Mark Bludiell – 5e Paladin

It’s no secret. Ever since I read Elisabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksenarrion, I’ve loved playing paladins. +Rob Conley did me a favor and quoted the best description from the book in a prior blog post:

Paraphrased From page 579 of the Trade Paperback the Deed of Paksenarrion.

Most think being a holy warrior means gaining vast arcane powers, that they would be nearly invincible against any foe. But truth is that while Paladin are skilled at fighting, that was the least of their abilities. A quest might involve no fighting at all, or a battle against beings no steel could pierce.

Above all paladins show that courage is possible. It is easy enough to find reasons to give in to evil. War is ugly as many know. But we do not argue that war is better than peace; paladin are not that stupid. It is not peace when cruelty reigns, when stronger men steal from farmers and craftmen., when the child can be enslaved, or the old thrown out to starve, and no one lifts a hand. That is not peace: that is conquest and evil.

Paladins do not start quarrels in peaceful lands, never display their skills to earn applause. But we are the sword of good defending the helpless and teaching by our example that one person can dare greater force to break evil’s grasp on the innocent. Sometimes that can be done without fighting, without killing, and that is best.

But some evil needs direct attack, and paladins must be able to do it, and lead others in battle. Wonder why paladins are so likable? It is important, we come to a town, perhaps, where nothing has gone right for a dozen years. Perhaps there is a temple there and sometimes there is not. The people are frightened, and they have lost trust in each other, in themselves. We may lead them into danger, some will be killed or wounded. Why should they trust us?

Because we are likable, and other people will follow us willingly. And that’s why we are more likely to choose a popular adept as a candidate rather than the best fighters.

In any case I decided to explore the world of D&D5 a bit into the spellcaster/power user realm. I’m usually a pretty fond guy for straight-up fighter types: Fighters and Rogues. But I wanted to get my feet wet in the power set.

I started with the idea to try a Monk, but then I came up with a set of rolls, and given the religious struggle at the notional heart of the campaign (I think it’s deeper than that with religion as proxy, but there you go), I decided to try Paladin instead.

I decided that the guy would be a half-elf, who was doing his own thing one day as a boy when he came across a brutish young human with a group of seeming sycophants brutalizing another boy, a peasant.

Angered, he challenged the boy, mocked him, and in the ensuing fight, thrashed him soundly. He did not escape unscathed – nor unnoticed. A fey – a ridiculously high level wild Elven Monk – watched it all happen. As fey will do, she blessed him with an elvish glamour (the high CHA and Folk Hero background), but cursed him as well – marking him as such and bringing him to the attention of greater powers than eve she. Forever would he follow the path of defending the weak. 

And between the spell she cast marking him as forever an avenger of the downtrodden, and his bloody visage after the fight, he was called the Marked Bloody Elf. Or Mark the Bloody Elf, shortened to Mark Bludiell, Markbludiell, or just Mark. Even he does’t remember his former name.

This mark led to another one – a calling by the High Lord Veritas as his Hand in the Majestic Wilderlands. The curse that was a blessing was a seed that took root – and of course, the young thug happened to be the scion of a powerful noble. Because fey never give a rose without thorns.

Mark Bludiell (4th level Paladin of Veritas)

STR 17; DEX 12; CON 16; INT 12; WIS 14; CHA 18

Yeah, I rolled well. And the choice of Folk Hero plus my own choices gave me

Animal Handling; Insight; Intimidation; and Survival.

Natural abilities due to being half-elven don’t hurt:

Darkvision; Can’t be magically put to sleep; Advantage vs being charmed.

Paladin abilities by fourth level 

  • Divine Sense – with action, any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60′ not behind total cover. 1+CHA bonus per long rest
  • Lay on Hands – 20 HP healed per long rest; 5 HP from pool to cure disease or neutralize poison. 
  • Fighting Style: protection. Can take a reaction to give adjacent friend help by attacks against him having disadvantage. Requires shield.
  • Divine Smite – 2d8 extra damage for 1st level spell slot, +1d8 per spell slot level max 5d8, +1d8 on undead or fiend.
  • Immune to Disease (Divine Health)
  • Oath of Devotion

Channel Divinity (can do each once with a short rest between?)
  • Sacred Weapon (includes light) – Imbue one weapon with positive energy. Adds CHA to attack rolls. Bright light in 20′ radius. Treated as magical weapon. 
  • Turn Unholy – 30′ WIS saving throw or run away
His equipment is nothing special. Plate armor and a shield, for AC 20. A sword and a longbow. He’s got a horse, not a Paladin’s Mount, but a serviceable quality mount.

He can learn up to 6 1st level Paladin spells, though he can only cast three per day. 

I was surprised to find that there’s no basic Light spell on the Paladin’s list. While you can call light with Sacred Weapon, you can’t just play You Light Up My Life, which was a surprise. When I needed it, though, last adventure, Rob handwaved it away and allowed it as a cantrip because it was really cool as a part of an Intimidation roll.

I get Protection from Evil and Sanctuary as part of my Oath spells, always prepared. Six others? My calling is to always wade in where the fire is hottest, so in any fight I pick the biggest, baddest monster and head straight for him. If I must, I use Compel Duel to force him to fight me, to preserve others. As for he next five spells I have to pick, I’m still somewhat at a bit of a loss. Command seemed appropriate. Divine Favor too, as well as Searing Smite, though that one was mostly just cool. Given my protector thing, I should probably pick up Shield of Faith, Bless, and Heroism.

But I’m sure there are better choices out there, and I’m definitely up for good suggestions.

Mostly, in terms of other equipment, he’s probably got a basic adventurer’s pack with traveling gear and survival gear, and that’s about all. 

Thus far, he’s been fun to play. My background and calling play right into the thick of the plot, so this is the first paper man I’ve played in a while where the details of who he is, the what and why of his calling, are really important. Getting into roleplay for roleplay’s sake for the first time in a while is making me flex my imagination a bunch, much to the good.


Oh, and two posts ago was my 500th since I started the blog. Go me.

4 thoughts on “Mark Bludiell – 5e Paladin

    1. Of the first three books, the first was good, the second, where she was wandering around weak, was middling. The third one was quite good. The books about Gird and Luap were not my favorites, and there was just enough continuity difference to be a bit jarring. Not wrong, since the history of the real event and the legend of it can be quite different. But the characterization of a proper paladin from the first and third books were defining.

  1. Note for Channel Divinity: You have 1 charge per short rest and can use that charge to activate any one of your Channel Divinity abilities. You _can_ use the same one over and over again, as long as there is a short or long rest in between uses. But you cant use one, then use the other, without a short rest or long rest in between.

    1. Huh, I believe you, but that's kinda less fun. It reinforces my thoughts about the spell/power ability of the class as needing a boost, but I'd need to compare Paladin with Fighter to see where it stands overall.

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