View Full Version : DM Help Help me come up with a Paladin's quest

Lord Torath
2016-02-10, 05:35 PM
My son's paladin is going to be wanting a Holy Avenger soon, and I've currently decided that once he returns to civilization (currently exploring the Isle of Dread), his order will send him on a quest. Here's the basic premise: A previous paladin, in possession of said sword, embarked on a quest years ago, and failed. My son's quest will be to complete this paladin's quest and bring the body back for a formal burial. Now I just need an idea for the quest itself.

And... go!

If it matters, the campaign is taking place is the Grand Duchy of Karameikos in the known world. I'd like the quest to be relatively short, and still in the Grand Duchy area, as war is about to break out between the Grand Duke and his brother the Black Eagle.

I've already considered a crawl through the sewers of Specularum, but I'm not certain what the Big Bad would be (JAL, you can sit this one out). I'd also considered a swamp exploration (JAL, you can skip this one, as well), but a check of the Map showed Malpheggi Swamp is located several week's journey to the West, and with the impending war (the paladins will likely be on the Duke's side, as a Lawful and generally Good ruler), they don't want him wandering too far.

2016-02-10, 06:10 PM
I have several ideas but I need to know the following first:
What level is the paladin in question in which system? How many allies can he bring on the quest? What church (or individual Immortal) is the paladin affiliated with? Do you wish to bring Penhaligon into this campaign? How much time does he have?

2016-02-10, 06:33 PM
I don't know the system you're using or the setting, but would it be possible to pull a famous story from history or culture that your son might not otherwise find on his own? King Arthur and Excalibur, for example, or something from Japan's folklore?

2016-02-10, 07:35 PM
I don't know anything about Karameikos - but there are Wikipedia pages for it. Apparently it's Wilderness/Forest - so some unseelie fey perhaps ?

Mark Hall
2016-02-10, 07:58 PM
Best option? Some sort of slumbering, long-lived, evil. Maybe a Green Dragon, given all the forest about? It's a foolhardy quest for a Paladin WITHOUT a Holy Avenger, but throw in a twist... the Paladin killed the green dragon, but then died himself. The sword was unguarded in the wilderness for years, but now an XXX has moved in to claim it.

For fun, and to emphasize other parts of Paladinhood than "Killin' monsters", make it an Actaeon... 9' tall, True Neutral, with the head of an elk, druid powers, and a breath weapon that will turn you into a squirrel. Not an evil monster, but also not willing to cheaply surrender a powerful magical weapon to the forces of Law and Goodness...unless the player can convince him that it should be done.

2016-02-10, 11:57 PM
The sword previously belonged to Sir Righteous Slasher, a near-legendary champion of (some part of the land). With it he destroyed this, slew that, quested after the other, restored peace to something and governed his hold wisely and righteously for 30 years.

Then he died. His sword, along with all his other goodies (not much, because as a paladin he gave a lot of loot away) has been inherited by his daughter, Panasiezure the Possessive. She... is not a paladin. She's not evil, and is doing a passable although not stellar job of governing her father's hold; but she is the rightful, lawful owner of the sword. And she wants 100,000 gp for it.

Nobody thinks that's a reasonable price, but so far, she's not budging from it. The challenge is to persuade her to part with it for a fair price.

The cliched way to do this would be to have a monster/enemy terrorising her province, and encourage the paladin to defeat it and claim the sword as a reward. If you're looking for a nice linear plotline, that would work. Personally I'd prefer something a little more indirect, such as fixing some more mundane issues in the province (peasants behind with the rent, disputes between landowners, tension between locals and immigrants, minor banditry...) - but you know what would fit your campaign.

Lord Torath
2016-02-11, 08:30 AM
Thank you for all the suggestions! Feel free to keep them coming.

On a slightly related note, I've got a new magic item that needs a name. It's a pair of armbands that increase the damage of natural attacks made by whatever limb they're attached to.

Wrathful Wraps?
Wraps of Damage?
Mystic Wallbangers?

2016-02-11, 08:35 AM
Right to Bear Arms. (http://img07.deviantart.net/237a/i/2015/082/3/0/beararms_2_by_uhd4k-d8mtvu6.png)

Mark Hall
2016-02-11, 11:57 AM
Thank you for all the suggestions! Feel free to keep them coming.

On a slightly related note, I've got a new magic item that needs a name. It's a pair of armbands that increase the damage of natural attacks made by whatever limb they're attached to.

Wrathful Wraps?
Wraps of Damage?
Mystic Wallbangers?

Their history may play into that. "The Armbands of Sister Maria Teresa Garcia Graziela Aguilera Delgado Francisco Diego Arroyo Inigo Montoya Zapata Paquito El Guapo Abuelita de la “Boom Boom” Mendoza" might play, if you want some humor.

2016-02-11, 11:27 PM
Something standard, to make him feel like a hero.

A giant (or other really big human-ish thing) has been terrorizing a small region, committing all manner of crimes against its people. The dead paladin challenged him to a duel and was killed. The giant took the Holy Avenger from his body and holds it as a trophy, and hung the body itself from a great tree before his house, where he has hung a dozen other goodly knights who fell in battle before him. The PC paladin is to end the giant's evil, then recover both sword and body.

2016-02-12, 12:38 AM
Well, this might be . . . unusual for Dungeons and Dragons, but in my view, the true test of a paladin is whether he has it within himself to depart from the usual hack and slash methods and solve a problem by remaining true to the ideals of paladinhood.

So maybe you could do something like Sword in the Stone, except with a bit of a twist. There's a Holy Avenger that is embedded in the Plot Device of Holding and cannot be removed save by a Paladin worthy of the weapon. Nearby, there's a Big Bad Evil Dragon, who is reputed to be the cause of much terribleness that is nevertheless suspiciously opaque in the details. It should be that everyone has a story about something evil that was done, but it was always to a distant ancestor, or a cousin once removed, or to the dog of a friend this guy once had, that sort of thing. Guarding the Plot Device of Holding is some Lawful Good creature, maybe an Archon, who advocates that only a Paladin strong enough to fight the Big Bad Evil Dragon could remove the weapon and avenge the fallen legendary paladin.

In truth, the Dragon does exist, and it is technically a chromatic dragon, but it doesn't actually do anything nefarious. It's evil, but really it was wounded badly once and decided that the best way to live to a ripe full age is just leave other people alone and make it's pile o' gold by trading peacefully via intermediaries. The entire reason that the Holy Avenger is embedded in the Plot Device of Holding is because long ago, the Paladin in his declining years attacked the Dragon because of what it was rather than what it did, and the Holy Avenger itself decided that he wasn't up for being a party to murder and stuck itself in a rock. Now it waits not for someone who can hack and slash the bestest, but for a man wise enough to actually figure out whether an evil creature has actually done something to deserve to die, and shows justice even to the evil. The Archon is just there to ensure that such a powerful weapon actually goes into the hands of a mortal who has the character to actually use it. I suppose the Archon could be substituted for a riddle or some such vague pronouncement about the true meaning of strength if it came to that.

This of course might not be for a player who only hacks and slashes. If he's a roleplayer, however, this might serve as a true test of a paladin's mettle.

2016-02-13, 05:33 AM
I'm not certain what the Big Bad would be

The corrupted and undead body of the paladin inhabited by an evil spirit!

2016-02-22, 10:05 AM
Just spitballing here. Take what you want, or don't.

In the last age, the Baron of Lethremor - Lord Tristan Gaheris (names taken from Arthurian legend, but whatever...) was a hero of great renown. In addition to his adventurous exploits which include defeating an Ogre Warlord that was ravaging coastal settlements, and rooting out a cult that was systematically infiltrating the leadership of good churches throughout the realm, Baron Gaheris was one of the few nobles that actually merit the name "noble." Using the incomes of his personal fief, Gaheris established a number of soup-kitchens dedicated to alleviating the pains of poverty throughout the land. Many of them still bare his name. The tale of the old Baron of Lethremor is not at all a happy one though, as we shall soon discover. In many ways, Tristan became a victim of his own reputation. Throughout the Kingdom, he was heralded as the greatest knight of all time, and this helped to inflate his ego. A shrewd and evil dragon/illithid/lich/mime formulated the great knight's downfall. Taking the form of a human-being, the dragon challenged the Baron to a contest of strength. If Tristan could resist a volley of blows for only a few minutes without being knocked from his horse, then the he would win his opponent's stake in the bet - a princely sum of gold and jewels, enough to feed and clothe the needy of the realm for quite some time - but if the challenger won, he would take Tristan's fief, his armor, and his holy weapon. Tristan thought only a moment on this challenge before taking the bet - but the trap was set. The day of the challenge finally arrived. Instead of his expected challenger though, the dragon finally revealed his plot fully. Staring in horror, Tristan realized his mistake, but steeling himself for the fight before him, Tristan mounted his horse and drew his sword - the Ancient Holy Avenger "Calnomyr" (which means Dawnblade) - and set himself to the task of slaying the dread wyrm. Though Tristan was able to severely wound the dragon, when the the great lizard finally struck true, only a single blow caused Tristan to fall from his horse. The old dragon now makes his home in the caverns beneath the ruin of Tristan's now abandoned keep. Now, young Paladin, keep your vigil this night. Fast and pray to your god for tomorrow you will rise and strike down an evil has plagued the whole of this world for a dozen generations.

2016-02-22, 10:26 AM
I think the most important thing to remember is that for a Paladin to earn a Holy Avenger the main thing isn't so much the physical might to do so, but the moral fortitude to be worthy of the blade. It's not that the Paladin can defeat and slay a mighty beast, but that he can show mercy to said beastie if need be. I would need to know more about the Paladin's Order before I really could give you a good quest for this sort of thing. I would structure the quest around a series of moral quandaries for the Paladin though, with the key focus being that the Paladin is trying to always be the most moral and the most good they can be. Don't necessarily try to have a lot of "gotcha" options, just have the focus be on things that they can do, on the effort, and on the inner goodness that a Paladin should exemplify.

Lord Torath
2016-02-22, 05:49 PM
The paladin in question worships Tyr, but the paladin's order has played no real part in the game to date, and my Pantheon so far is pretty undeveloped (a LG cleric in the party worships Thor). The structure of the Order is still a nebulous thing waiting for detail.

As far as a test of goodness rather than might, Swamplight might be a good way to go. I'll have to give that another look.