Best Oath of Vengeance Paladin Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)
Best Oath of Vengeance Paladin Build
This subclass is a perfect choice if you are planning to play a vengeful fighter who stands for higher justice. You do not care for yourself or small evil but rather how to remove greater evil from this plane. This can be a too-powerful guild, a dragon killing the villagers, or witches taking children.
Oath of Vengeance is perfect for Two-Handed weapons. When you are fighting a strong enemy, a Vow of Enmity will ensure that you have an Advantage with every single hit. This is perfect to be matched with Great Weapon Master feat, for higher overall damage and more successful hits.
Of course, we are Paladin and can still channel healing spells if the need arises. However, you are most powerful when increasing ally damage and concentrating on taking down a foe.
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 Vengeance|
|Skills||Athletics, Acrobatics, Intimidation, Persuasion|
|Fighting Style||Great Weapon Fighting|
|Feat||Great Weapon Master|
|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.
||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|
||This is another good option. At level 5 they come with a Darkness spell that can trivialize some fights against non-Darkvision enemies.|
||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.|
||Get elven-like bonuses of Fey Ancestry. But we are also interested in the Darkness spell that gives an advantage against enemies without Dakrvision.|
||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 Vengeance|
|Inquisitor's Might||You or an ally's weapon attacks deal additional Radiant damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) and can Daze enemies for 2 turns.|
|Oath of Vengeance Tenets||Oath of Vengeance paladins abide by the following tenets:
Fight the Greater Evil. Exerting your wisdom, identify the higher morality in any given instance, and fight for it.
No Mercy for the Wicked. Chasten those who dole out their villainy by wiping their blight from the world forever.
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||When using Heavy Armor, Dexterity plays a lesser role as it does not give bonus Armour Class. Of course, it still increases initiative and helps with Saving Throws. For this reason, we leave it at 10.|
|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|
For Oath of Vengeance Paladin, my recommendation is getting Great Weapon Fighting.
|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. It is a mandatory pick if you equip a two-handed weapon|
Paladin level 1 spells are okay. They do not provide any crazy bonuses 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 Divine 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.|
|Cure Wounds||Even though you have Lay on Hands, this spell will heal more. having it as an option is a good choice.|
For other slots pick what you want.
Level 3 Paladin gains a lot of new things - new actions, class, subclass features, and spells. Subclass actions are very powerful for Vengeance Paladin and this level, and I recommend to start using them.
|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.
|Abjure Enemy||Frighten an enemy. They'll be easier to hit and cannot move. Fiends and undead have Disadvantages on this Saving Throw.|
|Vow of Enmity||Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against an enemy. This is perfect when you are fighting a single strong enemy. It only uses bonus action meaning you can also attack in the same turn. Match this together with Great Weapon Master for a huge damage bonus without any downsides.|
In addition, we get subclass-specific spells:
|Bane||Up to 3 creatures receive a -1d4 penalty to Attack Rolls and Saving Throws. Unfortunately, I do not use it much as this takes up a Concentration slot|
|Hunter's Mark||Similar spell to Hex, but deals physical damage and does not provide any negative effects. Takes up a Concentration slot|
We finally unlock our first Feat which will greatly improve the overall performance of the Oath of Vengeance 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.|
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 Vengeance bonus spells are very good for Level 5:
|Misty Step||An excellent spell to have in the arsenal. You can now leave or enter the battlefield in the best possible position. Moreover, it only costs bonus action.|
|Hold Person||This is a good concentration spell that can remove a single target from the equation. Try to target enemies with low Wisdom. Then follow up with rogue or fighter to deal critical hits from 3 meters. I suggest using Potion of Speed or Haste from Ally, to activate this and land a hit. Otherwise, your concentration may break during the enemy's turn.|
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.|
|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 first 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 subclass feature and one level 2 spell slot.
|Relentless Avenger||If you hit an enemy with an Opportunity Attack, your movement speed increases by 4.5m on your next turn. This is why you should have the paladin in the front so that if anyone dares to pass you, you would get bonus movement speed|
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.|
|Alert||I also recommend this as an option. If you decide to take it I recommend respeccing and changing Dexterity to 8. It gives +5 to initiative and you cannot be surprised. This will allow you to kill some crucial enemies with Divine Smites. It is the perfect choice, as Vengeance Paladin has Misty Step allowing them to take advantage of the first attack.|
|Ability Improvement||Another option is going for +2 Strength. This will give higher weapon damage and higher attack rolls.|
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|
|Haste||Hasten yourself or your allies. This gives a bonus action point each turn. It requires maintaining concentration and once it fails or ends you become lethargic. If you can activate this before combat it can drastically change the whole outcome of the battle.|
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 all smites
|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 Vengeance 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 damage 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.
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 Oath of Vengeance Build. It is an extremely powerful subclass with a few things to have in mind
The subclass is best played offensively
Oath of Vengeance Paladins is best played as relentless avengers. They have a few actions from low levels that emphasize this. Inquisitor's Might can be used to buff you and allies for bonus damage. Moreover, it gives a chance to Daze enemies
Vow of Enmity is perfect to target a single target and exploit this for a higher chance of successful hits. Now add Misty Step at level 5 and you can jump to the enemy you want to take out instantly. You can even use it from stealth.
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. Moreover, Oath of Vengeance does not come with its subclass auras, making it perfect to be the only option of melee fighter.
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.
Thank you for reading the Best Oath of the Vengeance Paladin build for Baldur's Gate 3. These are true avengers concentrating on taking down a greater evil no matter the sacrifices. This is a very exciting option as you may not necessarily need to be "good" if this means that you remove the source of evil.