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I'm currently playing an about-to-be Level 4 Paladin. This is my first opportunity to select an ability score bonus and I'm stuck on the optimal ability score bonus to choose. My role is a two handed weapon melee attacker.

My ability stats are STR 18, DEX 10, CON 12, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 14.

  • My instinct is to choose STR since I figure you can't go wrong there.
  • I have 39 HP (including Level 4 HP increase) and 4 Lay on Hands per day so boosting CON wouldn't hurt but may not be highest ROI. On the other hand, our Barbarian is a glass cannon so a CON boost at Level 8 + Toughness might be wise for some robustness.
  • CHA 14 already gives me access to an early spell and good Smite bonuses. If I choose CHA now and at Level 8, my saves go up by 1 but my saves are pretty good already (+7 Fort, +6 will, +3 Ref). On the other hand, extra Lay on Hands is never bad.
  • DEX could be good if I want Step-Up, but I'd have to wait until Level 12 to qualify (Step-Up requires DEX 13). Also, it seems like there are more efficient ways to get AC boosts and DEX based skills haven't been needed much yet.

Note that we're only playing with Pathfinder's Core Rulebook and Advanced Player's Guide.

What are the optimal ability score bonuses for two handed weapon Paladins that role-play a castigator?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Added the Optimization tag. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Feb 15 '15 at 8:43
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A question like this really depends on party make up.

If you're a primary damage dealer, you should go STR, unless you fight primarily big baddies who you can Smite without hesitation (then go CHA).

If you're aiming more towards a tanky person, you should go CON for the HP.

If your party is hurting for heals, then you really want to go CHA for more Lay on Hands.

Based on your description of playing a castigator-type person, I would assume you want to go damage, so I would say STR is probably your best all around choice, CHA if you want more specialized damage, but also more utility in spells/smites/lay on hands/saves.

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