Alignment / Morality Question


Advice


Let me start by saying that I'm not looking for a rules ruling or definite answer but more of a discussion around this situation.

Most of the party are Neutral Good (Wizard, Cleric of Cayden Caillean, and a Swashbuckler) but there is one Lawful Good paladin and one Chaotic Good barbarian.

The party agreed to a one on one duel between an Boggard (Neutral Evil) Cleric and the Chaotic Good barbarian. The rules were that this was a one on one combat between the two combatants and no one else could interfere. The battle was for the right to rule the boggard tribe.

The battle proceeded with no interference and after a very close battle the Boggard Cleric was successful. The Boggard cleric did not kill the barbarian. He stepped away from the barbarian to allow the party to heal the barbarian and while stepping away announced that he had won and that the party should leave.

At that point the party wizard attacked the Boggard cleric in an attempt to take him out. The rest of the party joined in on the attack except the Paladin who tried to get everyone to stop. And once the party kept attacking the Paladin walked away in disgust.

My first thought is that this is probably not an evil act, though certainly not a good act, but is definitely a dishonorable act. It's most definitely, in my opinion, a chaotic act, though there are no Lawful characters, other then the Paladin.

I've long since given up enforcing alignment violations but I do use PC actions to adjust how people react to them. I'm contemplating having the Neutral Good Cleric of Cayden Cailean receive a 'minor sense of disapproval' when praying for their spells. But I'm not even sure about that.

The Paladin is not being judged by her deity as she did not participate in the attack. Though that brings up another discussion point. Should she be in trouble for leaving her party even though they were engaged in a dishonorable act?

Again, I'm not looking for a definite answer on this just curious what other people's views are regarding the alignment/morality of this situation.


Neutral Good characters are not beholden to rules and laws, per se, but an attack with lethal force against an enemy who, while evil, nonetheless showed mercy and allowed the heroes to heal their comrade and leave in peace does not reflect the core concepts (benevolence, charity, considerateness, goodness, humaneness, kindness, reason, right) that underpin efforts to work toward the “greater good.”

That’s just a basic reading of it, though. What deity does the Boggard cleric worship? Are there known consequences to that cleric taking over the Boggard clan—such as stated plans to attack nearby villages, waylay travelers, etc.? All those could inform a desperate (if also ill-advisedly violent) attempt to prevent this creature’s rise to power. They might also point to whether the cleric was violating his own ethos more so than Cayden Cailean’s. If it was just a case of sour grapes, though, make the Accidental God’s displeasure known by souring the cleric’s ale for an appropriate period of time.

As for the Paladin, who does she worship? Her code of conduct should at least offer indications for the right course of action. On a very basic, Lawful Good basis (fairness, honor) she should have stopped the attack after the duel—and might even have had options to do so non-lethally (assuming a weapon-based Divine Bond). That said, I think she also would’ve been within her rights to allow the Boggard to heal itself and then issue her own challenge at an appropriate time. Nothing says she has to suffer an evil cleric (presumably, of an evil deity) to live.


The paladin (of unknown faith) is probably perfectly fine. They uphold their word. They tried to sway their party and do the right thing, then, when it was obvious that their party didn't respect their values and would ultimately taint them, the paladin chose to leave. The important thing is that the paladin does not trust or adventure with them again (barring some important, we-all-need-to-work-together-to-stop-massive-threat event). This sucks for a player not getting to play their character, but that's how the character would be played. A paladin doesn't turn a blind eye to things or claim they don't know about things they suspect but don't investigate (like a party member being an assassin or detecting as evil and not looking into why).

As for the duel, that sounds fine. Whatever your alignment, you can uphold rules or values, it just depends on how you act when violating them would suit you. A Lawful person will follow the rules but twist them (depending on outlook) if need be. A Neutral person likely won't interfere with something that isn't their concern, like a duel or argument between two other people, unless they notice one has violated the terms or something is wrong. A Chaotic person has their own moral code, which is not something we know in this instance, but it could be as strict as, if not moreso, than a lawful person's code in regards to any particular instance. Such as, they could not give a damn about traffic law, or rules of decorum, but they could hold duels and personal combat in the highest honor and respect. But then, they might also consider dwarves in another view, and consider no vows, oaths, statements, or actions to be dishonorable in regards to them, even a duel or personal combat, even when otherwise it's one of their most uphold views and morals. They have a code... but we can't just say what it is for any specific thing for any specific Chaotic individual. They should have views, and adhere them, as appropriate, but there's too many situations and actions and outcomes that we can't go into here. Ultimately, it's not important to this case though.

As for attacking a weakened opponent that was no immediate or apparent threat at the time, that's definitely not Neutral. If they try and say that now the Boggards will be more aggressive or might raid some people, that's not an excuse. Nothing that happened here would have made that a sudden realization. It's something they should have known before any agreements were made, and they probably did. This means the attack and interference in an agreement (or breaking of their agreement) meant they had no intention of honoring it. "Well, we didn't think we'd lose... but now that we did... we're gonna says it's for the greater good and would be dangerous to have the boggard as the leader." That would have been obvious before the duel and if that was true, they would have just attacked him. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not Neutral Good.

Then you have the problem of a worshipper, specifically a cleric, of Cayden Cailean. There's not much dogma to Cayden, but it's well known that he avoids trouble and stays out of other gods' business. We don't know the boggard's god or what plans he has or anything, so we can't speculate (other than, 'he's eeeeeevil!"). What we do know, is that a representative, and supposed follower of his, just attacked another god's representative and interfered in things that not only caused a conflict, likely a more bloody and deadly conflict, than what would have occurred not only by staying out of it, but also just following your word and agreement. He'd definitely take notice. In fact, there's nothing stopping him from not only censuring the cleric during the fight, (or inhibiting him like he was drunk) but healing up the boggard to teach them a lesson about people interfering and see how they like it (though he probably wouldn't let anyone die or be killed). The boggard leader might just get away, since his own deity might now be allowed to intervene in a small way (ie. circumstantial events, not lightning from the sky or devas or devils popping in).

At the most, anyone like the boggard tribes would probably rally immediately and either all attack the party or, if it was obvious they would all die, break out into groups and definitely cause problems, but making sure it was known that it was the PCs actions that led to the outcome, rather than because of the boggard cleric (even if he might have caused problems later).

This isn't punishment, but rather consequences and reactions to the player's own choices and actions, Ignoring it or treating it as though it wasn't important devalues those choices and if they argue that alignment isn't that important... or that their beliefs and religion aren't meant to be that important... then they can't say that they had a good reason to attack the boggard cleric because he was 'evil'.


While Cayden Cailean is chaotic good, he is still a good of bravery and freedom and is known for accepting dares. Both participants of the duel were doing so of their own free will and as far as I can see not under any compulsion. When the other party members broke the agreement, they were imposing their own wants on the participants of the duel. This could be considered a cowardly act as they waited until the enemy was weakened to attack. From what I have seen the Boggard cleric was acting bravely and had agreed to a method of resolving the dispute that minimized the damage to all sides. This seems like it would be something that he would look on favorably. The description of Cayden Cailean in Hero labs states that he wants everyone to get along and encourages people to resolve their differences by negotiation preferably over a beer.

Although the cleric is probably chaotic good, he is still bound to follow the code of conduct of his deity. Any major violations of the deity's code of conduct can result in the character becoming an Ex-Cleric. This one instance is probably not enough to trigger that, but the cleric should get a sign of divine disapproval.

If the swashbuckler is also a worshiper of Cayden Cailean, he might also see signs that Cayden is not pleased with his actions. If it were me, I would have the next drink his worshipers took taste like crap.


First I have to ask. did the Boggards do anything evil that the party is aware of? note, being evil. doesn't mean doing evil.

i had the party's paladin learn that when he detected evil on the town's butcher. the man enjoyed his job a littlie to much, but being lawful evil and low level commoner vent it only on the animal he sold.

if the monsters never committed an evil act that the party can confirm what we have here can be very well be seen as an evil attack on an honorable and peace loving creatures. the fact the boggards are evil by nature should not automatically be a death sentence to all boggards where ever they are. and doing so run deep into metagaming. (see all the goblin player characters for reference)

then again, if the boggards have been acting along their alignment (and the party has proof of it) and the party know that they mean to keep up that act. N.Good (and more so C.Good) characters can reason attacking them for the greater good if subduing them fails.


side question about the one worshiping 'Cayden Cailean'. isn't he like a demi-god who while being mortal went around joining all kinds of martial competition and such? (i might be mistaken, using phone not near my source books).
i think he would be more then angry for this unsportsmanship behavior as i think a fair and just competition is a big thing for him.

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EDIT : never mind. i mixeed him up with another mortal-turn-god who has travel and strength(and good) domain. i was thinking of Kurgess. (said to be Cayden and Desna's secret son).

just thinking what would the players say if it turned out that the boggard cleric was a darechaser ('Some even go so far as to use sports as a form of diplomacy, settling disputes with athletic competitions.')


Thank you for the thoughts. Some excellent points have been made.

To give a little more background and history of the situation.
The Paladin worships Sarenrae. The Swashbuckler does not worship a God.

The Boggard cleric is a cleric of Gogunta, though the PCs do not know that.

The PCs know that the Boggard's are evil (Paladin detect evil) but have not seen the Boggard's perform any evil acts.

The PCs run a small kingdom (Kingmaker campaign) and the Boggard tribe lives in the swamps that are inside the Kingdom's borders. The PCs originally encountered the Boggard's and formed an alliance with them. The Boggard's agreed to not hurt any of the demi-humans in the kingdom in exchange for the kingdom leaving them along.

After that they were approached by another Boggard, called Garuum, they had met, and befriended, a couple of years ago. He had originally been part of this Boggard tribe but had challenge the Cleric for leadership of the tribe. He lost the challenge and was banished from the tribe.

Garuum approached the PCs and asked for there help in taking over leadership of the tribe. He made up a story about him being more trustworthy and thus a better ally then the current Cleric leading the tribe. Pretty much a bunch of BS and the PCs knew it. He just wanted revenge on the Cleric who beat him previously and was using the PCs to get it.

Garuum didn't want the Boggard tribe wiped out, who would he rule if they were all gone, so he suggested that he challenge for the leadership of the tribe again and have one of the PCs act as his champion (a completely legal move based upon the challenge rules of the tribe).

The PCs and Garuum went to the Boggard tribe in peace. Garuum challenged the Cleric and appointed the Barbarian as his champion. Initially the Cleric refused the challenge. He stated that Garuum had already challenged previously and lost so was not entitled to challenge again. But Garuum insisted, and the PCs backed him up. The Cleric, knowing the power level of the PCs, knew that his tribe could not stand up to the might of the PCs accepted the challenge.


So they gone back on their word not only about the chalange but also their agreed alliance with the boggards. And attacked a harmless settlement.
Sounds evil to me. More so after seeing them keeping a peacful living life as part of the kindom.

Hack with enough effort and infloence they might have even been reformed or converted. Sarenrae is a big beliver in converting see her special archtyped classes.

Change 'boggard' to 'halfling' and the party's nation to an orc-led kindom, ignore the detect evil ping and see what it look like...

To me it sound like the dark beginig of a Disney movie. Even a child can tell you who you should root for.

If other settelments hear of this unrest will spread.
'Sure the 'goverment' say they were found to be 'evil', but ever since they joined the kindom we had no trouble with them. Who's to say tommorow they won't call us 'evil' as well?'

I fail to see how their actions aren't (attempted?) murder of the kingdom's loyal citizen. The paladin have grounds to arrest them.

and if any of them try to say ' but they are not part of our kingdom' my replay is :
'i never said which kingdom. And it doesn't matter'


Any Boggard under 5th level will not detect as evil, unless it is a cleric or other class with the class feature aura. So, they know the cleric and some of the leaders are evil but have no information on most a of the tribe.

The actions of the party are directly going against the teachings of both Cayden Cailean and Sarenrae. The one absolute taboo for Cayden Cailean is restricting others freedom through force. Imposing their choice of leader on an unwilling tribe is a clearly violating that. This is a major violation of the teaching of Cayden Cailean and as such will have some serious consequences. More than likely the cleric is should become an ex-cleric and will need an attornment to regain his class abilities.

Sarenrae would likely be even more offended by their actions. The party broke a peaceful agreement they had previously negotiated for their own benefit. Faiths of Purity state that her portfolio is healing, honesty redemption and sun. By negotiating a peaceful agreement with the tribe, they had begun the process of redemption. They then betrayed the agreement for their own personal gain. Not only is that dishonest it is going to make it more difficult to them to redeem anyone in the future. Who is going to trust them when they break their word?

The biggest problem the party created is not an alignment issue, but rather ignoring the teachings of the respective deities. If the cleric was a worshiper of a different deity, it might not be such a big deal. The paladin seems to be the only one following the teachings of his deity, but he may be looking at a hard choice between his deity and the party. If this is the first such instance, he might be able to remain with the party with the idea he is trying to redeem them. If this is the last in a long line of similar acts, he may need to leave the party or become an ex-paladin.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

...

Sarenrae would likely be even more offended by their actions. The party broke a peaceful agreement they had previously negotiated for their own benefit. Faiths of Purity state that her portfolio is healing, honesty redemption and sun. ... If this is the last in a long line of similar acts, he may need to leave the party or become an ex-paladin.

Sorry i meant 'big on redemption' not converting ( it sum up to about the same minus the thumb screws).

Even if this is the party's 1st offense if i were the paladin i would gather as many witnesses from the boggard and any other i can find. Then call in the gurads to bring them in and have a fair trial. If the party mearly attacked the cleric it might just end in fines. But if they killed anyone the penalty might be harsher.

Of course while at it i would promp the party to redeem themselves and come back to the light.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
wolven wrote:

[After the duel] the party wizard attacked the Boggard cleric in an attempt to take him out. The rest of the party joined in on the attack except the Paladin who tried to get everyone to stop. And once the party kept attacking the Paladin walked away in disgust.

My first thought is that this is probably not an evil act, though certainly not a good act, but is definitely a dishonorable act. It's most definitely, in my opinion, a chaotic act, though there are no Lawful characters, other then the Paladin.

I would say it is at least a minor chaotic evil act. Probably not enough for an immediate alignment change, but not something a so-called "good" character should be doing.

wolven wrote:
I've long since given up enforcing alignment violations but I do use PC actions to adjust how people react to them. I'm contemplating having the Neutral Good Cleric of Cayden Cailean receive a 'minor sense of disapproval' when praying for their spells. But I'm not even sure about that.

Yes, that is appropriate. Cayden would not like "cheaters" who refuse to accept the results of a fair contest.

wolven wrote:
The Paladin is not being judged by her deity as she did not participate in the attack. Though that brings up another discussion point. Should she be in trouble for leaving her party even though they were engaged in a dishonorable act?

No. The paladin is acting appropriately.


The problem with calling the guards is that the characters are the legal authority in the area. The event happened in a kingdom the characters rule. Unless the paladin is the actual ruler of the kingdom, he might not have any authority over the rest of the players and may in fact be under the authority of one of the other players. The fact that he walked away instead of directly intervening to stop the fight leads me to believe he is not actually the ruler.

If the paladin is actually the ruler of the kingdom, that changes things and he would be responsible for the fight. If a paladin allows someone under his command to do a dishonorable act, he is responsible for that act even if he did not actually do the act. If the rest of the party have equal or greater rank, then the paladin he is fine.


Wait, the players already were aware of Garuum's previous failure? Isn't this like a child asking their mommy when dad has already said no? Nothing about this seems honorable or fair, from the start.

From what I know about Sarenrae, she would not at all be pleased with such dishonesty. And if the party was straight killing the Boggards without a chance of redemption being offered, she would be even more displeased. I don't know if one of her Paladins could simply walk away from such dastardly injustice... it seems Sarenrae, herself, would compel her Paladin to do more than turn their back.

Cayden Cailean, our Drunken Hero, would be equally displeased... but too drunk to really care. Lol. If he [Cayden Cailean] was conscious the next time the Cleric prepared their spells, he might mumble something about how they should have been better, BURP, don't be such backstabbing b@st@rds, and to offer the Boggards a beer, something, something, and another BURP.

Regardless, word should travel fast that the party's word is worthless. The kingdom should be suspicious and warey of making deals or alliances with such shady cowards. And the Paladin would be best to no longer share alligance with the party... effective immediately until the party shows some form of redeeming actions to correct their dishonor.


Maybe Gogunta calls forth all the foul frog-creatures of all the marshes and swamps east of Lake Encarthan to rally against the party's kingdom in biblical vengeance.

Boggards can be brutal enemies, with their Terrifying/Sonic/Stunning Croaks and their Powerful/Sticky Tongues... with Fiendish Obedience to the Song of the Swamp, Boggards can use their croak at will. I am personally particular to Boggard Phrenologist Bards, but that's just me.

Don't even get me started on Grippli... you don't want to make enemies with the Grippli...


The more context we get, the worse the PC’s actions appear.

This is barely squeaking under the “under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil” qualifier—since no one seems to have known which of the evils was the greater of the two, only that they were allying with one against the other. The paladin was due for an atonement spell even if she knew what she was getting into and is—IMHO—definitely in need of one.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

The more context we get, the worse the PC’s actions appear.

This is barely squeaking under the “under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil” qualifier—since no one seems to have known which of the evils was the greater of the two, only that they were allying with one against the other. The paladin was due for an atonement spell even if she knew what she was getting into and is—IMHO—definitely in need of one.

i don't think so.

this is a Sarenrae's paladin were talking about, and he is supposed to work with evil beings to redeem them. so far the boggard had seem to be on somewhat a path to redemption -they accepted the alliance terms with the kingdom and kept a peaceful life (or so it seemed). working with the other one might have been a stretch, but again. if he thought the tribe would listen to it better and be easier to move closer to the path of good it's still all part of his work.

from the info about Sarenrae's paladin code:

- I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

- I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough.

they have some leeway when they deal with evil creatures who listen to their words. more so if they do act upon it.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
The more context we get, the worse the PC’s actions appear.

I was thinking the same thing.


zza ni wrote:
Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

The more context we get, the worse the PC’s actions appear.

This is barely squeaking under the “under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil” qualifier—since no one seems to have known which of the evils was the greater of the two, only that they were allying with one against the other. The paladin was due for an atonement spell even if she knew what she was getting into and is—IMHO—definitely in need of one.

i don't think so.

this is a Sarenrae's paladin were talking about, and he is supposed to work with evil beings to redeem them. so far the boggard had seem to be on somewhat a path to redemption -they accepted the alliance terms with the kingdom and kept a peaceful life (or so it seemed). working with the other one might have been a stretch, but again. if he thought the tribe would listen to it better and be easier to move loser to the path of good it's still all part of his work.

from the info about Sarenrae's paladin code:

- I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword.

- I will not abide evil, and will combat it with steel when words are not enough.

they have some leeway when they deal with evil creatures who listen to their words. more so if they do act upon it.

I think you misunderstood me.

I’m not saying the atonement is needed for working with Garuum. I’m saying it’s for going along with this scheme without knowing who the greater evil is, and against the guy who already was (seemingly) on a path of peaceful coexistence and with whom they had struck an alliance, on behalf of another guy who they knew was misleading them.

There’s nothing redemptive about this. At best, it’s borderline opportunistic: the PCs trying to get “their guy” in power. The Paladin watched all this happen, and then essentially abided the ambush her comrades launched after their Barbarian friend lost a fair duel, by simply walking away.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

To prevent PC vs. PC combat (something that seldom goes over well), the paladin disassociating from the rest of the party is probably the "best" route to take. The paladin is 1) not likely to be able to defeat the rest of the PCs alone and 2) staying would be at a minimum tacit acceptance/approval of the party's actions.

Now, the paladin (in character) should also probably be traveling to Restov to report the rest of the PCs as treacherous scum to the Sword Lords and the churches of Abadar, Erastil, and Sarenrae...


I agree with your closing point, but there were more options available to the Paladin than simply walking away or applying lethal force against the rest of the party. Would the rest of them attack the Paladin if she physically put herself between them and the Boggart cleric? Would they keep striking the Boggart if the Paladin cast Shield Other on him and they saw that by hurting the Boggart they hurt her as well?

Walking away was perhaps the easiest choice available—in my humble opinion.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

I agree with your closing point, but there were more options available to the Paladin than simply walking away or applying lethal force against the rest of the party. Would the rest of them attack the Paladin if she physically put herself between them and the Boggart cleric? Would they keep striking the Boggart if the Paladin cast Shield Other on him and they saw that by hurting the Boggart they hurt her as well?

Walking away was perhaps the easiest choice available—in my humble opinion.

We can all come up with options now, with all the time in the world to think, but the paladin isn't at issue here. Their actions were perfectly balanced. They tried to dissuade the others from an evil action, then when it was clear they couldn't, they left. That's the best option other than getting into violence themselves. You can't really put yourself between the spellcasting of a cleric and a wizard in a lot of cases. Sure, there's some, but magic missiles and other spells don't care if you're there or not in a lot of cases.

Shield Other:
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Also, shield other requires a pair of platinum rings on the caster and target, so they're likely on one of their party member's fingers already. While it's possible that the paladin has an extra pair of platinum rings in their pocket ready to go for a sudden shield other on a stranger. At that point, what's supposed to happen. Paladin spends a round digging out ring, approaches boggard cleric who's in the middle of being assaulted by four people. Holds out ring, says, "Here, I know you're being attacked by my party right now and in combat, but could you put away your weapons to free up your hands, take this ring, and put it on. It's a magic ring that will protect you. This isn't a trick. Then I'll cast a spell to help you." Even if everything was believable, that's not likely to work while you're being attacked by four other people rather than spending your actions to get to safety. Even then, the other PCs aren't stupid. The cleric is likely already injured and hurt from the duel and has way less hit points than the unharmed paladin. He'll go down before the paladin, and players don't care about 'hurting'. They view things in hit point mechanics; if you have 1 or more, you're completely functional and healthy. You're still fine at less than 0 until you are flat out dead. Is that good roleplaying? No, but it's already been shown they aren't really following guidelines on their chosen alignments, philosophies, and religions... so that's how it is.
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Like you, the more context we get, the less I feel the PCs acted in a forgivable manner (alignment and religious-wise), other than the paladin (and possibly the barbarian, being chaotic, depending on their personal view of their word, duels, and honor).

Granted, in no case should this probably move someone's alignment to any new one by itself, it's a definite failure to portray Neutral Good. But definitely for the clerics and other servants of deities, those actions can have an effect and such gods' displeasure should be known, and more than "Your next beer tastes skunky, so now you have to pour it out and buy a new one. That'll be 2 cp, assuming you even pay for beer being the ruler of the kingdom." Cayden's punishment would likely be, "Everything you drink now turns to skunky beer. You can live on it, but it will be terrible, you'll be sickened half the time, and also, it applies to potions." The word will get out, from survivors, forest creatures and spies of other creatures interested in the kingdom that have been spying, and just information gleaned by others who investigate or come to the scene later about the PCs actions. Their reputation will suffer (or improve, depending on how the listener views such actions), but most people disapprove of people who can't be trusted in their deals.


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Paladins aren’t most people, though. They are defined by a total adherence to a code of ethics. Also, with respect, this isn’t a matter of me offering alternatives given hindsight. That was my off-the-cuff assessment, given the available data. If the PCs continue attacking after their friend put herself in their way, however, there are bigger issues at hand than “will Magic Missile hurt me.”


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I'm loving the discussion here. Some great points have been brought up and have given me a lot to ponder on how I want to handle this situation. Several of the suggestions are things I didn't think about and will definitely be implementing.

I have talked with the Paladin player and she has indicated that in hindsight she should have absolutely got between the Cleric and the party, but at the moment it happened she was conflicted on doing that versus taking up arms against her friends - both from the aspect of the adventuring party and from an out-of-game aspect of her real life friends. There was also some out-of-game thinking around 'Do I want to engage in PVP' Which, as was already pointed out, is a consideration. Though, as others have pointed out, her questionable actions go beyond just defending the Cleric. She should not have allowed the challenge to take place in the first place.

Now it gets to the point of next steps/consequences of these actions. In game this is easy, I, as the DM, choose appropriate reactions for the world at large and implement them. No problem.

It's the out of game aspect that makes it more difficult. At this point their is a huge schism between the Wizard and Paladin and in-game their is absolutely no way they would continue to adventure together. As for the rest of the party the Paladin may or may not be able to adventure with them depending on how they react to the Paladin calling them all out and telling them to do better in the future. I'm willing to play up the redemption part of Sarenrae in order to offer the opportunity to lessen the schism in the party.

Having said that the out-of-game reality is that someone will probably need to make up a new character and at that point in-game morality doesn't really matter. If the majority of the players say 'we didn't do anything wrong, we are not changing' then the Paladin character has to go. While if the majority of the players say ' we did bad things, we will change and do better' then those characters will stay while the minority who are dissenting will have to go.


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My advice on the out-of-game discussion? Ask your players why they chose to ally with a tribe of evil humanoids, ignore the evil those humanoids represented to the world at large, and supported a bloodless coup of tribal leadership alongside ignoring the conditions of the challenge that they gave their own word to support.

Let me be clear: ask them why they, THE PLAYERS, decided those things. My guess is that they will hide behind "that's what my character would do" and such but really challenge the people IRL to consider their process.

It is more likely these players didn't even really think about what their characters would think. It was more convenient or less dangerous to ally with the boggards and ignore them than to confront the evil, so they took the easy way out. It was a means to an end, a transaction, nothing more.

If they can't be honest about why they as players made the choices they did then they won't be honest about any remorse or attrition in the wake of consequences. I've seen hundreds of justifications from dozens of players over the years why their supposedly good, heroic characters backstabbed, blackmailed, or outright murdered folks that stood in their way over the years. The reality is that being a hero, or at least choosing classes, alignments and deities consistent with being a hero means that sometimes you have to actually BE a hero.

You see it in every piece of media - books, movies, TV and more. The anti-hero with greedy, prideful heart is faced with a moral dilemma. We root for the ones that choose honor, mercy, compassion, family, loyalty and so on. If you espouse to have a character that adheres to some or all of these values then you either need to play it or explain why you're not.


The Paladin is actually sticking to the code of his deity. The first line of Sarenrae’s paladin code is I will protect my allies with my life, they are my light and my strength, as I am their light and their strength.

The Cleric of Cayden Cailean is the one in the most trouble. As I mentioned and others have said Cayden Cailean is not going to be happy with his cleric. Despite what VoodistMonk says Cayden Cailean is known for not backing down on a matter of principal, so no matter how drunk he is he will care. The actions of the group are actually more offensive to him then they would be to Sarenrae. In your original post it sounded like the Wizard was the one doing most of the attacking, if it was the PC Cleric then give serious consideration to making him an ex-cleric at least until he atones.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

My advice on the out-of-game discussion? Ask your players why they chose to ally with a tribe of evil humanoids, ignore the evil those humanoids represented to the world at large, and supported a bloodless coup of tribal leadership alongside ignoring the conditions of the challenge that they gave their own word to support.

Let me be clear: ask them why they, THE PLAYERS, decided those things. My guess is that they will hide behind "that's what my character would do" and such but really challenge the people IRL to consider their process.

It is more likely these players didn't even really think about what their characters would think. It was more convenient or less dangerous to ally with the boggards and ignore them than to confront the evil, so they took the easy way out. It was a means to an end, a transaction, nothing more.

If they can't be honest about why they as players made the choices they did then they won't be honest about any remorse or attrition in the wake of consequences. I've seen hundreds of justifications from dozens of players over the years why their supposedly good, heroic characters backstabbed, blackmailed, or outright murdered folks that stood in their way over the years. The reality is that being a hero, or at least choosing classes, alignments and deities consistent with being a hero means that sometimes you have to actually BE a hero.

You see it in every piece of media - books, movies, TV and more. The anti-hero with greedy, prideful heart is faced with a moral dilemma. We root for the ones that choose honor, mercy, compassion, family, loyalty and so on. If you espouse to have a character that adheres to some or all of these values then you either need to play it or explain why you're not.

Thank you, Mark Hoover 330!!! Someone needed to say it, and I'm glad you said it so well.

Every GM needs to read that, twice.

Question the $#!+ out of your players... make them explain their intentions... make them think about WHY their characters do what they do.

Every player should be asked these questions, regularly and frequently. If the GM isn't asking these questions of you, you should be asking yourself these questions... asking the other people in the party these questions. Players should know their characters enough to answer these questions.

Even if someone has no background for their character, and has made nothing more than a block of stats and abilities... that player made that character for a reason, whether they know that reason, or not... maybe the person is a weak little b!tch in real life, and wants to be a big strong bully in this fantasy... maybe they assembled a character that expresses a part of themselves they are unaware exists. Ask the freaking questions. Lol.

Eventually, when faced with answering why they do what they do over and over, a consistency will emerge... a pattern will form... the character's intentions will be defined... and thus, that character will also have definition.

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