Branching Paths:

The Multiclass Paladin

By Save-vs-DM

The paladin is a powerful warrior
who combats evil on a daily basis. Yet even paladins sometimes need to
branch out into a different class when the find their potent divine
abilities are simply not enough to perform their intended role.
Sometimes a paladin must multiclass in order to achieve the important
task of defeating evil. This guide will present the most common paladin
multiclass options as well as a bit of general advice on multiclassing
with the paladin class.

General Concerns

First and foremost, unlike in the traditional Dungeons and Dragons
game, paladins can freely multiclass between other classes, provided
they are able to take them. This is a huge benefit to any paladin, as
you will not need to plan when you will multiclass in regards to
returning to the path of the paladin.

Secondly, due to the Lawful Good requirement, you will be unable to
multiclass into the Barbarian or Bard class, as they must have a
non-lawful alignment. This frees you from two tough choices if you do
decide to multiclass.

When to Multiclass

Paladins gain increasing power and abilities with nearly every single
level. Nearly all paladin abilities factor in your paladin level. Given
that your actual paladin level is important, you must decide if
multiclassing is a good choice for your play style and group dynamics.

As a general rule of thumb, the larger the regular group of companions
is, the less need you have to multiclass. Multiclassing often adds
versatility rather than power to any given build, so most players will
multiclass in order to gain versatility. If you regularly find yourself
in a full group without any large gaps in party roles, you probably
don't have a need to multiclass (though there are exceptions to this
rule, see below for more information).

If, on the other hand, you constantly find yourself saying “if I could
only do X, I would contribute much more to my party”, then perhaps a
one or two level deviation into another class might be in order. Be
careful to avoid the temptations of a passing idea or ability. Rarely
should you multiclass for reasons such as “being able to cast magic
missile would be so cool!”

You must carefully weigh what you are giving up as a paladin and what
you will be gaining with your new class. The most compelling reasons to
multiclass are: access to otherwise inaccessible items, such as arcane
wands; the ability to gain certain skills as class skills, therefore
raising your max ranks; or a dramatic increase in either fighting power
or spellcasting ability.

Be warned that once you multiclass, there is no going back. If you
multiclass and then realize that you really wanted one of the 10th
level paladin enhancements, you'll have no choice but to either forgo
getting the enhancement or make a new character. Be sure to check all
the information you can before committing to a multiclass build.

Give and Take

Multiclassing as a paladin is a large game of give and take (as it is
with any class). However, paladins have a more difficult time
multiclassing, as most of the good enhancements can be found at levels
nine and ten. Furthermore, if you multiclass your smite evil, lay on
hands, spellcasting, and most other abilities will not be as potent as
a pure paladins.

You should never give up more than four levels of paladin, and unless
you have a specific build in mind, forgoing more than one or two levels
of paladin is generally unwise. Paladins simply gain too many potent
abilities and enhancements at higher levels to make multiclassing worth
the trade-off.

What You Lose

For every level of paladin that you give up for another class, you will
loose all of the following:

  • 3 damage on Smite Evil.
  • Healing equal to your Charisma bonus with Lay on Hands.
  • 15 spell points

In addition, every level of paladin that you forgo will deprive you of
access to the following enhancements and special abilities (all losses
are cumulative):

One Level

  • +1 to Fortitude saves.
  • One additional use of Smite Evil per rest.
  • One additional second level spell prepared per rest.
  • Access to the following paladin enhancements: Extra Lay on Hands
    II, Extra Smite Evil IV, Paladin's Action Boost IV, Greater Devotion I,
    and Energy of the Templar VII

Two Levels

  • +1 to Reflex and Will saves.
  • One additional use of Remove Disease per rest.
  • Access to the following paladin enhancements: Bulwark of Good
    III, Energy of the Templar VI, Focus of Good III, Resistance of Good
    III, Skill Interaction V, and Skill Recovery V.

Three Levels

  •  +1 to Fortitude saves.
  • Access to second level spells.
  • Access to the following paladin enhancements: Energy of the
    Templar V, Extra Turning II, Paladin's Charisma III, and Paladin's
    Grace II

Four Levels

  • Access to the following paladin enhancements: Courage of Good II,
    Energy of the Templar IV, Extra Smite Evil III, Skill Interaction IV,
    and Skill Recovery IV

As you can see, every level of paladin that you forgo for another class
is a loss of power. However, there are some multiclass options that
provide more benefits than a few levels of paladin can provide.

The Big Four

While every class has something to add to the paladin, there are really
only four that provide big enough benefits to make up for the loss of
power. In general, these four classes are taken for only one or two
levels, with the rest of the levels consisting of pure paladin. For the
most part, these multiclass options expand on a niche the paladin
already fills. They are covered in more detail on the next page.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.