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5E [Guide] Blades of Justice: The 5e Paladin guide

Gavin O.

First Post
This is my first attempt at writing a guide, so comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Colour guide:
Red options are either strictly outclassed by something else, or just plain bad.
Purple options are subpar.
Black options are average.
Blue options are good.
Skyblue options are great.
Gold options are so good that you must take them.

What is a Paladin, conceptually? A paladin is a holy warrior, bound by an oath to serve their god and drawing strength from the conviction with which they speak. They have divine magic like clerics, but prefer to take a more direct role in carrying out their deity's will than some of them. To this end, they're capable martial combatants, able to protect the weak and to slay the wicked.

What is a Paladin in terms of gameplay?
At its core, the paladin is a frontline melee warrior. d10 hit dice, heavy armor and shields, as well as strong defensive features (particularly regarding saving throws) help keep a paladin alive and healthy. Offensively, the Paladin is all about burst damage. At the cost of consuming limited spell slots, Divine Smite offers some of the highest damage in the game. A Paladin gets extra attack and some features that help it to deal consistent damage, but the biggest strength of the Paladin's offense is their ability to deal significant damage when necessary. Paladins also gain access to spellcasting very early on, and while their spell slots progress at half the speed of a cleric, their spells can be very effective and improve their versatility. The biggest downside of a Paladin compared to a more traditional martial class is the requirement of a second attribute. A Fighter can get by only maximizing their strength, whereas a Paladin really wants both Strength or Dexterity and Charisma to be as high as possible. Since a Paladin also doesn't get as many ASIs as a Fighter, you'll need to choose carefully whether you want to prioritize your martial or magical abilities.

How do Paladins fare as compared to other melee weapon classes?
Nova Damage Defined at the amount of damage you can do to one target in one turn, with no constraints on resources. Thanks to Divine Smite, Paladins are probably the single best class in the game for this.
Per-round Damage Defined as the amount of damage you can do using only abilities which you have unlimited uses of. Paladins fall below average compared to other Extra Attack classes, especially at higher levels, but their access to long-lasting Combat buffs helps to alleviate this.
Ranged Damage The amount of damage the class can do if there are no enemies in melee range. This is one area where Paladins fall short, since their primary damage feature, Divine Smite, only works in Melee. It's worth noting that dipping 2 levels in Hexblade for Eldritch Blast+Agonizing Blast improves this rating from mediocre to great.
AOE damage The amount of damage that the class can do to a horde of weak enemies. Like most melee weapon classes, you suffer on this metric. Some oaths, like Ancients and Conquest, are better at this, and all Paladins get access to one good AOE spell in Destructive Wave, but that doesn't come until level 17.
Defense How well can the class take hits? You get d10 hit dice, Heavy Armor and Shields, but since you have 2 primary stats you won't be able to invest heavily into Consitution the way a fighter could. On the other hand, you have great defense against enemy spellcasters, due to your high saving throws. The Oath of the Ancients is best at this, but no Oath is weak at it.
Utility What can the class bring outside of combat? For Paladins, that would be healing, disease and poison removal, curse removal, and proficiency in the Charisma-based social skills. You're above average in this regard, and much better at it than Fighters and Barbarians

Foundations of the faithful: Ability Scores

If you’re a Strength-based Paladin, this is your primary stat, and you should aim for a 16 at level one and bring it to 20 ASAP. If you’re not a Strength-based Paladin, you need 13 strength to qualify for multiclassing (even if you start as a Paladin), but no higher than that. However, if you plan to attack with Dex and don’t plan to multiclass, you can easily dump this to an 8.

If you don’t plan on using this stat to attack, you’d still ideally want some dexterity as it governs your initiative and an important saving throw. If you do plan on attacking with Dex, you want to start it high and boost to 20 ASAP.

As a paladin, you’re probably a frontline character, which means you need to be able to take hits. If you plan to concentrate on spells, this is even more important. However, you are extremely ASI/Feat starved, with two primary stats and multiple excellent feats, so you probably won’t find room to boost this much.

Outside of very specialized builds, you simply have too many other important stats to justify not dumping this.

Governs an important save and the most important skill (perception). I wouldn’t dump this, but you really don’t have room to raise it higher than a 12.

Governs your spell save DC and your to-hit with spells, as well as many features. It’s possible to play a Paladin who takes no spells that require a roll and doesn’t use those features, but generally you’ll want high Cha, if for no other reason that you’ll eventually be able to add your Cha to all your saving throws. On the other hand, if you plan to multiclass warlock (hexblade), then you can use Cha for both attacking and spellcasting, which makes it by far your most important stat.

Talents of the holy warrior: Skills

Athletics great for Strength builds, bad for Dex builds.
Insight solid for everyone.
Intimidation A solid skill you'll likely be good at.
Medicine Flavorful, but weak. Use a Healer's kit instead.
Persuasion Another solid skill you'll be good at.
Religion A knowledge skill based on your dump stat.

Recommended non-class skills:

Acrobatics/Stealth/Sleight of Hand For the Dex-based Paladins
Perception Is great for everyone
Deception is another charisma skill you'll be good at.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Those who swear the oath: Races
I'll start by stating that any race can make an effective Paladin. Yes you'll be behind, but no racial choice is so bad as to be unplayable. If you have your heart set on a race you want to play, go for it.

Top racial options:
Every build: Variant Human, Half-elf, Warforged
Strength/Cha: Dragonborn, Fallen Aasimar, Triton, Longtooth Shifter
Dex/Cha: Taxabi, Feral Winged Tiefling, Changeling, Swiftstride Shifter
Pure Cha: Scourge Aasimar, Winged Tiefling.

Half-elf Bonus to Cha and two stats of your choice (most likely your attacking stat and Con), Two free skills, access to the strong racial feat Elven accuracy, all make this a premier choice.
Variant Human Bonus to two stats of your choice, one free skill, and getting a free feat is excellent for Paladins.
Dragonborn Bonus to your two primary stats, resistance to an element of your choice, and Dragon Breath helps you be more effective against hordes of weaker enemies. Blue for Non-strength Paladins.
Fallen Aasimar Bonus to your two primary stats, useful resistance to necrotic damage, and a racial ability that combines extremely well with the oath of conquest’s aura. Again, blue for non-strength Paladins
Aarakroka Bonuses to Dex and to Wis, and at-will flight. As always, consult with your DM before choosing to play one of these.
Feral Winged Tiefling Compared to Aarakroka, you trade Wis for Int which is bad, but your racial abilities are better. Again, the usual caveat about at-will flight races applies.
Triton Bonus to your primary stats and Con (though only +1 to each) plus water breathing, a swim speed, cold resistance, and some free spells. Great for Strength Paladins, if your DM allows Volo's guide to Monsters races.
Changeling Dex and Cha, free skills, and a racial ability which is similar to at-will Disguise Self.
Kalashtar Wis, Cha, and one more ability score of your choice, psychic resistance, advantage on Wis saves at the cost of a reaction, and Telepathy. A great choice.
Warforged Integrated Protection offers you unmatched AC, and poison resistance is good too. Envoy is good for any build, Juggernaut is great for Strength builds, and Skirmisher for Dex builds.
Wood Elf A new addition to the top of the Paladin races thanks to the addition of the Revenant Blade feat, which is elf exclusive. Wood elves are the best elf subrace for Paladins, and getting access to a bonus action attack that deals 2d4+Dex damage every round is worth starting with a lower Charisma.

Standard Human A strength-based Paladin has 5 relevant stats, so getting +1 to all your stats is very nice.
Tabaxi A strong racial choice for Dex-based Paladins, but mostly outclassed by Half-elves.
Protector/Scourge Aasimar Cha and either Wis or Con, and a useful racial ability. Not getting a bonus to your attacking stat hurts. Both improve for Hexblade builds.
Mountain Drawf +2 Strength and +2 Con are great stats for Strength-based Paladins.
Lightfoot Halfling Being Small means no longbow, but at least you can still use a rapier, and you get both the stats you want for a Dex Paladin. Awful for Strength Paladins.
Half-Orc Great stats for a Strength-based Paladin and solid abilities for any melee class.
Winged Tiefling Cha is good, Int is not, flight at level one is amazing. So amazing, in fact, that your DM may not allow you to use this, so ask them first. Even better for Hexblade builds.
Air Genasi Dex and Con, and Levitate. Not bad.
Earth Genasi Strength and Con, and Pass Without Trace. Nice.
Bugbear Strength and Dex are fine stat bumps, and the abilities are alright for Paladins. But Strength-based Paladins won't sneak well, and Dex-based Paladins don't really want +2 Strength
Kenku another fine Dex Paladin race
Shifter Free Perception, Dex bonus in addition to Con, Strength, Wis, or Cha and more Dex, and Shifting features which are all great.
High Elf Dex is good, Int is wasted, but gaining a free wizard cantrip is a way to get Booming Blade without multiclassing or a feat, which could be useful for some builds. If you don't plan to use a Double Scimitar with Revenant Blade, High elves are just Okay

Hill Dwarf Con and Wis are both fine stat bumps, and the free extra HP is nice as well, but the lack of stat boosts to your major stats hurts.
Stout Halfling Dex is good, Con is fine, being Small is annoying.
Water Genasi Con and Wis, and some decent abilities.

Dark Elf While the stats are good for a Dex-based Paladin, Sunlight Sensitivity is a huge detriment. If you’re sure that you’ll be playing in a campaign where Sunlight Sensitivity is irrelevant, the Drow becomes much better.
Forest Gnome Dex is good, Int is bad, being small is bad.
Fire Genasi Con and Int, and racial abilities that are inferior to Tiefling

Rock/Deep Gnome Int and Con, and you’re small. No thanks.

Edit: The addition of the Double Scimitar in Wayfinder's Guide to Ebberon has changed the ratings for the races: If your DM rules that you need to be an elf to wield one at all, then being an elf is almost required, as the double scimitar is easily the best melee weapon in the game. Even if your DM rules that any race can use these, the Revenant Blade feat is elf exclusive and is also very good, so that bumps the rating of all the elf races up somewhat.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Fundamentals of the faith: Class Features

Lay on Hands You get a pool of healing with 5 points per Paladin level, and can heal creatures as an action. You can also use 5 points to remove one poison or disease affecting a creature you touch. The short range and action cost makes this clunky to use in combat, but it's great after a fight when you can't take a short rest. It can also be used to revive an unconscious party member, and you only need to heal them for one point to get them back to the fight.

Divine Sense For some reason, this only senses Celestials, Fiends, and Undead. When you're facing those creatures, being able to detect them is useful, but as a whole, this effect is pretty narrow.

Spellcasting The feature that differentiates you from the Fighters and Barbarians, the paladin is a half caster class. Spell choices will be discussed in their own section.

Divine Smite Or, you could use your slots on this. 2d8 damage for a level 1 slot (+1d8 for each level more, up to 5d8) outclasses almost every single-target damaging spell available, and if you have spell slots to burn, you can do extremely high damage.

Fighting styles:
Dueling +2 damage per hit is a very solid increase. Note that you can use this style with a shield in your other hand, just not a second weapon.
Defense Boring, but still strong. Makes a great second fighting style for those who get another style from somewhere and is an option for great weapon users as well.
Great Weapon Fighting As per the sage advice, this does not apply to Divine Smite. It’s an average of +1.33 damage on a greatsword, less on a Glaive but it does apply to the polearm master special attack. If you're using a Double Scimitar, this improves to the point of being Blue
Protection If you plan to play a character who protects their allies and wields a shield, you probably have the Sentinel feat, which will eat up your reaction anyways. Also interferes with your ability to make opportunity attacks. In a low-level or featless campaign where you also have two fighting styles, I could see taking this.

Divine Health Immunity to disease is very solid, especially at a low level. You can remove disease through Lay on Hands, but this means you can save that for your allies.

Sacred Oaths will be discussed in their own section

Ability Score increase everyone gets them, including you. You've got two important stats and many good feats, so you want as many of them as you can get.

Extra Attack This is what separates you from the Clerics. Getting a second attack with each use of the attack action is fantastic, especially since you now have two opportunities to Divine Smite per turn.

Aura of Protection And this is what separates you from the Fighters. Giving yourself and all allies within 10 feet of you a bonus to all saving throws equal to your Charisma is fantastic. Gets even better at level 18.

Aura of Courage Immunity to fear effects for you and nearby allies probably won't come up often, but will be a lifesaver when it does.

Improved Divine Smite At the level where the fighter gets a third attack, you get +1d8 radiant damage to all of your hits. If you're making two attacks per round, this is worse than another Extra Attack, but still solid. If you're making more than two attacks per round, through Polearm Master or similar, this is really good.

Cleansing Touch Use an action to automatically end on spell affection you or a creature you touch. A bit clunky to use in combat, but can be very handy.

Aura Range improvement This comes late but is an absolute game changer. Increasing the range of your beneficial auras from 10 feet to 30 feet makes them much better.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Oath of Devotion
This oath is designed to be the all-around option, and at that it's mostly a success. You get one ability purely focused on dealing more damage, and the rest is largely defensive. The oath spells are nothing special and the later abilities are lacking.

Oath spells Almost all of these spells are already on your spell list, but it’s nice to be able to prepare other things.
Sacred Weapon It takes your action to use and only lasts one minute, so it’s best used in anticipation of a fight, but the boost it gives is substantial. In the 5e world of bounded accuracy, +Cha to hit is a massive increase. If your party has good scouting and can regularly anticipate fights, this gets even better.
Turn the unholy When you encounter fiends or undead, this will be great to have, but it’s not the reason you take this oath.
Aura of devotion Immunity to charm effects (which governs other things too; many spells, like suggestion, don’t work on creatures which can’t be charmed) for you and allies within 10 feet of you is very solid
Purity of spirit In 5e, protection from Evil and Good only protects from Abberations, Celestials, Elementals, Fey, Fiends and Undead. If you do end up encountering those creatures, giving them disadvantage to hit you and making yourself immune to possession (you’re already immune to both charm and fear by this point) is fine, but campaign-specific.
Holy nimbus ten points of automatic damage per round is okay, but I was hoping for something more at level 20.

Oath of the Ancients
This is one of the more defensive oath options, with abilities that help you and your party resist damage, and oath spells aimed at providing control and AOE damage. You won't be hitting the high damage numbers of vengeance, but you'll be keeping yourself and your party alive longer.
Oath Spells Some great options here, none of which are already on the Paladin spell list. Ensnaring strike is good, Misty Step is good, Moonbeam and Ice Storm provide you with AOE if you need it.
Nature’s Wrath Compared to a grapple + shove, this adds 5 feet of range and allows you to keep both hands free, but you can’t control the target’s movement and you give them a save rather than a contested ability check. It’s alright.
Turn the Faithless Great when you encounter those creature types.
Aura of Warding Resistance to the damage dealt by spells for you and allies close to you is fantastic. This is the primary feature of this subclass and is worth taking it for, in campaigns where enemy spellcasters are common.
Undying Sentinel It’s the Half-orc’s Relentless Endurance. It’s a fine ability, but I was hoping for something better at level 15.
Elder Champion Regeneration, bonus Action cast time on all your spells, plus you impose disadvantage on the enemy’s saves. This is even better in games that don’t allow multiclassing.

Oath of Vengeance
This oath is heavily focused on dealing high damage to a single target, and it's one of the best at what it does. The Spells and abilities are all focused on bringing down a single, powerful foe. It's weak against hordes, even by Paladin standards.
Oath Spells You get some excellent additions. Hunter’s Mark, Misty Step, and Haste are all great, and none of them are on the Paladin's default list.
Abjure Enemy A solid lockdown ability that removes a target from the fight for one minute. Would likely see more use if your other channel divinity option wasn’t also great at dealing with a single target.
Vow of Enmity Bonus Action to activate, and it gives you ten rounds of advantage against a single enemy. Save this for the Boss encounter and you’ll shred through the boss’ HP.
Relentless Avenger Extra mobility when you hit an OA, works great with Sentinel and especially Polearm Master.
Soul of Vengeance Free reaction attacks against your vow of enmity target. Very solid.
Avenging Angel Flight is great, the aura of fear is good (only one saving throw), and it gives you advantage.

Oath of Conquest
The oath of Conquest is one of the more synergistic oaths, with many of its spells and abilities working well together. The centerpiece of this Oath is Aura of Conquest, and once you get that plus the Fear spell, this oath improves from good to great. This also also one of the better oaths for dealing with a traditional weakness of the Paladin, which is horde battles/encounters with many weak enemies.
Oath Spells A solid list with some great control options. Command, Hold Person, Fear, even Dominate Person. You also get exclusive access to the incredible Spiritual Weapon.
Conquering Presence Frightened is a very strong effect, giving targets you hit disadvantage on attack rolls and the inability to approach you. This ability provides some level of crowd control which Paladins otherwise lack. Once you get Aura of Conquest, this becomes even better.
Guided Strike +10 to hit will virtually guarantee you land your attack, but it does only work once. Improves if you have some other effect that you can apply on a hit, maybe you multiclassed Fighter and have Combat Superiority manuevers.
Aura of Conquest This requires some investment into spells and abilities that can apply the frightened status, but the payoff is quite high. Psychic damage every round and preventing the target from moving. Once you hit level 9 and grab the fear spell, this gets even better.
Scornful Rebuke at 15th level, dealing 5 damage to a creature who hits you with an attack isn't that exciting, though it does add up.
Invincible Conqueror Resistance to all damage, an extra attack per turn, and 19-20 crits. Phenomenal.

Oath of Redemption
If your DM makes you play a pacifist control caster to qualify for this oath, you’re better off playing a wizard. Even if not, I’m not sold on this oath’s power. While you get access to some great spells, the abilities are lacking.
Oath spells while you get some solid control options at higher levels, your list is mostly inferior until level 9.
Emissary of peace +5 to persuasion for ten minutes. This is entirely campaign dependent, this could be a feature worth taking this subclass for in a political campaign with next to no combat, or it could go unused in a dungeon crawl campaign.
Rebuke the violent The effect is only damage, it requires your reaction, it only applies to one attack (and so gets worse as your enemies get multiple attacks), and it offers a save for half damage.
Aura of the guardian Its short range, it requires your reaction to use (so once per round maximum) and it doesn't allow you to resist the damage. Not sold.
Protective Spirit 1d6+7 Healed per round is solid, but it doesn't heal you past half.
Emissary of redemption Resistance to all damage from creatures, and whenever they hit you they take half. Would be great if it didn't break if you cast a spell on it, or if it came earlier than level 20.

Oath of the crown
Sort of halfway between the oaths of Devotion and Redemption, This oath falls short to me. It has some fine defensive and control features, but the main selling point, and the only thing in my opinion that drags this oath out of being the worst, is exclusive access to Spirit Guardians as an oath spell.
Oath Spells This oath boasts unique access to the phenomenal Spirit Guardians, which puts it far ahead of any other oath as far as AOE damage is concerned. Aside from that, the spells aren't anything noteworthy, though you get some good option
Champion Challenge. 30 foot AOE, and any target who fails their save can't move more than 30 feet away from you. Note that it doesn't require you to attack them to keep the effect, so you could hide inside an Olituke's Resilient Sphere while your allies take your enemies out from range. Without such tricks, this isn't that great.
Turn the Tide I've never really been a fan of healing effect that only work on creatures below half health. This has another problem too: it doesn't scale at all. At level 3, when you get it, an average of 6.5 points of healing is pretty good. At level 10 and beyond, an average 8.5 points of healing is pretty bad. This does always hold value as a way to bring an unconscious ally back.
Divine Allegiance Remember how I said the oath of redemption's aura had short range? Well here's an identical effect that has half as much range, and doesn't improve in range at level 18. It still has the problem of needing your reaction every round.
Unyielding Spirit Advantage on saves against two debilitating conditions is solid.
Exalted Champion A strong defensive feature. Lasts an hour, grants you damage resistance and your whole party Wisdom and Death save advantage.

The evil paladin build, you must consult with your DM before playing this, and it's banned in most sanctioned events. Mechanics-wise, this is similar to the paladin of Conquest, with its most notable feature being a unique aura that powers up friendly undead and fiends.
Oath Spells You get some good options, notably Animate Dead to synergize with your Aura of Hate, Bestow Curse and Dominate Person are also good, but you get quite a few useless spells.
Control Undead It's narrow, but the effect is extremely powerful. Target any one undead and if they fail one save, they're yours for 24 hours. This doesn't work on a creature with CR greater than your paladin level, but if you're primarily Paladin, your level will increase faster than the CR of monsters you face. If you don't face undead very often, this become substantially worse.
Dreadful Aspect Identical to the oath of conquest's conquering presence, you don't get synergy with aura of conquest, but this is still a fine power.
Aura of Hate If this just affects you, it's still not bad, giving +3 to +5 to melee damage. If you have some undead backing you up, either that you created from Animate Dead or that you've taken control of, this gets even better. Notably, this also combines extremely well with the necromancy wizard's Undead Thralls ability, but I wouldn't reccomend going Paladin/Wizard outside of a campaign where you already start at level 10+.
Supernatural Resistance Resistance to nonmagical slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage is extremely strong, most monsters aren't set up to bypass this resistance.
Dread Lord Aside from your channel divinity, you don't have many great ways to cause a creature to be frightened of you, so you won't often be triggering the 4d10 psychic damage. Giving enemies disadvantage to hit you (which, depending on your interpretation of "rely on sight", also bypasses things like blindsight/true sight) is great, and a bonus action attack every round that deals 3d10+Cha damage is also solid. All in all, a solid capstone.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Spellcasting: As a Paladin, you fall into the "Half-caster" category. Your spell slots advance half as fast as a Wizard's would, and you cap out at spell level 5.

Level 1

Bless This adds an average of +2.5 to hit and to saving throws for you and two allies. It’s very good. The biggest downside is that it requires your concentration
Ceremony If you can afford the expensive material component, some of these effects are very good. Specifically Wedding, which grants +2 AC to two of your party members for seven days. However, most of these effects only work once, so once your party members are all married and all dedicated to your god, you can stop preparing this.
Command Lots of great uses for this. Command your target to drop their weapon, then grab it. Or command them to run away and provoke an Opportunity Attack.
Compelled Duel Requires your concentration to use, requires your party not focus fire, and gives the target a save to resist the effect. No thanks.
Cure Wounds heals 1d8+cha, but touch range and requiring an action to use limits this a lot. Improves if you're the only healer and your party doesn't get short rests.
Detect Evil and Good You already have divine Sense
Detect Magic Situational and campaign-dependant.
Detect Poison and Disease You can cure Poison and Disease with your Lay on Hands, so being able to detect it could be useful, assuming you don't have someone who can just find it with a medicine check.
Divine Favor in order for this to be better than a divine Smite, you'll have to apply the bonus 4 times. That seems pretty unrealistic in most combats.
Heroism Fear immunity when you need it, 3 THP per round is fine, but remember that gaining THP won't stack.
Protection from evil and good Here's where you benefit a lot from being able to change spells every long rest. If you know you'll be fighting one of these creature types, prepare this. If not, leave it at home. Devotion gets this for free, so don't need to prepare it.
Purify Food and Drink I'd never go out adventuring with this prepared barring strange circumstances, but it's nice to have when you need it.
Searing Smite For this to be better than a Divine Smite, the extra damage has to apply twice. Needing your target to fail two saves in a row for slightly more damage than a divine smite, and breaking your concentration, is not my idea of a good spell.
Shield of Faith +2 AC for 10 minutes, only takes a bonus action to set up. Very nice.
Thunderous Smite. You trade 2 damage from a Divine Smite to force the target to make a saving throw, and if they fail they get pushed 10 feet away and knocked prone. Not bad. However, this interrupts your concentration.
Wrathful Smite Every saving throw after the first requires the target use up their action, and feared is a nice effect, Especially for Conquest. However, it breaks your concentration.

Devotion Oath spells
Protection from evil and good Is already on your list
Sanctuary Ward someone against attack, but they can't attack or cast harmful spells either, and enemies get a wisdom save to ignore the effect anyways.

Ancients Oath Spells
Ensnaring Strike Restrained is a strong effect at level one, and your target must use its action to try to free itself.
Speak with animals Moo.

Vengeance Oath Spells
Bane The reverse of bless, this version ends up being substantially worse. It gives the targets a saving throw to resist the effects and doesn’t last as long since your party is killing those creatures. Stick with bless.
Hunter’s Mark For this to be more damage than a divine smite, you need to benefit from the bonus three times. (3d6 = 10.5, 2d8 = 9) At low levels, it’s not going to happen often enough, but once you get Extra Attack it improves a bit. A bit better but still blue for Polearm Master builds, who get more attacks but also need the bonus action more.

Conquest Oath Spells
Armor of Agathys 5 THP is decent at low levels, and the extra damage is nice, but at higher levels this will only be triggering once.
Command Already on your list

Redemption Oath Spells
Sanctuary Protects yourself or someone else from harm... sometimes. At the cost of them being unable to do anything in return.
Sleep At early levels, this is one of the best spells in the game, no saving throw and the enemy falls unconscious for your ally to crit. However, you can’t get it until level 3, at which point it’s already close to losing its effectiveness, and its worthless late.

Crown Oath Spells
Command and Compelled Duel are both already on your list.

Oathbreaker Spells
Hellish Rebuke It eats up your reaction, doesn't let you choose your target, can miss, and only does 2 more damage than a level 1 Smite
Inflict Wounds 3d10 damage is less than one weapon attack plus a level 1 smite.

Level 2:

Aid 5 extra HP for you and two allies, lasts 8 hours, no concentration. Solid.
Branding Smite You have to hit the target for this to apply, which will be pretty hard to do if the target is Invisible. The damage is substantially worse compared to a level 2 Smite. Prepare this if you know you'll be going up against enemies who turn invisible every other turn, or something.
Find Steed Get a horse, improve your movement speed from 30 feet to 100 feet per round. Depending on the wording, the steed might even be able to fight with you.
Lesser Restoration Defending on how often you encounter these effects, this could be something you cast every fight or very infrequently. That said, it's nice to have when you need it.
Locate Object Does exactly what its name would imply. When that sounds like something you'll need, prepare it.
Magic Weapon
Bonus action cast, lasts one hour, gives your weapon +1/+1. Shame it requires concentration.
Protection from Poison Very nice to have when you walk into a pit of snakes, but I wouldn't prepare this all the time.
Zone of Truth Great when you're interrogating someone, but you probably won't be able to set it up in a social situation without being noticed. Prepare when you know you'll be needing it.

Oath of Devotion
Lesser Restoration and
Zone of Truth are both already on your list. It's nice to not need to use a preparation slot on restoration though.

Oath of the Ancients
Misty Step Bonus action to teleport 30 feet. Very solid.
Moonbeam the radius is only 5 feet, so you're not catching more than one creature with this, and 2d10 damage per round (half on a save) isn't very high. The shapeshifter clause is nice when it comes up.

Oath of Vengeance
Hold Person You really need another melee ally or two for this to be useful, but if you have that it can be very strong. The target should die before it gets a chance to make a second saving throw. If you're the only melee character in your party, this is a lot less good.
Misty Step Same as for Ancients, a strong spell.

Oath of Conquest
Hold Person Good of you have melee allies, mediocre if you don't
Spiritual Weapon No concentration, bonus action attacks for 1d8+Cha damage every round for a minute. It's very strong.

Oath of Redemption
Calm Emotions Protects your party from Fear and Charms, which is nice, or you can use it to stop a fight, which could be useful.
Hold Person If you have melee allies, this is good, otherwise its bad. Don't try to use this spell to take someone out of a fight.

Oath of the Crown
Warding Bond It lasts an hour, requires no concentration, and grants +1 to AC and saves, as well as the ability to share damage between you two. Not bad.
Zone of Truth is already on your list

Crown of Madness Not only can the target break out of it at any time with a save, but it takes your action every turn to sustain, and does nothing if no other enemies are adjacent to the target.
Darkness In order for this to not be terrible, you need to be able to see through the darkness. If you have exactly two levels in Warlock, which gives you Devil's Sight but not level 2 Warlock spells, this can be good, especially since it allows you to get your level 18 Paladin feature while still getting Darkness+Devil's Sight.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Spellcasting part 2

Level 3:

Aura of Vitality For 10 rounds, you can use a bonus action to heal yourself or a creature within 30 feet of you for 2d6 hit points. Not bad.
Blinding Smite Compared to a Divine Smite, you trade 1d8 damage for the target being blinded until they make their save. Pretty good, shame it breaks your concentration.
Create Food and Water Hopefully by level 9 you'll have enough food and water.
Crusader's Mantle For this to deal as much damage as a level 3 Divine Smite, you'll need to get a total of 8 hits. Now that every weapon-wielding class has access to extra attack, that's not a huge ask if you have the right party composition, but this does require your concentration and makes the party more vulnerable to AOE effects.
Daylight Bring a torch.
Dispel Magic Thankfully the check is using your spellcasting ability, so you'll be just as good at this as a Wizard is. The effectiveness of this spell depends greatly on how many magical effects your party sees.
Elemental Weapon Neglecting the +1 to hit, you'd need to get 8 hits with your weapon for this to be as good as a Divine Smite, plus it requires concentration. If you don't already have access to a +1 Weapon, this gets a lot better.
Magic Circle The fact that this takes one minute to cast relegates it to out of combat use only, unless your party has a chance to set up an ambush in advance. While you get a fairly wide selection of creature types to choose from, it only works against one type, and humanoid isn't one of the options.
Remove Curse Very nice to have when a party member gets cursed, but I wouldn't keep this prepared unless I knew I needed it.
Revivify This one, I would keep prepared at all times. One minute is usually enough to finish the combat but not enough for you to take a long rest and prepare it. Obviously far less good if your DM won't kill you.

Oath of Devotion
Beacon of Hope Great just for the advantage on wisdom Saves, though maximized healing could come in handy too.
Dispel Magic is already on your list

Oath of the Ancients
Plant Growth You could use this spell to significantly slow the enemy down while your ranged allies take them out, but beware that it affects you too. The second application is very campaign-specific.
Protection from Energy It only affects one creature and only grants resistance to one damage type, but you'll be glad you have it when you have to go up against a mad pyromancer or something.

Oath of Vengeance
Haste In order to make use of this spell, you NEED Constitution save proficiency so you don't get your concentration broken, and hopefully to be able to cast this before combat starts. Assuming you're using a greatsword, you'll need to get 2 hits from this in order for it to pay off (2d6+3 * 2 = 20, 4d8 = 18), though it also allows you to spend your other divine smites faster.
Protection from Energy see above

Oath of Conquest
Bestow Curse Some great effects here, notably the "wisdom save every round or you do nothing" curse. Once you get to level 17 and can make this last 8 hours without requiring concentration, it gets even better.
Fear Amazing for you because of Aura of Conquest. They can't move to a place where they can't see you, so they're stuck in place, taking auto damage.

Oath of Redemption
Counterspell Depending on how often you end up going against caster enemies, this could be very useful.
Hypnotic Pattern Finally, the Oath of Redemption gets an effective spell to break up a fight without hurting anyone. Single saving throw for 10 rounds of AOE incapacitation is excellent.

Oath of the Crown
Aura of Vitality is already on your list
Spirit guardians is amazing. It's friendly, it lasts 10 minutes, it slows enemies, it follows you as you move, and it does great AOE damage, which is something Paladins are otherwise lacking.

Animate Dead Get a permanent zombie friend, who's damage is boosted by Aura of Hate. Unfortunately, at 9th level, their low accuracy means they won't be hitting very often.
Bestow Curse A strong debuff that greatly improves at spell level 5 when it no longer requires concentration.

Level 4:

Aura of Life Necrotic Resistance and Immunity to max hit point reduction are good for Undead Encounters, regaining one HP at the start of each of your turn at 0 effectively means you can never die... until your DM catches on and starts attacking your party members while they're down. Remember that once you drop to 0 HP and fall unconscious, you immediately lose concentration, so the last ability will never affect you.
Aura of Purity Lasts 10 minutes, makes your party immune to disease, resistant to poison, and resistance to a plethora of debilitating status effects. Very good.
Banishment For one save, take any creature out of the fight for 10 rounds. Hooray.
Death Ward It only affects one creature and it only works once, so you probably have better ways to prevent an ally from falling due to combat damage. The usefulness of this will be depends entirely on the second clause. If your DM likes to hit you with Power Word: Kill, then this is one of the only effects that can save you from that.
Find Greater Steed What? Warhorse is evolving! *da du da du* Congratulations! Your Warhorse Evolved into a Griffon!
Locate Creature Hopefully, you'll know if you need a spell like this before you start your day. I wouldn't keep this prepared all the time.
Staggering Smite You lose 8 damage compared to a level 4 Smite, in exchange, the target must make a saving throw or have disadvantage... for one round. Yeah, no thanks.

Devotion Oath Spells
Freedom of Movement This will be a minor benefit 95% of the time, and save your life the other 5%. Seeing as you get it for free, that's pretty good.
Guardian of Faith 60 damage is pretty good value for a level 4 spell (A level 4 smite deals 22.5), and the effect lasts 8 hours with no concentration. However, since the guardian can't move, you'll have to position it carefully.

Ancients Oath Spells
Ice Storm The damage on this is 2 more than Fireball, which a Wizard got a whole 8 levels ago. That said, bad AOE still beats no AOE.
Stoneskin Lasts an hour, and gives a target resistance to weapon damage (even works against magical weapons) It's very good, just mind the expensive material component.

Vengeance Oath Spells
Banishment Is already on your list.
Dimension Door While the range on this is better than Misty Step, and it can go through walls, Misty step is at level 2 and this is level 4. The times you need this, you'll be happy to have it, but you probably won't be using it too often.

Conquest Oath Spells
Dominate Beast At this high level, you probably won't be running into many beasts worth dominating
Stoneskin Resistance to weapon damage is good.

Redemption Oath Spells
Olituke's Resilient Sphere You can protect yourself from attacks while you preach the virtues of peace, or you can use it as another Banishment, that targets Dex instead of Wis.
Stoneskin Resistance to weapon damage is still good.

Crown Oath Spells
Banishment is already on your list.
Guardian of Faith Same as for Devotion, a strong spell.

Oathbreaker Spells
Blight At this level, you have Extra Attack and Aura of Hate, your regular attack plus a level 4 smite will do much more damage than this. It's better against plant creatures, so it might be worth using against one of those.
Confusion It's AOE control, but it breaks on a save and has a 20% chance to do nothing. The area is also really small.

Level 5 Remember that the cap for Divine Smite damage is 5d8, so a level 5 Smite doesn't do more damage than a level 4 Smite.
Banishing Smite This is the only Smite spell which actually does more damage than a Divine Smite of the same level, and the banishment effect is just gravy. The one mark against it is that it breaks your concentration.
Circle of Power Now everyone can pretend to be an Oath of the Ancients! It's redundant if you already are one, but otherwise very much worth taking. At this level, spells and magical effects are much more common.
Destructive Wave While the damage is the same as for a 5th-level Fireball, it's friendly, it has a better damage type, and it has a nice upside of knocking Prone. Also, it's the only AOE spell most Paladins get.
Dispel Evil and Good Most of the effects of this spell are already given to you by Protection from Evil and Good, which is a level 1 spell. The one addition is Dismissal, which ends the spell, and requires both and attack roll and a failed save by the target to work. It's really bad.
Geas This isn't that useful in combat, since 5d10 damage to a single target once per day is unimpressive at this level, but it's extremely good for controlling NPCs. A king might rule over many lands, but he'll still probably be killed by 5d10 psychic damage. So this spell is campaign-specific.
Holy Weapon Bonus action cast, lasts an hour, and adds 2d8 damage to your weapon. You'll have to hit 3 times to be ahead of Smite damage on this, which is totally reasonable, plus if you don't need the buff you can trade it in for a small AOE that blinds. Very strong.
Raise Dead The material component costs more than Revivify, but the length of the spell is 10 days rather than a minute. I wouldn't prepare this all the time, but it's a lifesaver when you need it.

Devotion Oath spells
Commune Free answers to your questions. The usefulness of this is mostly up to the DM
Flame Strike Compared to Destructive Wave, this offers less damage, less area, and no control.

Ancients Oath Spells
Commune with Nature Scouting spell. Use when you need to scout.
Tree Stride This is basically free teleportation, as long as you're in a forest.

Vengeance Oath Spells
Hold Monster It's Hold Person, but it affects any creature. If you liked Hold Person, you'll like this too.
Scrying Lets you look at someone far away. If that seems like something you'd be interested in, great.

Conquest Oath Spells
Cloudkill You'd need to hit each enemy twice with this for it to be as much damage as Destructive Wave, plus it requires Concentration. The potential for it to do very high damage is there, if the enemies stay in the cloud for three or four rounds, but it's unreliable.
Dominate Person Offering the target a saving throw every round to escape is not the greatest, but the effect is very strong.

Redemption Oath Spells
Hold Monster see above
Wall of Force An excellent control spell that offers no saving throw and can split the enemy forces in half.

Crown Oath Spells
Circle of Power and Geas are both already on your list.

Oathbreaker Spells
Contagion This is far too slow to use in combat, requiring three failed saves to take effect. At this level, the kind of creature you'd want to apply this to, then wait another day or two to engage can probably remove a disease somehow. If you do manage to get this effect off, though, it's extremely deadly, especially slimy doom, which causes the target to be stunned whenever it takes damage.
Dominate Person It's a great effect, but it only affects humanoids and it gives a save every round.
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Gavin O.

First Post
There’s one Multiclass that merits special mention, and that’s the Hexblade Warlock. For one level of MC, you get the ability to use CHA as your attacking stat, which goes a long way towards solving the class’ problems with MAD.

Barbarian Rage gives you a solid damage bonus that’s compatible with Divine Smites, as well as useful damage resistance. Path of the Zealot is the more aggressive choice, while Path of the Totem warrior offers defense. I wouldn’t go past 4 levels in barbarian, though.

Bard Going Bard can bring you more spell slots to smite with, a matching casting stat, and excellent utility and support options.

Cleric spells key off Wisdom, which probably won’t be your highest stat, you don't get another Channel divinity until level 6, you don't need a MC to get heavy armor... really there's not much reason to go Cleric.

Druid Requires 13 Wisdom which might be a bit difficult. You get full caster slots, and Wild Shape. Technically, beast attacks do count as weapon attacks which means they do work with Divine Smite, so have fun with your holy bear punch.

Fighter Start as a Fighter for Con save proficiency, and you get a second Fighting Style (including Archery Style, which the paladin doesn’t normally have access to), you get Action surge, and you get your choice of Martial Archetype, almost all of which are great. I wouldn’t keep levelling past 4, though.

To even qualify for this Multiclass, you need a whopping four stats at 13, none of which are CON. That’s stretching yourself pretty thin. In return, you get abilities that want you to be wielding simple weapons and wearing no armor. Stunning Strike requires you to dip 5 levels, and the second extra attack is wasted.

Same problem as the Monk, you need four different stats at 13. You do get another fighting style which could be archery, you get half-caster spell slots, and some of the Xanathar's guide ranger abilities are quite strong (notably Dread Ambusher), but I don't think it's worth the stat requirements.

Rogue Divine Smite is excellent in Assassinate crit builds, since you can apply one Divine Smite per hit and the damage is doubled. Aside from that, the Paladin/Rogue is mostly an inferior Paladin/Bard

Sorcerer Another class that starts with Con save proficiency, three levels here gets you metamagic, so you can cast a quickened spell and still attack. Also gives you full caster slots which means more divine smite. Shadow Sorcerer provides another way to get advantage, by casting Darkness that you can see through.

Warlock And at last we come to the warlock. One level in multiclassing into Hexblade gets you Cha-based weapon attacks, and Hex for more damage. Two levels get you a powerful scaling ranged cantrip, a second short-rest spell slot, and super darkvision. Three levels get you a permanent +1 magic weapon as well as the ability to use Cha with a greatsword. If your DM allows for Multiclassing, I highly reccomend this.

Backline caster class who’s spellcasting stat is our dump stat, no thank you. A Bladesinger might want to dip 2 levels in Paladin to get Divine Smite, but that's more of a Wizard build than a Paladin build.
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Gavin O.

First Post

Being a class with two primary attributes, you’ll have to be stingier with your feat selection than a fighter is. If you use four ASIs to max your primary stats, you’ll only be able to take one feat, so generically good filler feats are rated lower than they would be for a fighter. Feats that give stat bonuses are generally rated higher, since you can take one of them without hurting your stats, if you start with an odd number in that stat.

Alert +5 initiative and immunity to surprise are both good benefits, but you probably won’t have the space.
Athlete if you started with an odd strength score, there are worse things you could take, but the benefits are pretty marginal.
Actor If you started with an odd Cha score and don’t have access to Elven Accuracy, this is the only other feat that gives +1 to Cha, so you could maybe take it.
Charger Don’t use your action to dash in combat.
Crossbow Expert This is normally a very good feat, but Divine Smite doesn’t work with ranged attacks and Paladins don’t have access to Archery Style.
Defensive Duelist This can give you up to +6 AC against a single attack, but it takes your reaction to use and only defends against one attack.
Dual Wielder If you plan to dual wield, you will need this feat, if only to be able to draw both your swords before you attack.
Dungeon Delver This just doesn’t provide enough to justify spending a feat on.
Durable generally you won’t get many short rests with which to spend your hit die, and this effect is too weak for a feat. If you have an odd Con, take Resilient(Con) instead
Elemental Adept you don’t have the elemental spells to make use of this.
Grappler Even for a grappler, this feat is terrible.
Great Weapon Master Paladins have a decent number of ways to increase their chance to hit (Bless, Vow of Enmity, Sacred Weapon) to take advantage of the -5/+10 trade, but you should ONLY take this feat if you’re regularly using those bonuses, the damage trade isn’t worth it otherwise.
Healer this feat is decent healing, but you probably can’t fit it in.
Heavily Armoredyou’re already proficient
Heavy Armor Master Skyblue for a Variant Human who takes this at level 1, and purple for everyone else.
Inspiring Leader if you can fit this in and have maxed your Cha, this can be a great source of Temporary Hit points.
Keen Mind Intelligence is your dump stat
Lightly Armored Already proficient
Linguist Intelligence is still your dump stat
Lucky Get advantage or give an enemy disadvantage three times per day. It’s solid if you can fit it in.
Mage Slayer The effectiveness of this feat depends entirely on how many mages you end up fighting. It ranges from totally useless to extremely useful. You’ll know if you want this feat or not.
Magic initiate I’m a fan of this one: Choose Bard for great Cantrips and one Dissonant Whisper per day, or Warlock for Hex and Fire Bolt, or Druid for Guidance and Healing Word. Are any of these options better than +2 Strength or Cha? Probably not.
Martial Adept You can add 1d6 damage once per short rest, and maybe apply some other effect.
Medium Armor Master If you’re a Dex-based Paladin, you should have 20 dex in which case light armor is better. If you aren’t, there’s no reason for you to have more than 14 dex.
Mobile Not enough benefit to justify the ASI you’ll spend on it, unless you’re playing some strange skirmisher Paladin that needs the free disengage.
Moderately Armored you’re already proficient
Mounted Combatant As a Paladin you get find steed and find greater steed, so you could very well be a mounted combatant. If you are, you might want to consider taking this, if only for the ability to take hits for your mount.
Observant Lip reading and passive perception is not worth an ASI.
Polearm Master Bonus action attack which can apply Divine Smite, and a free opportunity attack when a creature enters your reach. Knocked down a peg thanks to the introduction of the Double Scimitar, but still good.
Resilient (Con) If you have an odd Con, take this and get proficiency in a very important save that also governs your concentration.
Resilient (Dex) If you already have Con save proficiency somehow and have an odd Dex, you could take this.
Resilient (other) no other stat is worth spending a feat to unlock saving throw proficiency, except for Wis which you start with. (Resilient Wis is blue for a Paladin who starts out in another class)
Ritual Caster Not for you.
Savage Attacker Not enough extra damage to justify spending a feat on, outside of possibly a critfishing build.
Sentinel This assists with your frontline prowess and gives you something to do with your reactions.
Sharpshooter Ranged combat isn’t what Paladins do, and the Fighting Style that makes this worthwhile isn’t available to you.
Shield Master Rating assumes you are a Strength-based Paladin with proficiency in Athletics. (its red if you’re not) The Shove ability allows you to knock a creature prone which then gives you advantage to hit, and you also gain +2 to some Dexterity saving throws, and a limited version of Evasion. Great value.
Skilled Another solid feat you won’t have room for. If you’re playing a political/intrigue campaign that’s light on combat, maybe you could take this.
Skulker If you’re a Strength-based Paladin, you won’t have any success sneaking around in the dark. If you’re a Dex-based Paladin, there are better feats to take.
Spell Sniper you have no spells with which to snipe
Tavern Brawler This is another grappler feat, it gives you a bonus action grapple when you make an unarmed strike. If you plan on grappling, I’d definitely take this over grappler.
Tough 2 extra hit points per level is quite solid, though whether to take this over a more offensive feat is a tough decision.
War Caster While thankfully you don’t need a free hand to hold a Holy Symbol, being able to perform the somatic components of a spell without having to drop your weapon is significant, and the bonus to concentration is great.
Weapon Master you’re already proficient

Xanathar’s guide racial feats: (all these ratings assume your already playing as a race that can take them, so the viability of the associated race won’t affect these ratings)

Bountiful Luck
(Halfling) rerolling 1s is nice, but since it takes your reaction to use, it’s entirely possible that a teammate rolls a 1 and you can do nothing to help. Plus it could also just do nothing for several rounds.
Dragon fear (Dragonborn) get +1 to either of your primary stats or Con, and you trade your dragon breath for the ability to roar and cause creatures to be frightened of you. The DC also uses your Cha instead of your Con. Good especially for Conquest Paladins looking to load up on Fear effects.
Dragon Hide (Dragonborn) Generally Dragonborn Paladins don’t want to be Dex-based, so the natural armor is somewhat wasted. 1d4 unarmed strikes are effectively +1.5 damage, but you should just find a sword.
Drow High Magic (Drow) Dispel Magic and levitate are both great spells that you don’t normally have access to, and Detect magic can also be useful, plus you can cast them out of your spell slots if you need to. Sadly it doesn’t give any stats.
Dwarven Fortitude (Dwarf) If you don’t find many opportunities for short rests, you could use this for some extra healing, but needing to take the dodge action instead of doing something more useful is a big cost. Ask you DM if you can engage in “combat” with a pigeon and repeatedly dodge to heal yourself.
Elven Accuracy (Elf or Half-elf) Rating assumes you’re attacking with a stat that isn’t Strength, and if you are this is very strong. +1 to Dex or Cha and the ability to turn advantage into super advantage, which also means more crits. If you’re a member of these races, make room for this one.
Fade Away (Gnome) Apart from requiring you to be a gnome, the invisibility happens after you’ve already taken damage, and it requires your reaction. Not what you want as a frontline character. At least you get +1 Dex.
Fey Teleportation (High Elf) +1 to Cha, Sylvan language, and one Misty Step per rest. Notably, you also learn the spell, which means you can cast it with spell slots if you need to.
Flames of Phlegethos (Tiefling) You don’t have fire spells.
Infernal Constitution (Tiefling) Spending a feat for +1 Con, Cold resist, and Poison resist is probably not worth it. Take Resilient (con) instead.
Orcish Fury (Half-orc) +1 Strength, extra damage once per rest (though bad synergy with the greatsword), and a reaction attack when you use relentless. Not bad.
Prodigy (Human, Half-Elf, or Half-Orc) Proficiency in one skill, expertise in one skill. If you’re playing a Grapple build, this might be worth taking for the bonus to Athletics to save yourself multiclassing into Bard/Rogue, otherwise it’s probably not worth it.
Second Chance (Halfling) +1 to Dex, Con, or Cha, and you get to force a reroll against an attack that hits you once per combat. If I were playing a Halfling Paladin, I’d consider taking this.
Squat Nimbleness (Halfling) +1 to Strength or Dex, extra movement speed, a skill proficiency, and help Vs grapples. Not bad.
Wood Elf Magic (Wood Elf) Free Druid Cantrip could be Guidance for better skill checks, or you could take Shillelagh and try your hand at a Wis-based Paladin. Pass Without Trace is a strong spell, Longstrider not so much.
Revenant Blade (Elf) +1 to AC, finesse with your Double Scimitar, and +1d4 damage to your bonus action special attack. Amazing.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Sample Builds

Justice for all
This is a no multiclass Devotion build intended to be easy to play and understand without sacrificing effectiveness

Starting race: Dragonborn (Gold dragon heritage)

Standard array stats: 15+1 Strength, 14+2 Charisma, 13 Constitution, 12 Wisdom, 10 Dexterity, 8 Intelligence

Class Distribution: Paladin(x) Oath of devotion

Weapon Setup: Longsword and Shield, Heavy Armor (Dueling Style)

ASI progression: +2 Strength, +2 Strength, +2 Cha, +2 Cha, Resilient(Con)

Vengeance is mine
This build uses every trick in the Paladin's Arsenal to get the most damage it can. Dipping into Warlock for Hexblade of the Blade allows our weapon attacks to work off our Charisma, the Double Scimitar is used for its free bonus action attack per round, Vengeance Oath is taken for Haste and Vow of Enmity. Elven Accuracy works well with our ability to generate advantage to make use hit very often.

Starting race: Half-elf

27 Point-buy: 13 Strength, 13+1 Dex, 13 Con, 8 Int, 12+1 Wis, 15+2 Cha

Class distribution: Paladin(x)/Warlock(3) Oath of Vengeance, Hexblade of the Blade

Weapon Setup: Double Scimitar, wearing Medium or Heavy Armor (Great Weapon Fighting Style)

ASI progression: Elven Accuracy (+1 Cha) +2 Cha, Resilient(Con), War Caster

Eldritch Invocations: Devil's Sight, Improved Pact Weapon

(more builds on the way)
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Gavin O.

First Post
Magic Items:

The availability of magic items is completely determined by your DM, and it's best to build your character under the assumption that you won't get any. If you ever do get the ability to choose what magic item you want, here are some to look out for:

Cast-off armor The ability to doff your armor as an action could come in handy if it gets targeted by Heat Metal or similar, plus it's convenient.
Clockwork Amulet If you're optimized, you should be able to hit most targets with a 10 on your d20 roll, so this is almost as good as a free hit once per day. It doesn't even require attunement.
Ersatz Eye If by some terrible misfortune you lose one of your eyes, you can use this as a replacement. Having no eyes (and thus being blinded) makes you next to useless, so it might be a good idea to keep a couple of these around, just in case.
Mystery Key Might take 20 rounds to work, and is destroyed once it does, but this can open ANY lock. Could trivialize a whole campaign.
Ruby of the War Mage Holy Symbols (the Paladin's spellcasting focus) can be inlaid into armor or shields, diminishing the need for this, but it does allow you to cast spells with a somatic component while holding a weapon in both hands. Note that this requires attunement.

+1 Weapon +1 to hit and to damage is great, and being able to ignore resistance to nonmagical attacks is also great.

Amulet of health It sets your constitution score to 19, which is fantastic. Depending on your previous score, this could be as good as 4 HP per level and +4 to Con saves.
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Gavin O.

First Post
Sample Builds:

The Paladin Welcome build

If you’re new to the game, have read the class name Paladin, and are excited to play a knight in shining armor, this is the build for you. This is a no-multiclassing Devotion build that doesn't take a feat until level 19, designed to be simple to play and still effective.
Race: Dragonborn
Draconic Ancestry: Gold (Fire)
Stats at level one (Using Standard Array) 16 Str, 10 Dex, 13 Con, 8 Int, 12 Wis, 16 Cha
Weapon/Armor Setup: Longsword + Shield, wearing Heavy Armor. Backup Javelins for Ranged combat.
Fighting Style: Dueling
Oath: Devotion
Important spells: Bless, Find Steed, Revivify, Find Greater Steed, Destructive Wave
ASI/Feat progression: +2 Str, +2 Str, +2 Cha, +2 Cha, Resilient(Con)
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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'd recommend two tone for Oath of Devotion's Sacred Weapon depending on Charisma invested. With a 20 CHR it is superior to Oath of Vengance's Vow of Emnity which is sky blue.

Advantage from Vow gives a variable amount that tops at +5 if you need exactly an 11+ to hit, any other roll is less bonus. Sacred Weapon is +5 at all times.

If you have Sacred Weapon and get advantage, you chance to hit increases. If you have Vow of Enmity and you get advantage, it doesn't.

Sacred Weapon works against any number of opponents, Vow of Emnity only works against one. So if you're not at a solo fight you'll get a lot more usage out of Sacred Weapon. This more then offsets that it takes an action instead of a bonus action to active in that the effective duration is two, three, or more times as long.

With a +4 CHR MOD the two are probably on par or slightly favoring Sacred Weapon. At +3 CHR mod it's lower.


40th lv DM
Sample Builds:

The Paladin Welcome build

If you’re new to the game, have read the class name Paladin, and are excited to play a knight in shining armor, this is the build for you. This is a no-multiclassing, no feat Devotion build, designed to be simple to play and still effective.
Race: Half-elf
Stats at level one (Using Standard Array) 8 Str, 16 Dex, 14 Con, 10 Int, 12 Wis, 16 Cha
(If you want to be Strength-based, you can. In that case you’d want 16 strength, 10 Dex, and 8 Int)
Weapon/Armor Setup: Rapier + Shield, wearing Light Armor. Backup Longbow for Ranged combar.
Fighting Style: Dueling
Oath: Devotion
Important spells: Bless, Find Steed, Revivify, Find Greater Steed, Destructive Wave
ASI/Feat progression: +2 Dex, +2 Dex, +2 Cha, +2 Cha, +2 Con
If I were excited to play a knight in shining armor I don't think a weak 1/2elf in leather armor sporting a bow would be what I'd make....

Gavin O.

First Post
If I were excited to play a knight in shining armor I don't think a weak 1/2elf in leather armor sporting a bow would be what I'd make....
I agree with you, but I'm not sure what I should do. While yes I could make a Strength-based human Sword and Board Paladin, that build is almost completely inferior to this one. Do you have a recommendation as to what would better fit the idea of Paladin but also be more effective? Maybe something like a Dragonborn Strength build?

Gavin O.

First Post
I'd recommend two tone for Oath of Devotion's Sacred Weapon depending on Charisma invested. With a 20 CHR it is superior to Oath of Vengance's Vow of Emnity which is sky blue.

Advantage from Vow gives a variable amount that tops at +5 if you need exactly an 11+ to hit, any other roll is less bonus. Sacred Weapon is +5 at all times.

If you have Sacred Weapon and get advantage, you chance to hit increases. If you have Vow of Enmity and you get advantage, it doesn't.

Sacred Weapon works against any number of opponents, Vow of Emnity only works against one. So if you're not at a solo fight you'll get a lot more usage out of Sacred Weapon. This more then offsets that it takes an action instead of a bonus action to active in that the effective duration is two, three, or more times as long.

With a +4 CHR MOD the two are probably on par or slightly favoring Sacred Weapon. At +3 CHR mod it's lower.
While I agree that it's a better bonus, I feel like the fact that sacred weapon takes your action to use hurts it compared to Vow of Enmity. In my experience, it's very infrequent that you get a turn in combat where you're not in range to do anything, which means if you're going to be buffing with Sacred Weapon (which only lasts a minute), you'll be missing one round of attacking. Since you get Extra Attack before you have a chance to raise your Cha to 20, that missed round is two full attacks you can't make.

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