Both their fates together in a

Knot that they can never quite untie

Ever since it started in that

Single fateful moment there in time

Sono Chi No Sadame (Eng) – Jonathan Young

Introduction

The Oath of Vengeance is to hound one’s sworn foes in merciless pursuit and deliver swift justice. To that end, this oath gives a Paladin tools to put out plenty of damage on the battlefield.  Pressure your foes with spells like Hunter’s Mark and Haste while remaining incredibly mobile with access to spells like Misty Step and Dimension Door. Strike down your foes with the Vow of Enmity, which grants one minute of Advantage against one target.

With all this offense, the Oath of Vengeance doesn’t bring any party support or defense beyond the standard Paladin kit. Luckily, the standard Paladin has a lot of that already, so as long as you don’t rush in with tunnel vision and blinders on you can easily be the party frontline. Just keep stock of your situation and only go ham when the moment is right. Or not, it’s your character.

For an example build, we’ve got a striker who can stand toe-to-toe with the enemy, but also capable of making tactical strikes on the backline. With features like Relentless Avenger and spells like Misty Step and Dimension Door, this build can capitalize on out-maneuvering the enemy team.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

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 this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Oath of Vengeance Features

  1. Oath Spells: Most of the spells are absolutely fantastic, but a lot of them require Concentration, and the list starts to fall apart at high levels.
    1. 3rd-Level: Bane is unreliable and rarely worth the spell slot. Hunter’s Mark is a nice damage boost against a single high-priority target, but its usefulness is limited by the Paladin’s low number of attacks per round. It can still yield considerably more damage than spending the same spell slot on Divine Smite, but only if you can maintain Concentration.
    2. 5th-Level: Paralysis is an off-switch for an enemy, but since your spell DC is low compared to a full spellcaster Hold Person is unrealiable. Misty Step is a great way to get around the battlefield, especially since it’s a Bonus Action to cast.
    3. 9th-Level: Haste and Protection From Energy are two of the most important buffs in the game.
    4. 13th-Level: Both situational options, and the appeal of Dimension Door is reduced because you already have Misty Step.
    5. 17th-Level: Hold Monster makes Hold Person redundant, but it’s a significant improvement. Unfortunately, your spell save DC is likely still behind full spellcasters. Scrying is very situational, and your full caster allies have had it for a very long time by this level.
  2. Channel Divinity:
    • Abjure Enemy: Similar in many ways to the spell Cause Feat, but the target doesn’t get additional saves and their speed is halved for the duration. This is especially useful against fiends and undead, but it works on anything that isn’t immune to fear.
    • Vow of Enmity: One minute of guaranteed Advantage against one target. Very helpful against powerful single foes. Use it early, use it often.
  3. Relentless Avenger: Absolutely fantastic for a Defender build, especially if you also have Polearm Master. Look for ways to boost you speed like magic items or spells like Haste and Longstrider so that moving half your speed may be enough to keep the target within your reach.
  4. Soul of Vengeance: An extra attack presents a 50% boost to your damage output (provided that you’re not using something like two-weapon fighting or Polearm Master).
  5. Avenging Angel: For one hour a day you can chase your terrified foes around and murder them. The move speed is great, allowing you to quickly close to melee and get enemies within the aura. Most paladin subclass capstone features only last one minute, so the fact that this lasts for a full hour is incredible.

Oath of Vengeance Ability Scores

We’re a frontliner in Heavy Armor, so we need Strength and Constitution, as well as Charisma for many of our Paladin features as well as Spell DCs. This unfortunately doesn’t leave us much wiggle room for the rest of the ability scores.

Str: Pump it up, we wanna hit things hard.

Dex: We have heavy armor so we can drop this.

Con: We dislike dying. We dislike dropping Concentration even more.

Int: No time for books, got smiting to do.

Wis: If we have to use the standard array or something like that, we’d want this over INT or DEX.

Cha: This score ends up boosting all our Save DCs and our own saving throw bonuses.

Point BuyStandard Array
Str1515
Dex810
Con1513
Int88
Wis812
Cha1514

Oath of Vengeance Races

The Oath of Vengeance serves up plenty of offensive capability, so our racial choice can either double down on that or we can look for more defensive options to balance it out. The Paladin Races Breakdown already has a lot to say on the matter, so if I don’t mention a race below, have a look through that list. Try to avoid slower races, a 25ft movement speed will only get 10ft out of Relentless Avenger.

  • CentaurMMoM: Having 40 feet of speed gives us 20 feet to work with when Relentless Avenger activates.
  • Custom LineageTCoE: Can’t go wrong with a bonus feat. Particularly good if you’re going to take the stereotypical Hexblade dip and only need to pump Charisma.
  • Earth GenasiMMoM: One of the stronger defensive options, getting to Blade Ward as a bonus action in tough situations might save our bacon.
  • KoboldMMoM: Access to a cantrip for Booming Blade or Green-Flame Blade as well as Draconic Cry to allow the whole party to dogpile on a target for a round make this a good option, but the small size prevents using Heavy weapons.
  • Variant HumanPHB: A bonus feat is a strong feature. Variant Human is great especially if we’re not doing a Hexblade dip.

Oath of Vengeance Feats

This Oath is about doing damage, so our feat selections should be in service to that. Also consult the Paladin Handbook.

  • CrusherTCoE: Bonk. Good repositioning tool. With a Quarterstaff and Polearm Master, one can even repel someone with the opportunity attack. With Relentless Avenger, we can either send them sideways to walk right through where they were, or knock them backwards and then backstep even further out of their movement range.
  • Great Weapon MasterPHB: While it is usually a good boost to DPR, and we can have Advantage on demand to offset the penalty, Paladins do have other ways to add damage to attacks that cause the gain to be lower.
  • MobilePHB: Adding 10 feet to movement speed means adding 5 feet to Relentless Avenger’s movement.
  • Polearm MasterPHB: The bonus action attack adds so much to your DPR and the opportunity attack when foes enter our reach synergizes with Relentless Avenger for even more mobility.
  • Resilient (Constitution)PHB: Getting up in the enemy’s face means we get hit, and we don’t want to break our Concentration. Aura of Protection is great, but it’s not infallible.

Oath of Vengeance Weapons

As a Paladin, one of our biggest tools, Divine Smite, only works with melee weapons, and in melee the best options are all Polearm Master-compatible weapons.

  • Galive/Halberd/Pike: Compatible with both Polearm Master and Great Weapon Master, if a Paladin chooses to go down that path.
  • Greatsword/Maul: Not compatible with Polearm Master, but good options for Great Weapon Master.
  • Spear: The primary option for combining Polearm Master with a shield.
  • Quarterstaff: Has the exact same stats as a Spear and also works with Polearm Master, but in Bludgeoning flavor. Poke ‘em with a stick.

Oath of Vengeance Armor

No different from the Paladin Handbook.

Oath of Vengeance Multiclassing

This is covered extensively in the Paladin Handbook.

  • Hexblade Warlock: A single level dip into Hexblade means Charisma becomes the everything stat for Paladins. Because our Oath Spells include several good spells with saving throws, like Hold Person and Hold Monster, being able to prioritize Charisma is very useful.

Example Oath of Vengeance Build – Deep Striker

Now the chase is on

Dead set to search for that one man

You can hear his sneering laughter echo through the dark

In the desert then, a requiem

His footsteps leave their mark

Stand Proud (Eng) – Jonathan Young

Oath of Vengeance Paladins are interesting to build. It’s easy to think that using something like Great Weapon Master would yield great results because we can have Advantage on command, but we can only have that for a minute against one enemy per Short Rest. Polearm Master, which this build will take at first level as a Variant Human, will bring us great results though. That bonus action attack is far more powerful.

Abilities

We’ll be a Strength-based front-liner, with Constitution and Charisma as our secondary ability scores.

Point BuyIncreasedLevel 20
Str151620
Dex888
Con151516 (18)
Int888
Wis888
Cha151620 (18)

Race

As a Variant Human, we’ll be taking a bonus feat at first level, Polearm Master. Getting this feat this early really helps to boost combat effectiveness more than what most other racial options can give us. We’ll be putting our +1/+1 into Charisma and Strength.

Custom Lineage is also an option that we would have taken if we were going to multiclass into Hexblade, putting the +2 into Charisma and leaving Strength at 15 to wear Plate without the speed penalty.

Multiclassing

We won’t be multiclassing in this build, but taking a level of Hexblade Warlock at second level would improve the build by consolidating our attack and spellcasting stats.

Background

Courtier will grant us Insight and Persuasion, but if we take either skill by starting as Paladin, we can replace one with Deception, the only Face skill Paladins can’t take. Language choices are very campaign-dependent, so pick whichever works for you.

Skills and Tools

From Variant Human, we take Athletics. From Paladin, we take Intimidation and Insight. From Courtier, we get Persuasion, and replace the repeated Insight with Deception. This gives us proficiency with all the Face skills.

Feats

At first level, Variant Human allows us to take Polearm Master.

At fourth level, we take an ASI for +2 Strength. (16=>18)

At eighth level, we take Resilient (Constitution), giving us a sizable boost to maintaining our Concentration. We take this now for reasons elaborated below in the chart related to the suggested spells for this level, Magic Weapon and Elemental Weapon.

At twelfth level, we take another ASI for +2 Strength (18=>20)

At sixteenth level, we take an ASI for +2 Charisma. (16=>18)

At nineteenth level, we take another ASI for +2 Charisma. (18=>20)

Levels

LevelsFeats and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Divine Sense
Lay on Hands
Martial Weapons
Heavy Armor

Skills
-Athletics
-Deception
-Insight
-Intimidation
-Persuasion

Bonus Feat: Polearm Master
For Paladin starting equipment, we’ll want to take a shield, either a glaive or a halberd, a spear, the default chainmail, and then buy a quarterstaff for 2 sp.

This combination gives us all three damage types with Polearm Master-compatible weapons, two of which can be single wielded along with a shield.

We’ll also be decent at Face skills when the party needs them.
2Divine Smite

Fighting Style
-Dueling

Spellcasting
-1st-level spells
We have access to our first level of spells now as well as the power to spend spell slots to Smite. Because we’re a prepared Divine caster and can change our spells on a daily basis, don’t forget to refer to the Paladin Spell List Breakdown as well.

A great option for a spell to prepare is Shield of Faith. Cast as a bonus action with 60 ft of range to grant +2 AC to whoever needs it.

Dueling is a great fighting style when using Polearm Master with 1-handed options like Spear and Quarterstaff because the +2 damage applies to the bonus action attack as well.
3Divine Health

Sacred Oath
-Oath of Vengeance

Channel Divinity
-Abjure Enemy
-Vow of Enmity

Oath Spells
Divine Health is just nice to have, even if it rarely comes up.
We take our Sacred Oath of Vengeance, gaining our Channel Divinity features and our Oath Spells.

Most of the time, we’ll be spending Channel Divinity on Vow of Enmity to get Advantage for a minute against one target.

For spells, we gain access to Bane and Hunter’s Mark. Of the two, Hunter’s Mark is more likely to be useful to us. Adding +1d6 to all weapon attacks is great, but having to spend that bonus action to move the mark when changing targets is a Polearm Master swing we can’t take, so we’ll have to be aware of that. If we can get the mark on a target before it triggers our Polearm Master opportunity attack, then we can offset this problem.
4ASI: Strength +2 (16=>18)Get stronger for better attacks and more damage.
5Extra Attack

Spellcasting
-2nd-level spells
Swing twice for even more damage.

Find Steed becomes an option for Paladins with 2nd-level spells, but more importantly our Oath Spells include Hold Person and Misty Step. Because any spell we cast that targets only us, also targets our Find Steed, Misty Step will bring a Find Steed mount along for the ride.

Hold Person is ok, but our DC is probably lower than would make Hold Person a great choice. Misty Step on the other hand is an excellent way to move around the battlefield. Is there an enemy caster in the backline that you need to drop? Misty Step and double Smite with Extra Attack.

If it starts to be a bit annoying to juggle Hunter’s Mark, Magic Weapon is a fine alternative, making our weapon act as a +1 weapon.
6Aura of ProtectionOur Charisma modifier is added to saves now. This helps us out because we do have a few nice Concentration spells we don’t want to drop and it will be a few levels before we pick up proficiency in Con saves.
7Relentless AvengerThis triggers on Opportunity Attacks, and the reaction attack from Polearm Master is an Opportunity Attack. We can use this to reposition more freely in combat.
8Feat: Resilient (Constitution)We’re getting Constitution proficiency to make it even harder for foes to break our Concentration. We can make up for not bumping Strength with either Magic Weapon or Elemental Weapon when we get 3rd-level spells since both of those spells will give us a +1 to attack rolls so that we’re not falling behind the Fundamental Math.
9Spellcasting
-3rd-Level Spells
Great spells at this level include Elemental Weapon, Haste, and Protection from Energy.

Elemental Weapon is a great replacement for Hunter’s Mark. The 1d4 damage is smaller, but no longer requires juggling, and the +1 to attacks is very useful.

Haste is also nice, but be careful as the penalty for dropping Concentration is steep.

Protection from Energy is a great option when riding our Find Steed in situations where our mount might take damage, since we can share the spell.
10Aura of CourageYou, your horse, and all allies within 10 feet of you are immune to fear. Good thing because being scared is really penalizing.
11Improved Divine SmiteMore damage on every attack. Both of our attacks with Extra Attack, our Bonus bonk, our reaction attacks, and if we’re Hasted, one more swing.
12ASI: +2 Strength (18=>20)More strength for better attack rolls and more damage.
13Spellcasting
-4th-Level Spells
Find Greater Steed for super horse.
Dimension Door gives us even more mobility, opening up an option to bring along an ally.
14Cleansing TouchGet rid of bad magic. Boring but practical.
15Soul of VengeanceNow when we use the Vow of Enmity, we get free reaction attacks whenever our target makes an attack.
16ASI: +2 Charisma (16=>18)Improve our Aura of Protection, and our Spell DCs.
17Spellcasting
-5th-Level Spells
5th-level spells are great, and Holy Weapon is one of the best buffs when swinging weapons as often as we do, but also available to us is Hold Monster.

Because our Charisma is 18, we shouldn’t have much trouble using Hold Monster now and then.
18Aura ImprovementsBetter range for Aura of Protection and Aura of Courage.
19ASI: +2 Charisma (18=>20)Improve our Aura of Protection and our Spell DCs again.
20Avenging AngelFlying and a fear aura for an hour each day. Nice capstone, but we already had access to Flying mounts from Find Greater Steed, and the fear wears off when someone takes damage.