How the Paladin Fell From Grace on Their First Day

A problem player decides to meta game and it goes horribly wrong for them

1 point

So to set the stage we need a little back story. This happened in a Pathfinder Living Campaign ran over discord chat and Roll 20 a few years ago. Essentially the game was a sandbox where players could interact at any time with the world and each other. Due to the nature of a LC we had multiple GMs, and GMs were allowed to have their own characters; with rules that they couldn’t give rewards to themselves through plot threads and encounters. In the campaign we had a former GM turned problem player who was removed from power due to some very unsavory things. We’ll call this former GM Alex. Alex at the time was still a GM and had a bad habit of using their GM and out of character knowledge to meta game. Things such a knowing other characters stats, knowing about future events happening in the campaigns over arching story, and using information from the chat log where her character wasn’t involed. This manifested mostly in small ways that only benefited them in role play such as picking fights with people she knew she could beat, spreading “roumors” with information from chat logs, and having her character prepare for events before they were announced. This often drew the ire of the players as well as the other GMs but they would fall back on how meta gaming was technically not against he rules.

This came to a head when another player made a Ninja specialized in bluff and disguise. The genreal idea was they would appear as an old man during social interactions but then would use thier ninja skills during encounters, all the while keeping their true idenity hidden. Knowing that Alex would meta game, and potentially ruin thier character, they purposefully left their characters name off their sheet, but told all the other GMs the characters name. They all understood the reasoning and allowed it, much to the distain of Alex who starts doing everything they can to learn the ninjas identity. A month goes by of interaction between the two with the Ninja always managing to bluff or disguise their way around Alex’s then fighter, despite the fighter having several levels over the Ninja. This incensed them a great deal and would often make snide remarks in general chat and in character about the Ninja. Then came the fateful day that their fighter died. The campaign used a slow leveling track and the rules were that since leveling took so long that if a character died as part of an encounter, the player could make a new one minus a couple levels. This way losing months worth of near daily play and investment wasn’t as painful. Alex then decided to roll up a Paladin. Not just any Paladin mind you, a Paladin dedicated to truth.

With the stage set, our story begins. A plot thread gets dropped by one of the GMs about a job from the local guard to help find a missing persons and to clear out a potential bandit cave. Seeming to be a simple job a party starts to form to take it on. Alex joins the party, seeing as they had just gotten their Paladin approved that day. Our group is now Alex the human paladin, a changeling sorcerer, an elf ranger, a vanaran rogue, and Me a tiefling barbarian who was more like a rage druid without magic. Once the party is established, a group of 5 level 12 characters, the GM gets settled into the story.

GM, “As you gather around the table, a guard begins to explain the situation to you all. ‘We had a report of a few missing hunters in the woods, so we sent a scouting party a to see if we could find them. What they found were signs of a fight at what appeared to be their camp and drag marks leading to a cave just south of town.'”

Alex, “I wish to sense motive.”

GM, “sure, roll it.”

Alex rolls a 13, but what we see in the side bar surprises all of us. “13+30=43”. The GM is silent for a moment, possibly processing the high modifier. “Uhm, ok then. Well you get the idea that the guard is…”

Alex, “no not the guard, the party. I want to get a sense of how the party is reacting to the job.”

The chat falls silent for a few seconds before I pipe up. “I look annoyed that someone is trouncing about in my forest and you get the feeling I want to get this done as fast as possible.” My way of telling Alex to stop wasting time in character. The rest of the party gives similar answers and we move on. After getting the rest of the information from the guard we head off. Me being the one with the highest survival I lead the group throught he forest. As we make our journey to the cave the Paladin begins to grill each of our characters.

“Where are you from? Why are you in town? What are your strengths?” Making sure to sense motive every chance they get. As they turn their attention to me I respond in character. “Hush with your inane questions, you make it hard to listen to the forest.”

Alex, “‘I will speak as I wish brute’, I also wish to roll sense motive to see if he’s getting ready to attack me.” The GM let’s out a sigh then says to go ahead.

“Don’t bother”, I say “you have a +30, even on a 1 you can tell that he’s annoyed at your prattling and is trying to concentrate on finding the camp site and cave.”

The GM takes the moment to try to desculate the situation with some humor and help Alex get the hint. “As you’re trying to find the camp in the forest give me a survival check, with a negative 1 due to the distraction of being questioned.” I pass with no problem but Alex seemingly got the hint and stopped asking questions.

After our walking interrogation we arrive at the cave and have a short fight with some minor undead before venturing inside. After the fight Alex makes a few snide remarks about how her paladin was doing more damage than the barbarian against eh udead. Half way through the cave it becomes clear that this cave leads into an old ruin. At the entrance of the ruins we come across a demon fighting an undead giant. We decide that instead of heading into a fight with two big enemies we’d wait and take out the winner of the fight. The demon comes out as the winner though badly wounded. As we approach, the demon tries to negotiate with us. “Ah adventurers, I was hoping you would help me before, but I’m still willing to help you. If you let me go I’ll give you information on this ruins and each of you a wish.” As part of his back story my character hates demons and speaks up first “tell us what you know first and mayb…”

“Any wish?” Alex interrupts

The GM stifles a sigh at the interuption before answering.

“Ahead in the ruins lies an artifact that is drawing undead in from the surrounding areas as well as turning those who linger to long near it. As for the wish, yes it can be anything you desire.”

Me, “I’d like to roll knowledge planes to see if I…”

Before I can roll Alex jumps in, again. “I wish that no one can lie to me ever again.”

The group goes silent for a moment before I let out an audible groan and roll my dice. The GM, getting the gist of what I was wanting to ask, messages me what the results of the roll are, a Glabrezu, before addressing the wish. They also ask me to wait untill they’re done explaining to Alex to pass on the information if I choose to.

“The demon smiles before waving a hand at the paladin. Alex, you feel a rush of energy flow over you before a burning sensation hits your forehead. The demon then quickly teleports away. You now have a strange circle of runes burned into your forehead and are affected by a permanent zone of truth spell with a DC of 30.”

Me, in character, “well that was stupid. That was a Glabrezu, a demon who grants wishes at the cost of you owing them a debt.”

Alex with a hint of arrogance in their voice, “doesn’t matter, we’ll just kill them the next time we see them.”

The GM then clears his throat “Alex, as you speak you feel something slowly leave your body. The holy glow you’re used to feeling drains from you, followed by the sound of cracking coming from your holy amulet.”

Alex, “wait what does that mean?”

I stifle a laugh as the GM explains, knowing full well what just happened. “You, a lawful good Paladin, just knowingly made a deal with an evil outsider, something a Paladin takes an oath not to do. You are now a fallen paladin and lose all class abilities. You can still use all the armor and weapons you’re proficient with, but none of your class abilities.”

Alex growls in annoyance and exclaims “but without those I’m just a worse fighter!”

I chuckle, “best to stay in the back of the line then, we’ll get this all figured out once we’re done here.”

We then proceed through the ruins and encounter some more undead. The fight reveals that Alex was indeed correct in thier assessment, and winds up spending the whole fight missing thier attacks with the few that do land dealing minor damage. After the fight the chat is quiet for a few minuts before Alex pipes up. “What? No, I’m not going to attack the party. I’d get destroyed.” The GM then says for Alex to make a fort save. They roll a nat 20 but the GM still rolls damage, saying that as soon as Alex declines they scream out in pain. This is one of the demons abilities. Anyone who asks for a wish has a circle of runes burned into their forehead and are able to be placed under a geas/quest by the demon at any time they choose. Should they refuse they have to save or immiditly be hit with a Destruction spell. As soon as Alex takes the damage they try to attack the sorcerer, only to miss and have the sorcerer cast dominate person. Natural 1. The sorcerer then mentions to Alex that the spell will last a week. “But now I’m on a geas to kill you guys. If I cant, that’s going to destroy all of my ability scores!” We tell Alex not to worry about it and proceed on. We finish the cave without another incident from Alex, though they keep back from the majority of the fighting. With the job done we head back to town for our pay.

The next day Alex complains that now their stats are being reduced because of the geas and that the sorcerer has commanded their Paladin to stay at home until we can find the demon. The complaints fall on unsympathetic ears however, though we continue to try to help find the demon. By the fourth day the paladin is taking a negative 12 penalty to all of their abilities, and Alex decides to retire their character to make a new one. What makes this especially note worthy is that in the campaign making a new character off the back of a retired one only gave you half the levels towards the new one. In the end Alex never did uncover the identity of the Ninja.


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