Knight Paladin Ranger

How to Multiclass Ranger with Paladin: D&D 5e Characters

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There’s no doubt that Paladin multiclasses are typically seen as the epitome of min/maxing. But adding in a few classes of Paladin can shape a character’s values and personality as well as provide out-of-combat benefits. 

When we start with a Ranger base, we may not focus on optimizing combat damage. After all, the focus of a Ranger is not always to deal the most damage. In our Best Ranger Spells article, we claim that Rangers shine with focused tactical strikes or setting up ambushes. Rangers shine when they fight smart.

You can also explore the basics of multiclassing and find quick combinations in our multiclass combinations article (by Opal). It’s one of our most popular articles.


Why Add in a Few Levels of Paladin?

Focusing on in-combat features, a Ranger-Paladin can use her bonus action to dual wield two light melee weapons. If she has already set her Hunter’s Mark on a target and has unlocked Extra Attack at Ranger level 5, she can use her Hunter’s Mark bonus three times (Attack, Extra Attack, Bonus Action off-hand). Add in her Smite, and you’re looking at a powerful melee turn. Not to mention the synergistic Oath and subclass features.

Outside of battle, a Paladin’s Sacred Oath gives a Ranger more flavor and focus. Each Paladin Tenet can shape a Ranger differently, plus the Ranger is now beholden to a deity or patron. This can give a player much clarity into roleplaying.


Downsides to Multiclassing Ranger to Paladin

Keep in mind that when you multiclass Ranger and Paladin, you will need to make sure four of your stats have a base of 13: Strength, Charisma, Dexterity, and Wisdom. This is a hefty price to pay, but if you’re motivated and prepared, this could be the multiclass for you.

You also won’t gain any additional proficiencies.


Spellcasting

With multiclassing Ranger and Paladin, you actually won’t be missing out on any Ranger spell slots. See our calculations and table here. You’ll have exactly the same number of Ranger spell slots at level 20, and you’ll even be able to add in some Paladin spells to your known spells.


The Build

Now that we’ve explored the potential follies and strengths of a Ranger-Paladin, let’s focus on the build. 

We recommend taking no more than three levels of Paladin. This way, you’ll reach Ranger Extra Attack and Paladin Sacred Oath quickly. A Ranger-Paladin will likely give preference to melee-based combat but still have leverage with ranged-based weaponry.

Rangers

Since this is your core class, you will take at least 17 levels of Ranger, gaining the following abilities:

  • Favored Enemy—Gain a bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against a type of creature of your choice. You may track these creatures easier as well and gain a language.
  • Natural Explorer—Gain skills to make you a master of navigating the natural world.
  • Fighting Style—Adopt a fighting style that gives you bonuses or skills.
  • Spellcasting—Use Wisdom for spellcasting. See our Ranger Spell article for inspiration.
  • Primeval Awareness—Gain the ability to communicate with beasts. Also learn if your Favored Enemy is nearby. 
  • Fleet of Foot—Dash as a bonus action on your turn.
  • Hide in Plain Sight—Set up ambushes with ease. Creatures take a penalty to perceive you when you are still.
  • Vanish—Use Hide as a bonus action on your turn. You also cannot be tracked non-magically unless you intend to be.

Paladins

As a Paladin reaching up to three levels, you’ll gain a few abilities: 

  • Divine Sense—As an action, you open your awareness to celestials, fiends, or undead within 60 feet. For the next minute, you know their location and type. 
  • Lay on Hands—Heal wounds from a pool of hit points equal to five times your Paladin level. You can also heal diseases and neutralize poisons.
  • Fighting Style—Gain an additional Fighting Style.
  • Spellcasting—Paladin spellcasting is Charisma-based, whereas Ranger is Wisdom-based.
  • Divine Smite—Expend a spell slot to deal radiant damage with a melee weapon attack (2d8 for 1st level spell slot, 1d8 for each spell slot above). Extra damage is dealt to fiends and undead.
  • Divine Health—You are immune to disease.
  • Sacred Oath—Bind yourself to a path and gain additional abilities (Channel Divinity) and spells.

Ranger Subclasses

Hunter

Specialize against the threats of the wilderness and civilization. Choose one of three focuses at level 3:

  • Colossus Slayer—Wear down the most potent foes with extra damage.
  • Giant Killer—Use a reaction to attack a Large or larger creature.
  • Horde Breaker—Attack foes adjacent to your target once per turn.

At level 7, gain a feature: Escape the Horde; Multiattack Defense; Steel Will; Volley; or Whirlwind Attack.

At level 15, you gain another feature of your choice: Evasion, Stand Against the Tide, or Uncanny Dodge.

Beast Master (Player’s Handbook)

Work together with beasts to fight monstrous foes. At level 3, you’ll gain a companion of challenge rating ¼ or lower, who can attack, dash, disengage, dodge, or help. At higher levels, you gain more freedom over commanding your beast on your turns.

Gloom Stalker (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

Venture boldly into the darkness to extinguish threats before they enter the broader world. Gloomstalkers gain additional spells and focus on ambush.

  • Dread Ambusher—At level 3, you can give yourself a bonus to your initiative rolls equal to your Wisdom modifier. Increase your speed at the beginning of combat and gain an additional weapon attack on the first round of combat.
  • Umbral Sight—Gain or improve your darkvision, and evade creatures that rely on darkvision.
  • Iron Mind—Gain proficiency in Wisdom Saving Throws, or if you already have it, Intelligence or Charisma.
  • Stalker’s Flurry—Turn a miss into another strike once on each of your turns with a weapon attack.
  • Shadowy Dodge—Impose disadvantage as a reaction for attacks against you.

Horizon Walker (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

Guard the material world against other-planar threats. Learn additional spells and the following features:

  • Detect Portal—Sense the presence of planar portals within 1 mile once per short or long rest.
  • Planar Warrior—Choose a target. All weapon damage against that target becomes force damage, dealing an additional 1d8 damage (2d8 at level 11).
  • Ethereal Step—As a bonus action, step through the Ethereal Plane by casting Etherealness without expending a spell slot once per short or long rest. The spell ends at the end of your turn.
  • Distant Strike—When you take the Attack action, you may teleport 10 feet before each attack to an unoccupied space. If you attack at least two different creatures with this ability, you can make an additional attack.
  • Spectral Defense—Use your reaction when you are hit with an attack to give yourself resistance to that attack’s damage on this turn.

Monster Slayer (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

Hunt down creatures who wield grim magic. Learn a few additional spells that don’t count against the number of Ranger spells you know. Gain these features:

  • Hunter’s Sense—Discern how to best hurt creatures. Choose one within 60 feet and learn immunities, resistance, or vulnerabilities. Use this a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier each long rest.
  • Slayer’s Prey—As a bonus action, choose a target. The first time each turn you hit that creature with a weapon attack, it takes an extra 1d6 damage.
  • Supernatural Defense—Add 1d6 to saving throws and grapples against your Slayer’s Prey target.
  • Magic-User’s Nemesis—Use your reaction to attempt to magically foil a spell being cast within 60 feet of you once per short or long rest.
  • Slayer’s Counter—Counterattack your Slayer’s Prey when they force you to make a saving throw. Make this attack immediately before making the saving throw. On a hit, you auto-succeed in your save.

Paladins Oaths

Oath of the Ancients (Player’s Handbook)

This Oath aligns well with a Ranger’s description, granting a nature-based Channel Divinity, Nature’s Wrath. This Oath is bound to principles of good, such as mercy and kindness, above law. You won’t gain any additional Paladin spells from this Oath that Rangers don’t have with just three levels of Paladin.

You will, however, gain an edge on fey and fiends with Turn the Faithless. 

Oath of Conquest (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

Glory-seekers and persons who crave order will fit well with this Oath. Law rules over mercy here. These knights are sometimes called hell knights if they choose to serve the archdevil Bel. You will gain two non-Ranger spells. Armor of Agathys may not be worthwhile for your spell slots, but Command could serve a purpose depending on your goals.

The associated Channel Divinity Conquering Presence summons a terrifying radius, and Guided Strike adds a +10 bonus to your attack roll. This is a great combination with the Sharpshooter feat.

Oath of the Crown (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide)

This Oath swears fealty to a deity of order, law, and the spirit of a nation. Beholden to ideals that hold a society together, this Oath is very anti-chaos and pro-law and -loyalty. This Oath has access to Command and Compelled Duel, which dissuades creatures from attacking anyone but you. 

Similarly, the Channel Divinity Champion Challenge compels creatures to do battle with you as a bonus action. Turn the Tide bolsters the hit points of your companions as a bonus action.

Oath of Devotion

White knights and holy warriors, Paladins of this Order are bound by virtue, justice, and order. “Show mercy to your foes, but temper it with wisdom.” These Paladins protect their allies with access to the spells Protection from Evil and Good and Sanctuary. 

This Oath’s Channel Divinity bolsters weapon attacks for one minute with one’s Charisma modifier (Sacred Weapon). Turn the Unholy scares away fiends and undead.

Oath of Vengeance (Player’s Handbook)

Paladins of this Oath commit to punishing the evil who perpetrate grievous sin. These avengers focus on purity, no mercy, and fighting evil. These Paladins have access to Bane, which reduces three enemies’ attacks or saving throws. 

Channel Divinity for this Oath frightens enemies and gives advantage against attack rolls for one minute against one creature.

Oathbreaker (Dungeon Master’s Guide)

An Oathbreaker is a Paladin who has broken their sacred oath to serve an evil power or pursue a devious ambition. Oathbreakers have access to Hellish Rebuke, a reaction that deals damage when one takes damage, and Inflict Wounds, which deals 3d10 necrotic damage from a melee spell attack.

Oathbreakers can Control Undead as part of his Channel Divinity. Dreadful Aspect allows an Oathbreaker to frighten a creature for one minute.


Our Favorite Combinations

You may choose a Ranger archetype and Paladin Oath based on how you wish to role play your character, but here are a few synergistic combinations that we feel will really boost your playstyle and combat abilities:

Gloomstalker / Oath of Conquest

Gloomstalkers are creepy already, and Conquest Paladins may serve a dark deity. Lore also fits here, where Gloomstalkers 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, Gloomstalkers 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.

Gloomstalkers should focus on weapon attacks over casting spells (with the exception of Hunter’s Mark), so use those spell slots for extra Smite damage.

Monster Slayer / Oath of Vengeance

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.

Hunter / Oath of the Crown

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. 


Conclusion

Do you have a favorite Ranger/Paladin build? Share your strategy with us! We love expanding our knowledge of what is possible in D&D 5e with multiclassing.


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