D&D 5e Paladin multiclassing image by Wizards of the Coast in Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica.
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I’ve sworn an oath to help you with your Paladin multiclassing concepts! Welcome to Flutes’ exhaustive guide for Paladin multiclassing character builds. Multiclassing is daunting for new players, but rewarding for experienced players. Many classes benefit more from multiclassing than from investing twenty levels in a single class. Aside from optimization, multiclassing allows you to bring unique characters to life with outside-the-box specialties. Multiclassing can be useful for roleplaying as well, so it’s not merely for min-max-style players.
Some Paladin multiclass concepts involve Paladin as the primary class with the majority of the levels. Other concepts will include the Paladin as a secondary class with a minority of level investment. The secondary class may be referred to as a “dip” into that class if the concept only needs 1-3 levels in the second class. Being a secondary class does not mean a character won’t start at level one as that class; some classes get more armor and hitpoints at level one.
Paladin Multiclassing Quicklinks by Subclass (skip ahead)
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General Notes on Paladin Multiclassing
Don’t forget that multiclassing requires minimum ability scores in both new and prior classes (as described on page 163 of the PHB, or page 54 of Eberron RftLW for Artificers). For example, if you are a Cleric multiclassing as a Rogue, you’ll need a Wisdom score of 13 or higher, and a Dexterity score of 13 or higher.
Class Ability Score Minimums:
- Artificer – Intelligence 13
- Barbarian – Strength 13
- Bard – Charisma 13
- Cleric – Wisdom 13
- Druid – Wisdom 13
- Fighter – Strength 13 or Dexterity 13
- Monk – Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
- Paladin – Strength 13 and Charisma 13
- Ranger – Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
- Rogue – Dexterity 13
- Sorcerer – Charisma 13
- Warlock – Charisma 13
- Wizard – Intelligence 13
Dipping 1-2 Levels to/from Paladin
As mentioned earlier, dipping one or two levels can be enough to justify multiclassing. Let’s review which combinations get enough value from dipping and don’t require extensive multiclassing.
Which classes have the best reasons to dip into Paladin?
Clerics might want two levels of Paladin so they can acquire Divine Smite, but not all Cleric builds will be equipped to capitalize on smiting. Most other classes would prefer to multiclass with Fighter or Barbarian. Why? Because the best Paladin features arrive with their auras at levels six and seven. For this reason, Paladins are usually poor for multiclass dipping. They require more investment to be worth it.
Which classes do Paladins want for multiclass dips?
Hexblade Warlock, anyone? Paladins love to discard their MAD label to embrace Charisma domination. If not Hexblade, several other Warlock subclasses make excellent dips. Bards and Sorcerers can be helpful multiclass dips for Paladins because of their spellcasting benefits, but they tend to pale in comparison to the Warlock. Paladins don’t usually get access to critical spells like Shield, so these spellcasting character options are mighty tempting.
Paladins don’t always want to concentrate on spells; they might prefer using spell slots for smiting (for better or worse). For this reason, dipping Barbarian can be helpful for Rage and Reckless Attack. Fighter can also be helpful for improving martial prowess.
Getting Sorcerer Metamagic will allow you to cast Booming Blade as a bonus action and an action to double up dealing big damage for a nova round.
How to Roleplay When Your Paladin Multiclasses
Not all level-twenty abilities are worth getting; for example, Rangers have a poor level-twenty class feature, so they gain more from multiclassing. Other classes like Druid and Paladin have excellent level-twenty abilities. I typically shy away from recommending multiclass if they’re a character’s core class. The exception would be if I have a fun concept or I want to focus on lower levels of play; after all, most campaigns end by level ten. Several of my recommendations are thematically cool or unusually unique to D&D.
Most players don’t foreshadow or roleplay their core class features anyway, so why should it be so difficult to justify what you gain from multiclassing? Just because you’re not sticking with a single class doesn’t mean you should feel more excessively burdened than other characters to narrate your character’s progress. You could treat the multiclassing as a mere mechanical change. You don’t have to suddenly tell people that you’re two classes. Pretend your core class has something different about it that is justified by multiclassing.
Paladin Multiclass Recommendations by Subclass
I’ll now go through each Paladin subclass to list ideas for multiclassing. Some of them will be for fun and others will be for optimal character builds.
Ancients Paladin Subclass (PHB)
- Ensnaring Strike, Speak with Animals
- Moonbeam, Misty Step
- Plant Growth, Protection from Energy
- Ice Storm, Stoneskin
- Commune with Nature, Tree Stride
Summary of subclass features: Restrain an enemy with spectral vines. Turn fey and fiends on a failed Wisdom saving throw for one minute or until they take damage. Allies in your aura resist damage from spells. Old age doesn’t hinder you, and you can’t be aged magically. You can choose to stay at one hitpoint once when you’d be reduced to zero hitpoints. Transform as an action into a nature champion for one minute to gain the following benefits: regain ten hitpoints at the start of your turn, cast Paladin spells as a bonus action instead of action, and inflict disadvantage on the enemy’s saving throws against your Paladin spells and Channel Divinity while they’re within ten feet of you.
Ancients Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Wild Magic Sorcerer (10) / Wild Magic Barbarian (3) / Ancients Paladin (7)
Your wild magical energies give you resistance to damage from spells like an arcane barrier. Maybe your skin has moth-like dust that douses magic. Divine Smite will be fun with your Sorcerer spell slots.
Divine Soul Sorcerer (11) / Ancients Paladin (7) / Hexblade Warlock (2)
Nature is the ultimate ancient, and you are its champion. With the help of your ancient weapon, you uphold joy and laughter in the world (while dealing plenty of damage). You get the typical power boosts from Warlock and Sorcerer while gaining some fun defensive abilities.
Conquest Paladin Subclass (XGtE)
- Command, Armor of Agathys
- Hold Person, Spiritual Weapon
- Bestow Curse, Fear
- Dominate Beast, Stoneskin
- Cloudkill, Dominate Person
Summary of subclass features: Frighten enemies and improve your accuracy. Freeze enemy movement and harm them psychically when they’re frightened of you in your aura. Deal Charisma damage to anyone harming you with attacks. Transform for one minute to resist damage, crit more, and gain an additional attack.
Conquest Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
War Cleric (15) / Oath of Conquest Paladin (5)
It’s smiting time again, but this is one of the best Cleric Domains for it. War Clerics can make an additional attack as a bonus action. Get Extra Attack and an aura from the Paladin levels, and you’ll be set. The theme is strong as well.
You can reverse this recommendation to focus on the Conquest Paladin as the primary class. If you want to do that, I’d go 19 Paladin and 1 War Cleric. It’s worth it to gain a bonus action to attack again. The one level of War Cleric pays dividends immediately. You could also include a level of Hexblade Warlock so your weapon attacks can be based on Charisma instead of Strength. You may not need this multiclass if you are already utilizing your bonus action.
Berserker Barbarian (10) / Conquest Paladin (10)
This is super gimmicky, but I figured out that there is a cool combination here. The Berserker’s level-ten ability is Intimidating Presence. It can be used as much as you want, but not on the same creature after it passes the saving throw before 24 hours goes by. The Conquest Paladin thrives on fear, emanating an aura that causes frightened creatures to have zero speed while taking psychic damage. Use your Intimidating Presence to frighten someone, then stand ten feet away while using your action to perpetuate Intimidating Presence.
Any foe that lacks ranged attacks or spells will probably die just from you slowly chipping away at their hitpoints with psychic damage from your aura while they’re frightened. Since the Berserker Barbarian isn’t a great class, I might only try this for a high-level adventure as a one-shot.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (12) / Conquest Paladin (8)
Gloom Stalkers are creepy already, and Conquest Paladins may serve a dark deity. Lore also fits here. Where Gloom Stalkers hope to vanquish threats totally before they come to light, which is similar to the conquest mindset: it’s not enough to defeat an enemy. Shatter their will to fight forever.
Aside from the cool flavor, Gloom Stalkers get an additional attack at the beginning of combat. Combine this with Conquest’s ability to add +10 to an attack roll, and you’re sure to not waste your abilities.
Gloom Stalkers should focus on weapon attacks over casting spells, so use those spell slots for extra Smite damage.
Archfey Warlock (3) / Conquest Paladin (17)
This character has a beguiling power as a Warlock that pairs well with the Paladin’s Aura of Conquest. Give the scary Conquest Paladin a fey-like twist. Make sure you invest in enough Charisma to use your auras and spellcasting DCs effectively. The two Warlock levels are important for Invocations.
Undead Warlock (3) / Conquest Paladin (17)
Use the Frightened condition with your Form of Dread, and immobilize the scaredy cats with your Aura of Conquest. You gain the usual Warlock dip benefits, like Eldritch Blast, Invocations, and additional spell slots. You can truly become a dread knight with this build! I love the Conquest Paladin, so I appreciate multiclass ideas that feed into its fear tactics.
Crown Paladin Subclass (SCAG)
- Command, Compelled Duel
- Zone of Truth, Warding Bond
- Aura of Vitality, Spirit Guardians
- Banishment, Guardian of Faith
- Circle of Power, Geas
Summary of subclass features: Compel enemies to remain within 30 feet of you when they fail a Wisdom save. Heal nearby allies as a bonus action when they’re below half their hitpoints. React to take damage for an ally within five feet of you when they would be harmed. Advantage to save against stun and paralysis. Transform for one hour and gain the following benefits: resistance to p/b/s damage from nonmagical weapons, and nearby allies have advantage on death saves and Wisdom saves.
Crown Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Battlerager Barbarian (3) / Crown Paladin (17)
SCAG rejects unite! This combination aims to take advantage of the Battlerager’s bonus action attack, paired with Reckless Attack to fish for critical hits. A critical hit will allow for supreme smiting and smashing! Pick whichever Paladin subclass sounds fun to you, but I figured I’d suggest Battlerager with Oath of the Crown because it’s a similarly bad SCAG subclass (haha).
Ancestral Guardian Barbarian (14) / Crown Paladin (6)
This is a tanky build where you can guard your allies, reduce damage, and create an area where enemies cannot move away from you. You have enough levels to get all the AG’s features while grabbing the Paladin’s saving throw aura. You can also smite as a Barbarian as your ancestors delete your enemies.
Hunter Ranger (16) / Crown Paladin (4)
Protect the order of the Crown from the chaos of the Wilderness, for this is how you keep society intact.
This Hunter/Oath of the Crown build is the ultimate threat to hordes. Use the Champion Challenge Channel Divinity to keep creatures within 30 feet of you close by, then use Horde Breaker to attack enemies adjacent to your target, Whirlwind Attack to make melee attacks against any number of creatures within 5 feet of you, and Uncanny Dodge to reduce damage against you.
Devotion Paladin Subclass (PHB)
- Protection from Evil and Good, Sanctuary
- Lesser Restoration, Zone of Truth
- Beacon of Hope, Dispel Magic
- Freedom of Movement, Guardian of Faith
- Commune, Flame Strike
Summary of subclass features: Bless your weapon with an attack bonus and light for one minute. Turn fiends and undead for one minute or until they take damage with a failed Wisdom saving throw. Your aura grants immunity to the Charmed condition. The Protection from Evil and Good permanently benefits you. You can transform for one minute to glow with bright light, dealing 10 radiant damage to enemies beginning their turns in the light. The transformation also gives you advantage on saving throws against spells cast by undead and fiends.
Devotion Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Aberrant Mind Sorcerer (13) / Devotion Paladin (7)
Your mind is guarded against mental attacks since your aura prevents charms. Your attacks can be amplified as you focus on functioning as a sword and sorcery character. Perhaps your higher mind is a result of your devotion or vice versa. This is a divine take on the reason for the Aberrant Mind’s psionic powers. You’re like an angel looking into the minds of your enemies and the heretics to see their sins! Is this Ghost Rider?
Divine Soul Sorcerer (13) / Devotion Paladin (7)
You are a wrathful angel on the prowl for heretics! You can amplify your weapon attacks while pumping high spell slots into smiting. Go for eight levels of Paladin if you want another ASI instead of 7th-level spells. This character should probably never fail a saving throw if you build it well, but you’re not compelled to focus on that.
Glory Paladin Subclass (TCoE)
- Heroism, Guiding Bolt
- Enhance Ability, Magic Weapon
- Haste, Protection from Energy
- Compulsion, Freedom of Movement
- Communion, Flame Strike
Summary of subclass features: Advantage on physical skills and prowess for ten minutes. Give out a pool of temporary hitpoints in tandem with a smite. Grant bonus movement speed within your aura. Boost an ally’s AC and react to make an attack in defense. Transform for one minute to gain the following benefits: advantage on Charisma ability checks, turn a missed attack into a hit once per turn, and use your reaction to reroll a failed saving throw.
Glory Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Glory Paladin (4)
Pick a small race for this combination so you can mount your drake sooner. Make your character a melee attacker who rides a dragon and bestows glory to the battlefield. You can use Channel Divinity to help you drag enemies across Spike Growth, or you can use temporary hitpoints to help you and your allies when you smite. You could go for seven levels of Paladin if that’s more your thing and you don’t need the level-fifteen drake boosts. The level-seven aura would be great while riding your mount around at high speeds.
Glory Paladin (18) / Hexblade Warlock (2)
Round out your himbo by using Charisma more! You can zip around the battlefield and curse enemies as you heroically take them down.
Glory Paladin (17) / Ancestral Guardian Barbarian (3)
Your glory is in protecting your friends and honoring your ancestors. Not only that, but you honor the noble beasts that adorn your attire; their power has become yours. This character concept is great at protecting allies and buffing them while being a martial character.
Oathbreaker Paladin Subclass (DMG)
- Hellish Rebuke, Inflict Wounds
- Crown of Madness, Darkness
- Animate Dead, Bestow Curse
- Blight, Confusion
- Contagion, Dominate Person
Summary of subclass features: Seize control of an undead creature (Wisdom save) for 24 hours. Frighten nearby creatures. Fiends and undead in your aura deal additional damage (enemies included). Gain resistance to p/b/s damage from nonmagical attacks. Use an action to transform for one minute with the following perks: reduce bright light to dim light within 30 feet, creatures frightened of you in the area take 4d10 psychic damage, your allies can be draped in shadow so attacks against them have disadvantage if they rely on sight, and use a bonus action to have the shadows attack an enemy.
Oathbreaker Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Undying Warlock (12) / Oathbreaker Paladin (8)
Paladin oaths must not be broken, but you broke yours when you died. Riding the line between life and death, you’ve been resurrected for a chance at revenge. Standing at the head of your army of undead, you blend in as one of the hordes.
Death Cleric (13) / Oathbreaker Paladin (7)
This villainous concept can easily raise a small army of undead minions and boost their effectiveness. Charisma and Strength will be the main focuses for stats. Wisdom doesn’t need to be very high since most of the Cleric spells won’t rely on attacks or saves for this character.
Alternatively, you can lean more fully into the Animate Dead spell by taking six levels of Necromancer Wizard.
Redemption Paladin Subclass (XGtE)
- Sleep, Sanctuary
- Calm Emotions, Hold Person
- Counterspell, Hypnotic Pattern
- Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, Stoneskin
- Hold Monster, Wall of Force
Summary of subclass features: Gain a bonus to social abilities for ten minutes. Use a reaction to make an attacker suffer the damage it dealt. React to absorb damage for allies in your aura. Regenerate hitpoints when you’re below half during combat. Finally, resist all damage and make attackers suffer damage they deal to you as long as you don’t attack, cast a spell, or damage that specific creature.
Redemption Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Redemption Paladin (14) / Peace Cleric (6)
Lean into your peace-loving ways by creating a bond with your fellow adventurers. You can take fewer Peace Cleric levels if you wish, but I recommend at least two levels. You’ll also progress your spell slots further and gain useful Cleric spells. When it’s time to smack enemies around, you’ll have more ammo for smites.
Vengeance Paladin Subclass (PHB)
- Hunter’s Mark, Bane
- Hold Person, Misty Step
- Haste, Protection from Energy
- Banishment, Dimension Door
- Hold Monster, Scrying
Summary of subclass features: Force an enemy to make a save or become frightened with their speed set to zero until they take damage, or their speed is halved for one minute on a successful save. Gain advantage on attack rolls against a creature for one minute. Move to cut off a creature’s retreat when you hit with an opportunity attack. React to attack a creature in melee you’ve marked when it attacks. Transform as a bonus action for one hour to gain the following benefits: grow wings for a 60 flying speed, and emanate a frightening aura that inflicts that frightened condition on enemies with a failed Wisdom saving throw and gives your allies advantage to attack the frightened creatures.
Vengeance Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Vengeance Paladin (8) / Monster Slayer Ranger (12)
Paladins of the Oath of Vengeance choose to fight the greater evil. Monster Slayers vow to hunt creatures with evil magic. Choose your Slayer’s Prey to deal extra damage and counterattack, and combine this with the Vengeance Channel Divinity Vow of Enmity (bonus action) to gain advantage against this foe for 1 minute.
Vengeance Paladin (3) / Gloom Stalker Ranger (14) / Battlemaster Fighter (3)
This can be an enjoyable build if you’re choosing to not go for the Crossbow Expert feat. You can focus on melee attacks with many options for your bonus action. The downside is how you’ll need to split some of your stats, but it’s not too bad. You’ll have smites, fright effects, Battle Maneuvers, Ranger and Paladin spells, and Channel Divinity.
Vengeance Paladin (3) / Hexblade Warlock (2) / Cavalier Fighter (15)
This could be a fun lockdown build for characters who want to dominate their spacing in melee. Your focus will be on Charisma for attacks, and you’ll excel at single-target takedowns. The Fighter subclass can easily be swapped out if you prefer another.
Vengeance Paladin (10) / Swashbuckler Rogue (10)
This idea came from reader MadnessOpus:
Half-Elf, Booming Blade instead of Skill Versatility (per SCAG), 13/16/14/8/9/16 by Point Buy.
Start 5 levels of Rogue (use rapier) for 3rd level skills and Uncanny Dodge, grab Elven Accuracy (+1 Wisdom to fill in that gap),
go 5 or 6 levels of Paladin for a shield (and medium armor if that’s how you want it, I’d try grabbing Medium Armor Master next if that’s the case) proficiency, Dueling style, Vow of Enmity, extra attack, and Aura of Protection if you fancy, go back to Rogue 10 to increase Sneak Attack damage and get Evasion, then close with Paladin 10 to finish it up.
You might be tempted to grab 2 levels of Paladin right after Rogue 3 and then go as aforementioned, but I wouldn’t delay Elven Accuracy if I were you. If you don’t mind Rogue’s last ASI, you could go Paladin 11 (leaving Rogue at 9) and get Improved Smite, but honestly, with that kind of gestalt character with a full package of five ASIs, I don’t think it’s worth it that much.
What you get from that is free Mobile light, Charisma added to your initiative, the potential to 1v1 anyone as a more sustainable option, smiting AND sneak attack (both are arguably the best ability a character can get, but simultaneously? damn!), a bunch of useful spells (including absolute BANGERS like Hunter’s Mark, Hold Person, Misty Step, and Haste!), a Channel Divinity that gives you advantage, therefore sneak attack damage, on a creature for 1 minute straight (with no saving throw at all!)… if someone were to playtest this, it has the potential to break the game.
Oh, and you could always grab a level or two in Hexblade Warlock instead of Paladin if you don’t want the build to get too MAD. This way you could grab Booming Blade and keep your Skill Versatility as it is. For Warlock spells, you should go Shield, Armor of Agathys, and then one of your choice: Arms of Hadar or Charm Person would be mine, as I’d rather use Hunter’s Mark than Hex.
Honestly, the MAD is exactly why I chose a half-elf for this build. Well, that and Elven Accuracy. 13 Strength is enough to multiclass in/from Paladin, and you really don’t want to dump Wisdom, thus you patch up the -1 modifier with said Elven Accuracy.
Watchers Paladin Subclass (TCoE)
- Detect Magic, Alarm
- See Invisibility, Moonbeam
- Counterspell, Nondetection
- Aura of Purity, Banishment
- Hold Monster, Scrying
Summary of subclass features: Give allies advantage on mental saving throws for one minute. Turn otherworldly creatures for one minute. Give allies in your aura a bonus to Initiative rolls. Deal damage to enemies when your allies succeed at a mental saving throw that the enemy provoked. Transform as a bonus action for one minute to gain the following benefits: truesight 120 feet, advantage to attack otherworldly creatures, and force a saving throw with an attack to banish an otherworldly creature to its native plane of existence.
Watchers Paladin Multiclass Recommendations
Divine Soul Sorcerer (11) / Watchers Paladin (7) / Hexblade Warlock (2)
This is an optimization build (if you couldn’t tell from the Hexblade levels). You can read about why this is debatably one of the most effective character builds in the game for a Paladin over at Tabletop Builds. They also have a version of the build where Hexblade is swapped for Undead as the Warlock patron. One of my favorite parts of this character is that it’s a Paladin that can cast Spirit Guardians.
Berserker Barbarian (4) / Champion Fighter (4) / Watchers/Ancients Paladin (12)
Crit fishing is fun, but it’s even better with smiting! Berserkers can make more attacks during Frenzy Rage. Champions can crit on a 19-20. Paladins can capitalize on critical hits with Divine Smite. Since we’re going for Rage, we don’t want to concentrate on Paladin spells, so either subclass indicated would be fine for the Paladin. Having said that, you can pick the one that sounds fun to you. You can also settle for three Fighter or Barbarian levels if you’d rather go thirteen-to-fourteen levels of Paladin to get fourth-level spells.
Fiend Warlock (14) / Watchers Paladin (6)
This character would be a decently optimized concept with well-rounded abilities. It has the Paladin’s armor and aura defenses paired with the 1d10 saving throw bonus and damage resistance of choice from the Warlock. It can also gain temporary hitpoints while cutting down enemies. I’d probably go for Pact of the Blade while gaining Eldritch Blast Invocations for ranged options. It might sound disappointing to not go for Hexblade in this build, but this concept has its own benefits.
Lore Bard (13) / Watchers Paladin (7)
Learn spells that normally wouldn’t be available to Paladins to make yourself more dangerous. Spirit Guardians is a great example! The Oath of the Watchers demands a Paladin to know the lore about otherworldly monsters, so the Lore Bard is a fine fit!
Paladins are interesting because they’re considered one of the strongest classes in the game by many vocal players on the internet. However, their progress slows down past level seven, resulting in many optimized builds jumping off at that point. Their use of Charisma gives them natural synergies with Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Bards.
What kind of Paladin characters have you built? I enjoy hearing different perspectives since there’s no way I alone can find every single fun combination. Comment below with your favorite combinations, and take the poll to indicate your favorite Paladin subclass.