Pharasmin Philosophy - Did I do the right thing?


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Liberty's Edge

Hey All!

I'm currently running Carrion Crown. One of the heroes is a Pharasmin Cleric.

The heroes have made their way to a small village as part of their search. The heroes have gone to speak with a local at the inn (and order a room) who was less that friendly. The heroes intimidated him and he spilled the beans.

After the heroes left to go to their room the inn keeper ran out and went to the local sheriff.

The sheriff and his two deputies went in and spoke with the heroes and asked them their business. The heroes were again intimidating, in particular the cleric. It ended in a fight as the heroes refused to leave town. The Sherrif was knocked unconscious, and the two deputies fled to get the local priests.

While that went on, the heroes hog tied the Sherrif, brought him round and again intimidated him to ask questions. He refused and so while defenceless, the cleric, "in the name of Pharasma" slit the sheriff's throat with his official Pharasmin ceremonial dagger, killing him in cold blood.

The sheriff was evil and swore and cursed the heroes but no detection spells were used to detect his alignment.

I felt this murderous act was against Pharasma's beliefs and decided to make him and ex-cleric - but I didn't tell the player until he tried to use his powers.

In the combat, the cleric went to channel energy and nothing happened. Suddenly I had a player confrontation which resulted in him thinking it wasn't fair. The player packed up his gear and left.

Have I got Pharasmin philosophy wrong?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Kalraan here is a link to the pathfinder wiki on Pharasma

Perhaps this will help.

I think you are right Pharasmites arn't into human sacrifice....that sounds like what he did.

At the risk of "arm chair " quarterbacking, I think the time to intervene would have been when the player was about to have his character slit the prisioner's throat. As a GM, i would ask if a player really wants to have his character do "that". I would give him a verbal warning, If you do that your character's alignment could shift to evil. Doing this could get you in trouble with pharasma.

If he persists then it is on his head.

So In summary, I don't think you were wrong about Pharasma. I do think things could have been handled a little differently perhaps with a verbal GM warning "are you sure you want to do that" or something like that.

I hope this helps,

Elyas

Sovereign Court

I dont know about Pharasmin philosophy. However, what do the players expect to happen when they go around as bullies? Not only that, but they beat down the local sheriff and then slit his throat? The problems are a bit beyond your ruling me thinks.

Grand Lodge

Pharasma is Neutral. She is neither lawful nor good. If it was the sheriff's time to die, she would receive his soul without comment and send him on to his waiting fate.

The cleric probably shouldn't have used Pharasma's name in vain, since from your description the sheriff hadn't done anything to offend against her. That's a minor infraction, maybe worth an omen or withdrawal of one of the more destructive spells he favours the next time he regains spells.

Liberty's Edge

For the record, he is Neutral and I did ask multiple times if they were sure.

What I did not say was that it might upset Pharasma.

Sovereign Court

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If you think one of your players is likely to play against the precepts of his or her deity, I'd give them a subtle warning before their first offence (e.g. "would a Cleric of Pharasma usurp the power of life and death from his deity?") and after the session encourage the player to purchase a Phylactery of Faithfulness (Ultimate Equipment p252) to avoid getting into trouble.

In any case, would it have mattered had the cleric known the sheriff's alignment? Does evil deserve to die more than good? How could your cleric presume to know the mind of the Lady of Graves as to whether the sheriff's time has come? The Lady's way is to withhold judgement until life runs its proper course (ref Faiths of Balance p16).


The Diplomat wrote:
(e.g. "would a Cleric of Pharasma usurp the power of life and death from his deity?")

I think that's an unproductive way to look at it. As an adventurer, most days aren't complete until you've killed at least an even dozen; is he supposed to stop and ask if what he's doing is against Pharasma's plan for those ones too?

Liberty's Edge

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Killing in self defence is one thing. Killing in cold blood - that's something else entirely.

Sovereign Court

chaoseffect wrote:
The Diplomat wrote:
(e.g. "would a Cleric of Pharasma usurp the power of life and death from his deity?")
I think that's an unproductive way to look at it. As an adventurer, most days aren't complete until you've killed at least an even dozen; is he supposed to stop and ask if what he's doing is against Pharasma's plan for those ones too?

If you want to role play it properly, yes I do think so.

Faiths of Balance p16 wrote:
For those who worship Pharasma above all others, the most important things in life are birth, death, and prophecy. When you adventure in her name, it is often to destroy undead (which are antithetical to the natural cycle) or to seek out and attempt to understand strange prophecies. You may seek to protect the dead from disgrace, and are exceedingly uncomfortable with the standard adventurers’ practice of tomb robbing (though you have no problem rooting out whatever abominations may have taken up residence in such places, provided the innocent dead are treated with respect).

It doesn't mean a follower of Pharasma can't become an adventurer, but they ought to have some kind of personal philosophy for dealing with fighting goblins, e.g. self defence. Adventuring isn't all about killing and personal gain, after all, unless you happen to follow Nethys or Gorum.


It's not against Pharasman religion. Not for it either, to be clear, but murder breaks none of Pharasma's precepts.

Might be an Evil act, but it wouldn't make him fall unless it shifted his alignment far from Neutral.

Sovereign Court

Faiths of Balance p16 wrote:
She has seen tyrants prosper and the innocent weep, and is necessarily amoral, yet she has also seen people change dramatically over their lives, and thus withholds judgment until a mortal’s death.

While there might be no specific tenant against them, either capricious or judgemental killing would seem to be out of place. After all, if the Lady of Graves herself refrains from such actions, why should her clergy behave any differently?


You have pharasma right, but the player probably didn't know that. It probably would have been better to take a few minutes before he went ahead with the sacrifice to get on the same page.

Liberty's Edge

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Rynjin wrote:

It's not against Pharasman religion. Not for it either, to be clear, but murder breaks none of Pharasma's precepts.

Might be an Evil act, but it wouldn't make him fall unless it shifted his alignment far from Neutral.

Even then, he can still be a Neutral Evil Cleric of Pharasma, which is perfectly acceptable by the Goddess' standards.

My take on it is :

1) His evil act should not make him fall as it is in no way forbidden by his faith.

2) A player should be warned beforehand that a specific act will get his character in hot water with his god/code.

After all, the character has the benefits of extensive training in his god's faith and has a pretty good understanding of what constitutes blasphemy, even if the player does not.

Sovereign Court

The black raven wrote:
he can still be a Neutral Evil Cleric of Pharasma

But only if you're playing in a story arc that allows evil PCs. Many/most story arcs demand that characters that turn evil become NPCs.

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.


The Diplomat wrote:
The black raven wrote:
he can still be a Neutral Evil Cleric of Pharasma

But only if you're playing in a story arc that allows evil PCs. Many/most story arcs demand that characters that turn evil become NPCs.

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.

He is a cleric of a god. Presumably SOME Of that training at least covered the core tenets of his own faith. At some point the monsignor should have pointed out to him that we do not go about semi randomly killing people to give to our goddess, we merely wait for them to get to her.


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

Still, not enough to make him lose his powers, but certainly enough to put him on the road to evil.


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If the cleric had killed the sheriff, that could in itself justify an alignment change to evil, but not a fall from the grace of Pharasma.

I think the dealbreaker is that the cleric used his holy dagger, and performed the murder in the name of Pharasma. Not only is he inventing his own religious ritual, but the ritual in question is not in line with the deitys philosophy. I'd say that becoming ex-cleric is perfectly fine.

I'd then allow the player to regain his powers. Perhaps sent him a dream, in which he is shown some suitable quest, after which he'll regain his clerical powers. The alignment change can be undone through roleplaying remorse of the act, and off course abstaining from similar acts in the future.

If you don't want to mess around with quests and roleplaying, he could seek out a cleric to cast Atonement... allthough that cleric could then assign a quest to prove the sinners willingness to return to the light of Pharasma.

I'd allow a knowledge (religion) roll, with a low DC, to see if the cleric remebers that the act he is about to commit is against his deitys will. Of course, that's only helpfull in the future, and won't make the murder allready commited undone.


Sounds to me like the player didn't actually do all that much research into Pharasma before picking a god. It's a little lazy, but fairly common.

I'd consider offering him a chance to change his chosen deity to Norgorber? Nor is a lot more open to things like human sacrifice, and seems like a better fit to the character in question.


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The player clearly wants to be a NE cleric of the god of murder, not the goddess of birth and death. As Kudaku noted, that's Norgorber, not Pharasma. I'd let him switch... and then kick his character out because evil PCs aren't allowed in my game.


@Calybos1

The cleric in question does kind of reek of 'stupid evil', but I try to keep an open mind :)


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The black raven wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

It's not against Pharasman religion. Not for it either, to be clear, but murder breaks none of Pharasma's precepts.

Might be an Evil act, but it wouldn't make him fall unless it shifted his alignment far from Neutral.

Even then, he can still be a Neutral Evil Cleric of Pharasma, which is perfectly acceptable by the Goddess' standards.

My take on it is :

1) His evil act should not make him fall as it is in no way forbidden by his faith.

2) A player should be warned beforehand that a specific act will get his character in hot water with his god/code.

After all, the character has the benefits of extensive training in his god's faith and has a pretty good understanding of what constitutes blasphemy, even if the player does not.

All of this. Both Rynjin and Black Raven.

Pharasma is NN. She has NE clerics, or at least can. Barring that if murder or sacrifices are not outrightly forbidden by Pharasma the cleric did nothing wrong. Though I'd probably say that they're well on their way to NE if not already there.

Liberty's Edge

So basically there are two camps:

1) The cleric should not have lost powers because he did nothing against the Pharasmin Philosophies. But should be turned to NE.

2) The cleric did do know and losing powers was the right idea however can be returned through atonement or questing to prove oneself.

I go with option 2 to be honest. I guess though that its a moot point as the player in question won't return my calls.

<sigh>

I'm feeling like a bad GM :(

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't see a problem with what the player did as far as the faith of Pharasma is concerned, but outright killing a prisoner, that might be considered an evil act. For a Neutral cleric of a Neutral deity, that's not an issue. For a good cleric of say Sarenrae or Iomedae, they're probably gonna have some bad dreams or maybe have trouble preparing spells the next day.

On that vein, a single act against dogma *generally* isn't enough to strip powers from a cleric (paladins are different, strict code and what have you). Sure you might get bad juju from performing an evil act as a good cleric, but your god isn't gonna wipe you off their clergy list unless you're performing gross dereliction of duties or develop a pattern of acting out. The NG cleric of Sarenrae could get away with evil acts here and there, even enough to become a N cleric of Sarenrae. The problem comes in when they start doing evil things regularly enough (or heinously enough) to push them past the 1-step away rule.

Granted, deities might still have 1 time offenses that will need atoned (raising an undead would likely be one for Pharasma, as would probably burning down an art gallery for Shelyn), but if your PC is generally out to act apart from the dogma of their deity, perhaps you need to discuss with the player how their god expects them to act. Remember, though, clerics *are* the defining members of a god's clergy, and the 1-step rule is large enough that every god can have wildly different philosophies within their legally active clergy. Ex. Pharasma can have serial killers who worship the death aspect (NE) and righteous detectives hunting down those who end lives prematurely (NG) operating simultaneously, both getting spells without issue.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Kalraan wrote:

So basically there are two camps:

1) The cleric should not have lost powers because he did nothing against the Pharasmin Philosophies. But should be turned to NE.

I disagree with this. One evil act shouldn't warrant an alignment change.


Kalraan wrote:
Have I got Pharasmin philosophy wrong?

Absolutely. Pharasma has neutral evil clerics who would not hesitate to slit an innocent’s throat if it served their church, their god, or their self-interest. Another name for her is Reaper of the Dead.

Everyone goes to Pharasma’s judgement. It doesn’t matter to the grey lady if they die of old age or in the cradle. Midwife or murderer, there’s a place for you in Pharasma’s faith.

That said, the Ustalavic CHURCH of Pharasma doesn’t look kindly on minor priests who go around murdering government officials with no trial, and the government itself is still less cool with it.

The cleric should keep his powers, but there should be no end of trouble if word gets out.

The Diplomat wrote:
But only if you're playing in a story arc that allows evil PCs. Many/most story arcs demand that characters that turn evil become NPCs.

Carrion Crown is absolutely not that adventure path. The writers often discuss how the adventure might proceed differently for evil parties.


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"

Personally, my concept of Phasasma is not one that accepts murderers. However, I can see a radical sect of Pharasmin assassins. But unles you knew the player was playing thatbefore, I would assume that they were a standard Pharasmin.

Whether or not they fall or not is irrelevant. Personally, I would say yes, but that is me. What would be the result is there would be bounties on the characters heads. Not knowing exactly what part of Carrion Crown you are in, this could be a huge issue. Their actions will have repercussions. Their faces will be on wanted posters. Bounty hunters will come after them. The local law enforcement will soon get wind of them, followed, by the local Lord, and then the neighboring lords and law enforcement. Starting pretty much every encounte rin a town or city at Unfriendly or Hostile is going to suck for them.


Kalraan wrote:
I'm feeling like a bad GM :(

Stuff happens. Its a part of life. Can't make everyone happy and can't always make the right decision. If you feel like you learned something, great! If not, eh. Probably could've been more straight with him about your feelings instead of dropping it on him, especially since Pharasma doesn't seem like the god to care about murder or being evil. My friend jokes as long as you aren't raising undead your cool with her.

Anyways, don't feel too awful. Just look back and possibly talk about it if you can. If you can't, no point in moping.

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"

I'm okay with it being useless if it means the GM can give a proper warning. Suddenly losing your class features is a pretty big bomb to drop, especially if the player doesn't agree. Etiquette isn't part of the games rules I don't think, but it does help.


archmagi1 wrote:
I disagree with this. One evil act shouldn't warrant an alignment change.

Generally speaking I agree with you, but I wouldn't make it an absolute. Very rarely would one evil act warrant an alignment shift.

Something else we have to remember is that D&D was founded on the prmise that Goblins and Orcs were beasts of irredemable evil. You saw an orc you killed it, you didn't ask what it's motivation was or why it was there, it was evil, always evil, you killed it. It appled not just to Goblins and Orcs, but all monsters. Good and Evil were very black and white. The games and stories tended to be simplistic. The alignment system reflects this mentality (at least on the good/evil side)

As the medium, and the players, matured, we wanted more mature storylines. We wanted criminals with realistic motivations. This makes the story lines richer and more engrossing, but also presents a moral dillema for every being the "heroes" attack*

Some players (and GM's) prefer the more simplistic version of a black and white good and evil, some prefer the more complex version. Where I've seen trouble arise is when you try to switch back and forth depending on situations:

Wait just so I'm clear, we just entered the home of some goblins, slaughtered everyone in there, men, women and children, when all they were really doing was living their lives, and all to get a magically doo-hickey, and everyone has a clean conscience. Now that we have an evil tied up Sherrif NOW we have moral issues?

Now I'm not saying any of that happened, I'm just saying it's something you need to watch out for.

*Side Note: The campaign setting Ebberon REALLY highlighted this aspect of play, where a gold dragon could be Chatoic Evil just as easily as a red dragon.

Dark Archive

Claxon wrote:
Pharasma is NN. She has NE clerics, or at least can. Barring that if murder or sacrifices are not outrightly forbidden by Pharasma the cleric did nothing wrong. Though I'd probably say that they're well on their way to NE if not already there.

Agreed. Pharasma has NE clerics, and doesn't herself give two hoots about good and evil, law and chaos, respectively.

The bigger issue is not going to be whether or not his uncaring neutral goddess has an opinion (which, by her write-up, she shouldn't), but whether or not the deed was done in open view of others and could lead to massive legal consequences (such as a nation-wide manhunt!).

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.


I'm in the "Slitting his throat shouldn't make him fall" camp but with a caveat.

One act usually isn't enough to push your alignment, true. But murder is a VERY serious infraction, and a character that's willing to slit an NPC's throat in cold blood is probably already toeing the line. He's probably had some scratches on his record in the past. He probably bullies NPCs all the time, even if this is the first time it's gone as far as murder.

Still, that alignment shift may not be enough to de-cleric him. If he's NN he's golden. Being an NE cleric of Pharasma is fine. If he's CN or LN though the change pushes him to CE or LE which dings his powers.

So depending on his starting alignment the shift from outright murdering a dude may or may not sap his cleric abilities.

In either case the real penalty isn't that his god saps his powers, it's the legal ramifications of murdering an innocent man (Yeah, he's evil, but being of evil alignment ain't against the law).

First of all you never get to go back into a town, ever, or you get arrested and tried and thrown into the dungeon and your career as an adventurer is over. Wanted posters show up wherever you go, no shop keeper will sell to you, no innkeeper will house you, no cleric will heal you. If you keep up the bad behavior a low level team of marshals comes after you. If you kill them or resist arrest they send high level bounty hunters after you.


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This would be akin to someone RPing a catholic priest meeting a girl in a bar and having a one-night stand, not realizing that catholic priests practice clerical celibacy.

The vow of celibacy is clearly known to the character, even if the player is not aware of it. This is where the GM would step in and remind the character of that particular piece of dogma.

The player should still be allowed to do whatever he wants to do (within reason) but if those actions significantly and knowingly affect the character he should be told before the act.


As noted, Pharasma is Neutral. Killing the Sheriff would not matter much to her.. unless it was before his time. She's the goddess of death, not murder. That would likely be a minor transgression, though.

More importantly, the cleric should know his deity doesn't like murder in her name. If he still wants to kill the Sheriff anyway, that's a different question.

The whole scene.. intimidating the innkeeper, then intimidating and murdering the town authorities when they take issue with the party's actions.. smacks strongly of Chaotic Evil ("Might makes right", "We can do whatever we want because you can't stop us"). If there are Lawful and/or Good PCs in the party, they should be pretty uncomfortable with the whole situation. If they are not, then they are all on the slide toward alignment change.

Regardless of how Pharasma sees it, the party has acted like bandits/ brigands, the sort of types that Adventurers are often hired to get rid of. They have become the enemy, essentially.

As to alignment, alignment is a description element (note where it is in the rulebook; with height and weight). Your initial alignment is how you (the Player) expect to play the character. If your actions don't match, the description should change to match the actions. That's not to say one action would normally change anyone's alignment.. usually, it is the overall pattern of actions that causes the change. One very big action, though, could do it... and a human sacrifice (if that's what the PC in question was trying to do) might be a big enough deal to do it.


archmagi1 wrote:
Kalraan wrote:

So basically there are two camps:

1) The cleric should not have lost powers because he did nothing against the Pharasmin Philosophies. But should be turned to NE.

I disagree with this. One evil act shouldn't warrant an alignment change.

Depends upon the act. The case in question in the OP, probably not. Willfully killing an innocent, slaughtering witnesses of crimes to avoid legal entanglements, choosing to wipe out a city, etc. would be auto-triggers in my campaigns.

I wouldn't apply a "first offense" warning if the act was significantly evil enough.

Liberty's Edge

Was he trying to channel positive or negative energy?


I also tend to agree that since Pharasma is N and can have NE clerics, an auto-fall usually wouldn't apply to murder.

HOWEVER, in the situation as described, the murder was done in the name of Pharasma and in a ritualistic fashion. It wasn't a simple murder.

Unless I've forgotten something about Pharasma lore, she's not the god of justice, vengeance, murder, etc. So unless the sheriff in question was known to be directly tied to something that breaks Pharasma's tenets, killing the sheriff in her name is where the player crossed the line.

Whether that warrants a loss of powers or not would be a GM's call. However, if a player chooses to play a cleric and picks a deity for the character to follow, they should at least have a passing familiarity of what that deity is (and isn't) about. The burden shouldn't be solely on the GM's shoulders.


Kalraan wrote:

So basically there are two camps:

1) The cleric should not have lost powers because he did nothing against the Pharasmin Philosophies. But should be turned to NE.

2) The cleric did do know and losing powers was the right idea however can be returned through atonement or questing to prove oneself.

I go with option 2 to be honest. I guess though that its a moot point as the player in question won't return my calls.

<sigh>

I'm feeling like a bad GM :(

Well, let me add a little insight here. It's not necessarily an auto turn evil. How has this character been played so far? Outside of relgious class characters I treat alignment as mostly letter on paper (because it only matters otherwise to a few spells and items). If the character wrote true neutral or NN on their paper that's all fine and dandy. But if from the first moments of the game hes kidnapping and mudering he sounds pretty damn evil to me. This normally doesn't matter except for a few instances, and this just happens to be one of those instances. Thankfully evil or not Pharasma soesn't care, but it could be relevant for other things to note whether or not he's evil.

You might be able to look at the material here to gain some idea based on some game rules of how far murder would adjust character alignment. 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.

As far as your second point, player knowledge and character knowledge are different. A character should know the basic tennets of his faith and would know if somehting would be obviously disagreeable to their god. As a GM you should provide a warning because a player may not have the same view of the dogma that you do, especially if all they see is a blurb about favored weapon and domains. Without reading Faiths of Purity/Balance/Corruption there is a surprising lack of material about the gods.

Scarab Sages

I think that a loss of powers isn't necessarily out of line for the act of killing a helpless victim in Pharasma's name. If it was in combat, or even if the victim was helpless and the cleric slit the sheriff's throat without ceremony then it would be completely fine. But Pharasma is about taking souls at the proper time, she and her agent's don't take people early.

I still don't think I personally would have stripped his powers, but even if I did, I would give him a warning and clearly state that he had a vision of Pharasma looking away and a feeling of hollow emptiness the instant it happened. Even then I would have made the fall temporary - maybe just a day or a week and not require an atonement. Pharasma isn't good, and the guy was a threat and would die anyway. Just have your friends do it next time.

The way you just had a channel energy not work would have likely made me quit the game too honestly.


BPorter wrote:
Depends upon the act. The case in question in the OP, probably not. Willfully killing an innocent, slaughtering witnesses of crimes to avoid legal entanglements, choosing to wipe out a city, etc. would be auto-triggers in my campaigns.

Key words. Different people run things differently. Personally I don't do much with alignment because I feel like life is easier without it, but I know plenty who disagree. Expectations are important though, and it can really help to talk about things and make sure they're known.


StrangePackage wrote:
Was he trying to channel positive or negative energy?

Actually, that’s a great point.

If the character continues to be ruthless, he’ll eventually slip into NE and will have to channel negative energy.


MrSin wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Depends upon the act. The case in question in the OP, probably not. Willfully killing an innocent, slaughtering witnesses of crimes to avoid legal entanglements, choosing to wipe out a city, etc. would be auto-triggers in my campaigns.
Key words. Different people run things differently. Personally I don't do much with alignment because I feel like life is easier without it, but I know plenty who disagree. Expectations are important though, and it can really help to talk about things and make sure they're known.

Fair enough. However, if ANY evil act can't trigger an alignment shift I question why alignment would even be used in that particular game/campaign (as it sounds like what you're doing). That's not the case with the OP's campaign, though.


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I gave a look through the alignment rules presented in Ultimate Camapign a little further to see how they treat it. According to the conflicts table murder is worth 8 conflict points on its on. If you look on the Resolution table there is a modifier that says No Guilt, and is worth 2 more Conflict Points raising the total to 10. At best the character had mixed feelings worth 0 CP, so still at 8.

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).

Take it or leave, thats the closest rules interpretation I can give in regards mechanical adjudication of alignment.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kalraan wrote:


While that went on, the heroes hog tied the Sherrif, brought him round and again intimidated him to ask questions. He refused and so while defenceless, the cleric, "in the name of Pharasma" slit the sheriff's throat with his official Pharasmin ceremonial dagger, killing him in cold blood.

The sheriff was evil and swore and cursed the heroes but no detection spells were used to detect his alignment.

I felt this murderous act was against Pharasma's beliefs and decided to make him and ex-cleric - but I didn't tell the player until he tried to use his powers.

<snip>

Have I got Pharasmin philosophy wrong?

I don't think you have got the philosophy wrong. If the PC did murder the sheriff in cold blood and did say "in the name of Pharasma," then I think stripping powers is entirely reasonable. Your player may be in a snit, but I find that players often don't like to be called out for the obnoxious behavior of their PCs.

In your shoes, I'd probably refrain from making him an ex-cleric. Rather, I'd be inclined to deny his powers for a time thanks to the goddess's displeasure of being invoked for the murder. Maybe a week and a day or until restitution is made. And I'd have his path scattered with dead whippoorwills. That should get the locals talking.


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 fact that there needs to be an item that says "You feel that something is against the religion you've studied all your life" is pretty silly, really.

Also, some people seem to be "interpreting" Pharasma in a light that says she gives a damn about murder at all.

Why?

Allow me to pull some text from her in-depth description (Book 2, Trial of the Beast):

Quote:

Sitting atop an impossibly tall spire, Pharasma’s realm in the afterworld—the Boneyard— awaits all mortals. Once

there, they stand in a great line, waiting to be judged and sent to their final reward. Those who die before experiencing their full fate may be lucky enough to return in this life or the next, though in some cases their fate is merely to die an ignoble or early death.

And there is really nothing else listed in her description that says anything about murder. Murder is a non-issue to her. What happens before death, and what CAUSES said death is a complete non-issue to Pharasma, except in the case of abortions.

It's what happens AFTER death that she takes issue with, the desecration of a corpse, disinterring one, or the highest possible crime: Turning it into an Undead.

Even if there WERE a slight blurb that murder was frowned upon by Pharasma, Clerics only fall for "gross violations". Not just ANY violation, like a Paladin, but GROSS violations. Really the only way a Pharasmite would fall is if they performed an abortion, desecrated a corpse, or raised an Undead (though not associate with them, as explained later in the AP).

Now, there IS one bit about murder that might make for an interesting story, and fit in well with Carrion Crown: Pharasma sometimes allows the ghosts of the murdered to come forth and point out their murderer (or even haunt them!).

If the murder was kept secret, and you feel like exposing it for whatever reason, there you go.

Liberty's Edge

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.

Liberty's Edge

GM Hands of Fate wrote:
Not knowing exactly what part of Carrion Crown you are in, this could be a huge issue.

To answer that question:

Spoiler:
Book 4 in Illmarsh.

Liberty's Edge

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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)

We are in a village that is way off the beaten track, investigating an evil cult that we tracked here. When we arrived in the town all the locals spat on us and told us we werent welcome and to bugger off except they were not that polite abot it.

we tried to get a room at the Inn but the inkeeper didn't want us and tried to charge triple the going rate, we intimidated him down to standard fair rate. Whwn went to our rooms he ran to get the sherrif.

The Sherrif tried to bully us out of town, we of course refused. We told him to the reason we were here. The gain told us to leave immediately. We replied we'll leave when our work is done. He and his cronies then drew weapons and attacked us. We knocked the sherrif out and his cronies ran off.

Tied the sherrif up and interrogated him. He refused to cooperate. He was asked by the cleric to repent his sins in the name of Pharasma. He told the cleric to F off and spat in the clerics face. The cleric then slit his throat (GM asked him at least twice "Are you sure you want to do that" Player asnwered yes. and then cut his throat with his Pharasman Dagger

At that point the Sherrifs Cronies came pouring out of the church with the local clergy in tow. ( clergy that we susspected of worshipping an evil god but we had no proof) the were disguised as clerics of a different god.

They shouted a challenge to us. Told us to surrender and come down. We refused and accused them of being false.

At this point the GM gave us an option of escaping out the back door. We went nah, we can take them they dont look that tough.

Clerics attack.

Turn 1. buff spells
Turn 2 PC cleric is told he had trouble casting that spell but not given a reason why.
Turn 3 PC cleric is surrounded and goes to channel energy. PC is told his channel energy does not work neither will his spells his god has forsaken him and he is now an excleric until he atones.

Player says "well theres no point in me playing then and gets up and leaves.

On a side note it turns out we were corect, the NPCs were actually an evil cult prentending to worship a different god.


These kinds of threads are always crazy, there's a new one every week about what to do when the LG paladin does X or the CN character does Y.

I think the OP (GM) was unusually harsh in this situation and didn't give the Cleric PC the warnings he needed. I think of alignment shifts as something that usually happen gradually unless in extreme circumstances, if that guy was an innocent that was cooperating and the cleric still slit his throat that's very extreme to me and he'd be instantly put to NE.

This one isn't one of those since Pharasma has clerics that are NG, N, and NE. Anyhow, I would never take away a cleric's powers knowing this as a GM. In order to remove the powers of a cleric he'd have to do something against his own deity that directly contradicts their most esteemed tenets. The way I look at it is if this Cleric were NE and did the same thing, he'd not have lost his powers because he's "evil" why should the neutral be treated differently by his deity?

So this is an alignment issue not a deity tenets issue to me and the loss of divine powers should never have come into play. This is not a Paladin doing this.


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.


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."

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