Oath of the Crown Paladin Handbook


Oath of the Crown turns the Paladin into the perfect bodyguard, able to forcibly engage enemies, heal allies in an area, and take damage in an ally’s place. It is a stellar Defender build, and, while it has few offensive options, it does include Spirit Guardians, allowing the Paladin to turn themselves into a magical blender like a cleric does. It also doesn’t invalidate the Paladin’s existing offensive options, so you’re still free to run around smiting things.

Divine Allegiance is a uniquely powerful defensive option, and it’s arguably the most appealing portion of the subclass. The ability to unerringly absorb damage for an ally means that you can keep frail allies alive as long as you have a Reaction and enough hit points. While this obviously works for your party, it also make Oath of the Crown Paladins uniquely capable of keeping a mount alive in a game where mounted combat is extremely difficult in part due to how frail mounts are.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Features

  1. Oath Spells: A really mixed bag; some of the options are essentially required for a Paladin and you do get some gems from other spell lists, but several are situational or outright bad.
    1. 3rd-Level: Compelled Duel is basically a requirement for Paladins, and Command can be very effective if you’re clever. Note that Compelled Duel is somewhat redundant with Champion Challenge, but Compelled Duel only affects single targets, while Champion Challenge is an area effect. Also remember that your spell save DC won’t be as high as a full spellcaster’s (unless you build around Blessed Warrior), which can make both of these spells somewhat unreliable.
    2. 5th-Level: Warding Bond is nice if you have another ally who is taking a lot of damage and you’re sick of spending your turns healing them. Zone of Truth is very situational.
    3. 9th-Level: Aura of Vitality is an extremely efficient use of a spell slot as far as magical healing goes, but I wouldn’t use it in combat because it requires Concentration and monopolizes your Bonus Action which you might need for things like smite spells, and outside of combat you should try to rely on short rests for healing as much as you can. Spirit Guardians is a much better option in combat, turning you into the center of a magical blender that deals radiant damage. You’ll still need to chase enemies around to force them to take damage since Champion Challenge allows enemies to remain up to 30 feet away, but, in close quarters, Spirit Guardians is exceptionally powerful.
    4. 13th-Level: Banishment is situational and can be difficult due to the Paladin’s comparably poor spell save DC, but many extraplanar enemies have poor Charisma saves, so you may be able to use it successfully against some enemies. Guardian of Faith is really only notable for its 8-hour duration.
    5. 17th-Level: Circle of Power is an excellent buff when facing enemy spellcasters, especially with the Aura of Protection boosting all of your save bonuses. Geas is situational since most of the things on which you might cast Geas can be handled better by killing them.
  2. Channel Divinity:
    • Champion Challenge: This is a great way to keep enemies where you want them, especially in open areas outside of the confines of a dungeon. 30 feet is close enough for most characters to get into melee without Dashing (halflings and dwarves may need a reach weapon to compensate), so, even if enemies try to run, they can’t get far enough that you need to go to great lengths to chase them. If you position yourself correctly, you may also be able to keep enemies away from your allies, allowing your allies to attack at range while your enemies either struggle at the edge of your 30-foot radius or resign themselves to fighting you.

      Enemies can escape by doing silly things like pushing or pulling each other out of the area, but if your DM tries that they are either pulling some very serious metagame shenanigans or the affected creatures have had time to experiment and figure out how this effect works.

      The ability doesn’t allow additional saves beyond the first, and doesn’t list a duration, so you can technically keep enemies trapped within 30 feet of your forever as long as you don’t do something to end the effect (like walking away from them) and no one else intervenes.

    • Turn the Tide: Basically Mass Healing Word. It does affect unconscious allies, as the Unconscious condition was not intended to deafen creatures according to Jeremy Crawford.
  3. Divine Allegiance: This is considerably better than the Protection combat style because it’s 100% reliable. As a Paladin, you are the party’s Defender, so sometimes tanking comes down to taking damage destined for your weaker allies. This is a lot like Warding Bond since it works against any damage source, but you are still limited by your Reaction, so multiple hits to your allies may be a problem.

    If you plan to use this on a regular basis, you want as many hit points as you can get and you want a reliable source of temporary hit points on top.

    This also allows you to protect a mount, which is a much-needed defensive option for mounted combat enthusiasts. Mundane mounts and mounts available via Find Steed and Find Greater Steed are notoriously prone to dying if anything thinks to attack them, and even the Mounted Combatant feat is a poor defense. Divine Allegiance may be the best option available.

  4. Unyielding Spirit: Between this and Aura of Protection, you’re nearly immuned to paralyzed/stunned. But those conditions aren’t common, so this is only situationally useful.
  5. Exalted Champion: For one hour a day you and your allies are exceptionally difficult to kill. Most paladin capstones only last for one minute, so getting literally 60 times the duration is a massive improvement.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Ability Scores

No different from a typical paladin.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Races

Little different from a typical paladin, but a few races offer some features which work especially well.

BugbearMotM: Long-limbed combines with a reach weapon to let you attack on your turn up to 15 feet away, making it much less taxing to be stuck adjacent to whoever you’re protecting. Unfortunately, you won’t benefit much from the Bugbear’s other traits.

Dwarf (Hill)PHB: The extra hp is nice, but Variant Human can get you Tough.

OrcMotM: Adrenaline Rush provides an easy source of temporary hit points.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Feats

For the most part Oath of the Crown is little different from a typical paladin, but Divine Allegiance limits your mobility in combat, makes it unusually important to have a large pool of hit points, and may monopolize your Reaction.

  • Dwarven FortitudePHB: Normally not a great feat, but the ability to quickly heal without taking a Short Rest makes it easier to recover from Divine Allegiance without begging your party for a nap. You likely won’t use this in combat much, but it is an option.
  • Eldritch AdeptPHB: Fiendish Vigor provides a free source of temporary hit points, making Divine Allegiance easier to manage.
  • Heavy Armor MasterPHB: You can’t reduce the damage from Divine Allegiance, so this isn’t as impactful as we need it to be.
  • Inspiring LeaderPHB: Oath of the Crown needs Temporary Hit points like a fish needs water, and this provides an easy pool of temp hp once per rest. You also grant the temp hp to your allies, which everyone appreciates.
  • Polearm MasterPHB: Normally an excellent choice for the Paladin, but you need to consider how often you’re willing to spend your Reaction on the Opportunity Attack triggered by enemies entering your reach because it means not using Divine Allegiance.
  • SentinelPHB: The third bullet competes for space with Divine Allegiance.
  • ToughPHB: Even with d10 hit dice and Lay on Hands, you may want extra hit points to make Divine Allegiance safer to use.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Weapons

For the most part Oath of the Crown is no different from a typical paladin. However, Divine Allegiance encourages you to stay adjacent to allies, limiting your mobility, which makes reach weapons more appealing unless you’re using Fighting Style (Blessed Warrior).

Oath of the Crown Paladin Armor

No different from a typical paladin.

Oath of the Crown Paladin Multiclassing

This section briefly details some obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see our Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

  • Druid: Shillelagh is tempting, but not essential.
  • Fighter: Starting with one level for proficiency in Constitution saves, another fighting style, and Second Wind is all helpful.
  • Sorcerer: One level for Charisma-based spellcasting including better offensive cantrips and defenses like Shield and Absorb Elements. Divine Soul gets you Charisma-based cleric cantrips, allowing you to use your Fighting Style for something other than Blessed Warrior. Starting with a level in Sorcerer gets you proficiency in Constitution saves, which is fantastic for maintaining Concentration.
  • Warlock: Two levels in hexblade lets you build around Charisma instead of Strength, plus you can use your invocations to get Fiendish Vigor so that you can replenish temporary hit points for free.

Example Oath of the Crown Paladin Build – The Bodyguard

This build is focused heavily on protecting an ally while staying alive, so we’re going to invest heavily in Charisma and Constitution. Offensively, we’ll rely on cantrips. This is absolutely not a high-damage build, but paired with a glass canon ally you can create a very effective combo.

If playing bodyguard isn’t what you want from the subclass, build for mounted combat. Go Variant Human with the Mounted Combatant, focus on Strength before Charisma, and use Divine Allegiance to keep your steed alive. Plan to use Aid to buff your steed’s hit points because one Reaction won’t always be enough to keep them alive.

Ability Scores

We’ll use the ability scores for a Charisma-based build described in our Paladin Handbook, then we’ll put +2 into Charisma and +1 into Constitution. That gives us enough Strength to avoid speed penalties from heavy armor and also enough Strength to limp through level 1 until we get Fighting Style (Blessed Warrior)



Monsters of the Multiverse Orc. Adrenaline Rush helps us to rush to allies’ aid and the temporary hit points make it easier for us to safely absorb damage in place of our allies. Relentless Endurance gives us insurance in case we take a big hit, and hopefully we can either hold out until the fight ends or use Lay on Hands to rapidly recover.


Soldier. Athletics and Intimidation are perfect options here, and thematically Soldier makes a ton of sense.

Skills and Tools

We’ll take Insight and Persuasion with our class skills, plus Athletics and Intimidation from our background. Soldier also gets us a gaming set and land vehicles.


At level 4 we’ll split an ASI.

At level 8 we’ll take Resilient (Con) to bring Con back to an even number and improve our Concentration.

At level 12 we max Charisma.

Levels 16 and 19 are free, so we have room to play around. Inspiring Leader is an obvious choice, making ourselves, our steed, and our whole party more durable. Tough gives us a ton more hp so that we can use Divine Allegiance to protect allies more frequently without worrying about running out of hp.


LevelFeat(s) and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Divine Sense
Lay on Hands
Standard paladin stuff at this level.
2Fighting Style: Blessed Warrior
Cantrips Known
– Toll the Dead
– Word of Radiance
Divine Smite
Keep a weapon in hand when you’re in melee for the occasional Opportunity Attack, but otherwise plan to rely on cantrips. If you can get into melee with more than one enemy, Word of Radiance is your go-to. Otherwise, it’s mostly Toll the Dead.

For prepared spells, go for staple buffs. Bless is great on allies that rely on attacks, but it also boosts saving throws so that allies are less likely to take damage. Compelled Duel lets us draw enemies away from allies, but we’ll get it prepared for free next level, at which point we can drop it for Heroism.
3Divine Health
Sacred Oath: Oath of the Crown
Channel Divinity
– Champion Challenge
– Turn the Tide
Oath Spells
– Command
– Compelled Duel
Champion Challenge is Compelled Duel in an area of effect. Try to draw enemies out of reach of your allies as much as possible, then plan to have enemies pile in on you. When they do, hit them with Word of Radiance.
4ASI: Constitution 16 -> 17, Charisma 17 -> 18At this level we’ll split an ASI between Charisma and Constitution.
5Extra Attack
Oath Spells
– Warding Bond
– Zone of Truth
Extra Attack and cantrip damage increases. Warding Bond is a great way to protect allies who might not want to stay adjacent to you where you could protect them with Divine Allegiance.

We also get 2nd-level spells. Aid adds another boost to your maximum hp, and we don’t need to reserve it for mass healing thanks to Channel Divinity: Turn the Tide. Find Steed is essential on any paladin, even if all you do is use it as a combat pet. Remember that, once you get Divine Allegiance, you can use it on your steed, too.
6Aura of ProtectionAbsolutely stellar. Allies inside the aura are much more likely to succeed on saves, which then means that when you use Divine Allegiance to take damage for them you’re likely to take half damage from a lot of things.
7Divine AllegianceThis is why we’re built to rely on cantrips. Even with a reach weapon, our ability to reach enemies while staying adjacent to an ally is unpredictable, but the 60-foot range on Toll the Dead lets us play bodyguard without asking our allies to chase us into melee or climb onto our back.
8Feat: Resilient (Constitution)We need to be really good at Concentration since we’re planning on taking hits both from enemies targeting us and from enemies hitting our allies. With PB+Con+Cha, our bonus is +12, which is enough to guarantee success any time we take 26 or less damage, even if we roll a 1.
9Oath Spells
– Aura of Vitality
– Spirit Guardians
Finally 3rd-level spells. There aren’t many great options for us here, but Crusader’s Mantle or Spirit Shroud could be good ways to buff allies’ attacks. More likely you’ll reserve the slots for Spirit Guardians.

Spirit Guardians comes online very late compared to clerics, so the damage will be relatively poor, but it’s still great as an area control effect. When enemies charge you and whoever you’re guarding, turn on Spirit Guardians and make them regret their life choices.
10Aura of CourageIt’s really hard to protect people when you’re too scared to move effectively.
11Improved Divine SmiteImproved Divine Smite is basically useless for us unless you make an Opportunity Attack.
12ASI: Charisma 18 -> 20Max effectiveness with our spells and abilities, max Aura of Protection.
13Oath Spells
– Banishment
– Guardian of Faith
4th-level spells include some great options including Death Ward and Find Greater Steed. Put Death Ward on yourself so that you don’t die by using Divine Allegiance to absorb a big hit on ally. Use Find Greater Steed to get a pegasus and ride around on its back with your protectee.
14Cleansing TouchNice to have, but no change to your tactics.
15Unyielding SpiritA nice protection. Our saves against these effects should be excellent, but they’re not guaranteed.
16Feat: Inspiring LeaderA mountain of temporary hit points for your party.
17Oath Spells
– Circle of Power
– Geas
5th-level spellcasting, and we don’t get many great options. Your best bet might be to upcast Aid for a total of 20 additional hit points on three creatures. Pick yourself, your steed, and your favorite protectee.
18Aura ImprovementsThis makes it much easier to cover your whole party with your auras.
19Feat: ToughA mountain of real hit points for you.
20Exalted ChampionThe damage resistance doesn’t apply when using Divine Allegiance since you can’t reduce that damage, but it’s still great. Activate this, activate Champion’s Challenge, and make enemies struggle to choose between running around as a target and charging into your Spirit Guardians.