Paladin is one of the 11 Classes in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, and in this Guide we’re going to take a look at how they work in order to not only help you make a better Paladin, but also help you to determine if this is the class for you. If you are new to Pillars of Eternity 2 or just need a refresher when it comes to Class selection and Character Creation, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let’s get started…
Paladin Builds and How They Work
Paladins are a melee hybrid class in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, that specialize in dealing Burn Damage and healing. They are extremely tough to kill because they possess many passive abilities that increase their Defense, making them very new player friendly. Choose Paladin if you would like an around hardy character, want to dabble a bit in spell casting but also use weapons, or simply take it as your second class to pick up some great passives.
Paladins use Zeal for their resource, and they can spend it in combat on their Active Abilities. They will gain more Zeal each time they reach a new Power Level, allowing them to not only use more powerful Abilities, but also use them more often. This is similar to the Fighter’s Discipline or the Barbarian’s Rage. In addition, Paladins are one of few classes that can refund their resource through the use of certain Abilities, and they have the passive ability: Inspired Path, which gives them an extra Zeal.
Paladins have a unique feature called Auras that provide benefits to the Paladin and all party members around it. These are Modal Abilities, meaning they toggle “on” or “off”. The Paladin is free to switch them at any time, both in or out of combat, changing to the most appropriate. These Auras can be upgraded to more potent versions, as the Paladin gains Power Levels, making them that much more valuable. An interesting thing to note about these Auras is that summons are also affected by them unless otherwise noted.
Paladin Subclasses, Which to Choose
In this section we’re going to take a look at the Subclasses of the Paladin and see why you might choose one of them over another. Paladins generally fill the DPS or Tank role, but they can also provide support with Lay on Hands and a few other Abilities. The Subclass that you choose will further define which of these roles you wish to play, however, the Paladin does still have flexibility. Also, unlike most Classes, Paladins have no penalties associated with their Subclasses. Let’s take a look at what the Paladin Subclasses are, and talk a bit about what sort of Builds you can make with them.
Bleak Walkers is the ideal choice for the DPS Paladin, and is really the only Subclass that increases damage. Bleak Walkers can both Single Class or Multiclass effectively.
Bonus: Gain Flames of Devotion. Flames of Devotion deals additional Corrode damage (Black Flames) and applies the Sickened Affliction to targets.
Bleak Walkers gain not only increased damage with Flames of Devotion, but they also apply Sickened to the target. Sickened reduces the enemy’s Constitution by -5 and incoming healing by 25%. Flames of Devotion works with any weapon, including ranged ones, allowing you to play a ranged Paladin if you wish even. Since no other Paladin Subclass increases damage in any shape or form, if you wish to DPS you’ll be taking this one. It’s really not any more complicated than that.
Because Flames of Devotion is the bread and butter of the Bleak Walkers, they have a wide variety of options available to them. They can Multiclass with a melee type and gain some defense or further offense. They can attack from range with a Bow or Firearm, or they can cast spells, using Flames of Devotion in between casts. These are all possibilities with this Subclass, making it incredibly fun to theory craft (and play!). Some good choices are Cipher, Fighter, Druid or Monk.
Ciphers increase Weapon damage by a percentage with their passive ability Soul Whip, and this will further bolster the damage of Flames of Devotion. You can play a melee version with a Soul Blade, or you can play a true hybrid with a ranged weapon, and the Ascendant Subclass.
Monk gives access to Lightning Strikes which increases your Action Speed and gives you and additional 30% Shock Damage with weapon attacks. In addition, Helwalker Monks gain Might the more Wounds they take, and Might not only increases damage, but also the healing of your Lay on Hands.
Druids have a couple great abilities that work well here. Firstly, they increase Burn damage while Spiritshifted with Wildstrike Burn. Shifter Druids cannot use spells while shifted, but they can use Flames of Devotion, so that’s a huge plus if you take that Subclass. Druids can also turn their weapon into a Two-Handed Flame sword called Firebrand, and these mesh nicely with the Burn Damage theme.
Darcozzi Paladini can create a ring of fire around them that protects against Freeze Damage, and Burns melee enemies who attack them. It is extremely useful for tanks that take a lot of hits, and want to get a little payback.
Bonus: Gain Lay on Hands. Lay on Hands grants a minor Flame Shield to the target.
Darcozzi Paladini can return Burn Damage when struck with melee attacks, or make it so a party member does. In order to do this you must first cast Lay on Hands, which the Subclass comes with automatically. The heal from Lay on Hands only lasts a handful of seconds, but the Flame Shield lasts 45, and can be extended with higher Intellect values. This Subclass works very well on a tank that Engages many enemies, and who is likely to be struck by melee attacks often. Conversely you can use it as a support ability to buff your tank.
Because this Subclass is primarily for a tank or support, when Multiclassing you really have a lot of options. If you’re a tank though you’ll probably want either a Monk or a Fighter.
Monks gain Wounds when hit, which is something that will happen to tanks regularly. They can spend these Wounds on Abilities that further increase their offensive or defensive capabilities, and they can keep gaining them through out the course of a combat encounter. This will give you a constant resource to spend once your Zeal runs out.
Fighters gain tons of defensive abilities and the Unbroken Subclass gains even more. They gain +1 Armor with their Shield, and can Engage an extra enemy. On top of that, they have +10 Penetration on Disengagement attacks, meaning that enemies who try to go around them will suffer greatly. Between this and the Flame Shield, you can create a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario for melee enemies.
Goldpact Knights make full use of the Sworn Enemy ability and gain Armor after casting. This is a great tool for DPS Paladins and tanks alike, because Sworn Enemy has no Duration and is permanent until cleared or recast. This Subclass rewards you with defense for using an ability that increases your offense.
Bonus: Gain Sworn Enemy. Sworn Enemy gains the upgrade “Gilded Enmity” which causes the paladin to be imbued with a blessing of gold when they declare a Sworn Enemy. The paladin receives bonus Armor Rating until struck enough times for the gold to break.
Goldpact Knights rely on their Sworn Enemy ability more than other Paladins, and it gives them not only the standard +20% Damage, but also +4 Armor. This does not last forever, however, and will vanish once a certain number of Hits have been taken or the target dies. You can tell when this buff has worn off, because you will no longer be golden.
The two great things about this ability are that 1) it can be used from 10m away, and 2) it can be upgraded to refund the cost when the target dies, making it more “spammable”. Consider taking this Subclass if you plan on tanking, plan on meleeing in Light Armor, or plan on playing a ranged Paladin.
Because Sworn Enemy can be cast from 10m, Goldpact Knights are a viable Multiclassing option for ranged Classes as well as melee ones. In addition, Sworn Enemy increases total damage taken, instead of damage with weapons, which is a great choice for those wishing to Multiclass with Druid, Priest, or Wizard. It can still be used effectively with martial Classes as well, but few abilities give bonuses to total damage, so casters will see more benefit. They are also generally lacking Armor, in order to keep their Recovery Time down, and this can help to fill in that gap.
In a similar vein as that of the Goldpact Knights, Kind Wayfarers are rewarded for playing aggressively. They not only heal themselves, but also his nearby party members when using Flames of Devotion. Select this Subclass if you plan to DPS, but want to offer a bit of support as well.
Bonus: Gain Flames of Devotion. Flames of Devotion heals nearby allies (White Flames).
Kind Wayfarers heal when attacking with Flames of Devotion, which is an intriguing ability for a couple of reasons. First, it allows the Paladin to keep attacking while taking damage without having to let up to heal, which can actually be more effective in some cases than just a pure DPS setup. Second, it heals in an AoE around the Paladin, granting Health to nearby party members. Third, since Flames of Devotion can be used at range and heals around the caster, not the target, you can actually heal other ranged characters while DPSing. It doesn’t appear to scale with Might, however, since it’s a Full Attack you will heal twice if you are Dual Wielding.
This opens up all kinds of opportunities for the Kind Wayfarers, and they can Multiclass with just about any class effectively. Just be sure that they are positioned where you will get the most benefit from the healing that they do. This might be different from party to party, based on the Classes you are using.
Shieldbearers of St. Elgca are renowned for their tanking prowess, and their ability to come back even from the brink of death. This Subclass is excellent for new and beginning players because it can prevent you or your party members from falling in battle, even when all hope is lost.
Bonus: Gain Lay on Hands. Lay on Hands prevents the target from being killed for a short time. While equipped with a shield, +1 Engagement.
These Paladins gain +1 Engagement when using a Shield, and more importantly a version of Lay on Hands that prevents the target from dying for the Duration. This is extremely useful, especially to newer players, or players playing on harder difficulties, because you can stop yourself or a party member from dying which could result in a wipe. The Duration is extended via Intellect, so keep this in mind when creating your character.
Because this Subclass is best suited for tanking, like the Darcozzi Paladini, Fighter and Monk both work well when Multiclassing for the same reasons listed.
Attributes and Races
In this section we’re going to cover Attributes and Races and how they affect the Paladin. The game recommends Might, Constitution and Intellect, and highly recommends Resolve. Might increases both your damage and healing. Constitution gives you a larger Health pool to take advantage of Lay on Hands’ HoT. Intellect increase the Duration of Lay on Hands, and other Paladin Abilities, as well as the radius of Auras. And Resolve just helps keep you alive.
Just exactly how much of these you should have depends on the Subclass you selected, and I will make my recommendations along with Race below:
Bleak Walkers – Prioritize Might, Resolve, Intellect and Constitution. Bleak Walkers don’t need as much Constitution or Resolve as tanking Paladins because they will be primarily DPSing. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice some Dexterity or Perception to pump these Attributes even further. Dwarf, Human and Aumaua are all good choices here.
Darcozzi Paladini – Prioritize Resolve, Constitution and Might. These Paladins will generally focus on tanking so we take Attributes that help keep them alive. Dwarf or Human are both solid choices.
Goldpact Knights – Varies. This Subclass’s Attributes will vary heavily based on how you play it. However, you will definitely want some Might and some Intellect to take advantage of the Paladin’s healing and Auras. You can use just about any race here effectively.
Kind Wayfarers – Prioritize Might, Resolve, and Intellect. Kind Wayfarers will most likely be playing a DPS/Support role and will not need to worry about their Health as much, because they should be taking less Hits, thus Constitution is not included. Aumaua and Human are both good choices.
The Shieldbearers of St. Elgca – Prioritize Resolve, Might, Constitution and Intellect. Shieldbearers are likely to be tanks, so they will need high Resolve and some Constitution in order to stay alive. Might helps with damage and Lay on Hands healing, and Intellect helps to increase your Aura radius and extend Lay on Hands’ Duration. Dwarf, and Aumaua are good choices.
Paladins have one of the highest potential for Multiclassing in the game because their main damaging ability, Flames of Devotion, can be used in melee or ranged combat. On top of that Sworn Enemy, increases the TOTAL damage Paladins deal to the target they are attacking, and not just with weapons. This means spells as well, making them a great choice for casters too.
When upgrading Sworn Enemy consider taking the Sworn Rival path, because it will refund the Zeal cost once the target is killed. This will allow you to use it more liberally, which will increase your overall damage in combat. 20% is a big increase, especially when it’s free…
Focus Aura increases the Accuracy of the group around you, as well as yourself. I have found it to be the most effective of the 3 Auras that you begin the game with, because ensuring that you connect with Hits is more important than just about anything. With this active you will have the same Accuracy as that of a Fighter using Warrior Stance.
Based on my testing, the passive ability Aegis of Loyalty does not seem to remove the Confused status of Berserkers. This goes for the character itself or Berserker party members. So don’t go making a Berserker thinking you can remove that by taking this passive.
Lastly, Paladins can get a way with lower Perception than some Classes because Flames of Devotion gives a bonus +10 Accuracy on attack, helping it to connect. Consider dumping some Perception for some additional Might or Intellect. Also, you can use the Savage Attack ability, (Great Sword Proficiency) to outstanding effect with Flames of Devotion, as you will still most likely Hit, but for +50% Damage. You can then toggle it off afterwards and toggle it back on again when you use it again.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Class Guides as we cover all 11 Classes as well as Character Creation! What did you think of the Guide? Was it helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.