Having completed Tiamat campaigns at 15th level, my paladin had some time to re-think his worldview. Now he wants to change from Oath of Vengeance to the homebrew Oath of the Common Man.

Paladin of Common Man roughly upholds the following tenets:

  • Equality
  • Community
  • Respect
  • Change
  • Labor

He stands as protector of peasants and laborers against oppressing lords and other folks preying upon their hard toil. His powers are drawn upon respect for the value of common men and their labor, their shared burden and effort. He seeks justice for destitute masses guided by revolutionary spirit to change the world for the greater good of honestly working people.

I've presented my group the Common Man paladin's Oath several months ago (just for fun) and they seemed OK with it, GM included, so I think that there's not a problem with this oath, but it's not clear to me how to transition an existing character to it.

I am aware of rules for Oathbreakers but this is certainly not that case. My paladin isn't going to be some villain commanding undead hordes but a hero of masses of common labourers, neglected and abused by their lords and ravaged by war. Irreligious perhaps but not evil.

Are there any rules for renouncing an oath and replacing it with another one?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Problem solved by deleting all the extraneous opinion questions. Reopened. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    May 8, 2018 at 21:45

1 Answer 1



The Player's Handbook states

By 2nd level, you have learned to draw on divine magic through meditation and prayer to cast spells as a cleric does. (PHB p.84)

Breaking Your Oath:

A paladin who has broken a vow typically seeks absolution from a Cleric who shares his or her faith or from another paladin of the same order. The paladin might spend an all-­ night vigil in prayer as a sign of penitence, or undertake a fast or similar act of self-­denial. After a rite of confession and forgiveness, the paladin starts fresh. If a paladin willfully violates his or her oath and shows no sign of repentance, the consequences can be more serious.(PHB p.86)

And the DM's Guide states:


A paladin who wishes to atone must first shed his or her evil alignment and demonstrate this alignment change through words and deeds. Having done so, the paladin loses all Oath breaker features and must choose a deity and a sacred oath. (With your permission, the player can select a different deity or sacred oath than the character had previously.) However, the paladin doesn't gain the class features specific to that sacred oath until he or she completes some kind of dangerous quest or trial, as determined by the DM. (DMG p.97)

Although the rules do not specifically state that a paladin must follow a god, these passages as well as spell names imply that there is a divine connection.


I would rule that you have broken one oath (OoV) in favor of another oath (OoCM). Thus, you are required to change deity to one that suits the new oath; God(dess) of the Hearth or God(dess) of the Harvest for example.

Due to this change of deity, and possibly alignment, you loose all abilities given by OoV, but keep fighting skills. In order to gain the abilities for the new oath, you must complete a quest given by the new deity (church) as an act of penance. The quest should be a challenge for your current paladin level.

I present the following caveats:

  • The quoted text is from 5e manuals. The paladin's description says that his source of power is his oath. The description of the oath implies a deity, but does not require one.
  • The importance of a deity and level of involvement is entirely up to GM discretion.
  • By RAW, the penalties for willfully breaking an oath include forcing the paladin to take a different class.
  • The RAF is how I would rule it and is supported by the 5e text quoted. Another DM may do it differently.
  • The RAF is intended to aid the OP in presenting a complete scenario to his DM.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, so I need to research which god should my paladin follow after the change and present the findings to the GM. Kind of pity though as I wanted him to be disillusioned by the role gods play in mortal lives. He would think that all the gods being good or bad is just a facade, a theatre to keep the mortals engaged and paying homage to god feeding off their faith.Thus, even the good gods need to close their eyes when their flock gets complacent and disrespectful and allow evil gods to teach them lesson in proper piety. And this goes and goes again and again... \$\endgroup\$
    – Forseti
    May 8, 2018 at 7:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ravery it's a fairly common trope that deities bestow spells to non-followers, so that wouldn't neccesarily stop this idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    May 8, 2018 at 9:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Forseti -- in accordance with Erik's comment, check true neutral gods to see if one has a similar view and would support an agnostic paladin. The key is to present a complete scenario to your GM. \$\endgroup\$
    – ravery
    May 8, 2018 at 10:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is 5E - Paladins are neither required nor expected to follow a diety at all. The Oath itself is the source of power. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    May 8, 2018 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ravery Really? Your entire RAF section says otherwise. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    May 8, 2018 at 12:42

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