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I could use a hand on this one. I've never been really interested in the creation of a Paladin, as I was seeing one mostly being a "stick in the mud". After reading the answer to this question, I'm considering the creation of a Dwarf Paladin of Torag.

This is my first time creating a Defender and a Paladin: is this combination any good?
Ideally, I want him to be able to keep as many enemies as possible unable to reach the other party members. The Prestige class Stalwart Defender seems to serve this purpose.

My question is:

  1. Which stats should I max?
  2. Which feats should I get?

to build an efficient Defender, a shield for his allies?

Background:

Bob was a member of the church of Torag. He was sent on an expedition to retrieve an ancient artifact of the Dwarves, but something went wrong. He had to choose between bringing back the artifact or saving his team, and did the second. In punition, he was banished by a higher member of the church and has to do something to honor Torag and regain his credibility.

Paladin is mainly for the fluff, but the features of healing and fighting the undead are appreciable advantages. I suppose it's not as optimized as a Fighter, but the two points previously mentioned would be great.

  • The campaign I'm currently engaged in will end probably around level 12. At the moment, we're close to level 4.

  • The campaign has Kingmaker aspects, taking place in the Rost. I don't know the name though.

  • The other players are: 2 knight, 1 wizard/healer, 1 priest/healer, 1 sorcerer/diplomat, 1 ranger and 1 monk.

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So You Want To Be A Stalwart Defender

There is a Stalwart Defender class guide with generic guidance here.

Your main problem is that if the campaign is capping out at around level 12, you're not going to get all the Stalwart Defender abilities in - 5 levels of it at most.

Stats

If you're level 4 already these are probably mostly set; if you can retrain though, go STR then CHA and CON about even. Like any martial you will want a high Strength; because you're a tank you want CON, but as a paladin to power your smites and stuff and to power your Stalwart Defender aggro powers you need CHA.

Class

If you want paladin you can play paladin, but with two healers already in the party I'm not sure the healing is a good choice. You want someone else healing you in combat, not you using your actions to do it. But the smites are solid.

You need a full BAB class or else you won't get more than a couple Stalwart Defender levels. That narrows it down to Barbarian, Fighter, Unchained Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Cavalier, Gunslinger, Bloodrager, Brawler, Slayer, and Swashbuckler. Paladin's a good choice for a Stalwart Defender, as are many of the others (Barbarian, Fighter, and Bloodrager are the three you might consider).

As a paladin you should consider the Stonelord archetype, which gets the stalwart defender's defensive stance power earlier than it does, in place of taking Stalwart Defender itself, it lets you be a mini-defender as long as you're a dwarf - and you are! And it's Toraggy out the yin-yang. You could combine Stonelord with SD but keep in mind its other powers are all dependent on paladin level and stop scaling up (a problem for all your paladin powers with you going into a prestige class really).

Feats

The primary feat you want is Antagonize, also known as "the thing that makes tanking work." As a paladin you're going to be feat hungry and need three to qualify for Stalwart Defender, so other than that, Power Attack, Lunge, and Stalwart will be your go-to's.

Also consider other feats and options that are somewhat signature to Torag.

Tactics

Get one of those healers to stick shield other on you and go to town.

You work best when protecting more mobile characters - with two other knights in the party (if you mean cavalier, especially depending on their order) you may get some issues with having someone to defend. You'll have to feel out whether you should try to get to the front lines (you're pretty slow) or whether you let the knights go charging off and stick with the rest of the squishy party members as their strong safety.

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