Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Class Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Class Guide, I’m going to be covering the Paladin Class, including all 4 Subclasses, and providing you some useful information. I’ll be doing more Build Guides for Baldur’s Gate 3, but for now, let’s just look at how a Paladin functions and its basics.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide Features
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Class Guide
Paladins in Baldur’s Gate 3 play the melee DPS role, the “tank” role, and they also provide some support thanks to their buffs and heals focused spell list, as well as their Lay on Hands Class Feature. On top of that, they can also handle Dialogue extremely well due to a relatively high Charisma score, so they can serve many functions within the party at the same time.
Paladins in BG3 swear an Oath, which determines their Subclass, and unlike other Classes in BG3, Paladins have to abide by the tenets of that Oath or they will become an Oathbreaker, freeing them from their obligation, but also changing their Class Features drastically.
You will not typically find a “ranged” Paladin, simply because their primary damaging feature: Divine Smite is only useable with a melee attack, as are the majority of their Smite Spells. Additionally, they don’t have access to the Archery Fighting Style or Two-Weapon Fighting Style like Fighters and Rangers, which means they will typically focus on using 1 melee weapon when trying to be optimized for combat (either Two-Handed or One-Handed with a Shield). You can’t use a Two-Handed weapon with your Dexterity Modifier in BG3, and the only Finesse Weapon that has a D8 is the Rapier, which means most Paladins will use Strength for their melee attacks.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Character Creation
In this section, we’ll take a look at how to set up your Paladin during Character Creation for the best results. We’ll begin with Abilities first, since this is arguably the most important part, aside from choosing your Subclass.
Your primary Abilities as a Paladin are Strength and Charisma, but you will also want some Constitution since you will be front-liner.
- Strength is going to increase the effectiveness of your Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls with melee weapons, as well as improve your Strength Saving Throws and Athletics Skill Checks.
- Charisma will increase the number of Spells you can prepare, how difficult it is for enemies to Save against your Spells, it will improve Dialogue Skill Checks, and it will also increase the effectiveness of your Aura of Protection bonus.
- Constitution is there to help keep you alive via HP, and also to help you maintain Concentration on Spells like Searing Smite, Shield of Faith, or Bless should you get hit while Concentrating on them.
For this reason, I strongly recommend that you invest 16 in STR and 16 in CHA during Character Creation. You can leave Constitution at 14 since you will have a pretty good Armour Class, especially if you use a Shield. You could also go 14 CHA, and 16 CON if you’d prefer, which might be a better choice if you go two-handed as you’ll have less Armour since you won’t use a Shield. Your stat spread should look something like this:
- STR: 16
- DEX: 10
- CON: 14 or 16
- INT: 8
- WIS: 10
- CHA: 16 or 14
Note I’ve changed this from the recommendations as it more optimizes your Character during the early goings of the game.
The first Race I recommend taking is the Zariel Tiefling. The reason is that when you reach Level 3 you’ll acquire Legacy of Avernus: Searing Smite and at level 5 you’ll gain Legacy of Avernus: Branding Smite. Paladins learn Searing Smite and Branding Smite through the natural progression of the game, but these Race Features can be used once per long rest each without consuming a Spell Slot! That’s essentially 2 free Spells in between Long Rests.
As a Zariel Tiefling, you also gain Darkvision together with Hellish Resistance and the Thaumaturgy Cantrip. Hellish Resistance makes you resistant to taking Fire Damage, thereby cutting the damage by half, whereas Thaumaturgy grants Advantage on Intimidation and Performance Checks almost ensuring that you ace them.
Another decent choice is Wood Elf for Darkvision, Fey Ancestry and increased Movement Speed. Paladins lack the mobility of Barbarians and Monks, and even this little extra can help them catch up some.
For Skills you’ll minimally want Proficiency in Intimidation and Persuasion, since you should be handling the dialogue in your group if playing a Paladin, unless you bring Wyll along. You can use your Background to take Soldier which will give you Athletics and Intimidation, and then use one point to select Persuasion and the other to select Insight or Religion, whichever you want.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 1
At level 1 Paladins have a few really handy Class features. Firstly they gain Divine Sense, which gives them Advantage (they get to roll their Attack twice and take the highest number rolled) on Attack Rolls against Devils, Celestials and Undead. You will be facing these enemy types in the game, so this can really help you land your attacks in those instances.
They also gain Lay on Hands which allows them to heal party members or themself several times before a Long Rest as an Action. This is really great for topping off between fights, but is rarely used in combat since it’s both an Action, which prevents you from attacking and using it on the same turn, and it has very short range. Lay on Hands gets stronger as the game progresses and you gain more uses of this as well.
In BG3 Paladins also gain their Channel Oath Class Feature at level 1, which can only be used once per Short or Long Rest. This feature varies with the Subclass chosen for each Paladin, but they can do things like give you Advantage vs. the target you are attacking, or heal your party in an AoE. These can be extremely strong in the right situation, which is why they are severely limited.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 2
Paladin Level 1 Spells
At Level 2 Paladins gain Level 1 Spells and Level 1 Spell Slots. In BG3 general Paladin Spells are mostly buffing or healing in nature, and these include spells like Bless, Cure Wounds, and Shield of Faith.
However, Paladins do also have a few offensive Smite Spells, most of which buff their melee attacks in a similar nature to Divine Smite, though these don’t use Charisma since they technically buff a weapon attack. These do different things than Divine Smite as well as provide different damage types, but they also consume your Action, Bonus Action and a Spell Slot, so they are a bit more challenging to use.
Nearly all other offensive Paladin Spells in BG3 come from their Subclasses, called Oath Spells, and these are very different from Paladin Subclass to Subclass. Looking through what these Spells are ahead of time can help you determine which Subclass to choose, and we’ll be diving into these more in the Paladin Subclass section, but for now let’s continue on with Divine Smite.
|Paladin Level||Level 1 Spell Slots||Level 2 Spell Slots||Level 3 Spell Slots|
Besides being able to cast Spells at Level 2, Paladins can also use their Divine Smite Class Feature to further boost their melee damage by expending a Spell Slot, with higher level spell slots yielding even more damage if they are used for this purpose. And one really great thing about this, is that they don’t consume a Spell Slot if they miss the attack while using it, AND they can attack normally and choose to use it if their attack Critically Hits ensuring even more damage.
Divine Smite provides Paladins some of the highest single target damage in BG3, and players manning a Paladin would be wise to lean into this feature and try to optimize its use. Gaining more Spells Slots means you can use this more times in a single combat encounter before needing to Long Rest, which increases your chances of victory.
Paladins also gain their choice of a Fighting Style at this level, however they cannot choose Archery or Two Weapon Fighting. I highly recommend Duelling for increased damage if you want to play one-handed and Shield, Defence for +1 Armour Class, or take Great Weapon Fighting if you plan to use a Two-Handed Weapon.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 3
At level 3 Paladins gain Divine Health which makes them immune to Disease. This is just nice to have, though you won’t use it all that often.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 4
At level 4 Paladins will get to choose a Feat, and I highly recommend Ability Score Improvement here to further boost your Strength or Constitution, depending on what your Modifiers are. You can also increase Charisma here as well, but it’s more beneficial to do this if you have an Offensive Oath spell that you use often.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 5
At Level 5 Paladins gain Extra Attack, which lets them perform a second attack in a turn if they use the Attack Action. This means that you cannot cast a general Paladin spell or an Oath Spell and then attack, but must attack either with a default Attack Action, Weapon Action, Divine Smite, OR a Smite Spell, in order to be able to attack a second time in a given turn. If you find yourself casting healing or buffing Spells in combat often and not using Extra Attack as much, I would suggest respeccing into a Cleric instead for better Spellcasting.
Paladin Level 2 Spells
At this level you will also gain access to Level 2 Spells and Level 2 Spell Slots. This is a big upgrade for the Paladin, as Level 2 Spell Slots can also be used for Divine Smites or Smite Spells, and these deal more damage when used with Level 2 Spells Slots.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 6
At Level 6, the Paladin is blessed with the Aura of Protection. This Class Feature is a smallish AoE that grants the Charisma Modifier to all Saving Throws made by any character standing inside it, including the Paladin. This makes you much more likely to resist Spells and negative effects, and is one of the reasons Charisma is still important to Paladins in BG3, despite their lack of offensive spells.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 7
At Level 7, Paladin’s gain a Subclass Feature, and do not receive any general Paladin Features, so we’ll cover this in those sections.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 8
At level 8 Paladins will once again get to choose a Feat, and I still recommend Ability Score Improvement here to further boost your Strength or Constitution. You can max out your Strength at this level, but Constitution is still a solid choice as well, especially if you are the main “tank” character of your group.
Another good choice of Feat for Paladin at this level is Savage Attacker. Savage Attacker allows you to roll your damage roll twice and take the higher of the two values when making an attack. This would normally be slightly worse in general than taking Ability Score improvement, however, in BG3 this also applies to your Divine Smite damage rolls making it much more potent.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 9
Level 3 Paladin Spells
At Level 9, Paladin’s gain access to Level 3 Spells and Level 3 Spell Slots, and this is the highest level they will learn in BG3. This means more damage from Divine Smite and Smite Spells using these Spell Slots, and access to Revivify which can be nice if someone has a bad mishap (which can happen).
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 10
At Level 10, the Paladin is bestowed the Aura of Courage, which prevents them and nearby allies from being Frightened, which is situational, but is still very nice to have since you can have all your Auras active at the same time.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 11
Improved Divine Smite
At Level 11, Paladins gain the Improved Divine Smite Feature, which further increases the damage of their Attacks, and does so passively. This extra damage is also applied on top of Divine Smite’s extra damage when using it in combat, so Paladins will have even higher burst damage at this level.
BG3 Paladin Guide – Level 12
When you reach the maximum level in BG3 at Level 12, you’ll be able to choose a final Feat. You can either go for Ability Improvement for further Strength (if it’s not 20 yet), Constitution for more HP, or Charisma for all the reasons we’ve already talked about. And Savage Attacker is still on the table as well, if you still haven’t selected it.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Equipment
Equipment wise I like Heavy Armour for Paladins as it allows them to focus on 3 Abilities, instead of needing some Dexterity which will be largely wasted besides the AC, since Paladins typically don’t disarm traps or pick locks, and rarely use Stealth. This also allows them to dump DEX if they want and not face an AC penalty while wearing Heavy Armour.
Weapon wise you’ll want and 1 handed weapon and a Shield or a Two-Handed Weapon, and this will likely depend on what Fighting Style you choose. Shields give you +2 AC, so I really like them, and Duelling can offset some of the damage difference between Two-Handed and One-Handed Weapons. On top of this, the bulk of your damage comes from Divine Smite or Smite Spells anyway, so the extra damage from two-handing is not as useful as it would be to a Barbarian or Fighter.
Accessory wise you should be on the look out for anything that boost melee damage, or triggers on melee, like a debuff on enemies, and anything that can provide more Spell Slots!
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Subclasses Features
Your choice of Paladin Subclass comes down to a few factors. What tenets must you follow? What are the Channel Oath Features of the Subclass? What Oath Spells do you gain? And what other Class Features do you pick up (if any)? Let’s have a look at these things before we wrap up the guide with some Multiclassing tips.
Generally speaking, most Paladins are “good” characters if there were alignment in this game. The biggest differences are that Oath of Vengeance has a bit more wiggle room than Oath of the Ancients or Oath of Devotion, since they can “punish the wicked” without breaking their Oath, while the other 2 may have to show mercy or risk oathbreaking.
Oathbreakers on the other hand, can only be obtained after breaking an Oath, and afterwards are completely free from following one. They can be as evil as they want from this point onward, but their Class Features will change to that of an Oathbreaker, and they cannot Respec their character. However, they can reverse this process, retaking their Oath for a large sum of gold in Camp.
|Subclass||Channel Oath||Oath Spells||Subclass Feature|
Turn the Faithless
Speak with Animals
Protection from Energy
|Aura of Warding|
|Devotion||Holy Rebuke |
|Protection from Evil and Good|
Beacon of Hope
|Aura of Devotion|
Vow of Enmity
Protection from Energy
Crown of Madness
|Aura of Hate|
All Paladins gain their initial Channel Oath feature at level 1, and gain 2 additional ones at level 3, regardless of Subclass. These are completely different for each Subclass though, as you can see above.
Additionally, all Paladins will gain their Oath Spells in BG3 at levels 3, 5 and 9, gaining 2 at each of these levels for a total of 6 Oath Spells per Paladin, with some overlap between them. You’ll notice Oath of the Ancients and Vengeance both gain Misty Step at level 5, and both gain Protection from Energy at level 9.
And lastly at level 7, all Subclasses will gain a unique Class Feature, which is a 3rd Aura for 3 of the Paladins, and a passive Class Feature for the Vengeance Paladin that boosts their Movement if they make an Attack of Opportunity.
By putting all these together in one easy to see place, it makes it much easier to decide what you’d like to play from a mechanics perspective.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Oath of the Ancients
You can see from looking over them that Oath of the Ancients’ has an AoE heal that’s a Bonus Action, which is quite useful. They can also crowd control a single target and make nearby Fey and Fiends flee and forfeit their Action for their Channel Oath Class Features.
Oath of the Ancients Paladins can Speak with Animals, which might be important if no one else in your group can, otherwise it’s not. Ensnaring Strike is much better at range than melee, so it’s not particularly great on a Paladin, compared to a Ranger.
Moonbeam is a great early game spell that can deal damage in a small AoE, and can be moved as long as you maintain Concentration, without consuming additional spell slots. Misty Step is excellent for Paladins since they generally lack mobility compared to Barbarians, Monks and Rangers.
Aura of Warding is an extremely strong Aura and can often save you or a party member, especially later in the game when Spells get really deadly.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Oath of Devotion
Oath of Devotion Paladins can use a Spell Slot to make their Reaction deal very good damage to enemies that hit them. They can also make their Weapon add their Charisma Modifier to their Attack Roll, bypass resistances, and emit light (which is useful in dark places) for 10 turns, which can help them deal more damage. Turn Unholy makes nearby Fey and Fiends flee and forfeit their action, just like Turn the Faithless.
Protection from Evil and Good is situational, and can be learned by any Paladin, though you won’t need to prepare it on Devotion Paladins. Sanctuary is actually an incredibly strong Spell because it is a Bonus Action, which allows you to use it on yourself or a friendly and still attack in the same turn.
Lesser Restoration is situational, and is known to all Paladins as well, and Silence allows you to create an area where Spells cannot be cast, and is effective against spellcasters.
Beacon of Hope can help a ton in tough fights since it maximizes the roll of all healing anyone in your party does, and Remove Curse is also situational depending on the enemies faced.
Aura of Devotion makes it so you and nearby allies cannot be Charmed, which is also useful against enemies that use this status against you.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Oath of Vengeance
Oath of Vengeance Paladins can increase the damage they or an ally does and also make their attacks Daze enemies as a Bonus Action. Dazed enemies have Disadvantage on Wisdom Saving Throws, can’t take Reactions and lose their AC bonus from Dexterity. They can also Frighten an enemy, making them easier to hit and making it so they cannot move, or they can gain Advantage against any enemy for 10 turns as a Bonus Action. These are all extremely strong, and Vengeance Paladins might have the strongest Channel Oath Class Features of all Subclasses.
Bane is a decent spell, but there are better for the Paladin to cast, and if you have a Cleric or Bard in your party you won’t likely need it. Hunter’s Mark is great at improving your damage, can be used as a Bonus Action, and can be reapplied to subsequent enemies without consuming further Spell Slots as long as you maintain Concentration on it.
Hold Person is a very strong spell as it not only prevents a humanoid enemy from doing anything as long as they fail their Saving Throw, but attacks made from within 3m are guaranteed Critical Hits which adds an extra damage die for each damage die rolled! This is amazing when combined with Divine Smite or other Smite Spells that add extra damage dice since these will also be doubled, and also works with Hunter’s Mark. And Misty Step, as mentioned, is just great for Paladins in general.
Haste is also exceptional as it provides Movement Speed, Armour Class and more importantly, an extra Action to the target, which could be yourself, each turn you maintain Concentration. This is particularly deadly on characters that have Extra Attack, since they will get to attack 4x in a turn when Hastened. However, if your Concentration is broken or the effect ends, the target will be unable to Move or take any Action, Bonus Action or Reaction for 1 turn.
Protection from Energy is very situational when you really need Resistance to something specific, like tough enemies later in the game.
Vengeance Paladins don’t gain a 3rd Aura like the rest, but instead gain a passive Subclass Feature that increases their Movement Speed on their next turn if they make an Attack of Opportunity. As I’ve mentioned, Paladins can really use extra Movement Speed and this is a great way to get it, as it is not uncommon to make Attacks of Opportunity as a frontlines warrior.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Guide – Oathbreaker
Oathbreakers deal damage over time and gain Advantage against the target with their first Channel Oath, but this is cast as an Action, unlike the Vengeance Paladin’s Bonus Action Channel Oath that does something similar, making it a bit less useful because you cannot attack in the same turn after using it.
Control Undead is phenomenal, however, as it allows you to gain control of an Undead character until you Long Rest or it is killed. This gives you an extra body on the battlefield, and sometimes, it’s a very strong one! Oathbreakers can also Frighten nearby enemies, which is great when surrounded.
They can use Hellish Rebuke, which is a great way to dish out damage on the enemy turn, and even though it does use a Spell Slot, it consumes no Action or Bonus Action, which means you can still Attack, etc on your turn as well.
Inflict Wounds is just a phenomenal close ranged damage spell that can quite often deal more damage than Divine Smite. The crux of it though is that you need high Charisma in order to land it regularly.
Crown of Madness is a CC spell and damaging spell in one, since the target can attack a friendly, when inflicted with it. Again you will need high Charisma in order to land this Spell though.
Darkness is a good control spell, that dissuades enemies from entering an area, and doesn’t require high Charisma to use effectively.
Bestow Curse works similarly to Hold Person, but doesn’t provide guaranteed Critical Hits, and instead just increases the damage you deal against the target. But Animate Dead is really where it’s at on Oathbreakers, allowing them to raise Skeletons or Zombies that specialize in Ranged or Melee combat.
And their Aura synergizes with this nicely as well, since Aura of Hate boosts the damage of their Zombie’s melee attacks by 3, as well as their own attacks. Undead Army for the win!
In this section we’ll take a look at Multiclassing a Paladin in BG3, and what other Classes you might Multiclass with. Keep in mind this is not a complete list, but rather helpful suggestions to that make good pairings.
Sorcerers, Warlocks and Bards all use Charisma to cast their Spells as well, so they make great pairings for a Paladin. Level 2 is not a bad time to Multiclass for a Paladin that plans to take many levels in Sorcerer, Warlock or Bard, because they still gain their Fighting Style, one Channel Oath, and their Divine Smite. Full Spellcasters bring more Spell Slots to the table than Paladins, higher level ones as well, allowing Paladins to use Divine Smite more and with greater effect when Multiclassed.
You could go 2 Levels of Paladin and 6 Levels of College of Valour or College of Swords Bard in order to still pick up Extra Attack at character level 8. This is a very strong pairing because you have way more Spell Slots, Extra Attack still, and all the Proficiencies of Paladin that Bards do not typically have.
You could also take 2 levels of Paladin and then go Sorcerer or Warlock. Sorcerer would allow you more offensive spells, and provides Sorcery Points to be used to make more Spell Slots or buff your Spells that you do use, but you’d miss out on Extra Attack.
Warlock provides Eldritch Blast, which gives you a nice ranged option, and is something Paladins could really use when they can’t get in melee range, although Misty Step resolves this issue for Ancients and Vengeance Paladins. Warocks give less Spell Slots, but they can also grant an Extra Attack at Warlock Level 5 if Pact of the Blade is chosen at Warlock level 3. Additionally, you can regain those Warlock Spell Slots on Short Rest, which is nice.
No Multiclassing at Level 2 Paladin
If you don’t multiclass Paladin at level 2, the next best place in my opinion is after Paladin Level 5, so they have Extra Attack, but you could make the case for after Level 6 as well, because Aura of Protection is an incredibly good Class Feature.
Paladin Multiclassing with 3 Classes
Multiclassing with these 3 Classes provides more variety of Spells to use in combat, including offensive ones, so Paladin/Bards, Paladin/Warlocks and Paladin/Sorcerers will need higher Charisma than the average Paladin.
Extra Attacks Don’t Stack
When it comes to Multiclassing with Martial Classes, Extra Attacks from different Classes don’t stack, so taking many levels of another Martial Class is not as useful as it might seem. If you want to mix with one of these Classes I suggest only taking a couple of levels in them and going mostly Paladin.
For instance you could dip 2 levels in Fighter after Level 5 or 6, you could pick up a second Fighting Style, and you could get Action Surge, which could allow you to Divine Smite 4x in one turn once per Short Rest. Or you could pick up a few levels in Rogue to gain Disengage and Dash as Bonus Actions, allowing you to move further in combat, and maybe taking the Thief to gain another Bonus Action. Barbarian Level 2 is also not bad in order to gain Reckless Attack. Note that Divine Smite is still usable while Raging, and can be used with Reckless Attack if you set up your Reactions correctly.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and we’ll have some Paladin Builds out really soon that showcase some of these Multiclassing aspects!
Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content as we update the other Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Wiki which is being worked on night and day, as well as our Baldur’s Gate 3 Guides.