View Full Version : Pathfinder [Archetype] Fallen Paladin (Paladin)

2015-06-06, 01:16 AM
-From time to time a paladin falls from grace, more often than not in the battle against evil they find themselves drifting from either law or good, violating their code. While most either fight their way back and atone, or fall completely and become anti-paladins, there are those that by sheer conviction, or by the blessing of a benevolent (or more often a malevolent) entity, they are able to carry on in their crusade. Most who become fallen paladins are unaware that they have fallen, blinded by their devotion to their cause even as it. Even the most malevolent fallen paladins believe themselves to be a force for good, even when they inevitably come to blows with a true paladin or a being of the higher planes.

--Faded Light: A fallen paladin, having grown distant from the source of their power, lacks the same reservoir of energy most paladins can draw from. Regardless of level, a fallen paladin may only use lay on hands a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier. This alters the paladin's Lay on Hands.
--Fallen from Grace: A fallen paladin is not bound by a formal code of conduct nor restricted to a particular alignment, but as a consequence lack the same presence and protection provided to most that would call themselves paladins. This removes the paladin's alignment requirement, code of conduct and associates, Aura of Good, and Divine Grace.
--Fleeting Smite Evil (Su): A fallen paladin's smite evil is prone to degrading, rapidly. A fallen paladin's smite evil only lasts for a number of rounds equal to the number of remaining uses she possesses before using the smite + her Charisma modifier. Additionally, for each successful attack delivered by the fallen paladin, the remaining duration decreases by 1 round. If an attack reduces the duration to 0 rounds, or the last round passes, the fallen paladin's smite evil effect immediately ends. This alters the paladin's Smite Evil.
--Unreliable Detection: Fallen paladins, when sponsored by an entity, are often sponsored by a malevolent being. Whenever a fallen paladin attempts use detect evil, there is a 5% chance per for every two paladin levels the fallen paladin possesses that she will gain a false result. Usually, this means an evil creature or object may not be perceived as evil or a non-evil creature or object may be detected as evil. Should a fallen paladin get a false result, subsequent attempts to detect evil for the next 24 hours will confirm the result of their detection. This alters the paladin's Detect Evil.
--Cruel Hand: A fallen paladin may elect to select a cruelty as an antipaladin equal to her paladin level in place of a mercy. A cruelty may be applied whenever the fallen paladin uses their lay on hands whenever it harms a creature. In addition, by expending two uses of lay on hands, a fallen paladin may choose to neither inflict nor heal any damage with lay on hands, but may apply a cruelty using their lay on hands. This alters the paladin's Mercy.
--Lesser Aura of Courage (Su): Starting at 3rd level, each ally within 10 feet of the fallen paladin gains a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects. This bonus increases every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4 at 18th level. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Courage.
--Diminished Spellcasting: Cut off largely from their source of power, a fallen power only is capable of casting what they can through sheer force of will. As such, a fallen paladin only gains spell slots through bonus spells for having a high Charisma score. A fallen paladin still requires a minimum level in order to prepare and cast spells of a particular level.
--Divine Bond: A fallen paladin may only select a weapon bond. In addition, while incapable of applying either the axiomatic or holy weapon enhancements to her weapon, a fallen paladin is capable of apply the vicious weapon enhancement. This alters the paladin's Divine Bond.
--Lesser Aura of Resolve (Su): Starting at 8th level, each ally within 10 feet of the fallen paladin gains a +2 morale bonus on saving throws against charm effects. This bonus increases every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4 at 18th level. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Resolve.
--Subjective Morality (Su): At 11th level, a fallen paladin's smite evil becomes equally effective against all foes, regardless of their alignment. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Justice.
--Lesser Aura of Faith (Su): At 14th level, a fallen paladin's weapons are treated as good-aligned for the purposes of overcoming Damage Reduction, unless the fallen paladin's alignment is evil in which case the fallen paladin's weapons are treated as evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Faith.
--Self-righteous (Su): At 17th level, a fallen paladin gains DR 5/evil, unless her alignment is evil in which case she gains DR 5/good. Additionally, each ally within 10 feet of her gains a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against compulsion effects. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Righteousness.
--Fallen Paragon (Su): At 20th level, a fallen paladin's DR increases to 10/evil, or 10/good as appropriate. Additionally, when she uses smite evil and successfully strikes an outsider that possesses an alignment subtype, the outsider is also subject to a banishment, using her paladin level as the caster level (her weapon and holy symbol automatically count as objects that the subject hates). In additional, whenever she channels positive energy or uses lay on hands to heal a creature, she heals the maximum possible amount.

-A paladin who becomes an ex-paladin can, with the GM's permission, take the fallen paladin archetype. If the character atones, she loses her fallen paladin abilities and either regains her previous paladin abilities. Alternatively, if the character becomes Chaotic Evil, she may choose to trade in all of her paladin levels for antipaladin levels on a 1-for-1 basis. Such a process requires not only an acknowledgement of the evils she has committed but an embrace of them, as well as oaths being sworn to foul powers (frequently the malevolent being that had been sustaining her powers as she fell, provided it was that and not her conviction that allowed her powers to linger.) With her powers already sustained through a malevolent being, the transition is far easier than that of most paladins that fall. Depending on the situation, such a change may take time and rituals or be very abrupt. For instance, a fallen paladin engaged in combat with powerful beings of good may deem such an act necessary for their survival.

T.G. Oskar
2015-06-06, 01:59 AM
--Selfish Courage (Su): At 3rd level, a fallen paladin is rendered immune to fear (magical or otherwise). In addition, a fallen paladin gains a morale bonus on saving throws against fear equal to 4 + the fallen paladin's Charisma modifier. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Courage.


--Selfish Resolve (Su): At 8th level, A fallen paladin is immune to charm spells and spell-like abilities. In addition, a fallen paladin gains a morale bonus against charm effects equal to 4 + her Charisma modifier. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Resolve.


--Self-righteous (Su): At 17th level, a fallen paladin gains DR 5/evil and immunity to compulsion spells and effects. In addition, a fallen paladin gains a morale bonus on saves against compulsion effects equal to 4 + her Charisma modifier. This replaces the paladin's Aura of Righteousness.

You mean "gains" or "grants"? The Fallen Paladin retains its immunity to fear, charm and compulsion effects, therefore rendering the morale bonuses redundant. Unless the bonus you project IS increased, in which case it should say "grants". I can understand attempting to cover for when a class feature particularly defeats the immunity, but those are extremely rare.

That said: the archetype is a vast improvement over the original class, and that is a problem. Unreliable Detection is, so far, the only class feature that actually fits the idea, since it alters the power of Detect Evil to make it unreliable. Losing Divine Grace is the only other thing I consider fitting. However, it keeps the Paladin's Mark (long story short: I refuse it to call it a "smite" for semantic reasons), the Lay on Hands/Channel Positive Energy ability, the spellcasting ability and the Divine Bond. You lose virtually nothing, and instead you make your Mark hit any creature (even with the-4 penalty, it's an improvement), you can choose to have Mercies and Cruelties at the same time, and most important, you lose the restrictive Code. Think of the following: given this choice, why would you play a vanilla Paladin, other than a good archetype other than this (and that's a big doubtful) OR playing the role, not the class? The archetype is a complete mechanical improvement in essentially EVERY way: the two exceptions I mentioned at the second sentence are the only things that hurt, but not much.

Here's an idea: the Fallen Paladin is, due to its "failure", cut off from the source of its powers. Thus, not just one power - ALL of its powers are unreliable. You can no longer mark - now, you can just deliver the Mark's effect on ONE attack (much like its 3.5 incarnation), Lay on Hands has a chance of failure, etc. However, you make do with what you have, and that allows you to fulfill your quest. Thus:

Your Mark now works as 3.5's Smite, adding your Charisma modifier to attack rolls and your level to damage, but only on ONE attack. You also get Cha mod. to AC until the beginning of your next turn against the character. That way, you can eventually replace Aura of Justice with the ability to smite any creature, not just evil ones...and at full strength, since it comes from your conviction, not from a divine entity's power.
Lay on Hands is now weaker, and you no longer get the ability to Channel Positive Energy.. Maybe you're limited to your uses of Charisma per day, or you restore HP at a rate of 1 dice every 3 levels, rather than two. However, you can give it something in exchange: not necessarily the ability to deal damage, as per an Antipaladin, but perhaps keep the idea of Cruelties, at a rate of 2 uses per use of Cruelty and no damage. That way, you can use it to subdue an enemy, rather than kill it.
Either the immunities (and no aura bonus), or lose them but retain the aura bonus and slowly regain the ability to project them. The former retains the flavor of "Selfish Courage"/etc., the latter keeps the idea of a Paladin who failed to uphold the Code but still retains a bit of courage, righteousness and resolve on its heart.
Your spellcasting ability HAS to be limited somewhat. Perhaps you're limited to a few choice spells, whether self-buffs or just limited to Core only. The thing is, full Paladin spellcasting seems a tad too much for a character that's supposed to be cut off from its source of power, particularly since it involves meditating upon the source of power itself.
Finally, an alternate Code. You failed to uphold the Code, but for some reason you're still connected to the source of power. Perhaps you are given some protective measures in order to fulfill a harder, unknown quest, or perhaps (as mentioned on the Unreliable Detection quip), someone else is granting you divine power as a way to seduce you. Perhaps rework the Code replacement into something more relaxed, but that continued violations to the Code WILL turn you into an Antipaladin, no questions asked. However, someone who intends to defy the Code in the name of Good won't lose its powers, and someone who adheres to the Code despite the loss of virtue may return to its previous state. That way, the archetype serves as a middle-point.

The idea is interesting (a Paladin that falls, but doesn't lose most of its powers), but I'm worried that, as it stands, is too similar to the base class, doing only minor alterations that happen to make it better than the original. This isn't the idea behind archetypes: they are meant to re-envision the class features of a class to better fit a concept, and are geared towards being "balanced" (note the use of quotation marks) with the original class. The Fallen Paladin archetype, as a transitional archetype to the Antipaladin class OR as a way to reduce the penalties of failing the Code on a character that's otherwise a good Paladin player, has its worth, and it also helps to create a sort of "Gray Guard"-ish character, a "Knight in Sour Armor" who feels the Code is too restrictive to face evil, and teeters on the edge in its quest to vanquish it, but nonetheless has the power of conviction to keep doing things right. This is what you should aim; as it stands, it's way better than the vanilla version aside from some specific exceptions, and this isn't a good sign.

2015-06-06, 02:31 AM

I appreciate your feedback, and the approval of the concept at its core. You are right, it is stronger than the base and I shall have corrected that. For the most part at least.
In in regards to the versions of the various auras, the idea really was to have the save bonus incase immunities were revoked, which does happen especially against antipaladins and dreads, but you are right in that it isn't a common occurrence. In retrospect, it was somewhat unnecessary, and fortunately isn't part of the equation any more.

I've reworked a number of their abilities, and even added a few (addressing smite evil, and spellcasting). For the life of me though, at this instant I cannot think of a reasonable code of conduct for them in this state. I can think of something somewhat subjective, but a code of conduct needs to be somewhat objective. If anyone wants to suggestion one, by all means. It shouldn't restrict them in conduct such they are incapable of drifting between any of the 9 alignments (not that, in my vision, you'd see a lot of NG or CG fallen paladins), and a fallen paladin should always be capable of falling until they are CE, give in and embrace evil, and finally decide to just swap the levels already.

Edit: Ultimately went the route of auras increasing in strength over time, ultimately becoming as powerful as that of normal paladins, but never bestowing upon a fallen paladin immunity.

2015-06-06, 11:06 AM
I have one big gripe with this, from purely mechanical standpoint - It offers nothing. An archetype should be roughly on par with the base class, while this... This is straightly weaker, until level 11 where it becomes decent if you expect to fight neutral enemies (assuming your standard nothern-side-of-the-aligment-pool party) and that's it. I entered expecting something like Grey Guard, where the character actually still works faithfully to their deity but uses more underhanded methods, but I got... Well, I'm not really sure what.

It doesn't grant any new abilities in exchange for all the diminished/lost features. I know it's a flavour-based archetype, but it should be also at least a bit attractive mechanically. Here you're giving the class strictly weaker abilities but give nothing in exchange.

Lost Divine Grace and got cut short on Lay On Hands? Grant them Panache and a choice of Swashbuckler Deeds, to show that they're relying on grit and pure determination more than divine guidance!

Spellcasting got diminished? Then maybe they instead channel the pure force of will through their weapons instead and gain a modified Investigator's Studied Combat!

Overall, the archetype lacks definition. It's basically "Paladin, but weaker because fall from grace" while completely disregarding the fact that this concept may be made into a viable option while keeping the intended flavour.

If it is meant to actually be just a transitional archetype so that a Paladin who fell can use their class abilities until they Atone, it's okay. If it's meant to be an archetype in its own right, then the above applies.

2015-06-06, 12:26 PM

This is intended to be a transitional archetype, but I would like it capable of holding its own and illustrate a paladin who has fallen from grace such that they still (at least believe that they) fight the good fight. They are not in the grace of any patron, or if they are it is a malevolent one, unbeknownst to them, who wants position the paladin to fall further. Now! Solutions to this power problem (any or all of the following, or any i've not thought of):

Smite evil: Doesn't last as long, but later can fully effect pretty much anyone. Perhaps I should grant partial effect against incorrectly aligned targets, or create a dependency with detect evil.

Lay on hands, spellcasting, channeling: Though not gone, they possess far less uses per day. Lay on hands gets an additional layer of versatility, but I know that doesn't make up for it. More utility, increase uses, or add an additional ability to make up for the deficiency.

Note: Unlike the grey guard, which is something I do adore and think is deserving of representation in pathfinder, this isn't so much an individual who does what must be done then atones regularly as they are one who will commit an evil act and either deem it necessary or not even realize it was an evil act, pending upon how far they have fallen. Now, someone who is a fallen paladin who realizes they have fallen may work tirelessly to atone for their misdeeds and become a full paladin once again, but things are such it may not be realized. A fallen paladin early on might perceive someone who exalts good as evil, and either be simply disillusioned by their realization or do as paladins do and strike down evil. A fallen paladin who smites someone who is good, more than likely won't realize that the individual they have targeted isn't evil and their smite failed.

I know it is flavor driven and to my own philosophy, it aught to be . Now, there shouldn't be a massive loss of power, and that will be corrected as much as possible, but in my defense I will say this: What is more attractive mechanically? A LN ex-paladin, or a LN fallen paladin?

2016-07-06, 09:40 AM
Digging this one up for sake of further input and seeking to polish it further.

Should I perhaps add rules for interactions with other archetypes? Additionally, perhaps for sake of discussion at the very least should I have listed this as an Ex-Paladin archetype?

2016-07-16, 12:08 PM
Quick note, "apply the vicious weapon enchantment" should be "applying" under divine bond.

Also, I really like the idea of ex-class archetypes. You've got me considering one for monk, and a corresponding chaotic/evil archetype for ex-monks. Defiling mechanics from dark sun could also be used for ex-druids perhaps.

In the mean time, you inspired this quick modification (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?494770-Paladin-of-Ego-%28Archetype%29&p=21005927)of the fallen paladin rules.

2016-07-19, 07:33 PM
Subjective Morality is such an odd thing conceptually. If you're not basing this on what your Deity thinks is right or wrong then where it this bonus coming from?