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Paladin 5e DnD Class Guide

The Paladin is the perfect mixture of healer and melee fighter. They tend to be leaders of groups and can heal, tank, and deal damage. We’re going to show you why Paladins are one of the most useful classes to have in the party with our detailed guide to DnD 5e’s Paladin.


A fine Ahghairon’s Day this turned out to be. I finally had the day to myself for once on the holiday, but I must have picked up something on the beat. I felt chilled to the bone like death itself was sitting next to me. 

It was pretty quiet all around the city and I had popped down to the local tavern. If a pint wouldn’t cure what ailed me, I was all out of ideas. The Leaning Watchmen was a copper’s pub through and through. Its patrons are mostly off-duty watchmen and today was no different. 

I had just sat down to drown myself in a pint a contemplate what to do about this cough. When who walks in but the Commander of the Watch himself, Lord Piergeiron. He was huge, but one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He slapped me on the back when I had a coughing fit and told me to “knock that coughing nonsense off.” 

The funny thing was after he slapped me on the back I felt completely fine. No cough, no chills, and felt fantastic. I offered to buy the Lord a round, but he ended up paying the entire bar bill and chatting with the off-duty fellows.

There’s something about Paladins that just make you want to follow their lead, but Lord Piergeiron, I’d follow that man into hell. 

—From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 1st of Eleasis, 1384.

Read our detailed class guide to DnD Paladin 5e below.

MORE CLASS GUIDES: ARTIFICER | BARBARIAN | BARD | CLERIC | DRUID | FIGHTER | MONK | PALADIN | RANGER | ROGUE | SORCERER | WARLOCK | WIZARD

Overview of 5e Paladins

DnD 5e Paladin Class

Paladins are holy warriors. They can wade into battle protected by both their massive plate armor as well as their faith. Their skill set is a combination of Cleric and Fighter. This gives them some unique abilities as they’re perfectly comfortable dishing out damage as well as healing the most grievous of wounds.

When creating a Paladin, a player will have to work with the DM to determine what deity the Paladin actually worships. There are plenty to choose from in the Player’s Handbook but Paladins typically worship and gain their powers from a good deity… although this isn’t always the case.

These impressive warriors can be healers, tanks, and damage dealers. It’s the very definition of a hybrid class. Their armor lets them soak up hits, they can call upon holy spells to both heal allies and smite enemies, and they can dish out some serious damage. 

Notable Paladins in DnD

Lord Piergeiron Paladinson

The Lords of Waterdeep typically remained hidden and unknown to the public. Lord Piergeiron was one of the few who openly proclaimed his position. He was the commander of the City Watch and a well-respected member of the city and oligarchy. 

Abilities and Class Features for Paladin 5e

Hit Dice: d10

  • Proficiencies: All armor, shields, and simple martial weapons.
  • Main Ability Scores: Strength & Charisma

GameCows Ranking System

There are a lot of abilities and class features, and it can get rather confusing. Here at GameCows, we’re going to use a simple ranking system. 

  • GameCows Ranking: 1  
    • This ability or feature is extremely useful and a must-have ability. 
  • GameCows Ranking: 2
    • This ability is ok and generally useful in most situations.
  • GameCows Ranking: 3
    • This ability is only going to be useful in certain situations. Only get it if you think it’s cool.

Divine Sense

GameCows Ranking: 3

Level: 1 – The Paladin is a class that seeks out evil and from level 1, they can sense it. As an action, the Paladin can detect any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60ft. This can also be used to find consecrated and desecrated areas as well. The Paladin won’t know the identity of the creature, only that they are in the area. This can be used equal to 1+Charisma modifier.

Lay on Hands

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 1 – This is the iconic Paladin ability. Lay on Hands lets the Paladin touch an ally and channel their divine powers into the body of whatever they’re touching to heal it. The Paladin can heal hitpoints equal to 5x their Paladin level. The Paladin can transfer as many hitpoints as they want from that total. 

The Paladin can also use 5 of their healing points to instead cure a disease or neutralize poison. 

This is not powerful enough to bring other players back from the dead and doesn’t affect constructs like Warforged or Undead. 

Fighting Style

DnD 5e Paladin Class

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 2 – Similar to the Fighter, the Paladin can adopt one particular fighting style of their choice. Each one adds a slightly different bonus but is specialized towards a particular combat style. Fighting Style bonuses do not stack. Even if the player takes a multiclass and gets the option to choose another Fighting Style, they can’t choose the same style and add them together.

Defense: +1 AC bonus when wearing any armor.

Dueling: +2 damage bonus when using a melee weapon in one hand. They can still have a shield or a spell focus in the other hand and still get the bonus. 

Great Weapon Fighting: Can reroll damage rolls on a 1 or 2 when using a 2-handed attack with a weapon with the versatile or 2-handed trait. The 2nd roll must be used.

Protection: When an enemy attacks an ally that the Paladin can see within 5ft, the Paladin can use a reaction to force the roll to have disadvantage. 

Spellcasting

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 2 – The Paladin has a nice mixture of healing and damage-dealing spells. They’re especially dangerous to the undead.

The major Ability Modifier used to cast spells for the Paladin is their Charisma modifier. Check out the list of Paladin Spells.

Divine Smite

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 2 – The Paladin can imbue their melee hits with divine energy. By expending a 1st level spell slot they can add 2d8 Radiant damage to their attack. If the Paladin expends a higher level spell slot for the attack it gets +1d8 per level above 1st level. There is a cap of 5d8 and if the target is a fiend or undead it gets an additional 1d8. 

Divine Health

GameCows Ranking: 3

Level: 3 – Paladins are immune to disease.

Sacred Oath

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 3 – When the Paladin obtains level 3 it’s a culmination of all their preparatory work in their order. They now make a full oath and join their sacred order. This is the subclass for the Paladin. Each Sacred Oath adds new spells to the Paladin’s spell list and allows them to channel their divine powers in unique ways. 

Ability Score Improvement

GameCows Ranking: 2

Like most of the other classes, Paladins get 2 points to add to any of their ability scores (max 20). This happens at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19th level.

Extra Attack

GameCows Ranking: 2

Level: 5 – When taking the attack action on their turn the Paladin can attack twice at level 5. 

Aura of Protection

GameCows Ranking: 2

Level: 6 – Simply being near a Paladin can inspire and push those around them to do better. Aura of protection adds the Paladin’s Charisma Modifier to any saving throw made within 10ft of the Paladin. 

Level: 18 – The range increases to 30ft. 

Aura of Courage

GameCows Ranking: 3

Level: 10 – The Paladin and any creature within 10ft cannot be frightened. 

Level: 18 – The range increases to 30 ft. 

Improved Divine Smite

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 11 – Whenever the Paladin hits a creature with a melee attack an extra 1d8 is automatically added to the damage without expending a spell slot. The Paladin can still choose to expend a spell slot to add more radiant damage. If they choose to do so the numbers are simply added together. 

Cleansing Touch

GameCows Ranking: 1

Level: 14 – As an action, the Paladin can simply remove a spell that’s affecting them or another creature with a touch. This can be done equal times to their Charisma modifier and recharges after a long rest. 

Paladin 5e Subclasses

DnD 5e Paladin Class

Ancients

(Player’s Handbook)

  • Tenets of the Ancients
  • Oath Spells
  • Aura of Warding
  • Undying Sentinel
  • Elder Champion

Devotion

(Player’s Handbook)

  • Tenets of Devotion
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of Devotion
  • Purity of Spirit
  • Holy Nimbus

Vengeance

(Player’s Handbook)

  • Tenets of Vengeance
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Relentless Avenger
  • Soul of Vengeance
  • Avenging Angel

Oathbreaker

(Dungeon Master’s Guide)

  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of Hate
  • Supernatural Resistance
  • Dread Lord

Conquest

(Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

  • Tenets of Conquest
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of Conquest
  • Scornful Rebuke
  • Invincible Conqueror

Redemption

(Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

  • Tenets of Redemption
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of the Guardian
  • Protective Spirit
  • Emissary of Redemption

Glory 

(Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

  • Tenets Of Glory
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of Alacrity
  • Glorious Defense
  • Living Legend

Watchers

(Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

  • Tenets of the Watchers
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Aura of the Sentinel
  • Vigilant Rebuke
  • Mortal Bulwark

Crown

(Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)

  • Tenets of the Crown
  • Oath Spells
  • Channel Divinity
  • Divine Allegiance
  • Unyielding Saint
  • Exalted Champion

Playing as a Paladin in 5e

The Paladin is a perfect mixture of Cleric and Fighter 5e. The Paladin player can choose between a few different roles in the party. Their Smite ability can easily let them pound away with extra Radiant damage. This is especially useful when facing undead or fiend enemies. Their armor proficiencies, extra fighting style, combined with their Smite ability make them extremely powerful frontline damage dealers. 

When Paladins get to the higher levels they’re also quite useful to have in the middle of their allies. The extra bonuses are extremely useful and all the Paladin has to do is be nearby. 

Another path the Paladin can choose is to focus on their spellcasting abilities. They have some incredibly damaging spells along with some excellent healing spells. Having them support the group with auras and healing spells can keep the party going for much longer, and their Lay on Hands ability is another source of healing that can keep the party alive long enough to finish encounters or get to safety. 

One final use the Paladin can have in the party is as the Face of the group. Their major ability is charisma and since most Paladins are some alignment of good, they’re typically well received in any town or diplomatic action that the party needs. This is, of course, more role-playing and less stat rolling, so it’s entirely up to the DM and the player. 

We hope you enjoyed this Paladin 5e DnD class guide, which not check out Piton 5e or 5e Flanking.

SHARING IS CARING

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