I’m working on starting a D&D 3.5e campaign with a group of players with whom I’ve previously played a 5e campaign. One of these players plays a 5th-level Paladin with the Oath of the Ancients in our 5e campaign, and would like to play a similar style of character in the 3.5e campaign. My question is how to best convert the character over from 5e to 3.5e while preserving the character’s essence in play.
For context, this player plays the paladin as a lightly armored half-elf with a longsword and shield, emphasizing the ability to smite for lots of damage fast. The character has also made some use of the lay on hands ability, but otherwise has made fairly negligible use of spells due to everyone else in the party also having some spellcasting ability.
My first thought on how to convert the character was to use a Duskblade, since the arcane channeling ability provides a similar strong strike style effect as the Paladin’s smite ability in 5e. I preferred Duskblade channeling over Paladin smites because the smite in 3.5e is quite lackluster and nowhere near as repeatedly usable, especially at low levels. However, the Duskblade would not provide any healing ability, and lacks the divine flavor of the paladin. These aren’t insurmountable problems, but I am hoping for a better fit.
Is there an option that better fits the playstyle of a Good, lightly armored, sword-and-shield character with fast and highly damaging attacks and the ability to heal at 5th level?