Paladin Oath of Ancients Build

Paladin Oath of Ancients Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
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In this post, I will go through the Oath of the Ancients Paladin Build. They are the protectors of Light in the world who fight for the natural balance of nature. They specialize in nature spells - like Plant Growth, Moonbeam, and ensnaring enemies. In addition they are good protectors who protect their allies from spells.

Oath of the Ancients Paladin Build

This is one of the four subclasses that come with its own tenets. These concentrate on protecting nature and its subjects. You are likely to keep the natural world order and not intervene in it. This also gives a strong incentive to roleplay. If you break the tenets you become an oathbreaker and lose all the spells and bonuses from the subclass. Oathbreaker is a separate subclass, but it requires separate topics

paladin oath of the ancients combat baldurs gate 3

So why would you choose the Oath of the Ancients? It provides a wide variety of defensive and control spells. It is perfect for slowing down enemies, increasing spell resistance, and protection from various elements. All of these are powered by nature - ensnaring strike, plant growth, etc.

The Paladin can go with a wide variety of weapons. I think there are two main choices - Shields with One Handed weapons and Two Handed weapons. The former is a defensive option that gives bonus armor class, while the latter is purely offensive.

Paladins also can multiclass so be sure to check the latter sections where I cover some awesome options on how to best utilize this option.

Short overview

This is a short overview and progression of the build. Use it to get a quick glance if you want to pick the best options without going deep into the explanations. A more detailed description with texts, suggestions, and improvements can be found in the next sections.

Oath of Ancients Paladin Leveling Overview Expand
Level Category Choice
1 Abilities Str 16(15+1), Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16 (14+2)
  Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 1
  Subclass Oath of the Ancients
  Skills Athletics, Acrobatics, Intimidation, Persuasion
2 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 2
  Fighting Style PassiveFeature_FightingStyle_GreatWeaponFighting Baldur's Gate 3Great Weapon Fighting or PassiveFeature_FightingStyle_Duelling Baldur's Gate 3Duelling
3 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 3
4 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 4
  Feat Great Weapon Master or Ability Improvement - +2 Strength
5 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 5
6 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 6
7 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 7
8 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 8
  Feat Polearm or Ability Improvement - Strength+2
9 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 9
10 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 10
11 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 11
12 Class paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin 12
  Feat PassiveFeature_SavageAttacker Baldur's Gate 3Savage Attacker

Starting the Game

We start with the early game. I would go into what are the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for Paladins. Some of these choices are impactful as you cannot respec them.

Races

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. Because Paladin gets Heavy Armor proficiency you have many more options on what to choose.

If you are having difficulties making a choice, pick whatever you prefer in terms of looks or roleplay. "The perfect race pick" is important if you are min-maxing or doing a Tactician run.
Race Features Description
Tiefling Baldur's Gate 3Zariel Tiefling Probably the most Paladinish option as it comes with additional Smites - Fire. Of course, they are not as good but may have their uses. Also, they have good fire resistance
Tiefling Baldur's Gate 3Asmodeus Tiefling
  • DarkvisionDarkvision
  • Hellish ResistanceHellish Resistance
  • Produce Flame - a flickering flame appears in your hand. It sheds bright light in a 9m radius and deals 1d8 Fire damage when thrown
This is another good option. At level 5 they come with a Darkness spell that can trivialize some fights against non-Darkvision enemies.
Half-Orc Baldur's Gate 3Half-Orc Half-Orcs really shine as Paladins. They can resurrect in case they die and get an additional die roll on a critical hit. This gives a big damage boost if you are using something like Polearm or Greataxe.
Drow Baldur's Gate 3Drow Get elven-like bonuses of Fey Ancestry. But we are also interested in the Darkness spell that gives an advantage against enemies without Dakrvision.
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3Wood Half-Elf What makes these special is their increased moving distance. I think this is valuable as once you start taking out enemies one by one with Smites, this will prove advantageous. Overall the same applies to Wood Elf.

Class

Overview
paladin Baldur's Gate 3Paladin
Features
Action_Paladin_LayOnHands_BigHeal Baldur's Gate 3Lay on Hands Use your blessed touch to heal a creature or cure it of all diseases and poisons. 
Action_Paladin_DivineSense Baldur's Gate 3Divine Sense Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
ico_classRes_channelOath Baldur's Gate 3Channel Oath Charges You gain the ability to channel the power contained in your Paladin Oath, which you can use to fuel certain actions.

Subclass

Overview
Oath of the Ancients
Features
Action_Paladin_HealingRadiance Baldur's Gate 3Healing Radiance Heal yourself and all nearby allies for 5 hit points. Regain another 5 hit points next turn.
Oath of the Ancients TenetsOath of the Ancients Tenets Oath of the Ancients paladins abide by the following tenets:
Kindle the Light. Through acts of kindness, enkindle the light of hope in the bleakest hollows of despair.
Shelter the Light. Where love blooms, stand against the devilry that would snip its stem.
Preserve Your Own Light. Delight in culture and small joys to preserve the light in your own heart

Abilities

Now let's take a look at the abilities of the Ancients Paladin build. Correct allocation will allow us to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.

Ability Value Description
strengthproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Strength 16 (15+1) The main melee weapon damage ability. So we should not skip it
dexterityDexterity 10 Dexterity is a debatable stat. Because Paladin uses Heavy Armor, we do not need much (as it does not give bonuses to Armor Class). However, we also do not want to have low initiative and be last, when you may get knocked out. So I recommend this middle ground, and in the later game, some items will give bonuses to initiative/dexterity
constitution bg3Constitution 14 (13 +1) Important stat for any build gives bonus HP and improves the success of Constitution Saving Throws, which ensures your  Concentration spells don't break.
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Not really important stat for us
wisdomWisdom 10 We get 10, to not get any negative modifier for Wisdom Saving Throws, as there are many of them.
charismaCharisma 16 (14+2) The main spellcasting ability of the Paladin. It also affects the power of Auras.

Skills and Expertise

Overall, the skills should be impacted by your roleplaying and background decisions. However, you would still want those that will give you the best benefits. My recommendations are to pick those at which you have a high ability modifier:

  • Athletics
  • Persuasion
  • Intimidation

Detailed Leveling Progression

Here is the detailed progression for the build to get you started. You can use it as a guideline because early games can be daunting and overwhelming. Later on, once you get the feel for the class you can start picking your own options

Level 2

At Level 2 Paladin gets the most famous action - Divine Smite. Moreover, we obtain 2 level 1 spell slots.

Actions Description
Action_Paladin_DivineSmite Baldur's Gate 3Divine Smite This Paladin-specific feature gives +2d8 Radiant Damage and an additional 1d8 against undead and fiends. it expends a spell slot if hits. Using higher-level spell slots deals more damage. Note, its damage does not depend on Charisma but spell level

Fighting Style

Here you can pick a style that fits your weapon usage or playstyle. For example, going with a shield and a one-handed weapon would benefit from Duelling. Want to avoid more hits? Take Defence for +1 Armour Class.

Style Description
Great Weapon FightingGreat Weapon Fighting When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack with a two-handed melee weapon, that die is rerolled once.
DuellingDuelling When you wear one one-handed weapon or weapon and shield, gain a bonus of 2 damage.
DefenceDefence Gain +1 to Armour Class, resulting in fewer hits being landed on you

I do not really find Protection useful. It requires you to stay near allies and activates conditionally. I prefer permanent bonuses. I personally pick Great Weapon Fighting as Two-handed weapons are the go-to option for me.

Prepared Spells

Paladin level 1 spells are okay. They do not provide any crazy tactics but can work in some situations. Here are my recommendations for what is good to have in your arsenal

Spell Description
Spell_Evocation_ThunderousSmite Baldur's Gate 3Thunderous Smite A smite alternative that deals Thunder damage and can make enemy prone. I would use it in case you have a free bonus action that you do not plan on using. Otherwise, use normal Smite.
Spell_Abjuration_ShieldOfFaith Baldur's Gate 3Shield of Faith It gives a +2 Armour Class as long as you can maintain concentration. Lasts until a long rest.
Spell_Enchantment_CommandHalt Baldur's Gate 3Command Can command the creature to drop a weapon, run away, come close, etc. Can be useful in some encounters, especially against low Wisdom enemies.

For other slots pick what you want.

Level 3

Level 3 Paladin gains a lot of new things - new actions, class, subclass features, and spells. However, I do not think that these are very powerful boons, we will have to wait for better actions

Feature Description
Divine HealthDivine Health Prevents diseases from affecting the Paladin.

We also gain subclass-specific actions. These use Channel Oath Charge, which means that your spell slots will not be expended when used.

Action Description
Action_Paladin_NaturesWrath Baldur's Gate 3Nature's Wrath Invoke primeval forces to Restrain an enemy. It can't move, misses a lot, and is easy to hit.
Action_Paladin_TurnTheFaithless Baldur's Gate 3Turn the Faithless Turn nearby fey and fiends. They are forced to flee and cannot come close to you.

In addition, we get subclass-specific spells:

Spells Description
Spell_Divination_SpeakWithAnimals Baldur's Gate 3Speak with Animals Gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts. It is a good spell to have as it is a ritual spell that will not use spell slots. It opens some new quests and options
Spell_Conjuration_EnsnaringStrikeMelee Baldur's Gate 3Ensnaring Strike Your attack summons thorny vines that possibly Ensnare your target. Not really a good spell in my opinion, as it uses up both action and bonus action

Level 4

We finally unlock our first Feat which will greatly improve the overall performance of the Oath of the Ancients Paladin. Moreover, another Lay on Hands Charge is added, for more healing actions. So let's deep dive:

Feat

Feat Description
PassiveFeature_GreatWeaponMaster_BonusAttack Baldur's Gate 3Great Weapon Master If you are going with two-handed weapons this feat is mandatory. First, it gives an additional hit with bonus action if you kill a foe or get a critical hit. Second, you can sacrifice attack rolls to boost your damage. This is perfect when you have an advantage.
ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement Another option is going for +2 Strength. This will give higher weapon damage and higher attack rolls.

Level 5

Finally, level 2 spells are unlocked, new Oath spells and we get the Paladin class feature - Extra Attack.

Feature Description
Extra AttackExtra Attack Can make an additional free attack after making an unarmed or weapon attack. This will make you much more powerful in combat

Oath of Ancients bonus spells are very good for Level 5:

Spell Description
Spell_Evocation_Moonbeam Baldur's Gate 3Moonbean A beam of light is created that hits enemies in a small radius. As long as you keep concentration you can move it to another target without using spell slots.
Spell_Conjuration_MistyStep Baldur's Gate 3Misty Step You can move to any area that you can see, without triggering an opportunity attack. This can also be used offensively to get close to enemies

Prepared Spells

As level 2 spells are unlocked here are some considerations to include in your build:

Spell Description
Spell_Abjuration_LesserRestoration Baldur's Gate 3Lesser Restoration Can heal disease, poison, paralysis, and some other negative effects. Not mandatory, but good to have if the situation arises.
Spell_Abjuration_Aid Baldur's Gate 3Aid I recommend having this if there is no cleric in the group and you are playing Oath of Ancients Paladin
Spell_Transmutation_MagicWeapon Baldur's Gate 3Magic Weapon This spell can empower your weapons with bonus damage rolls and attack rolls. The higher the spell slot you use the bigger the bonus. Another thing is that the bonus may seem low, but it will greatly boost your success on hitting while having Great Weapon Master active.

Level 6

For a Paladin, this is an important level. It unlocks their aura - Aura of Protection. Why are they special? Auras are always active and there are no cons to using them

Action Description
Action_Paladin_AuraOfProtection Baldur's Gate 3Aura of Protection You and nearby allies gain a bonus to Saving Throws equal to your Charisma modifier

Level 7

This is another milestone for the subclass where you unlock a specific aura. As I mentioned they have no cons and can be always used to get benefits for your whole party

Feature Description
Action_Paladin_AuraOfWarding Baldur's Gate 3Aura of Warding You and any nearby allies take only half the damage from spells. This is amazing Aura, making you all resilient against mage spells.

Level 8

We get our second feat that will further improve the build. Here are the options:

Feat Description
PassiveFeature_PolearmMaster_AttackOfOpportunity Baldur's Gate 3Polearm Master Only with two-handed spear-type weapons. First, it gives an Opportunity AttackOpportunity Attack when an enemy comes within range of your melee attack. Second, you gain additional action that allows you to hit a second time using the polearm's butt. This can be useful as you could land additional smite for a good damage boost using only bonus action.
ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement Another option is going for +2 Strength. This will give higher weapon damage and higher attack rolls. It should now be a total of 20.

Level 9

This is an important level as it finally gives level 3 spells. We also unlock the last spells from the subclass. These are great additions to the Paladin build

Oath Spells Description
Spell_Abjuration_ProtectionFromEnergy Baldur's Gate 3Protection from Energy The spell allows us to get resistance to specific elements. This might be useful against specific enemies. However, you should evaluate whether it is worth to sacrifice the concentration slot
Spell_Transmutation_PlantGrowth Baldur's Gate 3Plant Growth You can cover the area with plants and slow down creature movement. The great thing is that this does not require any concentration, so it can be used safely to control enemies.

Prepared Spells

Here are my recommendations for level 3 spells. I do not think these spells are very powerful. They do not change the Paladin gameplay much but can provide some situational bonuses. It is still the best use case to use your Divine Smites.

Spells Description
Spell_Transmutation_ElementalWeapon Baldur's Gate 3Elemental Weapon Similar to Magic Weapons, this imbues your weapon with elemental powers and gives a bonus attack roll. The bonus is 1d4 damage which is decent. If the enemy is vulnerable to it this is doubled. Moreover, the spell lasts until a long rest if you can maintain the concentration
Spell_Evocation_BlindingSmite Baldur's Gate 3Blinding Smite Another smite in your arsenal. It is not as good as Divine Smite in terms of damage. However, it can be used to apply blind on the target
Spell_Evocation_AuraOfVitality Baldur's Gate 3Warden of Vitality The spell is best cast before combat. It allows you to use a healing spell with bonus action. This is a good choice to use in difficult encounters and to help your Cleric. But otherwise, has no real purpose in general easy fights. I personally would use it in case I died in some boss encounter and felt that additional heals would help.
Spell_Evocation_CrusadersMantle Baldur's Gate 3Crusader's Mantle An alternative to an Elemental Weapon spell, but instead you give 1d4 radiant damage to your group members. It also lasts only for 10 turns

Level 10

We get two Paladin class-related boons - additional Lay on Hands charge and bonus Aura

Spells Description
Action_Paladin_AuraOfCourage Baldur's Gate 3Aura of Courage You and your cannot be Frightened. The effect can be deadly so becoming invulnerable to it is welcome

Level 11

We get an additional level 3 spell slot and an improvement to Divine Smite

Spells Description
PassiveFeature_ImprovedDivineSmite Baldur's Gate 3Improved Divine Smite Melee attacks deal an additional 1d8 damage radiant damage. This is a welcome upgrade making the iconic spell even more powerful. This upgrade works on all smites - thunderous, searing, etc.

Level 12

This is the last level for Paladin's Oath of the Ancients builds. We get the last Feat that looks a bit underwhelming. Be sure to check the next section for the multiclass alternatives

Feat Description
Savage AttackerSavage Attacker A perfect feat to maximize by rolling two dice and taking the better one. It works only on weapon attacks. Moreover, this also affects Smites and any additional effects you do with melee weapons.

Multiclass Options

Paladin Fighter

You have an option of going 10 Paladin and 2 Fighter in the last two levels. This is a good option as you trade a Feat and higher tier Divine Smite for two more attacks. This comes from Action Surge which can be used for each short rest. On top, add the Extra AttackExtra Attack feature from Paladin Level 5

This looks like a good trade and you really do not lose anything else like spells or spell slots.

Lockadin

The multiclass between Paladin and Warlock build - Lockadin. This is a powerful combo as you can merge an extra attack from Paladin and a Depeened Pact bonus attack from Warlock. Another aspect is that you gain spell slots that are restored each short rest and do not need to Long Rest as often.

The downside is that you have only 2 Feats and lower-level spells.

General Tips

Now I would like to cover some general tips on how to play Paladin Build. It is an extremely powerful subclass with a few things

Smites Explained

This is the signature action of Paladin, that invokes Radiant damage. It looks cool and does a lot of damage. However, there are a few caveats that should be explained.

divine smite baldurs gate 3

First, the Paladin gets additional Smites - Thunderous Smite, Searing Smite, etc. They are cool and give additional effects. However, they are far weaker than Divine Smite. Why? Divine Smite only uses Action points and spell slots. Other ones take Action + bonus action. More or less you get more damage per action.

Of course, other Smites come with unique effects like Blind, Freighten, etc. They are also perfect when fighting enemies weak to specific elements - thunder, fire, etc. But if the enemy dies fast, there is no use for alternative smites. So they are best used against higher-health enemies.

Having allies close

I think Paladin builds shine when there is another melee fighter nearby. It could be rogue, fighter, barbarian, etc. Paladins are able to have permanent auras which work in a 3-meter radius. If most of your party members are ranged ones, they will never get these benefits, which is a bummer.

This does not mean that to use this build you have to rework your composition, but be aware that when allies are close to the Paladin they will get even more benefits.

Using Heals

Paladins come with a decent arsenal of healing spells. That can be especially said for the Oath of the Ancients build. For example, you have Healing Radiance, which has a 3-meter area of effect to heal for two turns.

Another option is Lay on Hands, which does a fixed amount of healing, removes negative effects and costs a single Lay on Hands charge. You get multiple of these each Long Rest, so feel free to use them

lay on hands description bg3

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the Oath of the Ancients Paladin build for Baldur's Gate 3. The subclass is the protector of Light and the natural order of nature. It is also supported by spells that rely on natural forces - plants, vines, moonlight, etc. This is a perfect support option that also has stronger heals compared to other Paladin subclasses

Cheers!

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zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!