Skip to main content

Baldur's Gate 3 best Paladin build

Here's our oath-sworn guide to the best Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build

A Deep Gnome Paladin in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image credit: Larian Studios / Rock Paper Shotgun

What's the best Paladin build in Baldur's Gate 3? Paladins are tanky combatants with a religious streak, always ready for divine attacks with a side of heavy defense. In Baldur's Gate 3, Paladin characters can form the backbone of your group, soaking up damage and doling out pure carnage while the rest of your team attacks safely from the sidelines.

However, Paladins are also a bit tricky. They're sworn to a Sacred Oath, and specific actions will break that Oath and change your subclass. If you're looking for the best Paladin build ideas in Baldur's Gate 3, here's everything you need to know, including the best race, subclass, Fighting Style, spells, background, and feats for your character.

Note: Looking for lots more builds to choose from? Check out our dedicated list of the best builds in Baldur's Gate 3 for each class!

Now that Baldur's Gate 3 has left early access, vid bud Liam reckons it was worth the wait.Watch on YouTube

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin build basics

The Paladin's primary ability is Strength, but unlike other Strength-based classes like Barbarians and Fighers, Paladins must pay close attention to their actions within the game narrative. Above all else, they must adhere to their Sacred Oaths or risk losing some of their abilities and becoming Oathbreakers - a special subclass that gains sinister and morally ambiguous skills to represent the Paladin's slide into darkness.

Your interactions with NPCs will affect your ability to adhere to your chosen Oath, so choose your Oath wisely and tread carefully.

Paladin weapon, armour, and class proficiencies:

  • Paladin weapon proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons
  • Paladin armour proficiencies: Light armour, medium armour, heavy armour, shields
  • Paladin skill proficiencies (choose 2): Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion
  • Paladin saving throws: Wisdom, Charisma

Paladin subclass options

At level 1, Paladins can choose from the following subclasses, which are known as Oaths:

  • Oath of Ancients: Requires acting in ways that celebrate kindness, light, and joy.
  • Oath of Devotion: Commands acts of courage, compassion towards all, and an obligation to duty.
  • Oath of Vengeance: Implores the Paladin to fight the greater evil and retain high moral standing in all circumstances while also wiping the wicked from the world.
  • Oathbreaker: A path for Paladins who have broken their Oath, leveraging the powers of darkness, death, and evil.

Paladin Fighting Style options

At Level 2, Paladins can choose from the following Fighting Styles:

  • Defence: Gain a +1 to armour class while wearing armour.
  • Dueling: When wielding a melee weapon that is not two-handed or versatile in one hand and no weapon in the other, deal an additional two damage with that weapon.
  • Great Weapon Fighting: When you roll a 1 or 2 on a damage die for an attack with a two-handed melee weapon, that die is rerolled once.
  • Protection: When you have a shield, impose disadvantage on an attack against your allies when you are within 1.5m. You must be able to see the attacker.

Best Paladin race, background, and skills

Your race, background, and skills can greatly enhance and strengthen your Paladin character. These may vary based on your team composition, but these are our best picks for a solid Paladin build.

The best Paladin race is Dwarf or Gnome.

Every race has something to offer when choosing the Paladin class, but we've had great success with Dwarves and Gnomes - specifically the Gold Dwarf and Deep Gnome subraces. Gold Dwarves possess the ever-useful Dwarven Toughness trait, which boosts their hit point maximum by 1 for every level they have. This pairs well with the Paladin's tanky nature.

Meanwhile, Deep Gnomes are an all-around good choce for their Superior Darkvision, which allows them to see in the dark up to 24m. They also gain Stone Camouflage for advantage on Stealth checks, and their Gnome Cunning skill allows for advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.

The best Paladin background is Soldier.

The Soldier background grants proficiency bonuses on Athletics and Intimidation rolls, both of which will come in handy when acting as the party's damage spongue and forcing foes to stand down.

The best Paladin skill proficiencies are Insight and Persuasion.

Insight allows you to determine a being's true intentions or motivations, while Persuasion impacts your ability to convince another character to do something without resorting to deception or intimidation.

Best Paladin subclass

The best Paladin subclass is Oath of Vengeance. A character adhering to this Oath must adhere to the tenets of Fight the Greater Evil and No Mercy for the Wicked. They must always strive to do the greatest good for the greatest number of beings, and they should also be merciless in defeating enemies who are causing harm to others.

Best Paladin Fighting Style

The best Paladin Fighting Style is Defense. Although this decision ultimately comes down to your play style, we've found that the increase in armour class that Defense provides will almost always offer a significant advantage in battle, while other Fighting Styles are more situational.

Best Paladin spells

Although not as diverse as purely spellcasting-oriented classes, Paladins have access to several spells throughout their progression.

These are the best Paladin spells by spell level:

Level 1: Cure Wounds, Bless, Compelled Duel, Command

Level 2: Aid, Magic Weapon, Protection from Poison

Level 3: Blinding Smite, Elemental Weapon, Revivify

Best Paladin feats

Paladin can choose feats at Levels 4, 8, and 12. The best Paladin feats are:

  • Level 4: Tough
  • Level 8: Sentinel
  • Level 12: Shield Master

Tough grants +2 HP for each Level, which applies retroactively. Choosing it early in the game can give your Paladin an ongoing boost that'll ensure they stay standing throughout the toughest combat situations. Sentinel grants you a reaction attack when an enemy in melee range attacks an ally. Shield Master grants a +2 bonus to Dexterity saving throws while using a shield and allows you to use your reaction to weaken spells that force Dexterity saving throws, meaning that you'll take half damage on a failed save and no damage on a successful save.

That's everything you need to know to build a powerful Paladin in Baldur's Gate 3. If you're not happy with your build, you always have the option to respec and choose an entirely new class using our Baldur's Gate 3 best builds guide as reference. We've also got in-depth guides on multiclassing and even romancing your companions.

Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur's Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.

Read this next