D&D 5e: Oath of the Crown Paladin Guide
D&D 5e: Oath of the Crown Paladin Guide
Role in the Party
The Oath of the Crown Paladin is from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and has the tenets of law, loyalty, courage, and responsibility; it’s a more lawful paladin than a good paladin, but you’re still likely to be lawful good.
The Oath of the Crown is unfortunately among the weaker paladin subclasses; I don’t think it’s as bad as some people say it is, and you still have the excellent core paladin features, but you might be very underwhelmed by your subclass unless you coordinate well with your party members to take advantage of your features.
In general, you’re a normal paladin and will do normal paladin things like weapon damage, support, and taking hits from monsters; your subclass gives you a bit of extra tanking capability too.
The Oath of the Crown Paladin subclass is found in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. Click here to pick up your own copy of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide!
Oath of the Crown Features
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.
3rd: Command is an okay spell, but less useful on a paladin. Compelled Duel is actually a decent spell, but it’s so hilariously redundant with your Channel Divinity that it’s almost always a bad idea to cast it.
5th: Warding Bond is a strong spell and hilariously also better than your level 7 feature for protecting an ally, and Zone of Truth is fun.
9th: Aura of Vitality is a strong out of combat healing option, and Spirit Guardians is amazing on a melee character. 9th level is your best level.
13th: Banishment is an okay spell, but less useful on a paladin. Guardian of Faith is hard to use since it’s stationary and costs an action, but it does do powerful damage and could be set up before a fight.
17th: Circle of Power is a strong spell that’s already on the paladin spell list, and Geas is an okay utility spell that’s already on the paladin spell list.
When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.
Champion Challenge: As a bonus action, you issue a challenge that compels other creatures to do battle with you. Each creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, a creature can’t willingly move more than 30 feet away from you. This effect ends on the creature if you are incapacitated or die or if the creature is more than 30 feet away from you.
Turn the Tide: As a bonus action, you can bolster injured creatures with your Channel Divinity. Each creature of your choice that can hear you within 30 feet of you regains hit points equal to 1d6 + your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) if it has no more than half of its hit points.
Champion Challenge is an unusual option: enemies who fail their save are trapped in a 30 foot radius around you. And unlike Compelled Duel, this works on multiple creatures and doesn’t end if your allies attack those creatures. If the combat arena is bigger than 30 feet, your allies can stay out of range and you might be the only creature the enemies can hit.
It’s not always a good idea to single-handedly tank all the enemy damage, but this is an actual way to tank and make enemies attack you in a game system that doesn’t support it. This is less effective against enemy spellcasters or enemies with ranged attacks, but it’s still great against a large number of melee monsters. Lots of people hate Champion Challenge, but it’s solid if you and your party can coordinate to make it work; you could even bring in a second melee ally to help tank damage for you, and they can leave the area if things get too rough for them.
Turn the Tide is pretty much just a Mass Healing Word, except it costs a Channel Divinity instead of a 3rd level spell slot. Multiple enemies went down from an enemy’s fireball? Bring them up again so they can keep fighting.
Starting at 7th level, when a creature within 5 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to magically substitute your own health for that of the target creature, causing that creature not to take the damage. Instead, you take the damage. This damage to you can’t be reduced or prevented in any way.
Bleh! The range on this is horrible, so if you want to use this to protect the fragile 11 AC wizard, you pretty much need to tape them to yourself. Also, this is an awful waste of your defensive potential: the enemy can bypass your solid armor class by just hitting your lower AC ally instead. Lastly, this costs a reaction, so if the wizard is being hit by four attacks in one round, you can only stop one of them. If you desperately want to protect an ally, just cast Warding Bond instead.
Starting at 15th level, you have advantage on saving throws to avoid becoming paralyzed or stunned.
The Paralyzed and stunned conditions are awful. Anything that prevents them is useful, but this feature does nothing when enemies don’t try to inflict those conditions, and you already have a +10 or more to wisdom saving throws from your aura and proficiency, or higher if you invested in your Wisdom score or have magic items.
At 20th level, your presence on the field of battle is an inspiration to those dedicated to your cause. You can use your action to gain the following benefits for 1 hour:
You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.
Your allies have advantage on death saving throws while within 30 feet of you.
You have advantage on Wisdom saving throws, as do your allies within 30 feet of you.
This effect ends early if you are incapacitated or die. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
This is an okay way to boost your own defense and protect allies from wisdom save effects, but it’s not super dramatic. At least it has a one hour duration, letting you set it up out of combat and possibly use it for several fights in a row.
You are one of the more effective tanks in the game, just because your Channel Divinity is solid for this purpose. At level 9, your Spirit Guardians is highly potent and you can expect to deal a ton of extra damage from it.
Just because you can force enemies to attack you instead of your allies doesn’t mean you want the entire enemy horde to surround you. 16 attacks a round might bring you down very quickly even if you have a solid armor class, and you don’t have the Shield spell. Unlike most paladins, your level 7 aura is a truly terrible option, so you will feel the pain at that level. Nothing increases your damage output either, and arguably you have some of the worst mid to high level features of any paladin. Lastly, Champion Challenge does nothing on a confined battlefield.
Best Race Options
The Earth Genasi is excellent; not just because of the Pass Without Trace, but because of the bonus action Blade Ward. Use that in the fights where your Champion’s Challenge is most useful to take less damage from the enemy swarms.
Githyanki get the Shield spell. You want the Shield spell if you’re going to be luring swarms of enemies directly to you instead of anyone else.
The Fairy or another flying race lets you do something unusual, assuming your table treats effects with a radius as spheres and not cubes or cylinders: if you fly in the air 20-30 feet above some enemies, and they fail their saving throws against your Channel Divinity, they’re stuck in a very small area below you, since the area on the ground that intersects your sphere is a small circle.
If these are melee enemies, they can’t attack your allies, but they can’t attack you either since you’re high up in the air. Unless they have backup ranged options like javelins, they’ll have to hurl improvised weapons like rocks and random garbage at you. The main downside of this is that you’re probably a melee character, so being in the air away from enemies is not good; you will need an extremely long reach if you want to trap enemies in a tiny circle.
Choosing the Right Skills
Athletics is appropriate for you, both for grappling and for physical activity in general.
Persuasion is your most or second most desired skill since your high charisma makes you an adequate social character. You can take Deception and Intimidation proficiency too, but keep your oath in mind.
Religion makes sense for any paladin that actively worships a god, but remember that you get your power from your oath and not a god, so it’s not mandatory.
Perception and Insight are useful for a character who’s more of a law enforcement type, and Perception is the most used skill in the game, so it’s fantastic regardless.
The Sentinel feat will let you protect your allies when you’re not using your Channel Divinity; pair it with the extremely powerful Polearm Master for a deadly combo.
Fey Touched gives you teleportation, and you have no way to teleport if the swarms of enemies you’re fighting turn out to be too much for you, so you might want this feat. It also lets you boost an odd charisma score.
You’re concentrating on Spirit Guardians, so at level 8 or higher, you should grab War Caster to protect your concentration. Advantage synergizes well with your paladin aura and your decent constitution score.
The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide background Knight of the Order will associate you with powerful knightly organizations in the area; perfect for a Sword Coast campaign to give your paladin some clout.
The Oath of the Crown is especially appropriate if you’re actual nobility and serve a king: the Noble or Knight backgrounds are appropriate for this character.
“So you see DM, um, ever since she was a little girl, my paladin always wanted an armor class of 25, so she went to Strixhaven University to learn the Shield spell and that’s why I’m taking the Prismari Student background… what do you mean Prismari is an art school? Fine, I’ll pick up proficiency in the bagpipes, just give me that sweet +5 AC already”
When your dungeon master says no to Prismari Student, don’t worry; a level of Hexblade will give your paladin the 25 AC she always dreamed of, and she can attack with charisma if she wants.
Two levels of Barbarian for Reckless Attack and Rage is a great choice to skyrocket your DPR and defense after level 6, but remember that you can’t rage in heavy armor, so you likely need a decent dexterity for this, and you can’t cast spells while raging. Another level for Ancestral Guardians is tempting, but it’s redundant with your Channel Divinity.
Taking the rest of your levels in Clockwork Soul Sorcerer after level 11 in Oath of the Crown Paladin will not only give you the Shield spell, but also some slots you can use to upcast Spirit Guardians and a wide array of potent support abilities. Level 11 is a good point to leave Paladin for good since that’s when you get your Improved Divine Smite
Would I recommend playing an Oath of the Crown Paladin?
This is not the strongest paladin; not even close. But still, there’s enough here to where you can build a decent character, especially thanks to the core paladin features. One upside is that your features don’t work on specific creature types, so if this is a campaign where you’re fighting a lot of beasts, monstrosities, and humanoids, this is suddenly a more appealing option than some of the other paladins.
Overall, this isn’t my first recommendation, but it’s still a solid choice.