Paladin (Diablo II)

Written by Martin K.

paladin-historyThe Knights of Westmarch who felled the armies of mighty Leoric are pure at heart and closely follow the teachings of Zakarum, the Religion of the Light. A battle-ready warrior for whom faith is a shield, the Paladin fights for what he believes to be right. His steadfastness gives him powers to bestow blessings to his friends and wreak cruel justice on foes. There are those who call the Paladin an overwrought zealot, but others recognize in him the strength and goodness of the Light.

The new Paladin talents on this page are inspired by the Paladin class in the classic Blizzard game Diablo II.

The three talents of the Light of the Zakarum tree allow your Paladin to surround himself with powerful auras that boost his attacks, empower his allies and weaken his enemies.

The two talents of the Fist of the Zakarum tree open up more powerful upgrades to your Smite Evil class feature.

You can either mix and match Core Book and Diablo Paladin talents, or build a character nearly entirely from these talents. There is a total of five talents, as many as you gain in your carreer - but you can only take the two initiate talents at level 1, so you would need to take third talent from the core book at level 1 and switch it out for an adept talent at level 5.

New Talents

Light of the Zakarum (Initiate)

You learn three auras from the list below, which you can activate at-will as a free action. You can only have one aura active at a time. An aura lasts until you choose to activate a different aura, or until you fall unconscious.

There are two types of aura: offensive and defensive. Most defensive and some offensive auras give the Paladin and his allies a passive bonus. Some offensive auras affect nearby enemies instead.

Blessed Aim

blessedaimThe spirits of the Light are ever vigilant, and in times of great need, have been known to aid their loyal disciples in subtle ways. When this aura is enabled, these spirits work to guide the hand of the Paladin and his companions, striking true where blows would normally miss.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain a +1 bonus to melee and ranged attack rolls.

Adventurer feat: You can choose to activate this aura for power instead of broad effect. You gain a bonus to your melee and ranged attack rolls equal to your Charisma modifier, but your allies do not benefit.

Holy Fire

holyfireWith a hint of brimstone in the air, the noble Paladin strides into battle encased in this holy aura. All those within its range are burnt with the fires of divine virtue. Beware, Beasts of Hell! The fire of purification is upon you!

Effect 1: You deal 1d4 extra fire damage with weapon attacks.

3rd level aura: 1d6 damage

5th level aura: 1d8 damage

7th level aura: 1d10 damage

9th level aura: 1d12 damage

Effect 2: At the end of your turn, you deal fire damage equal to your level to enemies you are engaged with.

Adventurer feat: When you activate this aura, you can also activate Resist Fire and gain the benefit of both.

Might

mightCaught up in the fervor of battle, the Paladin calls upon the power of righteousness and the strength of justice to add force to the attacks of his party. What would be glancing blows now strike their mark, and otherwise deflected strikes rend through armor to bite flesh.

Effect: You and all nearby allies deal extra damage with melee and ranged weapon attacks equal to your level.

Adventurer feat: You can activate this aura for power instead of broad effect. You deal 50% extra damage with melee and ranged attacks, but only you benefit from it.

Prayer

prayerWith this aura the Paladin basks himself and all he deems faithful in a warm, healing light. His prayers for salvation carry him through the direst situations, allowing him to heal even the deepest wounds in time.

Special: When you activate this aura, you must spend a recovery without healing hit points. If you do not switch auras, it lasts until the end of battle.

Effect: At the end of your turn, you and all nearby allies heal hit points equal to your level.

Adventurer feat:Increase the amount of hit points healed by your Charisma modifier.

Resist Cold

resiscoldThe splendor of absolute devotion is all the warmth and comfort a Paladin requires. Embraced deep within the shelter of this aura, the faithful need never fear the frost.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain resist cold 12+.

Adventurer feat:Increase the resistance by your Charisma modifier. Double at 5th level, triple at 8th.

Resist Fire

resisfireShrouding himself in his devotions, the fervent servant of the Light can walk a lake of fire and feel only the comforting warmth of his convictions. A Paladin can withstand the might of a fierce conflagration if his piety is strong enough.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain resist fire 12+.

Adventurer feat:Increase the resistance by your Charisma modifier.

Resist Lightning

resislightEven the elements of nature must yield before the glory of the Light. When a knight of Zakarum has manifested this aura, he and his allies undergo a lessening of their body's natural conductivity, protecting them from attacks empowered by electricity.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain resist lightning 12+.

Adventurer feat:Increase the lightning resistance by your Charisma modifier.

Thorns

thornsAn eye for an eye is sometimes not enough. Those who would strike the emissaries of the Light had best take warning, for retribution shall be swift and certain. The might of your blows shall be felt a hundred fold unto you!

Effect: When you or a nearby ally takes damage from an engaged enemy, that enemy takes damage equal to your level.

Adventurer feat: You can activate this aura for power instead of broad effect. Only you benefit from it, but you deal half of the damage you took to the attacker instead.

Light of the Zakarum (Adept)

Special: You must be a Light of the Zakarum Initiate of at least 5th level to take this talent.

Your loyal servitute has opened a deeper level of initiation to you. You have access to the auras listed below. You can learn two more auras, up to a total of five.

Cleansing

cleansingChaste is the Paladin in the face of all temptations. Pure in body and spirit, he trusts to the splendor of the Light to rid him of all impurities. A Knight of the Faith shall neither be tainted, nor corrupted.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain resist poison 12+ and a +1 bonus to saving throws against conditions caused by enemy attacks.

Champion feat: Increase the poison resistance by your Charisma modifier.

Epic feat: When you activate this aura, you can also activate Prayer and gain the benefit of both.

Concentration

concentrationThose within the sphere of influence of this skill gain the gift of clarity. A serene sense of lucidity eases the minds of those within, giving them the freedom to focus on individual tasks despite the chaos and distractions of battle. This sense of tranquility allows the Paladin and his comrades to strike calculated and devastating blows.

Effect: When you roll a natural even on a melee or ranged attack, the attack is a hit. In addition, increase all damage dice by one step.

Champion feat: Nearby allies also benefit from this aura.

Defiance

defianceShielding himself and nearby companions within a glow of holy light, the Paladin girds himself to face the unjust in combat. By standing resolute and earnest in the face of opposition, his faith is his shield against harm.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Champion feat: You can activate this aura for power instead of broad effect. Add your Charisma modifier to AC, but only you gain the bonus.

Holy Freeze

holyfreezeUsing this aura, the Paladin causes the temperature of the air around him to drop drastically, freezing the flesh of his enemies. Those so affected will find their movement drastically hindered and are easily dispatched back to the Hells from whence they spawned.

Effect 1: You deal 1d6 extra cold damage with weapon attacks, and the target is slowed until the end of its next turn.

7th level aura: 1d8 damage

9th level aura: 1d10 damage

Effect 2: At the end of your turn, you deal cold damage to all enemies you are engaged with equal to your level.

Slowed: The enemy is dazed (-4 to attack rolls), it takes a -5 penalty to disengage checks, and checks to disengage from it get a +5 bonus.

Champion feat: When you activate this aura, you can also activate Resist Cold and gain the benefit of both.

Epic feat: The slow effect becomes (save ends). Enemies who roll a natural 1 on their save cannot take actions on their next turn.

Holy Shock

holyshockA Paladin blessed with the power of this aura calls upon the power of the Light to strike forth at all enemies surrounding him. Divine bolts spring from the earth to smite the Paladin's enemies.

Effect 1: You deal 2d4 extra lightning damage with weapon attacks.

7th level aura: 2d6 damage

9th level aura: 2d8 damage

Effect 2: At the end of your turn, you deal lightning damage equal to your level to all enemies you are engaged with.

Champion feat: When you activate this aura, you can also activate Resist Lightning and gain the benefit of both.

Vigor

vigorA noble knight of Zakarum feels the rapture of his salvation at all times. In his need, the weight of the world lifts from his shoulders, allowing him to march forth without heed to the lamentations of his body.

Effect: You and all nearby allies gain a bonus to initiative and disengage checks equal to your Charisma modifier. Enemies take a penalty to disengage from you equal to your Charisma modifier.

Champion feat: When you move to engage an enemy, you can engage a far away enemy.

Light of the Zakarum (Master)

Special: You must be a Light of the Zakarum Adept of 8th level to take this talent.

You gain access to the auras below. You can learn two extra auras, for a total of eight.

Conviction

convictionIt is fearsome enough to behold the power of a Paladin, let alone a Paladin aglow with the aura of Conviction. This halo of righteousness demonstrates, with force, the grim determination of those who shine within its brilliance. Any who stand against the Paladin and his allies will understand the meaning of folly.

Effect: All enemies you are engaged with take a -4 penalty to all defenses and lose any resistances they have.

Fanaticism

fanaticismTrue faith can cause its believers to perform fantastic feats. With this aura the Paladin, and all those allied with his cause, carry themselves with a zealous fervor, allowing them to strike down their foes as swiftly as the scythe reaps the harvest.

Effect: Put a separate d12 escalation die on the table, at the same value of the current escalation die. You, and only you, can use this die instead of the main escalation die. Add this die to damage with melee attacks also. At the start of the next round, increase the second die by 2 instead of 1.

Special: When the second escalation die is 10+, you can reduce the separate escalation die back to zero as a free action and take a free turn.

Meditation

meditationWith the observance of this aura, the Paladin supplicates himself to the Light with silent utterances of prayers. It is in these times of silent worship that the Paladin is rejuvenated in spirit.

Effect: You and nearby allies add your Charisma modifiers to rolls to recharge powers and saves to use a second recovery in battle.

Epic feat: When you activate this aura, you can also activate Prayer and gain the benefit of both.

Redemption

redemptionA Paladin must be true to his duty and belief that all souls are worthy of attempted salvation. With this aura, the Paladin shares the glory of the Light with his vanquished enemies. With each administration of these final rites, the Paladin is redeemed physically as well as spiritually.

Effect: When you reduce a non-mook enemy is below zero hit points, gain a free recovery.

Epic feat: Gain the free recovery if any nearby non-mook enemy is reduced below zero hit points.

Salvation

salvationTrust in the glory of the Light, for its authority supercedes all power in the mortal world. With this aura, the Paladin calls upon the Light to protect his allies from elemental attacks.

Effect: You and your nearby allies gain resist cold, fire and lightning 12+.

Epic feat: Add your Charisma modifier to the resistance.

Sanctuary

sanctuaryThis aura causes the Paladin to shine with an inner, holy light. This light is an anathema to the undead, summoned as they are through the machinations of the Prime Evils. The aura carries with it the essence of life and the strength and purity of the Paladin's convictions.

Effect 1: Your melee attacks deal extra 1d12 holy damage. Against undead, you ignore any resistance and deal 2d12 extra holy damage instead.

Effect 2: At the end of your turn, you deal holy damage equal to your level to all enemies you are engaged with. Against undead, you deal double damage and knock them back (they pop free from everyone).

Fist of the Zakarum (Initiate)

You gain one extra use of Smite Evil per day, in addition to the ones you gain for high Charisma.

Choose three of the maneuvers listed below. Each maneuver is a standard action that costs one use of your Smite Evil uses to activate, unless it says otherwise.

When a maneuver says "make a smite evil attack", make a normal Smite Evil attack, including all benefits from talents, feats, items and other sources, and add the maneuver effect.

Maneuvers without the above wording replace your Smite Evil. They do not benefit from other bonuses you have to Smite Evil. The only exception is Way of Evil Bastards - you regain your Smite Evil use if you kill an enemy with them.

Charge

chargeIn showing fear, a Paladin displays his lack of faith, and a faithless Paladin is less than a man - let alone a knight. This is vital in that when all else fails, it is faith that will carry the Paladin through to victory. Warriors of faith never shirk from combat, but rush forward with heads down and shields up, allowing their glory to carry them into the thick of battle to deliver the first blow.

Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you are immune to fear. Make a Smite Evil attack. If you are not engaged to an enemy, you can engage any nearby enemy as part of the smite.

Adventurer feat: You can engage a far away enemy instead.

Holy Bolt

holyboltThe Paladin can learn to summon bolts formed of pure, righteous energies. These projectiles are vessels of life, bane to the undead, and succor to the faithful. At the battle of Taelohn Bridge, the villagers feared the day was lost when an army of the walking dead besieged them. Just as the battered militia was about to be overwhelmed, a small band of Paladins appeared, wading through the rotting carcasses of the living dead and hurling spheres of pure Light that expelled the evil controlling the battling corpses.

Ranged attack (up to far away)

Attack: Charisma + Level vs. AC

Hit: 1d12 per level + Charisma holy damage.

Miss: Holy damage equal to your level

Sacrifice

sacrificeAt what price comes glory? By sanctifying his weapon with some of his own blood, a Paladin of Zakarum is able to increase his efficiency in combat by forfeiting a portion of his own physical essence. This sacrifice is a symbol of faith that even the lowliest Paladin must submit before the Light, in order that he may prove himself worthy of victory.

Cost: Using this power does not count against your uses of Smite Evil, but it costs you hit points (see below). 

Effect: Make a Smite Evil attack. You lose hit points equal to the extra damage you deal.

Adventurer feat: Half the amount of hit points you lose.

Shield Smite

smiteThe sword of a Paladin represents the might of righteousness and his shield symbolizes the strength of his faith. Both are tools he uses to mete out justice. Just as righteousness can give his spirit the fortitude to overcome the attacks of the unjust, so too can faith be a weapon to strike back at those who work to defeat him. To this end, the Paladin has developed several combat techniques that use the shield not only for defense, but also as an offensive weapon.

Special: You must wield a shield to use this power.

Melee attack

Attack: Strength + Level vs. AC

Hit: 1d4 per level + Strength damage. If the target has 10 times your level or less current hit points, it is stunned until the end of its next turn.

Natural 18+: You stun the target regardless of its current hit points.

Miss: half damage

Zeal

zealA noble Paladin, fervent in his dedication to righteousness, can draw upon the spirit of that dedication to perform seemingly impossible tasks. When surrounded by his enemies, a Paladin versed in this skill sets upon his adversaries with the zealous fervor of many times his number.

Special: The escalation die must be 2+ to use this power.

Cost: At least two uses of Smite Evil, up to equal to the escalation die.

Effect: As one standard action, make one Smite Evil attack for each Smite Evil use you spend. You can attack the same enemy or pop free and engage a different enemy between attacks.

Champion feat: You gain one free extra attack.

Fist of the Zakarum (Adept)

Special: You must be an Initiate of the Fist of Zakarum and at least 5th level to take this talent.

You have proven yourself worthy to learn the most powerful strikes of the Zakarum teachings. You can learn two extra powers, for a total of five. In addition, you gain an additional use of Smite Evil per day.

Blessed Hammer

blessedhammerThe Visions of Akarat tell of a hopeless battle. Legions of the undead had laid siege to a small convent of nuns who were the keepers of a sacred relic, the Hammer of Ghrab Thaar. Suspended over a fiery chasm within the convent, the sisters knew the Hammer to be a powerful vessel of the Light and vowed never to allow it to fall into the hands of evil. With no weapons of their own, and no one to defend them, the nuns sacrificed themselves to destroy the hammer. Rather than let the undead despoil the church and the relic, they took the hammer and plunged themselves into the fiery chasm. At that moment, a powerful force of Light washed over the undead legion, striking them down where they stood. Since that time a well-trained Paladin is able to tap the remnants of this released energy, whirling a magical hammer to strike down his adversaries, especially the forces of the walking dead.

Effect: Make a Smite Evil attack as a ranged attack against 1d3 nearby enemies. Double the extra smite damage against undead.

Epic feat: Attack a number of enemies equal to your Charisma modifier.

Conversion

conversionThrough force of will and strength of steel, a noble Paladin with this skill is able to blind his enemies with the glory of the Light. After trading blows with the Paladin and facing the fire of righteousness burning in his eyes, an enemy will sometimes be struck with a divine epiphany and momentarily repent his past undertakings. So complete is the transformation, that the converted will turn to slay its former comrades.

Effect: Make a Smite Evil attack. If you hit with a natural attack roll of 18+, the target is confused (save ends).

Epic feat: The target is confused on a hit with a natural 16+.

Fist of the Heavens

handofgodThis spell allows the Paladin to summon the power of holy vengeance. Manifesting as lightning from the heavens, these bolts rain down from the sky, exploding into a thousand shafts of light that radiate outwards to banish the evil from the battlefield.

Close-quarters attack

Target: 1d4+1 nearby enemies

Attack: Charisma + level vs. PD

Hit: 1d6 per level lightning and 1d6 per level holy damage.

Miss: Half damage.

Holy Shield

holyshieldTo a Paladin, the shield is a symbol of his faith. Particularly devout Paladins can channel their faith into their shields, bolstering its defensive value with holy energy. The purer his faith, the greater his defense.

Special: Requires a shield

Quick action

Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you gain a +4 bonus to AC and PD, and you can use your shield as a d6 weapon. This increases your damage die for Shield Smite.

Epic feat: Increase the Shield damage dice to d8.

Vengeance

vengeanceWhen a Paladin undertakes a crusade to banish evil, he is permitted to call upon the just souls of past crusades. Thus summoned, the spirits of the honorably vanquished manifest themselves and lend their energies to the weapons of the Paladin.

Effect: Make a Smite Evil attack, and deal the extra damage twice - as fire and cold damage each.

Epic feat: Add the extra damage a third time, as lightning damage.

Sources

The basic class structure and the flavor text are taken from battle.net.

Sources for skills, flavor text, images:

Paladin: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/classes/paladin.shtml

Combat Skills: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/skills/paladin-combat.shtml

Offensive Auras: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/skills/paladin-offense.shtml

Defensive Auras: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/skills/paladin-defense.shtml

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  • This class is ridiculous, in the bad way. Half the skills are overpowered as all hell, like being able to apply stun literally every turn as soon as level 3 with a single feat investment as an at-will, and the other half are entirely worthless.

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  • It's still work in progress. I'm converting from a real-time computer game where one guy fights swarms of monsters to a tabletop RPG. I'll need to get the basics down first, as you are writing this 70% of the skills aren't even there yet.
    I'll probably reduce the stun chance later but I'm not at the stage to balance it yet. Give it a bit more time please.

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  • I realize, stun is just an amazingly powerful status effect and that's one of the big things you should look at. Most abilities that apply big status effects like stun should probably be put on daily effects or should stay around natural 19-20 rolls. You also might wanna convert the skill point system into the tier system, maybe make them similar to spells; give players a limit on how many skills they can have known at one time and have them naturally evolve. The skill system just breaks 13th Age's conventions in a really awkward way.

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  • I'm breaking 13th Age conventions on purpose with this class. I wanted to test how far you can stretch the system to port something like the Diablo II skill system. I think it works - my main problem with balancing is that the Core Book Paladin doesn't gain that much from class features and talents so I need to nerf down these skills to that level.

    As for the stun - the original Diablo skill was there to slow down waves of minions. To reflect that, I made the stun on hit for mooks, but more difficult for non-mooks. That should address balance problems. I'm not sure what the balanced final stun chance should be. 15+ could make too many fights too boring as it could shut down enemies too much. At 19+, nobody picks this power as the chance is too low...

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  • I like the idea behind the class. I know it's a work in progress I just wanted to point out one thing that really stood out to me. For sacrifice the hp you give up to to gain the bonus seems really low. Almost to the point of why do you give up hp at all. I know you don't want to leave yourself in a bad state but at level 10 it's only 10 hp, which doesn't really come across much as a sacrifice. I don't think it needs to be increased to a radical level, since it definitely still needs to be a good choice. I look forward to seeing the future revisions :)

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  • Even though Sacrifice has a hp cost, it is still meant as a "spammable" skill, i.e. one to use as your main attack, almost every round in most fights. At first level, it would cost you around 4-5 hp per fight of around 30 total. At 10th level, it would cost 40-50 of around 250 total. Not much for one attack but it adds up.

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