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All D&D 5E Paladin Class Changes (2024)

The Paladins will be unleashing their holy wrath in One D&D.

The new Unearthed Arcana for Dungeons and Dragons features plenty of changes to Paladin, ready for players to test and give feedback ahead of the 2024 release of the new Core Rulebooks. The Paladin has seen several changes to its Smite skills and several subclasses with new and reworked features to make it a more formidable holy hero on the battlefield.

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With plenty of ways to support allies and dish out damage to foes, this newest version of the Paladin takes those core elements of the class and tweaks them to bring out some of the class’s best features while giving it a few new tricks.

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The D&D Paladin’s New Class Features & Powers

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The key changes to the Paladin in this playtest are primarily reworks and changes to existing material, including those found in previous Unearthed Arcana materials. The Paladin will now have access to the Weapon Mastery feature and has seen several changes to certain spells and feats.

  • Weapon Mastery grants unique effects to weapons used in combat, with different weapons having different effects, such as imposing a disadvantage or cleaving an additional enemy.
  • Paladin’s Smite has replaced Divine Smite and is learned at 2nd-level. This gives Paladins a list of class-exclusive smite spells that are always prepared, with new spells being unlocked as they level up. These can also be used without expending a spell slot once before needing to Long Rest. The smites learned and their corresponding level are as follows:
    • 2nd – Divine Smite, Thunderous Smite
    • 5th – Shining Smite
    • 9th – Blinding Smite
    • 13th -Staggering Smite
    • 17th – Banishing Smite
  • Channel Divinity – This feature has a new rule regarding multiclassing, and states if you have more than one class with the Channel Divinity feature, such as the Cleric, a class’s uses of the feature can be expended only on that class’s Channel Divinity options.

How D&D Has Changed The Paladin’s Existing Powers

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The Paladin has seen its spellcasting changes yet again in this playtest, doing away with the Cantrips in favor of Weapon Mastery, and seen several of its other feats reworked or moved around to different levels.

  • Spellcasting has seen three major changes for Paladins that are as follows:
    • Spell preparation is no longer tied to the level of Paladin spell slots.
    • Paladins can change one prepared spell when finishing a long rest.
    • Paladins no longer have cantrips as in previous playtests. Instead, they receive the Weapon Mastery feature.
  • Lay on Hands is now a Bonus Action, meaning players can use it alongside attacking, healing, using a spell, or any other move that requires an Action.
  • Aura of Protection has returned to 6th-level and will now become inactive if the Paladin is incapacitated.
  • Adjure Foes will now do nothing on a successful save.
  • Aura of Courage has returned to being a 10th-level feature.
  • Radiant Strikes now work on both melee weapons and Unarmed Strikes.
  • Restoring Touch has been moved to a 14th-level class feature.
  • Divine Conduit has been removed from the class features, with Aura Expansion returning at 18th-level.

Related: All DnD 5E Rogue Class Changes (2024)

How D&D Changed The Paladin Subclasses

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This newest Unearthed Arcana for D&D 5E has several changes to multi subclasses for the Paladin, including the Oath of Devotion, Oath of Glory, Oath of the Ancients, and Oath of Vengence. These changes are as follows

Oath of Devotion: With the changes to Smites, some spells and revisions have happened to the Oath of Devotions spell list, and it is now as follows:

  • 3rd – Protection from Evil and Good, Shield of Faith
  • 5th – Aid, Zone of Truth
  • 9th – Beacon of Hope, Dispel Magic
  • 13th – Freedom of Movement, Guardian of Faith
  • 17th – Commune, Flame Strike

Smite of Protection has also been moved to 15th-level and works with all Smite spells, and provides Half Cover to every player in range of your Aura of Protection until the start of your next turn. Lastly, Holy Nimbus now provides Advantage on saving throws against effects from Fiends and Undead.

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Oath of Glory: Inspiring Smite now doesn’t require a Bonus Action and works with all of the Paladins Smite Spells from the Paladins Smite Feature. The Peerless Athlete Feature now lasts one hour instead of ten minutes. Lastly, Aura of Alacrity will now enhance Aura of Protection and provide a greater range for the feature than in previous versions.

Oath of the Ancients: Nature’s Wrath has been reworked and can now restrain multiple enemies within 15 feet of the Paladin instead of the previous one enemy within 10 feet. Abjure Foes has replaced Turn the Faithless, and Undying Sentinel will now heal Paladins for three times their Paladin level. Aura of Warding will now enhance the Aura of Protection, providing resistance to Necrotic and Radiant damage. Finally, the Elder Champion is now a Bonus Action, and its benefits apply to all your spells, and you can restore a use of this feature by expending a 5th-level spell slot.

Oath of Vengence: With Hunter’s Mark now a Ranger Exclusive spell, Compelled Duel has taken its place in the Oath of Vengence spell list. Vow of Enmity can now be moved to another creature if and when the previous creature drops to 0 hit points before it ends and has had its range increased to 30 feet. Relentless Avenger can now reduce its target’s speed to 0, and Abjure Enemy has been replaced with Adjure Foes. Finally, the Avenging Angel feature can be used as a Bonus Action and now has a 10-minute duration instead of an hour. Like the Elder Champion, you can regain a use of this feature by expending a 5th-level spell slot.

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With the inclusion of Weapon Mastery, some changes to Smites, and Aura of Protection utility, the Paladin looks to be in good shape going forward. Having Lay on Hands being a Bonus Action will be very helpful in tight situations, and the flow of the class progression looks to be a nicer experience that constantly provides new features or changes, keeping things interesting throughout your time playing.

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Scott Baird
Scott has been writing for Gamepur since 2023, having been a former contributor to websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, Screen Rant, The Gamer, and TopTenz. A graduate of Edge Hill University in the UK, Scott started as a film student before moving into journalism. Scott covers Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, Pokémon, and MTG. He can be contacted on LinkedIn.
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Matthew Fuller
Matt is a freelance writer based in the UK and has spent over three years covering and writing about video games. He discovered his love of games journalism while attending Canterbury Christchurch University, where he earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Game Design and has been writing ever since. He will find any excuse to play and write about games. When he isn't fighting dragons or exploring far-off galaxies, he spends his free time playing D&D, listening to music, or reading a good book. His primary game bests are Diablo IV, the Final Fantasy series, D&D, and anything new releasing that tickles his fancy.