D&D 5e: Oath of Glory Paladin Guide
D&D 5e: Oath of Glory Paladin Guide
Role in the Party
Everyone in a D&D party wants to be a hero, but the Oath of Glory Paladin builds their entire persona around this goal.
Leading the charge, they marshal allies forward and keep them on their feet with inspiring words and divine magic. When the time is right, the Oath of Glory takes the moment, delivering huge bursts of damage or achieving a suitably glorious deed that seems otherwise out of reach.
A front line damage dealer with support elements built-in, the Oath of Glory is for players who want a Paladin who was born for a greater purpose and wants to bring their party on that journey with them.
Class Feature Color Key
Oath of Glory Features
Oath of Glory Paladins gains bonus spells at the levels listed below.
Guiding Bolt: A solid damage dealing spell with free Adv on the next attack, but you probably want to be hitting things.
Heroism: Temp HP that starts strong, but scales badly. Great for low levels.
Enhance Ability: Provides a solid list of buffs, flavorful, and always nice to have, but not overpowering.
Magic Weapon: A great buff, especially if your GM is stingy with actual magic weapons, but requires concentration.
Haste: Is an exceptionally powerful buff, but the full casters have had this for 4 levels already, and they should be the ones casting it. Not you.
Protection from Energy: Resistance to one type of damage, chosen when you cast, for an hour. A great defensive spell.
Compulsion: A weird spell that forces enemy movement, it’s not suited for a frontline combatant
Freedom of Movement: Is incredibly useful when you need it, but those situations are rare
Commune: should be left to ritual casters. Eating one of your valuable lvl 5 slots for this isn’t worth it
Flame Strike: This is fine, but just doesn’t do enough damage at the level you get it.
Channel Divinity: At level 3, the Oath of Glory gains both of the following Channel Divinity options.
Peerless Athlete: Adv on STR and DEX checks, higher and longer jumps, and more carry weight, for 10 minutes. This is pretty good, using a rarely used resource for a bunch of out of combat benefits. You won’t use it every session, but appreciate it when it comes up.
Inspiring Smite: After landing a smite, give temp HP to party members. This starts very strong, offering up an average of 50% of a level 3 character’s HP pool, but scales terribly. By the late game, the HP boost probably won’t block a single attack. If you only play low levels, increase the rating of this ability appropriately.
Aura of Alacrity: Increases the walking speed of yourself, and any allies who start their turn within 5ft of you, by 10ft. More speed is always useful. Encounters can be won or lost based on where everyone positions, and the ability to relocate, or just get to the right target, is big.
Unfortunately, compared to the aura abilities of other Paladins, which can offer incredibly powerful team-wide offensive or defensive effects, this just ends up feeling mediocre.
At level 18, the range increases to 10ft. This is awful, as most Paladins gain a range boost to 30ft at the same level.
Glorious Defense: Available at level 15, several times per day you can add your CHA modifier to your or an ally’s AC after they’ve been hit. If that makes the attack miss, you get a free counterattack.
Glorious Defense has limited uses, (CHA modifier per day) but it’s an exceptionally strong ability, especially when you remember you can smite on these counterattacks, and it’s even stronger if your GM lets you see enemy attack rolls before you make your decision.
Living Legend: The Paladin capstone, available at level 20. Like all Paladins, once per day for one minute, you become incredibly strong. Glory Paladins can automatically turn a miss into a hit once per round, spend their reaction to reroll saves, and gain Adv on CHA checks.
Adv on CHA is strange but gives this a potential out-of-combat use, and the rest of the ability turns you into a combat machine.
The Oath of Glory is in its element where the fighting is thickest. The innate smite ability that all Paladins have offers incredibly high spikes of damage, especially on critical hits, and the class has access to every type of armor and weapon, so you’re tough and can deal decent damage by default.
But the Oath of Glory shines brightest when it’s surrounded by a strong party that knows what their specific roles are. That way, the Glory Paladin can focus on keeping their allies on their feet with well-timed bursts of temporary HP or a key buff, in between hitting the enemies incredibly hard.
This subclass also thrives outside of combat. Their stats and skills push them towards being one of the main points of social interaction, and the Oath of Glory can pick up all three CHA-based social skills (persuasion, deception, intimidation) using their class skills and background. Playing the face of the party and talking up your magnificent deeds should be a highlight of any Glory Paladin’s week.
Other tough challenges, especially physical ones, are also something the Oath of Glory excels at. A well-timed Peerless Athlete Channel Divinity can make easy work of a complicated series of traps or an exceptionally difficult physical skill check that other characters might struggle with, especially when combined with the Enhance Ability spell.
The main problem with the Oath of Glory is a problem a lot of Paladins face. Spreading themselves too thin.
A Paladin relies on their limited resources to do much of what makes them special. Spell slots need to be spent for smites, but can also be used on spells. Channel Divinity is only available once or twice a day at early levels, etc.
The Oath of Glory takes all of these resources, then asks the Paladin to make difficult decisions about what to spend them on. To make a strong character, it’s important to know what you want to achieve and focus on that first, only spending your resources elsewhere if you know you won’t need them. Otherwise, you might find yourself running out of smites or healing halfway through the fight with the big bad boss monster.
Best Race Options
Metallic Dragonborn: All Dragonborn make good Paladins, and your draconic heritage offers a lot of easy RP potential. Metallic Dragons also build multiple breath weapons into their ability list, including a once-per-day AOE stun breath, which is amazing on a character who’s going to be in the thick of things.
Lightfoot Halfling: Halflings are a great starting point for DEX Paladins. Advantage against fear is fluffy for the heroic archetype, and the ability to move through larger creatures is fantastic mobility.
But the focus here is Halfling Luck and the Bountiful Luck feat from Xanathar’s Guide. Spending your reaction to reroll a 1 can turn a moment of failure into glorious success, and taking the feat lets you extend that same ability outwards to any ally within 30ft!
Fallen Aasimar: The theme of a fallen angel looking for redemption is already a fun hook for a character. But great stats, extra healing, damage resistances, and the ability to, once per day, turn into a flying, terrifying aspect of fear is the cherry on top.
Choosing the Right Skills
Paladins are a CHA based class, so they’re well suited to taking skills that make them the face of the party.
Persuasion is the most important social skill, and it’s essential to any Paladin that wants to get what they need out of people.
Intimidation comes up less often but has its uses with criminals and captured enemies.
Deception is probably used the least, but when you need it, you need it.
Outside of social skills, Athletics, Perception, and one or two knowledge skills will serve any Paladin well.
War Caster: The Oath of Glory wants to cast spells more than other Paladins might and juggling weapons, spellcasting, and concentration can be rough.
Warcaster fixes all of that in one feat, letting you cast while your hands are full, giving you advantage on concentration checks to keep key spells active, and allows you to use any cantrips you might have got from races or multiclassing, in place of opportunity attacks.
Inspiring Leader: Start the day with a bunch of temp HP for your entire party. Inspiring Leader synergizes with all of the THP the Oath of Glory already throws around. You have the stats for it, and it’s perfectly on theme!
Polearm Master: The Oath of Glory wants to be in the thick of combat, but also wants to be protecting their friends. Polearm master was already a good feat, but increasing the threat range of your Glorious Defense ability is the big draw here, letting you slap your enemies from further away and regret ever trying to hurt your allies.
Knight: (or Noble) The ‘traditional’ Paladin background, knights know their history and persuasion, can use a gaming set, and learn a language, as well as having people just think highly of them.
Mercenary Veteran: This background has the perfect skills, land vehicles, and a gaming set, plus some built-in background for where you found your calling.
Spy: A variant of the Criminal background, the deception and stealth skills are perfect for some sneaking skulduggery, a game set offers nice flavor, and thieves’ tools are essential, especially if the party lacks them.
Hexblade Warlock: The Oath of Glory wants to cast spells more than other Paladins, so already leans more heavily into CHA stat investment.
So taking 1 level of Hexblade makes you entirely single stat reliant. Your 1-handed attack and damage rolls now scale on your CHA modifier instead of physical stats, and so do your spells, meaning you can pump just one stat for all of your abilities. More spells and the best cantrip in the game (Eldritch Blast) round out the package.
Extra levels of Warlock offer invocations and recharging spell slots for more smites per day. Going up to level 3 Warlock is a good dip for any Oath of Glory.
Divine Soul Sorcerer: A 1 level dip into Divine Soul Sorcerer offers amazing versatility for the Oath of Glory. The first ability let you add 2D4 to a failed attack roll or save once per short rest, passing those key rolls when it’s crucial not to fail.
You also gain 4 cantrips and 2 level 1 known spells, which can be chosen from the Sorcerer OR Cleric spell list, which lets you fill gaps your party might not be able to. The heavier investment gives you more spellcasting but can leave the character feeling squishy because of the D6 hit dice of the sorcerer.
Cavalier Fighter: Become a literal knight in shining armor. Cavalier Fighters gain bonuses regarding their mount (and the Paladin automatically gains access to the Find Steed spell at 5, making this easy.)
You also mark a target when you hit it in melee. This gives that target automatic disadvantage when it hits a target that’s not you, and lets you counterattack if they choose to do so anyway, giving you another counterattack, on top of the Glorious Defense ability you already get.
Would I recommend playing an Oath of Glory Paladin?
The Oath of Glory Paladin is a fun subclass, and despite what other people have said, it’s not underpowered.
But the unfortunate truth is that a lot of the power of the class is back-loaded, meaning that the class only really starts to get strong when you hit the levels above 15.
If you only play low-level games, the abilities offered are still decent, but they don’t fit the theme of the heroic, glorious warrior the subclass seems to want to aim for. You’ll still have fun because the Paladin base class is packed with features, but we would recommend the Oath of Glory for games that reach higher levels.