February 24, 2017

Oath of the Badge

Sacred Oath
Comments from the Finger: The WEIRD WEST UPDATE is out on Patreon!

Oath of the Badge

Far out on the frontier of civilization, paladins are granted a special holy symbol, a badge of office, upon which they swear their vows. The badge symbolizes justice and law in places devoid of such things and identifies the paladin as the authority for a designated city, township, or shire. Above all, the badge carries the weight of responsibility. Every paladin that swears the Oath of the Badge is a keeper of the peace, a lawman of the frontier, and bears the solemn duty to protect and serve all citizens.

Tenets of the Badge
Even though different jurisdictions may have different laws, the guidelines followed by all badge-carrying paladins is quite clear, and always have these common features:
     Uphold the Law. Though your duties require you to sometimes step outside the bounds of taste, stepping outside the bounds of the law sets a dangerous precedent for those who witness it and might even cost you your badge. Paladins of higher authority enforce your conduct and can impose a number of punishments, up to and including causing your fall from paladinhood.
     Keep the Peace. It is not enough to simply enforce the law, you must also avoid unnecessary violence and conflict. Whenever possible, look for solutions that balance peace with law.
     Respect the Badge. Your badge is a mark of office and a symbol of law and order. Just as other people respect the significance of your badge, so should you respect your superiors and confederates whole carry similar badges of office.

Oath Spells
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.
Paladin Level Spells
3rdchromatic bullet, detect law and chaos
5thjam weapon, zone of truth
9thprotection from ballistics, speak with dead
13thdetonate ammunition, locate creature
17thconjure volley, scrying
Sidebar: Weird West Spells
This archetype uses spells from the Weird West Update. If you wish to use this archetype without this update, consider using Oath Spells from the Oath of Devotion.

Channel Divinity
When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.
     Discern Truth. As an action, you can use your Channel Divinity to attune your ears to Divine Law, which harbors no lies. For the next minute, you instantly know whenever you hear a lie. Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks for the duration.
     Longarm. You can use your bonus action to ensure that no one escapes the reach of justice. For the next minute, you can use your Divine Smite feature when you hit with a ranged weapon attack, in addition to melee weapon attacks. Additionally, your ranged weapon attacks ignore half and three-quarters cover and count as magical for purposes of overcoming damage resistance and immunity.

Lawman’s Command
By 7th level, when you present your badge, your word carries the force of law. You can cast the spell command without expending a spell slot. Once you cast this spell on a creature using this feature, you can't use this feature on that creature again for 24 hours.

Steely Resolve
Starting 15th level, you can't be surprised while you are conscious. Additionally, whenever you roll initiative, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your level.

Starting at 20th level, as an action, you can draw out the true strength of your badge, which begins to glow brightly. For the next minute, you are an arbiter of peace and law and gain the following benefits:
  • Your AC becomes 20, if it were lower.
  • You have blindsense with a range of 100 feet, and know the identity of creatures you can see.
  • You have advantage on all attack rolls you make against creatures which have attacked or dealt damage to you in the last minute.
Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Changelog: 2/24/17: Lawman's Command: Wording altered (again)
Arbiter: Long rest recharge added


  1. Love the concept but there are a few little things.

    Firstly Lawman's Command should be "Once you cast the spell with this feature you cannot do so again until you complete a long rest". 24 hour lockouts aren't really a thing in 5E not to mention as its worded now it would prevent you from casting Command even with normal spell slots.

    Secondly Arbiter does not say how often it can be used which following all other Paladin Oaths it would be a long rest recharge feature.

    1. Lawman's Command allows you to cast the spell on a single creature once every 24 hours. It's a bit of a different scenario -- this type of terminology is used in features to indicate immunity time.

      Good catch on Arbiter -- it's a long rest.

    2. I'm not sure which is the intent here. Is Lawman's Command: 1) A Command spell that does not use a spell slot and has only 1 use or 2) A Command spell that can be cast any number of times so long as the target is not the same creature as was effected in the past 24 hours.

      If it's the first it needs to be clearer that it can only be used once every short/long rest. If it's the 2nd that feature is exceptionally powerful and needs to be limited in # of uses/long rest (# equal to Charisma modifier for example).

    3. It's the latter version, but I disagree that it's too powerful. The intent is that, while it's unlimited, you can only target a creature with it once (and the effect only lasts for 1 round.) This keeps you from effectively spamming it.

      Also, the command spell isn't an amazing use of your action in combat. I'm pretty confident this is a balanced feature.

  2. "By 7th level, when you present your badge, your word carries the force of law. You can cast the spell command without expending a spell slot. After casting this spell on a creature, you cannot use this feature ***on that creature*** to do so again for 24 hours." I feel this is far clearer wording. Otherwise it feels like it can only be used once per 24 hours.

    1. Oh, I see! I think I was mentally emphasizing a different part of the sentence. I'll get it this time.

  3. I get that this is supposed to be a western sheriff, but I can't help but envision this in an Urban Arcana setting. It's so evocative of the police officer in general. Great work guys! Can't wait to see those spells do!

    1. This'd totally work for that too! I'm pretty sure our Weird West spells would be fine in a modern setting, provided you expand our repertoire of firearms.

  4. This archetype clearly focuses on the wild west sheriff, what holds me back is even though you have great options with firearms but your smite does not work with ranged weapons. This leads to one of the paladin's biggest features being unusable unless my sheriff goes around hacking people with a greatsword.

    1. I'm confused: what does Longarm do then?

    2. But still only a minute (an average fight) for every short rest. Yes it balances out. Was simply hoping for a permanent option and then something cool like you always do

    3. For example a permanent effect at level 7 and a vengeance style debuff for the channel divinity option to add to the marked convict enemy in the wild west feel of the class

    4. In my mind, this was a bit of a compromise for non-Western games. As Grand Moff mentioned above, this should feel like every cop ever, not just a Western sheriff thing. I'd be doing the class a disservice if I made it strictly a ranged class, since that means you /can't/ play a medieval cop (still called a sheriff, weirdly enough) wielding a sword of justice.

      Plus, the class doesn't get a good long-duration feature until 7th, and by that time, it's a little late to patch archery support in.

    5. Paladins just aren't really meant to be ranged (although the Hammer of Moradin does a pretty good job). This channel divinity feature does a good job at giving the paladin a good ranged option.

      I kind of want to see a feature that stops or reduces the speed of creatures to prevent them from running away, but a longbow has a range of 150/600 feet, so you can keep shooting for 10 rounds (20 if you're also chasing) until the criminal becomes a pin-cushion.

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