Pharasmin Philosophy - Did I do the right thing?


Advice

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HarbinNick wrote:
If my players were killing the sheriff, and intimidating priests, I think I'd kick over the table and say "Next game will be set in the D.R.C."

Seems like the most mature response possible.

Liberty's Edge

Snow Crash wrote:
Sorry, Kalraan, I had to jump in and fill in the details that were left out. As a player who was at the session this is how i saw what went down. (and no I'm not the cleric inquestion)

No need to apologise Snowcrash. I was giving a brief synopsis without going into too much confusing details.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Set wrote:


I also agree with BigNorseWolf that a cleric should have had at least *some* training in the tenets of their faith, phylactery of faithfulness or no phylactery of faithfulness and be able to recognize at least fundamental 'blasphemies' that would cause immediate loss of clerical powers (perhaps automatically, or with a Knowledge - Religion check). The phylactery should just make such recognitions automatic and maybe provide hints as to class-feature-threatening situations that aren't as immediately obvious.

If the player isn't even inclined to ask, I see no reason to volounteer such information if the afore-mentioned phylactory is not being worn. People who SHOULD know better still do stupid things because they've let their vices overpower their wisdom. If the player asks, then he gets the roll. If he's like a certain Greyhawk cleric that took no ranks in Knowledge Religion, then he might have a problem.

Liberty's Edge

HarbinNick wrote:
If my players were killing the sheriff, and intimidating priests, I think I'd kick over the table and say "Next game will be set in the D.R.C."

Did you read the bit about how the sherrif intimidated us first and we suspected the clerics of secretly belonging to an evil cult?

Liberty's Edge

MrSin wrote:
Snow Crash wrote:
Stuff

Well that escalated quickly!

Anyways, its hard to find a point in playing if your class features are taken away. Sort of takes a lot of the thrill out of it. I mean, unless you like being slightly better than a commoner.

Or I guess you could role play it out and see what happened. Perhaps surrender and whilst in jail, take time to repent. For the record, it was not going to be a permanent thing (although I didn't have the opportunity to let the player know that). Perhaps some meditation, etc. I personally believe the player was always playing him NE, and jumped into Chaotic waters. That's just my opinion though.

Given what happened, I THINK I was too harsh. Period.

There were a couple of other things that happened in between what Snowcrash has discussed. The best case in point was when the Sheriff arrived, he firstly asked what the PCS were doing in the town and why they were intimidating the inn keeper. The response was, "Church business". The sheriff asked "politely" (in a snide way) a couple of times for the PCs to explain what they were doing and the PCs wouldn't explain why. When the PCs asked about the "Dark Rider" or the "Whispering Way", he didn't know and said the same after which he stated, "Now I've answered your questions. No f*** off out of our town and take your Pharasmin beliefs with you." After all, not everyone has to believe in every god's word - else why would there be a section in each God's write up about how the different faiths interact. He also stated that he didn't want to use force but would if he had to, and the cleric effectively said, "Bring it" - but a bit more eloquently than that.

I feel I might have to record sessions from here on in...

Liberty's Edge

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My opinion is that unless it is a gross and obvious violation of you gods beliefs then it should take more than 1 violation before you are stripped of all your powers. The warnings should also take place over a period of time, not 12 seconds.

I also don't believe this was a violation of Pharasman beliefs.It might warrant an alignment shift over a period of time. Again, it should take multiple evil acts before you are forced to change you alignment to evil. 1 act would not suffice. Imagine if an evil character was forced to become good simply because he saved a drowning child one time.

Liberty's Edge

Snow Crash wrote:

My opinion is that unless it is a gross and obvious violation of you gods beliefs then it should take more than 1 violation before you are stripped of all your powers. The warnings should also take place over a period of time, not 12 seconds.

I also don't believe this was a violation of Pharasman beliefs.It might warrant an alignment shift over a period of time. Again, it should take multiple evil acts before you are forced to change you alignment to evil. 1 act would not suffice. Imagine if an evil character was forced to become good simply because he saved a drowning child one time.

Snowcrash, opinions differ as can be seen in this thread. My opinion (as GM) is that what the cleric did was a breach of what Pharasma stands for unless the cleric was part of a sect within the church to deliver such "rulings" - and BTW, they do exist (i.e. Inquisitors). Admittedly we never really discussed this with the player, and the Pharasmain religion was strongly suggested to him without him really knowing what that entailed - nor what my thoughts on the beliefs were.

My point though is was the character being played as Neutral in the first place?

Ultimately I have certainly learned from this experience - I still don't like Neutral religions.

Liberty's Edge

Kalraan wrote:


Or I guess you could role play it out and see what happened. Perhaps surrender and whilst in jail, take time to repent. For the record, it was not going to be a permanent thing (although I didn't have the opportunity to let the player know that). Perhaps some meditation, etc.

1. We doubted that jail would be involved, we did after all believe (and rightly so) they we secretly part of an evil cult.

2. I have problem with a god abandoning one of her followers right when he is surrounded by enemy cultits because of 1 action that happened minutes ago. Admittedly we weren't 100% sure they were evil cultits but we were certainly very sus about it.(and it turns our correct)

PS Im sure you know that this in no way reflects on our friendship or on my wanting to play in your capmaign. As a GM myself I am well aware that we all make decisions in the middle of a session that we question later. I still think your an awesome GM. :-) can I please have hat mythic level now?

Liberty's Edge

As a side note, I may need to go back to GMing 101 and look at whether Clerics and Paladins have to hold the same type of virtues. At first glance over this thread and what occurred at my session, I would say they didn't.

I guess my next question, is what should a NG character have done having seen this murderous act?

Liberty's Edge

Snow Crash wrote:
1. We doubted that jail would be involved, we did after all believe (and rightly so) they we secretly part of an evil cult.

You PCs and your lack of faith in the justice system :)

Quote:
2. I have problem with a god abandoning one of her followers right when he is surrounded by enemy cultits because of 1 action that happened minutes ago. Admittedly we weren't 100% sure they were evil cultits but we were certainly very sus about it.(and it turns our correct)

Yes, as stated above, I agree that the loss of abilities was too harsh. I should have guessed that reaction. Maybe a better way would be to remove the ability to heal as a slap on the wrist. Possibly more appropriate.

Quote:
PS Im sure you know that this in no way reflects on our friendship or on my wanting to play in your capmaign. As a GM myself I am well aware that we all make decisions in the middle of a session that we question later.

I understand :)

Quote:
I still think your an awesome GM. :-) can I please have hat mythic level now?

LMFAO... No :)


Personally, I don't think there is an "opinion" to be had here. There is NOTHING in the Pharasman faith that precludes murder, at all.

This is a rules matter more than anything and the rules are petty darn clear here.

Alignment change, maybe, fall, no.

Kalraan wrote:
As a side note, I may need to go back to GMing 101 and look at whether Clerics and Paladins have to hold the same type of virtues.

The fact that there are Clerics of every alignment (From LG to CE) and the fact that Paladins are LG only should make it pretty clear that Clerics and Paladins don't necessarily uphold the same virtues.

Even an LG Cleric isn't held to the same standards as a Paladin.

Liberty's Edge

Kalraan wrote:


Snowcrash, opinions differ as can be seen in this thread. My opinion (as GM) is that what the cleric did was a breach of what Pharasma stands for unless the cleric was part of a sect within the church to deliver such "rulings" - and BTW, they do exist (i.e. Inquisitors).

My point though is was the character being played as Neutral in the first place?

He is the highest ranking member of his church with a week or more's ride from here.

No I dont think he was neutral. But again that warrants a alignment change over time, provided he is still within 1 step of his god, no problem.

Liberty's Edge

Snow Crash wrote:
HarbinNick wrote:
If my players were killing the sheriff, and intimidating priests, I think I'd kick over the table and say "Next game will be set in the D.R.C."
Did you read the bit about how the sherrif intimidated us first and we suspected the clerics of secretly belonging to an evil cult?

Well, since you had suspicions and absolutely no proof, and since he had tried to use a social skill against you, you were totally justified in slitting the throat of a helpless prisoner.

Was he trying to channel positive or negative energy?


Odraude wrote:

You keep calling them heroes in the post, yet their actions prove otherwise. ;)

Sit them down, explain to them like adults: “Hey guys, look, I want to run a heroic game here. No evil stuff. “

No IC consequences now. Just a OOC warning "no more of that".

Liberty's Edge

I would have just shifted his alignment to NE, and changed his spontaneous casting/channeling to negative energy and cause spells.

Shadow Lodge

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I can see why your player is upset. Whether or not you were right about Pharasma, you punished the player in a particularly dramatic way for a mutual failure to communicate. You two ought to have a talk about this and sort out what behavior should actually be expected from the cleric and what warnings will be given in the case of future violations. Ideally this should happen before playing a class with a fall condition. Unfortunately the other player doesn't seem ready for a mature conversation if he/she isn't returning your calls. All I can suggest there is waiting a day or two to cool off, or asking a mutual friend to mediate.

The Diplomat wrote:
The black raven wrote:
A player should be warned beforehand that a specific act will get his character in hot water with his god/code.
Technically, only if he invests in a Phylactery of Faithfulness.
GM Hands of Fate wrote:
Warning. No, that's what a Phylactery of Faithfulness is for. Otherwise it's a useless piece of equipment, if you, as the GM, say "Hey, that's frowned upon by your religeon"

The Phylactery of Faithfulness gives 100% magical certainty as to whether an act will offend your deity. This does not negate the ability of the Knowledge skill to answer basic questions about an area of learning such as "core tenants of your religion."

Knowledge (Religion) will tell a Rabbi he isn't supposed to eat pork.

A Phylactery will tell him whether the unidentified sausage he has been offered contains pork (or any other substance he is not allowed to consume).

Set wrote:
I also agree with BigNorseWolf that a cleric should have had at least *some* training in the tenets of their faith,phylactery of faithfulness or no phylactery of faithfulness and be able to recognize at least fundamental 'blasphemies' that would cause immediate loss of clerical powers (perhaps automatically, or with a Knowledge - Religion check). The phylactery should just make such recognitions automatic and maybe provide hints as to class-feature-threatening situations that aren't as immediately obvious.

Exactly.

Claxon wrote:
It says that murder is worth 8 Conflict Points. Of course, how that adjusts alignment I haven't really looked at yet so you'lll have to see for youself. Yes this is for character generation, but its sort of the closest thing with written rules you have.

No, it's not. The same book has a basic rule for alignment change, which suggests that murder for convenience is worth 1 step towards evil and torture is worth 2. So one murder is enough for a shift from N to NE if the character was already a borderline case, but might not be enough if they were solidly TN to begin with. Note: these are explicitly described as rough guidelines which the GM should apply with a heavy helping of discretion.

Kalraan wrote:
StrangePackage wrote:
Was he trying to channel positive or negative energy?
The character has a feat which allows him the swing both ways, doing bursts of either positive or negative energy. However in that particular encounter, he didn't do either.

If you're talking about Versatile Channeler, that requires neutral alignment, so he'd lose the benefit if he becomes NE. Which should be mentioned in your adult talk about religion and alignment.

The Exchange

from a metagame standpoint of playing a game with friends to have fun? you messed up. you should only consider removal of class abilities in the most dire of circumstances- the player will almost never agree with you, and will be upset that you violated the social contract of the game.

now, as for what counts as justification for ability removal, that depends a lot on the gaming style of your group. but in all cases this should be treated as more offensive to the player than simply killing their character. and as you have seen, some people respond by leaving.

in all cases, the warnings need to be more clear. while some people will not heed any warning short of actual consequences, in most cases their only real flaw is that they cannot read your mind.

Liberty's Edge

as a side note, one of the sub domains that can be chosen by a Pharsman cleric is...........wait for it................MURDER


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Snow Crash wrote:
as a side note, one of the sub domains that can be chosen by a Pharsman cleric is...........wait for it................MURDER
PathfinderWiki wrote:

Pharasma

Titles Lady of Graves, Mother of Souls
Adjective Pharasmin
Home Boneyard
Alignment Neutral
Portfolio Fate, Death, Prophecy, Rebirth
Worshipers Midwives, pregnant women, morticians
Domains Death, Healing, Knowledge, Repose, Water
Subdomains Ancestors, Ice, Memory, Resurrection, Souls, Thought

What are we waiting for again?

Liberty's Edge

Fair enough I was just going by Herolab as it comes up as a subdomain of death available for a cleric of pharasma.

My bad checked the actual rulebook. Damn you herolab, you let me down again


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Snow Crash wrote:

Fair enough I was just going by Herolab as it comes up as a subdomain of death available for a cleric of pharasma.

My bad checked the actual rulebook. Damn you herolab, you let me down again

Murder is a subdomain of the Death domain, just not one that Pharasma supports. Of the deities/archdevils/demon lords/Great Old Ones that do offer the Murder subdomain, most are evil, whether LE (Achaekek, Baalzebul,Yaezhing, Zon-Kuthon), CE (Gogunta, Kabriri, Orcus, Yhidothrus, Zura), or NE (Norgorber, Urgathoa, Xhamen-Dor, Zyphus). The one exception is Hanspur, who is CN.

On topic, personally, while I think the cleric's actions likely strayed into both evil (murder) and chaotic (opposing lawfully appointed sheriff), I agree that Pharasma probably wouldn't object to them on principle. However, if it was done with a symbolic Pharasmin dagger and was presented as a ritualistic killing for Pharasma...I imagine she'd probably not be too pleased with her divine servant, since that sounds more like the activities of the evil cult you're supposed to be rooting out.


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Claxon wrote:
No we have to make some assumption at this point regarding how far along the Good/Evil and Law/Choas axis the character is. I'm saying the character is perfectly in the middle on both, making him a 5 on both axis. According to the rules you can decide how much and which alignment tract to apply the conflict points to. If we apply what the rules seem to suggest (by my reading) then the murder is enough to automatically move the character from NN to either CN or NE (assuming that murder is not lawful or good).

This brings up a rather interesting point many people have missed with the alignment change. The murder of a public official simply doing their job (questioning the motives of a group of heavily armed individuals coming into his town, scaring the locals), it comes off rather chaotic as well. I mean, if we ignored the setting and specific god, then my first instinct when seeing a priest ceremonially sacrifice someone at random to a goddess of death would be Chaotic Evil. And such an individual could not be a cleric to Pharasma.

Since you did not make it entirely explicit that he lost his powers (that was arguably a jerk move, especially since Pharasma is not usually subtle with when you get on her bad side), and he threatens to shift on two different axis at once, I would just make his loss of powers a slap on the wrist for a day or two as a warning that he might lose them for good. Maybe take on the negative channeling flip thing as well, so that it has more direct effect on his play style and the party.


lemeres wrote:
it comes off rather chaotic as well.

I don't think its chaotic at all. It wasn't a gig about free will, nor anti-authority. It was a jerk hick sheriff. From what I can tell anyway. Why do we use the term sacrifice? It infers a ritual sacrifice instead of a yell "For my god!" thing... oh well, I might be missing something.

Liberty's Edge

MrSin wrote:
Why do we use the term sacrifice? It infers a ritual sacrifice instead of a yell "For my god!" thing...

The point being made here is that the Ritual dagger that Pharasmin Clerics use was used to kill the sheriff - PLUS the use of the words, "In the name of Pharasma", reeks of a ritual killing - just no alter was involved :)

As a side note, I accept I did a jerk move of taking the powers of the cleric away for a GM that has been DMing for over 20 years. I need to go back to GM class.

<Slap of wrist for GM>.

But I think I needed to something as subtle advice was not working. Moving him to NE (as I think he was playing him on the evil axis of Neutral anyway) was a better option, didn't mess with his powers and abilities, but removed his ability to channel positively as the Versatile Channeler needs the character to be neutral.

For the record though, after the player left, I played the character as an NPC and he was using his abilities as normal.


Kalraan wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Why do we use the term sacrifice? It infers a ritual sacrifice instead of a yell "For my god!" thing...
The point being made here is that the Ritual dagger Pharasmin Clerics use please the use of the words, "I the name of Pharasma", reeks of ritual killing - just no alter was involved.

Eh, I don't see it. I wasn't there though. I don't relate those things with ritual killing. Ritually sacrificing someone has an intent and a specific manner, just slitting throats and saying something like "Say hi to pharasma!" doesn't sound like ritual killing to me, definitely not sacrifice.

And like I said, everyone makes mistakes.


MrSin wrote:
I don't think its chaotic at all. It wasn't a gig about free will, nor anti-authority. It was a jerk hick sheriff. From what I can tell anyway. Why do we use the term sacrifice? It infers a ritual sacrifice instead of a yell "For my god!" thing... oh well, I might be missing something

They tried to intimidate a store keeper, refused to try to work with local authorities, threatened and knocked out said authority, and then killed him when because he swore at them rather an answering questions. These are clear strong arm tactics and I do not see them falling back on any authority other than their own to justify any of this. No warlord or king to follow, no shady organization, not even "that is how business is done" type of ideology. What would you label this as?

It doesn't matter if he is a small town sheriff, he was an authority figure and they never even tried to either use diplomacy or just leave him hogtied after they whole fiasco. He had perfectly legitimate reasons to question them and not want them in his town. If you can't have the smaller positions fulfill their jobs, how can a town/kingdom ever expect to maintain order? (I also view this as a bit chaotic OoC for the players; they can't respect any authority that does fawn all over them it seems, since they never even bothered to check for alignment. Their ability to judge character seems to be the only authority they rely upon, not even the GM)

Side note: Why does it seem like everyone is afraid to shift character around on the order/chaos axis? This is a point I've seen in many different discussions. Sure, evil is easier to identify, and one could excuse a bit of lawbreaking here or there due to circumstances, but it is still a legitimate part of the alignment system. Without it, could a druid/cleric to neutral god ever fear going into a forbidden alignment?


Probably because the fact that there's a good and evil "axis" that actually tangibly exists in game is stupid enough without bothering with the Law/Chaos one too.


I probably would not have had the act of murder result in a loss of class features. Though it's not nessecarily in line with the tennets of Pharasma, but I don't think it's an offense against them either.

With that said, the more important part is this; you're not a bad GM, your player WAY overreacted. At our table, any player would have just gone "oh ^*&#" and looked for a way to get their powers back. Your players might not love it, they might not even have agreed with the decision, but they should be able to roll with it.

Sometimes the greatsword fighter has to deal with a flying enemy. Sometimes the cold specialized wizard has to fight a White Dragon, sometimes Clerics lose their powers. It's just not your time to shine right now, let the other party members have the limelight until you can get your powers back.


There's quite a large difference between "Oh no, I have to fight something I'm mildly disadvantaged against" and "My character is now a 3/4 BaB Commoner".


Sure. You're pretty much useless for 1 fight, unelss you're sort of a combat oriented cleric, then you're midly disadvantaged because of not having your buff spells.

Then you realize your mistake, head back to town, give the local 9th level cleric of Pharasma 950 gold and explain to him how sorry you are and how you erred in your ways and how you learned your lesson. Then get your powers back and go back to dungeon crawling. Your other party members will probably even loan you the gold if you don't have it, they want you with your powers available too.


awp832 wrote:

Sure. You're pretty much useless for 1 fight, unelss you're sort of a combat oriented cleric, then you're midly disadvantaged because of not having your buff spells.

Then you realize your mistake, head back to town, give the local 9th level cleric of Pharasma 950 gold and explain to him how sorry you are and how you erred in your ways and how you learned your lesson. Then get your powers back and go back to dungeon crawling. Your other party members will probably even loan you the gold if you don't have it, they want you with your powers available too.

So basically what you're saying is, cut the adventure short and go find a priest?

Sounds like tons o' fun.


... I think it's fun? It's a roleplaying opportunity. Maybe I just glossed over that, but sure. You get to have a nice in character conversation about what it means to be a cleric of Pharasma. Your alternative at that point is to do it without spells. Also a good roleplaying opportunity.

The player in question could have really used the moment to develop his character. He could have sought redemption, he could have said "screw it" and decided to devote himsself to another god that would appreciate his methods. He had an opportunity to make the story interesting, and telling a story is what the game is about. Instead of taking that opportunity he stormed off like a child because he didn't like the GMs ruling. That is no fun for anybody.


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There was no story here. The ruling was made entirely in ignorance of the Pharasman faith. He had nothing to seek redemption for and no reason to devote himself to another god.

Know what would have made a more interesting story? Having the game actually move forward as planned instead of being kicked in the teeth by crappy fall mechanics based on a GM's mistake.


Not the point. I don't have to agree with the GM's call to say the player was out of line. You make the best of the situation that you find yourself in.


Incidentally, I know what it's like to lose your class abilities. I once played a cleric back in 3.5 who was stuck in a world-wide antimagic field for 3 sessions until we completed the quest to get rid of it. My str was 10. My dex was 8. I was a full-on caster cleric. For 3 sessions I mostly drew my sword and took total defense while I helped my martial partners get flanking bonuses. Sometimes I rolled heal checks. We were around level 14 at the time. There was no easy way out for me, no spend 950 gold and back on track, changing deities wouldn't help either.

Was I thrilled at the turn the story took? Not particularly. But did I ragequit the game right there? No... I came to every session, even when I knew I was going to be screwed. I'm glad I did too, it was a unique experience and when I had my 7th level spells back, I appreciated them all the more. And if I would have left the game then, I wouldn't have been around for the rest of what was probably one of the best campaigns I've ever played in.

Edit: In fact one of my favorite stories took place at the time. My character usually had on Gloves of Dexterity which were boosting his initiative, but yeah, antimagic field and all. Anyway, so we rolled initiative for combat and our GM always had this method of doing the initiative count. He'd ask: Above 20? Above 15? Above 10? By this point, all the rest of the group was already in the order except for me. Our GM knew I had rolled low because of a look of dissatisfaction on my face. He didn't know how low though, and apparently he wanted to rub it in my face, so rather than just asking me what I got, he continued. Above 5? ... FOUR? ... THREE? ... TWO? Each count down his smile gets bigger. "EIN?!" he asks, barely containing his glee. And then... no response. Nothing. The smile vanishes, replaced by a look of pure confusion. "Zero?" he asks, at which point I raise my hand, then explain about the Gloves of Dexterity. The guys still give me crap about that to this day. Hehe... good times.


For every "It gets better" are three "It sucks just as much later".

I personally would rather not eat 3 turds for every piece of filet mignon I take in.

Liberty's Edge

Ultimately:

1) I made a bad call
2) I did not take the type of player into consideration
3) I failed to make something interesting happen on the story
4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.

How much do I feel I suck as a GM now do you think?


lemeres wrote:
No warlord or king to follow, no shady organization, not even "that is how business is done" type of ideology. What would you label this as?

Adventuring.

Kalraan wrote:
How much do I feel I suck as a GM now do you think?

At least you aren't like every GM I've ever had and refuse to learn, reopen the book to check something, listen to his players, and repeats the same problems over and over. My last GM went out of his way to ignore a request I had, and it killed all my fun and I walked out. Your far from the worst, you can recover, blahblahblah I'm not out to give you a therapy session, but trust me, you could be worse, and you can still do better.


lemeres wrote:
They tried to intimidate a store keeper, refused to try to work with local authorities, threatened and knocked out said authority, and then killed him when because he swore at them rather an answering questions....It doesn't matter if he is a small town sheriff, he was an authority figure and they never even tried to either use diplomacy or just leave him hogtied after they whole fiasco. He had perfectly legitimate reasons to question them and not want them in his town. If you can't have the smaller positions fulfill their jobs, how can a town/kingdom ever expect to maintain order?

Ustalav’s early history is thus recorded: Land is filled with Kellids worshipping demons and the horrors of the dark tapestry. Desna-worshipping Varisians come, skirmish with the Kellid cults. First king Ustav convinces nomadic Varisians to convert to Pharasma, fight the cultists, and settle on the land. Thousand years of Ustalavic rule pass, then BAM! Whispering Tyrant.

Carrion Crown specifics:

The Pharasman priest not only shouldn’t have fallen, he should get a freaking medal from the Ustalavic government. The sheriff may have been a local law officer, but he and the rest of his cult are defying the state and the state religion.

Illmarsh is a Kellid town that’s been practicing demon worship, human sacrifice and miscegenation. The sheriff insulted Pharasma to a Pharasman priest’s face. The characters suspected the town was controlled by a cult. The sheriff attacked first. The killing was arguably justified, but even if it was pure butchery, Pharasma doesn’t prohibit murder.

The sheriff’s “perfectly legitimate” reasons not to want them in his town is that he doesn’t want word getting out that Illmarsh gives its daughters away to be the sex slaves and brood mares of evil inhumans, or that the town is run by the Cult of Dagon. He doesn’t want the state religion coming down on the town like a hammer. The local authority is opposed to the national authority, to which the priest is sworn.

Supporting one authority over another is not a chaotic act.

Your perspective doesn’t fit the specifics of the adventure path.

lemeres wrote:
Side note: Why does it seem like everyone is afraid to shift character around on the order/chaos axis?

Why do some GMs spend so much energy worrying about how players choose to roleplay their characters?

OP, I wish you luck in repairing your game and your friendship. Simple apologies are often the best. Good on you for seeking advice, then owning your mistake.

Dark Archive

Kalraan wrote:

Ultimately:

1) I made a bad call
2) I did not take the type of player into consideration
3) I failed to make something interesting happen on the story
4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.

How much do I feel I suck as a GM now do you think?

Don't beat yourself up (especially not when so many of us are eager to jump in and back-seat GM, despite the likelihood that each and every one of us has made GM calls we later regretted!).

These messageboards, and pretty much any others that deal with D&D, AD&D or Pathfinder, are crawling with alignment threads and paladin threads and 'fall' threads, like the minefields left behind after ancient wars. It isn't that so many gamers 'don't get it,' as players or GMs, it's that the alignment rules are a subjective muddle, often presented completely inconsistently *by the designers of the games in question* (with some stating that 'you can't do X and be good!' and others designing entire nations and churches around characters doing X and indeed being good) and have probably led to more game arguments and strained sessions than they are worth. As editions come and go, game designers also come and go, and so even articles on alignment meant to clarify or codify or streamline the concept end up contradicting previous information, or being contradicted in turn years (or sometimes only months!) later, digging the morass ever deeper.

Alignment is almost always a subjective thing, and arguments about morality and ethics can quickly turn personal (since questioning someone's basic assumptions about morality leads to all sorts of uncomfortableness, on both sides...).

Pretty much *always,* these sorts of discussions need to happen in a 'time out' and not be arbitrated by game mechanics. Any halfway decent writeup of a god includes a list of omens that s/he might send to a cleric who is one throat-stabbing away from earning divine disfavor. Use one of them (a bird squawks over your heads and drops dead right on the person you were about to stab, it's wings spread over their chest as if it was attempting to shield the dude with it's own tiny body) and call a time out and say, 'I don't think that your god would approve of this.'

If, after discussion, you agree that Pharasma wouldn't really give a rat's butt about this dude, use the mighty GM powers to say, 'The bird thing didn't happen. Stabination ahoy! Just don't bring Pharasma into it, since she's neither approving or disapproving of this action and wants none of it.'

This applies in most in-game situations. Resolving them out of game is always a better choice than applying in-game punishments to 'win' disagreements.

Some other games, like Mutants & Masterminds and GURPS and Vampire and Call of Cthulhu manage to muddle through without an alignment system (although they may flirt with behavior codes and mechanics via sanity rules or mental disadvantages of Nature/Demeanor). AD&D / PF itself has gotten along just fine without any *meaningful* application of the law / chaos alignment axis, for that matter. Don't let something that is, at the end of the day, a legacy mechanic that was never really successfully 'mechanized,' and not terribly important to the game, ruin your enjoyment of that game.

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Kalraan wrote:

Ultimately:

1) I made a bad call

It happens. Improve and don't beat yourself up about it. If you talk to the player again, apologize for the oversight, explain your reasoning so they understand that it wasn't just random hosing of a player, and move on.

Kalraan wrote:
2) I did not take the type of player into consideration

Again, it happens. You're now aware of what to look for and will be a better GM as a result.

Kalraan wrote:
3) I failed to make something interesting happen on the story

I'd disagree, but my opinions on what's interesting don't really have any relevance here.

Kalraan wrote:
4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.

Here is where I take issue. One incorrect, bad, or even just unfortunate decision in one game is not cause for this type of uproar. If it happened during every game, I could see this type of reaction being appropriate, but as it stands I see greater and more obtrusive mistakes on the player's part.

Leaving in a huff and refusing to answer the phone is generally a gross overreaction. Personally, I tend to believe that cutting lines of communication should be reserved for people who are caustic, abusive, or cruel, not for one bad decision made during a relatively complex game.

Kalraan wrote:
How much do I feel I suck as a GM now do you think?

Don't beat yourself up about it. Use it as a learning experience to improve your GMing in a way that your players will enjoy If they absolutely refuse to return to the game after a single instance of someone ruling against them, you're probably better off finding someone more emotionally stable to devote your preparation time, gaming time, and emotional investments to.

Disclaimer:
Sometimes my phrasing escapes me and I say something that can be interpreted as rude, crude, cruel, offensive, or insulting. If something I said can be interpreted in several ways, and one of those ways is personally insulting to someone. I assure you, I meant it the other way.


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Kalraan wrote:


4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.

One hopes you've not lost a friend over something as minor as a ruling in a game that caused a little heat and frustration. He'll either cool down and you can move forward with an apology about the ruling or you may be well shut of him.


Kalraan wrote:

Ultimately:

1) I made a bad call

It happens to all of us, as others have said don't beat yourself up over it. Use it as a learning opportunity and move on.

Kalraan wrote:
2) I did not take the type of player into consideration

Not sure what type of player your friend is, but he probably needs a few days to cool off.

Kalraan wrote:
3) I failed to make something interesting happen on the story

You do the best you can with the story that is going on. No one is perfect and not every day that you GM is going to be amazing, sometimes the players do things that are unexpected and you have to just react.

Kalraan wrote:
4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.

As I said in #2, give him a few days. Write him a heartfelt email that you believe you were wrong in how you handled it and that you want him back at your table. Tell him that you'd like to make things right and that you'd welcome any discussion he has for you.

Kalraan wrote:
How much do I feel I suck as a GM now do you think?

It happens to all of us that we do something we regret in gaming and RL, don't be so hard on yourself and don't listen to people on here who are insulting you as they are trolls and have nothing better to do with their lives.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Kalraan wrote:


4) I lost a player and unfortunately now it would appear - a friend.
One hopes you've not lost a friend over something as minor as a ruling in a game that caused a little heat and frustration. He'll either cool down and you can move forward with an apology about the ruling or you may be well shut of him.

It happens, as I've found.

I've just determined they weren't worth being friends with in the first place.


Rynjin wrote:
I've just determined they weren't worth being friends with in the first place.

In my experience its the GM who was the jerk and I they weren't the ones you wanted to be with. Both sides are capable of being a problem.

Anyways, hopefully you can be friends again. The social aspect to DnD is a totally different one to the gameplay or the mechanical one. Much more complicated.

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