CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Path To Hell

When Good Falls

Illustration by Luis Perez
There are many stories that we like to see over and over again. They may get retold in different fashion but the same basic principles of archetypal stories have been enjoyed for years. Fitting into one of those many archetypes includes the fall of good, their rise as evil, and usually their ultimate redemption. This makes for some great storytelling, although it can sometimes be iffy in gaming and I’ll get to that as well.

The fall story works best the when the character is near the pinnacle of what it means to be good. When it’s a shock that the person who becomes evil does so, the whole story keeps your interest longer. In star wars I didn’t care so much that Anakin fell — and not because I knew it was coming  when the entire second and third movies he was kind of an over confident jerk. The fall didn’t see that big of a deal.

Reasons for falling are very important to the story. Characters who fall because they see so much atrocity that in fighting against it they become the evil they once sought to destroy is one great way to have a character fall. Characters who fall to protect the ones they love make the evil character more relatable. The necromancer who went to the dark arts because his family was savagely murdered and he just wants to find a way to bring them back can be an excellent foil to your protagonists.

There are even epic falls on a cosmic level. Lucifer’s fall from the kingdom of heaven is an excellent example. Depending on who is telling the story, the devil isn’t such a bad guy. In Pathfinder Asmodeus, the king of hell who saw the destruction that chaos  specifically mortal’s free will  wrought and so he tried to impose order and in doing so became totalitarian, and thus his slide into being evil.

So a character has fallen, the rise is the time to really get into the meat of the tale. How do his former friends or family members bring him around? How many vile acts does he perform in the meantime? What is the catalyst for his eventual eye-opening to what he’s done? Maybe the necromancer finally retrieves the souls of his family but they don't wish to come back. They confront him with the evil he’s done and he cracks. You can always be very cliche and have him yell, “what have I done,” but it's up to you.

As much as I love these stories  and so do many others, as we retell it so often  they do not always work in a gaming setting. Some of the worst games I was ever a part of were when a GM literally went out of his way to put the paladin in situations where he would have to fall no matter how he tried to get out of a situation. Some players don’t want the fall from grace story. It also doesn’t work very well in a game with a group dynamic because now what does the good aligned party do with their villainous member?

Unless it's an agreed upon part of the story, a fall should probably happen to NPCs. The childhood friend who rose to greatness with the party members who has now turned to evil is an excellent adventure. How do they both stop and hopefully redeem their long time friend? Can he be redeemed in the first place? This allows you to tell the tale while not driving one of the PCs away from the party. Unless, of course, the whole party falls.

Have you used the fall from grace story in your campaign? Have you additionally added the redemption story? Have you worked it in with a PC? And if so how? Tell us your experiences in the comments.

Stories are the central crux of any good RPG. If the CRB sparks ideas for the tales you are going to tell please consider contributing to my Patreon. or donating directly to my Paypal. Your support of content providers allows us to focus on providing you the content you love without dealing with life’s little difficulties, in this case replacing the cracked monitor on my laptop. If you don’t want to miss a beat make sure you sign up to get the CRB pushed directly to your e-reading device with Kindle Subscriptions.

The CRB is also spreading across the social media sphere. There is a presence on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter. Join the other storytellers and let us hear from you. My inbox is always open for questions, comments, or discussions.

The opening illustration was created by the fine artist Luis Perez. You can find him on TwitterTumblr, and on Instagram at luisperezart

No comments:

Post a Comment