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McBadger
05-13-2008, 09:27 PM
Do i take Combat Expertise on a character who casts spells and has his stats already spread thin or just skip it? Does Lay on Hands count as spellcasting for toggling off Combat Expertise? Can you still have a viable AC without it and what starting Dex would maximize a halfling paladin's ac at cap. Assume accessability to +6 stat items and +2 tomes.

Please refrain from telling me to roll a dwarf or that AC doesn't matter. There are different threads for that.

jmonty
05-13-2008, 10:50 PM
i logged on to my pally, and put defensive fighting, and lay on hands didn't cut it off so it shouldn't cut off CE either, but i've never taken that feat.

i think ce would be doable on a pally, especially with a +2 int tome. i started my dwarf pally as a 28 pointer, with i think 14 wis, 15 charisma, and 12 dex--my first DDO character i got capped--and he did ok leveling up. with less in dex, wis and charisma more points could easily be put into int.

sigtrent
05-13-2008, 10:51 PM
Good questions. I think that unless you specificaly want to specialize in tanking or have some other reason to take 13 int, I would skip the combat expertice. I have it on my fighter/cleric/ranger who is a kind of jack of all trades (kind of like a paladin) and while I turn it on occasionaly, it's pretty rare. Mostly I keep it because I like improved trip.

Viable AC is kind of a hard thing to pin down. For some people that means you AC prevents you from being hit most of the time, say 80% or better miss chance. Personaly I think that is more the standard for an intimi tank than an all purpose fighter. So long as you can muster bieng missed 50% of the time I feel that AC is quite handy, and even at 25% its worth having.

For me the key is to know what I can tank and what I can't and not to push beyond my abbilities. In most groups you really don't need to stand there and take a lot of punishment, you just need to live long enough for you and your team to drop the monsters.

For the current end game I think 45-55 is very decent AC. Some mosnters will whiff on that while a few can hit it on a 2. In generaly it should get the job done. Only a few of my own characters can get that high and they all do just fine in the shroud and elsewhere. Agian the key is knowing your abbilities and playing to them.

Starting dex for a halfling depends a bit on what kind of armor you want to wear. Miithral FP is max dex +4 and you can get that starting at 10. Kunderak is +6 (the best evasion armor) and you can hit that starting at 12 and taking halfling dex 2. If you want to multi class fighter or geta a dagger tooth belt you could start higher, but essentialy dex can be a dump stat for a halfling or elven paladin. I'd start at 12 just to leave your options open.

McBadger
05-14-2008, 04:03 AM
Excellent answers guys. Thanks much.

Naso24
05-14-2008, 04:58 AM
A good feat to compliment combat expertise is extend spell. That will make it 2X as long before you have to cast a spell breaking it. This is most useful for divine favor, which only lasts a minute (2 min with extend). It will also help if you cast angelskin or another short duration spell.

Deaths_ward
05-14-2008, 05:18 AM
Not sure what you're looking for but here's my Paladin that I'm working with, currently Paladin 6/Fighter 1 (Human)

12 Starting Dex, +2 Dex item

10 (Base
12 (+4 Mithral Full Plate)
9 (+5 Mithral Tower Shield RR: Human [little hard to pull that off normally])
2 (14 Dex)
2 (Paladin Aura)
3 (Shield of Faith from human dragonmark)
_____________________________________
38
3 (Barkskin Pot)
1 (Haste)
_____________________________________
42 Situational

at level 16 I'm hoping to get her to something like this.

10 (Base
13 (+5 Mith Full Plate)
9 (+5 Mith Tower Shield)
4 (18 Dex with +6 Item)
4 (Paladin Aura)
4/5 (SoF Dragon Mark/+5 Protection item if I can fit it in)
3 (Seal of Earth/Barkskin Pot)
6 (Chattering Ring, Dodge Feat, and Chaosgaurde)
________________________________________________
53/54 Easily Maintained

1 (Haste)
2 (Recitation)
2 (High level ranger Barkskin)
5 (Human Versatility AC)
________________________________________________
63/64 situational

it's a little gear dependent and both the Chattering Ring, and Seal of Earth are raid loot so there's no garuntee that I'll have them, but I'm sure a Dwarf might be able to squeeze out a few more points.

sephiroth1084
05-14-2008, 06:07 AM
"Do i take Combat Expertise on a character who casts spells and has his stats already spread thin or just skip it? Does Lay on Hands count as spellcasting for toggling off Combat Expertise? Can you still have a viable AC without it and what starting Dex would maximize a halfling paladin's ac at cap. Assume accessability to +6 stat items and +2 tomes."

I started my 32 pt. dwarf with a 12 Dex and a 12 Int, each of which I upped by 1 with +1 tomes at lvl 1, so I could take dodge and CE. As a halfling, you lose out on dwarven armor mastery. Now, if you are taking at least 3 lvls of fighter, then mithral FP with fighter armor mastery will net you max dex of 4, so 18 Dex. If you are NOT taking fighter, then a 16 Dex is what you should be aiming for in the end, unless you can both get a Daggertooth Belt AND spare the item slot space for something that doesn't bump one of your stats or your AC. Thus, while I'd say start with a 12 so you can easily get dodge, you could start with an 11 and throw on a +2 tome, and still reach 16 with a +5 Dex item. Easy. Conversely, you may want to do the batman route (lvls of rogue and fighter mixed in) and go with mithral breastplate. That has a max dex of +5 I believe, so you'd want to aim for a 20 Dex.

CE is fantastic, and I rarely take it down at the higher levels on my guy (pal 10/ftr 4 right now). With CE up I have a 51 AC, self-buffed to 54 with barkskin pots, and can go as high as 59 or 60 with outside buffs pretty easily. With this AC, I can run into a group of ogres out in the GH explorer and not get hit except on crits (it seems), and can generally do the same in Cabal on elite. With the high AC and HP (yours may be a bit lower), I am usually the last one standing in nearly any situation. If, as you level, you find this to be the case as well, I heartily suggest farming for the Ring of the Ancestors, as it can turn a failed quest, into a still going quest, when, after everyone else dies, you either raise the cleric mid-fight (doesn't work well often) or clear the room/run away with stones, and raise the cleric so they can take care of everyone else.

Yeah, paladin stats are tight already, but if you have tomes, that makes things much easier. My starting stats (on the dwarf mind you) were: 16, 12, 16, 12, 8, 13. I kinda regret the low Wis, because it makes casting a bit difficult, when I have to equip a +4 Wis item every time I want a 2nd lvl spell.

Lay on Hands does NOT drop CE, which is great! Using a clicky item, wand or actual spell does. My routine for Divine Favor is: equip Wis ring, cast DF, hit CE, re-equip Intimidate+ ring. This is with the Extend spell. Without it, I rarely use DF because it just isn't worth the trouble. I took Extend at lvl 12 (Pal 8), and had used it some before then, but use it all the time from there on.

Ralmeth
05-14-2008, 06:35 PM
I also think that CE is great, as is improved trip (which you can take after you take CE). However due to having to spread your stats between so many abilities, I waited to take CE until I had a 32 point build open and a few +1 tomes saved up. So if you're still on a 28 point build it will be tough, though not impossible to go with CE. As for whether casting spells is a problem with CE, I don't think so and I haven't even taken extend yet (I plan on it when I hit level 12). However without extend I've just had to learn to activate things in the right order...see a bunch of bad guys up ahead that I want to buff up for, cast DF, turn CE on, and then go kill the bad guys;) Seems to work fine for me. However if you don't want to bother with having to do this, extend may be a good option.

It is also possible to build a perfectly viable character without CE. It just depends on what type of character you want to play. If you want to be an intimitank, with a maxed out intimidate skill, then CE is a real boon and improved trip is icing on the cake. However as you want to play a halfling you may not want to go this route. Instead you may want to play the role of the off-tank with a decent DPS, support spells such as virtue, resists and cure wounds. Depending on how high in Paladin you want to go, you could also throw some Rogue levels in there, perhaps 2 or 3 levels worth to get evasion, UMD and skill points for other things. Just depends on what you want to do:)

It looks like everyone else has answered your other questions, but I just wanted to give you my two cents as well. Hope that helps:)

Garth_of_Sarlona
05-14-2008, 06:48 PM
Devs have said that they are working to try and make high AC toons count more. Whether that means lowering base attack and raising damage (give all mobs unholy burst weapons?) or something else I don't know, but it might be that AC > HP eventually, even if right now HP > AC.

Just a thought when thinking of whether to get CE or not.

Garth

Solmage
05-15-2008, 08:16 AM
A good feat to compliment combat expertise is extend spell. That will make it 2X as long before you have to cast a spell breaking it. This is most useful for divine favor, which only lasts a minute (2 min with extend). It will also help if you cast angelskin or another short duration spell.

I did this with my pali, and I used to love improved trip and turtling up after an extended DF.

Now I won't tell you to use a dwarf, even though the dwarf unlike all other races can actually use a high dex for something useful (more AC), but instead I'll venture the following: put 10 in int and rely on providence to drop you a +3 int tome so you can spec it in the future.