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Paladin Guide: The Holy Warriors of Norrath
Paladins are the holy knights of Norrath. They stand for all that is good and just, and they will destroy all that is unholy and evil. A true paladin will never leave a comrade behind and will stand and fight until all of his allies have escaped. A true paladin will treat others with respect and will give his life to save another. The paladin is a strict follower of the code of chivalry and as such it is perhaps the hardest class to properly role play in the game.
Not only can the role of paladin be mentally challenging it can also be very difficult from the pure gaming aspect. Paladins are 3/4 warrior and 1/4 cleric. At higher levels this can be a very powerful combination but at lower levels things will prove to be very difficult. You suffer a
25% 40% experience penalty for being a hybrid which means that you will usually level slower than most other classes.
The hardest task of a paladin compared to other classes will be reaching level 9. At level 9 you receive your spells and things will begin to get much better for you. Until that time you are basically a warrior who does not have the benefit of kick and has 3 less hit points per level. At level 6 warriors get dodge which you will not see until level 10 further widening the gap between the two classes.
The saving grace of low level paladins is the ability to Lay Hands. This allows you to heal close to 1000 hit points even at low levels. You can only use this skill once per game day(every 72 minutes in real time) so you will want to use this only in emergencies. I've seen some paladins use this skill to try to take monsters that are normally too difficult to kill figuring it can nearly double their hit points. This is a mistake in this paladin's opinion. You should always keep this for emergencies. You never know when you or more importantly someone else will need you to lay hands to prevent death.
At level 9 you will gain your first spells. The spells that you can cast at this level are the same spells that a cleric can cast at level 1 although you will not gain the benefit of using all of the spells of any circle. Paladins get the most important cleric spells however and this is key. You get all three lines of cleric buffing spells(though you won't gain the third line until level 30). This is great if you are soloing or if your party does not have a cleric along. These spells grant you additional armor class and hit points and are perhaps your second most important type of spells.
By far your most important type of spells are your healing spells. At level 9 you get minor healing which will reduce the time you will have to sit and rest and also allow you to heal yourself in combat to some extent. At level 15 you get lesser healing which is the same spell that level 15 druids and shamans will still be using. You are the only hybrid class that will ever be able to cast greater heal which is also very helpful. Though a paladin is not as good of a healer as any of the pure priest classes your healing spells are important for two reasons. First and foremost they cut down resting time if you are soloing or do not have the benefit of a priest type class in your party. Secondly they can be a lifesaver when the going gets tough. I can recall a time when we were fighting a hill giant and things were going sourly. We thought our tank would surely die as both the cleric and the druid were totally out of mana. At that point our paladin calmly stepped back and began healing the tank. By the time he had run out of mana both the cleric and the druid had regained enough mana to get off another greater heal and we won the encounter.
In my opinion your third most valuable line of spells is the ward undead line of spells. These spells make paladins very effective when soloing(and no less effective when grouping) undead beasts. Only clerics and necromancers can outperform paladins when it comes to these beasts. Sure pure casters such as wizards can outdamage you spell wise but when you add up the damage you can do with your weapons plus the damage you can do with your spells and add the amount of damage you can take I would take the paladin in this encounter 7 days of the week and twice on Sunday.
At level 22 paladins get the root spell. This is very important if you don't have another player in your party who can cast it and a neccessity if you are soloing in dungeons. This spell will prevent those monsters from running away until you can finish them off.
A very underated line of paladin spells is the lull->soothe->calm spells. These spells allow you to walk past normally aggressive monsters and more importantly allow you to calm a few members of a group of monsters so you can pull one away and fight it alone.
Level 22 sees the addition of invisibility to undead. This spell can be a big help in undead dungeons as it allows you to bypass the monsters you do not want and get to the ones you do. It also allows you to do some recon on an area if you haven't been there before.
At level 30 you get the stun spell, which is very useful in pulling and interrupting spell casts.
At level 39 you get the cancel magic spell. This spell is plain and simple a lifesaver. There are times during the game when someone in your party will get charmed or rooted and death will appear a certainty. Cancel magic allows you to cancel the spell effect(though it may take a few casts) and save their lives. It also can be used on yourself when you are suffering from those particularly nasty spells such as blood boil.
The rest of the paladin spells are a mixed bag of cure spells, endurance spells(which give a player a bonus to his saving throws) and a couple of utility spells(such as reckless strength). A couple notable exceptions are holy might(which you gain at level 49) which is a stun spell which also does a small amount of damage, spook the dead which is a fear spell that affects undead beasts and hammer of wrath(level 15) which summons a magical war-hammer which can be useful at that level.
Now that we have covered the cleric side of things let's cover the warrior side. Paladins gain all of the attacks that a warrior does with the exception of kick and duel wield. The catch here is that they receive these skills 3-5 levels later than a warrior.
At level 6 you get the bash skill. Bash is the only secondary attack you will ever gain as a paladin so it is important. The problem with bash is that it requires a shield to use. Basically this reduces paladins to using one handed weapons or else forfeiting their only secondary attack. So how does bash compare to kick? It does a bit less damage especially at lower levels but it does stun your opponent.
At level 10 you get the dodge and bind wounds skills. Bound wounds is utterly useless at this level because you can already heal yourself. Bind wounds does not heal very much damage, it takes time to do and it requires a bandage(which can get costly). It is also very ineffective at lower levels. You will doubtfully ever use this skill. Dodge however is very useful. This skill causes you to get hit less and anything that can do that is a welcome addition.
Level 12 grants the meditate skill. This is NOT a meelee skill it is a skill that allows you to regain your mana faster.
You get parry at level 17. This skill is much like dodge in that it allows you to get hit less and thus is a very welcome addition. Fighters gain the parry skill at level 12 so if you want to compete with them as a tank this is an important level.
At level 20 you get the most important of your meelee skills. This is the ability to double attack. At level 15 warriors get the ability to both duel wield and double attack and become much more effective at damaging their opponents than you are. While you can never duel wield double attack will allow you to close the gap between a paladin and a warrior in dishing damage.
A paladin gains the riposte skill at level 30. This skill will cause you to get hit less similar to dodge and parry.
The last of your meelee skills is gained at level 40. This is the disarm skill. This allows you to knock a weapon from your opponents hands. NPC's hit harder when they are wielding a weapon so this winds up being a very effective attack. Not only does it cause you to take less damage but it also allows you to pick their weapon off of the ground and use it or steal it.
Paladins can use most of the weapons in the game and can also wear most of the armor including platemail. Paladins also get some very special weapons in the form of their holy swords. The first of these swords is Ghoulbane. This weapon is very powerful and fast not to mention, it randomly casts dismiss undead which will cripple your undead foes in no time. Other great weapons are: Fiery Avenger & SoulFire , along with the plane of sky quests and the paladin epic quest.
Other Decent Gear: (needs revisions, please add more content)
- Rings: Platinum Fire Wedding Ring's are a good choice and relatively cheap ~250pp.
- Earrings:Earring of Grachnist (buyable), Sarnak Earring of Station (has to be looted), Gilded Tiny Skull Earring from The Frightlings quest.
- Necklace: Abalone Gorget & Researcher's Badge
- Helm: Skull-shaped Barbute a.k.a. "SSB".
- Face: Targishin's Bone Mask & Goblin Forged Iron Mask
- Chest: Tree Weave ~800pp , Froglok Scale Chestplate which is expensive , and Dusty Breastplate ~700pp
- Arms: Deepwater Vambraces ~500pp & Jarsath Scale Vambraces which have to be looted
Choosing a Race
So what race makes the best paladins? This is really subjective. Dwarves have all the right ability skills and also have infravision (they are my personal favorite).
They pay for this however in the form of an experience penalty. High elves can also be paladins however they have low base strength and this can hurt when it comes to the warrior side of things. When all is said and done most paladins are human. They are the middle ground and level faster than the other races.
To play a paladin you have to be a certain breed of player. To properly role play the class you have to be prepared to give your own life to save the life of others and you can expect to be outleveled by most of your friends early on. You will never be as good in battle as a warrior and your spells can not come close to those of a clerics. However the parts of the two can be greater than the whole of the others if you play this class properly at higher levels. To get the most of this class you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time to reach the higher levels of the game. When you do however you will be rewarded with one of the most powerful and one of the funnest classes in the game.