The Paladin's Oath of the Ancients Level 20 Elder Champion feature states:

Using your action, you undergo a transformation. For 1 minute, you gain the following benefits:

  • At the start of each of your turns, you regain 10 hit points.

  • Whenever you cast a paladin spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can cast it using a bonus action instead.

  • Enemy creatures within 10 feet of you have disadvantage on saving throws against your paladin spells and Channel Divinity options.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

What it does not state is that the transformation ends or you lose the benefits of the transformation when you are unconscious or incapacitated.

If the Paladin is knocked unconscious while it is transformed, does that mean the Paladin will be able to regain consciousness at the start of next turn?

To contrast, the Oath of the Crown's Exalted Champion includes this statement:

This effect ends early if you are incapacitated or die. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Emphasis mine.

The Paladin's Auras of Protection specifically state that:

Starting at 6th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 10 feet of you must make a saving throw, the creature gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to your Charisma modifier (with a minimum bonus of +1). You must be conscious to grant this bonus.

Emphasis mine.

Aura of Courage states:

Starting at 10th level, you and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you can't be frightened while you are conscious.

Emphasis mine.

This seems to imply most of the Paladin's Level 20 features continue working even while unconscious. The Oath of Ancients Paladin would be able to regain consciousness at the start of the turn. Similarly, the Oath of Vengeance Paladin would still frighten their enemies despite being unconscious on the ground. The Oath of Devotion Paladin would still give off sunlight and damage enemies despite being unconscious.

Is this Rules as Written and/or Intended?


2 Answers 2


You are interpreting the rules correctly. A literal reading of these rules is that the paladin would become conscious at the start of each round unless they were actually killed.

This isn't necessarily unreasonable, and it's not necessarily the best level 20 capstone ability. Compare, for example, to level 20 moon druids, who can wild shape as a bonus action each turn if they want, forever. (Does unlimited Wild Shape make Circle of the Moon archdruids virtually unkillable?)

You asked if this is Rules As Intended. The only source I know of for this is the Sage Advice site; I searched for 'primal champion' (https://www.sageadvice.eu/search_gcse/?q=primal%20champion) and found no hits. I also tried searching for Jeremy Crawford's tweets and got no hits.

Your DM has the ability to interpret these rules if they wish. Your DM might rule that this ability should end early if you get knocked unconscious, if your DM feels that this is what's best for their game. We can't tell you how your DM should rule.


You could make the argument that as the ability does not require concentration, that you in fact cannot turn it off until after the duration ends, unless stated in the ability, such as a Barbarians rage does.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ If one "could make the argument", then one should present those arguments as their answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Feb 19, 2020 at 18:46

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