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Paladin Player's Handbook.jpg
This illustration of a half-elf by William O'Connor introduced the paladin in the Player's Handbook.

Paladin is a divine class in 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. There are three paladin subclasses: original paladin, a defender,[PHB:89], cavalier, also a defender,[HotFK:117] and blackguard, a striker.[HoS:33]

Class traitsEdit

The following traits are common to original paladins, cavaliers, and blackguards.

Original paladinEdit

The original paladin is the subclass of paladin introduced in the Player's Handbook.[PHB:89]

  • 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 much 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.

Class skillsEdit

An original paladin is trained in Religion (Int), plus any three skills from the original paladin class skill list:

Channel DivinityEdit

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.

Original paladins gain divine mettle and divine strength at 1st level.

Divine ChallengeEdit

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 HandsEdit

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.

CavalierEdit

Cavalier is the subclass of paladin introduced in Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.[HotFK:117]

Cavaliers gain the defender aura, holy smite, righteous radiance, and righteous shield powers at 1st level.

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.

Class skillsEdit

A cavalier is trained in any four skills from the cavalier class skill list:

Spirit of VirtueEdit

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.

BlackguardEdit

Blackguard is the subclass of paladin introduced in Heroes of Shadow. Blackguards have a striker role instead of defender.[HoS:33]

Blackguards gain the dread smite and shroud of shadow powers at 1st level.

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.

Class skillsEdit

A blackguard is trained in any four skills from the blackguard class skill list:

Dark MenaceEdit

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 ViceEdit

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.

Paladin powersEdit

Paladin powers, having divine or shadow power sources, are also called prayers or hexes.

At-will attack powers

1st level

Encounter attack powers
(Original paladin only)
Daily attack powers Utility powers

1st level

1st level
(Original paladin only)

2nd level

Unleveled powers
Key
S
Strength based attack roll or effect
W
Wisdom based effect
C
Charisma based attack roll or effect or divine sanction

Paladin featsEdit

These feats have the paladin class, or hybrid/multiclass paladin, as a prerequisite. Additional prerequisites are noted.

Paladin paragon pathsEdit

These paragon paths have the paladin class, or hybrid/multiclass paladin, as a prerequisite. Additional prerequisites are noted.

Multiclass paladinsEdit

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:

Hybrid paladinsEdit

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.[PHB3:146]

Rulebook tipsEdit

Role and buildsEdit

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.

Ardent paladinEdit

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]

Avenging paladinEdit

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.[PHB:90]

Protecting paladinEdit

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.[PHB:90]

Virtuous paladinEdit

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]

FlavorEdit

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.

Most paladins are humans or dwarves. These races have strong traditions of pious warriors choosing to devote themselves to divine service. Dragonborns and half-elves make good paladins, too.

DevelopmentEdit

The paladin was introduced in 1st edition'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,[PHB: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.[D381:71]. 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:

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