March 20, 2017

Oath of the Seraph

Sacred Oath
Comments from the Knuckle: The initial idea for the 1st draft of the mechanics for this Sacred Oath were inspired by Xander from Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, specifically the Seraph Sword is inspired by the powers of his mighty blade, Siegfried. The theme of ascension came from a discussion I had with my college roommates about whether or not a paladin whose goal was to become a god and eliminate evil would be on the Good or Evil side of alignment. Without further ado, I give you the Oath of the Seraph.

Oath of the Seraph

Paladins who take the Oath of the Seraph are known for making grand destinies for themselves. Their deeds are known far and wide, and every paladin who takes this Oath has the goal of eventually assuming the mantle of divinity.

Tenets of the Seraph
The tenets of the Oath of the Seraph are held by those paladins who seek to make the world a better place. They hold a universal hatred of evil, and seek personal perfection as a path to divinity. These paladins justify their quest for personal ascension by claiming that they will renew the world, eliminating evil.
     Illumination. I will bring the light of the heavens to the mortals of the world, and they shall come to know the gods through me.
     Elimination. I am a warrior, and I dedicate my life to the divine celestials; I will fell their foes like trees in a forest.
     Perfection. I will hone myself, bringing glory to the gods by becoming a perfect being. Those around me will be struck with awe and wonder by my similarity to the gods.
     Ascension. I dedicate my life to one day joining the gods. To this end, I shall do all things in my power to ensure that my life is measured in great deeds. If I am to die, let it be in a blaze of heroism worthy of the gods. This is my solemn Oath, my Vow of Ascension.

Oath Spells
You gain oath spells at the paladin levels listed.
Paladin Level  Spells
3rdcommand, shield of faith
5thcontinual flame, moonbeam
9thdaylight, spirit guardians
13thdeath ward, freedom of movement
17thflame strike, hold monster

Channel Divinity
When you take this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options.
     Seraph Sword. As a bonus action, you present a melee weapon to the heavens and charge the weapon with the power of your soul. Your weapon is transmuted by the power of the divines, and it deals 2d8 radiant damage for 1 minute, instead of its normal damage.
     Holier Than Thou. You can present your holy symbol as a bonus action to gain divine insight into the words of other creatures. Creatures within 30 feet of you must make a Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, a creature who attempts to lie to you has disadvantage on all Charisma (Deception) checks that they attempt to do so. This effect lasts for 10 minutes, and requires your concentration as if you were concentrating on a spell. Creatures who are immune to the charmed condition are immune to this effect.

Aura of Immunization
Starting at 7th level, you generate an aura of divine health. You and your allies within 10 feet of you are immune to the poisoned condition, and have advantage on saving throws made against spells and other magical effects that deal poison damage.
     At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.

Celestial Senses
Starting at 15th level, you are always under the effects of your Divine Sense. You can also present your holy symbol as an action and grant yourself truesight within a 30-foot radius for 1 minute. Once you use this ability, you can't use this ability again until you finish a long rest.
     In addition, you gain the following Channel Divinity option:
     Divine Revelation. As an action, you can present your holy symbol. Any creature within 120 feet of you that is shapechanged reverts to its true form.

Seraph's Ascent
At 20th level, you can use your action to awaken the divine energy within your soul. For 1 minute, you become godlike in power, gaining the following benefits:
  • Your weapon is transmuted into your Seraph Sword without expending your Channel Divinity.
  • Attacks you make with your Seraph Sword have advantage.
  • Hostile creatures within 30 feet of you take radiant damage equal to your Charisma modifier whenever you make a melee attack.
Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Changelog: 3/20/17: Seraph Sword: damage reduced to 2d8.
Smiting Aura: Replaced with Aura of Immunization.
Holier Than Thou: replaced
Ascension: Renamed Seraph's Ascent and gains an additional effect to streamline its usage
3/21/17: Seraph Sword: Exhaustion penalty removed
Seraph's Ascent: Non-exhaustion clause removed


  1. The seraph sword is absurdly overpowered, even with the exhaustion (and one level of exhaustion barely has any effect). Paladins already get higher damage than most others due to divine smite. It might be eligible if you couldn't use divine smite when it's active.
    As it is now, a 5th level paladin could deal 2*(3d8+2d8+4)= 53 damage on basically every turn of combat.

    Other than this problem, I like the concept, though a paladin bent on ascending to godhood doesn't seem necessarily good-aligned...

    1. How is ascending to godhood within itself aligned in anyway?

    2. At the risk of dragging this down into an alignment debate, I'd say ambition and greed (i.e. wanting things for yourself) as motivations probably do lean towards the Evil end of the D&D alignment spectrum. Obviously there's more to it than that, but for me the tenets of this Oath would steer a character towards a very Neutral outlook.

      When a Good character becomes a god (or is in any other way 'promoted') in stories, it's not usually because they *want* to; it's because they either *have* to, or they earn it without necessarily trying to.

  2. I agree with Idan bhk that Seraph Sword is a bit too powerful. Also, with a level of exhaustion being the trade off, the exhaustion is especially taxing as exhaustion doesn't end until a long rest, and that is only one level of it.
    I also think that Holier than Thou and Divine Revelation are really niche effects and I don't really see how they go along with the theme and seem rather poor alternatives especially considering that a Paladin uses Channel Divinity 1/short rest and the Seraph Sword is literally exhausting to use, so something else desirable may be in order. Maybe Seraph Sword could mimic a Solar's Flying Sword ability? Paladin's suffer from being poor at long range and this could very well help it.

    Smiting Aura almost entirely subjugates the Crusader's Mantle spell. The aura may be smaller, but even then the actual spell requires concentration and lasts only for a minute and they don't even gain access to it until 9th level.

    I feel like compared to other 20th level abilities for Paladins, this one is a bit clunky, and also requires you to use your Seraph Sword for full effect, which if you have resorted to using your Channel Divinity already but wanted to hold on to your 20th level effect, it renders half of it useless, or you need to wait longer. On top of that, your Seraph Sword requires a bonus action, and this an action. You only would have 9 effective rounds of this rather than a full 10. The design of it impairs full effectiveness. Perhaps instead it may be better to let you reroll damage on Divine Smites? or something like that.

    1. Thanks for the input! For now, I'll patch Seraph Sword to be less outright powerful and have the Knuckle look at rewriting the fluff and a couple of features. (In fact, I'm starting to question if I have his most up-to-date draft, because I raised quite a few of the same concerns.)

      I'd like to see Smiting Aura replaced completely with something defensive or interactive. (A passive Zone of Truth might be cool, for example.) Right now, it doesn't really present a difference in kind.

      I very much like your idea for rerolling damage on divine smites! There's a good chance I'm going to nick that.

    2. A solar-like sword could be interesting, but as the class wants to ascend to godhood I'd say Empyrean references might be the best (although solars are much more iconic and recognizable than empyreans).

      The aura could be something related to your body becoming divine, such as immunity to poison or reduced exhaustion.
      Perhaps at 20th level you could choose which kind of deity you want to become, and get something similar to the 17th level cleric domain feature of the domain you choose?
      I can definitely see this class turning into sort of a paladin version of Favored Soul.

  3. I'm a little late to the party, Derek and Idan already voiced my biggest concerns. I'll just say that for a paladin wishing to ascend to God hood it really doesn't feel very godlike. It feels like an alternate version of the Oath of Devotion, rather than its own thing.

    1. That was sort of what I was thinking, actually.

  4. the Channel Divinitioes need some serious work, the power level of Seraph sword has already been disscused however the Exaustion is the incorrect tax for the use of such a feature as Derek Nekritz said the exaustion limits the feature to once a long rest as apposed to the traditional once a short rest, wiich means you are stuck with (for the majority of the time) Holier Than Thou, which is flat out useless later levels as paladins are immune to Frightened, and elves already have advantage against being charmed, for a post 10th level elven paladin - it is literally useless - so why is it the onlyy option for CD?

    1. Oh an did I mewntion Paladin saving throw modifiers

    2. I will get this changed to something else! I completely forgot that Paladins got the fear immunity, you are correct that this is a useless CD.

  5. Okay, so uh, I did indeed make a mistake, and did not have my most recent version on the Blog. I've updated it to be the version that survived playtesting and I've let the Finger know he needs to update the PDF :)

    1. Not to nitpick, but you still have that level of exhaustion on Seraph Sword, it would be safe to remove it now that it doesn't warrant such a high tax.