Cleric of Gruumsh in a party with an Elf

WarpedAcorn

First Post
The Gods in my world grant Divine Magic. If a Cleric is casting a spell, its through the power of a Deity. The Gods are empowered by belief, so granting power to certain chosen warriors to spread their belief on the Material Plane is a means to grow stronger. In a way, Warlocks and Clerics are similar in my mind in that they have made a "pact" with a more powerful being (generally speaking of course).

While I do understand Defcon1's point about letting the player find his own way to worship...there does need to be a line. If the player chose to worship Gruumsh by planting a flower garden, do you think Grummsh would be pleased with this? At some point, the Cleric will need to follow some of the beliefs and tenets of the God they have chosen to be a vessel of.

Regardless, as I mentioned previously, I've chosen to shelf this issue. After discussing it here and thinking more I don't see it being an issue with the 2 specific players. It will bug me, but we play so infrequently (and due to recent developments maybe even less frequently) that its not worth pursuing unless some dynamics change.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
When I DM it's up to me, not the player, to define how gods work in my world. In addition, while I see your point you are ignoring or at least side-stepping my basic question.

I could see situations where different factions (possibly different races) could clash and the PCs may not know who is in the right, or who they should support (if either side). But my scenario was a pretty cut and dry situation: the orcs are following Gruumsh's commands on expanding territory by invading elvish territory and slaughtering as many of the enemy as possible.

What happens if the group comes across a group of orcs invaders slaughtering innocents, elven or otherwise? If the cleric helps the innocents, they're pretty clearly violating the will of Gruumsh. If they help slaughter the innocents, in my opinion they've crossed into CE territory.

I mentioned in one of my original posts back on page 2 or 3 that Gruumsh has multiple tenets he is concerned about (like all deities do). He's not one-and-only-one rule... the tenets of Gruumsh include several things. And thus it stands to reason (as I mentioned) that there will be many worshippers who might only concern themselves with one aspect of the god, not every single aspect of the god. And thus a case could easily be made why there could be a Gruumsh workshipper who does not go all-in on "Destroy! Destroy!", and thus to answer your question... in my opinion the cleric could help the innocents without violating the PART of Grummsh's will that the cleric is in service for.

If you personally want to run Gruumsh as a black-and-white "He cares about one thing and one thing only"... that's obviously your prerogative for your game. Personally, I think that's rather poor way to play-- it's my belief that every god would have different sects, customs, and lessons to be gained because that's what happens when you get people talking. No one can ever agree on anything. Especially when it comes to the lessons of some supreme being that almost none of them have ever seen or heard and all their communication is second or third-hand from divine intermediaries or even just other mortals spouting off their opinion on what THEY think the god wants.

And the advantage of this is that you have incredibly easy ways to deal with situations such as what the OP presented. When you aren't purely in black-and-white, it is easier to compromise and get people at least halfway to what they all want (both yourself and your players.) Sure it might rankle some DMs to have to compromise on their own beliefs of how their world should work... but if avoiding conflict with their player is the ultimate goal, compromise is a pretty cheap price to pay.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If the player chose to worship Gruumsh by planting a flower garden, do you think Grummsh would be pleased with this? At some point, the Cleric will need to follow some of the beliefs and tenets of the God they have chosen to be a vessel of.

If the cleric has legitimate reasoning for why a flower garden DOES service Gruumsh, then Gruumsh should be fine with it.

Look, I'm not saying that the player can just do *anything* whatsoever and still say "I'm worshipping Gruumsh!" What I am saying though is that worship of Gruumsh also isn't just ONE thing. "There are many paths to God" as they say. And if the player of the cleric can justify why something *does* fall under one of the tenets of Gruumsh... then they are putting more thought and work into the roleplay of their cleric than most players do on a good day. I for one would be loathe to stomp on it just because it's "supposed" to be GRUUMSH SMASH!
 

Oofta

Legend
I mentioned in one of my original posts back on page 2 or 3 that Gruumsh has multiple tenets he is concerned about (like all deities do). He's not one-and-only-one rule... the tenets of Gruumsh include several things. And thus it stands to reason (as I mentioned) that there will be many worshippers who might only concern themselves with one aspect of the god, not every single aspect of the god. And thus a case could easily be made why there could be a Gruumsh workshipper who does not go all-in on "Destroy! Destroy!", and thus to answer your question... in my opinion the cleric could help the innocents without violating the PART of Grummsh's will that the cleric is in service for.

If you personally want to run Gruumsh as a black-and-white "He cares about one thing and one thing only"... that's obviously your prerogative for your game. Personally, I think that's rather poor way to play-- it's my belief that every god would have different sects, customs, and lessons to be gained because that's what happens when you get people talking. No one can ever agree on anything. Especially when it comes to the lessons of some supreme being that almost none of them have ever seen or heard and all their communication is second or third-hand from divine intermediaries or even just other mortals spouting off their opinion on what THEY think the god wants.

And the advantage of this is that you have incredibly easy ways to deal with situations such as what the OP presented. When you aren't purely in black-and-white, it is easier to compromise and get people at least halfway to what they all want (both yourself and your players.) Sure it might rankle some DMs to have to compromise on their own beliefs of how their world should work... but if avoiding conflict with their player is the ultimate goal, compromise is a pretty cheap price to pay.

As the OP stated, if you want to say that a cleric of Gruumsh can ignore the alignment of and 2/3s of the basic tenets of the god and decide that the best way to serve Gruumsh is to plant flowers feel free.

I just don't view gods working that way. I can no more see a cleric of Gruumsh who only plants flowers continuing to be a cleric of Gruumsh than a car dealer continuing to employ a salesman who paints landscapes all day instead of selling cars. A basic assumption in most campaigns is that gods are more then just a vague philosophical ideal. But even if they were a nebulous concept, why worship Gruumsh if all your character wants to do is plant flowers?

Oh, and you still haven't addressed my scenario of orc raiders.
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
As the OP stated, if you want to say that a cleric of Gruumsh can ignore the alignment of and 2/3s of the basic tenets of the god and decide that the best way to serve Gruumsh is to plant flowers feel free.

I just don't view gods working that way. I can no more see a cleric of Gruumsh who only plants flowers continuing to be a cleric of Gruumsh than a car dealer continuing to employ a salesman who paints landscapes all day instead of selling cars. A basic assumption in most campaigns is that gods are more then just a vague philosophical ideal. But even if they were a nebulous concept, why worship Gruumsh if all your character wants to do is plant flowers?

Oh, and you still haven't addressed my scenario of orc raiders.

But at the same time, the player seems to have chosen Grummsh just because its the orc god written in the War cleric description and didnt give it more thought. I dont think its fair to force drama on a player who made a choice if you didnt warn him when he made the choice. If the DM didn't warn the payers at first by saying: ''you know guys, I'll enforce the folio of the gods in the game and one of you wants to play a cleric of a god who advocate the genocide of elven-kind and you, other guy, want to play en elf. How that's going to work?"

Maybe the cleric would have chosen another god because he didn't really read farther than Grummsh= War and dont want to play a genocidal maniac. We dont know that the Cleric made an choice with all the good informations in hand. No saying that the DM tricked him, I myself often forget (or take for granted) to explain some RP point to my players at character generation only to regret it later when their action make no sense in my campaign canon.

I'm sure the DM can talk with is player to plan ahead and avoid any drama. Or he can just retcon the Grummsh part, even more if the cleric's faith only has a superficial influence on his roleplay. Just say ''hey guys, lets say that from the starts the god I worshiped was X instead of Grummsh, I didn't know he was that evil and dont want cause any in-party problem.'' I doest hurt anyone.
 

Oofta

Legend
But at the same time, the player seems to have chosen Grummsh just because its the orc god written in the War cleric description and didnt give it more thought. I dont think its fair to force drama on a player who made a choice if you didnt warn him when he made the choice. If the DM didn't warn the payers at first by saying: ''you know guys, I'll enforce the folio of the gods in the game and one of you wants to play a cleric of a god who advocate the genocide of elven-kind and you, other guy, want to play en elf. How that's going to work?"

Maybe the cleric would have chosen another god because he didn't really read farther than Grummsh= War and dont want to play a genocidal maniac. We dont know that the Cleric made an choice with all the good informations in hand. No saying that the DM tricked him, I myself often forget (or take for granted) to explain some RP point to my players at character generation only to regret it later when their action make no sense in my campaign canon.

I'm sure the DM can talk with is player to plan ahead and avoid any drama. Or he can just retcon the Grummsh part, even more if the cleric's faith only has a superficial influence on his roleplay. Just say ''hey guys, lets say that from the starts the god I worshiped was X instead of Grummsh, I didn't know he was that evil and dont want cause any in-party problem.'' I doest hurt anyone.

Which has all been discussed and the OP has stated how they're dealing with it. If deities tenets/alignments are strictly enforced this probably shouldn't have been allowed in the first place. That's water under the bridge now, so the OP was asking how to deal with it.

I don't see much reason to continue with this tangent, at least not on this thread. Gods in my campaigns are more than just vague concepts. A worshiper of Gruumsh doesn't have to be a murderous sociopath, but a cleric is not just your run-of-the-mill worshiper. They're a chosen one, the implementation of a god's will on the material plane. Gruumsh is chaotic evil which does kind of make him a murderous sociopath.

If one person insists on playing a divisive character they simply aren't a going to be a good fit for my table. For you gods may be "squishier", you may not pay much attention to alignment. That's all well and good ... for your campaign.

Oh, and the orcish raider scenario question still hasn't been addressed .
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I can no more see a cleric of Gruumsh who only plants flowers continuing to be a cleric of Gruumsh than a car dealer continuing to employ a salesman who paints landscapes all day instead of selling cars.

Painting landscapes are not a part of the job selling cars, and thus the analogy breaks down. A more applicable one would be whether a car dealer continues to employ someone whose sole job it is to do the paperwork on sold cars. They aren't on the showfloor doing what we typical think is the *primary* part of "selling cars"... but their duty is an intricate part of the entire process that has to be done. And thus that person still gets to keep their job even though they aren't "selling cars" per se.

A basic assumption in most campaigns is that gods are more then just a vague philosophical ideal. But even if they were a nebulous concept, why worship Gruumsh if all your character wants to do is plant flowers?

Again with the black-and-white. "...if all your character wants to do is plant flowers?" Who said anything about ONLY planting flowers? I certainly didn't. I said if the player could JUSTIFY why planting flowers *could* fall under Gruumsh's tenets, then it makes sense for the DM to go along with it. The fact that you now want to turn into an absolute says quite a lot about your particular DMing style and attitude.

Oh, and you still haven't addressed my scenario of orc raiders.

Okay then...

The scenario is:

What happens if the group comes across a group of orcs invaders slaughtering innocents, elven or otherwise? If the cleric helps the innocents, they're pretty clearly violating the will of Gruumsh. If they help slaughter the innocents, in my opinion they've crossed into CE territory.

If the DM wishes to give his cleric player this moral quandry, then the answer seems pretty simple to me... the player makes a choice for how their PC reacts and then tries to atone for it after the fact if such an atonement is necessary or possible.

If that means the player helps her party members against the orcs and Gruumsh gets angry... she made her choice for her character and can deal with the consequences. Exactly the same the other way around if she turns on the party and helps the orcs. Or perhaps the half-orc just remains completely out of the situation altogether?

But here's the thing... the DM in this situation did not FORCE the player into conflict. The DM put up a scenario and let the PLAYER choose how to react to it, and then how they and the party dealt with the aftermath. But what the DM didn't do was force the half-orc into having "dreams" about wearing the elf's ears as a necklace, or having spell failures occur on spells that help the elf just "because". Things that the half-orc player has no control over.

This is entirely a shades-of-grey situation. And in my opinion should be treated as such, and not just go to the extreme no matter what someone puts up as a possible reason.
 

Oofta

Legend
This is entirely a shades-of-grey situation. And in my opinion should be treated as such, and not just go to the extreme no matter what someone puts up as a possible reason.

You view a cleric of Gruumsh in a party with an elf as a shades-of-grey, I see it as a player choosing to run a divisive character that should lead to the breakdown of the party if people truly RP their characters and if I use alignments and deities as presented by the rules.

We're just going to have to agree to disagree.
 


Wulffolk

Explorer
Well, it could be that the player of the Cleric of Gruumsh chose a divisive character concept, or it could be the player that chose to put an Elf in the party with the Cleric.

The main point is that all of this should have been avoided by running a proper session zero. That puts the responsibility on the DM.
 

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