I have an issue with the Falling Paladin because I've heard on multiple accounts that the sheer ridiculous penalty to falling makes it that no Paladin PC would ever fall. However I also feel like there should be SOME kind of mechanical penalty as in the original version it made total sense for the paladin to lose his powers when they no longer can be a paladin (why would god keep giving you powers after you used them to murder an orphanage then?). So I wonder what kind of mechanical penalties one could give a paladin that still hurts the paladin enough to make it a difficult decision to do something that might cause them to fall and make sense in the world, whilst also not being SO excessively game breaking to basically turn you from a decent character into a crappy fighter.
Also I mention alternatives to the Antipaladin because of the simple fact that.. Someone who is literally evil for the sake of evil as the opposite of a paladin is just plain cartoony. I like the idea that there is an "antithesis" to the paladin in some way, but not a cartoony "I slaughtered a village raped the queen and pissed on the royal petunias for the Evulz" antithesis.
I forgot about retraining admittedly, and I just kinda realized that... Well I did feel like a paladin should have some kind of penalty for falling (so that there is at least SOME tangible reason to not fall since other consequences like story changes are all reward and no bite because players love to have the plot happen to them.) without just being like "you can either become the villain of the campaign by becoming cartoonishly evil or lose all your powers until you do a suitable atonement"
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Honestly this falls into a GM's area. It should always be crafted with the 'story' in mind: what was the offense, the deity and viewpoint, character relationship with deity, how will the paladin atone and how will this bring him more in line with the deity and his church?... so a lot to consider.
RAW outlines a standard process that is just mechanical. GMs shouldn't make it too difficult.
All GMs should ask their players to write up a little scene about how their PC became a paladin. It should also have their oath to their deity. Not writing up an oath means players get the default assumption in RAW.
The goal is how to make this personal AND feed into your game to make the experience better.
If the Paladin in question can't (or won't) atone to regain their abilities and status, and you want to not just have them be super gimped then retraining seems to be the way to go.
You don't have to give them all at once of course, if you don't want to just make it a straight up downtime activity I could also see solutions such as whenever you level up you also retrain one paladin level into whatever class you take a level in.
This solution is more punishing at higher levels of course, but in a way that's fine, if it's early in the story then it becomes a backstory deal more than a lasting punishment by the time you reach the middle. If it happens at the midpoint or later then it has a lasting impact up until the end.
Even if you just straight up let them switch to Fighter, that still is a downgrade since they (ought to) have a charisma score that now does very little for their build (no amount of bonus feats really makes up for losing +CHA to all saves when you don't get the base Charisma score refunded in any way).