What is the proper way to play the mechanics of an Oath of the Crown Paladin in D&D 5e?

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What is the proper way to play the mechanics of an Oath of the Crown Paladin in D&D 5e?

Bram Haenen

Votes: 1249

The mechanics, assuming you meant those:

TL;DR: You’re definitely a frontliner and a tank, and probably want another tanky PC to fight alongside you. To support this, probably more healing, temp hitpoints and survive stuff spells instead of offensive. And your powers actually lend themselves well to taking prisoners instead of killing anyone, so jay for the lawful enforcer I guess.

Champion Challenge. You’re the tank, and this time even D&D makes it so. Where there’s no real taunts in this game otherwise without using magic, the crown paladin can use a bonus action to ‘Come at me, bro!’ a lot of enemies. As long as you’re alive and more than 35ft (40ft against enemies with reach) away from the back line, they’re save from any foes you taunted.

This is not necessarily an offensive tank move, because it says nothing about the enemies having to attack you other than them being compelled to in a non-mechanical way. You could do this to citizens to disallow them to walk past you when you’re guarding a door, or to goblins that are too scared to fight your party but are a flight-risk looking to escape. There is no time limit, so this is actually a great power for escorting prisoners. If they attack you, you may attack back. But if not, then they’re stuck with you until you break that spell.

More likely though, this is likely making you the one ensuring that the enemies don’t move on the archer and mage while you probably have another frontliner PC nearby or have them fight 35ft away from you where only 1–3 enemies can reach them and thus cannot flank or surround them. Combined with your aura of protection, you’ll likely stay within 10ft of all your allies in the thick of it.

Champions Challenge is more useful than Compelled Duel by a large margin. CD has just one target, consumes a spell slot and restricts you to fight this opponent only without any of your allies helping. Yes, this foe has disadvantage to attack your allies, but can still move away from you and try to attack regardless every turn without using anything but their movement.

CC can target any amount of targets with the same range, without you having to attack them, your fellow PCs can attack them, who don’t get any option to move away from you at all, and the effect isn’t broken by concentration checks failing because it’s not concentration. And it doesn’t consume a spell slot rather than your channel divinity, which is a different thing entirely.

You trap them in one area, your allies can attack them with glee and potentially you can prevent many enemies from doing anything at all during their turn because there’s only 8 or 6 (square or hex grid) positions around you for them to take for their 5ft attacks, so the 7th or 9th and onward foe without range has to stand around doing nothing even when attacked by your ranged PCs.

Only if your party more often than not faces one enemy instead of numerous foes at once, will Duel outweigh Challenge. Which again can be the kind of campaign your DM does, circumstances causing the skill to be less worth it.

Turn the Tide. An one time healing power, but one that seems broken without a limit in targets that even mass healing word etc. has. Probably use it only on your fellow frontliners as you don’t want to be within 30ft of your back lines.

But this could also be combined with taking prisoners if your DM uses death saves for enemies. Your fellow party members near you and maybe one or two enemies are already tied up, and you can heal them without wasting healing by targeting some enemies as well. The regain consciousness to awake to a situation that strongly suggests them to not resist and disarm themselves.

Turn the Tide can be weak, or strong. If you never find yourself amongst many allies, because you’re the only tank of the group and never get quests where you fight alongside many NPCs or in shield wall formations, then it will indeed be a weak skill. It’s about as good as a healing potion if you’re fighting alone.

It can be strong though. If you fight with many allies or find yourself in a situation where you can stack many hurt NPCs together like a field hospital, the amount of healing you can do bests all other spells by lack of target limit. Unfortunately 5e no longer applies healing causing damage to the undead, or this skill would’ve been a zombie nuker too.

The most powerful detail of this power is that it is a bonus action. If your setting doesn’t allow bonus action health potions (a common homebrew rule but homebrew nonetheless), then it can be a great boon similarly powerful as healing word because it also allows you to attack that same turn. Because it’s not a levelled spell, you can even use it and a healing action to heal more in one turn.

But, Turn the Tide is circumstantial to situation and your DM’s playing style. It can be strong, it can be weak, it’s all up to them and not even something the DM would wilfully prevent from being used because it’s not obvious what situation it needs.

Divine Allegiance. Pretty much warding bond, except fully drawing the damage away. Depends who your protected NPC or fellow frontliner PC is, and how much the enemies wail on them instead of you, but this is a good ability to get more hurt on one target (you) so you don’t need to spend two actions in battle for lay on hands. Ask your DM if they rule that you have to declare this before the damage is declared and your fellow PC says they fall unconscious, or if it can be done afterwards. Probably the latter, but never blindly assume it to be so.

Divine alliance is again a circumstancial skill. You’re a protector and likely more resilient than others. If you’re protecting someone, then it can be great. If the enemies are attacking your fellow PC exclusively you can take some of the hurt away from them. If you’re playing a low-difficulty campaign however, you wouldn’t need this ability. The attack of opportunity you’d have to give up would be more valuable because you can brute force a battle and focus nigh purely on damage to defeat them before they defeat you, while harder difficulties would make this skill more invaluable. If that’s not the case though, then this skill likely won’t see use unless you’re protecting a lvl0 NPC from enemies or something similar.

It’s like how you see skills in a game when you’re playing on Easy mode and immediately disregard them as useless trash because nuking enemies with more mana and damage skills works better. Then you play on Nightmare mode and suddenly realise what a boon those skills are under graver circumstances.

Exalted Champion. At 20th level, you kinda become a buffer tank incarnate for 1 hour, only solidifying your tank position further.

Spell list: Either get War Caster or don’t get concentration spells. Your job is to get attacked a lot, so while you should make constitution a high stat concentration is going to be a lot harder to maintain for you than for other spellcasters.

Concentration spells can work, but make sure to also have non-conc for those fights where you’ll be receiving a lot of attacks per turn. High concentration + War caster may be a good build when you’re in battles with many enemies, using spirit guardians to devastate or aura of vitality to win by attrition.

As you’re going to have to survive, anything that grants temp hit points and healing will be a boon to you. This depends on the difficulty of the campaign, but a purely offensive arsenal will not do wonders for you if you use your powers properly and are challenged by capable or numerous foes.

Looking at the oath of the crown tenets, assuming you meant rp:


The Oath of the Crown is sworn to the ideals of civilisation, be it the spirit of a nation, fealty to a sovereign, or service to a deity of law and rulership. The paladins who swear this oath dedicate themselves to serving society and, in particular, the just laws that hold society together. These paladins are the watchful guardians on the walls, standing against the chaotic tides of barbarism that threaten to tear down all that civilisation has built, and are commonly known as guardians, exemplars, or sentinels. Often, paladins who swear this oath are members of an order of knighthood in service to a nation or a sovereign, and undergo their oath as part of their admission to the order’s ranks.

Tenets of the Crown

The tenets of the Oath of the Crown are often set by the sovereign to which their oath is sworn, but generally emphatise the following tenets.

Law. The law is paramount. It is the mortar that holds the stones of civilisation together, and it must be respected.

Loyalty. Your word is your bond. Without loyalty, oaths and laws are meaningless.

Courage. You must be willing to do what needs to be done for the sake of order, even in the face of overwhelming odds. If you don’t act, then who will?

Responsibility. You must deal with the consequences of your actions, and you are responsible for fulfilling your duties and obligations.

Definitely lawful, whether they be good, evil or neutral. Yes, evil too. The fluff description may be all about just laws and kindness, but there’s absolutely nothing in their oaths that prevents them from serving tyrants. Paladins of Conquests likely have paladins of the Crown defending their home-front or become crown paladins when their conquering is over assuming they’re not the top dog paladin.

This oath already suggests it themselves, they are the most likely to be part of a collective or knightly order. Probably as a paragon of that order, with fighters and knights and templars below you. The other oaths can and sometimes should be that as well, but have a more individualistic potential. The Crown on the other hand absolutely has to be connected to some organisation, country or religion.

You cannot be a Crown paladin that doesn’t answer to a crown or set of laws and rules to enforce, you cannot be a wanderer learning of the laws of a new country when they enter it. You NEED a specific crown to swear fealty to in order to prevent having to learn and then enforce the laws of whatever country to walk into, or having to enforce all the laws including the contradicting ones from different countries.

So, ask your DM if they stick to one country for the campaign or if you will see many of them. If you stay in the same country, then that country’s knighthood is your order.

If you wander around, then you’ll have to be a paladin of the Crown that only cares and enforces the laws of the gods. You’ll need that to stand above the laws of the kingdoms without being lawless or acting lawless.

Whether these be the laws of the pantheon (Read: the laws that the pantheon as a whole agrees to including the evil gods by popular vote or recognising the necessity of them), laws that the gods of civilisation recognise as logical and necessary with kingdoms building their specific laws around these, or the laws of a specific law god, you get laws that you consider to count and be enforceable anywhere. Hopefully without being considered a rebel in some countries.

This should give you some laws to follow without either corrupt lawmakers or different countries’ laws being a technical issue to you, and for you to enforce and have laws that make sense without you choosing what laws are important in this situation or by own preference.

But what about paladins of the crown that have and enforce their own chosen set of la- *Face slap* No! Don’t allow that, don’t even think that. A crown paladin that makes their own rules is by definition a paladin of conquest. You cannot choose or define your own laws to follow as a paladin without being a conqueror who has to enforce them upon others.

Loyalty is not really the word, rather than a lack of deceit. I reckon that Crown paladins and politics, intrigue and trickster races do not go well together. This oath essentially means you do not lie, and unless you’re lawful evil you don’t intentionally tell misleading truths either.

When you say anything, it’s the truth. While making a joke or an obvious lie that you never intend others to believe is okay, you won’t ever tell a lie that can actually be believed. You could say ‘Ah, John always screws up like that.’ amongst friends, but you won’t say ‘You need not worry about John, he couldn’t do that even if he tried.’ to an enemy when your words hold weigh and you believe that John can prevail.

This assures that your reputation will precede you after a while. You never lie, your word is your bond. You will never lie or indirectly lie by f.e. exaggeration or half-truths when it matters. When someone asks you with their last breath to avenge them and you know you cannot defeat the lich, you will say ‘No.’ or ‘I’ll try within reason and if I’m allowed.’ rather than making that pledge to make them feel better.

This ensures that when you tell the truth, it would be advantage or perhaps even no persuasion check. When you say you will hunt down and kill someone, it will be a vowed promise and no empty threat.

To summarise again, as a Crown paladin you cannot lie. You may be flexible in times of fluff banter, but you cannot lie and likely (unless LE) cannot deceive without lying to ensure that your loyalty and your word is always truthful and believable. You. Cannot. Lie.

Courage is a bit of a vague one. You have to act when you need to act, but when you look at the fine print it technically only says you need to protect lawful society when you see it crumbling. As long as you also maintain the law doing so this could entail anything, but you’ll never break the law and your first oath for this one by doing anything chaotic good by putting good over your laws. The specifics of what this oath requires of you is quite vague and up to interpretations.

Or rather, alignment. If you’re good, then within the law you will act for good, virtue and compassion. That’s a hard within the law though. You can buy a loaf of bread for a starving child, but you will never abuse your authorities to confiscate the bread or allow the child to steal it.

If you’re neutral, you will protect the laws you uphold against any odds and moral issues. Even if the hundreds of rioting commoners you have to slay to protect the corrupt ruler make a clear case of the law not being used as intended, you have to defeat those commoners. However, this oath also compels you to kick that ruler’s ass for breaking and corrupting the lawful society in the first place, so a capable crown paladin won’t let it come down to that. You maintain the laws as intended, and try to make the law blossom and work within the limitations of that law.

If you’re evil, then courage becomes the greater good. The cold and calculated kind of greater good. You will do the things that must be done to maintain the order and peace, enforcing secret laws or convenient loopholes in the law. If you could imprison one rebel leader for perceived embezzlement of funds to avoid having to kill tens of people for breaking the law against open rebellion a week from now, wouldn’t that be within the lines of your oath of ‘courage’ and for the greater good?

Courage is quite different for every paladin you may make. Be sure to talk to your DM about it and their interpretation on it, especially if you plan on making a LE paladin of the crown. Do not assume your interpretation to also be theirs. But it can be the oath to do good and act valiantly, or the oath to handle the law as intended and never ignore your call of duty.

And finally Responsibility is kind of just doubling down on Loyalty. If you wonder why I presented Loyalty so absolute instead of allowing a broader interpretation, it’s because of its synergy with this oath. You say something and you do it, you do it because you said you would.

This oath and loyalty essentially make the kind of character that lives for their honour, their word or their responsibilities. This could be a matter of having to uphold your life debt to someone until it’s repaid, or making a promise as good as gold because you have to see it through. You cannot start a quest and not finish it, you cannot allow something to happen and claim the responsibilities to not be your fault.

The specifics of responsibility are again alignment-specific. A good crown paladin may perceive punishment to the full extend of the law as a bad thing to do because of the consequences of throwing a bread-stealing child in prison or chopping off their hands, instead going for the most forgiving punishment within the law or preventing the crime so that punishment isn’t lawfully required.

But, always forgiving would similarly have consequences. Punish too lightly and the criminal may break the law again, just letting the child go and your action of letting them go instead of taking care of them would only see to them committing crimes again or growing up into a greater criminal. So it’s a pretty well-phrased oath, to make sure that the paladin does good the right way instead of having an oath too easily exploited by treacherous villains.

Combining these oaths with the mechanics, then crown paladins are clearly defenders and paragons of law. Not necessarily good, but definitely frontliners that will seek to avoid the pain or suffering of their allies by keeping the barbarians far away or fighting side by side warding their allies. The most shiny knight defenders of them all, but the most stick up the ass paragons too.

Michiel Bogaert

Votes: 3738

The difference would be akin to that between a knight in the kings army, and a knight in a holy order.

What training they got, how they act, etc …

Fighter: Spartans ! what is your profession ?!

Paladin:With me on my knee, the devil thought he won. Until I said “Amen”.

(yes, yes, I know, paladins aren’t religious per-se in 5E)

An oath-bound paladin from a distant land, and an archer-fighter.

Kevin Winslow

Votes: 2191

Personally, my Top 2 are Oath of Devotion in terms of theme…

… but Oath of Vengeance when it comes to function!

Oath of Devotion has a rock-solid RP style that can closely match classic Holy Paladins, which for me, is my favorite way to play a Paladin. Yes, thanks to 5e you can make a Paladin who swears an Oath to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, but just because all options are open doesn’t mean all options are good or interesting. That’s why the Oath itself, (in terms of wording), lends itself to a Lawful Good or Good Deity aligned Paladin.

Oath of Vengeance is an offensive powerhouse, and to be frank, if I can play the Oath of Vengeance spells and abilities with an Oath of Devotion mindset of being a really good guy, then I’d do that in a heartbeat, because OoV can be just sick when it comes to running down opponents and Smiting the crap out of them.

Well, let’s dive a little deeper:

All of these have some REALLY great meat on the bone; Oath of Devotion happens to be my favorite thematically, so I’ll start there.

Oath of Devotion: This is your classic Paladin, and my personal favorite, (thematically) because he’s basically Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy. He teams up with Han Solo, the rogue, and Chewbacca, the berserker/ranger, and a rebellion. Sure, he has principles and ideals, but he’s not an idiot; there’s a time and place to team up with rogues and scoundrels in the fight for the GREATER GOOD. This could mean running an infiltration mission to rescue a friend that requires some subterfuge, this may mean using the Jedi Mind trick, or having your droid pretend to be a God, or trying to redeem your father… even if it means sacrificing your life. Their Oath gives them the flexibility to act with a lot of agency.

This Paladin also balances out between offense, defense, healing, and tanking really well… they have a mixed bag of tricks that allows for good RP and fun battles while not being overpowering. To me, this is the most interesting Paladin subclass because the player gets a lot of wiggle room in their oaths… they’re very much a good guy, but can be what the team needs them to be, (within reason).

The Oath Spells for devotion are one of the weaker points though, depending on where your campaign takes you. This is my favorite Oath in terms of theme, but many of the other Oaths have WAY better spells and some really tricky Channel Divinitys. Oath of Devotion has Protection from Evil, Freedom of Movement, and Guardian of Faith are all spells where your mileage may vary, but Sanctuary, Dispel Magic, and Beacon of Hope can be great spells to help keep party members alive or turn the tide.

I think this is a great one for players to start with, since they can put themselves into the shoes of an adventurer trying to do the right thing… which is the basis for almost every classic story. You can focus more on having a good time than painstakingly justifying every action you take, (or don’t take.)

Oath of the Ancients: this is kind of what happens if you mix a druid with a Knight… you get a heavy armor hippie who can speak to animals, get bark on their skin, and talk to trees. I’m not really wild about this one, but it can be very interesting if you’re the type of person who likes a Paladin who’s more tied to the land than to any particular God.

There’s a lot of possibilities here, but for me, this one bores me to tears. I feel like this is the moral cop-out to a Paladin’s relationship to a God in favor of a loose love of nature; unless this Paladin starts throwing out Roundup on every plant around them, or slashing and burning a local habitat so they can build their dreamhouse, it’s hard for me to see how they can really put their foot wrong and lose their holy powers.

So on that note, you may consider that your Paladin is tied to the spirits of your ancestors, and your powers come from them… at least that way, if you’re not living up to dear old dad’s expectations, you can expect a reckoning.

Oath of Conquest: THIS is the actual zealot of the bunch, the Super-Hardcore-Completely-Inflexible Paladin. This is pretty much what happens when you mix the Juggernaut with Professor X, and then tell them to conquer a nation. They impose fear in their enemies, crush all opposition, and live by strength. It is their way or the highway. They rule with an iron fist and brook no opposition. Their idea of compassion is, “you do what I tell you, and everyone gets along fine.”

Their Oath Spells reflect this, since words like “Command” and ”Dominate” appear a lot… and let’s not forget friendly little spells like “Cloudkill”… which is the Paladin’s area of denial weapon of choice. Nothing salts the earth and says, “If I can’t have it, YOU CAN’T EITHER!” quite like Cloudkill.

These guys are so extreme in their pursuit of law, they can be straight up tyrants or evil.

Personally, I put this way up on the list of “Hard to Play”, because by their nature, they don’t play well with others. You’re going to have to work very hard to keep this guy on the team, unless he also happens to be the team leader. If that’s the case, then things go more smoothly.

Oath of the Crown: This is Hector from the movie “Troy” or Buliwyf from “The 13th Warrior”. This is an amazing warrior who believes in honor and civilization. He takes personal responsibility and accountability, acts courageously in the face of certain defeat, and faces their obligations. I LOVE this type of Paladin, but you’ll have to work with your DM to figure out what “the Crown” means for this paladin and the campaign.

If you’re looking to make a tanky-paladin, this is a GREAT choice, because the Oath Spells for the Crown lend themselves to powerful defensive utilities: Compel Duel, Aura of Vitality and Circle of Power are really amazing in drawing focus, taunting, healing, and buffing your party within a certain radius around you. This makes a Paladin of the Crown a terrific choice for players who like being in the thick of the fighting, boosting thier allies fighting capacity to go on the offensive!

If you couldn’t tell, I LOVE the Oath of the Crown! It’s not *quite* as flexible as Oath of Devotion, but from the examples I’ve listed, I think you can see that there’s a lot of wonderful storytelling potential, as well as an incredible set of powers!

Oath of Redemption: This is more like your Buddhist monk mixed with a Knight. “Bulletproof Monk” is probably a good analogy. The monk in that movie doesn’t really want to hurt anyone, even those trying to kill him. It doesn’t mean he won’t fight though! Still, he believes that people are mostly good, or can become good, if given the opportunity to do so.

Their Oath Spells are more about control and confinement… which makes this Paladin a little better at crowd control than the others, and more likely to have a sunny, upbeat optimism.

This Paladin is also a teacher, a confidant, and counselor… probably quite a bit moreso than the other Paladins on this list, and a really good choice if you want a Paladin who focuses on mental & spiritual health as much as physical.

Their Oath Spells include a major doozy DM’s tend to dread: Counterspell. That can be a game saver, so this Paladin may consider saving up their spell slots for the usage of this over say, smiting the enemies.

They certainly aren’t pushovers, but they also aren’t totally naive. This is a great one for players who have a little experience with the game and want to give new players a safety net and more screen time.

*(Note: despite this picture, the monk NEVER actually shoots anyone with the guns. He fights, for sure… but he isn’t trying to kill.)

Oath of Vengeance: depending on who you talk to, this is Batman OR the Punisher… I lean more towards the Punisher rather than Batman, but the debate rages on. Thematically, I’m not always wild about this one, but the spell list and Oath abilities are some of the best, if not THE BEST of the different Oaths, making this one a VERY popular choice for Paladins who really want to put the hurt on! As much as I love Oath of Devotion in terms of theme, if given a choice, I’ll take Oath of Vengeance and try to play it a bit more gently in the RP just to have the Vengeance abilities. They’re VERY good.

If you’re new to playing D&D Paladins but are looking for more offense, this is the way to go.

To quote the DND Wiki page: “The tenets of the Oath of Vengeance vary by paladin, but all the tenets revolve around punishing wrongdoers by any means necessary. Paladins who uphold these tenets are willing to sacrifice even their own righteousness to mete out justice upon those who do evil, so the paladins are often neutral or lawful neutral in alignment. The core principles of the tenets are brutally simple.”

The keys here are that they are willing to sacrifice their own righteousness to mete out justice to those who do evil, and ‘by any means necessary’. That’s pretty extreme.

This type of Paladin will NOT hesitate to use lethal force on their enemies, though they may show mercy to people who are not their sworn enemies.

However, this Paladin isn’t stupid, and their oaths reflect that. If you’ve ever wanted to be a relentless pursuer, a hunter among sheep, a warrior who focuses solely on the mission and their target, this may be the Paladin for you. Just be aware that this is a morally complex character who may have to do some mental gymnastics to appease their team and appease their deity.

The Oathbreaker: this one is summed up in two words: DARTH VADER.

“An oathbreaker is a paladin who breaks their sacred oaths to pursue some dark ambition or serve an evil power. Whatever light burned in the paladin’s heart been extinguished. Only darkness remains.”

Yes! It gives me chills just thinking about it! This one *can* be amazing to play, but players have to be aware that this one takes a lot of work. You have to justify almost every decision this character makes and reap the whirlwind with your DM if he or she disagrees. For instance, if your version of Darth Vader decides to help an old lady across the street, get ready to sing a song and do dance about why someone so evil helped a person so helpless. Conversely, if you try to kill a party member for failing you, be prepared for the consequences.

As you might expect, this is the opposite of a normal Paladin, so instead of helping a party mitigate damage, calm your opponents, or heal friendly targets, this Paladin is all about inflicting wounds, making people crazy, and raising the dead to fight for them.

So we looked at all the subclasses except Treachery, which, frankly, I don’t have any information on.

Regardless, each subclass has many interesting options to it! It could be in their gameplay style, or the RP of the character, or in the way this person will fit into your DM’s world.

Mainly, I think the key is to focus on what is interesting to YOU. Start there, and then work with your DM to find how to shape that into something that fits your campaign. For instance, Darth Vader, (an Oathbreaker), might be a really interesting character to have when alongside a group filled with Lawful Good characters… maybe they were taking him to prison when a big bad attacked, and now he’s working with them because he’s more useful in the fight than locked up. Just because he’s Darth Vader doesn’t mean he won’t play within certain boundaries if freedom, (or the chance to backstab and escape) can be on the table. It may not be the easiest thing to work out, but it can also be a lot of fun. Think Vegeta in his early outings on Namek and you’ll see how this can be fun.

Also, don’t be afraid to experiment! Is your good-guy paladin more Don Quixote than Don Juan? Is he grizzled, somewhat teetering towards retirement, slighly cynical paladin who has been devoted to good his whole life and is a bit burned out like a beat cop who’s been on the street too long? Maybe your Oathbreaker is a hilarious prankster who loves to laugh, but got burned by their former organization and seeks bloody retribution. Sure he’s evil… but sometimes you forget that over a beer and think he’s a really funny guy… until he eviscerates someone and goes back to joking.

Also, if you couldn’t tell… I LOVE Paladins! I can’t stand the hate this class draws, but it’s usually from people trying to hold too close to the lines.

In other words… make your character three-dimensional. This always makes them interesting. You’d be surprised at how you can stick to your oaths and still find ways of letting the party breathe and not find you to be an impediment to their fun!

Isaac Marsh

Votes: 3726

RAW yes.

I find it better to ignore the rule however and always have falls deal 1d6 per 10ft regardless of how long the fall was. And here’s why.

My PCs were fighting a Death Knight in a flying castle. They were not supposed to fight this guy, but for some reason the Wizard counterspelled the Death Knights teleport when he tried to leave, and a fight broke out. I’m sitting here shaking my head an expecting a TPK, and the the group’s Fighter has an idea.

”How high is this castle?” He asked me

”Really high, roughly 1400ft”

He then proceeded to grapple the Death Knight and walk of the edge of the floating courtyard.

The Fighter has 7HP left. He was doomed and we both knew it, plus the other PCs had no resurrection spells (they were Lv. 6). RAW the Death Knight with 156HP remaining would have been guaranteed to survive 20d6 damage. Well I thought that was stupid, both from a dramatic standpoint and a rules standpoint. Unless you’re the Tarrasque you’re not surviving a 1400ft drop. So I did 140d6 to the Death Knight, allowing the Fighter’s sacrifice to mean something.

Murphy Barrett

Votes: 2649

Too many people think being a Paladin means they are the Law.

But that is not the the Paladin’s Path.

A Paladin is not merely a sword for his god, he is a shield for the innocent. When the forces of evil are howling at the gate, it is the Paladin who stands fast against them.

The Paladin is not a blunt instrument, forcing the mores of his god on everyone. He is an example to follow, a shining beacon in a sea of moral turpitude. He is meant to inspire the sinful to better themselves, not butcher them for all-too-human failings.

The Paladin is no demi-god but a mere man with man’s failings. The difference is that he has made a choice to follow a code.

Twenty-five years ago I heard and memorized what I still think is one of the best Paladin codes of honor.

A knight is sworn to valour His heart knows only virtue His blade defends the helpless His might upholds the weak His word speaks only truth His wrath undoes the wicked.

The last time I played a Paladin she was a young, imperfect woman, striving to live up to the image of her goddess. She accepted that other people had other ways and other gods. When she visited a temple to the Green God she put an acorn on what she thought was the offering plate. Turns out that wasn’t even a ritual of that religion, but it was her way of trying to be respectful. She did not berate her companions for their debauchery, but gently suggested that if they did not enjoy hangovers perhaps they ought not drink to excess.

And when the goblin army came she fought to save all she could. She did not try to force her rules on others. That is not what her goddess expected of her. Rather she was meant to be a protector, even at the cost of her own life.

That is how I see Paladins. They are the sword arm of their gods. The protectors of their people. Not a blunt instrument to sow fear and obedience but examples to follow and inspire hope.

For more advice on how to play Paladins, please read The Paladin’s Path

Original question-How do you play a paladin in D&D 5E?all to

Murphy Barrett

Votes: 1036

In addition to Ed Han’s excellent answer, I want to get a bit more into the oaths themselves and how I view them as a DM. To me the default “oaths” in the books are merely a lens, a tool to help you build your character. So telling me “I want to play an Oath of Devotion paladin” is not sufficient.

I want you to write down your actual oath.

Back when I was first playing D&D I just assumed that that’s how the class worked, and whenever I played a Paladin, a warrior monk (European style, not Asian), I literally wrote his oaths out. My father was a seminary student way-back-when, and I have some idea of how the Catholic church works, and that informed my view of Paladins. I’m also a history buff, and finally around this time I heard the best default Paladin oaths I’ve ever encountered.

A Knight is sworn to Valour;His Heart knows only Virtue;His Blade defends the Helpless;His Might upholds the Weak;His Word speaks only Truth;His Wroth undoes the Wicked.-The Old Code, Dragonheart

So naturally I wrote my Paladin’s vows out and I would require any Paladin at my table to do likewise. And I freely admit this is probably the historian/Germanic part of my brain coming out. I still consider “oathbreaker” to be a grave charge. Not in the D&D sense, but in that of the Germanic and Nordic tribes.

Let us then look at the various flavours of Paladin.

This is quite explicitly not an oath. Though certainly the Old Code would fit a Devotion Paladin rather ideally. I would not object to the Old Code, but I would still want my player to write it out, to think about it, to wrestle with the wording, because it is your oath I will hold your character to in the guise of his god. Not merely the tenets in the Player’s Handbook.

Next we have;

What code, what oaths, uphold these virtues? How does your order follow the way of the Ancients? Perhaps;

The Light of Goodness is in the hearts of all beings;I will seek always to find and nurture the Light in myself and in others;I shall never snuff out another being without the gravest of cause;Where the Light flickers as a tiny candle I shall go, forswearing a life of ease and comfort to shine as a beacon for others to follow, that that tiny flicker may grow to shine as the sun itself.

Not as poetic as the Old Code, but a good oath. And here you see this Paladin’s order expects it’s members to go out into the darkness to nurture the light. You would not find such Paladins in comfy cities waiting to fight evil where it comes, but seeking out evil and either converting it to good or with great sorrow executing it.

Next we have;

Perhaps a suitable oath might be;

Vengeance we shall be;For Thee, my Lord, for Thee;Power hath descended forth from Thy hand;That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command;That we strike down upon evil with great vengeance and furious anger;And a river forth we shall flow to Thee;And teeming with wicked souls shall it ever be.

Now this sounds like a proper oath for a vengeance Paladin. What’s more, it seems to imply that they work in groups, with all the “we”. And yes, it’s amalgamated from Boondock Saints and Ezekiel 25:17, with a bit of my own ideas.

But lo, here’s a question…can such a Paladin ride a horse? “That our feet…” Interesting point for a schism in the order, the shod and unshod paladins.

But moving on, we next have;

My god;I am thy sword that shall rend our enemies asunder;I am thy boot that grinds all resistance to dust;I am thy cloak that extinguishes the hope of our enemies;I am thy visage that burns fear into the soul;I am thy voice that speaks the law;I am thy ears suffer no dissent;I am thy instrument of conquest.

Charming fellows, really.

Next we have;

By my King’s command I shall:Uphold the King’s law above all things;Bear true faith and allegiance to my King;Defend my King against all enemies from without or within;Never abandon a subject of the King to the enemy;Stand fast in my duty no matter what may come;So help me [god]

Here we have a nice lever for the DM to use. A subject of your king has been captured. What to do?

And finally,

A Redeemer is patient, as a farmer nurturing his field;He is calm, the eye of the storm;His word is compassionate, as a mother to her child;His deeds are merciful, as a doctor to the unwell;His eye sees good in the wicked, as [god] saw the good in me;His weapon is his heart before his sword.

Again there is world-building in this oath. The fifth line implies that members of this order were once wicked themselves. To which I would ask the player, what evil did your Paladin do before he was redeemed, and how was he redeemed?

I want players to really think about what it is to be not just a Paladin, but a Paladin of their particular order. Why these tenets and not others? How does your order follow the tenets? What does that say about your order and your god?

This is why want the oaths written out, not just the tenets parroted.

Original question-In D&D what are Paladin oaths?

Jacob Holcomb

Votes: 2730

Assume that your paladin has been told the following by his drill sergeant superior: (everything in bold should be read in drill sergeant high pitched sarcasm with bulging vein in the forehead)

Do not judge other people when it is none of your Tyr-Damned (assuming Tyr is your primary deity, insert appropriate name otherwise) business! Unless you’ve been told specifically that it’s your Tyr-Damned business, it’s none of your Tyr-Damned business!

Don’t tell other people what they should and should not do! Don’t “should” on anyone! Nobody wants to deal with your “should”!

When it’s time to do your job, do your job. Don’t talk about it. Don’t brag about it, don’t argue about it, don’t philosophize about it, don’t negotiate around it. Do your Tyr-Damned job! If someone gets in your way, tell them what your job is, try to ignore them, and then do it. If someone tries to stop you from doing your job and they won’t let you ignore them, give them one warning and then stop them from stopping you from doing your job!

You’re a soldier, not a priest! It’s not your job to save their sorry souls, it’s your job to save their sorry asses!

Andrew Tempest

Votes: 3678

My idea of an oath of the crown paladin is based on Carrot Ironfoundersson from Discworld. He is physically imposing and has an air of natural authority. It is implied he is the true heir to the kingdom, but he chooses instead to be a member of the city watch, and rapidly advances to captain. He studies the cities laws in detail and is totally devoted to upholding them.

This paladin is meant to be a leader in an army or other force acting on behalf of the ruler of the land.

Their Channel Divinity Options are;

Champion challenge. The description says you use this to compel creatures to do battle with you, but in fact they are not made to fight you, only stopped from moving more than 30 feet away from you. You could use this to prevent your own troops from running away. You could also use it to stop your enemies from running away, or to pin down a mobile enemy.

Turn The Tide: Use this to give every ally on less than half hit points a quick boost. This will allow people on 0 hit points to get back up.

At 7th level the divine allegiance feature lets you take damage that another creature should have taken. You will probably have more hit points than other characters. It is probably a good idea to take the tough feat so you have plenty of hit points.


Votes: 5047

I am not familiar with 5e. I stick with ADHD.

But I am with Paladins.

They are the toughest character to play.

Paladins have many, many limitations. They have an order that follows some deity that can draft them at any time (chaotic DM’s LOVE to throw minor piss-off factors at them in the middle of a campaign and one of two things happen: The player gets annoyed or the player storms off because “there is no control over my Paladin!”)Now comes the DM’s need to keep track of the Diety’s Demands on his character’s character and behavior…and so the Paladin too. Geez.Additionally, the Paladin is con

Bram Haenen

Votes: 2882

What’s the general play style of the Oath of Heroism in D&D 5E?

The Oath of Heroism is an affirmation of a destined path, one laid out for you by divine hands. For whatever reason, a god or a group of gods has included you in their machinations. You are not a reluctant hero, but one who fully embraces the idea that great deeds are yours to achieve. You train diligently, sculpting your body and refining your skills so you’re ready when destiny calls.

Actions over Words. Strive to be known by deeds not words.

Challenges Are but Tests. Every hardship serves to challenge your abilities and harden your resolve.

Embrace Destiny. You didn’t choose this path, but it’

Zoe Winton

Votes: 9058

Can I play an unintelligent sorcerer in D&D 5E?

I’ve been wanting to play a wild magic sorcerer for a while, I like the unpredictability of them. But today I was thinking about how best to make this character unique and I thought she could be a kind of stumbled into it hero. Like she only found out she had magic recently and she saved her little rural village from threat and is now a local celeb. Thinking about this character, I thought she would work well as a kind of super sweet but not altogether there kind of person, someone who is completely bewildered by her new talents and the relative fame that comes along with it, but all the sorce

Jonathan Perez

Votes: 2643

How do I deal with moderately armored and shielded casters in D&D 5E?

Go for saves.

Now, this is terrible advice if you’re the DM. Absolutely terrible. Please take it from me, if you’re having difficulty making combat deadly for your PCs, one of the worst ways to deal with it is by aiming specifically and only for their weaknesses. Even if your table doesn’t roleplay and just kicks down dungeon doors, there’s no reasonable explanation for the room full of Orcs to have a Wizard or Druid that instantly knows each party member’s worst save.

It only breeds resentment if the enemies coincidentally know exactly where to hit, trust me on that. It’s like every melee comba

Benjamin Finlay

Votes: 1378

What are the Paladin Oaths in D&D 5E?

As of writing this answer (7th August, 2022), there are nine official Oaths:

The Oath of the Ancients (something of a holy warrior that reveres nature)

The Oath of Conquest (the darkest oath intended for players; a dark conquering knight)

The Oath of the Crown (Guardians of civilisation)

The Oath of Devotion (knights in shining armour)

The Oath of Glory (hero aspirants)

The Oath of Redemption (idealists who work to redeem those they can; they are not fools, however)

The Oath of Vengeance (knights who are sworn to hunt down and slay evil)

The Oath of the Watcher (knights who watch for extraplanar incur

Rick R

Votes: 4098

How can I properly role play as a Paladin in D&D?

I’ve been playing a Lawful Good Paladin of Bahamut for many years, and I can tell you a few of the ways I’ve kept this character interesting, not suggesting that this is the best way, but in a practical sense, this is what has worked for me, and been an enjoyable way to play.

Original character art by Bryan Syme

The first thing to know is that there is no one “proper” way to play a Paladin. Like all RPG characters, a Paladin must have multiple dimensions in order to keep it fun and interesting, particularly in an ongoing campaign. Many players see a Paladin as something of a sword-and-shield Dud

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