Nothing beats getting your hands on a magic item that suits your character’s personality or attributes perfectly – and if you’re a paladin, wielding a lightsaber-like sun blade is just much cooler than a magical quarterstaff, even if they are equally powerful mechanically speaking.
So, to help the holy warriors out there find the perfect magic item for their character, here’s our list of the top 10 best magic items for paladins in 5E D&D in no particular order!
1. Sun Blade
A sunblade is basically a lightsaber with a blade made of pure radiant energy. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, it doesn’t get much cooler (hotter?) than for a paladin to smite evil with a blade of pure divine awesomeness.
Aside from being the embodiment of a holy warrior, the sun blade is a +2 longsword with the finesse property that deals additional radiant damage to undead – and lets you control how much light you want it to emit! In other words, super powerful.
2. Necklace of Prayer Beads
A necklace of prayer beads is incredibly powerful.
It comes with 1d4 + 2 beads, each of which allows you to cast a specific spell (such as bless or planar ally), which is awesome, but the best thing is that you can cast these spells as a bonus action.
Casting these spells as a bonus action would already be extremely powerful for a full caster like a cleric – but for a paladin who will usually want to smite enemies in combat rather than healing allies, being able to quickly cast a cure wounds or bless as a bonus action is nothing short of amazing.
Also, just imagine casting planar ally in a split second instead of using a 6th-level spell slot, 10 minutes of casting time and 1,000 gp worth of materials!
3. Holy Avenger
You can’t really make a list of the best magic items for paladins in 5E D&D without including the holy avenger – a legendary weapon so divine that only paladins can attune to it in the first place!
A (the?) holy avenger is a +3 sword that deals an additional 2d10 radiant damage to fiends and undead, and gives you and all creatures within 10 feet (or 30 feet if you’re level 17+) advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects. Sick.
The only downside is that the holy avenger is a legendary item, and that it’ll likely be hard to trick your DM into giving your character an item with such a badass name.
I should also mention that any +3 magic item – whether armor or weapon – is extremely powerful. A vanilla +3 item doesn’t even require attunement! The reason they’re not included on this list is that they’re not very flavorful or fun. Instead, you get a:
4. Ring of Spell Storing
A ring of spell storing lets you store up to 5 levels worth of spells at a time (ie. five 1st-level spells or one 1st-level spell and one 4th-level spell), which is super awesome for any class. While a paladin could easily fill it up with bless or cure wounds spells, it could also ask the party’s wizard to fill it with shield, misty step, mirror image, or other useful spells paladins don’t normally have access to!
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5. Guardian Emblem
A guardian emblem is far from the most powerful item on this list – it’s really just a nerfed version of adamantine armor that negates critical hits up to 3 times a day instead of indefinitely.
However, that also means that this uncommon magic item is an ideal reward for lower-level characters. Plus, chances are you’ll be dead long before being the victim of a critical hit thrice in a day anyway, so where’s the nerf, really?
What I really like about the guardian emblem is that you can use it as your holy symbol and attach it to a shield, suit of armor, or shield, making it a cool uncommon paladin item with a nice divine touch.
6. Amulet of the Devout
If you’re one of the few paladins who prefer casting spells over smiting through your spell slots, it doesn’t get much better than amulet of the devout. This increases your spell attack modifier and save DC, which is always super useful, plus it lets you use your Channel Divinity feature without expending any of its uses once per day. It comes in three variants with the uncommon version giving a +1 bonus to spell attacks/DCs and a wobbling +3 bonus for the very rare version.
While a +3 bonus to spell save DCs is a huge buff for any spellcaster, a half-caster like a paladin wouldn’t benefit nearly as much from this item as a cleric would, simply because they have fewer and less useful spells to that end. It’s still a great magic item, though.
7. Devotee's Censer
The devotee’s censer might not be as powerful as a sun blade, but smashing your foes with a magical censer is still pretty cool. This magical flail lets you deal an additional 1d8 radiant damage on hits, so the fact that it’s a cool concept and that it can double as a holy symbol is just icing on the top.
What really earns the devotee’s censer its spot on this list, though, is that it can be used to create a cloud of flavorful incense once per day that heals your allies for 1d4 on each turn for 1 minute. So, if you think smiting your enemies with a censer-flail while healing your allies with clouds of divine smoke sounds cool, this is the item for you!
8. Winged Boots & Wings of Flying
Flying is not only badass, it’s also extremely useful in 5E – and an armor-clad paladin soaring through the air as it smites its foes to smithereens with a massive mace is just much more scary than a flying wizard throwing a fireball from a safe distance.
As a paladin, you’re likely going to be a bit lackluster when it comes to ranged attacks, which makes flying even more useful to you than in would be for other classes. And when it comes to flying, there’s really nothing that beats winged boots & wings of flying since they give you a flight speed without requiring you to concentrate as you would with the fly spell.
This means that with these boots you can still cast other spells such as bless while flying around – and, equally important, you don’t have to worry about crashing to the ground as you fail a concentration check.
Winged boots & wings of flying are, in my opinion, among the best non-legendary magic items you can get as a paladin. So, if you’re a DM reading this and considering whether to reward your party’s paladin with one of these, my advice is that you don’t do it. Yet.
9. Cloak of Displacement
Cloak of displacement mimicks the traits of a displacer beast: While wielding the cloak, creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against you, but once you’re hit the property ceases to function until your next turn. This might not be super powerful for a bard with 12 AC, but for a shield-wielding paladin in heavy armor 20-or-so AC, giving your foes disadvantage on their attack rolls is extremely strong.
Like the winged boots & wings of flying, the cloak of displacement didn’t make it to this list because it’s a super flavorful or paladin-specific magic item. It’s just insanely powerful for a paladin and any other heavy-armored/high AC class.
10. Weapon of Warning & Sentinel Shield
A weapon of warning and a sentinel shield are uncommon magic items that grant you advantage on initiative rolls, which is quite a blessing for a non-so-mobile paladin who has dumped their Dexterity score sub 10.
Sentinel shield also gives you advantage on Perception checks, which also means your passive Perception score increases by 5. Weapon of warning has the upperhand here as just holding it on your person means that you and allies within 30 feet can’t be surprised! Plus, it automatically wakes you up from natural sleep if combat ever breaks out, which is pretty neat.
Honorable Mention: Bedlam
Bedlam is a badass legendary shortsword featured in our own sourcebook Heretic’s Guide to Devotion and Divinity that definitely deserves an honorable mention on this list!
Forged to destroy divine agents and creatures of the Outer Planes – whether evil or good – bedlam starts out as a +1 weapon that deals extra damage to celestials and fiends and lets you learn their vulnerabilities and resistances. As you use the weapon to slay powerful celestials and fiends, however, it grows in power, reaching an Anointed and a Consecreateds state.
That’s our top 10 list of the best magic items for paladins in 5E D&D!
There are lots of super-powerful magic items like a belt of giant strength and a defender that we didn’t include, not because they’re less powerful than a guardian emblem but because we wanted to focus on flavorful items with a distinctive divine theme.
A few magic items such as winged boots did make it to the list simply on the account of being powerful and relatively accessible, ie. non-legendary.
Perhaps a shout-out to other items that grant mobility would have been better, as that’s usually not a paladin’s strong suit. For example, a cape of the mountebank that lets you cast dimension door once per day without even taking up an attunement slot can also be really good.
Anyway, that’s it for this one.
If you want more divinely themed magic items like the ones on this list, don’t forget to check out our new sourcebook Heretic’s Guide to Devotion & Divinity which will feature more than 30 new magic items!