.  It needs more Oath-tied features.  The non-oath-tied features are actually great, and I think Litigation and others are largely ignoring these awesome features that really distinguish it from the Cleric.  It also needs higher-level features than just grounding out at level-8 and then only having deadly strike boosts and more spells.

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I honestly cant see why a warbringer cleric needs heavy armor, that's like saying that the local army recruiters and army clerks are all commando crack troopers. You can preach and cast spells for a war god without having to bash the enemies skulls yourself. Someone has to do the praying and facilitating of wars, not to talk about all the paper work the gosd require these days!
If you want to bash in skulls for your god: Paladin.
If you want to perform his miracles: Cleric.
 Only problem is the ridiculous alignment restriction, which is just a restriction for the sake of being a restriction. It has no justification other than to force people in to stereotypes rather than keeping creative minds from using the class for interesting character backgrounds. I could accept an alignment restriction based on deity, but not lawful just because.
But the paladin's got a warhorse, so he's like totally unique and balanced. Does your fighter or cleric get a magic horse? Didn't think so.
lay on hands: 1d6/2lvls at cha + 1/2lvls times per day
FIXED.

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 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

But the paladin's got a warhorse, so he's like totally unique and balanced. Does your fighter or cleric get a magic horse? Didn't think so.


The fighter gets like a sword and an extra die so he can like totally chop things. I can ignore class features too, it's a fun game but gets us nowhere ;)
Simple answer is to make "cleric" more like a WoW priest: a clothie with divine spells.

Then the paladin becomes kind of a cross between a fighter and this new form of cleric/priest. 



I always find it odd how D&D's priest archetype walks around in heavy armor. Outside of D&D, pretty much every priestly character walks around in light armor at best, and is usually in robes.
I always find it odd how D&D's priest archetype walks around in heavy armor. Outside of D&D, pretty much every priestly character walks around in light armor at best, and is usually in robes.

Outside of D&D, there are very few priestly-types who have healing spells that are both work fast enough to use in combat and are limited to touch-range.

The metagame is not the game.
Savage Worlds/deadlands, World of darkness, abberant, hero, gurps, icons (might be ranged) as far as I recall all have instant healing spells....
 And if it is meant to be a tactical challange that the range is touch it doesnt really challange anyone if you by default have a way to circumvent said challange.
Many (most?) of those systems are class-less, so you can't really say that the priests aren't well-protected. You can also throw Shadowrun into that category, for what it's worth.

Armor also doesn't really circumvent the tactical challenge of needing to be in melee; it just makes it less of an obvious suicide mission. If you had the option of staying in back, with the wizard and archer, then that would circumvent the challenge. Although, granted, both of these are less true in Next than they've ever been before - the Next cleric actually is well-protected by plate armor, and also has the option of staying back to make ranged attacks while healing the front line.
The metagame is not the game.
Personally I agree with the (not-so) new concept...for me is logical that that a Warbringer Cleric have an extended martial training and so could wear heavy armour...at the cost, maybe, to cast less spells just for the training; where a cleric devoted to the god of life should know nothing of combat but a lot more of spells....

The Paladin since it is the Deity "Hero", should be fleshed out a bit...should have more Flavour like, for example, Oath-dependent advantages and disadvantages that scales wirth the level...or deity-dependent advantages and disadvantages that do the same (I said "and" and nor "or" purposedfully; in my mind the paladin should not be a cross between a Fighter and a Cleric) it should be the Deity "Hero"....

For example: for a god of war the Paladin should be the epitome of martial prowess, so more oath or deity-dependent advantages in the field of combat; for the lifegiver he should be the Hospitalier...the one who could help the poor people, with his spells, but he should be the one who can defend them, and so he has to know how to fight....
The iconic D&D cleric is a templar warrior wielding divine powers. The iconic D&D paladin is an undeniable champion charging into the fray.

The current paladin is fine as a colorful hybrid, but I do not believe fine is where anyone wants to leave the paladin at. it can do much better with less spell and more oath or warrior.
The iconic D&D cleric is a templar warrior wielding divine powers. The iconic D&D paladin is an undeniable champion charging into the fray. The current paladin is fine as a colorful hybrid, but I do not believe fine is where anyone wants to leave the paladin at. it can do much better with less spell and more oath or warrior.



What do you think of less spellcasting, but more channel divinity?
There could be more oath-based options for channeling. And at the least, this gives the paladin access to more smites/lay on hands at early levels. 
Maybe Paladin should be modeled as a solo-able bard.
Simple answer is to make "cleric" more like a WoW priest: a clothie with divine spells.

Then the paladin becomes kind of a cross between a fighter and this new form of cleric/priest. 



I always find it odd how D&D's priest archetype walks around in heavy armor. Outside of D&D, pretty much every priestly character walks around in light armor at best, and is usually in robes.



It's because EGG based the cleric on mediæval knights religious such as Abp Turpin from the Chanson de Roland.
I'm a firm believer that a class should only exist if it can be the "best at" something. Fighters are best at using weapons to peak efficiency. Rangers are best at using the environment to their advantage. Wizards are best at offensive magic. Clerics are best at defensive magic. Barbarians are best at derping around in-the-thick-of-things. Monks are best at turning their bodies into living weapons. Swordmages are best at infusing their weapons with magic. Artificers are best at creating, using, and manipulating magic items.

Any of these points are debateable (an offensive cleric is certainly possible, yet he still possesses a strong foundation in healing/buffing/tanking/etc.), but my point is that each class needs a well-defined niche to exist in.

Classes like the gladiator, the seeker, or the 5E paladin butt up too much against other niches. They aren't well defined enough to make their own niche, so their constraints are tightened and the class execution suffers.

My concept of the paladin should be something like the swordmage: paladins are best at infusing their weapons and armor with divine power. I like divine smites and protective auras. Lay on hands is classic. Ditch the horse, the gimped spellcasting, and make the paladin into a burst-damage fighter who likes to go all-in with smites, and I'd be happy. Or a warlord-esque paladin who enhances the party's defenses. Doesn't matter, just commit to something instead of offering us a hodgepodge of abilities and non-scaling class features (like lay on hands and the warhorse).
Definitely channel divinity provides better magic thematically for the paladin than spells have.
interestingly the paladin does not require a divinity to channel like the cleric does. Oversight?

interestingly the paladin does not require a divinity to channel like the cleric does. Oversight?

Well, they have to take their Oaths.

A  paladin  is  defined  by  oaths—to  a  knighthood,  to a  code,  and  to  the  gods.

LG Pala's get a membership to a knights order, LN adhere to a code all by themselves (although others might adhere to the same code!) and LE pala's are working to futher the advances of the evil gods.

I personally think that these wordings are pretty crappy. If anything, they should either root them firmly into the "vanilla" setting by tying them to various gods, or the devs should spend a paragraph or two for the GM on how to set up a knightly order/divine order/loose band of oathbrothers in their own setting and how to make the paladin special as opposed to yet another cleric donning heavy armor, longsword in hand.
Maybe, then, a paladin should be a Background for a fighter or a cleric....focusing in different things; for the fighter good at melee damage (for instance) ad for the cleric good at buffing the defenses of the party.....
No.

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The current paladin would be better served as a feat chain that any fighter or cleric could take.

If they made the paladin into something unique and interesting then it might be worthy of being a class.

In thinking of making a paladin class based of the ToB crusader and 4e cavalier.
personaly i would like to see more fucus on the oat and smiting instead of casting from level 1
The Paladin actually has a bunch of features that distinguishes it from the Cleric right now. 

From the very first level, the Paladin is like a Saint or an incarnation of a God, rarely effected by spells, ongoing effects, poisons, diseases, etc.

From the very first level, the Paladin is an Investigator / Inquisitor / Demon Hunter, who is able to sense if someone is not actually human, but is really an angel, demon, devil, or vampire/lich/ghoul/other undead in disguise.  The Paladin also is able to locate desecrated and consecrated places (whether a sacred grove, or a holy fountain, or perhaps a defiled fountain or altar or grove or whatnot). 

These abilities, from the get go, along with limited spellcasting and Deadly Strike also from the get-go, makes the Paladin in many cases the heir of the Avenger class from 4e: a hunter and smasher of evil. 

That said, I agree that there is too much competition between Divine Smite, Lay on Hands, Turn Undead, and various other CD options.  My take on it would be to remove Divine Smite from the Channel Divinity options, give it its own Encounter-based mechanic, and increase CD's per-day usage by 1 wherever it is increased (so 2/d at 1st level, 3/d at 3rd, 4/d at 9th, 5/d at 15th).  Finally, spells per day could be decreased by 1 (so wherever it says 1 it would disappear, and you'd gain a new level of spell where it currently says 2).  This would make Paladin spellcasting much more limited, but perhaps you could also make the Oath-spells more prevalent by having them not count towards the spells per day (but you'd only be able to cast them if you can cast at least one spell of that level). 

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One issue seems to be parallel development between paladin and ranger. They do not have to be. If one gets spells the other does not have to as well. Spells can provide the necessary versatile utility expected of a ranger. Paladin does not require the same level of versatility. It may be nice, but unnecessary.
Agreed on the Spells.  3.5e had parallel spells progressions for Cleric/Druid/Wizard and for Paladin/Ranger/Bard, but nothing NECESSITATES these things.

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One of the things that has puzzled me since 3rd edition is how similar the paladin and cleric classes are in design. Both are martially-oriented classes, boasting heavy armor proficiency and decent hit points. Both having some form of divine spellcasting. In terms of core design, the paladin has been a marginally better warrior in terms of having a slightly higher attack bonus and hit point progression. For spellcasting, the cleric has always been leaps and bounds ahead of his paladin counterpart. To compensate, the paladin was given a small assortment of other abilities.

Unfortunately, from a balance standpoint, the paladin can't compare to the cleric at mid to high levels. Due to the nature of the cleric's casting ability, he quickly surpasses the paladin in raw combat ability as well. Access to the cleric's repetoire of buff spells can allow him to rack up bonuses to attack, AC, and hit points to a point that he completely outclasses a paladin of equal level. In recognizing that the cleric has better combat and magical potential than the paladin, it becomes clear that considerable changes need to be made.

The reason why these classes exist in their current forms is due to the fact that they were not designed independently. Each was given X amount of raw martial power and X amount of spellcasting, with the exact value of each determined by the classes "flavor" (the paladin being more martial and the cleric being more magical). The only way to create a notable distinction between the two is to move to a different design philosophy. Here are a few suggestions:

Spellcasting: The paladin's spellcasting ability, while nice at low levels, fails to make an impact at high levels of play. Like the rest of the paladin's abilities, it doesn't scale well. Removing spellcasting would go a long way to distinguishing it from the cleric, and would allow for the addition of other abilities to help keep the class in balance.

Smiting: The smite feature of the paladin has long been one of it's distinguishing abilities. Tethering this ability into Channel Divinity limits its accessability. The design goal of this feature should be to allow the paladin to occassionally deal out a heavy blow when the situation warrants it. The smite power should not make the barbarian, fighter, monk, ranger, or rogue a less effective over-all damage dealer by comparison. It should be frequently available, able to deliver significant damage, but be limited in its application. Limiting it to targets with at least one different alignment component is a simple and effective way to balance this abilitiy without completely negating its effectiveness. The actual numbers may warrant a little trial and error, but a more effective example would be to have it deal an extra 1d10 + 1d10/4 levels and allowing it to be used a number of times per day equal to 1/4 class level + the paladin's charisma modifier.

Lay on Hands: Another trademark feature that needs to exist separately from Channel Divinity. To be perfectly honest, the Pathfinder version of this feature is by far the most eloquent in terms of both simplicity and utility. For those not familiar, Lay on Hands is usable a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the paladin's class level plus the paladin's charisma modifier and heals for 1d6/2 class levels.

Other Ability Ideas: Here is a brief list of other iconic paladin abilities adapted from other literature, games etc. Hopefully this list will inspire some new design ideas.

-The ability to take hits for adjacent allies
-The ability to transfer hit points to allies
-The ability to inspire troops with a rallying speech (+ morale bonuses)
-The ability to detect alignment or lies
-The ability to charm or pacify enemies
-The ability to divine the future
-Immunity to charm or compulsion
-The ability to shrug off huge ammounts of punnishment

A New Design Approach: One interesting potential to consider would be to add some abilities that help establish the paladin's leadership abilities. Group buffs and morale bonuses, for example. Providing skill bonuses to persuade could also fit into this motif. One thing that was missing from the paladin's design in 3rd and 5th edition is the ability to selflessly shield allies from harm. Both of these motifs are completely unique from both the fighter and the cleric and could be used as a guide to a more well-defined class.

It is my sincere hope that the folks here at Wizards give these ideas some consideration. As an aside, I would like to sincerely thank Wizards for all of the years of entertainment that they have provided me and my friends. I have complete faith that the final version of the paladin will be awesome


The thing is, the Cleric ISN'T martially-focused or heavy-armoured. 

Specific builds of the Cleric are, but they forfeit other build-features in order to gain that heavy weapon or heavy armour proficiencies.  The Warbringer Cleric, the "most martial" of the Cleric Deity-builds, does not have nearly as good healing as the Lifegiver Cleric, nor is it nearly as good at zapping Undead as the Lightbringer Cleric (who, with neither a martial weapon nor a holy magical weapon, can blast Undead all day as reactions and opportunities – this is something that Warbringer sorely lacks, but it got All Martial Weapons and All Armours and Shields instead). 

Domain spells are another consideration.  They don't count towards your daily usages, basically being free-usages of in-character spells, that may or may not be from the Cleric list – often they're thematic additions picked from the Wizard or Druid lists.  And Channel Divinity is different from deity to deity to, again emphasising very, very different builds.  Of these Deity builds, the Warbringer, the Protector, and the Reaper are prepped for heavy-melee combat, but all of these are essentially bare-bones martial characters with spellcasting, Domain spells, and Channel Divinity. 

Paladins, on the other hand, have a bunch of class features and Oath features that make them much better at melee combat, make them awesome as holy/unholy sleuths/inquisitors, and on TOP of that have limited spellcasting.  All Paladins have proficiency in all armours and weapons, making them martial combatants.  If SOME Clerics are divine spellcasters that are equipped for martial combat, they can be compared to ALL Paladins are martial combatants equipped for divine spellcasting.  The Cleric is a ranged of archetypes, from scholarly archivists to wandering prophets to warrior priests, while the Paladin is a specific concept, a Holy-investitured Knight.  This fits in with the philosophy that the "Core 4" are broad, and the other classes, who are still incredibly important, but not the very heart and soul of the game, are more specific archetypes, where different mechanics can better represent what you're going for (rather than having to build what you're going for by picking feats and backgrounds and thus being more limited than someone who has a less specific idea of the type of character they want).

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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I think alot can be done by beefing the oaths, and as others have mentioned the way CD is implemented.  In DDO, which is based off of 3.5 granted, the clerics and paladins all have a ton of stuff they can use their "turn undeads" for.  I think for Paladin the emphasis needs to be on personal survivability and increased party performance, let's see some auras again.  I also like the idea of having at will alignment detection.  I think their personal damage boost should come from smiting, but the paladin should not be a one of the highest damage dealers, it should be a survivor. 

I would try not to trend too much towards inquisitor, simply because if you make the paladin all about fighting specific enemies, you wander into ranger territory, and I think that the current direction of ranger, my favorite class, has the most interesting application of favored enemy I have seen yet.

So yeah I agree with the emphasis on oaths and CD.  My 2cp.
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Technically, we already have two auras (Aura of Protection at level 2 makes your allies awesome at saves; Aura of Courage at level 4 makes you always and your allies basically fearless), but I would totally not be agaiinst more Auras. 

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Technically, we already have two auras (Aura of Protection at level 2 makes your allies awesome at saves; Aura of Courage at level 4 makes you always and your allies basically fearless), but I would totally not be agaiinst more Auras. 



True, but I've always felt like aura of courage was...meh.  I think bounded accuracy makes it difficult to give buffs that are both meaningful aand not game breaking.
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The thing is, the Cleric ISN'T martially-focused or heavy-armoured. 

Specific builds of the Cleric are, but they forfeit other build-features in order to gain that heavy weapon or heavy armour proficiencies.  The Warbringer Cleric, the "most martial" of the Cleric Deity-builds, does not have nearly as good healing as the Lifegiver Cleric, nor is it nearly as good at zapping Undead as the Lightbringer Cleric (who, with neither a martial weapon nor a holy magical weapon, can blast Undead all day as reactions and opportunities – this is something that Warbringer sorely lacks, but it got All Martial Weapons and All Armours and Shields instead). 

Domain spells are another consideration.  They don't count towards your daily usages, basically being free-usages of in-character spells, that may or may not be from the Cleric list – often they're thematic additions picked from the Wizard or Druid lists.  And Channel Divinity is different from deity to deity to, again emphasising very, very different builds.  Of these Deity builds, the Warbringer, the Protector, and the Reaper are prepped for heavy-melee combat, but all of these are essentially bare-bones martial characters with spellcasting, Domain spells, and Channel Divinity. 

Paladins, on the other hand, have a bunch of class features and Oath features that make them much better at melee combat, make them awesome as holy/unholy sleuths/inquisitors, and on TOP of that have limited spellcasting.  All Paladins have proficiency in all armours and weapons, making them martial combatants.  If SOME Clerics are divine spellcasters that are equipped for martial combat, they can be compared to ALL Paladins are martial combatants equipped for divine spellcasting.  The Cleric is a ranged of archetypes, from scholarly archivists to wandering prophets to warrior priests, while the Paladin is a specific concept, a Holy-investitured Knight.  This fits in with the philosophy that the "Core 4" are broad, and the other classes, who are still incredibly important, but not the very heart and soul of the game, are more specific archetypes, where different mechanics can better represent what you're going for (rather than having to build what you're going for by picking feats and backgrounds and thus being more limited than someone who has a less specific idea of the type of character they want).

QFT

Simple answer is to make "cleric" more like a WoW priest: a clothie with divine spells.

Then the paladin becomes kind of a cross between a fighter and this new form of cleric/priest. 




Ugh.  That would be awful.  By the way the Cleric's armor proficiecy is tied directly to his deity.  Some of them provide no armor or shield proficiency.  So that is already available.
The Paladin actually has a bunch of features that distinguishes it from the Cleric right now. 

From the very first level, the Paladin is like a Saint or an incarnation of a God, rarely effected by spells, ongoing effects, poisons, diseases, etc.

From the very first level, the Paladin is an Investigator / Inquisitor / Demon Hunter, who is able to sense if someone is not actually human, but is really an angel, demon, devil, or vampire/lich/ghoul/other undead in disguise.  The Paladin also is able to locate desecrated and consecrated places (whether a sacred grove, or a holy fountain, or perhaps a defiled fountain or altar or grove or whatnot). 

These abilities, from the get go, along with limited spellcasting and Deadly Strike also from the get-go, makes the Paladin in many cases the heir of the Avenger class from 4e: a hunter and smasher of evil. 

That said, I agree that there is too much competition between Divine Smite, Lay on Hands, Turn Undead, and various other CD options.  My take on it would be to remove Divine Smite from the Channel Divinity options, give it its own Encounter-based mechanic, and increase CD's per-day usage by 1 wherever it is increased (so 2/d at 1st level, 3/d at 3rd, 4/d at 9th, 5/d at 15th).  Finally, spells per day could be decreased by 1 (so wherever it says 1 it would disappear, and you'd gain a new level of spell where it currently says 2).  This would make Paladin spellcasting much more limited, but perhaps you could also make the Oath-spells more prevalent by having them not count towards the spells per day (but you'd only be able to cast them if you can cast at least one spell of that level). 



Interesting.  I always thought of the Avenger as a trespasser on the 1-3e Paladins domain.  Though 3e did muddle it up a bit with it's whole any alignment can be a Paladin thing and some other changes to the Paladins powers.

As for the CD based abilities the Paladin previously did not have a choice as to how often he could use a power.  That was written in to each power and they were rather restrictive.  The nice thing about being tied to CD is that if you want to use the same power more then once you simply do so as long as you have CD uses left to you.

I think right now though they are trying to get a feel for how well this class does next to the others while staying in its flavor.