What kinds of penalties for theft in Sandpoint?


Rise of the Runelords

Shadow Lodge

So I have a Rogue in my group who stole a rope from the General Store while Ven was in the basement dealing with the group's Bard and Shaylis. This Rogue has the Favored Son trait with Sheriff Hemlock as the NPC he's close to. Sheriff Hemlock knows he's apt to theft as he caught him stealing when he was younger, but saw him giving the stolen money to some poor people. He had a soft spot and tried to help lead a better life.

So this brings us around to Ven will be going to the Sheriff when he returns from Magnimar to have the entire party arrested for a coordinated theft of the rope during the Shaylis encounter.

The groups Paladin didn't know that the theft happened and Father Zantus's help was enlisted to repair the relationship with Ven. Unfortuantely Ven wants nothing to do with that now that he suspects the theft happened. Ven has no proof it happened, but it did happen.

As Father Zantus is involved, I suspect a Zone of Truth will be used to help get to the truth of the situation. Assuming the Rogue fails his save, the truth will come out.

I'm trying to figure out an appropriate punishment which will be reasonable, believable, will satisfy the populace of Sandpoint, yet won't disrupt the campaign significantly. Sandpoint being the busybody town it is, most people know of the relationship of the Rogue and the Sheriff over the previous ten years. The Sheriff and Mayor are going to be really hard pressed to hand out an appropriate punishment without seeming to go light on him because of their relationship.

I'm thinking a few things are going to be needed at least. One a fine and two an apology to Ven. Ven is angry and wants jail time though. So I'm not sure how to go. Of course the Sheriff is going to be very hurt and disappointed in the Rogue, so we'll be dealing with that as well.

What would you do in this situation?


If fine and apology is not enough, maybe you can add some public service? And this public service ay turn out to be in alignment with the campaign's goals.

You can also put him in stocks for a day. In medieval times jail wasn't actually considered a punishment, criminals were put there only to wait for a proper trial. Puting him in stocks in a public place will make his crime known to everyone in Sanpoint, which mechanically may incur a permanent penalty to social interactions while in Sandpoint.


Have him make an apology (DC 20 Diplomacy check) and pay for the rope? If he pays double the cost of the rope he gets a +4 bonus, if he doesn't offer to pay for the rope at all he gets a -4 penalty?

Engineer a situation where the party gets the chance to save Ven or one of his family from thugs or goblins or something (If you haven't run monster in the closet you could have that take place at Ven's house instead), after that Ven drops the charges.

The mayor steps in and suggests community service instead of jail time for one of the 'heroes' because of the recent goblin attack, the rogue has to work for the town guard for a few weeks.


Hi, tall folk.

Cut the thief's right hand and show it up high to the peasants, thats the only good way to calm down the crowd.

Just kidding. Your main problem here is that your players are supposed to help sandpoint because they like that town, and the people living in there. If you go too hard, your player will turn in a "i dont like this people so i dont want to help them" mode that's pretty annoying.

I think he should make a public apologice and work for Ven until he pay his debt, not being able to pay it with adventure gold but with the effort of his hands, the same effort he was trying to steal from someone.


I apologize for casting Raise Dead on this topic, but I must add something for any other people who come into this topic from Google or wherever. Here goes:

Delthos wrote:
I have a Rogue in my group who stole a rope from the General Store while Ven was in the basement

OK. He stole 1 GP worth of gear. Got it.

Delthos wrote:
Ven will be going to the Sheriff when he returns from Magnimar

OK. That's... hmm. Ven will make 50% at best on a sale of rope, so we're talking about him holding a grudge for 5 silvers. If it were any other NPC, I think they'd shrug it off, since there is NO proof that the PCs even did the theft. Just suspicions.

5 silvers is roughly equal to 2 mugs of ale. If you go to a bar in the real world and get a couple of drinks, what is that? 15 bucks? Do you know any store owner in the real world that would remember or care about a $15 petty theft after they go out of town for a week? And care so much that they go to the police over it? I mean, it's Ven, so he'll care if you want him to, but I'm not sure anyone else would.

Delthos wrote:
As Father Zantus is involved, I suspect a Zone of Truth will be used to help get to the truth of the situation.

This is crazy. Zone of Truth costs 60 GP to hire a spellcaster to cast it. Father Zantus is a good guy, but telling him he needs to cast a free Zone of Truth over a stolen rope? There is no way a priest is casting a 2nd level spell for free over a petty theft. Or to put it another way, there is no way an NPC is donating a 60 GP spell in order to find out the truth about a 1 GP item. Maybe the players might be that obsessed ("it's the principle of the thing!") if the tables were turned, but NPCs are supposed to live in the world and be plausible. They need careers and ways to make money and eat and live safely. Zantus casting a free Zone of Truth to find out about the Skinsaw murders? Yeah, he might be convinced to do that. Zantus casting a Cure spell on the PCs for free after the PCs save him or save the town? Yeah, he might do that. But casting free 2nd level spells over missing rope? That is bonkers. But maybe this is a bonkers campaign where all sense of proportion and verisimilitude is thrown out the window?

Delthos wrote:
I'm trying to figure out an appropriate punishment which will be reasonable, believable, will satisfy the populace of Sandpoint

Oh. Oh no. You don't have a bonkers crazy campaign. You're trying to do what's reasonable and believable. OK.

Zantus is a level 4 cleric. His 2nd level spells are the best he's got, and the town just endured a goblin raid that left people wounded, and now "heroes" are around, getting tasked with missions like "find out who is murdering everyone." That priest -- if he has any sense in his head -- is holding his 2nd level spell slots for healing the wounded, curing things that his parishioners who tithe need, etc. Maybe he's holding slots for any goblin-fighters who show up with their guts hanging out. This is the wrong time for him to be wasting a spell on rope theft.

And Sheriff Hemlock? Even if he could be made to pay for a Zone of Truth spell, why would he think it's worth it over 1 GP of gear? Even if Father Zantus gave Sheriff Hemlock 75% off, why would Hemlock pay Zantus 15 GP for the spell, when he can just give 1 GP to Ven and say, "Quit moaning about this. Here's your money back. I just saved the taxpayers 14 gold. Mystery solved."

Ven himself? If he gives Father Zantus some gold coins to cast a Zone of Truth, and if it turns out the rogue stole the rope and has to reimburse Ven 1 GP, will Ven feel good about that financial outcome? He blew what would be equivalent to maybe $500 to $2000 in our real world, in order to "prove" that someone owed him $30.

Delthos wrote:
The Sheriff and Mayor are going to be really hard pressed to hand out an appropriate punishment without seeming to go light on him because of their relationship.

Go light on him? All you can do is go light on him. It's a silly crime.

For this level of theft, the only people in town who will care are the few who will have tomatoes to throw at whoever ends up in the stocks. Those people will care, because they want target practice. In other words, they don't actually care about the crime; they just want to throw something at a bad person and laugh. Everyone else in town? "Hey Ven, sorry someone took $15 out of your wallet, but could you shut up about it? I mean, you're a good guy and we wish you well, but this isn't even worth us taking up a collection over it. Just deal with it, man."


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You're wrong about the ale - a mug costs 2 cp. For those 5 sp, you could buy 25 mugs. Or a bit more than a gallon (4sp).

You know what else is approximately 1 gp worth? (I'm going with 1 GP because that's how much it'd cost him to replace the rope.)
Ten days of work from an untrained hireling.

In fact:

Cost of Living wrote:
Average (10 gp/month): The PC lives in his own apartment, small house, or similar location—this is the lifestyle of most trained or skilled experts or warriors. He can secure any nonmagical item worth 1 gp or less from his home in 1d10 minutes, and need not track purchases of common meals or taxes that cost 1 gp or less.

It's 1/10th of the average cost of living per month.

A trained hireling (3 sp/day) earns 9 gold per month. An untrained one only a third of that.

These aren't just 15 bucks. They're more like 150.

(Zone of truth is still overkill, though)


Rajnish Umbra, Shadow Caller wrote:
You're wrong about the ale - a mug costs 2 cp.

I think you're right. Thanks for pointing that out. I just double-checked what I was looking at, and it appears I was taking the line for wine, which is 2 SP, and I figured 2 of them was 4 SP, which is close to what Ven would make from a sale of rope. He sells a rope, he gets 2x wine to celebrate. Yay, Ven!

That throws off my calculations a little. Instead of talking about 2 beers at a bar, we're talking about 2 bottles of "common" wine at Safeway. So, maybe it's a real-world equivalent of $40 instead of the mere $15 that I hypothesized.

But, even with we go with your 1 GP = $150 (and Ven stands to profit 1/2 GP from the sale of the rope, so we're talking about $75 here), I still don't understand how a spell that costs 60 GP is cost-effective.

If 1 GP = $150 as you say, then buying the Zone of Truth spell is like Ven Vinder paying Father Zantus $9000 so that he can find out who stole a rope worth $75 profit. We can scale those numbers up & down as we try to find real-world equivalents, but the bottom line is that whatever 1 GP is worth, paying 60x that for a Zone of Truth is a crazy bad return on your investment. It's a huge loss.


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From Ven's perspective these jerks came into his store and stole a rope for no reason other than the fact that they could.

If he doesn't come down hard on this theft every jerk in town is going to start thinking that they can just come into his store and take whatever they want and nothing will happen to them as long as they only steal something that cost less than a ZoT.

If that starts happening then it'll seriously eat into his profits to the point that he'll have to start taking extra measures to protect his store anyway (hire a guard or the like for when he's not there).

Ven is also a dude who is specifically written to be the sort to hold a grudge.

This all adds up to Ven having very good reason to make a donation to the temple for a Zone of Truth in the situation. It's also very likely that if the PCs did steal the rope and the truth comes out in a Zone of Truth that the town would force them to be the ones who cover the cost of the spell.

Of course I think it's very likely that Zantus won't demand a donation from anyone for this spell regardless. There's no expensive component cost and this is public good type stuff, and if he believes the PCs are innocent he'll see this as the quickest way to clear their name, a fine way of saying thanks for helping to protect the town.


Do you know anyone in the real world, even someone who holds a grudge, who would pay $9000 to find out if someone stole an item that stands to net $75 profit?

And, do you know anyone in the real world who has a $9000 service who would offer it for free to find out if someone stole a thing worth $75 profit? I'm thinking of a local lawyer maybe who would end up getting $9000 for his expensive legal services, and I can see that lawyer doing pro-bono work for a victim of something savage or awful, but a grudge-holding vendor who just really had it out for dudes he didn't like? Some dudes who maybe stole a video game? Or maybe it was some other guy? The lawyer is going to do $9000 worth of pro-bono work for a store owner who is obsessed about about a $75 game?

Even in a small town where theft might be a community concern if it got big enough, I just can't see this rising to that level.

I mean hell, everyone should run their games as they wish. For me, taking any action over 5 stupid silver pieces is ridiculous. But if you think you need to do it, you do it. I just can't make sense of that; game world economy, real world equivalent, neither makes sense.

Now, if you told me that Ven took it upon himself to simply beat the living daylights out of a PC (again), because he assumes that's the thief, then yeah I can buy that. Ven throws punches. But Ven is upset about losing 1 GP. A dude upset about losing 1 GP doesn't then spend 60 GP to recover 1 GP. Just my thoughts. Maybe I'm crazy.


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Absent outside factors I would agree - a Zone of Truth to resolve the theft of 1gp worth of rope is an extreme response. And I certainly agree that from the Swallowtail Festival events and until the threat to Sandpoint is resolved in the middle of Book 2, Father Zantus should be reluctant to use powerful magic (in his own scale) on such an endeavor - healing and other threats should probably take precedence.

However I would point out it doesn't actually cost Zantus 60gp to cast it - that's just an economic relative value. All it costs him is the opportunity cost of not casting anything else (see threat to Sandpoint above.) But the spell "goes away" if he doesn't cast it each day so not casting it also has a "cost."

Most importantly though, there's some narrative justification. Zantus isn't being asked to cast the spell for a random shoplifting accusation; he's being asked to cast it to determine if the "Heroes of Sandpoint" are thieves. Based on the OP's details, the confrontation is not likely to occur until Hemlock returns to town and that is likely only after the pc's have dealt with <problem of Book 1.> Zantus and the town's leadership have a vested interest in finding out how trustworthy the pc's actually are. (Or in this case, how criminally stupid.)

Lastly, the cost shouldn't be viewed just in terms of one theft, it needs to be viewed in terms of future thefts. This time it was rope - but if we don't stop it, what will it be next time? The town's leadership has a strong incentive to see to it that all crimes, regardless of scale, are quickly and accurately dealt with to prevent any hint of lawlessness.


Soooooooo...... here are some things to ponder:

1) OP doesn't mention this, so it's a leap of logic on my part but: Ven isn't mad about rope. He's mad about theft (there are many people in the world who do not quantify wrongdoing when it affects them). Even more than that, he's mad about Shayliss. Do you have children? What price would you put on their innocence? If you blindly thought your child was still innocent and found out someone was taking that AND one of their friends was also upsatiars stealing from you while it happened, would you maybe want to punish them for insult and injury?What lengths would you go to to punish those people for something like your child's innocence lost?

2) OP does mention, though, that it's the party's paladin leading this quest with Father Zantus and the Zone of Truth, not Ven. OP explicitely says Ven wants nothing to do with the group(and he only SUSPECTS the theft. See point 1 above for real reason Ven is mad). If Zantus is involved with a Zone of Truth, it means that it's the paladin who's bringing him into play, and that means the paladin is trying to clear the party's (HIS) good name. What price do you think a paladin would put on his reputation? Do you know any IRL people who maybe have gone to extravagent lengths to prove that they are good people? I do. They aren't even particularly holy people, either.

So if you can accept the above, then you'll see that the arguments of relative cost don't really factor in to what's going on. In my mind, anyway, the cost of the rope and the cost of a Zone of Truth spell are only tangentially relavent, as no-one is acting based on monetary loss. Does that help?

Sidebar- I grew up in a small town, and I did/do know people that provide expensive services free of charge for friends and neighbors (legal advice, construction, mdeical consultations). Were they all$9K in value? Maybe over time for some, maybe yes for others, and most of them no, but people do do this. The mentality is that any of these people would do the same for them, and so it all "comes out in the wash", and that's just part of being a productive member of society. Sandpoint might not be small enough for this mentality, but it's not unheard of IRL.


outshyn wrote:

Do you know anyone in the real world, even someone who holds a grudge, who would pay $9000 to find out if someone stole an item that stands to net $75 profit?

And, do you know anyone in the real world who has a $9000 service who would offer it for free to find out if someone stole a thing worth $75 profit? I'm thinking of a local lawyer maybe who would end up getting $9000 for his expensive legal services, and I can see that lawyer doing pro-bono work for a victim of something savage or awful, but a grudge-holding vendor who just really had it out for dudes he didn't like? Some dudes who maybe stole a video game? Or maybe it was some other guy? The lawyer is going to do $9000 worth of pro-bono work for a store owner who is obsessed about about a $75 game?

Even in a small town where theft might be a community concern if it got big enough, I just can't see this rising to that level.

I mean hell, everyone should run their games as they wish. For me, taking any action over 5 stupid silver pieces is ridiculous. But if you think you need to do it, you do it. I just can't make sense of that; game world economy, real world equivalent, neither makes sense.

Zantus is a good aligned priest based in a temple that was recently rebuilt by donations from the people of the town. He's not a lawyer or a businessman. Doing things to help the town and the people of the town is basically part of his job.

It takes him, at most, 15 minutes to prepare the spell and 6 seconds to actually cast it. It cost him nothing but a bit of his time.

Vinder has legitimate reason to believe the PCs stole from him and the AP makes it clear that Ven is well liked and respected around town.

Why would Ven have to pay anything? Like, if someone steals your wallet do the police force you to pay for their investigation on top of the taxes you already paid?


Ninja in the Rye wrote:
It takes him, at most, 15 minutes to prepare the spell and 6 seconds to actually cast it. It cost him nothing but a bit of his time.

Cool. Except... now he's used up a 2nd level spell slot right when Sandpoint was just under attack. And now, literally in this case OP asked the question right before the murders start happening. So the priest now has to explain to a family that is covered in blood that no, he doesn't have spell X that would absolutely help them in this matter, but he can get it tomorrow, oh, then it's too late? Oops. (Obviously that's a worst-case scenario that a GM can just arbitrarily prevent, but the NPC has no idea about that metagamey stuff, and should behave rationally.)

This kind of petty misuse of a spell is exactly the reason why it costs 60 GP. If someone is so hellbent on getting the spell over something as trivial as rope, then at least the casters can charge 60 GP for it and discourage misuse/abuse. The only people who will use that spell slot are those who have more money than sense. And if that does happen and then there is an emergency, at least the priest has cash money to throw at the problem.

Again, if you want to make the argument that the priest would "donate" a casting in case of something serious, like say, a bunch of people dying, then I totally concede that point. But I still cannot get over that we are advocating for 1 of 2 things:


  • The priest is paid what would be equivalent to over 1 year of salary for unskilled labor in order to solve a whodunit theft of rope.
  • The priest is not paid and donates his services over rope, and then he may have to let down parishioners or fail in an emergency, which is possible since the town is under imminent threat.

I cannot wrap my head around role playing either of those. You guys keep saying the priest is good aligned. Yeah, well, a good person doesn't waste a spell slot on something like this when the town is recovering from a goblin raid and has more trouble around the corner. A good person would be prudent. So this seems less like roleplaying sensibly and more like trying to punish or metagame against a player.

Ninja in the Rye wrote:
if someone steals your wallet do the police force you to pay for their investigation on top of the taxes you already paid?

No, but also, they laugh me out of the building, or just quietly take down my report and then file it away never to be seen again in 99% of cases. Police do not care about me losing $75 and having to cancel my credit cards. This is what I meant when I said that even if Ven does care, he is not realistically going to get others to care -- especially when there are bigger issues currently, like dead citizens.

Anyway, having chatted with you fine fellows about this, I've realized that I'm not open-minded enough to keep chatting about this. This just strikes me as incredibly petty -- we're literally trying to hem up a player over a single gold piece -- and I have realized that the comments are turning me off instead of winning me over. I don't agree with this and probably cannot be convinced that this is right. You guys can keep explaining it if you want, but I'm going to bow out.

Thank you guys. Enjoy your games.


Fair enough. I'll just point out, in conclusion, that Ven is not calling for Father Zantus. No investigation is being conducted. No one is *trying* to catch the thief in the OP's scenario.


So, couple of important questions come to mind for me. Firstly, who else in town would actually buy 50 feet of rope? That's an awful lot of rope, and I can't think of many people in town who would need that much. Secondly, are you quite sure that you want to make the party dislike Ven? Because this is an excellent way to accomplish that. Add in the upcoming events in the sawmill, and things could quite easily become quite unpleasant for our poor vendor.


Yeah, I see this getting swept under the rug. Rogue pays for the rope and offers apology and may be banned from the store. For the 1gp rope this isn't really even 'THEFT'... it's more 'shoplifting'. He should be more annoyed about bard and his daughter :P

That's if he can even prove it was the rogue... don't most ropes look alike anyway O.O


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mousmous wrote:
Fair enough. I'll just point out, in conclusion, that Ven is not calling for Father Zantus. No investigation is being conducted. No one is *trying* to catch the thief in the OP's scenario.

Well, this isn't exactly true... The paladin engaged Zantus for a diplomatic solution (not an investigation) but if I follow the OP correctly, Ven has rejected peace offerings and has said he will report the crime to Hemlock when he returns from Magnimar. That will trigger some kind of investigation. The GM introduced the Zone of Truth as an end-game for that investigation. To me, that is reasonable. I'm arguing past Outshyn's interest but my interpretation is Ven is pissed about more than the rope. A group of so-called heroes have entered his store, attempted some hi-jinks with his innocent daughter (okay - Ven may have a blind spot here) and in the ensuing tumult stole from him. He knows about the rope but what else did they take? Who else are they stealing from? This isn't really about economic cost trade-offs, it's a moral or principled outrage. And perhaps a fear the leaders and people of the town are being deceived.

Frankly my diagnosis is different from invoking a Zone of Truth - my suggestion to the GM would have been: take the Rogue's player out behind the woodshed for a spanking. Okay, perhaps a firm talking-to. This theft is direct player vs. player violence. It puts the paladin in an untenable position - he can't travel with thieves, especially ones that steal from upright citizens for no reason other than impulsive greed. This action is a thumb in the eye to the paladin and forces both him and the GM to perform mental gymnastics to hold the party together. If you can't live with the strictures imposed by having a paladin in the party, maybe you shouldn't play or maybe the group should talk about not having a paladin. Jiminy crickets, you didn't even make it past 1st level before doing something that threatened the paladin's code.

But even worse, the rogue apparently has the favored son trait and has been adopted/sheltered/mentored by Hemlock. You know, THE TOWN'S SHERIFF! And the first thing he does when Hemlock leaves is steal from the most important merchant in town, someone he's known for years, probably his entire life? Most of the town's citizens cannot afford to shop at the array of ritzy, boutique shops in town - most folk almost certainly do an overwhelming majority of their shopping at Ven's. Is the rogue evil? Does he hate Ven or Hemlock? Does he really want to be part of a certain "uncool kids from Sandpoint" group we happen to know a bit about?


Latrecis wrote:
mousmous wrote:
Fair enough. I'll just point out, in conclusion, that Ven is not calling for Father Zantus. No investigation is being conducted. No one is *trying* to catch the thief in the OP's scenario.

This theft is direct player vs. player violence. It puts the paladin in an untenable position - he can't travel with thieves, especially ones that steal from upright citizens for no reason other than impulsive greed. This action is a thumb in the eye to the paladin and forces both him and the GM to perform mental gymnastics to hold the party together. If you can't live with the strictures imposed by having a paladin in the party, maybe you shouldn't play or maybe the group should talk about not having a paladin. Jiminy crickets, you didn't even make it past 1st level before doing something that threatened the paladin's code.

Technically a Paladin could work with a thief just fine, even if they don't approve of their actions. Paladins fight EVIL... not specifically 'CHAOS'.

Stealing would be unlawful and chaotic... but it's something that can be rectified...and frankly would be between Ven and the rogue. If the Paladin knows about the theft, he could testify against him... but any punishment or whuppin' wouldn't be legitimate thing for him to do.

And as long as the rogue isn't straight up EVIL... the Paladin can travel with him just fine and continually explain to him every night WHY theft is bad...

Which may well be punishment enough :P

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin’s code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Associates: While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good. A paladin may accept only henchmen, followers, or cohorts who are lawful good.


Latrecis wrote:
Well, this isn't exactly true...

I reread it. I see what I missed before. Thank you! I'll have to rethink.


I don't think stealing out of pure Greed can be argued as anything other than evil. It might be lowercase "e" evil, but that goes beyond just chaotic, doesn't it? Like, the rogue might not be so evil on the balance, but that act specifically is evil. Especially in a game where sin points are a thing...

Worth noting that by the time Hemlock returns the party should have 1) gotten a lot richer, to where paying reparations should be trivial and 2) done the town another huge service. I don't know that the town as the whole would care. But given the favored son trait, I think Hemlock would.


Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't think stealing out of pure Greed can be argued as anything other than evil. It might be lowercase "e" evil, but that goes beyond just chaotic, doesn't it? Like, the rogue might not be so evil on the balance, but that act specifically is evil. Especially in a game where sin points are a thing...

Do Sin points change alignment? Because for the Paladin that's all that matters.

Stealing is the oppostie of Lawful, therefore Chaotic. Motive may turn it to Chaotic Evil, but I'd still consider simple self-centeredness to be a Chaotic Neutral. The thing to remember though, is that any (non-paladin) character CAN do an occassional evil act. The paladin will not fall if someone else does an evil act, only if HE does one. Same thing with any of the 'little vices' like lying and cheating and misrepresenting...

Everyone would gain the occassional 'sin point', but that doesn't instantly change your alignment to CE. This rogue could well be on that path... but so far the Paladin hasn't been put in jeopardy for his powers... just maybe his reputation and the reputation of the Heroes of Sandpoint...

It's a behavior that should either be dealt with out of character... or In character if that's how he's going to play... and there should be some antagonism between Paladin and Rogue... but they can still adventure together without him falling.


phantom1592 wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't think stealing out of pure Greed can be argued as anything other than evil. It might be lowercase "e" evil, but that goes beyond just chaotic, doesn't it? Like, the rogue might not be so evil on the balance, but that act specifically is evil. Especially in a game where sin points are a thing...

Do Sin points change alignment? Because for the Paladin that's all that matters.

Stealing is the oppostie of Lawful, therefore Chaotic. Motive may turn it to Chaotic Evil, but I'd still consider simple self-centeredness to be a Chaotic Neutral. The thing to remember though, is that any (non-paladin) character CAN do an occassional evil act. The paladin will not fall if someone else does an evil act, only if HE does one. Same thing with any of the 'little vices' like lying and cheating and misrepresenting...

Everyone would gain the occassional 'sin point', but that doesn't instantly change your alignment to CE. This rogue could well be on that path... but so far the Paladin hasn't been put in jeopardy for his powers... just maybe his reputation and the reputation of the Heroes of Sandpoint...

It's a behavior that should either be dealt with out of character... or In character if that's how he's going to play... and there should be some antagonism between Paladin and Rogue... but they can still adventure together without him falling.

I didn't mean the rogue is evil, or that the Paladin should fall or anything. But the act itself strikes me as evil. You can steal for non-evil purposes, like feeding the poor. but it doesn't sound like any of those are in play here. After doing a little digging around the internet, it seems that there isn't a great consensus on how theft counts towards stuff like this.

For my money, characters can be nuanced enough to where I wouldn't shift alignment based on doing things like this. But it seems strange to me that when a person who is in as lucrative a line of work as adventuring steals from a simple shopkeeper, that act wouldn't be evil. It's the type of evil you might just wag a finger at. But you'd earn bad karma for it.


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outshyn wrote:
This just strikes me as incredibly petty -- we're literally trying to hem up a player over a single gold piece -- and I have realized that the comments are turning me off instead of winning me over. I don't agree with this and probably cannot be convinced that this is right. You guys can keep explaining it if you want, but I'm going to bow out.

If you want to bow out that's cool, but why do you do it at the end of a post arguing against specific points I brought up if you aren't interested in continuing the discussion?

As to meta gaming talk:

The player rolled up a thief and had him steal from a popular merchant who is the type to hold grudges. Is it in character for Ven to make a stink about it? Yes.

The party Paladin, believing that they are innocent enlists the help of the town priest to help them. In character? Yes.

The priest, who wants to help the new Paladin who helped save people in a goblin attack and swears his group's innocence is probably going to use a spell, something he gets to do every day at the 'cost' of nothing more than some prayer, to help out. How is this not in character and logical?

The goblins will be dealt with by the time the Sheriff returns. There's at least some assumed downtime/gap between books 1 and 2, so the town is facing no imminent dangers as far as anyone knows. There's no particular reason for the Cleric to not toss a spell at this problem to try to help his new friend clear their name and maintain the peace in the town.

Also good has nothing to do with prudence, a good person is just as likely to act and help in the here and now as they are to be thinking and planning toward the future and the greater good.

To bring it to the police situation. This is like a guy stole your wallet ... right in front of a church security camera. Then the guy's buddy, who believes he is innocent goes to the church and says, "Hey guys, this dude says my friend stole his wallet right in front of your security camera and he's going to go to the police about it, can you help us clear this whole misunderstanding up?"


Ninja in the Rye wrote:
outshyn wrote:
This just strikes me as incredibly petty -- we're literally trying to hem up a player over a single gold piece -- and I have realized that the comments are turning me off instead of winning me over. I don't agree with this and probably cannot be convinced that this is right. You guys can keep explaining it if you want, but I'm going to bow out.

If you want to bow out that's cool, but why do you do it at the end of a post arguing against specific points I brought up if you aren't interested in continuing the discussion?

As to meta gaming talk:

The player rolled up a thief and had him steal from a popular merchant who is the type to hold grudges. Is it in character for Ven to make a stink about it? Yes.

The party Paladin, believing that they are innocent enlists the help of the town priest to help them. In character? Yes.

The priest, who wants to help the new Paladin who helped save people in a goblin attack and swears his group's innocence is probably going to use a spell, something he gets to do every day at the 'cost' of nothing more than some prayer, to help out. How is this not in character and logical?

The goblins will be dealt with by the time the Sheriff returns. There's at least some assumed downtime/gap between books 1 and 2, so the town is facing no imminent dangers as far as anyone knows. There's no particular reason for the Cleric to not toss a spell at this problem to try to help his new friend clear their name and maintain the peace in the town.

Also good has nothing to do with prudence, a good person is just as likely to act and help in the here and now as they are to be thinking and planning toward the future and the greater good.

To bring it to the police situation. This is like a guy stole your wallet ... right in front of a church security camera. Then the guy's buddy, who believes he is innocent goes to the church and says, "Hey guys, this dude says my friend stole his wallet right in front of your security camera and he's going to go to the...

I do think you are underselling the opportunity cost of a second level spell. Sandpoint has 1240 people and only 1 known cleric. Any spell he casts is one less spell he can have on hand to, say, heal someone who suddenly suffers an accident.

If Zone of Truth was really as cheap as you imply, it seems like it would have been used by now on Titus Scarnetti to establish his guilt about the lumber fires, or Jubrayl for literally anything he's done. If the counterargument is that those two could afford magical countermeasures, well, so can an adventurerer.


To expand a little more, the actual answer of whether Zone of Truth should get brought in is "whatever the DM thinks will make a better story." I don't think it will matter very much, because either way Ven still has a reason to hold a grudge. If the town as a whole loses some trust with the rogue, that's probably not the end of the world.

I think mousmous does a good job of outlining why relative costs might not enter into it, but outshyn's argument is also a perfectly valid response for a DM. In general, I try not to think too hard about the basic economics of Golarion and how they intersect with magic, because I don't think they will hold up well under scrutiny. It's a game first afterall. But spellcasting is supposed to be precious enough to where not every problem is solved with it.

Also, I'll point out the heroes are about to stimulate the heck out of the economy with all their loot and purchases.


How important is a 2nd level spell slot in the day to day life of a non adventuring cleric in a relatively secure and peaceful town?


Ninja in the Rye wrote:
How important is a 2nd level spell slot in the day to day life of a non adventuring cleric in a relatively secure and peaceful town?

How is Sandpoint - a town that has just suffered a pretty severe goblin attack and is about to start dealing with a string of grisly murders "relatively secure and peaceful"?


Ninja in the Rye wrote:
How important is a 2nd level spell slot in the day to day life of a non adventuring cleric in a relatively secure and peaceful town?

Are we talking about a different Sandpoint that the one in RotR?


Even setting aside the recent troubles, even a safe town that far in the frontier is at risk of being attacked by something at any given time. And farmers, carpenters, glassworkers, and all the other manual laborers could have an accident on any given day. If someone accidentally gets an arm cut open, they are going to be hoping Zantus has some spell slots left.

And that's just the cure wounds spells. I'm pretty sure we could comb the cleric list for some stuff that would provide a lot more good to the community than solving the mystery of 1 gp worth of rope.


I'll repeat - just because I like the sound of my own typing - this isn't about 1gp worth of rope. This is about one of the leading merchants in town accusing a group of "heroes" of thievery. A group lauded and even encouraged by the town's leadership to take an active role in defending the town. Knowing they are inclined to reckless greed would seem an important thing for the town to know.

A few points not made above:
- the mere threat of Zone of Truth might be sufficient to get the rogue to confess. No need for Zantus to actually cast it.
- There's room for the rogue to mount a defense here: "Yea I stole the rope - Ven was way out of line. He physically assaulted Bardy for no reason - who'se investigating that? Everyone in town knows about Shayliss - that was totally consensual. Ven needs to pay for being such an <word that rhymes with bass.>" The rogue seems to already have a certain chaotic bent and this would make him seem less like a selfish nitwit and more like a chaotic hothead.


Zone of Truth is also painfully unreliable. Anything that has 'Will Negates' wouldn't be useful in a court setting.

We were just joking around during an interrogation scene with my 12th level inquisitor. He has Detect lies for 12 rounds a day... and a sense motive score of 28 I think.. They both pretty much do the same thing... and his sense motive can't be saved against.


AaronUnicorn wrote:
Ninja in the Rye wrote:
How important is a 2nd level spell slot in the day to day life of a non adventuring cleric in a relatively secure and peaceful town?
How is Sandpoint - a town that has just suffered a pretty severe goblin attack and is about to start dealing with a string of grisly murders "relatively secure and peaceful"?

The very first words in the AE about Sandpoint's background are that the town has faced very few trials and dangers over the years.

From the perspective of the characters in the story the Goblin attack is an aberration that has been dealt with and they're ready to get over it and put it behind them. They think that things are going to be getting back to normal now.

The Skinsaw Murders are a future event that none of the characters in the AP have absolutely any reason to suspect are about to happen.


Just to hogpile, Zantus is hardly the only divine caster in Sandpoint. Just from the Sandpoint write-up alone:

4 other clerics: Koya Mvashti - Cleric of Desna 4 (same level as Zantus); Naffer Vosk - cleric of Saranrae; Hayliss Voraski - cleric of Abadar; and Hannah Velerin - Cleric of Gozreh

1 Druid: Madame Mvashti

2 Paladins: Gavin Deverin and Jasper Kovaski

Not to mention 3 bards who have Cure Light Wounds on their class spell list: Chask Haladan, Cyrdak and Ameiko.

So the loss of one 2nd level healing spell for Zone of Truth is hardly the end of the world for Sandpoint.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:
Zone of Truth is also painfully unreliable. Anything that has 'Will Negates' wouldn't be useful in a court setting.

I'd consider it 100% reliable given that the caster knows if the spell fails. You could definitely trust it in a court setting, provided you trusted the caster.


We had something similar happen (worse actually) in our group: our rogue stole a couple of potions from one of the shops. Why? I dunno. Probably because it was the first or second game session, it was the player's first time playing a rogue, they were alone, and they wanted to play with their character concept.

You can either make a big deal about this sort of petty stuff or not. It's really a player problem, not a game problem, and it may not actually be a problem unless you turn it into one. Generally speaking, it's a bad idea to try and address OOC problems with IC solutions.

If no one saw the theft, then just let it go and talk to the player after the game, pointing out the error of their ways and what might happen if they get caught. Harboring resentment over a moment of poor judgement during the literal start of the AP is not going to make things better.


TomParker wrote:
phantom1592 wrote:
Zone of Truth is also painfully unreliable. Anything that has 'Will Negates' wouldn't be useful in a court setting.
I'd consider it 100% reliable given that the caster knows if the spell fails. You could definitely trust it in a court setting, provided you trusted the caster.

It's an area effect spell, so the spell doesn't fail. It just doesn't affect one of the people in the 20' radius. The caster may know if the spell is gone, but I don't think he'd know which of the 10 people in the zone can lie and which can't.

zone of truth wrote:
Creatures within the emanation area (or those who enter it) can’t speak any deliberate and intentional lies. Each potentially affected creature is allowed a save to avoid the effects when the spell is cast or when the creature first enters the emanation area. Affected creatures are aware of this enchantment. Therefore, they may avoid answering questions to which they would normally respond with a lie, or they may be evasive as long as they remain within the boundaries of the truth. Creatures who leave the area are free to speak as they choose.


Latrecis wrote:

I'll repeat - just because I like the sound of my own typing - this isn't about 1gp worth of rope. This is about one of the leading merchants in town accusing a group of "heroes" of thievery. A group lauded and even encouraged by the town's leadership to take an active role in defending the town. Knowing they are inclined to reckless greed would seem an important thing for the town to know.

A few points not made above:
- the mere threat of Zone of Truth might be sufficient to get the rogue to confess. No need for Zantus to actually cast it.
- There's room for the rogue to mount a defense here: "Yea I stole the rope - Ven was way out of line. He physically assaulted Bardy for no reason - who'se investigating that? Everyone in town knows about Shayliss - that was totally consensual. Ven needs to pay for being such an <word that rhymes with bass.>" The rogue seems to already have a certain chaotic bent and this would make him seem less like a selfish nitwit and more like a chaotic hothead.

Oh, sure, these are all valid points. I think you can get some interesting role-playing out of it. But I also think a DM could justify not conducting some huge investigation over it.

Consider this: perhaps the rogue did commit petty theft. But he also not only dealt with the goblin threat, with no monetary reward from the town, but he helped bring in thousands of gold into the local economy. Between the stuff he will purchase, the valuables he's got to sell, and the shipping of these various goods to other markets, that's a huge boon. In a town where the Sczarni own a bar and have ties to two of the four local noble families, will people care that much if this one guy committed petty theft against a guy in the process of assaulting a friend?

Or: why would the investigation go further than the investigation into the arson of the various lumber mills in the region, which suspiciously left the Scarnetti family without competition?


mourge40k wrote:
Firstly, who else in town would actually buy 50 feet of rope? That's an awful lot of rope, and I can't think of many people in town who would need that much.

Anyone with a boat. IIRC, Sandpoint has a harbour, and I expect there are boats in it.

We now return you to your scheduled discussion.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Another option:

Father Zantus is grateful to the heroes of Sandpoint and exasperated at Ven, who after all is the one rejecting the diplomatic solution. So he casts Zone of Truth on Ven and asks him if he saw the rogue steal the rope. When Ven can't truthfully accuse the rogue, the case is considered closed. (Ven can go right on being angry at the rogue, and can still refuse to let him shop at his store, which is a reasonable in-game result for the rogue's petty theft.)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
phantom1592 wrote:
It's an area effect spell, so the spell doesn't fail. It just doesn't affect one of the people in the 20' radius. The caster may know if the spell is gone, but I don't think he'd know which of the 10 people in the zone can lie and which can't.

Huh, I missed that line. Thanks for pointing that out.

Succeeding on a Saving Throw wrote:
You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

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