The Paladin's Handbook: Facestabbing in the name of thy God

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LET THIS THREAD DIE. PLEASE AND THANKS.

Here's the updated handbook: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1213615

IMAGE(http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u215/Radiotrashrocket/Warrior%20Anime%20Blonde%20Girls/Warrior/warrior-angel2.jpg)



This is very much a work in progress and will be completed little by little, so bear with me.

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction.
2. Get MAD.
3. Different weapons, different bodies, different minds.
4. Races: What thou art born as.
5. Skills: Handling things thy weapon shan't.
6. Powering thyself up.
7. Feats that matter.
8. Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies.
9. Multiclassing: Dabbling in heathencraft (or not)
10. Equipment: Tools for Thy Task.


1. Introduction

If thou art looking for durability, thou art looking at the right class. The Divine Defender has the most healing surges of any class in 4e, and is the only class that can wear plate by default. Thy role in the party shalt be to put thy durability to good use by making sure the enemy shalt want to focus his attention on thee, rather than thy squishy allies (Controllers, Strikers).

Thou hast choices to make considering thy means to this end. One option always at thy command is thy ability to shout a challenge to the greatest foe on the field, zapping the fiend with light from the Astral Sea shalt he ignore your invitation. Besides that, wilt thou rely on the sheer strength of thy weapon arm, with the powers of thy faith riding the business end of thy weapon, ready to detonate? Or wilt thou rely on the force of thy personality to guide thy weapon to its destination, as well as lend greater power to the shiny symbol hanging from thy neck? What shall be thy choice of weapon? Heavy blade? Axe? Hammer?

Some things to consider:

- Thou art not a Striker. Nor art thou a minor in the Striker's art (that wouldst be thy godless counterpart, the Fighter). That dost NOT mean thou should ignore thy damage-dealing completely, since thou dost want to establish thyself as a credible threat. But if thou art looking solely at optimizing DPR at the expense of other important things like defending, debilitating and healing, thou might want to recheck thy priorities, or maybe look at another class.

- Thou shalt debuff and debilitate thy enemies. A lot of thy powers inflict penalties to thy enemies' ability to attack and defend. Other powers of thine limit thy enemies' very ability to act. Debuffs and debilitating conditions art more thy modus operandi, compared to the Fighter's tendency toward raw damage.

- Thou shalt inspire and heal in times of great need. Thou took a minor in Leader. Some of thy powers damage the enemy and heal or bolster thy allies simultaneously. Some of thy utilities boost the damage output of thy party, heal thy allies, save them from the brink of death, etc. While thou wilt not replace a Cleric or Warlord, thy powers can complement their abilities well when used at the right time.

Key

I shall use Dictum Mortuum's color-coding, which is easy on the eyes and is good at getting thy attention.

Red is dead. An "option" that is more likely a trap.
Purple is not as bad as red, but is an option that, at best, is only situationally useful.
Black is an option neither particularly bad nor particularly good.
Blue is something definitely worthy of consideration.
Sky Blue is the creme de la creme.

Also, mind the list of abbreviations ahead. These denote the source from which races, powers, feats, paragon paths, epic destinies, etc., originate. Listings with no abbreviation next to them are from the first Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual:

D xxx: Dragon Magazine No. xxx
FRPG: Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
AV: Adventurer's Vault
MP: Martial Power
AP: Arcane Power
DP: Divine Power
MOTP: Manual of the Planes
PHB2: Player's Handbook 2
PHBH: Player's Handbook Heroes

Credits

If I use material thou hast written in another thread somewhere, I shall mention thy user name and link thy work here:

The Astral Demigod (by Arismir)
Magic Item Keyword Inheritance (official WOTC FAQ)
lordduskblade for the awesome picture.

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2. Get MAD.

The most elementary division between Paladins is STR-Paladin (henceforth called Straladin) and CHA-Paladin (henceforth called Chaladin): designated after their primary attack stat. It is not necessary (though it is certainly viable) to raise both attack stats.

Of the two builds, Straladins are the ones by far most afflicted with the MAD (multi-attribute-dependent) syndrome that plagued Paladins half an edition ago. Luckily, it's not quite as crippling as it was in 3.5.

--------------------

Strength: Straladins may have unquestionable faith, but they believe their arms must still swing the sword. They should make lifting and throwing boulders a nigh-hourly routine (16+ to start, and boost it every time). Chaladins, on the other hand, typically only need to be strong enough to wear their plate armor and carry their shield and arms without collapsing (10-12). Although some may want to pick up some Fighter or Warlord training (13).

Constitution: The gods demand servants of sound body. Thou Straladins looking to use a hammer shall run wind sprints for a living (17 in Paragon Tier for Hammer Rhythm). For others, 3 to 5 miles jogging per day shall suffice (12-14 to start). It helps thee use thy plate armor more effectively when the time comes, if nothing else (15 by Paragon Tier).

Dexterity: Most of thee can get by with just average agility (10). Some Chaladins might actually prefer a quick first step and some extra twitches to brawn (12-13). However, Straladins going for Heavy Blade Mastery are the only ones who really need to care about agility training, and only because they can afford to do so (13-14 to start, 17 by Epic Tier).

Intelligence: Book smarts? Analytical thought processes? Holy warriors care not for such things. Wear that "Paladunce" label with some blind pride (8).

Wisdom: Common sense, perceptiveness and unerring intuition, on the other hand, are quite important to warriors of the gods (12-14+ to start).

Charisma: Thou Chaladins making a living out of inspiring, forceful personalities really should spend hours in front of a mirror molding thy countenance and/or practicing thy oratory (16+ to start and boost it every time). Straladins don't have to be quite as image-conscious, but it doesn't hurt to be at least somewhat likable (12+).

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3. Different bodies, different minds, different weapons.

***Chaladins***

These Paladins take Melee Training (PHB2) from the very start. They train to use an intimidating presence, clever feints and persuasive shifts of the eyes to create openings in an enemy's defenses and attack as surely and sharply as their counterparts stronger of arm. They're not likely to ever fully master the ins and outs of a weapon, so they'll typically just use weapons known for their precision: heavy blades such as longswords, bastard swords and fullblades (+3 proficiency bonus). These Paladins are perhaps the only type that can get away with single-minded focus on their stat of attack.

Well-rounded: Set in CON for life, never having to touch it to get Plate Specialization in time. Allows for high WIS or CON, to one's desire, and 13 STR is enough to pick up a Fighter or Warlord multiclass if thou wish. If not going for one of those multiclasses, 13 DEX might be better.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 13 or 10, CON 14, DEX 10 or 13, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 16.

High-WIS: This one has WIS high enough to be a second attack stat. The predominant configuration for Chaladins who want to multiclass into another Divine class (Cleric, Avenger). Unless thy race has a CON bonus, no Plate Specialization. Boost CHA and WIS exclusively with levels.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 12 or 10, CON 12, DEX 10 or 12, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 16.

Optimal attack: This one goes for maximum attack bonus (potential starting CHA 20), and also easy access to Plate Specialization is one point of CON bump away. The rest goes into WIS or CON.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 10, CON 13, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 13, CHA 18.

***Versatile Attackers***

More commonly -- though less precisely -- known as a Balanced Paladin, or Baladin, this build wants to attack any foe any which way s/he thinks is best and shall boost Strength and Charisma every time. The advantage is that the Paladin is able to select from his/her entire range of powers and has a powerful Divine Challenge to boot. The disadvantages are a mediocre Wisdom, affecting Lay on Hands uses per day and the effectiveness of some of the Paladin's powers, middling Constitution (likely won't qualify for Plate Specialization), and no chance of weapon mastery to increase crit ranges. Not likely to use a hammer, as Hammer Rhythm is out of the question. Is very likely to use a weapon with a +3 proficiency bonus (such as a bastard sword, fullblade or even a spiked chain). Is fairly likely to use an axe with Deadly Axe in reach. Most likely a Dragonborn, Dwarf or Half-Elf.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 16, CON 12, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 16

A variant on this takes a couple of points off STR or CHA to bump WIS. This variant will have a favored stat, but the stat that was "robbed" is adequate for an attack stat -- if a Dragonborn (don't try this with anything else). The array for this (before racial adjustments): STR 14 or 16, CON 13, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 16 or 14.

***Straladins***

Straladins, unlike Chaladins and Versatile Attackers, actually greatly care about the type of weapon they're going to use.

Heavy Blade Master: A Straladin who uses a heavy blade. Train thy Dexterity up to 15 as well to take Heavy Blade Opportunity in Paragon Tier. In Epic Tier, a Dexterity of 17 qualifies thee for Heavy Blade Mastery to expand that critical range to 19-20. Any stat improvements not going to perfecting thy use of the heavy blade should go into becoming wiser, hardier, or more charismatic. A Heavy Blade Master will hold the front line better than any other Paladin thanks to feats like Blade Opportunist and using Holy Strike and Valiant Strike for opportunity attacks. Valiant Strike shall very much strike true especially in a thick crowd.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 16, CON 13, DEX 13, INT 8, WIS 14 or 12, CHA 12 or 14

Glaive Gambler: A subtype of Heavy Blade Master. Wields a glaive and, in addition to Heavy Blade Opportunity, takes Polearm Gamble soon after in Paragon Tier. NOTE: Some Chaladins who start off strong enough might take Polearm Gamble in Epic Tier and play in a similar fashion to the Glaive Gambler.

Axe Master: Only the strong need apply for an axe. Unlike his/her heavy blade counterparts, the Axe Master has no use for Dexterity. The STR of 17, combined with the modest CON of 13, qualifies the Axe Master for Deadly Axe in Paragon Tier and opens up halberds, battleaxes and handaxes to High Crit goodness. If a halberd user, shall easily qualify for and take Polearm Gamble. Is pretty much guaranteed to have a good Wisdom score (or Charisma), regardless. Axe Mastery in Epic Tier requires a CON of 17, which is nothing to this tough hombre.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 16, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 13

Hammer Master: Hammers, likewise, are only for those strong of body. Like the Axe Master, places no real value on Dexterity. However, is in far greater need of CON than the Axe Master, but hey, at least it increases healing surges and hit points. CON 17 is needed for the all-important Hammer Rhythm in Paragon Tier, and CON 19 is needed for Bludgeon Mastery. Shall lag behind in Wisdom and Charisma compared to the Axe Master. Dwarves, Dragonborn and Warforged are the most likely candidates for this.

Recommended starting array (before racial adjustments): STR 16, CON 14, DEX 10, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 13

***Standard Array***

The standard array (16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10) is a truly atrocious stat array in general, and doubly so for Paladins. Alas, if thy DM is so tyrannical as to use this, it does fit most of the builds outlined above, but with some very undesirable side effects such as fewer healing surges than otherwise (lower CON), lower WIS, etc., and will require putting thy level-up stat upgrades to be divided among several stats to make it workable in the long run.
4. Races: What thou art born as.

PC Races
Deva (PHB2): Smart and wise. One of those helps, particularly for dual-stat Chaladins. Extra defenses and the excellent Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes racial encounter power go a long way toward making up for not being the most personable of folk.

Dragonborn: Thou art strong and charismatic, so whatever attack means thou develop will be mighty effective. Whatever thou wilt not attack with can even have points taken away from it to make thee wiser or hardier. Work on that hardiness so thy healing surges become more effective. Thou art good for pretty much any Paladin build, and thou art easily the best option for a Versatile Attacker. Oh, and don't forget thy breath if thou plan on using STR as an attack stat.

Drow (FRPG): Full of personality. That makes thee a worthy Chaladin by default. Thou get Trance without having to put up with the Eladrin's suck. And also Darkvision, which is great. The Lolthtouched powers are both excellent encounter powers. The Drow is excellent even in Monster Manual form, but a few of its FRPG feats provide some nice boosts to innate powers. Thy quickness is a bonus for Reflex and initiative.

Dwarf: Not particularly strong or charismatic, but being hardy and wise still make thee quite worthy. Dwarves make excellent Hammer Masters and Axe Masters, and also pretty good Versatile Attackers. Dwarven Resilience is amazing, keeping thee hale without having to interrupt thy dealing of punishment.

Eladrin: Quick and smart. Not exactly prime material for a divine champion. The only Paladin thou should even attempt to be is a Heavy Blade Master, and thou barely cut the cloth at that.

Elf: Being wise helps a lot. Elven Accuracy is also great, sometimes making up for not being particularly strong or charismatic. Being quick helps if thou are going the Heavy Blade Master route. It should also be noted that the 30th-level Astral Demigod is an Elf.

Genasi (FRPG): Brains and brawn. Well, the brawn is definitely welcome. As are the manifestations and associated feats.

Gnome (PHB2): Charismatic and smart. Unfortunately, also small, which means thou must use a bastard sword two-handed, thou cannot ever use a glaive or a fullblade, and if thou want to use a shield, thou are limited to either a scimitar or a rapier. However, Fade Away is a pretty nice racial encounter power, with the invisibility putting a Divine Challenge target in a quandary for a round.

Goliath (PHB2): Strong and hardy, and Stone's Endurance makes thee even tougher to bring down. Markings of the Blessed and Markings of the Victor are excellent racial feats that round out a solid race for a Straladin, particularly for a Hammer Master.

Half-Elf: Charismatic and hardy, Half-Elves have come a long way since 3.5. Thou art about as grand as a Chaladin can be. Dilletante is incredible, especially once thou move up in the world to Paragon Tier, when thou can get the benefits of Paragon Multiclassing without giving up thy paragon path. Note the only drawback to Dilletante: if using an implement power thou must either pick up the multiclass feat to get the proficiency bonus, or choose a holy symbol that lets thee use the power with the bonus (e.g. Star of Corellon for a Warlock, Bard or Sorcerer power). Note also that if thou pick a power from another Divine class (Cleric, Avenger) that thou still must pick up its multiclassing feat for thy holy symbol to actually confer its bonuses on that power.

Halfling: Being charismatic helps thee as a Chaladin, of course, but it doesn't help that thy weapon choices are limited, being small. Making an enemy potentially miss once per encounter is nice, though.

Half-Orc (PHB2): Strong and agile, making thee a great Heavy Blade Master. Extra charging speed and resilience when bloodied are solid, and Furious Assault is free extra damage per encounter.

Human: Thou can work on any one thing, and it'd better be either Strength or Charisma. Thou art solid at most Paladin builds except perhaps for the Hammer Master. Bonus feat, bonus skill, and defense bonuses are all great. Unfortunately, unless a Versatile Attacker, the bonus at-will is only limited to Paragon Multiclassing in its usefulness. Do expect that to change soon, however.

Shifter, Longtooth (PHB2): Strong and wise make for a prime Straladin. In addition, the Longtooth Shifting encounter power grants thee extra damage on attacks and scaling regeneration when bloodied. Thy racial feats, however, aren't the best for Paladins.

Shifter, Razorclaw (PHB2): Longtooth is better for Straladins in every way.

Tiefling: Smart and charismatic. One of those is useful. A Tiefling Chaladin with a flaming weapon and the Hellfire Blood feat shall hit more than any other Paladin with weapon attacks, as long as the weapon's fire damage is turned on. Bloodhunt gives another bonus to attack (+1) against bloodied enemies, and Infernal Wrath is yet another bonus to attack per-encounter against an enemy that just hit thee. The only real disadvantage is that the Tiefling is a little too married to one type of weapon, so if that's a concern, thou can look elsewhere.

Warforged (D 364): Strong and hardy types make sublime Hammer Masters. Living Construct gives thee a whole bunch of useful adventuring benefits. Warforged Resolve gives thee a healthy amount of temporary hit points when bloodied, and it's usable every encounter.


Monster Manual Races (if thy DM allows it)
Bugbear: A terrific Heavy Blade Master, being both strong and quick. And as an added bonus, gets to wield Large weapons. Thou hast to love that 1d12 bastard sword. Predatory Eye is also good sometimes.

Doppelganger: An interesting selection with Change Shape. Smart and charismatic. One of those makes for a decent Chaladin.

Githyanki: Being smart is not going to help thee, and the other bonus isn't even in an attack stat. And thy racial features art nothing to write home about. Stay away.

Githzerai: Quick and wise like an Elf, which makes thee a decent heavy blader. Thy racial features and power aren't quite as good as an Elf's, though.

Gnoll: Quick and hardy. Meh. The extra speed is okay. Blood Fury and Ferocious Charge aren't that impressive. Thou can do better.

Goblin: Thou have some personality, which will make thee a good Chaladin. Goblin Tactics is an at-will racial power that lets thee shift whenever somebody misses a melee attack. This is awesome, especially with someone waiting near the enemy ready to flank. Thy only drawback is Small size, limiting thy weapon options somewhat. Take up a scimitar or a rapier with a shield.

Hobgoblin: Charismatic and hardy, which are always great qualifications. Battle Ready is a decent initiative bonus (+2), and Hobgoblin Resistance is sometimes handy. Not as good as a Half-Elf overall, but definitely worth a look.

Kobold: Quick and hardy isn't exactly what we're looking for. Shifty is a nice racial power, but overall this race doesn't have much to offer a Paladin.

Minotaur: Being strong and hardy make thee excellent for an Axe or Hammer Master, or really any Straladin in general. Like the Bugbear, thou can wield a Large weapon (enjoy that 2d8 maul). Goring Charge is also a solid racial encounter attack.

Orc: Also strong and hale. No oversized weapons, though. Running Charge can be handy with a Warlord in the party, and the encounter racial power Warrior's Surge allows thee to use a healing surge along with an attack. Very solid choice for a Straladin, overall, especially if using an axe or hammer.

Shadar-Kai: Shadow Jaunt saves this from being red. The stat bonuses art worthless.


5. Skills: Handling things thy weapon shan't.

All Paladins get Religion (INT) as a skill. It's not detachable from the class, so thou must live with it, and it shalt not be judged here. Although thou hast to feel sorry for the poor sods while they learn Religion, as they typically aren't the sharpest swords on the rack. The benefits of this skill are that it opens up access to Alchemist and Ritual Caster feats, and it counts as a knowledge skill.

Note that training skills not on thy class list is best accomplished by the appropriate multiclass feats. Only if it does not fit thy character concept to multiclass with the given class for the given skill dost thou take Skill Training instead.

Class skills
Diplomacy (CHA): Thou art often the party face, even if thy focus is Strength. Not too many other classes even bother with a positive Charisma modifier. If thy focus is Charisma, well, even better. A staple in many conversational skill challenges.

Endurance (CON): Very important for general survival in out-of-combat situations that can still be dangerous and taxing. Like diseases, and harsh environments. Even more important if multiclassing with Martial classes, as it allows thee to take advantage of the Invigorating keyword.

Heal (WIS): This skill is important if thou plan on using alchemy or rituals. Several alchemical formulae require training in this skill. Since this skill is keyed off Wisdom, not Intelligence, rituals that key off of this skill are rituals thou wilt actually be somewhat decent at. If not using alchemy or rituals, it's still useful for treating diseases, which are quite nasty in 4e.

History (INT): Leave this for classes smart enough to know what happened five minutes ago, like Wizards and Tactical Warlords. NOTE: It does count as a knowledge skill, in case that matters to thee.

Insight (WIS): Counters Bluff checks. Hint: This is good. Often a staple in conversational skill challenges, and also great for recognizing illusions and seeing if some outside influence is making the king act like a fool. Can also prevent being surprised in an ambush.

Intimidate (CHA): Chaladins can get enemies to surrender in combat, often with ease.


Non-class skills
Acrobatics (DEX): Chaladins might want to look into this. Heavy Blade Masters and STR-Paladins in general are better off going for Athletics, instead. If thou hits Epic Tier, this increases in worth for one reason: Unfettered Stride.

Arcana (INT): Leave Arcana-based rituals to booknerd Wizards, or thou wilt get laughed at. Counts as a knowledge skill.

Athletics (STR): Good for Straladins, adding a degree of survivability out of combat and increasing thy chance to escape grabs.

Bluff (CHA): This skill is used often in skill challenges. If a Chaladin is even considering taking the Deadly Trickster Epic Destiny, this skill is the most natural fit in qualifying for it.

Dungeoneering (WIS): If thou plan on spending lots of time underground, this is worth a look, as it helps thee survive. Thou probably hast enough common sense to be decent at it. Black, overall, as it's either very handy or not so much. Counts as a knowledge skill.

Nature (WIS): Good if thou art in the wilderness a lot, and thou art decent at it. Some alchemical formulae require it trained. It also opens up use of rituals that thou wilt not totally suck at using. Overall though, it's probably not thy place to take this. Counts as a knowledge skill.

Perception (WIS): Thou art a pretty natural fit for this very important, potentially lifesaving skill, since thou wilt have a positive WIS modifier. This one is definitely worth spending a feat to gain, and should be the prime target of Eladrin Education. It opposes Stealth, and that's only part of the reason it's so vital. Another is that thou canst spot traps.

Stealth (DEX): Never hurts to train it, but it's not high priority for thee like it is for other classes.

Streetwise (CHA): Good role-playing skill that can make adventuring in a city easier, and if thou art CHA-based thou art better at it than everyone except a CHA-based Warlock.

Thievery (DEX): Someone in thy party is going to volunteer for training in this all-important skill. It probably won't be thee, but on the off-chance it is, thou can still use it for alchemy, which typically doesn't require a skill check.
6. Powering thyself up.

Paladin attack powers are either Strength-based attacks or Charisma-based attacks, and they shall be classified here as such. They also divide into weapon-based or implement-based, and that shall be noted as well.

Some general guidelines:

- Paladins have several powers that target non-AC defenses. Reflex and Will both, on average, are a few points lower than AC. Either one of these defenses are likely to be the lowest on a given monster. Yes, exceptions exist, but far more often than not, powers that attack Reflex or Will are safe bets. Especially if they're weapon-based.

- Fortitude, on the other hand, is in many cases not much lower than AC. In more than a few cases, Fortitude is equal to or even higher than AC. That latter case is fairly common with Brutes.

- Bonuses to attack rolls (and, conversely, debuffs to defenses) are very important in 4e. They also come at a relative premium. So powers that buff attack rolls or debuff defenses tend to be graded pretty high. As a secondary Leader, Paladins have a decent number of such powers available.

Lv. 1 At-Will
Strength-based, Weapon:

Holy Strike: It's a free source of radiant damage whenever thou dost need it, and it does even more damage against a marked enemy. And it's especially nasty with a Holy Avenger in hand, and even nastier still in Epic Tier with the Font of Radiance feat.

Valiant Strike: The more enemies surround thee, the better thou hit. It's that simple. In a crowd, thou wilt wreak havoc (often justifying the use of Power Attack).

Challenging Strike (PHBH): Straladins get a third at-will to make their human builds feel special. This one applies a generic mark on hit that lasts until the end of thy next turn, which won't lead to any direct punishments but can be followed up with certain powers that affect marked enemies. The best part of this power is that it can attack Will if thou art bloodied. Solid enough.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Bolstering Strike: Free temporary hit points equal to thy Wisdom mod for thee every time it connects. What's not to like? The only time this isn't useful is when the Cleric or Warlord uses a power that gives thee more temporary hit points.

Enfeebling Strike: Inflicts a -2 to attack on a marked enemy, a nasty debuff for an at-will. Combined with the attack penalties already existing from a mark, an enemy hit with this thing is much less threatening to thy allies.


Lv. 1 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Piercing Smite: The power of choice at this level. Attacks Reflex, does nice damage for this level, and marks the enemy hit and others around thee. Assuming thou art going from Lv. 1-30, this power shall be in thy arsenal for more than half thy career (thou wilt trade out thy Lv. 3 before this one, as STR-based Lv. 3 powers are not very good).

Radiant Smite: Pales in comparison to Piercing Smite in every way that matters. In fact, it's barely any more damaging than the At-Will Holy Strike. Stay away.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Fearsome Smite: If thy WIS is 16 or higher to start, take this. If not, this isn't any better than Enfeebling Strike.

Shielding Smite: Protects an ally with a bonus to AC while inflicting decent damage. Decent.


Lv. 1 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Paladin's Judgment: Does good damage on hit, and regardless of hit or miss, allows an ally to use a healing surge. Not spectacular, but it's serviceable.

Charisma-based, Implement:

On Pain of Death: Attacks Will, does solid damage and has an effect that damages the enemy further if it should make an attack. It's okay for a damage-per-round boost, but it's the lesser of the two CHA-based Dailies here.

Radiant Delirium: Attack against Reflex that also does solid damage (halved on a miss). Regardless of a hit or miss, dazes the target until the end of thy next turn (this is very good). If it hits, puts down a -2 debuff to AC that ends on a save (this is excellent).


Lv. 2 Utility
Astral Speech: Lose.

Martyr's Blessing: Fail.

Sacred Circle: Just wait for Divine Power.


Lv. 3 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Arcing Smite: The far better of the two powers here, and it's still rather mundane. At least it marks two enemies on hit.

Staggering Smite: The only time this may be useful is against an enemy with its back to a cliff edge or a Controller's wall spell. Otherwise, it sucks.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Invigorating Smite: The damage is decent, but even more importantly, this is a great attack to pull out when the whole party is bloodied, healing thee and all allies within 5 squares a pretty nice amount if it connects. And connect often it shall, as it attacks Will. This power stays useful well into Paragon Tier.

Righteous Smite: Unlike its counterpart, this attacks AC. But on hit it grants thee and all allies with 5 squares a healthy amount of temporary hit points. While Invigorating Smite is reactive, Righteous Smite is proactive. Like its more reactive counterpart at this level, a precociously awesome power.


Lv. 5 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Martyr's Retribution: There's no arguing against the attack's power for its level, even if it does use up a healing surge with no regaining hit points. Nasty potential especially on a crit, again, for the level at which it's available. It quickly loses it value toward the end of Heroic Tier, though.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Hallowed Circle: A decently damaging attack against Reflex combined with a rider effect that is essentially a Sacred Circle that doesn't totally suck (the bonus being to all defenses rather than just AC). Not bad at all.

Sign of Vulnerability: On a hit, this causes radiant vulnerability 5 for the rest of the encounter, and the enemy cannot save to end this. For any high-CHA Paladin, this makes thy DC even more dangerous. For a Versatile Attacker, Holy Strike becomes deadlier. And a Laser-Cleric will love thee regardless. Its only real weakness is that it attacks Fortitude, so be wary of using it on Brutes. Note: Morninglords in the Forgotten Realms shall want to retrain this one as soon as they hit Lv. 16.


Lv. 6 Utility
Divine Bodyguard: Sounds noble, but in practice it will land thee in trouble more often than not, unless thy party comes equipped with solid amounts of surge-independent healing or ways to get temporary hit points or damage resistance.

One Heart, One Mind: Don't underestimate this power. An aid another action at +4 can set up a crucial hit from the party's Striker, or any other party member who intends to lay on something debilitating at a much-needed time. In out-of-combat situations, I could imagine plenty of creative uses for telepathic communication. It's also a minor action to cast it, so thou wilt not waste an attack action. Best choice for a Straladin who won't have the CHA-modifier to put Wrath of the Gods to optimal use.

Wrath of the Gods: Just a nice, pure, no-nonsense buff to the entire party's damage output (as long as they're next to thee when thou casts it) for the whole encounter. The damage boost is an untyped bonus, so it stacks with everything else. It scales marvelously with levels if the Paladin uses CHA as an attack stat, and it's a minor action to cast it so thou art not wasting an attack action.


Lv. 7 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Thunder Smite: Decent damage. Knocks prone. And if thou marked the enemy, thy crit range is 19-20. At Lv. 7. It will serve thee well through Paragon Tier, even moreso should thou snag the Solid Sound feat at that point. And especially so if thou art a Stormsoul Genasi.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Benign Transposition: Wacky. And too situational.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Beckon Foe: A ranged attack versus Will that pulls a target closer to thee. Makes Divine Challenge easier to maintain.

Divine Reverence: It dazes everyone next to thee. And attacks Will to do so. Not much else really needs to be said.


Lv. 9 Daily
Charisma-based, Implement:

Crown of Glory: Attacks all adjacent enemies in a close burst against Will (good). Does radiant damage. The slowing effect against enemies that start their turns next to thee happens regardless of a hit or miss and can be sustained with minor actions. A solid "sticky" power.

One Stands Alone: Also attacks Will in a close burst adjacent to thee. Also does radiant damage. The weakening effect happens regardless of a hit or miss, and the enemy can save to end it. Weakening is really good, regardless, and even its semi-situational use isn't enough to disregard a look at selecting this.

Radiant Pulse: Unlike the other two powers, this one relies entirely on a hit. It also attacks Fortitude. The range on the attack is good, though, and if thou dost manage a hit, thou has an excellent battlefield control power centered on the primary target for as long as thou care to sustain it with minor actions for the encounter.


Lv. 10 Utility
Cleansing Spirit: This encounter utility seems redundant with Channel Divinity: Divine Mettle, with a lesser fixed bonus, but it's good for a few reasons, nonetheless. First, thou can't really have too many of these types of powers per encounter. Second, unlike Divine Mettle, this one works on thyself. And third, if thou happen to have a particularly strong Divinity feat (such as Tempus' or Glittergold's), thou would rather use thy Channel Divinity use per encounter on the Divinity feat power rather than Divine Mettle.

Noble Shield: Better than previous "take the hit" type utility powers, as it protects multiple allies and works in a variety of situations.

Turn the Tide: Allows thee and thy allies within 3 squares to potentially end all debilitating effects that a save can end. A mass-effect power that really can turn the tide. Only drawback is that it's a standard action, but it's one for whose effects can actually be worth sacrificing an attack.


Lv. 13 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Radiant Charge: The fly ability attached to this power is handy in certain situations (against flying enemies, of course). The damage it inflicts is decent.

Whirlwind Smite: Can mark all enemies it hits in a close burst adjacent to thee, and that makes it very handy. The damage against all surrounding enemies is decent. This one's more than good enough to replace thy Lv. 3 Arcing Smite (don't replace Lv. 1 Piercing Smite just yet).

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Entangling Smite: Attacks Will and immobilizes. As long as the enemy can't teleport, this is decent.

Renewing Smite: Only heals one single ally (and never thee) by only 5 points more than the amount the Lv. 3 Invigorating Smite heals thee and all allies each. It attacks AC, and the damage is terrible for the amount it heals. Thou art better off taking the Lv. 3 power thou didn't take before.


Lv. 15 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Bloodied Retribution: First, thou has to be bloodied to use this power. Second, and extremely damning, the self-healing provided by this power costs a healing surge, which sucks when comparing this to a Lv. 9 Fighter power whose healing doesn't cost a healing surge (Victorious Surge). And third, for a slap in the face, the 4[W] damage is not enough to justify the weak and costly healing effect of this power.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Break the Wall: Save-ends debuffs to all defenses regardless even on a miss, more if it hits Fortitude. Not bad, and a Straladin might even consider this one over Bloody Retribution if not multiclassing.

True Nemesis: Solo and Elite control at its very finest up to this point, and it stays useful for the rest of thy career. Regardless of whether the first attack hits or misses (and it will hit often, as it's against Will), it allows the Paladin to use an immediate reaction to attack the enemy designated by this power (again, against Will) when it makes an attack within 5 squares of thee (against thyself or an ally). Each time this power hits, it does 2d10 + CHA modifier damage, and deals half damage on each miss, so no action in relation to this power is wasted. This constant punishment lasts for the whole encounter and the enemy cannot save to shake it off. This power also has incredible synergy with certain holy symbols.
Lv. 16 Utility
Angelic Intercession: Geh, and just when I thought the "take the hit" powers were starting to get good, here's another one that only works in corner cases, and is daily.

Death Ward: This one is okay. It costs a standard action, so thou hast to give up an attack, but it is a solid rescue ability to save someone from the brink of death and bring them up to half their max hit point total.


Lv. 17 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Terrifying Smite: The damage is about en par with powers of its level. As long as the enemy thou art attacking is not immune to fear, this power has its tactical uses depending on the enemy's attack modes. It's pretty much useless against a ranged attacker, but against a melee attacker it's great for keeping the enemy away from thy allies for a turn. Overall, gets the black because it's either very good or it's useless.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Enervating Smite: Attacks Will and weakens. Solid.

Fortifying Smite: Attacks AC, and the bonus to AC, which only works on thee, isn't a very impressive effect.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Hand of the Gods: Amazing power. It marks all enemies it hits in the close burst (against Fortitude, it's only "weakness"). This is great for thou Justiciars, who canst punish the marks with Just Radiance in the next round. Even if it misses, any allies adjacent to thee get a power bonus to their attack rolls equal to thy WIS modifier until the end of thy next turn, which with a good WIS score will make the party's Striker love thee. Overall, think of it as a super-powerful short-term encounter-renewable utility buff that also has a chance to mark and do damage. What a package. Even for Straladins it's worth a look.


Lv. 19 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Crusader's Boon: The +1 to thy and thy adjacent allies' attack rolls lasts until the end of the encounter and happens whether the moderately damaging attack hits or misses. Competent, if not exciting.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Corona of Blinding Radiance: Blinding is one of the better status effects in the game, and this blinds all enemies in its close burst whether it hits or misses (hit = save ends, miss = end of thy next turn). It hits often, too, since it attacks Reflex and is weapon-based. It's also a Radiant keyword attack and does some decent damage (halved on a miss). All this adds up to simply a great debilitation attack all around.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Righteous Inferno: A tactical nuke-type spell. It deals fire damage, which is often resisted. The zone isn't that large, so it's most useful in cramped corridors and small rooms. The best effect of this, by far, is the combat advantage it sets up automatically in the zone, but that's not nearly enough to recommend it over Corona of Blinding Radiance.


Lv. 22 Utility
Angelic Rescue: Too situational, and on top of that, costs a standard action that thou should have spent attacking, or raising the dead.

Cleansing Burst: Essentially Turn the Tide's big brother, and it automatically removes any attack and defense debuffs thy party is suffering in addition to giving all allies an opportunity to save against all effects a save can end. Two Turn the Tide abilities are hardly a waste. And unlike Turn the Tide, this is a minor action.

Gift of Life: Essentially, this is a monetarily free, spur-of-the-moment Raise Dead ritual. That fact alone makes this power very much worth it. Just hope thou have a Cleric or Warlord ready to stabilize thy patient (and heal thee!) after thou cast this!

United in Faith: Mass-trigger of healing surges as a minor action. A Chosen of Amaunator will love this one.


Lv. 23 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Martyr's Smite: The effect of the power is interesting, and if nothing else a step above many of the Paladin's "take the hit" utility powers, plus the damage is decent. Not a bad power by any means, though not particularly spectacular.

Resounding Smite: This power, on the other hand, is spectacular. It's a major upgrade to Thunder Smite. If it hits, it does solid damage to one enemy and knocks him prone. Then thou get to attack all other enemies surrounding you and knock them prone, too, along with some damage. A great crowd control power. Even better if thou took Solid Sound at some point in Paragon Tier. And a Stormsoul Genasi is really going to make this one sing.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Sublime Transposition: Benign Transposition's big brother, and similarly only situationally useful. Loses out pretty clearly to Here Waits Thy Doom.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Here Waits Thy Doom: Beckon Foe's big brother in terms of sheer damage. Attacks Will, which is always good, and just like Beckon Foe, pulls an enemy toward thee, making DC easier to maintain. Unlike Beckon Foe, this has the Radiant keyword.


Lv. 25 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Exalted Retribution: Gives thee a solid extra level of stickiness, but the enemy can save against it. Better with a Cunning Weapon in hand.

Charisma-based, Implement:

To the Nine Hells with You: Bad news: it's fire damage, which is one of the more common resistances. Good news: it marks all enemies around thee in a close burst 5 whether it hits or misses. If thou took the Justiciar paragon path, thou can punish all marked enemies with Just Radiance in the next round. The ongoing 10 fire damage (save ends) against all enemies also happens regardless of a hit or miss. Attacks Will. Take this power for now, but four levels later thou wilt probably want to keep True Nemesis and dump this one for the Lv. 29 power.


Lv. 27 Encounter
Strength-based, Weapon:

Blinding Smite: This is NOT a bad power. Really, it isn't. But unfortunately, it shares a level with ...

Stunning Smite: It stuns, just like its name says. It's a weapon-based attack against Will, so it scores hits often. And when it hits, it triggers a secondary attack against all enemies surrounding thee and stuns them too. One of the top powers in all of 4e and one of the prime offenders in Demigod/Chosen abuse.

Charisma-based, Weapon:

Restricting Smite: This allows thee to "take one for the team." Attacks Will. Essentially, thou just bought thy allies a whole round to act as they please with the greatest threat to their well-being unable to harm them.

Charisma-based, Implement:

Brand of Judgment: Attacks Will and deals a solid amount of radiant damage. On top of this, it makes the enemy think twice about attacking lest it eat some damage from its own attack.

Deific Vengeance: The negative out of the way: targets Fortitude. But at least the power comes with a +2 bonus to attack it, which helps quite a bit. And the facts that (a) its range is excellent, (b) it's an immediate reaction, which makes it a free attack, and (c) the damage is very good make it more than worth a look.


Lv. 29 Daily
Strength-based, Weapon:

Powerful Faith: Unlike truly awful powers like the Cleric's Godstrike or the Fighter's No Mercy, at least this one actually has a competent rider effect (blinding all enemies within 10 squares of thee for a turn with a STR vs. Fortitude attack).

Charisma-based, Implement:

Even Hand of Justice: Thou dost really want to hit with this thing, even if the attack does its full solid damage on a miss. It attacks Will, like so many other great powers do, which helps thy chances. On hit it does nice things like making that Ancient Red Dragon think twice about breathing and stripping his own fire resistance. And it's harder for the enemy to save against than usual. Suitable capstone for Chaladins overall.
7. Feats that matter.

Multiclassing feats, as well as class-specific feats of other classes where appropriate, will get their mention under multiclassing. Traps will be noted.

Heroic Tier, Divinity
Armor of Bahamut: Rather situational, but against an enemy with particularly vicious effects on crits this can be a lifesaver. Worth a look.

Avandra's Rescue: This Defender-ish power counts as a move action and can come in handy in a wide variety of tactical situations.

Corellon's Grace: Action point spending comes up fairly often, so this one, which grants a move action as an immediate interrupt, can see some real use.

Harmony of Erathis: One of the better PHB divinity feats, it expands thy subrole as Leader by granting an ally a +2 to their first attack roll before the start of thy next turn (and remember how valuable and scarce attack roll bonuses are in 4e). Must have three allies within range of this power for its effect to take place, but the range is very good (10 squares from thee). It's a minor action, too. This one can see a lot of play.

Ioun's Poise: Grants a sizeable bonus (+5) to Will defense to thee or an ally until the start of thy next turn, and it's a minor action. Nice, not necessary.

Kord's Favor: A fairly good Divinity feat that is a free action, to boot, and allows thee or an ally within 5 squares to spend a healing surge when thou dost crit.

Melora's Tide: As far as PHB Divinity feats go, this is one of the best. When triggered as a minor action, grants a bloodied ally (or thyself, if bloodied) regeneration until no longer bloodied. This scales with levels extremely well, both in the extra regeneration amounts upon hitting Paragon and Epic Tiers, and the fact that bloodied value itself increases with levels. It's also good for dire out-of-combat healing.

Moradin's Resolve: Not quite as automatic a consideration with Weapon and Implement Expertise around, but still worthy if thou can fit it in after taking those.

Pelor's Radiance: High-WIS Chaladins in an undead-heavy campaign may want to look at this one. It attacks Will, so it hits often.

Raven Queen's Blessing: A free action that takes place when thou kills an enemy within 10 squares that triggers a healing surge on thyself or an ally within 5 squares. Decent.

Sehanine's Reversal: Too situational to really consider.

Angharradh's Favor (FRPG): This one's useful where more than one party member is affected by grievous save-ends effects. This triggers if thou or an ally makes a save and gives a healthy +4 power bonus on the second ally's saves until the end of their next turn (which can affect more than one saving throw). This power is helped by the fact that it's not an action at all.

Berronar's Salve (FRPG): The classical save an ally from impending death ability. Very simple, and very handy.

Blessing of Silvanus (FRPG): Once per encounter, a few points extra healing to an ally when they spend a healing surge. At least it's a free action, but overall still a waste of thy Channel Divinity.

Chauntea's Blessing (FRPG): Lets an ally reroll a failed saving throw at a +4 power bonus, and again, it's no action at all (for comparison's sake, Divine Mettle costs thee a minor action).

Eyes of Selune (FRPG): Reroll a failed saving throw. Works on thyself only instead of an ally. No bonus, but doesn't cost an action, either. It's decent.

Fleetness of Mielikki (FRPG): The ignoring difficult terrain part is pretty nice and sometimes necessary to maintain Divine Challenge. In fact, this one might serve well until Epic Tier, when thou should retrain it for Unfettered Stride.

Glittergold's Gambit (FRPG): If an ally misses a crucial attack or skill check, give them another chance. Very powerful.

Gond's Craft (FRPG): Useless.

Ilmater's Martyrdom (FRPG): Used in a similar manner to Armor of Bahamut (except only on an ally in this case), which means it's situational but can save an ally at the right time.

Kelemvor's Judgment (FRPG): Unlike Pelor's Radiance, this anti-undead blast can use thy highest mental stat, so a Chaladin can put this to good use. Not the best Divinity ability, but worth a look.

Oghma's Recall (FRPG): Woohoo, knowledge checks.

Power of Amaunator (FRPG): Anything radiant can get a 1d10 boost in damage once per encounter. The fact that it's a free action makes it a decent upgrade over the Paladin's default Divine Strength, which is a minor action.

Righteous Rage of Tempus (FRPG): It makes thy next attack an automatic crit if it hits. Now this one is sick, particularly with a few feats and items that cause powerful effects to trigger on crits. If thou art an Initiate of the Faith/Divine Oracle on top of this, it gives thee two such auto-crit abilities per encounter.

Sheela Peryroyl's Gift (FRPG): Uh, what? This is the Paladin's Divine Mettle ... except without the bonus to the saving throw. So it's pointless.

Sune's Touch (FRPG): +2 power bonus to an adjacent ally's next attack roll or skill check. In other words, helps the same things Glittergold's Gambit does, except at a much shorter range and can't be reserved to make up for certain failures. It's not terrible, but pales in comparison.

Torm's Justice (FRPG): The Expertise feats were very unkind to this one.

Tymora's Coin (FRPG): More d20 rerolling goodness, and this time thou can keep the better result. It costs no action at all to use and comes in very handy for either following up a 20 with something grand or making up for that dreaded 1 with some sweet redemption.

Waukeen's Silver Tongue (FRPG): A much less versatile variant on Glittergold's Gambit. And by much less versatile, meaning it only is worth it at all in skill challenges (although its +5 bonus to conversational-type skill rerolls makes it very good for those).


Heroic Tier, General
Melee Training (PHB2): The foundation feat for all Chaladins. Allows them, quite simply, to do their jobs by letting them use Charisma for their melee basic attacks for proper OAs, charges and Warlord synergy. Straladins, obviously, can ignore this one. Half-Elves who took Eldritch Strike (PHBH) as their Dilletante power retrain this for Versatile Master once they hit Paragon Tier.

Weapon Expertise (PHB2): Bonus to attack rolls full-time with thy weapon of choice, and it scales throughout thy career. Hate it all thou want (I don't blame thee), but it's necessary.

Implement Expertise (PHB2): Straladins can likely ignore this one, but Chaladins and Versatile Attackers need it as their foes increase in power.

Alchemist (AV): That training in Religion is alright for something. The vast majority of alchemical creations don't even require a skill check, which is music to a Paladunce's ears.

Alertness: Surprise rounds happen quite a bit, so this is good, especially for thou as a Defender. Plus a +2 Perception feat bonus is always nice. Dragonborn might want to consider Dragonborn Senses, instead, though.

Astral Fire: Implement Expertise is far more beneficial.

Blade Opportunist: Prospective Heavy Blade Masters might consider this, but only after Weapon Expertise. The +2 bonus on attack rolls with OAs is untyped, which means it stacks with Weapon Expertise and the like.

Combat Reflexes: Does stack with Blade Opportunist, as it's untyped, but by this point we're approaching diminishing returns.

Durable: Two extra healing surges = four extra points of Constitution in that respect. Also means extra Lay on Hands while still keeping hale thyself. A definite take.

Healing Hands: Good for Chaladins to take, boosting their healing value with Lay on Hands by their CHA modifier. Potential Hospitalers shall definitely want to look at this.

Improved Initiative: Not a bad feat at all to consider, but it's not as high priority for a Paladin as it is for some other classes.

Mounted Combat: This one is very tough to judge. If any class is going to use mounts, it's the Paladin (sure makes chasing down DC targets easier). The usefulness of this feat depends entirely on the makeup of the campaign and how well or how poorly it facilitates the use of a mount. This could run the gamut from red to sky blue, literally. Luckily, feats are retrainable.

Power Attack: This feat isn't for everyone, but it's very much for a Straladin with a two-handed weapon. In a crowd, this has excellent synergy with Valiant Strike, the -2 to attack in that case being well worth the damage bonus, which increases in Paragon and Epic Tiers.

Powerful Charge: Not that impressive.

Quick Draw: Not a bad feat for those with the needed DEX to consider. Pulling out a ranged weapon to maintain a DC from a distance on a controller, artillery or skirmisher that likes to stay away and attack gets easier with this feat.

Ritual Caster: A high-WIS Chaladin trained in Heal might want to take this one. For other Paladins, Alchemist is generally more useful.

Skill Focus: A +3 feat bonus to a trained skill. Some other feats come with lesser feat bonuses to a skill with other benefits attached. Sometimes worth a look.

Skill Training: As mentioned in the skills section, take a multiclass feat, which provides training in one skill, before considering taking this. Only if the multiclass does not fit thy character, or thou want an additional skill beyond thy multiclass, should thou take this. Note: Only Ranger multiclassing (Warrior of the Wild) allows thee to take Perception.

Toughness: Improves thy survivability greatly thy entire career. Never say no to extra hit points. A higher maximum hit point total also means a higher Bloodied Value (important for things like Melora's Tide and Dragonborn Fury) and a higher Healing Surge Value, so its benefit is exponential.

Two-Weapon Defense: A +1 shield bonus to AC and Reflex for wielding two weapons, which are the same bonuses thou dost get for using a light shield. Must have the Two-Weapon Fighting feat described below to qualify.

Two-Weapon Fighting: For heavy blade Paladins, this actually isn't out of the question. Thou canst use a off-hand throwing weapon like a handaxe or throwing hammer to easily maintain DC at range on that smug Controller, Artillery or Skirmisher thou dost wish to keep tied down at a distance. And with this feat, thou get a +1 untyped bonus to damage with thy main-hand attacks and open the door for Two-Weapon Defense. It's not for all Paladins, but it is viable.

Weapon Focus: Dwarves don't need to look at this one at all. And actually, with Weapon Expertise around, it's second-tier status regardless, as the damage bonus isn't nearly as important as an attack bonus. Take if thou can fit it, but it's unlikely thou can.

Weapon Proficiency (in one Superior Weapon): Most likely used on a bastard sword; or one of those lovely Superior Weapons from the Adventurer's Vault and elsewhere (like the craghammer, waraxe, execution axe, fullblade, and mordenkrad). Yea, they are definitely worth the feat, all giving sizable boosts to damage per round. Definitely worthy of consideration for all except for Dwarves: they have Dwarven Weapon Training to give them a whole bunch of Superior Weapon proficiencies.

Wintertouched: Do NOT take until Paragon Tier, though. This one is for those using frost weapons for a living. The Paragon Tier feat Lasting Frost works with this to set up combat advantage on potentially every attack.

Cleansing Challenge (D 371): Damage undead for free just by challenging them. Too specialized to be for everyone, but okay for undead-heavy campaigns.

Divine Purity (D 371): Necrotic resistance when thy Divine Mettle helps. Too situational, even for undead-heavy campaigns.

Purifying Light (D 371): Another feat for undead specialists. In that case, the hefty untyped bonuses to attacks are great for Straladins and Versatile Attackers (and even Chaladins if they use a lightsaber of some sort).

Radiant Touch (D 371): This one's useless. The attack is vs. Reflex, but thou still do more damage in general with thy usual attack powers. Save those Lay on Hands for actual healing.

Distant Advantage (PHB2): Easy combat advantage for some of thy ranged implement-based attacks. Take Implement Expertise first, but this is a good one to fit in as well if thou can. Also good for multiclassers.


Heroic Tier, Racial
Action Surge (Human): Bonuses to attack = good. Especially if it's untyped. That's pretty much all that dost need to be said.

Dodge Giants (Dwarf): Situational bonus to AC, but fighting Large and large enemies is a pretty frequent situation.

Dragonborn Frenzy (Dragonborn): Decent damage bonus when bloodied. Consider it only after Weapon Focus, though.

Dragonborn Senses (Dragonborn): A +1 feat bonus to Perception with low-light vision on top. Take this if thou art a Dragonborn, as it's useful in a wider range of situations than even Alertness (which is good for everyone else).

Dwarven Weapon Training (Dwarf): Real Dwarves use axes and hammers, and this feat gives thee proficiency with all of them, including those lovely Superior Weapons thou saw in the Adventurer's Vault. And on top of that, thou gets the equivalent of Paragon Tier Weapon Focus with all axes and hammers (+2 damage feat bonus).

Eladrin Soldier (Eladrin): So thou somehow decided to be an Eladrin Paladin (tsk, tsk). Assumably a Heavy Blade Master or Chaladin. Even then, this feat is sort of a wash, as thou probably want to use a bastard sword or scimitar, instead, and this feat's bonus applies only to longswords.

Elven Precision (Elf): Lost a lot of its luster with Weapon Expertise around.

Enlarged Dragon Breath (Dragonborn): Depends on how much thou dost value thy breath. If CHA-based, the answer is not very. If STR-based, thou probably dost want to consider this feat and might consider it blue.

Ferocious Rebuke (Tiefling): Pushing is only useful every once in a while. Especially is it's only one measly square.

Group Insight (Half-Elf): +1 bonus to initiative for thy party is something to consider. +1 Insight is handy for out-of-combat situations.

Halfling Agility (Halfling): Just what a small Defender needs, a debuff to an attack roll played off a solid Defender-type racial power.

Hellfire Blood (Tiefling): Thou took a Tiefling to wield a flaming weapon. Time to put it to good use. As long as thy flaming weapon is, well ... flaming, thou gets this attack bonus on all thy attacks, and it does stack with Weapon Expertise.

Human Perseverance (Human): Saving throw bonuses art always worth a look.

Lost in the Crowd (Halfling): Another suitably Defender-ish Halfling feat with a +2 untyped bonus to AC in a situation that comes up pretty often.

Avowed Dragonfoe (Dragonborn) (FRPG): For Dragonborn looking to become serious dragonslayers. Usefulness depends on how many dragons thou plan on facing. Good thing feats are retrainable.

Broken Shackles (Dragonborn) (FRPG): This Dragonborn racial feat is useful in a wide variety of situations, as charm effects are fairly common.

Clutch of Darkness (Drow) (FRPG): A mixed bag. The extra range on Darkfire is very nice with a ranged attacker like a Ranger or Wizard in the party, but the extra area on Cloud of Darkness can just as often be a liability as an asset. Mind thy party makeup before taking this one.

Extra Manifestation (Genasi) (FRPG): More manifestations = more versatility. This is nothing but awesome.

Ghostwise Heritage (Halfling) (FRPG): Interesting. Either get trained in Perception and impart thy talent onto a less perceptive ally, or let an ally more perceptive than thee give thee a boost.

Gold Dwarf Pride (Dwarf) (FRPG): Being a Defender, thou might drop first. Thou won't drop as easily the second time, and thy attacks will be +1 untyped bonus more accurate than ever.

Manifest Resistance (Genasi) (FRPG): Increase resistance to an element.

Moon Elf Resilience (Eladrin) (FRPG): If thou art an Eladrin, might as well make the most of it, and this feat can save thee.

Scion of the Gods (Tiefling) (FRPG): Most feat bonuses to defenses don't come along until Paragon Tier, so this feat is a nice perk for being a Tiefling early on. If thou are going for feats like Combat Anticipation, Great Fortitude or Iron Will in Paragon Tier, retrain this feat out.

Shield of Shadows (Drow) (FRPG): +2 untyped bonus to Reflex for using the Drow's Cloud of Darkness. Worth a look.

Shield the Fallen (Dwarf) (FRPG): Does pretty much what its name says and does it well (+2 untyped bonus to all defenses and saves on an adjacent bloodied, unconscious or helpless ally). Definitely one to take.

Stubborn Survivor (Human) (FRPG): This'll make thee want to use those action points. The bonus is untyped, too, hint, hint.

Sun Elf Grace (Eladrin) (FRPG): The more proactive answer to the Moon Elf's resilience. Not quite as long lasting (healing lasts longer than +1 to defenses for a turn).

Versatile Resistance (Genasi) (FRPG): More resistances are good.

Wild Elf Luck (Elf) (FRPG):Much like Elven Precision, this one lost a lot of status with Weapon Expertise's coming.

Wood Elf Agility (Elf) (FRPG): Straladins trained in one of Athletics or Acrobatics might look at this, but it's far from a priority for them.

Anger Unleashed (Half-Orc) (PHB2): Only consider it after Weapon Expertise, but it is worth a look.

Auspicious Lineage (Deva) (PHB2): Essentially amounts to an average of +1 extra bonus on thy Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes power. Worth a look, but again, only after Weapon Expertise.

Goliath Greatweapon Prowess (Goliath) (PHB2): Actually a good deal. For thee, it's a stronger Weapon Focus at every tier on martial two-handers. The +1 in comparison to Weapon Focus is roughly comparable to having Weapon Focus in a superior weapon thou would have trained, so thou essentially get the damage benefits of two feats for the price of one.

Markings of the Blessed (Goliath) (PHB2): Roll thy first save in a fight twice and keep the better result. Nice.

Markings of the Victor (Goliath) (PHB2): First attack in a fight, roll twice and take the better result. This doubles thy chance of scoring a crit for that attack and also helps ensure, in general, thou art starting the encounter on the right note.

Potent Rebirth (Deva) (PHB2): Become noticeably more threatening for the rest of the encounter after getting knocked out. Look at fitting it in after taking Weapon and Implement Expertise, if thou can.

Savage Assault (Half-Orc) (PHB2): This is how a Half-Orc sets up easier attacks. Again, try fitting it in after the Expertise feats.

Thirst For Battle (Half-Orc) (PHB2): Extra initiative AND an extra healing surge? Yes, please.


Paragon Tier, General
Paragon Defenses (PHB2): For those who just can't fit the individual +2 feat bonuses at this tier, this is perfect. Then retrain it for Robust Defenses once thou hit Epic Tier.

Reserve Maneuver (PHB2): Not everybody needs it, but for those with otherwise solid paragon paths that have a weak encounter power, this is the perfect solution.

Armor Specialization (Scale): Paladins should not be in anything besides Scale or Plate. This feat removes the speed penalty from Scale while also giving a +1 feat bonus to AC in Scale. Requires 15 DEX, so only Heavy Blade Masters will look at this one. Shield users note: The AC bonus does NOT stack with Shield Specialization, which is also a feat bonus, so if also wanting to boost Reflex, take Paragon Defenses or Lightning Reflexes, instead.

Armor Specialization (Plate): Anyone hale enough to take it should (CON 15).

Combat Anticipation: Obsoleted by Paragon Defenses.

Danger Sense: Roll twice, take higher result on Initiative. Another initiative feat certainly worth considering, but again, not as super-crucial for the Paladin as it is for some other classes.

Deadly Axe: One of the target weapon feats in the game, and critical if thou art using a handaxe, battleaxe or halberd as thy main weapon. High Crit is a good property on one of those weapons.

Devastating Critical: An average of only 5.5 extra damage on a critical hit, something that happens 5-10 percent of the time. Very questionable value even for a Striker, let alone thee.

Evasion: Only heavy bladers art even going to look at this. And even then, while it's not bad, it's not a must-take.

Fleet-Footed: Speed isn't as important for Paladins as it is for most other classes, but it's not like picking this could be called a waste.

Great Fortitude/Lightning Reflexes/Iron Will: The defense-boosting feats at Paragon Tier, giving +2 feat bonuses to the respective defense. Does not stack with other feat bonuses like Paragon Defenses or Shield Specialization.

Hammer Rhythm: Target Paragon Tier weapon feat for hammer wielders, and a grand one it is.

Heavy Blade Opportunity: It used to be completely essential for Chaladins, but they no longer need to bother. It does, however, remain a solid pick for Straladins on their way to Heavy Blade Mastery, with Holy Strike and Valiant Strike providing some nice edge on OAs.

Improved Second Wind: Might be blue for a Dwarf thanks to Dwarven Resilience. For others, it's not that necessary.

Lasting Frost: This one is for dedicated frost weapon users. Causes vulnerable cold 5 until the end of thy next turn. Take Wintertouched after this and thou can set up combat advantage when thou dost please (as long as the cold damage property is switched on, of course).

Mettle: Like Evasion, nice, but hardly make-or-break.

Polearm Gamble: A must-have with a glaive or a halberd. And take Uncanny Dodge along with it, if thou canst.

Psychic Lock: Paladins themselves don't have any psychic attacks, but they are naturals at multiclassing with Bard, Warlock and Sorcerer, three excellent choices, all of which have an abundance of psychic attacks. Any Paladin multiclassing with one of those CHA-based Arcane classes should definitely take this.

Scimitar Dance: For Heavy Blade Masters taking up the scimitar. Thou most likely wilt not qualify for this until Epic Tier, but it's still a boon even then.

Shield Specialization: Note that this AC feat bonus does NOT stack with Armor Specialization feats, nor does its Reflex feat bonus stack with Lightning Reflexes. If NOT taking Lightning Reflexes or Paragon Defenses, this is better than Armor Specialization (Plate). Only Heavy Blade Masters will care at all about this.

Solid Sound: The +2 untyped bonus to a non-AC defense of thy choice makes a Force Weapon worth considering. Also worthy for Straladins with Thundering Smite and, later, Resounding Smite.

Uncanny Dodge: Thou shouldst have the Wisdom for this, and it is a feat that complements thy defender role well, and doubly so if thou took Polearm Gamble.

Moongleam Oath (FRPG): Usefulness depends on how many shadow enemies thou plan to encounter in a campaign.

Quick Recovery (PHB2): A little extra hit points after a short rest.

Vexing Flanker (PHB2): When thou flank, all thy allies, not just the one flanking with thee, get combat advantage. Overall, solid, and it might even free up a feat for some party members who had previously taken Distant Advantage.


Paragon Tier, Racial
Versatile Master (Half-Elf) (PHB2): Takes thy Dilletante to a whole new level, basically giving thee the signature benefit of Paragon Multiclassing without the need to multiclass at all or give up thy paragon path.

Action Recovery (Human): A Turn The Tide effect on thyself when thou uses an action point, which happens pretty often? Sure.

Dwarven Durability (Dwarf): More healing surges. Stronger healing surges. Stacks with Durable. Take it and love it.

Empowered Dragon Breath (Dragonborn): Again, Chaladins aren't likely to use their breath much. Straladins probably will, and they might consider this blue.

Feywild Protection (Eladrin): Well, thou committed to it even as a race not optimal for the job. Might as well take a defender-worthy feat while thou art at it.

Underfoot (Halfling): Assuming thou trained somehow in Acrobatics this one can come in handy. Not a must-have for a Paladin, though.

Master of Fire and Darkness (Drow) (FRPG): Lets thee use both Cloud of Darkness and Darkfire in an encounter. A definite take.

Merciless Killer (Drow) (FRPG): Helps kill bloodied enemies quicker. In many cases, that's a good thing.

Shocking Flame (Genasi) (FRPG): Free damage boost on all melee attacks with firesoul or stormsoul? Sure.

Stoneguard (Genasi) (FRPG): +2 untyped bonus to AC against ranged attacks if earthsoul.

Stormrider (Genasi) (FRPG): For watersoul or windsoul. Speed bonus doesn't stack with Fleet-Footed, but hovering is nice for windsoul.

Venomous Heritage (Drow) (FRPG): Resistance and saving throw bonuses against poison.

Ascendant Lineage (Deva) (PHB2): Keep thy Memory if thou still fail. Definitely worth a look.

Astral Renewal (Deva) (PHB2): Too situational. Maybe in an undead-heavy campaign would this see enough use.

Beasthide Shifting (Shifter) (PHB2): A Shifter feat that actually is useful for Paladins, making thee even tougher when using the racial power.

Fade Ally (Gnome) (PHB2): A fantastic expansion of thy Fade Away power. Thou get to turn an ally invisible who could make better use of said invisibility.

Strength from Pain (Half-Orc) (PHB2): Sizeable damage bonus from being bloodied. Decent.

Surprising Disappearence (Gnome) (PHB2): Sets up free combat advantage for the party when using Fade Away. Very nice.

Unrelenting Assault (Half-Orc) (PHB2): Use thy racial power on a miss. It's still a damage roll, too, so certain static bonuses can still apply.

Unyielding Stone (Goliath) (PHB2): A lot of temporary hit points when using thy racial power.


Epic Tier, General
Axe/Bludgeon/Heavy Blade Mastery: Only Straladins need apply. Whatever thy weapon, expanded crit range is a serious offensive boost.

Robust Defenses (PHB2): Upgrade over Paragon Defenses; retrain that feat for this one to get +2 feat bonuses to all thy non-AC defenses. Basically, thy choice is between this feat, or feats of the Unyielding Fortitude/Opportune Reflexes/Indomitable Will series.

Unyielding Fortitude (PHB2): +2 feat bonus to Fortitude (no stacking with Robust Defenses) and also to death saving throws.

Opportune Reflexes (PHB2): +2 feat bonus to Reflex and also saving throws against ongoing damage. No stacking with Robust Defenses.

Indomitable Will (PHB2): +2 feat bonus to Will and also saving throws against some nasty conditions. Again, no stacking with Robust Defenses.

Epic Fortitude/Reflexes/Will (PHB2): +4 bonuses to the defense in question. Note that these bonuses are untyped and thus stack with the likes of either Robust Defenses, or the Unyielding/Opportune/Indomitable series.

Blind-Fight: A potential lifesaver of a feat in a wide variety of situations in melee combat. The ability to deny creatures of concealment or invisibility benefits in melee cannot have its value overstated.

Epic Resurgence: Demigods will retrain this out at Lv. 30, but until then, take as thy lover. Those of any other destiny will want to keep it. Recovering encounter powers is awesome.

Flanking Maneuver: At least worth a look from Heavy Blade Masters.

Font of Radiance: A definite keeper for Straladin weapon masters, which makes their at-will Holy Strike potentially scream at a whole new level. Also, any Paladin using a "lightsaber" from the Adventurer's Vault (a Radiant Weapon for thou uninitiated) shall want to marry this feat.

Irresistible Flame: A must have for Tieflings with flaming weapons. Not so much for anyone else.

Triumphant Attack: Inflicting a -2 penalty to defenses is ALWAYS a good thing, especially for the rest of the encounter unless they save at some point. Remember, penalties stack unless they're from the same power. The enemy also gets a -2 penalty to attack rolls.

Unfettered Stride: This one is worth training in Acrobatics for. Ignoring the effects of difficult terrain is very good.


Epic Tier, Racial
Double Manifestation (Genasi) (FRPG): Yes, the ability to manifest two different elements simultaneously is indeed suitably epic.

Ancient Stone (Goliath) (PHB2): Resistance after thy racial power ends. Yet another upgrade to the Goliath's staying power.

Burst of Savagery (Shifter) (PHB2): Can be useful, if thou play it right. If thou art up for some healing that would end the power, use this to inflict some extra pain and get some temporary hit points as well.

Ferocious Critical (Half-Orc) (PHB2): Huge bonuses to attack until the end of thy next turn after thou crit. A Half-Orc Paladin of Tempus could have a lot of fun with this one.

Transcendent Lineage (Deva) (PHB2): Earlier feats boosted the Deva's Memory to the point that this one's mostly diminishing returns.

Vanishing Act (Gnome) (PHB2): Also known as the point the Gnome gets to rub it into the Eladrin's face how worthless the latter is as a Paladin. Fade Away now becomes a teleport.
8. Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies.

Paragon paths
Astral Weapon:For Straladins. Astral Judgment is a fair ability keying off a mark, but the rest is average. One note: The broken Astral Demigod uses this Paragon Path with the key power being the encounter utility Pray for More.

Champion of Order: Where to begin? How about Certain Justice (Lv. 11 Encounter), which absolutely ravages thy DC target? It's a STR-based attack, but it comes with a +4 bonus to hit, which means even a Chaladin has a decent shot at hitting with it (and a Straladin will almost certainly connect with it). None Shall Pass allows thee to challenge two foes. In Defense of Order is wicked, especially for prospective Heavy Blade Masters for the OAs this PP feature draws. Everything else is just icing. A great path for any Paladin to consider.

Hospitaler: Hospitaler's Blessing is one of the strongest defender effects in the game. It works whether the enemy hits or misses, so not only can it negate damage, it can outright heal an ally. It's like the Swordmage's Aegis of Shielding on enhancers. Hospitaler's Care can stack with the Healing Hands feat to allow thee to heal an extra 2x thy CHA mod with Lay on Hands. The powers, all CHA-based, come with enhanced abilities to heal simultaneously with attacks.

Justiciar: The encounter power Just Radiance is the hallmark of this class and is used to follow-up any mass-marking power. The daily, Challenge the Unjust, is one such mass-marking power. Unfortunately, there are too few of them within the Paladin class itself for the Justiciar to be used to its fullest. Multiclassing to pick up other such powers is practically a must.

Son of Mercy (D 370): Arguably the Straladin's new PP of choice, with Lawbreaker's Doom and Dispensed Justice combining to give him Fighter-level stickiness (and some WIS-modifier damage to boot ... nice knowing thee Pit Fighter). Strength of Conviction is good for the temp HPs, and Blood Oath Fulfilled is an impressive close burst daily.

Knight of Celestia (MOTP): Geared toward Versatile Attackers, this PP is a mixed bag, at best. Aura of Menace and Dedicated Foe are fairly solid features that do more with Divine Challenge, and Brilliant Guardians is a decent utility. The attack powers, on the other hand, suck. Celestia's Challenge is a fine concept, but did they REALLY have to limit the mark to only when BOTH enemies are hit? Assuming 50% hit rate on both enemies, the chance of marking is 25%. Hardly worth relying on. Allowing it to mark on each hit would've been fair. And Purifying Radiance, the daily, is utter weaksauce.


Forgotten Realms paragon paths available without multiclassing (FRPG)
Doomguide: Most worship Kelemvor. Geared exclusively toward Versatile Attackers. The powers and features of this class tend to have a greater effect against undead. The features aren't exciting, but they're handy once in a while. Kelemvor's Circle has great area of effect (close burst 5) in terms of the enemies it attacks and the allies it heals at the same time, but the healing isn't that impressive except against undead. The daily, Kelemvor's Sword, on the other hand, is a very good STR-based power. It attacks Reflex and dazes (save end) any enemy except an undead, which it stuns (also save end) and heals allies in a wide range a modicum.

Drow Wanderer: For Drow who train in Dungeoneering. None of its powers or features are particularly useful to a Paladin. They're mostly more of a Ranger or Rogue thing.

Eartheart Defender: For Dwarves only, and it's a very nice PP for a prospective Dwarven Hammer Master. The features are pretty solid, working off the Dwarf's minor action second wind to give thee and, at Lv. 16, thy allies an untyped bonus on attack rolls. The encounter power, Gain Heart, gives thee a solid self-heal on hit if bloodied. Earthsight is an encounter-renewable utility that can come in handy at times. The daily, Earthsurge, is an excellent sticky power, creating a zone that slows all enemies around thee (within 3 squares) automatically and moves with thee for the whole encounter.

Elemental Tempest: Must be a Genasi with the Extra Manifestation feat. Genasi may be a great race, but this PP leaves a lot to be desired. Dual Manifestation is the Double Manifestation feat one tier early. Meh, thou can wait. The other features, similarly, aren't that exciting, and neither are the attack powers.

Heartwarder: For Sune-worshipping Chaladins. Two words: Siren Voice. Two more words: Sune's Kiss. The encounter, Siren Voice, allows thee to dominate an enemy until the end of thy next turn (and since it attacks Will, it will hit fairly often). Domination is one of the best status effects in the game. Sune's Kiss, the daily, comes with a built-in +2 to attack Will, which means it's really going to hit often, dazes the target until it saves, and makes the target take half the damage thou take (awesome for a Defender). The utility Sune's Shield is about as good as "take the hit" type powers get. The features, on the other hand, are fairly ordinary, and while Instinctive Remorse looks nice, it doesn't meld well with thy role and Divine Challenge.

Morninglord: For Paladins of Amaunator only. It's essentially Radiant Servant on steroids, and thou dost not even have to multiclass into Cleric for it. The cornerstone of this PP is its 16th-level feature, Burning Radiance, which causes vulnerability 10 to radiant damage until the end of thy next turn whenever thou hit with ANY attack with the Radiant keyword. This means Holy Strike, any Radiant implement-based attack, or any attack at all using an activated "lightsaber." The vulnerability makes thy DC a lot more dangerous to aid thy Defender role. It also encourages thy melee allies to pack lightsabers as well. All of this PP's powers are similar to the Radiant Servant's, but more versatile overall, and are all governed by thy highest mental stat, making them useful for STR/WIS and for CHA-heavy Paladins alike.

Purple Dragon Knight: Decent for Straladins who hail from Cormyr. The features are occasionally useful, but the powers are what matter. The encounter, Rallying Attack, is a solid party boost. Rallying Cry is an encounter-renewable utility that will see a lot of play. And chanting "For Cormyr!" leads to utterly amazing things (as long as the enemy isn't immune to fear), even if the attack misses (the only difference between a hit and a miss is a 2-square push).

Silverstar: For Selune worshippers. Goddess of Changes is good against lycanthropes and not much else. The other features and the powers are stunningly mediocre. Tears of Selune would be good if its stunning effect didn't end at the start of an enemy's next turn (it defeats the purpose of a stun in the first place).

Steelsky Liberator: Must be a Dragonborn, Genasi, Half-Orc or Human. This paragon path is geared toward fighting dragons, and it does a good job at that for Straladins. Steelsky Stance, the utility, can make thee render a dragon or elemental impotent with each hit thou make. Liberator's Resolve is an excellent boost to saves against charm and fear, which many enemies use, not just dragons. Not the most versatile of PPs, but it can get the job done in a dragon-heavy campaign.

Whirlwind Genasi: For Genasi with the windsoul manifestation. The 11th-level features expand on the windsoul abilities. Whirlwind Counterforce is interesting and can come in tactically handy sometimes. The attack powers use thy highest mental stat, which helps, and this time around actually have innate bonuses to attack that scale with tiers. Windsoul Whirlwind allows thee to slide enemies and arrange a battlefield to thy liking. Windsoul Zephyr is a nice mass-flying encounter utility.

Wildfire Genasi: For Genasi with firesoul. Nothing too special.


Racial paragon paths
Adroit Explorer (Human) (PHB2): Ambitious Effort is a lower-level encounter power of thy choice, including a duplicate if thou wish. Champion of Humanity is an extra action point every day, which is great. Really nothing at all to complain about; everything in this path will see plenty of use. This is simply a fantastic path.



Epic destinies
Deadly Trickster: Requires either Acrobatics or Bluff training. Epic Trick is a very versatile and useful utility. Trickster's Disposition is the ultimate trump card to play whenever thou dost need it for the day. All Fortune's Favor and Trickster's Control are handy to have around and occasionally do something grand. Solid choice overall.

Demigod: Where to start. How about by boosting two stats of thy choice by +2. And then there's the controversial Divine Miracle, the capstone feature, which opens up all sorts of vile things that can be done with encounter powers. Divine Recovery and Divine Regeneration are potent healing abilities to round out the package.

Eternal Seeker: Seeker of the Many Paths (21st level feature) is pretty much free multiclassing of a sort; choose thy powers wisely. Seeker's Lore (26th level) lets thee pick a 22nd level utility from any other class, which can also be useful. Eternal Action (Lv. 24 feature) is solid. Seeking Destiny (Lv. 30) has infinite room to grow as more destinies get added to the general repertoire. Solid choice, overall.

Harbinger of Doom (PHB2): Its features rely an awful lot on chance and make up for unfortunate situations rather than improve thy character. The capstone, in particular, is extremely weak. Overall, an underwhelming destiny.

Lorekeeper (PHB2): Some Paladins are wise enough to qualify for this, but there's not much reason for them to do so. The capstone, Lorekeeper's Revelation, is about the only reason for Paladins to look at this destiny.

Revered One (PHB2): A mixed bag. The capstone is worthless for Paladins (it's a Lay on Hands that only works on those who fall unconscious), and most of the rest is standard fare. But the Lv. 24 feature, Manifest the Divine, is awesome. Thy Channel Divinity powers all become separate encounter powers and thou can select any Divinity feat regardless of whom thou worship. So load up on the likes of Righteous Rage of Tempus and Glittergold's Gambit and have fun. NOTE: Manifest the Divine is excellent for Eternal Seekers to take as their Seeking Destiny capstone.


Forgotten Realms Chosen (Demigod with different utility power) (FRPG)
Amaunator: Renewing Dawn is decent. If either thou or an ally spends a healing surge, thou get to deal a healthy amount of unavoidable radiant damage to a nearby enemy. This effect can be sustained with minor actions. This one has nice synergy with the Morninglord PP and its inflicting of radiant vulnerability (which also requires worshipping Amaunator). With a power triggering healing surges in several allies this one can really rack up the damage numbers on an enemy.

Chauntea: Horn of Life, rather than giving thee regeneration, gives regeneration 20 to an ally that needs it the most, and it switches at the start of every turn depending on who needs it. An excellent heal spell for the entire party.

Corellon: High Arcana is terrible. The bonuses are not impressive at all for an Epic Utility, and to make matters worse, they only last for a round. Ouch.

Kelemvor: True Death only works against undead. It's excellent against them, at least. Undead aren't all thou will fight, though, I'm sure.

Moradin: Forge of Creation is pretty good. The extra use of a daily item power is easily the best perk of this utility, particularly with the right items. Regaining second wind and an extra healing surge are nice side benefits.

Oghma: Supreme Knowledge is one free enemy miss against thee per day with a sufficient knowledge skill. If the skill in question for the enemy is Nature or Dungeoneering, WIS-based skills, this could save thee from a particularly nasty recharge or daily attack. But it'll be probably be useless just as often or more often against enemies whose related knowledge skills are INT-based skills like Arcana or Religion.

Selune: Waxing Fortune is nice ... when it happens. Too bad the likelihood of enough bloodied, conscious creatures around thee to make an appreciable difference is slim to none.

Silvanus: Hey, it's Divine Regeneration! Silvanus didn't get very creative, did he? Not that he needed to ...

Sune: Sune's Censure is actually pretty handy and versatile. It can extend a normally temporary vulnerability on two enemies until the end of the encounter. The best part of this one is even without any vulnerabilities, it causes vulnerability 5 all on two enemies for a whole encounter. A good utility for a party DPR boost.

Tempus: Tempus' Glare is excellent. Lasts the whole encounter and punishes a solid amount for free anytime an enemy fails to hit thee with an attack. Keep thy defenses high, keep enemies focused on thee, and wreak havoc. A great Defender power.

Torm: Battle Judgment is pitiful. Regain a few hit points when thou kill something once per day? A waste.


Epic Faerun destinies (D 367)
Harper of Legend: Requires Harper membership. Diplomacy and Insight are both class skills and help thee qualify. Harper's Study gives thee an extra encounter power (from thy first or second class, if multiclassed) in thy arsenal, which is excellent. Blessing of Mielikki starts thee off with two action points per day and lets thee break the 1 AP/encounter spending limit whenever an enemy uses an AP. Spectral Harpist is an interesting capstone. Tymora Smiles is the weak link in this otherwise solid ED, but it isn't entirely useless.

Mythic Sovereign: Starts off rather mundane, but Lv. 24 is when this ED really starts to pay off. This Is Not My Fate is an even better near-death recovery than the Demigod/Chosen Divine Recovery, ending ongoing effects as well as healing up to thy Bloodied value (meaning, half maximum hit points). The capstone, Sword of Kings, is a more limited Divine Miracle with a distinct strength (thou does not have to use all thy encounter powers before repeating the one thou want), and a distinct weakness (miss all enemies the power targets and thou lose it). And the utility, Sword of Valor, is an incredible party buff, especially for Chaladins. CHA modifer untyped bonus to attack rolls for possibly the whole party and potentially for a whole encounter is insanely good.
9. Multiclassing: Dabbling in heathencraft (or not)

One particularly important thing to keep in mind are levels in which Paladins are weak, which would be levels at which a power swap would be extremely favorable. Utility Lv. 2 is a MAJOR weakness for all Paladins and is a prime target for Acolyte Power. Utility Lv. 16 is also a level worth looking at a swap, although it's not in quite as dire straits as Lv. 2. Straladins are particularly lacking at Encounter Lv. 3, Daily Lv. 5 and Daily Lv. 15, and have no STR-based powers at all at Daily Lv. 9. Chaladins have a gaping hole at Encounter Lv. 13.

Now, before delving in depth into the options that actually matter, let's get the bad multiclassing ideas out of the way:

Rogue: Done with either Sneak of Shadows, Ruthless Efficiency (MP) or Sly Dodge (MP). While the DEX needed to take these feats are reachable, the only reason thou would might be for a utility power at Lv. 2. Attack powers and paragon paths, on the other hand, are completely off limits, as they all use DEX for the attack stat.

Wizard: Done via the Arcane Initiate feat. Thou art too dimwitted for wizardry.

Swordmage (FRPG): Done via Blade Initiate (FRPG). Again, too much brain power required for Paladunces.

Druid (PHB2): Done via Initiate of the Old Faith (PHB2). Skill training is restricted to Nature, which isn't as useful to thee as some other skills. Some utilities are appealing, but the attack powers require a totem, which is bad for two reasons: 1) Thou would have to take a second Implement Expertise feat to keep up, and 2) using a totem takes up thy off-hand and forces thee to forego a shield or two-handed weapon.

Invoker (PHB2): Done via Acolyte of Divine Secrets (PHB2). Some utilities might be attractive enough, but the attack prayers use a rod or staff, not a holy symbol, which is bad for the same reasons Druid and Shaman multiclassing are. And to make matters worse: the skill training is restricted to Religion, which thou already have.

Shaman (PHB2): Done via Spirit Talker (PHB2). This is a bad choice for the same reasons Druid is a bad choice.

Moving along:

Note that not all powers for all classes at all levels will be detailed. The occasional trap will be noted, but other than that, the powers listed are the ones that are seriously worth a look, and especially at a level most needed:

***Avenger (PHB2) ***

Only high-WIS Chaladins need look the Divine Striker's way, as all the attack powers use WIS to attack. Avengers have better Lv. 2 utilities than thou do, which alone may make it worth a look. They only have a few attack powers thou would want, however, but luckily some of those are at crucial levels. Avengers use a holy symbol as an implement just as thou do, which is great.

Multiclass entry feats
Disciple of Divine Wrath (PHB2): Gives thee a two-round use of Oath of Enmity once per encounter, which essentially amounts to attacks that are hard-pressed to miss and are more likely to crit. Activate this when thou art going for something crucial. Only unfortunate aspect of this feat is that it trains Religion, which thou already have, so that part's a waste.


Power swaps
Daily 1:

Weapon:

Oath of the Final Duel: Hit or miss, the effect allows thee to keep near thy Divine Challenge target and stay engaged with it no matter where it goes. Very useful.

Utility 2:

Distracting Flare: One invisible move action per encounter. Good for getting where thou need to in the think of a fight.

Refocus Enmity: Some controversy behind this one. It gives thee a second use of Oath of Enmity in any case (to be used during the initial multiclass feat use), but it's unclear whether this power grants thee the Avenger's full-blown version of the effect. It's broken if that's the case, but even if it isn't, it's very useful. Consult thy DM.

Resonant Escape: Teleport in response to a melee attack, hit or miss. Don't let the name fool thee; it's good for easy and potentially beneficial repositioning on offense.

Encounter 13:

Weapon:

Cloud of Souls: It's better than what Chaladins get at this level. It dazes enemies caught in the zone it creates and has the Psychic keyword. Attacks Will.

Implement:

Sequestering Word: Ranged attack that teleports the enemy and then thee right next to it. Great for keeping a Divine Challenge target engaged. Attacks Will.

Daily 25:

Weapon:

Executioner's Justice: Daze, then stun if they fail the saving throw, and pile on the damage if they fail more saves while they're still stunned. Best used with a Cunning weapon.




Paragon paths/options
Unveiled Visage: The only paragon path suitable for Paladins here, but it's pretty decent. Unveiled Action grants thee an extra use of Channel Divinity. Soaring Charge is handy against airborne enemies. Bloodied Might allows thee to use the solid encounter power, Radiant Visage, twice per encounter. Divine Aspect is also nice, giving thee flight.


***Barbarian (PHB2) ***

Straladin Hammer Masters and Versatile Attackers are the builds most interested in what the Primal Striker has to offer, which is quite a bit. Barbarian multiclassing grants training in the all-important Perception skill. The attack powers, including the Rages, are quite powerful, and some of them actually help make thee a better defender. No Feral Might benefits on the attack powers, but there's more than enough powers that are effective without them.

Multiclass entry feats
Berserker's Fury (PHB2): Requires STR 13 and CON 13. Serves its purpose. The daily boost to damage isn't that impressive, but it's there.


Power swaps
Utility 2:

Combat Sprint: It's not the best utility power in the world, but it's still better than anything the Paladin gets at this level.

Encounter 3:

Hammer Fall: Knocks prone. Good.

Shatterbone Strike: AC debuff. -2 is still solid, even without the Feral Might benefit.

Daily 9:

Black Dragon Rage: Automatically blinds everyone next to thee at the start of thy turn. Incredible.

Oak Hammer Rage: Knock prone with every melee attack thou hit with. Solid.

Utility 10:

Heart Strike: Versatile Attackers should head straight for this one to put that Charisma modifier to even better use. And note that this one stacks with Wrath of the Gods.

Encounter 13:

Storm of Blades: Controversial power for obvious reasons. A Hammer Master would be foolish to pass it up. Even as few as three attacks from this evocation is overwhelming.

Daily 15:

Thunderfury Rage: Immediate reaction punishment against an enemy that attacks thee. Great way to put thy DC target in a quandary.

Encounter 17:

Devastating Blow: Hammer Masters won't care, but Versatile Attackers without the CON needed to appreciably abuse Storm of Blades will welcome this upgrade to Shatterbone Strike.

Threatening Fury: Versatile Attackers with a threatening DC will put this one to solid use to increase their stickiness against their DC target for a round.

Encounter 23:

Staggering Strike: It stuns. By now, thou should know how grand that is.

Encounter 27:

Hurricane of Blades: The other controversial power after Storm of Blades. Too bad thou can only take one of those as a multiclasser. A really sick power, and worth considering even in the face of Stunning Smite.

Daily 29:

Rage of the Primal Beast: Missing attacks just won't happen with this Rage activated. Combine with Valiant Strike and Power Attack for laughs.

World Serpent Rage: Major defender upgrade with its ability to punish shifts left and right as free actions. Brutal against a DC target trying to escape.






***Bard (PHB2) ***

For Chaladins, multiclassing with the Arcane Leader is about as good as it gets. Excellent utilities at every level, and especially where thou need it most. Skill training in the all-important Perception skill. Attack powers that all expand thy secondary role as a Leader and help thee defend, too. The lack of access to Virtues hurts certain powers, but there's still enough effective spells for every Chaladin under the sun. Good weapon-based powers are plentiful enough to render taking up another implement or worshiping Corellon unnecessary. If diving into the implement-based powers (which are quite good, mind thee), the best course is to worship Corellon and use his Star. Using a songblade is also acceptable, although that option will still require a second Implement Expertise feat.

Multiclass entry feats
Bardic Dilletante (PHB2): The only current entry feat. Serves its purpose. Comes with a daily use of Majestic Word.


Power swaps
Encounter 1:

Weapon:

Inspiring Refrain: +1 to allies' attack rolls. Solid enough at this level, and better than what the Paladin has.

Implement:

Blunder: Attacks Will and is essentially a multi-attacking power. Either thou or an ally can make the melee basic attack during the slide. Very nice.

Daily 1:

Weapon:

Slayer's Song: Encounter-long effect gives free combat advantage for the whole party against an enemy whenever thou hit for a turn. The hit that activates it makes the enemy surrender combat advantage until it saves. Solid.

Utility 2:

Inspire Competence: Boost of any skill of thy choice for the whole party for their next use of the skill. Useful in skill challenges. Done per encounter.

Song of Courage: Movable, sustainable zone that grants +1 power bonus to attack rolls. Minor action to activate and sustain. Solid enough.

Daily 5:

Implement:

Song of Discord: A dirty, dirty power. Dominates on hit (and it attacks Will), and even if it doesn't, the enemy attacks another enemy of thy choice if it can. Especially vicious against a DC target; thou can get a free zap with this power; two if thou hit.

Encounter 13:

Weapon:

Earthquake Strike: Mass-knockdown madness. Nice.

Harmony of the Two: Good when an ally is adjacent to the enemy thou art attacking.

Implement:

Foolhardy Fighting: This one can be deadly when a couple of allies with good melee basic attacks surround the enemy, and more so if it's thy DC target.

Song of Storms: The area-of-effect attack power at this level. Decent for that, and it lets thy allies do a little extra damage to boot.






***Cleric***

The Cleric has excellent utility powers -- including at Lv. 2 where a hole needs filling -- and paragon paths which are very synergistic with any Paladin, often expanding his Leader subrole. Straladins have full reign on the Cleric's STR-based attack powers, and Chaladins with a WIS high enough to be an attack stat (starting 16 minimum) can also have their pick of the Cleric's WIS-based arsenal. Clerics use holy symbols just like thou do, so no extra implement is necessary.

Multiclass entry feats
Initiate of the Faith: Presently the only way to access Cleric multiclassing. It serves its purpose there, also granting a daily use of Healing Word and implement usage for Cleric powers. One annoying rub, however, is its training in Religion, which is a skill thou already were required to have in the first place. So the skill training is a waste.


Power swaps
Encounter 1:

Wisdom, Implement:

Divine Glow: Bonus to attack rolls for all nearby allies whether thou hit or miss. Wonderful.

Strength, Weapon:

Healing Strike: Won't replace Piercing Smite, but it might replace one of the weak Lv. 3 Straladin attacks. It's actually a very solid attack for the Paladin's role as healer and defender (it marks thy enemy).

Wrathful Thunder: Dazes. Definitely worth a look.

Utility 2:

Bless: +1 to attack rolls for an encounter, and the burst for this spell is huge. Solid, no-nonsense spell that boosts thy party's offense.

Divine Aid: Encounter utility that allows either thyself or an ally to roll a saving throw, similar to Cleansing Spirit. This one's a standard action, however, as opposed to Cleansing Spirit's (or Divine Mettle's) minor action, although the bonus to the saving throw it grants is potentially very high. Worth a look, at least.

Sanctuary: Great defender-ish encounter-renewable spell on a vulnerable ally.

Shield of Faith: Not the best option overall at this level, but this spell's purpose is similar to Sacred Circle's, and its effect is better in every possible way.

Daily 5:

Strength, Weapon:

Rune of Peace: Weapon vs. Will. And it keeps an enemy from attacking until they save to end the effect. Even on a miss, it stops the enemy from attacking for a turn, buying thy party a round to act freely. A worthy target for Adept Power at this stage in the game, and it compensates for a fairly weak level for Straladin powers.

"Other":

Consecrated Ground: An "attack" power that does not require an attack roll at all. The zone it creates (starting with a close burst 1) is small, but it can be moved with a move action if need be (good if thou planned on staying put in a given round). The damage it inflicts and the amount it heals thee and allies if bloodied depends on thy Charisma, NOT Wisdom, which means a Chaladin gets to use this likely to a greater effect than an actual Cleric would.

Weapon of the Gods: Another "attack" power that isn't really. It's a weapon buff that takes a minor action to activate. The extra radiant damage is nice, but the -2 penalty to AC it inflicts with every hit is the real value here. It works with any weapon attack for the encounter.

Encounter 7:

Strength, Weapon:

Strengthen the Faithful: Triggering healing surges on thyself and adjacent allies with a decently damaging attack is always nice. Thy CHA modifier should at least be positive, so thou wilt get a healing bonus.

Daily 9:

"Other":

Blade Barrier: Another "attack" that does NOT require an attack roll. An excellent battlefield control spell that inflicts nasty damage if enemies move through it. Uses WIS to determine bonus damage. Can be sustained with minor actions. Thou give up some stickiness from the CHA-based Paladin powers at this level to take this, but in this case, it might be worth it.

Strength, Implement:

Divine Power: Regeneration 5 for the rest of the encounter, and any allies within 2 squares of thee get a +2 power bonus to AC for the encounter. A more than worthy Adept Power for this level, and an amazing buff, even if STR isn't thy attack stat.

Daily 15:

Strength, Weapon:

Holy Spark: Better than Bloodied Retribution (although that's not much of an accomplishment). It's vs. Will and weapon-based, and makes the enemy crackle lightning onto its allies for decent damage each turn (save ends this). Worth a look mostly because Straladins have no good pure attack power here.

Utility 16:

Astral Shield: Giving thee something else useful to do with thy move action is a good thing when it's best for thee to tactically stay in place. The shield, which gives a +2 AC bonus, lasts for the whole encounter and the power itself is encounter-renewable, to boot, which is sweet on toast.

Divine Armor: A solid defensive spell all around, made so by the resist 5 to all damage it provides for a whole encounter.

Hallowed Ground: The size of the zone is very good (close burst 5), and the bonuses on both offense (attack roll bonuses) and defense art even better.

Encounter 17:

Strength, Weapon:

Blinding Light: It blinds. Thou want.

Daily 19:

Strength, Implement:

Holy Wrath: The effect, which happens regardless of whether the attack that belongs to it hits or misses, is regeneration 10 and +2 power bonus to all thy attacks for the whole encounter. Translation: take this, and keep it as thy Adept Power for the rest of thy career. If Paragon Multiclassing, this is a no-brainer pick for thy Daily Paragon replacement power. The attack is incidental, really.

Strength, Weapon:

Indomitable Spirit: No, this is NOT worth considering over Holy Wrath. But it IS worth considering for Righteous Branders, who would've already taken Holy Wrath for their Paragon replacement.

Utility 22:

Angel of the Eleven Winds: A very versatile spell that can be used to rescue an ally or give thyself better movement and defenses for chasing down thy DC target.

Clarion Call of the Astral Sea: The ultimate rescue and heal spell, all in one.




Paragon paths/options
Paragon Multiclassing: Straladins should take a good, hard look at swapping for Righteous Brand, which grants a bonus to all an ally's melee attack rolls for a round equal to the modifier for the same stat thou attack with (STR). Arguably broken, with thy defender abilities thou can make even more devastating use of this in a flanking setup than an actual Cleric does.

Angelic Avenger: Chaladins make the best use of this one. Astral Vibrance is vicious against bloodied enemies with a high CHA; it's recommended to choose radiant energy. Weapon Training is great if thou use a bastard sword or fullblade; retrain that Weapon Proficiency feat thou had been using for it. Angelic Action means hefty bonuses (+4) to attack, which is awesome. Astral Wave is a WIS-based attack, but at least it's against Will, and if used as part of thy Angelic Action stands a decent chance at hitting (and making it radiant will work wonders with a Holy Avenger). Angel Ascendant is great for the flying alone.

Divine Oracle: Prophecy of Doom is amazing. It is not an attack at all (which is great for thee already), but can guarantee a critical hit for either thee or an ally at any point before the end of thy next turn. Good Omens can be very useful in the right situations. Foresight is awesome for the whole party and even better for thee; Prophetic Action can come in handy in DC-related issues; and Terrifying Insight is a nice trump card to hold, particularly for Chaladins. Hammer of Fate is a WIS-based attack, but can still be useful. The damage is great, the range is excellent (20) and it's against Will. Moreover, if thou miss, thou can replay thy standard action, and this power isn't wasted for the day. So it's good to throw out just for the hell of it.

Radiant Servant: Illuminating Attacks gives thy radiant powers, whether weapon-based or implement-based, a crit range of 19-20. This makes this PP very attractive for Chaladins and Versatile Attackers who won't qualify for weapon mastery feats in Epic Tier. Radiant Action is a brutal action point ability, and Lasting Light, combined with a Symbol of Power, makes thy save-status dailies that much more harsh against demons and undead. Both of this PP's attack powers art WIS-based, but at least they're both against typically weak defenses. The utility, Healing Sun, on the other hand, is extremely powerful in thy hands with thy high Charisma, although thou usually won't have much inclination to sustain it (it takes standard actions). Note: If playing in the Forgotten Realms, this PP becomes outclassed by the Morninglord PP, which doesn't even require a Cleric multiclass for Paladins of Amaunator to take.

Warpriest: This one is excellent for heavy bladers. Warpriest's Challenge is perfect with Heavy Blade Opportunity, whether it's a Straladin with Holy Strike or a Chaladin with Enfeebling Strike (and since it's a mark those two powers will function to their fullest effects). The mark requires no engagement clause to keep active for the whole encounter, which makes it better than Divine Challenge in a lot of cases. Or use this, then Divine Challenge on a second enemy thou want to lock down. Warpriest's Training gives extra AC, and Warpriest's Strategy is very handy. The attack powers on the other hand, aren't great (and they're WIS-based), but Battle Pyres is at least worth a shot every once in a while (it attacks Will).


***Warlord***

All Paladins, including Chaladins, benefit from the Martial Leader's excellent array of utility powers. But it's Straladins that have full reign of multiclassing here, as all Warlord and related paragon paths' attack powers use STR for the attack roll. Versatile Attackers multiclass best of all with the Warlord, being able to take great advantage of the attack powers that use Charisma as the secondary stat. The only slight negative is that thou cannot select a Presence, so choose encounter powers, in particular, wisely. Fortunately, some of them are really good even without use of the relevant Presence. Also worthy of note: all feats used to enter Warlord multiclassing give thee a choice to train any skill on the Warlord's class list (Athletics is a good one), so unlike Cleric multiclassing, thou does not waste a skill training opportunity.

Multiclass entry feats
Student of Battle: Daily use of Inspiring Word. Eh, thou has better options now.

Inspiring Leader (MP): Requires STR 13 and CHA 13, which thou should get easily. Of the two entry feats that matter to Paladins, this is the clear superior, with its ability usable per encounter. It's a great ability, too, granting an ally using an action point a healthy amount of temporary hit points.


Power swaps
Encounter 1:

Warlord's Favor: Good at this level even with no Presence with its +2 power bonus to all attack rolls for an ally until the end of thy next turn within 5 squares.

Myrmidon Formation (MP): 5 temporary hit points for adjacent allies whether thou hit or miss. Not bad, particularly early on.

Daily 1:

Bastion of Defense: Great damage on hit and gives thy allies a defense bonus. On top of that, regardless of hit or miss, gives thy party a healthy amount of temporary hit points, based on CHA, for a power of this level.

Fearless Rescue (MP): Great Defender-esque power early on (so dramatic, too). Keeps an ally in the fight and lands a slightly more accurate blow on the assailant than usual.

Utility 2:

Knight's Move: If thou planned on staying put for the round, but thy ally needed repositioning, this is a great use of thy move action. It's encounter-renewable, too.

Shake it Off: This encounter utility is a minor action, which alone makes it much better than the Cleric's Divine Aid. The range is 10, and this uses thy Charisma modifier for the saving throw bonus, which also makes it better than the Paladin's own Cleansing Spirit at Lv. 10. And it also works on thyself. Thou can never have enough abilities per encounter like this.

Rub Some Dirt On It (MP): Temporary hit points (5 + CHA modifier) on thyself if bloodied or a bloodied ally next to thee. Pretty good.

Daily 5:

Stand the Fallen: A great combo attack/heal. The healing surge triggering effect on all allies has great range (burst 10), and heals extra based on thy Charisma.

Villain's Nightmare: Trap. An enemy adjacent to thee will likely try to shift away from thee, rather than walk or run.

Daily 9:

White Raven Strike: This one's not reliant on the makeup of thy party. It gives a solid amount of temporary HPs to two allies. It's an even better finishing move, in which case it increases the temporary HPs by thy CHA modifier.

Disheartening Flurry (MP): -2 to saving throws for a whole encounter on all adjacent enemies in thy close burst, whether the attack hits or not. Thou want this.

Utility 10:

Defensive Rally: Usable in a wider variety of situations than the Paladin's own Turn the Tide. Saving throw is only against one effect, but the healing surge trigger and defense bonuses probably give this one the edge overall.

Instant Planning (MP): No Presence for this daily, but thou get to take full advantage of the strongest benefit of the bunch anyway, so it matters not. Granting all allies within a close burst 5 AND thyself CHA-modifier power bonus to attack rolls until the end of thy next turn is insane.

Daily 15:

Make Them Bleed: Ahh, the crap level for Straladins; luckily, we have attacks like these to make up for it with Adept Power. The hit itself is solid, but even better, everytime thou or an ally attacks the target for the rest of the encounter, the attack deals ongoing 5 damage that must be ended with a save. This can add up quickly.

Renew the Troops: On a hit, this triggers free healing equal to all allies' healing surge values plus thy CHA modifier. Yes, this is nice. Even on a miss, it heals all allies a modicum.

War Master's Assault (MP): This one can be utterly brutal, especially if thou are a Versatile Attacker and thou have allies with good melee basic attacks as well. CHA bonus to attack rolls is great.

Utility 16:

Warlord's Banner: A mass healing surge trigger coupled with a +2 bonus to all thy allies' attacks until the end of thy next turn? And it's an encounter power? Yes, please.

White Raven Formation: Giving allies free movement is always useful.

Encounter 17:

Hail of Steel: Free basic attacks from allies against the target = good. Especially if thy allies are either STR-based melee attackers or have good ranged attacks. Presence-independent.

Warlord's Rush: Grants all allies the chance to move their speed if it hits. Even if it misses, one ally can do so. Also Presence-independent.

Utility 22:

Heart of the Titan: This one's ridiculous with a high Charisma modifier. It's versatile, in that thou can either use this on thyself or an ally. Gives the target a whole lot of temporary hit points, and as long as any of those are still remaining on the target, they get thy Charisma modifier bonus to all damage rolls (very nice!) and a whole bunch of immunities.

Avenge Me (MP): As a Defender trying to take all the hits, thou might fall every once in a while. This one buffs thy party's attack and damage rolls and gives them a CHA-powered healing opportunity when thou do fall in battle.

Stirring Declaration (MP): This stance does nice things. Like grant all allies within 10 squares of thee 5 + CHA modifier temporary hit points whenever thou hit an enemy with any attack.

Encounter 23:

Sudden Assault: A flat out broken power, as thou knowst well by now. Even without the benefits of a Presence. If one of thy allies also has this power (from being a Warlord or multiclassing into one) thou art looking at possibly a three-standard-action chain, and more than that if other allies have it as well. And that's not even going into the possibility of an infinite chain that happens with two Demigods/Chosen with this power at Lv. 30.

Encounter 27:

Warlord's Doom: Not too many powers at this level will get mentioned because Stunning Smite is such a difficult power to sacrifice. But the ability to cause automatic failure on saving throws is very powerful and is also prime material for Demigod/Chosen abuse.

Daily 29:

Defy Death: Now that Lv. 15 phases out, use thy Adept Power on one of the Warlord attacks at this level. They're better than Powerful Faith. This one is an altogether amazing power that fits thy defender role perfectly. Immediate action, plenty of damage and can flat out save an ally.

Stand Invincible: Also amazing. Regardless of whether this thing hits or misses, it provides thyself and all allies with high bonuses to all defenses and resist 5 to all damage, which can be sustained with minor actions.

Inexorable Surge (MP): Full-blown killing spree. The CHA-modifier untyped damage bonus jumps from one dead enemy to the next victim until they're all dead (and ganging up on one enemy at a time is typically the optimal strategy, anyway). It's also great that the attack that starts this mayhem has the Reliable keyword and comes with a +2 bonus to hit AC.




Paragon paths/options
Combat Veteran: Tough as Nails gives thee an extra healing surge that makes thee an even tougher nut to crack, and a Hammer Master shall love the CON modifier value that gets added to all healing surges. Combat Veteran's Action is tactically useful especially for Strikers. Skirmish Ploy is an attack against Reflex that dazes, allows thee to slide the enemy and allows an ally to move in position against the enemy ... perfect with a Rogue in the party. Miss Me Once is an encounter-renewable immediate interrupt utility that gives free combat advantage against the enemy to thy allies.

Knight Commander: Versatile Attackers make best use of this one. Press of Arms puts thy CHA modifier to constructive use, and Honor and Glory grants +2 untyped bonus to attack rolls. Powers are decent.
***Fighter***

Fighters have some solid defender utility powers -- including at Lv. 2 -- that can benefit any Paladin. Straladins obviously have the advantage in their selection of attack powers overall (and a monopoly on paragon paths), but several Fighter daily attack powers are stances that don't use attack rolls to do their damage, or use melee basic attacks, making them useful even for Chaladins. Also, some Fighter powers rely on a specific weapon, and that's their "feature," which really makes it a good choice for thee since as long as thou art using that weapon, thou has access to that "feature." Also, all entry feats give thee a choice in thy skill training among any skill on the Fighter's list.

Multiclass entry feats
Student of the Sword: With a choice of either one-handed or two-handed weapons, thou get to add +1 to an attack roll once per encounter (good for trying to land something crucial), and the attack thou boosted marks the target for a round.

Battle Awareness (MP): Requires STR 13, WIS 13. Basically grants the other half of the Fighter's Combat Challenge that Student of the Sword didn't grant -- the immediate interrupt attack. No mark is needed to make this attack, which can be done once per encounter.


Power swaps
Encounter 1:

Steel Serpent Strike: A great sticky control power. When it hits, the enemy is slowed and can't shift until the end of thy next turn. Although if thou dost wield a heavy blade, thou shall want to consider Dance of Steel instead of this.

Daily 1:

Villain's Menace: A great target for Adept Power early on. It's definitely better than Paladin's Judgment and the Lv. 5 Martyr's Retribution, giving thee a +2 power bonus to attack rolls for the entire encounter if it hits, and even if it misses, a +1 power bonus. The hefty damage bonus is gravy.

Lasting Threat (MP): Champions of Order, this one's for thee. A mark that lasts for a whole encounter or until thou are knocked unconscious and can't be superseded. Follow this attack up with Certain Justice, whose effect lasts as long as a mark lasts. Perfect for knocking an Elite or Solo out of commission if it's accompanied by standard enemies, and also great against enemies who have means of preventing thee from maintaining DC.

Utility 2:

Boundless Endurance: This stance gives regeneration while bloodied that scales with levels very well. The perfect fill-in at the level where the Paladin class is perhaps the weakest and a great candidate for thy Acolyte Power for the rest of thy career.

Pass Forward (MP): Boundless Endurance gets some competition. An at-will utility and a great tactical movement power.

Encounter 3:

Dance of Steel: Thou heavy bladers shall want to scoop this one up to stop an enemy thou hit dead in its tracks. In Heroic Tier, immobilization is a very good thing.

Rain of Blows: Thou art not likely to use this power to its fullest effect, since thou wilt not have the Dexterity and the associated weapons art not typical Paladin fare. But even two attacks on an enemy is very damaging (and the possibility of four attacks with the proper weapons and DEX is actually broken and needs to be errata-ed anyway).

Sweeping Blow: For heavy bladers and axe-wielders, this is a Whirlwind-type attack (close burst 1) with an enhanced chance of connecting. Worth a look.

Probing Attack (MP): Attack Reflex and sets up some devastating followups with its huge power bonus to attack rolls. Paladins of Tempus will especially love this one to ensure their followups score a hit and thus the auto crit.

Daily 5:

Rain of Steel: A stance that automatically does 1[W] damage on all enemies that start their turns next to thee. No attack rolls, so a Chaladin can use it just as well. Also note that since it has the Weapon keyword still and that 1[W] is a damage roll, things like Weapon Focus still get added. And also nice things like Wrath of the Gods.

Daily 9:

Thicket of Blades: Does solid damage to all surrounding enemies and slows them until they save. An effective sticky power, and if thou somehow manages to miss every single enemy, it's a reliable power.

Victorious Surge: Decent damage, and on top of that, a healing surge's worth of healing that does NOT consume a healing surge.

Encounter 13:

Anvil of Doom: If thou art a prospective Hammer Master, grab this with Novice Power and don't let go for a very long time. Stunning is awesome. Period.

Chains of Sorrow: For those NOT wielding a hammer, this one is worth a look simply for the -2 debuff to all defenses until the end of thy next turn.

Daily 15:

Unyielding Avalanche: The big brother of Rain of Steel, and an excellent, excellent sticky battlefield control stance. Thou get regeneration equal to CON modifier and power bonuses of +1 to AC and saving throws. Enemies that start their turns next to thee take 1[W] damage (again, plus any static modifiers from feats and powers since it's a damage roll) and are slowed (which sure makes DC maintenance easier). Like Rain of Steel, amazingly synergistic with Wrath of the Gods, and a power a Chaladin might even want to delay or sacrifice True Nemesis for.

Daily 19:

Strike of the Watchful Guard: A great power if thou art the off-defender in a two-defender party. It can set up a power play with the main defender's mark. For that matter, it's also good against thy DC target, being able to take free action attacks in addition to the DC damage. For Straladins in particular, it's a good way to make up for their weaker DC.

Encounter 23:

Skullcrusher: Does great damage with a hammer (important for thou Hammer Masters), and dazes and blinds.

Encounter 27:

Indomitable Battle Strike: If thou art a Versatile Attacker Paladin/Justiciar, thou might actually want to consider this one. Punish with Just Radiance in the following round.




Paragon paths/options
Paragon Multiclassing: Good for one reason: the feat Battle Acumen (MP), which gives thee Combat Superiority, a.k.a. the very reason the Fighter is better than thee on the front line. If thou are also interested in swapping an at-will (note that thou does not HAVE to), thou might want to consider Crushing Surge (MP), Brash Strike (MP) (if using an axe or hammer, instead), or Dual Strike (MP) (if thou dual-wield for some reason).

Kensei: Extra +1 to hit and +4 to damage with thy weapon type of choice. That's really all this PP needs. Everything else is gravy.

Pit Fighter: Not quite as attractive an option anymore with Son of Mercy around.


***Warlock***

Only Chaladins need apply, preferably those worshiping Corellon. Worshiping Corellon allows thee to use his Star as an implement for both thy Divine and Arcane attacks. Otherwise, thou would have to forego a shield to carry an off-hand Warlock implement (not a pleasant prospect). Also, thou can remove any attack powers of the Infernal variety from thy consideration, as all those powers use CON as an attack stat. Finally, keep in mind that nothing in the RAW seems to prohibit adding a negative Intelligence modifier to some of these powers' effects, which would actually weaken them, so be wary of that when power-swapping.

Multiclass entry feats
Pact Initiate: Currently the only entry feat for Warlock multiclassing. It serves its purpose ... unless thou are Paragon Multiclassing for Eyebite, in which case the at-will this feat grants as an encounter power is dead weight. And the access to thy Warlock PP is also dead weight with no Curse.


Power swaps
Encounter 1:

Dreadful Word (Star): Attacks Will, and the ensuing penalty to Will defense makes allies with Will-targeting attacks very happy.

Witchfire (Fey): Attacks Reflex. This is excellent to pull off against an elusive Skirmisher, Controller or Artillery thou has marked by DC, locking them down at range for another round and making it even more difficult for them to hit one of thy allies.

Daily 1:

Dread Star (Star): Also solid damage against Will. The -2 penalty to Will defense, which happens even on a miss, is nice. Immobilization is gravy.

Utility 2:

Ethereal Stride (Star): A per-encounter teleportation utility as a move action is awesome, and thou even gets a +2 power bonus to all defenses after. Great for moving next to an enemy without drawing OAs from its buddies. A definite target for thy Acolyte Power feat.

Encounter 3:

Upsetting Onslaught (Dark) (FRPG): Attacks Will and dazes unless the enemy chooses to eat some damage. The dazing part makes it worth a look, and if thou took the Dark Pact, thou can choose to attack Fortitude in those cases where it may be the lower defense.

Daily 5:

Crown of Madness (Fey): Nothing quite like powers that make thy target attack one of its allies. Attacks Will.

Forceful Assault (Dark) (FRPG): Attacks Reflex and dazes (save ends). Dazing is, of course, good.

Utility 6:

Shroud of Black Steel (Infernal): A minor action personal buff that gives thee +2 power bonuses to AC and Fortitude at an expense of -2 to speed. As speed isn't as important for Paladins as it is for other classes, that's a price thou might be willing to pay.

Encounter 7:

Mire the Mind (Fey): Makes potentially thy entire party invisible to thy target for a turn, and it's pretty likely to hit since it attacks Will. It's Eyebite, massively enhanced. It's still Psychic, but it's an Illusion, not a Charm. Yea, this power is awesome, and easily the best use of thy Novice Power feat not only up to this point, but for the rest of thy career.

If thou art undergoing Warlock Paragon Multiclassing, this is easily a no-brainer pick for thy paragon path replacement encounter power.

Daily 9:

Curse of the Black Frost (Fey): Attacks Reflex and does solid damage to an enemy if it moves for any reason (including pushing, pulling or sliding). Sustaining it does even more damage, until the enemy saves.

Thief of Five Fates (Star): Attacks Will. Doesn't do any damage, but can make an enemy fail any attack roll or saving throw. Can be sustained with more attacks vs. Will.

Encounter 13:

Bewitching Whispers (Fey): This should really only be considered if thou PM-ed Warlock, in which case thou took Mire the Mind as thy paragon replacement power at Lv. 11. In that particular case, thou might as well use thy Novice Power on this. This Charm attack versus Will turns a powerful enemy into a liability to its buddies if it hits. Handy at times. And at least it's better than either weak Chaladin power at this level.

Utility 16:

Infuriating Elusiveness (Fey): Invisibility and teleportation together as a move action. A good power, although thou still might want to keep Ethereal Stride at Lv. 2 as thy Acolyte Power, instead. The Paladin's Death Ward at this level at least holds its own; his/her Lv. 2 powers do not.

Daily 19:

Delusions of Loyalty (Fey): This attack against Will (which means it hits often) forces thy enemy to attack one of its allies as a standard action if it attacked thee since thy last turn. And it loses its standard action if it can't attack. This can be sustained with minor actions.

Wrath of Acamar (Star): Attacks Reflex and banishes the enemy from the battlefield until they save to be able to return, and they take 1d10 necrotic damage while in that starry realm to which thou sent them. A good power that can buy thy allies a few rounds tactically with possibly the greatest threat out of the picture.

Passionate Betrayal (Dark) (FRPG): Domination is THE best status effect in the game. It attacks Will, and the saving throw penalty comes into play quite often, potentially making the domination last quite a while. This is a no-brainer choice for the Paragon replacement power if PM-ing. Otherwise, it's the no-brainer choice for thy Adept Power for the rest of thy career.




Paragon paths/options
Paragon Multiclassing: Thy target is Eyebite, which can synergize brutally with Divine Challenge. Even without good Stealth skill (which is likely for thee), the enemy is looking at a -5 penalty to hit thee for being invincible to them, and if the enemy would rather attack an ally instead, he does so at a penalty and gets zapped. Either way, thou win. To set this up, retrain thy Pact Initiate to something other than the Fey pact at some point before Paragon tier so thou actually open up access to Eyebite for PM.


***Ranger***

Perception is a Ranger class skill, so multiclassing here lets thee train that one. Rangers have solid Utility 2 powers, where Paladins are, of course, extremely weak, so take one of those with the Acolyte Power feat. As for attack powers, those are for Straladins only. Just make sure not to select anything that uses a beast companion, as thou can't get one via multiclassing. Depending on which multiclass entry feat thou took, dual-wielding powers may or may not be optimal; fortunately, Rangers do have some solid melee attack powers that do not require dual-wielding.

Multiclass entry feats
Warrior of the Wild: Gives thee a per-encounter use of Hunter's Quarry that lasts until the end of thy next turn (so it can potentially apply the damage twice). If thou do not plan on take dual-wielding powers, use this feat to enter Ranger multiclassing.

Two-Blade Warrior (MP): Requires both STR and DEX at 13. If thou plan on taking dual-wielding powers (unorthodox for a Paladin, to be sure, but can be effective), use this feat to enter Ranger multiclassing. It makes those powers a lot more viable with a bastard sword or scimitar being used as an off-hand weapon.


Power swaps
Utility 2:

Crucial Advice: A versatile power that can help an ally in a skill check. Help the Cleric cast a Religion-related or Heal-related ritual. Assuming thou are not the party face, help with Diplomacy. A lot of possibilities here. It's encounter-renewable, too.

Unbalancing Parry: This one is actually even better in thy hands than in the hands of an actual Ranger, since thy defenses tend to be higher. Not only dost thou gain combat advantage automatically, but thou get to slide the target to ANY square adjacent to thee. Slide that target to set up a flank with a nearby Rogue, or a general rock vs. hard place situation with a Fighter. All as an immediate reaction. And it's also encounter-renewable.

Yield Ground: Free shift plus a +2 power bonus to all defenses if thou takes damage from an attack. An immediate reaction, and encounter-renewable.

Encounter 3:

Disruptive Strike: This one shall be thy best friend for quite a while. Definitely make this thy Novice Power. It's an immediate interrupt against an attack targeted for thee or an ally. It does NOT require dual-wielding in melee. And if it hits, the enemy's triggering attack stands a significantly lower chance of connecting. This is a fantastic way to screw over thy DC target.

Daily 9:

Attacks on the Run: One of the most damaging attacks in the game, with a free full move action attached. This power does NOT require dual-wielding, and it's especially grand for chasing down a DC target otherwise out of range. Even if that's not the case, the damage is gross. Take this as thy Adept Power and hold on to it for a very, very long time.

Utility 10:

Undaunted Stride: Moving freely through difficult terrain is always at least worth a look, at least until Epic Tier.

Encounter 13:

Armor Splinter: Requires dual-wielding, but it's too good not to mention. The debuff to AC if it hits ranges from disgusting to inhumane. Definitely worth at least a look.

Daily 15:

Stunning Steel: A better fit for thy role than Blade Cascade, which requires setup to be used to its fullest effect, and maneuvering for setup is not thy role. This power does require dual-wielding, but Lv. 15 STR-Paladin powers art inadequate, so it at least gets mentioned. Even if this hits once, it stuns the enemy until they save to end it. Attacks Fortitude.

Daily 19:

Cruel Cage of Steel: Requires dual-wielding, but like Stunning Steel, is too good of a debilitating attack to ignore entirely. All attacks are made at a +2 bonus vs. AC, which helps a lot.

Encounter 23:

Blade Ward: Whether it's an all-out replacement for Disruptive Strike is debatable, but it does have some giant perks of its own. Like Disruptive Strike, this does NOT require dual-wielding. Unlike Disruptive Strike, this only works on an attack against thee. But this immediate interrupt also inflicts a potentially massive penalty (equal to thy WIS modifier) to all the attacker's attacks against thee until the end of thy next turn, regardless of a hit or miss. Another great way to screw over a DC target, in particular.






*** Some feats and paragon paths are opened up if thou multiclass with ANY class from a given power source:



***Sorcerer (PHB2) ***









***Warden (PHB2) ***







(blah blah)
10. Equipment: Tools for Thy Task.

In the interest of space and sanity, I'll only detail items Paladins should care about, and note the occasional trap. Items are listed by their minimum levels.

A couple of general rules:

- Items with properties or at-will powers, and a few items with particularly useful encounter powers, are far, FAR better than items at comparable levels with only daily powers. For an item with only a daily power to be worth it, that daily had better be competitive with an average daily class power of the item's level, or have the effect of an expensive ritual. Also mind the limit on the total use of daily item powers per day (one in Heroic, two in Paragon, three in Epic, +1 per milestone).

- Most items listed are useful in a large variety of situations. Most items only geared toward fighting certain enemies aren't on this list.

- Most Wondrous Items are a no-brainer: Thou would surely want them, and they take up no slots. A few that are particularly good in combat and skill challenges will be noted, though.

***Armor***

All armors listed come in either scale or plate, which are the only armors a Paladin should consider wearing.

Show
Lv. 2

Dwarven: Item bonus to Endurance as a property and essentially an extra healing surge per day makes for a solid choice early.

Immunizing (AV): Poison is a fairly common threat at the lower levels, and auto success against ongoing poison damage is very good. Once per encounter, thou can even stop it from ever happening.

Veteran's (AV): Bonuses to attack and defenses when thou spend an action point. Very solid. History lesson: This armor used to have an outright broken power, but then the errata gods removed it.

Lv. 3

Curseforged: Daily power only, but it's a pretty good one, inflicting a rather hefty penalty to attacks that scales with Tier, and even after the first save still leaves a -1 penalty to attacks until they save a second time. Scale only (well, and chain, but that matters not).

Heartening (AV): Solid property that gives thee a saving throw bonus against fear effects and makes thy second wind better by granting a solid amount of temporary hit points. Better for Dwarves, and also good for Purple Dragon Knights.

Lifegiving (AV): Necrotic resistance as a property with a fairly good daily healing spell. Plate only.

Meliorating (AV): Armor that gets better as the day grows longer. Great potential.

Versatile (AV): The at-will power allows thee to switch between "normal plate" mode and a "light mode." Light mode can come in handy sometimes, and it should be noted that with Plate Specialization, this armor in light mode is the same in function as Scale with Specialization.

Lv. 4

Black Iron: Two resistances (fire and necrotic) as a property.

Fortification (AV): A property giving a 25% chance to nullify a crit is nothing to sneeze at.

Pelaurum (AV): Another two-resistance property armor (fire and radiant).

Reinforcing (AV): +1 item bonus to all defenses until the start of thy next turn whenever getting hit with a melee attack is a solid property.

Salubrious (AV): Tier-scaling item bonus to AC whenever thou regain hit points. Between thy own and thy Leader's healing powers, this is great. Works wonders with something that gives regeneration.

Verve (AV): A potential lifesaver of a property with its +2 untyped bonus to death saving throws. Its daily power is also solid.

Lv. 5

Battleforged: Appreciably stronger second wind when bloodied. Worth a look from Dwarves and Purple Dragon Knights.

Agile (AV): Item bonus to AC equal to DEX modifier as long as thou art not bloodied. Wonderful for heavy bladers.

Armor of Sacrifice (AV): A pure Defender function as an at-will. Especially good for relieving those glass cannon allies of thine of ongoing damage.

Shared Suffering (AV): A fairly good encounter power against strong enemies that use ongoing damage attacks.

Lv. 6

Imposter's (AV): Not particularly special in combat, but its at-will disguise can be useful in a variety of situations with Bluff trained. And at least it costs the same as standard Magic Armor of the same enhancement bonus.

Summoned (AV): Again, not special in combat by itself, but in an ambush situation, for example, this isn't bad to have around at all. Also costs the same as standard Magic Armor of the same enhancement bonus.

Lv. 8

Bloodiron (AV): +2 item bonus to AC until the end of thy next turn just for scoring a hit. Very nice.

Lv. 9

Righteous (AV): Radiant damage to an enemy with combat advantage who hits thee. Morninglords will give this a look.

Lv. 13

Hydra: Scale only. Its property grants thee regeneration for a whole encounter (scales from 5 to 10 in Epic Tier) if thou suffer a critical hit. Very nice.

Coral (AV): Great for particularly aquatic campaigns. Otherwise, meh.

Lv. 14

Bonegrim (AV): This plate-only armor provides some great, tier-scaling benefits ... if thou planned on not ever removing the armor (???).

Lv. 15

Assassinbane (AV): Good property. Preventing surprise is quite valuable.

Lv. 18

Dragonscale (black, white) (AV): Scale only, as its name implies. Dragonscale armors give strong, tier-scaling resistances as properties based on their type and come with decent (typically offensive in nature) daily powers.

Lv. 19

Soulforged: The property is a potential lifesaver. Take that extra moment of consciousness thou get to heal. Plate only.

Dragonscale (blue, green) (AV): Scale only, as its name implies. Dragonscale armors give strong, tier-scaling resistances as properties based on their type and come with decent (typically offensive in nature) daily powers.

Lv. 20

Dragonscale (red) (AV): Scale only, as its name implies. Dragonscale armors give strong, tier-scaling resistances as properties based on their type and come with decent (typically offensive in nature) daily powers.

Lv. 24

Soulwarding (AV): Decent dual-resistances (10 necrotic and 10 psychic), but even more importantly has another property that protects thee from attacks that would deplete thy healing surges.


***Weapons***

All weapons listed come in flavors of axe, heavy blade or hammer. In other words, the only weapons Paladins should be using.

Show
Lv. 2

Vicious: The basic +1d12-per-plus criticals weapon. Solid, but only spectacular every once in a while.

Bloodclaw (AV): For the love of all that is holy, what were they thinking??? This is broken to the core. In terms of pure damage potential, nothing else comes close. The damage bonus is untyped (extremely obscene; at least Reckless' and Radiant's extra damage are power and item bonuses, respectively). And as it's a Lv. 2 base, it's available early and it's cheap. The only reason thou does not use this is if DPR is not a priority for thee (which, granted, is quite possible). A high-CHA Paladin with Bolstering Strike and a good WIS can use this all day with nigh-impunity. A Straladin/Morninglord using this with Holy Strike does especially disgusting damage.

Defensive (AV): Gives potentially huge item bonuses to all defenses until the start of thy next turn with total defense or second wind. Makes second wind worth it even for non-Dwarves, and Dwarves will put this to even better use.

Flesh seeker (AV): Encounter power gives thee a better chance at a follow-up. Handy at times.

Pact Hammer (AV): For Dwarven Paladin/Warlocks. Good for avoiding an off-hand implement so thou can use a shield.

Pact Sword (AV): For Eladrin Paladin/Warlocks. Good for avoiding an off-hand implement so thou can use a shield.

Lv. 3

Inescapable (AV): A cumulative untyped bonus every time thou miss up to the enhancement bonus of the weapon until thou hit the target or switch targets. This can be very helpful in setting up something crucial.

Reckless (AV): Another weapon with huge damage potential, though not quite Bloodclaw's obscene amount. The damage bonus is also a power bonus, unlike the Bloodclaw's untyped bonus, so it overlaps rather than stacks with a lot of powers in the game that provide damage bonuses. The -2 penalty to AC when using the at-will also makes judicious use necessary.

Subtle (AV): Essentially doubles thy enhancement bonus' worth of damage whenever thou has combat advantage on an enemy. And the extra damage bonus is untyped.

Lv. 4

Terror: One of the few cases where an item with only a daily power is worth a look. The daily is quite good (as long as the enemy isn't immune to fear), inflicting a -2 penalty to all defenses and requiring a save to end the debuff condition. The crit damage is +1d8 per plus, so it's a little better than the standard there.

Battlecrazed (AV): The property makes thee inflict a decent amount of extra damage when bloodied. Not quite Bloodclaw, but then again, what is? The daily is only situational, but it's there when thou might need it. Axe or heavy blade only.

Communal (AV): An interesting weapon that can help thy ally on a crucial d20 check.

Medic's (AV): Decent property for a Chaladin or Versatile Attacker with a good Channel Divinity feat. The daily lets thee use Channel Divinity twice in an encounter.

Sunblade (AV): Heavy blade only. We call this a "training lightsaber." While it doesn't have the damage potential of a Radiant Weapon by itself, those standard lightsabers also aren't available until the next tier, so this is a great way for Chaladins without Holy Strike to get at-will access to the Radiant keyword early on. The weapon emits light, too, making it very useful in dark places and eliminating concealment. On another note: if equipped with another item that grants an item bonus to damage (such as the Iron Armbands of Power), this is actually better than a Radiant Weapon, since the Radiant Weapon's extra damage bonus, also an item bonus, won't stack.

Lv. 5

Flaming: Otherwise known as the reason for being a Tiefling. This weapon is sky blue for them. Otherwise, it's decent. A great boon against trolls, but nothing too special otherwise.

Vengeful (AV): Decent. Encounter power gives thee a power bonus to attack rolls in a situation that comes up fairly often.

Lv. 6

Grasping (AV): Glaive and halberd wielders shall want to note this weapon. The property allows thee to grab targets and attack grabbed targets, and the encounter power grabs and pulls targets next to thee. Great for maintaining DC and otherwise keeping an enemy close. And on top of this, it costs the same as a regular Magic Weapon of the same enhancement bonus. Thou does give up bonus damage on a critical, but in this case it's actually worth it. Great value.

Lv. 8

Frost: It was actually available at Lv. 3, but since it doesn't become useful at all until Paragon Tier (with Lasting Frost and Wintertouched in play), it shall receive its first mention here with Paragon Tier only three levels away. Once thou hit Paragon Tier and take those two aforementioned feats thou can set up combat advantage whenever thou please with the Cold keyword turned on.

Adamantine (AV): Ignore resistance with untyped damage up to twice enhancement bonus, and also comes with strong crit damage (+1d10 per plus).

Cunning (AV): Amazing weapon that inflicts significant penalties to saving throws against effects inflicted by this weapon, be it from the Paladin's own class powers, powers from multiclassing, item powers that do their work on a hit, certain feats like Triumphant Attack or Font of Radiance, etc.

Dread (AV): Criticals from this weapon can set up some nice power plays. Good for Paladins of Tempus and Divine Oracle multiclassers, in particular.

Force (AV): Synergy with the Solid Sound feat in Paragon Tier as long as the Force keyword at-will is turned on makes this a worthy pick.

Lv. 9

Crusader's (AV): And thus hammer wielders get the earliest access to weapons that can also serve as holy symbols. In addition, half of the damage dealt by this weapon is radiant, so it's good against undead and Morninglords will really like this one after Lv. 16. The daily allows thee to use Channel Divinity again in an encounter.

Feyslaughter (AV): Good against teleporting enemies, of which there are quite a few.

Lv. 10

Berserker: Good critical damage (+1d10 per plus) and comes with a potentially powerful, albeit risky daily.

Righteous (AV): Evil and chaotic evil enemies are common, obviously, so the somewhat enhanced critical damage and the save-ends version of the daily's daze will see quite a bit of play. Not the best, but decent.

Lv. 12

Jagged (AV): Axe or heavy blade. Scores crits on a 19-20, thus allowing access to consistent expanded crit range well before Epic Tier. On a crit it causes gross amounts of ongoing damage (save ends) that only gets better in Epic Tier (from 10 to 20).

Lv. 13

Bloodiron (AV): This is pretty much strictly better than a Vicious Weapon, although not overwhelming in the grand scheme of things.

Bloodthirsty (AV): Good critical damage (+1d10 per plus) and grants a +1 item bonus to attack rolls against bloodied enemies, as well as an item bonus to damage against those. Fairly good weapon, overall.

Desiccating (AV): Cumulative penalties to Fortitude (save ends) can set up one of thy Fortitude-targeting attacks.

Farslayer (AV): Convenient for maintaining DC.

Withering (AV): Like Desiccating, except the cumulative penalties are to AC (again, save ends). Since more of thy attacks target AC, this shall see more play.

Lv. 15

Radiant (AV): Otherwise known as a "lightsaber" (it can be any weapon, though). When its Radiant keyword is activated (at-will on/off switch) it doubles the enhancement bonus' worth of damage. The extra damage is an item bonus, so keep that in mind when selecting other equipment. Overall, one of the best weapons in the game. Chaladins who won't have Holy Strike will especially love it.

Lv. 19

Moradin's (AV): Hammer only. Crits like a Vicious Weapon (+1d12 per plus). If thou worship Moradin, thou get to use this weapon as an implement as well, which reduces item dependency. And those crits sure are lovely on implement attacks.

Blade of Bahamut (AV): Heavy Blade only. If thou worship Bahamut, thou can use this as an implement as well. The greatest boon in general is the strong crit damage (+1d10 per plus). The daily is a decent, for an item power anyway, combination area of effect damage and mass healing spell.

Tenacious (AV): Solid encounter power lets thee roll twice on an attack and keep the better result.

Lv. 20

Dancing: Comes in heavy blades. Looks cool, but it sucks. Thou give up thy opportunity attacks when putting this weapon in dancing mode, which thou can only do as a daily, anyway.

Jarring (AV): For Hammers. Daily power only, but it's a pretty good one that weakens and dazes until the enemy saves.

Lucklender (AV): This one's interesting and, in the right moment, can do something special. Turn those rolls of 1 and crits against thee into something positive.

Lv. 25

Holy Avenger: The weapon any Paladin, regardless of faith, can use as an implement. Can be an axe (finally), hammer or heavy blade. The staple property of this weapon is its +1d10 damage to all powers with the Radiant keyword; this property also applies if used to deliver Radiant implement-based attacks. Versatile Attackers put this weapon to the best of use, with Holy Strike as the at-will weapon attack and an assortment of Radiant implement-based attacks in their arsenals. Self-healing criticals are also nice, and the daily power is a solid party protection when thou need it most.

Brilliant Energy (AV): Another variant on the "lightsaber." The greatest boon is the encounter power, which allows thee to target Reflex with an attack that normally targets AC. Also has good crit damage (+1d10 per plus). It gives off light, although thou can't control it a la the Sunblade. By itself, not as good overall as a Radiant Weapon, but this does become the better choice if thou have another item that gives item bonuses to damage equipped (such as the Iron Armbands of Power).

Lv. 30

Vorpal: Axe or heavy blade only. Potentially gross damage potential with its maximum damage additive rerolls. Also crits like a Vicious Weapon. The Astral Demigod uses a Vorpal to ridiculously broken effect.


***Holy Symbols***

Paladins have to wait a while before they get access to weapons that can be used as holy symbols. And even when that happens, some actual holy symbols just don't become obsolete. As a general rule, though, Paladins are loath to spend as much per plus as Clerics are for a holy symbol, but luckily some of the best symbols for Paladins are on the cheap side.

Show
Lv. 2

Symbol of Divinity (AV): The daily power gives thee an extra use of Channel Divinity in an encounter, which can be useful particularly with a strong Divinity feat. Being in the 2/7 pricing bracket helps, too. Good early on.

Lv. 3

Symbol of Divine Reach (AV): The property of extra distance on thy ranged and area attacks is an amazing thing not only early on, but for thy career to come. This symbol has great synergy with True Nemesis, in particular.

Lv. 5

Symbol of Dire Fate (AV): +1 to attack rolls on implement-based attacks against marked enemies. This is, of course, very good. Also enhances crits to +1d12 per plus against marked enemies. The only disadvantage is its 5/0 pricing bracket.

Lv. 7

Symbol of Power: Any power with a save-ends effect delivered by this symbol inflicts the enemy with a -2 penalty to their saving throws. This is awesome all the way from Radiant Delirium to Even Hand of Justice. And what else is great about this? It's in the cheap 2/7 pricing bracket. Perfect.

Lv. 8

Fist of Kord (AV): Must worship Kord to use. It allows thee to follow up thy implement attack with more devastating melee attacks (the damage bonuses art untyped, by the way). Good for Versatile Attackers.

Star of Corellon (AV): Must worship Corellon. The implement of choice for Half-Elves who took their Dilletante power from Warlock, Bard or Sorcerer. Not only does the use with arcane powers reduce thy item dependency, it also eliminates the need to pick up the respective multiclass feat to get the implement proficiency bonus with thy Dilletante power. That's huge. Of course, other races who actually are multiclassing with Warlock, Bard or Sorcerer also want this. The daily that allows thee a second use of Channel Divinity is gravy.

Sun Disk of Pelor (AV): Must worship Pelor. At-will on/off switch can turn all thy implement powers Radiant. This is great for thou Radiant Servants who can now crit on a 19-20 with all thy implement attacks. Imagine True Nemesis with that sort of bite. Also because of the way resistances work, adding the Radiant keyword also makes attacks that art normally commonly resisted, such as the fire-based Righteous Inferno or To the Nine Hells with You, much less resisted.

Lv. 15

Symbol of the Warpriest (AV): Free healing of allies when thou hit with an attack as a property. What is not to love about that? Only disadvantage is the 5/0 pricing bracket.

Lv. 18

Symbol of Sacrifice (AV): Good, selfless expansion of thy Leader subrole via a property that lets thy allies make saving throws with bonuses.

Lv. 30

Symbol of Revification (AV): Raise Dead along with an attack. It makes the list.


***Arms Slot***

Includes bracers and shields, and they'll be split up as such since thou can't equip thyself with both.
Show
Lv. 2

Shields

Jousting Shield (AV): Good property for Straladins, who are more apt to charge.

Bracers

Bracers of Mighty Striking: Decent early on, but thou would prefer the Iron Armbands of Power once thou can afford them.

Lv. 3

Bracers

Flame Bracers (AV): Decent. Extra fire damage on a crit.

Lv. 4

Shields

Mountain Shield (AV): Heavy only, the encounter power protects thy allies from forced movement. Solid.

Shield of Eyes (AV): Great shield for early on, extra AC against OAs. Daily is decent, too.

Bracers

Bloodthirst Bracers (AV): One of the better daily-power-only items at this stage. A Chaladin with a Cunning weapon can get some great use out of this.

Counterstrike Guards (AV): Gets a lot better in its Lv. 14 version, actually, when the counterattack against a miss becomes an encounter power.

Lv. 6

Shields

Flamedrinker Shield (AV): Fire resistance as a property.

Throwing Shield (AV): Good for Straladins, the at-will has solid range (10), attack bonus goes up appropriately with the Paragon and Epic Tier versions of this item. Useful for maintaining DC without the need to pull out another ranged weapon.

Bracers

Bracers of Mental Might (AV): A godsend for Chaladins who want to take a STR-based encounter or daily power in their arsenal, or a paragon path with STR-based powers.

Iron Armbands of Power (AV): Extra item bonus to damage on all melee attacks.

Lv. 7

Shields

Pelaurum Shield (AV): Pretty good extra-damage property that becomes downright amazing when used by a Morninglord.

Bracers

Razor Bracers (AV): Easier escape from grabs as well as some punishment for being grabbed.

Trauma Bracers (AV): Solid daily, but this item really gets good at Lv. 27 when it becomes an encounter power.

Lv. 8

Shields

Mithral Shield (AV): Punish radiant attacks against thee with some radiant damage back at the enemy. Decent, but not quite as versatile as the Pelaurum Shield.

Storm Shield (AV): Dual-resistance property (lightning and thunder) as well as a decent daily.

Bracers

Mindiron Vambraces (AV): The Paragon and Epic Tier versions of this item are best (stunning and dominating, respectively).

Lv. 9

Shields

Recoil Shield (AV):Encounter power knocks prone as a counterattack. Very nice.

Shadowflow Shield (AV): Concealment to an adjacent ally as an encounter power. Paragon Tier version grants it to all adjacent allies. Great.


Lv. 10

Shields

Healer's Shield (AV): Okay item for a while, but the Epic Tier version is the one that's great.

Bracers

Bloodsoaked Bracers (AV): A daily-only item that's very well worth it, granting huge power bonuses to damage rolls when bloodied.

Lv. 12

Shields

Shield of Deflection: Resist damage from all ranged attacks. Straightforward and excellent property.

Tauran Shield (AV): Bonuses to bull rush and a 1-square bonus to push powers.

Lv. 13

Shields

Stonewall Shield (AV): Daily power only, but it's a solid battlefield control spell.

Lv. 15

Bracers

Rapidstrike Bracers (AV): Property's item bonus to initiative is good. Encounter power is even better.

Lv. 17

Shields

Shield of Blocking (AV): Daily power only. It's a good one though. Resistance to all melee damage for a whole encounter.

Lv. 19

Bracers

Trollhide Bracers (AV): Another daily-power-only item that's worth it. Regeneration is great.


***Feet Slot*** (under reconstruction)

***Hands Slot*** (under reconstruction)

***Head Slot*** (under reconstruction)

***Neck Slot*** (under reconstruction)

***Rings***

Remember, thou can wear up to two rings (one per hand)

Show
Lv. 21

Ring of Tenacious Will (AV): An all-but automatic pick for a Chaladin thanks to its property.


***Waist Slot*** (under reconstruction)

***Wondrous Items*** (under reconstruction)
(reserved 10)
I'm subscribing for no reason other than the name (no actual content yet)
nm
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
Please for the love of all that is holy, get this thing written quickly.

There are so many "handbooks" on here that were reserved 2 weeks ago and have practically no content..

You have to admit the Doc is right though...it is a nice name.
Despite thy condescending attitude toward them, the fighters' guild sees fit to bump thy handbook to the first page. Additionally, they shall award thee 5 stars for the great start.

Here is a build to consider for when thou doest get to that point. It is the story of a humble Dragonborn Charismatic Glaive Gambler who becomes a Hospitaler, and eventually, a Demigod. It is available for your perusal at the following location: http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?p=16247470
Another Paladin

There are a lot of potential paladins out there...
2. Get MAD. Be thou glad this is not 3.5.

Fantastic work on this, but I have to add something to your builds, none of which have an 18 stat.

For me, there are three general ideal Pal builds (JMO), although I'm less concerned with the DEX feats than most, but they are still possible if you really want them.

1. 18 STR, dump CHA. Multi with Cleric so you can at least get one better Utility power (level 6 has Cure Serious), and a better Level 9 Daily (Divine Power, or really just any of the Cleric level 9's). +4/+4 is just a lot more fun with all of your attacks than +3/+3, and it helps your breath weapon if you're DB. Human doing Paragon Multi-Classing is an option to get a Cleric at-will.

2. 18 CHA, low (or dump) STR. Half-Elf picking up Sacred Flame or Lance of Faith is nice (maybe Eyebite). DB is still good as breath is great.

3. 16 STR/16 CHA (or pick an 18 in one), and enjoy the versatility. Easily doable for a DB.

You have done more work on late-level weapon focuses, though, which is very cool. I will think more about those that you've posted.
So, as a matter of curiosity--is their a reason other than the paucity of strength powers at some levels that you say that a paladin cannot make a damage contribution comparable to a damage focused fighter?

Granted, a paladin can't take advantage of the Power Attack/Reaping Strike synergy that a fighter can.

But a paladin can take hammer rhythm just as easily as any fighter if he wants to do damage on a miss. And when it comes to doing damage on a hit, the paladin has several ways to increase damage that fighters simply don't have. (Particularly strength based paladins). A paladin can use holy strike against his marked target to deal an extra wisdom bonus damage on every hit. That starts him out at an advantage vis a vis the fighter who doesn't get another stat to do bonus damage until taking Kensai or Pit fighter. And, at paragon tier, nothing stops the paladin from multiclassing with fighter, taking pit fighter as a paragon path and getting double mileage out of his wisdom modifier. If we consider a moderately aggressive build that starts with an 18 strength and a 16 wisdom after racial bonuses, that's weapon +7 damage at level 1 (weapon +11 damage once per combat with channel divinity). At level 16, that's weapon+16 damage. (+6 str, +5 wis from Holy strike, and +5 wisdom from pit fighter). To this neophite, those seem like pretty respectable numbers that only get better with feats, magic weapons, and radiant vulnerability. If you assume a 50% hit rate, the paladin pursuing this route is only a little bit behind the fighter using reaping strike (leaving power attack out of the equation since the paladin can use it too). And if you assume more than a 50% hit rate (due to high attack stat, +3 weapon proficiency bonus, care to obtain Combat Advantage, and bonuses from allies), it exceeds Reaping Strike by the time you hit 60% of the time.

[Pause for math: assuming that the paladin's Wis bonus is 1 less that the fighter's strength bonus, and Reaping Strike adds strength bonus damage on a miss while Holy Strike adds wis bonus damage on a hit, at a 50% hit rate, Reaping Strike is 10 points better over 20 attacks. On the other hand, if you assume a 60% hit rate, Holy Strike adds 12x(3 wis)=36 and Reaping Strike adds 8x(4 str)=32. Improve the attack bonus and the math comes out stronger in favor of Holy Strike].

So far, at least for the heroic tier. At paragon tier, if we assume that the fighter paragon paths to Kensai (being unable to take advantage of the potentially more aggressive damage increase from Pit Fighter), the fighter is adding 4 points on each hit and 6 points on each miss. The paladin is adding 10 points on each hit from the combination of Holy Strike and Pit Fighter damage boosts. Again, over 20 swings, at a 50% hit rate the fighter gets 40 damage from Kensai and 60 damage from Reaping Strike (Hammer Rhythm doesn't work in conjunction with Reaping Strike and I'm assuming that the fighter's strength is better than his Con). The paladin, on the other hand, gets 100 damage from wisdom. If we crank the hit rate back up to 60%, the paladin gets 120 extra damage from his powers but the fighter only gets 88 extra damage from his.

And the paladin can do that with a bastard sword and heavy shield if he wants to. Or he can, with a minimal investment in dex, use Heavy Blade Opportunist, Polearm Gamble, and a glaive.

Now, whether that is better than actually getting damage from your divine challenge, and doing the Champion of Order debuff routine is an open question. But it seems to me like you could build a paladin to partially fill the striker role if you really wanted to.
I agree with Elder. Pals can deal plenty of damage.

You can start at 1st level as a Human with 18 STR/16 WIS, Bastard Prof and either Weapon Focus or Astral Fire and be +7 to hit with 1d10+8 damage with Holy Strike. Average damage per hit of 13.5. And heal. And wear plate, etc.
Finally a handbook for Paladins. I've had a build in mind but I haven't found the threads to measure it against.

Great title as well.
Out of curiousity, is there any reason for a strength paladin to use Astral Fire instead of Weapon Focus? It sounds cooler, but off the top of my head it looks like you're forgoing the opportunity to do the weapon focus damage on all of your attacks that don't do radiant or fire damage--like Valiant Smite, Piercing Smite, and Paladin's Judgement.

Maybe you count on getting a flaming weapon so you can use the feat with your non-radiant attacks (Assuming that the flaming weapon makes your attacks [fire] attacks) as well as your radiant powers. If it adds to Divine Challenge damage (Divine challenge is a power and has the radiant keyword, but you don't roll for damage so it doesn't seem perfectly clear), I could see it being a great feat for any paladin (though the 13 dex/13 charisma requirement will hurt aggressively focused strength paladins).

I agree with Elder. Pals can deal plenty of damage.

You can start at 1st level as a Human with 18 STR/16 WIS, Bastard Prof and either Weapon Focus or Astral Fire and be +7 to hit with 1d10+8 damage with Holy Strike. Average damage per hit of 13.5. And heal. And wear plate, etc.

Out of curiousity, is there any reason for a strength paladin to use Astral Fire instead of Weapon Focus? It sounds cooler, but off the top of my head it looks like you're forgoing the opportunity to do the weapon focus damage on all of your attacks that don't do radiant or fire damage--like Valiant Smite, Piercing Smite, and Paladin's Judgement.

Maybe you count on getting a flaming weapon so you can use the feat with your non-radiant attacks (Assuming that the flaming weapon makes your attacks [fire] attacks) as well as your radiant powers. If it adds to Divine Challenge damage (Divine challenge is a power and has the radiant keyword, but you don't roll for damage so it doesn't seem perfectly clear), I could see it being a great feat for any paladin (though the 13 dex/13 charisma requirement will hurt aggressively focused strength paladins).

I would also choose Weapon Focus if I really wanted to do damage in the above scenario because you literally can't afford both the DEX and CHA with 18/16 (so I shouldn't have mentioned Astral Fire above), but just to make the case, here would be some reasons for Astral Fire, maybe if you went with 18/14 or 16/16 STR/WIS

Holy Strike
Radiant Smite, etc. (and many other powers)
If your Dragonbreath is Fire
Divine Challenge Damage (definitely works for that)
Sign of Vulnerability (nice level 5 Daily with vulnerability)
Radiant Servant PP
Flaming weapon, as you said (it works with that too)

I also should have mentioned Divine Strength above in terms of damage-dealing Pals, but you also mentioned it already.
Forsooth, Sir Litigation.

Thou are a scholar of the highest sort to produce such a high quality work. Mine eyes hath not beset such a work in this forum since the days of TreantMonkey's Treatise on the Wizardly Arts.

I shall be interested to see what conclusions you reach against the viability of a strong and mighty paladin, verses his handsome and faithful counterpart.

From what I have seen, the STR-based paladin powers appear to resemble excrement in deference to the shining radiance of most CHA-based powers. Perhaps this is balanced by the weapon feats available to those stronger in arms? I await with bated breath.
My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29
From what I have seen, the STR-based paladin powers appear to resemble excrement in deference to the shining radiance of most CHA-based powers.

Okay, it's true a lot of the CHA-based powers give you more options, particularly at some levels. I like doing more Multi-Classing with STR-Pals. STR Pal at-wills are far superior, though, IMO.

I like balanced STR/CHA Pals for the versatility, though.
Nice work!!! :D

I wonder why "True nemesis" it's so good; a ranged attack allows your enemies to make AoO against you! ...or not?
Facinating guide, though I ask ye to reconsider some of thy Crimson Marks.

Eladrin as a race:
Yea ye lack a bonus to STR or CHA, however there are factors ye completely overlooked.

Education: Education lets you get a free skill even outside of your class list without using a feat. STR based paladins would want to have Athletics, Charisma might enjoy Streetwise, etc.

Teleport: As primarily a short ranged melee character, Teleport allows you to better close the distance with enemy artillery (especially if they use cliffs or rubble to slow your pursuit), circumvent a root effect, or position yourself in the middle of an enemy formation to release an AOE without getting OAed to death.

Low Light Vision: an advantage over dragonborn and human during the night or in caves. Especially if you can count an active flaming weapon as a candle-strength light source.

Meditation: shared with other elves, but still great. It allows you to Night Watch without fear of ambush (natural role of defender). And if you whole party happens to be elvish then you only need 4 hours per sleep period.

Eldarin Solider Feat: Outperforms Weapon Focus at the Heroic tier and effects both longsword (heavy blade) and all spears. Admittedly might need to trade out at Epic Tier but not every campaign occurs at that level.

Sacred Circle:
As a 3 Close burst that makes it a 7x7 Square. Str Paladins wouln't want Astral voice much anyway.
First round of replies:

Fantastic work on this, but I have to add something to your builds, none of which have an 18 stat.

For me, there are three general ideal Pal builds (JMO), although I'm less concerned with the DEX feats than most, but they are still possible if you really want them.

1. 18 STR, dump CHA. Multi with Cleric so you can at least get one better Utility power (level 6 has Cure Serious), and a better Level 9 Daily (Divine Power, or really just any of the Cleric level 9's). +4/+4 is just a lot more fun with all of your attacks than +3/+3, and it helps your breath weapon if you're DB. Human doing Paragon Multi-Classing is an option to get a Cleric at-will.

2. 18 CHA, low (or dump) STR. Half-Elf picking up Sacred Flame or Lance of Faith is nice (maybe Eyebite). DB is still good as breath is great.

3. 16 STR/16 CHA (or pick an 18 in one), and enjoy the versatility. Easily doable for a DB.

You have done more work on late-level weapon focuses, though, which is very cool. I will think more about those that you've posted.

None of my build skeletons have 18 in a stat because all those stat lines were considered before adding any racial modifiers. And for a MAD class like the Paladin, a natural 18 (potential 20) is a little too ambitious, IMO.
From what I have seen, the STR-based paladin powers appear to resemble excrement in deference to the shining radiance of most CHA-based powers. Perhaps this is balanced by the weapon feats available to those stronger in arms? I await with bated breath.

Honestly, I'd say they even out pretty well, overall. STR-based Paladins typically do have fewer options on any given level, but in some cases just one option is all they need to excel. Namely, Lv. 7 Thunder Smite, Lv. 23 Resounding Smite, and Lv. 27 Stunning Smite are all as good or better than anything a CHA paladin can pick at their respective levels.

CHA-based dailies are overall better, though. But that's somewhat balanced out by the fact that STR-based Paladins multiclass better, as I'll eventually get to when I fill out the multiclassing section.
Nice work!!! :D

I wonder why "True nemesis" it's so good; a ranged attack allows your enemies to make AoO against you! ...or not?

Thank thee. :D

It does provoke OAs against adjacent enemies, but (1) thou must use this power wisely, just like a Ranger or Warlock isn't going to stuff ranged attacks in thy face willy-nilly, and (2) sometimes thy defense is good enough (or an adjacent enemy's attack bad enough) to want to take the risk of provoking an OA up close.
Facinating guide, though I ask ye to reconsider some of thy Crimson Marks.

Eladrin as a race:
Yea ye lack a bonus to STR or CHA, however there are factors ye completely overlooked.

Education: Education lets you get a free skill even outside of your class list without using a feat. STR based paladins would want to have Athletics, Charisma might enjoy Streetwise, etc.

Teleport: As primarily a short ranged melee character, Teleport allows you to better close the distance with enemy artillery (especially if they use cliffs or rubble to slow your pursuit), circumvent a root effect, or position yourself in the middle of an enemy formation to release an AOE without getting OAed to death.

Low Light Vision: an advantage over dragonborn and human during the night or in caves. Especially if you can count an active flaming weapon as a candle-strength light source.

Meditation: shared with other elves, but still great. It allows you to Night Watch without fear of ambush (natural role of defender). And if you whole party happens to be elvish then you only need 4 hours per sleep period.

Eldarin Solider Feat: Outperforms Weapon Focus at the Heroic tier and effects both longsword (heavy blade) and all spears. Admittedly might need to trade out at Epic Tier but not every campaign occurs at that level.

Well, it wasn't just lack of a STR or CHA bonus. It's the fact that Eladrins get one of their bonuses to INT, which is pretty much the Paladin's universal dump stat.

Teleport is handy in certain situations as thou mentioned, but it's a little too situational to completely make up for its weaknesses as specifically a Paladin, IMO. Eladrin Solider is kind of a wash, as with boosts to other stats the other races can afford, they're as good or ahead of the net benefit this feat can offer damage-wise. Trance and Eladrin Education are probably the closest to saving graces for this race as a Paladin.

Tell thee what: I'll upgrade it to purple. It's still a very suboptimal Paladin race overall, but at least thou made a point for it not being completely worthless.

Sacred Circle:
As a 3 Close burst that makes it a 7x7 Square. Str Paladins wouln't want Astral voice much anyway.

Yea, I clarified this one a bit. The zone size is pretty decent, but the bonus +1 to AC is still rather piddly even for the level at which thou gets it. It stays red.

And I shalt also have to disagree with STR-Paladins not wanting Astral Voice. Consider that the only other CHA-based class in the game is the Warlock, who does not have Diplomacy as a class skill and must spend one of his precious feats to train it. The other classes that do get Diplomacy as a class skill are the Wizard, Warlord and Cleric. The Wizard won't boost CHA beyond the 13 required for Spell Focus in Paragon Tier; Tactical Warlords, which favor INT, are definitely the better Warlord all around than Inspiring Warlords; and all Clerics care about their CHA to only a middling extent. So basically, in most cases, even as a STR-Paladin, thou art still the party face by default. Might as well make the most of it, even if thou wilt never be as good at it as the CHA-Paladin.
In contrast to your belief, Tieflings can make good paladins.
Their encounter power is nice to have around.

The key to making a good tiefling paladin is making use of his intellect boost.

the key is Wizard Multiclass and Wizard of the Spiral Tower, which is a great paragon for a paladin imo. It gives a great 16th level ability given your high charisma, and 3 awesome powers.

There are several possible starting builds for a tiefling paladin, depending on weapon choice. The easiest way to go around though is to ignore weapons. Trump both dex and str. Go for high Cha and Int, and some con and wis. Your basic attacks will suck though, which means your opportunity will be useless.
Sample starting scores (including racials): 10 8 12 18 12 18
You may wish to reduce some stats a bit in favor of wisdom, so you can have more healing and buffing power.

Another way to go around (and my prefered one. I am MAD though) is 14 14 12 16 8 16. You get heavy blade opportunities this way by paragon tier All your attacks and damage are at -1 though. Still its worth it imo.

Things to note for such builds:
  • Either way keep boosting int and cha as you level up.
  • At lower levels Plate armor will be better. As you level up you might change to hide if you so wish for fewer penalties.
  • Dont buy a wizard implement unless you have the luxury of more gold than the DMG says. You paragon powers dont require an implement. And there are great wizard powers around that dont require an attack roll. (ie. walls)
  • Wizard of the Spiral Tower powers dont require a longsword. They require any melee weapon. So unless your DM houserules the Corellon’s Implement so that you can use it as a wizard implement too, you can use any other weapon you like.
  • Learn to love all 3 of your paragon powers.
  • Use retraining to its max.
  • Strength based powers are not for you. Delist them all.
Some suggestions for multiclassing. I'm currently playing a paladin multiclassed into warlock. I chose the versatile attacker version as I needed a good charisma for the warlock powers but also strenght as most melee powers are strenght-based and I need to stay in the front line.
I plan to fully multiclass into warlock (i.e. not take a paragon path).

A paladin multiclassed into warlock should always increase charisma and has the choice to either increase constituition (in order to also use infernal warlock powers) or increase strenght and go the versatile attacker way, limiting himself to the use of fey pact and some star pact powers).

Warlock powers for a versatile paladin/warlock:
I will mention only the powers I find interesting, keeping in mind that the paladin is still a defender and thus needed in melee.

At-will:
Eldritch blast: you can get it only if you fully multiclass as a substitution at 11th level. It give you a solid ranged base-attack (no paladin at-will powers have range)
Eyebite: even as an encounter power, it's good especially to bypass some brute/soldier in the first line and get through to pummel squishy targets behind.
Dire Radiance and Hellish rebuke: even though the first could be intesting for sinergies with Sign of Vulnerability, it is constitution based so it will soon be useless as you are not increasing constitution. Hellish rebuke is not interesting at all.

1st level encounter: not much to say. I prefer the paladin powers.

1st level daily:
Armor of Agathis: very good power if you often fight minions. It automatically kills them if they start their turn adjacent to you. The damage is constitution based but with minions it doesn't matter.

2nd level utility (almost everything is better than 2nd level paladin utilities):
Beguililing tongue: a +5 to intimidate is great. A dragonborn paladin at 2nd level can have an intimidate score of 13+cha mod.
Ethereal stride: very useful if you suffer the immobilized or restrained conditions. The range is short but sometimes moving 3 squares is better than not moving at all. +2 to defenses is good as well.

3rd level encounter:
Otherwind stride: another good teleport very good if you get surrounded.

5th level daily:
Hunger of Hadar: can be sustained as a minor, blocks line of sight (useful to hinder enemy artillery) and makes reasonable damage.

6th level utility: nothing very interesting. I prefer the paladin's utilities.

7th level encounter:
Mire the Mind: awesome, especially against solos and elites. It targets will and if it hits will make all your allies invisible to the target. Your strikers will love you.

9th level daily:
Thief of five fates: can be interesting as it targets will and sustain is minor.

10th level utility:
Warlock's leap: may be a life saver if you're swallowed whole or blocked by a wall as you don't even need line of sight. Anyway I feel it is inferior to Turn the Tide (my paladin choice at this level)

13th level encounter: not much, only one Charisma based power which is quite situational. I prefer the paladin stuff.

15th level daily: not much here as well. Only one cha-based power (Curse of the Golden Mist) which can deprive one target of its standard action, unfortunately it's a sustain standard. Only useful with solos. Better stick to paladin powers.

17th level encounter:
Strand of fate: vulnerability 10 to all attacks until the end of your next turn is good if the group can concentrate fire on the creature. Anyway I'll go for a paladin power here.

19th level daily:
Wrath of Acamar: makes nice damage and takes a creature out of the picture for some time (they can't even take actions when they are out). I'll take this one at 20th level.

22nd level utility:nothing very interesting.

23rd level encounter: nothing very interesting

25th level daily: only one power (curse of the twin princes) based on charisma. I'll take a paladin power (To the Nine Hells with you).

27th level encounter: honestly nothing that beats the paladin's Stunning Smite (as pointed out by the OP)

29th level daily: the only charisma based power is not great (too many limitations on the actions it can take under your control).

Fundamentally the best swaps can be made at low levels and are mainly teleport powers, plus Mire the Mind. Here's the list of powers I plan to have at various levels:

10th:
AT WILL: bolstering strike, holy strike
ENCOUNTER: Piercing Smite, Dragonbreath, Eyebite, Invigorating Smite, Mire the Mind
DAILY: Paladin's Judgement, Sign of vulnerability, Thief of five fates
UTILITY: Wrath of the gods, Turn the Tide, Ethereal Stride

20th:
AT WILL: holy strike, eldritch blast
ENCOUNTER: Dragonbreath, Eyebite, Invigorating Smite, Mire the Mind, Hand of the Gods, Otherwind Stride
DAILY: True Nemesis, Sign of Vulnerability, Corona of Blinding Radiance, Wrath of Acamar
UTILITY: Wrath of the gods, Turn the Tide, Ethereal Stride, Shielding Shade, Death Ward

30th level: still have to look at this (no epic destiny chosen yet).

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Some suggestions for multiclassing. I'm currently playing a paladin multiclassed into warlock. I chose the versatile attacker version as I needed a good charisma for the warlock powers but also strenght as most melee powers are strenght-based and I need to stay in the front line.
I plan to fully multiclass into warlock (i.e. not take a paragon path).

Those are mostly my thoughts(I'm doing almost the exact same thing), but I think you're giving up too much with Eyebite being encounter only. Psychic Lock is an awesome feat to use with Eyebite, marking your opponent, and then moving up to them.
Actually I would like to have eyebite as an at will, but I also like to have it as an at encounter for the first 10 levels. At 10th level I will have access to mire the mind as an encounter (making me invisible) and can still use eyebite as an encounter so I can become invisible to the target twice in an encounter. I would then prefer to take eldritch blast to have a sound ranged at will. Anyway I see your point.
Since I want to have eyebite for the first ten levels I can't take it again according to the PH (unless the fact that the power is once a encounter and once an at-will actually makes it two different powers, but there's no clarification on it).
If you have time can you look at my other choices and give me an opinion?
It will be welcome.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Actually I would like to have eyebite as an at will, but I also like to have it as an at encounter for the first 10 levels. At 10th level I will have access to mire the mind as an encounter (making me invisible) and can still use eyebite as an encounter so I can become invisible to the target twice in an encounter. I would then prefer to take eldritch blast to have a sound ranged at will. Anyway I see your point.
Since I want to have eyebite for the first ten levels I can't take it again according to the PH (unless the fact that the power is once a encounter and once an at-will actually makes it two different powers, but there's no clarification on it).
If you have time can you look at my other choices and give me an opinion?
It will be welcome.

You can retrain the feat - as long as you don't make the other choices illegal, you should be fine. So you start off with Fey Pact, then switch to Star Pact at 10th.

True, you don't have Eldritch Blast, but Eyebite + Psychic Lock should make up for this.

Various options:
Ethereal Stride is a really good choice.
Paladin 5: Sign of Vulnerability is a good boss power. I'm not sure I'd give that up - giving something vulnerability to radiant if you have a laser cleric in the party...

Dark One's Luck is a reroll. Those are always good to have.

Paladin 9: Radiant Pulse is pretty good. Thief of the 5 Fates strikes me as one of those powers where you sacrifice your action to possibly make your target sacrifice their option. Possibly. If you usually have numbers on your side, then it strikes me as being better.

Things after about 20 I'm not looking at too closely as I won't play that high until about 2-3 years from now.
edit: snipped for dumb question.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

Your class's implement can only power powers from your class. If they overlap, such as the wand, they can be used for both.
Whew, finished the Skills and Feats sections.
I've made a "Versatile Attacker" paladin, and I've took a look at cleric and warlord powers in relation with paladin powers.
IMO these are nice to take (I hope that this could help you with your work):


*** CLERIC ***
ENCOUNTER
1 Healing strike
7 Strengthen the faithful
23 Haunting strike
DAILY
1 Avenging flame
5 Consacrated ground
5 Weapon of the gods
9 Divine power (:D )
19 Holy wrath (:D :D )
UTILITY
2 Bless
2 Cure light wounds
2 Shield of faith
6 Cure serious wounds
10 Mass cure light wounds
16 Hallowed ground
22 Clarion call of the Astral Seas
22 Cloud chariot

*** WARLORD ***
ENCOUNTER (enc powers aren't so good)
1 Hammer and Anvil
7 Sunder Armor
7 Lion’s Roar
23 Rabbits and Wolves
DAILY
1 Bastion of Defense
5 Stand the Fallen
15 Renew the Troops
UTILITY
1 Shake It Off
6 Inspiring Reaction
10 Defensive Rally (:D)
22 Heart of the Titan
22 Heroic Surge

I prefer cleric, with daily (Divine power, Holy wrath) and utility (Mass cure light wounds) feats. If you choose warlord I advise to take only utility feat (Defensive Rally).
My take on Paladin At-Wills:

A-/9 for Holy Strike
B+/8 for Valiant Strike
(when you have both Holy and Valiant, then Valiant's value goes up to A-/9)
B-/6.5 for Enfeebling Strike
B-/6.5 for Bolstering Strike

First, I obviously think the STR-based at-will are, per se, far better than the CHA-based ones. I've playtested with both types and the STR based ones are more effective and definitely more fun.

Holy Strike is the King. It gives Paladins a way to become effective DPR dealers, and only gets better with age. It benefits from Astral Fire feat or Weapon Focus, and your WIS, and critters vulnerable to radiant take more damage. And you can make a critter vulnerable to Radiant 5 with a 5th level Daily power. Basically, if you want to feel like you're helping the party deal damage, you really need this one.

However, Valiant Strike is about equal to Holy Strike, especially in Heroic before you've pumped your WIS.

Basically, Holy Strike is almost always better than Valiant Strike against one adjacent opponent as long as you have at least +1 from WIS and as long as the opponent isn't either a Minion or real low on hp (do the math, and you will find this). Yes, the +1 to damage is mathematically better than the +1 to hit at low levels in DPR against all level-appropriate opponents (if it wasn't, there wouldn't be a feat that gives you +2 damage for -2 to hit called Power Attack--it would be worthless). With a WIS mod of +2 or higher, Holy Strike really tends to outpace Valiant against 1.

Valiant Strike is almost always better against 3 or more adjacent opponents, until maybe later with a high WIS mod to go with Holy. Holy can be roughly equivalent to Valiant vs 3 if you maximize your Holy Strike potential, though; in that case, the DPR might be about equal, but the +15% to hit is more attractive. Against 4 or more opponents, it's always advantage Valiant. However, Holy would obviously best Valiant against 3+ if the target is vulnerable to Radiant and your Holy bonus damage is decent, or if you have a Holy Avenger..

Against 2 adjacent opponents, Holy and Valiant are about equal. It depends on the weapon type, magic enhancement, WIS bonus, if you have Weapon Focus or Astral Fire, etc. The closer your two attacks are in damage dealt, and the higher the damage dealt by the two, the better Valiant is vs. Holy Strike vs 2 adj opponents. And the reverse is true for Holy being better than Valiant vs. 2. It depends. If you don't want to do the math, flip a coin.

So they are about equal, but Holy Strike has a very nice potential to give you much better DPR, and thus it shines a little brighter (wah, wah). They make a great team, though, as you can pick and choose which one fits the situation and your stats and items.

Another nice advantage of Valiant, however, is that it works whether the target is marked by you or not; Holy requires the mark for the extra damage. Thus you can mark someone with DC, then attack a different adjacent foe with Valiant.

Bolstering is okay if your WIS mod is at least +3, and in some cases it can even be a life-saver. But offensively it has no special value at all. If you're surrounded by strikers (and without much in the way of healing from the rest of the party) and you are THE party's tank, then Bolstering's value goes way up. But you can still be a tank without it. And its value really drops as you gain in levels and hp.

Enfeebling ... oh man, that is a boring one. But it can help keep you or an ally from getting hit, and thus has some value. Again, no particular offensive value whatsoever, so Holy/Valiant are better overall. It's okay. It's best against a controller who is about to AoE your party, or an opponent with a really nasty effect to its attacks that you want to avoid at all costs. It can be useful. But I feel sorry for anyone playing a CHA-Paladin that has to use it all the time until you get a bunch of Encounter and Daily powers that you can replace it with. Unless it's an attack that you really want to avoid or you desperately need to stall your death, you would've been better off getting the extra damage of Holy Strike or the + to hit from Valiant Strike against most opponents. But it's not bad at all against a really tough opponent.
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