Introduction: 20 D&D Paladin Backgrounds: Unveiling Paths of Divine Virtue
The paladin is a paragon of virtue, wielding the power of the divine to smite evil and protect the innocent. These stalwart champions of righteousness are often defined by their unwavering commitment to a sacred oath, a divine calling that guides their every action. Yet, the origins and motivations of these holy warriors are as diverse as the realms they inhabit.
In this comprehensive exploration, we unveil a treasury of 20 D&D paladin backgrounds, plus a bunch of awesome bonus material. Each background creates the potential for rich lore, unique narratives, and thrilling character development. Whether you are a dungeon master seeking to inspire your players or an aspiring paladin looking for the perfect backstory, our compendium promises to ignite your imagination and breathe life into your next character creation.
From the solemn Knights Errant, who traverse the land righting wrongs before their divine calling, to the duty bound Templars, these backgrounds offer a myriad of possibilities for storytelling and role-playing. You'll meet the avenging orphans, peacekeepers striving for harmony, and celestial chosen, drawing power from the celestial beings.
Step into the shoes of a redeemed criminal seeking redemption or a dungeon delver cleansing dark places of corruption. Explore backgrounds that span the entire spectrum of D&D's multiverse, from elemental aegis-wielding protectors of the elements to guardian spirits communicating with the otherworldly.
Each background is a tapestry of character, faith, and destiny, waiting to be woven into the epic narrative of your D&D campaign. Dive deep into their histories, motivations, and unique abilities as we unveil these hidden facets of the paladin class, proving that there's more to being a holy warrior than meets the eye.
Join us on this extraordinary journey through the diverse and captivating world of D&D paladins, and let your imagination run wild as you uncover the endless possibilities that await within these 40 compelling backgrounds.
Once, you were a paladin who had sworn to uphold a sacred oath but strayed from the righteous path, breaking your vows and embracing darkness. Your fall from grace was marked by a terrible event or a series of choices that led you to betray your principles. However, something within you stirred, a flicker of the light you had lost. Whether it was a chance encounter with a figure of great moral strength or a profound moment of self-realization, you felt compelled to seek redemption.
Now, you travel the land, seeking out opportunities to right the wrongs you once committed and to atone for your past transgressions. You are driven by an unshakable determination to regain the favor of your deity, order, or the divine forces you once served. This journey is fraught with challenges, and you know that the path to redemption is long and arduous. But you carry the weight of your past mistakes as a constant reminder of your commitment to reclaim your honor and serve the cause of righteousness once more.
You are a wandering paladin known as a Knight Errant, a fearless champion who roams the land in search of injustice to rectify and the innocent to protect. Unlike paladins bound to a specific order or institution, you have chosen a solitary path, guided by your unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of justice and goodness.
Your adventures take you to the farthest corners of the world, where you intervene in conflicts, rescue the oppressed, and stand as a beacon of hope for those in need. You have a strong sense of duty but value your independence, answering to no one but your own moral compass and the code of honour you hold dear.
Every village you visit, every town you pass through, and every forest you explore provides you with opportunities to make a difference, and your reputation as a wandering protector precedes you. Your sword is your instrument of justice, and your shield defends the innocent. As a Knight Errant, you live a life of perpetual adventure, seeking out new challenges and striving to make the world a better place, one heroic act at a time.
As a templar, you are a member of a revered and disciplined holy order dedicated to safeguarding a sacred relic or a site of immense spiritual significance. Your order's origins may be shrouded in the mists of history, and its mission is clear: to prevent the desecration and misuse of the relic or site you protect, ensuring it remains a symbol of divine power and reverence.
Your training began at a young age, and you learned not only the martial skills necessary to defend your charge but also the rituals and ceremonies associated with its veneration. You've dedicated your life to the order's cause, forsaking personal pursuits in favour of a higher calling. Your duties may require you to stand vigil over the relic, embarking on quests to acquire additional artefacts, or confronting those who would seek to exploit its power for nefarious purposes. The sanctity of your mission is paramount, and you are prepared to give your life to fulfil your sacred duty. As a templar, you are both a guardian and a servant of the divine, entrusted with the preservation of an irreplaceable piece of your faith's history.
You were born into a prestigious religious order, destined to one day lead and uphold its sacred tenets. Your upbringing was steeped in piety and rigorous training, preparing you for the weighty responsibility of leadership. However, a shadow cast itself over your future. For reasons known only to you and the inner circle of your order, you were excommunicated. This sudden expulsion shattered the life you had envisioned, leaving you with a profound sense of injustice and confusion.
Now, as an excommunicated heir, you bear the knowledge of your order's deepest secrets and its most closely guarded teachings. You walk a path filled with uncertainty, seeking to uncover the truth behind your excommunication and, if possible, to earn your way back into the graces of your order. Your loyalty remains unwavering, but your quest for redemption and understanding leads you to venture into the world beyond your order's walls, where you must grapple with moral dilemmas and confront challenges that test your faith.
A malevolent curse hangs over you like a dark cloud, a curse that you cannot fully comprehend or easily dispel. It might have been inflicted upon you during a fateful encounter with a malevolent being, or it may be a hereditary affliction tied to your lineage. The curse has left its mark, affecting your appearance, abilities, or even your very soul.
Despite the curse's debilitating effects, you refuse to yield to despair. Instead, you have chosen to channel your suffering into a relentless crusade against the forces of darkness and the malevolent magic that plagues you. Your hope lies in discovering the source of the curse and finding a way to break it, freeing yourself from its grasp.
Your quest takes you far and wide, as you seek out scholars, sages, and ancient texts that might hold the key to your redemption. Along the way, you battle against evil, your cursed nature turning into a powerful weapon against those who would harm the innocent. The curse that torments you has become your motivator, a burning desire to overcome adversity and bring light to the world.
Your passion lies not on the battlefield, but within the hallowed halls of libraries and archives. As a holy scholar, you have devoted your life to the study of religious texts, ancient lore, and the intricacies of your faith. While you may not be the first to draw a sword, you are a staunch defender of your faith through knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
Your quest for enlightenment has led you to explore the depths of theological doctrine, deciphering the hidden meanings within sacred texts and unravelling the mysteries of your religion. You believe that true strength comes from understanding the divine and sharing that knowledge with others.
In your travels, you act as a teacher and mentor, guiding the faithful and imparting your deep understanding of religious matters. When the time comes for action, your knowledge of divine principles and your unwavering faith grant you the ability to serve as a powerful mediator, resolving conflicts and preserving the integrity of your faith.
You have embraced a life of constant pilgrimage, traveling from temple to temple, shrine to shrine, and holy site to holy site. Your journey takes you through diverse lands and cultures, allowing you to learn from different religious traditions and to share the teachings of your own faith.
As a wandering pilgrim, you are a living embodiment of the unity that can be found among different faiths. You engage in dialogues with priests, monks, and shamans, seeking common ground and fostering understanding. You carry with you relics and blessings from each place you visit, spreading the word of your faith and promoting tolerance and harmony.
Your quest is to strengthen the bonds between disparate religious communities and to promote a sense of spiritual interconnectedness. You know that true faith transcends boundaries, and you are driven to share this message with the world. Though you may not always carry a sword, your dedication to your faith and your role as a bridge between cultures make you a stalwart defender of the divine in the world.
Within the hallowed halls of your religious order, you have taken on the role of a zealous investigator, ferreting out heresy, corruption, and moral transgressions that threaten the purity of your faith. Your devotion to the tenets of your religion is unwavering, and you believe that the purity of your order must be maintained at any cost.
Your training in investigative techniques, interrogation, and the discernment of truth has made you a formidable inquisitor. You're skilled in rooting out hidden threats and conspiracies that might undermine the teachings and authority of your faith. You are unafraid to confront your fellow members or even higher-ranking clergy if you suspect their actions are in violation of the order's principles.
Your zealous pursuit of truth and purity often takes you into dangerous situations, and your unwavering faith in your cause sustains you through even the darkest trials. While others may question your methods or your unrelenting nature, you are a vital guardian of your faith, ensuring that its teachings remain uncorrupted and its followers remain true to their oaths.
Paragon of the Gods
You are a paladin who fervently believes that you have been chosen by the gods to serve as their instrument of divine justice. From a young age, you were marked by a celestial sign, a symbol of your divine calling. This sign, whether it's a radiant birthmark or ethereal wings that occasionally manifest, has always been a part of you.
Driven by an unshakable faith, you see yourself as the embodiment of the gods' will on the Material Plane. You are a beacon of righteousness, guided by a profound sense of duty to root out evil and protect the innocent. Your convictions are unwavering, and you are willing to undertake any quest or challenge, no matter how perilous, to fulfil your divine mandate.
Your abilities are infused with celestial power, and your combat style often resembles that of an avenging angel, as you smite evil with holy fervour. You believe that you are not just a paladin but a divine agent, chosen to bring about a better world through the execution of the gods' justice.
Your destiny was forever changed when you were chosen to serve as a loyal squire to a celestial being. Whether an angelic guardian, an archon, or another celestial entity, your mentor hails from the upper planes and has bestowed upon you the privilege and responsibility of aiding them in their mission on the Material Plane.
Under the guidance of your celestial mentor, you have been imbued with celestial knowledge and abilities, granting you powers that transcend mortal limitations. Together, you travel the world, battling evil, protecting the innocent, and striving to bring about harmony and order. Your mentor's wisdom and your unbreakable bond with them have forged you into a formidable force for good.
You have access to celestial insights and magical abilities, allowing you to heal the wounded, banish fiends, and ward against darkness. Your loyalty to your celestial patron is unwavering, and you see your role as a squire as a sacred duty. Your ultimate goal is to one day become a celestial champion in your own right, but for now, you stand as a beacon of hope and an embodiment of celestial grace.
Champion of the Forgotten
In a world where many are overlooked and abandoned, you have dedicated your life to becoming a champion of the forgotten. Your path led you to take in orphaned children, protect the homeless, and defend those who have been marginalized by society.
Your commitment to this cause runs deep, driven by a sense of compassion and a belief in the inherent worth of every individual. You provide shelter, food, and education to the orphaned, offering them a chance for a brighter future. For the homeless, you are a beacon of hope, offering not just material support but also emotional care and understanding.
As a paladin, you fight tirelessly against those who would prey on the vulnerable or perpetuate injustice. Your strength is not just in combat but also in your unwavering dedication to your cause. You often find yourself working alongside organizations and individuals who share your passion for social justice, forming alliances to bring about meaningful change in the world.
Your role as a champion of the forgotten is not just about defending the defenseless but also about raising awareness and inspiring others to join your cause. You firmly believe that everyone deserves a chance at a better life, and you are determined to make that belief a reality.
You are a paladin who specializes in the delicate art of negotiation, tasked with fostering peace and understanding between different religious groups and factions. Your role is that of a bridge-builder, seeking common ground and resolving conflicts that threaten to escalate into violence. You are well-versed in the beliefs and customs of various faiths, and you use this knowledge to facilitate dialogues and mediate disputes. Your diplomatic skills are honed to perfection, and you are known for your patience, empathy, and ability to find compromise even in the most challenging situations.
Your travels take you to places where religious tensions run high, and your presence often serves as a calming influence. You are often called upon to negotiate treaties, resolve theological disputes, and quell religiously motivated conflicts. Your ultimate goal is to promote harmony and understanding among all faiths, recognizing the common threads that unite them.
While you may not always engage in combat, your role as a divine diplomat is a vital one, as it helps prevent needless bloodshed and promotes the greater good through peaceful means. You are a symbol of hope and unity in a world often divided by religious differences.
Order of the Reliquary
As a member of the Order of the Reliquary, you are entrusted with a sacred duty: to protect and preserve holy relics and artefacts of great spiritual significance. Your order has a long and storied history, dedicated to ensuring that these artefacts do not fall into the wrong hands, where they could be misused or desecrated.
Your training includes both combat skills and the study of ancient lore, allowing you to not only defend the relics but also to understand their significance and history. You often find yourself on quests to recover lost artefacts or to secure relics in danger of being stolen or destroyed.
The relics you protect may range from holy swords and chalices to ancient scrolls and artifacts of immense power. Your order's library is a treasure trove of knowledge, and you spend countless hours studying and cataloguing these priceless items.
Your role is that of a guardian, preserving the spiritual heritage of your faith and ensuring that the relics continue to inspire and empower the faithful. You understand the weight of your responsibility and are prepared to face any challenge to safeguard the sacred artifacts in your care, for their loss could have dire consequences for your religion and the world at large.
Vessel of Prophecy
From a young age, you were marked by the gods as a vessel for their prophecies and visions. Your connection to the divine is profound, and you often receive cryptic dreams, visions, and premonitions that reveal glimpses of the future. These divine insights guide your actions and shape your decisions, setting you on a path that is intimately tied to the will of the gods.
Your role as a vessel of prophecy is not one you sought but one that you have embraced. You believe that the gods have chosen you for a greater purpose, and you are determined to carry out their will to the best of your abilities. Your faith is unshakable, and you often find yourself interpreting signs and symbols to uncover hidden meanings in the world around you.
As a paladin, you use your unique connection to the divine to protect the innocent, thwart evil plots, and fulfil the prophecies that have been entrusted to you. Your allies and companions often turn to you for guidance and insight, knowing that your visions are a source of wisdom and divine inspiration.
Pilgrim of the Stars
You are a Pilgrim of the Stars, a paladin who believes that destiny is written in the constellations that light up the night sky. From a young age, you've been guided by the patterns of the stars, using them as a celestial map to navigate your life's journey. You believe that your fate is intimately tied to the movements of the cosmos.
Your connection to the stars grants you a unique perspective on the world. You can read the constellations like a book, interpreting their alignments to glean insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This celestial knowledge guides your decisions and actions, helping you make choices that align with your cosmic destiny.
As you travel the land, you often find solace in gazing at the night sky and seeking guidance from the stars. Your faith in the constellations is unwavering, and you see them as a source of hope and inspiration. You believe that your path is ordained by the heavens, and you are determined to follow it wherever it may lead.
Cleanser of the Damned
You have devoted your life to a singular purpose: the purging of undead and fiendish creatures from the world. Your specialized training and holy powers are focused on eradicating these abominations and protecting the living from their malevolent influence.
From the relentless pursuit of vampires and liches to the banishment of demons and devils, your mission is clear and unyielding. You see the undead and fiendish creatures as a blight upon the world, and you are their sworn adversary. Your training has made you a master of detecting their presence, and your combat skills are finely honed to strike them down with righteous fury.
While others may shy away from confronting the horrors of the night, you face them head-on, armed with faith and a determination to cleanse the world of their taint. Your unwavering commitment to this cause is a beacon of hope to those who fear the darkness and the creatures that dwell within it.
Beacon of Hope
People turn to you in times of despair, for you are a Beacon of Hope in a world often shrouded in darkness. Your mere presence brings comfort and solace to those who are downtrodden or facing adversity. Your unwavering optimism and faith serve as a source of inspiration, reminding others that there is always hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances.
You are a tireless advocate for the power of good and the strength of the human spirit. Your words and actions uplift the spirits of those around you, instilling them with the courage to persevere and overcome adversity. Whether it's in the aftermath of a disaster, during times of war, or in the face of personal tragedies, you are there to offer a comforting word, a helping hand, and a glimmer of hope.
As a paladin, you actively seek out opportunities to bring light into the lives of others, whether through acts of charity, kindness, or bravery in the face of danger. Your unwavering faith and your commitment to being a Beacon of Hope make you a guiding star in a world that often feels lost in the shadows.
Paladin of the Hunt
Your oath as a Paladin of the Hunt is to protect the natural world and ensure the balance between civilization and wilderness. You believe in the sanctity of the wild and its integral role in the world's harmony. As a guardian of nature, you are committed to preserving the delicate equilibrium between mankind's progress and the preservation of the natural world.
Your training has honed your skills as both a hunter and a protector. You excel in tracking and understanding the behavior of creatures, allowing you to coexist with and defend the creatures of the wild. Your divine powers are attuned to the elements, enabling you to heal the land and its inhabitants and to repel those who seek to exploit or harm it.
You often find yourself on quests to thwart those who threaten the natural order, whether they are ruthless poachers, destructive loggers, or magical forces that disrupt the balance. Your allegiance is not just to your deity but to the world itself, and you are determined to ensure that future generations can continue to marvel at the wonders of the wilderness.
Champion of the Underprivileged
Your life's purpose is dedicated to helping the poor and downtrodden, using your strength and skills to fight for their rights and well-being. You've witnessed the injustices and inequalities that plague society, and you are determined to be a voice and a shield for those who have been marginalized and oppressed.
Your actions often put you in direct conflict with corrupt officials, oppressive regimes, and those who exploit the vulnerable. You use your martial prowess to protect the rights of the underprivileged, seeking justice through both diplomacy and force when necessary.
Your unwavering commitment to this cause has made you a symbol of hope for those who have long suffered in silence. You work tirelessly to raise awareness of the plight of the poor and to inspire change within society. Whether you are defending the homeless from unjust evictions or advocating for fair wages, your determination and compassion make you a true Champion of the Underprivileged.
Your oath is not just a personal commitment; it's a call to action to make the world a more just and equitable place for all.
Designing a Unique Oath for Your Paladin Character
When creating a paladin character in Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most exciting opportunities is designing a unique oath that defines your character's beliefs, values, and commitment. While the Player's Handbook offers established oaths like Oath of Devotion, Oath of Conquest, and Oath of Vengeance, crafting a custom oath can add depth and personalization to your character's journey. In this article, we'll explore the process of creating a unique oath and provide tips on aligning it with your character's backstory and role-playing opportunities.
Starting with a Concept
Begin by brainstorming the core concept of your custom oath. Consider your character's background, personality traits, and motivations. Are they driven by a desire to protect nature, seeking vengeance for a personal tragedy, or perhaps aiming to champion the underprivileged? The concept should resonate with your character's backstory and align with their values.
To ensure your custom oath is mechanically balanced, incorporate keywords that link it to existing paladin features. Keywords such as "divine smite," "channel divinity," or "aura of protection" can provide a foundation for your oath's abilities. For example, if your concept centers on the protection of nature, you might tie your oath to the Oath of the Ancients subclass and include features related to plant-based magic and the defense of the natural world.
Consider how your custom oath will influence your character's behavior and interactions with others. Will they be unwavering in their convictions or wrestle with doubt and temptation? How will they handle social situations and moral dilemmas? Your oath should offer role-playing opportunities that enrich your character's narrative.
Selecting spells that complement your custom oath is crucial. Look for spells that align with your oath's theme and enhance your character's abilities in combat and social situations. For instance, if your oath emphasizes protection, spells like "Shield of Faith" and "Protection from Energy" might be fitting choices.
The Oath's Progression
Consider how your oath evolves as your paladin character levels up. Think about the oath's milestones at 3rd, 7th, 15th, and 20th levels. How do these milestones reflect the character's growth and deepening commitment to their oath?
Alignment with Background
Ensure that your custom oath aligns with your character's background. If your character has a background as a Folk Hero, their oath may emphasize protecting the common people and fighting for justice on their behalf. This alignment creates a cohesive character concept.
While designing your custom oath, maintain a balance between flavor and mechanics. It's essential to create an oath that feels unique and true to your character's story while also adhering to the mechanics established for the paladin class.
Remember that your Dungeon Master (DM) will play a pivotal role in approving and balancing your custom oath. Collaborate with your DM to refine and adapt your oath to fit seamlessly into the campaign world.
By following these steps, you can create a unique oath that not only enhances your character's role-playing experience but also adds depth and richness to the narrative. Your paladin character will stand as a testament to the power of personal conviction and the limitless creativity that Dungeons & Dragons offers to players and DMs alike.
Enhancing Your Paladin: The World of Holy Weapons and Armor
Paladins stand as paragons of virtue and righteousness, wielding not only unwavering faith but also holy weapons and armour. These divine tools are not mere items; they are extensions of a paladin's sacred oath and emblematic of their unwavering commitment to the cause. In this article, we will delve into the world of magical weapons and armour for paladins, offering insights into custom items, their origins, and how they can enhance a character's role-playing experience.
The Power of Holy Items
Holy weapons and armour for paladins are often blessed with divine energy, making them potent instruments in the battle against evil. They may bear intricate designs, glow with a radiant aura, or resonate with a celestial hum. These items are more than just tools; they are symbols of a paladin's consecrated purpose.
Customization and Origins
Custom holy items for paladins can be tailored to match the character's background, oath, and personality. Consider collaborating with your Dungeon Master (DM) to weave a compelling origin story for your character's gear. Perhaps your sword was forged from a fallen star, or your shield is an heirloom passed down through generations of noble paladins.
Holy weapons and armor offer fantastic role-playing opportunities. A paladin may have conversations with their sentient weapon, seeking counsel or drawing strength from its wisdom. Equally, the appearance and abilities of these items can reflect a paladin's alignment and beliefs, influencing how they interact with others in the campaign world.
Enhancing Combat Abilities
Mechanically, these items can significantly bolster a paladin's combat prowess. A holy weapon may deal extra damage to undead or fiends, while armor can provide resistance against specific damage types. Such enhancements not only make the character more effective in combat but also reinforce their role as a defender of goodness and justice.
Expanding Spellcasting Abilities
Paladins rely on spellcasting to complement their martial prowess. Holy weapons and armor can enhance these abilities by granting bonus spell slots, improving spell DCs, or enabling unique spell-like effects. This not only broadens a paladin's versatility but also reinforces their divine connection.
Fulfilling Oath Tenets
For paladins who adhere to strict tenets associated with their oath, holy items can serve as physical reminders and catalysts for oath-related abilities. A sword of vengeance, for example, might empower a paladin of the Oath of Vengeance to smite their foes with unparalleled fury.
Incorporating holy items into your character's story can lead to compelling quest arcs. Pursuing a legendary holy sword or seeking the blessing of a celestial being can become central plotlines, adding depth to the campaign world and character development opportunities for both player and DM.
Collaboration with the DM
Collaborate closely with your DM to balance the power and availability of holy weapons and armor. Ensuring that these items are not overpowered can lead to more enjoyable gameplay and a richer storytelling experience.
In Dungeons & Dragons, holy weapons and armour for paladins are not just pieces of gear; they are embodiments of faith, dedication, and the struggle against darkness. By thoughtfully crafting these items to align with your character's background, oath, and personality, you can deepen your connection to your paladin's narrative and make them a shining beacon of righteousness in your campaign world.
Creating a Unique Oath: Role-Playing Moral Dilemmas for Paladins
When it comes to creating a paladin character in Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most defining aspects is their sacred oath. These oaths are unwavering commitments to principles and ideals that shape a paladin's moral compass. However, to add depth and complexity to your paladin, consider how these oaths can lead to role-playing moral dilemmas and ethical challenges.
The Basics of Paladins and Their Oaths
Paladins are martial characters who wield divine power to smite their foes, protect their allies, and uphold their chosen oaths. Each paladin takes an oath at 3rd level, such as the Oath of Devotion, Oath of Conquest, or Oath of the Ancients, and gains unique subclass features associated with that oath. This oath serves as a paladin's moral and ethical guideline.
Role-Playing Moral Dilemmas
As a player, embracing your paladin's oath is essential for role-playing, but it can also lead to fascinating moral dilemmas:
1. Balancing Justice and Mercy: Many oaths, like the Oath of Vengeance, emphasize retribution and justice. However, navigating the fine line between righteous punishment and merciless cruelty can be challenging. Should you show mercy to a defeated enemy, or deliver the justice your oath demands?
2. Loyalty to Party Members: Paladins often find themselves in parties with diverse alignments and motivations. What happens when your party members make morally questionable choices? Upholding your oath may sometimes conflict with your loyalty to the group.
3. Oath of Redemption: Paladins who follow the Oath of Redemption are committed to nonviolence and redemption. This oath can lead to conflicts when the group prefers a more aggressive approach. How do you adhere to your pacifist principles while your allies engage in combat?
4. Balancing Personal Goals: Some paladins may have personal goals or vendettas that clash with their oaths. For instance, if your Oath of Conquest compels you to subdue all enemies, how do you handle a situation where sparing an enemy could help you achieve a personal goal?
5. The Greater Good: Occasionally, a paladin's oath may conflict with the greater good or the well-being of innocent bystanders. For example, your Oath of Devotion may require you to protect a sworn enemy, potentially endangering those around you.
Navigating Moral Dilemmas
To effectively role-play these moral dilemmas, consider the following:
1. Deep Character Development: Embrace these dilemmas as opportunities for character growth. How does your character evolve when faced with difficult choices? What internal struggles do they experience?
2. Collaborative Storytelling: Communicate with your Dungeon Master and fellow players about the moral dilemmas you'd like to explore. Collaboratively weaving these challenges into the narrative can lead to compelling storytelling.
3. Oath Evolution: Allow your character's experiences to influence their oath. Paladins can grow, adapt, or even change oaths over time, reflecting their evolving values and beliefs.
4. Ethical Consistency: Stay true to your character's established morals and ethics while navigating dilemmas. Consistency in role-playing enhances the authenticity of your character's choices.
Paladins, with their unwavering oaths, offer fantastic opportunities for rich role-playing and ethical exploration. By embracing the moral dilemmas presented by your character's oath, you can create a paladin with depth, complexity, and a compelling story to tell.
Forging Legendary Paladins: Crafting Memorable NPC Allies
You've crafted a tale of epic adventure, full of sinister villains and fantastical beasts that threaten the realm. But every legendary hero needs allies and mentors to help them on their journey. As the DM, it's up to you to populate your world with memorable non-player characters that inspire your players and enrich the story.
When it comes to crafting paladin NPCs, you have the opportunity to create truly unforgettable characters. Whether they're noble champions of justice, mysterious mentors with hidden agendas, or disgraced knights seeking redemption, paladin allies and adversaries can add depth and drama to any campaign.
Creating a Paladin’s Fighting Style and Ability Scores
Creating a memorable paladin NPC starts with determining their fighting style and ability scores. As holy warriors, paladins typically focus on melee combat and use heavy armor and shields.
For fighting style, choose between Defense (+1 AC), Dueling (+2 damage), or Great Weapon Fighting (reroll 1s/2s on damage dice). Defense boosts durability, Dueling works with sword and board, and Great Weapon Fighting suits two-handed weapons.
Prioritize Strength (for melee attacks and heavy armor), Charisma (for spellcasting and auras), and Constitution (for hit points and concentration saves). You'll want at least a 16 in Strength and Charisma.
For skills, pick Persuasion (to inspire allies), Religion (for knowledge of fiends and undead), and Insight (to discern lies and evil intent).
Choose oath spells and Channel Divinity options to match your paladin's oath. Devotion aids allies, Ancients protects nature, Vengeance pursues evil, etc.
Give your paladin a signature weapon, like a holy avenger greatsword or shield of faith, as well as a mount like a warhorse.
Most importantly, determine your paladin's moral code, background, and purpose. Do they serve a deity or crown? What drove them to take up a holy crusade? Fleshing out these details will make your paladin NPC come alive.
With the right ability scores, gear, and backstory, you'll forge a legendary paladin ally to challenge and inspire players. May their shining example lead to many heroic deeds!
Assigning Saving Throws, Hit Points, and Higher Level Abilities
When creating a paladin NPC ally, you'll want to determine their saving throws, hit points, and special abilities appropriate for their level.
For saving throws, paladins have proficiency in Wisdom and Charisma saves. Give your NPC paladin bonuses to those saves equal to their proficiency bonus based on their level. For other saves, use the standard saving throw numbers for a monster of the same CR.
For hit points, take the average hit points for a monster of the same CR and add the NPC's Constitution modifier per level. So a 6th-level paladin with 14 Constitution would have 6d10 + 24 hit points (6 * 10 average + 6 * 4 Con mod).
At higher levels, your paladin ally gains access to Channel Divinity options like Sacred Weapon or the Oath's Channel Divinity feature. For a 6th-level paladin, choose one of these options they can use once per short rest. Describe how they wield their holy powers!
Your paladin NPC also gains aura benefits to aid their allies. For example, a 6th-level Devotion paladin would have a +3 bonus to saving throws against fear or charm effects for friendly creatures within 10 feet.
By determining key abilities, bonuses and resources for your paladin ally based on their level, you'll craft a memorable companion who can powerfully aid the party using their divine gifts and martial skill. What champion of virtue will you forge?
Bringing Your Paladin NPCs to Life Through Backstories and Relationships
To craft memorable paladin NPCs, start by giving them rich backstories that inform their motivations and relationships. Think about:
Where they came from: A noble house? A sacred order? A rural village? Their origins shape their outlook.
Life-changing events: Did they lose loved ones to evil forces? Receive a divine calling? Overcome adversity through faith? These pivotal moments made them who they are.
Their relationships: Do they have living family? A mentor figure? A squire or protégé? Allies and connections reveal different sides of a character.
Bringing it All Together
With a backstory in place, determine how your paladin NPC thinks, acts, and speaks. Are they idealistic or pragmatic? Strict or forgiving? Brash or patient? Think about character traits, mannerisms, and speech patterns that reinforce their background and beliefs.
Describe the paladin’s appearance and gear in a way that matches their personality. For example, a grizzled veteran may wear well-used armour that shows signs of many battles, while a noble champion’s gleaming plate mail reflects their prestige.
Finally, consider how your paladin NPCs build relationships with the player characters. Do they start out as allies, mentors, or rivals? Look for opportunities to create dramatic story moments where their motivations and beliefs come into play. Memorable NPCs should challenge, assist, and grow with the PCs.
Using these techniques, you can craft complex paladin NPCs that feel like real people with purpose and depth. Your players will appreciate the added richness such allies bring to the campaign.
So go out there and craft those legendary paladins. Give your players allies and mentors that inspire them to live up to higher ideals. Create complex characters with moral codes that don’t always align perfectly. Most of all, have fun with it! There’s so much creative space in D&D to explore what it means to walk the path of righteousness. Build paladins that make your players question what “good” and “evil” really mean. Give them mentors who guide them through hard choices and help them forge their own legend. Your players will remember these allies for campaigns to come.
Paladin Q&A: Unveiling the Mysteries of Divine Power and Ethical Choices
Welcome to this Paladin Q&A session where we'll delve into the intricacies of the paladin class, divine powers, and navigating ethical dilemmas. Let's explore your burning questions!
Q1: What is a divine smite, and how does it work in combat?
A1: Divine smite is a core paladin ability. When you hit a target with a melee weapon attack, you can choose to expend a spell slot to deal extra radiant damage, in addition to your regular weapon damage. The higher the spell slot level, the more damage you can deal. It's a potent way to deliver a divine wallop to your foes.
Q2: Tell us about divine sense. How does it aid paladins?
A2: Divine sense is a unique paladin feature. It allows you to detect the presence of celestial, fiendish, or undead creatures within 60 feet. This ability, which you can use multiple times per long rest, helps you uncover hidden threats and protect your party from supernatural dangers.
Q3: What's the significance of the polearm master feat for paladins?
A3: Polearm master is a popular choice for paladin builds. It allows you to make an opportunity attack when a creature enters your reach and enhances your melee capabilities when using polearms. Combine it with divine smite, and you become a formidable defender of your allies.
Q4: Can paladins cast spells? How do spellcasting and divine smite interact?
A4: Yes, paladins can cast spells. They have access to a spell list and use charisma as their spellcasting ability. Divine smite can be used in conjunction with a melee weapon attack, not a spell. However, you can expend spell slots to fuel divine smite, adding radiant damage to your attacks.
Q5: At what level do paladins gain access to their aura of protection?
A5: Paladins receive their aura of protection ability at 6th level. This feature grants a bonus to saving throws for you and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you. It's a potent aura that enhances your party's resilience in the face of adversity.
Q6: Tell us about the personality traits of a paladin and how they impact character creation.
A6: A paladin's personality traits can vary widely based on their chosen oath. Some may be fiercely protective and honourable, while others are more stoic and introspective. These traits are essential for character creation, as they help define your paladin's role-playing style and moral compass.
Q7: What are the most iconic paladin spells, and how can they be used effectively?
A7: Paladins have access to a unique spell list, including spells like "cure wounds" for healing, "hold person" for crowd control, and "dispel magic" for negating magical effects. Using these spells strategically, in combination with your divine smite and melee abilities, can make you a versatile and powerful asset to your party.
Q8: Can you describe an opportunity attack and how it relates to paladins?
A8: An opportunity attack occurs when a hostile creature within your reach moves out of your melee weapon's range without taking the Disengage action. As a paladin, your melee weapon proficiency and divine smite make opportunity attacks a potent way to punish foes attempting to disengage from combat.