5E Paladin Archetypes... *meh*

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I've been reviewing the paladin archetype and their features all seem sort of blah. We homebrewed an Oath of Protection that I like, but I realize maybe I am underestimating them?

Any experienced paladin-players that could support the strength of current archetypes?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
In all seriousness, I think the oaths are decent and better than what we had before. As much fun as I had playing paladins in previous editions, there was a certain sameness to them.

So I'm not sure what I would change, they feel fairly distinct to me. The paladins I've played with seemed quite powerful. Can you give any more specifics, or is it just general?
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I would say the core of the paladin experience is in the Class features, and not in the archetype.
  • smites
  • aura of protection
  • lay on hands.

The Oaths give you
  • some new channel divinity options at 3
  • something at 7, which can be another aura.
  • (extra spells, which are not a factor I focus on)

When I've been looking at paladins, it's really only the 7th-level power that is a factor in choosing an oath (for me; I haven't played at levels 15+). The oath is generally unimportant.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
In all seriousness, I think the oaths are decent and better than what we had before. As much fun as I had playing paladins in previous editions, there was a certain sameness to them.

So I'm not sure what I would change, they feel fairly distinct to me. The paladins I've played with seemed quite powerful. Can you give any more specifics, or is it just general?
Well, perhaps it was by design. The paladin class is arguably a powerful one even without archetype features added. It is just that in reviewing the archetypes, no one at our table has ever found any of them to be compelling for their character--it is almost a "why bother, these all suck" attitude. Compared to archetypes from other classes, they seem severely uninspired.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I agree.

The most distinctive subclass so far was the UA version of the Oath of Redemption, which gave two further things at third level:
1. a higher AC when unarmored.
2. an ability when using a non-optimal weapon (bludgeoning simple, IIRC , so club or mace).

They stepped back from that when they published it in XGTE, though.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
For comparison, here is the Oath of Protection we use. It borrows a bunch from other stuff, but a bit of original stuff, too.

paladinoath.png
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I feel that the primary difference in the Oaths is more role-play than mechanical. The difference in benefits is fairly minimal, unless playing a specific kind of game (although I know the Oath of Vengence Vow of Enmity ability is popular with Great Weapon Master users). My group has a fondness for Oath of Conquest, playing a LN or LE bringer of order.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
Currently playing an devotion paladin (5th level), played a vengeance paladin (through 9th).

I've found the sacred weapon feature both useful and extremely powerful +3 (current bonus) counts for a lot and it can get to +5.

The Vow of Enmity (vengeance) is also quite good, simple no questions asked advantage on one enemy is pretty powerful.

Reset on a short rest (for either) means the ability doesn't have to be hoarded all that much, I certainly found it was there for the "big" fights.

As features go, both seem strong.

The spell selection for the vengeance paladin is quite strong - misty step is very nice and hold person is a big surprise from a melee type (at gen con, the villain ran and the DM assumed no one could get to him, the look on his face after a hold person (and a failed save) was priceless).

The devotion 7th level ability is certainly not meh! Immunity to charm, while somewhat specific is huge, and protects allies too.

The 7th level vengeance ability - well, didn't come up much, I was a bit disappointed. But with the right build, could be very useful.

I found the 2 characters distinct and the added abilities (minus the 7th level one) very useful and significant.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
I think that's because of Spirit Guardians, which, to be fair, pairs really well with Paladins.
Yes,

By 9th level (when spirit guardians is available for the paladin), he can (with a bit of planning and assuming feats are allowed) auto succeed on any concentration check of 10 or lower. This means he can take the spell into the thick of combat and still keep it up for a respectable amount of time.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I would say the core of the paladin experience is in the Class features, and not in the archetype.
  • smites
  • aura of protection
  • lay on hands.

The Oaths give you
  • some new channel divinity options at 3
  • something at 7, which can be another aura.
  • (extra spells, which are not a factor I focus on)

When I've been looking at paladins, it's really only the 7th-level power that is a factor in choosing an oath (for me; I haven't played at levels 15+). The oath is generally unimportant.
I think it’s a mistake to ignore the extra spells. The Devotion Oath spells just make you more Paladin-y, but the Channel Divinity options and bonus spells for the other Oaths strongly set them apart (IME) every single adventuring day, often every fight or important “scene”.

Oath of Enmity combined with Hunter’s Mark has a big impact on how my wife’s Vengeance Paladin fights, for instance. Ancients gives you spells that are entirely unlike normal Paladin spells. Crown gets a 1/SR bonus action group heal at level 3! It genuinely turns the tide when things go totally pear shaped. I’ve seen it take us from near-TPK to decisive victory.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I quite like the PHB archetypes. They boil down to White Knight, Green Knight, Black Knight.
Sure, the flavor is okay.

And all are pretty powerful.
This is where we just aren't seeing it. The Paladin class is good IMO (and has always been powerful), but the archetypes are very bland. Maybe because they did focus on the White, Green, and Blank knight?

When people want to play a class, and are turned off fromt it because none of the archetypes appeal, that is an issue!

But paladins have always been dull.
Oh, I disagree on that. I love paladins (especially the rapier-wielding gnomes!) and have always found them challenging and fun to play.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
1. At 4th or 8th level, take Resilient (Con) to get Con to at least 14: +2

2. 6th level aura of protection. Cha of 16: +3
(if con is 16+ you only need a Cha of 14, but Cha of 16 has other benefits for the paladin)

3. Proficiency bonus at level 9 (thanks to resilient con, concentration is really just a constitution save): +4

+9 concentration (constitution save). No auto fails on saves, so success on DC 10 or lower.

Edit: if you get lucky on rolls, or your DM allows a slightly higher point buy, you can even do it by 6th.
 
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