Monday, July 4, 2016

Sacred Oath: Oath of the Hellsworn [ROUGH DRAFT]

I haven't done a paladin in a while, and I figure it's time I fixed that.

So far, we only have one evil-oriented paladin option, the Oathbreaker in the Dungeon Master's Guide. The Oathbreaker is a general, all-purpose, "this is what happens when good paladins go bad" sort of class option. I wanted to explore a different option: a paladin who is evil (or regularly tempted by it) from the start.

The oath of the Hellsworn is what awaits those who pledge themselves to the service of Asmodeus (and/or your local Satan proxy) or one of his legions of underlings. The hellknights that take this pledge do so for a variety of reasons, but most either desperately needed the power for the sake of someone or something they loved, or simply loved power itself.

A hellknight is bound to honor contracts and is expected to enlist help. Any who fight on the hellknight's side fight (by extension) on the side of Hell, after all.

What makes this a fun alternative paladin to play? Let's see:


  • Use your Channel Divinity to charge your weapon with Hellfire, or to Turn away the enemies of Hell!
  • Teleport your friends with Hellgate! Keep your enemies guessing by rearranging the battlefield.
  • Transform yourself into a fiend, slay those that oppose you.
  • It's always hard to balance capstones. I'd like help figuring out if Infernal Inheritor is too strong or weak. 
  • Fiendish Smite might get some criticism, but it's almost a downgrade. Radiant is one of the least resisted damage types (Resists in the Monster Manual: 4, Immunes: 0) while both Necrotic (R: 11, I: 11) and Fire (R: 37, I: 40) are among the most resisted damage types. 
  • Niche ideas are always worth exploring. I'm really happy with how this came out so far. 


  1. Super fucking thematic. I've always loved the idea of Paladins or Clerics that don't necessarily want the magic a God bestows on them. This is extremely plot tasty for that same reason.

    1. I like thinking of paladins and clerics as paragons of a given, particular concept.

      As the Trickster and War clerics prove, that concept *doesn't* have to be nice.

  2. I love it! Stellar work as always. Here are a few things that stood out at first glimpse:

    •Hellfire Weapon: Is the fire line attack supposed to be spammable or one-use?

    •Hellgate: I suppose this recharges on a long rest as well as on a short rest? It currently only says short rest

    •Infernal Inheritor: One staple of devils is the ability to see through magical darkness maybe you could somehow work it into this "transformation" ability. What made you add the "ignore resistance & immunity" part?

    1. Agreed on the magical darkness bit. On the ignore resistance and immunity part, I think maybe that should only apply to damage from your claws or maybe just that 2d6 fire damage? Or maybe just those two? All damage ignoring resistances and immunity seems too good. Oh and just a PHB-style thing, I think whenever you are allowed to choose between two ability modifiers it is typically followed by (your choice).

    2. >Hellfire Weapon

      The text specifies that using the fire line attack ends the effect. So, it's spammable, but only so long as you have additional uses of Channel Divinity to fuel it with.


      Good catch. Yeah, it should read "short or long rest."

      >Infernal Inheritor

      I like this change. For part of a level 20 ability, seeing through magical darkness almost seems like a ribbon, so I'm not too concerned about balance.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    3. >damage immunity and resistance

      So, I'm going to shuffle around Infernal Inheritor quite a bit next draft.

      Things that will be out:

      * Resist and immunity negation
      * The claw attack

      Things that will be in:

      * Darkvision in magical darkness
      * Some big ol' spooky devil wings

      I like this change because it's less about being a combat monster, more about being an actual devil.

  3. Awesome theme. My concerns:
    Hellgate seems underwhelming simply because of the limited distance. A short rest feature, which replaces normal Auras, should have a pretty potent affect. A 10 foot teleport just doesn't seem all that meaningful. Out of combat it could be a very different story (breaking into rooms you aren't supposed to) but the difference between 10-30 feet in that instance is less meaningful than it would be in combat. I would seriously consider buffs to Hellgate to keep the theme in place while making the action more useful for the slot it takes up. The idea is awesome.
    The Fiendish Smite feature is... well... not great? The thematic change is awesome and important but is a serious detrimental to tons of encounters. Recommendations would include opening up the damage type to Poison (which again is one of the weaker damage types) or Ice (worshiper of Mephistopheles maybe?) or maybe just give the smites the ability to overcome resistances at 7 (immunity becomes resistance, resistance becomes not). The damage you get from your first channel divinity does help your total damage outcome though, so it might end up being fine.
    Final concerns are regarding the final ability. Its really cool, but d6 blades as a bonus action? Thats just a shame. At that point in the game typically characters have found better ways to use the bonus action. I would encourage changing abilities a bit- fly speeds, Command at will, summon demons/devils all could be interesting and meaningful capstone options for a paladin of this nature. As awesome as the claws look, are they practical? Eh.

    Overall though have to say I adore your content. I am a picky DM when it comes to player options- yours are almost all included in my "Playable Homebrew" list.

    1. >Hellgate

      After messing with this one a bit, I gave up and replaced it with a more traditional (but no less thematic!) aura. Expect that next draft.

      >Fiendish Smite

      Honestly, I think the fix here is to have damage from Fiendish Smite (and only from Fiendish Smite) ignore resistance.

      Only 4 creatures in the entire monster manual ignore radiant damage, anyway, and no creatures are immune to it, so radiant essentially ignores resistance already.

      >Infernal Inheritor

      I'd have loved to have had some conjure-able devils with this option, but I couldn't figure out a way to do it. No spells conjure devils (even those in the Black Magic UA only conjure demons), and things like Magic Circle and Planar Binding only work on devils that are already there.

      Capstones and conjured minions are both very hard to balance. I'd prefer to avoid going that road if I can, and just make the paladin as devilish as possible.

      You're right on the claws, by the way. Next draft, claws are out, and wings are in.

      And thanks for the compliments! I work hard to make sure my stuff is flavorful and balanced, I'm glad it's appreciated. :)

  4. what a solid oath for an evil paladin who still wants to be lawful, I feel like my critiques have already been brought up, so there isn't much more i can add in that front, but i can add a new suggestion!

    Warlocks seem to get patrons in the form of every iconic monster in dungeons and dragons except one, so how about an Evil Eye Otherworldy patron for those lovers of beholders!

    Use a beholder's Eye ray, create an antimagic field, float through the air without the use of wings and glimpse into the world with a perfection other mortals only dream of! maybe even give them a spectator pet as a capstone!

    1. >Beholder patron

      As aberrant outsiders, beholders would already be covered by the Great Old One pact.

      BUT! A beholder mage DOES sound like a lot of fun, and I'd love to introduce a wizard option that'd go that route. I'll add it to my big list of stuff to do.

    2. Ooooor an aberrant-kin sorcerer option. Now THAT would be interesting.

  5. I'm looking to combine this with a Warlock pact of the blade with the patron Mephistopheles, how would you feel about combining the pact magic with the paladin's magic in this circumstances?

    1. I'd say it makes sense. The pact magic could be a natural extension of the paladin's oath, or it could be an additional favor that the paladin ne warlock had to barter for.

      As far as power level goes, I can't imagine it'd be more broken than any other paladin/warlock hybrid.