Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of Devotion Paladin Build Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of Devotion Paladin Build Guide, I’m going to be covering my Paladin Build for Early Access, and showing you what I’ve found to work best. I’ll be doing more Build Guides at the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3, but for now, let’s look at how you can use an Oath of Devotion Paladin effectively in the first Act of the game.
Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Builds Features
- Abilities: Strength & Charisma
- Subclasses: Oath of Devotion, Oath of the Ancients, Oathbreaker
- Unique Feature: Channel Oath & Lay on Hands Charge
- Spells: Attack (Smite) & Support Spells
- Hit Die: +10 HP + CON Modifier per level
Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of Devotion Paladin Build Guide
The Oath of Devotion Paladin is what I would consider the most balanced compared to the other Subclasses. This is due to their versatility when it comes to dealing great damage while buffing and healing the party effectively. They do extremely well in the melee range and can definitely step up on behalf of Clerics and Druids. Additionally, these Paladins are hefty, allowing them to absorb damage on behalf of their allies.
Compared to the others, you can think of Oath of the Ancients as your “Druid Paladin” because they will eventually have Earth-related Spells like Speak with Animals and Ensnaring Strike (Ranged). While the Oathbreaker leans towards dealing Necrotic damage but is less of a team player. If you’re interested in playing as the traditional Paladin who excels in executing enemies up close and personal in addition to keeping allies alive and kicking, then the Oath of Devotion is the best Subclass for you!
Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of Devotion Paladin Character Creation
In this section, we’ll take a look at how to set up your Paladin during Character Creation for the best results. You don’t have to follow this to the letter, and this will likely change at the full launch of the game. However, this will hold you in good stead during Early Access.
For Background, I recommend taking any that provides Strength and Charisma Skills since these are your primary Abilities. So you can choose the Guild Artisan, Outlander, and Soldier as they grant Athletics together with Intimidation or Persuasion.
For Race, you’ll want to take a look at those that grant Strength, Charisma, and Constitution with Charisma as the Paladin’s Spellcasting Ability. As such, the first Race I highly recommend taking is the Zariel Tiefling, which provides you with +1 Strength and +2 Charisma even if you’ll only get +10 Wisdom. The reason is that when you reach Level 3, you’ll acquire the Legacy of Avernus: Searing Smite, which is stronger than the Paladin’s Searing Smite Spell. Instead of dealing an additional 1-6 Fire Damage, you’ll inflict +2-12 Fire Damage. Moreover, it doesn’t use a Spell Slot so you can keep casting this to your heart’s content.
As a Zariel Tiefling, you also gain Darkvision together with Hellish Resistance and the Thaumaturgy Cantrip. Hellish Resistance makes you resistant to taking Fire Damage, thereby cutting the damage by half, whereas Thaumaturgy grants an Advantage on Intimidation and Performance Checks.
The second Race to consider is the Drow Half-Elf due to their Ability Improvements Feature, allowing players to allocate +1 each to two Abilities while granting +2 Charisma. This is significant as it will give you the best starting Ability Point spread with +12 Wisdom even if you invest in Strength and Constitution. Additionally, you gain access to Darkvision to see and hit targets better in low-lit conditions as well as the Dancing Light Cantrip, which is beneficial for allies who can’t see well in the dark. And finally, there’s Fey Ancestry that grants a Saving Throw Advantage to reduce the chances of being Charmed and to avoid Sleeping entirely when cast with a Spell.
Lastly, if you’re leaning towards a more Tanky Paladin with a higher Constitution, then you may want to pick the Shield Dwarf with +2 Strength and +2 Constitution. You still get Darkvision and then Dwarven Resistance, which reduces Poison Damage by half. However, with this Race, you’ll only reach a maximum of +14 Charisma, meaning you’ll only be able to prepare 4 Spells or 1 less Spell compared to the Drow Half-Elf and Zariel Tiefling upon reaching Level 2. Your Charisma Modifier will therefore be lower so you won’t be able to land Spells as effectively but at the same time, you can opt to increase this Ability by +2 when you reach Level 4 with the Ability Improvement Feat.
Unlike in the Player’s Handbook where you choose the Paladin’s Subclass at Level 3, here in Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access, you’ll get to pick between Oath of Devotion and Oath of the Ancients at Character Creation. For Oath of Devotion, you gain Divine Sense and Lay on Hands. Divine Sense is a Bonus Action that grants an Advantage on Attack Rolls against specific enemies such as the Undead and Fiends. Lay on Hands is more versatile than Cure Wounds since it gives the option to heal allies or cure them from conditions like poison.
This Subclass can make use of Holy Rebuke on an ally who is in danger for 1 Channel Oath Charge. Holy Rebuke imbues an aura, which will allow them to retaliate by dealing 1-4 Radiant Damage against enemies who attack them at point-blank range.
For Skills, you can select the other Charisma Skills not present in the Background you’ve chosen such as Intimidation or Persuasion.
Your primary Abilities as a Paladin are Strength and Charisma, with the latter determining the effectiveness of your Spells. For this reason, you’ll want to invest 16 points into both of them unless you’ve taken the Shield Dwarf Race. Other than that, Constitution is the Ability to gain higher HP and to maintain Concentration for Spells that require it. You can then add points into Wisdom as your Saving Throw. Additionally, keeping Dexterity at 10 is fine since you’ll be wearing Heavy Armor, which doesn’t account for Dexterity Modifier bonuses so your AC will continue to be high. In conclusion, your Ability Spread should look something like this:
Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of Devotion Paladin Level 2
At Level 2, regardless of Subclass, you’ll gain access to similar Fighting Styles, Paladin Features, and Spells.
Divine Smite and Spells
Choosing to become a Paladin comes with certain strengths and among them include the Smite Spells. Starting off with Divine Smite, you’ll be able to deal an additional 2-16 Radiant Damage on top of your Melee Weapon Damage together with an extra 1-8 Damage against Fiends and the Undead!
In terms of Spells, you can generally cast 4-5 of them based on the Race you’ve chosen in Character Creation. Similar to Wizards, Paladins need to Prepare Spells before using them. The two must-have Spells are Compelled Duel and Divine Favour. You can then choose Cure Wounds, Thunderous Smite, and Bless based on your Subclass as well as party composition. You’ll notice that Compelled Duel and Divine Favour both require Concentration for the respective effects to persist.
Concentration can be broken if you cast another Spell that requires Concentration. So for example, if you cast Compelled Duel on an enemy, but then cast Divine Favour, you would stop “Concentrating” on Compelled Duel and begin Concentrating on Divine Favour. But, that is not the only way Concentration can be broken. If you take damage while Concentrating on a Spell, you must make a Constitution Saving Throw, and if you fail, the effect of that Spell ends. Should you succeed in your Saving Throw, however, then you maintain your Concentration and the Spell continues. This is why it is important for Paladins to have high Constitution, because they have Spells that require Concentration and they are wasted if it’s constantly broken.
In terms of strategy, you can choose between casting Compelled Duel or Divine Favour depending on your focus. Compelled Duel is a classic taunt Bonus Action that will let you command a target to attack you instead so if there’s a pesky enemy on the horizon, it’s best to cast this on them to protect your allies. Comparatively, Divine Favour is another Bonus Action, which imbues Melee and Ranged Weapon Attacks with 1-4 extra Radiant Damage.
This is huge, especially when combined with Divine Smite against a target with high HP but remember that you’ll end up using all 2 Level 1 Spell Slots in a single turn. In total, you’ll be able to stack the damage from your Melee Weapon, Divine Favour, and Divine Smite.
If you don’t have a Cleric or Shadowheart in the party, I suggest selecting Bless, otherwise, you won’t be able to make use of Compelled Duel or Divine Favour that much since Bless also requires Concentration and is in effect for at most 10 turns.
Next, Cure Wounds is especially good for Oath of Devotion as it gives another option to heal allies whereas Thunderous Smite lets you push back an enemy to make them Prone while dealing additional 2-12 Thunder Damage. But remember that casting Thunderous Smite as well as Searing and Wrathful Smite consume a Bonus Action and Action so you need to avoid performing other Bonus Actions to be able to use them in a turn.
Next is the Fighting Style. For this Paladin Build, you’re better off picking Duelling as it provides you with a +2 Damage Roll Bonus when your setup is that of a One-Handed Melee Weapon and Shield. You’ll want to keep a Shield to boost your AC by +2 in order to effectively tank damage.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Level 3
At Level 3, you gain access to several Oath of Devotion Features, namely Turn the Unholy, Sacred Weapon, Sanctuary, and Protection from Evil and Good, the latter of which you already know. Turn the Unholy will probably be effective at higher levels as you fight against more Fiends and the Undead to incapacitate them. During their turn, they’ll only be able to perform Dash.
Sacred Weapon, which significantly improves your hit chances by adding your high Charisma Modifier to Attack Rolls while lighting up your Weapon. Last but not least is Sanctuary, which lasts for 10 turns. This lets you save or protect an ally since they won’t get targeted unless they attack first. The only exception is being hit by an AoE Spell so it’s best if they’re separated from the party.
In terms of Spells, you can pick Wrathful Smite to deal extra 1-6 Psychic Damage with a chance of Frightening your target to prevent them from moving toward you.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Level 4
At Level 4, you can opt to go with the Ability Improvement Feat to place 2 points into Charisma, given the volume of Spells you’ll cast. Doing so will improve your chances of hitting enemies with them and dealing greater damage.
Since you’ll gain another Spell Slot, you can wait for Level 5 when Level 2 Spells become available.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Level 5
At Level 5, you gain Extra Attack, which as the name implies, lets you perform another Weapon Attack in a single turn without cost. This is a super fun feature for Martial Classes because it can kill targets effectively.
You also get 2 more Spell Slots on top of Level 2 Spells! It’s good to take Magic Weapon and Silence. Magic Weapon grants a +1 bonus each to your Attack and Damage Rolls whereas Silence prevents everyone within the AoE from casting Spells. Additionally, you won’t need to prepare Branding Smite if you’re a Zariel Tiefling because you’ll again be given the Legacy of Avernus: Branding Smite. Similar to Legacy of Avernus: Searing Smite, you won’t spend your Level 2 Spell Slot for this one.
When it comes to the Oath of Devotion Paladin’s Equipment, you’d want to go for the One-Handed Weapon and Shield setup. For the Weapon, it’s good to pick between the Shortsword of First Blood from the Underdark. Shortsword of First Blood will deal extra 1-8 Piercing Damage against targets who still have max HP. It can then be paired with the Glowing Shield, which gives temporary HP when your HP is below 50%.
In terms of Heavy Armor, your choices in Early Access are limited but they let you allocate points to other Abilities. You can get your hands on the Chain Mail by defeating Lurgan in the Underdark. With the One-Handed Weapon and Shield, your AC stays at 18. You’ll be able to improve AC to 19 if you wear the Adamantine Splint Armor from Grymforge.
For Accessories, you’ll want to take Absolute’s Talisman and Haste Helm. Since you’ll be absorbing damage, there’s a higher chance of hitting less than 25% HP. If this happens, you automatically regain 1-8 HP the moment you deal damage. Meanwhile, Haste Helm increases your Movement Speed by 3m for 3 turns at the start of every encounter. This is important considering that you’ll often be positioned in the melee range.
If you have another Paladin in the party, and you both wish to cast Concentration Spells, don’t worry since neither of you will cancel them out. For example, if player A casts Bless and then player B decides to activate Shield of Faith, they will both be retained. Canceling out Concentration Spells only happens if you intend to cast two of them yourself.
An alternative to Shortsword of First Blood is the Battleaxe +1. Although the Battleaxe has lower Slashing Damage at 7-14 per hit thanks to Duelling, it provides 2 powerful Weapon Actions, namely, Cleave and Lacerate. Remember to activate Lacerate instead of Main Hand Attack, since not only will you deal the same amount of damage, you have a chance to inflict Bleeding. This is best used against a special target since it’ll require you to take a Short Rest afterward. Now in terms of Ranged Weapons, you can equip a Bow but note that you won’t be effective from afar due to your low Dexterity. So it’s ideal to pair up with Ranged Damage Dealers like Wizards and Warlocks to inflict the most carnage.
Lastly, to dominate the field against high HP foes and spellcasters, you can start by executing 2 Actions, which should be Weapon Attacks to trigger Extra Attack. Divine Smite and Lacerate are acceptable but note that activating Divine Smite twice in the same turn is the better option as long as you have enough Spell Slots. You can then cast Silence in the next round, or use it first before taking advantage of your Extra Attack.
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