D&D 5e: Paladin Class Guide
So, you want to be a paladin. You want to be the “good guy”, the “nice cop”, the one who will get things done in the name of your lord. If not, we’ll, there’s a lot of variety to the paladin. You got your nature paladins, your heroes, conquers, avenger, and almost a bit of everything in between.
Paladins are good at dealing damage, using spells, and even taking a hit or two. Plus, they can heal too.
In this article, I walk you through the ability scores to consider as a paladin, races, skills, subclasses you can choose from. I’ll include feats you can consider, armor, and weapon choices.
STR Use STR for weapon damage. If you’re going for a DEX based paladin then, you’re going to want DEX higher than STR.
DEX You don’t need DEX. You have a shield, armor, and hit points. If you’re going for a DEX based paladin then, you’re going to want DEX high and STR low. So, the stats can change. Sure, you also you DEX for your Armor class but shield and armor gives you protection too.
CON Armor class won’t help you all the time. That’s why you need all the hit points.
WIS You’re proficient in WIS saving throws. Not necessary to be honest.
CHA Spellcasting and paladin skills are based on this stat.
Aarakocra If you’re aiming for a DEX based paladin, this is a good option.
–Protector You get WIS.
–Scourge Gives you CON.
–Fallen good for STR paladin.
Bugbear Gives you both DEX and STR.
Centaur You have STR and WIS.
Changeling CHAR +2
Dragonborn STR and CHAR combo is good for STR based paladin.
–Hill Gives you WIS
–Mountain Good for STR based paladin.
–Duergar Also good for STR based paladin.
Elf For DEX based paladins.
–Drow CHAR +1 but you get disadvantage on attack rolls during the day due to sunlight sensitivity.
–Eladrin CHAR +1
–High Nothing good for a paladin.
–Wood WIS + 1
–Sea Elf: CON +1 is always useful.
–Shadar-kai: Con is good.
Firbolg This race gives you WIS and STR.
Genasi This gives you CON.
–Air Good for DEX based paladin.
–Earth Gives only STR but it’s not a bad option.
–Fire Nothing good for paladins.
–Water: Nothing good for paladins.
Gith You get INT.
–Githyanki Gives you STR.
–Githzerai Nothing good for paladins.
–Deep Good for DEX based paladin.
–Forest Good for DEX based paladin.
–Rock Good for STR based paladin.
Goblin DEX and CON are a good combo if you’re going DEX based.
Goliath STR and CON for STR based.
Half-Elf 2 ability scores to increase by 1 and +2 to Charisma.
Half-Orc STR and CON combo for STR based paladins.
–Halfling DEX +2; This is a good option for DEX based paladins.
–Lightfoot Your charisma gets a +1.
–Stout DEX + 1 is useful.
Hobgoblin CON and INT.
Human: Each ability score gets a +1. As a variant human, you get a feat.
Kalashtar WIS +2 and CHAR + 1; WIS is okay but not really necessary.
Kenku: DEX and Wisdom; WIS not necessary.
Kobold DEX and STR + 1; good for STR based paladin.
Leonin CON and STR; good for STR based paladin.
Lizardfolk CON and WIS; CON is always good.
Loxodon CON and WIS; having CON is good.
Minotaur STR and CON; good for STR based paladin.
Orc STR +2 and CON +1, INT – 2; good for STR based since you don’t need the INT.
Satyr: CHAR + 2 and DEX+1. Super good.
–Beasthide You get CON and STR.
–Longtooth Get STR and DEX
-Swiftstride DEX and CHAR; it’s good to have CHAR in general.
–Wildhunt You get DEX and WIS. Good for DEX based paladin. Otherwise, meh.
Simic Hybrid You get CON and +1 to another stat.
Tabaxi DEX and CHAR together are not bad.
Triton STR, CON, and CHAR are all good for STR based paladin.
Tiefling +2 to CHAR; Tieflings make good paladins.
–Asmodeus This one gets you INT and CHAR. INT not needed.
–Baalzebul INT and CHAR. You don’t need INT.
–Dispatcher CHAR and DEX; very good combination.
–Fierna CHAR and WIS; CHAR is good.
–Glasya CHAR and DEX; very good combination.
–Levistus CHAR and CON; good combination.
–Mammon INT and CHAR; Don’t need much INT.
–Mephistopheles INT and CHAR; ; Don’t need much INT
–Zariel Charisma and STR; good for STR based paladin..
–Feral Dexterity and INT. Meh combo
Tortle STR and WIS. Decent for STR based.
Warforged CON and you also get to increase another ability of your choice by 1.
Yuan-Ti Pureblood You get CHAR and INT but you don’t need the INT.
Hit Points: 1d10
Armor: All armors and shields
Weapons: Simple and martial weapons
Saving throws: Wisdom and Charisma
Divine Sense Situational if you want to sniff out evil.
Lay on Hands You can give yourself or someone else hit points equal to your paladin level x five.
Fighting Style Choose from Defense, Dueling, Great Weapon Fighting, and Protection. Each one gives you a bonus e.g. armor class, weapon damage, rerolling dice, and imposing disadvantage, respectively.
Divine Smite Honestly, all your spell slots should be used on Divine Smite. Smite everything. It gets improved at higher levels so you can roll even more dice.
Divine Health You’re immune to disease.
Extra attack at 5th level and at 6th, you get an Aura of Protection which uses your CHAR modifier to gain a bonus to saving throws. At 10th level, you also get Aura of Courage. You and your allies can’t be frightened.
Oath of the Ancients: Nature paladin
Oath of Devotion: The holy warrior
Oath of Vengeance: You take vengeance on behalf of those who can’t.
Oath of Redemption: You believe anybody can be redeemed
Oath of Conquest: Go out and subjugate.
Oath of Glory: Hercules
Oath of Watchers: you keep an eye on other dimension beasties
Oath of the Crown: your pledge is to a lord/lady, king/queen
Oathbreaker (Variant option): you have broken your oath
Acrobatics DEX based and depending if you’re a DEX or STR paladin, you’ll either be really good or not.
Animal Handling Situational. Mostly left to the druid.
Arcana INT based. You won’t be good at this.
Athletics STR based. You can lift and carry well.
Deception: Using CHAR, you can lie well.
History INT based. Very situational.
Insight WIS based? If you dumped WIS then you won’t catch anyone’s motives.
Intimidation CHAR or STR depending on the DM, but yes, you can be intimidating.
Investigation Not a bad skill to have.
Medicine WIS. This can be really good or bad. Just don’t roll a 1.
Nature: Leave it to the nature folks.
Perception: You got good eyesight.
Performance Situational but you’ll have the CHAR for it.
Persuasion: You’re smooth as butter. Thank charisma.
Religion Sure, you’re a paladin but this is a very situational skill.
Sleight of Hand You either have the DEX to steal or not.
Stealth You’ll either be good or bad.
Survival Stick with battle.
Top 3 Backgrounds
Noble: You learn one additional language, and skill proficiencies in History and Persuasion.
Soldier: Proficiencies in Athletics and Intimidation and you can drive land vehicles.
Acolyte: You get 2 languages and skills proficiencies in Insight and Religion.
Top 3 Weapons
If you’re using a shield, you can only use one-handed weapons. If you’re using a two-handed fighting style then, you can’t use a shield. You sacrifice AC for damage.
For one-handed weapons, if you’re using a DEX build, you can use rapiers and any weapon that has the finesse property like the scimitar and shortsword. You can use a longsword too.
For two-handed weapons, and using the STR build, go with greatsword, greataxe, or a maul. Halberd is not too bad since it also has reach.
For medium armor, half plate is a good option but you probably won’t get that at the start. Scale mail and a chain shirt are good options too. You pair that with a shield and you’ll have decent armor class. At higher levels, the enemies are most likely going to hit you. It will boil down on whether or not your hit points are enough.
For heavy armor, chain mail is good. Having Plate is amazing. However, these are expensive armor so you might not afford/find these out in the wild.
Top 5 Feats
Tough: all the hit points.
Athlete: Increase your STR or DEX by 1 so it’s good for your build.
Durable: CON + 1 so your hit points get a boost
Great Weapon Master you take -5 to attack rolls but a +10 to damage
Shield Master: Shields can be used for offense and defense. Your shield AC can be added to DEX saving throws.
Sentinel: Hitting an opponent with an opportunity attack, reduces their speed to zero.
As a first time player, I wouldn’t recommend multiclassing until you’ve played one class all the way through. In my humble opinion, I believe that it’s better to grasp the basics first and figure out how to play one character before adding something new to the mix.
To multiclass as a Warlock your charisma needs to be at a 13. For a fighter, your strength or wisdom needs to be at a 13. Bards also need a charisma of 13. Lastly, sorcerer is also an option and your charisma needs to be at a 13.