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 Pre-Blackguard Scyllua
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nblanton
Seeker

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2017 :  01:42:00  Show Profile Send nblanton a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I feel I may have backed myself into a corner of unreasonable characterization by introducing Scyllua as an NPC while she was still a paladin.

I had not realized how bad the mental gymnastics were going to be having a paladin of Tyr serving in the Zhentilar as an officer. I had plans to run the campaign with the end game to possibly focus on redemption of Scyllua once she is turned by Orgauth in 1368 after the Fall of Zhentil Keep. Currently my party is lowish level and working through Doom of Daggerdale with Scyllua making her first appearance as part of the occupying force in the dale. I made her operate more or less as a symbol of the good side of the Keep. My thoughts were that she was simply being used naively by the Zhentarim controllers to help win some hearts and minds type of things. The problem is, at least from a rational standpoint, the Zhent's are so comically evil I find it difficult to have a paladin with Int 14 and Wis 15 be wiling to work with such an organization, regardless of how high minded her goals are.

Any thoughts?

Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14553 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2017 :  02:12:20  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There were different types of paladins for each alignment choice, first in 2e, and then in 3e (although the anti-paladin has been around since 1e). You can say she was a paladin of Tyranny, and for whatever reason, she was still receiving her spells (maybe from some god other than her own, like Bane). If you go HERE and scroll down to the Paladin section, you can check out the three variant types. That may help you.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 15 Nov 2017 02:12:57
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30431 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2017 :  03:47:17  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you plan on her being the typical Lawful Good paladin, to start with... The fall has to be a matter of degrees. Someone LG isn't going to wake up one day and decide to do evil -- they're going slowly fall that way, justifying their actions as being for the greater good the whole time, until they're too far gone to go back.

All that has to happen is a couple of good Kobayashi Maru scenarios -- situations in which no matter what choices are made, you're going to lose. For a paladin sworn to upholding the ideals of justice and protecting the innocent, it's a nightmare to be in a situation where no matter what happens, innocents have to allowed to die, defenseless and frightened.

One major scenario like that, or a few smaller ones, and even the most devout paladins are either going to be more willing to embrace shades of grey, or they'll become overwhelmed by despair and guilt. And either one leads far more readily to a fall...

You start with "I must lay down my life to protect innocents!" and then get to "No matter what I do, innocents will suffer..."

Next is either "Screw this, I'm going on the offensive. I'll protect these people no matter what it takes!" or "Well, if they're going to die anyway, what's wrong with making a little coin while I'm out there risking everything for them?"

And from there, it's an easy progression to "It's a dark world, I might as well do right by me," or "If it's not me doing it to these folks, someone else will."

And then the Zhent membership card arrives in the mail.

The alternative is the sudden fall, preceded by a tragic loss... Perhaps a beloved ally or a family member is slain by an enemy. The paladin, heartsick with grief and filled with rage, can only think of revenge, and they go on the warpath. Even if they are remorseful afterwards, it's a strong person who wouldn't want to blame such a tragedy on a formerly trusted deity. The now-fallen paladin turns their back on a world where such a thing could happen, forswears such soft emotions, and decides that it's time to look out for Number 1.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4949 Posts

Posted - 15 Nov 2017 :  05:53:17  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Paladins have no alignment restrictions in 5E. Maybe she was "always an evil paladin" ...

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

441 Posts

Posted - 16 Nov 2017 :  00:54:32  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Given that Bane is the god of tyrants, maybe with her fall, all her Paladin levels became Paladin of Tyranny levels, so she keeps all her level-based abilities and progresses normally, just with evil abilities. (Deadly Touch, etc)
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nblanton
Seeker

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 16 Nov 2017 :  04:15:33  Show Profile Send nblanton a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've played her as written, but with equivalent 5e stats. Basically your generic LG old skool paladin. She is listed as a paladin of Tyr, and going back to Faiths and Avatars, it looks like you can play a Tyrran paladin as pretty rough. They are said to often stick closer to the lawful opposed to the good part of their alignment. Also, unfairness in law is acceptable, as long as the laws are applied fairly within the setting and system they come from. Definitely sounds like a bunch of not super fun folks to hang around with on a weekend night in Waterdeep!

I've included her as part of two of the characters backstories as well so that they would know that she is an honest broker regardless of who's banner she serves under. One of the characters served with Cormyr in the Crusade and I had Scyllua and that character interact in their past as--in my campaign--Scyllua was part of the Zhentish force of orcs. The other character knows her from Scardale, as I had Scyllua be one of the leaders of the Zhentish occupation force as well. My thoughts were that if the Zhents are going to pretend to be helpful, sending one of their few paladins to assist would be the best way to convince others of the sincerity of the Zhents. Besides, I doubt the Zhents really want a meddling rules-obsessed paladin hanging around the Keep.

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Khaelieth
Learned Scribe

86 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2017 :  21:09:20  Show Profile  Visit Khaelieth's Homepage Send Khaelieth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm doing something similar - the adventurers encounter her as part of participating in the siege of Zhentil Keep. She's keeping the city from descending into anarchy, while trying to do her best to shield the populace from the worst predations of the Zhentilar.

I'm playing her, as suggested by several, as closer to the law-aspect, in addition to being very pragmatic. She enforces conscription, which doesn't fit well with the good alignment, but recognises she needs every soldier she can find to stave off the monsters that have laid waste to most of the city. She rations food, which means having to make some very hard choices (soldiers get more food etc).

The Zhentilar aren't cartoonishly villainous, imho. I play a lot of mine as patriots, seeing everyone as having turned against Zhentil Keep, with many worshipping Bane or worse due to the prosperity and order it brought. The Zhentarim are thoroughly evil, but there's no reason the average foot soldier is. Bringing with them civilisation and prosperity to the backwards and rebellious Dales maybe? Just bear in mind Zhents, Zhentilar, and Zhentarim are all different. Alternatively, what about making her something else than a Paladin? A Ranger maybe? Her 3rd edition statblock was a hodge podge of classes, if I remember correctly. Maybe Daggerdale is where she finally dedicates herself to the path of the paladin in an attempt to save her people?

Also known on other forums as ChazSexington, Kusghuul, and Claudius.

Edited by - Khaelieth on 02 Dec 2017 21:11:30
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14553 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2017 :  23:11:37  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just had an interesting (IMO LOL) thought about her. Considering the wave of "lets bring it all back" shark-jumping, preposterous lore we've gotten lately, it wouldn't even be all that bad, by comparison...

How about the real Scyllua is a Death Knight in 5e, brought back by Bane? Then, just for added fun, we find out the Zhent Leadership had thought her so useful, they created a clone of her, early on. This clone would have disappeared during the sacking of Zhentil Keep by the monsters (if you recalled, ZK was completely destroyed... for about a day and a half). Whoever stole it traveled south, toward Cormyr and re-hid it in a cave near the Tunlands, that was also a Dead Magic Zone, leftover from the ToT. Then the Spellplague struck, and the cave was either buried or went to Abeir (take your pick). When Ao instituted the Sundering 2.0, one of the things he did was 'cleanse' the traces of the ToT from the world, which included any Wild and Dead Magic Zones (only those created during and BY the ToT), and other phenomena, like the corruption of the Winding Water near Boareskyr Bridge.

What it also did was shut-down the Dead Magic Zone in the cave (or the cave itself returned form Abeir, if you went that route), awakening the fairly young (18-ish) Scyllua, when she had first become a paladin and defender of the downtrodden of Zhentil Keep. She has since learned of her 'death' and what became of her first form, and she is on a mission to destroy the abomination. On a lesser note, she still wants to find out who cloned her in the first place, who stole the clone and moved it (and if it was the same person or group), and why any of that was done to her. I'd leave this last part completely open-ended, for DMs to develope themselves.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone

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Martinsky
Seeker

Canada
34 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2017 :  00:36:05  Show Profile Send Martinsky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Scyllua his clearly inspired from Darkvader. Just take the cover picture of lord of darkness book the armor and helm have a strange similarity to Dark Vader ones, the eyes are really intense also. In 3.5ed campaign setting description she seem become battle drived alot and zealous over destroy evil, a little like Anakin. But the most similarity it that she got corrupted by a pit fiend and begun venerate him. It where she really fall to the "dark side" and stop workship Tyr. But she seem to manage to kill him at the end, like Vader do with Palpatine.

I think battles drive a lot of Paladin to the fall. Just take crusader of our time like Teutonic and Templar. The zeal to destroy pagan made them burn village and doing torture. Teutonic at the end was a big monster state inspiring fear more than anything else. Templar was a big corrupted organisation driving by power and wealth at the end.
When you begin lost your judgement and you begin to doubt between what good and what evil or even futher when you stop doubt at all. That where paladin become more just a tools. They can even loose faith in there god and begin workship more extreme one, that how they begin Blackguard in 3.5ed by contracting an evil outsider.
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