Falling From Grace

Falling From Grace

In Dungeons and Dragons, characters of noble intent with divine power; clerics, paladins and paragons from Corpus Angelus, stand as impenetrable fortresses against the forces of evil. Their church, faith, and oaths guide them in their cause, and they wield holy power to protect the innocent and obliterate the wicked. But what happens when these pinnacles of virtue fall from grace? This fall doesn’t only plunge them into darkness and shadows, but also affects the world around them.

The Path to Damnation

The fall of a cleric, paladin or paragon is a tricky narrative, which is often driven by complex intrigues and emotional turmoil. There can be many reasons for them to become what they have fought against for all their lives. Below, you can find some examples.

Desperation. Life is hard, and it is known for its habit of leaving people in moments of desperation. For holy people, such moments can include hard choices. In these instances, a paragon may turn to forbidden magic as a last resort in order to save a life. Such decisions are perfect examples of good intentions leading to devastating consequences, which always remind people that it is best to keep believing in the powers and generosity of deities.

Loss of Faith. Upon experiencing a personal tragedy, witnessing the suffering of the innocent without divine intervention, encountering philosophical contradictions in faith, observing how theological wars can harm the innocent, a holy person can start questioning their faith. Such questions can easily make even the most religious person denounce or betray the religious teaching they’ve received.

Moral Corruption. It is not an easy task to fight against evil for long years. Continuous exposure to the evil in the universe, seeing how people can be more vile than fiends every single day, observing how quickly evil can fester; all these things can wear down even the strongest will. Such people might begin to justify their ruthless actions and become more brutal than merciful. Drifting in this path, they may find themselves at odds with their deity, oath and temples.

Succumbing to Vengeance. While many clerics, paladins and paragons are driven by justice, the line between justice and vengeance is a thin one. Personal vengeance can lead such people to take extreme measures, who can in turn be shunned by their own community.

Temptation. Clerics, paladins and paragons may find greater power in other faiths and oaths. Dark deities may offer forbidden knowledge to achieve things that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. In many cases, such people accept these powers to commit acts of greater goods, but they shortly find themselves corrupted beyond imagination.

Consequences of Falling

When a cleric, paladin or paragon falls from grace, there are various immediate consequences. The first one is the loss of divine power. Their divine connection is severed, and they can no longer use spells, divine intervention and other otherworldly abilities.

In such cases, atonement and redemption can be an option. However, the forces of darkness don’t sleep. They find people who have fallen and tempt them with power, saying it just might be what they need to right their wrongs. They offer them a second chance to reshape the world in their own vision. If the fallen accept, their lost powers are replaced with corrupted powers more fitting to their new patron. They’re thrown into a world of dark deities, diabolic invocations, infernal pacts, forbidden arcane knowledge, and much more. This is the point where they truly fall from grace, mostly losing their chance at redemption.
Upon accepting these powers, a once-revered champion of good becomes a warrior of fear, hatred, and betrayal. Their heroes become enemies, and former enemies become unexpected allies.

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