Best Oathbreaker Paladin Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)
Oathbreaker Paladin Build
Oathbreakers are a welcome subclass option for Paladins. They offer a breathing room to the limited role-playing of each Oath, where an incorrect choice means you have to either reload or pay the fine for breaking the oath. Unfortunately, you cannot select them in character creation and need to specifically break an Oath.
These Paladins are not necessarily evil and can do anything they prefer. There are no negative modifiers once you embrace this path. This also unlocks unique gameplay options with Oathbreakers, specifically in relation to the undead and fiends
Opposite to other Paladin subclasses, Oathbreakers embrace the ability to control undead and reanimate them. So you could be protecting people but with undead by your side. Moreover, you gain an aura that gives bonus damage based on the charisma modifier to yourself and fiends. This is the only paladin aura in the game that directly increases damage.
So if you are interested in this type of Paladin let's move!
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 (easiest to break Oath)|
|Skills||Athletics, Acrobatics, Intimidation, Persuasion|
|Fighting Style||Great Weapon Fighting or Duelling|
|Feat||Great Weapon Master or Ability Improvement - +2 Strength|
|Feat||Polearm Master, Alert or Ability Improvement - Strength+2|
|Feat||Ability Improvement - Charisma +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|
||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.|
||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 Oathbreaker 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 we unlock 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. Oathbreaker also gets a special "red" animation|
However, we still have the main hurdle in front of us. You should already have left the tutorial zone. Our first goal is to break the Oath and unlock the Oathbraker subclass. I found that this can be done easily by killing two tieflings you find with Lae'zel at the Ravaged Beach in Act 1.
|Spiteful Suffering||You unlock it once you become an Oathbreaker. The action can be very useful on stronger enemies who you will be hitting multiple times. It gives an advantage on each attack and bonus necrotic damage. The action does not require spell concentration slot|
Now, as we got the most important thing cleared, and can continue
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 would 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 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 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||Get additional temporary hit points. The spell can be cast without using spell slots. May not be as potent, because you already have Armour of Agathys spell.|
We also gain subclass-specific actions. These use Channel Oath Charge, which means that your spell slots will not be expended when used.
|Control Undead||By using Channel Oath Charge you can take control of Undead. This is very powerful as the undead follows you until Long Rest|
|Dreadful Aspect||An area of effect ability that Frightens enemies. Although it does not deal damage, imagine getting 5 enemies frightened and they are not able to move and have a disadvantage on attack rolls. This is very powerful spell|
In addition, we get subclass-specific spells:
|Hellish Rebuke||Use reaction to cast a fire spell. It is good in early levels, but later on, best save the spell slots for Divine Smite|
|Inflict Wounds||Similar to Hellish Rebuke, it is a good melee spell early one, however, at later levels it is best to save spell slots for Divine Smite.|
We finally unlock our first Feat which will greatly improve the overall performance of Oathbreaker 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|
Oathbreaker bonus spells are very good for Level 5:
|Crown of Madness||Drives the target crazy and makes them attack the nearest person. To be honest I did not use it much, as the Concentration slot would be taken by other options.|
|Darkness||This is an extremely valuable spell to have. If you have a dark vision, you can create a dark cloud and stand in it with enemies. If they do not have dark vision they will not be able to hit you, and you can freely take them out. The cloud also protects from ranged attacks.|
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 Aura - Aura of Protection. Why are they special? Auras are always active and there are no cons in 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. The Oathbreaker has the only aura that boosts damage. However, there is a big caveat:
|Aura of Hate||This aura gives bonus damage based on the charisma modifier if attacking with weapons. It affects the Paladin and nearby undead. Keep in mind, that the effect also applies to enemy undead.|
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||This feat is also a good choice, as you can go early in combat and take control of undead, frighten enemies, or just smite the strongest enemy before they do anything.|
|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 Oathbreaker build
|Bestow Curse||Curse a creature with your touch. The curse either bestows Disadvantage on checks and Saving Throws or Attack Rolls, lets you deal additional damage to the target, or robs it of its actions. I would only recommend this to bosses as it is expensive to use.|
|Animate Dead||Create an undead servant from a corpse.|
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 oathbreaker builds. We get the last Feat that looks a bit underwhelming. Be sure to check the next section for the multiclass alternatives
|Ability Improvement||I see two options here either +2 Strength, if you have not yet maximized it to 20, or +2 Charisma, for stronger spells and auras.|
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 Paladin Build. It is an extremely powerful subclass with a few things
Take control of the Undead
Oathbreakers are able to take control of the Undead from level 3 with Control Dead action. This is especially useful in Act 2 where there are many of them. They will fight for you and can be used as cannon fodder
They will follow you until a long rest, meaning that they can support you in multiple encounters.
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 Oathbreaker Paladin build for Baldur's Gate 3. This is a paladin subclass that does not have to follow any rules and can be both good and evil at the same time. Moreover, they can manipulate undead and even force them under their control