Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin build guide – race, subclass, BG3 skills

Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin build guide – race, subclass, BG3 skills
Antony Terence Updated on by

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Looking for a powerful Paladin build in Baldur’s Gate 3? Players have been using the Paladin class to deal impressive amounts of damage to foes while healing their party members. They’re a powerful class whose Charisma also lets them tackle conversations with ease.

If you prefer a stealthier approach, consider our best Baldur’s Gate 3 Rogue build guide. And if you’re in the mood for some spell-slinging, this best Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock build has you covered. And with that, let’s see why Paladins are so revered in the D&D Forgotten Realms with the game nearing its PS5 release.

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour stands in the level up view in the game.

Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin build – Oath of Vengeance

Paladins are tanky fighters who can take hits and deal solid damage while also keeping the party safe with heals and defensive spells. Remember that each Paladin is sworn to a sacred oath. For instance, the Oath of Vengeance must prioritize the ideals of Fight the Greater Evil and No Mercy for the Wicked. This means that breaking your oath will change your subclass entirely. Some players do this intentionally to unlock powerful new features and skills.

While the primary stat of a Paladin is Strength, they also have access to very high Charisma. This makes them great with conversations and combat alike. 

Here are the proficiencies available to the Paladin class in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Armor Proficiency – Heavy Armour
  • Weapon Proficiency – Martial and Simple weapons
  • Paladin Skill Proficiencies – Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion
  • Saving Throws – Wisdom, Charisma

Paladins have access to every single weapon type in the game, making them incredibly versatile. Equipping heavy weapons like the Greatsword or Greataxe will let you deal massive damage to enemies. Heavy Armour raises your Armour Class over other classes, making you harder to hit.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin features explained

Here are the features of the Paladin class in BG3:

  • Divine Smite – You can expend spell slots to deal additional radiant damage on a successful melee attack. Perfect against undead enemies like the shadows in the beginning of Act 2.
  • Divine Health – The divine magic flowing within you prevents disease from affecting you. 
  • Abjure Enemy (Oath of Vengeance) – Frighten an enemy, Fiends and undead have Disadvantage on this Saving Throw.
  • Vow of Enmity (Oath of Vengeance) – Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against an enemy.
Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour stands ready to attack in the game next to a Bard.

Best race for a Paladin

While races no longer affect Ability Scores, racial traits can still give you the upper hand as you explore the world of Faerun. We recommend the Half-Orc and Dragonborn races if you’re going to pick the Paladin class in BG3. Tieflings are also a good bet, especially the Zariel Tiefling subrace for Hellish Resistance. Here’s what they bring to the table:

  • Half-Orc – This is a good pick because of Relentless Endurance. This trait protects you from death once, instead dropping you to 1 health. Savage Attack offers extra damage potential and Darkvision helps while playing in dark areas like Baldur’s Gate 3 Underdark.
  • Dragonborn – Unique elemental resistances and your Breath Weapon attack add extra oomph to your Paladin’s Divine Smites. 

Best background for a Paladin

Here are the backgrounds we recommend for a Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Noble: Proficiency in History and Persuasion. Great because Persuasion depends on Charisma.  Here’s the background’s official in-game description: “You were raised in a family among the social elite, accustomed to power and privilege. Accumulating renown, power, and loyalty will raise your status.”
  • Guild Artisan: Proficiency in Insight and Persuasion. Another good pick because Persuasion is tied to Charisma. Here’s the background’s official in-game description: “Your skill in a particular craft has earned you membership in a mercantile guild, offering privileges and protection while engaging in your art. Repairing and discovering rare crafts will bring new inspiration.”
  • Charlatan: Proficiency in Deception and Sleight of Hand. While Paladins tend to be straightforward, there’s no harm in using your high Charisma to get things done your way. Here’s the background’s official in-game description: “You’re an expert in manipulation, prone to exaggeration and more than happy to profit from it. Bending the truth and turning allies against each other will bring you success down the road.”

Paladin Ability Score

Here are the ability scores we recommend for a Paladin in BG3:

  • Strength (Str) – 16
  • Dexterity (Dex) – 10
  • Constitution (Con) – 14
  • Intelligence (Int) – 8
  • Wisdom (Wis) – 10
  • Charisma (Cha) – 16
Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour casting Lay on Hands in the game.

Best Feats for a Paladin

Here are the best feats for a Paladin:

  • Ability Improvement: Use these two ability points to raise your Strength or Charisma.
  • Great Weapon Master: Grants +10 damage with a -5 to a damage roll for the odds of hitting an enemy. Boosted damage at the cost of accuracy is a good option, particularly since it can be toggled on and off. When a melee attack scores a critical hit or kills a creature, you can also make another melee attack as a bonus action.
  • Alert: Helps with Initiative, letting you start attacking at the beginning of a round. Also, it prevents you from being surprised by enemy ambushes.

Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Subclass

Here are all the subclass options for a Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Oathbreaker: This subclass lets you control undead and gain new damage-focused abilities. You need to break your oath by killing an innocent to access this class.
  • Oath of the Ancients: You get access to spells and abilities that are based in nature.
  • Oath of Devotion: Pick this subclass if you’re looking to support your party with potent heals and radiant damage.
  • Oath of Vengeance: Bonus damage while tracking down enemies. This subclass is built around a strong drive for justice.

We recommend the Oath of Vengeance subclass as it lets you prioritize targets for massive single-target damage. Note that this subclass does not have heals as potent as the ones offered by the Oath of Devotion. But their high health (HP) should let them tank most hits.

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour stands in the level up view in the game.

Best BG3 Paladin equipment

Here is the best equipment for a Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength: Strength Saving Throw +1; Increases the wearer’s Strength to 23
  • Killer’s Sweetheart: When you kill any creature, your next Attack Roll will be a Critical Hit. Once spent in combat, this effect refreshes after a Long Rest.
  • Balduran’s Giantslayer: On a hit, double the attack damage from your Strength Modifier. This weapon grants you an Advantage on Attack Rolls against Large, Huge, or Gargantuan creatures. Perfect for monsters, then. Weapon Enchantment +3. Giant Form (Class Action)
  • Helm of Balduran: The helmet heals you 2 hit points at the beginning of every turn in combat. You have a + 1 bonus to your Armor Class and Saving Throws. You can’t be Stunned. Attackers can’t land Critical Hits on the wearer.
  • Vivacious Cloak: You gain 7 temporary hit points after casting a spell while in melee.
  • Ring Of Regeneration: At the beginning of your turn, the ring activates to heal you 1d4 Hit Points.
  • Helldusk Armour: You’re considered Proficient with this armor while wearing it. When you succeed a Saving Throw, the caster receives Burning for 3 rounds. You have resistance to Fire Damage and cannot be Burned. You take 3 less damage from all sources.

Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin Build explained – Oath of Vengeance

Here’s a detailed guide on the decisions you’ll need to take as an Oath of Vengeance Paladin to optimize your build.

Level 1 – 4

Once you pick the Paladin class, here are the options you’ll have in level 1:

  • Channel Oath Charges: These are a Paladin-specific resource that allows the casting of spells and abilities.
  • Lay on Hands: Use your blessed touch to heal a creature or cure it of all diseases and poisons. It’s an effective heal that also helps with poison.
  • Divine Sense: Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against celestials, fiends, and undead.
  • Inquisitor’s Might: You or an ally’s weapon attacks deal an additional 2 Radiant damage and can Daze enemies for 1 turn.

Initially, all you’ll do is swing your sword and add Inquisitor’s Might to it. At level 2, things open up a bit. You get five prepared spells and Divine Smite. Your Paladin can also pick from the following Fighting Styles:

  • Defense: +1 to Armor Class while wearing any kind of armor.
  • Dueling: When wielding a melee weapon that is not two-handed or versatile in one hand, deal bonus two damage with that weapon.
  • Great Weapon Fighting: When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die with any two-handed melee weapon, that die can be rerolled once.
  • Protection: When you have a shield, cause a Disadvantage on an attack against your allies when you are within 1.5m. 

We recommend Great Weapon Fighting as you can boost your damage output. And you’ll mostly use double-handed weapons to maximize damage anyway.

Here are the prepared spells we recommend for a level 2 Paladin in the game:

  • Searing Smite: Your Weapon deals an extra 1d6 Fire damage and marks the target with Searing Smite. They take 1d6 Fire damage every turn until they succeed on a Constitution saving throw.
  • Thunderous Smite: Your weapon rings with thunder as you strike, pushing your target 3m away and possibly knocking it Prone. Great for shoving enemies off cliffs.
  • Divine Favor: Your weapon attacks deal an additional 1d4 Radiant Damage. Perfect against undead.
  • Cure Wounds: Touch a creature to heal it.
  • Shield of Faith: Surround a creature with a shimmering field of magic that increases its Armour Class by 2. Use this right before combat.
Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour stands in the level up view in the game with a spell highlighted.

You don’t have a lot of spell slots at first so try not to Divine Smite every creature you see. At level 3, you get another level 1 spell slot and a prepared spell slot. You can pick between Bless and Command. We suggest the latter as it’s a versatile spell. Seeing an enemy dropping prone gives you a great feeling. You also gain Divine Health, a passive that protects you from diseases. Here are the other bonuses a Paladin gets at level 3:

  • Abjure Enemy: Frighten an enemy. They’ll be easier to hit and cannot move. Fiends and undead have Disadvantage on this Saving Throw.
  • Vow of Enmity: Gain Advantage on Attack Rolls against an enemy.
  • Receives Bane: Up to 3 creatures receive a -1d4 penalty to Attack Rolls and Saving Throws. This makes enemies more likely to miss swings and shots.
  • Receives Hunter’s Mark: Mark a creature as your quarry to deal an additional 1d6 Slashing Damage whenever you hit it with a weapon attack. If the target dies before the spell ends, you can mark a new creature without expanding a Spell Slot.

Level 3 is when the Paladin gets to juggle between buffs, defenses, attacks, and burst damage. And at level 4, you get access to Baldur’s Gate 3 feats. A basic Ability Improvement that adds a +2 to Strength will let you hit harder against your enemies. You get another spell and Protection from Evil and Good is a good option. The target can’t be Charmed, Frightened, or possessed by certain creatures, and when these creatures attack it, they do so with a disadvantage. It’ll also come in handy in the Baldur’s Gate 3 Save Mayrina quest.

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build: An image of a Half-Orc Paladin wearing armour stands in the feats view of the game.

Level 5 – 8

Level 5 opens up the Oath of Vengeance Paladin even more with more spell slots, another prepared spell, and an extra attack. You also get access to two subclass spells:

  • Hold Person: Hold a humanoid enemy still. They can’t move, act or react. Attacks from within 3m are always Critical Hits.
  • Misty Step: Surrounded by silver mist, you teleport to an unoccupied space you can see.

As for the new spell, pick Branding Smite. It deals 2d6 radiant damage and Possibly marks your target with light, preventing it from turning Invisible. This one’s useful against annoying enemies like Auntie Ethel and Baldur’s Gate 3 Lady Esther. Level six brings in Aura of Protection and another prepared spell. I suggest Magic Weapon. Here’s what these spells offer to Paladin players:

  • Aura of Protection: You and nearby allies gain a bonus to Saving Throws equal to your Charisma modifier.
  • Magic Weapon: Infuse a weapon with arcane energy. The weapon becomes magical, receiving a +1 bonus to Attack and Damage Rolls. Note that this needs concentration.

At Level 7, your Paladin should see a sizable improvement in positioning thanks to Relentless Avenger. This feature increases your movement by 4.5m when you land an Opportunity Attack on a moving enemy. Relentless Avenger lets you catch foes unaware and deal damage before moving to another location or pursuing them. As for the new level 3 spell, pick Lesser Restoration as it can cure creatures from disease, poison, paralysis, or blindness. It’s a shame that you can’t use it to fix people turned to stone like the ones in the Underdark.

Level 8 brings another feat and we recommend Great Weapon Master. As for the spell, consider Compelled Duel. Compel an enemy to attack only you, directing pressure away from weaker allies.

Level 9 – 12

Level 9 brings two more level 3 spell slots and two subclass spells for the Oath of Vengeance Paladin. Here are the subclass spells:

  • Haste – Target yourself or an ally to become Hastened. The creature has a +2 bonus to Armour Class, Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws, its Movement Speed is doubled, and can take one additional Action per turn. When the condition ends, the creature becomes Lethargic. If you use Haste or a Potion of Speed, you can deal massive damage across your foes with an additional turn. 
  • Protection from Energy: Raises the caster’s resistances to every energy type. It’s a situational skill that can save your life against some bosses.

And here are the level 3 spells we recommend for a level 9 Paladin:

  • Blinding Smite: +3d8 radiant damage and possibly Blind your target. Being able to blind your target lets you focus on other targets and clear the battlefield quickly.\
  • Elemental Weapon: Imbue a weapon with elemental power. It receives a +1 bonus to Attack Rolls, and deals an additional 1d4 damage of your choice. Drop Compelled Duel and get this instead.

At level 10, the Paladin gets a Lay on Hands charge, Aura of Courage, and Revivify. As long as you stay conscious, Aura of Courage gives nearby allies protection from being frightened. Reviviy is another great option to have during difficult encounters.

Level 11 and 12 aren’t too impactful as a Paladin so we recommend multiclassing into another offensive-focused class. The Barbarian’s Rage ability or the Fighter’s Action Surge are good options. Here’s how to multiclass in Baldur’s Gate 3.

That covers all you need for a solid Baldur’s Gate 3 Paladin build. Take your newfound powers for a spin as you look for Baldur’s Gate 3 Nightsong in Act 2. And here’s what you can do alongside the enigmatic Baldur’s Gate 3 Guardian on PC and PlayStation 5.

Here’s our exhaustive Baldur’s Gate 3 review for more on the game. Here are some Baldur’s Gate 3 cheats to spice up your next gameplay session. If you want something more secure, check out our best Baldur’s Gate 3 mods that influence a great deal in the game.

What is the best Paladin subclass BG3?

The Oath of Vengeance is the best Paladin subclass in BG3.

What is the best weapon for a Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3?

The best weapon for a Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3 is Balduran’s Giantslayer.