Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #15: Herald

Welcome to the 15th Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of the game’s herald class. This is the final class in this playtest process.

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I like the embedded smite mechanics, how you effectively can use smite without spells, and can basically gain the benefits of the "smite spells" in the phb without preparing them. I also like that your divine sense is back to at-will (actually even better, "always on") and only the cooler uses of the ability have X per day uses. The restriction was always silly to me in the core class. Lastly, the fact that auras are 15 feet...thank you. Its a small change, but it really does help, you would be surprise how often that restriction comes up.

My disappointment is that it doesn't really fix my biggest issue with the paladin, which is that you don't "really" get a good use for your charisma until 6th level. The charisma bonus to saves is such a core part of the paladin's identity to me, that it really bothers me that you don't get it until 6th. I would have loved to see some variant of the save bonus at 1st level onward, even if its weaker than the current. Aka doesn't start out as an aura, or maybe its charisma bonus but restricted by level. I'm also not opposed to other options, not saying it HAS to be a save bonus...but some very solid mechanically reason for a paladin to choose charisma as a big ability.

I'll nitpick that Heraldric Serman is called "Social Ribbon" in the chart. Also the "Devout" ability....I don't know many paladins that don't have persuasion, it would be nice to see an expertise die or something here if you already have it.

At first glance, this is probably the first class in a while where I'm debating if its actually "stronger" at higher levels. While the paladin takes a while to get all its abilities, once it has them, it has them. In this model, I can switch between them, but I can never have them all at once. Also your smites are not as strong and not as frequent. You do get some maneuvers to compensate, but from my reading of the initial list at least, I don't think there is anything that really tops the stronger smite from vanilla.
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Heretic of The Seventh Circle
At first glance, it is certainly a Paladin with more choices each level. I'm not sure that the whole herald concept works for a class, much less for a paladin type class (I'd put it in ranger, if anything), but it seems to work.


Huh, I just realized--you removed the Smite spells from the Herald's spell list and made them into class features. Interesting choice. I rather like it. However, it says "choose one of the following effects." Do you get to choose each time you make a smite, or when you make the character? I'm assuming it's the former.

You should give Heralds the option of taking a vow like the Cleric vows.

This doc lists all the cantrips that Heralds have access to. Are you planning on doing that for the other spellcasting classes?

Maneuvers: While this is a good list of standard knight-in-shining-armor maneuvers (although I think that Unending Wheel should be added to the list), it doesn't take into consideration sneaky or underhanded oaths like the Oath of Conquest, Oath of Vengeance, and the Oathbreakers (now live on stage!). Perhaps you should also add Mist and Shade or Mirror's Glint as well.

Divine Rest: Choose one of the following sets of enemies: celestials and fiends, fey and elementals, or aberrations and undead. Personally, I don't think you should be able to change this willy-nilly (i.e., after a long rest). It should be a 1/level thing. If it is going to be changeable after each rest, I'd have them only be able to detect one type of enemy, not two.

Undaunted: While exploring a place which you have never been to before, you can use your reaction to gain advantage on ability checks and attack rolls. You can do so a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier, and regain spent uses upon finishing a long rest. The use of the plural here--ability checks, attack rolls--is confusing. Do I gain advantage on all such rolls (made before the start/end of my next turn) or on one such roll made that turn?

Pretty good!


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I would have loved to see some variant of the save bonus at 1st level onward, even if its weaker than the current.
Perhaps just a plus 1? And honestly I'd make the aura come online in the first few levels, even if it is pretty weak at first.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Do I gain advantage on all such rolls (made before the start/end of my next turn) or on one such roll made that turn?
I read (which doesn't mean I'm correct necessarily!) it as spend a reaction to gain advantage on one roll, and you can do that a number of times equal to your Wisdom mod.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Still going through the rules, but why the name change? Not a deal breaker, just curious. Paladin should be a public domain name given their history with Charlemange
Because Charlemagne. Paladin is a specific reference to a certain type of holy warrior. While you can play that, you can also play other types. It's like calling the fighter the wrestler, or the rogue the pickpocket. Fighters can be wrestlers, but not all fighters are wrestlers. I talked about it in more detail here:

(We have an archetype for the Paladin type of Herald, but we didn't call that Paladin because it would just be too confusing).
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I don't like Divine Smite being limited by proficiency and I don't like how the damage is. It's less uses per day and less damage? Oof. At the same time, I really like the improvement stuff you get to add later on.

Still, I'd totally play this class as is and not be unhappy.

This will be very interesting to try out at my table. One player sees Paladins as OP and would gut the class if given the chance. Another sees them as the best designed class in the game. I like that the specialty smites are built into the class and divine sense is "always on". Solid changes imo.

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