The Dungeon Master’s Guide is a place with a bunch of additional rules and advice for DMs. But, did you know, there are also a few evil classes in there? With GM permission, you can use the “evil” subclasses within the DMG’s pages for your characters. The Oathbreaker is a Paladin with no moral compass, and is thus not beholden to any creed. You’re a rogue warrior, and you’ve done bad things in the past. However, some divine power is left in you… Typically from evil sources. Let’s see what this power grants you in our Oathbreaker Paladin Guide.
Turn your Back: Oathbreaker Paladin
The Oathbreaker is a ruthlessly aggressive paladin 5e subclass with few downsides. You don’t have much utility, but it’s hard to beat an Oathbreaker in terms of damage or durability. Because you are so focused on damage, your spell list is rather lackluster. The bright side, however, is that your abilities are crazily good.
The Oathbreaker’s magic is not the reason to take this archetype. Even so, you get a few options that you’ll be more than happy to spend spell slots on.
- 3rd Level – Hellish Rebuke, Inflict Wounds
- 5th Level – Crown of Madness, Darkness
- 9th Level – Animate Dead, Bestow Curse
- 13th Level – Blight, Confusion
- 17th Level – Contagion, Dominate Person
The Paladin’s reaction options are few and far between, so having a ranged damage infliction option could be useful. Hellish Rebuke covers that. Just… Try to not take Protection as your fighting style, since you’d much rather use your reaction to damage those who harmed you. Inflict Wounds is a basic burst option that scales well – Good for fighting things with a Necrotic weakness, but Divine Smite is almost always better.
Against creatures with pitiful Wisdom Saves, Crown of Madness could become something powerful. However, since they attack and then they can move away from people… You won’t find much use out of it. Darkness is only good as an escape option, since you can’t see in the magical darkness either. Not that having an escape option is a bad thing, but you could do better.
Animate Dead is a wonderful flavor spell, and synergizes well with the abilities of the subclass. Bestow Curse can make powerful opponents complete laughingstocks, and make them more liable to being crowd controlled. Try to use this in combination with other spellcasters, or your own spell list.
Blight has decent damage numbers; another good option for those weak to necrotic damage… And particularly menacing ficuses. Confusion isn’t a bad choice, if you can land it on more than one person. In 5e, Confusion has a 20% chance of failing, a 70% chance of either dealing damage to something nearby or doing nothing, and a 10% chance of causing fleeing. If an 80% chance of not hitting your party sounds good in a situation, toss out a Confusion. Otherwise, you probably have better options.
Finally, Contagion and Dominate Person both have the potential to single-handedly (or… single-spelledly?) end a fight, if someone fails their saves. Combine these with Bestow Curse to either nearly guarantee a death, or a new ally. There are some diamonds in the rough here, but you’ll probably find yourself looking to the Paladin spell list more often than not. Still, certainly don’t forget about Hellish Rebuke, Animate Dead, and Bestow Curse.
You have two Channel Divinity options… Technically. You basically only have one.
Control Undead. As an action, you target one undead creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must obey your commands for the next 24 hours, or until you use this Channel Divinity option again. An undead whose challenge rating is equal to or greater than your paladin level is immune to this effect.
At least it’s not Turn…?
Okay, so this isn’t all bad. You have a guaranteed 24 hours to drag this undead around, and they only get 1 save to negate it. That’s a pretty good deal, and if their CR is 1 lower than your level, it’s not going to be useless. It’ll be a valuable party member, and a very expendable one.
The problems are twofold. First of all, if the undead is that strong, then you risk your party’s life carrying it around. A necromancer, or an Undead with Dispel Magic, could free it in the middle of the night and wipe the party. That chance alone means you probably shouldn’t get the 24 hour period out of it. If it’s a weak creature, then it might make a good scout… If you don’t have a Rogue or Familiar. Once you get to level 9, you should just use Animate Dead instead.
The other problem is that it does nothing in non-Undead encounters. A little obvious, but… If there’s no zombies to grab, this can’t grab any zombies. Nothing wrong with having a situational ability, as long as there’s another option.
Dreadful Aspect. As an action, you channel the darkest emotions and focus them into a burst of magical menace. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw if it can see you. On a failed save, the target is frightened of you for 1 minute. If a creature frightened by this effect ends its turn more than 30 feet away from you, it can attempt another Wisdom saving throw to end the effect on it.
This is a pretty great Turn effect!
The Turn Channel Divinities tend to be weak just because they’re so focused on one or two targets. This let’s you cause anything to be frightened – And frighten is far from a bad debuff. And, unlike other Turns, this has a distance caveat, rather than the damage one. Thankfully, Paladins tend to be melee focused, so you can just keep chasing them down. Or you can have your allies block them off.
Because they can’t run towards you, you can use this to form a wall between Martial enemies with low Wisdom and your caster backline. And then you can keep pushing them back as your ranged allies harry them with projectiles. It’s a great ability with a lot of tactical use… Thank goodness you choose who’s affected!
Aura of Hate
We’ve been talking about pretty good things so far… And when it comes to “pretty good” this ability stretches the definition.
Starting at 7th level you, as well any fiends and undead within 10 feet of you, gain a bonus to melee weapon damage rolls equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of +1). A creature can benefit from this feature from only one paladin at a time.
At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.
Hilariously, this is the only ability I can think of that scales negatively.
First thing’s first, this is an absolutely massive bonus to weapon damage rolls. In a system where the best damage boost (+10) gives you a -5 penalty to hit, a +5 to damage for free is rather fantastic. And you don’t have to worry about it being necrotic damage or anything like that. Unfortunately, because it’s only melee damage rolls, that does limit any fun ranged build options that you could use this in.
Which is sad, because… Well, there’s another problematic thing, and it has to do with the word “any.” You’re buffing all fiends and undead that are closeby… And eventually, in a 30 ft radius around you. Your Charisma will likely be at +5 by level 20, so you’ve just made any fiend or undead combat hit a lot harder. For an evil campaign (where you, the player, are evil), this will be a significantly more useful ability. And hey, you can buff your undead army made from Animate Dead and Control Undead. So, that’s nice!
Hopefully, you won’t be fighting many fiends or undead with multiattack… Or else you’ll make your party feel this hateful aura in real life!
At 15th level, you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons.
Straight, simple, and to the point. Also pretty great. In non-magical campaigns, or against certain encounters, you’ll find yourself easily able to take on the planet. Resistance to essentially all physical damage is pretty great at any point in the game, since that means you’ll take half damage from a lot of things.
Obviously, nonmagical is limited in some campaigns. Sometimes, your GM will be more than happy to make all your enemies rich, and load them up with magical items. Or maybe most encounters use spellcasters to deal damage. In those cases… Well, this ends up being a useless ability. But, against most Beasts, creatures with natural attacks, and in campaigns where your GM doesn’t hand out magical weapons to all the bad little boys and girls… You’ll be an unstoppable wall.
The Dread Lord ability is a rather complex capstone for Oathbreaker Paladin. As such, we’ll split it into two separate categories, seeing that they don’t actually have much synergy between each other.
At 20th level, you can, as an action, surround yourself with an aura of gloom that lasts for 1 minute. The aura reduces any bright light in a 30-foot radius around you to dim light. Whenever an enemy that is frightened by you starts its turn in the aura, it takes 4d10 psychic damage. Additionally, you and any creatures of your choosing in the aura are draped in deeper shadow. Creatures that rely on sight have disadvantage on attack rolls against creatures draped in this shadow.
So, this right here does three things. Lowering the light level isn’t exactly a game-breaking, level 20 mechanic… But in certain situations, you could limit the options of your enemies. Keep in mind what the light level is like in the encounter. Oh, and have Darkvision. Darkvision’s pretty important here.
The 4d10 damage while in the aura is… Situational. You either need to expend your Channel Divinity – an entirely separate action – or have someone else use a Frighten effect. However, adding an average of 22 damage onto an already potent debuff is rather fantastic, and turns your Channel Divinity into a potent area of effect.
The disadvantage on attack rolls is a nice Blink effect; You cloak yourself and any allies in shadow and most enemies will have additional trouble landing hits. However, considering you want to Frighten your enemies… This actually does less than it seems. Great for encounters with high Wisdom saves, but eyesight reliant!
While the aura lasts, you can use a bonus action on your turn to cause the shadows in the aura to attack one creature. Make a melee spell attack against the target. If the attack hits, the target takes necrotic damage equal to 3d10 + your Charisma modifier.
This is much better! Paladins don’t have access to many free bonus actions, so you can constantly be dealing damage to targets within your aura. It’s not exactly huge damage, and it doesn’t get your Aura of Hate applied to it, but… C’mon. That’s 22 average damage per round as a bonus action. That’s great!
This cloak is only once per day, however. It’s best used either in horribly dangerous encounters for the defensive effects and area of effect damage, or to deal a lot of damage to a boss.
Overall, a rather impressive ability. Not the strongest capstone… But you’ll feel like you’re the star (or, I guess, the black hole) of the show for 1 full minute
Best Race for The Oathbreaker Paladins
The Oathbreaker Paladin is a weapon-based brawler, focusing mostly on dealing damage. Strength or Dexterity will be your priority. However, you’ve got a problem; Bestow Curse, your Channel Divinity options, and Aura of Hate rely on Charisma. That does mean you can’t invest as heavily in Constitution, but you get too big of a benefit out of your Charisma for any other option to be realistic.
The options listed focus on Strength builds. The Oathbreaker can use finesse weapons just fine, but they tend to synergize worse with the Paladin’s abilities.
Volo’s Guide to Monsters adore their strong races with darkvision. Well… Here’s the Aasimar! In terms of Strength, you’ll be slightly behind on damage until later on. That being said, Fallen Aasimar still gain a +1 to it. You’ll get the Charisma boost to make your abilities threatening, great damage resistances, some utility abilities, and Darkvision, letting you see through your own Dread Lord more easily. A fantastic choice for most paladin oaths, and with flawless flavor.
These members of the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion are huge. They get boosts to Strength and Constitution, letting you become a frontline bruiser that’s hard to stop. Similarly, your Natural Athlete and Stone’s Endurance features will let you barrel through enemies with ease. Your race tends to be a recluse, so it might make sense that you broke an oath and then disappeared from your tribe. And now you’re here to adventure and destroy planets.
Oathbreaker Oath Gods
While the Oathbreaker may have started with kind and noble ambitions, the corruption in their heart can come from a variety of places. Some Oathbreakers may no longer actively worship a god, for instance. If they do, then the god will likely offer them some kind of trade: Your oath for their power. This is almost always evil.
Asmodeus (Forgotten Realms)
A man sits across from another, in a room lit by a single candle. Between the men sit a single, dry-looking parchment, penned with lines upon lines of text. One man covers his face, sweat dripping to the floor. He looks to the other and asks, one last time, “And you swear this will bring my daughter back?” The other man smiles and sits back, the mark of Asmodeus appearing on his brow. “Of course. The Prince of Evil doesn’t lie.”
Asmodeus is the Lawful Evil god of the Nine Hells. He is well-known for his powerful contracts and being the epitome of tyrants throughout Faerûn. He rules the Nine Hells with an iron fist, and plots to expand his domain to cover all existence. He is a liar, but offers – and sometimes grants – immense power to those who swear fealty.
His worshipers are a wide array of those desperate for power. As the lord of hell, he has no need for worshipers, since he already has all of the souls he could covet. Instead, he allows those who need his power to come to him. This causes a naturally submissive cycle of mortals, demons, and even deities, all going to the Archfiend for advice, power, and more.
Paladins can fall into many of Asmodeus’s traps, potentially losing their oath. Accepting a contract – knowingly or perhaps otherwise – from the Raging Fiend will almost always cause a Good Paladin to fall. He is a natural place to go for a Paladin feeling betrayed by their god or church. And, he offers extremely quick solutions to problems, even if he can’t always follow through.
Evil gods tempt paladins all of the time and can be a natural choice for any of them.
Baba Yaga (Forgotten Realms)
Not all Oathbreakers must follow a god. Indeed, the Mother of All Witches has many reasons to call for a man-at-arms. Her swirling pot and mysterious recipes have poisoned the hearts of kings and peasants alike. Her unpredictability and chaotic nature bring many pain and unbearable hatred… But, she is the most powerful female mage in history for a reason. And her allure may drag a Paladin from her faith.
Baba Yaga is the Evil Archfey of Sorcery. She is known as the creator of all witches and hags alike. Her powers are often not recognized as a god’s, but her power is seemingly limitless. Even her fellow archfey are respectful, but very cautious, of her power.
Worshipers of Baba Yaga include the witches and hags that call her “mother.” She is occasionally worshiped by evil fey and cults, who wish to harness her power. Her daughter, Tasha, is a powerful demonologist, so often demon-worshiping cults might find themselves paying respects to the Bone Mother.
As an Oathbreaker, Baba Yaga – and other malicious archfey – may seem appealing for several reasons. Perhaps you were tricked by her into breaking a major creed. Or, perhaps you saw her free spirit and natural chaos and wished to be free of your dogma. Or, perhaps she offered you a trade: One of her secrets for your loyalty.
No matter what, Archfey like Baba Yaga might be a good source for your Paladin’s fall from grace.
Baphomet (Forgotten Realms)
The gods have their churches and steeples and all of this nonsense. True lords know that power lies elsewhere. Through the flames of hell and the fires of death, demons have located a font of energy and strength that goes beyond mortal understanding. Years of cultivating knowledge and generations of building hatred… It can all be yours, if you only find… Him.
Baphomet is the Chaotic Evil demon lord who rules the Endless Maze. He is often cited as being the source of the curse that afflicts many Minotaurs, causing them to embrace brutality and anger. He is a simple, wicked creature who only forms alliances if he thinks it can benefit him. He searches for the opportunity to expand his domain, and will accept only useful servants in his quest.
Worshipers of Baphomet tend to be monstrous races. Minotaurs, ogres, and giants tap into his natural rage. Demons, as well, look to further their station in the abyss by taking the side of the demon king. His cult is well-known as a terrible, barbaric force.
While initially hard to believe, a Paladin might have several reasons to become an Oathbreaker under his watch. They could be corrupted by the demon lord through an occult ritual, forcing them to perform terrible acts. They could desperately believe his promise to bring a loved one back, or to protect a town, and lose their powers for it. Or, perhaps they actually want a section of the Endless Maze for themselves.
Demons are natural lures for those seeking power, which is often what an Oathbreaker falls to.
Example Feats for Oathbreaker Oath Paladins
Oathbreaker Paladins are solid damage dealers. But, living on the frontline can be a painful task. Your feats should either supplement your damage in a meaningful way, or improve your durability so you can survive on the frontlines longer. Utility isn’t a paladin’s jurisdiction, but they have a few options if spellcasting is your preference.
Dual Wielder offers the Oathbreaker two things they like a lot: Protection and damage! +1 to AC is nothing to scoff at, and the ability to use any one-handed weapon you’d like is huge. It increases the damage of two-weapon fighting by, on average, 1 point of damage. That might not sound like a lot, but it adds up! You can also draw the weapons faster.
Overall… This usually isn’t worth it. Oathbreaker benefits from melee attacks much more than the average paladin, but a whole feat for AC and +2 damage per round? You might as well just get +2 to Strength or Dexterity! Still, if you don’t need additional strength, the higher AC and damage potential might apply to any multiclassing Oathbreaker trying to maximize their damage.
Polearm Master has some very fun benefits. While wielding a spear-like weapon, you can get a bonus action to smack them with the butt end, dealing a d4. This lets you apply your Aura of Hate bonus to a bonus action. Paladins have some good bonus actions, but most of them spend a resource. Having something to do in between rounds is nice!
The other benefit is quite good. Opportunity attacks are exceptionally strong, and you get them if a creature walks towards you. Any melee enemy gets donked for free! And you hit hard. This is really worth considering for the midgame, where your damage skyrockets. It’s also a great combination with Sentinel.
Resilient (Constitution) works well for a paladin. Pallies love their Concentration checks, since Smites and Shield of Faith require you to make the save often. Boosting your Constitution by 1 while adding proficiency to your Constitution saving throws is great!
However, this is only really a consideration if you already have an odd amount of Constitution to begin with. Otherwise, +2 Constitution will probably be more beneficial, since you’ll gain +1 to your save and plus your level to your health.
Speaking of health, Tough bumps it up by 2 per level. This is equivalent to getting a +4 to Constitution… If you discount your saving throws. Still, being able to take 40 extra points of damage by level 20 means you will often dodge death for one additional hit. Huge, for a character with Lay on Hands and decent access to healing magic.
War Caster is quite a strong feat for anyone considering a career on the frontlines. The ability to roll twice on concentration checks is incredible, since you really want to keep your buffs online up there! You’ll also like the ability to keep both hands on weapons or shields. This isn’t a problem if you want to use a Greatsword, but it might be a problem if your DM is a stickler for wielding two weapons while spellcasting. You don’t want to drop a Longsword just to use Smite, after all!
Finally, you get to cast spells instead of make an Opportunity attack. This is… Funny, more than anything. You can do something like Banishment someone as they try to run away, guaranteeing follow up in the future. A very strong, multi-faceted feat.
Multiclassing for Oathbreaker Paladins
Oathbreaker Paladins benefit from several martial class options that let their explosive damage shine. There’s an obvious option here… But, there are several alternative choices that might be interesting to the average, power-hungry holy man.
Fighter isn’t always the most clear choice, but here it’s really good. Fighter has several different Fighting Styles than Paladin, such as Two-Weapon Fighting, that makes dual wielding more viable. It also has access to Second Wind, a good emergency heal that backs up Lay on Hands.
Most importantly, though, is Action Surge. Paladin’s Smite is one of the largest burst damage options in the game. Now, you get to do it twice. A legitimately absurd damage boost that should not go unnoticed.
Warlock lets Oathbreaker paladins ignore all stats except Charisma and Constitution. That’s… Really good. One level in Hexblade gets you the ability to use Charisma for attack rolls. That’s nuts! We really like Charisma for this class, so focusing on two stats can be very handy. It also gives us a very viable ranged option with Eldritch Blast.
If you want to multiclass, Hexblade Warlock is a really clear choice that makes things much simpler. Consider it for your Sword and Board Pally.
Suggested Oathbreaker Paladin Backgrounds
In terms of flavor, Oathbreakers can actually have many typical Paladin backgrounds, since almost all Oathbreakers begin play as some kind of normal Paladin. They can also take backgrounds that are selfish or evil by nature.
However, in terms of mechanical benefit, Paladins do not get easy access to Perception or Deception. Consider finding them!
A classic option for the Oathbreaker, the Criminal background gives us Deception, a talking skill that Paladins are lacking. This lets you have all 3 methods of chatting, an interesting option for you. Stealth can come in handy rarely, but Thieves’ Tools are the best tools in the game! Your gear is whatever, though 15 gold is helpful.
Depending on your DM, Criminal Contact is a great roleplaying opportunity and a very handy setup tool. Overall, this is an exceptional option if you expect to be your group’s face.
This background, from the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount, offers a very, very face-heavy paladin experience. Deception and Performance are both strong, for both distraction and artistic purposes. You also get Thieves’s Tools, a strong option… Though, the musical instrument can be more handy than you expect. Your items are also quite fun, though you might find it difficult to use that Disguise Kit.
The Ballad of the Grinning Fool can apply in other campaigns, though it is easiest to use in a Wildemount campaign. Outside of Wildemount, ask your DM if you can simply be part of a bard organization. This is a case where an Oathbreaker paladin might have broken their oath to an Evil god, or to a Lawful god whose laws the Paladin disagrees with.
From the Player Handbook, the Sailor acts as your easiest access to Perception. It also gets you Athletics, which tends to work well for a Paladin. Two excellent skills in your pocket!
The tool proficiencies are usually just funny. Who knows, maybe having water vehicle proficiency comes in handy someday! Navigator’s Tools are slightly more realistic. And your gear is mediocre at best.
Your feature is also just fine, offering some utility in campaigns where you and your party travels far and wide. You really want to take this background for skill proficiencies and little else.
How to Play Oathbreaker Paladins
Out of Combat
- Use your skills wisely. Paladins don’t have many Skill proficiencies to work with. Make sure that yours comes in handy. Skills like Persuasion can help you navigate social situations. Athletics lets you clear gaps or solve problems. You can even use niche options like Religion to help research!
- Sometimes, you can cast a spell to help solve a problem. Some of your spells, like Animate Dead, can be handy for solving problems. Consider using some spell slots to cast utility spells.
- Memorize the use of your Oathbreaker Spells. Your spell list is very aggressive. Spells like Inflict Wounds or Blight just deal damage, while Crown of Madness or Darkness change fights to your advantage. Learn what your spells do and remember that you always have them prepared.
- Remember your Channel Divinity. Control Undead is nuts in combats with any weaker undead creature. Dreadful Aspect can force creatures away from you or they will suffer massive debuffs. Use these!
- Aura of Hate is crazy, but also makes certain fights more difficult. Aura of Hate buffs your damage by a ton… But, it does not only buff allied undead or fiends. Use melee often to maximize your damage, but prioritize defeating undead or fiends to prevent them from dealing massive damage with their weapons.
- You are very durable. Use it! Paladins are naturally durable, with Plate Armor access and some stellar healing choices. Be in front of the battlefield and use your tankiness to distract enemies. Then, nuke them with high damage smites! Once you get Supernatural Resistance, you can really hold off specific enemies that utilize natural weapons, or low-power enemies wielding basic weaponry.
- Dread Lord is a lot of fun. Should you reach level 20 without multiclassing, Dread Lord is a lot of fun. You only get to use it once per rest, though, so use it right before you enter the room with the Big Bad Guy and go to town!
Oathbreaker Paladin FAQ
Is the Oathbreaker Paladin Any Good?
The Oathbreaker Paladin offers damage and debuffs for enemies, with a high reliance on Charisma. While it is not the ultimate Paladin, it is a great option for groups who need a durable melee damage dealer.
Can an Oathbreaker Paladin Have a God?
Yes. Oathbreaker Paladins who take a god often did so when they had a change of heart. This usually means that they went from worshiping a god religiously to supporting a god from a distance. A Paladin of Torag who suddenly began worshiping Shar might use Oathbreaker to represent the change. Alternatively, they might accept Shar’s oaths instead and transition to a different type of paladin.
Can I Make a Good Oathbreaker Paladin?
While the standard Oathbreaker is an evil paladin, talking to your DM about it can let you see other options. For instance, a Paladin who took the Oath of the Crown might become an Oathbreaker for deciding to liberate “legal” slaves from oppression in their society. They are not evil for doing so, but their god does not agree with their actions, making them break their oath.
Oathbreaker Paladin Example Build
Before we begin, it is important to recognize how dangerous an Oathbreaker Paladin is to a standard party composition. We don’t have to consider the other members of the party when making our Paladin. But, when building this character, please talk with your other party members beforehand, as well as your DM.
Now that we’ve gotten permission, let’s make a great Paladin! Our Oathbreaker is going to use a Greatsword, meaning Strength is king! We also want to boost Charisma, or maybe Constitution. Charisma will boost our damage by quite a lot. We’ll run a Topaz Gem Dragonborn from Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons – Gem Dragonborn use the Lineage variant rule, letting us spread the stats correctly. Gem Dragonborn get a ton of strong offensive options, including telepathy, flight, and a very useful breath weapon. Our Dragonborn is a Sailor, escaping from her church via the sea. Because she used to worship Bahamut, Draconic is both an appropriate language and a useful one for puzzle solving.
The default starting equipment will work for right now. Best to keep our start simple!
We’ll use the Starting Array rules, since many DMs like that. The Standard Array spreads the stats of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 to each stat. We want enough Strength to be scary, enough Constitution to survive early fights, and enough Charisma to support the build into the late game.
|5E Arcana Cleric Build|
|Race: Topaz Gem DragonbornAbility Scores: STR 17 (15 + 2), DEX 10, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 14 (13 + 1)Proficiencies: Intimidation, Persuasion, Athletics, Perception, Navigator’s Tools, Water VehiclesStarting Equipment: Greatsword, Longbow, five Javelins, Explorer’s Pack, Chain Mail, Holy Symbol, Club, 50 feet of Silk Rope, a charm from the Church of Bahamut, Clothes, 10 gpLanguages: Common, Draconic|
|Levels||New Features||Choices To Make|
|1||-Divine Sense-Lay on Hands||You’ve already made most of the choices you need to make at this level! Paladin’s starting proficiencies are decent, but we’re gonna get the two talking ones: Intimidation and Persuasion. Our Oathbreaker needs to be able to talk her way out of awkward situations.|
|2||-Divine Smite-Fighting Style-1st Level Spells||Now, we need to take a fighting style. Since we want to use a Greatsword, there are two options for us. We can choose Great Weapon Fighting for damage and consistency, or Defense for a +1 to AC. This is a very, very difficult choice, since Great Weapon Fighting only sometimes boosts our damage. Our Paladin will take Defense for the safety.Spellcasting: Paladins get the ability to prepare spells at this level. Despite the fact that we are an Oathbreaker, we could take supportive spells like Shield of Faith or Bless to help our party… Or… We could take something like Compelled Duel! Remember, you can trade these out at will, so it’s not the end of the world!|
|3||-Divine Health-Sacred Oath-Oathbreaker Spells-Oathbreaker Channel Divinity: Control Undead-Oathbreaker Channel Divinity: Dreadful Aspect||We are officially Oathbreakers! No real choices here. Continue looking at your level 1 spells and swapping them out when needed. For instance, if your party has bad healing, Cure Wounds can be handy for emergencies. Just because we’re probably evil, doesn’t mean we can’t help every now and then!Oathbreaker Spells: As we talked about earlier, Oathbreaker Spells mix damage and debuffs. Keep your Charisma high for them! We also don’t need to select damage or debuff spells from our normal spell list, since the Oathbreaker gets us them for free!|
|4||-Ability Score Improvement||While this might be a good time to take War Caster, we actually don’t need it. It has been proven that you can cast spells just fine while wielding a melee weapon in two hands, by taking a hand off and casting, then putting the hand back on.So, what now? We can take a Strength feat to get to 18, improving our accuracy… Or, we can take a +2 to Charisma to boost a bunch of our stats!For our Dragonborn, we’ll actually take a weird feat here: Dragon Fear. It boosts our Strength by 1 and lets us use our Dragon Breath stack to Roar, causing creatures to become frightened on a failed save. This’ll combo well with Oathbreaker in the future!|
|5||-Extra Attack-2nd Level Spells||We get to swing this greatsword twice. Nice.2nd Level Spells: Check out strong support options like Lesser Restoration, or utility choices like Branding Smite.|
|6||-Aura of Protection||Aura of Protection is one of the strongest class features in the entire game, and is a very valid reason to do nothing but improve Charisma.Continue looking at your spell list to swap stuff out. The Smite spells, like Searing Smite, can be useful in specific combat situations.|
|7||-Aura of Hate||Aura of Hate improves our damage tremendously, but only if we invest in Charisma. No significant choices quite yet.|
|8||-Ability Score Improvement||Alright, we put it off for long enough. +2 Charisma improves our Saving Throws, Damage, and the DCs of our spells. Expect this to be a trend.|
|9||-3rd Level Spells||Welcome to the third level of spells! We can get strong options like Dispel Magic and Elemental Weapon here. There are even some utility spells like Daylight! Those can come up, and help balance out our debuffs and damage.|
|10||-Aura of Courage||Nothing special here. Keep looking at spells like Spirit Shroud, which can improve your damage potential while keeping you relevant in specific fights.|
|11||-Improved Divine Smite||We now just deal a flat 1d8 bonus damage with our weapon. It makes two-weapon fighting a lot more enticing, but without the Fighting Style… It’s not that enticing. Let’s dedicate ourselves to the Greatsword and maybe pick up spells like Prayer of Healing to help our Cleric every now and then.|
|12||-Ability Score Improvement||+2 to Charisma. We really want to inch towards that 20 mark. It’s quite boring, yes, but we get far too much benefit out of Charisma at the moment.|
|13||-4th Level Spells||Not too many winners at the 4th level slot, but getting stuff like Staggering Smite really improves your utility and survivability during fights. And, hell, sometimes you just need to cast Find Greater Steed.|
|14||-Cleansing Touch||Not a terrible spell! During a fight, sometimes you just need to reach out and end a Paralyzing effect on your Wizard or Cleric so they can save everyone. Or, you’re going to die to a continuous spell and the ability to just end the spell can save your life. Remember you have this effect, but it’s not the greatest use of your action. Spells like Banishment, on the other hand…|
|15||-Supernatural Resistance||Such a useful feature… In specific situations. When you go up against non-magical weapons, you’ll definitely want to remember that you have this. But, at this point, even low-rank enemies will likely have magical tools.Keep your spell list up to snuff! Death Ward is an actually fairly valid spell at times, especially if you’re just about to enter a dungeon.|
|16||-Ability Score Improvement||+2 Charisma. We’ve made it to 20. That’s +5 melee damage, +5 to all of your saves, and a DC of 19 for your spells. At minimum!|
|17||-5th Level Spells||We’re at the highest level of power for your Paladin’s spell list. Get spells like Banishing Smite and Dispel Evil and Good to keep up with your duties.|
|18||-Aura Improvements||All of your Auras improve in size to 30. That’s actually highly useful, making it more likely for you to protect your Wizards or ranged damage dealers. Try to position yourself to cover your allies… But don’t sacrifice damage!Multiclassing: Feel free to go Fighter at this point. Action Surge is probably a bit more useful than the ASI or Dread Lord! We’ll not multiclass our build for right now.|
|19||-Ability Score Improvement||You have a few good options here. War Caster lets you use some utility spells like Banishment when people run. +2 Strength improves our accuracy… Although, I’d hope we found a Giant Belt by now! We could even take Tough if we want some health.I’d select +2 Strength if we were unable to find a Giant Belt, or Tough if we could.|
|20||-Dread Lord||Dread Lord is a strange ability, letting you alter the battlefield massively for a while. Try to use abilities, like our Dragon Fear, to inflict Frightened to targets as you explore the fight. Ways to cause the Frightened status are significantly stronger due to the large damage dump, and your bonus action is now spent spamming damage. Very valid ability!You also have your full spell list. Endgame enemies can be messed up by lucky rolls on Dispel Magic, and you might want some Revivifies ready, just in case. Bringing your Cleric back to life can save the encounter!|
Conclusion – Our Take on the Oathbreaker Paladin
The Oathbreaker Paladin is possibly one of the best DPS options for the Paladin class. Admittedly, it’s going to be hard to fit one into a campaign… And if you end up fighting dangerous undead, you aren’t making many friends. That being said, if your GM lets you in, and the party doesn’t seem too anti-undead, then you’ll be a dangerous melee combatant with some fantastic defensive abilities… And alright utility options.
Be the first to comment