Dragonborn Paladin Guide (DND 5E)

The paladin is one of the most versatile and powerful classes in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. With high durability, damage output, healing abilities, utility, and social skills, the paladin is a well-rounded option for players. Pairing the paladin class with the dragonborn race can create a potent and iconic character. In this guide, we will explore how to optimize a dragonborn paladin build, focusing on ability scores, armor and weapons choices, offensive and defensive actions, subclass decisions, and creating a dragonborn paladin character.

Dragonborn Paladin Guide (DND 5E)

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to optimize a dragonborn paladin build in DND 5E.
  • Understand the importance of prioritizing Strength, Charisma, and Constitution for a dragonborn paladin.
  • Choose the right armor and weapons for your character’s playstyle.
  • Utilize offensive actions like Divine Smite and the dragonborn breath weapon for maximum damage.
  • Employ defensive actions such as Lay on Hands, healing spells, and draconic resistance for defense.
  • Make informed subclass decisions between Oath of Vengeance and Oath of the Ancients.
  • Create a unique and powerful dragonborn paladin character by considering ability scores, racial traits, and background choices.

Ability Scores: Prioritize Strength, Charisma, and Constitution for a Dragonborn Paladin

When creating a dragonborn paladin, it is crucial to prioritize certain ability scores that align with their unique strengths and abilities. Here are the key ability scores to focus on for a powerful and effective dragonborn paladin build:


Strength is the primary ability score for a dragonborn paladin. It determines your melee attack rolls and the damage you deal with weapons like swords and maces. A high Strength score ensures that your attacks hit hard and inflict substantial damage upon your foes.


Charisma is another important ability score for a dragonborn paladin. It influences your spellcasting ability, allowing you to channel divine magic through your charismatic presence. A high Charisma score boosts the effectiveness of your spells, channel divinity features, and social abilities such as persuasion and intimidation.


Constitution is vital for a dragonborn paladin as it affects their hit points and concentration saves. A high Constitution score provides greater durability, allowing you to withstand more damage in combat and stay focused on important spells that require concentration.

While Wisdom, Dexterity, and Intelligence have situational uses, they are generally less crucial for a dragonborn paladin build. Prioritizing Strength, Charisma, and Constitution will ensure that your dragonborn paladin excels in their primary role as a formidable warrior and divine spellcaster.

Armor and Weapons: Choose Greatsword for Damage or Longsword with Shield for Defense

The choice of armor and weapons can greatly impact a Dragonborn Paladin’s playstyle. Whether you seek to deal devastating damage or prioritize defense, there are options to suit your preferences.

Greatsword: Maximizing Damage Output

If your goal is to maximize damage output, the Greatsword is an excellent choice. The Greatsword, a two-handed weapon, offers powerful melee attacks that can quickly dispatch foes. Pair it with the Great Weapon Fighting style at 2nd level to further enhance your damage potential.

Longsword with Shield: Emphasizing Defense and Protection

If you prefer a more defensive playstyle, opt for a Longsword (or Battleaxe/Warhammer) in combination with a Shield. This setup provides higher AC, reducing the chances of being hit, and offers added protection. Also, consider selecting the Defense fighting style to further bolster your defensive capabilities.

In summary, both the Greatsword and the Longsword with Shield are viable choices for a Dragonborn Paladin. Choose the option that aligns with your desired playstyle and enhances your effectiveness on the battlefield.

Offensive Actions: Utilize Divine Smite and Dragonborn Breath Weapon for Maximum Damage

When it comes to offensive actions, a dragonborn paladin has some powerful abilities at their disposal. By strategically using Divine Smite and their Dragonborn Breath Weapon, they can deal devastating damage to their foes.

Divine Smite: Unleashing Radiant Power

Divine Smite is a core ability of the paladin class, allowing them to channel divine energy into their attacks. By expending a spell slot, the dragonborn paladin can add additional radiant damage to any attack they make. This makes critical hits especially deadly, as the additional damage from Divine Smite is also doubled. It’s important to keep an eye out for critical hits and make sure to apply Divine Smite to maximize your damage output.

Dragonborn Breath Weapon: Unleashing the Power of Your Ancestry

As a dragonborn, you have a unique breath weapon that can be used as an offensive tool. Your Dragonborn Breath Weapon allows you to exhale destructive energy in a cone or line, dealing damage to all creatures caught within its area of effect. This can be particularly effective when facing groups of enemies, allowing you to unleash significant area-of-effect damage.

“By combining the devastating power of Divine Smite with the destructive force of your Dragonborn Breath Weapon, you can become a formidable force on the battlefield.”

Defensive Actions: Employ Lay on Hands, Healing Spells, and Draconic Resistance for Defense

When playing as a dragonborn paladin, defensive actions are crucial for your survival on the battlefield. By utilizing specific abilities and skills, you can increase your durability and protect both yourself and your allies.

  • Lay on Hands: As a paladin, you possess the unique ability to lay your hands on the wounded, restoring their vitality and bringing them back into the fight. Use Lay on Hands to revive downed allies and provide healing support when needed. While you may not be the primary source of healing for your party, your Lay on Hands ability can make a significant difference in critical moments.
  • Healing Spells: While your main role may not be that of a dedicated healer, don’t underestimate the value of healing spells in your arsenal. These spells provide an extra layer of support for your party members, enabling you to mend their wounds and ensure their continued presence on the battlefield. Choose healing spells wisely and use them strategically to turn the tide of battle in your favor.
  • Draconic Resistance: As a dragonborn, you have inherent resistance to a specific type of damage based on your draconic ancestry. Embrace this natural gift and use it to your advantage. By reducing incoming damage of a particular type, you can withstand attacks more effectively and stay in the fight for longer durations. Your draconic resistance is an invaluable asset that sets you apart from other paladins.

By employing lay on hands, utilizing healing spells, and relying on your draconic resistance, you can bolster your defensive capabilities and become an unwavering protector on the battlefield.

Subclass Decisions: Choose Oath of Vengeance for Damage or Oath of the Ancients for Tankiness

When it comes to playing a dragonborn paladin, the subclass you choose can greatly influence your playstyle and abilities. The two most popular options for dragonborn paladins are the Oath of Vengeance and the Oath of the Ancients. Let’s take a closer look at each subclass:

Oath of Vengeance

If dealing massive damage is your priority, then choosing the Oath of Vengeance at 3rd level is the way to go. As an Oath of Vengeance paladin, you gain increased damage capabilities that allow you to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. One standout feature of this subclass is the specialized Smite feature, which lets you deal extra damage to your foes with each successful hit.

Oath of the Ancients

If you’d rather be an unkillable tank, the Oath of the Ancients is the subclass for you. By choosing this path, you unlock strong defensive abilities that make you incredibly resilient in battle. Additionally, you gain resistance to spells, granting you even more survivability. As an Oath of the Ancients paladin, you can shield your allies from harm while enduring the toughest of challenges.

Comparison: Oath of Vengeance vs. Oath of the Ancients

Oath of Vengeance Oath of the Ancients
Focuses on damage output Emphasizes tankiness and defense
Specialized Smite feature Resistance to spells
Increased damage capabilities Strong defensive abilities
Suitable for players who enjoy dealing burst damage Ideal for those who prefer a durable and resilient playstyle

Ultimately, the decision between the Oath of Vengeance and the Oath of the Ancients comes down to your preferred playstyle. Do you want to be a damage dealer who strikes fear into your enemies’ hearts, or do you prefer to be an unyielding shield for your allies? Consider what role you want to play in your adventuring party and choose the subclass that best aligns with your goals.

Creating a Dragonborn Paladin: Combining Draconic Attributes with Paladins’ Abilities

The dragonborn race and the paladin class synergize well together, both thematically and mechanically. Dragonborn paladins combine the strength and imposing appearance of dragonborns with the formidable abilities of paladins. When creating a dragonborn paladin character, consider their draconic ancestry, ability scores, racial traits, and background choices to create a unique and powerful character.

Dragonborns are known for their draconic heritage, with each individual having a specific color and associated breath weapon. The breath weapon can be a great asset in combat, dealing damage to multiple enemies at once. Choose a breath weapon that complements your playstyle and desired role in the party, whether it’s fire for area-of-effect damage or cold to slow down enemies.

Ability Scores Racial Traits
  • Strength: Determines your melee attack rolls and damage.
  • Charisma: Influences spellcasting, channel divinity, and social abilities.
  • Constitution: Increases hit points and helps with concentration saves.
  • Draconic Ancestry: Grants a breath weapon and resistance to a specific damage type.
  • Draconic Damage Resistance: Reduces incoming damage of a specific type.

By prioritizing Strength, Charisma, and Constitution, you can maximize the effectiveness of your dragonborn paladin build. Strength allows you to excel in melee combat, Charisma empowers your spellcasting and social interactions, and Constitution ensures your durability on the battlefield.

In addition to ability scores, consider your choice of background and the related skills and proficiencies it provides. A soldier background, for example, can enhance your combat abilities, while the folk hero background might highlight your dragonborn paladin’s ties to their draconic ancestry and provide useful social skills.

Sample Dragonborn Paladin Build

Here’s an example of a dragonborn paladin build to illustrate how the various choices come together:

Level Ability Scores Race Class Background Divine Smite Damage
1 STR 16
CHA 13
CON 14
Dragonborn Paladin Soldier 2d8
3 STR 18
CHA 16
CON 16
Dragonborn Paladin Soldier 3d8
5 STR 20
CHA 16
CON 18
Dragonborn Paladin Soldier 4d8 + 1d8 (Improved Divine Smite)

With this build, you have a dragonborn paladin with high strength, charisma, and constitution, granting you exceptional combat abilities and spells. Your draconic ancestry and breath weapon add a unique flavor to your character. The soldier background provides proficiency in martial weapons and allows you to rally your allies in battle. As you level up, your Divine Smite damage increases, allowing you to deal devastating blows to your enemies.

Remember, this is just one example, and you can customize your dragonborn paladin build to fit your preferred playstyle and character concept.

Paladin Skills and Backgrounds: Choose Skills and Backgrounds to Enhance Your Paladin Abilities

In addition to their inherent abilities, dragonborn paladins can further enhance their skills through careful selection of skills and backgrounds. By choosing skills that complement their playstyle and selecting backgrounds that align with their character’s personality and backstory, dragonborn paladins can create a well-rounded and versatile character.

Choosing Paladin Skills

When choosing skills for your dragonborn paladin, consider the abilities that will enhance your effectiveness in combat and social interactions. Prioritize skills like Athletics, which can improve your physical capabilities and help you excel in strength-based tasks. Additionally, select a Charisma-based skill like Intimidation or Persuasion to leverage your paladin’s charisma and enhance your social abilities.

Here are some recommended skills for a dragonborn paladin:

  • Athletics: Improve your physical capabilities and excel in strength-based tasks.
  • Intimidation: Leverage your paladin’s imposing presence to intimidate adversaries.
  • Persuasion: Utilize your charisma to convince others and negotiate effectively.

Selecting Backgrounds

The choice of background for your dragonborn paladin can provide useful skills, languages, and extra narrative abilities that complement your character’s abilities. Consider backgrounds like Far Traveler or Faction Agent, which offer unique skills and add depth to your character’s backstory.

Here are some backgrounds that work well for a dragonborn paladin:

  • Far Traveler: Gain knowledge of distant lands and cultures, acquiring useful languages for interactions with various factions.
  • Faction Agent: Hone your networking skills and build connections within powerful organizations, offering potential benefits and resources in your adventures.

By carefully selecting skills and backgrounds that align with your dragonborn paladin’s strengths and interests, you can enhance your character’s abilities and create a more immersive and engaging gameplay experience.


The dragonborn paladin is a formidable and versatile character option in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. By combining the strengths of the dragonborn race and the paladin class, players can create a powerful and iconic character that excels in combat, provides support to the party, and upholds the traditions of honor and justice.

Throughout this guide, we have explored the various aspects of creating a dragonborn paladin, including prioritizing ability scores, choosing armor and weapon combinations, utilizing offensive and defensive actions, making subclass decisions, and crafting a unique character. By carefully considering these factors and tailoring them to your playstyle, you can forge a dragonborn paladin that meets your desired gameplay experience.

Whether you focus on dealing massive damage with the divine smite and dragonborn breath weapon, or prioritize defense and protection with lay on hands and draconic resistance, the options are vast. The dragonborn paladin’s unique abilities and racial traits allow for adaptability in various situations, making them a valuable asset to any adventuring party.

So, gather your dice, consult the Player’s Handbook, and venture forth as a dragonborn paladin. Embrace the power of your draconic ancestry, wield the might of your chosen deity, and become a beacon of hope and justice in the realms of Dungeons & Dragons.


What ability scores should I prioritize for a Dragonborn Paladin?

For a Dragonborn Paladin, it is important to prioritize Strength for melee attack rolls and damage, Charisma for spellcasting and social abilities, and Constitution for hit points and concentration saves.

What armor and weapon choices are recommended for a Dragonborn Paladin?

If you want to maximize damage output, choose a Greatsword and the Great Weapon Fighting style. If you prefer a more defensive playstyle, opt for a Longsword (or Battleaxe/Warhammer) with a Shield, along with the Defense fighting style.

What offensive actions should I focus on as a Dragonborn Paladin?

Utilize Divine Smite to add additional radiant damage to your attacks, especially on critical hits. Don’t forget to use your dragonborn breath weapon for area-of-effect damage against groups of enemies.

How can I improve my defensive capabilities as a Dragonborn Paladin?

Use Lay on Hands to revive downed allies and provide healing support. While you can’t be the main source of healing, your healing spells can still be beneficial. Keep your allies within your various auras to maximize their survivability, and rely on your dragonborn’s draconic resistance to reduce incoming damage of a specific type.

Which subclass should I choose for my Dragonborn Paladin?

If you want to focus on damage output, choose the Oath of Vengeance subclass. If you prefer to play as an unkillable tank, choose the Oath of the Ancients subclass.

How do I create a Dragonborn Paladin character?

To create a Dragonborn Paladin character, consider their draconic ancestry, ability scores, racial traits, and background choices. This will allow you to create a unique and powerful character.

What skills and backgrounds should I choose for my Dragonborn Paladin?

Choose skills that complement your playstyle, such as Athletics and a Charisma-based skill like Intimidation or Persuasion. Consider backgrounds like Far Traveler or Faction Agent, which provide useful skills, languages, and extra narrative abilities.

How powerful is a Dragonborn Paladin in Dungeons & Dragons 5e?

A Dragonborn Paladin is a formidable and versatile character option. By combining the strengths of both the dragonborn race and the paladin class, players can create a powerful and iconic character.

Where can I find more information about Dragonborn Paladins?

For more information about Dragonborn Paladins, refer to the Dungeons & Dragons 5e player’s handbook or other relevant RPG class guides.

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