The Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3 is arguably the strongest and most versatile class available to you. It has an interesting back story that can actually be evolved in new ways as you continue to play the game. You gain access to powerful melee attacks as well as support spells that allow you to be a jack-of-all-trades in Faerun. Our Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin class guide discusses what you can expect if you choose this class for your campaign.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin class guide overview
In this guide, we will be going over every aspect of the Paladin class, from the best race to pick to all of its subclasses and more details on becoming an Oathbreaker Paladin.
Paladin Class Summary
- Channel Oath Charges – You gain the ability to channel the power contained in your Paladin Oath, which you can use to fuel certain actions.
- Divine Health – The divine magic flowing within you prevents disease from affecting you.
- Lay on Hands Charge – Gain an additional Lay on Hands Charge to heal yourself or your allies.
- Extra Attack – Can make an additional free attack after making an unarmed or weapon attack.
- Aura of Protection – You and nearby allies gain a +0 bonus to Saving Throws.
- Aura of Courage – You and any nearby allies can’t be Frightened. The aura disappears if you fall Unconscious.
- Improved Divine Smite – Your attacks are suffused with divine might. Melee weapon attacks deal an additional 1-8 Radiant damage.
Divine Smite and Fighting Style
One of the biggest boons you receive as a Paladin is Divine Smite, which is an add-on attack to your melee weapons that allows you to deal extra radiant damage to enemies. Divine Smite also has different varieties that can deal fire, thunder, and psychic damage. These are all level two spells and can be equipped when you select your main-head weapon to attack an enemy with. You unlock this spell at level two as a Paladin.
You will also gain the ability to add Divine Smite as a reaction to both getting hit and when you deliver a critical hit. You can set these reactions up by going to your spellbook, scrolling over the Reactions, and then checking all of the boxes as well as the “Ask” box for each reaction. This gives you the chance to decide what reaction to take when a situation calls for one.
Speaking of your weapons, also at level two you will be able to pick a Fighting Style: Defence, Duelling, Great Weapon Fighting and Protection. There are pros and cons to each Fighting Style, but we recommend opting for either Duelling or Great Weapon Fighting, as these give you the most options to pick from when selecting a melee weapon. However, if you want to be more of a support Paladin, then Protection is going to be your best bet.
Your subclass as a Paladin can be selected right away in the character creator menu. You have three options, all of which revolve around a certain oath that your Paladin is sworn to uphold. These oaths can play a major role in the specific style you want to play your Paladin or they can simply be used as a means to an end to become an Oathbreaker Paladin.
- Oath of the Ancients – “You fight on the side of light in the cosmic struggle against darkness to preserve the sanctity of life and the beauty of nature.” This subclass has the Healing Radiance feature, which is a healing spell. You are proficient with all types of armor, shields, simple and martial weapons, and gain the ability to use the Divine Sense spell, which gives you advantage on attack rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
- Oath of Devotion – “Following the ideal of the knight in shining armour, you act with honour and virtue to protect the weak and pursue the greater good.” This subclass has the Holy Rebuke feature, which grants an ally a vengeful aura that deals 1d4 radiant damage to anyone who hits them with a melee attack. You are proficient with all types of armor, shields, simple and martial weapons, and gain the ability to use the Divine Sense spell, which gives you advantage on attack rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
- Oath of Vengeance – “You have set aside even your own purity to right wrongs and deliver justice to those who have committed the most grievous sins.” This subclass has the Inquisitor’s Might feature, which grants you or an ally an additional two radiant damage on attacks and can daze enemies for a single turn. You are proficient with all types of armor, shields, simple and martial weapons, and gain the ability to use the Divine Sense spell, which gives you advantage on attack rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
We would recommend either selecting the Oath of the Ancients or the Oath of Vengeance, as those two subclass features are quite strong. If you want to lean toward a support Paladin, select Oath of the Ancients for Healing Radiance while attack-focused Paladins will want to select Oath of Vengeance for Inquisitor’s Might.
Best Race and Subrace to pick as a Paladin
Our advice when it comes to selecting a race and subrace is to go with a Zariel Tiefling, with Gold Dwarf or High Elf following behind. Zariel Tieflings can give you access to +1 Strength and +2 Charisma right off the bat, which are the two most important stats for Paladins. While you can build yours out differently, Paladins are known for being strong in battle, but charming outside of it.
Zariel Tieflings have access to the following traits:
- Base Racial Speed – 9 meters per turn
- Thaumaturgy – Manifest a sign of supernatural power that grants you advantage on Intimidation and Performance checks
- Searing Smite – Available at level three. Your weapon flares with white-hot intensity to deal an extra 1d6 fire damage and marks the target with Searing Smite. Targets take 1d6 fire damage every turn until it succeeds on a Consitution saving throw.
- Branding Smite – Available at level five. Your weapon gleams with astral radiance as you strike and possibly marks your target with light, preventing it from turning Invisible.]
- Darkvision – Can see in the dark within 12 meters
- Hellish Resistance – Gain resistance to fire damage
The two smite spells match up perfectly with a Paladin’s inherited Divine Smite abilities and you can put more points into both Strength and Charisma.
The best background to choose as a Paladin is going to be Soldier. This gives you proficiency in both Athletics and Intimidation. Athletics gives you the ability to jump farther and a better chance of shoving enemies, which comes in handy when they’re near a cliff or drop-off. Intimidation pairs nicely with Zariel Tiefling and gives you more options to succeed in dialogue checks if a persuasion check isn’t available.
Speaking of persuasion, we recommend putting another point into that stat when you choose your background as well as placing one into insight.
Best Ability Scores
Finally, you can customize your Ability Scores as a Paladin. As previously mentioned, you want to focus on Strength and Charisma, as these are the Paladin’s two biggest selling points. However, having high Constitution is also important if you’re planning on being near enemies to take advantage of your prowess in melee combat.
Here are the best Ability Scores for a Paladin:
- Strength – 16
- Dexterity – 10
- Constitution – 14
- Intelligence – 8
- Wisdom – 10
- Charisma – 16
And that does it for our class overview of the Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3.
We have many more guides to help you through Baldur’s Gate 3, including romance options, quest guidance, build suggestions, and more. Find everything in our Baldur’s Gate 3 hub.
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