The Ultimate Paladin 5e Guide: Mastering Divine Power and Heroic Feats

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Time to read 16 min

In a world of darkness and chaos, there stands the ultimate embodiment of light and righteousness – the Paladin 5e. With their unwavering devotion and divine powers, Paladins are the champions of justice, honor, and virtue in the realms of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (5e). If you're ready to take on the role of this noble warrior, then this is the guide you've been waiting for. In "The Ultimate Paladin 5e Guide: Mastering Divine Power and Heroic Feats," we will delve deep into the secrets of this powerful class. From creating a compelling backstory to choosing the right divine oath, we'll help you shape your Paladin into a formidable force on the battlefield. Discover the intricacies of building the perfect Paladin, as we explore optimal race and ability score combinations, discuss tactical combat strategies, and offer guidance on selecting spells and feats. Unleash your divine smites, harness the power of your Lay on Hands, and learn how to maximize your damage output while still being an indomitable pillar of support for your party. Join us on a journey of righteousness and adventure as we unveil the secrets to becoming the ultimate Paladin in 5e. Let your divine power shine and let justice prevail!

Understanding the Paladin's abilities and features

The Paladin 5e class in D&D 5e embodies the concept of the holy warrior, wielding divine power to smite their enemies and protect their allies. At its core, the Paladin 5e is a melee combatant with a focus on durability and support. Paladins have access to a unique pool of abilities, including Divine Sense, Lay on Hands, and Channel Divinity.

One of the defining features of the Paladin is their ability to Smite. By expending spell slots during an attack, Paladins can deal devastating damage to their foes. Additionally, their Divine Sense allows them to detect the presence of undead and fiends, making them invaluable when facing supernatural enemies. As a Paladin, you also possess the ability to Lay on Hands, which allows you to heal wounds and cure diseases.

Paladin Class Table Overview

  • Hit Dice: 1d10 per Paladin level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Paladin level after 1st
  • Proficiencies: All armor, shields, simple weapons, martial weapons
  • Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
  • Skills: Choose two from Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion

 Level Proficiency Bonus Features Spell Slots per Spell Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st 2 Divine Sense, Lay on Hands
2nd 2 Fighting Style, Spellcasting, Divine Smite 2
3rd 2 Divine Health, Sacred Oath 3
4th 2 Ability Score Improvement 3
5th 3 Extra Attack 4 2
6th 3 Aura of Protection 4 2
7th 3 Sacred Oath feature 4 3
8th 3 Ability Score Improvement 4 3
9th 4 4 3 2
10th 4 Aura of Courage 4 3 2
11th 4 Improved Divine Smite 4 3 3
12th 4 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3
13th 5 4 3 3 1
14th 5 Cleansing Touch 4 3 3 1
15th 5 Sacred Oath feature 4 3 3 2
16th 5 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 2
17th 6 4 3 3 3 1
18th 6 Aura improvements 4 3 3 3 1
19th 6 Ability Score Improvement 4 3 3 3 2
20th 6 Sacred Oath feature 4 3 3 3 2

*Spell Slots indicate the number of spells Paladins can cast before needing to rest. The exact spells they can prepare each day depend on their level and Charisma modifier.


  1. Versatility in Combat: Paladins are effective both in melee combat and as support characters. Their ability to deal significant damage with their weapon attacks, combined with their spellcasting, allows them to adapt to a variety of combat situations.

  2. Divine Smite: One of the Paladin's signature abilities, Divine Smite, allows them to expend spell slots to deal extra radiant damage on a hit. This can be incredibly powerful, especially against undead and fiends.

  3. Healing Abilities: Paladins have access to healing spells, including the potent "Lay on Hands" ability, which provides a pool of healing that can be used to restore hit points or cure diseases and poison. This makes them invaluable in maintaining the party's longevity.

  4. Aura Abilities: Starting at 6th level, Paladins emit an aura that provides bonuses to saving throws for themselves and allies within range. The nature of these bonuses can vary depending on the Paladin's chosen oath, offering protection against spells, damage, or other effects.

  5. High Saving Throws: Paladins gain a bonus to all saving throws equal to their Charisma modifier through their Aura of Protection. This can make them and their nearby allies significantly more resilient against spells and other harmful effects.


  1. Spellcasting Limitations: While Paladins have access to a range of useful spells, they are not as versatile or powerful as those available to full spellcasters like Wizards and Clerics. Their spell slots are also limited, forcing them to balance the use of Divine Smite with their spellcasting.

  2. Dependency on Multiple Ability Scores: To be most effective, Paladins need to invest in Strength (or Dexterity for weapon attacks), Constitution (for hit points and concentration checks), and Charisma (for spellcasting and their aura abilities). This can spread their ability score improvements thin, making it hard to excel in all areas.

  3. Limited Range: Paladins are primarily melee combatants, with limited options for ranged attacks. This can be a disadvantage in situations where closing the distance to enemies is difficult or dangerous.

  4. Oath Restrictions: The power of a Paladin is closely tied to their adherence to the tenets of their chosen oath. This can sometimes lead to difficult choices and role-playing challenges, and straying from these tenets can lead to a loss of powers until they atone.

  5. Resource Management: Many of a Paladin's most powerful abilities, including Divine Smite and spellcasting, consume limited resources. Poor management of these resources can leave a Paladin less effective in prolonged encounters or adventuring days.

Choosing the right race for your Paladin character

When creating a Paladin 5e character, choosing the right race can greatly enhance your abilities and complement your playstyle. Different races offer unique racial traits that can synergize with the Paladin class.

For example, a Dragonborn Paladin 5e benefits from their breath weapon, which can deal additional damage to enemies. The Half-Elf race provides increased versatility, with bonuses to multiple ability scores and access to different skills. If you prefer a more defensive playstyle, the Dwarven race offers increased hit points and resistance to certain types of damage.

Paladin 5e Damage Chart

The damage a Paladin can inflict varies widely depending on their level, chosen Fighting Style, the use of Divine Smite, weapon choice, and any additional features or spells active at the time (like spells that add extra damage). Below is a rough guide to the potential damage output from weapon attacks and Divine Smite:

  • Weapon Attacks: Damage is based on the weapon used plus the Strength (or Dexterity for finesse weapons) modifier. For example, a longsword deals 1d8 (or 1d10 when used two-handed) plus the Strength modifier.
  • Divine Smite: When hitting a creature with a melee weapon attack, a Paladin can expend one spell slot to deal an extra 2d8 radiant damage to the target, plus 1d8 for each spell level higher than 1st, and an additional 1d8 against undead or fiends (up to a maximum of 5d8).

Example: At level 5, using a longsword with a Strength modifier of +3, a Paladin's damage on a hit would be 1d8 (longsword) + 3 (Strength). If they choose to use Divine Smite at 2nd level, they add an additional 3d8 radiant damage, for a total damage potential of 1d8 + 3 + 3d8.

For precise calculations, including critical hits, specific Paladin Oaths, and spell effects, players should refer to the detailed rules in the Player's Handbook.


Building a Paladin 5e character: Attributes, skills, and proficiencies

To create a powerful and well-rounded Paladin, it's important to carefully allocate your attribute points. Strength should be your primary attribute, as it determines your attack and damage rolls. Charisma is also crucial for a Paladin, as it affects your spellcasting ability and the effectiveness of your Channel Divinity.

In terms of skills, Paladins excel in areas such as Athletics, Insight, and Persuasion. Proficiencies in heavy armor and martial weapons are essential for a frontline Paladin 5e , ensuring that you can withstand the rigors of combat and deal significant damage to your enemies.

A Cr*p Guide to being a Paladin in Dungeons and Dragons 5e

The different Paladin 5e subclasses and their unique abilities

Paladins have access to different subclasses, known as Oaths, which represent the specific divine oaths they swear to uphold. Each Oath grants unique abilities and spells, allowing you to tailor your Paladin to a specific playstyle or theme.

The Oath of Devotion focuses on protecting the innocent and upholding the tenets of justice. This subclass grants abilities such as Sacred Weapon, which empowers your weapon with radiant energy, and Holy Nimbus, which creates an aura that damages nearby enemies.

The Oath of Vengeance is for those who seek to bring righteous retribution upon evildoers. Abilities like Vow of Enmity allow you to gain advantage on attack rolls against a specific enemy, while Relentless Avenger lets you pursue and strike down fleeing foes.

As a Paladin, your weapon choices and fighting style greatly impact your effectiveness in combat. While Paladins are proficient in a wide range of weapons, it's important to choose one that suits your playstyle and complements your abilities.

One popular choice for Paladin 5e is the versatile longsword, which allows for both one-handed and two-handed attacks. This versatility enables you to switch between offense and defense as needed. Another option is the greatsword, which sacrifices versatility for raw damage potential.

5e paladin

In terms of fighting styles, the Defense style grants a bonus to your armor class, making you harder to hit. Alternatively, the Great Weapon Fighting style allows you to reroll 1s and 2s on damage dice, maximizing your damage output.

Harnessing divine power: Spells and spellcasting for Paladins

Paladin 5e have access to a limited selection of spells, which are primarily focused on healing, protection, and smiting enemies. While Paladins are not as versatile as full spellcasters, their spells can still be instrumental in turning the tide of battle.

Bless is a popular spell choice for Paladins, as it provides a bonus to attack rolls and saving throws for you and your allies. Other spells, such as Cure Wounds and Lesser Restoration, allow you to heal wounds and remove debilitating conditions.

Divine Smite, however, is the true highlight of a Paladin 5e spellcasting arsenal. By expending spell slots, you can deal additional radiant damage to your enemies, making your attacks even more devastating.

Roleplaying as a Paladin: Alignments, oaths, and ethical dilemmas

Playing a Paladin 5e is not just about combat prowess; it's also about embodying the ideals and principles of your chosen Oath. Paladins are typically associated with lawful good alignments, but they can also fall anywhere along the spectrum of lawful and good.

The Oath you choose for your Paladin 5e character will dictate the specific tenets and principles they must adhere to. Upholding these tenets can present interesting roleplaying opportunities and ethical dilemmas, allowing you to explore the complexities of being a holy warrior in a morally ambiguous world.

Front-Line Combatant

Paladins excel in melee combat, serving as front-line defenders and damage dealers. They can withstand significant punishment, especially at higher levels, and their healing abilities allow them to sustain themselves and their allies. Using their Divine Smite ability, they can unleash devastating attacks against foes, particularly against evil-aligned creatures like undead and fiends.

Support and Healer

While not as versatile in healing as clerics, Paladins offer substantial support through healing spells, cleansing abilities, and powerful auras that bolster the defenses of nearby allies. "Lay on Hands" is an especially efficient healing tool, capable of restoring a significant amount of hit points or curing poison and disease.

Crowd Control

Through spells and certain Oath abilities, Paladins can control the battlefield, hindering enemies and protecting allies. Spells like "Hold Person" or "Compelled Duel" can take key opponents out of the fight or focus aggression on the Paladin, who is better equipped to handle the damage.

Utility and Role-Playing

Paladins in 5e have access to various utility spells that can be useful in exploration and social interactions. Their strong moral codes, dictated by their Oaths, offer rich role-playing opportunities. Decisions and actions in-game can reflect the Paladin's commitment to their deity and cause, providing depth to their character beyond combat.

Adaptive Strategies

  • Offensive Play: Focus on eliminating threats quickly using Divine Smite and offensive spells. This approach is useful against powerful, evil-aligned enemies.
  • Defensive Play: Use auras, healing, and protective spells to defend allies. This strategy is beneficial in prolonged encounters or when facing numerous enemies.
  • Utility and Diplomacy: Outside of combat, Paladins can use their charisma and certain spells to negotiate, gather information, or inspire others.

Choosing an Oath

The Sacred Oath a Paladin 5e swears significantly impacts their playstyle:

  • Oath of Devotion: Focuses on protecting the innocent and upholding justice, excelling in fighting undead and fiends.
  • Oath of the Ancients: Combines elements of nature with the Paladin's abilities, focusing on crowd control and protecting allies.
  • Oath of Vengeance: Emphasizes pursuing and punishing wrongdoers, offering tools for single-target damage and pursuit.
  • Oath of Conquest: Aims to dominate foes, focusing on fear-based abilities and battlefield control.
  • Oath of Redemption: Centers on nonviolence and enemy redemption, with abilities that protect allies and mitigate damage.

By understanding and embracing the Paladin's versatility, players can adapt their playstyle to fit the needs of their party and the challenges presented by the campaign.

Feats and multiclassing options for Paladins

Feats can greatly enhance the capabilities of your Paladin 5e character, providing additional abilities or improving existing ones. Some popular feats for Paladins include Great Weapon Master, which allows for powerful attacks at the cost of accuracy, and Sentinel, which grants you increased control over the battlefield.

Multiclassing is another option for Paladin 5e who want to diversify their abilities. Combining Paladin with other classes can create unique synergies and playstyles. For example, multiclassing with a Sorcerer can grant you access to additional spellcasting abilities, while multiclassing with a Fighter can provide you with extra attacks and combat maneuvers.

dnd paladin holding a sword jumping in to battle

Conclusion: Becoming the ultimate Paladin 5e in your D&D adventures

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the intricacies of the Paladin 5e class in D&D 5e. From understanding their abilities and features to choosing the right race and subclass, we have provided the tools you need to create the ultimate Paladin 5e character.

By mastering combat strategies, harnessing divine power through spells and spellcasting, and navigating the ethical dilemmas of being a holy warrior, you can become a formidable force on the battlefield. Remember to choose feats and consider multiclassing options to further enhance your Paladin's capabilities.

Now, go forth and let your divine power shine. Become the beacon of light and justice that the world desperately needs. Adventure awaits, and as a Paladin 5e , you are destined to make a difference. Let justice prevail!

How do I choose the right Sacred Oath for my Paladin?

Players often wonder about selecting an Oath that aligns with their character concept and playstyle. The right Oath depends on your desired balance between combat effectiveness, role-playing opportunities, and the specific abilities each Oath offers. Each Oath has a unique flavor and set of abilities that can significantly influence how a Paladin 5ePaladin 5eplays both in and out of combat.

How does Divine Smite work, and when should I use it?

Divine Smite is a key feature for Paladin 5e, allowing them to expend a spell slot to deal extra radiant damage on a successful hit. Questions often focus on its mechanics, such as whether it requires a declaration before the attack roll and how to best manage spell slot resources for both smiting and spellcasting.

What are the best spells for Paladins to prepare?

Given their limited spell slots and the versatility of their spell list, Paladin 5emust choose their prepared spells carefully. Players seek advice on which spells offer the best utility, healing, or combat effectiveness, often looking for a balance that suits their party's needs and their character's role.

How can I effectively role-play my Paladin's alignment and Oath?

The role-playing aspects of a Paladin 5e alignment and adherence to their Sacred Oath provide rich narrative opportunities but can also present challenges. Questions in this area may focus on how to maintain the balance between a Paladin's moral code and the practical needs of adventuring, including how to handle conflicts that arise from their Oath or alignment.

How do I balance between using spell slots for Divine Smite and casting spells?

Managing spell slots is a crucial part of playing a Paladin 5e effectively, especially since their ability to cast spells and use Divine Smite both depend on the same resource. Players often seek advice on how to make the best use of their spell slots, weighing the immediate benefits of Divine Smite against the potential utility and long-term advantages of spellcasting.

Can paladins heal 5e?

Yes, Paladins in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition have several abilities that allow them to heal themselves and their allies, making them one of the classes capable of providing significant support through healing.

Lay on Hands

One of the Paladin's most iconic healing abilities is Lay on Hands , available starting at 1st level. This ability provides a pool of healing power that can restore a total number of hit points equal to the Paladin's level times 5. For example, a 5th-level Paladin has a Lay on Hands pool of 25 hit points. The Paladin can touch a creature to heal it using any or all of this pool, and, as an action, can choose to heal multiple creatures over multiple turns until the pool is depleted. Additionally, Lay on Hands can be used to cure a disease or neutralize a poison affecting a creature, using 5 points from the pool to do so for each disease or poison.

Healing Spells

Paladins also have access to a variety of healing spells as part of their spellcasting ability, which they gain at 2nd level. Some of the healing spells available to Paladins include:

  • Cure Wounds: A spell that allows the Paladin to touch a creature and restore a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + their spellcasting ability modifier. This spell's healing increases when cast with higher-level spell slots.
  • Healing Word: A quick, verbal spell that lets the Paladin heal a creature within 60 feet, restoring hit points equal to 1d4 + their spellcasting ability modifier. Like Cure Wounds, it can be cast using higher-level slots for increased effect.
  • Lesser Restoration: Enables the Paladin to end either one disease or one condition (blind, deaf, paralyzed, or poisoned) affecting a creature.
  • Greater Restoration: A higher-level spell that can reduce exhaustion levels, remove curses, negative effects, charms, or petrification, and other more severe conditions.

How do paladin spells work 5e?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Paladin 5e are divine spellcasters who draw their magical abilities from their commitment to their oath and deity. Their spellcasting mechanics are unique compared to full spellcasters like Wizards and Clerics, with a focus on enhancing their martial capabilities, healing, and providing support to their allies.

How many spells can a paladin prepare 5e?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, the number of spells a Paladin 5e can prepare each day is determined by their Charisma modifier plus half their Paladin level, rounded down. This formula allows for a Paladin to tailor their list of prepared spells to the needs of the day, offering flexibility in their spellcasting abilities.

Formula to Calculate Prepared Spells

Number of Prepared Spells=Charisma Modifier+Paladin Level2Number of Prepared Spells=Charisma Modifier+2Paladin Level


Let's say you have a 6th-level Paladin with a Charisma modifier of +3:

Prepared Spells=3+62=3+3=6Prepared Spells=3+26=3+3=6

This Paladin 5e can prepare 6 spells from the Paladin 5e spell list each day. Remember, the spells chosen can be from any level of spells the Paladin has access to, as long as they have spell slots for them. This preparation happens after a long rest, allowing the Paladin to adjust their spell choices based on anticipated challenges.

Are paladins good 5e?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, "good" can refer to a character's moral alignment, their effectiveness in various roles within a party, or how enjoyable they are to play. Paladins are versatile and can be quite powerful, making them "good" in several contexts.

Historically, Paladins were required to be Lawful Good, embodying the epitome of righteousness and justice. However, 5e has relaxed these restrictions, allowing Paladin 5e to follow any alignment. The key is their commitment to an Oath—a set of ideals and tenets that guide their actions. Whether a Paladin is considered "good" in a moral sense depends on the nature of their Oath and how they interpret and act upon it.

Do paladins have to be lawful good 5e?

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Paladins are no longer required to be Lawful Good. This is a significant change from earlier editions, where a Paladin's alignment was strictly defined. In 5e, Paladins draw their power from the strength of their convictions to their Oath, rather than their alignment.

Each Paladin 5e swears to an Oath—a set of ideals and tenets that guide their actions and motivations. These Oaths can represent a wide range of moral perspectives and goals, allowing for Paladins of any alignment. The emphasis is on how a Paladin upholds their Oath and embodies its principles, rather than adhering to a specific alignment.

This change opens up a wealth of role-playing opportunities and allows players to explore the nuances of what it means to be a Paladin beyond the traditional Lawful Good archetype. A Paladin might be Lawful Neutral, focusing on order and justice above personal morals; Chaotic Good, fighting for freedom and righteousness in unconventional ways; or even of a more neutral or darker alignment, interpreting their Oath in a way that serves their own ends or a greater, more ambiguous good.

The flexibility in alignment for Paladin 5e in 5e supports a broader range of character concepts and stories, allowing players to create Paladins that fit their desired play style and narrative interests while still adhering to the core aspects of the class: devotion to an Oath and wielding divine power to make a difference in the world.