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 Paladin Weapon Selections

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PostSubject: Paladin Weapon Selections   Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:58 am

IV. Paladin Weapon Selection

As this applies to all paladins, it merits its very own section, and it's important enough to get one. As a cursory review of Divine Sacrifice and Exalted Smite Evil shows, paladins clicky abilities are based around getting critical hits. This in itself is fine, but it makes weapon selection very important. While the choice between an 18-20/x2 and a 20/x4 weapon is mostly taste for a fighter or barbarian, the first weapon is 15-20% better for the paladin because it provides so many more opportunities to get the critical bonuses of divine sacrifice and smite evil. Weapons with strong critical characteristics are therefore prized for paladin use, and selecting other weapons is a significant hit to effectiveness (this is part of why dwarven paladins perform poorly: a charisma penalty mixed with favoring a weapon that is ill-suited to paladin abilities).

Paladins, therefore, are wise to select their weaponry with the following criteria. While this might seem boring or predictable, and there's certainly nothing that says you have to, it's important for a player to know that selecting other weapon types -will- be detrimental to your effectiveness a lot more so than it would be with another class (though these weapons are, in general, better for other classes, too).

Falchions: By far the best 2 handed weapon for paladin purposes. While greataxes are better than Falchions for other two-handed fighters until they acquire very large +damage numbers, the Falchion passes the greataxe for a paladin almost immediately due to having 3x as many divine sacrifice crits and twice as many smite crits (more smite crits, in fact, if exalted smite 4 isn't being taken).

Scimitars: Same critical profile as the Falchion, if you're an elven paladin, this is the way to go: You get racial enhancements with them

Rapiers: As above, but for drow. This is a particularly potent combination, since drow are by far the easiest race to make paladin 20 damage builds with, due to their dex and cha bonuses.

Khopesh: While inferior to the two above weapons purely for smite evil and divine sacrifice, the Khopesh is the best weapon in the game for static +damage bonuses, and consequently does more damage overall when mixed with Divine Favor and Divine Might. As it is for pretty much everyone else. the Khopesh is the best overall damage weapon available to the paladin, though affording it on a non-human is rather difficult.

Paladin creators should remember that a major reason new players avoid the Khopesh is their extreme cost, and that paladins at level 14 can create holy swords. In fact, Holy Sword is such a big deal that it's going to get its own section.

V. Holy Sword!

Many people don't understand holy sword. The spell's tooltip is uninformative, and it once was far less effective than it is now. It is a level 4 paladin spell, so you'll need 14 paladin levels to use it, which is convenient, since its right around 14-16 that you'll start wanting them. Holy Sword requires specific components, which can be purchased at the Divine reagent broker in House Jorasco, or the Divine Vendor in Amrath. To make a holy sword, you'll have to purchase the same weapon type (eg, to make a rapier you buy the blessed cold iron rapier).

Holy swords have the following statistics:

+5 enhancement
Holy Burst (2d6 per hit, 3d6/4d6/5d6 on crit)
Silver, Cold Iron and Byeshk all at once
Static Protection from Evil effect on the user when wielded
Permanent until logout (they will vanish when you have been off-line for around 15 minutes)

These weapons are of similar caliber to Mineral 2 crafted weapons for raid boss purposes. They will break all demon and devil DRs and do similar damage to the crafted alternative (generally, the Mineral2 is .25%-.5% better, which is a negligible difference). For this reason, paladins who can get their preferred weapon in Holy Sword are not limited by the need to craft their raid-boss weapons. Tanks in particular are likely to do so anyway (as holy sword doesn't have the other benefits you can put on crafted weapons, like +4 insight bonus to armor class), but for raw damage, it's never needed. This is a huge savings to a new player. However, holy swords can only be made in the weapon types available as components. This is fine for two weapon paladins, as Khopeshes, rapiers, scimitars and even dwarven axes are all available. However, two-handed users are limited to greatswords and mauls, both of which are rather poor weapon types. This means that the cost-effectiveness difference between two handed and two-weapon fighting tends to cancel out: while the two weapon build will need a +2 tome or two, the two-handed build has to craft a weapon to max out its damage, and a two-weapon never does. These weapons are well above the quality of typical drops, and any paladin over 14 who isn't carrying them is a fool. Some weapons will be situationally better, a vast majority of monsters over level 16 are best fought with these, and the ability to not have to craft them is a huge advantage over all other melee classes. You will literally be 2-3 months ahead in terms of damage output to a ranger, barbarian or fighters who has to gather ingredients to craft.
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