Dungeons & Dragons is a game that offers a wide range of character options, allowing players to create powerful and unique heroes. Some players enjoy the thrill of dealing massive damage in a single turn, pushing their characters to their absolute limits. While these scenarios are often situational and unlikely to occur frequently in actual gameplay, it’s still fascinating to explore the theoretical potential of a character. In this blog post, we’ll examine one example of how to maximize single-turn damage with a 20th-level Paladin in D&D 5th Edition.

The Ultimate Striking Paladin

Character: Level 20 Paladin (Oath of Vengeance) Race: Half-Orc (for the Savage Attacks racial trait) Feats: Great Weapon Master

Important Equipment:

  • A +3 Greatsword
  • A Potion of Storm Giant Strength (Strength set to 29)
  • A scroll of Holy Weapon (cast on the Greatsword)


  • The Paladin has advantage on attacks due to Vow of Enmity (Oath of Vengeance feature)
  • The Paladin has cast the Holy Weapon spell (from the scroll) on their Greatsword
  • The Paladin has used their bonus action to activate the Avenging Angel feature (level 20 Oath of Vengeance feature), which adds extra radiant damage on each hit
  • The Paladin critically hits with all attacks
  • The Paladin uses Divine Smite at the maximum spell slot (5th level) on each hit
  • The Paladin uses the Great Weapon Master feat to add +10 damage to each hit, accepting a -5 penalty to attack rolls (mitigated by advantage)

Here’s the breakdown of the damage calculation:

  1. Attack Action (2 attacks due to Extra Attack feature):
    • 2d6 (Greatsword base damage) x2 (critical hit) + 1d6 (Half-Orc Savage Attacks) + 3 (magic weapon bonus) + 9 (Strength modifier from Potion of Storm Giant Strength) + 10 (Great Weapon Master) + 4d8 (Holy Weapon; doubled on a critical hit) + 20d8 (5th level Divine Smite; doubled on a critical hit) + 10d8 (Avenging Angel; doubled on a critical hit) = 2x(12+6+3+9+10+32+160+80) = 624 damage
  2. Bonus Action (using the Paladin’s Relentless Avenger feature):
    • The Paladin makes an additional attack after hitting with an opportunity attack. The calculation is the same as one of the attacks from the Attack Action, resulting in an additional 312 damage.

Total damage on a single turn: 624 (Attack Action) + 312 (Relentless Avenger) = 936 damage


This example demonstrates how a 20th-level Paladin can potentially deal an astonishing 936 damage in a single turn under specific conditions. Keep in mind that this scenario is highly situational and requires a unique combination of race, class, feats, and equipment. While it’s unlikely to occur in most gaming sessions, it’s an exciting exploration of the character’s theoretical potential.

Remember that Dungeons & Dragons is a game about storytelling, collaboration, and creativity. Pushing the boundaries of character optimization can be fun, but it’s essential to balance power with storytelling and ensure that all players have an enjoyable experience at the table.

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