Sir Tirion, Male Human Paladin 6/ Fighter 4
Alignment: Lawful Good
1) Why He’s Included
Sir Tirion is the front-line attacker for my party. I have an abject preference for Paladins for a number of reasons. They project an aura of courage that is often very useful against certain enemies. The Smite Evil power is a very powerful attack option against evil adversaries. With a high enough Charisma score, the Lay on Hands power can help recover a great deal of hit points, either for himself or one of his comrades. There is also the immunity to disease at 3rd level. Perhaps the biggest boon of all is that at 2nd level, the Paladin is allowed to add his Charisma modifier as a bonus to his saving throws. During high-level campaigns against high-level adversaries, this power cannot be underestimated. (Yes, I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel).
First however, Sir Tirion’s initial 4 levels will be as a Fighter. The reason behind this is to gain 3 extra bonus feats, and to allow my character to obtain Weapon Specialization, which allows him to score an extra 2 points of damage with a weapon of his choosing. In a sense, this setup gives Sir Tirion the best of both worlds. After the 4th level as a Fighter is obtained, Sir Tirion then hones his focus as a Paladin.
Another attractive and popular setup is the Barbarian x/ Fighter 4. It is certainly a potent one, but to my mind one with drawbacks. The hallmark feature of a Barbarian is his ability to raise his Strength and Constitution by flying into a rage. Barbarians often try to take the best advantage of their rages by using two-handed weapons, which multiplies the bonus damage from the Barbarian’s strength score by 1.5. However, it also involves not using a shield. The Barbarian’s Armor Class will also drop by another 2 points while in a rage. Furthermore, the Barbarian’s rage is temporary, and once over, he will experience significant penalties that reduce his effectiveness. Barbarian experts of course will tell you the Barbarian’s rage sufficed to win many a battle in short order. But in my opinion, while the Barbarian is a powerful attacker, he is himself prone to getting struck repeatedly. In the end, I prefer what a Paladin offers, especially the Lay on Hands and the bonus to saving throws.
With his high charisma score, Sir Tirion is also a natural for speaking to NPCs that the party will meet along the way.
2) Ability Score Increases
4th Level /
+1 to Constitution
For Sir Tirion, the decisions are simple. At 4th level, I raise the Constitution to +4. This will raise his hit points and his Fortitude saving throw, both of which are very crucial for any front-liner.
8th level / +1 to Charisma
Raises the Charisma modifier to +4. As a sidenote, assuming that there’s an expansion, I would emphasize Charisma from this point onwards. It can fairly be said that Charisma is the stat to be emphasized for a Paladin. It will augment his Lay on Hands power, improve his saving throws, improve the potency of his Smite Evil power, and improve his conversational skills.
Diplomacy - The idea behind this and other such skills is that a certain skill level (skill rank + ability score modifier) is often needed in order to open up the right thread in a given conversation. You’ll know that your skill in diplomacy has succeeded when an icon displaying a rolled up scroll appears next to a dialog option.
Note however that Diplomacy is a cross-class skill for a Fighter. So I can only advance it by 2 points at the outset, and then by a half-point for the next 3 levels as a Fighter. The way around this is to use the Eagle’s Splendour spell when needed, and possibly the Guidance spell as well for good measure. Once my character embarks on his development as a Paladin, it can then be advanced by 1 point every level.
Sense Motive - Helps detect when somebody’s lying to you. When this skill succeeds, an eye icon appears next to the available dialog option. Sense Motive will also augment the Diplomacy skill.
Concentration - This involves whether a character can continue to successfully cast a spell after taking damage during the casting. Since my Paladin had enough skill points to spend it here, why not? As will be discussed in more detail though, it will be far more important for the other casters.
1st Level / Power Attack - It is a prerequisite for:
Cleave - Sir Tirion often lands the killing blow on a monster, so having this will significantly increase the number of attacks he makes.
Negotiator – I depend upon my Paladin for the Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills. However, having taken his 1st four levels as a Fighter, the skill ranks will be somewhat lower. As such, I chose to bolster the skills with this feat, with the early quests in Hommlet in mind.
2nd Level / Improved Initiative - This feat was literally useless in Icewind Dale 2 because it didn’t even deliver the -1 to speed factor that was promised. In the turn-based combat system of ToEE, the importance of this feat for any character, regardless of class, cannot be overemphasized. Even for a warrior, the importance of the feat manifests itself when the warrior can set-up his strategic position before the opposition makes a move. This can include interjecting himself between the monsters and his spellcasting comrade, or planting himself next to an enemy spellcaster and thereby threaten him with an Attack of Opportunity.
3rd Level / Weapon Focus (Longsword) - Sir Tirion’s weapon of choice will be a Holy Sword that will be available early on.
4th Level / Weapon Specialization (Longsword) - Sir Tirion now gets to add +2 damage to any hit he scores with his Holy Sword.
6th Level / Blind-fighter – My Cleric and Druid will be able to overcome Blindess with the Remove Blindness spell. However, considering the bonus feats that my character gets, it can’t hurt to have my main tank ready to fight blind regardless. Indeed, there may be situations where my priestly characters have to do something else.
9th Level / Improved Critical (Longsword) - Doubles the threat range for scoring a critical hit with the selected weapon.
Feats not Included /
Combat Reflexes - Attacks of Opportunity occur most frequently in the 1st round of combat when everybody assumes their respective combat positions. After that, they occur much more rarely. Even so, I gave my Paladin a mere dexterity of 12, just enough to take advantage of the dexterity modifier allowed for Full Plate Armor. My Paladin’s dexterity modifier doesn’t justify taking this feat.
Greater Cleave – It is rare that in any given round, you’re going to be able to fell a monster more than once. During your early levels, you just don’t have enough attacks for it. During higher levels, the monsters’ hit points will usually be too high for it.
5) Spell Selection
9th Level (6th as a Paladin) / Divine Favour - Sir Tirion is only going to get 1 spell the whole game, so I may as well pick the one that augments his combat prowess even further.