View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next To Serve and Protect: 5e Paladin Oath Archetype (Please Critique)

2017-03-22, 11:19 PM
So, I am about to start a D&D campaign with some buddies from work and I decided to try playing a paladin. And to make it interesting, I thought I'd play him like a cop. Law, order, serve, protect, but also investigation and such. And... well, the official Oaths and homebrews I can find don't quite work for what I have in mind. So I decided to try my hand at homebrewing a new Oath archetype for my character. Unfortunately this is my first experience with 5e, so I'm having a bit of trouble getting details and balance straight in my head. Any and all comments are thus appreciated.


Law: Order is needed for the people to live good and fulfilling lives. A moral Law is needed to guide such order. Defend and uphold such laws to the utmost of your own ability.

Truth: Many attempt to hide the truth of their misdeeds, seek out these truths so that justice can be properly directed.

Protection: Defend the populace from those that would do harm to the people, the peace, and just law.

Render Aid: Help those truly in need in any way you are able.

Courage: Do not falter in the face of danger. Do not be afraid to admit to your own flaws and mistakes. Do not be wary of holding others accountable for their own deeds and misdeeds.

Oath Spells (Please critique and offer suggestions as you see fit)

3rd - Sanctuary, Detect Magic
5th - Hold Person (You're under arrest!), Locate Object
9th - Aura of Vitality, Tongues
13th - Death Ward, Arcane Eye
17th - Geas (Police! Drop your weapons!), Wall of Force

Divine Channeling (Again, critique and suggestions are welcome!)

Voice of Authority (D&DPD! I need everyone to clear the area!) - As an action, the paladin can hold their holy symbol aloft and speak in a loud, clear, and firm voice, to gain the attention of all persons who can hear the paladin's voice. The effect typically applies for thirty feet for full effect, and an additional sixty feet for reduced effect. This range can be affected by vocal amplification both mundane and magical (a standard megaphone will increase the base range by an additional thirty feet while the effects of a Silence spell will negate the ability). Walls and other physical barriers block the effect unless the paladin has sufficient amplification to be heard clearly through them.
If any of the people within range are under the effects of Fear, Charm, or any other unfavorable mental condition (i.e. one that would require an INT or WIS save to break) immediately get a new saving throw at advantage (no advantage for reduced effect) using the paladin's Charisma bonus to snap out of it. In addition all individuals who hear the paladin and are not immediately inclined to be hostile will consider the paladin a person of authority and treat them as such. All affected persons who can understand the paladin's speech will be favorably inclined to follow any reasonable directions or requests they make afterwards. This does not count as magical compulsion, so no saving throw is needed if any individual judges that it is in their interest to not follow the paladin's requests.

Confront the Guilty - By holding their holy symbol in plain view and identifying themselves and their order, a paladin initiates a challenge to anyone within the immediate area (line of sight from the paladin up to sixty feet) who has knowingly committed an illegal act or believes they have commited an immoral act. Unless these individuals make a WIS save (the DC determined by the perceived severity of their transgression, -5 for every ten feet from the paladin rounded down) they will panic and react according to the following table:
So Close (Short by 2 or less) - Attack the paladin immediately, ignoring all other targets, gain disadvantage on initial attack
Solid Failure (Short by 10 to 3) - Attempt to flee the scene by the most readily available avenue as if they were Turned
Tanked (Short by 11 or more) - Surrender

(Examples of Crime Severity)
Jaywalking (0)
Petty Theft (5)
Thievery (10)
Drug Dealing (15)
Murder (20)
Terrorism (25)
Unholy Acts (30)

Guilt DC Modifiers (Examples)
- Completely Unaware They Committed a Crime (No Save Necessary/Autopass)
- Sociopath (Half total DC)

Gains Advantage on Roll (Examples)
- Covered Their Tracks Well
- Protected Position (Respected Noble, Crime Boss, Sovereign Ruler)
- Unrepentant
- Old Crime (Over a Month since crime was committed (DC under 15), Over a Year (DC 15-30))
- Outside Paladin's Jurisdiction/Does Not Recognize Paladin's Authority

Gains Disadvantage on Roll (Examples)
- Fears Discovery of their Crime
- Wracked By Guilt
- Was Coerced to Commit Crime
- Successful Intimidate Check by Paladin

Sacred Oath Abilities (Critique and comment! Please!)

Aura of Warding - Starting at 7th level, you and anyone under your protection within 10 ft have spell resistance. At 18th level, the range of this effect increases to 30 feet.

Seeker of Truth - At 15th level you gain expertise in Perception, Investigation, and Insight. If you already have expertise in one or more of these skills, you gain advantage on all rolls involving those skills. You also have advantage on all saves vs Illusion spells.

Avatar of Justice - At 20th level, once per long rest you gain the ability to transform into an embodiment of Justice for one minute using your action. This includes:
- Your eyes turn pure white and your body glows with an ethereal light, illuminating darkness both magical and not within a hundred feet of yourself. Any Evil-aligned creature that looks directly at you must succeed on a CON save or be temporarily blinded (duration at least one minute).
- You are considered to be under the effects of Holy Aura (https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/5e_SRD:Holy_Aura).
- All of your weapons, including unarmed strikes, deal an additional 1d8 Radiant damage.
- Any Good-aligned creature must succeed on a WIS check to make an attack against you unless attacked first.

2017-03-24, 06:26 PM
Well, I finished it. Please take a look and tell me if this looks good or needs tweaking.

2017-03-25, 04:21 AM
Hello. Looking over your work, there are some items that need clarification and elaboration. For the most part, it is thematically sound and looks good.

Your oaths and spells look okay. Looking at your Channel Divinity, 5e does not have will saves. Usually it's a Wisdom save, and since you are allowing the use of your charisma bonus for Voice of Authority, I would just say they have advantage on the save while within a certain distance to yourself. Being able to hear you is vague; it’s difficult to determine balance when there are no numbers to crunch.

Confront the Guilty - Issuing a challenge to guilty parties? Not bad. You need to elaborate on how guilty is guilty. Is your Justice blind or does it recognize shades of gray? And depending on how well your GM likes you, you might have a mob on top of you going by RAW.

Aura of Warding - I am not for sure how strong this ability is, but compared to Seeker of Truth, Seeker has less going on. I would switch the two really, or power down warding a bit (I really don’t recommend this).

Seeker of Truth can be interpreted many ways, which you should try to avoid. I recommend expertise in Perception, Insight, or Investigation.

Avatar of Justice - Do your eyes really dispel any darkness or can you see through any darkness - magical or not. Clarify this. Again how guilty is guilty? Any guilty party suffers blindness, okay. I am interpreting this as your GM is supposed to figure out how guilty the person(s?) is and mete out suitable punishment. Don't delegate that kind of responsibility. Your text needs to be as concise and as precise as you can get it to save everyone the hassle. Non-allied spellcasters are at disadvantage on concentration checks? That's fine. Please, anyone correct me but casters don't need to make con checks to cast spells in 5th edition unless their current environment demands it. Perhaps, “Enemy spellcasters within 30 feet of your location maintaining a spell by concentration must succeed on a Constitution save at disadvantage on each of their turns in order to keep the spell active.”

Radiant damage on attacks is fine, but increasing by one die category for a minute might be a bit OP. Maybe increase by 1die of damage instead(2d6 +1d6 radiant)?

Finally, “You gain advantage to all rolls against the wicked and immoral.” Ambiguous. This could mean anyone who isn't lawful and good. If that's the case, okay, but could be OP. It's a 20th level ability, so it should be good.

Again you have a great concept, but your vocabulary is still 3.X. Read your books and check with your GM. He or she should be able to point you in the right direction.

Good luck and good gaming

2017-03-25, 01:20 PM
Made changes as per your suggestions and hopefully cleared up my outdated vocabulary. Included a 'Guilt DC Table' that I hope will make that part of things clearer. Added modifiers that should hopefully reflect how guilty the target feels, and how likely they think they are to get away with it if they remain calm, affecting their DC. I'm personally proud of the 'Sociopath' modifier as Sociopaths in general don't feel guilt, but do intellectually understand when they perform actions against the law and/or commonly held morality.

The table should also be good for other scenarios where a guilty party needs to keep their cool to avoid giving themselves away. Heck, the table should be easily adjustable for any government setting, up to and including an evil empire searching for the subversive rebels. The 'Confront the Guilty' power simply forces the target into panic mode if they fail the initial save.

Edit: Also forgot to mention that the effect of Aura of Warding is something I lifted from a homebrew on the dandwiki called the Oath of Knowledge (https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Oath_of_Knowledge_(5e_Archetype)).

2017-03-27, 12:31 AM
Redid Crime DC table to better reflect 5e system.

2017-03-27, 06:19 PM

There is a paladin oath in here that you may want to look at. Not exactly what you have but it runs a close parallel.

2017-03-27, 11:02 PM

There is a paladin oath in here that you may want to look at. Not exactly what you have but it runs a close parallel.
That is pretty awesome! I may have to show that to my group later this week when we start making our characters.