When you think about a Paladin in 5E, you’re likely to imagine a big hulking brute in heavy armor casting holy magic. And while that’s certainly the case for a typical run-of-the-mill Paladin, it’s not the only way this class can be played. Strength is often considered to be a key component of the class, usually. But what if you decided to go for a Dexterity-based Paladin instead? Well there are upsides and downsides to that choice, but it makes for a fun time. If that’s piqued your interest then check out our Dex Paladin 5E guide for a quick overview of what to expect.
Can You Have a Dex based Paladin?
A dex-based paladin is a surprisingly strong option in 5th Edition D&D. Unlike other martial classes, a paladin is not really held back with a dexterity build as long you have the minimum strength required for your preferred armor.
The Best Race for a Dexterity-Based Paladin
As far as the best race for a Dexterity Paladin goes, you’ll want one that starts with a +2 to Dex. As a bonus, you could look for races that also give you a +1 to Charisma. After all, some Paladin features benefit from having a higher amount of Charisma.
For starters, an Eladrin would probably be a solid pick for a Dextery Paladin. They start off with a +2 to Dex and a +1 to Charisma. This race also has Fey Step which allows you to teleport to creatures with different seasons effecting it in various ways. This could be a very useful ability if you wanted your Paladin to have a more strategic edge in a fight,
Another solid option would be a Tiefling, depending on some choices you can make. Tieflings start out with a +2 to Charisma, and from there can choose a bloodline to increase another stat by +1. If you want to play a stealthier Paladin, then the Bloodline of Glasya could be a good pick here. At 3rd level you can cast Disguise Self, and at 5th level you can cast Invisibility. So this is another good race to choose if you want a Paladin that’s different from the usual.
Paladins are most commonly going to use a sword and shield, or a massive two handed weapon in combat. But since we’re talking about Dexterity Paladins, we need to take a look at some other weapons. And there’s still plenty of choice here.
Finesse weapons are usually very light and rely on skill rather than brute strength. And in order to do the most damage as a Dex-based Paladin, you’ll likely be dual wielding. Of course, the problem is that you can’t really dual wield until you get the Duel Wielder feat. So until that happens you won’t be all that impressive in combat and will have to stick to a Shortsword or Scimitar.
But once you get the Dual Wielder feat, combat is going to be much more fun. From here you can decide which weapons you want in each hand. But in all honesty, the Rapier is probably your best bet for raw damage. You could also forego dual wiedling and stick with the tried and true sword and shield combination. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you definitely won’t be dealing much damage if you decide to go in that direction. It ultimately depends on whether you want better damage or defense.
Feats for Dex Paladins
The Paladin class has access to a range of feats that benefit the typical sort of play style. There are plenty of options here that improve the class’s healing, heavy armor masterym and magic potential. But since we’re focusing on a Dexterity-based Paladin there are a few feats that are worth taking.
To kick things off, we already mentioned how important Dual Wielder was. But beyond that there are some other feats worth grabbing besides. Iinitiative typically isn’t all that important for a Paladin. But since higher Dexterity can result in a higher initiative score, choosing Alert for the +5 bonus may not be a bad choice. In combination with the Eladrin’s Fey Step ability, you can start an encounter on very good footing by acting first and dealing major damage to a foe.
If you’ve decided to stick with a sword and shield, then the Sentinel feat could be a good option, too. Sentinel allows you to reduce a creature’s speed to 0 with an opportunity attack. So it’s really solid for defending your teammates. And another good feat for a more supportive role would be Inspring Leader, which gives up to 6 friendly creatures temporary hit points equal to your level + your Charisma modifier.
Multiclassing as a Dexterity Paladin
With the sort of character that a Dexterity Paladin is, multiclassing can be a useful way of gaining a helpful edge in combat. Dipping into the Rogue class can be helpful for the Cunning Action and Uncanny Dodge, but it’s not worth getting too many levels into it. If you wanted to lean more into the magic side of things, you could multiclass into a Sorcerer. However, it will likely take a lot of work to get it to an effective point.
Other good options include Fighter, which gives you Second Wind and is a fantastic feature. Ranger is also a pretty good choice, especially for the early game. With a Ranger you can use Hunter’s Mark which lets you deal an extra 1d6 of damage to a target. And when you’re faced with a tough opponent in the early game, this sort of ability is a massive help. The Paladin class is very solid, though. So you don’t need to multiclass if you don’t think it’ll drastically improve the character.
Concluding our Dex Paladin 5E Guide
A Dexterity-based Paladin is tough to put together, but once you do, it can be an extremely effective character. The early game will undoubtedly be difficult, especially if you’re looking to spec into a dual wielding character. But the Paladin class gives you plenty of room to still be a supportive member of the party. Plus you’ll have more defensive options and have a better chance of nailing Dexterity saving throws. So, even if you aren’t dealing the most damage in the group, you can still help everyone out. When the time comes for the Paladin to do some real damage in combat, all the rough parts of the journey will feel worth it. Want more fun builds? See our take on the Dex Barbarian!
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