After the release of Volo’s Guide to Monsters, I was bantering with some friends about character concepts with the new races. One that came up was a Kobold Paladin—and once that seed was planted, the character idea has developed personality and backstory and wants to become a real PC.
My question: Is a Dexterity-based paladin build competitive with a Strength-based paladin as a front-line fighter?
The stereotype for paladin that’s presented is a burly, heavy-armour-wearing, heavy-weapon-swinging pillar of righteous wrath. If we challenge the stereotype and make a high-dex, lightly-armoured finesse paladin, what effects would it have on the class’s combat effectiveness (which seems to be tied primarily to damage output and survivability) in filling the role of a front-line fighter?
- AC: Low STR means no access to heavy armour. Full plate is a fixed AC 18 but studded leather (AC 12 + DEX mod) will give AC 17 by Lv8 and without spending ridiculous wads of cash (which would probably put the full plate out-of-reach until about this level anyways).
- Damage The best finesse weapon deals d8 damage (average roll: 4.5), heavier weapons usually deal d10 (average roll: 5.5). That’s only 1 point of damage difference (on average), which shouldn’t be make-or-break territory?
None of the other Paladin features that I saw seemed to use STR as an attribute—so as far as I can see the only hits to making this holy kobold avenger are -1 to max AC, -1(average) to damage output.
Am I missing anything? Alternatively, are these seemingly-small disadvantages actually much larger than they appear?
In case it helps, feats are allowed, as are any rules from official supplements from WotC