Welcome to Iconic Design, where we discuss the creation of exciting new character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!
What time is it?
Miko is a paladin from Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick. She was orphaned at a young age and raised in a local monastery until Azure City’s ruler, Lord Shojo, adoped her and trained her as a paladin for his Azure Guard. Miko is very no-nonsense, reckless, and arrogant. She’s actually portrayed as the worst way to play a paladin; a paladin whose Lawfulness and Goodness is disruptive to the adventure. It’s a very interesting caricature on how many people believe Lawful Good should be portrayed that is simultaneously juxtaposed with more reasonable Lawful Good characters.
Miko’s a Multiclass Monk / Paladin. Like most of my Order of the Stick builds, no archetypes allowed. This also means that I will not be using all of the Iriori Paladin archetypes and prestige classes that I know my readers expect me to use. Don’t worry, folks, I’ll do something with those someday. But today is not that day …..
Early Levels (1–7)
- Classes: Monk 2 / Paladin 5
- Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Katana (Human), Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Wakizashi (1st), Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk), Stunning Fist (Monk), Combat Reflexes (Monk), Dodge (Monk), Weapon Focus: katana (3rd), Weapon Focus: wakizashi (5th), Crusader’s Flurry (7th)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (0 + Wis), Aura of Courage, Aura of Good, Channel Positive Energy, Detect Evil, Divine Bond (horse), Divine Grace, Divine Health, Evasion, Flurry of Blows, Mercy (fatigued), Lay on Hands, Smite Evil (2/day), Unarmed Strikes
I am definitely taking some liberties with this build so let me explain. In Japanese culture, a katana and a wakizashi are technically considered two parts of a single weapon set, a daisho. Based on how Miko prefers to fight in the Order of the Stick, I am going to assume that the Twelve Gods’ favored weapon is the daisho, as in both katana and wakizashi. You should NOT assume that your GM would do something like this for you, but it is a pretty cool idea to have a set of weapons as your deity’s favored weapon, especially if the deity’s “style” is Two-Weapon Fighting. Just wanted to point this out, because the build sort of relies on this ruling.
The other major thing that I am ignoring is the fact that Miko wears armor in the Order of the Stick. In Pathfinder, any sort of armor impedes most of your Monk class features. I’m building Miko in assumption that she does not wear armor of any sort and therefore has access to all of her monk abilities because the build is more fun that way. The final liberty that am I taking is giving Miko her first level as paladin, even though her backstory states that she was a monk first. The reason I’m doing this is to get those pesky Exotic Weapon Proficiencies out of the way.
With that out of the way, the centerpiece to Miko’s design is the Crusader’s Flurry feat. As you can see, even though I’m considering the daisho one weapon for Favored Weapon purposes, Miko still needs to earn proficiency with them on her own. That’s the brilliant part about the Deity’s favored weapon bit; its not a class feature, so you can take feats and abilities that require proficiency with a deity’s favored weapon even if you don’t have that specific line in your weapons and armor proficiency section. For example, you can be an oracle that can channel energy via the Life domain and quality for these feats as long as you have proficiency with the favored weapon of a deity that you worship.
Crusader’s Flurry is neat because it essentially works as a free Two-Weapon Fighting ability and Double Slice ability for Miko in one. It takes a lot of feats to get there, sure, but its totally worth it in the end. Other then that feat combination, Miko is pretty standard for a Paladin 5 / Monk 2. She has her horse, Windstriker, and so far all is well and good in the land. So far, anyway. Let’s see how Miko holds up later in the game.
Mid Levels (8 –14)
- Classes: Monk 3 / Paladin 11
- Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Katana (Human), Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Wakizashi (1st), Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk), Stunning Fist (Monk), Combat Reflexes (Monk), Dodge (Monk), Weapon Focus: katana (3rd), Weapon Focus: wakizashi (5th), Crusader’s Flurry (7th), Monastic Legacy (9th), Boon Companion (11th), Power Attack (13th)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (0 + Wis), Aura of Courage, Aura of Good, Aura of Justice, Aura of Resolve, Channel Positive Energy, Detect Evil, Divine Bond (horse), Divine Grace, Divine Health, Evasion, Fast Movement (+10 feet), Flurry of Blows, Maneuver Training, Mercy (diseased, exhausted, fatigued), Lay on Hands, Smite Evil (4/day), Still Mind, Unarmed Strikes
Oh my! A martial build that doesn’t take Power Attack until 13th level! GASP!
In all seriousness, Miko’s build comes along nicely in the Mid Levels. One more level of monk qualifies her for Monastic Legacy. In addition to being appropriately named for her background, it also improves her unarmed strike damage, so her punches and kicks continue to matter throughout the game. She also gives a much-needed boost to Windstriker with Boon Companion, boosting her bonded mount to the point where it has the same power as if she was a single class paladin. And then Power Attack.
Looking at her build, things don’t change or improve very much for Miko. She gets more smites, more mercies, and a bunch of awesome new auras.
- Classes: Monk 3 / Paladin 17
- Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Katana (Human), Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Wakizashi (1st), Improved Unarmed Strike (Monk), Stunning Fist (Monk), Combat Reflexes (Monk), Dodge (Monk), Weapon Focus: katana (3rd), Weapon Focus: wakizashi (5th), Crusader’s Flurry (7th), Monastic Legacy (9th), Boon Companion (11th), Power Attack (13th), Crusader’s Fist (15th), Furious Focus (17th), Fearless Aura (19th)
- Abilities: AC Bonus (0 + Wis), Aura of Courage, Aura of Faith, Aura of Good, Aura of Justice, Aura of Resolve, Aura of Righteousness, Channel Positive Energy, Detect Evil, Divine Bond (horse), Divine Grace, Divine Health, Evasion, Fast Movement (+10 feet), Flurry of Blows, Maneuver Training, Mercy (diseased, exhausted, fatigued, paralyzed, sickened), Lay on Hands, Smite Evil (6/day), Still Mind, Unarmed Strikes
This part of the build is a case of following the character rather than the optimized route. Personally, I don’t think anything Miko picks up from her six new levels of paladin is all that impressive. If this was my character, I’d put the nine levels in monk for the ki pool, an extra attack from Flurry of Blows, and a few cool bonus feats. But let’s face it, Miko is so wholly devoted to the Twelve Gods that she would never dream of straying from her paladin path. She is undyingly zealous to the Twelve Gods (up until she falls, anyway), which makes me think that she wouldn’t go back to monk.
Feat-wise, Crusader’s Fist is cool. It lets Miko punch undead for big chunks of damage. Furious Focus is a bit of a staple, and Fearless Aura is there because she doesn’t really need anything else. So this might not be the most interesting midgame in the world, but at least I can say it is mostly true to Miko’s character.
I’m not going to provide a full build for Windstriker because for the most part, we don’t really see what he can do. When the Order of the Stick first meets Miko, Windstriker basically grapples Belkar by pinning him to the floor, so I’m going to go ahead and say that Miko has Windstriker build to be a crowd-controller. The horse runs around and disables and distracts enemies while she slaughters her foes. For that reason, the horse should have a bunch of combat maneuver feats. I’d probably go as far to say that her house needs Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple, but in the long run that’s up to you.
And there you have it; a Monk/Paladin build for Miko from the Order of the Stick! What did you think? How do these two classes compliment one another? Is this a cool build or an average build? How many people do YOU think are going to tell me that I should have used the Irori archetypes / Prrestige Classes instead of going standard monk / paladin? Leave your answers below and I’ll see you next time!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long over 90% of his colleagues. Affectionately called a “budding game designer” by his partner at Radiance House, Alexander is the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series (Radiance House) and a handful of other Third-Party Products. Before founding the Everyman Gaming blog, Alexander gained notoriety for writing the GM’s Guide to Challenging Encounters, which remains accessible to this day. His favorite color is blue, his favorite Pathfinder Race/Class combination is kitsune paladin, and his favorite pastime is silly. Very, very silly.