Paladin Oath of Ancients Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)
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
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.
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.
|1||Abilities||Str 16(15+1), Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 16 (14+2)|
|Subclass||Oath of the Ancients|
|Skills||Athletics, Acrobatics, Intimidation, Persuasion|
|Fighting Style||Great Weapon Fighting or Duelling|
|Feat||Great Weapon Master or Ability Improvement - +2 Strength|
|Feat||Polearm or Ability Improvement - Strength+2|
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.
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.
|Zariel 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|
|Asmodeus Tiefling||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||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||Get elven-like bonuses of Fey Ancestry. But we are also interested in the Darkness spell that gives an advantage against enemies without Dakrvision.|
|Wood 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.|
|Lay on Hands||Use your blessed touch to heal a creature or cure it of all diseases and poisons.|
|Divine Sense||Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.|
|Channel Oath Charges||You gain the ability to channel the power contained in your Paladin Oath, which you can use to fuel certain actions.|
|Oath of the Ancients|
|Healing Radiance||Heal yourself and all nearby allies for 5 hit points. Regain another 5 hit points next turn.|
|Oath 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
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.
|Strength||16 (15+1)||The main melee weapon damage ability. So we should not skip it|
|Dexterity||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||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.|
|Intelligence||8||Not really important stat for us|
|Wisdom||10||We get 10, to not get any negative modifier for Wisdom Saving Throws, as there are many of them.|
|Charisma||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:
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
At Level 2 Paladin gets the most famous action - Divine Smite. Moreover, we obtain 2 level 1 spell slots.
|Divine 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|
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.
|Great 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.|
|Duelling||When you wear one one-handed weapon or weapon and shield, gain a bonus of 2 damage.|
|Defence||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.
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
|Thunderous 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.|
|Shield of Faith||It gives a +2 Armour Class as long as you can maintain concentration. Lasts until a long rest.|
|Command||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 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
|Divine 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.
|Nature's Wrath||Invoke primeval forces to Restrain an enemy. It can't move, misses a lot, and is easy to hit.|
|Turn 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:
|Speak 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|
|Ensnaring 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|
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:
|Great 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.|
|Ability Improvement||Another option is going for +2 Strength. This will give higher weapon damage and higher attack rolls.|
Finally, level 2 spells are unlocked, new Oath spells and we get the Paladin class feature - Extra Attack.
|Extra 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:
|Moonbean||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.|
|Misty 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|
As level 2 spells are unlocked here are some considerations to include in your build:
|Lesser Restoration||Can heal disease, poison, paralysis, and some other negative effects. Not mandatory, but good to have if the situation arises.|
|Aid||I recommend having this if there is no cleric in the group and you are playing Oath of Ancients Paladin|
|Magic 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.|
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
|Aura of Protection||You and nearby allies gain a bonus to Saving Throws equal to your Charisma modifier|
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
|Aura 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.|
We get our second feat that will further improve the build. Here are the options:
|Polearm Master||Only with two-handed spear-type weapons. First, it gives an Opportunity 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.|
|Ability 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.|
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
|Protection 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|
|Plant 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.|
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.
|Elemental 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|
|Blinding 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|
|Warden 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.|
|Crusader'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|
We get two Paladin class-related boons - additional Lay on Hands charge and bonus Aura
|Aura of Courage||You and your cannot be Frightened. The effect can be deadly so becoming invulnerable to it is welcome|
We get an additional level 3 spell slot and an improvement to Divine Smite
|Improved 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.|
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
|Savage 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.|
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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