In a current D&D 5e game I’m running, one of my players is running an Oath of Glory paladin who, after coming to disagree with his war-god deity, effectively broke his oath. To clarify the exact disagreement, his god is a god of victory, war, and competition but the character has come to value protecting others and promoting free will. While we were initially talking about just changing him to a different deity, we both came to feel like either a class or subclass change to reflect this rather important change would be proper.
We started with Oathbreaker, but both agreed that wouldn’t work as the character isn’t evil and remains opposed to necromancy. Then, we considered Redemption, but agreed that his character won’t be into the pacifism there. We went through a lot of the other subclasses, but didn’t quite find one that fit.
Thus, we come to the homebrew subclass. It is meant to emphasize the ability to change, both yourself and others, and being able to learn from and grow from failures (side-note: there’s a god of free will in the world which will likely be his new deity). I’ll list out everything below with subclass content in bold and add my comments/justifications below. All help, opinions, and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Tenets of New Paths
- Forgiveness. Forgive others who have erred and chosen the wrong paths, just as others have forgiven you.
- Progress. Move forward and push others to do the same.
- Consideration. Tradition does not make something right, nor does innovation. Everything must be judged for what it is, not where it came from.
- Flexibility. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have one path which is correct for them. Be willing to change yourself and patient with others when they must change.
- Reflection. Consider each of your actions and whether they can truly be called good in the eyes of the gods. Repeat those which are but do not be weighed down by those which are not.
This one is pretty straightforward and based largely in the character situation, described in the intro.
3rd. Protection from Evil and Good, Comprehend Languages
5th. Alter Self, Fortune’s Favor
9th. Tongues, Protection from Energy
13th. Freedom of Movement, Polymorph
17th. Dispel Evil and Good, Passwall
This one I had some trouble with. I like the spells thematically, but I worry that they are too similar to the Devotion list and a bit too eclectic to be useful. Also, I worry somewhat that Polymorph overshadows the rest of the list. I initially justified it by being a balance between Animate Dead and Dominate Person from Oathbreaker, but the more I’ve thought about it, the less I like it here.
3rd level – Channel Divinity
Redeem the Fallen: You can use your Channel Divinity to lead discouraged or downcast allies to new victory. As an action, choose a number of allies that you can see within 30 ft. Any of those creatures which are charmed, frightened, or under the effects of a similar condition are returned to normal.
This one is roughly balanced against the Oath of the Crown’s Turn the Tide, but rather than healing a similar amount to a 1st level cure wounds, this removes a status condition in a similar way to a 2nd level lesser restoration. So, perhaps a bit stronger, but more circumstantial.
Break the Stubborn: You can use your Channel Divinity to scatter those who would block your path. As a bonus action, choose a number of creatures equal to your charisma modifier (minimum 1). Each of those creatures must make a Strength saving throw or be tossed aside by divine force. They are launched 20 feet in a direction of your choice, taking fall damage if necessary, and land prone.
For this one, it’s intended to be an alternative to the Channel Divinities which Turn enemies, such as Turn the Faithless from Oath of the Ancients. On the one hand, it doesn’t disable enemies for as long and it relies of strength saves, which monsters tend to do better at than something like Wisdom. On the other, it isn’t limited to a specific creature type, plus gives a lot more flexibility in battlefield control.
7th and 18th level – Aura of Hope
Beginning at 7th level, your example of determination inspires those around you. You and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you experience the benefits of the Bless spell. At 18th level, this increases to 30 ft.
This is a fairly straightforward comparison. As compared to the Oathbreaker’s Aura of Hate, this is again more versatile but less potentially powerful. That said, I also feel like it’s a bit weak to other auras, especially the Aura of Warding from Oath of the Ancients, but maybe I undervalue Bless.
15th level – Forge a New Oath
Starting at 15th level, you may call upon the power of your god for an exceptional boon. As an action, you may pick one spell of 7th level or lower from the cleric spell list with a casting time of 1 action and cast it. You may only use this feature once per day.
I found this one a bit hard to balance as the other subclasses have a lot of variation. I feel like it’s relatively equivalent to the permanent resistances granted by Oathbreaker’s Supernatural Resistance, but, again, there’s a lot of potential variation here.
20th level – Create a New Future
Starting at 20th level, you may use a bonus action to cause creatures within range of your Aura of Hope to do the impossible. Each friendly creature, including yourself, within range of your Aura of Hope may replace the roll of their next ability check, saving throw, or attack roll with a 20. You may only use this ability once per day.
I do feel this one might be too powerful. A lot of the other subclasses give the paladin some kind of super form, such as Dread Lord from Oathbreaker, but this one allows for truly massive burst damage. This largely comes from my preference for burst damage and more fast-paced combats. Still, I’m open to feedback.
And there we have it! Again, my main question is twofold:
- Does it makes sense from a role playing perspective for the PC as described?
- Does it seems mechanically balanced against other Paladin subclasses, especially Oathbreaker?
Thanks for reading and feel free to let me have it for this mess.