Paladin Week: New Magic Items for Paladins in D&D 5e

image credit: Yanmo Zhang

Check out these new homebrew paladin-oriented magic items for D&D 5e!

Armor of Command

Magic Armor (any medium or heavy), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin or cleric

A set of +1 armor that shines dimly with divine light when it deflects a blow. A paladin or cleric attuned to the armor can use their Channel Divinity to cause the armor to shine brightly with divinity, calling to a creature to submit to its power. You may force a creature that can see and hear you within 80 ft. to make a CHA saving throw with a DC equal to your spell save DC. On a failed save, the creature drops to their knees and bows to you in submission until your next turn. Regardless of the result of the saving throw, the creature takes 2d8 psychic damage.

Belt of the Sacred Mount

Wondrous Item (waist), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A leather belt with plates of steel every few inches. The belt buckle depicts a golden horse’s head. When the wearer summons a creature with the Find Steed spell, the creature gains a bonus to attacks, damage, and AC equal to the wearer’s proficiency modifier.

Boots of Enmity

Wondrous Item (feet), Uncommon, requires attunement by an Oath of Vengeance Paladin

Boots that are of patterned reddish brown leather with steel toes that look like a hellish church gargoyle. An Oath of Vengeance paladin attuned to these boots may spend a bonus action to teleport to a space adjacent to a creature currently targeted by their Vow of Enmity ability, provided the creature is on the same plane of existence and within 60 ft. of the paladin.

Compelling Weapon

Magic Weapon (any martial), Uncommon, requires attunement by a paladin

A compelling weapon is gaudy and covered in fine metals and gems and is slightly larger than an average weapon of its type. It deals a bonus 2 psychic damage with each hit. When the weapon scores a critical hit, the weapon casts Compelled Duel on the creature hit. Creatures immune to the charmed condition are immune to this effect.

Corrupted Gauntlets

Magic Item (hands), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A set of iron and chain gauntlets with fingerplates that look like sharp dragon scales. It gleams with sickening iridescence. A paladin attuned to the gauntlets can make a melee spell attack against a creature. If the attack hits, the paladin may spend any number of points from their hit point pool for their Lay on Hands ability to deal an equal amount of necrotic damage to the creature touched. You may spend 5 points at once to poison the creature for 1 minute in addition to any damage you dealt. The creature can attempt a CON saving throw with a DC equal to your spell save DC to negate this effect.

Crown of Radiance

Magic Item (head), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A simple golden band studded with glowing orange gems that rests on one’s head at about forehead height. This item’s magic adds 10 ft. to the radius of your Aura of Courage, Aura of Protection, and Aura of Hate (if Oathbreaker paladin). This item also increases the radius of auras generated by spells such as Aura of Life, Aura of Purity, and Aura of Vitality.

Divine Storm Pauldrons

Magic Item (shoulders), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A set of heavy metal shoulder guards that have stylized lightning bolt motifs segmented by faux rope fashioned of bronze. You may spend an action to deal 8d6 lightning damage to all creatures you designate within a 30 ft. radius centered on you. Creatures that succeed at a DC 16 DEX saving throw take only half of this damage. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a long rest. In addition, your Aura of Courage, Aura of Protection, and Aura of Hate (if Oathbreaker paladin) are suppressed until you finish a long rest.

Gauntlets of Divine Shielding

Magic Item (hands), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A set of bronze gauntlets that are warm to the touch, and surround themselves in a sphere of white light when used. When the attuned paladin uses their Lay on Hands ability on a creature, they may instead grant them a shield that absorbs an amount of damage equal to three times the points spent for the Lay on Hands ability. This shield disappears once it has absorbed all of the hit points it can handle, or at the start of the paladin’s next turn.

Glove of Cowardice

Magic Item (hands), Uncommon, requires attunement by a paladin

A single silver gauntlet that has a relief of a face wracked in pain on the backhand plate; a depiction of a suffering sinner in the afterlife. A paladin attuned to the glove may spend 5 points from their hit point pool for their Lay on Hands ability and touch an adjacent creature. That creature must make a DC 14 WIS saving throw or become frightened of the paladin for 1d4+1 rounds. The creature may make a new save at the start of each of its turns to end this effect.

Greaves of the Mounting Heavens

Wondrous Item (feet), Rare, requires attunement

A pair of steel greaves with patterns representing the layers of the plane of Celestia. You gain a +4 bonus to skill checks and saving throws against spells, abilities, and other effects that would knock you prone.

Helm of the Smiting Glare

Wondrous Item (head), Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

This shiny bucket helm has etched lines emanating from the eye slits. Use your Channel Divinity as an action to fire a ray of energy from the helmet’s eye slits, dealing energy damage to a single creature within 60 ft. of you that you can see. The creature can make a DEX saving throw to halve this damage. The save DC is equal to your spell save DC. The damage dealt is based on your alignment (see below). The damage dice stack with one another for a total of 6d10 damage.

  • Evil: 3d10 necrotic damage.
  • Good: 3d10 radiant damage
  • Chaotic: 3d10 fire damage
  • Lawful: 3d10 cold damage.
  • Neutral: 3d10 force damage.

Lance of the Blessed Beast

Magic Weapon (lance), Very Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A +1 lance that is fashioned to look like a giant, stylized unicorn’s horn. The hand guard is adorned with white horsehair. When the wielder of this weapon travels at least 20 feet straight toward a target before attacking that target with the lance, the weapon deals a bonus 2d8 radiant damage and the creature hit must make a DC 15 STR saving throw to resist being knocked prone. In addition, critical hits with the lance heal the wielder for 2d4 hit points.

Maul of Radiant Echoes

Magic Weapon (maul), Very Rare, requires attunement by a paladin

A heavy +1 maul that emanates pulsing waves of holy energy from its head. One end of the head is flat while the other is a mass of carefully overlapped metal triangles pointing away from the flat end. A paladin attuned to the maul uses their divine smite ability against a creature, up to one creature adjacent to their foe takes an amount of damage equal to half the damage dealt by their divine smite.

Medallion of Authority

Wondrous Item (neck), uncommon, requires attunement by a paladin or cleric

A gleaming medal that takes the form of a universal symbol of your deity and purpose. As such, it looks different for each person that attunes to it. You gain advantage on intimidation checks against creatures that are diametrically opposed to your alignment (lawful-good’s opposite is chaotic-evil, neutral-good’s opposite is neutral-evil, etc.), and gain advantage on persuasion checks against creatures that have the same alignment as you. If you have a true neutral alignment this item has no effect.

Savior’s Cape

Wondrous Item (back), uncommon, requires attunement by a paladin or cleric

This royal purple brocade cape is decorated with embroidered with the written beauty of the Celestial language in gold trimmed by floral embellishments. You may use your Channel Divinity as a reaction to instantly teleport a single willing ally you can see within 60 ft. of you to a space adjacent to you.

Shield of Divine Spellwarding

Magic Armor (shield), Very Rare, requires attunement by a 14th level paladin

A +1 kite shield of mirror-like platinum emblazoned with a holy symbol. The shield is embellished with a gold rim and tassels of golden thread. You may expend one use of your Cleansing Touch ability to cast Counterspell against a spell that would affect you or at least one ally within 10 ft. of you.

Paladin Week: Paladins in the Game

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As a Player:

A paladin is the archetypal hero class. They are often lawful good and do not use underhanded tactics to win battles, only their skill, mettle, and the holy power of their deity to help them hit really hard. It should make a good paladin uncomfortable to be sneaking around in the dark or taking out a guard from behind. Most players forget this and often just play along with the party’s plans. While yes, this is mechanically favorable in D&D to sneak up on enemies, this isn’t what the paladin is all about. The paladin meets foes loudly, honorably, and on equal terms. It makes for interesting roleplaying situations with the party, with NPCs, and even with enemies.

Paladins as a class are without a doubt the best suited for roleplaying. They even have a set of rules depending on your chosen Oath for how you should play your character: your Vows. The vows are listed in the Players Handbook and restrict what the paladin can and can’t do. Always play this up and use it to develop your character. How does your character feel about your vows? Are there some that you adhere to better than others? Is sticking to them at all a burden for you? Whenever a test of your vows comes up in a game, it should always be a big deal for you. It’s a moment that defines what the future holds for your character. If you fail at your vows, you may start on a path away from the paladin class, or potentially even an oathbreaker paladin!

Please note, however, that having vows doesn’t mean you have to root out all the evil in the playgroup and slay them. Paladins can work with less-than-reputable characters and still not break their vows. They could even hope to change such characters’ ways over time through example. Come up with a reason to work with a player if their character is overtly evil. This is meant to be a cooperative game, so you will need them! And minor evils are nothing to get worked up about. Remember, you may have taken these vows but your allies didn’t!

If you don’t like some of your vows, try inventing some of your own! Just make sure that you run them by your DM and that each vow sets a real boundary for your character. Make them something that you know will come up in-game. “Be a murder hobo” is not a good vow. “Show no mercy to the wicked” is a good vow because now you cannot ever save a bad guy, even if you need information from them or a favor from them!

Playing a paladin mean no one will ever die easily while you are conscious. Every point of Lay on Hands in your pool of HP can stabilize a dying creature in a pinch, and neither diseases nor poison will ever harm you or your party for more than a day. Paladins are also ridiculously powerful in terms of damage, able to burst down big creatures with only a spell slot or two. However, the real guesswork with a paladin comes from rationing your resources. If you spend all of your Lay on Hands points in one go, a single poison, disease, or death saving throw can drastically harm your party. If you use too many Divine Smites, you lose the utility offered by your spells. To capitalize on the paladin’s abilities, you want to carefully decide when healing is necessary. As long as you keep players above a one-hit KO, you won’t waste your turn and theirs to revive them. Remember to use special attacks like Shove or Grapple to save on some of your crowd-controlling spells later. Don’t waste smites or spell slots on weak creatures. You are a paladin! Save your divine smites for powerful fiends and undead!

Oh and stay close to your low-WIS allies (fighters, barbarians, and arcane spellcasters) with your auras of anti-fear, anti-charm, and saving throw bonuses. Your mere presence can aid those currently at their weakest, whether you stand in the thick of battle or on the sidelines protecting the casters. The safest place for anybody in your party is at your side. 

As a DM:

Dealing with paladins that grind the game to a halt.

As a minor warning, some paladins can bring the game to a grinding halt by following their vows to the letter and forcing their vows upon others. Remember, in this edition paladins cannot detect the alignment of regular people. This is a huge help because now potentially evil players can play alongside good paladins without turning the campaign into a PvP slugfest. Paladins that still want to try and do this will often try to make Insight checks to determine whether a PC’s alignment or actions are evil. Don’t let them do this forever until they succeed. Only offer this check when the paladin witnesses a player committing an evil act. Otherwise, that’s just prejudiced. Maybe the wizard is just going through a goth phase. That doesn’t mean you can just "Insight" that they are evil by looking at them. Don’t let the paladin break your game and be the moderator you have to be. On the flipside, don’t let evil players get away with anything and everything, either. Occasional group tension is actually good for character development. Just make sure all parties are aware it’s intended purpose.

To challenge a paladin is merely a matter of endurance. Since most of playing a paladin is resource management, long drawn-out dungeons or periods without rest will force a paladin to either get creative or risk running out of steam before the final boss. Another simple way to challenge them is to give them swarms of weaker creatures. It will usually be fun, at the time, to romp through hordes of kobolds and smashing them with a hammer, but if the paladin is managing their spells and abilities wisely, it will start to wear upon them as they start to take hits here and there.

Challenge a paladin’s roleplaying ability is with a moral quandary every now and then. Put some evildoers in danger from a greater evil. Depending on the paladin’s vows, they may either be required to save them or let them die. Make sure there are tangible consequences on both sides of the coin. Take note of your paladin character’s vows and make sure your moral tests specifically challenge those vows. If they follow their vows, there will be consequences. It should be obvious for a player, mechanically, to follow their vows. That’s how you’re supposed to play a paladin. If there is a downside to following their vows this time, then the decision won’t be so clear. This will make them work hard for it: Do they follow their vows and cause harm to the party or their mission? Or do they break their vows and need to atone? If atonement is a-ok for your player, then add consequences to both sides of a moral quandary until it starts to actually become difficult.

Moreover, make sure that the paladin grows with every moral test. When they encounter a new one, remind them what they did with the last moral test and how that turned out. They will be forced to think even harder each time, eventually becoming a hardened paladin that follows their vows without question or else falling, either becoming an oathbreaker paladin or simply multiclassing into a new class.