D&D Next – Paladin

By Ken Wai Lau

D&D Next Paladin

Some way to go before you can teleport to that ship.
Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva
Merchandise available for purchase here

In this blog post, I will attempt to summarise the abilities of the D&D Next Paladin.

When I bought Baldur’s Gate back in 1998, the character class I most wanted to play was the paladin, probably only because of a certain overpowered magical sword that only paladins can use.

The character build wasn’t very effective, and I struggled in combat – though in fairness, I didn’t know anything about AD&D at the time.

Avowed Intent

Many paladins are called into service as champions of their god. The powers do not choose their servants lightly, for it takes a dedicated and unwavering heart to uphold the oath they swear in front of the altar.

With conviction in her beliefs, the paladin is unrelenting in her crusade against the enemies of her church. Armed with the holy power of her deity, she strikes down the enemies of her faith.

They are capable warriors who specialise in mounted combat and tactics. They are also inspiring leaders, steeling the hearts of those who fight alongside them.

Paladins of the gods of good are champions of the weak and downtrodden, serving as a beacon of hope for those who fight the good fight.

Those who serve the dark powers are scourges of the land, spreading misery and suffering wherever they tread.

Aggressive Negotiations

D&D Next Paladin

Shinier than the knight in shining armour…
Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva
Merchandise available for purchase here

As warriors, paladins are trained in the use of all types of weapon and armour. Like the fighter class, they generally focus on one style of combat over all others. Some seek to train their bodies well, but many paladins prefer to focus on the art of diplomacy, averting conflict before it happens and mediating disputes between two warring factions.

A paladin can ward off any disease and protect herself and her allies from harm. Once she becomes a seasoned veteran, she gains the ability to fight back her fears and those who become powerful enough to assume leadership of the order are protected from mental influences that tempt them away from their calling.

A paladin remains vigilant and is always aware of creatures from the outer planes. Once detected, she can bring her wrath to bear, smiting her enemies with the raw divine power of her patron deity. As she approaches her knighthood, she can focus this power better, resulting in strikes imbued with a divine might that only the greatest fiends can withstand.

The paladin must also be compassionate if she is good or seek to prolong her lackeys’ usefulness if she is evil. When a battle is over, a paladin can administer healing with her touch and cast out magical influences that have taken hold of her or her allies.

Paladins can also call upon the power of their gods as a cleric can, though less effectively. They are granted holy magic and the ability to channel the raw power of their god.

Moral Fibre

Paladins of Law and Good swear an Oath of Devotion. These holy knights are granted the authority to drive back the forces of undeath and infuse their weapons with radiant energy, allowing them to hurt creatures that are normally immune to mortal weapons, as well as providing a handy light source.

As the paladin becomes more devout, she can channel her god’s power to drive back or destroy fiends and she can literally smite a demon back to it’s plane of existence.

In time, the paladin will become the epitome of devotion, radiating a light that burns the flesh of those who seek to harm her and repel the powers of malevolent spirits.

Paladins that seek to judge evildoers for their crimes typically swear the Oath of Vengeance. Her magic revolves around locating and reaching her quarry quickly and she can channel her god’s power to strike fear in the hearts of her enemies.

Those who earn the enmity of the paladin can expect vengeance to be swift and devastating. Their tenacity is unmatched and there is usually no escape for the wrongdoer once marked for judgement. Eventually the paladin will become so aligned with the powers of law that she can take on the aspect of an angel to wreak havoc on villains.

Jury’s Out

So not all paladins are goody two shoes which is something I’ll have to adjust to, though I suppose evil paladins are essentially blackguards.

Strangely enough, there doesn’t seem to be an oath path for dark paladins. I imagine it will be added in the final print, but just for fun: what abilities would you suggest for evil paladins? Feel free to comment in the box below.

Click here to see my Paladin character concept, plus how I obtained my own bespoke 3D printed miniature.


  1. Dev_D January 24, 2014 8:55 pm  Reply

    Wow, very good post. Very, very well written! I’ve honestly never played Dungeons and Dragons but have heard SO much D&D talk going to a school with a big Video Game Design department. After reading this post I want to try a game out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ken Wai Lau January 25, 2014 11:39 am  Reply

      You can actually try out D&D Next for free by going to Wizards of the Coast’s website. Maybe you can ask if you can join up with whoever you go to school with. Failing that, you can join the official WOTC forum and and ask if anyone knows of a gaming group in your area.

  2. Glenn April 12, 2014 4:27 pm  Reply

    So they have pretty much gone back to Paladins having to be lawful good in alignment than?

    • Ken Wai Lau April 12, 2014 5:09 pm  Reply

      The playtest packet mentions that your smite damage is radiant or necrotic depending on whether the god you follow is good or evil. That suggests to me that paladins can be evil, though none of the oath paths I’ve seen released so far are particularly suitable for evil paladins.

      There’s an oath path that is suitable for lawful neutral or neutral paladins though.

  3. Roland November 14, 2014 10:15 pm  Reply

    First I would like to say that I came in on 2nd edition and suffered through the mind numbing number crunching of 3rd I avoided 4th after some close freinds warned me against it. Number have been and always will be the key machanic of d&d so I don’t mind them. In regaurd to the paladin post I enjoyed the simplicity and directness of your review.

    As far as alignment goes people put too much stocking lawful good never being able to commit acts that could be considered evil. Paladins are still only people and law and good are subject to the perspective of the character and player. I think from what I have read wizards is trying to address this without stepping on the toes of those players that want to strictly abide by what printed. For a good example of how a paladin can be good and somewhat evil check out the npc xoad the slayer in a return to the temple of evil campaign module. Even that character was kept constrained somewhat but has that almost evil feel. So a paladin could follow an evil God if he saw the path of that God to be in his or her opinion to be a righteous one. In other words kids good and evil like many things is not black and white. There are grey areas too.

    • Ken Wai Lau November 16, 2014 8:58 pm  Reply

      Hello Roland and thanks for commenting.

      I still enjoy 3.5e, but as you say, the number crunching can get a bit too much at high levels. From what I can see, D&D 5e does a good job keeping everything streamlined and the maths minimal. I haven’t played 4e, but I heard the battles can take a session to complete. Again 5e aims to avoid that even at higher levels.

      You’re right in that what is good for one person is not necessarily so for another. All we have is some general guideline that is passed down from one generation to another that we use to gauge what can be considered good or evil – but even that can vary depending on which part of the world you are from.

      It’s like religion in the real world. A group of people might undertake a ‘crusade’ in the name of their faith and see that as fighting for righteousness, but for the rest of us looking in from the outside, we might see it as extremism.

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