Oath of Redemption Paladin — how to play in DnD 5E

The situation had devolved rather quickly, a spilled drink and some ill-timed words from the Rogue meant that the regular, and large, patrons of this particular tavern had rounded on the party in numbers. With tension gripping the air, and the angry dragonborn his ale-stained tunic, the Paladin stepped forward with a smile on her face and an understanding tone in her voice.

It took five minutes and paying for a lot of drinks, but the dragonborn left laughing and happy. The Rogue, somewhat upset about losing some gold, remained unscathed. Lucky for all the hotheads involved, the Paladin had pushed forth for cooler heads to prevail, and even luckier no one noticed when she gave up speaking and cast Calm Emotions between sips of wine.

Unique amongst its Oath brethren, the Oath of Redemption Paladin leans away from immediately smiting everything in your path and focuses on a more nonviolent option. These Paladins believe in attempting to redeem those they come across, protecting the innocent, and only using violence as a last resort. Whilst this might seem overly idealistic in a world that features creatures of pure evil, Redemption Paladins are not fools. They understand that creatures such as undead, fiends, and some other supernatural threats are inherently evil and don’t hesitate to bring their weapons to bear upon them.

In this mini-guide, we’ll break down what this Oath provides you, as well as give you an insight on how to play this interesting subclass.

Tools of Redemption: Oath of Redemption Features

Oath Spells

Your oath provides additional spells, as shown in the table below. These spells are Paladin spells for you and are always prepared but don’t count towards the number of spells you can choose to prepare. The Oath of Redemption’s Oath Spells are rich in control options, with the standouts being Sanctuary, Sleep, Hypnotic Pattern, and Hold Monster. Counterspell is also a notable spell here, not seen on any other Paladin subclasses, and invaluable in some campaigns.

Due to the nature of this subclass, and the spells they are provided, Charisma is much more important for Redemption Paladins than a lot of other Oaths to ensure a high spell save DC.

Paladin LevelSpells
3rdSanctuary, Sleep
5thCalm Emotions, Hold Person
9thCounterspell, Hypnotic Pattern
13thOtiluke’s Resilient Sphere, Stoneskin
17thHold Monster, Wall of Force

Level Three

Emissary of Peace (Channel Divinity) – You can use your Channel Divinity to augment your presence with divine power. As a bonus action, you grant yourself a +5 bonus to Charisma (Persuasion) checks for the next 10 minutes. This is a great social buff and lasts long enough to be useful in a social encounter. Between this benefit and a good Charisma modifier, this Oath is a good face option for players wanting more out-of-combat utility from their Paladin.

Rebuke the Violent (Channel Divinity) – You can use your Channel Divinity to rebuke those who use violence. Immediately after an attacker within 30 feet of you deals damage with an attack against a creature other than you, you can use your reaction to force the attacker to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the attacker takes radiant damage equal to the damage it just dealt. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage. A fantastic use of your Channel Divinity, this is a guaranteed damage option and sidesteps monsters that may be resistant or immune to their own damage type, by changing the damage to radiant.

Level Seven

Aura of the Guardian – You can shield others from harm at the cost of your own health. When a creature within 10 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to magically take that damage, instead of that creature taking it. This feature doesn’t transfer any other effects that might accompany the damage, and this damage can’t be reduced in any way. At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet. This is an ability you need to be careful using, as you can easily deplete your own pool of hit points very, very quickly if you’re not careful. To make the most out of this ability you should either have a high Con modifier or take the Tough feat.

Level Fifteen

Protective Spirit – A holy presence mends your wounds in battle. You regain hit points equal to 1d6 + half your paladin level if you end your turn in combat with fewer than half of your hit points remaining and you aren’t incapacitated. This is a healthy amount of healing to keep you alive and reduces the risk associated with using Aure of the Guardian. When you gain this feature it will restore roughly ten hit points on average per turn.

Level Twenty

Emissary of Redemption – You become an avatar of peace, which gives you two benefits:

  • You have resistance to all damage dealt by other creatures (their attacks, spells, and other effects).
  • Whenever a creature hits you with an attack, it takes radiant damage equal to half the damage you take from the attack.

If you attack a creature, cast a spell on it, or deal damage to it by any means but this feature, neither benefit works against that creature until you finish a long rest. A good tanking feature, the only downsides to this ability is that it prevents you from fighting back, and doesn’t include Rebuke the Violent in the exceptions to not shut down this feature.

The Redeemers – Sample Builds

Aegis of Redemption (Half-Elf Paladin 20)

Here is a suggested Ability Score Array for this build using the point buy method, before applying racial ability score increases:

Str 14 Dex 10 Con 15 Int 8 Wis 10 Cha 14

Your floating half-elf +1s will be assigned to Strength and Constitution, giving you just enough of the former to wear plate armor without penalty, and enough Con to have a good-sized HP pool.

The purpose of this build is to make you an infallible wall between your allies and the forces of evil, with a high AC and enough hit points to reliably use your Aura of the Guardian feature. You can use your action in combat to attack with a longsword, but healing your allies, casting spells, and taking the Dodge action are all more on-theme for this subclass. You’re designed to be the last PC standing at the end of a tough fight, with the tools to keep your friends from death’s door.

Key Levels

1-4: For your Fighting Style take either Defense to increase your AC, or if you’re using Tasha’s optional rules, take Interception and swap it out for Defense at 8th level using Martial Versatility. At 4th level you should use your Ability Score Increase (ASI) to take the Tough feat, this will ensure that you have plenty of hit points to take hits for your party and prepare you for gaining your 7th level feature.

5-10: With Extra Attack and 2nd level spell slots to fuel Divine Smite you can turn on the offensive with great effectiveness when you need to. You now have access to Find Steed which can help you move around the battlefield as you need to or, alternatively, gives you another bag of summonable hit points to put between the monsters and your friends. As your Aura of Protection comes online you should start positioning yourself on the battlefield whereas many party members as possible can be within your aura, whilst still allowing you to be between them and incoming monsters. When you gain your 7th level feature you’ll have 81 hit points, allowing you to take damage for your party frequently, just remember to keep yourself healed with Lay on Hands and Cure Wounds. Your second ASI can be spent on Strength if you want to improve your offense, Charisma if you want to simultaneously improve your spellcasting effectiveness and potency of your Aura of Protection, or Constitution if you want to make yourself even more of a damage sponge.

11-15: Improved Divine Smite makes you an effective damage dealer, despite having invested little to nothing in that part of your character. Your third ASI should be spent on Inspiring Leader, which will not only increase the durability of your entire party but, will also allow your 7th level feature to eat into temporary hit points, allowing it to be used more often despite monsters hitting harder in these levels. Cleansing Touch is an important addition to your tool chest in these levels, allowing you to remove many negative spell effects from your party members in the midst of combat.

16-20: Your final two ASIs should be used to round out/max the stats you care about most or to grab any feats that interest you, such as the theme-appropriate Healer feat. With your Emissary of Redemption feature becoming available it becomes important to focus on one target at a time if you’re choosing to be offensive or lean on nondamaging control effects, like Hypnotic Pattern, and buffs, such as Sanctuary.

The Silver Tongue of Peace (Variant Human Paladin 20)

Here is a suggested Ability Score Array for this build using the point buy method, before applying racial ability score increases:

Str 8 Dex 15 Con 14 Int 8 Wis 12 Cha 14

Your floating variant human +1s will increase your Charisma and Dexterity, the latter of which will be your primary stat for your AC and attacks. For your racial skill take Perception, and for your racial feat take Skill Expert from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. With Skill Expert, increase your Charisma and take proficiency in Persuasion, which you will also be doubling with this feat.

This build is about making you an excellent negotiator to avoid and diffuse as much conflict as possible, but leaving you agile enough to strike first when there’s no other way. Whilst your specialty is Persuasion, this Paladin being built around Dexterity and Charisma makes you a natural skill monkey in many ways, and the addition of the Guidance cantrip just reaffirms this. In combat, you can either use a rapier with a shield, or dual-wield two short swords to maximize your smiting potential.

Key Levels

1-4: For your Fighting Style take Blessed Warrior, choosing Guidance and Toll the Dead as your cantrips, the former will push your Persuasion even higher and the latter gives you a solid ranged option for when you can’t get into melee range. With your ASI increase your Charisma to 18, with Guidance this gives you a bonus to your Persuasion checks of 8+1d4 at only level 4!

5-10: Your Persuasion bonus will jump to +10 and then +12 in this level range from nothing but your proficiency bonus increasing. If you want to take your diplomacy skills further here you can use your ASI to max out your Charisma, otherwise, you should increase your Dex to bump a whole myriad of things.

11-15: Improved Divine Smite pushes your damage higher for the times diplomacy fails, whilst your Persuasion checks continue to get more impressive with a +14 if you didn’t choose to max your Charisma at 8th level. A good choice for your 14th level ASI is Inspiring Leader, allowing you to leverage your high Cha modifier directly into damage protection for yourself and your party.

16-20: Your final two ASIs can be used to grab any feats that interest you or to max your Dexterity. A style that supports your style of combat with Fighting Initiate is recommended, as is Fey Touched. By the time you hit your capstone feature, your Persuasion modifier will be an impressive +17 if you maxed out your Charisma, with the ability to add +5 from your Channel Divinity and another 1d4 from Guidance. That’s a minimum Persuasion roll of 24 when you pull out all the stops!

We hope that you’ve found this article helpful and are now open to talking with the Fighter about who gets that new magic sword, instead of just smiting them in the face. If you’re interested in more Paladin information, then check out our Paladin guide, or if you just enjoy reading about the game, then check out our how to play section. Until next time, may your arguments be convincing and your sword hand at the ready.

Editor-in-Chief