Author Topic: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess  (Read 5322 times)

Offline Power

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[PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« on: June 04, 2020, 09:43:13 AM »
Alright, I've been looking at the Paladin class and just for kicks I've been wondering how feasible it is to make the Paladin also handle the party spellcaster role, considering it has so many options to expand its spell list and abilities. If anybody has any ideas on how best to achieve this, I'm all ears.

The following options for spellcasting expansion come to my mind: Patron deity spell list additions, oaths, the Unsanctioned Knowledge feat, and domain selection with Sacred Servant Paladin. One more thing worth noting is that you probably don't need a spell when you can just UMD a scroll or wand for it. That makes spells that are faster than a standard action or interact better with feats, metamagics, high DCs, and caster levels (use Magical Knack trait to fix CL) a bit more valuable.

With regards to DCs I'm assuming the Paladin has a charisma score of at least 18 (Aasimar race works well for this) and a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Persistent Spell. A Cornugon Smash feat with the cruel weapon property also does a decent job of destroying an enemy's saving throws (-4 to all saves), but that's an investment into melee and you won't be casting in the same turn without a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken Spell and/or a Spell Storing weapon property. On that note though, Paladins do benefit from the lesser metamagic rod of quicken spell and if you have a Glove of Storing it's quite easy to draw out your lesser metamagic rod as a free action and swap another item into the glove, cast your quicken spell, and swap items back. Obviously it's a bit expensive, but at higher levels it's both affordable and worth doing.

Here's the list of spells I've got so far:

Deities
Abadar: Word of Recall (homecity temple only) 4
Apsu: Apsu's Shining Scales 3
Erastil: Goodberry 2 / Animal Messenger 2 (may use any nonhostile animal, including friendly guard animals and domesticated animals)
Gruhastha: Burst of Insight 1 / Object Reading 2 / Clairaudience/Clairvoyance 3
Iomedae: Good Hope 3 / Mark of Justice 3
Kazutal: Blessing of Fervor 4 / Freedom of Movement 4 (Remember that Oath of Vengeance gives Blessing of Fervor 3 and Oath of the Skyseeker gives Blessing of Fervor 4)
Kols (requires Oathkeeper's Vow religion trait): Command 1 / Forbid Action 1 / Suggestion (to fulfill a prior promise only) 2 / Lesser Geas 3 / Geas/Quest 4
Sarenrae: Flame Blade 2 / Sunbeam 4
Shelyn: Charm Person 1 / Charm Animal 2 / Good Hope 4
Shizuru: Searing Light 2 / Heroism 3 / Sunbeam 4
Torag: Ironbloom Sprouts 1 / Mending 1 / Fabricate 3 / Major Creation 3
Tsukiyo: Faerie Fire 1 / Calm Spirit 2 / Darkvision 2

These spells are obtained rather effortlessly, since all you have to do is worship the deity in question and that's it. No archetype, feat, trait (Kols excepted), or anything else required.

Far as I can tell, Torag has by far the best spells, since Fabricate and Major Creation are extremely versatile and potent options. Just using Fabricate to craft traps, walls, etc. for instance will do all kinds of silly things, and so does using Major Creation to obtain all kinds of alchemical items, herbs, food, walls, traps, weapons, armor, tools, etc. Strongly recommended to pair with the Voices of Solid Things trait so you can make Craft cha-based. If you're a Half-Elf you can also use Resilient Reservoir with allies full attacking you for 1 damage so you can get a giant skill bonus and Paragon Surge (especially with an Emergency Attunement feat) for Cunning or whatever to give you temporary ranks in the appropriate skill. Other than that you can use the Spirit Ridden feat so that once per day you can obtain full ranks in whichever skill you want for 1 hour/character level duration.

From a combat perspective Iomedae's addition of Good Hope is pretty nice, especially if you use it with Encouraging Spell metamagic (assuming your GM makes lesser metamagic rods of it available). The bonus on ability and skill checks also means that if you use it as a pre-combat buff (or simply move quickly enough from one combat to the next that the minutes/lvl duration hasn't expired), it will give the entire party a bonus on initiative checks and Perception checks to avoid being surprised. Also worth noting that Iomedae's Divine Fighting Technique allows a Paladin to replace a mercy with the ability to give allies a +2 sacred bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for a limited number of rounds if performed as a full-round action or, if it is obtained by making a charge attack or single attack as a standard action, for a full minute. Both forms are at-will uses. Combined with the Good Hope spell (and perhaps even Prayer if you want to go the extra mile), it turns out that Iomedae is low-key potent at party buffing.

Flame Blade is best for damage you do yourself if you add things like Flame Blade Dervish, maybe Divine Favor, and Smite Evil. The other reason to worship Sarenrae is that her Envoy of Healing religion trait lets you reroll all nat 1s on Lay on Hands and Channel Energy (no use limit).

Worth noting that Shelyn has the best Deific Obedience for Paladins when combined with Diverse Obedience to get her 2nd sentinel boon for massive smite evil, but you would need to play a Gray Paladin so you can be a NG Paladin for Diverse Obedience unless you seriously want to prestige into Sentinel for 6 levels. Charm Person can also be quite handy, especially for getting information out of unwilling people, but remember your code of conduct will restrict you from a lot of shenanigans that fall into lawless and dishonorable behavior.

Oaths
Oath against Fiends: [Resist Energy 1 / Detect Thoughts 2 / Invisibility Purge 3 / Plane Shift 4] Now this is a solid list, all worth having. Worth noting Paladins already get Resist Energy as a 2nd level spell, but having it at 1st level is nice. And you can already use Litany of Seeing at 3rd level if you want. Detect Thoughts is rather handy (although the 2nd round int score condition may become a problem at higher levels) and Plane Shift at 4th level is great. The downside is this does not stack with Sacred Servant Paladin.
Oath against Grotesquery: [Sanctuary 1 / Make Whole 2 / Banish Seeming 3 / True Form 4] This list is only mildly useful unless you anticipate dealing with lots of broken items or facing off against a lot of enemies using polymorph effects. Sanctuary is only good if you have a very high charisma modifier. If the loss of Divine Health bothers you, a Periapt of Health (7.5k gp) will get back your immunity, and losing Aura of Faith doesn't mean much at level 14 when you have more than enough ways to make weapons good-aligned and overcome DR/good anyway, like Bless Weapon and Smite Evil among many other options. Unless you're really concerned about diseases, it's an easy enough pickup, but the restriction against willfully damaging crafted objects will restrict you from using Sunder maneuvers, breaking chests, breaking doors, and breaking manacles. Cutting ropes might also qualify. So you may want someone with a good Disable Device skill on your team, at least, and perhaps prepare Liberating Command.
Oath of the Skyseeker: [Enlarge Person 1 / Find Traps 2 / Spiritual Ally 3 / Blessing of Fervor 4] Enlarge Person is great  Finding traps is really not the Paladin's thing (You're playing the 1 class that can and should dump wis.), but at high levels it may be handy. Spiritual Ally is only good if the GM houserules that it use Charisma instead of Wisdom for Oracles and Paladins. Blessing of Fervor is still great, but you now get it pretty late compared to Oath of Vengeance, which it conflicts against. The real reason you take this Oath is because Stalwart is amazing and Smite Evil Hordes is a pretty good consolation prize for not having extra smite evil uses.
Oath of Vengeance: [Wrath 1 / Confess 2 / Blessing of Fervor 3 / Order's Wrath 4] Wrath might be useful if for some reason Divine Favor is not enough and you are not using better sources of morale bonuses. Confess is a waste when you already have Zone of Truth. And Order's Wrath is only useful against chaotic enemies for the 1 round dazed condition really (but that's still handy). Blessing of Fervor, however, is great to have as a Paladin. The real reason you typically want Oath of Vengeance is for massive amounts of Smite Evil uses, especially as a Sacred Servant Paladin (which gets fewer Smite Evil uses and extra Lay on Hands uses).

Other oaths typically conflict with Oath of Vengeance, trade away Divine Grace, or do other things that are not worth having. Oath of Vengeance is more skippable if you have another source of large amounts of smite evil uses (typically a 2 level ninja dip for the ki pool and loads of Tea of Transference - alternatively a Perfect Style feat will give you a ki pool of 2 which increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 5th). Oath of the Skyseeker is listed despite conflicting with Oath of Vengeance because Stalwart is damn good and so is Smite Evil Hordes.

Unsanctioned Knowledge
1 - Charm Person / Grease / Hideous Laughter / Obscuring Mist (this one should be a wand tbh) / Call Weapon / Dazzling Blade? / Tears to Wine / Deivon's Parry
2 - Heroism (better as wand) / Blur / Invisibility / Glitterdust / Pyrotechnics / Silence / Gallant Inspiration / Bladed Dash (with lesser metamagic rod of quicken spell) / Mirror Image / Full Pouch
3 - Good Hope? / Confusion / Slow / Charm Monster / Invisibility Sphere / Displacement / Shadow Enchantment / Jester's Jaunt / Fear / Glyph of Warding
4 - Sonic Thrust / Shadow Conjuration / Dimension Door / Dance of a Hundred Cuts / Greater Invisibility / Hold Monster / Fear

These are the thoughts I've got so far. Generally speaking for 4th level spells, Sonic Thrust is the best since you can combine it with Quick Draw to draw and drop to the ground (dropping items is a free action) something like 12 large greatswords (or just carry a basket with 12x Alchemist's Fire, Holy Water, or Liquid Ice in it) and add Smite Evil to instantly kill an enemy, but if you take the Telekinetic Mastery feat you can use Telekinesis as a SLA anyway. Call Weapon is a naked melee attack and damage bonus (just target yourself, get +2 to attack and damage until end of round). Jester's Jaunt is more useful with a Spell Storing melee weapon, especially since you can hit yourself for 1 nonlethal to teleport as a free action. Dazzling Blade is mostly recommended for a 1st level spell as swift action to blind an enemy for 1 round. If you decide to use shadow spells, you should get a shadow stencil set for +1 to DCs (assuming your GM allows non-Wayangs to use them) and really use that metamagic rod of Persistent Spell. DC-based spells do, of course, put very high demands on your charisma modifier (at least 18 cha at start is recommended), but fortunately for a Paladin a high charisma modifier pays so many benefits that you can make it work out well enough.

Domains
Caves: [Magic Stone 1 / Create Pit 2 / Spiked Pit 3 / Spike Stones 4] More of a battlefield control pick. Tunnel Runner domain power can come in handy too. A decent pick if you have Torag.
Darkness: [Obscuring Mist 1 / Blindness/Deafness (only for causing blindness) 2 / Deeper Darkness 3 / Shadow Conjuration 4] All of these spells are quite decent, and don't forget you can put a second Obscuring Mist in the 2nd level slot if you prefer. Obscuring Mist also has a Magic Trick if you're interested. For the most part, this gives you a smattering of potent concealment and blinding options, but other than giving your party the ability to make stealth checks (which is undermined by the verbal component, unless you use a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Silent Spell), the utility doesn't really branch out until you have Shadow Conjuration, which lets you do all kinds of handy things.
Defense: [Shield 1 / Barkskin 2 / Protection from Energy 3 / Spell Immunity 4] Just in case you needed even more AC, here you go. All of these spells are not on the Paladin list and handy, especially since Shield gives you a shield bonus while equipping a 2H or bow, but it might be an overspecialization into a strong point of the Paladin (staying power and shrugging off spells). But you can put every buff aside from Shield on other people to protect them better, which can be valuable depending on the party and campaign (like escort missions).
Home: [Alarm 1 / Shield Other 2 / Glyph of Warding 3 / Imbue with Spell Ability 4] Mostly useful if you intend to take advantage of Glyph of Warding and Imbue with Spell Ability. Alarm and Shield Other are both spells you can cast daily, so Shield Other being on Paladin list is fine.
Knowledge: [Comprehend Languages 1 / Detect Thoughts 2 / Speak with Dead 3 / Divination 4] None of these are on the Paladin list. Only caveat is that Detect Thoughts can give you problems at high levels when int 26+ NPCs are near. Makes the Paladin into a master investigator. Also means Paladin gets all Knowledge skills as class skills.
Luck: [True Strike 1 / Aid 2 / Protection From Energy 3 / Freedom of Movement 4] This is a smattering of useful spells for the Paladin, all of which are not on his class list. True Strike is generally not considered a particularly useful combat spell, but it shines more if you use it for combat maneuvers and/or use a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Quicken Spell (at which point you can also use it to land your last iterative). There are some weapons, like lassos and bolas, that can be used to land ranged combat maneuvers, and there are maneuvers like Disarm and Steal (or we can call it confiscating because it's a Paladin) which in the right fights can make a massive difference. As always, remember you can prepare additional copies of lower spell slots into higher ones if you prefer. There is also the Fate subdomain variation with Augury 2 / Borrow Fortune 3 and a very good domain power at 10 (normally 8, but Sacred Servant gets it later). Augury and Borrow Fortune can be very useful at the right moment, as can the domain power, but you might favor the normal Luck domain as its spells are easier to use.
Lust (Arshea and Lymnieris only): [Charm Person 1 / Touch of Idiocy 2 / Suggestion 3 / Confusion 4] A solid smattering of mental manipulation spells, all of which the Paladin does not possess. Nice if you want to play at having jedi mind tricks. Use a lesser metamagic rod of maximize spell with Touch of Idiocy so it does good work. There are other Charm domain variants as well, but this seems to be the most useful one.
Plant: [Entangle 1 / Barkskin 2 / Plant Growth 3 / Command Plants 4] Obviously, this list is much more useful in campaigns where you are going into the jungle or forest, although in that case you would probably do better to play a Forest Preserver or Hunting Paladin, aside from the loss of Oath of Vengeance. If you can cast Plant Growth, it's just amazing battlefield control. If you expect you can't, prepare an extra lower level domain spell (like Barkskin) into your 3rd level slot. If you don't like spell DCs or the excessive reliance on plants, you can take the Growth subdomain for Enlarge Person 1 instead of Entangle and the 3+wis mod swift actions to Enlarge Person for a single round. While Clerics do it much better, there are some tricks pulled off by taking advantage of the ability to shrink into the five foot square of your choosing and enlarge in the direction you want, along with taking 5 foot steps, to effectively hand yourself an extra 5 feet of free movement (ie. shrink into the square 5 feet away, enlarge again into the squares farther behind, full attack, take 5 foot step back, and you have 10 feet of distance where you were originally adjacent & you can similarly shrink, move, and enlarge towards the direction of someone to bring you 10 feet closer). With an Evergreen Seed Pouch you can use Entangle and Overgrowth in any terrain, making this domain very strong.
Saurian (No valid Golarion deities): [Magic Fang 1 / Animal Trance 2 / Greater Magic Fang 3 / Summon Nature's Ally 4 (Deinonychus or Pteranodon only)] The biggest perk here is the dinosaur companion (probably a Deinonychus, but you have a good variety of options, including a flier and a Tyrannosaurus) you get at -4 levels (-2 from domain, and another -2 from Sacred Servant), which is 1 Boon Companion feat away from having full companion levels. You also get to buff your animal companion with these spells (and your own Divine Favor and Litanies through the share spells feature), so it's pretty solid. Trading away Poison for the SNA4 is still an improvement (Poison makes the Paladin fall), but you'll probably want to prepare another Greater Magic Fang or something into the slot. On the whole of it, though, it's not entirely clear if this is superior to just getting a normal mount as your divine bond and using Monstrous Companion to get a Celestial Griffon at full Paladin level.
Toil: [Command 1 / Wood Shape 2 / Stone Shape 3 / Minor Creation 4] A decent list of crafting spells to pull off a lot. Works well with the Voices of Solid Things region trait to make Craft cha-based, but if you have Torag as your patron deity (giving you Fabricate and Major Creation), this domain list is rather redundant.
Travel: [Longstrider 1 / Locate Object 2 / Fly 3 / Dimension Door 4] The domain powers are good. Longstrider and Dimension Door are both great spells. Fly is only good for higher speed and buffing others when you already have Angelic Aspect to give yourself a fly speed with minutes/level duration. Locate Object is too situational to have it every day, really.
Trickery (Erecura and Chaldira only): [Disguise Self 1 / Invisibility 2 / Nondetection 3 / Confusion 4] No one really expects the Paladin to be a master of sneaking around, but now you can do it (shadow property on armor helps too - improved and greater variants exist also), and you even get Veil (with a terrible DC) as a domain power. The downside is that your Code of Conduct still looks dimly upon sneaking into anywhere you're not permitted, fraud, or manipulating others with dishonesty (unless you have a rather good reason that necessitates it, like trying to protect someone).

Worth noting that Icon of Aspects lets you swap the domain powers of one of your domains with the domain powers from any other domain you choose that your deity provides, with the change being initiated while preparing spells and lasting for 24 hours. It's not PFS legal though, and it's a Cleric-specific item, but a UMD check will let your Sacred Servant Paladin count as a Cleric anyway. This makes Sacred Servant Paladins much better since you can combine the spells of one domain with the granted powers of another. That means that Hubris subdomain (available to Iomedae) can be obtained with any domain spell list, for instance. Rage subdomain can also be obtained (Ragathiel would be a fitting deity) if you want to add the Barbarian's Rage to your Paladin. Kobold Faith race trait (which can be obtained as a non-Kobold through the Adopted social trait), Urban Acolyte faith trait, and Acolyte of Apocrypha faith trait also allow you to expand the list of subdomains available to your deity.

Still a bit uncertain on what other domains, and spells are good to have. Any thoughts? What do you think are the best spells and domains for a Paladin to add to his list? I think part of the question we need to ask is what kind of proficiencies the Paladin is missing and how to cover that in order to make the Paladin a more useful party member. Another thing worth noting is the ability to UMD scrolls and wands. A wand of Calcific Touch or Sonic Thrust can be used to inflict quite a bit of damage without bothering with any feats.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2023, 11:05:14 AM by Power »

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 08:09:29 PM »
< peanut gallery >


Improving Paladin casting seems like kinda exactly your avatar + 1 liner.

 :flutter
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Offline Power

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2020, 01:54:29 PM »
Honestly a class's spellcasting prowess does not really depend on his spell's level but the power and functionality you get through his spellcasting. There are plenty of crazy spells between levels 1-4 anyway. Now Paladins typically fill the following roles in a party: Damage dealer, damage sponge, healer, and party face (although he is more restricted in that capacity, given his code of conduct and limited skill ranks).

The Paladin's spell list typically lends itself to the following: Self-buffing, defensive buffing, healing, and diplomacy / truth-telling / minor investigation. There are also minor bonuses to other skills and a few slight debuffing options (mostly Prayer and Archon's Aura). There are also a number of options to hate on evil creatures and undead, which is largely redundant functionality. At 4th level the Paladin gains access to more unusual spells like Invoke Deity and Archon's Trumpet. The best race for spells is Half-Elf of course, since you gain Paragon Surge (at a level penalty...) and Resilient Reservoir (which, with a bit of full attacking + two weapon fighting without feats on yourself for 1 damage each, lets you quickly charge up the reservoir for large skill bonuses whenever needed). Generally the best debuffing ability the Paladin has is Dispel Magic (assuming the Paladin has Magical Knack to go from -3 caster levels to -1), especially if he has the Destructive Dispel feat, since you can not only strip away buffs but also render all sorts of magical equipment useless (although a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Maximize Spell might be warranted to get a good duration. Another, subtler (and PFS banned, for whatever strange reason) spell good for debuffing is Quick Throwing which allows you to full attack with thrown weapons (since it does not prohibit you from using it with alchemical weapons, unlike Quick Draw). So now your Paladin can go around throwing Tanglefoot Bags and other useful things like a normal person could with a Quick Draw feat in 3.5 (which has no restrictions and remember anything counts as an improvised weapon).

So the Paladin is generally lacking in the following fields:
  • Skill monkey: Resilient Reservoir with an Improvisation feat to make checks untrained largely solves, but feat taxes are ugly and Resilient Reservoir only becomes available at 10th level, plus it has a limited duration. However, if you invest your meager skill ranks into getting a wide range of skills trained, you would not need these feats. If you want to go out of your way you can prestige into Evangelist, but this will prevent you from collecting non-Evangelist Deific Obedience boons at higher levels, and you will be giving up favored class bonus, hit die, and BAB for Evangelist boons, more AC, more skill points, and more class skills. Spell-wise a wand of Heroism would help, and getting Tears to Wine or Gallant Inspiration (perhaps with a lesser metamagic rod of maximize spell) through the Bard list is not bad either. It's also possible to take True Skill as a 1st level spell (assuming you have the Magical Knack magic trait to bring the Paladin up to -1 CL from -3 CL), but the bonus doesn't become much good until you have a caster level of at least 6.
  • Sneaking around: Shadow property, possibly Improved or Greater variants, on armor and wands of Invisibility should solve this one, especially if you are doing a dex-based Paladin. Would help to get Stealth as a class skill through traits or racial traits. With that said, Paladins are ill-suited to burglarious activities, considering their Code of Conduct.
  • Trapfinding: Really, you should not be doing this with a Paladin, since you cannot get Perception as a charisma-based skill and you are a cha-based class. Paladins are pretty much the class that can (and probably should) dump wisdom (and int). You can get wands of Aram Zey's Focus (if your GM allows it, take the Trap Finder campaign trait instead), add Perception as a class skill (this is worth doing anyway), get Disable Device as a class skill (really, not good for Paladins), and invest a Skill Focus in Perception and maybe Disable Device (the Focused Study alternate race trait of Humans provides multiple Skill Focuses). Add masterwork thieves tools for the circumstance bonus, and I hope you are playing a dex-based Paladin (Archer Paladin is a great build though). You should probably get Heroism as a spell or wand for the buff to skill checks too.
  • Battlefield control: Here is something the Paladin is generally bad at. Getting the Caves subdomain as a Sacred Servant, Grease from the Bard list with Unsanctioned Knowledge, and a wand of Obscuring Mist alone will work wonders for a Paladin's battlefield control capabilities. Alternatively, Caves subdomain provides Create Pit, Bard list can provide Grease, Pyrotechnics, and Slow (which is a rare non-mind-affecting will save). Throw in a wand of Wall of Ice and your Paladin is oddly potent here.
  • Debuffing: A wand of Blistering Invective works wonders for intimidating groups of enemies, although a Cornugon Smash feat makes intimidate easy enough. Developing extreme AC and using Archon's Aura will provide a debuff. Prayer also works. Touch of Gracelessness from the Bard list is also usable here (especially if you have a lesser metamagic rod of Maximize spell), as well as Crushing Despair.
  • Disabling: Stinking Cloud from smoke subdomain, Hideous Laughter, Silence (especially if you silence yourself and proceed to grapple an enemy caster, in which case you can just use a wand), Slow, and Hold Monster through Unsanctioned Knowledge work.
  • Mobility: Worship Abadar, maybe take Unsanctioned Knowledge, and get Oath Against Fiends and your Paladin can teleport fairly well between Dimension Door, Word of Recall, and Plane Shift. Unsanctioned Knowledge can also provide Expeditious Retreat, Jester's Jaunt through the Bard list.
Battlefield control and disabling are the most oddly effective additions you can make to a Paladin, it seems. Debuffing is not so much the way to go. There is also just improving general out-of-combat utility. You can either do that by abusing divinations, where the best way is probably to not go Sacred Servant and instead take mount bond, use the Monstrous Mount feat for a Griffon companion, then use the Totem Guide archetype to gain Augury and Divination, among other spells, but you can also gain them through Unsanctioned Knowledge or by gaining an animal companion through the Animal Ally or Exotic Heritage (Sylvan) feats, but those are more expensive in feats and Griffons are probably the best companion to have if you're going to give up the ability to switch between animal companions. Or, probably just worshiping Torag has you covered, since getting Fabricate and Major Creation as 3rd level spells is extremely useful and lets you build just about everything, really. Fortifications, traps, etc. You name it. Your creativity (and ability to make relevant skill-checks, but the Voices of Solid Things region trait lets you turn Craft into a cha-based skill) will be the major factor in just how useful that is.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2022, 02:02:27 PM by Power »

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2020, 08:33:31 PM »
So how much of this works with your "Not And Say We Did" recommendations for PF Cavalier, Oracle and Paladin?
http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=15980.0

... or say a 3.5 Paladin with some pieces of PF mashup.
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Offline Power

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 10:25:40 AM »
I'm not sure I understand your question. This thread is about expanding the Paladin's spellcasting so he can take on roles outside the Paladin's usual role. None of the Paladin alternatives I listed cast with the Paladin's spell list in the first place (you could lift 6 (7 with old age) spells off the Paladin list with Mystic Past Life Samsaran though). As such they cannot use Unsanctioned Knowledge, and they do not get Sacred Servant archetype either. The "Let's Not and Say We Did!" Paladin recommendations all basically revolve around getting Smite Evil and Lay on Hands at least (Scar Seeker PrC provides), maybe Divine Grace too (Bestow Grace of the Champion). Spell list pilfering tricks do not really apply there.

But it is true that you can pretty much get deity-specific spell list additions for any class (Divine or Arcane). If you're not playing a cha-based class, Samsaran race with Mystic Past Life works well too. But that would become more of a generic topic on how to help yourself to spells outside your spell list.

If you're doing a 3.PF mashup, then PF deity spells (if using the Golarion setting) and Unsanctioned Knowledge can be of use, sure, but you also have Sword of the Arcane Order (depending on the setting) to just cast like a Wizard using your Paladin slots. I guess if you use PF Sacred Servant + Oath of Vengeance Paladin with 3.5 content you can get some pretty solid stuff going.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 07:22:01 AM by Power »

Offline Power

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2021, 08:51:28 AM »
May as well add two more options for casting outside your spell list:
  • Play a Tortured Crusader Paladin and use Samsaran Mystic Past Life to help yourself to divine spells off of any other divine spellcaster's list, but this is not really recommended because the Paladin archetype in question nerfs the Paladin in a lot of ways in exchange for becoming a Wis-based caster, plus you can't pick up any Oaths (you do get to convert 2 Lay on Hands uses into extra Smite Evil by default, though), and as a Samsaran you take a -2 to Constitution penalty and don't even get a bonus to strength or dexterity. Maybe it's an option if your GM lets you use the Guided weapon property or if you want to prestige into an Evangelist of Erastil as a Paladin, but that PrC only pays off at level 14 and only vs enemies within 30 feet of you. Given how much the Tortured Crusader gives up, you might be better off playing a regular Paladin with the Samsaran race than going full-blown Tortured Crusader, unless there are DC-based spells you really want to use.
  • Prestige into Loremaster for one level and take Secret of Magical Discipline bonus feats. The downside to this approach is that Paladins tend to be feat-starved, metamagic feats are not a good option for Paladins, and you usually don't have much in the way of skill ranks to spare, but it can be done. Probably best to do this as a Human with the Focused Study alternate racial trait since you get both bonus skill ranks and extra Skill Focus feats this way. Half-Elf is also possible as they get a single Skill Focus as a bonus feat, but they only get 1 bonus Skill Focus and no bonus skill ranks. Since metamagic feats are pretty terrible on a Paladin (whose preferred approach to metamagic is to get lesser metamagic rods), that means you have to take 3 item creation feats (so probably Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Arms and Armor, and either Craft Construct, Scribe Scroll, Craft Wand, or Forge Ring). In that case you'll want the Voices of Solid Things region trait to make Spellcraft cha-based and Magical Knack magic trait to fix your caster level problem, helping you get those item creation feats earlier. At least as divine prepared casters they have enough divination spells on their list to hit that requirement without any investment.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2023, 12:21:43 PM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2021, 06:36:18 AM »
While I wouldn't call this an expansion, really, I may as well make mention of the Silver Champion archetype, which gets all of Apsu's domain spells instead of the regular Paladin spell list. So here is the Silver Champion spell list:

1st level spells:
2nd level spells:
3rd level spells:
4th level spells:
Surprisingly, not that bad of a list. It's actually playable, especially if you throw in Oath against Fiends (and maybe Oath against Grotesquery) for the spell list expansion and an Unsanctioned Knowledge feat (although you might prefer a high wis modifier to take Perfect Style and use Tea of Transference to recover smite evil uses). However, Silver Champions exchange their divine bond, smite evil uses, channel positive energy, aura of justice, and aura of righteousness (in addition to their reduced spellcasting) for a drake companion, and those are so absurdly over-nerfed by paizo's zealous editors who evidently had a panic attack at the presence of a strong class feature (even though every drake-using archetype tends to make considerable sacrifices for it) that they largely nerfed it into the ground before releasing the book (and so ruined all those archetypes in the process), so you pretty much have to resort to stunts to get value out of it. I would recommend loading your drake companion up on Skill Focus, Master Craftsman, Craft Arms and Armor, and Craft Wondrous Items feats and have him craft items for the party while you guys are off adventuring, since apparently drake companions are absurdly leery of risking themselves in battle, hate wearing magic items, have poor stats, but they do have Craft as a class skill, so clearly they should be used for crafting. There is a thread on optimizing drake companions here.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 11:03:01 AM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2022, 04:57:24 PM »
It comes to my attention that Sarenrae has redeemed LG Efreeti in her service, which means that Sacred Servant Paladins worshiping Sarenrae can make 3 wishes per week from quite an early level. In order to get the name of such Efreeti you can either UMD a scroll of Contact Other Plane and ask Sarenrae for the name of such a LG Efreeti in their service or you can request LG Efreeti via Planar Inquiry (obtained with either a scroll or Unsanctioned Knowledge) and ask their name or the name of an available friendly LG Efreeti. The only domain Sarenrae has that is worth taking appears to be Revelation, which is not great, but fairly usable at least. You could take the Fire domain maybe, but none of those spells are any good unless you want to use metamagic rods of Dazing Spell. And, as mentioned above, Sarenrae's Flame Blade addition to the Paladin spell list is actually usable for Paladins with the Flame Blade Dervish feat, not to mention her Envoy of Healing religion trait.

Other than that, I notice that there is the Hunting Paladin archetype (which stacks with Oath of Vengeance) which can prepare and cast 1 spell per day for each spell level from the Ranger list. That not only opens up Ranger spells, it conceivably opens up deity-specific additions to the Ranger spell list, and it certainly opens up the Fey Spell Versatility feat, which is actually a very easy pickup for the cha-based Paladin (unlike the wis-based Ranger), opening up a number of Witch, Bard, and Wizard spells.

Fey Spell Versatility
1 - Charm Person / Hermean Potential / Hideous Laughter / Ill Omen
2 - Blur / Heroism / Invisibility / Mirror Image / Silence / Suggestion / Touch of Idiocy
3 - Confusion / Charm Monster / Displacement / Draconic Malice / Good Hope / Invisibility Sphere / Mass Dazzling Blade / Shadow Enchantment
4 - Shadow Conjuration / Greater Invisibility / Hold Monster / Shadow Jaunt / Shadow Step / Phantasmal Killer

Mass Dazzling Blade is where you mostly just carry a ludicrous amount of weapons and use free actions to blind people over and over again (including in the same round if they pass a save), and it's helped by being a swift action spell. Touch of Idiocy operates under the assumption that you would use a lesser metamagic rod of maximize spell. It can easily be substituted with a wand otherwise. Buffs like Heroism and Good Hope operate under the assumption that you'd want to use a lesser metamagic rod of encouraging spell. Otherwise a wand will suffice there also. Draconic Malice is only good if you get Fear or Phantasmal Killer. Phantasmal Killer and Shadow Conjuration (also Shadow Enchantment to a lesser extent) will necessitate that you destroy someone's saving throws first, so using a Cornugon Smash feat and a Cruel property weapon before casting it with a metamagic rod of Persistent Spell will make a major difference in its reliability. If you do not care about the saving throw on Fear and are just using it as a no save fear escalation trick to get enemies panicked, a wand will also suffice there. Shadow Step / Shadow Jaunt are only interesting if you don't somehow have a better source of teleportation. A metamagic rod of reach spell can also improve their range. Spells like Hold Person and Hold Monster effectively require a metamagic rod of Persistent Spell to deliver good duration (as do Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Enchantment), but it's also possible to immediately coup de grace them the moment they fail their save before they get to roll another one, provided someone (such as your Paladin mount) is no more than a 5 foot step away from melee reach of your target and is able take to a turn after your spellcast but before your victim takes their turn (which can be achieved as easily as delaying turn until after you complete your spellcast).

Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Enchantment are probably the way to go for Fey Spell Versatility, although Confusion and Fear are not bad either. Greater Invisibility might be falling off at the higher levels tbh.

However, if you opt to dip into Veiled Illusionist PrC at higher levels, you can just add most illusion spells (like Shadow Enchantment, Shadow Conjuration, Phantasmal Killer, Shadow Step, etc.) to your Paladin spell list without difficulties instead of using up the Fey Spell Versatility feat or your 1 Ranger spell for that spell level to do it.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2023, 09:55:48 AM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2022, 11:02:38 AM »
The Wilderness Warden Paladin can cast 1 spell per spell level from the Druid list instead of the Paladin list. The archetype is rather undesirable though, as it trades away Divine Grace for a really crappy ability (basically energy resistance that's redundant with resist energy and a CMD bonus that you have to activate as a standard action, with only 1 use/day unless you want to sacrifice smite evil uses), weakens smite evil (-3 levels), and blocks Oath of Vengeance, Oath of the Skyseeker, and Oath Against Fiends. But hey, you get Favored Terrain (by sacrificing mercies) and poison immunity.

The Forest Preserver Paladin also gets a smattering of Druid spells (added to the Paladin's list) and cannot take the Vengeance/Justice/Fiends oaths, but does not sacrifice Divine Grace or weaken his smite evil, so unlike the above it's still a decent pick, and the woodland stride gets better with a Ring of Sacred Mistletoe. The downside is that your new Forest or Jungle favored terrain can end up useless. Here are the Druid spells added to the Forest Preserver list:

1st level spells:
2nd level spells:
3rd level spells:
4th level spells:
Obviously this list is much better in a forest or jungle environment, but even outside of that, Entangle (if you bring plants), Barkskin, Wood Shape, Spike Growth, Awaken, and Wall of Thorns can come in handy. Awaken (see animated object rules and defer to monster creation rules to figure out saves, etc. and use the base con listed there to set the tree's constitution score, since Awaken provides no guidance on that SNAFU but we're basically creating a monster so this is the most logical solution) gets much better with a metamagic rod of Maximize Spell (automatic 18 in all mental scores) and since you are creating the tree creature (and making all decisions with the animated object properties too), the standard take is that you get to decide its feats, skills, etc. This has some strong potential. Situational spells like Detect Animals or Plants, Speak with Plants, Commune with Nature, etc. also tend to be good to have on your list since they will probably come in handy at some point or another. At high levels an Evergreen Seed Pouch does a good job of keeping spells functional outside their standard terrains.

And I should probably also mention the Mind Sword Paladin, which gains psychic spells (but casts them as divine spells, and cannot use them for magic item crafting). This Paladin loses Lay on Hands and Channel Positive Energy, but it does gain the ability to essentially full attack enemies with its melee weapon from 30 feet (60 feet at level 12) as if it were a thrown weapon, using the charisma modifier to make attack rolls (and str for damage rolls) and the Mesmerist's Touch Treatment ability, which, paired with a Corset of Delicate Moves, can also be used to remove nauseated from yourself at 15th level. Here are the Psychic spells added to the Mind Sword list:

1st level spells:
2nd level spells:
3rd level spells:
4th level spells:
For the first level, Thought Shield I is your only real prize (odds are you won't need the higher levels anyway), giving you a +4 to a will save in a clutch moment. At 2nd spell level, Mental Barrier I can be handy if your build doesn't allow for a shield, and Apport Object might come in handy by letting you put any object in your hand as a swift action, and Enshroud Thoughts is very situational, but when it is handy, you'll be glad you have it. At 3rd level, Intellect Fortress I is also situational (and remember that you can just cast Aura of Greater Courage to give your nearby allies immunity to fear, has a 10 min/lvl duration) but for some fights this is another spell that can be very clutch. Telekinetic Maneuver is by and large trash, however, unless you find a way to avoid needing to concentrate. At 4th level, the real prize is Telekinesis, which is murder when combined with Smite Evil (use Quick Draw to draw and drop a ton of large greatswords as free actions). Thoughtsense might come in handy also, but Tower of Iron Will is essentially trash since as a 4th level spell it effectively gives your party SR18 (SR20 with djezet) vs psychic and mind-affecting spells at level 13 for 1 round only and you already have Intellect Fortress and Mental Barrier to cover most purposes anyway.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2022, 11:02:07 AM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2022, 12:35:47 PM »
I may as well go over a few other options to expand your spellcasting potential a bit more thoroughly. First, let's go over use of the Paladin's Divine Bond with the mount option (or obtaining an animal companion as a domain power of the Animal or Scalykind domains through Sacred Servant). If you take the mount bound for an animal companion (preferably you would want to use Monstrous Mount to have a Griffon as your companion as opposed to a horse - the mastery feat is not needed), you can archetype it with one of two following archetypes: Feytouched and Totem Guide. Both of them allow you to sacrifice spell slots to spontaneously cast spells the companion provides you, but the Feytouched Companion only lets you cast them 1/day. Their spells do go above 4th level, but the higher levels don't matter for Paladins.

Feytouched Companion:Easy enough to say Deep Slumber is worthless. You'll be level 10 before you can use it. Another problem is that you give up share spells, so you cannot give your mount Divine Favor or similar should you pick this archetype, unless you take the Improved Share Spells feat or Improved Spell Sharing teamwork feat (which will require either a casting of Shared Training, a Pack Tactics feat, a Sisterhood Style feat, or a Ring of Tactical Precision, which will probably require either a Hand of Glory necklace or an Extra Item Slot feat on your animal companion). Although Faerie Fire and Glitterdust are somewhat redundant with each other, they still have individual uses (Faerie Fire is a lower slot and also negates effects like Blur, Displacement, Invisibility, and any concealment from darkness, making it much easier to hit people, whereas Glitterdust is also great for blinding, especially with a lesser metamagic rod of persistent spell) and Major Image can come in handy in a pinch, although a fourth level slot is an expensive price to pay for it.

Totem Guide Companion:With this list you'll probably want a Magical Knack trait and perhaps a Messenger of Fate feat or Orange Prism Ioun Stone. Normally the restriction against changing your animal companion is stifling, but when you're using a mount bond as a Paladin your options are very limited and a Griffon companion is pretty much the one companion to have.

Another feat I haven't mentioned yet that can expand your spell list is Sahir-Afiyun, which gives you access to a lot of extra spells. It's a bit sketchy though, since it involves drug usage, but Pathfinder does not in fact classify drugs as poisons (despite the similar mechanics), so I guess it isn't strictly against the code of conduct. However, you would have to follow consent carefully and causing drug addiction may be cause for falling, and it's easy for a GM to thematically read this as using drugs on enemies, which is probably grounds for falling, which would limit you to only friendly spells (like Augury, Divination, and buffs). The Paladin is immune to drug addiction though, since that is technically a disease and Paladins are immune to those (as is anyone wearing a Periapt of Health).

You can also try taking the Dreamed Secrets feat, but worshiping one of those gods is extremely dubious for a Paladin.

It should be possible, however, to expand the Paladin's spell list with a number of illusions at level 16 simply by taking Deific Obedience (Grandmother Spider). Note that neither Deific Obedience nor the Exalted prestige class require you to be within 1 alignment step of your patron deity. (Pathfinder Society might be different about this, as it prefers to insist that Paladins must worship deities, unlike normal PF.) Normally Exalted performs best when paired with Sacred Servant (for the double domains), but as Grandmother Spider is not within 1 step of LG, you cannot worship her as a Sacred Servant. The level 20 SLAs are not bad for a Paladin either, as your charisma modifier actually renders them useful and they give you a lot more options.

Next, there's the subject of the Veiled Illusionist prestige class. As it turns out, Paladins only get two illusion spells on their spell list, both first level (Inner Focus and Oath of Anonymity), so in order to qualify for Veiled Illusionist the Paladin needs the ability to cast an illusion spell of 2nd level or higher. Feytouched Companion will qualify at Paladin level 13, but other methods will include Sacred Servant Paladin (provided you use a suitable domain, like Trickery), Hunting Paladin, Wilderness Warden Paladin, Unsanctioned Knowledge, the aforementioned worship of Grandmother Spider (which is a rather suitable deity for the Veiled Illusionist PrC that isn't Sivanah), or some other trick. 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2023, 06:04:12 PM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2022, 10:35:36 AM »
I should probably mention a useful item here: the Amulet of Reverse Incantation:
Quote
AMULET OF REVERSE INCANTATION
Price 20,000 gp; Slot neck; CL 5th; Weight —; Aura faint abjuration
Source Daughters of Fury pg. 56

An ivory cameo depicting two elderly, bearded wizards with identical faces hangs on this amulet’s delicate silver chain. Three times per day, when casting a spell with a verbal component, the wearer of an amulet of reverse incantation can recite the spell’s words backward as a free action in order to invert the spell’s effect, as described below.
  • If the wearer casts a spell that can counter or dispel another specific spell, she can activate the amulet to convert the spell being cast into the spell it specifically counters. For example, haste would become slow, or reduce person would become enlarge person.
  • If the wearer casts a spell that detects or affects creatures of a certain alignment, the spell instead affects creatures of the opposite alignment. For example, chaos hammer would damage and blind chaotic creatures and outsiders instead of lawful ones.
  • If the wearer casts a cure or inflict spell, she can activate the amulet to convert the spell being cast into the other type of the same spell level, such as converting cure moderate wounds into inflict moderate wounds.
Alignment restrictions still apply for casters who can’t cast spells with certain alignment descriptors.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS
Cost 10,000 gp
Craft Wondrous Item, dispel magic, tongues
Here is the original submission made to Paizo's forums. It was basically unchanged.

So, for a Paladin, out of the box, it opens up the following spells:Honestly, not that bad. Bane is probably a waste of actions, but Calm Emotions (as a 1st-level spell, interestingly enough), Blindness/Deafness, and Bestow Curse are all very potent. Bestow Curse in particular is underrated since it flat-out decreases ability scores, so it can cripple class features, carrying capacity, and feats as well as render people more susceptible to ability damage, and according to the Game Mastery Guide it can be used to inflict an insanity on an enemy, and the list of madnesses has some quite strong options (like Amnesia or Catatonia). These options are much weaker, however, if you do not have a higher Charisma score to boost spell DCs. You can still use a Lesser Metamagic Rod of Persistent Spell to improve your odds of landing a spell though.

You also get access to Inflict Light Wounds (1st level), Inflict Moderate Wounds (3rd level), and Inflict Serious Wounds (4th level), but these spells are typically pretty bad. They're only useful for healing a party member that heals with negative energy somehow (ie. a Dhampir party member) and if you feel like holding the charge pre-combat so that you get Inflict Light Wounds to go off with your first weapon attack. Note that Inflict spells do receive bonus damage from Smite Evil as they are damage rolls, so this does let you add Smite Evil's damage to an attack a second time if you were holding the charge and releasing it with a weapon attack.

In addition, if you obtain Enlarge Person (Oath of the Skyseeker or a domain), you also get Reduce Person. If you obtain Good Hope (probably through Iomedae or Shelyn), you also get Crushing Despair, and if you get Haste (ie. Unsanctioned Knowledge) you also get Slow, so picking up Haste (or Slow, depending on your preference) becomes pretty nice.

And last but not least, the amulet does great work in letting a Paladin use spells that punish evil and chaotic creatures against good and lawful creatures, drastically expanding the categories of enemies Paladins can affect with spells. Just be careful that your GM won't have you count it as casting evil spells doing this (The amulet itself makes no such change to the spell's alignment descriptor, but a GM might make such a ruling all the same.), but even then you still shouldn't have a problem casting spells against lawful creatures, as casting chaotic spells is not a code of conduct violation.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 05:30:46 AM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2022, 11:16:43 PM »
Hadn't mentioned there's the Ghost Whisperer feat that gives Speak with Dead and Speak with Haunt.

The following prestige classes also add spells to the Paladin:
  • Dawnflower Dissident: 1 level dip gains [Illusion of Calm 1 / Rope Trick 2 / Nondetection 3 / Detect Scrying 4]
  • Runeguard: Adds Glyph of Warding 3 and Hex Glyph 3 (useless unless you dipped a level of Witch or Shaman or are a Gray Paladin who dipped a level of Stargazer for access to hexes and the Extra Hex feat). As for symbol spells, it adds a massive amount of them. Seeing as Runeguard does not limit you to a particular spell list to get spells from, you get to obtain symbols from all spell lists, including the Occultist's discounted symbol spell levels.
  • Soul Warden: You will need Unsanctioned Knowledge for Consecrate in order to qualify I suppose (unless you get Consecrate as a spell-like ability, such as through the Agent of Purity story feat or Celestial Obedience (Winlas) or even Monitor Obedience (Vavaalrav)), but it gives a slew of potent spontaneous spellcasting additions which can be cast spontaneously. The main downside with this prestige class is that Paladins really don't need help when it comes to obliterating undead and that the (frankly desirable) 5th level spells are out of reach as far as your spell slots are concerned (but you can still cast them with the Channel Casting feature, which does not use spell slots), but obtaining Command Undead and Hide from Undead is still handy. The big prize is that you can cast Channel Casting spells without expending spell slots by expending Channel Damage uses, of which you have many, and that this gives you the ability to cast Breath of Life and Heal at 10, with a large amount of uses.
  • Pathfinder Savant: Pretty straightforward. You obtain any spell with a +1 level penalty as part of your spell list, and later you can spontaneously cast dispel magic also. Generally undesirable for Paladins but there are are still a number of decent spell options to be had through this PrC.
  • Daivrat: If your GM agrees that text trumps table, then divine (and psychic) casters are also eligible for Daivrat. Now you can once per day get any spell from any spell list, but you get a +2 spell level penalty. This is really mostly a PrC for 9th level casters, but you can do it if you really want.

Also, removed the Smoke subdomain recommendation and Stinking Cloud mentions because I'd forgotten casting Stinking Cloud would make a Paladin fall as it is in fact a poison effect.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2023, 06:08:28 PM by Power »

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Re: [PF] Expanding the Paladin's spellcasting prowess
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2023, 11:13:03 AM »
May as well mention that Silver Spindle Ioun Stones give the use of any 1st level Cleric, Sorcerer, Wizard, or Druid spell as a cha-based SLA 3 times per day, scaling with caster level. (And of course you should slot in a Wayfinder so it doesn't orbit around your head.) One of the silly things that's possible with this, for instance, is to get Magic Missile as a SLA 3 times per day and combine it with Smite Evil to do a ton of bonus damage. If you wear a Corset of Delicate Moves, it is possible to, in a single round, cast Litany of Righteousness on someone, activate Smite Evil as a move action, and cast Magic Missile for 5 missiles as a standard action, each of which will do a ton of bonus damage from Smite Evil (especially if you add Bracers of the Avenging Knight) and even more damage thanks to your litany. A level 10 Paladin would do (1d4+1+14)x2 5 times, so easily over 170 damage with Magic Missile, more if the enemy is one of those types that receives double the bonus damage from smite on the first blow.

It's also possible to gain SLAs like Charm Person, Grease, etc.