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I've DM'd for Paladins as PCs before, and my experience is that they can unwittingly derail a campaign, even without any effort or powergaming on the part of the player. As such, now that I'm a player, I refuse to play a Paladin. I don't want to inflict campaign-derailing sidequests just because I accidentally broke the Code and have to go on a redemption quest just to be a useful party member; I don't want to torment my DM with at-will detect evil, like I have been tormented.

I still like the character concept and some of the abilities though; I especially like their Lay on Hands class feature. So, as a first stab at finding acceptable alternatives to the Paladin class, I was wondering if there were abilities one could acquire that work just like or very close to Lay on Hands, but without being a Paladin.

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

A quick list of non-paladin ways to get Lay on Hands:

  • Hospitaler prestige class (Complete Divine p48) - level 1
  • Champion of Corellon Larethian prestige class (Races of the Wild p113) - level 1, named "Corellon's blessing"
  • Knight of the Pearl prestige class (Stormwrack p52) - level 1

Of these, only Champion is somewhat useful.

Depending on what exactly do you require of "similar" ability, you may also want to take a look at

  • Touch of Vitality, class feature of Dragon Shaman (Player's Handbook 2, p14)
  • ex-cleric Defiant, prestige class (Planar Handbook p44), 1 level of cleric traded
  • Sentinel of Bharrai prestige class (Book of Exalted Deeds p69), 7th level

Of these, Touch of Vitality and Sentinel of Bharrai are usable - the latter being a full-caster prestige class and the former being a class feature of a half-decent class.

There may be more.

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