Those Damned Murderhobo PCs

Recently I’ve seen a few discussions about Murderhobo players, and thought about ways to bring a bit more balance to the mayhem and encourage players to run characters a bit more in balance with regular people in the game world.

I think it’s important for players to maintain control of their characters, and you don’t want to railroad their behaviour anymore than you do the plot of an adventure. However I think there are already some rules in D&D that many of us gloss over or forget that already set the framework for character behaviour. In particular access to higher level Clerical healing and having a character Raised from the Dead is highly dependent on their alignment, and thus behaviour.

Only Lawful Clerics of 7th level and higher can cast Raise Dead, while Chaotic Clerics normally cast Finger of Death instead. It’s important to note that rules also say Clerics do not normally cast spells that would bring disfavour from their deity. Once a Chaotic Deity (Devil) has the soul of an evil mortal it seems unlikely that either a Lawful or Chaotic cleric would cast Raise Dead on them.  Even if you allow Neutral Clerics of above level 6, they also seem like they’d be disinclined to get in between the “natural order” to be raising evil characters to set loose to continue adventuring.

It seems very likely that there would be expectations placed on a character raised from the dead by a Lawful cleric’s deity. A Chaotic cleric would probably only be able to raise a Chaotic character if it was some sort of Anti-Paladin, Necromancer sort of individual who would then actively work to further the goals of that deity. It’s not unreasonable to expect agents of the deity (Clerics or even more powerful creatures) could take an active interest in whether a character lives up to those expectations.

Making sure players are aware that having a character Raised from the Dead is probably not an option if they are a ruthless Murder Hobo could change how they approach the game. But it still gives them the option and doesn’t railroad their behaviour. It becomes a question of weighing the pros and cons of different approaches to the game.

And if they’re on the fence about what they want to do, it can make for some interesting roleplaying with Clerics… or perhaps a Devil that offers the players help that will steer them down the murderhobo path.