What makes a paladin fall?

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  1. #1

    What makes a paladin fall?

    I was reading the FRCS today when I came across the description of "Scyllua DarkHope" a fallen paladin who is now a blackguard dedicated to Bane. I was quite disatisfied with the story of how she began down the dark path. Basicly it says that she devoted her life to ending the corruption of one "lord Orgauth" (who in reality was a pit fiend) but this was not known by her. So when she finaly managed to corner him, he surprisingly surrendered to her and offered to make right what he had done wrong. Then it says since she accepted his offer by "listening to his honeyed words" she fell from grace. Then all it says is that he lead her down the path of corruption and boom shes a badass now. Now that description, to me, seems very very weak. I have trouble imagining how a paladin, of TYR no less, could so simply be "lead" down the path of evil. A paladin can smell evil a mile away and would quickly realize she was heading down the wrong path.

    Anyway it got me wondering, what does it really take to make a champion of good, someone who is truly good in their heart, turn to the dark side so to speak? Anyone got some good scenarios for how this might occur? perhaps ones with a little more plausability then "she listened to his honeyed words and suddenly renounced all her goodness and became captain of an evil army and foe of all that is good"? What makes men and women who are truly pure of heart throw it all away?



  • #2
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    That Scyllua DarkHope story is SOOOO Lame.

    Anyway, I think it's pretty much actions that would pit you against your "gods" ideals or go against you alignment.

  • #3
    Got to agree that Scyllua DarkHope has some major holes in the storyline.

    A Paladin falling from grace I suspect would be a slwo process, giving them a chance to redeem themselves surely

  • #4
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    Ignore Scarab
    Oh. I thought this was some joke like "Why did the chicken cross the road?". Sorry.
    By the edge of those wilds warriors had charged
    But now the year and the generals were gone
    And the grass grew in the armors hollow on the hills.

    -- The Graymere Annals, 3704 CE

  • #5
    Personaly, a lot of people here wouldn't be paladins very long in one of my games, from what I've heard said. Then again, I think there is more to a paladins code than "Destroy evil in whatever form it may be in", so maybe I'm strange.

    I think it is perfectly possible for a paladin to fall from grace all at once... but it wouldn't be easy. Paladin are human too, remember (Or elven, or what not). They can make mistakes, or change massively.

    I think the most common way for a paladin to fall, though, wouldn't be tempation... it would be negligence. Being a paladin is a life-long job, that requires a lot of effort. I suspect a lot of less determined paladins might make it to the low-to-mid levels (5-10) and just start to get fed up with their lot in life. This would be a slow fall, though.

  • #6
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    Self-doubt from facing far too many no-win situations, where the Paladin is forced to pick between the lesser of two evils.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
    -- Ernest Hemingway, "A Farewell to Arms"
    Burning Empires: Boldaq
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  • #7
    You have to look at the paladin's code, then you have to place the paladin into making a decision to break that code, example to save someones life or their own life or stop a big evil.

    It comes down to what was more important, the code or ? Work with the player or DM on the code then look for the loop holes and work around it. Define what is evil in the game and then work against the code with it.
    All I need is minions and I would rule the world.

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  • #8
    Its one thing to disobey the Paladin code and quite another to become a Black Guard ! Many Paladins stray... but very few should become corrupt.

    Why would a paladin fall ?

    Major reason would be WOMEN... women can make any mans life Hell... litteraly... nothing like sex to start distorting those celebacy vows.

    Another could be the DEATH of family or friends... after devoting your life to saving others your god just lets some pesky orcs wipe out your beloved family... wow you feel betrayed and angry. Tyr or Heirnous could have saved them surely...

    POWER. A 10th lvl Paladin can become a little arrogant and power hungry. More power in a distorted mind is more chances of fighting evil.. but hey what is evil now ? Evil are those guys trying to stop you from becoming more powerful ? Kill them...

    SURVIVAL... so you confront the Pit Fiend and suddenly the whole Hells Angel Club shows up... your certainly going to be killed... as you brace yourself for death... they make you an offer for life... do you accept ? Many a Paladin didnt like the dying for the cause thing...

    FRUSTRATION... so after 20 years bashing away "evil" nothing seems to change... so why not join the other side ? They did make a nice offer....

    Fire away some more... the Fallen Paladin can make a very good story... they certainly shouldnt have silly story like the FR one....
    Temple of Evil - Authorized Cultists Only - Trespassers will be Sacrificed

  • #9
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    Originally posted by LostSoul
    Self-doubt from facing far too many no-win situations, where the Paladin is forced to pick between the lesser of two evils.
    This one rings true for me. I imagine being a paladin as not necessarily something you choose, or a job description you must adhere to, but rather something you are with all of your being. You don't spare a guy because your code says so, you spare a guy because you truly believe it's the right thing to do. Same with smiting evil. As a result, the only way a true paladin can really fall is by betraying himself, by becoming something other than he had been.

    That said, the most likely scenario for a fallen paladin, as I see it, wouldn't be a lack of faith, but an over-abundance of it, pushing him over the line between righteous and tyrannical.

    Imagine if you will a paladin, Ser Galahad. Galahad is an honest, trusting, and truly innocent soul, and as such has been chosen by his god to represent his living will among mankind. He carries a sword which he wields for righteousness.

    But then one day he comes to a clearing. In it he finds six young men and women, all brutally slaughtered. The horrors he sees in that clearing will haunt him always, rising up from his nightmares every time he closes his eyes, filling the emptiness between thoughts with a nameless dread he will never quite be rid of. Clutching his sword in a white-knuckled fist, he rides on, determined to find the culprits.

    Eventually he arrives in a town nearby. It's a small town, but there is new construction in the town square. A clocktower is being added onto the local church, of his god no less. The villagers are in a great mood. The atmosphere almost seems festive. When he mentions the murders in the clearing, the people claim to know nothing, but Galahad realizes quickly that they are lying to him. They know something. He asks again---forcefully---and discovers the truth.

    It had been a bad year, you see. Crops had been poorer than expected, and most of the villagers had been struggling to make ends meet. So when the traveling necromancer happened by, offering a thousand gold crowns for the lives of six youths... Well, it had been a difficult decision, of course, but in the end, they'd had no choice. Six lives bartered for the lives of six hundred. Of course, they had no idea that the man would torture them! That is truly horrible. But they hadn't known that. They thought it would be a clean death. And even if the six suffered, at least some good has come of it. Now, not only are they spared the pains of a poor harvest, but they even have enough money to build a new clocktower...

    The paladin is stunned. He remembers the bodies, knows more intimately than he can bear the horrors which were visited upon them. These villagers...these creatures...delivered six innocent souls into...that...because of a few failed crops?! And now, with the blood still fresh on their hands, they are holding a festival, are in fact building a new clocktower onto the church in the name of his god?!

    In an instant, the rage floods his soul like liquid fire. No, these creatures are no longer human. They sold their humanity the moment they sold six of their own to torture and death. They are nothing. No better than rabid dogs who attack innocent children. They are rabid dogs. No, not dogs. Snakes. Snakes which must be destroyed.

    He thinks not of redemption. He thinks not of justice or righteousness. Only vengeance. Six innocents died in that clearing, and the villagers are celebrating! Almost blind with anger...with hatred...he storms into the village square, where the townspeople have gathered in the church for a sermon. He bolts the doors closed, knowing everyone is inside, knowing there will be no way for them to escape.

    And he burns it down.

    And when at last the flames give way to darkness once more, the blackened ash which is all that remains of the church and its six hundred occupants is as nothing compared to the blackness that lives in Galahad's soul.

    Damn them. He thinks, red-rimmed eyes filled with hate. Hate for a humanity that could do what had been done in that clearing. Hate for a humanity that could celebrate afterward. Damn them all.

    He slowly turns, and walks into the night.
    signed Jere, Lord of Pendragon

    "Raven dark but beautiful, in a malevolent sort of way;
    With eyes that speak of wonders on the other side of Day.
    She dances in the shadows where others fear to tread;
    But though her touch may kill you, it's her love that you should dread."

  • #10
    Oh, another simple reason for it to happen is that they get talked into it. Some magor bad guy that just talks them over. Saying stuff like you are not happy, you can make a differance...
    All I need is minions and I would rule the world.

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