The Mythic Odysseys of Theros is out, and with it came a new option for Paladins. The Oath of Glory is for Paladins who want – no… need – to be remembered. These are the Paladin equivalent of… Every bard. Except, instead of using skills to be written in history, they use their godly powers to become the ultimate warriors. They think destiny is calling for them… And they, with their allies, will be prepared. Why become a glory hog, rather than a vengeful one? Let’s find out.
Written in History: Oath of Glory 5E Guide
The tenets of Glory are as masculine as you’d expect; Actions speak louder than words. You want to be challenged, and should encourage your allies to face them with you. You need to work that body into a modern Colossus… And you need to overcome failings, since failing dims the glory of you and your allies. A bit of a downer, that last one, but essentially, you gotta become the very best. It’s a pretty loose tenant, but could lead to some cool roleplay moments if your Paladin becomes depressed or something.
The Oath of Glory is one of the most versatile Paladin Oaths currently available, though not exactly impressive by any means. Your spell list has some great utility effects that Paladins don’t have, but suffers greatly from a lot of Concentration effects. You also benefit a lot from using Divine Smite, so you might not even get to cast them very often. You get some movement speed, interesting opportunity attack options, and one of the best level 20 abilities that the Paladin could ask for. It’s a pretty great all-rounder, with the potential to become a top melee damage per round.
You don’t get any new fancy-pants spells from the new book, so we can talk about them in full.
As you can see, 6 of these are buffs. Heroism is a solid damage reduction ability, but does little else. In combats against something like a Mummy, it’s pretty great, especially at higher spell slots. Enhance Ability has a lot of utility, offering 6 different options to your party… None of them are particularly incredible. It’s a solid out-of-combat spell, but the only combat option is Bear’s Endurance, and… Well, Heroism tends to do a better job.
Magic Weapon is great in low-magic settings, but it comes in pretty late here. Not exactly optimal, but can increase your accuracy significantly. Haste is a wonderful spell, giving you the fantastic ability to move fast and attack often. It’s pretty great on you, since Paladins benefit quite a bit from weapon swings.
Protection From Energy is one of the best defensive buffs in the game; good against dragons and casters and elementals, oh my! You’ll be happy to have this around, and should save at least one 3rd level slot in case there’s any elemental specialists nearby. Freedom of Movement is either really good or the most useless spell in the game, depending entirely on the encounter. You’ll be happy to have it when it’s good… Otherwise, 5d8 divine smite sounds pretty good.
The non-buffs are pretty diverse. Guiding Bolt is a pretty solid damaging spell; it hits hard for level 1, and grants advantage on attack rolls to whoever it hits. You’ve outscaled it’s damage being good, but it’s a solid ranged option if you need to spend level 1s.
Compulsion comes way later and is way less viable. Forcing a target to move in a specific direction is pretty cool… But it gets to choose when it uses its action. And it still gets an action. And it gets to save every round. It’s not exactly awful – especially if someone in your party can cheese opportunity attacks! Otherwise… 5d8 divine smite sounds pretty good.
Commune is an information spell; really cool! Paladins don’t get many of those. If you’re desperate for answers, there’s worse uses of a level 5 slot. Flame Strike is a fairly weak area of effect spell… But you’re a Paladin. Your area of effects consists of hitting one dude with a sword while telling the other enemies to wait their turn. This is great for you.
As with all Paladins, you have two options for Channel Divinity. Unlike all other Paladins, your choices are swole.
Your first option is called “Peerless Athlete.” As a bonus action, you gain 10 minutes of being the toughest dude in history; Athletics and Acrobatics advantage, double your weight for all sorts of things, and making jumps just the easiest stuff in the world. You’re the star of the track meet, the wrestling league, and probably like every other sport combined!
While I adore the flavor of this ability, combat application leaves a bit to be desired. You gain some jumping benefits and such, and the Athletics advantage can lead to some grappling builds being much more viable. However, in most situations, this is too specific. You don’t hit someone with Acrobatics, and you don’t actually get any movement speed; pogo-hopping to your opponents doesn’t earn you any extra credit.
The jump stuff could be cool, if you leap into the air and pin a dragon’s wings to it’s side to drop it from the sky… But then your GM is really leaning into the Glory Oath thing. Which I highly recommend them do.
The big problem for Peerless Athlete is your other option, Inspiring Smite. This lets you spend your Bonus Action – post successful Divine Smite – to grant 2d8 + level temp HP, split amongst creatures you choose within 30 ft.
The problem is… Peerless Athlete is so much cooler than this ability. But this has better combat utility. 2d8+3 isn’t anything to shake your nose at. You can also split them, granting multiple party members small health buffers to keep them afloat.
The late game makes this a little bit weak; a maximum of 36 health doesn’t exactly scream “I Channeled Divinity for this.” Don’t get me wrong; if you place this all on one target, they could survive something tragic. But, split out on a party of 4… Giving 8 temporary health just feels bad, doesn’t it? And that’s on a maximum roll.
Don’t sleep on this Channel. It’s a good option, and granting this pile of health to a low HP ally can save them while you deal massive damage… But, do remember Peerless Athlete exists every now and then… And, consider the legend of the Grappaladin from Dungeons & Dragons editions past.
Aura of Alacrity
Your aura is… Alright. At 7th level You gain 10 ft of movement speed. Anyone who starts their turn adjacent to you also gains 10 ft of movement speed until the end of their turn. At 18th level, this scales… to your allies within 10 ft of you.
Uh… Not bad.
This is super useful for a melee weapon build. One of the big problems with being a frontliner in these editions is that your enemies can just out-speed you. So, by getting 10 ft of movement, you might be able to catch up to them. It also lets you have more movement speed to jump with… I guess that might be good for anti-flight? Probably not enough.
Granting that movement speed to allies is nice. In most cases, this’ll give your party a 10 ft boost to getting to their positions to start a fight. Sometimes, you might really help a Rogue get advantage, or boost a Barbarian to get next to a priority target. Unfortunately, since they have to start their turn next to you to benefit from this, you’ll have a lot of frustrating situations where they’re just barely too far.
Even if this ability just increased your movement speed by 10 ft, it’d be exceedingly useful for you. The ally boosting is a cherry on top of this healthy, fit cake.
Level 15 is the defensive ability of most Paladins, and yours is a doozy! When you or anyone closeby gets hit by an attack, you can boost their AC by your Charisma mod. If that makes the attack miss, you can beat them with your weapon. You can use this up to your Charisma mod per day.
Two big reasons to want your Charisma up.
So, while you can benefit from this effect, you also have d10 hit dice, heavy armor, and potentially a shield. Your AC is already huge, and you can afford to take a hit. That means you want to be within 10 ft of people who might not have so much bulk so you can save your squishy teammates.
That means that you probably have 2 major options. The first is to have at least one other ally in melee. That can be any class, but the d8 melee characters – Monk, Rogue, or Warlock – would most benefit from this effect. You can protect them, and deal a bit of damage. Win-win! The big problem is that you have to be in range of the enemy to get the full benefit of this. Does that mean you should use a Reach weapon? Maybe. It’d make things easier, right?
The other potential possibility is a ranged build. By having a bow, you can protect your squishy allies from spell attack rolls and then fire back. This build tends to do a little less damage – and doesn’t let you use Divine Smite – but you get to almost always guarantee the Attack… And anything is more than 0! If you decide to go this way, try to have good spells to cast in those slots. Or a Finesse weapon nearby.
Even if you can’t get the attack, your Charisma will likely increase your ally’s AC by 3-4. That’s a 20% chance to make the enemy miss! If your GM is nice and lets you see the results of attack rolls, that’s a real strong insurance policy. Otherwise, it’s still a pretty good chance to save a low health ally.
Keep your glorious friends close! And your vain enemies closer.
The final ability is simultaneously standard and oddly frequent. You can use a bonus action to ascend. This gives you advantage on Charisma stuff and lets you guarantee attacks and reroll saves… Though both reroll effects are once per round. Unlike most other Ascension abilities, this refreshes on a short rest or when you expend a 5th level spell slot.
Lots of great stuff here! Advantage on Charisma checks isn’t bad. The Paladin isn’t guaranteed to be the party face, but you’re pretty good at it. Advantage on Persuasion can recover an awful situation… But this isn’t exactly the strongest ability for faces. You could do better.
The rerolling effects are great. They stack with advantage or disadvantage, so you can benefit from all sorts of strong skills. Your weapon attacks becoming guaranteed hits mean you can make sure that you land a Divine Smite once per round… Even if you have disadvantage! That’s a huge increase in consistency, even if it’s usually not too necessary by this point in the game.
Rerolling a save is crucial at this point. You’d hate to get Dominated at level 20 and ruin your glorious ally’s face with a greatsword. This also stacks with advantage. Your saves are already massive, so your advantage will often save you from an awful roll.
Most of these level 20 subclass abilities either refresh on a long rest, or last an hour to compensate. This one lets you expend 5th level slots… And I’d say there’s pretty great reason to! This is a strong effect that probably does better than most 5th level spells (in most situations!). You just become too good at combat to pass this up. Besides, it’s not like you can spend 5th level spells to smite without losing 1d8 damage.
If your campaign goes to level 20, you’ll be in the runnings to have your own era in Theros’s history books.
Best Race for Glory Oath Paladins
The Glory Paladin can get a few paths forwards. If you want to just be a Paladin through and through, boost one of your two major Physical stats; either Strength or Dexterity. Your Charisma is important to make you the Master of Saves and (at level 15) AC alike. Then, Constitution is good so you can take a hit.
If you’re willing to multiclass, you could consider leveling into the Hexblade Warlock and forgetting about Strength or Dexterity. I’d only do that if you knew you’d get higher than level 15 in the campaign, though!
For this class, these Volo’s Guide fish people work perfectly. +1 to Strength, Constitution and Charisma? Sign me up! In addition, you gain a swim speed, some absolutely fantastic utility spells, and can become Aquaman. Cold resistance is a bit niche, but you can resist some huge Area of Effect spells in the late game. Besides, Tritons are a noble race. They’d love to leave their mark on history.
Alright… You’re going to want to use Variant Human from the Player’s Handbook here. You’re gonna want to put your +1’s into Strength and Charisma… And then take either Tavern Brawler or Grappler (Grappler is a little more useful, especially if you want to use normal weapons!). Then take the other at level 4.
This subclass – by granting Advantage on Athletics Checks for 10 minutes – can benefit you immensely for a grapple build. You’ll have advantage to grab people and then, with Grappler, you’ll have advantage on weapon attacks against them, and they’ll be in your holy embrace. Your party can then help in beating the now immobilized opponent down!
This isn’t the best use of this new subclass, but it’s one of the most fun-sounding builds in the game! If you want some glorious combat, try this out. Otherwise, humans can still make use of Great Weapon Master to decimate the battlefield.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Glory Oath Paladin
The Glory Oath is… Interesting. One of the two Theros subclasses, It has a few great abilities for a melee Paladin, but requires at least one other melee character to be viable. It can also be used for a ranged build if you want, but the Paladin benefits so little from ranged options – without a Ranger multiclass or something – that it’s unrealistic. If you want a versatile build – or advantage to bodyslam a dragon – the Glory Oath is right for you.