D&D 5e: Half-Orc Paladin Guide

D&D 5e: Half-Orc Paladin Guide

You could’ve gone with Barbarian but you’re smart so you decided to be a paladin. You can fight, deal tanky damage, heal, half-cast, and all around be the party’s favorite. 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. 

The Half-Orc race AND 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 Half-orc Paladin

Half-orcs are created due to an alliance between humans and an orc tribe, or some orcs decided to get handsy. Some Orc’s don’t see a drop of human blood in their race as a hurdle to a great warrior. Human intelligence and self-control are some of the reasons why orcs desire to have half spawns- regardless of the means is done by force or alliance. 

Appearance-wise, most half-orcs have grayish or greenish skin, jutting jaws, sloping forehead, scars, and coarse body hair- have fun shaving. Additionally, their canines/tusks are smaller than that of a full-blooded orc, so fewer worries on dental. They are more intelligent than Orcs but have a temper they’ve inherited from their Orc heritage, although they aren’t unreasonable and don’t easily fall into a blind rage. They value self-control.

For a half-orc to become a paladin is fitting. Being a warrior with great pride and admiration towards those stronger runs in their blood. Additionally, they make a tremendous aggressive build. Although Orcs are connected to the evil one-eyed insomniac god Gruumsh and are influenced by him -regardless if they’re a worshiper or not. There’s no pressure to go with the Orc pantheon as you’re free to choose whoever you’ll be in service to.

Path of the Paladin: “It’s time to crusade against the horny ones!”

If we were to base on the handbook, Paladins are limited to the good alignment with moral choices unless the character is an oathbreaker. As long as you are a fighter that is/was in service to a deity with an oath, the basics are. 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 none for bull****.
    • 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 the environment(life) and the light so much 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 and that you wouldn’t think twice in murdering an illegal logger or someone littering.
  • 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 you, or you witness your parents getting mugged and killed outside of a movie theater. These types of paladins are called avengers or dark knights. Probably the best build for a Half-orc.
    • 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:

  • Half-orcs have a +2 to your strength score and +1 to your constitution score. Apart from that, you have Darkvision, proficiency in intimidation, relentless endurance, and crits with melee weapons.
  • The first build for a paladin would be prioritizing Strength. 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. What follows should be Charisma, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, then Dexterity. 
  • The second best would be prioritizing Charisma as 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. This is what follows Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, then Dexterity. 
  • In the Dexterity build, you prioritize Dexterity THEN Charisma, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Strength. 

How to Play a Half-orc 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 chapter 5) as a spellcasting focus for your paladin spells.

As Paladin, you get the advantages and (not limited to) the following features (see first chart above):

  • 2 skills fro: 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 those already on the fingertips of death. 
  • 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 powa when you hit a creature with a melee attack.
  • Divine Health- Congratulations! You have health care and vaccine shots (immunity to diseases) compared to 80% of the world’s population.
  • Sacred Oaths- Unlocked at level 3,
    • Oath Spells & Channel Divinity- Whichever oath you take has its unique list of 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

How to Roleplay as a Half-orc Paladin

How a Half-Orc interacts with others depends on where they were brought up. If they were brought up with Orcs, it would depend on which kind. Half-Orcs may become the stereotypical jock character in a chaotic evil environment, hot-headed, trigger-or in an orc’s case- melee happy, and horny (no kidding, orcs have a breeding kink, and we thought bards were terrible). Either neutral or nurturing (whether Orc, human, or both), they’d likely still have similar qualities to those mentioned earlier but more controlled or milder. Regardless, both follow the virtues of strength and power. Admiring and proudly welcoming anyone who shows excellent power and strength irrespective of race, gender, alignment, or what way they have their cereal. They’ll tolerate and work with anyone… except Elves. You DO NOT want an aggressive half/full orc with a racist Elf

Half-orcs are likely raised in their Orc heritage and tend to mature faster. It isn’t uncommon, though, for a Half-orc to be raised by both or go back and forth. Half-orcs are discriminated against by racist full-blooded Orcs in some handbooks, but in most recent guides, there is a case of a Half-orc leading a tribe. So perhaps treat this like with half-elves, some Orcs discriminate against Half-bloods, use them only for the benefit, or straight-up accept them as one of their own. Although, Orcs generally welcome those that show great strength and power into their community.

Except, as said before, they may not get along with an Elf. Orcs have bad blood with Elves due to the whole ‘Elven deities blinding Gruumsh, ‘but mostly it was the bloodshed between the two and the whole Orcs wearing Elf parts as accessories. As for Dwarves, there seems to be a master-servant relationship with some Orc tribes and Dwarves. There is a history of Orcs taking over Dwarf communities due to their nicely made homes and crafts- pretty much colonization Orc style. 

Despite Half-Orcs’ advantages in intelligence and control with their temper, they are vulnerable to emotions. Rage can make their body feel as though it was burning -like extreme heartburn- to sadness, easily weakening them. So movie night with a Half-orc is no Bueno if you plan to watch sappy drama or any movie where a dog is killed. Apart from that, insults can readily sting them.

Being a paladin isn’t always going on missionary and crusading trips. It’s similar to a warlock, but instead of a sugar daddy, you get the child-friendly version which is a sponsor. 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. You can be in on it for just liking the deities’ cause, goal, or you’d like them to do or give you something in exchange within their power.  This could be a possible reason why since your race enjoys strength and power.

You’ll be able to read, write, and speak in common. Same with Orc, except reading and writing it because it doesn’t have a script of its own; you can read it in Dwarvish writing. Orc has many hard consonants, and when speaking it, you can sound as if you’re being harsh or about to throw hands when you’re having a normal conversation.

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