In this guide i will try to explore the paladins and provide as many information as possible on them. Note that i will not focus only on the player's handbook class only, but also on the variant paladins as well. As such, don't be surprised if some feats/classes/abilities that can be only obtained by non good or evil characters are suggested. Note: This is under construction. Help me out with links, builds, strategies and anything you can think of that would prove useful. Changelog:Show
Paladins are usually melee characters that act as leaders, buffers through auras and spells and tanks. However, because that is too much areas for a single character to cover, they suffer from Multiple Attribute Dependence (MAD).
Strength: Paladins are usually melee characters. That is because they don't just fight in a given battle. They provide bonuses and buff their companions. As with all melee characters that have heavy armor proficiencies, strength is an important score.
Dexterity: If you choose this you must wear lighter armor and use probably ranged weapons. Aside from a few occasions, this is considered a dump stat.
Constitution: This is important to a paladin as to any other character. Due to your role in combat, you are definitely going to have to survive large amounts of punishment.
Intelligence: This is a dump stat to paladins. Due to their low skill points per level, paladins can't load up on many skills. Also it doesn't have other uses to a paladin. This also means however that you will be unable to take feats such as combat expertise, improved trip, etc.
Wisdom: This is your casting stat, as well the key ability for many of your skills. You can't dump this.
Charisma: This is important for you for various abilities: turn undead, saves, smite. Also most paladin prestige classes use charisma for various class features.
Humans (PHB): Probably the best race from the optimization scope, this offers you the bonus feat that you need, the bonus skill points without having to load on intelligence and your favored class can be any class.
Dwarfs (PHB): They get a charisma hit, but they have nice features, including keeping their natural speed in any armor and stability.
Elves (PHB): Unless you want to grab the substitution levels, there is no reason to take them.
Gnomes (PHB): While the PHB version isn't that suitable for a paladin, the gnome shadow cloak knight substitution levels are sweet.
Half Orcs (PHB): As above, they get some nice substitution levels.
Neanderthal (Frostburn): +2 strength and constitution -2 dexterity and intelligence. Very nice race for paladins. Gets hits in the only stats you can dump. Also free weapon focus with several weapons.
Hellbred (FCII): Very nice flavor and bonuses. They get an Evil Exception so you can use evil items without taking negative levels. They also receive several bonus devil touched feats, some of which have nice charisma related uses. Alternatively you can choose the aspect that grants bonus to charisma, but i wouldn't recommend it as it hurts your constitution and darkvision/telepathy aren't that important to paladins.
Silverbrow Humans (Dragon Magic): Descendants of silver dragons, these are dragonblood humans. Nice flavor (lots of silver dragons take levels in paladin class) and abilities.
Dragonborn of Bahamut (Races of the Dragon): Bonus to constitution and hit to dexterity. You can give this "template" to any race, but lose previous bonuses. Nice and versatile with its aspects. I would suggest the Heart aspect.
Spellscales (Races of the Dragon): One of the few races with charisma bonus without level adjustment, however constitution hit. Also blood quickening doesn't help much.
Illumians (Races of Destiny): This race offers great versatility. Most importantly you can pump your caster level. Nice word combinations.
Aasimar (Races of Destiny): Ideally this won't be necessary, but if you choose the lesser aasimar version, you can greatly reduce MAD. Also nice bonus abilities.
Chaos Gnome (Races of Stone): Level adjustment, but bonus to charisma and constitution. Great if you can use buyoff rules and want to take the shadow cloak knight substitution levels.
Dream Dwarf (Races of Stone): Great if you want to choose substitution levels. Dexterity hit which is not important, spell power to divinations helps because you have lots of them and you get all the nice bonuses of dwarfs, such as unfettered movement.
Killoren (races of the Wild): Mentioned just for their flavor. They get a special smite attack several times per day.
These may not seem much, but there's more to this class:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: All simple and martial weapons, all armor and shields except tower shields.
Aura of Good (Ex): Your aura strength is equal to your paladin level. While this has mild effects, you can stun evil creatures detecting you.
Detect Evil (Sp): Unlimited times per day, detect evil as per the spell.
Smite Evil (Su): This is the signature ability of the paladin. The power to deal extra damage with enhanced accuracy to evil beings. It is charisma based and deals damage based on your paladin level. As you gain levels, you gain more smite evil attempts.
Divine Grace (Su): Gain an unnamed bonus to all your saving throws equal to your charisma modifier. Many builds dip into paladin only for this ability.
Lay on Hands (Su): Cure some damage on yourself or your companions or damage undead. This ability depends on charisma.
Aura of Courage (Su): Give a large bonus to companions on fear effects. Also you are immune to fear. Remember that this is a supernatural effect and won't work inside an antimagic field or similar places.
Divine Health (Ex): Become immune to all diseases.
Turn Undead (Su): At 4th level you gain turn undead. This is a very important ability and its main purpose is powering divine feats.
Spells: You prepare spells and your casting is wisdom based. You are not going to use save or die spells, so a 14 wisdom score should be fine.
Special Mount (Sp): You gain a special mount that is stronger and tougher. For more information see the special mount entry.
Remove Disease (Sp): 1/week and an additional time per week for every three levels after 6th, you gain the ability to remove disease, as per the spell.
Code of Conduct:A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act. Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.
Aura of Resolve (Su): You are immune to compulsions and give a bonus to compulsion effects to allies close to you.
Spellcasting: You gain the spells: protection from law, magic circle against law, remove curse, dispel law, freedom of movement. You lose: death ward, discern lies, dispel chaos, magic circle against chaos, protection from chaos.
Code of Conduct:A paladin of freedom must be of chaotic good alignment and loses all class abilities if he ever willingly commits an evil act. Additionally, a paladin of freedom's code requires that he respect individual liberty, help those in need (provided they do not use the help for lawful or evil ends), and punish those who threaten or curtail personal liberty.
Paladin of Slaughter:
As standard paladin except:
Class Skills: Replace diplomacy with intimidate.
Aura of Evil (Ex): The power of your aura is equal to the paladin of slaughter level.
Detect Good (Sp): At will you can detect good, as per the spell.
Smite Good (Su): Identical to smite evil, only that works on good creatures.
Deadly Touch (Su): Identical to lay on hands, but it deals damage and heals undead. The main drawback is that it allows a saving throw, which isn't the case with lay on hands.
Debilitating Aura (Su): Opponents within 10ft take a -1 penalty to armor class. This is a bad alternative to aura of courage.
Rebuke Undead (Su): Rebuke or Turn, it doesn't matter what type of energy you are channeling when powering divine feats.
Cause Disease (Sp): This is bad. Not only it is subject to a saving throw, the difficulty classes for subsequent saves are all very low for high levels.
Spellcasting: Replace the standard paladin's spell list with the following spell list: 1st—bane, cause fear, corrupt weapon, create water, curse water, detect poison, detect undead, divine favor, endure elements, inflict light wounds, magic weapon, protection from good, protection from law, read magic, resistance, virtue; 2nd—bull's strength, cure light wounds, darkness, delay poison, eagle's splendor, inflict moderate wounds, owl's wisdom, resist energy, undetectable alignment; 3rd—blindness/deafness, cure moderate wounds, deeper darkness, dispel magic, greater magic weapon, heal mount, prayer, inflict serious wounds, magic circle against good/law; 4th—break enchantment, cure serious wounds, dispel good, dispel law, inflict critical wounds, poison, unholy sword.
Code of Conduct : A paladin of slaughter must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits a good act. Additionally, a paladin of slaughter's code requires that she disrespect all authority figures who have not proven their physical superiority to her, refuse help to those in need, and sow destruction and death at all opportunities.
Paladin of Tyranny:
As standard paladin except:
Aura of Evil (Ex): The power of your aura is equal to the paladin of slaughter level.
Detect Good (Sp): At will you can detect good, as per the spell.
Smite Good (Su): Identical to smite evil, only that works on good creatures.
Deadly Touch (Su): Identical to lay on hands, but it deals damage and heals undead. The main drawback is that it allows a saving throw, which isn't the case with lay on hands.
Aura of Despair (Su): This is good. A -2 penalty to all saving throws will come to play even at late game play.
Rebuke Undead (Su): Again you aren't going to use the main function of rebuke undead, but more for alternative uses.
Cause Disease (Sp): This is bad. Not only it is subject to a saving throw, the difficulty classes for subsequent saves are all very low for high levels.
Code of conduct: A paladin of tyranny must be of lawful evil alignment and loses all class abilities if he ever willingly commits a good act. Additionally, a paladin of tyranny's code requires that he respect authority figures as long as they have the strength to rule over the weak, act with discipline (not engaging in random slaughter, keeping firm control over those beneath his station, and so forth), help only those who help him maintain or improve his status, and punish those who challenge authority (unless, of course, such challengers prove more worthy to hold that authority).
Appears in Complete Warrior. As standard paladin except:
Spellcasting: You lose the ability to cast spells.
Blessed Weapon: Your weapon is considered good to overcome damage reduction. Mediocre as you get that from many feats and/or weapon enhancements. Gained at 6th level.
Divine Might: This is ok, but it isn't worth it dropping spells AND taking 11 levels in a paladin class without spells. Gained at 11th level.
Charging Smite (Su)(PHB II): If along a charge attack you also smite evil, you deal an extra 2 damage per paladin level (that's 3 points per paladin bonus with the normal damage boost from smite evil). The important part is that if you miss on your charge attack, your smite ability is not considered used. Replaces Special Mount.
Divine Spirit (Dungeonscape): You can call a spirit that helps you and your companions. It cannot be attacked except by dispel magic, banishment and dismissal as a summoned creature using your paladin level as caster level. It stays around for rounds equal to your paladin level. Replaces Special Mount.
Spirit of Healing: This spirit can heal an amount of hit points equal to twice the amount you heal with your lay on hands ability. Moreover, it doesn't require an action on your part, as for someone to heal, he must end or begin his round on the spirit's square and use a standard action to activate it.
Spirit of Combat: +1 sacred bonus on attacks and damage per four paladin levels to all allies that are adjacent or occupy the same square as this spirit. Also weapons are threated good-aligned for overcoming damage reduction.
Spirit of Heroism: Great tanking spirit. You gain DR 10/-, the benefit of the diehard feat and you can use your lay on hands as a free action 1/round.
Spirit of the Fallen: Fast healing 10 to all adjacent allies and 1/round revive a character between 0 and -9 hit points who is inside a 30ft range. Damage healed equal twice your paladin level.
Curse Breaker (Sp)(CM): Very nice. Give up remove disease and gain remove curse or remove enchantment (by giving up more uses). Definitely more useful that remove disease. Replaces Remove Disease.
Divine Counterspell (Sp)(CM): You are giving up your main source of divine power for the ability to hurt spellcasters (and with a penalty to your effective cleric level). This is bad. Replaces Turn Undead.
Dragonscale Husk (Ex)(Dragon Magic): Gain a draconic armor that provides a scaling bonus as you go up in levels (but doesn't stack with any other bonus to AC), provides elemental resistances and allows for +2 max dexterity bonus (with an armor check penalty of -4). Not actually optimized, but it does have some bonuses as waving the cost of an actual armor. Replaces all your armor proficiencies.
Drakkensteed Mount (Sp)(Dragon Magic): Drakkensteeds have a fly speed if you consider that important. They also have trample. Unfortunately it can't command others of its kind. Replaces Standard Special Mount.
Rebuke Dragons (Su)(Dragon Magic): This is too campaign specific and you give up turn undead. Bad. Replaces Turn Undead.
Holy Warrior (CC): Only helpful if you are actually taking a few levels of paladin. Even then, reconsider it, as lesser restoration is a first level spell for paladins. The list isn't too good. Feats of note are improved smiting, mounted combat, power attack (also acquired at the level you get access to divine feats, usable to grab divine might later).
Underdark Knight (CC): If you are going to be in an underground campaign, this is worth it. You give up your mount and gain some abilities that depend on your level.
Stand Fast: As an immediate action, you can add your charisma modifier to a single saving throw to all allies between 20ft or to any roll to resist a trip, grapple, bull rush, disarm or sunder attack. Replaces Special Mount
Skilled City Dweller: You can replace ride with tumble and handle animal for gather information. The first isn't too hot, but the second one is interesting.
Racial Substitution Levels:
Dragonborn Paladin (Races of the Dragon): Add knowledge (arcana) to class skills at each substitution level.
1st level: Detect dragonblood is worse than detect evil because you will be smiting evil blindly. If you need it i guess you can grab this level.
4th level: You give up turn undead for some damage boost against dragons and dragonbloods. Too specific.
5th level: Gain a special mount that is immune to the frightful presence of dragons. It seems that you don't lose anything, but in fact you lose a point of BAB.
Half-Orc Paladin (Races of Destiny): At each substitution level d12 hit die and intimidate replaces diplomacy.
1st level: This is good because it works against all enemies. If you want smite evil, you can easily get it through feats/classes. Also lasts a lot more than a smite evil attempt.
3rd level: This is depends on your companions. If they use the stacking of fear effects, get this. Also aura of courage is easy to come by, so other characters may be able to provide it.
6th level: Remove disease is probably more useful than remove fatigue, mainly because the ability cooldown is huge.
Elf Paladin (Races of the Wild): At each substitution level add survival to class skills list.
1st level: Effectively makes you able to smite evil with ranged attacks. The main drawback is that you can only smite with them.
3rd level: This is good.
5th level: Unicorns are great, but you do lose on many aspects.
Planar Paladin (Planar Handbook): At each substitution level add Knowledge (the planes) to your class skills list.
4th level: Give up your turn undead to smite an evil outsider. Bad trade.
6th level: This is a very good substitution level, probably the best if you favor a special mount. You get the celestial template on your companion for one use of remove disease.
10th level: This has its uses if you travel a lot to different planes. The loss of a singe smite attempt is mild. Depends largely on the campaign.
Substitution Levels from Champions of Valor:
here is a thread with ranks for all abilities gained from substitution levels.
Berronar Valkyrie: Deity - Berronar Truesilver.
3rd level: Resistance to acid 5. Bad.
4th level: Pounce ability, which is interesting especially if combined with charging smite.
6th level: This is better than remove disease, because is "at will".
Claw of the Sun and Ankh: Deity - Horus-Re.
1st level: Get natural weapons some times per day. It's nice, but it's usability will diminish as you gain levels.
6th level: Trade remove disease for a smite evil progression that works on members of set's church. Unfortunately it's campaign specific.
12th level: Trade one 3rd level slot for a source of light. Probably the worst trade ever.
Crescent Moon Knight: Add knowledge (local impiltur) to class skills list. Deity - Clangeddin Silverbeard/Selune.
4st level: Turn undead is better than a favored enemy.
6th level: You don't trade anything.
10th level: This is very good. Inspire courage for a 2nd level slot.
Eternal Order: Deity - Kelemvor
1st level: Just ignore DR? There are easier ways around that.
3rd level: This isn't bad if you are going to interact a lot with undead. You do however trade divine health.
6th level: Greater turning. This is good, because even if you have a low effective character level for turning, this is usable times/day.
Golden Cup: Deity - Ilmater
3rd level: This is a nice ability to have and aura of courage is easy to come by. An equal trade.
4th level: Shield other instead of turn undead. Bad.
10th level: Give up a smite attempt to gain a boost in your effective level for healing spells and lay on hands. Not to good.
Golden Lion: Deity - Torm
1st level: Detect magic is of equal importance to detect evil.
4th level: Too specific enemies to by more important than turn undead.
6th level: This is better than remove disease. It is usable per day instead of per week.
Holy Judge: Add Knowledge(the Planes) to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Tyr
1st level: Favored enemy (devils) instead of smite evil. It's interesting if you acquire smite evil through other means, but don't get it unless you are going to be facing devils a lot.
4th level: Not a terrible ability, but this is free.
6th level: Zone of truth 1/week with the same progression as remove disease. Bad.
Lion Legionnaire: Add Knowledge(Nature) to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Nobanion
3rd level: Unfortunately the aura is usable 1/day. Its duration is ok though.
4th level: An extra attack for turn undead. Interesting but i would pass.
5th level: Instead of animal companion get a fly speed with nice duration and cool features.
Mystic Fire Knight: d8 hit die, add Knowledge(Arcana) and Spellcraft to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Mystra
4th level: This is worth it giving turn undead. It is a powerful ability.
5th level: This augments your smite evil without taking anything for it. Also it is a nice ability and the difficulty class is charisma based.
6th level: Targeted greater dispel magic using your paladin level as caster level times per day for weakly uses of remove disease? One of the best substitution levels.
Noble Heart: Add Survival to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Ilmater
3rd level: You are not going to track efficiently, however this can prove useful if you want to qualify for a prestige class.
4th level: Give turn undead to sunder followers of loviatar. Too specific.
6th level: Gain weekly uses of delay poison instead of remove disease. Ok trade.
Red Falcon: Add Knowledge(History) to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Red Knight
2nd level: Trade divine grace for a below average ability. Bad.
4th level: Less turn attempts for some extra spells. Not too bad.
6th level: Nice level. You get extent spell which is ok for the paladin's buffs and an ability that works if you pick up leadership, which is great with paladins.
Ruby Rose Knight: d8 hit die, add Bluff and Perform(dance, oratory, sing, string instruments) to the skill list at each substitution level. Deity - Sune.
3rd level: Divine health has more uses.
6th level: Heroism per week instead of remove disease. Normally it would be superior, but i think that on weekly basis, remove disease is better.
12th level: Nice buff, but not worth it the 3rd level slot. In any way, don't advance to 12 level just for this.
Vigilant Eye of Helm: Deity - Helm
1st level: This is an ok trade and see invisibility is free.
3rd level: Not worth it for divine health.
4th level: You do trade turn undead, but awesome blow is a very nice feat.
Wary Swordknight: Add Listen and Spot to the skill list at each substitution level, 4+int skill points at each substitution level. Deity - Arvoreen
3rd level: This is a nice trade for halfling frontliners. You won't regret it.
4th level: This on the other hand isn't worth it. You can gain uncanny dodge with a lowly feat.
6th level: Haste 1/day and one less remove disease. It's worth it.
Leadership (PHB): This is one of the best feats you can acquire both for flavor and optimization reasons.
Practiced Spellcaster (CD): This is used to pump your caster level a bit. Spellcraft 4 ranks can be difficult to acquire though.
Goad (CV): Great for charismatic front liners. You can attract an enemy and survive since paladins are usually nice tanks, but also save a weak opponent.
Winter's Champion (Frostburn): You add the spells from cold and winter domains to your class spell list.
Draconic Aura (Dragon Magic): Project a draconic aura. This is very useful and flavors with the auras/buffing effects the paladin already has.
Daunting Presence (Libris Mortis): A charisma based will save feat that can make opponents shaken.
Necromantic Presence (Libris Mortis): Undead creatures in your presence gain +4 turn resistance.
Necromantic Might (Libris Mortis): Undead creatures gain +2 on attack and damage rolls. These two feats are to be used with undead leadership.
Tomb-Tainted Soul (Libis Mortis): If you are an evil paladin variant, this way you can heal yourself, too, with your deadly touch.
Tomb-Born Fortitude (Libris Mortis): Nice feat that prevents you from dying from massive damage and gives you the effects of light fortification armor enhancement.
Undead Leadership (Libris Mortis): As per Leadership.
Great Captain (Stormwrack): Use aid another to assist everyone on your ship. This is a great feat for captains.
Scourge of the Seas (Stormwrack): Intimidate enemy captains who identify your colors. Bad.
Avenging Strike (ToB): Unless if you are going to deal with creatures who possess the evil subtype, take this. Otherwise it's not worth it. Note that this works if the outsider has the evil subtype, regardless of alignment (it means that you can avenging strike paladin outsiders for example that have the evil subtype).
Evil Brand (FCI): Bonus to social skills with evil creatures.
Dilate Aura (FCII): Double your aura's range once per encounter for rounds equal to your charisma modifier. Mediocre.
Sword of the Arcane Order (CoV): This is a gem. One of the best feats for paladins out there.
From Smite to Song (CoV): Spend a smite attempt to activate a inspire courage effect with effective bard level equal to your paladin level. Average feat.
Battle Blessing (CC): A gem. Auto quicken nearly everything on your spell list. A must if you are going to value spellcasting.
Combat Expertise (PHB): This is a great feat, but if you take it you will have effectively 5 attributes you won't be able to dump.
Improved Disarm/Feint (PHB): As above.
Combat Reflexes (PHB): This is also bad. Not only you need some dump stats, you can't take advantage of it due to your heavy armor proficiency.
Dodge (PHB): Ditto. Dexterity 13 can be a real pain.
Mobility/Spring Attack (PHB): As above.
Diehard (PHB): You can heal yourself, so this gives you some more hit points to use. Not the best feat you can get, but has its uses.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency (PHB): You don't really need it. You already have many weapons available and you don't need weird tripping disarming reach weapons. Also your number of feats is extremely limited.
Improved Initiative (PHB): Your dexterity will be low and playing early is important. This can offset your initiative problems a little.
Mounted Combat (PHB): You have after all a special mount as class feature. Negating hits on your companion is important.
Mounted Archery (PHB): Sure, nice benefits, but why would you want to attack with ranged weapons?
Ride-By Attack (PHB): You can move after charging a character while mounted, so this can get you into position for another charge. Required for spirited charge.
Spirited Charge (PHB): Deal double damage on a mounted charge and triple damage if you are wielding a lance. This combined with smite evil and the such, can result in a serious damage output.
Trample (PHB): Overrun an opponent and have your mount attack every opponent you knock down. Nice feat for a mounted character.
Power Attack (PHB): Trade attack bonus for extra damage. Nice feat.
Cleave (PHB): It is ok to have some feats for optimizing your damage output, but don't fool yourself. You haven't the fighter's feat versatility or barbarian's attack power, you are more of a defensive character. With that in mind, don't spend your valuable feat slots on feats like this.
Improved Sunder (PHB): This is nice for several reasons. First it is a prerequisite feat for lots of other feats and prestige classes. Second its main use isn't only sundering weapons. Clever use of sunder such as on the spellcaster's spell component pouch or the archer's quiver can turn the tide of a battle.
Tower Shield Proficiency (PHB): Personally i wouldn't spend a feat on tower shields. However it does flavor with paladins so it is worth just to mention them.
Two Weapon Fighting (PHB): Unless you know what you are doing, this is very bad. Even the first feat of this chain requires 15 dexterity.
Zen Archery (CW): If you want to play a ranged character, this is important so that you reduce MAD.
Leap Attack (CV): This is a way to optimize further power attack and charging.
Martial Study/Stance (ToB): There are some great maneuvers you can benefit from. Also you get new class skills, the most important of which, i consider to be intimidate from devoted spirit.
Stone Power (ToB): If you happen to possess stone dragon maneuvers, this boosts your defensive capabilities even more.
Brutal Strike (PHB II): Nice if you are going to optimize your power attack damage.
Combat Focus (PHB II): Bonus to will saves and opens up other useful combat form feats.
Combat Stability (PHB II): Enhances your tanking abilities by making you really difficult to trip, disarm, grapple, bull rush or overrun you.
Combat Defense (PHB II): It requires dodge and combat focus. So the requirements are too tough for you.
Combat Vigor (PHB II): Fast healing as long as you maintain your focus.
Combat Awareness (PHB II): It requires blind-fight but it gives you blindsight. It's worth the trade to my opinion.
Combat Strike (PHB II): I'd skip this. You already have smites for this job.
Extra Smiting (CW): I don't think that is necessary, but it's there if you are continually using smite attempts.
Improved Smiting (CD): This is nice if you have a problem with overcoming damage reduction. Also useful if you have also other kinds of smite.
Exalted Smite (BoED): This is worthless. Just take improved smiting.
Smite Fiery Foe (Frostburn): Use this if you are going to encounter fire based creatures, such as fire dragons.
Ranged Smite Evil (BoED): You can use a smite evil attempt through a ranged weapon. Great if you want to play a ranged paladin.
Smiting Power (CoV): Add bonuses to overrun or bull rush.
Animal Devotion: (CC): Get scaling sacred bonuses to your strength , to your land speed or gain wings and bonuses to fly speed. Last but not least, a constitution damage bite attack that is keyed off charisma (weird for a poison effect). Also you can use it more times per day if you spend turn attempts. Great.
Death Devotion (CC): Infuse a weapon with negative energy and bestow negative levels. The save is charisma based.
Destruction Devotion (CC): Well, you maybe won't hit as much, but a little debuffing is ok to have. Also it only requires one extra attempt to use this again, making it a divine feat pre turn undead acquisition.
Earth Devotion (CC): Another divine-like feat, this makes you able to ignore difficult terrain and gain some bonuses to skills that you'll completely dump for one way or another. Not first priority, but nice and flavors with dwarfs.
Evil Devotion (CC): A damage reduction aura. Great.
Good Devotion (CC): As above.
Healing Devotion (CC): Sacred Healing has a duration of 1 + charisma modifier and grants fast healing 3 to all living creatures. This gives a scaling fast healing bonus, but lasts for 1 minute and on one creature only. I'd go with sacred healing.
Plant Devotion (CC): Great defensive properties. Bonus to natural armor and a scaling fortification effect. Also it is an immediate action, so it can be activated even on your opponent's turns.
Protection Devotion (CC): An armor aura. It is nice and fits thematically with the paladin.
Sun Devotion (CC): Nice for undead hunters.
Cavalry Charger (CW): Has some nice mounted options.
Combat Brute (CW): Interesting feat with great maneuvers. Especially momentum swing can be used to optimize power attack damage.
Elusive Target (CW): Great feat and abilities for defensive characters. It's too bad though it requires two very difficult feats to acquire as a paladin.
Shock Trooper (CW): Gain a trip maneuver without improved trip as a requirement, headless charge to optimize your damage output.
Awesome Smite (CC): Ignore some damage reduction points, trip opponents or ignore miss chances against opponents you smite. Great maneuvers.
Improved Turning (PHB): You are better off taking 5 ranks in knowledge(religion).
Extra Turning (PHB): If nightsticks are open for purchase, skip this. If they are not i would consider it very carefully. Charisma is an important stat for paladins, so you will have a lot of turn attempts to spend.
Empower Turning (CD): This helps on turning damage output, but you should actually try to affect more hid dice of creatures.
Quicken Turning (CD): Sure you have more stuff to do in a given round than just to turn, but why would you want to turn anyway?
Disciple of the Sun (CD): May be more important if you actually going to be turning, as you skip the damage part of the turn attempt.
Exalted Turning (BoED): Deal bonus damage to undead creatures you turn. Again it's not the damage part that is a problem to paladin turning.
Heighten Turning (Libris Mortis): This is the best feat you can use if you want to turn undead. Combined with exalted turning, your turning power will be comparable to that of a cleric.
Divine Cleansing (CW): The bonus is limited to +2 and it's only for fortitude saving throws. Unless your party is consistently making fortitude saves against hazards, better stay away.
Divine Might (CW): Add your charisma to damage for 1 full round. This provides even more charisma synergy. Great feat.
Divine Resistance (CW): All allies in a 60ft burst gain resistance 5 to cold, fire and electricity. Unfortunately requires divine cleansing and isn't that powerful, so you better skip it.
Divine Shield (CW): Close relative to divine might, this feat makes you a walking fortress and has a pretty nice duration.
Divine Vigor (CW): If you are wearing heavy armor, your speed will be greatly reduced. This not only pumps your speed, but also provides you with 2 temporary hit points/level. The effect has a duration of minutes/level. Great feat.
Sacred Vengeance (CW): If you want to hurt undead more, you can purchase an undead bane weapon for the same effect 24/7.
Divine Metamagic (CD): Probably not useful to you as to clerics, you are better off with metamagic rods.
Divine Spell Power (CD): This requires a special turning roll with a +3 bonus to the roll. If you optimize the roll a bit you can easily get 1-2 bonus to your caster level. Mediocre.
Glorious Weapons (CD): Align melee weapons of your allies in a large area to good/evil. Average feat.
Sacred Boost (CD): This maximizes the next healing spell cast on the subjects affected. Average.
Sacred Healing (CD): This is a very good ability. You effectively provide your allies healing 3*(1 + your charisma modifier). Be careful as this feat affects all living creatures, which includes enemy living creatures.
Dragonfire Channeling (Dragon Magic): Not good since your effective cleric level is low.
Divine Accuracy (Libris Mortis): You and allies can reroll the miss chance with melee attacks for incorporeal undead. It is too specific to be good, and in any major incorporeal undead campaign you are better off with ghost touch weapons or truedeath crystals.
Profane Lifeleech (Libris Mortis): Spend two turn attempts to deal 1d6 points of damage to all living creatures in a 30ft burst and heal the total amount of damage you dealt. This isn't an offensive feat but more of a healing one. Also it might work if you have tomb-tainted soul as it doesn't state that the healing energy is positive.
Profane Vigor (Libris Mortis): Heal an undead ally 2 hit points per cleric level. Even assuming that you can use your paladin level instead of a cleric level, this feat is bad. Just use your deadly touch ability.
Sacred Vitality (Libris Mortis): Use a turn attempt to gain immunity to ability damage, ability drain and energy drain? And for 1 minute duration? This is probably a must have.
Spurn Death's Touch (Libris Mortis): Heal ability damage, remove paralysis effects or negative levels by spending turn attempts. Nice if you are going to be fighting undead, otherwise skip it. It doesn't have the versatility of sacred vitality.
Blackwater Invocation (Stormwrack): Deal some non important damage with a pesky difficulty class, while giving concealment to the creatures in the area you affect. Worthless.
Sanctify Water (Stormwrack): Unless you have a plan to trap undead in bodies of water and using this afterwards, don't take it.
Divine Spirit (ToB): If you are in a devoted spirit stance, you can expend a turn attempt to heal yourself for 3+ charisma modifier damage. Average.
Divine Armor (PHB II): Give your armor damage reduction 5/- for 1 round. I don't think it's worth it.
Divine Fortune (PHB II): On the other hand, this can help in early levels when your saves and charisma won't be too big. It's an immediate action. Later you can retrain it.
Divine Justice (PHB II): This is interesting if you are a purely defensive character without large damage outputs. Targeting rogues or melee skirmishers can give you large amounts of damage easily. Also there are effects that diminish damage after it is dealt (fortification armor negates critical hits, damage reduction, fast healing, general healing).
Divine Ward (PHB II): This is more important to clerics than you.
Profane Aura (PHB II): Nice ability to battlefield control a bit, but a two-bladed knife.
Sacred Healing (PHB II): This again, is best used by clerics.
Sacred Purification (PHB II): This requires sacred healing. There is a sacred healing feat in complete divine by the same name. It is strictly better (in regards to long term healing) to both this and the previous feat.
Sacred Radiance (PHB II): Nice feat with bonuses to allies and penalties to foes, but you must have caster level 9 to grab it.
Divine Censure (FCII): Spend a turn attempt to shaken all evil outsiders within 30ft. The ability lasts for charisma modifier rounds and has a charisma based difficulty class.
Divine Defiance (FCII): This isn't useful to you. It screams cleric.
Divine Justice (FCII): This is actually nice. "Evil outsiders" covers a lot of creatures and you get to shaken them, too.
Persistent Refusal (FCII): Your saves are already very high. Taking this can guarantee that you won't be disabled for a lot rounds.
Pious Defiance (FCII): I prefer divine fortune that covers all your saving throws.
Retrieve Spell (CC): This is nice especially with things like sword of the arcane order and the like.
Spiritual Counter (CC): Too many turn attempts needed.
Ascetic Knight (CV): Monk and paladin levels stack for unarmed strike and smite evil damage.
Devoted Inquisitor (CV): Smite evil and sneak attack to potentially daze a foe. Mediocre.
Devoted Performer (CV): Paladin and bard levels stack for determining smite evil damage and number of bardic music/day.
Devoted Tracker (CV): Paladin and ranger levels stack for determining your wild empathy bonus and smite evil bonus damage. Also you can designate your special mount as your animal companion and gain both benefits.
Gift of Grace (BoED): Share with your companions some of your divine grace. Not particularly useful.
Hands of a Healer (BoED): Not exactly worth a feat. You can buy a wondrous item to the same effect.
Holy Radiance (BoED): Shed light and deal damage to undead. Average.
Nimbus of Light (BoED): Gain bonuses when interacting with good creatures and shed a bright light.
Nymph's Kiss (BoED): You gain bonuses to charisma related checks, +1 bonus on saving throws for spells and spell-like abilities. Also 1 bonus skill point per level.
Quell the Profane (BoED): Requires resounding blow. If the creature fails the fortitude charisma based saving throw, it takes 1d4+1 strength damage.
Resounding Blow (BoED): If you hit deal a critical hit with a weapon you are proficient, he must succeed on a charisma based saving throw. If he fails he cowers for 1 round. Great, but you need 7 ranks in intimidate.
Sanctify Martial Strike (BoED): Deal more damage to evil creatures, evil undead and evil outsiders. Also good aligned for overcoming damage reduction. Unfortunately it requires weapon focus.
Sanctify Weapon (BoED): When you cast sanctify weapon, it also becomes sanctified. It deals more damage to evil beings. Corrupted creatures cannot recover lost hit points from a sanctified weapon with normal healing.
Celestial Mount (BoED): It would be better to use the planar level substitution than taking this feat. Nevertheless if you can't for some reason, it's still worth the feat.
Winter's Mount (Frostburn): This is worst than celestial mount even though it boosts its constitution.
Dragon Steed (Draconomicon): You gain a dragonnel as a special mount.
Cloak of the Obyrith (FCI): Damage reduction 1/lawful per abyssal heritor feat.
Heart of the Nabassou (FCI): Ignore negative levels per day equal to abyssal heritor feats.
Otherwordly Countenance (FCI): Fascinate or sicken foes. Also bonus to intimidate or perform checks.
Precognitive Visions (FCI): Gain a floating pool of bonuses that can be used on different rolls.
Primordial Scion (FCI): Your weapons are chaotic for bypassing damage reduction and you deal a bit more damage to lawful targets.
Devil-Touched:Note: A character with devil-touched feats can't acquire exalted feats.
Devil's Favor (FCII): Nice uses to several rolls.
Devil's Aura (FCII): Create an aura of fear for 1 round.
Devil's Flesh (FCII): Bonus to natural armor and intimidate.
Devil's Tongue (FCII): Charisma based difficulty class that dazes creatures.
Regional:Note: These feats are campaign specific to the Faerun setting. They are usually better than the average feat and that's because they can only be gained at 1st level. You can only have one regional feat.
Arcane Schooling (PGtF): Choose an arcane spellcasting class. You can now activate spell trigger magic items as if you had 1 level in them. Great for all those arcane wands. Also the class you'll choose becomes favored class for you.
Dreadful Wrath (PGtF): This is a very good feat for every charismatic character. Create a fear aura every time you attack, charge or target an enemy with a spell.
Fleet of Foot (PGtF): Useful if wearing heavy armor, so your speed becomes better.
Foe Hunter (PGtF): In case you hail from Impiltur, you can gain Demons as favored enemies. It has other choices too, but that's what fits most thematically with the paladin.
Furious Charge (PGtF): Along with charging smite and power attack and the attack penalty you can take, this provides serious damage output.
Magical Artisan (PGtF): As with arcane schooling, this can be used to gain some spells and the ability to use eternal wands.
Otherworldly (PGtF): Nice bonuses. Darkvision, unnamed bonus to diplomacy and native outsider.
Saddleback (PGtF): If you are going for a mount build, this is useful.
Smooth Talk (PGtF): Only -5 penalty when rushing diplomacy rolls.
Initiate of Arvoreen (CoV): Add hide and move silently to class skills and some spells. If you have the skill points to spend go for it. Can't benefit though because it would have most synergy with shadow cloak knight, which requires a gnome.
Initiate of Baravar Cloakshadow (CoV): Great spells added to your list.
Initiate of the Holy Realm (CoV): Bad ability and spells added.
Initiate of Horus-Re (CoV): The wild shape ability can fulfill the requirements of prestige classes. Spells are bad though.
Initiate of Milil (CoV): Great for multiclass bard/paladins. You need to get perform as a class skill though (through smite to song or able learner probably.)
Initiate of Nobanion (CoV): Too narrow. Bad.
Initiate of Torm (CoV): The smite ability is also too specific and the spells are even worse.
Concentration: Not particularly useful to you, unless you are planning to be casting spells in battle. However since you will focus on high AC it will pretty difficult to disrupt your spell even then.
Craft: This is a skill for peasants, not charismatic leaders!
Diplomacy: I'd max out this one. It gives you a lot of social interaction choices and with your high charisma you should be the party's face.
Handle Animal: I'd skip this one unless you would like to act as an animal tamer. There's no reason to spend more than a few ranks in this skill (in order to qualify maybe for requirements)
Heal: Great skill to stop your fallen allies from dying.
Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty): Get this at least to five ranks to gain the synergy bonus on diplomacy checks.
Knowledge (Religion): Spend five ranks in this skill so that you get the synergy bonus, which is great for any character who turns undead.
Profession: Again this isn't a skill for a legendary commander.
Ride: Max this if you plan on acquiring the mounted combat feats.
Sense Motive: Spend some ranks in this one. It can be used to identify the intents of NPCs you might come across and also has various social and several other uses.
Variant Paladins and Paladin Substitution Levels Skills:
Paladin of Freedom: As with standard paladin but diplomacy is replaced with bluff. Bluff is a nice skill. Spend at least 5 ranks in bluff as it gives synergy bonuses to four different skills.
Paladin of Slaughter: As with standard paladin but diplomacy is replaced with intimidate. Since you have a strong charisma, you can use intimidate to optimize stacking of fear effects.
Dragonborn Paladin: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (arcana) to class skills. I wouldn't bother with knowledges except if you need them for requirements.
Half-Orc Paladin: As with standard paladin but replace diplomacy with intimidate. Since you do this replacement only on the substitution levels, you won't have enough ranks to do a huge difference, but the investiture is worth it.
Elf Paladin: As with standard paladin but add survival to class skills. Don't bother.
Planar Paladin: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (The planes) to class skills. I wouldn't bother with this type of knowledge.
Crescent Moon Knight: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (local-impiltur) to class skills. Insignificant.
Holy Judge: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (The planes) to class skills. I wouldn't bother with this type of knowledge.
Lion Legionnaire: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (nature) to class skills. Leave this to more wilderness related characters.
Mystic Fire Knight: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (arcana) and spellcraft to class skills. Spend some ranks in spellcraft in order to get practiced spellcaster.
Noble Heart: As with standard paladin but add survival to class skills. Can't make a huge difference.
Ruby Rose Knight: As with standard paladin but add bluff and perform to class skills. This are nice skills to spend ranks, but the substitution levels suck.
Red Falcon: As with standard paladin but add knowledge (history) to class skills. Only useful if you have levels in bard.
Wary Swordknight: As with standard paladin but add listen and spot to class skills. Nice if you need to pay more attention to your surroundings.
Harmonious Knight: As with standard paladin but add perform to class skills. Again this is a nice skill, but the substitution levels are below average.
Shadow Cloak Knight: As with standard paladin but add hide and move silently to class skills. You already get bonuses to these skills for being a gnome and the substitution levels are great. Since you gain hide in plain sight, consider spending some points in these skills.
and finally you can replace some of the skills through Skilled City Dweller:
Replace handle animal with gather information: This is a useful trade. Gather information will see a lot more play from your part than handle animal.
Replace ride with tumble: Not so useful unless you give up your special mount. Even then, you will be wearing heavy armor and dumping dexterity, so don't expect much from this.
Replace Knowledge (nature) with Knowledge (local): Knowledge (nature) is gained through substitution levels. You may want to replace it to fulfill requirements.
Replace survival with sense motive: This is obviously a bad trade since you already have sense motive as a class skill.
Dismount Attack: If you succeed in a fast dismount attack, you can attack an adjacent opponent as if you have charged him. Requires ride 5 ranks.
Healing Hands: Stabilize a character and heal them 1d6 hit points, which may make them functional again. Requires heal 5 ranks.
Never Outnumbered: Demoralize a group of enemies. Requires intimidate 8 ranks.
Social Recovery: Reroll a failed check to improve NPC attitude.
Armor is important for a paladin. Your dexterity will be low, so this is the main way of boosting your AC. Typically paladins are figures in shiny metal armor.
Fortification (DMG): Negate critical hits and sneak attack damage to yourself will help your companions. Also improves survivability a lot. +1/+3/+5 bonus
Ghost Touch (DMG):Ghost ward is better. +3 bonus.
Undead Controlling (DMG): You won't be rebuking undead easily, so this is a quick way to get them to follow you. Later you can bend them to your will. +49.000.
Anchoring (MIC): Provides with nice bonuses to resist special combat maneuvers. Great enhancement. +1/+2 bonus.
Aporter (MIC): Nice ability since your mobility will be hindered.
Commander (MIC): Give some small bonuses to your allies. The bonus on the will saves is morale, so it will stack with most other bonuses. Only +2.000.
Ghost Ward (MIC): Most useful against those who hunt incorporeal creatures, this is a priority. Your flat touch AC will make you vulnerable to those creatures' attacks. +1 bonus.
Speed (MIC): 3/day create a haste effect on you. +6.000.
Fearsome (DotU): Gain bonuses to intimidate and demoralize as a move action.
Animated (DMG): Use a two handed weapon while taking benefits from a shield, too. +2 bonus.
Bashing (DMG): Specially designed for those warriors that prefer to use their shield as a weapon. +1 bonus.
Time Buttress (MIC): Become invulnerable to nearly everything for 1 round once per day. Powerful and flavorful. +5 bonus.
Agility (MIC): Reflex saves will be lower than the others usually, since dexterity isn't that important for you. This can help boost it a little. +500/+4.000/+8.000.
Blurring (MIC): The greater version of this can be activated any number of times per day and its duration is nice. +1/+2 bonus.
Buoyant (MIC): Negate the armor check penalty on swim checks. Along with your strength you will most likely manage to survive if you fell in a large body of water while wearing armor. Get it if you are going to adventure frequently near the sea, rivers, etc. +4.000.
Called (MIC): Donning a heavy armor tends to take a lot of time (donning a full plate takes some minutes). With this ability you can don your armor as a standard action. Also you can leave it anywhere on your plane and just call it back to you. +2.000.
Magic Eating (MIC): Your saves are already high, this extra bonus for a small price can be helpful. +10.000.
Menacing (MIC): Standard action to activate a charisma based fear aura. +30.000.
Roaring (MIC): Protects against ranged attacks and gives a bonus to initiative checks. Both are weak areas for paladins. +3 bonus.
Crystal of Screening (MIC): You impose a penalty to the touch attacks of incorporeal creatures. If you are dealing a lot with them, you should get this since your touch AC will be crappy. +400/+1.000/+3.000.
Iron Ward Diamond (MIC): Damage reduction until it has blocked a certain amount of damage a day. +500/+2.000/+8.000.
Restful Crystal (MIC): Sleep in your armor without problem.
There is two types of fighting styles commonly used by paladins:
Two handed weapons: Most of the times they are used in conjuction with power attack feats, resulting in good damage outputs.
One handed weapon along with a shield: More defensive capabilities and decent damage if you choose the right weapons.
What you will choose as your favorite weapon won't be really affecting your play a lot, so you can choose according to your personal style. Paladins have proficiency with almost all weapons.
Bane (DMG): A bane weapon against the enemy you will most be facing can be helpful. Some types that can help include outsiders (good, evil, lawful, chaotic) and undead. +1 bonus.
Ghost Touch (DMG): Nice for ghost hunters, unfortunately grabbing a truedeath crystal is strictly better. +1 bonus.
Holy (DMG): Makes weapon good aligned for overcoming damage reduction and deals an extra 2d6 points of damage to evil creatures. +2 bonus.
Unholy (DMG): Ditto. +2 bonus.
Banishing (MIC): Banish creatures back to their home planes. Synergy with other weapon properties. +2 bonus.
Binding (MIC): Bar creatures from extra dimensional travel. Interesting if you deal with a lot of outsiders. +1 bonus.
Blessed (MIC): Treat weapon as good aligned and activate it to automatically confirm critical threats if you feel that you are feeling lucky (it's a swift action). +1 bonus.
Brutal Surge (MIC): After attacking, spend a swift action to initiate a bull rush. Usable 1 + constitution modifier. +1 bonus.
Charging (MIC): When you are mounted and wield this weapon, you deal an additional 2d6 points of damage on a charge attack. +1 bonus.
Dispelling, Greater (MIC): 3/day greater dispel magic as a free action. +2 bonus.
Divine Wrath (MIC): Spend a turn attempt to deal +1d6 points of damage per charisma modifier to undead. It's a divine feat for only +1 bonus.
Mighty Smiting (MIC): Bonus on smite attempts and one extra charge per day. +1 bonus.
Sacred (MIC): Bonus damage to undead and align weapon to overcome damage reduction. +1 bonus.
Stunning (MIC): Nice abilities, but why not take sudden stunning? +1 bonus.
Sundering (MIC): Allows you to attack as if you had the improved sunder feat. That has a lot of extra uses and you even deal bonus damage on sunder attempts. Great since you effectively gain a feat for only +1 bonus.
Warning (MIC): If your dexterity score is low, this comes handy if you don't have the feats to spend to improved initiative. +1 bonus.
Sudden Stunning (DMG II): Charisma based difficulty class that stuns a target. Usable charisma times per day. +2.000.
Crystal of Return (MIC): Especially the least one, gives you free quick draw for the weapon attached. 300/1.000/4.000.
Fiendslayer Crystal (MIC): Overcome damage reduction, deal extra damage and prevent the creature from using teleport. 1.000/3.000/5.000.
Truedeath Crystal (MIC): Great against undead. Extra damage, ghost touch and deliver sneak attacks or critical hits to undead. 1.000/5.000/10.000.
Belt of Magnificence (Miniatures Handbook): This is a must. Reduces MAD and makes you better in many areas.
Boots of Striding and Springing (DMG): A bonus to your land speed and jump checks.
Circlet of Persuasion (DMG): +3 competence bonus on charisma based checks.
Ioun Stones (DMG):
Pale Green: Bonuses to pretty all rolls.
Orange: +1 caster level, which is indeed needed.
Bead of Karma (DMG): +4 caster level for 10 minutes. Use it when you buff up.
Amulet of Retributive Healing (MIC): 3/day heal yourself for the same amount you heal an ally. 2.000.
Amulet of Word twisting (MIC): Nice bonuses to social skills you are going to use much. Also bigger bonuses for orcs. 6.000.
Armbands of Might (MIC): Nice bonuses to power attack and strength related skill checks.
Belt of Battle (MIC): Many uses and offers extra mobility and attack power. 12.000.
Belt of Growth (MIC): Increase in size, which results in bonus strength and reach. 3.000.
Boots of Battle Charger (MIC): Nice charging bonuses. 2.000.
Caduceus Bracers (MIC): Convert lay on hands healing to other modes and remove special conditions.
Circlet of Mages (MIC): Bonus to concentration and retain spells of various levels if charges are spend.
Reliquary Holy Symbol (MIC): Bonus turn attempts for only 1.000.
Strongarm Bracers (MIC): Wield larger weapons than normal. Nice for optimizing your damage output at low levels. 6.000.
Unicorn Pendant (MIC): Your charisma is considered 4 points higher for using your lay on hands ability. Also it boost even further your divine spirit's spirit of healing.
Veil of Allure (MIC): The difficulty class of enchantment spells or spell-like abilities as well as extraordinary and supernatural abilities is increased by 2.
Bard: Opens up possibilities such as initiate of milil, devoted performer which result in interesting builds. Bards boost your reflex and will saves and give you access to arcane spells. Thus you can activate bardic wands and eternal wands.
Cleric: Probably one level of cleric is the single most powerful dip of all. Gives you turn undead earlier so you can acquire feats quickly.
Fighter: Sure, bonus feats are nice, but fighter levels hurt too much in paladin builds: Spells, caster level, class skills (although you do get intimidate in return), smite evil progression, turn undead, lay on hands, special mount. I don't think that getting one or two feats in return is worth it.
Monk: All good saves, but lots of monk abilities work only in light or no armor. One possibility is Ascetic Knight, taking one or two levels in monk and getting high unarmed strike damage.
1 level:Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist. I wouldn't take improved grapple as a paladin, stunning fist has some synergy with high wisdom. Also its difficulty class is based on character level. Also trade flurry of blows for Decisive Strike, a PHB II alternative class feature which unlike flurry, works in armor.
2nd level:Evasion, which works in light armor, so you should wear the best mithral medium armor (breastplate probably) and a bonus feat to either combat reflexes or Deflect Arrows. Don't take this level if your fighting style isn't two-handed. Deflect arrows which is the natural choice, works only if you have a free arm, which isn't the case with shield/sword. Also evasion is more limiting than helpful (since it limits your armor and you have to beef up your reflex saves).
Ranger: If you are taking this consider it closely. All stats will be important to you, will no exception. Devoted Tracker will stack paladin and ranger levels, resulting in powerful mounts.
Sorcerer: Charisma synergy, but gish builds with paladin levels, aren't actually paladin builds.
Wizard: Great with sword of the arcane order.
Hexblade (CW): Charisma synergy and will save boost. Curses won't see much play, but arcane resistance, mettle and the variant feature dark companion are nice.
Marshal (Miniatures Handbook): The minor auras use charisma modifier for the bonus they provide. This is great for field leaders.
Blackguard (DMG): poison use, sneak attack, Dark Blessing, but requires cleave and five ranks in hide to enter. If you use the variant evil paladins to enter, it can create a saving throws monster.
Cavalier (CW): Give up spells for mounted benefits. Continues special mount progression.
Halfling Ourider (CW): Another prestige class for special mount. This is actually better than cavalier but you need to be a halfling.
Hunter of the Dead (CW): Easy requirements. Great against undead. If you are in an undead heavy campaign, this is a nice choice. Unfortunately, even though hunter of the dead gives several turn undead features, such as divine feat-like abilities, it hasn't turn undead progression, so that means that you would probably use turn attempts to power divine feats and abilities.
Knight of the Chalice (CW): This is a very good class. Grants various immunities to you and allies, a turn undead feature that works against evil outsiders and some nice spells that aren't on the paladin's spell list. The knowledge (the planes) requirement can be achieved without spending cross class skill ranks if you take one of the substitution levels that add it to your class skills (e.g. planar paladin).
Holy Liberator (CD): Great abilities and you maybe can keep you paladin abilities with the variant paladin of freedom.Break enchantment is awesome.
Pious Templar (CD): Nice abilities and saves, mettle, spells and bonus spells. Also usable with all paladin variants.
Shadowbane Inquisitor (CV): Nice in conjuction with shadow cloak knight.
Vigilante (CV): The skill requirements are steep but with some substitution levels anr/or skilled city dweller you can get them on time. Gets nice features and arcane spells from the bard list.
Wild Plains Outrider (CV): Easy requirements and nice if you are going for a mount build.
Gray Guard (CS): Drop spells a little for the ability to smite anything and the ability to operate a bit unconventional.
Dragon Devotee (Races of the Dragon): Easy to enter, bonus feats, all stat boosts are to important ones, arcane spells and a free template, all in a nice package.
Bonus Hit Dice: The mount gets extra hit dice. These levels result in extra hit points, BAB, skill points, feats.
Natural Armor: A boost to natural armor.
Str Adj.: Bonus strength to your mount.
Int: Improvement to your mount's intelligence.
Empathic Link: Communicate with your mount from a distance.
Improved Evasion: As per the special ability.
Share Spells: This is very good. Effectively you are buffing two for one spell.
Share Saving Throws: Your mount can use your own base saves instead of its own.
Improved Speed: A bonus to the mount's speed.
Command: Your mount can command others of its kind.
Spell Resistance: The mount gains a lousy spell resistance.
Normally your mount will have the animal type. Animals get:
d8 hit dice.
3/4 Base attack bonus.
Good fortitude and reflex saves.
2+intelligence modifier skill points.
Low light vision.
Proficient with natural weapons.
There are however other ways to acquiring mounts:
Leadership: You can designate your mount to be a cohort.
Drakkensteed Mount: Gives you the choice to ride a drakkensteed. Drakkensteeds are dragonblood animals who fly. Unfortunately if you choose one as a special mount, they can't command others of their kind.
Dragon Steed: Gain a dragonnel as a special mount. Dragonnels are of the Dragon type, which results to full base attack, all good saves and many skill points, but you must treat it with additional respect.
Planar Paladin Substitution Level (6th): Your mount acquires the celestial template. Celestial template provides full base attack, better hit dice and darkvision.
Devoted Tracker: Let's you designate your animal companion as your special mount, which results in really powerful combinations.
Feats for Mounts:
Iron Will (PHB): Bonus to the mount's worst save.
Power Attack (PHB): Trade attack bonus for extra damage.
Improved Bull Rush (PHB): Nice for bull rush attempts and requirement for awesome blow.
Run (PHB): Useful in non combat situations.
Track (PHB): Again, have your mount do the tracking if you need one in your party.
Ability Focus (MM): +2 difficulty class to the special ability of your mount.
Awesome Blow (MM): Nice if used with a bonus to damage (such as the celestial's smite).
Flyby Attack (MM): Move and take a standard action at any point during the move.
Improved Natural Armor (MM): +1 to your mount's natural armor.
Improved Natural Attack (MM): Bonus damage is always nice.
Draconic Aura (Dragon Magic): If your DM is ok with it, you can get this with your Drakkensteed (which is dragonblood). Saving a feat and providing bonuses to all your party.