Cleric of Sarenrae not using a scimitar (and how quickly will alignment change)?


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First, a little backstory: I am GMing "Shattered Star" and the PCs are currently all level 9 or 10. The PC in question has been in the game for 2 or 3 sessions (he came in after the original PC died). Admittedly, I didn't check his character sheet before allowing him to bring in the cleric. He claims to be neutral good but doesn't play like it. I have warned him once already and I'm not sure when I should start dishing out punishment for opposing his deity.

This PC is playing a Dwarf Cleric of Sarenrae but refuses to use a scimitar, "because I'm a dwarf I'm using a warhammer." For other deities I wouldn't be so hung up on the favored weapon but because Sarenrae's faith is so heavily focused on use of the scimitar it seems to me that refusing the scimitar (or any sword for that matter) is strictly against her teachings and that the cleric should be punished in some way. It's worth noting that he doesn't even own a scimitar.

The player tends to not care about anything else Sarenrae stands for (compassion, peace, redemption). He is 100% a murder-hobo type of player and takes the "kill first, ask questions later" to the extreme as in "ok I stabilize/heal/raise dead the person, we ask it questions then kill it again". He's obviously not against torturing creatures for information.

So, the real questions I need help with are:
1) Can a cleric of Sarenrae actually get away with not using a scimitar?

2) I know I can give him small punishments from Sarenrae such as "temporary, unexplained sunburn or blindness" but does not using the scimitar warrant that?

3) How quickly will alignment change and which steps should it go to? If he's "NG" does it go in 1 step increments e.g. NG-N-NE or would his actions take him straight to NE/CE?

4) How many warnings should I give the player before his alignment actually is changed (potentially jeopardizing his class abilities)?

Edit:
I don't want to have him out-right change is deity because I feel like that would take too long in-game. I'm not aware of there being a rule that says a cleric can change deities instantaneously but if there is I would have him change. However, this doesn't help with the way he plays the cleric aside from the scimitar as I won't allow evil characters to play.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

1) Yes.

2) No.

Him not using his Goddess' favored weapon has zero bearing on his alignment or his standing with her. All Deities have favored weapons, none of their followers are required to use them.

Focus on his actions you have a problem with, like healing someone to question them then killing them, rather than the lack of scimitar.

The scimitar is a non-issue.


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I played a paladin of Sarenrae, and I was a divine hunter so *of course* I didn't use a scimitar. Weapon choice is not written into Sarenrae's code.

His behavior on the other hand does warrant warnings, and then possible alignment shift and loss of spellcasting if he shifts too far away from NG. If he shifts to true neutral and doesn't go beyond it, he might be a member of the Cult of the Dawnflower.


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Yeah, I was about to ask where it is written that Sarenrae is so hung out on her followers using her sacred weapon.

What bothers me is a Dwarven cleric of Sarenrae existing in the first place... Dwarves tend not to be sun worshippers. And in the case of one actually being there, he clinging to his Dwarven heritage rather than adopting the scimitar and everything Sarenrae with a convert's zeal... and then not caring for the deity's tenets either... obviously that guy is not really worshipping Sarenrae.

If he goes on flouting his alignment, or the tenets of Sarenrae (compassion, peace, redemption etc) he might indeed be in need of punishment... or maybe you could send agents of deities he more closely corresponds to to tempt him into shifting allegiances... maybe being approached by worshippers of Rovagug because "his deeds have brought him to the God's attention" will make him think again about his character's conduct.


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Your player might have some legitimate issues with the way he is playing his character, but not having or not using a scimitar isn't one of them.

Sarenrae's faith isn't that predicated on the scimitar, I'm not sure where you're getting that from. In fact, no deity's faith is predicated upon using only 1 weapon. It's just the deity's favored weapon, often viewed as a symbol of that deity.

Your real problem is that you have a character that is doing obviously evil acts like raising someone from the dead just to kill them again.

Your player isn't playing his cleric of Sarenrae right, but it has nothing to do with whether or not he's using a scimitar.

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Klorox wrote:
Yeah, I was about to ask where it is written that Sarenrae is so hung out on her followers using her sacred weapon.

These lines in her dogma: "Sarenrae's doctrines preach swift justice delivered by the scimitar's edge. To this end, she expects her faithful to be skilled at swordplay..."

Found here: http://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Sarenrae

And there are a few mentions of the scimitar in the ISWG (pg 225) like "...At such times, Sarenrae’s clerics become dervishes, dancing among foes while allowing their scimitars to give their opponents final redemption."

Klorox wrote:


What bothers me is a Dwarven cleric of Sarenrae existing in the first place... Dwarves tend not to be sun worshippers. And in the case of one actually being there, he clinging to his Dwarven heritage rather than adopting the scimitar with a convert's zeal... and then not caring for the deity's tenets either... obviously that guy is not really worshipping Sarenrae.

That bothered me too, just not as much as the scimitar bit did. I might be a little too hung up on the weapon choice!


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First step: he goes to do morning prayers, gets no spells replenished, alignment drops to Neutral and has a conversation with her Herald in his mind. This is the one warning received for flagrantly evil actions. IF he acts repentant without replacing his spells (depending on the specifics of dogma) for a day or two or three - although frankly, the torture for information bit is pretty severe - he may warrant redemption.

If not, his next prayer session after committing egregious acts of evil is when he becomes an ex-cleric and alignment drops to NE.


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Have a talk with the PLAYER first. Many times players have different interpretations of what is important and GMs "randomly" imposing punishments and consequences can be perceived negatively. Talk to the player and offer him the chance to look at another deity or to pick parts of Sarenrae's teachings that he does wish to follow. 2 or 3 sessions is short enough that I usually give my players a mulligan on certain aspects of their character.


How do the other people at the table feel about his character?

If others are okay with his playstyle, I would just let it go. You aren't going to make the game more fun with this fight.

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johnlocke90 wrote:

How do the other people at the table feel about his character?

If others are okay with his playstyle, I would just let it go. You aren't going to make the game more fun with this fight.

Excluding him, 2 out of 3 are not happy with the actions his cleric has taken and have told me that. The third is his wife so I think she won't say anything even if she disagrees with him.


UntoldPaige wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:

How do the other people at the table feel about his character?

If others are okay with his playstyle, I would just let it go. You aren't going to make the game more fun with this fight.

Excluding him, 2 out of 3 are not happy with the actions his cleric has taken and have told me that. The third is his wife so I think she won't say anything even if she disagrees with him.

Well then approach him from that angle."the other players aren't happy with how you are playing the character. Can you tone down the torture?" will go far better than an alignment argument.

Very few players do things that they believe will cause their character to fall, so punishing the character will just make the player mad. He will think you are unfairly targeting him.

Grand Lodge

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Also, you could suggest he switches to Gorum, the murderhobo deity of murderhobos.


Not using a deity's holy weapon is OK for a cleric. In some cases it is advantageous to do so (like the scimitar), in others it is not (starknife anyone?). To have one alternative to the simple assortment is just a class feature the cleric can use or not. If a dwarf prefers the classic racial weapon, why not?

On the other hand, he does not sound neutral good, which is the problem to me. It would be best to talk to him and maybe let him pick a deity which is better suited to his play-style, if he is unable to follow Sarenrae's tenets.


I second the Gorum-suggestion.

But first, talk to him. Explain to him that his actions (the murder hobo part, *not* the warhammer part) neither fit his god nor his alignment, that it bothers both you and two players (3/5th of the group), and give him a choice which of those he wants to change.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds like he wants to play a video game.
I've played with players like this. Ones who picked their deity for the domains and abilities offered, not for the alignment or dogma associated with the deity.
They're hard to deal with. I hate playing with murder hobos, but sometimes I end up having to because the person was invited by a friend, etc etc.
But I'd definitely not let Sarenrae offer him use of spells for very long with that playstyle.

Shadow Lodge

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It's hard to day. I wouldn't really consider "ok I stabilize/heal/raise dead the person, we ask it questions then kill it again" the same as "torturing for information". It could be, but I guess that depends on how they actually go about it.

This is also one of the main reasons that I dislike getting more and more information on the Setting and deities, as it starts to remove options for point of view in a metagame sense, and also makes it seem more ok to say others are doing it wrong based on who has access to more material.

I can see it going two ways, depending on how things are actually going in the game. We are really only seeing the one side here. Maybe he picked Sarenrae more for the associated powers rather than because he or she cares about the Setting fluff, which is perfectly fine. Maybe they just wanted to be good at fighting Undead for instance, and not really care much about Fire, redemption, healing for it's own sake, etc. . .

Neutral Good is also an acceptable Alignment for a Cleric of Sarenrae, and there are multiple churches that take that approach, such as the Cult of the Dawnflower. I guess the point is, are you certain that the issue is that he is not playing his character the way you want or expect him to rather than not being a appropriate Cleric of Sarenrae?

What is considered Good Aligned is also a bit up in the air, especially with Paizo's/Pathfinders less specific standards.


UntoldPaige wrote:

These lines in her dogma: "Sarenrae's doctrines preach swift justice delivered by the scimitar's edge. To this end, she expects her faithful to be skilled at swordplay..."

Found here: http://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Sarenrae

And there are a few mentions of the scimitar in the ISWG (pg 225) like "...At such times, Sarenrae’s clerics become dervishes, dancing among foes while allowing their scimitars to give their opponents final redemption."

Those are more like generalities of her faith, rather than specific required tenets, you're reading a bit too specifically.

You should more read this as:
"Sarenrae preaches swift justice delivered by force if necessary. To this end she expects her faithful to be skilled at combat".


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Deities favored weapon is exactly that. The weapon that deity likes the best. It isn't quite at the level of a favorite color or favorite food, but it is pretty close. I think the church would welcome a dwarf aspirant regardless of their weapon choice, provided they were true to the teachings of the god. As you point out, most dwarves don't spend enough time out in the sun.

---

It sounds like the player has only been playing this character a few times. Talk to them, see if they are also unhappy with the choice of god. It may be that they thought that they had a good concept but it hasn't been working out for them. Use that as a spring board to talk about some of the very questionable actions and how "a few" of the other players are uncomfortable with his character's actions.

Don't make a big deal about changing out the character again if that is the easiest way to make people happy. The game is supposed to be fun. If the player wants a different character after having played the current one a few times, find some way to swap out characters in story and don't make a big deal about it.


The dwarf does have major problems... but none of them are due to his choice of weapon. It's more to the fact that he isn't really playing a Cleric of Sarenrae in spirit. If he wants a murderhobo god with the "Good" tag, and the warhammer fetish, he really should be looking at Torag.


UntoldPaige wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:

How do the other people at the table feel about his character?

If others are okay with his playstyle, I would just let it go. You aren't going to make the game more fun with this fight.

Excluding him, 2 out of 3 are not happy with the actions his cleric has taken and have told me that. The third is his wife so I think she won't say anything even if she disagrees with him.

I have a problem with your other players, so you should probably punish them as well.


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Have you asked him why he chose Sarenrae?

Shadow Lodge

DM Beckett wrote:
<True> Neutral Good is also an acceptable Alignment for a Cleric of Sarenrae, and there are multiple churches that take that approach, such as the Cult of the Dawnflower. I guess the point is, are you certain that the issue is that he is not playing his character the way you want or expect him to rather than not being a appropriate Cleric of Sarenrae?

Made a small error and too late to correct it.

Grand Lodge

Let the damn dwarf use whatever weapon he wants. Seriously, it's more fun to be a little different.

As for all the alignment problems.. either talk to him for real about being a jerk, or have Sa rae rae take his spells/channels away until he cleans up his act.


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If I'm honest, your issue with the weapon choice really undermines your credibility with the other issues with the way the character is played. I have to ask myself whether your dislike of his weapon choice (the argument you led with,so to all appearances the one you are most concerned about) is colouring your perceptions or whether you would even be here if he was murder hobo-ing with a scimitar.

There is no way that weapon choice should ever be that big a deal for a cleric.

Dark Archive

I'd say not to punish him without an obvious warning about it. Like a GM -> Player "Are you sure? Torturing a helpless NPC could have negative consequences with your deity?"
If he does it anyway, no spells the next day, requiring an atonement.


Maybe hand out a phylactery of faithfulness in some loot?

Dark Archive

Valandil Ancalime wrote:
Have you asked him why he chose Sarenrae?

He chose the Sarenrae because he wanted the healing domain. I believe he also wanted the good domain but that one could have come from not wanting Fire, Glory, or Sun.

dragonhunterq wrote:

If I'm honest, your issue with the weapon choice really undermines your credibility with the other issues with the way the character is played. I have to ask myself whether your dislike of his weapon choice (the argument you led with,so to all appearances the one you are most concerned about) is colouring your perceptions or whether you would even be here if he was murder hobo-ing with a scimitar.

There is no way that weapon choice should ever be that big a deal for a cleric.

The only reason I had an issue with the weapon choice was because of the Sarenrae faith descriptions I had read. No other deities seem to focus so specifically on a certain weapon so I felt like it was a very important part of her worship. I clearly see now that I may be the only person who reads into it that way.

My questions would have left out the scimitar part had I not felt the same, because I still have the issue of a NG cleric going murder-hobo and I'm not really sure how quickly his alignment would change.


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Whew, a bunch of stuff to parse here.

First off, as everyone has said, worship of a deity in no way necessitates using that deity's favored weapon, even in the case where the deity's favored weapon is a "major part" of that deity's faith.

Dwarven priests of Sarenrae actually make a lot of sense in Golarion thanks to the dwarven history of the Quest for Sky.

Thirdly, it does sound as though the character is being a bit unreasonably harsh, but without knowing the full story behind each of these incidents, it's hard to know whether or not this strays firmly into Evil territory or just Neutral territory. Sarenrae is NG, so she can have Neutral worshippers - so even if you drop him to Neutral, he still gets spells.

Lastly, you said he's using Raise Dead on enemy victims? That's a terribly laughable way of trying to extract information for a few reasons. First off, it carries an expensive material component cost (*5000 gold!*), and secondly:

Raise Dead wrote:
In addition, the subject's soul must be free and willing to return. If the subject's soul is not willing to return, the spell does not work

Why on Golarion would that creature willingly return? So your PC should be burning 5k gold and getting *nothing* in return. Speak with Dead makes a hell of a lot more sense, and can be performed *without* the need for torture.


It's also worth noting that when raising the dead that the soul be resurrected knows the alignment of the person casting the spell, their name, and their deity.

Let me find the reference for, but I'm 99% certain of this.

Edit: Found it

Core Rule Book, Magic Chapter wrote:

Revivification against One's Will

A soul can't be returned to life if it doesn't wish to be. A soul knows the name, alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it and may refuse to return on that basis.

So there's a strong chance that the dwarven cleric wastes that expensive material casting the spell only to have it fail because the soul knows who is calling and chooses not to be revived by the person that just killed him.


Given that the Quest came from a Prophecy of Torag, I don't see how Sarenrae makes much sense as deity for a dwarf... A Dwarf worshipping her is actually leaving the realm of the Dwarf pantheon, an unusual and antitraditional move.


Yes the weapon is important to the religion but it is not a mandate. It is weird and other devotees might look at him oddly but that would not be the big problem. Fun potential role play yes. Game changer nope. The big issue here is the murder hobo behavior. Sarenrae is a goddess of redemption. That is a big part of the faith. Always offer a chance to change.

The PC being a dwarf is not that weird maybe he did bad things in his past and is trying to atone for them. He found peace in the Dawnflower. I have a Cleric of Sarenrae that just joined my game and he was a mercenary who was 'remade' into a cleric. He wants to struggle with his past. If the player is willing it could be a really fun character arc.

But he cannot just kill everyone. That theology offers the chance to change their ways to their enemy and only if they are refused do they get with the killing. Only in the face of 'evil' do they kill indiscriminately.

It seems like your player just picked the deity for the domains, and there are some nice one.

As for the alignment issue he sounds CE to me. Murder hobo behavior is evil. I would have hit his alignment.

Talk to the player.


Klorox wrote:
Given that the Quest came from a Prophecy of Torag, I don't see how Sarenrae makes much sense as deity for a dwarf... A Dwarf worshipping her is actually leaving the realm of the Dwarf pantheon, an unusual and antitraditional move.

Sure it is:

Pathfinderwiki wrote:
Sarenrae counts all non-evil gods as her companions, and even communicates with evil deities in the hopes of converting them from their dark ways. She has some distrust for Asmodeus due to arguing over the souls of the dead. Her only true enemy is Rovagug, although Torag and his followers distrust the Dawnflower and her flock, seeing their willingness to forgive as a weakness.

But it's perfectly reasonable to think that there were dwarves that broke the surface and were divinely awestruck by the sight of the sun. Plus, PC's commonly break the mold - heck, an adventuring dwarf traveling with non-dwarves is itself pretty antitraditional.

Just because a choice is unusual doesn't mean that it's not allowed (as long as it's not expressly forbidden in the rules, of course.)


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Gulthor wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Given that the Quest came from a Prophecy of Torag, I don't see how Sarenrae makes much sense as deity for a dwarf... A Dwarf worshipping her is actually leaving the realm of the Dwarf pantheon, an unusual and antitraditional move.

Sure it is:

Pathfinderwiki wrote:
Sarenrae counts all non-evil gods as her companions, and even communicates with evil deities in the hopes of converting them from their dark ways. She has some distrust for Asmodeus due to arguing over the souls of the dead. Her only true enemy is Rovagug, although Torag and his followers distrust the Dawnflower and her flock, seeing their willingness to forgive as a weakness.

But it's perfectly reasonable to think that there were dwarves that broke the surface and were divinely awestruck by the sight of the sun. Plus, PC's commonly break the mold - heck, an adventuring dwarf traveling with non-dwarves is itself pretty antitraditional.

Just because a choice is unusual doesn't mean that it's not allowed (as long as it's not expressly forbidden in the rules, of course.)

Every Dwarf has the freedom of religion, regardless of who they are.

Unless they worship someone Neutral or Evil. Or Non-Lawful. Or anyone not bad-ass enough.

Fine Dwarves can only worship Today!

The Exchange

Tell him to use speak to the dead if he wants to get information from corpses =) Though honestly its easier to take them alive then intimidate the crap out of em.


Rysky wrote:
All Deities have favored weapons, none of their followers are required to use them.

Actually there's a small number of Iomedae followers who are

I think there's also at least one obedience that requires a favored weapon, but I'm not sure.

The Exchange

Some clerics (Ecclesitheurge) do not even get profiency in their deitys fav weapon.

Silver Crusade

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deuxhero wrote:
Rysky wrote:
All Deities have favored weapons, none of their followers are required to use them.

Actually there's a small number of Iomedae followers who are

I think there's also at least one obedience that requires a favored weapon, but I'm not sure.

Your pedantism is neither helpful, nor actually on point.

That's a feat that her followers can take, not one built in nor is it required for them to take it. So it falls under the same argument as the favored weapon. They can, but they're not required to.


Since real world people are not wholly defined by their religious or philosophical beliefs (or lack thereof) but also by their homeland, circumstances of birth, education, accumulated experiences, social life, etc. I don't know why roleplaying game characters can't have at least some of that depth.

Like if you have a Dwarven Cleric who elects to use a weapon that is not significant to their religion, but is significant to their Dwarven identity, I don't see any reason a deity (at least a good one) would have a serious issue with that. Your deity probably wants you to defend their interests and follow their example, not to copy them exactly. A deity that asks their followers to completely deny who they are and where they've been in favor of total obedience doesn't exactly read as "Good" to me.

Like Pharasma would much rather you bring a much-more-effective mace, maul, or hammer to bear against skeletons than her favored dagger.

Liberty's Edge

Clerics are proficient with all simple weapons and the favored weapon of their deity ( in this case, the scimitar for clerics of Sarenrae ). If any other type of weapon is used, and the cleric does not spend a feat to enable him to gain proficiency with the weapon, the character will take a penalty to hit his target.Note that the war hammer is a martial weapon, not a simple one. There is no alignment penalty for using another weapon, except possibly if the weapon itself has an evil alignment. The main issue is the player's play style and his slide towards an evil alignment. I suggest that you first talk to him out of game about this and try to explain what actions will cause his character's alignment to shift towards evil. If he still continues to perform evil actions, send his character a dream that he is losing favor with his deity. If this still continues, do not let him temporarily regain spells. You may,at this point, change his alignment one step towards evil. Note that, if a cleric's alignment shifts two steps from their deity's alignment , the cleric will lose all spells until he performs a special task for the deity. In addition, if the deity is especially angered, the character might be penalized or cursed in some way- though I do not think Sarenrae would utilize the latter option.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Clerics are proficient with all simple weapons and the favored weapon of their deity ( in this case, the scimitar for clerics of Sarenrae ). If any other type of weapon is used, and the cleric does not spend a feat to enable him to gain proficiency with the weapon, the character will take a penalty to hit his target.Note that the war hammer is a martial weapon, not a simple one.

While this is true, it's also important to note that dwarves are proficient with warhammers per their weapon familiarity racial trait:

CRB wrote:
Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves are proficient with battleaxes, heavy picks, and warhammers, and treat any weapon with the word “dwarven” in its name as a martial weapon.

emphasis mine

More to the point, I think PossibleCabbage makes a very good point regarding a dwarf using a weapon that's important to their racial heritage, and is very significant to dwarven culture.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Any cleric can use any weapon for any deity, for the most part, though obviously some are more thematic for the faith - they are not bound to using them. So, as others have pointed out, there's no expected penalty for a dwarf using a popular weapon from dwarven culture.

I also agree that the whole Quest for Sky could have ended up inspiring quite a few dwarves to found and maintain a religious branch devoted to Sarenrae and her solar portfolio.

The problem here is the PC's behavior doesn't match the religion's expectations. While I think it's perfectly fine to focus on narrow aspects and not honor the entirety of the faith's tenets, it sounds like that isn't really happening either. My guess is there is a fundamental disconnect between the expectations of the GM with a few of the players and the dwarf cleric player. That should be addressed out in the open with the concerned players involved. Tell the dwarf cleric player that you and the other players don't want to play in the murder hobo style and want more characterization. Even apologize for not making that clear to him when recruiting him.

I wouldn't take it out on his PC until that is thoroughly communicated and well understood by the player.


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I agree that the behavior of the character in question is a problem. I just have to ask, is he part of the Cult of the Dawnflower?

Sovereign Court

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My impression is that you have a cleric of convenience.

He just chose a God for spells and domain powers.

That's fine for a certain play style.

As a GM, one of the best things you can do is set expectations for the game.
For example, APs have whole guides which set expectations.
For my last game, the expectations were:
Only good characters.
This is a story of heroes.
We will be playing in Varisia (shared links to wiki)
You should be from Magnimar or have good reason to be there
You should be interested in ancient monuments

If you have only player who is playing a different game to everyone else... That's a problem but it's not anyone's fault.

Sit down and talk play-styles with your player.
Change his mind.
To do that, you need to concede your own part in the problem (even if you have done nothing wrong).
I would start with something like this: "I don't think I've really established where this campaign is going. I'm quite invested in the setting and am going to use elements, like the gods, quite heavily. It's also planned as a heroic adventure..."
Give him the choice to suggest how you could solve the dilemma together. Empower him so that you reduce resentment and increase buy-in.
"So, I'm really open to ideas to make it all work..."
Obvious suggestions include: change how he RPs character.
Make character possessed and centre of story-arc to rescue his soul.
Build new PC, pretend old one never existed.
PC to die heroically and return a reformed person.
...


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UntoldPaige wrote:


dragonhunterq wrote:

If I'm honest, your issue with the weapon choice really undermines your credibility with the other issues with the way the character is played. I have to ask myself whether your dislike of his weapon choice (the argument you led with,so to all appearances the one you are most concerned about) is colouring your perceptions or whether you would even be here if he was murder hobo-ing with a scimitar.

There is no way that weapon choice should ever be that big a deal for a cleric.

The only reason I had an issue with the weapon choice was because of the Sarenrae faith descriptions I had read. No other deities seem to focus so specifically on a certain weapon so I felt like it was a very important part of her worship. I clearly see now that I may be the only person who reads into it that way.

My questions would have left out the scimitar part had I not felt the same, because I still have the issue of a NG cleric going murder-hobo and I'm not really sure how quickly his alignment would change.

Fair enough. On murder-hobo-ing, as others have said, you will not solve this in game by changing alignment or removing powers. All that will cause is resentment (at best).

A proper sit-down, friendly chat about expectations is far more likely to get the results you wish. If that doesn't work, then in-game strong arm tactics would also never have worked.

Dark Archive

Serenrae, be a member of the cult of the dawnflower and tell him to have fun murder hoboing. I despise a gm telling me my actions are not of my alighnment, much of those beliefs are based on only interpretation. Solely for that reason I will never play a paladin. I think it's best to follow this rule, is the player being disruptive and making the game less fun for the others? Then talk to him about your concerns.


UntoldPaige wrote:
He is 100% a murder-hobo type of player and takes the "kill first, ask questions later" to the extreme as in "ok I stabilize/heal/raise dead the person, we ask it questions then kill it again". He's obviously not against torturing creatures for information.

To address this specific issue, I would direct you to the rules on Revivification against One's Will (CRB page 208). A soul cannot be returned to life if it doesn't want to be. The soul knows the name, alignment, and deity of the character attempting to revive it and may simply refuse any attempt to bring it back by someone it doesn't want bringing it back.

So, yeah, raising the dead to interrogate them is only a viable option if the person would be willing to be raised by the person casting the spell.

If he wants to interrogate people maybe he should stop killing them first.

UntoldPaige wrote:
1) Can a cleric of Sarenrae actually get away with not using a scimitar?

Yes, as said already, a cleric is not required to use the favored weapon of their deity.

UntoldPaige wrote:
2) I know I can give him small punishments from Sarenrae such as "temporary, unexplained sunburn or blindness" but does not using the scimitar warrant that?

No, not using the scimitar doesn't warrant punishment. However, all the other unseemly behavior does warrant some kind of divine signal. You can talk to him out-of-character or start small in-character, or perhaps do both.

UntoldPaige wrote:
3) How quickly will alignment change and which steps should it go to? If he's "NG" does it go in 1 step increments e.g. NG-N-NE or would his actions take him straight to NE/CE?

If he doesn't take the hint with non-mechanical effects (things strictly in the RP like sunburns or bad dreams) consider having his domain powers and domain spell slots denied to him before his general clerical spells, but don't just hit him with it out-of-the-blue in combat. Make it clear when he prays that he's feeling blocked somehow. Merely denying the domain effects first shows again that "Hey, this is deity-specific."

The first time it happens, allow him to pray and use divination spells to figure out what's wrong. Maybe even suggest the use of such magic.

If he returns to his old ways after divination magic has been cast and the effect is lifted, do the same thing again, limiting his access to his domains, coupled with a curse or geas/quest effect that hinders him mechanically in some minor way appropriate to his combat style. If he would have to move two steps in a direction to actually lose divine spell-casting, this step might contain an alignment shift that doesn't impact spellcasting. This new punishment should require he seek atonement with another clergy of his faith to be lifted, either the literal atonement spell, or merely having the cleric cast remove curse or break enchantment. The cleric should also have a heart-to-heart with him and provide him good counsel about the destructive ("sinful") path he's on.

If he does it yet again, consider an alignment shift outside of his allowed clerical alignments, coupled with all the other effects above. This shift can also be restored with the atonement spell by a cleric of the faith, but the same cleric may not be willing to cast it again. He should know very clearly this is the effect he's approaching when he gets the previous curse removed by the cleric of his faith. He can get an atonement to shift back to his alignment for Sarenrae, and also remove the curse or geas, or he can switch deities and domains, and the new patron can grant him the same relief from the curse or geas.

Subsequent mis-matched alignment issues can put him back in the same position of being outside of her allowed alignments.

So this is basically four steps, repeated here just because:
1.) Non-mechanical portents and omens of the deity's dissatisfaction.
2.) The "temporary" loss of domains (domain abilities and domain spells+slots) that he can fix himself by figuring out what is wrong and making amends.
3.) The "temporary" loss of domains (domain abilities and domain spells+slots), plus a curse or geas/quest that also afflicts him somehow, and possibly a one-step alignment shift if it doesn't affect spellcasting. He cannot resolve it himself and must seek the aid and counsel of a cleric of the faith that can cast an appropriate spell on him to fix it.
4.) An alignment shift to a fitting alignment for his behavior that finally cuts off his spell-casting access, plus all the effects of the last time (no domain powers, and a curse or geas), that requires he seek an atonement spell from a cleric of the faith. If he changes deities (and domains, as appropriate) to a deity that allows his new alignment, also allow that as a means of removing the curse or geas effect.

UntoldPaige wrote:
4) How many warnings should I give the player before his alignment actually is changed (potentially jeopardizing his class abilities)?

Ummm... See above for my opinion on this subject.

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Alternatively, if you want him to change deities, but don't want to go through a huge quest about it, consider having him receive visions from a more appropriate deity that tempts him away from Sarenrae. This deity may suggest it will grant him the powers Sarenrae denies him, but he must accept its domains instead of hers, and must continue to act the way he does in its name instead of in her name.

Then you don't have to run the quest for him to change, the other deity is tempting him to its service and all he has to do is give up the Fire and Healing domains, or whatever domains he took with Sarenrae. (I like Fire and Healing.)

Anyway, those are my thoughts.


It sounds like he chose at least the wrong deity. If the only reason he chose Sarenrae is for the domains then he really should find another deity. Considering he seems more focused on being a dwarf than a cleric dwarven deity would make more since. Torag is a pretty harsh deity and looking at his paladins’ code seems to be the best fit. I realize he is not playing a paladin, but the paladins code does give a good idea or what a deity expects out of his followers.

• My word is my bond. When I give my word formally, I defend my oath to my death. Traps lie in idle banter or thoughtless talk, and so I watch my tongue.

• I am at all times truthful, honorable, and forthright, but my allegiance is to my people. I will do what is necessary to serve them, including misleading others.

• I respect the forge, and never sully it with halfhearted work. My creations reflect the depth of my faith, and I will not allow flaws save in direst need.

• Against my people's enemies I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except to extract information. I will defeat them, and I will scatter their families. Yet even in the struggle against our enemies, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

If he wants the healing domain than simply have him take the Seperatist Archetype and choose healing as his second domain. This will mean he gets his second domain power at 8th level when everyone else gets it but since it is not a limited use power that is the only affect.

The way he is playing his character he is likely to end up an Ex-Cleric of Sarenrae.

Shadow Lodge

I wonder if this would still be as much of a problem if he where playing a Warpriest?

Would it be possible to get some examples of exactly what the character is doing? That might make it easier to come up with suggestions on how to handle it or make an assessment if they are really playing out of line.

Your example of "torturing for information", to me seems implied to be dark or evil, but honestly I could see it going different ways, and could very easily also be an issue understanding between what the GM says (or thinks they say) vs what the Players hear. Or otherwise receive.

Is it possible that the player had tried that at the beginning and was taught that non-violent attempts where not rewarded? I've seen DM's interpret the Diplomacy rules so that they automatically fail if there is a combat coming in anything less than 1 minute, because it takes 1 full minute to attempt it. So, in essence, the only time Diplomacy can be used is when the hostile NPC just happens to be sitting there waiting for someone to try to talk them out of it, ie, never.

While that's just one example, is it possible that the DM hadn't begun to teach the player certain ways of playing just didn't work or would not be rewarded?

Alternatively, is it possible that the player isn't being as much a "murderhobo" as practical, seeing the best method of healing as keeping people from being hurt in the first place? Or perhaps going out of his way to stabilize enemies to see IF they surrender or have a chance of redemption without opening himself and the party up for the obvious deception (Change your alignment and I'll let you live, . . . just so you can come back and stab us in the back later when you lie).

Back in the 3.0 days, I had a DM that loved to pull something similar to this with Drow and Tieflings, assuring us that the NPC was "not Evil", and repeatedly telling is that we had no real cause to distrust this particular NPC, etc. . ., who would inevitably ambush us or whatever. Said DM taught us that kill on sight for Drow/Tieflings was not only logical, but a matter of survival, and backed themselves into a corner because they simply couldn't argue against the idea that doing so would inevitably spare a lot of people pain, death, or lose.


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It seems that if you want to discourage your players from being murderhobos, you want to do more or less the opposite of what DM Beckett is talking about.

Instead of making the NPC that the PCs had no reason to distrust eventually betray you, make the NPC that the PCs had every reason to distrust eventually betray the PCs' antagonists, and if that doesn't happen (because they're dead) then the PCs don't get whatever additional benefit that would have garnered them.

A la-
[PCs killed helpless named NPC when it was in their power to spare them]
Later on: Other Named NPC: We were expecting information from [1st named NPC] who was undercover infiltrating their organization and helping to bring it down from the inside, but we haven't heard a peep in weeks. I hope they're okay.

Pulling all those procedural tropes where bringing down the little fish hurts the process of the major bust may be cliche, but it's better than "your god is mad at you." Since if the PCs have tangible evidence that "killing everyone that opposes you is actually not the best plan" they will more readily self-police this sort of thing.


The big problem is the deity he supposedly worships focuses on mercy and redemption. Any class drawing power from a deity has to at least pay lip service to their deity’s beliefs and codes. All divine classes including inquisitors and warpriests have a section on Ex-<class name>. If he were a worshiper of Torag much of what he wants to do would be not only accepted but expected. Some of what the original poster said does border on evil, but without having more details and hearing from both sides I am inclined to grant the cleric the benefit of the doubt. He simply chose the wrong deity.

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