D&D 5e: Dragonborn Paladin Guide

D&D 5e: Dragonborn Paladin Guide

This may be one of the strangest class race combinations to play. As Dragonborn are born into a culture where being part of any religion would equate to becoming an outcast and being disowned. Regardless, the path of paladins is a class that serves a plate of justice with a side or religious manuscripts best described as LIKE the crusaders. 

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The Dragonborn race can be found in the Player’s Handbook OR an updated version can be found in Fizzban’s Treasury of Dragons. Click here to pick up your own copy of the Player’s Handbook or click here to pick up your own copy of Fizzban’s Treasury of Dragons!

The Paladin class can be found in the Player’s Handbook. Click here to pick up your own copy of The Player’s Handbook!

How to Make a Dragonborn Paladin

Before we begin, let’s get one thing straight. Dragonborn are NOT Half-Dragons. Neither are they the offspring of bards that decided that banging a dragon was a good idea. Instead, humanoid dragons originated from the dimension Abeir. A physical discernment to the two is that Dragonborn do not have tails, are born from eggs, and their faces bear no humanoid resemblance.

If you were hoping to have a tail to swish to your advantage, then you’re out of luck but don’t fret; you have your amazing elemental breath to make up for it, plus your charming scaly features.

DragonDamage TypeDragonDamage Type

Paladins are typically limited to the lawful alignment with moral choices unless the character is an oathbreaker. Frankly, no player/s should be limited to following the rules to enjoy the game. You don’t have to necessarily break your oath either if you want to be on the edgier side of the spectrum.

Like contracts that enslave you into crippling debt in reality there is a variety of oaths you can choose from:

  • Oath of Devotion- You decide to swear an oath to a deity because you want to take up their cause. This oath is the closest to being a crusader. All for justice and all that goodness.
    • Tenets of Devotion( Characteristics):
      • Honesty- Don’t lie or cheat. Let your word be your promise.
      • Courage- Never fear to act, though caution is wise.
      • Compassion- Aid others, protect the weak, and punish those who threaten them. Show mercy to your foes, but temper it with wisdom.
      • Honor- Treat others with fairness, and let your honorable deeds be an example to them. Do as much good as possible while causing the least amount of harm.
      • Duty- Be responsible for your actions and their consequences, protect those entrusted to your care, and obey those who have just authority over you.
    • Aura of devotion
    • Purity of Spirit
    • Holy Nimbus
  • Oaths of the Ancients- You love nature and the light so much that you decided to make an oath to protect it. Paladins who make this oath are also known as fey knights, green knights, horned knights, and disciples of Mothman.
    • Your garb is most likely to be adorned with images of growing things—leaves, antlers, or flowers. A reflection of your commitment to life and the light.
  • Tenets of Devotion(Characteristics):
    • Kindle the Light. Through your acts of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, kindle the light of hope in the world, beating back despair.
    • Shelter the Light. Where there is good, beauty, love, and laughter in the world, stand against the wickedness that would swallow it. Where life flourishes, stand against the forces that would render it barren.
    • Preserve Your Own Light. Delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art. If you allow the light to die in your own heart, you can’t preserve it in the world.
    • Be the Light. Be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair. Let the light of your joy and courage shine forth in all your deeds.
  • Aura of Warding
  • Undying Sentinel
  • Elder Champion
  • Oath of Vengeance-  Something terrible happened in life that made you swear an oath where you desire revenge. It might be your village getting pillaged, an oppressive guild ruling your people, someone killing your dog that your deceased wife gifted to you, or witnessing your parents getting mugged and killed outside of a movie theater. These types of paladins are called avengers or dark knights.
    • Tenets of Devotion(Characteristics):
      • Fight the Greater Evil. Faced with a choice of fighting my sworn foes or combating a lesser evil. I choose the greater evil.
      • No Mercy for the Wicked. Ordinary foes might win my mercy, but my sworn enemies do not.
      • By Any Means Necessary. My qualms can’t get in the way of exterminating my foes.
      • Restitution. If my foes raise ruin on the world, it is because I failed to stop them. I must help those harmed by their misdeeds.
    • Relentless Avenger
    • Soul of Vengeance
    • Avenging Angel
  • Oathbreaker- This isn’t technically a kind of oath, but instead, after choosing an oath, you can intentionally choose to become an oath breaker. Sometimes the price of being a paladin is way too much, or perhaps your ambitions have changed. You have to ask your DM if they will allow you to continue as an Oathbreaker paladin or have you switch classes. (No, you can’t take your previous moves and attacks when you weren’t an oathbreaker.)
    • Aura of Hate
    • Supernatural Resistance
    • Dread Lord

Paladins have three best builds depending on which you want to be proficient:

  1. The first best build for a Dragonborn paladin would be prioritizing Strength first, which you get a +2 due to your race. Paladins don’t have access to any ranged combat style, plus heavy armor can get in the way that’s why it’s best to choose Strength. Following that should be Charisma (which you have a +1 to), Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, then Dexterity.
  1. The second best would be prioritizing Charisma which you get a +1 to. Some of a paladin’s skills and abilities rely on Charisma. What should follow is Strength which should be good over 12 since you have heavy armor and close-range combat; you have +2 for this. Then Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and finally Dexterity.
  1. At number 3 is the Dexterity build. Why? Why would this exist? But it does, and it’s for people who want to be sneaky when THEY’RE A BULKY HUMANOID DRAGON PLATED IN ARMOR. Here you prioritize Dexterity then Charisma, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Strength. How the turntables in this build, but at least your race gives you +2 in Strength.

How to Play a Dragonborn Paladin


Hit Dice: 1d10 per paladin level

Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier

Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d 10 (or 6) + your

Constitution modifier per paladin level after 1st

  • Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
    • Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
  • Spellcasting Focus– You can use a holy symbol (found in PHB chapter 5) as a spellcasting focus for your paladin spells.

As a Dragonborn, you have the advantage of not only your elemental breath but also damage resistance to the same element as your breath. Any other advantages and disadvantages also depend upon your draconic history.

As Paladin, you get the following features (see first chart above):

  • Skill Proficiencies-  Pick 2 skills from Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Religion
  • Divine Sense- You can sense, hear, and smell anything evil or magical around you. You know the location and type if it’s a celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 feet of you that is not behind total cover. Within the same radius, you also detect the presence of any place or object that has been consecrated or desecrated, as with the hallow spell.
    • You can use this feature a number of times equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. When you finish a long rest, you regain all expended uses.
  • Lay on Hands- You have the power of healing anyone you touch- yes you can slap someone to health. You can restore a total number of hit points equal to your paladin level x 5.
    • As an action, you can touch a creature and draw power from the pool of healing to restore a number of hit points to that creature, up to the maximum amount remaining in your power.
    • No this doesn’t work on the undead and constructs. 
  • Fighting Style- Unlocked at level 2, you can choose from the following.
    • Defense
    • Dueling
    • Greater Weapon Fighting
    • Protection
  • Divine Smite- Call upon your radiant divine power when you hit a creature with a melee attack.
  • Divine Health- Congratulations! You have health care and vaccine shots (immunity to diseases).
  • Sacred Oaths- Unlocked at level 3,
    • Oath Spells & Channel Divinity- Whichever oath you take has its own personal spells and you can channel divine energy to fuel magical effects.
Sacred OathLvl-Oath Spells
Oath of Devotion3rd lvl – protection from evil and good, sanctuary5th lvl –  lesser restoration, zone of truth9th lvl –  beacon of hope, dispel magic13th lvl –  freedom of movement, guardian of faith17th lvl – commune, flame strike
Channel DivinitySacred Weapon, Turn the Unholy
Oath of Ancients3rd lvl – ensnaring strike, speak with animals5th lvl –  moonbeam, misty step9th lvl –  plant growth, protection from energy13th lvl – ice storm, stoneskin17th lvl – commune with nature, tree stride
Channel DivinityNature’s Wrath, Turn the Faithless
Oath of Vengeance3rd lvl – bane, hunter’s mark5th lvl – hold person, misty step9th lvl – haste, protection from energy13th lvl – banishment, dimension door17th lvl – hold monster, scrying
Channel DivinityAbjure Enemy, Vow of Enmity
Oath Breaker3rd lvl – Hellish Rebuke, Inflict Wounds5th lvl – Crown of Madness, Darkness9th lvl – Animate Dead, Bestow Curse13th lvl – Blight, Confusion17th lvl – Contagion, Dominate Person
Channel DivinityControl Undead, Dreadful Aspect

In terms of getting along with other races, Dragonborn face a lot of discrimination or weird looks since they are almost unheard of. They are a pretty rare sight, having only existed in Toril for a few hundred years. You are likelier to run into a half-elf or Cthulhu vibing to Dancing queen than to run into this race. They commend those with skill and excellence, neutral towards other races, but they’d instead ask a fellow Dragonborn before turning towards others or even gods when it comes to any kind of need or aid. 

Contrary to their appearance, Dragonborn are pretty emotional. No, not like crying boo-hoo emotional. Rather, empathetic and charming kind of emotional- hence their bonus to charisma. Despite this, Dragonborn are very independent, self-sufficient, and would rarely ask for any sort of assistance, a mindset of being the one looked up to rather than having to rely on another. Yes, stubbornness is part of the package, so never bet against one unless you’re prepared to lose.

How to Roleplay as a Dragonborn Paladin

 Dragonborn first existed in the Abeir dimension as slaves to Dragons. Although there are cases where Dragonborn became more than just mere slaves to the Dragons, they were never treated as equals or liberated. That’s why many of those that escaped to Torel -via rare portals- grew tight-knit, becoming a self-sufficient community that valued clan and honor over life itself.

Just like a strict Hispanic/Asian family, but as opposed to those real-life examples, being religious is considered scandalous and would likely get one disowned. Although it isn’t illegal, to display or be caught practicing religion is seen as obscene. This is because of the original Dragonborn’s history and experience of slavery where no deity would heed their cries; hence they do not believe there is a good dragon god or even any at all. Of course, a small group of religious Dragonborn like the Platinum Cadre believes in a good dragon god called Bahamut. Still, they are outcasts and live in the city’s abandoned catacombs. So as rare as Dragonborn are it’s even rare for one to be in a religious occupation or class.

Despite the irony, Dragonborn make great paladins as they can be excellent fighters, have a plus in strength for heavy armor, the elemental breath, and due to their stubbornness, are more than likely to keep their oath than break it. You don’t have to completely or even love the deity you are in service to as becoming a paladin comes for various reasons- unless the oath you take is the path of Devotion. Likely reasons a Dragonborn would become a paladin is either they decided to take on a religious conquest during a rebellious phase but then realized what they just did too late and maybe became an oathbreaker, they genuinely want to have something to believe in and risk being an outcast, or it was an act out of desperation. You can still make up your reasons apart from the given. 

Your race allows you to speak, read, and write in Common and Draconic. Which is actually the oldest language and is often used in the study of magic. For others, it sounds rather harsh or intimidating due to numerous hard consonants and sibilants, just like German and Russian in our own reality. 

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