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I'm thinking of something similar to the effect of Goading Attack or Compelled Duel, but those can only be used on one target at once and require an action to activate. I was hoping for a higher level spell or rare/legendary item that would have a similar effect, but ideally it'd be something you could cast on your allies rather than your enemies.

The background for this is that I'm trying to create a L20 Redemption Paladin tank, and the key wording of the Emissary of Redemption feature says that you have resistance to all damage dealt by any creatures, until you attack or cast a spell on that creature. So obviously it'd be great if I could make it so all of my allies are protected where enemies had disadvantage when attacking them, so that my character would have all of the attacks directed at him.

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I'm unaware of any magic item that grants disadvantage to enemies attacking allies other than you.

One might exist but i've never seen it come up. I would therefore assume that one does not exist in the extant rules. If one exists, it very likely requires that you attack the enemy in question, as nearly all extant class abilities (and feat) that do something similar require an attack (and one that hits, in most cases).

You probably want the Sentinel feat.

While it does require you to attack the target you are stopping from moving, other enemies will not be then able to 'gang up' on you to remove the obstruction without suffering from half damage. If you choose the strongest melee enemy in the group to use Sentinel on (and to focus your attacks on), while you won't halve any incoming damage from that enemy, the halving of other enemy attacks will force them to choose between spreading their damage around (most dangerous one on you, the rest on the rest of the party), which is bad, or attacking someone who halves incoming damage, which is bad.

You will still be a worse tank than a barbarian or a fighter.

A barbarian halves incoming damage from all enemies regardless of who they've hit, especially if a bear totem barbarian. A Cavalier fighter can lock down a very high number of enemies with their level 18 feature, Vigilant Defender, in combination with their level 10 feature, Hold the Line (basically the Sentinel feat), and their level 3 feature Unwavering Mark.

Paladin has other benefits, such as Lay on Hands and Aura of Protection (the big one). But in terms of intercepting enemy attacks and surviving under incoming fire for the longest, Cavalier fighters lock down dozens of enemies and barbarians hold up the longest. Even Bladesinger wizards can do tricks with high AC and the Shield/Absorb Elements spells to avoid huge numbers of attacks, to a degree that makes them tougher than paladins depending on enemy composition, on top of being able to teleport to safety if in danger and throw down wall of force or forcecage to tank using pure magic.

In other words, nothing wrong with playing a redemption paladin, but if you're choosing it for mechanical reasons there are better options - from a fighter cavalier with a lance he uses to keep people at 10' distance, to a Crown paladin who aoe mind controls people into fighting her, to just a barbarian who has huge trouble actually dying.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth mentioning how easy it is to play a cavalier/barbarian (class) and just write a backstory that you are part of a knightly order in-world. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Jan 18, 2023 at 12:14
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This isn't a perfect match to your requirements, but the Icon of Ravenloft (from Curse of Strahd) does protect against certain types of creatures by applying disadvantage to their attacks.

Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement by a creature of good alignment) While within 30 feet of the icon, a creature is under the effect of a protection from evil and good spell against fiends and undead. Only a creature attuned to the icon can use its other properties.

This spell is normally single target, but through this item can apply to your entire party (emphasis mine):

The protection grants several benefits. Creatures of those types have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target. The target also can't be charmed, frightened, or possessed by them. If the target is already charmed, frightened, or possessed by such a creature, the target has advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.

Your feature still works as you are not casting a spell / attacking the enemy, and your allies can attack the enemies without losing this protection.

The cons are:

  1. The enemies also have disadvantage against you, so they aren't incentivized to focus their attacks on you.
  2. It only applies to fiends and undead, which may be a small or large part of your campaign.
  3. While sticking together makes you a great fireball target, the Icon of Ravenloft is a powerful magic item with other properties. I haven't played at level 20, but this can easily mess with the balance.
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