Druid willingly flame strikes Animal Companion and kills it - punishment?

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We're playing Age of Worms (if that matters).  Party is level 8, going to level 9. 

Animal Companion wolf is in a grapple with a Hellcat.  Druid casts flame strike on them both.  
Hellcat takes 16, 8 after fire resistance.  Wolf takes 33, chars, and dies. 

Druid player expresses no remorse.  

This is the 4th or 5th wolf he has gone thru.  Earlier deaths were not directly his fault.  But he does not mourn at all.  

The cleric in the campaign has taken the leadership feat, and is going out of his way to equip the cohort and keep him safe.  When the cohort died, the cleric paid for a reincarnate (the cohort had earlier expressed a desire to come back, no matter the cost.)  So there is a sort of precedent for caring for your companions. 

The druid just throws the wolf on the pile and goes and calls another a day later.   

I want to show him there are repercussions to this sort of thing.  The companion is supposed to be just that, a companion, not just another weapon in your reptoire.  

I am thinking of denying him the animal companion when he tries to summon one.  Not sure for how long.  Not sure if an atonement spell would work - if it did he'd definitely need to perform some sort of task.

I don't want to punish the other characters though, and I don't want to completely derail the campaign.  They just finished with Zyrxog, so its kind of a down time before the next chapter.  Seems like the perfect time.  

I am open to all suggestions, inlcuding those of 'just move on'.
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It wouldn't be far-fetched to say the druid has stopped revering nature.


I'd expect a druid to only kill animals for food, to defend himself or others, or to put a wounded animal out of its misery. Even when killing for these reasons, I'd expect him to offer up prayers for the animal. In the case of hunting, I'd expect him to give thanks to the animal which has dies to provide food and clothing.


With an established pattern of showing no regard for animals, topped of with remorselessly killing his own animal companion, you could immediately rule him to be an ex-druid. He'd need an atonement spell to regain the companion, his spellcasting, wild shape, and his other class features.

What alignment is this Druid?  If he is anything but NG I don't see why he'd need to show remorse for participating in the circle of life which is what the "neutral" part of a druid's alignment requirement works around.  "Nature" bring the companion to walk alongside the druid for a time and then when its time is up it's up; there is no need to be sad about things that will happen anyway.

While you may disagree it may also be that the character DOES grieve for the loss but just never shows it. 

Ask the player why his character doesn't seem to mind the loss of his animal companions. If he gives a solid in game explanation done deal. If not, explain what you are expecting, and your concerns "Feels like you aren't roleplaying, should feel bad about killing your companions" etc. See his responses to those. He should have an explanation of how he is roleplaying. If so, done. 


If not, your player doesn't paticulalrly care about roleplaying. There is nothing you can do to change this aside from show him the fun that comes from it and hope he changes his mind. If his lack of roleplaying really bothers you or the group, you should consider removing him/you and finding the removed player a more approperiate group. 

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It wouldn't be far-fetched to say the druid has stopped revering nature.

I'm seconding this.  Druids are specifically required to revere nature, and it's not unreasonable to expect that they should actually show that reverence in some way, especially if they're willing to burn animals under their care to a crisp when it's expedient.

I'd suggest offering one of the alternative class features to replace an animal companion if the player really has a problem with being asked to take care of the animals they call, but those all pretty much just replace the companion with a different kind of creature.

Introducing some difficulty in calling another animal companion does seem a good idea, along with warning the player that failing to revere nature (at least as a general pattern of behaviour; it need to be at every single opportunity) can directly affect his connection to its power and turn him into an ex-druid if he keeps it up.

To be honest, I'm trying to remember if I've ever had a player who had trouble caring about the suffering of their animal companions; most of the ones I've seen get really attached to them, often to the point of valuing them above other party members.

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You could always use the fluff from the Leadership feat for this.  If he has a reputation for treating his companions badly, and his companions seem to have a better-than-average chance of dying, they just stop coming.  It doesn't turn him into an ex-druid, but it does make him aware that his companion isn't fodder.
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