-5 to Hit, +10 to Damage

Most players and DMs know the following feats: Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter. Both feats have the ability, to take a -5 penalty on your attack roll to add +10 to the damage roll. Some DMs have a bit of trouble with these feats.

  • Since most ACs of monsters aren’t that high, even with -5 to hit it’s still seems pretty accurate
  • Classes who have reliable means of gaining advantage (like the barbarian) or ways to grant their allies advantage (like a lot of spellcasters with spells like Guiding Bolt, Faery Fire, etc.) or those ways to grant +hit (like the Bless spell or a Battle Master’s Precision Attack maneuver) trades the intended reliability to outright more damage potential
  • Both feats overall (and especially that trait) boosts the overall combat ability of two builds (ranged weapon and two-handed weapon), while other weapon builds seems to have only subpar feats (due the more specific use of Shield Master, the somewhat lacking feeling advantages of Dual Wielder and the seemingly lack of something, which enhances your one weapon, one hand free style [try Tavern Brawler; one of the best ways to be a defender, imo])

OK, I have to admit: These feats are really good. But after seeing both in action, I don’t think, that they’re broken. It only seems that way at first, since at the beginning of a campaign, those +10 damage will kill monsters outright, however, after getting around 5th level, the monsters won’t be taken down that easily and . And remember, bounded accuracy actually makes it so, that the to hit chance decrease by 25%, unless the enemy’s AC is outright horrible.

But the farther you go, the less it means in math. At least for some classes. Of course the statistic will change, with different means to give your damage. Let’s compare the paladin and fighter: While the fighter gets another attack at 11th level, the paladin does more damage with his attacks. So the fighter gets more reliability (which means he can take the -5 while having a buffer attack left), while the paladin begins to want more of his attacks actually hit (especially under Divine Favor or another damage buff). Even though the math is the same (-5 to hit, +10 to damage), the paladin player wants all his attacks to hit, while the fighter will think, that one attack missing won’t negate the +10 damage most of the time. A ranger (hunter) with Colossus Slayer will rather try to get his bonus damage done first and then switch to the more unreliable but powerful attacks afterwards, to make most of this subclass trait.

What really makes those both feats shine early on are the other effects. Like making an attack as a Bonus Action when scoring a critical (say hallo, Champion)/killing one or ambushing enemies by shooting from far, far away. Of course these don’t seem all that powerful, until you see it in action. With the +damage the GWM is able to kill a lot of early enemies and trigger the bonus attack, while the sharpshooter can make more shots by retreating.

So, how can I think, that these feats aren’t broken? Simply, because I learned how to soften them without ruling. A special way to ensure it is: More enemies. More enemies makes more damage less important than reliability, since you need to take some of them out, otherwise the bounded accuracy will kick your ass.

As long as you don’t place them that all of them will be spellslinger-fodder, your weapon users will get a hard time, since even with all the damage and all the extra attacks, there will be more rolls, which makes a combat more statistically stable. And the joke is, that even then the XP won’t be as much, since using more enemies makes a encounter more difficult, so you won’t need as much to make it challenging.

Another reason why I don’t go WTF is because most of the real ‘unbalanced’ stuff comes from resources (Superiority Dice), risk (Reckless Attack) or teamwork. And I think teamwork should be strong, playing a game together is one of the reasons why you play D&D in the first place. Even though you should disrupt it occasionally. in the Forgotten Realms are places, where spells won’t work like the caster might think (weaveless areas and spellplague) or the setting makes it impossible to pull off (like balancing on a 2 foot width bridge).

Conclusions

If you really think, that those two feats are bad, you should simply not allow them. If you think, that the -5/+10 aren’t balances, either allow a -5/+5 variant for all other characters or simply switch it with +1 STR for GWM and +1 DEX for Sharpshooter, so the other effects stays in place.

Or maybe you’re like me as a DM and customize some of your enemies to have those feats as well or increade their accuracy/damage otherwise, so the combats will be quicker without loosing their menace.

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Warlock – Overview

Sorry for the great delay, Christmas and other stuff kept going on and on and on and so I was pretty unmotivated to do the blog. Even though I played a lot of D&D in this time and in the end have a lot of experience to share. I won’t have much free time (at least without decreasing my time playing D&D), but at least I’ll try at least one per week.

This was definitely a really big piece of work, since I had no idea how I could make it even remotely viable. But now it’s done! Wohoo, only one more to go, even though it’ll be a lot of subclasses there… dammit. As always my personal opinion and somehow I think an overview isn’t too accurate here, since the warlock class is much harder to grasp than most other classes, since there are way more ways to customize it.

This is an overview, so I’ll just categorize each class in certain categories to see how it cuts and give a personal grading. The end-grading won’t count the multiclass-strength in (for obvious reasons) and is more like an overall impression than a mathematical derivation.

Any feature in italic is from a subclass and a abbreviation will say which one (in the warlock’s case AF for the Archfey, FI for the Fiend and GO for the Great Old One). And red features means there is a flaw or a minus in said category.

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Multiclass-Strength:

  • Brings Pact Magic, which is pretty useful for high class warlocks with some levels in another spellcasting class
  • Invocations can bring some pretty nice basic effects, which will enhance the warlockish experience even with few levels up to the high tier
  • since the warlock’s features lacks in focused power and excels in power over time, you can easily balance the focused power out by taking another class
  • good combinations with every class
  • the capstone isn’t to sneer at, but you won’t find it too sad not to have it until you’re in a lengthy and really difficult dungeon crawl

Offensive:

  • Pact Magic: Some offensive potential here and depending on pact much more incoming. Especially the Eldritch Blast cantrip will be useful in that department.
  • Eldritch Invocations:
    • Agonizing Blast: Obviously more damage.
    • Devil’s Sight: Increases the chances to make damage, especially after making it harder for a lot of enemies.
    • Eldritch Spear: Increased range means more chances to make damage.
    • Lifedrinker: Obviously more damage.
    • Master of Myriad Forms: Well, sometimes you really want claws, I think.
    • Minions of Chaos: More guys to make your damage.
    • Sculptor of Flesh: Become something to increase your offense.
    • Thirsting Blade: More attacks means more damage.
    • Witch Sight: Counters these annoying illusion defensive spells, like invisibility in any form.
  • Pact Boon – Pact of the Chain: The more powerful familiars can be pretty nice, if you’re still on low-levels and cornering one guy and don’t want to waste more resources than needed. But in the end they’re still not combat material, but at least they share the functions of a normal familiar, too, like touching enemies for you.
  • Pact Boon – Pact of the Blade: Warlocks aren’t good melee characters, but this pact make them decent, like a bard. It’s less about making yourself a great combatant and more about making you more diverse. And as long as you don’t have a magical weapon as a pact weapon, you can choose the right weapon at the right time and use it, regardless of what it is.
  • Expanded Spell-list (FI): More offensive spells can make you a spell-slinger for a couple of turns. And if you know you have time for a short rest afterwards, you will make your wizard-buddy look at you with envy in terms of damage.
  • Hurl Through Hell (FI): It’s like another offensive Mystic Arcanum. Only needs to hit with an attack, so any spell with an attack roll is fair game, too.

Resource-Management:

  • Pact Magic: Spell slots which will be regained after every short rest! Cool!
  • Mystic Arcanum: These don’t use up your spell slots, even though they’re powerful. A nice exception of the rule.
  • Eldritch Master: Nice to have, since it shortens the time to regain spell slots once a day.
  • Pact Features (AF, FI, GO): Most of them are regained at a short rest or at-will, so you can use them without too much worry.
  • Pact Magic: Too less spell slots for situations, when you want to cast as much great spells as possible. And even with regaining those slots after a short rest, it’ll slow down the exploration phases, if you’re the only caster with utility spells, which consumes the resource ‘time’.
  • Mystic Arcanum: This red is only compared to other main-spellcasters, since you end up with less high-level spells and can’t use higher spell slots to empower them.

Support:

  • Pact Magic: Not the best spell list for this kind of work, even though the Archfey brings some neat spells and invocations can bring others.
  • Eldritch Invocations:
    • Bewitching Whispers: Less enemies to worry about and more allies for all kind of usage.
    • Chains of Carcer: Lessen the enemies (even though only special types) for a round or two.
    • Dreadful Word: Another one which will decrease your enemies.
    • Mire the Mind: A genuine debuff.
    • Otherwordly Leap: Increasing your jumping distance is a standard way in dungeons to get these hovering bastards, like Flameskulls.
    • Repelling Blast: Push those enemies to the tank, which will save your back line some trouble.
    • Sculptor of Flesh: Make one enemy into a beaver, so he won’t do much until the spell ends.
    • Sign of Ill Omen: Debuff are as good as buffs and with less enemies even better.
    • Thief of Five Fates: Another debuff.
    • Witch Sight: Even if your allies can’t use it, you can at least tell them.
  • Expanded Spell-list (AF): The Archfey makes it possible to learn some support and avoiding fights entirely with the Sleep spell at low levels.
  • Hurl Through Hell (FI): Sometimes an enemy brings a mean aura or another nasty effect. With this you can at least get one round of breather.

Survivability:

  • Pact Magic: Some defensive buffs and temporary hit points here, plus some debuffs. Nothing too directly and some of the greatest defenive buffs are missing in this spell list.
  • Eldritch Invocations:
    • Armor of Shadows: Mage armor without spell slots on yourself? Be prepared 24/7!
    • Ascendant Step: Good for melee only opponents which can’t reach that high.
    • Bewitching Whispers: Make one enemy into a friend.
    • Chains of Carceri: Hold that one fiend, fey or celestial which want to slam you.
    • Eldritch Spear: Keep your distance to the danger as long as possible.
    • Fiendish Vigor: Gives you practically additional hp.
    • Mask of Many Faces: Sometimes your best bet is to take the form of an enemy, like a city guard, to survive.
    • Master of Myriad Forms: Aquatic adaptation safes lifes. And of course the ‘look like an enemy’ thing.
    • Minions of Chaos: Have something between you and your doom.
    • Mire the Mind: The slower the opponent, the faster you get away.
    • One with Shadows: Vanish if you’re not needed and there are shadows nearby, which is pretty often the case.
    • Otherwordly Leap: If you can jump over something the enemy can’t, you win. And of course you can position yourself in the first place somewhere much harder to attack.
    • Repelling Blast: Especially useful with multiple Eldritch Blasts: Push them back and move back afterwards for maximum use.
    • Sculptor of Flesh: Be either a spider, rat or bird to run away or beef up as a T-Rex!
    • Sign or Ill Omen: Disadvantage with attack rolls against you? Bought!
    • Thief of Five Fates: At least some protection… even though it’s minor.
    • Witch Sight: Those invisible ambushers will have a harder time to ambush. Invisible.
  • Fey Presence (AF): Even though charm and frightened aren’t the best debuffs, you can count on it to keep you safe versus a lot of trouble. Except undead and dragons.
  • Misty Escape (AF): Get damage once, be sure to survive afterwards. Teleport and invisible at the same time are two great ways to mitigate further damage.
  • Beguiling Defenses (AF): While you love to charm, you hate being charmed. And not only being immune to it but to redirect it back to the sender is a very nice thing to do.
  • Dark Delirium (AF): Only one opponent and again it becomes charmed/frightened, but in this version, the enemy is practically out of combat until it breaks.
  • Dark One’s Blessing (FI): Killing stuff and getting temporary hit points. Since temporary hit points are as good as normal hit points when taking damage, you’ll like them.
  • Dark One’s Own Luck (FI): Since it only applies to ability checks and saving throws, you will most likely use it in life-threatening situations.
  • Fiendish Resilience (FI): Since you can choose the type, you can practically prepare after every short rest for the next fights. Oh, there is a green dragon out there? I should better take a poison resistance. And even for bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage it’s great, since silver or magic weapons aren’t too common.
  • Hurl Through Hell (FI): Use it to single out the most annoying enemy and send it away for a round.
  • Entropic Ward (GO): Even though it gives you advantage on one attack roll if it succeeds, the warlock doesn’t have a real damaging spell, which relies on an attack roll. So just use it for the disadvantage for one enemy attack.
  • Thought Shield (GO): If you ever find yourself in the Underdark, you will love this ability. Resistance to psychic damage and to share the rest is a great way to combat aberrations on an even ground and of course illusions will hurt less.
  • Armor Proficiency: Only light armor, which is better than no armor, but since Dexterity isn’t a main ability, you’ll feel the difference in AC.

Utility:

  • Pact Magic: A decent amount of utility spells in this list and the pacts adds some more. It misses the sheer amount of the wizard, but brings some overall useful stuff. And misses long range teleportation spells entirely.
  • Eldritch Invocations:
    • Ascendant Step: Levitate to places you won’t reach otherwise.
    • Beast Speech: Talk to pets and other animals to gather information.
    • Beguiling Influence: More Skill Proficiencies!
    • Bewitching Whispers: Compulsion can do that much.
    • Book of Ancient Secrets: Make your average warlock to a above average dungeon crawler by adding rituals to the mix. From any list.
    • Devil’s Sight: The better darkvision will make you a great scout… at least that’s what your party will think.
    • Eldritch Sight: At will Detect Magic without using 10 minutes for a ritual cast. You will love it.
    • Eyes of the Rune Keeper: Your DM will hate you for this, since ancient writings aren’t supposed to be read. But at least you can read any message your enemy left behind. At least unless the bloody mess made it unreadable.
    • Gaze of Two Minds: Scout ahead with two people… kinda. And of course to make an ambush and time it just right, while hiding somewhere your enemy will never see you.
    • Mask of Many Faces: Look like any humanoid you want. Like the townmaster!
    • Master of Myriad Forms: Be any humanoid you want. Like the king, after kidnapping him.
    • Misty Visions: Minor illusion for maximum usage outside of combat.
    • One with Shadows: Infiltration succeeds.
    • Otherwordly Leap: Jump to places you won’t reach without using resources.
    • Repelling Blast: You can push objects around and that makes it useful.
    • Sculptor of Flesh: Polymorph Shenanigans makes great exploration experience.
    • Visions of the Distant Realms: Like Eldritch Sight, only better. And the need for a higher warlock level.
    • Voice of the Chain Master: If you want to talk with someone without being there.
    • Whisper of the Grave: Dead people can tell you a lot. Especially concerning their deads.
    • Witch Sight: This is not the king, but a shapeshifter!
  • Pact Boon – Pact of the Chain: With a familiar with several special abilities, dungeoneering and some urban strategies becomes much easier. Having an imp go invisible to follow a goon back to headquarters to get the whole band? Easy!
  • Pact Boon – Pact of the Tome: Of course it depends partly on the cantrips, but since most cantrips are meant to be useful, I didn’t saw the need to put it in other categories. But the real power of this feature is due the Book of Ancient Secrets Invocation, which enhances your utility tenfold.
  • Fey Presence (AF): You know, you can choose the effect to make a conversation go more smoothly?
  • Dark Delirium (AF): If you want to let a guard being less on guard, don’t use drugs but dreams!
  • Dark One’s Own Luck (FI): If you have that one ability check which would fail otherwise, you can use this feature after seeing the result to correct it. If you’re lucky enough.
  • Expanded Spell-list (GO): Even though the new spell selection is very versatile, the most interesting options are in the utility-department, like detect thoughts.
  • Awakened Mind (GO): Telepathy at-will, even if you don’t share a language. Great ability, which have a lot of possibilities, the best part is the fact, that you can organize the party in a silent manner. Or use it to deceive someone or at least get the attention.
  • Create Thrall (GO): Only for humanoid targets, but if you ever need a spy, you can simply make you one. But only charmed, so it’s still less than a total control.

Grading:

Multiclass: Fantastic
Offense: Good to Great (FI)
Resource Management: Great
Support: Bad
Survivability: Decent to Good (AF, FI)
Utility: Good to Great (GO)

Overall: Good

Multiclass warlocks are pretty common in the forums, mostly because you can grasp some really nice features with only a few warlock levels when focusing on another class or instead take a few level in another class, to enhance your warlock build. This is possible, since the warlock class is much more customizable than your average class, so the customize option ‘multiclass’ just add to that strength.

One of the strengths of the warlock are the Invocations, which enhances any category you feel is lacking, but at the same time every warlock have one problem: The power of the moment. Without short rests a warlock lacks a lot of power, since he have less resources but it’s easier to regain those. So for short and hard encounters the warlock loses out against every other class, while on a long adventuring day with the common 3 short rests, he will be at least reliable and at the end have more spells left than the other arcane casters.

But first you need to get to this point, since other classes lacks the means to regain resources early in the game and you don’t want to go on an adventure, while your companions hit rock bottom of their power.  So at the start you will be underwhelming, then you become reliable and in the end it all comes down how well you build up your warlock.

I suggest the warlock class for everyone who likes having options and not too specialized. For those who wants options and be specialized, I suggest a warlock-multiclassing, which are very common these days as ideas on the forums. You can combine the warlock with any other class to make it work better in one department.

 

The wizard’s overview will have to wait, since I never got the chance to speak about the other books and want to finish the game reports of the Tyranny of Dragons campaign I’m mastering. Even though we didn’t get that far there, sadly.

Sorcerer – Overview

Been a while, but now it’s time for another overview and now’s the sorcerer’s turn. I already made some posts about this class, since it fascinates me in this edition for the first time. So let’s get to it.

This is an overview, so I’ll just categorize each class in certain categories to see how it cuts and give a personal grading. The end-grading won’t count the multiclass-strength in (for obvious reasons) and is more like an overall impression than a mathematical derivation.

Any feature in italic is from a subclass and a abbreviation will say which one (in the sorcerer’s case DB for Draconic Bloodline and WM for Wild Magic). And red features means there is a flaw or a minus in said category.

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Multiclass-Strength:

  • Full level for casters
  • a lot of cantrips, especially at lower levels
  • even few levels can bring some serious spellcasting action, since it brings you Metamagic and Sorcery Points (SP), which functions even with non-sorcerer spells. Twinned Cure Wounds? Splendid! Even though you need some levels to attain enough SP to wield this power without drying out too fast
  • Even though the other features are nice, you might consider to not dabbed too much into or outo the sorcerer class, since you want either enough SP to spend or on the other side the better overall spell potencial of another spellcasting class
  • outside a rogue, a non-spellcasting/-subclass class doesn’t really make the cut here (rogues can use the DB quite efficiently and some metamagics are pretty useful for a rogue (especially the Arcane Trickster) who wants to dabble into magic (more).
  • the capstone is ignorable

Offensive:

  • Spellcasting: The offensive potential of the sorcerer’s spellist is horrendous and he get some really juicy spells, even though no sorcerer-only ones.
  • Metamagic (Distant Spell): More range means an earlier attack.
  • Metamagic (Empowered Spell): Great for re-rolling those 1s and 2s!
  • Metamagic (Heightened Spell): Save for half/no damage? Disadvantage on save!
  • Metamagic (Quickened Spell): Spell-sling a cantrip after a now bonus action spell. Or use Witch Bolt/Sun Beam and use an action to fire another one at the same turn.
  • Metamagic (Subtle Spell): Hard to deny, that your enemies won’t be surprised, if you pull that off while hiding.
  • Metamagic (Twinned Spell): Strike more targets!
  • Elemental Affinity (DB): Get some bonus damage to your dragon element.
  • Dragon Wings (DB): If the front is too loaded, target those spell-casters from above!
  • Wild Magic Surge (WM): A lot of options allows you to either increase your damage that round.
  • Tides of Chaos (WM): Useful when casting attack spells.
  • Bend Luck (WM): Saved by the point? Minus 1d4!
  • Spell Bombardment (WM): More damage, as long your dice rolls don’t suck too hard.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Like a wizard this edition and the wizard’s choice is pretty bad. Good that you’ll never use weapons at a certain point (most likely 5th level with cantrip damage increase), but until then, DEX-bonus to damage can be more viable to kill kobolds than a 1-X damage value.

Resource-Management:

  • Spellcasting: Mostly a heolp to manage your hit points and such better, not that strong in the ranger’s case.
  • Font of Magic: You get a way to create spell-slots on the fly and get SP back, if needed. So if you ever get the feeling, that you rather need more SP than spells (like in the obvious boss fight, were you won’t be able to burn all those and rather wants to kick some asses with your last spells), you can decide to transform then. Right now, without much delay!
  • Metamagic (Empowered Spell): Use SP efficiently and make your spells more worth! If your damage sucked on a spell, spend a SP afterwards to re-roll only the bad dice (up to your CHA-mod).
  • Metamagic (Extended Spell): Useful if you’re either going into a long encounter (like boss fights), where your 1 minute buffs will wear of during the fight or if you can see reinforcements or a whole second encounter shortly behind coming. Or for exploration stuff.
  • Metamagic (Heightened Spell): Do you need the remorse you feel, when wasting a high level spell, because a save? Make it more unlikely!
  • Metamagic (Quickened Spell): If you need your action otherwise (like for running away, while wanting to obstruct your foes), this will make some nice action management.
  • Metamagic (Twinned Spell): One action for targeting two people with the same spell and using less SP than creating spell slots with Font of Magic (and even higher than 5th level).
  • Sorcerous Restoration: Some SP-regaining after a short rest, useful (since you should consider 2 short rests per day, so 8 SP), but lacking compared to other capstones.
  • Draconic Resilience (DB): Who needs Mage Armor?!
  • Tides of Chaos (WM): Important attack spell you need delivered and don’t have inspiration? Here is your insurance!
  • Wild Magic Surge (WM): Ways to recover resources! If you only could control it…
  • Bend Luck (WM): Use it after the roll to decide how useful it’ll be. And it will save all kind of resources in any situation where it can actually change the outcome.
  • Controlled Chaos (WM): Choose the better result and save or regain resources on the way.
  • Font of Magic: Just a minor one, bonus action for this can be sometimes tricky, especially if you want to quicken it or have other stuff to do with your only once per turn bonus action.

Support:

  • Spellcasting: A nice combinations of debuffs, buffs and other stuff helps much here.
  • Metamagic (Careful Spell): Works on every spell which won’t discriminate between allies and foes. Like Circle of Death (for half damage at least) or some of the cool controlling spells, like Fear.
  • Metamagic (Heightened Spell): Deliver your debuffs more reliable, spells like Slow will be terrifying this way.
  • Metamagic (Twinned Spell): You realize, that you can haste now two allies at the same time? Concentration spells will work so much better!
  • Draconic Presence (DB): Debuff your enemies in decent range.
  • Bend Luck (WM): Buff or debuff. That is the question!

Survivability:

  • Spellcasting: Some protection potential here and even spells which allows you to be a very annoying target, like Mirror Images.
  • Metamagic (Distant Spell): Staying some feet away can really, really help and even those touch spells can be delivered at 30ft now!
  • Metamagic (Subtle Spell): If the enemy doesn’t see you casting, there is less reason to think, that you’re a sorcerer.
  • Draconic Resilience (DB): Hit Point increase is almost as good as getting a higher hit die and higher AC will always be useful.
  • Elemental Affinity (DB): Get some resistance vs. your dragon element!
  • Dragon Wings (DB): Flying over your opponents makes you a hard target vs. melees and an easy one for ranges and spell-slinger. But since you can decide to fly and position yourself much better this way, this will definitely come in handy.
  • Draconic Presence (DB): Those who failed the save won’t attack you anymore when charmed and will have a lot of problems if frightened.
  • Tides of Chaos (WM): You want advantage if your life is on the line and often saves and ability checks might be that roll to decide that.
  • Bend Luck (WM): Better to lower that attack roll, which would most likely obliterate you.
  • Hit points: With the lowest Hit Die (d6), the sorcerer is pretty squishy, which will show over the course of levels.
  • Armor Proficiency: None.
  • Wild Magic Surge (WM): Tiny chance to fireball your 1st level party to death.

Utility:

  • Spellcasting: At least the basic utility you need is covered, even though not as convenient as others. At least if you remember to take some of your limited known spells for this. And a good amount of cantrips.
  • Metamagic (Subtle Spell): Charm a person without any forewarning. Ghost Sound while being talked to, to get a distraction. As long as you only need V and S components, you can spell people without them noticing!
  • Dragon Ancestor (DB): Double proficiency bonus (if you are trained in this skill/tool) to CHA-checks to talk with dragons and draconic as language? Since dragons tends to be a bit powerful, ways to talk you out are pretty sweet.
  • Dragon Wings (DB): If you can move on the z-axis, you can explore and do much more.
  • Draconic Presence (DB): Charmed people are a lot easier to talk to and won’t attack you.
  • Controlled Chaos (WM): Even though Wild Surge doesn’t increase your utility per se, this one makes it more useful at least.
  • Spellcasting: Too less known spells for being too useful in this department.
  • Dragon Ancestor (DB): Since fire is the best choice in synergy with the traits of this subclass and poison and acid are simply bad choices, you will wait until some new spells come out to make these doable choices.
  • Wild Magic Surge (WM): Unpredictable, so you can’t count on it, even though there are many good effects there.

Grading:

Multiclass: Great
Offense: Great
Resource Management: Great
Support: Good
Survivability: Bad (WM) to Decent (DB)
Utility: Decent

Overall: Good

As multiclass option for casters, sorcerer is most likely the best choice, bringing the cool metamagics into your other class.

But the sorcerer as a pure class is one, which relies on a good offense potential (even though not necessarily a lot of offense spells) and much more important: To make every action and spell more worth due the use of metamagics over the course and using unused spell-slots to get more SP again. As long as you can manage your resources, the sorcerer will be an overwhelming battery of arcane power, which can adapt the spell potential and prowess to the given situation.

I guess the survivability might be a bit higher, but it really depends which spells are selected and used and which metamagics you have. With Quickened Spells you can buff yourself while firing cantrips to avoid combats, where your buffs takes too much time to make yourself useful, but of you select only one buff as insurance, bad/decent is pretty true. Other classes do just better in this.

What hurts the sorcerer is the fact, that he has the least utility out of all full casters spell-wise (and even the ranger is more broad imo), even though he can learn the most basics arcane utility spells (like teleport, fly, etc.), his selection of spells are limited, not only in known spells, but in learnable spells, too.

If you’re smart, the sorcerer can be a great character, like using Twinned Spells to buff your allies, which might be more useful than just fingering two people to death, erm, meant use Finger of Death on two targets. And even though Wild Magic brings a bit of unpredictability into the game, the Surge table brings some of the best effects you can get, while only few of them are outright horrible (and most will lose some effectiveness, if you can either metamagic them [Careful Spell!!!] or have some hit points to endure them at least).

Not too sure, if I can get around another overview (or any post) tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Overview Ranger

Finally, we get to ther ranger’s overview. I already made some posts about that class, so I cut it short in the introduction. I just want to mention, that the one who made the text-routines for Internet Explorer has to be an idiot, because I had to switch to IE temporary and while I wrote all this, the browser did its best to tell me to be replaced as fast as possible.

This is an overview, so I’ll just categorize each class in certain categories to see how it cuts and give a personal grading. The end-grading won’t count the multiclass-strength in (for obvious reasons) and is more like an overall impression than a mathematical derivation.

Any feature in italic is from a subclass and a abbreviation will say which one (in the ranger’s case HU for Hunter and BM for Beast Master). And red features means there is a flaw or a minus in said category.

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Multiclass-Strength:

  • If you’re a caster, a ranger will provide half its level to your spell-slots per day
  • The first levels doesn’t provide you that straight benefits, second level brings you a fighting style and already some of the best ranger spells, you can go for archetype (here the HU is the better choice) and a strong offense trait in 3rd level and 4th will bring you an ability score improvement
  • 5th level excels with Extra Attack in case your other class won’t provide it, afterwards ranger will stoß being that useful for multiclassing into, except you want another strong HU defense feature at 7th and the ability improvement a level after
  • If you want ranger as a main-class, you can aim for level 16th or 17th without much trouble, but you can also leave it at 12th to grab another Hunter feature and ability score improvement and leave it at that
  • the capstone is ignorable

Offensive:

  • Weapon Proficiency: Always have the better tools due martial weapons.
  • Fighting Style (Archery, Dueling, Two-Weapon Fighting): More damage is more damage after all.
  • Spellcasting: Most of your damage comes from these spells, which buffs yourself quite good. Hunter’s Quarry is pretty insane for 1st level.
  • Extra Attack: More attacks means more damage.
  • Feral Senses: If you can detect the enemy, you can kill it.
  • Foe Slayer: Not too great of a capstone, but increase accuracy and or damage.
  • Hunter’s Prey (HU): Increase the amount of attacks or damage.
  • Multiattack (HU): In certain circumstances this dishes out more damage than your regular attacks (depending on the number of enemies). Sadly, it’s unfocused, but it can provide the slaying of pre-damaged goons.
  • Superior Hunter’s Defense [Stand against the Tide] (HU): If you’re mobbed and someone misses you, you can redirect the attack with new attack roll to another target. Less defensive than the name would suggest.
  • Ranger’s Companion (BM): The more obvious companions do more damage than you.
  • Bestial Fury(BM): More attacks overall.
  • Foe Slayer: Sadly only for Favored Enemies and since you get your last one(s) at 14th level, you might not get a use of it, when the campaign takes a much different turn at the end.

Resource-Management:

  • Spellcasting: Mostly a heolp to manage your hit points and such better, not that strong in the ranger’s case.
  • Vanish: Hide as a Bonus Action is pretty much the reason why you want to multiclass into rogue for 2 levels. Sadly it comes a bit late at 14th level, but for any Archer and Hit-and-Run style ranger it’s still an effective way to manage their actions better.
  • Foe Slayer: Since you can decide to use it after the role, you can make missed attacks into hits, after having an idea of the AC of the opponent.
  • Exceptional Training (BM): Somehow mitigate the downs of the companion management a bit.
  • Bestial Fury(BM): Transfer one attack of yours into two attacks of the companion.
  • Share Spells (BM): Use one spell and target you and your companion, less actions for more effect.
  • Spellcasting: The most powerful spells are concentration, so rangers might want to stay back, since they lack proficiency in con-saves normally.
  • Primeval Awareness: Uses spell slots.
  • Ranger’s Companion (BM): Uses up your own actions.

Support:

  • Spellcasting: You at least you have some minor support here and much more in the control department, so debuffs are your main-support, since enemies who have to deal with them are much less dangerous.
  • Exceptional Training (BM): Help Action for your Bonus Action and the companions actual action.
  • Share Spells (BM): Helps your companion and it’ll need all help it can get.

Survivability:

  • Hit points: A d10 is above the average d8.
  • Armor Proficiency: Only the shields are to mention here.
  • Natural Explorer: Not much, but when running away in your specialized environment is much more likely. Normal pace and stealth, so if you fight in the long run, you can be pretty annoying.
  • Fighting Style (Defense): One of the few valuable ways to enhance your AC most of the time. Especially since the ranger lacks much protection in general.
  • Spellcasting: You can heal yourself and has some lesser protection spells.
  • Land’s Stride: Natural hazards and terrain are your friends now and you get even advantage to saves when those are magically influenced.
  • Hide in Plain Sight: While having your camouflage you can hide about anywhere with this. So if things goes south, go to the wall and be never seen again…
  • Vanish: Did you really need even more ways to make it hard to track you? – Yes, indeed!
  • Feral Senses: It works as an ambush-detector, so you won’t be less often surprised by those who are confident in their stealthiness.
  • Defensive Tactics (HU): Makes it harder to hit you when provoking opportunity attacks, subsequent attacks of the same enemy or at least gives you advantage to saves of one of the m0st common conditions you’ll run into.
  • Superior Hunter’s Defense [Evasion, Uncanny Dodge] (HU): Gain either half damage for a single weapon attack per round or half to none damage to every saved dexterity saving throw. Pretty useful.
  • Ranger’s Companion (BM): Since you get another when making a short rest, you can sacrifice it when necessarily.

Utility:

  • Skills Proficiency: You get 3, which is more than most classes.
  • Favorite Enemy: Know thy enemies. And their language. And then track them!
  • Natural Explorer: Makes it so much easier to move in nature for you and your party.
  • Spellcasting: A lot of cool and trendy outdoor spells here, hard to choose from this list.
  • Primeval Awareness: Up to you how useful it is. At least you can identify if the threat might be immediate when signs show up (like burning houses, which might suggest the presence of a dragon, fiend or elemental nearby).
  • Land’s Stride: Makes it a bit easier on the scout duty.
  • Hide in Plain Sight: Scouting in the enemy’s camp? Sure, just use a minute, have a decent Dexterity (Stealth) score and you can pretty much move freely.
  • Vanish: All things included, you can scout about anything without leaving reasons to track you. Great for information gathering.
  • Ranger’s Companion (BM): The utility of having a beast companions is great if you bring a bit of imagination into it. Especially since it brings your scouting skills too the max or can even help by standing night watch, while being inactive during the day (like an owl).
  • Favorite Enemy: Since you only have limited number of choices here and no way to change them, you’d better know what the campaign will bring you.
  • Natural Explorer: Pretty much the same, only in this term with terrain-types.

Grading:

Multiclass: Decent
Offense: Good (BM) to Great (HU)
Resource Management: Decent
Support: Bad
Survivability: Good
Utility: Fantastic

Overall: Good

OK, this class is complicated. Especially the Beast Master brings some easy mechanism into play, which are pretty complicated if you want to use them at best. But the ranger beats the monk and the fighter class in being good at fighting (even not as great as them) and being uber-useful out of combat, especially in a natural environment. The spells brings some diversity and can bring stable and dangerous boosts to the combat if needed while having access to some neat controlling mechanism, which provides some special tools if you need them. But sadly not enough and too single enemy focused to make a good support.

Worrisome are the resource management and the fact, that this class get problems when built up melee focused, since it seems to lack some answers a melee would normally need, especially in terms of survivability, so I’d rather compare the meleeness of the class more to a rogue, while the ranged abilities does rival a ranged focused fighter pretty well. Well, it’s a ranger.

I do think, that some level rangers for multiclassing purposes are good, but the class peaks at staying single-classed.

Overall the ranger is a class which does what it does pretty well, but seems to cover more fields of expertise adequate than it really does. The danger lies here to think, that you can do too much too well. Stay in safety when possible, use your features to get as much advantage beforehand as possible and do it sneaky and fast, whenever the situation arises. If you do so, you shouldn’t run into more problems than any other class and possibly even a lot less.

My nemesis is my species enemy and became my favored enemy, do you understand?

The internet is a trap! After regaining connection for one day, I already wasted my whole evening and did nothing for the blog… Since I’m going to a Pathfinder session soon, I have too less time to make my overview, but I just took a topic which I wanted to talk about: The ranger’s favored enemy and how it changed in the editions.

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1st Edition: The ranger didn’t have the choice of an enemy, but gained a flat +1/level damage to giants and certain humanoids like orcs. Flat but useful like most choices of the 1e.

2nd Edition: Here we got the species enemy feature, where a player chose a specific type of creatures which had to be accepted by the DM and should be tied to the ranger’s back-story. And got rewarded with a +4 to hit, while having a penalty of -4 to reaction. But in the end, those +4 were really useful and even if the choices were more open, it’d kicked asses.

3rd edition: The species enemy got renamed to favorite enemy and it’s the first time, the feature get a bonus outside combat (even though these were often disregarded). The +hit and +damage of the feature made it especially sexy to choose a favored enemy which will be either confronted often over several tiers of play or are tough to crack, like humanoids (human), undead, aberrations or constructs. And a big difference: You can select multiple favored enemies over the course. But since the 3e mechanic wouldn’t make the most iconic enemies like orcs a thread at high levels anymore, many possible choices weren’t that good.

4th edition: No favored or species enemy here, the ranger got additional damage to a target he declared (and is nearest to him at that time) and gets extra damage once a round.

5th edition: This is my favorite. The reason is simple, unless you hit 20th level, you get no benefits for combat purposes. This means that you choose your favored enemy more for the out of combat purposes, like advantage to recall lore and tracking and the possible additional language. So now having orcs as favored enemy will have much more of an impact than before, while constructs, undeads, fiends, etc. won’t suffer much that way. And since you get multiple favored enemies and when choosing humanoids you get two instead one subtypes, you can actually get a decent amount of knowledge about your foes without breaking out the bounded accuracy due to too many bonuses. And in this edition, even a 20th level ranger will be careful when facing a hundred orcs alone.

 

Why do I think, that the combat bonuses aren’t that important? Because I think this distracts you from the core of being a ranger. In my opinion a ranger fights enemies well is because he knows and understands them much better than a non-ranger could do, the advantage mechanism is a pretty neat way to ensure reliability with a certain error margin. And since the ranger’s spells are a huge benefit for his damage output and attack rolls have this sweet bounded accuracy, I don’t think the ranger especially need it.

Even though the 20th level Foe Slayer does grant combat bonuses, they’re ignorable. I think it comes a bit too late, too or shouldn’t be restricted to favored enemies. Or at least another effect.

Build: The defending Ranger

Back in the blog! My PC had some issues (refusal to work, absenteeism, blue screen of doom) and because of work, I couldn’t find enough time to fix it myself, so I brought it to a friend and finally it works. Even though I really consider to get a new one. Without PC, I couldn’t make all the posts I’d like to do and today I just completed the one, which I was working on the moment, when my PC decided to be a jerk.

 

Since I didn’t got the time back then to make an actual overview after reading the ranger class once more, I decided to make a more unusual build today and named it ‘the defending ranger’.

What makes this build exactly work? Don’t have an idea, but I build from the base, that ranger aren’t especially supposed to be front-line characters, which are actually able hold a line, but more of skirmishing striker characters. But it’s unusual and maybe even fun.

The first question is, which of the few ranger features are the ones who can enhance the defending capabilities of this class.

  1. Armor Proficiency: Here we have primary the shield, but since the feat Medium Armor Master does increase the cap of usable dex-mod. to medium armor additionally with getting rid of the annoying disadvantage on stealth makes it a useful choice here
  2. Fighting Style: The only one who can enhance your defending qualities is the Defense-Style, which gives you more AC and make it harder to hit you.
  3. Spellcasting: The ranger don’t have actual defender spells, but he’s able to heal himself per Cure Wounds and brings some damage boosts with him, which might persuade the DMs who let monsters decide their target per ‘aggro’ to attack the ranger instead of its allies
  4. Extra Attack: Another aggro boost.
  5. Hunter-Subclass: The better subclass for this build is the Hunter, since even though you might be able to protect your animal companion, too, I take the approach in this case, that this ranger won’t have another front-row PC as back-up and it won’t be that good to spread attacks only between you and your companion.
    1. Horde Breaker: As a defending character, you better be able to take care of more enemies
    2. Multiattack Defense: This will definitely help you with staying alive, while at that level, a lot of monsters and humanoids you’re going to face in melee will have more than one attack. Best of all: Only triggers after a hit, so until the enemy hits, he won’t have an excuse to not attack you with the subsequent attacks
    3. Whirlwind Attack: We’re talking about a melee build here.
    4. Evasion: Since the Sentinel Feat is one of the best ways to ensure your defending capabilities, you shouldn’t take anything which robs you from your reaction

The ranger doesn’t have too many great defending capabilities in the first place, so you should be rather looking forward to use feats to fill that hole, instead of maxing out your abilities. Better to see first, which feats are essential and at least practical. Here my ranking:

  1. Sentinel: Without this feat you won’t have any bite in your defending stuff.
  2. War Caster: As long your DM won’t allow you to cast with weapon and shield by quickly put your weapon in your shield hand and take it after the spell again in one turn (by interacting with one object), then this feat will ensure, that you will be able to heal yourself without forfeiting your Sentinel attack of opportunity. And of course you want your concentration spells to not disappear.
  3. Resilient (Constitution): This should help to prevent you concentration spells going downhill.
  4. Medium Armor Master/Heavily Armored: To pick up a better AC will be useful to get less hits. Depending on your main attribute to hit, this might differ.
  5. Tough: If you think that your con-mod. won’t be able to max, this feat might proof even more useful than before.
  6. Shield Master: Your dex-saves are already pretty good, but the shoving might get useful and every bit of bonus will help greatly.
  7. Martial Adept: Some great maneuvers are out there to help you, but I personally wouldn’t bother here.

In my version, I just blindly forfeit all the ability score options and simply plan to make most use of the ability scores from the start. Since I didn’t want to use a human variant (because even a monkey would be able to build everything with this) and a wood elf ranger wouldn’t less likely to use such a ranger build, I took the stout halfling.

With Medium Armor Master as a goal, I have to end up with dexterity 16, wants to have an uneven score at constitution to get more bonus out of Resilient, some wisdom and as much even scores as possible. So I use the point array for: 12, 14, 14, 10, 14, 8. As a stout halfling I end up with 12, 16, 15, 10, 14, 8. The halfling is trained, but not bulky, is a more cunning but intelligent character and socially awkward.

The feats would be: 4th Sentinel, 8th Medium Armor Master (since spellcasting isn’t that impressing at that point), 12th War Caster, 16th Resilient (Constitution) and 19th Tough. The weapons of choice are one-handed melee weapons plus a shield, the ranger capabilities aren’t at the higher, but definitely not the lower end and the character is actually good enough in taking hits and protecting others to actually do its job, even though it lacks the capabilities of a defense specialized barbarian or paladin, it can most likely keep up with most fighters.

Afterwards pick background, skills, personality traits and such as your liking. Here my personal choices:

  • Background: Folk Hero
    • Artisan’s Tool Proficiency: Woodcarver’s tools
    • Defining Event: I stood alone against a terrible monster.
  • Personality traits: I avoid to speak long sentences, since I stutter. If someone is in trouble, I’m always ready to lend help.
  • Ideal: The peaceful compromise beats a violent solution.
  • Bond: I rather see myself hurt than the innocent.
  • Flaw: I may be too naive when it comes to other humanoids.
  • Ranger Skill Proficiency: Nature, Perception, Stealth

After buying equipment (since the ranger’s equipment choices don’t include shields) we’re ready to go. Here my level 1 version.

This evening (local time) I begin the ranger overview, so it should be ready tomorrow.

Overview Paladin

Now we passed the midpoint and got to the paladin. To be honest, I love the archetypical paladin, since 3.0e. Kicking evil butts, saving the day with a heart that’s true, it’s like playing a superhero with armor instead of tights. I was totally with tenets and such and sadly said: I’ve seen too many paladin players, which didn’t even care what it means to be a paladin.

In 4e it became less restrictive, in 5e we’re back to tenets and I’m all for it. Now we’re going to get an overview of this class, even though I was about to make an in-depth at this point, but this have to wait for now. First overview, in-depths some time later.

This is an overview, so I’ll just categorize each class in certain categories to see how it cuts and give a personal grading. The end-grading won’t count the multiclass-strength in (for obvious reasons) and is more like an overall impression than a mathematical derivation.

Any feature in italic is from a subclass and a abbreviation will say which one (in the paladin’s case DV for Devotion, AC for Ancient, VG for Vengeance and OB from the DMG’s Oathbreaker). And red features means there is a flaw or a minus in said category.

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Multiclass-Strength:

  • If you’re a caster, a paladin will provide half its level to your spell-slots per day
  • Taking the 1st level brings about nothing what a typical multiclasser is looking for. 2nd level is the least you should take, there you get the first features which makes it worth, 3rd and 4th level are great choices, too.
  • 5th level gives Extra Attack, 6th a great buff to saves for you and even your allies, while 7th is especially valuable for AC-paladins and then you can get 8th level, too.
  • Up to 12th level, the only especially interesting feature (since grabbing any Ability Score Improvement is good, but not especially interesting) is the Improved Divine Smite at 11th, which will increase your damage
  • 14th brings Cleansing Touch, which is a strong feature, but not a must
  • the capstone is determined by your subclass, so far they’re good (DV), great (VG) and unholy shit of an angel! (AC)

Offensive:

  • Weapon Proficiency: Always have the better tools due martial weapons.
  • Fighting Style (Dueling, Great Weapon Fighting): More damage is more damage after all.
  • Spellcasting: You got a lot of damage enhancing spells in that list, even though it lacks in the direct damage department.
  • Divine Smite: And we’ve more damage again! And you can use any spell-slots, the ‘paladin spell-slots’ there is a typo (since you don’t have different spell-slots just because you have different classes).
  • Extra Attack: More attacks, more hits and more damage!
  • Improved Divine Smite: The fighter gets another attack, your damage increases per attack instead. Less effective, but more damage nonetheless.
  • Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon; DV): Accuracy bonus (these are rare), weapon becomes magical, no concentration and it makes light so you can see the foe in darkness!
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): A surefire way to damage every enemy without radiant immunity near you.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): If it lasts, that makes an easy target!
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): An one-time advantage!
  • Channel Divinity (Vow of Enmity; VG): You know, having advantage all the time sounds better.
  • Soul of Vengeance (VG): Attack with your reaction when the target of your Vow of Enmity makes an attack… not too complicated, just means: Attack, attack, wait, attack!
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Advantage to the ones who fails the save for one time and wings with improved speed which will bring some more lines of attack.
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): Turning enemy undead into allies is a way to increase your party’s damage.
  • Aura of Hate (OB): Only for you, undead and fiends, but there are commanded undead, there are fiend familiars and it’s still a nice self-buff.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): Quite some damage potential here.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): As long as you have darkvision, since you’re not immune to the dim-light effect.

Resource-Management:

  • Divine Sense: Uses an own ‘uses per day’.
  • Lay on Hands: Healing without spell.
  • Spellcasting: Buffs make it easier to end battles and lessens the burden of other resources.
  • Divine Smite: You can trigger it on a hit and since it’s extra damage… consider to trigger it, after rolling a critical hit to double the damage for that instant!
  • Channel Divinity (general): Regain it after a short rest.
  • Aura features: Auras cost nothing and gives some nice benefits for you and the allies around you.
  • Cleansing Touch: Uses its own per-day-pool.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): When using against a weak and clumsy foe, it’ll keep it quite a while busy.
  • Elder Champion (AC): Lessens the amount of time needed to use a spell and disadvantage makes each spell work more reliable.
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): Effect on succeeding save and if the enemy fails, you can effectively ignore it for a while, so you won’t waste any resources there.
  • Relentless Avenger (VG): Keep close right away instead of spending movement next turn.
  • Avenging Angel (VG): A once a day resource, which lasts an hour!
  • Spellcasting: There are some concentrating spells here, as someone who wants to take the front, it’s risky. And if you aren’t hitting with these smite-spells, they might get lost.
  • Divine Smite: Uses up spell-slots and the damage caps at 4th level spell-slots.
  • Channel Divinity (general): One pool for different uses.

Support:

  • Lay on Hands: Heal your buddies from damage, disease and poison.
  • Fighting Style (Protect): Protect those, who doesn’t want to stay away from action. Like they should, probably.
  • Spellcasting: Buffs, heal and protection spells. Even some debuffs for your enemy.
  • Aura features: Keep your friends close and all Auras will affect them, too.
  • Cleansing Touch: Spells can take out your companions for a while. And you can take out these spells, as long they’re not instantaneous.
  • Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy [DV], Turn the Faithless [AC]): Creates a space around the paladin where the enemies of specific types who failed the save won’t enter anymore.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): Restrain an enemy and it make it so much harder for it to hurt someone.
  • Elder Champion (AC): Makes your debuffs more reliable! And that saves your allies and yourself!
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): An enemy fewer can make a lot of difference.
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Fear me and let my friends hit you better, while you’ll suck at hitting yourself!

Survivability:

  • Hit points: A d10 is above the average d8.
  • Armor Proficiency: Take all the armor and shields you want
  • Lay on Hands: You carry your own healing power here.
  • Fighting Style (Defense): One of the few valuable ways to enhance your AC most of the time.
  • Spellcasting: More healing on the way and spells, which makes your enemies weaker.
  • Divine Health: First you could heal it with Lay on Hands, now you don’t even need to bother.
  • Aura of Protection: Since failing saving throws can bitterly make you suffer, it’s better to increase your chances in succeeding them.
  • Aura of Courage: This one always remind me of this OotS-Strip.
  • Cleansing Touch: As long as the spell lets you act and is not instantaneous, you can get rid of it.
  • Channel Divinity (Turn the Unholy [DV], Turn the Faithless [AC]): Keep those fiends and undead/fey away!
  • Aura of Devotion (DV): Nobody can seduce the paladin by unnatural means!
  • Purity of Spirits (DV): Imagine a demon lord, who came from the inner abyss only to destroy the world and all what he gets is a paladin, against he has permanently disadvantage on attack rolls, while the paladin gets advantage on sving throws vs. specific conditions, even though he’d be immune to most at this point. And the worst: It’s the effect of the spell, not a spell itself, so no anti-magic here.
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): Advantage on saving throws against anything a fiend, fey or undead will hurl at you. Nice.
  • Channel Divinity (Nature’s Wrath; AC): Restrained enemies have a harder time hurting you.
  • Aura of Warding (AC): Resistance to spell damage? This is sick and wrong on a character, who also got good AC and saves!
  • Undying Sentinel (AC): Keep standing once a day and be protected from (magical) aging, even though it doesn’t extend your lifespan.
  • Elder Champion (AC): For a minute you get a kind of regeneration. And since many smite-spells have save-dependent debuffs included, you can make the enemy work harder to even hit you.
  • Channel Divinity (Abjure Enemy; VG): Less damage incoming from foes, which are frightened and stopped moving!
  • Relentless Avenger (VG): No attacks of opportunity here!
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Make them all frightened of you and if that doesn’t help, you can fly away!
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): An controlled enemy is an enemy less and a situational meat/bone/ghost-shield.
  • Channel Divinity: Dreadful Aspect (OB): If they’re afraid of you, they won’t attack you that easily.
  • Supernatural Resistance (OB): Since there are even a lot of nonmagical attacks in the high level tiers, this will be a life-saver… for yourself.
  • Aura of Hate (OB): Nothing there says ‘friendly’ undead and fiends.
  • Aura of Dread (OB): Dim light and the shadows makes it harder to hit you and the ones, who fight by your side.

Utility:

  • Divine Sense: Whenever you’re suspecting someone, this will be a great way to see if there is more to this.
  • Spellcasting: A handful spells which will be useful at some point.
  • Oath Spells: There are some wonderful non-paladin ones in there, which add up beautifully to your own spell-list.
  • Channel Divinity (Sacred Weapon; DV): Erm… light?
  • Holy Nimbus (DV): You’re shining!!! … great, right?
  • Avenging Angel (VG): Fly speed.
  • Channel Divinity: Control Undead (OB): You realize, that you have control for 24 hours, right? Might be very situational, but when it comes handy (like in a Vampire’s Castle), it will be very handy.
  • Channel Divinity: Dreadful Aspect (OB): A good DM will allow to use this condition to make intimidation even more intimidating.
  • Tenets: These will give you some restrictions in terms of options, even if you can lay them out widely most of the time.

Grading:

Multiclass: Great
Offense: Great (DV, AC) to Fantastic (VG, OB)
Resource Management: Good
Support: Great
Survivability: Great (DV, VG, OB) to Fantastic (AC)
Utility: Decent

Overall: Great

Or more of a great-plus. While the utility was saved by the spellcasting, the paladin can do about everything, even if he doesn’t put his focus there. Devotion is kinda lacking in general terms, but when facing undead and fiends regularly (which isn’t that uncommon in D&D campaigns) and counting in the rare and hellish strong accuracy buff there, you realize, that the class lacks nothing else but greater utility. And in everything else it can theoretically either keep up with most classes to a certain point.

The really dangerous point is the resource management. Since the paladin have a lot of different pools to use his features from, he can mitigate it to a certain point, but when he’s not careful, he will lose a lot of his punch. Especially after spending all spell-slots.

But this survivability is sick, spells to heal himself, lay on hands, immunity to a lot of effects, improved saving throws, possibly resistance to spell damage, after a few levels a paladin is someone who might survive about everything at his level-range, if he wouldn’t want to take the front row and use this multilayer defense to protect the allies. Good that he needs melee weapons for the best offense uses, this will force him one way or another to draw focus on him.

Even multiclassing to into and out of the paladin brings some of these powerful features right to your character.

What can I say? Great class overall.