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DDO Paladin Tank Build
The Ultimate Tank: DDO
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Ebberon Unlimited is probably one of the most customizable games out there in terms of what you can specifically do with your character. Because of this, character build theory is commonly discussed among the great guilds within each server in the world of Ebberon. However, new players will not always have the pre-existing knowledge required to create effective characters early on.
Keep in mind that the customization levels of this game are designed to allow any player to play in a way that is most comfortable to them. My builds are mostly theory, so people trying them out and then commenting to me on their effectiveness would absolutely make my day.
That being said, the Paladin is probably one of the most difficult classes to run. They do not feature the physical prowess that a Barbarian or a Fighter will have, nor do they have the casting capabilities of their divine counterparts; Favored Soul and Cleric. Because of this, ability scores end up being split up too much so a paladin will have the strength to hit, the wisdom to cast, the dexterity to dodge and the intelligence to perform numerous required skills. This build is designed to help new players learn the Paladin class and create a character that is more than capable of knocking skulls and surviving better than anyone else.
Also, this is more than just a build. I will be explaining why each step is important so that all you newer players and even some of you experienced players will understand the reasons behind each choice. I do not expect everyone to have the same opinion as I do about the effectiveness. I encourage feedback and discussions regarding this particular build so that we can work together to make it better than ever.
Step 1: Race: Human
As with character creation, there will be steps. In Dungeons and Dragons Online the first thing you pick is your class. We have that; The Paladin. Second is race. For this particular build we are going with Human. Human Paladins are more versatile than the rest of the races. I'll explain further below.
Step 2: Abilities
As mentioned before, we are trying to avoid splitting your abilities into too many areas. Starter players only get 28 points to build with, while veterans have 32 to 36 points to allocate. We'll start with the 28 point build and afterwards, I'll tell you how to modify it for higher level builds.
Charisma : 12
This is for the 28 point build. For 32 point build, add 2 more points to strength to raise it to 16. For 34 point build, add 2 more points to charisma. And for 36 point build, another 2 points into charisma to top yourself off.
These abilities set the foundation of your build, however I would like to set a goal for anyone who uses this particular style. Chase after tomes. Those will add another +2 to any ability score and make this character virtually indestructible. You can even go as far as to add +4 with tomes, but that's a little more difficult.
Every 4 levels you will be prompted to add a free point to any score you desire. For the sake of this build, I recommend putting those points into strength every time. It'll help you hit your foe, and hit them hard.
Step 3: Skills
Skills build upon your foundation. Because of your abilities, some skills will already have a modifier that will be much higher than base. I will list for you the most important skills for a Paladin. But first, I will tell you that concentration is not one of these skills. A Paladin does maintain the ability to cast spells and would normally require concentration to keep focus to cast, but I'll explain why you don't need this skill specifically a little later.
The skills you will be looking at most are Intimidate and Balance. This build is designed to tank. You will be in the front lines at all times, protecting your casters and other allies from the devastating blows that would likely kill them. You are their bulwark, their wall, their defender. Intimidate will allow you to draw enemy attention for a short while. Your character (though not heard by you) will be swearing at the enemy, coaxing them into battle with you. This will give your healer time to heal those around you who are injured, the caster time to focus their devastating elemental magic and the sneaky little Rogue time to get in a few assassinating sneak attacks. Every time you level up, you should be placing a point in Intimdate. Balance is important because, as the tank, you will get Minotaurs charging you. You will have ground-shaking spells going off all around you. If you cannot maintain your steadfast stance as the first line of defense, your allies will be their next target. Any extra skill points should be placed into Heal, Jump or Swim. That will further increase your ability to survive.
Step 4: Feats
All characters are heroes for a reason. You will be capable of incredible feats, all the while getting stronger and more formidable. My feat selection may vary from everyone else, so I'll explain my reasoning here. I'll also be adding another feature to this Paladin not mentioned before, so here it goes.
At level 1, you will have to select 2 different feats. I'll make this easy for you. Toughnessand Power Attack. Toughness starts you off with more hit points and grants even more as you level up. Power Attack increases your physical might so that you dish out additional damage while using a two-handed weapon. I say take this feat for 1 reason. Tanking, though needed, is not always a requirement. You will want to drop your sword and shield at times to help deal considerable damage to move the quest along faster. Tanking will only be really required during fights with difficult hordes of enemies or bosses.
At level 3, you will take advantage of the Human race you selected earlier on. You will take the Least Dragonmark of the Sentinel. If you do not have this feat available, you will need to go speak with Lochania in The Marketplace and finish the quest to receive the Dragonmark abilities. It's not a difficult quest, requiring only some reading and test-taking. Afterwards, this feat will grant you the ability to cast a spell on you at no cost a few times per rest.
At level 6, you have a little room for modifications here. You can take Cleave to allow for a little more damage and an area of effect type melee strike to hit multiple foes at increased damage. You can take Shield Deflection that will reduce the chances of taking damage when blocking with a shield. It comes in handy when tanking foes that use spells or powerful elemental attacks. Your final choice is Shield Mastery, which will allow you more physical resistance and a chance to doublestrike when using a shield.
At level 9, things will be changing for you. Your 9th level as this character will not be of Paladin. You will be gaining the benefits of splitting into a multiclass character. This level will be taken as a Fighter. This level is meant to grant you the ability we have been working at from the first moment you created this character. You were designed to tank, but before you were incapable of using the most important thing a real tank will need; a tower shield. As a Fighter, you now have proficiency with tower shields and can use them without penalty. This further increases your prowess and I'll explain that part further down the line. Anyway, as a Fighter you get to select 2 more feats at this level. You will be taking Maximize Spell and Improved Critical: Slashing. once activated, Maximize Spell will make your curative spells more effective (and costly). The cost is nothing, I'll fix that down the road for you. Improved Critical: Slashing will make it so you deal devastating blows to your enemies more often, which will help a lot. I'll also tell you specifically why this was chosen down the line.
At level 12, we will take Empower Healing Spell. Once more, you will boost your curative spells at the cost of making them more expensive to use. This is still an easily fixed issue; I'll tell you why later.
At level 15, take Improved Shield Bash. From this point on, you will slap faces with your shield randomly while swinging your sword as well as retaining your blocking AC while doing so.
At level 18, it's important that you take Quicken Spell. Remember before I told you that Concentration wasn't needed. That's because Quicken Spell automatically makes any spell you cast successful, even if a boss is clubbing you with a tree trunk. Again, this will raise the cost of your spells, but is completely worth it.
Now, there is no Level 20 feat. However, you can take level 20 as a Fighter if you desire. If you do, you can take Cleave if you didn't before. Or you can take Great Cleave for a combination of 2 cleaving attacks.
There is no real order that these feats need to be taken, I only listed them in the order that I took them while I was building my character.
Step 5: Enhancements
This part can be a little confusing. DDO uses Enhancement Trees to determine the path any given character will take. You get 1 Race Tree as well as 2 to 3 Prestige Trees per class. As a paladin and fighter, you get a total of 6 enhancement trees.
From the Human enhancement tree, you will be taking very few. You will take:
Human Versatility: Saves Boost
Human Adaptability: Constitution
Dragonmark Focus: Deneith (1 point only)
Skill Focus: Focused (3 Points)
Fighting Style: Shield Mastery (only put points here if you can't put them anywhere else)
All of this is to set up a few very very important things. First, allow you to begin your prestige into the Defender of Siberys. This will grant you overwhelming bonuses to strength, constitution, hit points and overall defense. You gain extra Lay On Hands, so you can heal yourself or others. You gain massive bonuses to Intimidate that will allow you to get the attention of most bosses fairly easily. Last, but not least, you get bonuses to your saves. That's the most important thing for a tank, because if you can't dodge spells to lower damage or save from a Troglodytes stench you won't be saving your allies from harm.
Step 6: Equipment
We've gone over the character and his or her own personal development, but now we need to cover what your character will be using. Keep in mind that this is all stuff that I use myself. This is not a requirement for you to run this build because it works extremely well no matter what you're equipped with. This gear is very expensive to attain in-game and will require that you unlock several quest packs before you can fully complete this set up.
Helm: Epic Chimera's Crown (Sentinels of Stormreach)
Cloak: Epic Cloak of the Concord (Vault of Night)
Gloves: Epic Gloves of the Claw (Red Fens)
Wrist: Epic Bracers of the Claw (Red Fens)
Boots: Supreme Tyrant Green Steel Weave Boots of Concordant Opposition (Vale of Twilight crafting)
Neck: Torc of Prince Raiyum-de II (Sands of Menechtarun)
Ring 1: Shintao (Amrath)
Ring 2: Ravager (Amrath)
Belt: Ravager (Amrath)
Goggles: Supreme Tyrant Green Steel Goggles of Air (Vale of Twilight crafting)
Armor: Epic Deneith Heavy Chain (Sentinels of Stormreach)
Weapon: Epic Chimera's Crown // Epic Sword of Shadows (Sentinels of Stormreach, Vault of Night)
Shield: +5 Mithril Steel Tower Shield of Life Shield (Crafted)
Trinket: Epic Brawn's Spirit (Phiarlan Carnival Pack)
I'm sure you're looking at that equipment list and thinking "...what?..." Well let me tell you, most of that will be very difficult to get, requiring hours and hours of farming quest packs on the highest possible difficulties. However, if I make suggest any order to begin collecting in, I strongly advise you chase after the boots and the neck equipment first. Remember how expensive your curative spells are now? These items will constantly be able to recover your spell point pool in combat so you can continue to heal yourself as the need arises.
There isn't a whole lot to say about the build other than "bash it with your ax." However, I would like to provide a few personal tips of play with this build. First, I mentioned before that tanking isn't always required. most of the time you should be using a two-handed sword or ax for optimal damage output. If you ever have to cure yourself, make sure you use Unyielding Sovereign before anything else. This is your only curative ability that has a long cool down, but no limit on how much you use it. But more than anything else, make sure you enjoy the game.
This build was created and developed by myself and my brothers and sisters in the Green Steel Alliance on the Thelanis Server. I no longer play with them, but they are wonderful people. I wish everyone safe journeys and vast wealth! Good Luck!