Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has cooked up only one Paladin Oath for us to play around with. And it’s very unique! The Oath of the Watchers is an oath to defend the mortal realm against the influence of outsiders. This order is crucial to defend the world against awful creatures that could easily wipe out entire armies of human soldiers. These watchers must pay close attention to the rifts of the realm, and ensure that no threats sneak by. However, if that’s the case, then will this paranoid Paladin be a reasonable addition to a party? Or will their constant eye be a useful tool? Find out, in our Oath of the Watchers 5E guide!
Defend Against Outsiders: Oath of the Watchers 5E
The tenets of the watcher revolve around their core beliefs. A Paladin with this oath must be vigilant; demons and archons alike are strong and genius, with many using disguises. Be alert to ensure that they don’t mess with mortals. Never accept gifts from fiends, or other beings that may serve them. Your duty and comrades are to come first. Finally, you must become the paragon of discipline, since these beasts are brutal with their words, spells, and claws.
With the fluff out of the way, the Oath of the Watchers is a defensive, problem-solving Paladin with some strict defense against outsiders. If the campaign is going to fight against aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, or fiends, then you’ll be a crucial tool. Otherwise, you’re a decent anti-caster with some cool tools.
To begin, the Oath of the Watcher learns the list of spells that they shall learn in the near future.
Alarm is a pretty niche tool, more useful for setting up camps than much else. Detect Magic is a really good ritual, and even has some utility to see invisible creatures if needed. You don’t really need these spells, but they’re okay utility.
Moonbeam is an alright area of effect damage spell, which a Paladin has little of. That being said, the damage is pitiful unless you have ways to keep the enemy in there for longer than a turn. See Invisibility is pretty niche, but a wonderful tool in encounters that have even one invisible monster. Remember; this lasts an hour!
Counterspell is bad for you; you’re not going to Counterspell better than any caster can. Still, in very rough encounters, you might want to use your weaker Counterspell, rather than a caster’s stronger one. So, you’ll be like a little wizard! Nondetection can be useful in niche situations, such as trying to escape from a demon’s eye. But realistically, there’s no real way to know when you’ll need to cast Nondetection.
Aura of Purity is fairly solid against stronger undead and some versions of demons. It can be a worthwhile cast, since it follows you and lasts 10 minutes, but only if you’re convinced you’re going to run into the listed conditions or diseases a lot. Banishment, meanwhile, is one of the best spells for taking threats out of a fight. Use this on a healer or support monster and watch as the boss becomes ten times easier.
However, Hold Monster can be more useful if you need to deal a ton of damage to that specific creature. Hold Monster targets Wisdom saves, which tends to be more common, especially among your primary targets. So, use Banishment if you think their charisma is lower, Hold Monster if their Wisdom is lower. Scrying is probably too situational to be worthwhile, but hey, it’s here if you need to find something.
Overall, a lot of niche spells, but at least they’re good in the situations that they come up in.
The Oath of the Watchers is one of those paladin oaths that gains two options with their Channel Divinity. The first is their unique one, their second is a Turning ability.
Watcher’s Will. You can use your Channel Divinity to invest your presence with the warding power of your faith. As an action, you can choose a number of creatures you can see within 30 feet of you, up to a number equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). For 1 minute, you and the chosen creatures have advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
Abjure the Extraplanar is a Turn effect. That means they attempt to move away from you if they fail a Wisdom save. You may only target aberrations, celestial, elementals, fey, or fiends with Abjure the Extraplanar.
Watcher’s Will is a relatively good skill. Mental saving throws are some of the most devastating in the game; Dominate Monster is a Wisdom save, Intellect Fortress is an Intelligence save. These are spells that keep your party from performing actions that they need to perform. Advantage might not save your party member from the effect, but it gives them a significantly higher chance! Pop this against a caster and watch their gameplan fumble massively. In all other encounters… it’s pretty useless. The monster would need to have a supernatural effect that targets mental stats, which is rare.
Abjure the Extraplanar is a fantastic ability… against exactly aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, or fiends. Otherwise, it’s useless. Turn scary outsiders to avoid getting swarmed, but otherwise just use Watcher’s Will.
Aura of the Sentinel
Your Paladin Aura is actually pretty sweet.
You emit an aura of alertness while you aren’t incapacitated. When you and any creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you roll initiative, you all gain a bonus to initiative equal to your proficiency bonus.
At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.
Theoretically, this gives a massive bonus to any party member near you. +6 to Initiative is really hard to get, and you can just hand it out!
Within 10 feet of you is… tight. This requires you to hug your long-ranged party members and your melee party members if you want to give the bonus, which can force you to have to Dash to get to the frontlines. That’s not necessarily awful, but it can make some encounters rough. And you want to give this to as many party members as you can, since it’s such a huge bonus to outspeeding your enemies.
Level 18’s buff increases the range, which is exactly what you want. Now you can start the fight from a comfortable distance from your allies.
At level 15, you get your Oath-specific ability… And it’s fairly good.
You’ve learned how to chastise anyone who dares wield beguilements against you and your wards. Whenever you or a creature you can see within 30 feet of you succeeds on an Intelligence, a Wisdom, or a Charisma saving throw, you can use your reaction to deal 2d8 + your Charisma modifier force damage to the creature that forced the saving throw.
Not great, not bad. Just good.
Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saves; how common are they? In the late game, you’ve got some enemies that can force you to make saves all over the place. For example, a Dragon can really hit you with auras, but those are Wisdom saves. Wisdom saves trigger this ability, which means you can jolt the dragon for 2d8 + Charisma. Unfortunately, that eats your reaction, so that only will trigger once per turn. That makes this only so useful.
On the bright side, this doesn’t have a save attached to it, so it’s guaranteed… As long as the enemy has abilities that target mental saves. And your party needs to make the saving throw. At least your Channel Divinity combos well with this!
Your final ability is the Paragon ability of your Paladin. As a bonus action, you get the following boons for a minute.
- You gain truesight with a range of 120 feet.
- You have advantage on attack rolls against aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, and fiends.
- When you hit a creature with an attack roll and deal damage to it, you can also force it to make a Charisma saving throw against your spell save DC. On a failed save, the creature is magically banished to its native plane of existence if it’s currently not there. On a successful save, the creature can’t be banished by this feature for 24 hours.
You must wait for a long rest, or use a 5th level spell slot, to use this ability again.
Okay, well, truesight for 120 feet is wonderful. Nothing can escape your gaze, which is good. Your targets will have to do really weird things in order to escape line of sight.
Now… aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, and fiends. How common are those? Well, it absolutely depends on campaigns, but a lot of endgame opponents are going to be from different planes. You’re going to be able to pop this against demon lords, massive abominations, elemental dragons, etc.
Even better, you gain Banishment on every attack, as long as it’s from another plane. That’s amazing! You can force creatures back to their homes, never to be summoned again… well, as long as you kill those who summoned it. This is also great, because if you have a fey ally you have something to threaten them with.
Now… against anything that isn’t from another plane, this is the worst Paladin paragon in the game. The only advantage you have against anything that isn’t extraplanar is truesight. Truesight is good, but that being the only thing you get as your level 20 ability? Meh…
Use this against extraplanar enemies, with rather high CR. At least it’s a niche enough skill to not really need your 5th level spell slots.
Best Race for Watcher Oath Paladins
Watcher Paladins can use Strength or Dexterity realistically; a ranged build might let you more readily buff your party with the Aura. Charisma should be close behind, since your Oath relies on a ton of Charisma-based DCs to work properly.
These cat people, from Volo’s Guide to Monsters, are perfect if you want to go ranged. +2 Dexterity, +1 Charisma is exactly what you’re looking for. Darkvision is great for finding your enemies. Feline Agility lets you quickly reposition. Cat’s Claws gives you climbing speed and a relatively good attack of opportunity, and Cat’s Talents are two skills that a Paladin normally can’t afford.
A base dragonborn isn’t too happy in most classes, but these paladins love it! +2 Strength and +1 Charisma are what you want. The Breath Weapon isn’t much damage, but it’s a ranged and area of effect option that most Paladins could only dream of. And you get some damage resistance, allowing you to gain resistance to a major element. The Dragonborn might not be flashy, but they’re ready to fight some demons either way!
Conclusion – Our Take on the Watcher Oath Paladin
The Watcher Oath is a must-get for any extraplanar campaigns or demonic invasion events. Otherwise, they have some alright anti-caster and a pretty good aura. They are worthy inclusions in any campaign! Take the Watcher Oath if you’re looking for a tanky anti-caster. If you want a deeper dive into the class, check out our Paladin 5E handbook.