Guide to Building a Paladin Oath of Glory DnD 5e

In Dungeons and Dragons 5e, the paladin Oath of Glory has an Olympian flavor, pulling from the theme of classic Greek heroes like Hercules.  This character blends superhuman athleticism with charismatic leadership and inspiration for the party.  Plus, now we have a fantastic theme for races from Mythic Odysseys of Theros and Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica.

When building a paladin Oath of Glory in DnD 5e, consider the following races and class attributes:

Try a Centaur, Goliath or Leonin.

I’ll need to think thematically and strategically about my character race to bring out the best in my epic paladin Oath of Glory.

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Centaurs come from the same Greek mythology as this heroic class, adding a +2 Strength/+1 Wisdom bonus.  These half-horse humanoids have a natural speed of 40 feet, with hooves that can deal 1d4 + Strength modifier damage.  These hooves come in handy with Charge, which gives me a hoof attack as a bonus action after a charging attack.

Goliath builds could fit an actual Hercules character, gaining a +2 Strength/+1 Constitution and a natural affinity for AthleticsStones Endurance gives this me the ability to reduce damage from a hit by 1d12 + Constitution modifier, giving me an extra boost of endurance once a day.  Plus, I count as one size larger when dragging, pulling, pushing carrying or lifting weight.  Squats!

Finally, a leonin character can tap into the glory theme and add a +2 Constitution/+1 Strength.  This lion warrior is built like of a wild hunter, with Darkvision, Claws (1d4 + Strength) and 35 feet of speed.  Plus, Hunter’s Instincts gives me proficiency in my choice of Athletics, Intimidation, Perception or Survival.  My special combat ability is Daunting Roar, forcing creatures within 10 feet of me to make a Wisdom saving throw against my Constitution DC or become frightened.

Build for tanking with early-level paladin abilities.

The two sides of this character fall into athletic accomplishment and inspiration.  Therefore, I’ll gain a sense of leadership—even if it is just through actions and not actual command.  With this in mind, I’ll build my initial paladin with chainmail, a shield and a longsword.  Sure, the weapon could be interchangeable, but swords are for champions.  Duel me.

Lay on Hands can heal those I touch (including myself), drawing from a pool of HP equal to 5 X my paladin level.  I can use as much or little of the pool as necessary and recharge the pool with a long rest.  Divine Sense gives me the ability to sense celestial, fiend or undead creatures as an action, which I can use up to 1 + Charisma modifier times a day.

Then, I’ll choose the Dueling Fighting Style at level 2 to give me +2 damage to one-handed weapon strikes.  This ought to balance out the shield/sword combination, giving me a decent AC and damage output.

Divine Smite (level 2) adds 2d8 radiant damage to melee attack damage when I use a spell slot.  This damage can be added after I land an attack and increases with higher-level spell slots.  In fact, it can go all the way up to 5d8 radiant damage.  Finally, Divine Health gives me immunity to disease as I reach level 3 and take my oath.

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Oath of Glory Channel Divinity and abilities

Beginning at level 3, I’ll gain my Channel Divinity options with the Oath of Glory:  Peerless Athlete and Inspiring Smite.

Peerless Athlete uses a bonus action to augment my physical abilities.  For the next 10 minutes, I have advantage on Athletics (Strength) and Acrobatics (Dexterity) checks.  Plus, I can carry, push, pull and lift twice as much weight as normal.  Finally, the distance I can jump increases by 10 feet.

Inspiring Smite is triggered by Divine Smite damage, offering temporary hit points to creatures of my choice within 30 feet of me.  The total HP equals 2d8 + my paladin level, divided among those I choose.

Then, level 7 grants me Aura of Alacrity, which can increase the movement speed of those who charge with me.  I’ll add 10 feet to my walking speed and increase my allies speed by 10 feet as well.  However, the ally will have to begin their turn within 5 feet of me.  In this way, we can charge together as I lead with a shield.

At level 15, I’ll learn Glorious Defense, which grants my Charisma modifier to an ally’s AC.  If the enemy misses the attack, I can then make a counterattack against it.  I can use this a number of times equal to my Charisma modifier.

My ultimate ability comes at level 20, Living Legend.

  • I gain advantage on all Charisma checks, being an epic superstar.
  • If I miss with a weapon attack, I can instead hit—Once per turn.
  • If I fail a saving throw, I can reroll the check and use the new roll.

Oath of Glory spells: guiding bolt, heroism, enhance ability

Naturally, this class has a unique blend of thematic spells learned at certain levels.  These spells are built around heroism, enhanced physical ability and glory.

  • Guiding Bolt (level 3): Make a ranged spell attack that deals 4d6 radiant damage.  This power beam leaves the foe sparkling with dim light, giving the next attack against it advantage.
  • Heroism (level 3): For 1 minute, a willing creature I touch is immune to being frightened and gains temporary HP equal to my Charisma modifier at the beginning of each turn.
  • Enhance Ability (level 5): Touch a willing creature (including myself) and bestow magic enhancements: Bears Endurance, Bull’s Strength, Cat’s Grace, Eagle’s Splendor, Fox’s Cunning and Owl’s Wisdom.  Each choice gives advantage on an ability check with added benefits.
  • Magic Weapon (level 5): Touch a non-magic weapon and give it the magic property (it can hit ghosts and magic creatures).  Plus, it gains a +1 to damage and attack rolls.
  • Haste (level 9): Touch target.  For 1 minute, target’s speed is doubled.  They gain +2 to AC, advantage on Dexterity saving throws and 1 extra action.
  • Protection from Energy (level 9): For 1 hour, a target I touch has protection from one damage source from type of my choice: acid, fire, cold, lightning and thunder.
  • Compulsion (level 13): targets within 30 feet make a Wisdom saving throw.  On a failed save, I can choose a direction and compel them to move their full speed that way.
  • Freedom of Movement (level 13): Target can ignore difficult terrain.  It can’t be paralyzed or restrained.
  • Commune (level 17): Receive yes or no answers from my deity.
  • Flame Strike (level 17): A 10-foot radius, 40-foot-high cylinder forces foes to make Dexterity saving throws.  On a failed save, they take 4d6 fire and 4d6 radiant damage.

Stick with healing spells and Divine Smite for spell slots.

As far as basic paladin spells go, my favorite strategy is to save spell slots for Divine Smite.  The higher the spell slot, the more damage it deals.  However, other than the unique spells I just listed, there are a few paladin spells to have around.

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1st-level Spells

  • Cure Wounds: Heal 1d8 + Charisma modifier HP. Increase by 1d8 for each spell slot above level 1.
  • Detect Good and Evil: For 10 minutes, I can tell if a celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead are within 30 feet of me.
  • Thunderous Smite: Target of attack takes 2d6 thunder damage and must make a Strength saving throw.  On a failed save, the target is pushed back 10 feet.  This spell can stack on a Divine Smite but takes 2 slots for a big blowout.

2nd-level Spells

  • Lesser Restoration: Heal the effects blinded, deafened, paralyzed or poison.
  • Find Steed: Magically summon a steed who takes the shape of my choosing and has that creatures stat block: warhorse, pony, camel, elk, mastiff.  It also takes the type of celestial, fey or fiend.

Higher-level paladin abilities: Aura of Protection, Aura of Courage

As I level, my basic paladin class features have more to offer, including an Extra Attack at level 5, powerful auras and an Improved Divine Smite.

Aura of Protection comes at level 6, giving me the ability to add my Charisma modifier to saving throws.  This goes for me or any ally I can see within 10 feet of me.  At level 18, the range increases to 30 feet.

Aura of Courage (level 10) gives me and allies within 10 feet immunity to fear.  Again, level 18 increases the range to 30 feet.

Improved Divine Smite gives me an extra 1d8 radiant damage for ALL attack damage, including Divine Smite.

Finally, Cleansing Touch can end a magical effect on myself or an ally.  I can use this a number of times equal to my Charisma modifier.

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