I'm considering rolling a Paladin/Bard character. My aim for the character is for them to be a high damage dealer, in addition to being able to control the battlefield to provide openings & opportunities for their party.

Namely, I would like for the PaliBard to often be able to provide advantage or attacks of opportunity to the party (including the PaliBard), in addition to providing extra damage rolls if possible. I'd also like the PaliBard to deal at least 75% max DPR, but battlefield control is more important.

How can I accomplish this?

Assume the character will start at level 1 and reach level 10, but suggestions beyond that are welcome.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ for reference: the (probably) best DPS-focused optimization Q on rpg.se is probably rpg.stackexchange.com/q/49851 . I suggest working at least some hard requirements into the question, like what you mean by "being able to control the battlefield". Something along the lines of "being able to consistently grant advantage on weapon attacks to at least two other party members". Or mention if there's a focus on a certain level range, or if you want to be within x% of max DPR but with a constant progression. Everything you specify takes a variable out of the equation thus making answering easier \$\endgroup\$
    – ammut
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


Ability scores

You will need a good attack stat, good Cha, and everyone needs a decent Con, especially casters in the front line.
For multiclassing Str 13 is mandatory, after all this you can't afford a good Dex beside it, so you should be Str primary.

This also means you need Heavy Armor, so first level has to be Paladin.


Shield Master provides arguably the best at-will control, and having a good Str helps with that too.
Later you will get Expertise in Athletics, and become practically unbeatable.

With a shield in hand you can cast Paladin spells that require Somatic and Material components, but not Bard spells. Warcaster solves this, and helps with concentration as well.

Class options

For good DPR you should get Extra Attack as soon as possible. A Valor bard could provide it, but than the Martial Weapon and Shield proficiency is wasted from the Paladin, so I suggest Lore.

Vow of Enmity is so good I usually recommend Oath of Vengeance, but you get advantage from spells Master anyway. So I would go with Ancients, as I find the spell list better, and Aura of Warding is awesome. However, Conquest, Devotion and Crown is a valid choice too.

Fighting Style

Dueling for DPR, or Defense for survivability.


Half-elf, at level 4 has the same ability scores and feats as a variant human, plus Darkvision and a skill.


Athletics is the center of this build, Perception is needed by everyone, and Stealth can offset the disadvantage of heavy armor.
Other than that, whatever you like.

Full build


Str: 15+1
Dex: 10
Con: 13+1
Int: 8
Wis: 12
Cha: 14+2

  1. Level Paladin for Heavy Armor and HP
  2. Level Paladin for Divine Smite and Dueling
  3. Level Bard for Dissonant Whispers, Faerie Fire and Bardic Inspiration
  4. Paladin for Oath
  5. Paladin for Shield Master
  6. Paladin for Extra Attack
  7. Paladin for Aura of Protection
  8. Bard for Jack of all Trades
  9. Bard for Expertise and Cutting Words
  10. Bard for +2 Str
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – jackwise
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 12:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would consider using one of your Additional Magical Secrets to get the cantrip Shillelagh, which would allow the PaliBard to avoid splitting between Strength and Charisma. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neil
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 20:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Neil not as good as it looks. I still need Str 15 for the armor, and I would rather spend my bonus actions on Shield Master and quickened spells. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 20:27

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