“I am the righteous shield of Moradin and a sword in his mighty hand! I fear no evil!”[PH:75]
Paladin is a divine class in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are three paladin subclasses: original paladin, a defender,[PH:89], cavalier, also a defender,[HotFK:117] and blackguard, a striker.[HoS:33]
The following traits are common to original paladins, cavaliers, and blackguards.
- Power Source: Divine. You are a divine warrior, a crusader and protector of your faith.
- Armor proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, scale, plate; light shield, heavy shield
- Implement proficiency: Holy symbol
- Bonus to defenses: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, +1 Will
- Hit points: 15 + Constitution score at 1st level, plus 6 every additional level
- Healing surges per day: 10 + Constitution modifier
- Role: Defender. You are extremely durable, with high hit points and the ability to wear the heaviest armor.You can issue bold challenges to foes and compel them to fight you rather than your allies.
- Key abilities: Strength, Charisma, Wisdom
- Weapon proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged
- Deities: Paladins must choose a deity, as well as an alignment identical to the alignment of the patron deity.
- Build Options: Avenging paladin (PHB), Protecting paladin (PHB), Ardent paladin (DP), Virtuous paladin (DP).
Original paladins gain the Channel Divinity, Divine Challenge, and Lay on Hands class features.
Once per encounter you can invoke divine power, filling yourself with the might of your patron deity. With the divine might you invoke you can wield special powers. Some paladins learn other uses for this feature; for instance, the divinity feats grant characters with access to the Channel Divinity class feature the ability to use additional special powers.
The challenge of a paladin is filled with divine menace. You can use the divine challenge power to mark an enemy of your choice.
The mark from divine challenge is in addition to any marks applied to other enemies by a paladin's divine sanction.
Lay on Hands
Main article: Lay on Hands
A paladin with the Lay on Hands class feature chooses one of the following powers: lay on hands, ardent vow, or virtue's touch. Each of these powers can be used only once per round, but can be used a number of times per day equal to the paladin's Wisdom modifier or 1, whichever is higher.
- Role: Defender
- Key abilities: Strength, Charisma
- Weapon proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged
Cavaliers gain valiant strike as one of their 1st-level at-will attack powers. The other is determined by their choice for Spirit of Virtue. Cavaliers do not gain a daily attack power at 1st level, or any leveled encounter attack powers, and instead receive improvements to their class feature powers.
Spirit of Virtue
Cavaliers gain the Spirit of Virtue class feature, which grants benefits determined by the chosen virtue. The choice of virtue determines one of a cavalier's 1st-level at-will attack powers, and the cavalier's 22nd-level utility power. The choice of virtue also determines valiant cavalier paragon path features.
- Role: Striker
- Key abilities: Strength, Charisma
- Weapon proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged
Blackguards gain vengeance strike as one of their 1st-level at-will attack powers. The other is determined by their choice for Spirit of Vice. Blackguards do not gain a daily attack power at 1st level, or any leveled encounter attack powers, and instead receive improvements to their class feature powers.
Blackguards gain the Dark Menace class feature, which adds the blackguard's Charisma modifier to any damage from weapon attacks on a target granting combat advantage to the blackguard.
Spirit of Vice
Blackguards gain the Spirit of Vice class feature, which grants benefits determined by the chosen vice. The choice of vice determines one of a blackguard's 1st-level at-will attack powers, and the blackguard's 22nd-level utility power. The choice of vice also determines grim blackguard paragon path features.
|At-will attack powers|
|Encounter attack powers
(Original paladin only)
|Daily attack powers||Utility powers|
|3rd level||5th level||6th level|
|7th level||9th level||10th level|
|13th level||15th level||16th level|
|17th level||19th level||22nd level|
|23rd level||25th level|
|27th level||29th level|
These feats have the paladin class, or hybrid/multiclass paladin, as a prerequisite. Additional prerequisites are noted.
Heroic tier paladin feats
- Accursed Challenge (must worship Avandra)[Dr384]
- Assassin's Challenge (assassin, assassin's shroud)[Dr385]
- Bitter Challenge (divine challenge)[Dr380]
- Blessed Shifter (shifter)[DP]
- Blessed Strength (half-orc)[Dr386]
- Bloody Balance [Dr381]
- Bolstering Touch (half-elf, lay on hands)[Dr385]
- Channel Might [DP]
- Cleansing Challenge (Cha 15, divine challenge)[Dr371]
- Commanding Vow [Dr388:11]
- Crimson Fire (warlock, divine challenge)[Dr381]
- Crimson Legionnaire (warlock)[Dr381]
- Devoted Paladin (lay on hands)[DP]
- Distracting Challenge (gnome, divine challenge)[Dr384]
- Divine Assault (half-orc)[DP]
- Divine Perseverance (human)[DP]
- Divine Purity (divine mettle)[Dr371]
- Divinity's Shield (channel divinity)[Dr388:11]
- Draconic Challenge (dragonborn)[DP]
- Elemental Challenge (genasi)[DP]
- Enshrouding Touch (gnome, either lay on hands or virtue's touch)[Dr384]
- Group Defense (half-elf)[DP]
- Halfling's Strength (halfling, divine strength, must worship Avandra)[Dr384]
- Healing Hands (lay on hands)[PH]
- Implacable Mettle (divine mettle)[Dr388:11]
- In Life, Death (Channel Divinity, must worship the Raven Queen)[Dr381:74]
- In Shining Armor [Dr388:11]
- Infernal Touch of Warding (tiefling, lay on hands)[PHRT]
- Io's Challenge (dragonborn, divine challenge)[PHRD]
- Knightly Bearing [Dr388:11]
- Lend Health (lay on hands)[Dr388:12]
- Mark of the Infernal (tiefling)[DP]
- Mercy's Reward (channel divinity)[Dr388:12]
- Mettle Proven (divine mettle)[Dr378]
- Mighty Challenge (divine challenge)[DP]
- Protector’s Commitment (Cha 15)[DP]
- Radiant Touch (lay on hands)[Dr371]
- Revenant's Challenge (revenant, divine challenge, must worship the Raven Queen)[Dr380]
- Rose King's Balm (proficiency with longsword)[Dr386]
- Rose King's Lunge (proficiency with longsword)[Dr386]
- Selfless Protector [Dr388:12]
- Strength of Stone (goliath)[DP]
- Sudden Smite (divine strength)[Dr388:12]
- Virtuous Recovery [DP]
- Warforged Example (warforged)[DP]
- Wrath of the Crimson Legion (tiefling)[Dr381]
Paragon tier paladin feats
- Angelic Protection [Dr388:12]
- Fulfilled Vow (ardent vow) [Dr388:12]
- Hero's Poise [Dr388:12]
- Holy Steed (mounted Combat feat) [Dr388:12]
- Just Punishment [Dr388:12]
- Virtue's Chosen (Virtue's touch) [Dr388:12]
- Wrathful Conviction (Divine strength) [Dr388:12]
Epic-tier Paladin feats
Paladin paragon paths
These paragon paths have the paladin class, or hybrid/multiclass paladin, as a prerequisite. Additional prerequisites are noted.
Characters who did not start as paladins and who do not already have a multiclass feat of a type other than multiclass paladin may select a multiclass paladin feat. Each multiclass paladin feat grants all of the following benefits:
- Training in one skill of your choice from the appropriate class skill list:
- Paladin: Diplomacy, Endurance, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, or Religion
- Cavalier: Athletics, Diplomacy, Endurance, Heal, History, Insight, Intimidate, or Religion
- Blackguard: Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Endurance, History, Intimidate, Religion, or Thievery
- Counting as a paladin, and also a cavalier or blackguard if appropriate, in addition to the original class, for feat and paragon path requirements. Counting as a defender, or a striker if multiclassing blackguard, in addition to the original role, for feat requirements.
- Implement proficiency with holy symbols. Holy avenger weapons can be used as holy symbols.
- Ability to take Novice Power, Acolyte Power, and Adept Power feats to exchange powers for paladin powers.
- Taking a multiclass encounter, multiclass utility, and multiclass daily feat (such as Novice, Acolyte, and Adept Power) for paladin allows paragon multiclassing in paladin instead of taking a paragon path. Paragon multiclassed paladins select paladin powers instead of paragon path powers, and may take the Channel of Valor[DP:149] feat to gain the paladin Channel Divinity powers divine mettle and divine strength, as well as counting as having the Channel Divinity class feature, if not already possessed.
The published multiclass paladin feats are:
- Soldier of the Faith: The multiclass paladin can use divine challenge once per encounter.[PH:208]
- Soldier of Virtue: The multiclass paladin gains the virtue's touch power.[DP:144]
- Squire of Righteousness: The multiclass cavalier gains the defender aura power, and can use righteous radiance once per encounter.[Dr400:116]
- Walker of the Dark Path: The multiclass blackguard benefits from the Dark Menace class feature for one attack per encounter, and can use shroud of shadow once per day.[Dr400:112]
A character may be created as a hybrid of paladin and another class other than paladin. The hybrid paladin bonus to defense is either +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, or +1 Will. The hybrid's paladin class feature is Divine Challenge (hybrid), which is the same as Divine Challenge except the radiant damage dealt for violating divine challenge's mark is reduced to the hybrid paladin's Charisma modifier, or Charisma modifier + 2 at 11th level, or Charisma modifier + 4 at 21st level.[U :E2]
When a hybrid paladin gains the Hybrid Talent feat, he or she chooses one hybrid talent option from either of his or her hybrid classes. The paladin hybrid talent options are:
- Channel Divinity (hybrid)
- Channel Divinity (hybrid) is the same as Channel Divinity except that the hybrid paladin gains only one channel divinity power instead of two.
- Paladin Armor Proficiency
- The hybrid paladin gains armor proficiency with leather armor, hide armor, chainmail, scale mail, plate armor, light shields, and heavy shields.[PH3:146]
A character may be created as a hybrid of the blackguard and another class other than the blackguard. The hybrid blackguard bonus to defense is either +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, or +1 Will. The blackguard class features are Dark Menace (hybrid), Dread Smite (hybrid), and Spirit of Vice. Dark Menace (hybrid) is the same except that you deal extra damage only with a paladin power or a paladin paragon path power. Dread Smite (hybrid) is the same except you can only gain it when you have the opportunity to gain or replace a class encounter attack power that has a level. If you already have dread smite, you hain an additional use of the power if you select it again. [Dr400:4]
When a hybrid blackguard gains the Hybrid Talent feat, he or she chooses one hybrid talent option from either of his or her hybrid classes. The blackguard hybrid talent options are:
Paladin Armor Proficiency
Shroud of Shadow
You gain the shroud of shadow power. In addition, at 7th level or higher, you gain the benefit of the Improved Shroud of Shadow feature associated with your vice.
Role and builds
The rulebooks classify paladin as primarily a defender class, combining survivability with the ability to mark enemies with divine challenge and divine sanction. Strength, Charisma, and Wisdom are listed as the class's overall key abilities.
The following build options are given for starting 1st level paladins. You may use a build option as a template, or invent your own starting build.
Strength first, Wisdom second, Constitution third. Heal, Insight, Intimidate, and Religion skills trained. Ardent vow option instead of lay on hands. Mighty Challenge feat. Ardent strike and valiant strike at-will, divine pursuit encounter, and blood of the mighty daily powers.[DP:82]
Strength first, Charisma second, Wisdom third. Endurance, Heal, Intimidate, and Religion skills trained. Lay on hands option instead of ardent vow or virtue's touch. Power Attack feat, and Human Perseverance as the human bonus feat. Holy strike and valiant strike at-will, radiant smite encounter, and paladin's judgment daily powers.[PH:90]
Charisma first, Strength second, Wisdom third. Diplomacy, Heal, Insight, and Religion skills trained. Lay on hands option instead of ardent vow or virtue's touch. Healing Hands feat, and Action Surge as the human bonus feat. Bolstering strike and enfeebling strike at-will, shielding smite encounter, and radiant delirium daily powers.[PH:90]
Charisma first, Wisdom second, Strength third. Endurance, Heal, Insight, and Religion skills trained. Virtue's touch option instead of lay on hands. Virtuous Recovery feat. Bolstering strike and virtuous strike at-will, valorous smite encounter, and majestic halo daily powers.[DP:82]
Paladins are indomitable warriors who’ve pledged their prowess to something greater than themselves. Paladins smite enemies with divine authority, bolster the courage of nearby companions, and radiate as if a beacon of inextinguishable hope. Paladins are transfigured on the field of battle, exemplars of divine ethos in action.
To you is given the responsibility to unflinchingly stand before an enemy’s charge, smiting them with your sword while protecting your allies with your sacrifice. Where others waver and wonder, your motivation is pure and simple, and your devotion is your strength. Where others scheme and steal, you take the high road, refusing to allow the illusions of temptation to dissuade you from your obligations.
Take up your blessed sword and sanctified shield, brave warrior, and charge forward to hallowed glory!
Like the fighter, you are extremely durable. You wear the best armor available, and your defenses are very high. You can force enemies to fight you rather than your weaker allies by using powers to challenge your enemies. Your ranged attack ability is not very good, but you are very capable in melee.
Warriors wielding divine power can be found in the service of any deity, even evil or chaotic evil ones. However, the majority of paladins serve good or lawful good deities such as Avandra, Bahamut, Moradin, or Pelor.
The paladin was introduced in Original D&D's Supplement I – Greyhawk as a subclass of the fighting man class. It has been playable as a class or subclass in every edition since then.
The 4th edition paladin was first published in the Player's Handbook core rulebook,[PH:89] then expanded in the Divine Power supplement.[DP:80] "Class Acts: Paladin" in Dragon magazine issue 381 added new paladin powers and other options related to the Raven Queen.[Dr381:71]. In the Essentials books, a subclass of paladin, the cavalier, was published in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.[HotFK:117] Another subclass, the blackguard, was published in Heroes of Shadow.[HoS:33]
Miniatures produced by Wizards of the Coast based on 4th edition rulebook descriptions of the paladin class include: