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Class choice for a specific character (near-epic paladin ruling a county and working with Harpers)

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by chevalier, May 12, 2020.

  1. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

    Dec 14, 2002
    Likes Received:
    This is from NWN EE: Siege of Shadowdale => Crimson Tydes of Tethyr => Tyrants of the Moonsea.

    Zachander Menthen is a level 17 paladin with enough XP to level up but stuck on choosing his path, which has taken him to this point way faster than he could think about it. He never had a career plan, he just did what had to be done until this point.

    Stats: STR 14 (22 with items, then also Bull's by default), DEX 10 (sometimes playing around with items and potions), CON 10 (same), INT 14 (19 with a ring), CHA 19 (26 with items, the also Eagle's by default).

    Skills: Discipline, Persuade, Lore (all lore aggregated into a single skill, for which he also has a +5 ring), Heal (and he always carries plenty of kits).

    Feats: Power Attack, Divine Might, Divine Shield, Weapon Focus: Longsword, Improved Crits: Longsword, Blindfight, Extra Smiting

    Significant items: Belt of STR+8, Gloves of STR+2, Boots of Haste, Amulet of Natural Armour +5 (considering Periapt of Wisdom +4), Cloak of CHA+4, Holy Avenger (enchanted with +1d8 electrical at a Tempus temple), Shield of Extra Turning (Lathander-affiliated), Harper Pin (his own)

    He rose from obscurity as in literally level 1 adventurer quickly cast among the Knights of Myth Drannor and meeting Elminster while helping the current Lord of Shadowdale defend his tower from a massive drow attack involving a malaugrym boss. Though he did his job, he was basically lucky to be there, and Elminster pulled much of the weight. So he became a hero of the Dale, but pretty much because the more important people already were. Basically, he went where the Knights could not go and held out until Elminster arrived to kill the boss. More like chance-meeting the right people.

    He then went to Tethyr as an actual mercenary, where he rose quickly during the campaign due to the confidence he inspired in the commanding officer. He did combat-heavy special ops, including many battle duels, with sometimes a more delicate operation in the background (also combat-heavy but discreet and involving infiltration and the nobility and royalty), and was credited with defending Suldanesselar and turning the tide of the war for Tethyr. At level 13 or 14 he was given the County of Valashar, 250 thousand gold pieces and a +5 vorpal sword.

    And yes, it was a high-magic setting, with plenty of powerful equipment as for his level, as well as plenty of gold, so for example he could afford a full bag of holding of healing kits, which he used all the time on others, basically multiclassing as shock trooper/combat ambulance. ;)

    Some time after the Tethyr campaign, presumably after putting his county in order, he went to the Moonsea. The rationale is that his adventuring is not expected to be much longer than a holiday, while his further development and lessons learned will benefit his county and the people (and the whole realm, of which he's one of the mightiest knights), as will the gold he's going to make, which is no longer really his private but pretty much 'county property'.

    So he has this perspective that he thinks in 'county terms' (where he's the head) and to some extent in 'realm terms' (where he's the queen's vassal and helper), which I discover surprisingly affects his purchasing and selling decisions (probably growing to be a shrewd manager).

    He's also an elf friend — first Suldanesselar ('hero of'), then Elventree/Cormanthor.

    And a Harper friend — not an official member but has his own pin in case he needs the contacts to talk to him.

    Obviously, he's a fast-risen mercenary and a single campaign's veteran soldier. No long campaigns, just like maybe two weeks for saving Shadowdale, three weeks for winning the war in Tethyr, just very much happening in these short time-periods, perhaps more than some adventurers see in a life-time. So he's also experienced but very young.

    So basically he's military, but with a mercenary rather than regular army twist, as in spec ops rather than regular marching; shock-trooping rather than fighting on the flanks with everybody else, and the 'whole bags of gold' aspect covered too.

    No church background — again, he emerged as a level 1 paladin in the Dale, just basically setting out on the path, the drow attack took him to level 7, then the Tethyr campaign from 7 to 14, then the Moonsea events. He's not irreligious, just simply never had the time or opportunity to be involved with any particular church or favour any particular good/lawful deity above the rest. (He has worked with Chaunteans, Mielikkians and once briefly a Champion of Torm of note, and that's mostly it.) Chances are he doesn't know where his spells are coming from. Being a paladin is just what he is, he didn't ask for it, and the spells simply started coming at some point in the first adventure. He's barely aware of Lay-on-Hands and most of the time he just uses Healing Kits (again, effectively multiclassing as a sort of medic, though he's not a support character and his talents are more of the big-hitting-protagonist variety). But, he certainly is a knight — and lord — of the realm. So perhaps one of those secular paladins (a knight errant rather than the strong arm of a church).

    So now he works with the elves and the Harpers, both as a heavy shock trooper and as a diplomat and problem solver.

    The point: I need to decide whether I want to continue him as a vanilla paladin or add Divine Champion (denominated as 'Champion of Torm' in NWN1, but let's say this is relative) or Harper Scout for the epic levels.

    Due to being epic, Harper Scout would not hurt his BAB, only his HP. He would still have to take Iron Will and Alertness first, so level 22 at the earliest, so possibly won't get there before the end of the current campaign, possibly making the Harper Scout angle somewhat moot.

    Also due to being epic, Divine Champion (Champion of Torm) would allow him to quickly stock up on epic feats or catch up on typical combat feats (he doesn't even have Cleave!), something which he recognizes he needs to do. For his own needs, he's sufficient in combat, pretty much because he's not going down easily, but he realizes he needs to mow through mobs faster if his allies are also going to live. Again, he's the type of guy who took a full bag of Healing Kits to administer to soldiers near to him in battle despite not being an official medic.

    He also realizes that his 10 CON is a bit of a problem because it kinda makes him a glass cannon — big-time smiter but liable to dying to high-damage effects or in some situations not lasting through certain specific situations (a narrow pool of, but there are some). Champion forces him to take Epic Toughness (20 HP at each time, up to 10 times), he could also take regular Toughness (1 HP/level).

    'Champion' certainly could describe him, and he probably is some deity's chosen, judging by his unexpected and spectacular rise — he just doesn't even know which deity (could spend a lifetime trying to find out who he gets his spells from, I guess). But in terms of the NWN engine, purely, the class is named 'Champion of Torm', and I don't really see him that way. There was a Champion of Torm on his Tethyr campaign, and he felt different. This could be some indication that perhaps I should stick with pally. But I could still see Champion as simply turning more towards combat/commando roles, away from caster-level and turn-undead-level progression (of less use to him, as he could live without the spells now and has never actually turned undead).

    One unique aspect of the NWN implementation is that taking Harper Scout levels as an epic character would allow him to replace the class's Favoured Enemy/Curse Song alternative with Great Charisma or even Great Dexterity. On the roleplaying side, this would have him going light on the ranger/bard Harper business, instead developing on his existing strengths while working with the Harpers. Taking Great Charisma in this way would allow him to qualify for Great Smiting around level 27 and amass Great Smiting III (4 times his class level to smite damage) by level 30. On the roleplaying side, he certainly must realize that Smite Evil has been what's won his important battles, so developing it would be justified.

    Another unique aspect of the NWN implementation is that paladins get their full level as caster level, meaning that your Bull from the previous day is still active when you wake up from your rest. ;) (Pity you can't cast Owl's in this manner to get bonus spells, hehe.)

    I could probably justify taking Rogue levels because of the infiltration he's done in the past and the very much, very clearly recognized need for some competence with traps in the places he goes to and not always with a Rogue companion. Buffing his saves and walking into the trap works but is not ideal — there's a realistic risk of death and thus mission failure, the latter of which is more of a problem.

    I could justify Ranger because of the elves but don't really feel like it. Though I guess with his huge AB I could try turning him into a dual wielder of holy avengers. The elves and the forest fights would probably justify this to some extent. But he's not really a ranger type of guy.

    I could perhaps try looking at Purple Dragon Knight as a Tethyrian knightly equivalent, but I think this is too Cormyr-specific. The powers are just too distinctive — I'm sure knights in Tethyr are trained differently. Besides, on his current campaign he's with Harpers, not any knights or lords.

    Plain Fighter for WeapSpec not really, just not his type of thing.

    No other class really makes sense. Just the straight & narrow (vanilla pally), Harper Scout and/or Champion of Torm (Divine Champion) — max 3 classes total.

    Weapon Master would be achievable by level 30, but it makes little sense really, I think, should have started with 12 DEX 14 CHA instead of 10 DEX 15 CHA for that sort of thing. And Dodge, Mobility, even Spring Attack and certainly Whirlwind would all be mostly wasted feats for him, especially compared to alternatives. And while he focused on longswords heavily, his main role was not that of a fencer. I'll build a Paladin/WM some other time.

    So what do you folks think would be the best roleplaying fit for this character in terms of class?

    Power-gaming-wise I'll be good with any of the options. Just looking for a logical path of career development for this special guy.
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