Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Full Charisma Paladin: Improving your divine class in two easy steps

This is a simple rules modification to fix what I view as a Paladin's greatest problem, its division in two subclasses: one with Charisma, the other with Strength, both with too few power choices. It consists on the following:
  1. Change all Strength-based Paladin powers to use Charisma instead. If there is any secondary effect that triggers off Wisdom, change it to use Strength.
  2. Change Divine Challenge so that the damage bonus depends on Strength modifier, rather than Charisma.
As an example, this is how the revised level 1 powers would look like (details ommitted for clarity):

The following features would also change:

After this change, the Paladin is still left with two builds using different attributes: the Avenging Paladin has Charisma and Strength, while the Protecting paladin uses Charisma and Wisdom. Class features will be more evenly distributed among builds, as Avenging will have the better challenge and Protecting specializes on Lay on Hands. This supposes a great improvement for the previously handicapped Avenging build, at the cost of a decrease in power for previous Charisma specs.

The most important gain, however, is in the number of available powers, as Valiant Strike and many other powers, including most dailies, can now be used in any build. The use of cross-build powers is also much easier, as the main ability score remains the same.

Is there any downside? Does this modification take away anything special from the Paladin class? In my opinion, the differentiation between builds is as good as before, if not better: with the change to Divine Challenge, there is a clear healing build and a damage build (rather than a full build and a crappy build, like before).

So, what do you think? Are we really improving the class? Have I missed anything? Let's discuss.


  1. I don't see classes with two main attributes as that a problem that big. I understand that they could be somewhat less 'maximizable' than other classes with only one main ability score, but thanks to the lack of items and powers with bonus to abilities and the two ability boost instead of one every 4 levels, they can keep both at similar levels and choose powers from both builds with a difference of perhaps one attack bonus, which is no such a big issue. Of course the tertiary ability would suffer from this, but still it is quite bearable.

    Great job with the blog by the way, I hope to keep seeing more of it in the future!

  2. I think Perico has presented us with an elegant and balanced way to fix the Paladin class within the bounds of the Fourth Edition. The only other solution would be revert to the Strength-based paladin of previous editions, which would be a good idea, except that dozens of Fourth Edition paladin powers are built around waves of divine radiance instead of just smashing things.

  3. It's worth mentioning that this is a fairly old article, and that most of the issues with the Paladin class have long since been addressed by Divine Power and other official releases. The split ability requirements are still a bit awkward, but no longer crippling.

    Also, I have a future article down the line where I will introduce a more general house rule (inspired, believe it or not, by D&D Next concepts!) which can greatly help the ability requirements of paladins and other old classes.