yeah, that last project hit a stone wall
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## class breakdown
Here's a detail regarding paladin: it's a complicated class. Most of the classes have a degree of complexity to them and some have a deceptively simple class features table, like the cleric or the wizard. A simple look at the paladin's table is enough to understand that there are multiple things going on at the same time, especially at the early levels.
The truth is that unless you just spend all of your levels in the paladin class, you will have a very hard time keeping all your class features in the same power level; this is not generally encouraged in the optimization community, as paladin is already a weak class, so you'll have to specialize to make yourself useful.
Indeed, don't let yourself get fooled to think that most of the abilities of the paladin are acquired at the first five levels. It seems that the class is front-loaded, when in reality each additional paladin level improves many of its abilities. Smite evil, turn undead, spellcasting and special mount are all abilities that are not static.
In order to help you pick up abilities and prestige classes as you progress in the paladin class, I will categorize the paladin's class abilities in four aspects with distinct names. These are the champion, the cavalier, the templar and the commander.
The champion is the warrior aspect; a champion paladin tries to optimize his main combat skill, smite evil, in order to deal high amounts of damage.
The cavalier is the horseman; a cavalier paladin improves his performance in combat by focusing on the synergy between him and his special mount.
The templar is the aspect with the most connection to the divine. A templar paladin uses spells, turn undead, [domain] and [divine] feats to increase his combat prowess.
The commander is the leader of the group. A commander paladin supports his followers by applying buffs and acting as the party face with his skills.
These categories are an abstraction that I have devised and they are meant to give you a direction during character creation and when you need to make a choice at level-ups. They are not to be blindly followed. For example, if your champion just gained a level and you are pondering whether you should get a feat that increases your special mount or your smite ability, think it through; that special mount enhancing feat may be the correct choice for you after all. In this distinction there is room for hybrids and at a certain point it is encouraged.
Here is how the class feature chart should look, with some additional breakpoints that aren't visible in the one in Player's Handbook:
| Level | Special |
| ----- | ---------------------------------------- |
| 1 | Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 1/day |
| 2 | Divine grace, lay on hands |
| 3 | Aura of courage, divine health |
| 4 | Turn undead, spell level 1 |
| 5 | Smite evil 2/day, special mount |
| 6 | |
| 7 | |
| 8 | Mount advancement, spell level 2 |
| 9 | Remove disease 1/week |
| 10 | Smite evil 3/day |
| 11 | Mount advancement, spell level 3 |
| 12 | Remove disease 2/week |
| 13 | |
| 14 | spell level 4 |
| 15 | Remove disease 3/week, smite evil 4/day, mount advancement |
| 16 | |
| 17 | |
| 18 | Remove disease 5/week |
| 19 | |
| 20 | Smite evil 5/day |
The paladin is the base class out of the Player's Handbook that has the most strict alignment restriction. By definition, paladins are always of the lawful good alignment and they don't only have to act in the name of good and order, but they also have a code of conduct that they must abide to.
Before you continue reading the guide, it's important to refresh the definition of alignment, as it is a mechanic that causes a lot of problems within groups. As mentioned in Player's Handbook:
Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.
I have encountered people with different opinions on alignments that range from indifference to extremism. My personal view on alignment is that it's a good mechanic to determine the outcome of certain spells and effects and to give your character a roleplay direction. However, it is not a good mechanic to use if you want to resolve philosophical arguments on ethics or determine which NPC you should punish.
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that investigates questions like "Is this action right or wrong?". Philosophers like [Plato](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato), [Immanuel Kant](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant) and [Friedrich Nietzche](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche) have been trying to resolve questions like this for thousands or years. Based on these facts, it's understandable that these ethical questions are not going to be solved by the alignment system.
The problem here lies in the simplicity of the alignment system. It uses two axes - good/evil and law/chaos, which is suitable for a fantasy game like Dungeons and Dragons; the alignment system tries to make choices simple and not complicated. This works fine for most classes that do not have mechanical implications, but in the case of paladins and their code of conduct, the ethical simplicity of alignments and the ambiguity of the code do not mix that well.
If you want to play a paladin and your party is cool about it, then great. If you feel that your dungeon master or teammates are punishing you because of your class choice, this is not cool and you should have a talk about it. Remind them that, according to the rules, alignment is not meant to restrict your character and that it should not be taken far too seriously. Additionally, the restrictions that paladins get compared to the benefits that the class provides are just not worth it; you are not playing this class for the mechanical benefits - you are doing it for the style.
I ... REALLY like this. Do you have aberrations in there? The roper illithid is a known-powerhouse.
Have you weighted various specials? I would suggest having a total "special" category as well, since some forms you will want purely for the true seeing, etc. Also (Su)'s are harder to get than the (Ex)'s.
Added 'total defense' rating to the wild shape forms, which is the total of rating + dex + con + natural armor + speed + special.
Added 'total offense' rating to the wild shape forms, which is the total of rating + attacks + str + dex + size + special.
All total scores are now normalized to the following set: [0,1].
Applied a weight of 1/2 to constitution, as it just contributes to saving throws and some rare con-based ability DCs.
Applying weights for each attribute is easy, determining the correct ones is difficult. I will apply a *0.5 weight to con, since it only contributes to saving throws and some con-based DCs (I think).Yeah, I'm halfway inclined to think you should split it somehow, between offensive and defensive forms, because some forms care about strength above all else while others couldn't care less. Dexterity's always good, at least. Might be worth indicating enhance wild shape based stuff too, because some of those granted abilities are ridiculous, especially on the aberration forms.
I dunno that it makes sense to use a scoring system that judges all special abilities in the same fashion makes all that much sense, though I suspect that's largely a thing of convenience. More changeable is the fact that you apparently have strength, dexterity, and constitution with the same weight, or at least I would assume that's the case, despite the fact that constitution is the clearly inferior stat of the three. Finally, as a really plausible thing that I can tell isn't present, it'd be really nice to have maneuverability of flight included. Specifically, the critical thing here is average to good, as that gives you hover, which means a lot more maneuverability options and the ability to easily summon while airborne. Your organizational system is really sexy though, I gotta say.
It's interesting, and fun to watch all the forms bounce around when you pick a new sort order.
Definitely needs hit dice though, since that's a big limit on what a druid can turn into.
score = size + speed + special + rating + attacks + str + dex + con + natural armor
size = (1 if diminutive ... 7 if gargantuan)
speed = (total ft * weight, weight = 0.9 if swim, 1.1 if burrow, 1.2 if fly, 1 otherwise)
special = 1 per special ability
normalized = (value - min)/(max - min)
Forgot about this topic. Files commited for anyone who wants to use them.
I just might look into this, assuming it's relatively easy to translate LaTeX to SQL >.>
I might dissapoint you, but they have nothing to do with each other
Now I wouldn't say that...