The rise of an antipaladin


Advice


My players (KFR0) stay out, please.:

I'm running a 1345DR FR pbem game in which one player has given his character a level of antipaladin in service to Bane. He has agreed with me on a character arc that has his antipaladin eventually rise to become a normal paladin, though he hasn't chosen another god (and I'm kind of hoping he won't for metaplot reasons, so that he can gain his new powers from a new force I'll be introducing, though this would hopefully be a surprise, so I can't tell the player about it now).

Other background: his PC has a serious crush on another PC from the same area, who is ostensibly a follower of the same dark pantheon as himself (I gathered a handful of deities and made them a new pantheon under Bane), but who in reality is a follower of Mielikki. I'm thinking she could help advance the antipaladin's character arc, but I haven't made any agreements with her player yet.

Other other background: The campaign will have a strong fey presence. Also, it being a pbem, we're a pretty RP-heavy group.

So far I've just been sending the PC nightmares about an upcoming event, with urgings to commit dark deeds in preparation for standing against it - but with a slender ray of light offering another path, referencing his long-gone parents. I was hoping I could get some more ideas of how to encourage the PC to make a decision between good and evil, ramping up the intensity until the change takes place. I've considered having him find an intelligent weapon belonging to the new force (and making it the source of the light in his nightmares), but I'm not sure if that would be too railroady. Then again, since we've agreed on his arc, I'm not sure railroady is a problem.

So, any fun ideas? Or lacking that, any interesting metaphors I could place in his dreams?


bump?


Well... let me start by saying that the transition from Paladin to Antipaladin is perhaps the singularly most unlikely shift in character and class to occur in the game. By the same token, transitioning from anti-paladin to paladin is similarly unlikely. Why am I telling you this, when you've already talked it over with your player? Well... because I'd advise you make the transition gradual.

Every time, and I mean EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I've seen or played in a story where a paladin falls, and the next thing he does is become an anti-paladin I've done nothing but facepalm and groan in disbelief. So I'd advice you use the 3-step program I call Paladin->Fighter->Anti-Paladin... or in your case: the other way around.

Being a living incarna of all that is chaotic and evil in the world, does not leave you with the preferred resumé for being taking in by a Paladin-order, not to mention a good-aligned deity. So I suggest you take it slow. Very slow. An anti-paladin has ALOT of atone for, and I'm not talking about the spell. It takes at least 1d6 years for a human to train his way to become a paladin and that is -without- a lifetime of moral attrocities weighing down his soul.

The campaign featuring alot of fey could actually be a great challenge for the player, and a great way for him to rise above his current life. Fey are chaotic by nature, but this person needs to learn to appreciate structure and order. He must learn of the fallibilities of chaos and disorder and fey could actually help that happen, even though they are harmonious creatures.

In terms of making a decision between good and evil, I'd say its a matter of finding the initial spark. Something to sow doubt in him, something that will shake his belief in everything evil, so that, when presented with a moral dilemma, he takes the altruistic and good choice, not for his own sake, but for the sake of someone else. This will of course lead to him being stripped of his evil powers, setting the stage for a transition into a different world, fighter being the next logical step. As time goes on, maybe he finds the world responds differently to him now, than it did before. That he finds the world more likable now that he's not obligated to ruin it. And in time, perhaps he wishes to defend things that are good and decent (since such things have a tendency to also be pleasant and nice), setting the stage for him eventually becoming the classic 'valiant knight' defending good, which could then transition into paladinhood.

Hope it helps.

-Nearyn


Thanks for your response, Nearyn. Good advice, too, except... I was originally playing 3e with a lot of house rules, the relevant one being that I didn't require alignments to match class or deity. I decided to fall more in line with the regular rules when we switched to Pathfinder.

In-game, we had treated the character as retaining his good alignment, but being tempted to the dark side by the powers he'd been granted by a deceitful god (ie. the local population thinks Bane is a good god. I'm still brewing a few ideas why the PC was chosen for these powers, but I'd love to hear new ideas). He hasn't actually commited any heinous acts yet, though, and doesn't believe his faith in Bane is evil, just necessary. Bane is still trying to tempt him to use his powers to evil ends, though. Thus, the change to paladin isn't quite as unlikely as it might otherwise be.

Also, because it's a pbem (and going quite slowly at the moment), I can't draw out the change too long, because years of real time will pass! Thus I'm thinking some sort of intense event that has him reject evil in favor of good (and hopefully the new force) in a sudden blast. Possibly endangering his crush due to her connection to Mielikki, which Bane will be all about destroying, thus catalysing his decision to abandon the teachings of Bane (and the powers that go with them).


Nearyn wrote:
Every time, and I mean EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I've seen or played in a story where a paladin falls, and the next thing he does is become an anti-paladin I've done nothing but facepalm and groan in disbelief. So I'd advice you use the 3-step program I call Paladin->Fighter->Anti-Paladin... or in your case: the other way around.

Star Wars Episode III must have been very painful for you.

It's a shame that Pathfinder doesn't have an updated holy liberator class, switching to the opposite alignment bothers me. In my opinion the first thing you should do is get the motivation of the anti-paladin. You have to know why he chose to be evil to tempt him away from it. Lust for power? Forced into the role like a Mord Sith? Did he go "let the world burn" after he was betrayed? Each would need other ways of convincing him that good is the better choice.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing that could help both you and him would be to have him detail the personal code of ethics for his anti-paladin. Does he have any places where he draws the line? If not, then he should...otherwise where is the spark that could lead to redemption?

For instance, does he not believe in killing children? Pregnant women? Animals? Helpless prisoners? Those who perservere and struggle to survive in adverse situations? If he is willing to spare none of these, I really don't see where his redemption is coming from. I recommend selecting one of these or something similar, then you can have the storyline bump some obligations to be evil up against these groups. This could lead to an internal conflict of the will of his evil god vs his personal code, which is really the only way I see a conversion, unless you plan of sticking a Helm of Opposite Alignment on his head :)

After reviewing everything you and he may discover it works better character-wise to have him switch from an anti-paladin to an inquisitor or warpriest who is CN/CG or LE, since these might translate easier than such a drastic conversion.

My 2 cents!


Navarion wrote:
Star Wars Episode III must have been very painful for you.

I am of the belief that anyone who grew up with the original trilogy, knows the slightest bit about storytelling or cinematography, or simply has a working gag-reflex, found Star Wars Episode III very painful.

-Nearyn


redcelt32 wrote:

One thing that could help both you and him would be to have him detail the personal code of ethics for his anti-paladin. Does he have any places where he draws the line? If not, then he should...otherwise where is the spark that could lead to redemption?

For instance, does he not believe in killing children? Pregnant women? Animals? Helpless prisoners? Those who perservere and struggle to survive in adverse situations? If he is willing to spare none of these, I really don't see where his redemption is coming from. I recommend selecting one of these or something similar, then you can have the storyline bump some obligations to be evil up against these groups. This could lead to an internal conflict of the will of his evil god vs his personal code, which is really the only way I see a conversion, unless you plan of sticking a Helm of Opposite Alignment on his head :)

After reviewing everything you and he may discover it works better character-wise to have him switch from an anti-paladin to an inquisitor or warpriest who is CN/CG or LE, since these might translate easier than such a drastic conversion.

My 2 cents!

What you describe sounds more like the old (lawful evil) Paladin of Tyranny from Unearthed Arcana. The anti-paladin's code of conduct doesn't leave much room for goodness:

"An antipaladin must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that an antipaladin cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends. An antipaladin's code requires that he place his own interests and desires above all else, as well as impose tyranny, take advantage whenever possible, and punish the good and just, provided such actions don't interfere with his goals."

There doesn't have to be a spark in the beginning. There can be events that show him that he's on the wrong track to get whatever his reason to become evil was.

Nearyn wrote:

I am of the belief that anyone who grew up with the original trilogy, knows the slightest bit about storytelling or cinematography, or simply has a working gag-reflex, found Star Wars Episode III very painful.

-Nearyn

True.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Navarion wrote:


What you describe sounds more like the old (lawful evil) Paladin of Tyranny from Unearthed Arcana. The anti-paladin's code of conduct doesn't leave much room for goodness:

"An antipaladin must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that an antipaladin cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends. An antipaladin's code requires that he place his own interests and desires above all else, as well as impose tyranny, take advantage whenever possible, and punish the good and just, provided such actions don't interfere with his goals."

Hmm, every character has a code, even CE and CN characters. Even if it is "kill anything that I want and take anything I want because I can" AKA The Hound (GoT ref), its still a personal set of ethics. That doesnt require a Lawful alignment.

Its true that would be hard to see where a character above would have any redeeming qualities. A character could still follow this code and rationalize granting mercy to someone. For instance, he might find killing children distateful, and rationalize it as giving him the opportunity to corrupt or destroy them later on in life, much like a farmer raising crops to harvest them later. In reality it might be because he lost his childhood friend to some horrid death and can't bring himself to do that directly even now.


Hahaha. I never actually wanted to punch Darth Vader until I saw episodes II and III. Actually, I never wanted to punch the Jedi before all three of the first episodes, either.

Sorry I wasn't clear - while the PC hasn't actually gone around committing good acts OR bad acts, his alignment is still good, thanks to those house rules. He never became evil - the powers are just a way to tempt him to become evil. He doesn't so much need a spark to remind him of the good in humanity as he needs to realize that the god he worships is Evil and has goals that are totally incompatible with his, and his morals.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Sounds like the ole "Paladin of Asmodeus*" who could only exist so long as he naively believed Asmodeus was a good god. It would only be a matter of time before he was asked to do something contrary to his LG alignment by his church or god and then something had to give, either his alignment or his faith.

*this was a errata made early on in Pathfinder, where I think a dev mentioned that it was a possible class/god combo. Afterwards it was determined that no, it is not really a viable option.

This is a lot more credible, since the character isnt doing a 180 in belief, but rather gains insight into the true nature of something he trusted was good.

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