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View Full Version : Evil Wizards Live Forever as Liches... Good Wizards Live Forever as...?



Zovc
2009-11-03, 05:39 PM
This is based on 3.5 fluff, for the record.

As the title says, evil wizards live forever as liches, but there isn't a good way for wizards to live forever? Why can't I cheat death and still be a good guy? What if I want to go beyond "my" time using ultra-cool, ultra-powerful magic to protect the weak and help give to the poor?

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 05:39 PM
Baelnorns. Liches for good people.

ErrantX
2009-11-03, 05:41 PM
They become Elminster.

Cuz liches are b!*#$%.

-X

P.S. Or they cast wish for life extension. Good people are okay with spending XP to keep living. Or some wonky Epic Magic. Evil wizards always take the quick and dirty way out.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-03, 05:42 PM
Good wizards become liches and mindrape themselves back to Good. Oh, wait, I meant neutral wizards. w/e

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 05:43 PM
Technically, being good and becoming a lich doesn't make you evil. They just tend not to do it. There's a good lich template for those blokes.

Dixieboy
2009-11-03, 05:44 PM
Baelnorns. Liches for good elves.

I believe you made a spelling mistake, i fix'd it for you.

hamishspence
2009-11-03, 05:45 PM
Technically, being good and becoming a lich doesn't make you evil. They just tend not to do it. There's a good lich template for those blokes.

One in Monsters of Faerun, for non-elves- archlich- has unique powers (including the ability to animate dead as a spell-like ability)

And one-in Libris Mortis- the Good Lich- which doesn't appear to have anything specially different.

Zovc
2009-11-03, 05:47 PM
Technically, being good and becoming a lich doesn't make you evil. They just tend not to do it. There's a good lich template for those blokes.

...you're referring to? The SRD says, under alignment, "any evil." Also, "The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character. A lich retains all class abilities it had in life."

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 05:47 PM
I believe you made a spelling mistake, i fix'd it for you.

That's what reincarnate is for. :smalltongue:

Dixieboy
2009-11-03, 05:48 PM
And one-in Libris Mortis- the Good Lich- which doesn't appear to have anything specially different.

I'd guess the entry requirements weren't as harsh. :smallwink:

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 05:48 PM
...you're referring to? The SRD says, under alignment, "any evil." Also, "The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character. A lich retains all class abilities it had in life."

One evil act doesn't dictate alignment, and "always alignment X" doesn't actually mean what it says. Normally, people who are good and want to be liches just use archlich, Baelnorn or the good lich variant.

Salt_Crow
2009-11-03, 05:52 PM
Good wizards live forever as fond memories and legends!

lsfreak
2009-11-03, 05:56 PM
Good wizards live forever as fond memories and legends!

Which is really helpful when two thousand years of liches realize there's no one to match their power :smallwink:

Inhuman Bot
2009-11-03, 05:57 PM
I think the good liches are called... Archliches?

Thalnawr
2009-11-03, 05:58 PM
Why would a good wizard want to live forever anyhow? They'd be putting off their eternal reward, so the only reason I can see them wanting to do this, is if there is no other choice in order to complete some quest for the greater good.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-03, 05:59 PM
Once you get access to lesser planar binding, get a nightmare. Dominate it. Have it cast astral projection on you. Come back to the Material Plane, cast gentle repose on your body (or cover it in quintessence), put it somewhere it won't be hurt, then go adventuring.

Your body will remain young so long as you're not in it.

Also, get a contingencied reincarnation, and kill yourself when you're getting near Old Age. Keep your mental bonuses, and keep your new Young Adult body.

Alternately, research a spell that ensures you become a ghost.

Or become a necropolitan.

TheCountAlucard
2009-11-03, 06:01 PM
Which is really helpful when two thousand years of liches realize there's no one to match their powerExcept other liches, of course. Evil always has difficulties in dealing with itself.

SoD
2009-11-03, 06:02 PM
One evil act doesn't dictate alignment, and "always alignment X" doesn't actually mean what it says. Normally, people who are good and want to be liches just use archlich, Baelnorn or the good lich variant.

It doesn't mean what it says? Always is always. Mostly alignment X and ususually alignment X are different, but always is always (not counting magical ways to change alignments).

Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;
Unliving corpses-corrupt mokeries of life and purity-are inherently evil. Creating them is one of the most heinous crimes against the world that a character can commit. Even if they are ordered to do something good, undead unvariably bring negative energy into the world, which makes it a darker and more evil place.

Aron Times
2009-11-03, 06:03 PM
In 4E, it depends on your epic destiny. For example, a level 30 demigod who completes his destiny quest ascends into godhood. A level 30 archmage who does the same becomes one with magic itself.

Nonmagical epic destinies, e.g. martial ones, often have the level 30 character be remembered forever, the stories of his epic deeds giving him an immortality of sorts.

Avatars are an interesting case. When an avatar dies, his consciousness merges back with his greater divine self. For example, an avatar of Kelemvor would merge back with Kelemvor upon his death, and Kelemvor would then have all the accumulated experience, knowledge, and memories of his avatar.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-03, 06:04 PM
Why would a good wizard want to live forever anyhow? They'd be putting off their eternal reward, so the only reason I can see them wanting to do this, is if there is no other choice in order to complete some quest for the greater good.

If, by 'eternal reward' you mean, 'loses his memories and experiences and lives for a few hundred years before ceasing to exist and merging with the multiverse,' then sure.

Depends on the cosmology, though.

Dusk Eclipse
2009-11-03, 06:07 PM
IIRC the difference from a "normal" lich and a good one is that good ones have inmunity to turning... possibly the libris mortis has that template.

Grumman
2009-11-03, 06:08 PM
One evil act doesn't dictate alignment,
I disagree. I'd be comfortable saying that a single instance of throwing an innocent orphan child into a woodchipper would demonstrate not only that you are evil now, but that you were already evil for being the sort of person who would, even if the opportunity hadn't yet presented itself.

Being good only has any relevance at all if it takes some sacrifice. Being evil only has any relevance if it can get you things being good can't. Letting "good" people get the benefits of being evil without the pain cheapens both.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-03, 06:09 PM
Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;

BoVD and BoED are seen as questionable. Too lazy to look up a specific citation of a ridiculous moral statement there.

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 06:14 PM
It doesn't mean what it says? Always is always. Mostly alignment X and ususually alignment X are different, but always is always (not counting magical ways to change alignments).

Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;

Always doesn't mean always, hence why we get things like paladin Succubi and that redeemed mind flayer.

As for that, BoVD is rather inane when it comes to alignment, because negative energy, like positive energy is neutral, hence why both their planes are neutral aligned.

mostlyharmful
2009-11-03, 06:15 PM
It doesn't mean what it says? Always is always.

Except when it isn't. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=129292)

Yukitsu
2009-11-03, 06:16 PM
I disagree. I'd be comfortable saying that a single instance of throwing an innocent orphan child into a woodchipper would demonstrate not only that you are evil now, but that you were already evil for being the sort of person who would, even if the opportunity hadn't yet presented itself.

Being good only has any relevance at all if it takes some sacrifice. Being evil only has any relevance if it can get you things being good can't. Letting "good" people get the benefits of being evil without the pain cheapens both.

Well, you can get immortality through lichdom which is something that by the rules both good and evil can get (good lich template, lich template) so I doubt strongly that this is a relevant case.

Besides, circumstances around throwing a baby into a wood chipper may reveal some interesting reasons why the individual may not be evil, much like how a person becoming a lich may not indicate evil. If some culture decided that the appropriate way to dispose of corpses was to throw them in a woodchipper to let their corpse fertilize the field, would that be evil? No. Circumstances dictate everything.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-03, 11:47 PM
It doesn't mean what it says? Always is always. Mostly alignment X and ususually alignment X are different, but always is always (not counting magical ways to change alignments).

Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;
Unliving corpses-corrupt mokeries of life and purity-are inherently evil. Creating them is one of the most heinous crimes against the world that a character can commit. Even if they are ordered to do something good, undead unvariably bring negative energy into the world, which makes it a darker and more evil place. Necropolitan. Or Dread Necromancer which is specifically open to neutral characters, and turns you into a lich for free without you needing to do anything at 20th level. Not to mention the fact that negative energy is neutral, not evil, spells like Enervation aren't Evil, and even the Flesh Colossus (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/monsters/colossus.htm), a massive amalgamation of 300 animated corpses controlled by a ghost, is neutral.

Also, I distrust any source that can't spell 'mockeries' or 'invariably'.

Cracklord
2009-11-03, 11:52 PM
Ghost Matyr's for paladins,
Ghosts for Wizards
Matyrs for clerics.

peacenlove
2009-11-04, 12:02 AM
Good wizards go to heaven, bad wizards go everywhere :smallbiggrin:

Don't be a lich, be a ghost (whose alignment is often neutral and as the monster manual states, he needn't be confined in a space, also there are some variant powers in Monsters of Faerun)
Also Archlich from Libris Mortis, And then you can trade your sucky lich abilities for better ones also found in monsters of faerun (an old 3.0 edition book, has some cool powers and you lose your "fear aura" to get one)
Necropolitan is the best if you focus on spellcasting, but it always striked me as rather ... bland. However this is purely my opinion and frankly mechanics-wise its the best thing you can do.
Lastly i think you can use sanctify the wicked to turn undead into good (but i am away from my books so i could be wrong, the spell and the template it applies is found on Book of Exalted Deeds)

PhoenixRivers
2009-11-04, 12:17 AM
I'm surprised no eberron buffs mentioned the Deathless.

But in actuality, I'd say that evil wizards are liches. Good wizards are eventually zombies in the evil lich's armies.

Gralamin
2009-11-04, 12:19 AM
I'm surprised no eberron buffs mentioned the Deathless.

But in actuality, I'd say that evil wizards are liches. Good wizards are eventually zombies in the evil lich's armies.

The thing about the Deathless is... well, Eberron doesn't really have black and white mortality. This means that Deathless tend to be bad people about as often as anyone else.

PhoenixRivers
2009-11-04, 12:29 AM
The thing about the Deathless is... well, Eberron doesn't really have black and white mortality. This means that Deathless tend to be bad people about as often as anyone else.

Same applies to good and liches there.

Ehra
2009-11-04, 12:35 AM
One evil act doesn't dictate alignment, and "always alignment X" doesn't actually mean what it says. Normally, people who are good and want to be liches just use archlich, Baelnorn or the good lich variant.

I would immagine the "always doesn't always mean always" rule applies to races, not templates or classes. Saying you could have a good aligned lich opens up all sorts of other ridiculous cases that just should not work, like an evil Saint. Or a Sanctified creature that's still somehow evil.

DragoonWraith
2009-11-04, 12:42 AM
I think the general idea is that good Wizards shouldn't really be too worried about dying, since they'll be rewarded. It's evil Wizards who want to avoid it. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0652.html)

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-04, 12:44 AM
I would immagine the "always doesn't always mean always" rule applies to races, not templates or classes. Saying you could have a good aligned lich opens up all sorts of other ridiculous cases that just should not work, like an evil Saint. Or a Sanctified creature that's still somehow evil.Those specifically change your alignment, though. Lichdom just assumes that only bad people will be liches, to the point where they don't even say what 'unspeakably evil act' the ritual involves. Since D&D claims poisons(far less painful and deadly than a greataxe) are evil and the government in Clockwork Orange were Exalted, I doubt their judgment.

dyslexicfaser
2009-11-04, 03:06 AM
Because of course good wizards never want to live forever. Immortality is EVILBAD.

Even if they want to do it so they can amass enough knowledge to build a benevolent niceness kingdom based on utopian ideals of freedom and fairness and justice for all.

No, all good wizards want to die and go to heaven. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Doc Roc
2009-11-04, 03:34 AM
Good wizards live forever by becoming immortal floating sandwiches.

grautry
2009-11-04, 03:48 AM
Here's (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5996.0) a good resource for several ways into immortality.

But really, Wish.

Unless I'm forgetting something using PAO twice(to make it permanent; you turn into an Elan) can make you immortal. If standard Wish enough isn't alone then there's also that ~Wish ritual from Savage Species that has some stupidly overpowered properties, so it should be well within its limits to grant immortality.

If one Wish isn't enough then a couple of them will almost certainly suffice.

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 04:44 AM
If two wishes in quick succession will only raise a stat by +2, why should two PAOs in quick succession automatically grant a permanent transformation?

It seems like a case of extra-generous reading of RAW "It doesn't say it isn't the new form that counts"

Same applies to immortality- its a rare property.

Though a permanent transformation into a creature with it as a natural trait (many extraplanar outsiders) works- it should not be an ability easily gettable with two wishes.

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 04:59 AM
Eh, in AD&D it was considered trivial for a Wizard with 9th level spells to become immortal; the spells are just not covered in the books since they don't have anything to do with adventuring. With magic more powerful now in 3.5, I don't see why it should suddenly be hard for them.

Wish is a friggin' Łberstrong spell; allowing immortality as its subset doesn't even seem farfetched. And yeah, Polymorph Any Object replaces your traits with those of the creature you turn into so second PAO into same creature is pretty much automatically permanent due to you getting a score of like 11 turning into it.

JellyPooga
2009-11-04, 07:33 AM
Evil Wizards live forever as Liches.

Good Wizards live forever as...Green Star Adepts? Or is that just sub-optimal Wizards?

jmbrown
2009-11-04, 07:43 AM
I skimmed through most of this topic but why would a good wizard want to be immortal? I've always viewed immortality as the height of selfishness. By the time he hits 9th spell level, a good wizard should be passing his knowledge on to a worthy successor and then leave the prime material prime.

A refute to this is that an immortal wizard can remain forever helping the world with magics. A refute to that is how people would react to an all powerful, immortal presence living in their backyard. There's probably a trope attached to it, but if a god lives side-by-side with mortals... they're going to try and kill him. It's inevitable.

edit: I'll use the word artificial immortality, instead. Immortality granted at the behest of good deeds is fine but someone wishing to be immortal or going through the lich process? Yeah, super selfishness right there.

daggaz
2009-11-04, 07:47 AM
What do you mean? Good wizards DO live forever... they become thousands of years old and insanely powerful, but everybody believes they are just doddling old wizards of the normal age caliber and variety..

So really the only difference is that the evil ones brag about it.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 07:48 AM
I skimmed through most of this topic but why would a good wizard want to be immortal? I've always viewed immortality as the height of selfishness. By the time he hits 9th spell level, a good wizard should be passing his knowledge on to a worthy successor and then leave the prime material prime.

I strongly disagree. Why is immortality selfish? Do you hurt anyone by being immortal? I'm a strong believer that living forever is awesome (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LivingForeverIsAwesome).

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 08:14 AM
I skimmed through most of this topic but why would a good wizard want to be immortal? I've always viewed immortality as the height of selfishness.

Duty does not cease with death. Evil is a very real threat; there are liches running about and every good deity has their match in an evil one. It would be selfish to abandon your duty to protect the innocent in order to go and hedonistically enjoy your personal slice of heaven.

Ehra
2009-11-04, 10:22 AM
Those specifically change your alignment, though. Lichdom just assumes that only bad people will be liches, to the point where they don't even say what 'unspeakably evil act' the ritual involves. Since D&D claims poisons(far less painful and deadly than a greataxe) are evil and the government in Clockwork Orange were Exalted, I doubt their judgment.

The SRD says a Lich is any evil, along with the ritual required to become one says it requires unspeakable evil. Crystalkeep also says "Must have an Evil alignment" under stats for the lich template. It definitely sounds to me that, if evil isn't a requirement to actually become one, actually getting the template turns you evil. I see no way in both the wording of the ritual and the lich template itself to be able to say say that it just "assumes" only evil people can be liches. It's made clear that "Alignment: Any Evil" is a part of the template.

Poisons and governments have nothing to do with this.

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 10:30 AM
However, a Wizard could, say...

Realize that being evil and a lich is a good way to get himself killed.
Specifically not want to die.
Find the most practical solution is to turn into a lich and then immediately put a helm of opposite alignment on to voluntarily fail his save.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-04, 10:34 AM
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Good Wizards who live long enough live forever as Evil Wizards living forever as Liches. ;)

Ehra
2009-11-04, 10:38 AM
However, a Wizard could, say...

Realize that being evil and a lich is a good way to get himself killed.
Specifically not want to die.
Find the most practical solution is to turn into a lich and then immediately put a helm of opposite alignment on to voluntarily fail his save.


Well, yes, if you start adding all other sorts of outside affects it's very possible to end up with a "good" lich. I was talking about the template taken by itself :smalltongue:

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 10:40 AM
Well, yes, if you start adding all other sorts of outside affects it's very possible to end up with a "good" lich. I was talking about the template taken by itself :smalltongue:

Oh, yes. I just think that'd be an amusing idea, someone who intentionally uses a helm of opposite alignment for a practical reason.

bosssmiley
2009-11-04, 10:41 AM
...Marty Stu DMPC characters. :smalltongue:

(I'm looking at you Greenwood, and you Gygax!)

technophile
2009-11-04, 10:43 AM
Oh, yes. I just think that'd be an amusing idea, someone who intentionally uses a helm of opposite alignment for a practical reason.

Except that once the wizard is a lich and evil, what's to make sure he still wants to put the helm on?

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 10:44 AM
Poisons and governments have nothing to do with this.

Not to mention that fact that BoED says nothing of the sort, when it comes to A Clockwork Orange. People tend to impose their own perceptions on Sanctify.

Is there a Dragon source or pre-3rd ed source, on the Lich Transformation?

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 10:49 AM
Except that once the wizard is a lich and evil, what's to make sure he still wants to put the helm on?

A sense of self-preservation and a solid belief that Evil is Bad or Evil is Impractical? It is entirely possible to be an evil person and at a conscious level feel that this is a bad thing for one reason or another. I'm a smart person, I know I should eat healthier, but I love hamburgers. If you gave me a Helm of Opposite Tastignment, I'd use it in a heartbeat.

sentaku
2009-11-04, 10:54 AM
Duty does not cease with death. Evil is a very real threat; there are liches running about and every good deity has their match in an evil one. It would be selfish to abandon your duty to protect the innocent in order to go and hedonistically enjoy your personal slice of heaven.

Accept the fact that the good hero's must step aside to let others take their place and become hero's themselves.

JeenLeen
2009-11-04, 10:56 AM
The thing about the Deathless is... well, Eberron doesn't really have black and white mortality. This means that Deathless tend to be bad people about as often as anyone else.

Deathless are also mentioned in BoED, which I think most would say is black-and-white morality.


In general, I think it makes sense for a good wizard to, if not want, feel obligated to try to live forever to stand strong as a bastion of good. Or to teach or help others, depending on temperment and goals.

As for their eternal reward, they can Plane Shift and live on Celestia (or wherever) if they want. Unless their diety has a particular thing about people not living past their allotted time, the only ethical deal I see would be having to stop the Inevitables that come after you.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 10:59 AM
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."


I prefer "with great power comes great responsibility". Power corrupts only those who lack the mental and moral strength to handle it properly.


Accept the fact that the good hero's must step aside to let others take their place and become hero's themselves.

Why? What exactly is so good about stepping aside and making way for other heroes, and so bad about not doing that? And how exactly the presence of a powerful good mage prohibits other good heroes from appearing, anyway?

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 11:01 AM
Deathless are also mentioned in BoED, which I think most would say is black-and-white morality.

It may be a bit black and white- but given the heavy emphasis on
being nice to even evil people wherever reasonably possible,

this may not be a bad thing.

TV tropes summed up BoED as follows:

"WoTC apparently thought it was more important to avoid being Miko Miyazaki, than to avoid being Piffany"

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 11:01 AM
I prefer "with great power comes great responsibility". Power corrupts only those who lack the mental strength to handle it properly.

Both are true. Absolute power does corrupt absolutely. The key thing for a good person with absolute power is that they don't have it. They restrain themselves. In their minds, if no one else's, they are beholden to a greater power.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-04, 11:10 AM
Both are true. Absolute power does corrupt absolutely. The key thing for a good person with absolute power is that they don't have it. They restrain themselves. In their minds, if no one else's, they are beholden to a greater power.

Actually, the key is time. As I said, if you live long enough, well;

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

mikeejimbo
2009-11-04, 11:16 AM
Huh. What do neutral wizards live forever as, then?

Gamgee
2009-11-04, 11:17 AM
I strongly disagree. Why is immortality selfish? Do you hurt anyone by being immortal? I'm a strong believer that living forever is awesome (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LivingForeverIsAwesome).

What happens after you do everything, and it will eventually happen. Then it's just an infinity of no challenge, where you will go insane from being able to see the very patterns of the universe itself. No thanks, Ill take one regular life span. There was a reason why in Lord of the Rings it was man's gift to be able to die. ;)

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 11:17 AM
Huh. What do neutral wizards live forever as, then?

Tapioca pudding.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 11:19 AM
Actually, the key is time. As I said, if you live long enough, well;

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

Once again, I disagree. I don't see any reason for that, other than the popular (and false) media claim that immortality makes you evil.


What happens after you do everything, and it will eventually happen. Then it's just an infinity of no challenge, where you will go insane from being able to see the very patterns of the universe itself. No thanks, Ill take one regular life span. There was a reason why in Lord of the Rings it was man's gift to be able to die. ;)

The pace of new experiences appearing is faster than the pace at which one man is able to actually experience them. Especially now that the internet is invented.

Gamgee
2009-11-04, 11:23 AM
Once again, I disagree. I don't see any reason for that, other than the popular (and false) media claim that immortality makes you evil.



The pace of new experiences appearing is faster than the pace at which one man is able to actually experience them. Especially now that the internet is invented.

You think mankind will be around forever? If you never die then you will just drift on endlessly through space for a large chunk of your infinite never ending hell hole of a life.

Even if your lucky to not in an infinite time span be blasted off of earth it will some day die from the sun going super nova and then you will have a ball of rock to walk on endlessly.

Enjoy.

Edit
I really don't think people truly comprehend how long a trillion years is, let alone a few thousand. So how can you possible comprehend infinity?

AstralFire
2009-11-04, 11:25 AM
While I agree with you on the issues of a mortal mind going through that many years, Gamgee, it's not like a Lich can't just chuck his phylactery into the sun and then follow himself.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-04, 11:34 AM
Once again, I disagree. I don't see any reason for that, other than the popular (and false) media claim that immortality makes you evil.

Well, it's probably just a perception thing, as I am very much of the 'Who Wants to Live Forever?' (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhoWantsToLiveForever) side of the fence. :)

But of course, we are specifically dealing with 3.5 fluff. And specifically in reguards to Wizards. If there's ever been an example of 'Absolute Power', then an Epic Level Wizard comes pretty close.

Think of it this way; With Great Power comes Great Responsibility because power corrupts.

Also, the list of examples on living-forever-is-awesome is, tellingly, quite short compared to 'Who Wants To Live Forever'. ;)

mikeejimbo
2009-11-04, 11:37 AM
Tapioca pudding.

Is that a kind of ooze?

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 11:43 AM
Yeah, I agree that power can corrupt. It's just that if you are strong enough, you won't let it corrupt you.


While I agree with you on the issues of a mortal mind going through that many years, Gamgee, it's not like a Lich can't just chuck his phylactery into the sun and then follow himself.

Yeah, I'm talking about infinite life here, not absolute immortality where you can't die no matter what.

When it comes to absolute immortality, though, I think Gamgee is underestimating human ability to survive. Unless some horrible catastrophe of epic proportions happens in the meantime, humanity will spread from Earth all over space long before the planet dies, and that's not even counting the various other intelligent lifeforms we might encounter. I'd say that an absolute immortal's life will stop being fun only once the thermal death of the universe comes - but, since science marches on, there's a chance it might not even happen, ever.

Samb
2009-11-04, 11:55 AM
Living forever doesn't seem that tough for good or evil people. Liches just seems to be the natural choice for evil is all.

That being said, the afterlife is pretty sweet for good guys. Celestia is nice and ordered and you spend your days in quaint routine.

How about the twin Paradises of Bytopia, where wild flowers and grassland go as far as the eye can see.

Or the perfectly ordered, massive garden that is Elysium. So tranquil and peaceful that one loses any desire to leave.

The Beastlands is a good ranager and druid (tree huggers) wet dream.

Arborea is a constant plane full of drunks (the fun kind) and a perpetual party.

So yeah, if I knew that I'd end up in one of those places after I die, you bet I would not mind it. The evil wizards (or evil people in general), would end up in the Abyss or the nine hells. Yuck, especially when they have engaged in a few more planer binding than they should have, it's a pretty safe bet they will want to avoid an eternity of torture........ Just my guess.

ZeroNumerous
2009-11-04, 11:56 AM
Yeah, I agree that power can corrupt. It's just that if you are strong enough, you won't let it corrupt you.

That's what they all said.

Lets say you gain absolute power: "I can now destroy all things I see as evil. When I have done so, Good will finally be victorious over Evil."

Now. You do so and Evil is destroyed. You've killed countless, unknowable numbers of potential lives and several million existing lives. In eradicating all forms of Evil you have killed more people than every war, disease, virus and cosmological event since the dawn of time as we know it.

Can you truly say you have not become Evil?

Lets run through the classic checklist:

"But I've only killed Evil people. They deserved to die."

Who are you to say that all those potential lives you've destroyed were worthless?

"But wait, I'll use my absolute power to force them to change their ways and be Good instead."

Who are you to say that the freedom of choice is unacceptable?

"Fine, then I'll destroy the very concept of Evil."

Then how can you say you are Good if you have nothing to measure yourself against?

The point is: Good men let people chose. Good lets people be evil if that's what they want. Good does not destroy on the off-chance that a person is evil. Good and Absolute Power cannot coincide in one person.

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 12:01 PM
What forces you to use that power again? Isn't the whole theory of deities that the very reason good deities do not intervene in behalf of the good folk are just those reasons. It's not lack of power, it's just against their essence to intervene. Once you effectively become a deity, you can be just like that.

Samb
2009-11-04, 12:08 PM
What forces you to use that power again? Isn't the whole theory of deities that the very reason good deities do not intervene in behalf of the good folk are just those reasons. It's not lack of power, it's just against their essence to intervene. Once you effectively become a deity, you can be just like that.

Good deities and entities don't directly intervene because they prefer to 1) lead by example and 2) if they help all the time then they end up weakening good in the long run. It has nothing to do with the essence of good deities.

To say that everyone becomes corrupted by power is an overstatement. That being said, it is the exception rather than the norm. Since none of us have lived forever, you cannot say immortality= evil.

Killy from Blame! was immortal and he was certainly not evil.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 12:08 PM
Not only what Eldariel said, but I also don't recall talking about absolute power. And immortality alone will not grant you absolute power - in DND even gods have their limits.

Grumman
2009-11-04, 12:13 PM
However, a Wizard could, say...

Realize that being evil and a lich is a good way to get himself killed.
Specifically not want to die.
Find the most practical solution is to turn into a lich and then immediately put a helm of opposite alignment on to voluntarily fail his save.

If you think this is an acceptable plan, you are not good. A Helm of Opposite Alignment magically undoes your evil worldview but it doesn't magically undo your evil actions. So even if it lets you become good-hearted after slaughtering a thousand kittens in some dark rite, you're still knee-deep in kitten blood.

A willingness to commit unspeakably evil acts for your own benefit and then pretend that a change of heart is a moral Get Out of Jail Free card is exactly the sort of "I'm fine, so **** the rest of you" worldview which would define the character as always having being evil.

Samb
2009-11-04, 12:15 PM
If you think this is an acceptable plan, you are not good. A Helm of Opposite Alignment magically undoes your evil worldview but it doesn't magically undo your evil actions. So even if it lets you become good-hearted after slaughtering a thousand kittens in some dark rite, you're still knee-deep in kitten blood.

A willingness to commit unspeakably evil acts for your own benefit and then pretend that a change of heart is a moral Get Out of Jail Free card is exactly the sort of "I'm fine, so **** the rest of you" worldview which would define the character as always having being evil.

Not quite. He would really turn good and then repent what he did when he was evil.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 12:16 PM
IMO the example wizard would run a very real risk of going mad with the sorrow. Might do some irrational things, such as destroying his phylactery and/or himself. Would be a good idea to restrain it somehow, until the lich comes to its senses and moves on to do good instead of being emo.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 12:18 PM
If you think this is an acceptable plan, you are not good. A Helm of Opposite Alignment magically undoes your evil worldview but it doesn't magically undo your evil actions. So even if it lets you become good-hearted after slaughtering a thousand kittens in some dark rite, you're still knee-deep in kitten blood.

A willingness to commit unspeakably evil acts for your own benefit and then pretend that a change of heart is a moral Get Out of Jail Free card is exactly the sort of "I'm fine, so **** the rest of you" worldview which would define the character as always having being evil.

Er, but the plan assumes you start as good, become a lich, and then put on the helmet immediately afterwards. No time to slaughter kittens in the meantime, unless that's a part of the ritual to become a lich.

Was that ritual even described anywhere? What exactly about its nature makes it unspeakably evil?

Eldariel
2009-11-04, 12:21 PM
Was that ritual even described anywhere? What exactly about its nature makes it unspeakably evil?

It's just in the book as a basically "NOT FOR PCS"-statement. It's been Ret Conned about a hundred times with various Good Lich-templates and such.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 12:21 PM
Er, but the plan assumes you start as good, become a lich, and then put on the helmet immediately afterwards. No time to slaughter kittens in the meantime, unless that's a part of the ritual to become a lich.

Was that ritual even described anywhere? What exactly about its nature makes it unspeakably evil?

If you somehow started as good, you would not be able to conceive of the lich-ritual. If you started as neutral, or evil-wants-to-be-good, this would work. But the good character would be unwilling to engage in the ritual.


The ritual is described with exactly one line in the MM. The ritual, as described by that one line, is explicitly "unspeakably evil". Ergo, they don't speak of its details.

Random832
2009-11-04, 12:21 PM
Was that ritual even described anywhere? What exactly about its nature makes it unspeakably evil?

The words "unspeakably evil" in black and white on the page.

Tengu_temp
2009-11-04, 12:23 PM
I know. But why is it unspeakably evil? Do you destroy the souls of innocents in the process, or what? The lack of detail sounds like poor imagination on WotC's part for me.

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 12:24 PM
I recall earlier books referencing making a phylactery, poisoning yourself, then coming back as a lich. I'd guess the "unspeakable" evil is suicide.

All in all, it's not a very well defined process. I think it's done that way so DMs could make it into a side quest if the PCs wanted to become one, or a quest if the enemy wanted to become one and had to be stopped.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-04, 12:25 PM
It was a joke: it is unspeakable. Therefore they can't tell you.

Are you laughing? Well, WotC isn't great at humor.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 12:27 PM
It's a joke? I thought it was just the one time I've ever seen "unspeakable" taken literally. The jokes are in various spell components...

JeenLeen
2009-11-04, 01:27 PM
Good deities and entities don't directly intervene because they prefer to 1) lead by example and 2) if they help all the time then they end up weakening good in the long run. It has nothing to do with the essence of good deities.


Furthermore, if the Good deities start intervening directly then what's to stop the Evil ones? I've always seen the "no direct intervention" concept to be part of an agreement between the gods. If they start fighting, the world would probably be destroyed in the process.

Ormur
2009-11-04, 01:51 PM
I'd imagine the lich ritual being something akin to torturing a hundred innocent people to death and then bathe in their blood etc. etc. Perhaps it even require such resolve that there is no chance of a good person could do it if he didn't want to be bad, perhaps the ritual even fails if you're still doing this for good/neutral reasons. If you're willing to contemplate it you weren't good to begin with and if you went through with it it's probably too late to go back.

At least that's how I'd describe it if I were WOTC but their idea of unspeakably evil might differ from mine.

Wulfram
2009-11-04, 02:15 PM
Good wizards... are elves, who live for yonks anyway?

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-11-04, 02:24 PM
Be an Elan and naturally live forever...

jmbrown
2009-11-04, 02:26 PM
I strongly disagree. Why is immortality selfish? Do you hurt anyone by being immortal? I'm a strong believer that living forever is awesome (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LivingForeverIsAwesome).

You're breaking the oldest law of nature that all things must come to an end. It's hubris on the highest level. You're spitting in the eyes of the universe and saying you're above its laws.

If that's not selfishness then I don't know what is.

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 02:28 PM
Laws were made to be broken?

By that definition God(s) is(are) evil?

If everyone did it, it would be perfectly natural, and thus fine?

Ehra
2009-11-04, 02:31 PM
By that definition God(s) is(are) evil?


Yes, and so are all elementals and constructions.


[/sarcasm]

Wulfram
2009-11-04, 02:33 PM
You're breaking the oldest law of nature that all things must come to an end. It's hubris on the highest level. You're spitting in the eyes of the universe and saying you're above its laws.

If that's not selfishness then I don't know what is.

If you can break it, it's not a law of nature. If you get away with it, it isn't hubris.

If you fail, it may be arrogance, but I can't see how it's selfish unless the process runs on torturing people or something.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 02:36 PM
You're spitting in the eyes of the universe and saying you're above its laws.

And this is immoral how? I don't draw a connection between "unnatural" and "evil".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_nature

Lysander
2009-11-04, 02:40 PM
It's possible that becoming a lich is evil simply because you are turning yourself into an undead abomination, regardless of whether anyone else suffers. For that matter, I wouldn't really count becoming a lich as "living forever." More like "being a horrible animated skeleton forever." Does being an animated skeleton really appeal to you? It sounds pretty damn horrible actually. You have to be on a major ego trip to consider lichdom better than death, all ethics aside.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 02:46 PM
Try Gentle Repose or illusions.

What makes a lich an "undead abomination"? Besides the evil ritual needed to make it, there's nothing wrong with being a lich except being ugly. And if ugliness is evil (screw you BoVD), there are several billion people you could talk to.
EDIT: And the possible immortality issue, but we're still discussing that.

Telonius
2009-11-04, 02:55 PM
Evil Wizards live forever as Liches.

Good Wizards live forever as...Green Star Adepts? Or is that just sub-optimal Wizards?

It's a life, of sorts. But not one most Wizards would want.

EDIT: As to why lichdom is immoral ...

Giving in to fear, when you have the choice to do otherwise, is the mark of a person with an evil attitude. Liches are so afraid of their consciousness being extinguished that they go out of their way to prevent it, even committing evil acts that do harm others in order to do so.

ZeroNumerous
2009-11-04, 03:05 PM
What forces you to use that power again?

If you have power, how do you know it is absolute without having used it?


Not only what Eldariel said, but I also don't recall talking about absolute power. And immortality alone will not grant you absolute power - in DND even gods have their limits.

I quoted you referring to absolute power.

As to why Lichdom is evil: The same reason mindless zombies are Neutral Evil. Because they're undead.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 03:08 PM
Giving in to fear, when you have the choice to do otherwise, is the mark of a person with an evil attitude.

I'm going to go up to a girl and ask for a date. I don't, because I'm fearful. I could choose otherwise and ask for the date. This makes me evil? I really would cite the "commits evil acts that harm others in order to do so" as evidence of evil as far more important than some bull about fear or assumed natural law.

grautry
2009-11-04, 03:21 PM
Giving in to fear, when you have the choice to do otherwise, is the mark of a person with an evil attitude.

Uhhh... No. That's only true for Jedi.

By your definition if I were faced with a deadly illness and got treatment, I'd have an 'evil attitude' because I 'gave in' to my fear of death.


You're breaking the oldest law of nature that all things must come to an end. It's hubris on the highest level. You're spitting in the eyes of the universe and saying you're above its laws.

If that's not selfishness then I don't know what is.

There are real-life organisms that are biologically immortal.

And this is D&D we're talking about. If you take a trip to the planes it's easier to find an immortal than a mortal.


If two wishes in quick succession will only raise a stat by +2, why should two PAOs in quick succession automatically grant a permanent transformation?

It seems like a case of extra-generous reading of RAW "It doesn't say it isn't the new form that counts"

The description of the spell strongly implies that it's the new form that counts.

"This spell functions like polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another."

PAO truly changes you into another creature.

If it were the old form that counted then it wouldn't really change you into another creature and the spell would contradict itself.

And even if PAO didn't truly change you into another creature, it's explictly stated in Savage Species that Wish that can do exactly that(I mentioned it even), absolutely, truly and permanently. If you choose the right creature, immortality is included as a bonus.

So really, since Wish can change you into a creature with immortality as a bonus then it's only reasonable that it can grant just the immortality if you're so inclined.

Arakune
2009-11-04, 03:30 PM
If two wishes in quick succession will only raise a stat by +2, why should two PAOs in quick succession automatically grant a permanent transformation?

Because it says so (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/polymorphAnyObject.htm), and it's a 8th level spell.

You need to know that the inherent bonus is the hardest one to improve and is the only one in the epic rules that have a hard cap of +5.

Telonius
2009-11-04, 03:38 PM
I'm going to go up to a girl and ask for a date. I don't, because I'm fearful. I could choose otherwise and ask for the date. This makes me evil? I really would cite the "commits evil acts that harm others in order to do so" as evidence of evil as far more important than some bull about fear or assumed natural law.

Two possible rebuttals to that ...

- Is it evil to deny yourself a good?
- Are cowardice and foolhardiness not equally bad, compared to bravery?

If you honestly judged asking the girl out to be too risky (maybe she has a dad with a shotgun who's threatened all suitors), then it's probably not evil under any definition. But otherwise, it would probably be a very minorly evil act. Barely registering, but there.

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 03:41 PM
it doesn't actually state what happens to something under a temporary PAO spell- when its polymorphed again.

peacenlove
2009-11-04, 03:48 PM
As to why Lichdom is evil: The same reason mindless zombies are Neutral Evil. Because they're undead.

Then why isn't he (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/ghost.htm) evil?


You're breaking the oldest law of nature that all things must come to an end. It's hubris on the highest level. You're spitting in the eyes of the universe and saying you're above its laws.

If that's not selfishness then I don't know what is.

So if i use Epic spells to replicate myself (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/eidolon.htm), to call beings outside of reality (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/dreamscape.htm) or to create entirely new species (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/spells/originOfSpeciesAchaierai.htm) is inherently evil? Note that they all completely break "laws of nature"
Epic level play surely is the most depraved and sinister activity for one's character to participate :smallamused:

Arakune
2009-11-04, 03:48 PM
it doesn't actually state what happens to something under a temporary PAO spell- when its polymorphed again.

When PAO is cast, your type changes for that time. If you get another PAO during that time you may become permanently polymorphed. The spell doesn't specify that you need to have the 'original type' or must have a 'permanent type'. If no restriction is made, the reason to deny it is "The DM don't want it" instead of "The rules doesn't allow that".

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 03:54 PM
"The spell doesn't specify that." is quite common when something ends up being a bit overwhelmingly powerful. Genesis being a notable example.

PAO into Solar (or some other high CR low HD creature), PAO again to make it permanent- result- massive up-jump in power. Seems a bit much for an 8th level spell.

Arakune
2009-11-04, 04:02 PM
"The spell doesn't specify that." is quite common when something ends up being a bit overwhelmingly powerful. Genesis being a notable example.

PAO into Solar (or some other high CR low HD creature), PAO again to make it permanent- result- massive up-jump in power. Seems a bit much for an 8th level spell.

Your problem with "The spell doesn't specify that" is that a lot of effects DO have hard restrictions because they are powerful. For starters, you can't PAO into a Solar because they have more than 15HD. Second, it is powerful EXACTLY because it can be done: the polymorph line IS the most broken spell line for that reason.

Ormur
2009-11-04, 04:05 PM
It seems to be a very common trope that gaining "unnatural" immortality is evil and an affront to the universe, but why? In real life I don't see anything wrong with becoming immortal if it's doable without hurting others. In fiction or indeed D&D it's always assumed that becoming immortal requires either sucking the life-force out of others, sacrificing a virgin (etc. etc.) or that it even if it's just a harmless serum you'll still turn out twisted and/or evil merely for wanting to become immortal.

I'm not sure it would be very fun to live forever but once you get terminally bored that's not to hard to fix. Besides not dying of old age might still mean you could get run over by a bus. If you're a nice guy fighting for a cause I don't see why living a lot longer shouldn't be just fine. Of course becoming immortal should be very hard an all but it shouldn't necessarily make you evil.

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 04:07 PM
Considering how many options for even lichdom are explicitly good, it's sort of an academic question anyway I suppose.

Gamgee
2009-11-04, 04:17 PM
Yeah, I agree that power can corrupt. It's just that if you are strong enough, you won't let it corrupt you.



Yeah, I'm talking about infinite life here, not absolute immortality where you can't die no matter what.

When it comes to absolute immortality, though, I think Gamgee is underestimating human ability to survive. Unless some horrible catastrophe of epic proportions happens in the meantime, humanity will spread from Earth all over space long before the planet dies, and that's not even counting the various other intelligent lifeforms we might encounter. I'd say that an absolute immortal's life will stop being fun only once the thermal death of the universe comes - but, since science marches on, there's a chance it might not even happen, ever.

However the universe isn't infinite in it's possibilities. Also I think you seriously doubt the universes length. I mean it will go on for so long my mind is almost blowing trying to think about it. I get bored here and now from seeing the same **** over and over. I would think it's a matter of time before one would go insane. Even if the universe is always changing and new things come and go, that would just get boring too. You would be so sick of never having anything to ever hold onto, always in a turbulent storm where everything you knew or know is constantly changing or gone. You will never know anyone closely ever again because its your destiny to just go on and on while they must perish.

It doesn't matter how one looks at it, living forever would be a huge curse.

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 04:20 PM
Most casters of 11th or higher could probably just make the universe more interesting for a few millenia, wipe their memories with that thought bottle they made, then do it all over again. It would be a problem if it wasn't a wizard doing it.

Ehra
2009-11-04, 04:34 PM
If you honestly judged asking the girl out to be too risky (maybe she has a dad with a shotgun who's threatened all suitors), then it's probably not evil under any definition. But otherwise, it would probably be a very minorly evil act. Barely registering, but there.

Actually, it probably wouldn't. You might think fear = evil, but I doubt very many other people out there, or the people behind the crazy D&D morality, would agree.

Heck, going by that you could turn anyone in the world evil by casting Horrify on them.

Jayabalard
2009-11-04, 04:44 PM
If you get away with it, it isn't hubris.Getting away with it has nothing to do with whether it's hubris or not...

Telonius
2009-11-04, 04:46 PM
I wouldn't say fear = evil, I'd say that extremes = evil (and fear/cowardice is one of those extremes). That's a moral notion that goes all the way back to Aristotle at least.

hamishspence
2009-11-04, 04:48 PM
Your problem with "The spell doesn't specify that" is that a lot of effects DO have hard restrictions because they are powerful. For starters, you can't PAO into a Solar because they have more than 15HD. Second, it is powerful EXACTLY because it can be done: the polymorph line IS the most broken spell line for that reason.

Its "same hit dice as your caster level" so, if you are 16th level, it will be a 16 HD creature, and so on.

I thought it was seen as broken because you could transform into something excessively powerful- at all, not because you could transform into anything you want permanently.

Why would it have that line of varying durations, if it was effectively irrelevant?

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 04:50 PM
I wouldn't say fear = evil, I'd say that extremes = evil (and fear/cowardice is one of those extremes). That's a moral notion that goes all the way back to Aristotle at least.

Being afraid of something and doing something about it isn't evil, nor is it extreme. Being afraid and hurting others for the sake of removing that fear or the cause of the fear would be.

Ehra
2009-11-04, 04:52 PM
I wouldn't say fear = evil, I'd say that extremes = evil (and fear/cowardice is one of those extremes). That's a moral notion that goes all the way back to Aristotle at least.

How on earth is fear an extreme? It's a basic survival instinct.

Jayabalard
2009-11-04, 04:59 PM
How on earth is fear an extreme? It's a basic survival instinct.Instincts are often considered to be amoral, with moral behavior being learned... I'm not saying I necessarily believe this, just that it has been a fairly common view.


I wouldn't say fear = evil, I'd say that extremes = evil (and fear/cowardice is one of those extremes). Fear and Cowardice are very different things. Telonius is (as far as I can tell) specifically talking about the latter (Giving into fear) rather than fear itself.

Zovc
2009-11-04, 05:00 PM
It's possible that becoming a lich is evil simply because you are turning yourself into an undead abomination, regardless of whether anyone else suffers. For that matter, I wouldn't really count becoming a lich as "living forever." More like "being a horrible animated skeleton forever." Does being an animated skeleton really appeal to you? It sounds pretty damn horrible actually. You have to be on a major ego trip to consider lichdom better than death, all ethics aside.

Sure, there's that whole "scary monster" vibe, but they get +2 to Charisma.

X3

Zeful
2009-11-04, 05:13 PM
One evil act doesn't dictate alignment, and "always alignment X" doesn't actually mean what it says. Normally, people who are good and want to be liches just use archlich, Baelnorn or the good lich variant.

Always in D&D means, "All of x are made this way. No exceptions. Later circumstances may change this."

Ehra
2009-11-04, 05:14 PM
Instincts are often considered to be amoral, with moral behavior being learned... I'm not saying I necessarily believe this, just that it has been a fairly common view.

Yeah, that argument's pretty silly. Breathing is instinctual, sex is instinctual (unless suddenly ANY sex is now evil, which means all life that reproduces through sex quitting and eventually dieing out would be an inherently "good" thing), and so on.


Fear and Cowardice are very different things. Telonius is (as far as I can tell) specifically talking about the latter (Giving into fear) rather than fear itself.

Even then I'd disagree. Like someone else said, according to that logic giving into "cowardice" and getting treated for a fatal condition would be evil. Things like fear and anger aren't just simple on and off switches. There are various degrees of each and claiming that the emotion itself is evil is just silly. You have to consider the exact circumstances.

Lichdom (not counting all of the variants) is evil, but not because of "fear."

Wulfram
2009-11-04, 05:15 PM
Getting away with it has nothing to do with whether it's hubris or not...

If you get away with it, either the laws of nature/the gods don't have a problem with it, or you're awesome enough to ignore them.

In either case, your confidence was justified, and thus not arrogance.

pendell
2009-11-04, 05:17 PM
Reading this reminds me somewhat of the story of Fistandantilus in the old Dragonlance books. F. was a neutral mage, one of the most powerful who ever lived, but when he neared the end of his time he begged Gilean, the neutral god, for longer life to continue his work. Gilean turned him down.

F. promptly cursed Gilean and turned to the worship of Takhisis in exchange for immortality. Takhisis granted it, providing Fistandantilus with a bloodstone he could use to displace
his soul into a younger body. In this fashion, by moving from host to host, he was able to live for many centuries beyond the norm.

A fundamental of the D&D world is that gods are gods, and mortals are mortals. To step beyond the bounds of mortals -- achieving immortality in this world, for example -- is an act of hubris, the desire to step out of the bounds of mortals and to step into the realm of the gods. The gods, even the evil ones, typically look askance at this. Wizards tend to have this particular kind of arrogance in spades, which is why evil wizards tend to make such good villains not only in D&D but in traditional stories as well. Faust, anyone?

This is why a good wizard will not typically desire to live forever. Because if they are good that means they have a respect for the natural order, which means they will not try to violate it by extending their lives by means, such as black necromancy, which pervert the natural order and bring things into existence which Should Not Be. They accept that the gods are wiser than they, and accept the fate allotted to them. Readers of the Magician's Nephew might remember that both Digory and the Witch were offered eternal life by violating Aslan's command.

Another thing to consider is that immortality can sometimes be an example of the Indispensable Man fallacy -- the idea that I , and only I, can possibly solve all the world's problems.

That's typically hubris. The graves are full of indispensable men. Sticking on after our allotted time often doesn't mean we're making the situation better -- it just means that
we're standing in the way of someone else doing the job.

The gods of good in these stories, after all, don't rely on good wizards to defeat evil liches in power contests. Instead, they use bands of adventurers -- often quite low-level ones -- to find the one critical weak point and kick it hard. Using the weak to shame the strong, using the humble and the small and the weak to overcome the most powerful Evil magic-user's plot, in no small part to humiliate the evil magic-user and show how pointless his or power really is in the face of the good gods.

For that matter ... if good was able to do the same things evil was, you might as well throw away your adventure modules now. Because there'd be no reason to hunt down Vecna -- some equal and opposite Good guy would smack him down. There's no room for adventurers in such a story -- ordinary mortals can only watch them battle as thunderstorms clash in the sky, and just hope they aren't hit.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Yukitsu
2009-11-04, 05:22 PM
Another thing to consider is that immortality can sometimes be an example of the Indispensable Man fallacy -- the idea that I , and only I, can possibly solve all the world's problems.


One of my characters fell into this.

However, he was a diviner first and foremost, so he made sure to check before he went along with it. Turns out he had an omniscient moral licence, and thus got away with it.

Anyway, a more serious look...


Reading this reminds me somewhat of the story of Fistandantilus in the old Dragonlance books. F. was a neutral mage, one of the most powerful who ever lived, but when he neared the end of his time he begged Gilean, the neutral god, for longer life to continue his work. Gilean turned him down.

F. promptly cursed Gilean and turned to the worship of Takhisis in exchange for immortality. Takhisis granted it, providing Fistandantilus with a bloodstone he could use to displace
his soul into a younger body. In this fashion, by moving from host to host, he was able to live for many centuries beyond the norm.

This isn't directly analogous, as the immortality itself isn't morally questionable. It's the means with which it is attained, which is apparantly the murder of other people. If he, for instance, had to donate a quarter to a random charity once a month to remain immortal, you likely wouldn't have brought the man up as immoral.


A fundamental of the D&D world is that gods are gods, and mortals are mortals. To step beyond the bounds of mortals -- achieving immortality in this world, for example -- is an act of hubris, the desire to step out of the bounds of mortals and to step into the realm of the gods. The gods, even the evil ones, typically look askance at this. Wizards tend to have this particular kind of arrogance in spades, which is why evil wizards tend to make such good villains not only in D&D but in traditional stories as well. Faust, anyone?

I don't particularly get this accusation of hubris. The soul is supposedly eternal, and thus immortal and is the essence of man anyway. To say that the mere corporeal form clinging to life is coming closer to the realm of gods than dying and becoming an imortal essence is rather off, in that the latter is closer to god. As well, the bounds of mortals is merely that which they cannot do. If immortality is within the grasp of mortals, then it cannot be beyond the bounds of what they can do. Is it stepping into the realm of the gods? I don't think so. Being immortal doesn't seem to make any character in literature any more god like.


This is why a good wizard will not typically desire to live forever. Because if they are good that means they have a respect for the natural order, which means they will not try to violate it by extending their lives by means, such as black necromancy, which pervert the natural order and bring things into existence which Should Not Be. They accept that the gods are wiser than they, and accept the fate allotted to them. Readers of the Magician's Nephew might remember that both Digory and the Witch were offered eternal life by violating Aslan's command.

In this case however, the gods are known, and they aren't particularly wise, benevolent or reasonable. Their commands and edicts are contradictory to one another, and in some cases, the gods themselves favour followers who act in actual evil ways. Natural order and gods in D&D are not those who portray morality as an absolute good, but present a range of moralities which none perfectly adhere to themselves.


Another thing to consider is that immortality can sometimes be an example of the Indispensable Man fallacy -- the idea that I , and only I, can possibly solve all the world's problems.

That's typically hubris. The graves are full of indispensable men. Sticking on after our allotted time often doesn't mean we're making the situation better -- it just means that
we're standing in the way of someone else doing the job.

That's a false dichotomy. One good man doesn't somehow negate another. More good men is simply more good men, and frankly, the typical campaign world can always do with more, as it seems for every adventuring group of good aligned adventurers, there's at least a dozen evil cults, evil monsters etc. waiting to eat them to death.

As well, one can still be valuable without being indespensible, and the latter is a strong enough argument to argue that it can be moral sticking around. A Baelnorn for instance, is not a necessary part of an elven community, but they do make them better.


The gods of good in these stories, after all, don't rely on good wizards to defeat evil liches in power contests. Instead, they use bands of adventurers -- often quite low-level ones -- to find the one critical weak point and kick it hard. Using the weak to shame the strong, using the humble and the small and the weak to overcome the most powerful Evil magic-user's plot, in no small part to humiliate the evil magic-user and show how pointless his or power really is in the face of the good gods.

There are equivalently wise old men who have lived for ages that manipulate and move man towards those same ends. Gandalf the grey is an example of that sort of thing. Eriol from CCS is a good anime example.


For that matter ... if good was able to do the same things evil was, you might as well throw away your adventure modules now. Because there'd be no reason to hunt down Vecna -- some equal and opposite Good guy would smack him down. There's no room for adventurers in such a story -- ordinary mortals can only watch them battle as thunderstorms clash in the sky, and just hope they aren't hit.

Actually, in most settings I've seen, good is vastly superior to evil in terms of support and power overall. Even if good could smite down evil, it doesn't mean the resources to do so are at hand, or that they know about it. Hence why good guys hunt down evil cults, stop evil artifacts from cropping up in the hands of some guy no one knew about etc. Or once they get higher up, they are the heavy hitters of good, and are on call to stop those sorts of things.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-04, 05:25 PM
A fundamental of the D&D world is that gods are gods, and mortals are mortals. To step beyond the bounds of mortals -- achieving immortality in this world, for example -- is an act of hubris, the desire to step out of the bounds of mortals and to step into the realm of the gods. The gods, even the evil ones, typically look askance at this. Wizards tend to have this particular kind of arrogance in spades, which is why evil wizards tend to make such good villains not only in D&D but in traditional stories as well.So bettering yourself is evil?
This is why a good wizard will not typically desire to live forever. Because if they are good that means they have a respect for the natural order, which means they will not try to violate it by extending their lives by means, such as black necromancy, which pervert the natural order and bring things into existence which Should Not Be. They accept that the gods are wiser than they, and accept the fate allotted to them. Readers of the Magician's Nephew might remember that both Digory and the Witch were offered eternal life by violating Aslan's command. So is getting treatment for cancer evil, since you're ignoring the natural order and extending your life through use of things that should not be(radiation)?
Another thing to consider is that immortality can sometimes be an example of the Indispensable Man fallacy -- the idea that I , and only I, can possibly solve all the world's problems.By level 20, you may not be the only option, but you're one of very few forces for good on that scale.
That's typically hubris. The graves are full of indispensable men. Sticking on after our allotted time often doesn't mean we're making the situation better -- it just means that
we're standing in the way of someone else doing the job.Who says that if you die someone will automatically take your place? There aren't that many adventurers in the first place, getting to 20 wipes out most of those. There might not be a good guy of your talents for another hundred years in many settings.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-04, 05:27 PM
@pendell: The length of your post impresses me. Not trying to mock you and your wall of text or anything; your post elaborated the argument for longer at a single time than anyone in this thread has done so far, which increased its effectiveness. Well spoken. I'll leave the counterarguments to those less well-disposed.

lobablob
2009-11-04, 05:31 PM
Immortality and invincibility are to different things, so the person who has said several times about the boredom of being immortal is very wrong.

Most of the people against immortality seem to cite vague 'rules of nature' and fairly arbitrary moral codes without any real justification of what is actually bad about it, the lack of reasoned arguments against it makes it seem like a knee jerk reaction against something that is different, or against something they themselves don't want - "I don't want to be immortal, so anyone else who would want to be is evil"

Ehra
2009-11-04, 05:41 PM
Most of the people against immortality seem to cite vague 'rules of nature' and fairly arbitrary moral codes without any real justification of what is actually bad about it, the lack of reasoned arguments against it makes it seem like a knee jerk reaction against something that is different, or against something they themselves don't want - "I don't want to be immortal, so anyone else who would want to be is evil"

Which is especially strange since there are races that immortal (Elans), which blurs the whole "gods are gods and mortals are mortals" line.

SoC175
2009-11-04, 05:45 PM
It doesn't mean what it says?
Exactly. It even says in it's own description that it doesn't mean what it's named for.

Always is always. Mostly alignment X and ususually alignment X are different, but always is always (not counting magical ways to change alignments).
No, check out the description of the always alignment, it merely means that the exception are the most rare.

As to why Lichdom is evil: The same reason mindless zombies are Neutral Evil. Because they're undead.
Note that mindless undead used to be neutral in 3.0 and only were changed to inherently being evil in 3.x due to some players complaining that their smite evil or holy water wasn't working as expected against them.

This cause a lot of heated debate on the WotC boards as many people disagreed with this change.

It seems to be a very common trope that gaining "unnatural" immortality is evil and an affront to the universe, but why?
Usually because a non-evil deity of life or death said so.


Whether or not undead are indeed unnatural in a fantastic universe like D&D's is hotly argued from time to time. In a cosmology containing the elemental and energy planes it can be argued that every fire on the material plane is a temporary overdominance of the elemental plane of fire. And since undead can arise without external aid, simply by a corpse being at the wrong place at the wrong time (aka where a temporary overdominance of the negative energy plane occurs) it can be concluded that undead that arise without the workings of necromancy are as natural as forest fires in that both are a naturally occuring overdominance of a certain inner plane which just happens in the D&D universe.

Brother Oni
2009-11-04, 05:56 PM
Another thing to consider is that immortality can sometimes be an example of the Indispensable Man fallacy -- the idea that I , and only I, can possibly solve all the world's problems.

That's typically hubris. The graves are full of indispensable men. Sticking on after our allotted time often doesn't mean we're making the situation better -- it just means that we're standing in the way of someone else doing the job.


Suppose we take the hero from the original Diablo game.

Assuming the Soul Crystal didn't leak his essence, but Diablo only remained sealed while the hero remained alive, would it be considered hubris for the Hero to seek immortality to keep Diablo contained for all eternity, or should he shuffle off the mortal coil when his time was due, let Diablo loose on the world and hope there were other heroes around, capable of resealing it?

Some times you can't afford to take that risk.


Alternatively you can take elements of both approaches - many stories have the hero seeking out the wise old hermit for advice and knowledge.
Why couldn't the hermit be an immortal wizard who's decided to take a less active role in the world to let all the young 'uns have their turn but still be around in case things get really bad?

dragonfan6490
2009-11-04, 06:39 PM
Chosen of Mystra Template from FRCS are immortal and must be chosen by Mystra, e.g. good.

deuxhero
2009-11-04, 06:43 PM
Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;

Isn't "It's evil because we say so" stuff like that the reason no one likes BoVD?

And good wizards go find themself an artifact that does it.

Volkov
2009-11-04, 06:54 PM
Silly OP, Good guys don't get to live forever. :smallwink:

pendell
2009-11-04, 07:27 PM
DANGER! INCOMING WALL OF TEXT! (answering three people at once).



This isn't directly analogous, as the immortality itself isn't morally questionable. It's the means with which it is attained, which is apparantly the murder of other people.


Actually, in this case means and end are directly related.
Fistandantilus essentially sought immortality through
moral and ethical methods, and found that it couldn't
be done; the gods of neutrality (and presumably the gods
of good) told him No.

Having exhausted the 'good' options, he was left with
the choice of being immortal and evil or going to the
afterlife as a neutral.

He chose immortality and evil.



I don't particularly get this accusation of hubris. The soul is supposedly eternal, and thus immortal and is the essence of man anyway. To say that the mere corporeal form clinging to life is coming closer to the realm of gods than dying and becoming an imortal essence is rather off, in that the latter is closer to god. As well, the bounds of mortals is merely that which they cannot do. If immortality is within the grasp of mortals, then it cannot be beyond the bounds of what they can do. Is it stepping into the realm of the gods? I don't think so. Being immortal doesn't seem to make any character in literature any more god like.


Immortality, yes. But the thing is in these stories
there's a type of immortality allotted to humans (Heaven,
or resurrection) that is Right And Proper for them, and trying
to achieve the same results through channels that are not Right
And Proper is evil in and of itself.

Any story that involves the occult -- especially horror stories --
has a fundamental axiom the idea that there are things humans
*can* do but *should not*. Deciding what these rules are is the
realm of the makers of humans (Gilean made humans in Dragonlance).

The idea of Supernatural Evil -- like the One Ring -- is
that there are some things just so wrong that they Must Never
Be Done. That there is no justifiable reason to do this thing
even for the best of ends, because all that is done by this means
turn to evil.

Achieving immortality through some goodly means (resurrection
by a good god, reincarnation, etc) is acceptable, because it's
a provision made by the gods for humans. To turn away and do it
on your own, using means that the gods have expressly forbidden --
well, it's evil in D&D terms.



In this case however, the gods are known, and they aren't particularly wise, benevolent or reasonable. Their commands and edicts are contradictory to one another, and in some cases, the gods themselves favour followers who act in actual evil ways. Natural order and gods in D&D are not those who portray morality as an absolute good, but present a range of moralities which none perfectly adhere to themselves.


All true, but they're still the rulers of the game universe. Any
PC crosses them at peril. If there is objective good and evil
in the game world, it is the gods whom the DM will use to enforce
those rules.

In this sense, they're sort of like human policeman -- any given
policeman may be corrupt, arrogant, or have a whole host of issues.
But they do still have a badge and it's their job to keep the peace.
If you get into an argument with one, it'll be you who goes to jail
unless you can prove otherwise ... and in a D&D world, it's the gods
(read: The DM) who will judge the case.

Fundamentally, they're still the arbiters of right and wrong in the
game world. They may not be perfect at it, but they are the tools
that are available.



That's a false dichotomy. One good man doesn't somehow negate another. More good men is simply more good men, and frankly, the typical campaign world can always do with more, as it seems for every adventuring group of good aligned adventurers, there's at least a dozen evil cults, evil monsters etc. waiting to eat them to death.


I disagree. I see it a lot in my job -- I often act as your basic
tech superhero. And in some jobs if I'm not careful the junior people slack off
because they're sure ol' Brian will step in and save the day at the last minute.

As a rule, I've found 'heroes', in the real world, is a bad idea.
It's almost a conspiracy -- the hero saves the day, and people
reciprocate for him doing their job for them by pouring on the
praise and flattery. It's far better for everyone to pull their
weight than to have one man playing Achilles and holding the project
on his shoulders. That works all right right up until the point
Achilles can't take it any more and gets sick. I've found that
the only way to get people to do their share of the work is to
deliberately dial down the heroism.

As a rule, I've found that people use 'heroes' as an excuse not
to do any work themselves. I'll wager there will be a lot fewer
people willing to be adventurers for the cause of good if they knew
that everything was 'all taken care of'. I've certainly seen it
work that way.



As well, one can still be valuable without being indespensible, and the latter is a strong enough argument to argue that it can be moral sticking around. A Baelnorn for instance, is not a necessary part of an elven community, but they do make them better.


The thing is there are already near-omnipotent, wise, level gazillion
plus beings in the world whose job it is to be immortal and look out
for the interests of good. They are called the good gods.

When someone stretches for immortality and power of this sort, they
are effectively trying to elevate themselves into the local pantheon.

If the gods of good are amenable to that, that's one thing. But if
the gods of good (however imperfect) say no, a goodly character must
accept his/her place in the Grand Design and assume that the gods
have the situation under control.

To refuse to accept this and attempt to achieve immortality -- a place
in the pantheon without the agreement of the good gods -- well,
you may succeed but it isn't going to be a good act, by their
lights anyway.



There are equivalently wise old men who have lived for ages that manipulate and move man towards those same ends. Gandalf the grey is an example of that sort of thing. Eriol from CCS is a good anime example.


yes, but they're rarely PCs. They're offstage quest hooks. As a rule,
in these narratives a PC who reaches that level of power hands over
his character sheet, then the character is retired to a keep or whatever
to live happily ever after while some new crop of adventurers starts
up.

Fundamentally, in a campaign world there are gods, who are omnipotent
but offstage, and mortal adventurers, who are severely limited in
power but able to act in the world. A being seeking immortality of
that sort is essentially trying to have the best of both worlds --
to have both the power of a god and the freedom to act of a human.
Hello, Mary Sue!




So bettering yourself is evil?


By itself? Of course not.

We've mostly grown up in Democratic cultures, so we don't really
accept the idea of a person having a "place" in society. In our
cultural, everyone is more or less interchangeable. A son of an
electrician can become a banker, or a king, or a millionaire, and
no one's upset about this.

In a feudal culture like ancient Japan, bettering yourself IS
evil. That's "rising above your station". A peasant aspiring
to become a samurai would be put to death. Similarly, in western
Europe a serf could get in a lot of trouble for striking a freeman.
Same in traditional Hindi culture.

Well, in traditional mythology and in D&D, the supernatural world
is NOT a democracy, where everyone can become a god. There's a defined
order in the universe, one proper for gods, another for mortals,
another for animals.

In such a world, there's plenty of room for humans to become better
humans, but not to become gods. That's crossing a line humans were
never intended to cross, and if they do, suffering will follow
for themselves and others, no matter how good their intentions.

Greek Mythology is replete with stories like this; many fables involves some mortal becoming so pleased with themselves
that they challenge the gods, and are promptly stepped on.
Arachne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne)
comes to mind.

As discussed above: There are rules for gods, and rules for humans.
In the OOTSverse, this is part of a general agreement between
the gods of good and evil , and the gods of the pantheons,
that maintains the balance of power and prevents
them from destroying the world. Part of that agreement is that
A god is powerful, but offstage and acts through adventurers.

An adventurer is onstage and gets to do significant acts.

But a
person aspiring to this sort of immortality is trying to have
the good of both kinds -- the power of a god and the freedom
of an adventurer. I strongly doubt the gods will allow a
mortal power that they themselves, by agreement, deny to
their own kind.

In fact, a mortal trying to insert him- or her-self as an immortal
actor into that situation might very well upset the balance of power
between the various actors, triggering an all-out war which might
destroy the world.

What this means is that not only will the mortal be considered evil,
it's likely that *all* the gods, and not just the good ones,
will gang up on him/her. To save the balance, and save the world.
That's pretty much what happened to Raistlin.



So is getting treatment for cancer evil, since you're ignoring the natural order and extending your life through use of things that should not be(radiation)?


I was talking about D&D here and why a 'good' wizard would typically
not desire lichdom. Do you have radiotherapy in your campaign? No?
Then perhaps we should avoid the topic of real-world morality?

In *the real world* I have no problem with radiotherapy, but I
do have a problem with the real-world occult. Which gets onto
religious ground, so I'll drop it now. PM to continue that
particular discussion further.



By level 20, you may not be the only option, but you're one of very few forces for good on that scale.



As I said, there are already immortal beings whose job it is
to deal with that sort of thing. They are called gods. If they
want to admit you to their ranks, well and good. If not -- you
may defy them and achieve mortality anyway, but the good gods will
call you evil (for defying them) and call the arts you use to
achieve this evil (because you're using arts to do something
they expressly forbid).

This is what I meant by hubris -- if the PC confines his vision
to the realm of mortals, then it may very well seem that (s)he
is all there is. But if the PC has spent any time at all on the
outer planes, they know that there are many Powers in the world ,
for good and for evil, and that Divine Rank outclasses even
epic-level magic (if I recall those rules correctly). That they
are not Mary Sue who rules the world, but only a small fish in
a big pond.

So the good magic-user would understand that there are already
greater powers than him/herself, and that they will provide when
he/she is gone.

The alternative is to decide that this is not true -- that the
magic user is wiser, smarter, and can do a better job than the gods
can do. This requires rebelling against them, forcing them
to accept you and your ideas.

There's a few precedents for that sort of thing in traditional
story -- the being of light who, through arrogance, chose to believe
that his way was a better way than the given design, and because
of this chose to weave a different theme according to his own
design rather than the one he was given. That being's name in
the Silmarillion is Morgoth.

And rest assured that that is what the good gods will call any
character who chooses to rebel against their design, imposing
the character's will in direct defiance of theirs.




Who says that if you die someone will automatically take your place? There aren't that many adventurers in the first place, getting to 20 wipes out most of those. There might not be a good guy of your talents for another hundred years in many settings.


In a game world I promise you the GM -- excuse me,
the gods -- will come up with someone.
A campaign world in which good or evil utterly triumphs because
there remain powerful characters on one side and not the other
is not one people are interested in adventuring in.



Assuming the Soul Crystal didn't leak his essence, but Diablo only remained sealed while the hero remained alive, would it be considered hubris for the Hero to seek immortality to keep Diablo contained for all eternity, or should he shuffle off the mortal coil when his time was due, let Diablo loose on the world and hope there were other heroes around, capable of resealing it?



If the only two choices are "achieve immortality" or "Release diablo", of course
it's right for the hero to achieve immortality. But that's a special case, an
exception to the rule dictated by the specific requirements of that game world.
If I want to write a campaign world where the only way to stop The Ultimate
Evil is to butcher a thousand baby boys, well, I can do that. It may very well
be 'necessary' and therefore 'good', but that doesn't mean that butchering
a thousand innocent children is going to be good in your average campaign world,
or even in my own outside the very narrow circumstance that made it necessary
that one time.



Some times you can't afford to take that risk.


Depends on the campaign world.

In Tolkien's world -- yes, you can afford to take the risk. It is quite
reasonable to argue that the only way to stop Sauron is to seize the ring
and use its power to destroy him. And a fundamental lesson of Tolkien's world
is that this is a false dichotomy -- that if you do the right thing, and
resist temptation, some other way will come through. That it is better
to trust, and do the right thing even if it seems hopeless, than it is
to do something vile and unspeakable, then spend the rest of your life telling
yourself 'there was no other way'. Who knows? Perhaps in time the PC will
come to believe it.



Alternatively you can take elements of both approaches - many stories have the hero seeking out the wise old hermit for advice and knowledge.
Why couldn't the hermit be an immortal wizard who's decided to take a less active role in the world to let all the young 'uns have their turn but still be around in case things get really bad?


That would work, I think.

Respectfully,

Brian Pendell

Volkov
2009-11-04, 07:30 PM
One way to essentially exist for all eternity is to become a good lich. And yes they exist.

Murdim
2009-11-04, 08:48 PM
Well, in traditional mythology and in D&D, the supernatural world
is NOT a democracy, where everyone can become a god. There's a defined
order in the universe, one proper for gods, another for mortals,
another for animals.Here's a point which is fundamental to most of your arguments : the cosmic order is the essential source of all morality in the universe, and defying it by coveting which is "reserved" to gods is both foolish and the purest form of Evil.

This is blatantly and demonstrably false in every D&D setting I can think of.

pendell
2009-11-04, 09:55 PM
Here's a point which is fundamental to most of your arguments : the cosmic order is the essential source of all morality in the universe, and defying it by coveting which is "reserved" to gods is both foolish and the purest form of Evil.

This is blatantly and demonstrably false in every D&D setting I can think of.


Dragonlance. Raistlin Majere and Fistandantilus were the examples I was using.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Arakune
2009-11-04, 10:15 PM
Its "same hit dice as your caster level" so, if you are 16th level, it will be a 16 HD creature, and so on.

I thought it was seen as broken because you could transform into something excessively powerful- at all, not because you could transform into anything you want permanently.

Why would it have that line of varying durations, if it was effectively irrelevant?

Because it isn't irrelevant on single casting or with a diferent type of casting. Also, read the spell again:



This spell functions like polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another. The duration of the spell depends on how radical a change is made from the original state to its enchanted state. The duration is determined by using the following guidelines.

Unlike polymorph, polymorph any object does grant the creature the Intelligence score of its new form. If the original form didnít have a Wisdom or Charisma score, it gains those scores as appropriate for the new form.

Damage taken by the new form can result in the injury or death of the polymorphed creature. In general, damage occurs when the new form is changed through physical force.

A nonmagical object cannot be made into a magic item with this spell. Magic items arenít affected by this spell.

This spell cannot create material of great intrinsic value, such as copper, silver, gems, silk, gold, platinum, mithral, or adamantine. It also cannot reproduce the special properties of cold iron in order to overcome the damage reduction of certain creatures.

This spell can also be used to duplicate the effects of baleful polymorph, polymorph, flesh to stone, stone to flesh, transmute mud to rock, transmute metal to wood, or transmute rock to mud.


In no way the spell gives extra details about how much HD/CL interactions works, except that it works like a normal polymorph spell. Now, the polymorph spell:



This spell functions like alter self, except that you change the willing subject into another form of living creature. The new form may be of the same type as the subject or any of the following types: aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant, or vermin. The assumed form canít have more Hit Dice than your caster level (or the subjectís HD, whichever is lower), to a maximum of 15 HD at 15th level. You canít cause a subject to assume a form smaller than Fine, nor can you cause a subject to assume an incorporeal or gaseous form. The subjectís creature type and subtype (if any) change to match the new form.

Upon changing, the subject regains lost hit points as if it had rested for a night (though this healing does not restore temporary ability damage and provide other benefits of resting; and changing back does not heal the subject further). If slain, the subject reverts to its original form, though it remains dead.

The subject gains the Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of the new form but retains its own Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. It also gains all extraordinary special attacks possessed by the form but does not gain the extraordinary special qualities possessed by the new form or any supernatural or spell-like abilities.

Incorporeal or gaseous creatures are immune to being polymorphed, and a creature with the shapechanger subtype can revert to its natural form as a standard action.


Again, just because "it doesn't make sense" or are "too powerful for it's level" doesn't invalidade the fact that it does work that way. The algorith for polymorph, acording to it's own wording, is:

Change to a new type.
Is new type X? Then Duration changes acording to previous type.

IF you want to argue "original state", you still can PAO permanently into a dragon by multiple castings (human ->* dragon)

Lysander
2009-11-04, 11:21 PM
Here's the reason PAO cast twice isn't permanent. It's a nested effect. It's like dreaming you're dreaming. It doesn't matter if you stay asleep in the dream, when you wake up for real you're awake.

Let's say you're human and you PAO into a dragon. There is now a temporary "You are a dragon" spell. Then you cast PAO a second time to become a slightly different dragon, creating a second permanent effect "Dragon you is a different dragon."

So you are temporarily a dragon permanently changed into another dragon.

Xenogears
2009-11-04, 11:47 PM
Dragonlance. Raistlin Majere and Fistandantilus were the examples I was using.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

The Dieties and Demigods book has an entire chapter on it about the PC's becoming gods. No where does it say that it is evil. Only one of many options presented require the gods permission. That books is setting non-specific so should be regarded as a baseline for a generic setting. Therefore in DnD becoming a god is NOT considered evil.

Also 90% of your argument seems to be that becoming a god/immortal is evil because the gods say it is. That is just silly. In DnD morality is absolute. Killing isn't evil because society says it is, or the gods do, or anyone else. Killing is evil because the universe itself says that killing is evil. It is intrinsic in the nature of the universe. Therefore what the gods say matters not a whit since the universe remains silent on this matter. The gods might convince everyone that your evil but that doesn't mean you actually ARE evil.

Arakune
2009-11-04, 11:57 PM
Here's the reason PAO cast twice isn't permanent. It's a nested effect. It's like dreaming you're dreaming. It doesn't matter if you stay asleep in the dream, when you wake up for real you're awake.

Let's say you're human and you PAO into a dragon. There is now a temporary "You are a dragon" spell. Then you cast PAO a second time to become a slightly different dragon, creating a second permanent effect "Dragon you is a different dragon."

So you are temporarily a dragon permanently changed into another dragon.

And yet the PAO doesn't distinguish between "temporary" and "normal permanent", but at best original state, in witch case you need to define what original is. Even then you can PAO permanently into anything with just enough castings if the DM is a d!@k, it will only cost more.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-05, 12:44 AM
When someone stretches for immortality and power of this sort, they
are effectively trying to elevate themselves into the local pantheon.

If the gods of good are amenable to that, that's one thing. But if
the gods of good (however imperfect) say no, a goodly character must
accept his/her place in the Grand Design and assume that the gods
have the situation under control.

To refuse to accept this and attempt to achieve immortality -- a place
in the pantheon without the agreement of the good gods -- well,
you may succeed but it isn't going to be a good act, by their
lights anyway. And why are they the ultimate arbiters of good and evil? Many of them are Evil, even if they'd consider themselves good(racial gods of the Orcs, i.e.). In D&D the universe determines good and evil, not the gods.

By itself? Of course not.

We've mostly grown up in Democratic cultures, so we don't really
accept the idea of a person having a "place" in society. In our
cultural, everyone is more or less interchangeable. A son of an
electrician can become a banker, or a king, or a millionaire, and
no one's upset about this.

In a feudal culture like ancient Japan, bettering yourself IS
evil. That's "rising above your station". A peasant aspiring
to become a samurai would be put to death. Similarly, in western
Europe a serf could get in a lot of trouble for striking a freeman.
Same in traditional Hindi culture.

Well, in traditional mythology and in D&D, the supernatural world
is NOT a democracy, where everyone can become a god. There's a defined
order in the universe, one proper for gods, another for mortals,
another for animals.

In such a world, there's plenty of room for humans to become better
humans, but not to become gods. That's crossing a line humans were
never intended to cross, and if they do, suffering will follow
for themselves and others, no matter how good their intentions. Do you note what's common about those examples? We generally view them as at best unfair nowadays. At worst, they're viewed as hateful, prejudiced, and outright torturous towards the people on the bottom for the benefit of those on top.

In fact, I now want to make an Ur-Priest misotheist character who wants to topple the gods, both good and evil, in order to let the mortals run their own lives without the crushing weight of the gods above them.


Greek Mythology is replete with stories like this; many fables involves some mortal becoming so pleased with themselves
that they challenge the gods, and are promptly stepped on.
Arachne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne)
comes to mind. The Greek gods were drunkards, sex hounds, and narcissitic bastards. They killed children for the crimes of their mother(who didn't even deserve punishment herself), tortured women for not refusing a god, and generally ruined the lives of whatever mortals they came into contact with. I wouldn't use them as justification for any morality.


I was talking about D&D here and why a 'good' wizard would typically
not desire lichdom. Do you have radiotherapy in your campaign? No?
Then perhaps we should avoid the topic of real-world morality?

In *the real world* I have no problem with radiotherapy, but I
do have a problem with the real-world occult. Which gets onto
religious ground, so I'll drop it now. PM to continue that
particular discussion further. Not sure how occultism got into it, but sure.


The alternative is to decide that this is not true -- that the
magic user is wiser, smarter, and can do a better job than the gods
can do. This requires rebelling against them, forcing them
to accept you and your ideas.

There's a few precedents for that sort of thing in traditional
story -- the being of light who, through arrogance, chose to believe
that his way was a better way than the given design, and because
of this chose to weave a different theme according to his own
design rather than the one he was given. That being's name in
the Silmarillion is Morgoth. And in the Sword of Truth his name is Richard Rahl.


In a game world I promise you the GM -- excuse me,
the gods -- will come up with someone.
A campaign world in which good or evil utterly triumphs because
there remain powerful characters on one side and not the other
is not one people are interested in adventuring in. But I don't want to have to depend on Deus ex Machina to keep the world fun. The gameworld should be allowed to develop without needing correction to remain viable.


If the only two choices are "achieve immortality" or "Release diablo", of course it's right for the hero to achieve immortality. But that's a special case, an exception to the rule dictated by the specific requirements of that game world.
If I want to write a campaign world where the only way to stop The Ultimate
Evil is to butcher a thousand baby boys, well, I can do that. It may very well
be 'necessary' and therefore 'good', but that doesn't mean that butchering
a thousand innocent children is going to be good in your average campaign world, or even in my own outside the very narrow circumstance that made it necessary that one time. Except butchering children hurts someone. Immortality doesn't. I don't see the parallel.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-05, 02:01 AM
However the universe isn't infinite in it's possibilities. Also I think you seriously doubt the universes length. I mean it will go on for so long my mind is almost blowing trying to think about it. I get bored here and now from seeing the same **** over and over. I would think it's a matter of time before one would go insane. Even if the universe is always changing and new things come and go, that would just get boring too. You would be so sick of never having anything to ever hold onto, always in a turbulent storm where everything you knew or know is constantly changing or gone. You will never know anyone closely ever again because its your destiny to just go on and on while they must perish.

It doesn't matter how one looks at it, living forever would be a huge curse.

I long ago came to terms with the fact that everything I care about will someday end. And while I don't usually feel particularly mortal (I can't imagine myself dying), I find life glorious. Just the experience of living is a marvelous, wondrous thing. The sensation of breathing can be rapture, and even simple things such as seeing a color can be inspirational.

Boredom is for people who don't appreciate every second they're alive. It's for people who exist, not live.

Tell me that someone who feels that way would ever find immortality a "curse".

[edit] And I know what it's like to feel ennui, and hopelessness, and rage, and seemingly endless boredom, and despair. Most of which was the absolute worst in my earliest years (when I'd hardly lived at all, and thought almost constantly about how quickly death was sneaking up on me; I was too focused on the dying to focus on the living). It made me appreciate the grandness of life in its many splendored forms. Loving life has nothing to do with how much of it you have open to you, and everything to do with expressly opening your eyes to the wonder that's before you every moment of every day.

[edit edit] In short, it matters not how long you live as to what your appreciation of life is like. The world is filled with children and the elderly alike who hate their lives and everything in it, and curse the day they were born. It's likewise full of those who appreciate every fragile, shortlived day, neither knowing nor particularly caring how much time they have left. What matter is death in a life lived to the fullest? A life is only as valuable as the effort put forth to live it.

Yukitsu
2009-11-05, 02:15 AM
Actually, in this case means and end are directly related.
Fistandantilus essentially sought immortality through
moral and ethical methods, and found that it couldn't
be done; the gods of neutrality (and presumably the gods
of good) told him No.

Having exhausted the 'good' options, he was left with
the choice of being immortal and evil or going to the
afterlife as a neutral.

He chose immortality and evil.

And that choice is imaterial to the general setting where the gods do not in fact have the right to deny a mortal immortality through moral channels, such as becoming a good lich without themselves becoming evil tyrants.


Immortality, yes. But the thing is in these stories
there's a type of immortality allotted to humans (Heaven,
or resurrection) that is Right And Proper for them, and trying
to achieve the same results through channels that are not Right
And Proper is evil in and of itself.

Any story that involves the occult -- especially horror stories --
has a fundamental axiom the idea that there are things humans
*can* do but *should not*. Deciding what these rules are is the
realm of the makers of humans (Gilean made humans in Dragonlance).

The idea of Supernatural Evil -- like the One Ring -- is
that there are some things just so wrong that they Must Never
Be Done. That there is no justifiable reason to do this thing
even for the best of ends, because all that is done by this means
turn to evil.

Achieving immortality through some goodly means (resurrection
by a good god, reincarnation, etc) is acceptable, because it's
a provision made by the gods for humans. To turn away and do it
on your own, using means that the gods have expressly forbidden --
well, it's evil in D&D terms.

They haven't expressly forbidden any form of immortality, be it becoming an aberant (Elan) or becoming an immortal undead (lich, vampire) or by simply using wishes. The assumption that common literary devices apply does not hold in D&D, where the laws of nature are rather tentative.



All true, but they're still the rulers of the game universe. Any
PC crosses them at peril. If there is objective good and evil
in the game world, it is the gods whom the DM will use to enforce
those rules.

In this sense, they're sort of like human policeman -- any given
policeman may be corrupt, arrogant, or have a whole host of issues.
But they do still have a badge and it's their job to keep the peace.
If you get into an argument with one, it'll be you who goes to jail
unless you can prove otherwise ... and in a D&D world, it's the gods
(read: The DM) who will judge the case.

Fundamentally, they're still the arbiters of right and wrong in the
game world. They may not be perfect at it, but they are the tools
that are available.

That's not explicitly true. Something is good or evil whether or not the gods care in one way or the other. Both the laws of good and evil supercede any mere opinion that a god may happen to have, and the supposed laws and edicts that gods hand out take second string to what mortals can objectively achieve.


I disagree. I see it a lot in my job -- I often act as your basic
tech superhero. And in some jobs if I'm not careful the junior people slack off
because they're sure ol' Brian will step in and save the day at the last minute.

As a rule, I've found 'heroes', in the real world, is a bad idea.
It's almost a conspiracy -- the hero saves the day, and people
reciprocate for him doing their job for them by pouring on the
praise and flattery. It's far better for everyone to pull their
weight than to have one man playing Achilles and holding the project
on his shoulders. That works all right right up until the point
Achilles can't take it any more and gets sick. I've found that
the only way to get people to do their share of the work is to
deliberately dial down the heroism.

As a rule, I've found that people use 'heroes' as an excuse not
to do any work themselves. I'll wager there will be a lot fewer
people willing to be adventurers for the cause of good if they knew
that everything was 'all taken care of'. I've certainly seen it
work that way.

You haven't seen a dragon trying to eat all your co workers. Work not getting done is completely distinct from everyone being put into a life threatening situation.


The thing is there are already near-omnipotent, wise, level gazillion
plus beings in the world whose job it is to be immortal and look out
for the interests of good. They are called the good gods.

When someone stretches for immortality and power of this sort, they
are effectively trying to elevate themselves into the local pantheon.

If the gods of good are amenable to that, that's one thing. But if
the gods of good (however imperfect) say no, a goodly character must
accept his/her place in the Grand Design and assume that the gods
have the situation under control.

To refuse to accept this and attempt to achieve immortality -- a place
in the pantheon without the agreement of the good gods -- well,
you may succeed but it isn't going to be a good act, by their
lights anyway.

Again, the mere opinions of gods takes second seat to what "is" good and evil in D&D which is more absolute than what they can decree. As well, if you read dieties and demigods, the gods are pretty much chumps. They aren't some omnipotent force that couldn't be subverted or destroyed by a particularly clever evil. If some god is jealously clinging to his power over mortals, then frankly they deserve to be subverted.


yes, but they're rarely PCs. They're offstage quest hooks. As a rule,
in these narratives a PC who reaches that level of power hands over
his character sheet, then the character is retired to a keep or whatever
to live happily ever after while some new crop of adventurers starts
up.

As I've said, I view that as untrue. I've played those characters. Several times. That it's not often a PC is simply because the DM and PC player often don't want to collaberate so fully.

Coidzor
2009-11-05, 02:34 AM
In a fair number of DND settings the Gods are just ascended mortals anyway, so it's not like they really have any more legitimacy than that of having the biggest sticks around.

Macrovore
2009-11-05, 04:13 AM
One way to essentially exist for all eternity is to become a good lich. And yes they exist.

Well, how does one become a "good lich," then? If becoming a lich requires an act of "unspeakable evil", what is required of a good lich? What would an act of "unspeakable good" entail?
I believe it CAN be not-evil (not necessarily good, however) to be immortal, just so long as it is not pursued. Gandalf was effectively immortal, but he did not go and seek immortality. Sauron, on the other hand did. Look how that turned out...
Immortality is not evil, but trying to become immortal is. It's the ultimate selfish act. If this lich's transformation requires an unspeakably evil act, which would likely require killing or otherwise grievous and willful harm to others, what would this "good act" be? Wouldn't it be "good" to NOT pursue what puts you above others? Good acts are only truly (even "unspeakably") good if they are done with no desire and/or expectation of a reward. Saving lives for money isn't inherently good, it's a job. Wouldn't doing a good deed for the express purpose of personal gain spoil a great deal of the good done? Is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons still the right thing?

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-05, 04:24 AM
How is immortality selfish? I don't want to die. That's simple. I really don't want to die of 'old age'. That's just as simple. Immortality is the solution to that. It's not wanting to gather power and money through the ages or anything, it's a simple solution to a simple problem.

Geddoe
2009-11-05, 05:48 AM
Good Wizards gain the Endless trait and exist without the decay. Chaos Shuffle or retrain your first level feat into Wedded to History. Done! Yeah it is Dragon Magazine, but the feat is a first level feat to become immortal(stop aging in your prime, no ability score adjustments for age, still able to die from damage etc.)

Murdim
2009-11-05, 06:39 AM
Gandalf was effectively immortal, but he did not go and seek immortality. Sauron, on the other hand did. Look how that turned out...Actually, Sauron and Gandalf were the same kind of being (Maiar, who are more or less equivalent to angels or minor deities), and both are fated to live until the end of time. What Sauron, and later Saruman, wanted was power and domination over men, not immortality.


Wouldn't it be "good" to NOT pursue what puts you above others? In my understanding of the D&D alignment system, pursuing what puts you above others is essentially an unaligned act. Not evil (which would be putting others below you), not even neutral. Unaligned. There's absolutely no reason for abstention from this to be a fundamentally Good act.


And in the Sword of Truth his name is Richard Rahl. Not that D&D's morality has anything to do with Terry Goodkind and Objectivism, of course. *shudder*

lobablob
2009-11-05, 07:09 AM
Pendell, your argument seems to be based on the deeply flawed notion that the current rules and situations are always perfect and that simply having the power and position to make rules is a justification in itself. You haven't offered a coherent reason of why immortality is bad - you reference stories in which immortality is seen as bad, but they are written by authors who have opinions and who have written those opinions into the story as a definite fact, but without offering a justification of why it is wrong.

Those who argue that immortality is wrong all seem to fail at the same point, they never give a reason for why immortality is so bad, they merely state that it is. Usually we would consider that people should be allowed their freedom as long as it does not infringe on others and since immortality would simply be a reward for your own hard work and does not necessarily harm others, by the standards of morality that we would apply to anything else, it would be fine. But for some reason with this particular issue, people seem to feel that their own morality should be followed by others without question.

Brother Oni
2009-11-05, 07:43 AM
DANGER! INCOMING WALL OF TEXT! (answering three people at once).

As a rule, I've found 'heroes', in the real world, is a bad idea.
It's almost a conspiracy -- the hero saves the day, and people
reciprocate for him doing their job for them by pouring on the
praise and flattery. It's far better for everyone to pull their
weight than to have one man playing Achilles and holding the project
on his shoulders. That works all right right up until the point
Achilles can't take it any more and gets sick. I've found that
the only way to get people to do their share of the work is to
deliberately dial down the heroism.


That's a management problem and they should step in to intervene so that the workload is more evenly spread around.

That said, as another poster mentioned, working in an office environment is distinctly different from being placed in a life threatening position.

Military units are full of heros who all pull their weight, in effect, they're all being Atlas (not Achilles - he was the one with a weak ankle :smallbiggrin:). Some of the lucky ones even get recognised and honoured for their efforts.



Depends on the campaign world.

And a fundamental lesson of Tolkien's world is that this is a false dichotomy -- that if you do the right thing, and resist temptation, some other way will come through. That it is better to trust, and do the right thing even if it seems hopeless, than it is to do something vile and unspeakable, then spend the rest of your life telling yourself 'there was no other way'. Who knows? Perhaps in time the PC will come to believe it.


I agree, it very much depends on the campaign world.

In a black and white idealisitic world like Tolkien's, that approach would be acceptable.

In a much more grey pragmatic world, sometimes the best choice you can make is how to limit the death toll and collateral damage.

I personally prefer the dubious morality worlds myself as it makes for more interesting stories, but to my knowledge, mainstream D&D settings tend to more black and white tones.



How is immortality selfish? I don't want to die. That's simple. I really don't want to die of 'old age'. That's just as simple. Immortality is the solution to that. It's not wanting to gather power and money through the ages or anything, it's a simple solution to a simple problem.

From a real world point of view, nature assigns you an approximate lifespan so that you don't end up competing with your grandchildren for resources.
The fact is, by simply existing, you're detrimentally affecting your descendents' chances of passing on their genes to the next generation (which can be regarded as a form of immortality).

This would imply that you care more about not dying than you would about nurturing and continuing your family, which can be regarded as selfish. (This isn't meant to be directed at you specifically, Sstoopidtallkid, but as a hypothetical answer to your question :smallbiggrin:).


From a D&D point of view, your lifespan is determined by whatever the gods decide (the Norse had the Norns, who determined every mortal's life time).

Deciding that you know better than the gods can be regarded as hubris and depending on what method you use to achieve immortality, can be extremely selfish as well.

Zen Master
2009-11-05, 09:13 AM
It doesn't mean what it says? Always is always. Mostly alignment X and ususually alignment X are different, but always is always (not counting magical ways to change alignments).

Also, on making liches, the BOVD disagrees with you;

It's very dangerous to confuse the approximations and suggestions in the various monster manuals and similar tomes with actual fact. The rule of thumb is that no monster must ever be exactly as described in the books.

You know - players read those? Now killing their fun would just be pointless and dumb. So only on rare exceptions - like when they have learned to expect that their 'knowledge' is misleading or inaccurate - should you use monsters as they are described.

pendell
2009-11-05, 09:28 AM
Guys,

It took me more than an hour to write last night. I don't have an hour now, so
I'm going to make this quick. I'll try to hit the major points. If I missed
something important, ping me and I'll try to get to it.

Major points in response to me:

1) You haven't given a coherent argument why immortality is evil.
2) It doesn't work that way in D&D -- the rules allow X and Y etc.


I screwed up. Let me amend my argument thus .. I will not argue that immortality in and of itself is wrong (too many traditional beliefs disagree) -- I'll instead argue that immortality *through lichdom* is wrong.

I know the rules allow things like Baelnorms. And I know there are rules in
Deities and Demigods that allow PCs to become gods without the permission of their
pantheons.

I would argue that -- if I am incoherent -- it is because D&D itself isn't terribly
coherent when it comes to these rules. This is because the game has been greatly
expanded to allow a lot of options to both good and evil players that didn't
exist (greyguards, blackguards, baelnorms) in the earlier editions. It's a system that allows you to model a
Lovecraftian world (where the creator is insane) or a Tolkienesque one
(where the creator is a good, omnipotent being) equally well. Of course
it's going to be incoherent when it comes to dealing with the supernatural.

But ... before the expansions, in old-school D&D, there were some fundamental
baseline assumptions. Paladins are always lawful and good. Liches are always evil.

Why is this?

In the case of Liches, because it's necromancy, which is a Black Art.

Why is this?

Becuase it's a crime against nature itself.

This is also why the argument 'it doesn't hurt anyone fails' -- it's not a crime
against one's fellow demihumans, but against the cosmos itself.

I'll quote from the Blurb
(http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73086) from the RPG Sorcerer:



From master game designer Ron Edwards:

"Magic in most modern fantasy fiction has become too nice. That's right: too nice. Wizards are sad-eyed fellows who say cryptic things . . . or they're Just Folks who raise cats or struggle for social reform. What has happened to Maleficent, to Elric, or to those wonderful fellows in black robes who wielded curved daggers and swore by Set? Whatever happened to the sorcerer as cosmic outlaw?"

"The one element missing is the classical sorcerer who, by himself or herself, wields NO magic: no spells, no powers, no senses. He or she just knows how to call up demons (whatever THEY are) and how to bind them. That's all. In this game, "magic" is a load of hogwash: fantasy, frippery, and swindling. But you play a person -- a normal person -- who knows how to summon and bind beings of horror and madness for personal purposes. The question is: can you handle it?"


See, this is the element that's missing from our discussions, and why I brought up
the idea of the occult -- that there are some things that are just *wrong*, that go
against the fundamental nature of the universe, a thing that requires a human of
incomparable arrogance and strength of will to do, because the entire universe recoils
when one sets out to do these things,and the words of power stick in your throat,
because the universe itself fights against this shameful deed.

In 30's fiction, *any* magic fell into this category. Which is why you rarely
meet a good wizard in Conan's world or in Lovecraft's.

Since then, 'magic' in fantasy has become more or less SF without the technology,
and the idea of 'forbidden' is now restricted to schools like necromancy.

And that's where the idea of hubris comes in as well .. the desire for power beyond the measure that allotted to mortals.

Tolkien is really your best resource to talk about this. In his silmarillion, he
described the Nazgul as originally being men who 'desired secret power beyond the
measure of their kind' -- and they received it, and it corrupted them. Because neither
Eru nor the Valar would grant power beyond the strict bounds placed by Eru, and only
evil beings would disobey that law.

For that matter, the entire Akallabeth chapter in Silmarillion is an expansion on this very theme. The men of Numenor were given every blessing it was possible to give to men, but it was not enough for them. They demanded immortality, and this the Valar
could not grant. So in their lust they first turned from the light to arrogance, and
from arrogance to direct worship of the Dark, with literal human sacrifice, for the
Dark offered them escape from death. But they were lied to.

So the idea is very alive in Tolkien's world -- that humans and Valar have a set
sphere and trying to exceed it in defiance of the will of Eru results in tragedy. That's what happened to Melkor, to the Numenoreans, and to the Nazgul. The only time it can work is when the work is submitted to Eru (such as in Aule's creation of the dwarves). Part of that 'set sphere' for humans is a limited time in this world.

Now, Tolkien is not D&D. D&D, as I said, is a system that allows you to model all
kinds of worlds ranging from Greek mythology to Lewis-style monotheism to Lovecraft's gibbering creator. So naturally it's impossible to say that something like lichdom
is wrong in all settings, and there's no such thing as a good lich. But I believe this
background in mythology is where D&D originally came from, which is why by default
liches are always evil, although there are now expansions which give alternate possibilities.

I'm a little bit puzzled by the concept of 'forcing morality on others'. I'm just trying to argue why good wizards typically won't aspire to lichdom. If you've got a
different campaign world and want to run a good lich -- well, great! Enjoy your game. If I sit at your table, I'll play by your rules and hopefully we'll both have a good time. If you sit at mine and want to play a good lich, we'll find some way to work an exception to the general rule. Expect much backstory.

I don't understand why people get all fervent about this as if we were discussing
real-world morality. Except for Aotrs_commander, I don't think anyone here's a lich nor could reasonably consider becoming one.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Yukitsu
2009-11-05, 10:48 AM
I'm not certain that people here are arguing 2nd edition D&D here. It's not really applicable to 3.5, which assumes nearly every option is open to any alignment.

Also, please stop citing books, as all cases of imoral activity doesn't come from immortality itself, but from the active harming of others, which lichdom doesn't expressly do.

Ehra
2009-11-05, 11:03 AM
Well, how does one become a "good lich," then? If becoming a lich requires an act of "unspeakable evil", what is required of a good lich? What would an act of "unspeakable good" entail?


I think he was talking about one of the many variants. But, no, there's no way for the default "lich" to be good without outside help.


Liches are always evil.

Why is this?

In the case of Liches, because it's necromancy, which is a Black Art.

Why is this?

Because it's a crime against nature itself.

No, not for those reasons because you can make a Necromancer in those editions and not be evil; as far as I know the necromancy = evil deal only became official "cannon" when BoVE came out, which is typically ignored for good reason. Liches were always evil in past editions, and are still always evil in 3.5, because of what is required to become one. These other lich variants that allow a good wizard to gain immortality require a different process to reach that state, one that doesn't require "unmistakable evil." They're variants for a reason; they're similar in that they allow you to turn into an undead that's really hard to kill but they're all through different means. And since, outside of BoVE, undead doesn't mean evil, these variants are fine.

It's not any less coherent, there's just more options. It's only incoherent if you try to lump together multiple things that shouldn't be lumped together.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-05, 11:17 AM
In 30's fiction, *any* magic fell into this category. Which is why you rarely
meet a good wizard in Conan's world or in Lovecraft's.

Of course, the 1st Conan movie had a good wizard who was on Conan's side. Revived him and all.



The one element missing is the classical sorcerer who, by himself or herself, wields NO magic: no spells, no powers, no senses. He or she just knows how to call up demons (whatever THEY are) and how to bind them. That's all. In this game, "magic" is a load of hogwash: fantasy, frippery, and swindling. But you play a person -- a normal person -- who knows how to summon and bind beings of horror and madness for personal purposes. The question is: can you handle it?"

The sad thing is this is not possoble in 3.5.
Unles you reflavor you magic as not magic. There are no summoners withiout D&D style magic.
The closest would be a Binder who binds that Pseudonatural Vestige.

Wulfram
2009-11-05, 11:28 AM
From a D&D point of view, your lifespan is determined by whatever the gods decide (the Norse had the Norns, who determined every mortal's life time).

Deciding that you know better than the gods can be regarded as hubris and depending on what method you use to achieve immortality, can be extremely selfish as well.

If you achieve immortality, presumably the gods determined that your lifespan would be long.

Failing to take immortality when it was reasonably achievable can be regarded as suicide, which some Gods are pretty down on. Arguably, believing that you could achieve immortality in despite of the gods will is hubris.

lobablob
2009-11-05, 12:07 PM
Guys,


I screwed up. Let me amend my argument thus .. I will not argue that immortality in and of itself is wrong (too many traditional beliefs disagree) -- I'll instead argue that immortality *through lichdom* is wrong.



Fair enough, I will agree with this.

ShadowsGrnEyes
2009-11-05, 12:29 PM
I second everyone who said Wish. . . makes sense to me.


wizard-"i am middle aged and have just realized that i am going to die before im done doing all those things i planned to do."

scribe-"oh no! sir what will we do!"

Wizard-"good thing i learned that wish spell"

Scribe-"you learned the what now?"

Wizard-" I wish I would stop aging"

Dm-. . . "ok.. . you have stopped aging, you are now a middle aged guy until
someone succeeds in killing you. . ."

Wizard-"good, come along scribe."

Scribe-"yes Elminster. . . "

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-05, 01:30 PM
It's fairly obvious that the whole, "immortality is evil!" schtick primarily stems from the idea in certain philosophies that attempting to gain power and influence above your station is, itself, immoral.

This has always been a way for those that already have power to prevent the lowly masses from gaining the ability to challenge them, and maintaining the facade that the status quo is god (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StatusQuoIsGod).

This is especially true of societies, especially dark ages Europe and feudal Asian countries, wherein there's a huge gap between lower and upper class, with no extant bourgeoisie to speak of. Those on top want to stay on top, and actively attempt to keep the peasants as poor as possible to defend their positions there. It was accomplished through use of force and brainwashing, which, unfortunately, still trickles down through our modern sensibilities in the whole "power corrupts" ideology, which, while it can be apt, is taken as an unthinking absolute and leads to arguments such as we've been having here.

Power does not mean auto-corruption. Those without power can be just as corrupt as those with, but they don't have the leverage to use to harm others quite as much. But likewise, those with goodly intentions cannot affect change for the better if they're powerless (which is exactly the kind of stagnancy the top echelons in feudal-type societies wanted).

Power (of virtually any kind), in and of itself, is just a tool. And like any other tool, it can be used for good or ill. And it's not power itself that corrupts; it's the temptation to gain power at the expense of relatively innocent people that does it, which is a whole 'nother can of worms entirely.

Chaelos
2009-11-05, 05:07 PM
It's not the power at issue with liches, it's how one obtains it. I'm sure if a wizard can find/create a ritual to obtain immortality that doesn't involve unspeakable evil, he'd just as soon use that one--but my guess is that it's easier, generally speaking, to obtain power by illicit means than by saintly acts.

Thus it's not the mere fact that one is a lich that makes him evil, it's the way he became one--that slippery slope that one gets on when he thinks, "Hmm, if I sacrifice only a dozen puppies to Vecna, I can get that sweet undead body I've always dreamed of... but I can also get a private demiplane if I toss in a couple babies!"

At least, that's how I've always explained the prevalence of liches/immortal evil wizards in my games. Good wizards, as I see it--or even neutral ones--have boundaries they won't cross, and excepting special circumstances, they aren't willing to do what it takes to achieve immortality.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-05, 05:12 PM
At least, that's how I've always explained the prevalence of liches/immortal evil wizards in my games. Good wizards, as I see it--or even neutral ones--have boundaries they won't cross, and excepting special circumstances, they aren't willing to do what it takes to achieve immortality.Given that immortality only needs a 4th level Druid spell, accessible with Limited Wish, I really have to wonder about the good Wizards that can't figure out a way of becoming immortal.

Xenogears
2009-11-05, 05:34 PM
I second everyone who said Wish. . . makes sense to me.


wizard-"i am middle aged and have just realized that i am going to die before im done doing all those things i planned to do."

scribe-"oh no! sir what will we do!"

Wizard-"good thing i learned that wish spell"

Scribe-"you learned the what now?"

Wizard-" I wish I would stop aging"

Dm-. . . "ok.. . you have stopped aging, you are now a middle aged guy until
someone succeeds in killing you. . ."

Wizard-"good, come along scribe."

Scribe-"yes Elminster. . . "

In my copy of the 3.0 players Handbook under the possible mishaps from doing too much with wish was about immortality. It suggested sucking them into an empty dimension where they exist in stasis (but unharmed) forever.

Granted the wisher seemed to mean more than just not aging when they meant immortality but it seems like they did not intend wish to gran immortality.

Volkov
2009-11-05, 06:21 PM
Well, how does one become a "good lich," then? If becoming a lich requires an act of "unspeakable evil", what is required of a good lich? What would an act of "unspeakable good" entail?
I believe it CAN be not-evil (not necessarily good, however) to be immortal, just so long as it is not pursued. Gandalf was effectively immortal, but he did not go and seek immortality. Sauron, on the other hand did. Look how that turned out...
Immortality is not evil, but trying to become immortal is. It's the ultimate selfish act. If this lich's transformation requires an unspeakably evil act, which would likely require killing or otherwise grievous and willful harm to others, what would this "good act" be? Wouldn't it be "good" to NOT pursue what puts you above others? Good acts are only truly (even "unspeakably") good if they are done with no desire and/or expectation of a reward. Saving lives for money isn't inherently good, it's a job. Wouldn't doing a good deed for the express purpose of personal gain spoil a great deal of the good done? Is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons still the right thing?
There are actual templates for good liches. One of them is in the libris mortis. The downside is that you don't get to become a good demi-lich. Those do not exist in any rule book of any edition.

Yukitsu
2009-11-05, 06:24 PM
Demi lich doesn't have that inexplicable evil clause though. It's just the concentration of energy into a single body part. It also says "any lich" which one assumes would include good ones.

Volkov
2009-11-05, 06:28 PM
Aboleth Wizards get to live forever, or at least until the end of time. Barring violence or fatal disease. Granted good aboleths are pretty much unheard of. But there are a lot of them. There's probably at least one Good Aboleth, who's probably been shunned by the rest of his kind as a weirdo and doesn't live with others of his kind. Now of course, Aboleths are naturally immune to senescence, as are rockfish, turtles, whales, and hydras (no not the snake type, the practically unkillable jellyfish type.)

Volkov
2009-11-05, 06:29 PM
Demi lich doesn't have that inexplicable evil clause though. It's just the concentration of energy into a single body part. It also says "any lich" which one assumes would include good ones.

The power to suck souls from others more or at less at will and deny them the after-life for an indefinite period of time doesn't scream "Good" to me. Although some of those Meditating hermit types wouldn't mind that.

Yukitsu
2009-11-05, 06:32 PM
Meh. Considering they can manage the same effect as a spell, I doubt Wizards really cared to distinguish the morality between different ways of killing things all to much.

Volkov
2009-11-05, 06:35 PM
Meh. Considering they can manage the same effect as a spell, I doubt Wizards really cared to distinguish the morality between different ways of killing things all to much.

Not to mention, Demi-liches can manipulate negative energy to a powerful extent. Negative energy is really an evil thing.

Yukitsu
2009-11-05, 06:36 PM
Not consistently. The most powerful source of negative energy, the negative energy plane is neutral aligned.

It seems some abilities are associated with evil that are negative energy, but they never actually explain why, other than it's a stereotype.

Volkov
2009-11-05, 09:09 PM
Not consistently. The most powerful source of negative energy, the negative energy plane is neutral aligned.

It seems some abilities are associated with evil that are negative energy, but they never actually explain why, other than it's a stereotype.

Only evil leaning neutral, and evil clerics get to spontaneously cast inflict spells, and only they can use negative energy to rebuke the undead. *Blackguards and such non-withstanding*

Starbuck_II
2009-11-05, 09:12 PM
Only evil leaning neutral, and evil clerics get to spontaneously cast inflict spells, and only they can use negative energy to rebuke the undead. *Blackguards and such non-withstanding*

No. Only Neutral and Evil Clerics can channel negative energy spontaneously. There is no "evil-leaning" neutral.

You just need to be neutral.

Volkov
2009-11-05, 09:16 PM
No. Only Neutral and Evil Clerics can channel negative energy spontaneously. There is no "evil-leaning" neutral.

You just need to be neutral.

I would classify neutral clerics who chose to manipulate negative energy as people who are leaning towards evil.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-05, 09:34 PM
I would classify neutral clerics who chose to manipulate negative energy as people who are leaning towards evil.

Or those who wish to rebuke undead in a 'fight fire with fire' kind of way.

Why risk the sacrifice of good people when you can use mindless automatons that nobody will miss? It's not as if the inflict spells (or harm, or rebuking, et al) are [evil].

Also, I do believe there are a few good-aligned gods that explicitly allow the channeling of negative energy, though I can't remember who off the top of my head...

Volkov
2009-11-05, 09:40 PM
Or those who wish to rebuke undead in a 'fight fire with fire' kind of way.

Why risk the sacrifice of good people when you can use mindless automatons that nobody will miss? It's not as if the inflict spells (or harm, or rebuking, et al) are [evil].

Also, I do believe there are a few good-aligned gods that explicitly allow the channeling of negative energy, though I can't remember who off the top of my head...

"Power corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts absolutely."

Ozymandias9
2009-11-05, 10:23 PM
If you get away with it, either the laws of nature/the gods don't have a problem with it, or you're awesome enough to ignore them.

In either case, your confidence was justified, and thus not arrogance.

I'll keep this short, since it borders on real world religious ideas: if there's a PM conversation going on in these lines, please PM me. I would find it most interesting.

For many moral systems that see it as a undesirable trait, pride need not be unduely held. A good capitulation of this is: if Lust if the subjugation of the Superego to the Id, Hubris is the chaining of it to the Ego.
________________________________________________

Anyhow, the presumption that immortality is evil seems to be a bit too black and white for me. I will, however, point out that seeking immortality can (not must) strongly indicate a couple possible perceptions.

First, it can indicate that the character views death as bad:in most D&D cosmologies, death is only bad if you're evil. From most people's perspective, the Wall of the Faithless would prove the major exception.

Second, it can indicate that you think that the world/good/your society/your work can not survive without you. If this belief is true, it still meets some, but not all, definitions of hubris. If it is untrue, it meets most of them.

olentu
2009-11-05, 10:25 PM
Well leaving aside the rest of the stuff I recall that channeling positive and negative energy were actually one of the if not the only good and evil acts stated to be so in the core rules. Let me see if I can find that statement.

Edit: Ah here we go it was on page 160.



Even if a cleric is neutral, channeling positive energy is a good act and channeling negative energy is evil.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-06, 01:03 AM
"Power Selfishness corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts absolutely is absolutely awesome."

Fixed that for ya. :smallbiggrin:

But seriously. "Power corrupts" is hogwash. It's a tool, to be used however.

It's selfishness and laziness that cause people to be corrupted, because they don't look past their own desires or want to find better ways of getting things done.

After all, you can't make the world better if you have no power (whether that be through money, connections, personal magnetism, or something else), no matter how good you are.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-06, 01:07 AM
Well leaving aside the rest of the stuff I recall that channeling positive and negative energy were actually one of the if not the only good and evil acts stated to be so in the core rules. Let me see if I can find that statement.

Edit: Ah here we go it was on page 160.


Even if a cleric is neutral, channeling positive energy is a good act and channeling negative energy is evil.
And yet, casting positive and negative energy spells is usually neither. And neither are the positive or negative energy planes.

It's just energy, neither good nor bad.

That particular part of the Player's Handbook directly contradicts other places, so whether you follow that rule or not, it's a houserule, which kind of cancels out the argument either way.

olentu
2009-11-06, 01:37 AM
And yet, casting positive and negative energy spells is usually neither. And neither are the positive or negative energy planes.

It's just energy, neither good nor bad.

That particular part of the Player's Handbook directly contradicts other places, so whether you follow that rule or not, it's a houserule, which kind of cancels out the argument either way.

Hmm, that would pose a question about what does that quote directly contradict. While I can not recall anything at the moment perhaps you would be able to as that would be your reason for stating such a thing.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-06, 01:43 AM
Hmm, that would pose a question about what does that quote directly contradict. While I can not recall anything at the moment perhaps you would be able to as that would be your reason for stating such a thing.

For one, being a positive energy creature (ie, being alive, or a ravid, or a xeg...xag...whatever those floaty energy things with the tentacles are) doesn't carry the [good] tag, and neither does being a negative energy creature (see: ghosts). Also, cure and mass/heal spells are not inherently good actions, since they don't carry the [good] descriptor, and inflict and mass/harm spells are not labeled with [evil].

The positive and negative energy planes are inherently neutral. Why would channeling power from those planes carry a descriptor of any sort?

AstralFire
2009-11-06, 01:49 AM
I think he was asking what other primary sources actually state that PE is good-tilted or NE is bad-tilted.

Their alignment neutrality has always puzzled me. Out of context, it makes perfect sense - IRL, doctors aren't necessarily Good by popular moral standards. But we're talking about a game that loves to give everything an alignment, even when it's nonsensical. Given the strong associations that healing has for good and harming has for evil, I've always found it odd that D&D opted to make PE and NE alignment neutral.

olentu
2009-11-06, 01:53 AM
For one, being a positive energy creature (ie, being alive, or a ravid, or a xeg...xag...whatever those floaty energy things with the tentacles are) doesn't carry the [good] tag, and neither does being a negative energy creature (see: ghosts). Also, cure and mass/heal spells are not inherently good actions, since they don't carry the [good] descriptor, and inflict and mass/harm spells are not labeled with [evil].

The positive and negative energy planes are inherently neutral. Why would channeling power from those planes carry a descriptor of any sort?

Well disregarding the parts about the implications relating to creatures as I would not call that a direct contradiction I had forgotten that the cure and inflict line of spells do channel such energy. However there is not necessarily a contradiction, assuming that I am not forgetting something, as I do not remember any statement that all spells for which it would be an aligned action to cast necessarily carry the appropriate descriptor.

And as for why channeling energy from those planes would be aligned, the answer would seem to be because the rules say so.

Edit: I was only asking what part of the rules are directly contradicted by the piece of text that I quoted.

Lycanthromancer
2009-11-06, 01:55 AM
Well, the healer class doesn't have to be Good (or even Neutral), and Evil isn't requisite for the dread necromancer. Healers tend to be Good, and DNs tend to be Evil(ish), but despite the fact that almost everything that one does is channel positive energy, and the other is almost completely negative, those descriptors are still nowhere in evidence.

The argument isn't that negative is Good or that positive is Evil, because they aren't. They're inherently Neutral. Which is why it's so strange that channeling either is considered Good or Evil at all (aside from circumstances, of course).

The text saying channeling them is G/E directly contradicts the fact that both energy sources are 100% Neutral in nature.

olentu
2009-11-06, 01:58 AM
Well, the healer class doesn't have to be Good (or even Neutral), and Evil isn't requisite for the dread necromancer. Healers tend to be Good, and DNs tend to be Evil(ish), but despite the fact that almost everything that one does is channel positive energy, and the other is almost completely negative, those descriptors are still nowhere in evidence.

And yet I see no direct contradiction in such class alignment descriptions, though it might not matter in any case depending on what the books say about their relationships to previous sources.

Oh is is certainly strange but given the state of the alignment rules that does not really mean much.

I would not say that making channeling an aligned action necessarily means that the energies channeled would necessarily need to be aligned necessarily.

BobVosh
2009-11-06, 02:51 AM
I think he was asking what other primary sources actually state that PE is good-tilted or NE is bad-tilted.

Their alignment neutrality has always puzzled me. Out of context, it makes perfect sense - IRL, doctors aren't necessarily Good by popular moral standards. But we're talking about a game that loves to give everything an alignment, even when it's nonsensical. Given the strong associations that healing has for good and harming has for evil, I've always found it odd that D&D opted to make PE and NE alignment neutral.

This never bothered me...except for clerics. Why do you have to be Neutral or X alignment for cures/inflicts?

Arakune
2009-11-06, 03:09 AM
This never bothered me...except for clerics. Why do you have to be Neutral or X alignment for cures/inflicts?

It should be deity based instead of alignment, in my opinion.

hamishspence
2009-11-06, 03:40 AM
Well, the healer class doesn't have to be Good (or even Neutral), and Evil isn't requisite for the dread necromancer. Healers tend to be Good, and DNs tend to be Evil(ish), but despite the fact that almost everything that one does is channel positive energy, and the other is almost completely negative, those descriptors are still nowhere in evidence.

Incorrect on the Healer- Miniatures Handbook makes it clear-
prerequisite: Good Alignment

Dread Necromancer has a "Any non-good" requirement.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-06, 01:43 PM
And as for why channeling energy from those planes would be aligned, the answer would seem to be because the rules say so.

Edit: I was only asking what part of the rules are directly contradicted by the piece of text that I quoted.Dread Necromancer can't turn, only rebuke. You can run a neutral Dread Necromancer who worships Pelor and you still rebuke.

Yukitsu
2009-11-06, 01:58 PM
I believe rebuke and turn are particularly as they are simply because they arbitrarily decided most undead are always evil (and thus making them run away is good, getting them to kill people is evil). I think that is based on the undead's natural tendancy to want to kill things, rather than there actual moral alignment. Pretty much any other case of positive or negative energy is just neutral though.

jmbrown
2009-11-06, 03:39 PM
Guys,

It took me more than an hour to write last night. I don't have an hour now, so
I'm going to make this quick. I'll try to hit the major points. If I missed
something important, ping me and I'll try to get to it.

Major points in response to me:

1) You haven't given a coherent argument why immortality is evil.
2) It doesn't work that way in D&D -- the rules allow X and Y etc.


I screwed up. Let me amend my argument thus .. I will not argue that immortality in and of itself is wrong (too many traditional beliefs disagree) -- I'll instead argue that immortality *through lichdom* is wrong.

I know the rules allow things like Baelnorms. And I know there are rules in
Deities and Demigods that allow PCs to become gods without the permission of their
pantheons.

I would argue that -- if I am incoherent -- it is because D&D itself isn't terribly
coherent when it comes to these rules. This is because the game has been greatly
expanded to allow a lot of options to both good and evil players that didn't
exist (greyguards, blackguards, baelnorms) in the earlier editions. It's a system that allows you to model a
Lovecraftian world (where the creator is insane) or a Tolkienesque one
(where the creator is a good, omnipotent being) equally well. Of course
it's going to be incoherent when it comes to dealing with the supernatural.

But ... before the expansions, in old-school D&D, there were some fundamental
baseline assumptions. Paladins are always lawful and good. Liches are always evil.

Why is this?

In the case of Liches, because it's necromancy, which is a Black Art.

Why is this?

Becuase it's a crime against nature itself.

This is also why the argument 'it doesn't hurt anyone fails' -- it's not a crime
against one's fellow demihumans, but against the cosmos itself.

I'll quote from the Blurb
(http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73086) from the RPG Sorcerer:



See, this is the element that's missing from our discussions, and why I brought up
the idea of the occult -- that there are some things that are just *wrong*, that go
against the fundamental nature of the universe, a thing that requires a human of
incomparable arrogance and strength of will to do, because the entire universe recoils
when one sets out to do these things,and the words of power stick in your throat,
because the universe itself fights against this shameful deed.

In 30's fiction, *any* magic fell into this category. Which is why you rarely
meet a good wizard in Conan's world or in Lovecraft's.

Since then, 'magic' in fantasy has become more or less SF without the technology,
and the idea of 'forbidden' is now restricted to schools like necromancy.

And that's where the idea of hubris comes in as well .. the desire for power beyond the measure that allotted to mortals.

Tolkien is really your best resource to talk about this. In his silmarillion, he
described the Nazgul as originally being men who 'desired secret power beyond the
measure of their kind' -- and they received it, and it corrupted them. Because neither
Eru nor the Valar would grant power beyond the strict bounds placed by Eru, and only
evil beings would disobey that law.



Unearthed Arcana includes rules for incantations which is representative of old world magic where anyone who could do unnatural things was a "sorcerer" that bound demons to his service. I actually like the incantation rules and the idea of doing specific things like forcing a creature into your service in exchange for thirty-three pounds of red meat on the third thursday of the third week in the third month. It allows the DM to be creative.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-06, 03:59 PM
I believe rebuke and turn are particularly as they are simply because they arbitrarily decided most undead are always evil (and thus making them run away is good, getting them to kill people is evil). I think that is based on the undead's natural tendancy to want to kill things, rather than there actual moral alignment. Pretty much any other case of positive or negative energy is just neutral though.

But Rebuking is stronger than turning. Rebuking means you can just attack them (they cower). Turn means they run away. And if you (cleric) approach a turned creature they are fine, but no issue with rebuking.

Now Destroying is sometimes better than Command, but turning to make them run in fear makes them harder to destroy.

Really, Rebuking helps you destroy undead. Turning shows off.
"Look, I can make them run".

olentu
2009-11-06, 07:39 PM
Dread Necromancer can't turn, only rebuke. You can run a neutral Dread Necromancer who worships Pelor and you still rebuke.

I see no problem as, unless I am wrong, I remember that the deity alignment based turning restrictions were only for clerics.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-06, 07:45 PM
I see no problem as, unless I am wrong, I remember that the deity alignment based turning restrictions were only for clerics.Right, I was just pointing out that even good gods(though Pelor is questionable) can grant rebuking, which makes the 'Rebuking is EBIL' thing a bit questionable.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-06, 07:48 PM
Isn't DN an arcane class, meaning that whatever rebuking ability it has does not derive from your deity?

Starbuck_II
2009-11-06, 07:52 PM
Isn't DN an arcane class, meaning that whatever rebuking ability it has does not derive from your deity?

True, but either way, you can be non-evil and have rebuking.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-11-06, 07:54 PM
You can be non-evil and have the ability to murder orphaned children. Doesn't comment on the alignment of the ability in question.

IMO positive/negative energy ought not to be aligned, but there's a decent RAW argument for it.

Wereling
2009-11-06, 08:13 PM
You can be non-evil and have the ability to murder orphaned children. Doesn't comment on the alignment of the ability in question.

IMO positive/negative energy ought not to be aligned, but there's a decent RAW argument for it.
RAI maybe, but the whole POINT of RAW is that it's a Rule's Layer's (or a Bunny Ears Lawyer's) dream for the loopholes it provides.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-06, 08:17 PM
You can be non-evil and have the ability to murder orphaned children. Doesn't comment on the alignment of the ability in question.

IMO positive/negative energy ought not to be aligned, but there's a decent RAW argument for it.

Holy Word? Yes, murdering them is a good act when Holy Word is used.