Neutral Cleric of a Neutral God - Moral Question


Advice


One of my players is playing a Neutral (True) cleric of a Neutral (True) god or animals, wilderness and protector of small settlements. He has selected to channel negative energy.

One tactic that has become used by the group is for the cleric to pop into the middle of a mass of creatures, using dimension leap or dimension door, and channel negative energy. Hey, great tactic, works well. No problem there.

In the past session, the group came upon ruins in a forest, and upon scouting the forest, they found some humanoids in the ruins. The humanoids had a reputation for being violent, but the group had not run into them before. After much discussion, they decided to attack without any attempt at diplomacy. There was a group of the humanoids hanging out by a well in the middle of the day. Some were napping in the sun, and others were playing games with each other. None of them had weapons out, and they were completely ignorant of the party who was hidden in the woods.

Cleric dimension doors in and channels negative energy, killing 5 of the 6 low hit dice humanoids.

Later in the session, they ran into another group...similar situation, the humanoids were unaware of the party, with no weapons drawn. Cleric dimension doors in and channels, killing 5 of 9 of the low hit dice humanoids.

Question being... does this call for an ill omen to warn the cleric that he is treading a fine line?


GM Hands of Fate wrote:


Question being... does this call for an ill omen to warn the cleric that he is treading a fine line?

No.

Dark Archive

It's a judgement call, I would say that it borders on being questionable, since they are attacking/killing people they only have second-hand knowledge of their misdeeds. You may want to point this out to your player, whether via an omen to the PC or just ooc telling him.


GM Hands of Fate wrote:

One of my players is playing a Neutral (True) cleric of a Neutral (True) god or animals, wilderness and protector of small settlements. He has selected to channel negative energy.

One tactic that has become used by the group is for the cleric to pop into the middle of a mass of creatures, using dimension leap or dimension door, and channel negative energy. Hey, great tactic, works well. No problem there.

In the past session, the group came upon ruins in a forest, and upon scouting the forest, they found some humanoids in the ruins. The humanoids had a reputation for being violent, but the group had not run into them before. After much discussion, they decided to attack without any attempt at diplomacy. There was a group of the humanoids hanging out by a well in the middle of the day. Some were napping in the sun, and others were playing games with each other. None of them had weapons out, and they were completely ignorant of the party who was hidden in the woods.

Cleric dimension doors in and channels negative energy, killing 5 of the 6 low hit dice humanoids.

Later in the session, they ran into another group...similar situation, the humanoids were unaware of the party, with no weapons drawn. Cleric dimension doors in and channels, killing 5 of 9 of the low hit dice humanoids.

Question being... does this call for an ill omen to warn the cleric that he is treading a fine line?

Also remember that dimension door, the spell or spell like ability, does not allow you to take any actions until your next round after you use it.

So I am assuming he is dimension dooring in and then channeling negative energy the next round?

As for his actions, how is randomly killing ANYTHING justified by his faith?

Killing people on second hand hearsay is pretty evil frankly. Like someone going to a forest preserve and spraying down everyone in it with automatic weapons fire because they 'heard' from someone that some people in the preserve were bad men.

Seriously that is messed up. Why would a god of balance and nature favor random slayings?

Lantern Lodge

Are any of the "humanoids" in good standing with the N(T) God of animals, wilderness and protector of small settlements?

Aka, are any of them his worshipers, Druids, worshipers of allied Deities or are related to nature in someway? Wood/wild Elves, gardening halflings...etc?

If they are, you might want to RP this Nature Deity disapproving a Cleric of his killing them. OTHERWISE, unless there is a good reason why killing these "humanoids" will offend the Nature Deity, there is no reason for him to disapprove.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Slaughtering unarmed creatures unprovoked?

That's evil in my book. Only a matter of time before he goes from neutral to neutral evil.

Also, teleporting into a swarm of enemies (which can end your turn if using dimension door effects) and blasting with a weak area effect (that allows a save for half) is a TERRIBLE TACTIC.

The first time that cleric encounters a group that doesn't immediately die, he's going to have a dramatically shortened life expectancy as they all gang up on him.


Ravingdork wrote:

Slaughtering unarmed creatures unprovoked?

That's evil in my book. Only a matter of time before he goes from neutral to neutral evil.

While I don't disagree this does not get the ire of his god.

Secane brought up the best point so far regarding druids and other potential worshipers of his deity.

Otherwise while it might be an evil act I'd point out that it was the group that came to the decision to attakc and kill without finding out more. Therefore if you make the cleric drop in evil it stands to reason that so should the group as a whole.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

Slaughtering unarmed creatures unprovoked?

That's evil in my book. Only a matter of time before he goes from neutral to neutral evil.

Also, teleporting into a swarm of enemies (which can end your turn if using dimension door effects) and blasting with a weak area effect (that allows a save for half) is a TERRIBLE TACTIC.

The first time that cleric encounters a group that doesn't immediately die, he's going to have a dramatically shortened life expectancy as they all gang up on him.

Seconded on all points.


GM Hands of Fate wrote:
One of my players is playing a Neutral (True) cleric of a Neutral (True) god or animals, wilderness and protector of small settlements.

After rereading the bolded above point, it seems his deity is not pure wilderness since he protects 'small settlements'. I can only assume this is for small vilages and such of farmers or wilderness settlers and such in that light? Which means the deity is not a pure 'eco-terrorist' style god, some humanoid presence and 'civilization' is ok in the wilds as long as they respect the land and the balance?

If that is the case, what are these 'small settlers' doing to offend his faith such that their deaths are needed?

I would have to agree with Raving that actions like this will lead to the evil alignment. Neutral is not a lack of morals, nor is it a free license to do what you want. It is a respect of middle ground and balance for the most part and going along and just killing folks on the possibility they are evil (which a neutral may not even see as 'bad' if their actions are not transgressing his god's tenets) is not really balanced in any way.

Switzerland is Neutral. When was the last time you heard about mass killing from there eh? ;-)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TarkXT wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Slaughtering unarmed creatures unprovoked?

That's evil in my book. Only a matter of time before he goes from neutral to neutral evil.

While I don't disagree this does not get the ire of his god.

Secane brought up the best point so far regarding druids and other potential worshipers of his deity.

Otherwise while it might be an evil act I'd point out that it was the group that came to the decision to attakc and kill without finding out more. Therefore if you make the cleric drop in evil it stands to reason that so should the group as a whole.

I would say that the cleric seems to be attacking a small settlement in the wilderness. That's 2 out of 3 from the deity's profile.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber

that really depends on how sure they are that the people they're killing deserve it. If they're so much weaker than the party that one channel is killing more than half of them, the party should probably be talking to them and giving them the chance to stop looting/raiding/whatever. I mean, they're really like children compared to the party at this point. Your player is throwing hand grenades through elementary school windows because he heard that the kids like to kick stray dogs.

If you try to talk and they attack you, fine. Self-defense is far more neutral than wholesale slaughter, even if it's not necessary (a single entangle, which he's probably getting from a Domain, would likely also solve the issue). At least this way they have a chance to defend themselves.

I'd personally definitely warn that player that he's risking moving to Neutral Evil if he continues slaughtering unarmed, unaware sentient humanoids because he's heard rumors they might be violent. Not that moving to NE would really affect him - a cleric can be one step removed from their deity, if I recall correctly. As long he doesn't ALSO move on the law/chaos axis he should fine. He can continue enforcing his god's will via brute force all he wants.

(However, if you as the GM want to be evil, you might consider... his god protects small settlements? If the creatures lived in those locations for a while, they could count as small settlements. Directly opposing your deity is a much worse choice than not exactly matching their alignment.)


Serisan wrote:

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I would say that the cleric seems to be attacking a small settlement in the wilderness. That's 2 out of 3 from the deity's profile.

With that logic every orc tribe that lives on the edges of civilization should remain unmolested. Remember the people in question were known to be hostile hence the logic behind attacking them from the start.

I think if the GM really wants to curb this behavior he needs to find an alternate route other than punishing the cleric. Have them discover lots of non-combatants, have them encounter neutral parties that have dealt with them peacefully before. Have law enforcement come after them trying to find out why villages are being slaughtered. You can go about this in more creative ways. Having a god literally smack you upside the head and tell you that your reasonably justified mass slaughter is bad feels hamfisted.

Now if he said this was a good deity? Well I think we'd have a leg to stand on for the god getting angry bit.


That's the issue. The party came here to find a map. The didn't know that they would run into humanoids. They know that there are humanoids in the area, and that they have a tendency for violence, but when they came across them, they were basically hanging out.

They know very little about them other than they have a tendency to be violent. They have not heard of raids by these creatures in the area. As it is, they ARE evil and worship a demon lord, but they party has NO idea of that at this time. All they know is violent tendencies and good at throwing things.

@ravingdork - I'm not going to tell him that if he gets in the middle of a group of creatures that he can't bring down in one shot, that he is going to be in a world of hurt. He's already been blinded by doing it next to a lizardfolk priest. I tend to let people learn the hard way that their tactics aren't good.

I've decided to warn him DM to player, that unprovoked slaughter of intelligent creatures isn't covered under his beliefs. If he wants to continue to use the tactic with creatures that do pose a threat, that's fine, and he can deal with the outcome. If he continues to do it against unarmed intelligences without good reason other than "they are where we need to go", he'll go to NE and lose clerical power.

Thanks for the advice.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber

EDIT: GM Hands of Fate reply wasn't up when I posted this, it was intended to go after TarkXT's post.

yeah, I failed to address that point. An ill omen from the god? No, as the god mostly doesn't seem to care (although the small settlement bit, as well as it being hearsay that the creatures deserved it, might deserve attention). I got distracted by the thread and thought we were discussing an alignment hit. A warning that he's approaching an alignment change is perfectly appropriate, but power loss of some sort isn't called for in this situation unless you want to go from the "small settlement" angle, and even then probably only if at least a few of the murdered had never participated in raiding other villages and such. And I'd still go with a warning first.

EDIT again: To GM HoF, I'd strongly remind you that if the cleric is NE and his god is true neutral, that is not a situation where he should lose his cleric abilities. He does lose the ability to cast spells with the Good descriptor (and if he currently channeled positive energy, he'd have to switch to negative, but that's moot here). As long remains neutral on one axis or the other, he's good as far as alignment is concerned. He can't go to any of the four extreme alignments (CG, CE, LG, or LE) without losing his powers, though.


GM Hands of Fate wrote:
he'll go to NE and lose clerical power

Why would he lose clerical power? If its a neutral Deity, the followers can be NE just fine...


True.


EvilMinion wrote:
GM Hands of Fate wrote:
he'll go to NE and lose clerical power
Why would he lose clerical power? If its a neutral Deity, the followers can be NE just fine...

While RAW, i do think the god's tenets also need to factor. It'd be like having an Iomedean cleric who develops a misogynistic attitude. You may technically be in an allowed alignment but the god can still refuse power for violation of what you're supposed to uphold. I do not know the god the GM is using so it's largely going to be a judgment call. Going evil in and of itself won't screw them, but what they're doing in relation to their god's portfolio may.


GM Hands of Fate wrote:

One of my players is playing a Neutral (True) cleric of a Neutral (True) god or animals, wilderness and protector of small settlements. He has selected to channel negative energy.

One tactic that has become used by the group is for the cleric to pop into the middle of a mass of creatures, using dimension leap or dimension door, and channel negative energy. Hey, great tactic, works well. No problem there.

In the past session, the group came upon ruins in a forest, and upon scouting the forest, they found some humanoids in the ruins. The humanoids had a reputation for being violent, but the group had not run into them before. After much discussion, they decided to attack without any attempt at diplomacy. There was a group of the humanoids hanging out by a well in the middle of the day. Some were napping in the sun, and others were playing games with each other. None of them had weapons out, and they were completely ignorant of the party who was hidden in the woods.

Cleric dimension doors in and channels negative energy, killing 5 of the 6 low hit dice humanoids.

Later in the session, they ran into another group...similar situation, the humanoids were unaware of the party, with no weapons drawn. Cleric dimension doors in and channels, killing 5 of 9 of the low hit dice humanoids.

Question being... does this call for an ill omen to warn the cleric that he is treading a fine line?

1. They had weapons so they were not unarmed.

2. Going in guns blazing without warning enemies "hey here we come, please hit us!" is not an evil act. That means every good Rogue would be EVIIIIIIL because he usually strikes from the hidden.
3. His god is NEUTRAL. Even if it was evil... why should he care? Its not like his portfolio is "honourable combat" and "do not kill anything".

The Exchange

Just so long as the Cleric involved realises that channeling negative energy to harm the living is an indiscriminate area attack - it hits every living creature in the burst radius, not just the guys who may or may not be bandits (or whatever). So when he pops his divine WMD off in a forest, I hope he's prepared for ex-squirrels raining from the surrounding trees, stiff bunnies with ruptured lungs, and song birds suddenly silenced... What was his god's portfolio again... ;)


ProfPotts wrote:
Just so long as the Cleric involved realises that channeling negative energy to harm the living is an indiscriminate area attack - it hits every living creature in the burst radius, not just the guys who may or may not be bandits (or whatever). So when he pops his divine WMD off in a forest, I hope he's prepared for ex-squirrels raining from the surrounding trees, stiff bunnies with ruptured lungs, and song birds suddenly silenced... What was his god's portfolio again... ;)

I'd call the GM out on his bullcrap then. Because it didn't come up until I was doing something he didn't like. If that's the sort of thing that's going to happen the player needs to be let known before the game not when you strip his powers away because the power suddenly works in a way that it didn't work before.


TarkXT wrote:
ProfPotts wrote:
Just so long as the Cleric involved realises that channeling negative energy to harm the living is an indiscriminate area attack - it hits every living creature in the burst radius, not just the guys who may or may not be bandits (or whatever). So when he pops his divine WMD off in a forest, I hope he's prepared for ex-squirrels raining from the surrounding trees, stiff bunnies with ruptured lungs, and song birds suddenly silenced... What was his god's portfolio again... ;)
I'd call the GM out on his bullcrap then. Because it didn't come up until I was doing something he didn't like. If that's the sort of thing that's going to happen the player needs to be let known before the game not when you strip his powers away because the power suddenly works in a way that it didn't work before.

The god allows his followers to channel negative energy... And since a god usually has an int score above 3 I guess he knows what he is doing with that...

Stop treating Gods like whiny little kids. They are badass. And the world is cruel and harsh.


Alienfreak wrote:

1. They had weapons so they were not unarmed.

2. Going in guns blazing without warning enemies "hey here we come, please hit us!" is not an evil act. That means every good Rogue would be EVIIIIIIL because he usually strikes from the hidden.
3. His god is NEUTRAL. Even if it was evil... why should he care? Its not like his portfolio is "honourable combat" and "do not kill anything".

I hate the view that neutral = apathetic and, therefore, is a pass to basically do whatever they want. All neutral means in pathfinder is that you have no compulsion to uphold good or evil, law or chaos in any particular or concerted way.

CRB, Additional Rules, Alignment wrote:
Neutral means you act naturally in any situation, without prejudice or compulsion.

Popping around the forest killing, blatantly with extreme prejudice, in what I can easily interpret as being done in a compulsory manner based on RUMOR when all the party has seen is these creatures napping and playing games is a pretty ridiculously evil act.

Same place wrote:
Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient.

As described, the cleric was pretty heartless and seemed to only be doing it because they felt like it. At no time were they threatened. All they heard was some stories, which are often skewed toward the tellers memory/favor/alignment/etc, that they were violent. Given they just went all willy nilly about it with absolutely no reason whatsoever I would alignment shift toward CE. If I were GM, that character would be no more.

Even Lawful Evil characters have a particular "style" or way about how they do things.


Buri wrote:


As described, the cleric was pretty heartless and seemed to only be doing it because they felt like it. At no time were they threatened. All they heard was some stories, which are often skewed toward the tellers memory/favor/alignment/etc, that they were violent. Given they just went all willy nilly about it with absolutely no reason whatsoever I would alignment shift toward CE. If I were GM, that character would be no more.

You'd probably also lose that group at the table for such a pointlessly harsh judgment. Though by the sounds of it you also wouldn't care.

There's plenty of reasons for ambushing a group you fear. There's lots of them and if you're afraid they'll be violent it might be better to jump them when you have the advantage rather than wait for them to come after you in the dark. After all it is there land and they know it well. It's a decision of ugly pragmatism.

Now is it an evil act? Well I feel we're not getting the whole story and it sounds to me like this was a group decision not an individual one. You can't punish the cleric and not punish the rest of the group which seems to be the direction this is heading.

I'm going to put this out there and let people think about it. The actual method that was used here is irrelevant. The wizard could have easily thrown a fireball, the druid could have easily summoned 1d4+1 vicious predators of his choice to wreak havoc. The fighter could have walked in and just cut people down. The alchemist could have bombed the whole lot and the rogue could have snuck in and murdered everyone in their sleep. None of these characters are brutally punished for doing so like is being suggested be done to the cleric here.

Here are the facts as they have been presented.

1. The Cleric's god is True Neutral not good, not evil.

2. The groups in questioned were armed and mostly laying about They were NOT frolicking, playing with children, or otherwise doing activities such a community would do. The OP has not suggested they were doing anything other than napping and looking like a potential encounter.

3. The gods portfolio suggests that attacking them would be against that portfolio. However, I would point out that if these people are raiding other settlements would it not behoove the cleric to protect those settlements by destroying these potential threats?

4. Nothing has been presented to shwo that the groups encountered would be anything but peaceful. No mouthpieces have stepped forward on their behalf, no evidence. Nothing. It's just a group of armed dudes laying about in the forest worshiping their demon lord.

If the OP had said "orcs" or "goblins" I doubt this discussion would even be occurring.


TarkXT wrote:
You'd probably also lose that group at the table for such a pointlessly harsh judgment. Though by the sounds of it you also wouldn't care.

Not at all harsh. It's very well contained within the descriptions of the alignments. It's not my fault the player chose to play an alignment they couldn't actually play. I would talk this out but unless the player committed to no longer acting that way, the alignment would shift because how the character was acting fits with the definition of the CE alignment.

TarkXT wrote:


There's plenty of reasons for ambushing a group you fear. There's lots of them and if you're afraid they'll be violent it might be better to jump them when you have the advantage rather than wait for them to come after you in the dark. After all it is there land and they know it well. It's a decision of ugly pragmatism.

Who said anything about fear? That was never relayed here. All they were told is that they were violent. Did they believe that story? We were never told. We can infer, but it's only a guess. Also, do you always take what you're told at face value? So, if someone described a group of people as something you just take it and run with that? I doubt it.

TarkXT wrote:
Now is it an evil act? Well I feel we're not getting the whole story and it sounds to me like this was a group decision not an individual one. You can't punish the cleric and not punish the rest of the group which seems to be the direction this is heading.

See quote:

CRB, Additional Rules, Alignment wrote:
Chaotic Evil: A chaotic evil character does what his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are likely to be poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Bolded sections are the specific areas I'm seeing how that Cleric acted. He was told a story and based on that alone went through the forest killing people who were just playing some games and relaxing. How that not evil?

TarkXT wrote:
I'm going to put this out there and let people think about it. The actual method that was used here is irrelevant. The wizard could have easily thrown a fireball, the druid could have easily summoned 1d4+1 vicious predators of his choice to wreak havoc. The fighter could have walked in and just cut people down. The alchemist could have bombed the whole lot and the rogue could have snuck in and murdered everyone in their sleep. None of these characters are brutally punished for doing so like is being suggested be done to the cleric here.

The harshness the cleric would feel is due to the mechanics of the class. If they're not in line with their god they're not a Cleric. That's not our fault. It's not some additional measure we're suggesting. It's how the game works. It reads like the Cleric went in first and the rest followed. Thus, they were backing their team mate, who up to this point, may have been actually neutral. If so, they were doing a good thing. However, the Cleric should be punished for instigating the event.

TarkXT wrote:


Here are the facts as they have been presented.

1. The Cleric's god is True Neutral not good, not evil.

All neutral means is that you go through life without prejudice or compulsions toward one end of the moral spectrum or the other. It is NOT a license to kill.

TarkXT wrote:
2. The groups in questioned were armed and mostly laying about They were NOT frolicking, playing with children, or otherwise doing activities such a community would do. The OP has not suggested they were doing anything other than napping and looking like a potential encounter.

Who said anything about looking like a potential encounter? If I tell you I see people lazing around and playing games that preps you for combat? Seriously?!

TarkXT wrote:
3. The gods portfolio suggests that attacking them would be against that portfolio. However, I would point out that if these people are raiding other settlements would it not behoove the cleric to protect those settlements by destroying these potential threats?

Who said anything about raiding other settlements?? That's twice you've blatantly injected your own supposition into the argument. In fact:

OP wrote:
They have not heard of raids by these creatures in the area.
TarkXT wrote:
4. Nothing has been presented to shwo that the groups encountered would be anything but peaceful. No mouthpieces have stepped forward on their behalf, no evidence. Nothing. It's just a group of armed dudes laying about in the forest worshiping their demon lord.

So, it takes evidence to NOT be attacked? You're definitely in evil territory there, bud.

TarkXT wrote:
If the OP had said "orcs" or "goblins" I doubt this discussion would even be occurring.

Because those races are broadly understood, with evidence, and precedent, to, as a whole, perform evil acts and their killing more often than not actually preserves life and order as a whole. I hope you're just playing devil's advocate because I fail to see how you're being serious that the act was not blatantly evil.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

My statement that this was an evil act was one about alignment, not one about faith.

As such, it naturally applies to the whole party, not just the cleric.


I have nothing else to add. You're willing to drop alignments by two steps for basically ambushing a group of rumored bandits and cultists without giving real evidence to suggest they were otherwise other then being casual and benign. Other than an out of game chat the GM presented no in game evidence that the group should behave otherwise. If in game evidence was presented to suggest that the groups in question should be approached calmly or left alone I think you'd have an argument. As it stands you're basically pointing at paragraphs about alignment and acting like that makes you right. It doesn't. People are more complicated than that. They might very well have been acting out of self preservation for all the evidence presented.


I'm pointing out which alignment is most congruent to the actions of the Cleric. Intent be damned. Your actions define you in game and in real life. Diplomacy is generally the way to go when approaching a neutral situation (no obvious threat, no lovingly warm arms). If you're feeling cautious, have one person go while the group stays in the bush on stand by. You don't go in guns blazing. That's not neutral or good, in any light, unless you're provoked.

Quote:
You're willing to drop alignments by two steps for basically ambushing a group of rumored bandits and cultists without giving real evidence to suggest they were otherwise other then being casual and benign.

There was nothing to indicate they were bandits. The whole of Cheliax worships devils yet its citizenry is tolerated all across Golarion. The violent rumor could be from anything from having viewed a coming-of-age rite to how they deal with people who break their laws to being perpetrated by someone on the losing side of a war with them. There was no reason to teleport in and kill without question.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There are two things at odds here: The GM's description of the rumors. And the GM's description of what the heroes actually find. They are not adding up.

It's a setup from the beginning. Whatever his intentions, it's clear to me that the GM wanted the PCs to make what should have been a difficult choice.

EDIT: If the PCs put so much stock in rumors (which by definition aren't terribly accurate) then God forbid they run into my family and I out on the street at night after my accursed neighbor has told them that we are a den of vampires.


Ravingdork wrote:

My statement that this was an evil act was one about alignment, not one about faith.

As such, it naturally applies to the whole party, not just the cleric.

They live in a harsh world. In a forest there are guys in ruins who are known as violent bandits.

They killed them. Not an evil act. In no way.

If they would have encountered a family there who was playing and picnicking and all happy and they would have killed them because they could it would have been evil.

The Exchange

TarkXT wrote:
I'm going to put this out there and let people think about it. The actual method that was used here is irrelevant...

That's where I strongly disagree. Taking out a lone terrorist with a surgically placed sniper's bullet certainly has different moral connotations to blowing up a passenger jet full of people to kill that same one terrorist... at least to my mind. In a Pathfinder sense, attacking a bandit who's surrounded himself with a crowd of orphan children with a sorching ray has different moral connotations to attacking the same bandit with a fireball.

Now, while many characters wouldn't even consider the wildlife of a forest when attacking bandits, if anyone should consider such things it's a Cleric purporting to follow a god of animals and the wilderness. A thirty-foot radius burst is a big area to hit - unless the forest in question is some sort of weird 'dead' forest with no wildlife, then channeling negative energy to damage living creatures is having considerable collateral impact.

To me that's not (you'll excuse the phrase) 'bullcrap': it's PCs having to deal with the negative consequences of their thoughtless actions. If anything is 'bullcrap' then it's the attitude that because they're PCs they should be immune to such consequences.

Alienfreak wrote:

The god allows his followers to channel negative energy... And since a god usually has an int score above 3 I guess he knows what he is doing with that...

Stop treating Gods like whiny little kids. They are badass. And the world is cruel and harsh.

While the game-world gods maybe 'badass' (to coin a technical theological term), they're not presented as being 'omni-' gods. Unlike the Judeo-Christial-Islamic concept of 'God', the game-world divinities aren't omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent - they're presented much more like beings who just happen to be more powerful than mere mortals, and even your average powerhouse outsider.

Game-world gods don't monitor everything their followers do 24/7, acting as some sort of supernatural filter to cut off the flow of power the moment before it's used in a manner they wouldn't approve of. There's every possibility they'll hear about it and bring the righteous wrath down upon the heads of those who've abused their god-given powers after the fact, sure, but being powered by a god isn't some sort of built-in morality training wheels. The deity trusts you, as a Cleric, with the power they've granted you but they don't spend their entire existence looking over your shoulder 'just in case' you do something thoughtless or stupid with it.

Different campaigns will vary, of course, but to me any setting where the gods fueling the local Clerics are of the 'omni-' variety, and willing to step in to prevent the powers they grant ever being abused, grants those self-same Clerics a moral certainty in their every action which takes a great deal of enjoyment and challenge out of the game. Why not just walk around chanelling negative energy all the time? Don't worry, your god will make sure only the wicked ever get smited - all you need to worry about is rolling the dice... yeah, I don't think I'd enjoy that sort of game myself...

As always, IMHO, YMMV, etc. :)


ProfPotts wrote:


While the game-world gods maybe 'badass' (to coin a technical theological term), they're not presented as being 'omni-' gods. Unlike the Judeo-Christial-Islamic concept of 'God', the game-world divinities aren't omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent - they're presented much more like beings who just happen to be more powerful than mere mortals, and even your average powerhouse outsider.

Game-world gods don't monitor...

I acutally meant that they know what channel negative energy does. And it WILL AFFECT EVERYONE AROUND THE CLERIC. Thus why should they complain when it may once in a while happen to finish off an innocent creature as colleteral damage? If they weren't willing to do that they wouldn't allow negative energy channeling.

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When did effective sneak attacks become evil?

The Exchange

Alienfreak wrote:
I acutally meant that they know what channel negative energy does. And it WILL AFFECT EVERYONE AROUND THE CLERIC. Thus why should they complain when it may once in a while happen to finish off an innocent creature as colleteral damage? If they weren't willing to do that they wouldn't allow negative energy channeling.

Which is fair enough... but you'd imagine a god of animals and forests isn't going to be too happy when you let the thing off in his own backyard. Go detonant your divine neutron bomb in a city somewhere - he doesn't give a hoot about those dives - but forests are his bag, and nuking them is probably high on his 'things not to do' list.


ProfPotts wrote:
Alienfreak wrote:
I acutally meant that they know what channel negative energy does. And it WILL AFFECT EVERYONE AROUND THE CLERIC. Thus why should they complain when it may once in a while happen to finish off an innocent creature as colleteral damage? If they weren't willing to do that they wouldn't allow negative energy channeling.
Which is fair enough... but you'd imagine a god of animals and forests isn't going to be too happy when you let the thing off in his own backyard. Go detonant your divine neutron bomb in a city somewhere - he doesn't give a hoot about those dives - but forests are his bag, and nuking them is probably high on his 'things not to do' list.

It doesn't sound like he ran around in the forest and nuking things for the lulz.


I think I'd consider it more of as a Chaotic move than an Evil move, mainly because it was done recklessly, not selfishly. I consider selfishness the determining factor of evil and selflessness the determining factor of good.


Squawk Featherbeak wrote:
I think I'd consider it more of as a Chaotic move than an Evil move, mainly because it was done recklessly, not selfishly. I consider selfishness the determining factor of evil and selflessness the determining factor of good.

100% right :)

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Yeah - without further information this'd be more 'Chaotic Stupid' than anything, IMHO.

Part of the issue has to be laid at the DM's door, however, if he failed to describe the thirty-foot radius of dead forest critters the first time the Cleric let loose. As TarkXT noted in his colourful way upthread, letting the guy do this several times and only then pulling out the dead forest critters angle isn't the height of DMing excellence. Essentially it would mean that the DM wasn't thinking about the consequences of the characters' actions any more than the players were, until it was too late. In which case, it's probably best to take the lesson to heart, remember what to watch for next time, and move on - after all, DMing is a learning experience too! :)

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