When the drums of war begin to beat louder, the Oath of Conquest Paladin takes to the battlefield.
Donning their armor, these Paladins say a prayer to the Gods of might, law, and war that they serve. With these deities’ divine guidance, the Oath of Conquest Paladin seeks nothing less than the total destruction of those they fight against.
If you desire to crush your enemies and salt their fields, this might be the Sacred Oath for you.
This is the full guide to the Oath of Conquest Paladin in D&D 5e!
What is the Oath of Conquest Paladin in D&D 5e?
The Oath of Conquest Paladin is one of two Paladin subclasses introduced in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It appears alongside the Oath of Redemption Paladin which is its total opposite in theme. There’s a yin to every yang, right?
Conquest Paladins might be known by many other names. They are sometimes called knight tyrants or ironmongers by those who know them and their ideals.
But reverence and a desire for war can easily become twisted if not kept in check.
Those whose warring ways lead them to make deals with beings from the Nine Hells are often called Hell Knights. These warriors commonly come to serve the archdevil known as Bel, a military genius of Avernus.
To swear the Oath of Conquest is to walk a fine line. While these Paladins seek victory in war as the ultimate means of maintaining law and destroying chaos, they most strongly reject those who have become Hell Knights.
Tenets of the Oath of Conquest
Mercy is not in the Oath of Conquest Paladin’s playbook. Enemies are to either be destroyed or subjugated.
The tenets of the Oath of Conquest make this very clear. As a staunch reminder, these tenets are seared onto the Paladin’s flesh on the upper arm.
- Douse the Flame of Hope: It is not enough to merely defeat an enemy in battle. Your victory must be so overwhelming that your enemies’ will to fight is shattered forever. A blade can end a life. Fear can end an empire.
- Rule with an Iron Fist: Once you have conquered, tolerate no dissent. Your word is law. Those who obey it shall be favored. Those who defy it shall be punished as an example to all who might follow.
- Strength Above All: You shall rule until a stronger one arises. Then you must grow mightier and meet the challenge or fall to your own ruin.
Talk about an intense oath, eh?
Role in the Party
The Oath of Conquest Paladin goes all-in on being an offensive powerhouse.
While they can definitely bring the pain down on a single enemy like other Paladins, they also get some very useful features that help them deal with groups of enemies.
Having a high Charisma score is very important to playing an Oath of Conquest Paladin. Several of your spells rely on you having a high Spell Save DC as well as one of your Channel Divinity options.
In social situations that require some strong-arming and intimidation, this also makes you an excellent face for the party. Though more pleasant social situations might be better left to… well… just about anyone else…
Oath of Conquest Paladin Abilities
The Oath of Conquest Paladin seeks to completely overwhelm their enemies and their kit reflects that.
With powerful subclass features and many useful spells, you’ll always have plenty of options for how to ruin your enemies’ day!
Oath of Conquest Spells
Your Sacred Oath grants you bonus spells that are meant to help you and build on your subclass’s theme.
At each of the levels that you see on the table, you gain bonus spells. These spells are always prepared and don’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.
If a spell isn’t from the Paladin spell list, it still counts as a Paladin spell for you.
|Paladin Level||Oath Spells|
|3||Armor of Agathys, Command|
|5||Hold Person, Spiritual Weapon|
|9||Bestow Curse, Fear|
|13||Dominate Beast, Stoneskin|
|17||Cloudkill, Dominate Person|
I know, right? You’d really think there would be more healing and support options here for a class that’s all about peace, love, and understanding! (Joking)
Related: The Best Paladin Spells By Level in D&D 5e!
Thoughts on the Oath of Conquest Paladin Spell List
Armor of Agathys is an excellent buff that will likely be useful to you throughout your entire adventure. Gaining temporary hit points while also dealing some passive damage to enemies who hit you is just nice. Command is useful if you’re clever with how you use it and have a good Charisma score.
Spiritual Weapon can greatly help you deal with multiple enemies or pump more damage into a priority target.
You’ll want to be mindful of how you use your bonus action, but this is a very useful spell to have. Even better, it doesn’t require concentration (which is both awesome and kind of broken)!
Hold Person can be very useful if you’ve got a decent Charisma score. It sets your party up nicely to dogpile the target and could very well be a checkmate!
Fear is the ultimate spell on the Oath of Conquest Paladin’s spell list. Combining this with your Aura of Conquest (which we’ll get to later in this guide) is just sickening. If an enemy is immune to fear effects, Bestow Curse can be used in several ways to leave the enemy cowering.
Dominate Beast is very situational and largely forgettable for you. Stoneskin, on the other hand, is amazing for helping you out on the party’s front line. It is expensive, though, at 100gp worth of diamond dust a pop, so use it sparingly.
Dominate Person will likely get a ton of use from you. It’s a powerful spell that also really plays into the Oath of Conquest Paladin’s theme. If enemies are grouping up, Cloudkill gives you a nice AoE spell option.
Channel Divinity (Level 3)
As with all Paladins, the Oath of Conquest Paladin has two options for how to use their Channel Divinity. You can use this feature once per short or long rest.
Conquering Presence: As an action, you force each creature of your choice that you can see within 30 feet of you to make a Wisdom saving throw.
On a failed save, a creature becomes frightened of you for 1 minute.
The frightened creature can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
If you find yourself getting surrounded, this can be a great way to send your enemies scattering.
When you get your Aura of Conquest at level 7, this gets much better. However, the Fear spell you gain at level 9 will outshine this since the enemies only get a save with that if you’re not in their line of sight.
Still, this is a solid option if you find yourself up against a large number of enemies.
Guided Strike: When you make an attack roll, you can use your Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll.
You make this choice after you see the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses.
Having an extra +10 attack bonus at the ready once per rest is incredibly useful. After all, there are bound to be times when you absolutely need to land a hit.
This also plays well with the Great Weapon Master feat. Taking a -5 to deal an extra 10 damage can be easily offset with Guided Strike!
Now you’re getting a +5 bonus to your attack and dealing an extra 10 damage!
Aura of Conquest (Level 7)
If used tactically, the Aura of Conquest you gain at level 7 can potentially end entire combats before they even begin.
You constantly emanate a menacing aura when you are not incapacitated. The aura extends 10 feet from you in every direction, but not through total cover.
If a creature is frightened of you, its speed is reduced to 0 while in the aura. That creature takes psychic damage equal to half your paladin level if it starts its turn there.
At level 18, this aura’s range increases to 30 feet.
This right here.
This is exactly what you build your Oath of Conquest Paladin around. Scare the living daylights out of all who oppose you then punish them for their foolishness.
Having a movement speed of 0 means that enemies can’t run away. Even better, they can’t even get up from the prone position.
They can still attack you at disadvantage, but they’re in trouble if they only have a 5-foot reach. You can either whittle them down with psychic damage or finish the job quickly with a Reach weapon like a halberd.
You’ve got good options for inspiring fear in your enemies especially once you gain the Fear spell at level 9. If you haven’t already picked up Wrathful Smite from the Paladin spell list, you will want to do so now.
Additionally, be on the lookout for any items that help you use fear effects against your enemies like the Wand of Terror or Mace of Terror.
Scornful Rebuke (Level 15)
Do you ever do something then immediately realize that that was a VERY bad idea?
Yeah… every single one of your enemies is about to have that crushing feeling too…
Whenever a creature hits you with an attack, that creature takes psychic damage equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1) if you’re not incapacitated.
The higher your Charisma modifier, the better this is. If you’ve maxxed out your Charisma score (and you should have by now since it’s so important to this subclass), that’s 5 free damage back to the enemy each time they hit you.
It may not sound like much, but it’s free, always on, and adds up quickly!
Enemies at this point commonly have 2 or 3 attacks. This means you’re at least getting an extra 10-15 points of damage in for free.
If you’ve cast (ideally upcast) your Armor of Agathys, you’ll be dealing even more damage to them. A single hit against you if you’ve got a level 5 Armor of Agathys up forces them to eat 30 points of damage between AoA and your Scornful Rebuke!
Invincible Conqueror (Level 20)
Once you reach the Oath of Conquest Paladin’s capstone feature, only the mightiest of enemies would dare stand against you.
Becoming an avatar of conquest for 1 minute, you can use your action to gain several benefits once per long rest:
You have resistance to all damage.
Ok. Wow. So, all damage you take is now halved?!
There’s really no need to explain why this is awesome.
When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can make one additional attack as part of that action.
More attacks means you put out more damage and have more chances to land a critical hit.
Speaking of which…
Your melee weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 on the d20.
Now your chances of landing a critical hit with each attack have just doubled!
Everything about Invincible Conqueror is great. You are an absolute machine capable of dealing incredible damage.
With a duration of 1 minute, you’ll definitely want to save this for big fights. You’ll have 10 rounds of being able to go ape on your foes.
If the battle even goes that long, you’ll still have a major upper hand through the end of the fight.
Military experience is the easiest and most logical way to connect an Oath of Conquest Paladin into the story. These Paladins are a force to be reckoned with and a unit of them charging into battle is something that can unnerve most enemies.
Was your character in such a unit? How does that experience lead to them adventuring with the party?
While there’s definitely a major theme of warmongering within the Oath of Conquest Paladin, how does your character temper that?
After all, even for a Sacred Oath like this war for the sake of war is a sure path to corruption and becoming a dreaded Hell Knight. Even worse, you might find yourself tempted to the path of becoming an Oathbreaker!
Oath of Conquest Paladins do not need to be evil. While their methods and views are certainly severe, they are still plenty capable of being warriors for good.
A good-aligned Conquest Paladin might justify their aggression with experiences of fighting evil creatures. Having seen the cruelty of those enemies firsthand, they believe that the only way to truly rid the land of evil threats are to completely destroy them.
They might reason that a necromancer raising armies of the undead is incapable of turning over a new leaf. If the people truly wish to be rid of the necromancer’s schemes and chaos, it must be dealt with severely.
A Conquest Paladin does not have to go around provoking fights constantly. Rather, they may view their approach as the “greater good” by meeting aggression with overwhelming force to ultimately save more lives than a drawn-out war would inherently cost.
Don’t mistake the Oath of Conquest as a “one-note” type of character theme. There are many ways to adapt it to your campaign and party!
Is the Oath of Conquest Paladin Good?
When it comes to characters that fit an aggressive playstyle, the Oath of Conquest Paladin is truly remarkable. They are one of the best aggressive subclasses in the game.
Spells like Spiritual Weapon and Armor of Agathys carry the Oath of Conquest far in the early game.
The biggest downside to the Oath of Conquest is that they don’t really hit their stride until level 9. But even before that, they’re offensive powerhouses for any party.
Mixing in a healthy level of control with spells and features to keep enemies in check means that a Conquest Paladin can have a field day if enemies aren’t making their saving throws. While enemies are held or frozen in fear, the Paladin and their party can trample them.
Just also be mindful of what kinds of enemies you’ll be facing.
Fear isn’t an uncommon resistance. You can see this nifty chart by u/RocksInMyDryer on Reddit which shows that it’s the third most common condition immunity (after poisoned and charmed.)
This means you’ll have a much harder time against undead, constructs, or other creatures that can’t be frightened. It’s nothing you can’t overcome, but it’s definitely grating if a campaign features primarily these types of enemies!
If you’re in a campaign like that but still want an aggressive Paladin option, check out the Oath of Vengeance Paladin.
Related: Ranking Every Paladin Subclass in D&D 5e!
Conclusion – Oath of Conquest Paladin in D&D
So, what do you think?
Will your Paladin be taking the Oath of Conquest and inspiring fear in the hearts of their enemies?
Share your character concepts, thoughts, or questions in the comments!
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