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A funny thing happened in my Pathfinder game tonight...


Advice

Dark Archive

So tonight was pretty difficult for me, as a DM, and I'm wondering if I made the right judgment call in this situation:

Characters A and B have disliked each other for a long time (the players are good friends, and no hurt feelings over this rivalry). Character A is a gunslinger, quite dedicated to the goddess of trial by fire, is chaotic good, and is very superstitious. Character B is a dhampir, is chaotic neutral, and is regarded by Character A as untrustworthy.

Because Character A is so dedicated to his goddess, usually he will try to redeem the "bad guys" by putting them through a "trial by fire"--he has a consecrated revolver and he essentially plays russian roulette with them. He leaves their fates up to divine intervention (aka DM intervention). He has only ever done this to people who have done heinous acts, and so I was pretty happy adjudicating things this way.

However, tonight Character B lied to the party--not about anything life-or-death, but about something important to their current mission, and she tipped off a bad guy because she felt sorry for him. Character A freaked out, having trust issues, and put Character B through trial by fire (she agreed because she was frustrated).

Since I thought this was unreasonable of him, being willing to potentially kill someone over such an issue, I decided the goddess would not intervene and left it up to a d6 roll. I rolled a 1, and Character B died. The other party member had her resurrected, and Character A's player communed with his goddess (via an actual priest) and found out she disapproved of him; he elected to change alignment to CN and leave the party.

Because he'd been acting like a paladin before, all righteous and zealot-like, I felt like removing divine intervention from the picture was sort of like taking away his paladin powers when he freaked out and started treating another character like crap.

My question is: What would you have done in this situation? Was there a better way to handle this? No one has hard feelings, and Player A has rolled up another character who's way better for party cohesion, but I'm wondering what others think.


The main thing is if anyone is upset. I would probably be a little upset if my character died. Take player B aside and talk to him about it a bit.

On the other hand, my group has had it's issues with party killing, and we take an active stand on it - all attacks against party members (except in combat friendly-fire situations) automatically fail for no adequately explored reason.

I wouldn't have killed the character, just to be on the safe side, and probably would have found some way for the goddess to communicate with player A and explain why he shouldn't kill him.


malebranche wrote:
Because he'd been acting like a paladin before, all righteous and zealot-like, I felt like removing divine intervention from the picture was sort of like taking away his paladin powers when he freaked out and started treating another character like crap.

This. His zealotry exceeded the will of his god, and the "divine guidance" was withdrawn. He was left alone to commit, then realize his error.

You handled it right, and it sounds like the new character will be better for the group, anyway. No harm, no foul.


I would have handled it like this:

A: "Look, she agreed to the trial by fire, didn't she?"

DM: "Yep." Roll a dice behind screen, look at dice, disregard results. "She passes; apparently the Goddess approves of her."

A: "?"

You said that this trial was divine intervention (i.e. DM Fiat) when it involved NPCs? Why in the name of heaven would you not intervene when it involves player characters? So what if A becomes pissed off--playing russian roulette with a loaded revolver is NOT a chaotic good act. If anything, A needs to be CN.

From my viewpoint, yeah, you could have handled it a lot better. Sorry.

Master Arminas


I love the gunslinger's idea of divine intervention. I think that the gunslinger shouldn't have left the party and rather should have thought his way was right. Slowly spiraling into madness.


Robespierre wrote:
I love the gunslinger's idea of divine intervention. I think that the gunslinger shouldn't have left the party and rather should have thought his way was right. Slowly spiraling into madness.

LIKE TWO-FACE! Man, that would be so cool to play.


TheRedArmy wrote:
Robespierre wrote:
I love the gunslinger's idea of divine intervention. I think that the gunslinger shouldn't have left the party and rather should have thought his way was right. Slowly spiraling into madness.
LIKE TWO-FACE! Man, that would be so cool to play.

Two face is one of the best villains ever.

Silver Crusade

I think you probably handled it well enough. I dunno though-- If I was playing Character 'B', after coming back from the dead, I'd have insisted that Character 'A' must take the 'Trial by Fire' himself, period. And if he refused, I'd find a way to kill him. If he did the trial and lived-- guess something up there thinks he's redeemable, so I'd leave it alone from there.


As long as the players don't have hard feelings, I think the way you ran it was awesome. And the gunslinger's role playing following the death was even more awesome. You should collaborate with the gunslingers player on ideas for the gunslinger character to come back as an npc later.

Having someone actually get shot during Russian roulette is much more exciting and dramatic than dm hand waving and divine intervention. And death isn't terribly permanent in pathfinder.


Well, I don't care for the "trial by fire" deal in the first place, for any sort of "good" character, chaotic or no.

I don't have a problem with how you handled it, even the die roll. I have had situations both as a player and a GM where characters have issues with each other, and those can be among the most difficult situations for a GM to deal with.

I'd talk to each player, get their thoughts on the situation, let them know that it was a tough GM call and that if they had any long-term issues, it's best to get them on the table now. Then I'd move on.

Star Voter 2013

Did you make things more fun for the group? If so, you did good. Did you make things less fun for the group? If so, maybe it could have been handled differently.

No use stressing over it unless there were hurt feelings or un-fun-ness involved, best to just speak with those involved in the situation and get their input.

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