Role: Defender. You are extremely durable, with high hit points and the ability to wear the heaviest armor. You can issue bold challenges to foes and compel them to fight you rather than your allies.
Power Source: Divine. You are a divine warrior, a crusader and protector of your faith.
Key Abilities: Strength, Charisma, Wisdom

Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide, chainmail, scale, plate; heavy shields, light shields.
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged.
Implement: Holy Symbol
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, +1 Will.

Hit Points at 1st Level: 15+ Constitution Score.
Hit Points per Level Gained: 6
Healing Surges per Day: 10+ Constitution Modifier.

Trained Skills: Religion. From the class skills list below, choose 3 more trained skills at 1st level.
Class Skills: Diplomacy (Cha), Endurance (Con), Heal (Wis), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Religion (Int).

Build Options: Ardent Paladin, Avenging Paladin, Protecting Paladin, Virtuous Paladin.
Class features: Channel Divinity, Divine Challenge, Lay on Hands.

Paladins are indomitable warriors who’ve pledged their prowess to something greater than themselves. Paladins smite enemies with divine authority, bolster the courage of nearby companions, and radiate as if a beacon of inextinguishable hope. Paladins are transfigured on the field of battle, exemplars of divine ethos in action.
    To you is given the responsibility to unflinchingly stand before an enemy’s charge, smiting them with your sword while protecting your allies with your sacrifice. Where others waver and wonder, your motivation is pure and simple, and your devotion is your strength. Where others scheme and steal, you take the high road, refusing to allow the illusions of temptation to dissuade you from your obligations.
    Take up your blessed sword and sanctified shield brave warrior, and charge forward to hallowed glory!


Paladins rely on Strength, Charisma, and Wisdom for most of their key abilities and powers. Constitution is useful as well, although no paladin powers are specifically based on Constitution.


Your brutal assaults demonstrate the power of your god’s wrath. You’re more like a striker than other paladins are. You willingly sacrifice your own health and defense to strike down your foes, even giving up some healing ability to be a more powerful attacker. The ardent vow power allows you to focus on a specific opponent, dealing additional damage with attacks and keeping that foe’s attention on you. This power also enhances powers that work better against enemies marked by you.
Take Strength as your highest ability score, since you use it for many attacks and damage. Wisdom should be your second-highest score, to maximize the number of uses you get of ardent vow. A good Constitution score can help soothe the sting of powers that require you to spend some of your own hit points for best effect. Because of this build’s focus on dealing damage, choose a weapon with the best possible damage capacity, typically a two-handed weapon.
    Class Feature: ardent vow
    Suggested Feat: Mighty Challenge
    Suggested Skills: Heal, Insight, Intimidate, Religion
    Suggested At-Will Powers: ardent strike, valiant strike
    Suggested Encounter Power: divine pursuit
    Suggested Daily Power: blood of the mighty


You burn with the desire to punish the wicked and smite the unbelievers. In your view, the best way to safeguard your allies is to destroy your enemies with divine power and overwhelming attacks. Choose Strength as your highest ability score, since your most damaging attacks are based on Strength. Charisma should be your second-best ability score, and Wisdom your third. Consider wielding a big two-handed weapon such as a greatsword or greataxe, and choose powers that deliver the highest amount of damage.
    Suggested Feat: Power Attack (Human Feat: Human Perseverance)
    Suggested Skills: Endurance, Heal, Intimidate, Religion
    Suggested At-Will Powers: holy strike, valiant strike
    Suggested Encounter Power: radiant smite
    Suggested Daily Power: paladin’s judgment


You emphasize defense, guarding your allies, and healing and bolstering them with a few of your powers. You do not deal as much damage as the avenging paladin, but you are better at dealing with a wider array of situations. Your best ability score should be Charisma. Choose Strength for your second-best score (you’ll want a few Strength-based attacks), and Wisdom as your third-best score. The protecting paladin works best as a shield-carrying warrior, so you should probably use a heavy shield and a one-handed weapon such as a longsword or a warhammer. Select powers that help your allies, along with a few damage-dealing powers for when the need arises.
    Suggested Feat: Healing Hands (Human feat: Action Surge)
    Suggested Skills: Diplomacy, Heal, Insight, Religion
    Suggested At-Will Powers: bolstering strike, enfeebling strike
    Suggested Encounter Power: shielding smite
    Suggested Daily Power: radiant delirium


You are a tower of faith; enchantments and dreadful powers wielded by your foes can find little purchase in your devoted heart. Like the protecting paladin, you shield your companions, but you do so while protecting yourself so that you can stay in the fight. No matter how your enemies attack you, you excel at resisting conditions that would impede others. As a warrior of exceptional piety, you also make more use of your holy symbol than other paladins do. You have several options for engaging enemies at range, so that even foes beyond your weapon’s reach cannot escape your challenge.
Your highest ability score should be Charisma. Choose Wisdom for your second-best score, since a good Wisdom enhances the effects of many of your powers. Strength should be your third-best score. First choose powers that let you make extra saving throws or use healing surges, then powers that bolster your allies or deal high damage. You should wield a shield and a one-handed weapon, since having high defenses is a goal of this build.
    Class Feature: virtue’s touch
    Suggested Feat: Virtuous Recovery
    Suggested Skills: Endurance, Heal, Insight, Religion
    Suggested At-Will Powers: bolstering strike, virtuous strike
    Suggested Encounter Power: valorous smite
    Suggested Daily Power: majestic halo


Your armor, your shield, and your weapon are the most important tools of your trade. In addition, you have the following class features. Your lay on hands class feature can be replaced by the ardent vow or the virtue's touch class feature.

Once per encounter you can invoke divine power, filling yourself with the might of your patron deity. With the divine might you invoke you can wield special powers. You can also learn other uses for this feature; for instance, the divinity feats grant characters with access to the Channel Divinity class feature the ability to use additional special powers.
    Regardless of how many different uses for Channel Divinity you know, you can use only one such ability per encounter. The special ability or power you invoke works just like your other powers.

The challenge of a paladin is filled with divine menace. You can use the divine challenge power to mark an enemy of your choice.

Paladin Feature Divine Challenge

You boldly confront a nearby enemy, searing it with divine light if it ignores your challenge.

At-Will        Divine, Radiant
Minor Action      Close burst 5

Target: One creature in the burst

Effect: You mark the target. The mark lasts until you use this power again. The mark also ends at the end of your turn if you didn’t engage the target, meaning you neither attacked it during your turn nor are adjacent to it at the end of your turn.
    Until the mark ends, the target takes radiant damage the first time each round when it targets any of your allies with an attack power that doesn’t include you as a target. The damage equals 3 + your Charisma modifier.
    Level 11: 6 + your Charisma modifier radiant damage
    Level 21: 9 + your Charisma modifier radiant damage

Special: You can use this power only once per turn.

Update (11/17/2010)
The power has been revised for clarity and ease of use.

Using the lay on hands power, paladins can grant their comrades additional resilience with a touch of their hands and a short prayer, though they must give of their own strength to do so.

Paladin Feature Lay On Hands

Your divine touch instantly heals wounds.

At-Will        Divine, Healing
Minor Action      Melee touch

Special: You can use this power a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1), but only once per round.

Target: One creature

Effect: You spend a healing surge but regain no hit points. Instead, the target regains hit points as if it had spent a healing surge. You must have at least one healing surge remaining to use this power.

Many new paladin powers and some of the new feats in this book subject a target to your divine sanction. Being subject to it means the target is marked by you for a duration specified in the description of the power or feat. Unless otherwise noted, the mark ends before the specified duration if someone else marks the target.
Until the mark ends, the target takes radiant damage equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier the first time each round it makes an attack that doesn’t include you as a target. The damage increases to 6 + your Charisma modifier at 11th level and 9 + your Charisma modifier at 21st level.
Divine sanction is meant to complement divine challenge. You can use divine challenge to mark one creature and use divine sanction to mark others. Divine sanction has fewer restrictions than divine challenge so that you can easily use the two in concert.

As fervent crusaders in their chosen cause, paladins must choose a deity. Paladins choose a specific faith to serve, as well as an alignment. You must choose an alignment identical to the alignment of your patron deity; a paladin of a good deity must be good, a paladin of a lawful good deity must be lawful good, and a paladin of an unaligned deity must be unaligned. Evil and chaotic evil paladins do exist in the world, but they are almost always villains, not player characters.
    Paladins are not granted their powers directly by their deity, but instead through various rites performed when they first become paladins. Most of these rites involve days of prayer, vigils, tests and trials, and ritual purification followed by a knighting ceremony, but each faith has its own methods. This ceremony of investiture gives a paladin the ability to wield divine powers. Once initiated, the paladin is a paladin forevermore. How justly, honorably, or compassionately the paladin wields those powers from that day forward is up to him, and paladins who stray too far from the tenets of their faith are punished by other members of the faithful.

Good, Lawful Good, and Unaligned Deities
DeityAlignmentAreas of Influence
AvandraGoodChange, luck, trade, travel
BahamutLawful GoodJustice, honor, nobility, protection
CorellonUnalignedArcane magic, spring, beauty, the arts
ErathisUnalignedCivilization, invention, laws
IounUnalignedKnowledge, prophecy, skill
KordUnalignedStorms, strength, battle
MeloraUnalignedWilderness, sea
MoradinLawful GoodCreation, artisans, family
PelorGoodSun, summer, agriculture, time
Raven QueenUnalignedDeath, fate, winter
SehanineUnalignedTrickery, moon, love, autumn


Paladins make use of holy symbols to help channel and direct their divine powers. A paladin wearing or holding a magic holy symbol can add its enhancement bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls to powers that have the implement keyword. Without a holy symbol, a paladin can still use these powers, but he or she doesn’t gain the bonus provided by the magic implement.
    A holy avenger, a special magic weapon, can also be used as an implement for paladin powers, as well as paladin paragon path powers. These weapons are highly sought after by paladins.

Published in Player's Handbook, page(s) 89.