Hello, and welcome to the official website of Dekkari’s Paladin Optimisation Guide! This guide (my first guide) is aimed at helping new paladins optimise their builds for fifth edition and beyond. It will be a fully optimised guide, with many details on classes, equipment, spells, and so forth.

The Paladin class is a versatile class in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. It can be used as a front-line fighter, a spellcaster, or a tank. It has a lot of useful abilities, but finding the best ones can be difficult. This guide will list the essential abilities for a paladin, and explain how to use them optimally.

“The Paladin is one of the most powerful classes in the Dungeons and Dragons game, but don’t be fooled by its humble appearance. The Paladin is more than a front-line fighter with healing abilities and high saving throws. This guide will show you how to find the best builds for your character, as well as the best sources for gear, spells and more. After reading this guide, you’ll be ready to take on any foe, with your +5 holy sword ready to smite evil.”

From the Players Handbook to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, this 5E Paladin optimisation guide covers the newest combat techniques, oaths, and subclasses.

A Paladin vows to keep their Oath, and their will to do what is “good” propels them onward.

What defines a Paladin has evolved throughout time, and you’ll discover many options for your Oath-bound fighter below.

So grab a weapon, make your vow in view of the Gods and dive into making the best Paladin in 5e Dungeons & Dragons.

The following sources were used to create this guide:


PHB stands for Player’s Handbook. DMG – Dungeon Master’s Guide MM – Monster Manual Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (EEPC) Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (SCAG) VOLO – Volo’s Monster Guide Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGTE) Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (MTOF)

We also have guides to the other classes (from us and externally) find the other great character optimisation guides for D&D here.


Paladin taking the Oath

[Insert your name here] Do solemnly swear: The Paladin’s Oath

And we will be shepherds for Thee, my Lord, for Thee. Thy hand has sent out power, so that our feet may quickly carry out Thy word. So we will flow a river to Thee, and it will always be alive with souls.


What is a Paladin in D&D?

Not quite a Fighter and not just a Cleric, the D&D Paladin straddles the world between divine  servant and soldier. The constant that runs through Paladin’s across editions is the divine rites they perform to serve a cause greater than themselves.

Previously, all Paladins had to be Lawful Good or their divine abilities would be taken away. We’ve moved beyond that limitation in Fifth Edition, and now offer Oaths for all types of Paladins. While the first three vows in the Player’s Handbook correspond to alignment, being a Paladin is no longer required.

As versions progressed, the concept of a “Fallen Paladin” emerged, a character who had violated their tenets and therefore lost their power. The effect of “Falling” is now more of an intriguing narrative option than a severe result. The Oathbreaker variation is now available to play with, but it should be discussed with your DM beforehand.

Playing a Paladin in 5E can be a lot of fun.

Paladins are unique in that they are both a weapons expert and a spellcaster. Paladins may begin casting spells and infusing their weapon strikes with Smites of various flavors from Lv 2 onwards.

They’ll need to balance spending slots between utility and raw damage while having the same amount of spell slots as full casters. To function at their best, the Paladin must balance their physical attribute Strength (or Dexterity) with their spellcasting attribute Charisma.

From here on forward, the following color coding will be used:

Sky Blue is a top-of-the-line option. Optimisation for Paladins begins here. Blue is a good option for a Paladin, but not exceptional. Black is a safe bet. Although there are better alternatives, this is more than enough. Purple indicates that the item is not of the highest quality. It may have a specialized use, but there are better alternatives available. Red denotes a mechanical flaw. If it suits your idea, go for it, but you’ll probably be less successful as a result.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a Paladin optimisation guide. We’re looking at what makes a basic Paladin build powerful or effective. There will be particular information for one sub-class over the other when possible.

However, if you have a great character concept that isn’t based on the word “charop,” don’t be hesitant to put fun ahead of numbers.

After all, you know your game better than I do.

Characteristics of the Paladin Class

  • Hit Dice: The Barbarian comes in second with 1d10 per level. You’re fighting alongside Rangers and Fighters, which is ideal if you’re going to be in the heart of things.
  • Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all types of armour, including shields. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
  • Weapon Proficiency: You’ve been trained with all types of weapons, both basic and martial.
  • Being a Paladin grants you two skills from each of the following categories: Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion. With proficiency, you’re not likely to pick up a lot of new abilities. Because your background and race may add additional abilities, we’ll cover the finest skills for a Paladin in a section below.
  • Your class does not provide you with any tool competence. Don’t worry, there are other methods to gain tool competence, like as via Backgrounds and downtime, but this isn’t something that happens very frequently.
  • Saving Throws: Charisma saves are very uncommon; they mainly deal with banishment effects that require you to compete with your willpower, so having one handy when anything tries to send you to another world is a great help. Wisdom is the major saving, so having a bonus in will come in handy. It’s the target for some of the most heinous circumstances in the game, thus mastering it is both thematic and practical.
  • Not a terrible way to get the game started. There are many weapon choices, so you should have a good notion of which route you’ll choose by now. A martial weapon plus a shield (a) or two martial weapons (b) five javelins or any basic melee weapon a priest’s pack or an explorer’s pack A sacred sign and chain mail
  • Divine Sense – You know the position of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you who is not under complete cover until the end of your next turn. If your game includes zombies or fiends, this will give you some leeway in determining whether or not certain locations have been contaminated by necrotic or fiendish magic.
  • Lay on Hands (1st Level): Heal individuals without having to use a spell slot, although it does take an action. Scales with Paladin level and is a wonderful pool to give someone 1 hp after a fight to bring them back to consciousness.
  • Fighting Style (2nd Level) – This is when you start to select your weapon specialty. Unless you multiclass into Fighter, you can’t choose a Fighting Style option more than once, and you only receive one choice.
    • There aren’t many methods to gain a flat boost to AC in defense. Most blows will bounce off you if you combine this with strong armour and a shield.
    • Dueling: When you just have a one-handed weapon and nothing else, you do more damage. So, a fencing warrior or a Paladin who uses a sword and board.
    • When you need two hands on your weapon, Great Weapon Fighting is the way to go. Because the re-roll will apply to Divine Smite damage, this is amazing as stated. Sage Advice explains that it just applies to Weapon damage, but it’s still a decent fighting technique if you use a two-handed weapon.
    • Another excellent style for shield users is protection. Uses your response to put your party at a disadvantage; if your group turns to you for protection, this is a good match.
    • Mariner (UA: Waterborne Adventures): For Dex Paladins that desire greater AC, this is a choice. If you envision yourself climbing rigging and swimming in the seas, this is a worthwhile endeavor.
  • Spellcasting (2nd Level): You’re hardly a wizard by any stretch of the imagination, but Paladins have it fairly good. You’ll have instant access to your full spell list, and you’ll be able to select which spells you want to prepare each day. This, like Druids, offers them incredible day-to-day flexibility. As a focus, you’ll need a holy sign, which may be worn as an amulet or engraved on your shield.
  • Divine Smite is your burst damage ability’s foundation. At the expense of a spell slot, it’s competitive with Sneak Attack. It’s usually worthwhile. This one may be particularly deadly if you get a critical strike, since the damage dice are doubled. (This is particularly amazing if you’re fighting something that’s under the influence of, say, a Hold Person/Monster spell!) Another important aspect to remember is that it requires no action, which means you can use it multiple times per round if you have additional attacks, on the same turn you cast a bonus action spell (including stacking this on top of a smite spell! ), and on reaction attacks (making your Opportunity Attacks or Sentinel feat attacks particularly dangerous!). NOTE: Because the maximum damage from this requires a 4th-level spell slot, blowing a 5th-level slot provides no advantage. It’s possible that this will need to be errata’d to a 6d8 limit.
  • Divine Health (3rd Level): Disease immunity. When the opportunity arises, it’s fantastic.
  • Sacred Oath – Paladin Archetype (3rd Level): This is where you choose your Paladin subclass. We’ll go into additional specifics later. The archetype you select gives you abilities at the 3rd level, as well as at the 7th, 15th, and 20th levels.
  • Spells of Oath
  • Divinity is channeled
  • Improvement of Ability Scores (4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels): These are fantastic; the more the merrier, and you’re getting quite a few. The Fighter is the only one who receives more of them. Take a few feats once you’ve maxed up your main stats.
  • Extra Attack (5th Level): Having a second attack is wonderful, but that’s why you have Smite power.
  • Aura of Protection (6th Level): Arguably the Paladin’s trademark ability, allowing you to apply your CHA modifier to all saving throws. Allies receive the advantage as well if they’re within 10 feet of you.
  • Frightened can be quite nasty for a melee combatant, which you are, because it not only gives you a disadvantage on all attack rolls and ability checks, but it also prevents you from moving towards the source of the frightening. Aura of Courage (10th Level): Frightened can be quite nasty for a melee combatant, which you are, because it not only gives you a disadvantage on all attack rolls and ability checks, but it also prevents you from moving towards the source of the frightening.
  • Improved Divine Smite (11th Level): Every time you strike, you get bonus radiant damage at no cost. On all melee attacks, a continuous +1d8 additional radiant damage is dealt.
  • Cleansing Touch (14th Level): With CHA-mod uses per day, negate a hostile spell on yourself or an ally with your action. It’s a cool skill, but it’s not nearly a game changer.
  • All those wonderful Auras you receive (Protection, Courage, whatever from your Oath) increase from 10 feet to 30 feet with Aura Improvements (18th Level). Whereas it used to be a bit of a gamble whether or not your teammates would benefit from your Auras, today it’s almost a given.

Paladin’s best stats are:

  • Unless you’re aiming for a DEX-based build, you’ll want to increase your Str. Both are suitable for dual wielding and sword-and-board combat techniques. Strength is the best for a two-handed fighter. If you’re a powerful Paladin, you’ll also need some Dexterity for initiative.
  • Dexterity: For exquisite weaponry, dexterity is clearly preferred. You’ll be a bit easier to hit than a Strength Paladin, but you’ll be stronger at stealth and initiative. If you’re pursuing dexterity, you may ignore Strength.
  • Another top-tier stat, which is a disadvantage. Hit points are much too valuable to be overlooked. Paladins are melee fighters, and having more hit points allows them to remain in the fight for longer (and recover more HP with hit dice). After your attack and Charisma numbers, this should be your third priority. If you want to perform Concentration spells in the midst of a fight, you’ll need a good score here to keep them up while you take damage.
  • When people refer to you as the “Big Stupid Paladin,” they’re referring to you, therefore ditch Intelligence…
  • Wise: This is a stat you can leave in the 10-12 range. The Paladin’s ability to save with Wisdom is advantageous. Instead, focus on increasing Charisma and letting Aura of Protection handle the rest.
  • Cha: You may leave the ‘face’ things to a Bard unless it falls with the sort of abilities you’re seeking. If you’re using the Rally maneuver, Battlemaster Paladins may like this.

Paladin Races to Avoid:

Anything with +STR/DEX/CON is an excellent choice. Early on, defensive benefits may be helpful, but certain choices may be less effective later.

Races from the Player’s Handbook [PHB]

  • [+2 Con] Dwarf With +2 CON, Darkvision, and an advantage against and tolerance to poison, Dwarves form a strong Paladin race. Theme-wise, you’re looking for Axes and Hammers, although you can certainly break the pattern… Ideally, you should use an axe or a hammer.
    • [+2 Str] Mountain Dwarf This one is a no-brainer… just like the Strength Paladin. One of the strongest racial pairings in 5E is +2 STR and +2CON.
    • [+1 Wis] Hill Dwarf This is a good option for a Dwarf contemplating a DEX build, but you’ll get more bang for your buck elsewhere. The greatest Dwarf option in Mountain was previously seen by STR-Paladins.
    • [+1 Str] Duergar Superior Darkvision; resistance to illusions, charms, and paralysis; free Enlarge/Reduce and Invisibility Enlarge grants you an advantage on STR checks and saves, as well as an additional d4 damage each attack. If you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors throughout the day, the sun sensitivity may be a disadvantage. [SCAG]
  • [+2 Dex] Elf The Elf Paladin is a great fit for a DEX Paladin. They acquire Darkvision, resistance to charm, and sleep immunity.
    • [+1 Wis] Wood Elf While the Elf package as a whole is fine, the Wood-specific elements aren’t really useful. It’s a minor upgrade over the High Elf.
    • [+1 Cha] Drow Although the CHA increase is great, there isn’t much else you like. In a prolonged subterranean campaign, enhanced darkvision and Faerie Fire may be useful, but sunlight sensitivity hurts if you venture outdoors. Perhaps you could dress up like Jarlaxxle and wear a huge expensive hat.
    • [+1 Int] High Elf Even if you receive a cantrip depending on INT, there are a few that are unaffected by it. Trance, competence with Perception tests, and the DEX increase are all available to High Elves, as they are to all Elves.
    • [+1 Int or +1 Cha] Eladrin According to the [DMG], a High Elf with a teleport spell, however the Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes version changes out the INT for CHA, making the Fey Step more unique and now a quality choice. The new Fey Step includes a side effect that changes according on what season you are in, which you may alter at any time. (It’s worth noting that Winter is a terrifying effect, making it useful for Conquest.)
    • Sea (MTOF): [+1 CON] with the DEX is useful, but the waterbreathing and swim speed aren’t really useful unless you’re in a sea-based campaign.
    • [+1 CON] Shadar-kai (MTOF) This subrace gains necrotic resistance as well as the ability to cantrip. You can perform a short range teleport with a bonus action that grants you resistance to all damage. This is a good defensive choice.
  • [+2 Dex] Halfling You receive the same boost in Dexterity as an Elf, but you also get the Lucky Racial trait, with the caveat that you must use finesse weapons.
    • [+1 Con] Stout Halfling As a dex Paladin, you’ll want to remain out of the front lines anyhow, thus the CON increase may be helpful.
    • Halflings with Lightfoots [+1 Cha] Hiding behind others may be beneficial, and the CHA advantage helps, but there aren’t many benefits to being concealed.
    • Halflings who can see ghosts [Wis +1] Wisdom and the ability to communicate telepathically aren’t immediately helpful to a Paladin. [SCAG]
  • Human [All scores get a +1], For a Paladin, +1 to each ability score isn’t very interesting. This is a good concept, but not a great one, since it relies on at least three statistics.
    • [+1 to??? and???] Human Variant as well as an accomplishment] It’ll be a different scenario if Human Variant is permitted. With a feat, you may get a head start on your character idea. You’ll gain some ASIs later, but a Feat (see the Feats section) that allows you to activate a Paladin idea at level 1 is fantastic.


  • [+2 Str, +1 Cha] Dragonborn You receive a breath weapon to deal with swarms of opponents since all of your stats line up. It seems to be much better for a Conquest Paladin with the Dragon Fear feat [XGE].
  • [+2 Int] Gnome Similar to the Halfling, but with a lower INT. The tiny version, but without the Lucky or Dex Bonus bonuses.
    • [+1 Dex] Forest Gnome The DEX is decent for a Dex build, and illusion might be entertaining, but Paladins aren’t very fond of it.
    • [+ 1 Con] Rock Gnome This subrace doesn’t offer anything to the table.
    • [+1 Dex] Deep Gnome The…svirfneblin… If you spend a lot of time underground, superior darkvision may be useful, but there are better alternatives. [SCAG]
  • [+2 Cha and +1 to???] Half-Elf The Half-Elf is an excellent option for any CHA-based class. Here are a few of the excellent elf characteristics, as well as a bonus to CHA and +1 to two others. Many Paladins will want to think about it, since Half-Elf now has even more sub-race possibilities, comparable to Elf subraces.
    • (PHB default) Skill Versatility: The original and still the greatest Half-Elf receives two skills of their choosing. In every campaign, perception is a good option, and the other option is up to you. If becoming a Half-elf suits your character concept, it’s a great route to choose since it grants you immunity to charm.
    • SCAG (Aquatic Descent): Giving up skill versatility in exchange for a 30-foot swim speed. Obviously better in a campaign including water travel, but if you spend the most of your time on land, this is a waste of time.
    • Drow Descent (SCAG): Drow Magic allows you to see dancing lights, faerie fire, and ultimately darkness while avoiding the sun. All of the benefits with none of the drawbacks. This is a great bargain.
    • Descent of the Moon/Sun (High) Elf(SCAG): Your weapon training is useless. The Wizard cantrip is helpful, but you must choose one that isn’t dependent on INT. Prestidigitation, Light, Mage Hand, and, with SCAG and the War Caster feat in play, Booming Blade are all viable choices. You also receive the Half-superior Elf’s stats.
    • Wood Elf Descent (SCAG): Once again, weapon training is a waste of time, but Fleet of Foot isn’t terrible for some additional speed. Mask of the Wild may be useful in certain situations, but it is a situational game.
  • [+2 Str and +1 Con] Half-Orc Darkvision, deadlier crits, once-a-day KO avoidance, and free Intimidation proficiency are all available. For STR-Paladins, it doesn’t get much better.
  • [+1 Int, +2 Cha] Tiefling The +2 to CHA is amusing, but the INT isn’t really useful. A Fiend Paladin who is fire immune like a Blackguard seems awesome from a thematic standpoint. The Variant Tieflings are a mishmash of several races.
    • Infernal Legacy [PHB Default]: Thaumaturgy may be entertaining, but it isn’t always practical. Darkness and Hellish Rebuke provide you with a variety of choices and usefulness.
    • Vicious Mockery being a good ranged choice when you don’t have anything else. Devil’s Tongue: Lay on the wicked charm with Vicious Mockery being a strong ranged option when you don’t have anything else. If utilized properly, Charm someone and Entrall depending on your Charisma spellcasting modifier are also viable choices.
    • Hellfire : Replacing the hellish rebuke with scorching hands improves your ability to deal with hordes, but it’s not a significant improvement.
    • When you’re not wearing heavy armour, you get to fly about instead of casting additional spells. If you’re weakly armored, it’s only worth considering.
  • Feral Tiefling [+1 Int and +2 Dex] Variant This is an intriguing possibility, particularly when using wings. [SCAG]

Volo’s Monster Guide [VOLO] 

  • [+2 Cha] Aasimar Charisma and resistance are excellent, but spells are mediocre at best. Darkvision, resistance to necrotic and radiant damage, a free Light cantrip, and a scaled-down version of Lay on Hands with a long-rest recharge that allows you to save part of your real Lay on Hands [VOLO] 
  • Firbolg: [+2 Wis, & +1Str] The wisdom isn’t particularly helpful, though the strength is nice. The rest of the abilities are a bit hap-hazard for a Paladin. [VOLO] 
  • Goliath: [+2 Str, & +1 Con] This is much better. A big strong Goliath is similar to a Half-Orc where you get Athletics for free instead of Intimidation. Stone’s endurance is helpful at lower levels until you’re an unkillable badass. [VOLO] 
  • Kenku [+1 Wis and +2 Dex] A unique roleplaying option with powers better suited to rogues. However, a Dex Paladin may have some promise. [VOLO] 
  • [+2 Con and +1 Wis] Lizardfolk This Dex Paladin has a Bite attack and Natural armour, making it a viable option for a Dex Paladin. Because Natural Armour and Worn Armour can not stack, this option is less attractive to STR Paladins seeking Plate. [VOLO] 
  • [+2 DEX and +1 CHA] Tabaxi For a Dex Paladin, this is a great collection of abilities. Darkvision, increased mobility, built-in weaponry, and free Stealth and Perception proficiency are all available to Tabaxi. The Cha boost is also beneficial. [VOLO] 
  • [+1 to STR, CON, and CHA] Triton Each of those stat boosts is important. Aside from that, swim speed, water and air breathing, aquatic creature communication, and cold resistance are all important. It’s also worth noting that Gust of Wind, Fog Cloud, and Wall of Water are all great utility spells. It’s excellent in every way. [VOLO] 

[VOLO] Volo’s Monstrous Races 

  • [+2 STR +1 DEX] Bugbear The extended arms give you more reach on your turns, and the stat benefits are also aligned well, with Str Paladins benefiting more than Dex Paladins. Darkvision, free Stealth proficiency, and 2d6 more damage when striking from surprise are also included. [VOLO] 
  • [+2 DEX +1 CON] Goblin A dexterous DEX Paladin with excellent disengage and concealment abilities. [VOLO] 
  • [+2 CON, +1 INT] Hobgoblin Paladins with a shield wall are said to be great. However, the Int may be less helpful to you. In a large group, the Save-Face skill is very useful. [VOLO] 
  • [-2 Str and +2 Dex] Kobold With these advantages, you’re not going for a Strength Paladin; the advantage on any attack as long as an ally is close to your target is excellent for a DEX Paladin with an ally taking the focus. It’s even better in campaigns when Sunlight Sensitivity isn’t a factor. [VOLO] 
  • [+2 Str and +1 Con, -2 Int] Orc You lose INT, but don’t worry about it. Darkvision and intimidation are good picks, and the extra action mobility helps with getting into combat range, which may be a problem at times. [VOLO] 
  • Yuan-Ti Pureblood: [+2 CHA +1 INT] The CHA is great coupled with Suggestion as a racial spell based on CHA. Magic resistance and poison immunity plus darkvision. A well rounded choice for any Paladin. [VOLO] 

[EEPC] Elemental Evil Races

  • [+2 Dex] Aarakocra Flying is useful, but keep in mind that you’ll only be able to fly with light armour. DEX Paladins may gain greatly from this. [EEPC]
  • [+2 Con] Genasi A con boost is great, and every Genasi receives one. [EEPC]
    • [+1 Dex] Air Genasi Another Paladin that can fly… But what about Levitate? It’s not terrible. [EEPC]
    • [+1 Str] Earth Genasi Passing without leaving a trace is a strong stealth skill, and Earth Walk aids movement. Paladins with heavy armor may benefit from the Strength boost. [EEPC]
    • [+1 Int] Genasi of Fire Intelligence isn’t really useful; a Dragonborn gets a lot of comparable things with higher stats. [EEPC]
    • [+1 Wis] Water Genasi This receives a modest bump in a water-based promotion, but you may want to look into Triton instead. [EEPC]

[WGtE] Eberron Races

  • [+2 Cha +1 Dex] Changeling A Dex Paladin should invest on CHA and DEX increases. In more social efforts, disguising oneself is a useful technique. [WGtE]
  • [+1 Dex] Shifters These shifts are more physically demanding races. Along with Perception proficiency, Darkvison isn’t terrible, and the brief HP boost from shifting makes for a tough Paladin. [WGtE]
    • [+2 Con] Beasthide Shifter Dex Paladins benefit from boosts to AC, CON, and DEX. [WGtE]
    • [+2 Str] Longtooth Shifter A little STR and DEX isn’t a very good combination, but a Strength Paladin gets a little more out of it. [WGtE]
    • [+1 Dex, +1 Cha] Swiftstride Another pure Dex alternative, this time with a Cha increase and the ability to move about. [WGtE]
    • [+2 Wis] Wildhunt Shifter WIS is a useless metric. [WGtE]
  • [+1 Con] Warforged I’ll admit that I’m partial to Warforged Paladins. During a lengthy rest, your Armour composition, poison resistance, and illness immunity will all change. There’s a lot of interesting things for a Paladin here; you can’t wear armour, but you may be able to persuade your DM to include magical armour effects in your build. [WGtE]
    • Envoy [+1???, as well as +1???] Paladins with some flexibility in terms of the tool they interface with have a lot of promise. [WGtE]
    • [+2 Str] Juggernaut A classic military weapon in the form of a live being. The increased damage from unarmed attacks isn’t very helpful unless you often find yourself disarmed. [WGtE]
    • [+2 Dex] Skirmisher Extra mobility and reconnaissance potential. [WGtE]

[GGtR] Ravnica Races

  • Centaur [+1 Wis, +2 Str]
  • Loxodon [+1 Wis, +2 Con]
  • Minotaur: [+2 Str, +1 Con] Charging into battle with horns already sounds awesome. Your horns mean you can wield a shield while attacking for d10 damage (hint: choose the Dueling fighting style), and the Goring Rush (bonus action attack while dashing) and Hammering Horns (bonus action shove 5′ while attacking) abilies give you a ton of combat flexibility. Navigational skills never hurt anyone either. Also think of the fun creature your Steed must be located. will create and get more Horns in your arsenal. [GGtR]
  • [+2 Con, +1???] Simic Hybrid
  • Vedalken: [+1 Wis, +2 Int]

There’s a lot more to think about when it comes to the finest Paladin races.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s the deal with racial abilities: They won’t be as important later in the game. That +1 to your stat has less of an effect on overall performance at 15th level.

The change is considerably more apparent at lower levels. At a low level, 5e is clearly a more difficult game than either 3.x or 4e. It is less forgiving, and it is very simple to be dropped.

When you’re looking at races, keep it in mind. While certain races may lack the “oomph” when it comes to doing damage, the survival benefits that they do have will come in useful during those tough low levels.  

Archetypes of the Paladin Oath: Paladin Subclasses

[PHB] Devotion Oath


“We offer hope to the virtuous. We bring fire to the tainted.” ― Grey Knights’ Castellan Garran Crowe

Old-school Players will recognise this as the “Lawful Good” Paladin trope. Don’t worry too much about sticking to those guns in 5E D&D though as the tenets themselves are pretty vague.

With the class characteristics you receive, there’s a good mix of Defense and Offense. Apart from zombies, your primary enemies will be fiends and, ultimately, any non-natural planar beings.

  • Sacred Weapon: Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). An action to add your CHA-modifier to attack rolls for a minute (10 rounds). Does not require Concentration to maintain (thus stacks with any other buffs) and does not count as a spell (which means you can cast a swift spell in the same round). Since it’s an action to activate, you’ll want to use this power a round or two before you anticipate the start of combat for best results. A very good ability for that climactic fight during that part of the day.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Turn the Unholy Turn Undead is a traditional Paladin skill, but with the added twist of converting fiends. You won’t be able to kill them as a Cleric destroys Undead, but you’ll be able to make them flee. This one is certainly best utilized against a horde of these opponent kinds; clearly, it’s situational, but given your class’ typical weakness versus hordes, you’ll take what you can get.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) All of these spells are of high caliber and are mainly already on the Paladin’s spell list. The majority of the spells are buffs or healing spells, with a few destructive spells tossed in for good measure. Sanctuary, for example, is excellent for shielding healers.
  • Lv. 7 Aura of Devotion Obtaining charm immunity for yourself and friends inside the Aura is very beneficial. Immunity to spells like Suggestion, Dominate, and Geas, as well as equally nefarious creature Charm powers like vampire and succubi’s. There are few things more frustrating than having your own comrades turn against you.
  • Spirit Purity: Lv. 15. On attack rolls against you, aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead will always be at a disadvantage. You can’t be scared of them anymore, and you can’t be possessed by them (You already couldnt be charmed). This is a good list of monsters for most campaigns, and it’s much better if you’re fighting Liches and Draco-liches. The advantages will be seen immediately versus swarms of lesser opponents of these kinds. These high-CR monsters will still strike you pretty often (unless you have +X armor and a shield of some kind), but their disadvantage means they’ll virtually never score a crit on you.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest) Holy Nimbus Great against large groups of foes, especially undead or fiends that are susceptible to radiant damage. It is not a spell, and it does not need a saving throw; it just does damage. The bonus on saving throws is a great touch.

The Ancients’ Oath [PHB]


Do you want your Paladin to have a more Chaotic Good vibe? Consider the Oath of Nature, which provides benefits against Fey monsters.

You are shielded against Magic damage from spells with the Oath of the Ancients, as well as having some excellent defensive utility choices. This might be a good option if your game involves battling wizards or traveling through the Feywild.

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Nature’s Wrath Not off to a good start; restrainin with your motion is great, but the range is limited. Only better than a grapple in that it may be used on opponents of any size, and it prevents them from using their action to flee. They’ll have a chance to make the saving throw at the conclusion of each round to get free. It also enables saves after all of the enemy’s turns, in addition to the first STR/DEX save.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Turn the Faithless Replace the undead with fey in a game similar to Devotion’s Turn the Unholy (still turns fiends, too). This has been used to great success against a chamber of demons, allowing the group to just stroll out of the area without being attacked. Can also assist you in selecting one target at a time while keeping the others at bay.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) You may get a strange look from a Druid if you use one of their spells here. Ensnaring Strike, Misty Step, Moonbeam, Protection from Energy, Ice Storm, Stoneskin, and Tree Stride are some of the high-quality spells I’ve seen utilized to great success. Moonbeam and Ice Storm in particular are effective anti-horde abilities.
  • Aura of Warding (Lv. 7) reduces all spell damage against you and friends in your aura by half! This does not defend against creatures that deal natural magic damage, such as Dragons, but it does guard against unavoidable damage, such as Magic Missile. This is really the distinguishing characteristic of this Oath.
  • Lv. 15: Undying Sentinel Instead of dying, you keep kicking with 1 hit point, similar to the Half-Orc racial ability. This is fantastic since you’re still just as effective at 1 hitpoint. Being resistant to the effects of aging is a fascinating concept, but it’s never came up in any of my games.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest): Elder Champion Become the forest’s avatar and recover health during every round. The primary attraction is being able to start the fight with a bonus action control spell that is more difficult to resist. It takes an action to cast Elder Champion, but if you have enough forewarning, you may be able to do it before the fight.

[PHB] Oath of Vengeance


You’ll get a sense of how this Paladin subclass works if you recall the Avenger from 4th edition. The Oath of Vengeance is focused on inflicting massive damage on a single enemy.

Find the largest, baddest target you can, inflict Vengeance on them, and go to town. While this Oath does not provide any meaningful defensive choices, the Paladin class as a whole has plenty of them.

If you have a flaw, it’s that you’re less successful in horde fights than other Oath Paladins since you’re so focused on single target damage.

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). Abjure Enemy: Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). Tell a monster to stand exactly there and wait. It may be used to keep a melee fighter out of a battle until you’re ready. You’ll be utilizing your Channel Divinty for your Vow of Enmity the most of the time.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). Vow of Enmity: Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). As a bonus action, go near to the largest evil and say your Vow. This ability provides you a one-minute advantage over this monster. This extra action provides you an advantage (no ifs, ands, or buts) against the opponent you’ve chosen. Later also does a fantastic job with the key of this.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) All of your Oath spells bolster your capacity to do massive damage to a single target. Either incapacitate your target so you can go near, or keep one opponent off so your Enmity target may be focused. Isolate your target using Hold Person, Misty Step, Dimension Door, and Hold Monster. Hunter’s Mark and Haste enhance your already high damage output.
  • Lv. 7: Relentless Avenger A fantastic weapon for pursuing and getting in front of a fleeing opponent, forcing them to go past you once again. Sentinel and Polearm Master may find this helpful.
  • Lv. 15: Soul of Vengeance You may use your reaction to perform a melee weapon attack against your Vow of Enmity target whenever it makes an attack. So now, whether they run or remain, you receive additional attacks. This puts a little strain on Sentinel, since it allows you to strike even if the target assaults you. Also, if you went Sentinel, you’ll need to figure out whether it’ll flee this turn so you can maximize your response time. However, having more attacks each round is always a good thing, particularly when you have advantage with Hunter’s Mark piling the damage.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest) Avenging Angel The Vengeance capstone grants you 60 feet of flying speed and a menacing aura for 1 hour (30 ft. radius, Wisdom save or be frightened for 1 minute or until damaged, and attack rolls against the creature have Advantage). The one-hour flight speed is excellent, although it is a little late. Every creature that begins or enters the 30ft Aura of Menace must make a Wisdom saving or be terrified for 1 minute. Even if you strike them, they won’t be scared any longer, and they’ll have to make the save all over again at the start of their turn. Float into a room and instill fear in everyone.

The Crown’s Oath [SCAG]


With every breath, you choose to preserve the virtues of law and civilization. This one works with any sort of Lawful alignment, although it isn’t required.

Perhaps you’re a knight aspiring to nobility or royalty, or perhaps you work for Devils with a strict hierarchy. A lot of your gear allows you to target yourself for damage and attacks so that your friends can get things done.

You aren’t as aggressive as other Oaths (ignoring Redemption), and you’ll discover that defending your friends is one of your strongest suits. The crown is heavy since you’ll be spending a lot of time defending your’subjects.’

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Champion Challenge: Bonus action that makes opponents stay near to you but doesn’t make them attack you. By staying away from melee opponents, you may prevent them from assaulting friends; however, this creates a dilemma since allies want to be near to you for your aura.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Turn the Tide 1d6+CHA heals all creatures (your choice) as a bonus action. It gets off to a good start, but it doesn’t really scale. If nothing else, it’s a good idea to have some on hand in case of an emergency.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) All of them, with the exception of two, are already in the Paladin spell list: Spirit Guardians and Warding Bond are excellent spells for increasing your strength. Even the redundant Paladin spells in this Oath list (e.g. Command, Aura of Vitality, Banishment) are still excellent or even great spells.
  • Lv. 7 Divine Allegiance: Take damage that would otherwise be dealt to an ally within 5 feet. Unfortunately, since it requires your response, it can only be done once each round, rendering it ineffective in a battle with many opponents or against multiattacking monsters. This also implies you won’t be able to utilize it if you used the Protection fighting style the previous round.
  • Lv. 15: Unyielding Spirit Advantage on your saves against two of the game’s most dangerous conditions: paralysis and shocked. Given your Aura of Protection and proficiency benefits, it’s probably not much more than a safety net at this level, but it doesn’t hurt to have it.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest): Exalted Champion You gain resistance to all non-magical weapons for an hour, which still has an effect at the highest levels. It’s also good to have an edge on ally death saves and on your and your allies’ WIS saves.

Conquest Oath [XGE]

Oath of the Conquest paladin shot with arrows

A Paladin who recognizes the necessity for law and order in the world. You, of course, are the one who will put the right legislation into effect.

This oath pushes Lawfulness to its logical conclusion, bordering on tyranny. Assume the role of the benign dictator and govern with an iron hand, crushing all opponents.

In terms of mechanics, this Oath aims to dominate the battlefield via terror, and it does a decent job of amplifying the Paladin’s already terrifying spells and abilities, as well as providing a few new ones.

This Oath is mostly about control and lockdown rather than direct harm. Because frightening opponents is such an essential element of this Oath’s combat strategy, Charisma is much more significant for this subclass than it is for many other Paladins; in fact, it may be as high as, if not higher than, Strength.

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Conquering Presence As an action, frighten every creature within 30 feet of you. This is already powerful, but it becomes stronger when additional features focus on the terrified state. Controlling a swarm of foes is a breeze with this tool. This mass dread CD, however, is inferior to the Oathbreaker’s Dreadful Aspect since it unconditionally enables a save on each of the opponents’ turns.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest) Guided Strike +10 to a single attack roll when taken from the War Cleric. When used in conjunction with an active Wrathful Smite, you have a much higher chance of triggering scared.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) Here are some excellent upgrades to your Paladin’s armory. Fear is available at the 9th level, although there is a great thematic blend of Agathys’ protection armor and offensive spiritual weapon at all levels.
  • Lv. 7 Aura of Conquest This is the point at which your Conquest really starts. This 10ft Aura connects you to the internet as a fear-eating machine. When a creature is scared by you, its speed is lowered to 0 and it suffers psychic damage at the beginning of its turn. The most essential thing is to maintain your armory full of terrifying spells and abilities, which includes learning Wrathful Smite (1st-level spell), practicing it, and utilizing it against the most dangerous single targets. You have Conquering Presence and subsequently Fear as an Oath spell for dealing with hordes. Then there’s the pushing of a terrified opponent prone in this Aura, which implies they’ll never get up. Alternatively, use a polearm and lash out at an opponent 10 feet away; if they only have a 5-foot reach, they won’t strike you back.
  • Lv. 15: Scornful Rebuke They have no right to assault you in the first place. When an opponent strikes you with an attack, including ranged assaults, it deals psychic damage equal to your CHA modifier. Each and every time. Every single adversary. Automatically. There is no need for you to respond. This may rapidly mount up.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest): Invincible Conqueror The resistance to all types of harm is enormous. You’ll spend the whole minute attempting to get in everyone’s face and get them to attack you (and thus taking psychic damage). It’s always great to have an additional attack, particularly because your crit range is increased during this period.

[XGE] Oath of Redemption

Paladin of Devotion with Wings

Have you ever played a World of Warcraft Holy Paladin? You spend more time mending people and casting buffs than you do doing real damage.

While you won’t be as successful at healing as a Life Cleric, the Redemption route may be enjoyable. In a typical dungeon crawl, the pacifist aspect of this Oath may make it difficult to play.

Concentrate on raising your CHA score since your Oath spells are fantastic, but they need to be even better to compensate for the lack of hits you’re dealing.

This Oath’s Persuasion check increases provide some of its power, making it more useful in a high-roleplay game.

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Emissary of Peace Persuasion checks get a +5 bonus after a 10-minute period. Clearly positive in the social pillar.
  • Channel Divinity: Lv. 3, Rebuke the Violent (1 total/short rest). Useful against large damage dealers, you can make someone suffer the same amount of damage they just dealt out as radiant once every brief rest. They must still fail their Wisdom saving throw. Overall, you won’t be utilizing this very frequently, but when you do, it’s great to be able to use it and have it do enough damage to justify burning your Channel Divinity usage.
  • Lv. 3 Oath Spells (overall rating) This list has several excellent spells; you’ll note that they’re mostly utility or defensive spells, which is thematically fitting. You’ll rely on spellcasting a lot more than the rest of the Paladins. Sleep will give you a few of helpful levels, and then there are spells like Sanctuary, Hold Person, Counterspell, Hypnotic Pattern, and, at higher levels, Wall of Force. Others on the list, such as Calm Emotions and Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, are still useful.
  • Lv. 7 of the Guardian’s Aura As a response, you may suffer damage instead of your friends. There is no method to decrease this damage; it helps in keeping your friends alive, but the range is very limited until Lv. 18. Against numerous opponents and multiattacking bosses, it’s not very effective.
  • Lv. 15: Protective Spirit With its free healing when under half your total health points, the Champion Fighter’s Lv. 18 feature Survivor is comparable, if not somewhat better, in terms of statistics. You also acquire it three levels before the Champion Fighter. Isn’t it fantastic?
  • Lv. 20: Emissary of Redemption Surprisingly, the Paladin path’s capstone doesn’t seem to fit with the playstyle. There is a continuous effect that provides two significant benefits: resistance to all damage from all opponents and auto-damage retribution from enemies that strike you. It’s extremely simple to be overlooked unless you’re speeding past opponents in an attempt to trigger chance assaults. To get the most out of this in a group environment, you’ll want to concentrate all of your fire on one opponent at a moment, which is exactly what this Paladin has been doing for the last 19 levels. And therein is the flaw in this capstone, as well as the overall design of this Oath.

[DMG] Oathbreaker


This isn’t so much a ‘Oath’ as it is a route that the DM may send you on if you violate your Oath. Having said that, the Oathbreaker has a lot to recommend it.

While this does not need you to be evil, it does lend itself to an Anti-Paladin or Blackguard motif.

Your ‘good’ companions may look at you suspiciously when you summon your own army of undead, since the abilities are a combination of Necromancer and Fiendish magic. If your character is a Blackguard of Asmodeus, I’d suggest talking to your DM about making it entirely about Fiends instead of Undead.

The Oathbreaker Paladin also has additional tools in their arsenal to assist them deal with a variety of foes. Your allies, on the other hand, aren’t going to adore you since you’re not really offering anything team-related that they’d expect from a Paladin.

  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest): Control Undead This begins slowly but quickly increases in difficulty as you go. Any undead creature without Legendary Resistance that is at least 1 CR lower than your level is fair game for a full day of domination. As stated, there is no limit to how many zombies you may manage, so take an hour off and try again. Assume you’re a Lv. 18 Death Knight general in charge of an army of Death Knights. Alternatively, if you’re more of an Asmodeus Paladin, try if you can persuade your DM to alter any references to Undead to Devils.
  • Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). Dreadful Aspect: Lv. 3, Channel Divinity (1 total/short rest). Another power to terrify everyone within 30 feet of you for a whole minute. Dreadful Aspect differs from the Conquest’s Conquering Presence in that it only enables opponents to roll saves to stop it once they’re more than 30 feet away from you. Drive your adversaries away from you and bask in their… uh, sorry, sorrow.
  • Lv. 3 Oathbreaker Spells (overall rating) The Oathbreaker’s Undead and Fiendish nature is revealed here. With (Hellish Rebuke, Inflict Wounds, Crown of Madness), it’s a bit all over the place, but on the other hand, there are some really excellent additions (Animate Dead, Confusion).
  • Lv. 7 Aura of Hate Instead of assisting your ordinary friends, you increase the strength of undead and… fiends? If you followed my advise and control an undead every hour on the hour, you should have a strong army behind you, which, along with Animate Dead, will make you a formidable opponent. This aura, however, also enhances hostile undead and fiends, making this ability a double-edged sword in battles against those monster kinds.
  • Supernatural Resistance: Lv. 15: Resistance to all nonmagical weapon damage kinds. You’d be shocked how many creatures it defends you against, even some legendary monsters with very high CRs. This applies to all dragons, including the Tarrasque.
  • Lv. 20 (1/long rest) Dread Lord Your ultimate Paladin capstone generates a scary environment, as well as a bonus action attack that does necrotic damage to any scared opponents in your aura. It’s best to use this combination after you’ve used your Dreadful Aspect. Another great feature is the ability to put foes at a disadvantage when assaulting you and any allies, and the extra action melee spell attack is a wonderful boost if you weren’t already striking with a bonus action.

5E Paladin Spells

1st Level

  • Bless: 
  • Command
  • Heal Wounds
  • Identify the Evil and the Good
  • Magic Detection
  • Poison and Disease Detection
  • Favor of the Almighty
  • Heroism
  • Protection from both Good and Evil
  • Cleanse Your Food and Drink
  • Faith’s Shield

2nd level

  • Aid
  • Smite’s Branding
  • Find Steed
  • Restoration of a Lower Quality
  • Find the Object
  • Weapon of Magic
  • Defend yourself against poison
  • The Truth Zone

3rd level

  • Produce both food and water
  • Daylight
  • Remove the enchantment
  • The Circle of Magic
  • Curse will be removed.
  • Revivify

4th level

  • Banishment
  • Ward of Death
  • Find the Creature

5th level

  • Good and Evil are banished.
  • Geas
  • Raise the dead.



You get to choose two options from the list below. Your background will provide you with additional skill sets that are not limited to those listed above. If your background allows you to choose any skill instead of the class skill you currently have, you may do so. Your race may also influence your ability to choose from a wider range of skills, not only those on this list.

Although the Paladin does not perform particularly well in the skill monkey position, they are more than capable of providing excellent team assistance in this area.

Don’t be scared to mix and match your skill selections to make your character unique. Even if a skill is mechanically poor, it may still be beneficial to the whole party.

Skills of the Paladin Class:

  • Athletics are very desired. Climbing alone may be a frightening experience. You’ll probably be the one chasing things down, climbing objects, and lifting allies up.
  • Insight: It may be thematically suitable and a helpful party tool. A excellent sense of other people’s intentions or honesty.
  • CHA should be a fantastic stat for you in terms of intimidation. It’s also a great match for a Conguest or Oathbreaker Paladin. Remember that if using a ‘Strength-based intimidation check’ is somewhat superior, you should be competent in both and talk with your DM about it.
  • The Healer’s Kit has rendered medicine largely obsolete. Leave it to the Cleric of the Gathering to handle this.
  • Persuasion: Choose this option above Intimidation if you’d rather make friends than frighten them.
  • You may be compelled to communicate with your diety from time to time. This is actually more suited to Clerics or Wizards, but depending on the scenario, you may find it useful.

Non-class abilities:

  • Unless you’re aiming for a Dex Paladin, Acrobatics are less essential than Athletics. You’ll need this to get out of grapples and withstand shoves.
  • Animal Handling: This isn’t likely to come up very frequently, but it improves if you’re contemplating becoming a mounted Paladin.
  • Arcana isn’t your strongest suit, and it’s unusual for a Paladin.
  • Deception is a useful skill to have, but others in your group are likely to be better at it.
  • Sleight of Hand is a fun option that isn’t usually combined with the Paladin.
  • Stealth: Although it is somewhat party specific, it is highly worth acquiring if you are a Dex-Paladin. Especially if you have any sly friends that like surprise rounds.
  • History: Doesn’t appeal to your strengths; nevertheless, it may be more intriguing for a Wizard with Intelligence points.
  • Investigation: This is also out of the ordinary and out of your comfort zone.
  • Nature: This may be thematically suitable depending on your character’s narrative, but it doesn’t play to your strengths.
  • Perception: This is on the verge of becoming a “must have,” simply since there are no meaningful diminishing rewards from having several characters cover it. It’s that critical.
  • Performance: You’ll have a lot of fun roleplaying, but it’s doubtful that you’ll perform well, thus the chances are that you’ll make a fool of yourself.
  • Survival: This is a campaign-specific item, although it is thematically meaningful and useful regardless.


Your background usually grants you two talents, maybe two languages, possibly two tools, a particular benefit, and a modest quantity of goods/gold.

They may help you flesh out your character, provide mechanical assistance, and further explain your Paladin’s motivations.

Backgrounds of PHB

[insight/religion] Acolyte: Perhaps your order, which is thematically suitable, can offer you with a place to stay. Religion isn’t the best talent, but Insight isn’t bad. Though it is not a typical Paladin speciality, the additional languages may be helpful. The benefit is entertaining and flavorful, but it may be game or DM specific.

[deception/sleight of hand] Charlatan: It’s an unusual pick, but it might be entertaining. The two toolkits may give your Paladin an unusual depth. The perk may be used to offer some interesting roleplaying possibilities. Most Paladins will be uncomfortable with this, but it isn’t a terrible option.

[deception/stealth] is a criminal term. Stealth and Thieves Tools are excellent mechanical options, particularly if you don’t have a Rogue in your party. The benefit of having a criminal contact varies depending on the campaign, but it is not to be overlooked.

[acrobatics/performance] entertainer With this combination, I always imagine someone like to a circus strongman. However, acrobatics and performance aren’t excellent talents to have. The perk does provide some enjoyable possibilities for character development.

[Animal handling/survival] is a folk hero. Although both abilities are included in your class, the Vehicle proficiency may be more helpful. It’s a fun character option, but the mechanics aren’t very impressive.

[insight/persuasion] Guild Artisan This is the kind of decision that may help define a character while also providing some entertaining possibilities. The crafting rules, on the other hand, make this a highly campaign-specific game. Well, without a lot of downtime…

[medicine/religion] Hermit This is arguably your weakest Background in terms of mechanics. The talents are incompatible with your abilities, and the benefit is vague. If I had to choose just one background to avoid, it would be this one.

[history/persuasion] Noble: Fits a variety of Paladin kinds thematically. Some retainers to keep your horse watered and secure may be beneficial. The skills aren’t a good fit for you, but having access to the Gaming Kit might be enjoyable.

[athletics/survival] Outlander A mercenary from the wastelands might be an excellent match for a group of Paladins. The perks are great, but they do tread on the Survival skill’s toes a bit.

[arcana/history] Sage: For a Paladin, he’s a bit like the Hermit. The two languages are great if you plan to use them, but the rest is pretty “meh.”

[athletics/perception] Sailor You have two of the greatest abilities. It’s even better if you get a free ship trip. The benefit is campaign-specific, but it might be helpful. Much fun may be had if you utilize the Pirate Variant!

Soldier: [athletics/intimidation] This is a good match for a lot of Paladins. Depending on your DM, the perk may be a bit restricted. Reuniting with former Soldier comrades may be a huge help in more social situations. The advantages of military rank are many, including the ability to issue commands to guards and other army NPCs.

Urchin: [sleight of hand/stealth] Who knew Urchins could be so tasty? Stealth is a fantastic ability to have, and both Thieves Tools and the Disguise Kit are enjoyable to use. The perk is also very good, with plenty of room for it to shine in a variety of campaigns.

Feats of the Paladin:

If you already have an even amount in that stat, you should definitely choose a +2 STR/DEX over a feat.

At levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19, the Paladin receives three Ability Score Improvements. You do have a few skills you want to improve, so feats won’t be a big part of your plan.

If the modifier you want to increase is an odd number, a feat that gives you +1 may help you balance it out and offer you a benefit.

  • Going first gives you the advantage of being able to disable opponents before they act. With the proper party makeup, a +5 to Initiative may come in useful.
  • Athlete: You’d think the +1 to Strength or Dexterity would be useful. The benefits of activity aren’t very thrilling.
  • Actor: This isn’t really helpful unless you’re in a very sociable campaign or searching for the +1 Cha. This is often grabbed by a Bard or Warlock.
  • Charger: Charging in may help close the gap between you and the enemy, but if you get caught out of range, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. In most instances, though, there are better alternatives.
  • Crossbow Expert: This is required if you use crossbows, but Paladins aren’t really built for ranged combat, so although I can’t stop you, it’s an odd option.
  • Defensive Duelist: This build is ideal for melee builds that rely on finesse weapons. Each round, provides a good degree of resilience against a single assault.
  • Dual Wielder: When dual wielding, get +1 AC… Dual-wielding, on the other hand, is a weakness for single-class Paladins. If you’re a multiclassing Rogue, utilizing two rapiers or a rapier and a dagger may be intriguing.
  • Dungeon Delver: In the proper (dungeon-y) adventure/campaign, this character may shine. Even yet, you’re probably not the best person in the group to deal with traps; leave it to the characters with high Intelligence and Wisdom who have Expertise.
  • The benefit from this feat isn’t terrible if you have an unusual Constitution score, particularly if you take a lot of short rests. If you already have a high Constitution – 17 or 19 – this improves.
  • For Paladins, Elemental Adept is completely worthless.
  • Grappler: I’m not sure how good I am. Maybe if you’re a wrestling fanatic, but even then it seems a little weak. Shoving your opponent prone (they can’t get up while you’re gripping them) completely replaces Restrained.
  • Great Weapon Master: It’s fantastic to get a free additional action attack on a kill/crit. It’s fantastic (though rather situational) to be able to boost your damage while lowering your accuracy. Many monsters in 5E have a low AC but a high HP, which you may use to your advantage. At some time, a two-handed weapon wielding will be required to do this feat.
  • Healer: Your group may seek to you for this if you’re a Redemption Paladin. Benefits for using a healing kit are good, but this accomplishment is best left to a Thief.
  • Heavily Armored: Only if you didn’t start off as a Paladin might this be important… If you’re a Strength player, this isn’t a terrible choice.
  • At first, Heavy Armor Master is fantastic (ESPECIALLY if a Variant Human takes it at Lv. 1). As you progress in level, the damage reduction has less of an effect, but it’s never a waste. In addition, you get +1 STR.
  • Inspiring Leader: Your Charisma is high, and your group has a strong chance of surviving. This may provide a little of a shield for your group before fights – it’s not the strongest, but it’s extremely tasty.
  • The INT isn’t very helpful, but depending on the campaign, it could be intriguing. Perhaps you should ask the Wizard to take this.
  • You don’t need to be lightly armored.
  • Linguist: Another strange boost for Int, but it’s still your dump stat, and Languages aren’t really helpful.
  • Lucky: This is a great bonus all-around. These fortunate points may be used to balance off disadvantages and work in favor of Oath of Vengeance’s strengths.
  • Mage Slayer: This spell is campaign-dependent, although it may be devastating against the appropriate foes. Paladins with the Oath of the Ancients who can Misty Step in close may utilize this to completely shut down opposing spellcasters. Paladins who take the Oath of Vengeance may find it useful, since it covers the gap left by spellcasting triggering response attacks.
  • More cantrips and a spell for the Magic Initiate. Wizard for Find Familiar and a choice of Prestidigitation, Light, Mage Hand, or Booming Blade are some of the more intriguing choices (SCAG). Sorcerer or Warlock for cantrips that are really compatible with your casting stat, such as Eldritch Blast (Warlock) or Fire Bolt and/or Ray of Frost (Sorcerer) (Sorcerer). If you choose one of the two CHA-casting classes, you may also choose Green-Flame Blade or Booming Blade.
  • If you’re not a Battle Master, you’ll get an additional Superiority Die, which is a d6 if you’re a Martial Adept. Those who have multiclassed into Battle Masters and need even more tactical flexibility will benefit from this.
  • Medium Armor Master: If you have 16 Dex, you get +1 AC while wearing medium armour. This isn’t much of a bump for an accomplishment.
  • Mobile: Increased speed and unrestricted disengagement from opponents. You’re often the one who stops others, not the other way around.
  • You already have the advantage of being somewhat armored.
  • Mounted Combatant: If you’re often mounted on anything big, this is a fantastic option. You’ll have Find Steed, so it’ll be a matter of how much time you spend mounted.
  • Observant: This should be in the hands of someone, but it may not be you. Passive Perception can keep you alive, and understanding is important for a ‘Face.’
  • Master of Polearms: You already know you want this if a Polearm is your weapon of choice.
  • Resilient (CON): You get a saving proficiency for a single feat point. That’s fantastic! Even better if you’re casting a lot of Concentration-based spells. Great Weapon Vengeance Paladins who want to make the most of Haste are the most likely to think about it. This is also likely to be necessary for Conquest and Redemption Paladins who depend on control spells that need concentration to sustain. At higher levels and with additional CHA spikes, Aura of Protection + CON save proficiency + good CON may bring those crucial Concentration saves into auto-success zone vs. DC 10, and even vs. higher DCs than that. And CON save proficiency is useful in general, since it defends against a variety of incapacitating and stunning effects. Plus, you receive a +1 to CON to push up an odd score to the next modifier, or to start with an odd score if you’re building towards this feat ahead of time.
  • Ritual Caster: Rituals may be very beneficial to you and your companions. However, the need for INT or WIS makes it difficult to sell. Over time, rituals may help you conserve some spell slots.
  • Savage Attacker: This ability does not function with your Smite damage, thus it isn’t as amazing as it seems.
  • Sentinel: This is your ticket if you want to play a “Defender” type of Paladin and keep foes at bay. This is an excellent method to stifle enemy mobility and penalize them for even thinking about attacking your friends. Has some waste for the Oath of Vengeance, but it may also offer you additional chances to… opportunity attack. This also works well with Polearm Master, allowing you to use OAs to halt opponents within reach.
  • Sharpshooter: None of your weapons, such as smites, are effective against ranged assaults. Unless you got Crossbow Expert for some reason, you may want to pair this one… Alternatively, you may roll a fighter.
  • Shield Master is an important ability for a shield Paladin. However, talk to your DM about the phrasing since it’s crucial. If you make the attack action, you may push with a bonus action. The debate you’ll need to have is whether that extra action can happen between (or even before) you actually start the attacks, since if your opponent is prone, you’ll have an edge on the attacks. Shield boosts on Dex saves are also advantageous.
  • Skilled: You’re not meant to be a “Skill monkey,” that’s something for Bards and Rogues to do. If you need to improve your talents, focus on the skills rather than the tool proficiency since tools may be learned during downtime.
  • Skulker: There are just too many options here. Even for a Dex-Paladin, it’s not worth it.
  • Sniper is a word that may be spelled in a variety of ways. You don’t have the necessary skills for this.
  • Tavern Brawler: For an unarmed grappler Paladin, there isn’t much synergy.
  • Tough: Not terrible, but if saving throws and health are a problem, you’re definitely better off getting the +2 Con. If your Consitution is already at 20, this will provide you with a significant increase in hit points.
  • War Caster: If you want to safeguard your concentration spells, you should choose Resilient (CON). However, Paladins with Booming Blade and/or Green-Flame Blade (e.g. High Elf or Half Elf with High lineage, Magic Initiate feat) will be able to perform those cantrips as particularly deadly opportunity attacks, making this accomplishment even more useful. This achievement may be preferable than Resilient for them (CON).
  • Weapon Master: You’re not going to use this.

Multi-classing as a Paladin:


Here, I want to make just a quick look at some options, along with the concept of a “dip” to grab some goodies from another class. <

However, I’m going to leave some of the finer aspects of multiclassing up to the player, particularly anything that detracts from the character’s majority Paladin status.

Unless you’re following a particular build or idea, you’re generally better off remaining a single-classed Paladin from level 1 to 20. However, there are many multiclass alternatives.

While there is a color grade in this area, keep in mind that other choices, such as character idea, may come under your character concept rather than true optimization.

  • Barbarian : This is a good option for any STR-Paladin, but the Unarmoured Defense is useless if you’re in Plate. Rage for greater damage, and reckless assault for a forced advantage if you take two levels.
  • If you’re looking for additional spells or Bardic inspiration, here is an excellent place to start. You should definitely have the necessary 13 Cha.
  • Cleric: Your religious relatives don’t fit very well here. WIS is almost certainly your dump stat.
  • Druid: Druids have issues that are similar to those of clerics, although they are more severe. WIS isn’t the best place to look.
  • Fighter: You’ll lose your capstone ability, but you’ll get Second Wind, Action Surge, and a Fighting style as compensation.
  • Monk: There’s nothing for you here since martial arts necessitates the removal of your armour.
  • Ranger: The Gloom Stalker (XGTE) is worth considering for its Dread Ambusher, but everything else falls short since the spells aren’t worth it.
  • Rogue: Sneak attack is a great option for the Dex-Paladin, particularly when laying down some Smite. Cunning Action is a great tool that gives you a lot of flexibility.
  • Sorcerer: If you’re searching for additional Smite spell slots, check out this page. The cost is a reduction in hit point gains.
  • Warlock: Provides some ranged potential as well as spell slots that replenish after a brief rest.
  • Wizard: There’s nothing you need here.


As a D&D 5E player, I found my previous Paladin build was top-heavy in damage output and I was lacking in many areas. In this guide I hope to present a build that suits my style of play, and is reasonably efficient for the level of power I want to achieve.. Read more about we’re on a mission from god movie and let us know what you think.

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Holly is the smartest person you will ever know (Or so she tells us lol). She's a gamer by heart, and an author by soul. Writing for the website g15tools is a dream come true for her - she loves being able to share her thoughts and insights with others who love gaming as much as she does. When she's not writing or gaming, Holly can be found spending time with her friends and family.