Best Race for a paladin in 5e DnD [Ranked]

Hello adventurers and dungeon masters, are you looking to start a new character for your next campaign or just dreaming about what could have been? Well, lucky you, we are discussing the best Race for a paladin in 5e DnD in this article.

We will look at some of the classic Dungeons and Dragons races and subraces and try and rank them to determine which Race would make the ultimate Paladin in 5e.

Here are the criteria we will use to do this

  • Ability stat boosts
  • Racial perks and feats
  • Role-playing potential

Top 8 best races for paladin 5e D&D

1. Variant Human

The best Race for a paladin in 5e is the Variant Human. As you probably know, there is no race as versatile in Dungeons and Dragons. The Variant Human has the benefit of you being able to pick an exciting feat right away, and of course, you get to pick two ability scores to +1.

As you might have suspected, picking the right feat is vital to making a strong paladin immediately. The Resilient Strength feat is the best feat for a paladin to decide on a variant human. That way, you have both 16s in CHA and STR.

An excellent alternative for this is to pick the Polearm Master Feat. That way, you have a much higher chance of landing a smite when needed.

The variant human paladin should also have good proficiency in Strength, so you have three saving throw proficiencies. 

5e best paladin race

2. Half-Elf

A Half-Elf is a very versatile race that makes a fantastic Paladin. Thanks to the point buy, you can have 16 in STR, CON, and CHA right at the beginning of the campaign. You can also get a couple of interesting other feats and abilities among the way.

The Half-Elf makes a mighty paladin and is almost as strong as the Human Variant. The Half-Elves do have a lot of power as a paladin but not as interesting of lore as the human variant has as a paladin.

If you want to use an elf in your next campaign, you should check out our Wood Elf 5e guide.  

3. Goliaths

The Goliath is a powerful race, many of whom go for them as Paladins. They are not the best Race for Paladins from a stat and lore perspective, but they are one of the most fun if you want to play less traditionally.

A Goliath gets a +2 in Strength and a +1 in the constitution. Because you can carry more as a Goliath, you can wear a lot of heavy armor and gear. Next, you also have free athletics to further improve your physical capabilities.

If you are planning on being a frontliner, you also can grapple. That gives you a lot of combat control and makes you excellent support on the front for your fighter or barbarian. 

Read more about Goliath Barbarians if you want to make the most of this Race.

4. Dragonborn

The Dragonborn is also good if you mull over the best Race for a paladin in 5e DnD. The Dragonborn has a +2 in Strength and a +1 in Charisma, both significant boosts for your ability scores if you play in this class. These creatures also have a built-in ranged attack. These are extreme elements if you want to build a character that packs a punch like a paladin.

Dragonborn also has an attractive defensive perk that will come in useful. They get damage resistant to either:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Cold
  • Acid
  • Poison

Make sure you do not neglect your constitution as a Dragonborn Paladin, as this is their main weak point when playing in this class. 

I would not recommend the Dragonborn race for beginners, as they are pretty tricky and complex to play right and get the most out of their potential. 

5. Half-Orc

Talking about strength-based builts, Half-Orcs are an amazing race for Paladins. You get a good STR bonus and more Charisma, and you also get an intimidating skill to make sure you get the most out of your fights on the frontline.

The ability score modifier for a Half-Orc is +2 for STR and a +1 CON. The Half-Orc also gets a critical damage bonus to aid the amount of damage you do. Half-orcs also have Darkvision, so you can use them as a frontliner in a dark dungeon. 

The downside of fighting with a Half-Orc Paladin is that they lack a Charisma bonus. However, this lack of CHA isn’t a huge problem considering the other perks this Race has.

While the Half-Orcs don’t have a lot of lore as Paladins, you just know that this Race will have an incredible backstory if they dedicate their lives to becoming this class. 

best race for a paladin 5e dnd

6. Mountain Dwarf

Dwarves make great paladins from a lore and background perspective. Their ability scores and modifiers are not optimal, but they are more than passable. However, dwarves are much better as clerics, like the life domain cleric

What makes dwarves an excellent race for paladins in 5e DnD is that they are more interested in good order and the rule of law than other races on this list. Honor and oaths are significant in dwarven society, and grudges can be carried for centuries or even millennia. 

Dwarves get a +2 Constitution bonus and a +2 STR bonus if you pick the mountain dwarf subrace. Next to that ability score increase, you also get a lot of interesting racial features like Dwarven Resilience (advantage throw against poison) and Darkvision. 

7. Aasimar

Another excellent option for the best Race of Paladin in 5e DnD is the Fallen Aasimar. The main thing they have going for them is that they have a very easy backstory to work with. In addition, the Aasimar gets ability scores that can benefit paladins. For example, you can give a +2 and +1 to two abilities or three +1’s.

You can put these in stats like DEX, STR, and CHA to build a potent Paladin. A couple of interesting racial abilities and feats are a boost. Radiant consumption is excellent for cloud control, and Necrotic Shroud works very well on a paladin. 

A cool thing about having an Aasimar Paladin is that you can fly. You also get a few early-game spellcasting abilities that help you pull your weight as a paladin in the early levels. 

8. Satyr

Let’s end the list of best Races for a Paladin in 5e Dungeons and Dragons with a non-conventional race: the Satyr. Satyrs make surprisingly good paladins in this edition of d&d. In addition, they get a +2 Charisma bonus from the start, which aids your spellcasting modifier significantly.

Another great thing the Satyr paladin has is its significant magic resistance. This magic resistance is excellent to help you tank when you are fighting on the frontlines, and your enemies have spells like fear, stun, paralyze, levitate, and so on.

Because Satyrs have extra movement, they can quickly close the gap with your enemies when you unleash your smiths upon them.  

best race for paladin 5e dnd

Best Race for paladin conclusion

If you want to choose the best Race for a paladin in 5e DnD, you have many options, all content for that title. In my opinion, the Variant Human is the best choice for a mighty paladin. You get the ability stats you need, you get a feat, and you have a lot of lore to work with for your background. 

Other options that are a lot of fun to play with are the Goliath and the Half-Orc. These races make great Paladins that rely on Strength. While they have little lore for you to work with, your background story can be unique. 

If you are looking for a great role-playing experience, that makes a lot of sense; a great race to consider for the Paladin is the dwarves. These creatures have a lot of interesting lore and a ton of history and culture that make a lot of sense in this class. 

RaceAbility Score ModifiersKey Features
Variant Human+1 to any 2 abilitiesVersatile race, benefit of picking an exciting feat (Resilient Strength)
Half-Elf+2 CHA, +1 to any 2Versatile race, balanced ability scores, can have 16 in STR, CON, and CHA
Goliath+2 STR, +1 CONCan carry heavy armor, bonus to athletics, grappling abilities
Dragonborn+2 STR, +1 CHABuilt-in ranged attack, damage resistance to elemental damage
Half-Orc+2 STR, +1 CONGood STR and intimidating skill, critical damage bonus
Mountain Dwarf+2 CON, +2 STRDwarven Resilience, Darkvision, honor and oath-focused
Aasimar+2 to two abilities, +1 to oneRadiant consumption, Necrotic Shroud, easy backstory, flying ability
Satyr+2 CHASignificant magic resistance, extra movement, good spellcasting modifier

Check out the following guides to help you on your D&D adventure: