DnD Paladin Oaths Guide

Power Through Faith: DnD Paladin Oaths Guide

Table of contents

Paladins are a classic Dungeons and Dragons class. They are iconic for wearing plate mail, wielding a mace and shield, and smiting the undead forces of evil wherever they go.

They call upon the divine power of their chosen god or a certain oath of personal action to perform miraculous acts and deal explosive amounts of damage to enemies that oppose them.

But, if you want to play a Paladin Class, you first have to decide which Oath your character has taken, which will determine their unique approach to honoring their associated god and the abilities they get in return for their devout worship. Welcome to our DnD Paladin Oaths Guide.

Key Info Up Front

  • Important Paladin Abilities: Strength, Charisma, Constitution
  • Paladin Roles: Tank, Support, Striker, Face
  • Good Races for Paladin: Aasimar, Duergar, Githyanki, Eladrin, Half-Orc, Goliath

Paladin Overview

I love Paladins because they are one of the most versatile classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. They can use their bond with a greater deity or an oath to a particular oath or creed to deal incredible bursts of damage, gather information, or heal others, all while being able to take a ton of damage and stay on their feet.

Since they get all of their power from a power greater than themselves, you have to be careful to stick within the tenets they layout for you, or they may strip you of your power. This means that you’ll have to learn as much about your chosen deity as possible to roleplay your character properly.

If you want to play a Paladin, you should also expect to be in the thick of the battle during most encounters, as their spells tend to be touch-based, and they don’t have much in the way of ranged options.

Your high Charisma stat will also make you a good candidate for being your party’s face, and if you are, you’ll have to do plenty of roleplaying and talking to NPCs.

Each subclass below emphasizes different aspects of the Paladin base class while giving it appropriate flavor depending on which deity and disciplines they subscribe to. So, let’s get into each one and see what they’re all about.

Oath of Conquest

Oath of Conquest Paladin

  • Book: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
  • Example Deities: Tyr, Ares

If you want to play a Paladin that can face off against evil hordes on its own, the Oath of Conquest Paladin is a perfect fit for you. This subclass is entirely offensively minded with some great crowd control and attack options.

I’ve had a ton of fun playing with the Oath of Conquest because of how well it can dominate a battlefield and hold its own even in larger groups of enemies, which most Paladin subclasses tend to have problems with.

Oath of Conquest Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

All Paladin subclasses come with additional spells that can tailor your character’s playstyle, and the ones included with the Oath of Conquest are almost entirely offensively focused.

They aren’t particularly strong or well-suited for a Paladin, but they do work to give you a few different options to mix things up and take advantage of enemy weaknesses.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

The Oath of Conquest’s Channel Divinity abilities is powerful and universally valuable for every encounter you’ll be thrown into. The first is called Conquering Presence and effectively works like the Fear spell.

However, I like it much better than a standard Fear spell because it affects an entire area rather than a single target. This can be a very powerful debuff to afflict on enemies, especially to cut down on the incoming damage coming your way for a period of time.

The second Channel Divinity ability is called Guided Strike. This ability is an excellent option for recovering from a missed attack if you need to score that bit of damage. Conquering Presence has more utility than Guided Strike, so I would recommend only using this one when needed.

Aura of Conquest: Level: 7

This feature is always active without you having to spend any actions. It has a range of 10 feet and makes any character frightened of you, unable to move during their turn while inflicting them with psychic damage every turn.

When you reach level 18, its range is raised further to 30 feet. This feature pairs incredibly well with Conquering Presence, and can allow you to shut down an entire horde of enemies during a fight.

Scornful Rebuke: Level: 15

This feature is focused on giving you free damage in exchange for tanking damage for your party. It makes it so that whenever an enemy hits you, they take damage equal to your Charisma modifier. This isn’t a lot of damage, especially at level 15, but it still feels nice to get some free hits in for doing nothing.

Invincible Conqueror: Level: 20

This feature can be activated once per long rest and lasts for a full minute, during which you gain resistance to all damage, get an additional attack on your turn, and increase the range of your criticals to 19 and 20.

This feature is seriously fun to play and is extremely effective, so I recommend bringing this one out whenever you find yourself in a tough or particularly large battle.

Oath of Devotion

Oath of Devotion

  • Book: Player’s Handbook
  • Example Deities: Helm, Torm, Lathander

The Oath of Devotion likely fits in very well with what you imagine for the standard Paladin character. It is a varied subclass that brings a little bit of everything to the table, so it is very useful for learning the class.

However, suppose your party has clearly defined roles for its members. In that case, I suggest picking a different subclass, as the Oath of Devotion is so broad that it struggles to fill any one role exceptionally well.

Oath of Devotion Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

Most of the Oath of Devotion’s additional spells are pretty lackluster or so situational that you’ll have a hard time finding ways to use them too frequently.

However, a few gems catch one’s eye, such as Sanctuary and Protect from Evil and Good, which you get right away at the 3rd level. Then, you’ll have to wait until 13th level to get much use from this feature.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

You’ll have two options for your Channel Divinity, Sacred Weapon and Turn the Unholy. Turn the Unholy is the traditional ability for Paladins to turn undead and demons, which can be great when it comes up, but is otherwise useless.

Sacred Weapon is more universal and adds your Charisma modifier onto your attack rolls for a whole minute. That duration should be plenty of time for most combat encounters, so using this one is a solid buff to make sure you’re shelling out damage throughout a fight.

Aura of Devotion: Level: 7

This aura extends out 10 feet from you at all times and increases to 30 feet at level 18th. It is a general buff that is pretty situational as it prevents you and friendly creatures within the aura from being charmed. However, Charm is pretty common at higher levels, so this can be a real lifesaver.

Purity of Spirit: Level: 15

This feature is the best part of the Oath of Devotion, and I will argue with anyone who says otherwise. It gives you the effect of Protection from Evil and Good permanently, saving you spell slots and granting you extra defenses against six entire types of monsters.

Holy Nimbus: Level: 20

Holy Nimbus can be used once per long rest and allows you to glow in bright light for a full minute. The light has a 30-foot radius that deals 10 radiant damage to enemies within it at the start of their turn and gives you an advantage on saving throws against spells from fiends and undead.

This ability is underwhelming for a 20th-level ability, but it is consistent enough to help deal with smaller creatures or minions during late-game fights.

Oath of Glory

  • Books: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything/Mystic Odysseys of Theros
  • Example Deities: Lathander, Bane, Tempus

I think this subclass is a bit of a mixed bag, so you’ll likely need some patience if you hope to play it. It has some great options that you will use frequently, but others that are so situational you may only use them once or twice across an entire campaign.

However, paladins that take up the Oath of Glory believe that they and their party are on a direct path to greatness. They aim to be sung about in halls of heroes and celebrated for years to come so that they can answer the call of destiny whenever it may call.

Oath of Glory Features

Oath of Glory

Additional Spells: Level: 3

The additional spells that come with the Oath of Glory subclass are pretty solid but are undercut by a major flaw. Most spells require concentration, meaning that you can only effectively use one at a time.

This severely limits the utility of the subclass. However, the list of spells has some great options for taking out difficult enemies and keeping you and your allies on your feet in even the most brutal encounters.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

The Oath of Glory comes with two of my favorite Channel Divinity abilities for Paladins. However, it can only be used so periodically that you shouldn’t expect to rely on them. The first is called Peerless Athlete and gives you a 10-minute buff to your strength and dexterity.

It gives you an advantage on Athletics and Acrobatics checks, allows you to move double the weight, and increases your jump height and distance by 10 feet. This is a fun feature that adds some great flavor to the subclass.

The second feature is Inspiring Smite, which gives the Oath of Glory Paladin an insane amount of healing potential. It can be used after using a Divine Smite and grants temporary hit points to all of your allies within 30 feet, helping boost them for the fight.

The amount of hit points you give also increases with your level, helping it stay relevant later in the game.

Aura of Alacrity: Level: 7

This subclass’ aura increases the movement speed of you and your nearby allies by 10 feet. This ability can be helpful but won’t come up too often. It can help finish chases early, but it is almost entirely useless when it comes to actual combat.

Glorious Defense: Level: 15

This feature is a fantastic defensive tool that you should use. It can be used several times equal to your Charisma modifier per long rest, and you should use up all of those uses every time if you can. It allows you to add your Charisma modifier to an ally’s Armor Class when attacked if they are within 10 feet of you.

If the enemy attacking then misses, you get a free attack on them, so make sure to bring a melee weapon with Reach to take full advantage of this one and be a force to be reckoned with in combat encounters.

Living Legend: Level: 20

This feature is a bonus action that lasts for a full minute once per long rest unless you want to expend a 5th-level spell slot to use it again. While it’s active, you have an advantage on Charisma rolls, can use a reaction to re-roll failed saving throws, and make a missed attack hit once per turn. This ability is great because of how universal its buff is.

Still, I wouldn’t recommend using it for social Charisma rolls unless you know you will take a long rest immediately after. Instead, I tend to use Enhance Ability for those moments to save this for when some evil hordes need smashing.

Oath of Redemption

Oath of Redemption

  • Book: Xanthar’s Guide to Everything
  • Example Deities: Eldath, Jergal, Silvanus

The Oath of Redemption is a very interesting Paladin subclass because it challenges players to solve problems without bashing in skulls unless they have to.

It emphasizes Charisma before anything else and focuses primarily on spells and abilities instead of melee attacks. If you’re up to the challenge, this subclass brings a lot of fun roleplay and mechanical options for any Paladin fan.

Oath of Redemption Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

The spell list for the Oath of Redemption is pretty strong, especially from the 9th level. However, most spells rely on your targets failing saving throws, so get your Charisma as high as possible.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

The first Channel Divinity option for this subclass is Emissary of Peace. This allows you to have a +5 to Persuasion checks for 10 minutes. This feature is handy for navigating social situations and is one of the few Channel Divinity options that aren’t combat-centric.

The second is Rebuke the Violent. This feature allows you to make an enemy that just hit a nearby creature make a Wisdom saving throw. Otherwise, they take all the damage they just dealt, which is wonderfully poetic.

Aura of the Guardian: Level: 7

This aura can be very dangerous, so don’t use it all the time, but it does prove very useful in hairy situations or if you need a party member to survive.

This feature allows you to take all of the damage directed at an ally within the aura’s range, and you can do it as many times as you want. Well, as many times as you can without dying.

Protective Spirit: Level: 15

This feature gives you free hit points at the end of your turns if you have less than half of your maximum. It is a powerful ability, especially when paired with Aura of the Guardian, to soak up damage for free.

Emissary of Redemption: Level: 20

You can use this feature once per long rest, and while it is active, you have resistance to all damage from other creatures and will damage creatures that hurt you for half the amount they dealt with you.

However, if you damage creatures in any other way while this feature is active, it ends. This feature sounds stronger than in practice because of how the damage you deal is calculated after your resistances are applied, but it can still work well in the right situations.

Oath of the Ancients

paladin oath of the ancients

  • Book: Player’s Handbook
  • Example Deities: Silvanus, Talona, Talos

Do you want just a smidge of Druid in your Paladin? Then Oath of the Ancients for you because it is for Paladins dedicated to protecting and serving the interests of nature.

They are an ancient order of Paladins and offer players a unique approach to the class, so they are a solid option for players to play if they like the subclass’ flavor or are big fans of trees. However, just know that this subclass doesn’t come into its own until you reach level seven.

Oath of the Ancients Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

To be honest, most of the spells that you get for this subclass are pretty bad. They are either too weak to be worth investing in or are too situational to use very often. However, with at least one solid spell at each level, it isn’t a total loss.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

The Oath of the Ancients’ Channel Divinity features is also lackluster. The first is Nature’s Wrath, a worse version of Ensnaring Strike. The other is Turn the Faithless, which is situational despite Nature’s Wrath not being usable enough to cover how rarely you’ll use Turn the Faithless.

Aura of Warding: Level: 7

Finally, a good feature for the Oath of the Ancients! This aura gives you and all allies within range resistance against spell damage, which can be huge depending on who you face.

Undying Sentinel: Level: 15

This feature is great for helping you stay on your feet, although other Paladins could get a similar effect from playing a Half-Orc. It allows you to drop to one hit point instead of zero once per long rest, but it also stops your body from physically aging or being aged magically.

Elder Champion: Level: 20

This feature lasts one full minute and can be used once per long rest, but it is pretty strong. While it is active, you gain 10 hit points at the start of your turns, you can cast your spells as bonus actions, and creatures within 10 feet of you have a disadvantage on saving throws against your spells and Channel Divinity features.

Oath of the Crown

Paladin Oath of the Crown

  • Book: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide

Oath of the Crown Paladins is unique in that they only derive their power from a civilization’s beliefs and laws. So, you should pick this subclass if you want to have your Paladin serve a particular people or ruler rather than a religious order or self-identified code.

This means that if you do go with this subclass, you’ll have to obey the orders of an NPC or other player, so keep that in mind. In exchange, though, you’ll get one of the best defender subclasses in all of 5e.

Oath of the Crown Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

The spell list for the Oath of the Crown is a very mixed bag. Some of the spells included are absolute necessities that will usually be your crutch, while others are either situational or too bad to be usable. So, there are options to use here but don’t go in hoping to be a cast-heavy Paladin.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

The Channel Divinity abilities for the Oath of the Crown are both exceptionally strong. Champion Challenge forces enemies you can see to make a Wisdom saving throw, restricting them to stay within 30 feet of you if they fail, which is a great tool for crow control in more significant encounters.

On the other hand, Turn the Tide is effectively Mass Healing Word, which is super powerful to get at level three.

Divine Allegiance: Level: 7

This feature allows you to substitute your health for a nearby ally. This can be dangerous to use too often, but it is 100% consistent, unlike the Protection feat, and can help save particularly vulnerable allies.

Unyielding Saint: Level: 15

This feature gives you an advantage on saving throws against being stunned or paralyzed, which can do a lot to help keep you in the thick of the fight.

Exalted Champion: Level: 20

This feature is an action that lasts up to an entire hour. During that time, you get resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing attacks.

Your allies within 30 feet have an advantage on Death Saving Throws, and both you and your allies have an advantage on Wisdom saving throws. This feature is an incredible tool for keeping your party up and fighting, so use it liberally.

Oath of the Watchers

paladin oath of the watchers

  • Book: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
  • Example Deities: Helm, Shaundakul

This oath is only situated for campaigns that deal a lot with interplanar enemies, so I recommend discussing your Dungeon Master’s plans with them before you pick this one, as its abilities are very intentionally limited. It is excellent at dealing with those situations, but you won’t have too much to do if you play one outside of that focus.

Oath of the Watchers Features

Additional Spells: Level: 3

The spell list for this oath is pretty strong, especially against the types of enemies it is focused on. They give a variety of buffs to the Paladin and their party to help them face the often unpredictable nature of interplanar creatures.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

This oath’s first Channel Divinity feature is Watcher’s Will, which gives a number of allies an advantage on mental saving throws. This is very situational but can be indispensable when facing certain enemies. The second feature, Abjure the Extraplanar, allows you to turn a creature for a minute as long as one of five types.

Aura of the Sentinel: Level: 7

This feature adds your proficiency bonus to your initiative roll and those of allies within range. This can be helpful to get your team at the top of the turn order but doesn’t do much outside of starting combat encounters.

Vigilant Rebuke: Level: 15

This feature allows you to damage enemies that cause you or an ally to attempt a mental saving throw with force damage. However, it can only work if the initial target succeeds in their saving throw, so it pairs very well with Watcher’s Will.

Mortal Bulwark: Level: 20

This feature is a bonus action that lasts for a full minute. During that time, you have the power of truesight with a range of 120 feet, you have an advantage on attack rolls against five different types of creatures, and you force creatures to make a saving throw when you hit them, sending them to their native plane existence on a failure.

This feature is handy when you’re in the right situation, but that will largely depend on your campaign.

Oath of Vengeance

  • Book: Player’s Handbook
  • Example Deities: Hoar, Tyr, Torm

Paladins that take up the Oath of Vengeance seek to punish those who take advantage of others or do not obey the world’s natural order.

They strive to make the world a safer and better place for everyone. Mechanically, Oath of Vengeance Paladins are all about filling a Striker role by dishing out damage to kill enemies quickly rather than protecting themselves or their allies. So, if you want to play this type of Paladin, remember that the strongest defense is a strong offense.

Oath of Vengeance Features

paladin Oath of Vengeance

Additional Spells: Level: 3

The additional spells that this subclass gets are pretty solid, although it does start to peter out at higher levels. The vast majority of the spells within are offensive, but a lot of them also require concentration, so you’ll have to be smart with how you use them.

Channel Divinity: Level: 3

This subclass also gets two reasonably capable Channel Divinity features. The first is Abjure Enemy, which forces an enemy to make a Wisdom saving throw. If they fail, they are frightened for a full minute, and if they succeed, their movement speed is halved up to a minute.

The second feature is Vow of Enmity. This feature allows you to use a bonus action to give yourself an advantage on attack rolls against a creature for a minute, which is great for tackling bigger enemies or bosses.

Relentless Avenger: Level: 7

This feature is the Oath of Vengeance Paladin’s only defensive boost. It allows you to move half your speed without provoking attacks of opportunity after you successfully hit an enemy with an attack of opportunity.

This is a pretty strong feature and is great for moving around the battlefield to strengthen your position in the middle of combat. Consider using a weapon with reach to take full advantage of this one.

Soul of Vengeance: Level: 15

This feature gives you a ton of free damage when it isn’t your turn. It allows you to take free attacks against enemies targeted with your Vow of Enmity, making one of the subclass’ best features even better.

Avenging Angel: Level: 20

This feature lasts a full hour and can be used once per long rest. While active, you gain wings, an associated flight speed of 60 feet, and a powerful aura. When creatures enter or start their turn in the aura, they have to make a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for a minute.

While they are frightened, all attack rolls made against them are made with advantage, helping you and your entire party shell out big damage on their turns.


Question: Are Paladins Good in 5e?

Answer: Paladins are a very strong class in 5e. Depending on which subclass you choose, they can focus on fulfilling different roles in your party, but they can be proficient at all of them with ease.

Question: Can Paladins be Evil in 5e?

Answer: Yes, Paladins can be of any alignment depending on what code or deity they have vowed to serve and act by.

Question: Do Paladins have to Worship a God in 5e?

Answer: No, while previous editions of DnD required Paladins to worship and serve a greater power, they don’t have to in 5e. Instead, they can derive their power from a civilization or ethos that they subscribe to.

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