Pious Crusader (3.5e Optimized Character Build)
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This build focuses on trying to build out a melee paladin with better saves and a lot of combat focus.
Player's Handbook, Complete Divine, Complete Warrior
 Game Rule Components
 Spells, Powers, Soulmelds, Stances, etc...
Deity's Favored Weapon, Full Plate Armor, Heavy Steel Shield (if weapon is not two handed)
Starting Ability Scores (Before Racial Adjustments): You want Strength to be as high as you can get it to max out damage. Constitution will obviously help you stay alive in melee combat and a Wisdom of 14 is required for Paladin and Pious Templar spells. Charisma Will also aid this build because of Divine Grace.
Race (Templates): Lesser Aasimar from Player's Guide to Faerun (pg 191). Gives +2 Wis and +2 Cha.
Starting Racial Traits: +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma
|Saving Throws||Feats|| Class
|1st||Monk||+0||+2||+2||+2||Combat Expertise, Improved Grapple||Flurry of Blows, Unarmed Strike|
|3rd||Paladin||+2||+5||+3||+3||Weapon Focus (deity's favored)||Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 1/day|
|4th||Paladin||+3||+6||+3||+3||Divine grace, lay on hands||+1 Str|
|5th||Paladin||+4||+6||+4||+4||Aura of courage, divine health|
|6th||Kensai||+4||+6||+4||+6||True Believer||Signature Weapon|
|8th||Paladin||+6/+1||+7||+4||+7||Turn Undead||+1 Str|
|9th||Paladin||+7/+2||+7||+4||+7||Aesthetic Knight||Smite 2/day, Special Mount|
|11th||Pious Templar||+9/+4||+10||+4||+10||Smite 1/day (stacks with Paladin)|
|12th||Pious Templar||+10/+5||+10||+5||+10||Sacred Vitality||Damage reduction 1/—, Weapon Specialization||+1 Str|
|13th||Pious Templar||+11/+6/+1||+11||+5||+11||Improved Critical|
|15th||Kensai||+13/+8/+3||+12||+6||+12||Steady Concentration||Ki Projection|
|18th||Pious Templar||+15/+10/+5||+13||+7||+13||Enduring Life||Smite 2/day|
|19th||Pious Templar||+16/+11/+6/+1||+13||+7||+13||Damage Reduction 2/-|
|20th||Pious Templar||+17/+12/+7/+2||+14||+7||+14||Three Mountains||+1 Str|
 Other Components
The 9th Level feat can be altered depending on play style, the rest of the feats are required for entry into the prestige classes.
The build attempts to stay close to a Fighter in terms of Base Attack but give the benefits of a Paladin and much better saves.
Mettle: A pious templar’s special blessing allows her to shrug off magical effects that would otherwise harm her. If a pious templar makes a successful Will or Fortitude saving throw that would normally reduce the spell’s effect, she suffers no effect from the spell at all. Only those spells with a Saving Throw entry of “Will partial,” “Fortitude half,” or similar entries can be negated through this ability.
Withstand: When a kensai of 5th level or higher is forced to make a Reflex save to avoid damage from an area effect spell (such as fireball), he can make a Concentration check instead of a Reflex save to resist taking full damage. If a kensai has the evasion or improved evasion ability, those benefits apply on this Concentration check as well.
These two abilities become key for the progressions saves. If you keep Concentration maxed out and your Con score high you will easily have a +20 to your check by the time you get the ability. Coupled with Steady Concentration allows you a 30 Reflex save at all times with the Evasion from Monk.
Mettle also proves to be very valuable because of the bonus to Fort and Will saves this progression gains. At 10th level you already have a base Fort of 9 and Will of 10. Add in your Con and Wis modifier respectively and then add in your Cha modifier to both.
 Munchkin-Size Me
 Side Notes
The build focuses more on the Holy side of being a Melee combatant rather than the Fighter side limiting its potential feats but allowing access to Divine Spells that can aid in combat.
 DM Counters
A DM shouldn't have too much trouble with this build. Just throw things that require Reflex saves at it and you should be able to dish out some damage.
Yo'. Make it a halfing and get the +1 to all saves, and take a couple of the feats from Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. "Luck of Heroes" to be exact.