Unearthed Arcana: Paladin Sacred Oaths Analysis

This week the D&D Team provides two new Sacred Oaths for the Paladin.

I’m late for this week’s analysis but I couldn’t help it with my surgery and all. Both of the Oaths are pretty mean, flavor wise, power wise and alignment wise. I like them a lot.

Oath of Conquest

These are your big bad knights that are out there and do all kinds of evil stuff. For them the battle isn’t over until their enemies are completely crushed. Paladins following the Oath of Conquest often consort with the powers of the Nine Hells.

  • Tenets of Conquest. They are quite straightforward. If you want to stay on the top, you don’t only have to crush everyone but also make sure they stay crushed.
  • Oath Spells. This is a pretty good list of spells. It also fits perfectly the theme of the Oath and especially its Tenets. These spells help you crush your enemies, make them obey you and also give you the strength to overpower anyone who tries to overthrow your rule.
  • Channel Divinity. Both of the options are good. An interesting observation about them is that they don’t require any type of action in order to use them.
    • Conquering Strike. When you successfully hit a creature with a melee weapon attack you can force them make a Wisdom Saving Throw against being frightened.
    • Guided Strike. That’s the War Domain Cleric’s Channel Divinity. It’s nothing new but it’s not bad.
  • Aura of Conquest. You get an aura with a 10 feet radius that gives disadvantage to Saving Throws against being frightened to any enemy inside of it. This feature goes well with Channel Divinity: Guided Strike. I like it when class features combo well with each other.
  • Implacable Spirit. You can’t be charmed. That’s a powerful feature and especially since it’s always on. Could you say this is overpowered? Maybe.
  • Invincible Conqueror. For one minute you turn into a badass. Resistance to all damage, one extra attack and all your melee attacks crit on a 19 or a 20. Once per short or long rest of course. That’s a pretty good feature and fits the theme pretty well because it gives the Paladin the means to follow the Oath’s Tenets to the letter.

Overall, the Oath of Conquest is quite good. I like the theme and the features compliment it well. Invincible Conqueror is strong but I wouldn’t call it overpowered. I haven’t decided yet if it’s okay to grant immunities to players in this edition so I worry about Aura of Conquests a little bit.

Oath of Treachery

These Paladins are very selfish. They follow no rules and are only faithful to themselves. These Paladins have connections with the Abyss and the demon lords but they are also sought by the powers of the Nine Hells. The Oath of Treachery can be used instead of the Oathbreaker for the Paladins who have lost their way.

  • Tenets of Treachery. Nope. No Tenets. Well, more or less you just want power and safety. Can you get them by taking advantage of others? Even better!
  • Oath spells. This week the D&D team has created splendid spell lists for both Oaths. For this Oath, the spell list conveys its theme perfectly. What does these Paladins want to do? Take advantage of others and be able to make a quick escape if things turn ugly. You got it.
  • Channel Divinity. What I said about the Oath Spells applies to the Channel Divinity features as well. The powers fit the theme of the Oath very well.
    • Conjure Duplicate. That’s the Trickery Domain Cleric’s Channel Divinity. Getting an illusion of yourself that helps you flank is always helpful. It’s a nice way to get advantage when you’ve got only yourself to count on.
    • Poison Strike. You get an extra 2d10 + your Paladin level poison damage on your next attack. If the attack roll was made with advantage then the extra damage is 20 + your Paladin level. Thankfully you can use Channel Divinity once every short or long rest because Poison Strike is extremely good.
  • Aura of Treachery. You get an aura that grants you two benefits. Both of them fit the theme of the Oath quite nicely.
    • Cull the Herd. You get advantage on attack rolls against enemies that have at least one ally adjacent to them.
    • Treacherous Strike. If a creature adjacent to you makes a melee attack against you and misses, you can redirect the attack  against one of its allies that’s adjacent to it. Not bad. You can use this feature three times between rests. This way it gets balanced because otherwise it would be just too powerful.
  • Blackguard’s Escape. So the time will come when someone sees through your lies and tries to backstab you. What are you going to do? Well, turn invisible and teleport up to 60 feet to a spot you can see of course! That’s a great way to escape really bad situations, as long as you can survive the initial attack, and fits the theme perfectly.
  • Icon of Deceit. Okay. You tried to run but didn’t manage to escape. What now? Guess what. You turn into the avatar of deceit. For one minute you are invisible(like having the Greater Invisibility spell cast on you, no concentration needed). But wait, there’s more! If a creature actually manages to damage you on its turn it has to succeed on a Wisdom Saving Throw or you can control its next action. Not bad! But it feels like something’s missing. Let’s add extra damage equal to your Paladin level on every attack made with advantage. And let’s not forget that the invisibility makes sure you have advantage. This feature, apart from being really powerful, is amazing flavor wise.

The Oath of Treachery is amazing. I really like its flavor and the features are really good, theme and power wise.

I’m very pleased by this week’s Unearthed Arcana. It was a very good way to finish the series for this year. The next installment is going to come out on the 9th of January.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about the Monastic Traditions for the Monk can be found here.

2 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Paladin Sacred Oaths Analysis

  1. In regards to the Oath of Treachery…Taking a big step back, how could a Paladin ever follow no rules and only be faithful to himself?! Shouldn’t Paladins be lawfully aligned? This is more problematic than an oath breaker. It’s almost like this choice would change the very class of the character. I feel the Oath of Treachery is a design flaw.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for commenting and happy holidays! I don’t think all Paladins should be lawful for two reasons. One, a Paladin may fall for various reasons, one of which may be selfishness. Two, a Paladin may serve a non lawful god from the beginning. However, I understand what you’re saying and you have given me some really good food for thought. I hadn’t thought about it from that standpoint. Clearly, both of the Oaths experiment with various things, one of which could easily be exactly what you said. Ultimately, I don’t mind their design but what worries me is how they would fit in a party.

      Liked by 1 person

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