Dungeon Crawling: Paladins

Bright and shiny warriors full of divine strength and charisma to spare. Devoted to an ideal, they take an oath which lends them power to carry out their oath. Traditionally Paladins have had alignment restrictions, namely Lawful Good. That has discarded completely. Between the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, there are 6 subclasses available.

All pallys get the same starting proficiencies: light, medium, heavy armor, shields, and simple and martial weapons. Their starting equipment is pretty decent as well cosisting of chain mail armor and the option of two martial weapons or a martial weapon and shield. With a few javelins to round it out they’re all set to begin their career path.

To bolster their martial skills, which does include a fighting style, they are also charisma casters. A number of times per day based on their charisma they can use Divine sense to detect the presence of Celestial, Fiend or Undead. Lay on hands is a stead font of healing magic that they also have access to.

I think the feature most people focus on is the Smite. After you hit you can sacrifice a spell slot to add a burst of radiant damage that scales with the level of the spell slot. If your target is also undead or a fiend the damage is increased further. With great martial skill, a little bit of healing, some divine magic, and on demand Smite (which is downright nasty if you rolled a crit) Paladins are a strong choice for any player.

Even before they get to choose their Oath, gain immunity to disease, or start putting off their auras buffing themselves and their nearby comrades.

The Oath of Ancients are the eco-soldiers. Their abilities and spells are druidic. They can summon vines to entangle their foes or present their holy symbol to turn both Fey and Fiend alike. As their level increases they produce an aura of spell resistance, and can come back from the brink of death with 1 hit point.

Oath of Conquest paladins are the glory seekers, crushing their foes in combat, establishing law and order through sheer force. Their spells are full of crowd control like domination and hold spells. Their channel divinity allows them to strike with great accuracy, or to instill fear into whomever they choose within range. They also gain an aura that damages the mind of those in fear of them, and roots those target to the spot. Enemies that dare to strike them will face a painful rebuke as well.

Oath of the Crown paladins fight for nation, or their sovereign and the laws they enforce. Their channel divinity can heal their comrades within range, or prevent enemies from fleeing. Instead of an additional aura they can sacrifice their own health when an ally is injured. Further on they become resistant to effects that would leave them paralyzed or stunned.

The Oath of Devotion is where the true bright-and-shiny Holy warriors are. These are the true lawful good boy scouts of the old days. Their channel divinity can enchant their weapon, adding their charisma to the attack roll, or to turn undead and fiend like a traditional cleric. An aura protecting them and their allies from charm is next on the list of good things, and a permanent protection from evil and good after that.

The Oath of Redemption is a tough one to follow. It almost seems like a pacifist, as that the belief is violence is a last resort, and anyone can be redeemed of their actions. They can use channel divinity to buff their Charisma (persuasion) rolls for 10 minutes, or to rebuke those that use violence within range. This pally also gains the ability to take damage for their friends, but this is fine. They gain a feature that lets them heal at the end of their turn if they are at less than half hit points.

The Oath of Vengeance paladin is focused on punishing evil at any cost. Their channel divinity can frighten an enemy to point of freezing them in the their tracks, or can grant the paladin advantage to attack versus a creature for a minute. They higher level feature allows them to move half their speed after performing an opportunity attack, making sure the enemy can’t flee. Beyond that they can make a reactionary attack when the target of their channel divinity attacks them.

If none of these suit your needs for a tanky boi, there are plenty more options in other books. Go forth and seek your glory!

Dragon Paladin image by Sean Usyk at https://www.seanusyk.com/

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