Curse of Strahd

A campaign for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.

Gideon Westholme

Human Paladin (Oath of Redemption)


Upon reaching adulthood, Gideon Westholme followed in his father's footsteps by joining the townsguard. His training and first years of service were largely uneventful - until the night the werewolves attacked. In the ensuing battle, Gideon was bitten; the town's fate seemed bleak until the arrival of a dozen paladins who had tracked the werewolves here, defeating and driving them away in a swift counterassault.

In ignorance and fear, Gideon hid his wound, unaware of the consequences. Three nights later, at the first full moon, he underwent his first change. His wife fled from the terrifying sight, but not before herself being bitten, escaping only due to Gideon's initial unfamiliarity with his new form. He burst from the house in pursuit, immediately encountering and slaughtering two of his unfortunate townsguard colleagues who had run to investigate the disturbance, ending their lives in a bloody, bestial instant.

This very possibility, however, had led a handful of the paladins to remain in town until this full moon. Arriving at the scene, they swiftly subdued Gideon with restraining magics, before calming his rage and freeing him of his curse. Restored to his senses, Gideon was distraught and wracked with guilt at the realisation of his actions. He begged the paladins to take him into custody themselves, unable to face the prospect of being imprisoned or even executed by his own peers.

The paladins agreed, and the following morning Gideon was led from the town. Faced with yet more bodies to bury, the townsfolk scowled at him and this seeming injustice, but dared not oppose the paladins that had saved the town.

Three nights later, Gideon found himself at the Cathedral of the Everlight's Flame, an organisation of paladins dedicated to carrying out the work of Sarenrae, goddess of healing light and redemption. To his surprise, he was not imprisoned, but instead put to work. Never previously devout nor studious, Gideon was immersed in the holy texts of Saranrae, and the history of the Everlight's Flame. Still guiltridden, the awestruck Gideon was armed with longsword and shield, and trained. His faith in Sarenrae grew day by day, having been pulled from the brink by her light, and he was astonished to be rewarded with a budding spark of her divine powers.

By night, however, the light falters. Gideon is haunted by his past in disturbing nightmares. Werewolves attack him again and again, their fangs sinking into his flesh. Sometimes the werewolf is the very same that changed him previously, but worse is when it takes the form of his own wife, missing since the night of his first change. A wolf once more, his own mouth fills with gushing blood as he turns to savage his friends and colleagues. Gideon starts awake and tells himself that these are only dreams - but dreams don't explain the fleeting glimpses of fur he catches in the corner of his eye, or the distant howls that no-one else seems to hear.

Two years later, Gideon is an Initiate of the Everlight's Flame, on the verge of taking the order's final sacred oath of redemption. He vows to himself that his own redemption will not go unearned - he will go out into the world once more, and bring Sarenrae's light to all those who have crossed the threshold into darkness, dispelling the lingering shadows upon his own soul in the process. He is haunted, but resolute - for the dawn brings new light, and light cleanses all.

Profile of Gideon Westholme, a human paladin of the oath of redemption.