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D&D 5E [GUIDE] My Word Is My Sword: The Paladin Guide

slaughterj

Explorer
Paladins can switch spells. So if you know your fighting a green dragon, then yes, you can prepare it for the day, but your likely going to drop it for the next.

Many days you can run into foes with poison though. I am presently playing a 6th level Devotion Paladin, who already gets oath spells of Lesser Restoration and Zone of Truth, and there are limited second level spells of value otherwise. I take Aid, and you don't need Find Steed every day, so I am including Protection from Poison with some frequency just in case.

I am also using Shield of Faith regularly, because the first round I am using a standard action to charge up the sword with the devotion power, so then I use the bonus action to cast Shield of Faith, and then use Shield Master for bonus thereafter. And because the Shield Master uses the bonus, I am not particularly interested in any of the smite spells that use it as they take bonus actions to cast and eat up concentration slots even if you immediately hit, just seems better to add them as smite damage. Further, Shield of Faith has worked out to be about a 2nd level Cure Wounds cast in advance as a bonus action for the amount of damage it has saved on average from those swings that miss by 1-2 points.

While Bless is great, since the devotion takes a round already, I do not often see myself spending a second action to set up Bless as well, though perhaps Bless can be a backup to use the first round when there is a second combat before a short rest and the devotion power has not recharged (which is extremely rare as we are playing Red Hand of Doom and it is a lot of once a day scenarios with overland travel).
 
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Dersu

First Post
I am currently playing a paladin in a campaign with friends. I chose the Oath of vengeance as it offers some really unique interactions and options for battlefield control and mobility.

The feature on the Vengeance list that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention is Relentless Avenger. At first it seems like a cool way to chase anyone that would try to escape your martial prowess; But since it triggers off of opportunity attacks, any feats or abilities that expand on when OA's happen also expands when the Relentless Avenger movement can occur.

Like for example the Polearm Mastery feat. Now instead of waiting for a creature to leave your reach, you can react the moment they enter it. This turns Relentless Avenger into a powerful defensive maneuver. A creature enters your reach, you swing and hit it with the polearm mastery reaction attack, and now can move half your speed away from or past the creature that just triggered you.

Also the sentinel feat, which has been touted as an incredible partner to the above polearm mastery feat, has it's own tricks. Not only do your OA's now stop an assailant dead in it's tracks, you are also granted an OA if you are within 5 feat of a hostile creature and they attack someone other than you. This lets you get up close and personal with a beast and then reposition if they attempt to get at your squishier allies.

All of these Relentless Avenger moves are free from triggering hostile OA's. So they can be used to get into an enemy's back line to threaten their ranged support.

Combine these options with misty step, abjure enemy, compelled duel, and haste and you have a very durable character that can control when and where they engage the enemy. Overall I really like how this build is playing out right now, it makes me feel like a divinely powered, heavily armored, warrior monk.
 


Nice document, and a fun read. Your comments on Wrathful Smite were a real eye-opener for me. I can't believe I never realized before what a great synergy that is.

I do have a couple of quick comments, if you don't mind the input:

You list Aura of Vitality as gold, and it is, so much so that the existence of Aura of Vitality makes most smites actually pretty bad. It is a rare fight when inflicting 18 points of damage with a 3rd level smite is better than healing 70 (or 140, or 240) points of damage after combat. The only real exception is when you're dealing with a single big bad enemy with a huge AoE effect, like a Meteor Swarm or dragon breath in an enclosed area.

Aura of Vitality is sometimes worth starting early, during combat, as a sort of quasi-Heavy Armor Master/Heroism effect which also heals unconscious allies as a bonus action.

A general look at all the classes will show you that the class’ 5th level is where a MASSIVE power jump occurs, particularly offensively. Warrior-type classes get their Extra Attack at that level. Full spellcaster classes get 3rd-level spells, the first real powerful level of spells. For Rogues, that’s when Sneak Attack really starts taking off. While all classes have their other major and significant levels, Lv. 5 is the first and most important of them all.

Ergo, if you’re going for a multiclass build of any sort, your first goal is to hit Lv. 5 in one class ASAP, likely your major. Pretty much without exception. Which means if you’re starting and majoring as a Paladin, you want to be a Paladin 5 and get Extra Attack before you even think of branching out.

A Paladin who multiclasses to Paladin 1/Sorcerer 1 or Warlock 1 and learns Booming Blade still gets a big boost in power at level 5, though. His Booming Blade now does 2d8+STR (plus 2d8 more if the enemy moves), inflicting up to 40% more damage than Extra Attack would have done anyway. Melee cantrips mitigate the opportunity cost of multiclassing early.

Also the sentinel feat, which has been touted as an incredible partner to the above polearm mastery feat, has it's own tricks. Not only do your OA's now stop an assailant dead in it's tracks, you are also granted an OA if you are within 5 feat of a hostile creature and they attack someone other than you. This lets you get up close and personal with a beast and then reposition if they attempt to get at your squishier allies.

Here's a bit of trivia: Sentinel does not actually stop anyone from bypassing you. It is always possible to get away from a Sentinel via Readied Move. Since Sentinel only drops your speed to 0 for the remainder of your turn, what you do is:

1.) Try to move past/around the Sentinel.
2.) If he misses you, go for the squishies.
3.) If he hits you, your speed drops to zero for the remainder of your turn. Ready an action to move towards the squishies as soon as anyone else takes a turn.
4.) On the next guy's turn, your speed is no longer zero and you now use your reaction to move towards a squishy.

Sentinel still has value in that it's preventing you from actually attacking on this turn, but he can't stop you from moving​.
 
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Kalanthas

First Post
Here's a bit of trivia: Sentinel does not actually stop anyone from bypassing you. It is always possible to get away from a Sentinel via Readied Move. Since Sentinel only drops your speed to 0 for the remainder of your turn, what you do is:

1.) Try to move past/around the Sentinel.
2.) If he misses you, go for the squishies.
3.) If he hits you, your speed drops to zero for the remainder of your turn. Ready an action to move towards the squishies as soon as anyone else takes a turn.
4.) On the next guy's turn, your speed is no longer zero and you now use your reaction to move towards a squishy.

Sentinel still has value in that it's preventing you from actually attacking on this turn, but he can't stop you from moving​.

Really? Can you ready an action that involves movement before your next turn if you don't have any left?
 

Dersu

First Post
When you ready an action it is occurring on a turn that is not your own. The sentinel feat drops your speed to 0 for the rest of that turn. The trick to get past a person with sentinel would technically work, but it's usefulness is of dubious value.

If you manage to make it past the person with sentinel, you've consumed your action on your turn and your reaction to do it. So even if you land in the lap of the enemy mage, they can simply walk away from you with no consequence, and next turn the character with sentinel can walk up to you again forcing you to deal with their OA all over again.

It might be good to outright escape and run away from someone with sentinel. But even if you readied the dash action, the person with sentinel could dash and catch up to you provided they have the same or greater speed than you, which forces the whole sentinel OA situation again.
 
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Added Magic Initiate to the feats. Especially with the SCAG out, that second cantrip after Eldritch Blast can be used for something nice, too, like Green-Flame Blade or Sword Burst.
 

Quartz

Hero
Excellent document. Can I suggest you expand it in two ways:

1. Expand the spell critiques to consider scrolls that the Paladin may use or scribe.

2. Expand the feat critique to consider characters who always take feats instead of ASIs.
 

Yunru

Banned
Banned
I don't get why Tieflings are rated so low when they can bow be pratically identical to Aaracorca which are light blue.

Wait no, they get more than Aaracorca, although a slower fly speed.
 

slaughterj

Explorer
Aura of Vitality is sometimes worth starting early, during combat, as a sort of quasi-Heavy Armor Master/Heroism effect which also heals unconscious allies as a bonus action.

A Paladin is likely only going to have around +5 to CON saves (+2 from CON, +3 from CHA bonus) for making concentration checks, but is likely to get hit regularly (high AC will mitigate some, but given the volume of attacks directed, some will still hit), triggering at a minimum DC 10 Concentration check (often higher by the time you are level 9 and can cast Aura of Vitality, due to higher damage of foes at that level), meaning at least a 20% chance of losing the spell. Plus it takes an action to cast. So I would rarely consider casting it in combat, much less early in combat, given you might well get nothing more out of it than using your full action to cast and bonus action to activate to heal the equivalent of a Healing Word for one round, and then lose it in the next round or two from failed Concentration check.
 

I don't get why Tieflings are rated so low when they can bow be pratically identical to Aaracorca which are light blue.

Wait no, they get more than Aaracorca, although a slower fly speed.

Good catch. Tieflings can also fly in heavy armor, unlike Aarococra.

I'm going to downgrade Aarococra to blue, probably. Not sure how far to bump Tieflings, that wasted INT bonus will never sit well.
 

triggering at a minimum DC 10 Concentration check (often higher by the time you are level 9 and can cast Aura of Vitality, due to higher damage of foes at that level)

Most foes even at that level, and even much higher than that, don't deal more than 21 damage consistently on individual hits. (Most monsters' damage output comes from multiattack, not big individual hits.)
 

SingingPaladin

First Post
Regarding Multiclassing, would it be possible to look at Multiclassing with regards to your Archetypes rather than just the classes themselve? For example I'm seriously considering multiclassing my Vengeance paladin with a warlock that uses the new Undying Light Patron due to your Charisma modifier adding to the damage that spells dealing radiant or fire damage do, however that depends on if your DM feels it will affect your Divine Smites (which uses spell slots) and your spell smites such as Branding smite.
 
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slaughterj

Explorer
Most foes even at that level, and even much higher than that, don't deal more than 21 damage consistently on individual hits. (Most monsters' damage output comes from multiattack, not big individual hits.)

I certainly have done no statistical analysis of the situation, just have looked at some creatures of interest in a reasonable CR to PCs with Paladin Level 9+ (to cast the Aura), and see things have average damage such as:

Any Young Dragon does a lot of damage with its breath weapon (Green CR8 42dmg, Red CR10 56dmg, etc.).

T-Rex CR8 33dmg bite

Frost Giant CR8 25dmg axe 28dmg rock

Remorhaz CR11 40dmg bite (plus 10 fire)

Treant CR9 28dmg rock

Abominable Yeti CR9 45dmg breath

Sure, there are plenty who do lower but do multi-attack, but there are plenty over 20dmg too that are level-appropriate foes, not to mention crits happen.
 

slaughterj

Explorer
But even if most foes are doing 20dmg or less, if you take a couple of hits a round, each with 20% chance of failure, that Aura will go down fairly quickly, and you will have used a round to put it up instead of fighting.

Aura seems like great 70hp distributed heal spell that takes 1 minute out of combat, avoiding the need for a short rest, that sure you could put up in combat occasionally but most likely not (maybe with cleric companion blessing you to up your Concentration check, or some other situations).
 

You do know by Lv. 9 it's easily possible to get CON saves into auto-save territory vs. DC 10, right? (+3 CHA +2 CON +4 Resilient = +9 CON save = auto-save vs. DC 10)

EDIT: Not that I advocate casting Aura of Vitality in actual combat. Just that Concentration, for the Paladin at least, is demonstrably not the issue you're making it out to be.
 
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Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
_Moonbeam_ in a confined space against low-level enemies (HotDQ & kobolds, say) can effectively create "Horatius at the bridge" scenarios, where a horde of enemies can only reach you a few at a time. And nothing says that you have to move it in a straight line; zigzag to hit more enemies, or sweep it around a little and return to where it started.

Teamwork 1: You use Moonbeam to give your Colossus Slaying Ranger ally some juicy targets to work on.
Teamwork 2: You end your turn standing next to the monster that needs to go down quickly. Your Rogue ally automatically gets Sneak Attack on him just because you are there.
 

Endur

First Post
So I've been thinking about playing a 5e Paladin of Devotion. Most likely be a human or variant human. I want to fight on mount from time to time, but expect that the GM will have us inside more often than outside.

For fighting style, I see two choices that appeal to me:

Option 1: Great Weapon fighting for great sword. I go with GWF, then GWM makes sense as a feat. But I'd prefer not to use a two-handed weapon, even if it is optimal for damage.

Option 2: Duelist, bonus for long sword and shield, and also lance and shield when mounted. If I go with duelist, what feat works well? The four I'm considering are Shield Master, Sentinel, Lucky, and Mounted Combatant. Shield Master is ok for most fights, but there are some for which it is useless (huge or larger enemies who don't cause dex saves). Mounted Combatant is awesome while mounted, but its useless when not on a mount. Sentinel is cool, but seems like it would be used even less than the other two. Lucky doesn't seem as necessary for this class due to the Paladin's high saving throws and high AC (plate and shield).

I'm leaning towards shield master. Any comments?
 

Endur

First Post
I slightly modified the Oath of Devotion build to show what I have in mind. Another alternative to variant human would be a half-elf with Chr 16, str 16, con 16, dex 10, wis 8, int 8 and picking up shield master at level 4). I also picked some of the Smites over spells that were in the other build.

Changes I made below: priority on Charisma over Strength, didn't go with Resilent Con feat, and went with Lucky at level 19.

[sblock=Variant Human, Oath of Devotion, Shield Master]


Race: Human (Variant)
Background: Knight
Alignment: LG

Proficient skills: Persuasion (CHA), History (INT), Perception (WIS), Athletics (STR), Insight (WIS)
Proficient tools: Gaming set (one type)

Armor: Chain mail (Lv. 1) -> Plate (as soon as can afford it), Shield
Weapon: Longsword
Other: Holy Symbol (Emblem, on Shield)

Point buy array: 15, 15, 14, 10, 8, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 16, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 16, Shield Master
Lv. 4: STR 16, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 18, Shield Master
Lv. 8: STR 16, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 20, Shield Master
Lv. 12: STR 18, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 20, Shield Master,
Lv. 16: STR 20, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 20, Shield Master
Lv. 19: STR 20, DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 8, CHA 20, Shield Master, Lucky

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Dueling

Most oft-prepared spells (total 15 + Oath spells at Lv. 20):
1st level: Bless, Thunderous Smite, Wrathful Smite. Oath: Protection from Evil and Good, Sanctuary
2nd level: Find Steed, Magic Weapon. Oath: Lesser Restoration, Zone of Truth
3rd level: Blinding Smite, Crusader’s Mantle, Elemental Weapon, Revivify. Oath: Beacon of Hope, Dispel Magic
4th level: Banishment, Death Ward, Staggering Smite. Oath: Freedom of Movement, Guardian of Faith
5th level: Banishing Smite, Circle of Power, Destructive Wave. Oath: Commune, Flame Strike



[/sblock]
 

Quartz

Hero
Proficient tools: Gaming set (one type)

Really?

Point buy array: 15, 15, 14, 10, 8, 8

This is one reason I dislike the way humans are treated in 5E: to get two 16s you have to buy two 15s or a 15 and a 14 but choose a feat which gives a +1 boost to that stat whereas other races only have to buy a 15 and a 14 or even two 14s. Just look at your half-elf choice.

I do like your rationale for Shield Master & the Duelling style. As a wearer of heavy armour you might consider putting an 8 in Dex and a 10 in one of the mental stats: yo don't take a Dex penalty to AC in heavy armour and the Shield Master feat allows you to add your proficiency bonus to many Dex saves (more than negating the Dex penalty).

As you're using a longsword, you might consider the GWM feat anyway for the times you use the longsword two-handed - and the GWM feat gives its secondary benefit even when you use a 1H weapon. (And does the lance count as a Great Weapon?)
 

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