Dwarf paladin

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I'm considering putting together a dwarf paladin for 4e. Any thoughts on what sort works best? Dwarves have their bonuses in Wis and Con, so it's not obvious whether I should go Str or Cha based. What's a good ability array to use?
From my personal experience of playing around with builds, you've got two major options, as far as your ability array is concerned.

The first is to play to your strengths and make a Wisdom/Con-based paladin. As a dwarf, this is the better option if you want to play to the defender aspect of the class. You'll get extra hit points, a better healing surge, and a little more mileage out of lay on hands.

The second option is to focus your ability array onto Strength and Charisma, and allow your racial abilities to boost your Con and Wisdom up to a decent level. This is a little better for the Avenging Paladin, I believe, but I can see either build could benefit from it.

These are the two extremes of course. You could always meet them half way, and play a Charisma/Wisdom based paladin, or a Wisdom/Strength, or some other combo.

Between the two I've posted, though, the first one allows you to really excel in a couple stats, with an average rating in most of your others, while the later allows you to be a little more general, but overall you're abilities are above average.

Hope this helps.
While focusing on Wis and Con sounds good for a dwarf, I don't see how you can use Str and Cha as dump stats, since all the paladin powers use one or the other as the to-hit. If you actually want to successfully attack anyone, I think you'd need to have at least one of them high.
Yeah, WIS and CON are the support stats for a Paladin, but STR or CHA is still easily more important. Hitting with an attack is the most important function in this game. I'm not saying go for a natural 18 in your attack stat, but it should definitely be at least a 16.
So how's this for a starting stat assignment, after racial mods:

Str 14
Con 14
Dex 8
Int 11
Wis 16
Cha 16

As my character levels up, should I add 1 to Wis & Cha each time, or should I spread it around a bit? I would like to bump Str and Con a bit.
I prefer the standard array, and came up with the following for an Avenging Paladin:

16 Str
13 Con
10 Agi
12 Int
15 Wis
14 Cha

First ability increases go to Con and Wis, then I'll focus on Str and Cha after that.
So, how about:

Str 15
Con 15
Dex 8
Int 10
Wis 15
Cha 16

I could do a pretty balanced advancement with Str/Wis first, then Con/Cha, then Str/Wis, Con/Cha again. That's not quite as many points in the primaries as I could get with hitting Cha or Str each time, but it's not far behind and it keeps them balanced, while also keeping Con and Wisdom pretty strong. Select demigod to advance Str and Cha for epic, then Str/Cha, Wis/Cha to finish up. So it'd look like this:

1: Str 15, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 16
4: Str 16, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 16
8: Str 16, Con 16, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 17
11: Str 17, Con 17, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 18
14: Str 18, Con 17, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 18, Cha 18
18: Str 18, Con 18, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 18, Cha 19
21: Str 21, Con 19, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 19, Cha 22
24: Str 22, Con 19, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 19, Cha 23
28: Str 22, Con 19, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 20, Cha 24

Not that I'm ever likely to get him to epic level, but I think it's a reasonable advancement. Charisma's short of its absolute maximum (relative to its start) by 2 points, which means I'm missing a +1, but in return I get Strength just +1 short of Charisma, and good Wisdom and Con.

I'm not quite sure what feats I'd want. Probably Dwarven Weapon Training, and Healing Hands for the first couple of levels. Improved Initiative might be a good idea. Maybe Durable. I was considering multiclassing with Warlord, but since I'm not pushing intelligence, that may not work out very well, and it'll take a lot of feats to do well. Still, I like the idea of giving my comrades extra attacks.

At paragon tier, Dwarven Durability is a no brainer. Lightning Reflexes might be useful to shore up my weakest defense. Armor Specialization (plate), Shield Specialization, and Deadly Axe are all good.

At Epic, there's Axe Mastery, and Epic Resurgence, and Font of Radiance. This is also a good time to trade in Dwarven Weapon Training for Weapon Focus. (The two don't stack, and at epic levels, you get more damage from Weapon Focus.)

I'll go through powers later.

EDIT: After looking at the next post, I decided to exchange some Int for Con. This way, each time I gain an attribute score bump, something goes up. It does leave Con odd (I wish I could see a way to put one more point into it), but it's more useful than leaving Int odd, as it qualifies me for the Bludgeon Mastery Feat.
14 Str
15 Con
8 Dex
10 Int
16 Wis
16 Cha

This is my build although now I am wondering if I should have put the 15 to Str and bumped it to 16 at level 4... hit/dmg seems more important than working up my Con so far (level 2 character). As for feats I am thrilled that I took Toughness at level one. I am the only member of my group to not have been bloodied yet, between the temp hp At-Will and the extra 5pts from Toughness. Level 2 I took Healing Hands to boost the LH, and plan on Dwarven Weapon Proficiency next to get the +2 dmg. Somewhere along the line I also plan to take Avandra's Rescue, Giant Dodge and Ritual Casting.


Side note: LOVING the paladin.... last night my warlord companion got herself attacked by 8 creatures and took a beating. I went next and move 5 squares to her, Minor Action Lay Hands, Standard Action Paladin's Judgement to do dmg and give her another healing surge. She felt all better! I was thrilled to be able to move, attack and heal twice all in one round! Now to teach the Ranger not to charge....
Well, I was just looking over the feats again, and realized that the bonuses added by Shield Specialization, Armor Specialization, and Lightning Reflexes are all feat bonuses--they don't stack. Guess there's not much point in taking Shield Specialization, except perhaps as a stopgap until you reach a level where you can easily trade it in for Armor Specialization and get Lightning Reflexes. This is all moot for my character, since it requires Dex 15 anyway. I've got to stop posting at 3 am...

Anyway, I'm liking the warlord multiclass more as I look at it. The dependence on Int isn't as big for the powers I might be interested in. I probably wouldn't take the multiclass alternative to a paragon path, but the Knight Commander warlord paragon path is interesting, and it doesn't require as many feats to get to it. Its powers aren't particularly impressive, but giving +2 attack to every adjacent ally all the time seems like one of the best class features out there. I can imagine having the fighter and rogue flanking an enemy and coming up on him from the side, granting them both +2 to hit in addition to the +2 flanking bonus, combine with Divine challenge to make it hard for him to attack either of them, and still be able to use Hammer and Anvil (or similar) power to both attack and give the rogue a free attack (with sneak attack goodness).

Incidentally, I like that you put 15 in Con... and I see that it's not that hard. Int doesn't do me much good at 11, but Con at 15 does--I'll probably make that change.
Okay, let's start building him.

Name: Astar Stonehold
Class: Paladin of Moradin
Alignment: Lawful Good

Level 1

Stats: Str 15, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 16

Feat: Student of Battle (warlord multiclass, skill: Endurance)
At-will powers: Bolstering Strike, Holy Smite
Encounter power: Piercing Smite
Daily power: Radiant Delirium
Skills: Religion, Diplomacy, Insight, Heal

Level 2
Utility Power: Astral Speech
Feat: Dwarven Weapon Training

Level 3
Encounter Power: Righteous Smite

Level 4
Stats: +1 Str/Wis
Feat: Novice Power (warlord, exchange piercing smite for hammer and anvil)

Level 5
Daily power: Sign of Vulnerability

Level 6
Utility power: Divine Bodyguard
Feat: Healing Hands

Level 7
Encounter Power: Divine Transposition

Level 8
Stats: +1 Con/Cha
Feat: Acolyte Power (warlord, exchange Astral Speech for Aid the Injured)

Level 9
Daily: Radiant pulse

Level 10
Utility: Turn the Tide, but trade for warlord power Defensive Rally
Feat: Adept Power (warlord: exchange Radiant Pulse for Iron Dragon Charge)

Level 11
Stats: +1 to all
Paragon path: Knight Commander
Feat: Dwarven Durability

Granted, I put a heavy emphasis on healing powers here. If our party has a warlord or cleric, I might build him differently.
First ability increases go to Con and Wis, then I'll focus on Str and Cha after that.

Bad move.

Bump your main to-hit stat EVERY level without fail, no exceptions ever.
Bad move.

Bump your main to-hit stat EVERY level without fail, no exceptions ever.

I keep hearing that, but I'm not sure I believe it. I know, attack bonus is hard to come by, improving it is the name of the game. If people really believed that you need to improve your to-hit by any means necessary, not only would they say to improve your primary to-hit stat every attribute increase you get, no matter what, they'd also say:
  • Dwarves do not make viable paladins. Play a dragonborn, a half-elf, or a human.
  • Use a heavy blade, and only a heavy blade. You can't hit well enough with any other weapon.
  • Choose demigod epic destiny, put the bonus in your primary to-hit stat. No other destiny is viable, no other attribute is viable to increase.
  • Forget paladin--play a fighter for that +1 to hit and the bonus to opportunity attacks.

Each one of those has as much effect on to-hit as the 2 attribute increases I lost by keeping Str and Cha comparable. Now, it could be that in combination, it's pretty devastating. A dwarf paladin using a battleaxe may need to keep his primary stat maxed in order to be viable. I'm open to that argument, if someone wants to make it.
I keep hearing that, but I'm not sure I believe it. I know, attack bonus is hard to come by, improving it is the name of the game. If people really believed that you need to improve your to-hit by any means necessary, not only would they say to improve your primary to-hit stat every attribute increase you get, no matter what, they'd also say:
  • Dwarves do not make viable paladins. Play a dragonborn, a half-elf, or a human.
  • Use a heavy blade, and only a heavy blade. You can't hit well enough with any other weapon.
  • Choose demigod epic destiny, put the bonus in your primary to-hit stat. No other destiny is viable, no other attribute is viable to increase.
  • Forget paladin--play a fighter for that +1 to hit and the bonus to opportunity attacks.

Each one of those has as much effect on to-hit as the 2 attribute increases I lost by keeping Str and Cha comparable. Now, it could be that in combination, it's pretty devastating. A dwarf paladin using a battleaxe may need to keep his primary stat maxed in order to be viable. I'm open to that argument, if someone wants to make it.

Increasing your main stat every time you can is pretty good idea (CHA here). In your case you might want to increase attributes in this order: CHA/STR, CHA/WIS, CHA/CON and then CHA/STR for the rest of levels.
Problem isn't if you play a dwarf and don't get +2 STR and CHA or distributing your stats all over, and similar. The problem is if you do all of that. It's +1 here, +1 there that you lose, but in the end you'll have 4-5 lower attack, maybe more, then you would if you went the optimal way.
Well, if I were to up his attributes that way, it'd look like this:

1: Str 15, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 16
4: Str 16, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 17
8: Str 16, Con 15, Dex 8, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 18
11: Str 17, Con 16, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 19
14: Str 17, Con 17, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 20
18: Str 18, Con 17, Dex 9, Int 11, Wis 17, Cha 21
21: Str 21, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 24
24: Str 22, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 25
28: Str 22, Con 19, Dex 10, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 26

Which could work. It does take longer to get Wisdom up to 16--I might bump that the first time, rather than Strength. It has farther reaching effects for the type of paladin I'm building. Strength is lagging more at the beginning, and the better Charisma doesn't really come through very early on. I do reach my goal of one modifier improving each time.
I don't think that both high Strength and high Cha are needed for a Dwarven Paladin. You can get away with one high and one low; just pick powers that focus on one. I think this is a good stat build for a STR-oriented Dwarven Paladin:

STR 18
CON 15
DEX 10
INT 8
WIS 14
CHA 11

At 4th you can boost CHA and CON, 8th CHA and STR and by 11th you will have:

STR 20
CON 16
DEX 11
INT 9
WIS 15
CHA 14
Okay, I've decided to try a new variation of this build. I'll be running him at 6th level (hopefully), but here's how he's set up at 1st:

Stats:
Str 17
Con 14
Dex 8
Int 10
Wis 15
Cha 14

Skills: Diplomacy, Endurance, Insight, Religion
Feat: Student of Battle (Warlord multiclass, skill: Athletics)

At-wills: Holy Strike, Valiant Strike
Encounter: Piercing Smite
Daily: Paladin's Judgement

2nd level:
Feat: Dwarven Weapon Training
Utility: Astral Speech

3rd level
Encounter power: Arcing Smite

4th level:
+1 Str, +1 Wis
Novice Power (Trade Arcing Smite for Hammer and Anvil)

5th level:
Daily: Martyr's Retribution

6th level:
Feat: Moradin's Resolve


So, at 6th level, he should have:
Str 18
Con 14
Dex 8
Int 10
Wis 16
Cha 14

Skills: Athletics, Diplomacy, Endurance, Insight, Religion
Feats: Dwarven Weapon Training, Moradin's Resolve, Novice Power, Student of Battle
At-wills: Holy Strike, Valiant Strike
Encounter powers: Piercing Smite, Hammer and Anvil
Daily powers: Paladin's Judgement, Martyr's Retribution
Yeah, seconding the Low-CHA build. The 3x16 array produces a very strong combat char, although one with a lower chance to hit. You might even consider
STR 18
DEX 8
CON15
INT 10
WIS 15
CHA 10
Because you'd be boosting STR, your fortitude defense wouldn't suffer, and that first boost could go to making wisdom decent. Dwarves don't need the wisdom as much anyway, since they effectively have an extra Lay on hands.

I'd rely on my wisdom to keep my foot out of my mouth, and might not even take diplomacy. Lose the etiquette and court manners, and the paladin loses a lot of it's human flavor, a good thing for you IMO.

When it comes to CHA-pallys, pretty much EVERYONE does it better than a dwarf. So it's best just to cut your losses and not overburden yourself.
Well, I have one good reason not to dump Charisma completely: Divine Challenge. With a damage of 3+Cha, I'd like to make the enemy pay at least 5 damage for attacking my ally, not a measly 3.

Since I'm starting at 6th level, I can start with 17 Strength and still have 18 by then, without dumping Charisma. Since I'm going with Axe Master, rather than Hammer, I'm don't have quite the Con requirement either. So I can consistently up Strength while sparing a point for Cha and Wis.
Str 16
Con 14
Dex 8
Int 10
Wis 14
Cha 16
I'd ignore Wis (about 4th most important stat to a Paladin)
Boost Con & either {Char or Str} Con's very important to a tank & to any dwarf (at level 11+)
Str:10
Con:16
Dex:10
Int:8
Wis:14
Char:18
You could swap Char & Str, but your "defense" bonuses are better if you boost Char. This will be an unusually survivable Paladin, because of the boosted healing surges.
If I could hijack this thread a little, I wanted to know what you folks thought about this Human Paladin with a Longsword who does not intend to shoot for HBO.

STR 18 (+2 racial included)
CON 12
DEX 10
INT 8
WIS 12
CHA 16

Starting feats are Toughness and Action Surge. I'll probably multiclass Warlock or Warlorld later.
I'd ignore Wis (about 4th most important stat to a Paladin)
Boost Con & either {Char or Str} Con's very important to a tank & to any dwarf (at level 11+)
Str:10
Con:16
Dex:10
Int:8
Wis:14
Char:18
You could swap Char & Str, but your "defense" bonuses are better if you boost Char. This will be an unusually survivable Paladin, because of the boosted healing surges.

Okay, I can't say I agree with that analysis. Wisdom determines Lay on Hands, influences the effect of two out of the four at-wills, and shows up time after time in the paladin powers. I've been considering building a Witch-knight (Feylock with paladin multiclass), but my power choices are severely limited from dumping Wisdom.

High Con is good. If I were going hammer, it'd be essential, and I'd get it to at least 15, preferably 16. Higher is better with hammer rhythm. However, I'm going axe, so 14 is plenty to get me the axe feats, as long as I throw it a point during paragon tier.

If I could hijack this thread a little, I wanted to know what you folks thought about this Human Paladin with a Longsword who does not intend to shoot for HBO.

STR 18 (+2 racial included)
CON 12
DEX 10
INT 8
WIS 12
CHA 16

Starting feats are Toughness and Action Surge. I'll probably multiclass Warlock or Warlorld later.

Con and Wisdom are low, as is Dexterity, if you want to take any of the longsword feats. You probably can't get Con and Dexterity high, but I'd recommend getting Dexterity to 13 if you want the sword feats. That might mean sacrificing some Charisma and even Con. Overall, it might be best not to push both Charisma and Strength with a human, when you only get one bonus.
Please don't make a hammer-wielding dwarf paladin with a STR of 10. It makes Moradin cry inside, and the resulting PC is barely able to carry his own gear.

It becomes a real issue when you add some treasure to the mix. Do I have to explain what's wrong with a dwarf who has to delegate his treasure handling?
Not to derail or anything, but I've heard "HBO" a few times now, what does it mean?
I think wotc made a mistake in the avenging paladin design as there splitting it too thin in power focus as there is no synergy between str and cha.

A better choice would be a str/wis setup as wisdom is used in a number of str based powers.

Con is more of a dwarf feature as you have access to Dwarven Weapon Training which plays up Axe / Hammer as the choice weapon. ( Both of which have con based feats that play off this.)

The Protecting paladin route also plays well with a dwarf as wis is still a solid secondary stat and you can use Dwarven Weapon Training to off set the damage loss from the lack of str.

As for the comment on str of 10 being a bad idea from a carry stand point, it really isn't that much of an issue as the carry weight is x10 str which is more then enough for your battle gear and dwarves ignore the speed penalty.

It should also be pointed out that you shouldn't be carrying camp gear and treasure into battle in the first place.

Also......

HBO, Heavy Blade Opportunity.

A feat allowing you to replace the normal attack of a opportunity attack with an at-will attack. Of course this relies on Heavy Blades which are a dex based weapon group.
Do I have to explain what's wrong with a dwarf who has to delegate his treasure handling?

But this is a Paladin, who has taken a vow of poverty.

With str:10 he hasn't really got any other choice, he can't carry an axe, armour, beer and gold. And to any sane dwarf gold is a distant 4th to the beer...
But this is a Paladin, who has taken a vow of poverty.

With str:10 he hasn't really got any other choice, he can't carry an axe, armour, beer and gold. And to any sane dwarf gold is a distant 4th to the beer...

Str 10 = 100 lbs normal carry.

Plate armor, Maul and 4 throwing hammers = 70 lbs

Leaving 30 lbs margin, and you really shouldn't be carrying treasure and camp gear during a fight. ( As the containers are not going to hold up to the abuse, lamp oil anyone.)

Besides, for really big hauls your going to need mules on up to wagons to haul it.
HBO, Heavy Blade Opportunity.

A feat allowing you to replace the normal attack of a opportunity attack with an at-will attack. Of course this relies on Heavy Blades which are a dex based weapon group.

Heavy Blade Opportunity is a really good feat for Charisma based paladins, as it allows them to use their strong stat (Cha) rather than their weak stat (Str) to hit their enemies.

For a dwarf Charisma-based paladin, it makes more sense to make use of the Con in order to get Hammer Rhythm. You won't hit very often with your OAs, but you'll do damage anyway.

Strength based paladins (which axe paladins should be) don't need HBO as much, since their OAs use their strong stat anyway.

And I do agree with Bait--the PHB is simply wrong to recommend Strength or Charisma as the second most important stat. Unless you're going balanced, Wisdom's going to be your second stat. The secondary attack stat goes after that, and even then it might take fourth place depending on what weapon you intend to use.
Con and Wisdom are low, as is Dexterity, if you want to take any of the longsword feats. You probably can't get Con and Dexterity high, but I'd recommend getting Dexterity to 13 if you want the sword feats. That might mean sacrificing some Charisma and even Con. Overall, it might be best not to push both Charisma and Strength with a human, when you only get one bonus.

CON is mitigated by Toughness and WIS isn't vital; it's nice, but I'm sacrificing that +1 on a lot of cool effects for a lot of versatility. An 18 STR is accurate, and since my CHA powers will either be against a weaker defense or boosted by flanking, Action Surge, or any other bonuses I can contrive, 16 CHA should do me nicely.

I'm not worried about weapon feats, just the +3 proficiency bonus. My feats will be busy with a Warlock or Cleric multi-class, from which I can benefit just by my bumping my two attack stats.

I brought this build concept in this thread precisely because I don't think that the Dragonborn is the only race that can pull of the balanced Paladin. Is there any reason this could not work?
Well, if you're okay with the problems I pointed out, then it can work.
Heavy Blade Opportunity is a really good feat for Charisma based paladins, as it allows them to use their strong stat (Cha) rather than their weak stat (Str) to hit their enemies.

Very poor choice for a cha based paladin as it requires Str 15 and Dex 15.

Cha and Str don't provide a benefit to each other in the paladin powers, in contrast wis provides direct bonuses to either cha/str abilites.

A balanced paladin build would empathize wisdom over the attack stats, as its used to boost most paladin power effects.

For a dwarven balanced paladin stat array.

Str 15 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 15

For your at-wills it would be a good idea to get Bolstering Strike and Holy Strike as each plays off the Str/Cha + Wis combo.

The balanced paladin build focuses more on buffs then the other two builds.
Very poor choice for a cha based paladin as it requires Str 15 and Dex 15.

The balanced paladin build focuses more on buffs then the other two builds.

That hardly makes it undoable. Charismatic Opportunist is one of Litigation's builds, and it's a good one. It probably wouldn't be my first choice for a dwarf, but it's not a bad choice for someone with a Strength or Dexterity bonus--which means Elf, Dragonborn, Halfling, and Eladrin--4 out of the 8.

You can even do it with humans, with a build such as Str 14, Con 10, Dex 13, Wis 14 Int 8, Cha 16 + 2. The Con's low for a paladin, but since they're human, they can afford a feat on Durable or Toughness.

While there's no need to max both Str and Cha unless you're going balanced, I don't think either one's a dump stat. Strength's needed for your basic melee attacks, while Charisma's necessary for DC damage.
Charismatic Opportunist requires way too much stat and feat spread, its an interesting build but its really spread thin. ( Besides a fighter has better class features and dex based powers to use OA.)

While there's no need to max both Str and Cha unless you're going balanced, I don't think either one's a dump stat.

You don't want to max both Str and Cha in a balance build as Wis gives you more of an advantage in the build. ( Still need to keep both pretty high though.)

Strength's needed for your basic melee attacks, while Charisma's necessary for DC damage.

Cha is for making Cha based attacks which is more important then the DC.

Hi Guys,


I'm just rezing this thread to see what changes people might make to the builds here. And to ask for help with rolling up a 5th lvl Dwarven Pally.


I will be taking part in my first 4e game this weekend and I need some help with my build. The other players are already at 5th lvl so I will be coming in the same, but since this is my first 4e session (I have been playing 3.5 and that 'other' OGL fantasy game...) I am a bit out of my element.


The party already has a rouge, monk, druid, bard, & warlock (I know, six players is too many but there ya' go). So a defender/healer seems like the best role to fill.
The GM has pretty much all the core rules and splatbooks, so he said anything goes.


Even though I will be healing/defending, being able to at least hold my own in a fight would be nice, and with this many players you never know who will drop out so being a touch strikey couldn't hurt.


All things being equal I would prefer a Moradin pally that uses a hammer.


Any advice for a good build?