“Ah ha! I will vanquish you, you evil doer!”, roars the powerful Rhogar. The bronze dragonborn clenches his symbol of his goddess Tymora as he runs head first, as always, towards the hoard of zombies.
A large figure with shaggy green fur sits up against a tree and begins to pray. McTavish the fibolg whispers to Silvanus in hopes he hears.
Paladins are warriors of their deity much like clerics. One main difference between the two is the paladin’s battle prowess contrasted to the cleric’s healer style in combat.
Divine Sense – Sniffing out Evil
This first level feature is used to detect the presence of evil or good beings within a certain range. The senses that the paladin feels when detecting these evil or righteous souls is up to the DM and players but I enjoy the PHB’s version of detecting evil as a terrible stench that fills the paladin’s nostrils.
Lay on Hands – Catch These Hands
In my opinion the most useful of the early level paladin features, lay on hands does exactly as it sounds, the paladin will lay their hands on a target. By laying their hands on an ally, healing power from their deity gives the ally who is being touched with health. This is a feature that is extremely useful in early level campaign where characters only have 12 to 20 hit points. Lay on hands can also be a great role playing opportunity as well, players describing how their paladin slapping a friend back to consciousness is a great flavor of the lay on hands feature.
Divine Smite – Hitting Baddies with the Power of Gods
Divine smite fuels a paladin’s melee weapon attack with radiant energy. When the crusader of righteousness hits an enemy with a melee attack, they can spend a spell slot to inflict additional radiant damage to their victim. Truly making them feel the power of their deities…in the face!
Divine Health – Never get the Sniffles Again
Another blessing form the paladin’s deity is an immunity to any diseases. Imagine the party chows down at a tavern with a less than great health score, everyone gets food poisoning the next day except for the beefy paladin who continues to eat the undercooked beef making those burdened with the consequences of their dinner choices.
Oath of Devotion
This subclass potion for the paladin class is one that is based in the ideas of justice, virtue, and keeping order in the world. These are paladins who follow the laws solely because it is the law. Paladins who keep the oath of devotion gain access to certain spells such as Zone of Truth, Guardian of Faith, and Sanctuary.
A key feature of these paladins is their Sacred Weapon feature. This allows the paladin to channel their weapon with positive energy adding their charisma modifier to attack rolls. The weapon also lights up shining their deity’s bright holy light.
Every paladin oath have some version of Turn Under. The oath of devotion’s flavor is Turn Unholy. Along with frightening undead, turn unholy will frighten fiends which are devil-like monsters like a balor (think of the balrock from LOTR) or horned devils.
Oath of the Ancients
A paladin oath that prioritizes good over the law, these paladins worship the natural world they feel is the essentially essence of goodness. These warriors would worship gos like Silvanuis or Eldath. These paladins gain access to spells nature based spells such as, Ice Storm, Speak with Animals, and Moonbeam.
One of the features of the Oath of Ancients is Nature’s Wrath where the paladin can create ghost like vines to restrain a target much like Grandmother Willow in Disney’s Pocahontas. This can be used to capture an enemy for interrogation or in attempt to keep the peace in the party, the paladin could use Nature’s Wrath to keep two fighting friends away from each other.
The Oath of the Ancients’ Turning feature is Turn of the Faithless, which frightens both fey creatures and fiends.
Oath of Vengeance
If Batman and the Punisher were D&D characters they would most definitely be Paladins of Vengeance. Fueled by the commitment to punish those who have sinned, paladins of vengeance will often sacrifice their own purity to smite down evil in the world.
Oath of Vengeance offers some of the following spells to those who would dare to follow this path, Hold Person, Banishment, and Bane along with others. Paladins of vengeance can speak a prayer of hostility to cast Vow of Enmity which gains the paladin advantage on attack rolls on a certain creature.
Rather than a turning feature that effects several creatures, oaths of vengeance have the Abjure Enemy feature which targets just one creature and possibly frightens it. Undead and fiends hav disadvantage for the saving throw.
When creating a paladin the two ability score to keep the highest are strength and charisma. Charisma is the sell casting ability so if you are looking for a paladin who’s spells are strong, keep your warrior of god as charismatic as possible.
The hybrid of humans and elves have a natural +2 to charisma and raise two other scores by one. Half-elves are a pretty standard race in the D&D world unless your DM deems otherwise, so placing one in a city would be quite easy. If your dungeon master decides different, your half-elf could be an outcast of both the human and elven worlds, finding a home at a monastery.
Boast a +2 to strength and +1 to charisma, Dragonborns are a solid choice for a paladin. Depending on the world you are playing in, Dragonborns could possibly be servants of a powerful dragon and worship them as such.
The demonic offspring that are generally mistrusted in public places, telling have a natural +2 bonus to charisma and a + to intelligence. While not the strongest choice, a trifling paladin could be worshipper of a more feindish god and gains their strength in the magic aspect of the character.
- A foolhardy Dragonborn who would rather run headfirst into battle as a form of worship than pray inside a temple
- A vengeance seeking paladin who on several occasions puts her own salvation in order t punish those who’ve done wrong.
- A gentle paladin who’s calm demeanor flips suddenly when an enemy attacks the natural world