The difference between a paladin and a cleric

While Paladins and Clerics may have some similarities, they are both very different classes. Here’s what makes them both unique.

One of the best parts of Dungeons and Dragons is to create an original character to inhabit a fictional world. Players can decide everything about their character – race, gender, personality, background, and it all comes together to build an immersive story. But character creation can be intimidating for a new player. Lots of options, especially when it comes to lessons. There are twelve main classes to choose from, several of which have subclasses and can be interpreted in different ways. While this lends itself well to creativity, it can be overwhelming for a beginner player.

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It doesn’t help that some of the classes are easy to confuse. For example, the three classes of spellcasters – Wizard, Wizard, and Wizard – are easy to mix for a new player. Likewise, it can be difficult to distinguish between barbarian and fighter combat classes or nature classes – druid and ranger. It is the same with the two theological classes: cleric and paladin. Both are religiously motivated individuals motivated by a dedication to a particular deity, but they have some major differences when it comes to gameplay.


Dungeons & Dragons Clerc Grave Domain Spellcaster Subclass Xanathar's

Clerics see themselves as the servants of a particular deity and try to strengthen their influence. But they go beyond just being a member of the clergy, although they can start that way. Clerics have direct contact with the divinity they have chosen and receive divine powers to better fulfill their mission. This should not be confused with the sorcerer, where an agreement is made that grants individual power in return for services. A cleric usually follows his divinity out of dedication to his cause, rather than out of expectation of a reward. For this reason, Clerics have the advantage of divine magic, which allows them to call on any deity of their choice for support that can range from reviving fallen allies to destroying their enemies.

Examples of clerics

The mystic in the forest

  • Melisander– Game of Thrones: mysterious priestess capable of producing powerful magic through her connection with a deity known only as the “Lord of Light”.
  • Rey- Star wars: the force awakens: Develops a strong bond with the force on which it depends more than direct combat
  • Old Ben Kenobi- Star Wars Episode IV: A New HopeMainly relies on his understanding of strength to guide Luke, only engaging in combat when directly confronted. He even takes a step further by using his connection to the force to continue helping Luke after his death. However, his young self in previous films would be closer to a Paladin.
  • Took- Hood: outlaw and legends– a religious figure who acts as a support by healing his teammates with divine power


Cleric of Dungeons and Dragons

Priests are primarily a class of spellcasters, putting them in a supporting role where they can use their divine magic to give their teammates an advantage. This ability makes them much more versatile than Paladins. Depending on the deity chosen by the player and the direction in which he takes his power, clerics can have a variety of applications. They are generally considered to be healers, which makes them a valuable member of any group to be able to heal their wounded allies. But they can also be built for combat and deal heavy damage to enemies.

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As versatile as they may be, clerics must choose a specialty, which comes in the form of “domains” related to their divinity. The choice of domain affects the abilities of the cleric, so it should be carefully considered. A cleric who is interested in healing others will want to pursue the realm of life, while a cleric interested in destroying enemies may be better placed to follow the realm of war.


Monty Python King Arthur Sir Bedevere Final Battle Graham Chapman Terry Jones

Paladins are warriors bound by an oath, usually to a particular deity. The precise nature of their oath and ultimate goals may vary, but they generally follow a similar pattern: to oppose injustice, protect the innocent, and crush evil wherever it may be found.

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Honor is an important part of the life of any paladin, as they live by a rigid code of conduct which they follow with the greatest devotion. For this reason, most paladins are considered legitimate property. However, there are rare cases of paladins who revoke their oaths and turn their backs on their gods, usually to embrace a life of wickedness.

Examples of Paladins

Cassandre Templar Dragon Age

  • Bayek of Siwa- Assassin’s Creed: Origins– After the vengeance oath, Bayek is largely motivated by his dedication to the Egyptian gods as he tracks down the Order that killed his son.
  • king arthurMonty Python and the Holy Grail– Although very incompetent paladin, Arthur considers himself a warrior divinely commissioned to rule England and shows great determination against enemies he deems unworthy.
  • Wonder Woman – Born to the gods, Diana is driven by the need to help others and see justice prevail
  • Cassandra- Dragon Age: Inquisition– Experienced warrior dedicated to the cause of banishing evil from the world by any means necessary


Dungeons & Dragons Paladin Attacker

At 3rd level, a Paladin must swear an oath to his chosen deity, of which there are several. Most follow similar values, such as protecting the innocent, resisting injustice, and destroying evil. Of course, once this oath is taken, the paladin is responsible for enforcing it. Paladins who break their oaths may face serious consequences from the dungeon master. Depending on whether the paladin is guilty of his actions, he may need to perform an act of penance or change class altogether. However, there is a “Oath Breaker” subclass that offers unique powers, including the ability to summon an army of zombies. A player who doesn’t like following a strict code of conduct might be better off with a fighter or barbarian than a paladin.

While thematically similar to Priests, Paladins are more combat-oriented. They have access to divine magic, but they rely on their weapons and armor more often. This gives them the ability to act like tanks and participate directly in combat rather than playing a supporting role. Like fighters, Paladins have a variety of weapons to choose from, allowing the player to experiment with different combinations and fighting styles. Where priests tend to serve as support, paladins are better suited to lead the charge and act as chariots.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: Every Alignment, Explained

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