Transforming Worldbuilding Lore into a New 5E D&D Paladin Sacred Oath
Over the past several days I’ve been doing a challenge for 30 days of worldbuilding and one of my viewers shared how she is building two worlds at once with this challenge. This inspired me to do the same. So while I have been building a comedic fantasy world through YouTube videos and exercises I’ve also been building a dark fantasy world called Aulmn for my second project. Part of worldbuilding is developing your own lore surrounding… well, everything. My launch point for this dark fantasy was a history of oppressive spellcasters leading to magical revilement. Then I started thinking about how spellcasting classes fit into the world and everything just snowballed from there. Recently Nerdarchists Dave and Ted talked about using Dungeons & Dragons lore and making up your own. This video hugely inspired many aspects of my worldbuilding. Today we’re covering one aspect of this lore and how it led me to develop a new paladin Sacred Oath for fifth edition D&D.
Oath of Silence Paladin for 5E D&D
Those who swear an Oath of Silence master the secrets of the arcane in order to combat magic. Sometimes these 5E D&D paladins only fight the misuse of magic while other times such paladins abhor all casting. Regardless, the Oath of Silence enables its legions to silence spellcasters who must be put in their place. Though many chaotic, neutral and evil paladins follow this oath few consider themselves anything other than lawful and good — a result of their dogmatic stances on the arcane.
Oath of Silence paladins and the Keeper
As I mentioned I’m currently developing a dark fantasy setting for 5E D&D games called Aulmn, which you guys may or may not get to see next year. In Aulmn magic is feared or regulated, at best. More often it is punished or reviled. While exceptions exist magic is viewed as a burden or a curse rather than a gift. As I was worldbuilding for this setting I wrote about wizards — the most acceptable of arcane spellcasters among humans.
Humans in Aulmn serve the Octheon, a pantheon of eight gods. One of these is the Keeper, also known as the Weeping Scholar. tHIS Deity is represented by an elderly robed man carrying a thick tome with a chain connecting the tome to a collar around his neck. Each of the members of the Octheon possess their own buildings of worship dedicated to their individual domains and causes. For the Keeper these places are called the Scriptoriad. Only within the walls of a Scriptorium is the open study of magic legal, with few exceptions.
Anyone with budding magic potential is taken to the nearest Scriptorium and tested for potency. Anyone deemed capable of 1st level spells or higher is offered a choice to join the Scriptorium as a wizard or undergo the Rite of Purity. The Rite of Abdication removes all of a spellcaster’s memories and magic potential, giving them a free reset on life itself. This rite does risk the spellcaster’s life and mind but with a success rate of 70%. many choose it.
Because the Keeper’s religion teaches knowledge and magic are burdens to be borne the Rite of Abdication is a viable option — a mercy — for those who choose it.
As a deity over arcana and knowledge domains the Keeper’s tenets are as follows:
- Knowledge is power.
- The greatest power of all is magic.
- Power must be controlled.
- True control comes through understanding.
Due to these tenets many interpret the Keeper advocates the study of magic as its true means of control. However, Aulmn’s history has proven how corrupt wizards can become in their pursuits of knowledge. This is where Oath of Silence paladins come into play.
Every Scriptorium is guarded by paladins who take an Oath of Silence. This oath revolves around controlling magic and using magic to combat itself. It is the duty of these paladins to silently watch the halls of the Scriptorium and to arrest or strike down any wizard they even suspect of not following the stringent rules of the Scriptorium.
Upon looking through the various official paladin Sacred Oath options I realized there was no paladin specifically outfitted for combating magic the way I imagine. While the Oath of the Ancients came close it wasn’t what I was going for exactly. As such I made a new paladin Sacred Oath for anyone who takes an oath to control magic — an Oath of Silence. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Oath of Secrets from our own Dark Paths: Forbidden Library presents a similar take on a Sacred Oath. Check it out along with the Facedancer Roguish Archetype, new magic items, monsters and an adventure scenario here.]
Oath of Silence Features
Oath of Silence Spells
|3rd||detect magic, identify|
|5th||arcanist’s magic aura, hold person|
|9th||counterspell, dispel magic|
|13th||banishment, resilient sphere|
|17th||hold monster, telepathic bond|
When you choose this oath at 3rd level, you gain the following two Channel Divinity options:
- Gag Order. As an action you censure one creature you can see within 120 feet of you. The creature must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failure the creature is unable to make any sound for 1 minute and it is incapable of casting any spells or using magic items.
- Nullify. As an action you inscribe a sigil on the forehead of one creature within reach that is under a magical effect that required a saving throw to avoid. The sigil lasts for one minute or until dispelled. As long as the sigil remains the creature can make a saving throw at the beginning of each of its turns to end one magical effect of your choice. When the creature succeeds the sigil is dispelled.
Alternatively, you can inscribe the sigil on a hostile creature within reach. When you do the creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failure the creature loses one magical effect of your choice that was affecting it and the sigil is dispelled. If the creature succeeds on its saving throw the sigil is dispelled.
Aura of Silence
Beginning at 7th level you and all friendly creatures within 10 feet of you can communicate telepathically and have advantage on saving throws against being charmed or possessed. You and creatures you designate within this aura ignore any verbal component requirements for spells, replacing them with somatic components (if the spell has no somatic component requirement already). At 18th level the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.
Speak No Evil
Starting at 15th level you gain silence and zone of truth as oath spells. You can use a bonus action on your turn to move the area of silence or zone of truth to another point within 120 feet of you.
Ward of Silence
Also starting at 15th level you can cast antimagic field a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain all expended uses of this feature when you finish a long rest.
Beginning at 20th level, you invoke a magical aura that lasts for 1 minute. As an action you transform into a humanoid silhouette with blurred features, gaining the following benefits:
- When you take the Attack action on your turn you can use a bonus action to cast a spell that has a casting time of one action.
- You have advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
- You make no sound.
- You ignore all verbal components of spells and abilities.
Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
What do you think?
Does the Oath of Silence paladin subclass strike your fancy? How might you incorporate this Sacred Oath into your games? Have you used your own worldbuilding and lore to create new character options for your 5E D&D games? Let us know in the comments!