There are plenty of strong classes in Dungeons and Dragons. It all depends on how you build them, your stats, and which feats and spells you take. It’s all what you make of it, and any of the hundreds of choices for different characters can be an essential asset to a party. But, if there’s one question that such a vast array of combinations asks it’s, “What’s the strongest possible one?”
In 5th Edition D&D, Paladins are considered one of the strongest classes out there. With a lot of opportunities to do a lot of damage and simultaneously soak it up like a sponge, there are a lot of ways to make your Paladin the bane of the table. Take this handy list to heart the next time you want your Paladin to be OP.
10 Sub-Class: Oath of Conquest
Just as you’re going to be scaring your Dungeon Master half to death with this build, the Oath of Conquest Paladin asks you to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies before—and as—you kill them. To quote Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, “It isn’t enough for these paladins to establish order. They must crush the forces of chaos.”
As if your tenants to be the most terrifying Paladin in history weren’t enough (“Douse the Flame of Hope” is a little on the nose), your Channel Divinity can be used in one of two ways: Guided Strike, which lets you add +10 to any attack roll, or Conquering Presence, which makes each creature of your choice within 30 feet become afraid of you on a failed Wisdom saving throw. At 15th level, Scornful Rebuke damages anyone foolish enough to hit you with psychic damage. Talk about “intimidation.”
9 Race: Dragonborn
With a Dragonborn’s Ability Score Increase of Strength +2 and Charisma +1, it’s the obvious choice for any Paladin, but especially this one. With such a quick jump up in your main two stats, you’ll have a 20 in no time, and be able to start working up to the Feats that make you virtually unstoppable.
The Breath Weapon is a nice touch, too, for a little extra damage kick. It doesn’t matter which color you pick, but a Black, acid-spitting, Dragonborn Paladin would be pretty awesome.
8 Background: Solider
If you’re going for intimidation, why not go all in? The Solider background gives you useful skills of Athletics and Intimidation as well as letting you drive land vehicles. You also get proficiency in one type of gaming set to help kill time between conquering your enemies. What’s more, your Feature of Military Rank means that people from the army you served in will still recognize you, and do what you say as long as you’re a higher rank than they are.
If you’re more of a role-playing type, imagine the background for your Paladin. What caused them to join the army? Was it their god? Did they discover their god in war?
7 Background: Sailor
The Sailor background gives you another couple of essential skills—Athletics and Perception, this time—proficiency in Navigator’s Tools and water vehicles. The default Feature for this background is Ship’s Passage, which allows you to get free passage on a sailing ship for yourself and your party, as long as you promise to pull your weight on board.
The Variant Feature if you choose the Pirate variant is interesting for both role-play purposes and emphasizing the intimidation factor of your Paladin. For example, Bad Reputation means you can get away with minor criminal offenses because people are so scared of you that they won’t report your crimes.
6 Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting
Paladins get to choose a Fighting Style, and, for this particular Paladin, the best choice is Great Weapon Fighting. When you roll a one or a two on a damage die when you attack with a two-handed weapon, you get to reroll the die! You have to use the new roll, even if it’s another one or two, but it’s better than nothing.
Who doesn’t like a second chance to do more damage? And with as beefy a Paladin as this one is turning out to be, more damage is always better.
5 Feat: Dragon Fear
That Dragonborn race will come in handy right about now because you have to be a Dragonborn to take this Feat.
When you take this feat, your Strength, Constitution, or Charisma increases by one, and instead of using your Breath Weapon, you can choose to roar with terrifying ferocity. Keeping with the “fear” theme, every enemy that can hear and see you roar and fails the Wisdom saving throw becomes afraid of you for one minute. You won’t have to use a spell slot or Channel Divinity to make people afraid of you! It’s a win-win!
4 Feat: Polearm Master
Is your Paladin using a glaive, halberd, or quarterstaff? If so, get this Feat. What does it do, you ask? Read on!
When you take an attack with any of the aforementioned weapons, you can use your bonus action to make another attack with the other end of the weapon. Additionally, anyone that comes within your reach now provokes an attack of opportunity. This is a massive advantage for you, and it becomes an even bigger one when paired with the following Feat.
3 Feat: Sentinel
Sentinel and Polearm Master are a match made on the Upper Planes. With Polearm Master, you gain an increased opportunity attack range. With Sentinel, any creature you hit with an opportunity attack has its speed drop to 0 for the rest of its turn. Plus, creatures within your reach provoke opportunity attacks, even if they’ve taken the Disengage action.
If you’re a friendly Paladin, you can use this pair of Feats to help out your friends, too. Sentinel gives you the ability to make a melee weapon attack against a creature within your reach, even if it's attacking someone other than you. How nice!
2 Multi-Classing: Warlock
You’re not obligated to multi-class with a Paladin this ridiculous, but, if you’re interested in getting even more insane, one of your best options is to take a few levels in Warlock. You can get disgusting with your Divine Smite now that your spell slots can recharge on a short rest, and you have some decent ranged attack power with Eldritch Blast.
Plus, think of the role-playing! Did your god become your patron? Was your god always your patron? Have you pledged yourself to two different beings entirely, or abandoned your god for something more powerful? Something that strikes even more fear than a deity? Who knows!
1 Multi-Classing: Bard
If you want even more spells, then a Bard is the way to go. If you enter the College of Lore, you can get a lot of additional spells, but make sure you don’t start this multi-class until you’re sure you have everything you want out of the Paladin build. While Bards are cool, you do miss out on a lot of cool stuff if you are multi-class before you’re ready.
There are some cool role-play potentials for this build, too! Why, what would a Paladin be doing playing music? Does your deity demand battle songs? Do you write your own songs for fun? Maybe you don’t play music, but instead chronicle your quest for your chosen god. The possibilities are endless, but one thing’s for sure: they’re powerful.