Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of the Ancients Paladin Build Guide – In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of the Ancients 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 the Ancients 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 the Ancients Paladin Build Guide
The Oath of the Ancients Paladin is the “Druid” version of this Class due to their strong affinity with nature. They can communicate with creatures thanks to Speak with Animals, and have several Spells focused on trapping enemies, making it possible to gang up on them. This Subclass becomes very strong upon reaching Level 5 due to Moonbeam as well as Branding Smite, allowing them to deal considerable damage.
Comparatively, Oath of Devotion is your traditional Paladin who deals sufficient damage while saving allies from the brink of death whereas the Oathbreaker leans toward inflicting harm more than anything else.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of the Ancients 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.
At Character Character, you get to choose between the Oath of Devotion and the Oath of the Ancients. For Oath of the Ancients, 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 makes use of a powerful healing Spell called Healing Radiance that can save the entire party. You and nearby allies receive 20 HP after casting it and will then take another 20 HP in the next round all for 1 Channel Oath Charge. It’s a great alternative to Lay on Hands, which is limited to a single target. What’s more, is that unlike Oath of Devotion’s Holy Rebuke, Healing Radiance is a Bonus Action so you can still attack in the same turn.
Not sure if this is a bug since it’s not defined in the Spell but currently, you’re also able to activate this Class Action to cancel the Silence condition cast by your enemy. Just be sure that that same enemy will be targeted by Healing Radiance to do so. Should one of your allies cast Silence, your Concentration would still be maintained.
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 but your AC will continue to be high. In conclusion, your Ability Spread should look something like this:
Baldur’s Gate 3 Oath of the Ancients 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! This is huge at lower levels even with just the extra 2-16 Radiant Damage when fighting other enemy types, especially when you wield the Battleaxe +1. With this One-Handed Weapon, your damage can range from 9-30 in total!
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 Thunderous Smite and then Bless based on your party composition. You’ll notice that Compelled Duel, Divine Favour, and Bless 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.
Since you gain the same set of Spells as the Oath of Devotion Paladin, the strategy will remain the same. 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 so if there’s a pesky enemy on the horizon, it’s best to cast this on them to protect your allies. It’s going to be easier to survive taking damage since you’ll be wielding the Shield and you have healing Spells like Lay on Hands and Healing Radiance. Comparatively, Divine Favour is another Bonus Action, which imbues Melee and Ranged Weapon Attacks with 1-4 extra Radiant Damage.
This is really good, 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. If you do, then it’s probably not a great decision to take since you’ll already use Concentration on Compelled Duel and Divine Favour.
Next, you can pick Thunderous Smite, which 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 single 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 the Ancients Features, namely Turn the Faithless, Ensnaring Strike, Nature’s Wrath, and Speak with Animals, the latter of which is self-explanatory. Turn the Faithless is similar to Oath of Devotion’s Turn the Unholy except that you’ll incapacitate Fey and Fiends. Doing so will only allow them to perform Dash.
Here’s where it gets interesting because as the Oath of the Ancients Paladin, you get 2 options to immobilize your target, either through Ensnaring Strike, which can be done up close or from a distance, or Nature’s Wrath. Both of these will grant an Advantage on Attack Rolls made by you and your allies against the enemy while in turn, they’ll incur a Disadvantage on their Attack Rolls and Dexterity Saving Throws. It means that you’re more likely to hit them whereas they won’t be able to damage your allies that well.
You’ll want to use Nature’s Wrath if you’re Concentrating on another Spell since it doesn’t require Concentration, unlike Ensnaring Strike. The Class Action will just make use of 1 Channel Oath Charge, which is replenished after every Short Rest. Meanwhile, Ensnaring Strike is stronger between the two since it initially deals 3-8 Damage plus 1-6 Piercing Damage over time, so long as the enemy fails their Strength Saving Throws or is Helped by another comrade. As such, you’ll want to preserve this for a dangerous target.
It can also be cast from a distance using your Bow. Now the Spell’s DC for your Charisma Modifier so the higher this is, the harder it is for the enemy to succeed in their Saving Throw.
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.
You’ll gain another Spell Slot here but you can opt to 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 for your Subclass, specifically Misty Step and Moonbeam. Misty Step is an amazing teleportation Spell that lets you move from one area to the next in order to get closer to your targets or heal allies who are far away from you. Meanwhile, Moonbeam deals 2-20 Radiant Damage that persists for as much as 10 turns, harming any enemy who moves into its AoE. What’s cool about Moonbeam is you only need to spend an Action to increase the AoE to 18m.
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 be spending your Level 2 Spell Slot upon cast. You’ll want to use this over Divine Smite to prevent your target from going Invisible like in the fight against duergars in the Underdark.
When it comes to the Oath of the Ancients Paladin’s Equipment, you’d want to go for the One-Handed Weapon and Shield setup based on your Duelling Fighting Style. For the Weapon, it’s good to pick the Battleaxe +1. Battleaxe +1 deals 7-16 Damage together with 2 good Weapon Actions such as Cleave and Lacerate. Be sure to activate Lacerate instead of Main Hand Attack, since not only will you deal the same amount of damage, but you also have a chance to inflict Bleeding. 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 that are not Dexterity. You can get your hands on the Chain Mail Armor by defeating Lurgan in the Underdark. With the One-Handed Weapon and Shield, your AC stays at 18. You’ll be able to increase 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.
As an Oath of the Ancients Paladin, you’ll have several powerful Spells like Ensnaring Strike together with Moonbeam and Branding Smite that all require Concentration. Since you’re going to stay in the melee range most of the time, there’s a high chance you’ll always get damaged by enemies, forcing you to make Constitution Saving Throws. If you’re constantly failing in these rolls, then you may want to consider allocating 2 points from the Ability Improvement Feat at Level 4 to Constitution instead. Doing so will increase your Constitution Modifier to +3, which effectively elevates your chances of success for these Saving Throws.
Ensnaring Strike is similar to the other Smite Spells in the sense that it uses up your Bonus Action, Action, and Spell Slot all in one turn. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t perform any Bonus Actions beforehand. Additionally, you’ll want to consider including Wyll in the party. This would be beneficial because he can cast Hex (Strength) against the target affected by Ensnaring Strike. As such, they’ll have a harder time successfully rolling a Strength Saving Throw, thereby lengthening the effects of Ensnare.
Moreover, Hex (Strength) can also be used for Nature’s Wrath, especially in the context of pinning down a target for Moonbeam. Not only will you Restrain them in the same location as Moonbeam’s AoE, but they’ll also take 2-20 Radiant Damage per turn, as a result. So they’re trapped until they die as long as you maintain Concentration.
Lastly, an alternative to Battleaxe +1 is the Shortsword of First Blood if you’re going to keep damaging full-health enemies. With Divine Smite, you’ll deal 9-35 Damage. Otherwise, you’re better off with the Battleaxe +1, which deals 9-30 Damage regardless of your target’s HP, since it’s the more reliable Weapon of the two.
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