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Thread: Undead=Evil

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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    I actually made a homebrew/guide once for a friend of mine to give to his players that added restoration and healing spells to the necromancy school for even wizards and sorcerers to use, such as revive, cure wounds, restoration, heal, etc. And, that aside, I also theorized a reason for WHY the world fears and hates all necromancers and considers them so 'inherently evil" despite there goals.


    First off, I consider necromancy as being a school of magic that governs over all forms of life and death, evenly, and that it is almost a "cousin" to evocation, as you are calling forth a raw type of energy from another plane to do your bidding, but mastering negative and position energy requires much more sophisticated study and rituals to pull off. And to top it off, positive energy was NOT good, and negative energy was NOT evil; they are only primal forces of the universe - growth and decay. The grim reaper is not evil because he takes life, it is the cycle of the universe.

    Positive and negative energy were both natural energies in the mortal realm, just like the other elements. All matter in existence generates positive and negative energy - as a human ages, even there skin flakes, blood, urine, etc, shed 'negative' energy due, while a newborn baby would radiate with positive energy. Even flora and fauna produce it in a steady stream.

    Undead were essentially what happens when you infuse a mix of positive and negative energy inside a corpse, whereas pure negative energy would obliterate a corpse, and pure positive energy would revive it - but it would require vast amounts of pure negative/positive energy to perform such actions, so mixing smaller/impure doses of the two is easier. Undead who create spawn do so not by disease, but by "sharing" there twisted mix of energy within the creatures body to spread when they die - the sudden blast of negative energy a dead body begins to shed upon its death is what kick starts this "seed" of unlife.

    (Consider undeath = using a antibiotic to resist death, like one would use a trace of the snakes poison in an antidote to fight snake bites.)

    Now, for why it would be hated and feared/outlawed/etc; Churchs and Gods. Necromancy is the school of life and death, and undeath, and it gives mortals the power over life and death... the god's so called domain. Good, evil, neutral, nature, whatever god's would of course be jealous of simple mortals holding sway over the cycle of life, reviving the fallen, etc - it would draw worship away from the gods as mortals would control there own fates and no longer need to pay homage to a higher power to protect there souls/lives/afterlife, and thus there sustenance via worship would dwindle. So the gods branded necromancers an abomination, god deities sent "crusades" and paladins against any necromancer, good or evil, to silence there practice and burn all evidence of its existence. I theorized that is why the healing bit of necromancy 'faded' with history - the gods did not care about it killing things, but they fear of its positive side robbing them of there control over life. So essentially necromancers faced a cosmos-spanning divine-inspired witch hunt, like the catholic church did to witchs back in the old days by spreading rumors they dealt with "demonic spirits", etc and outlawed them to protect themselves. (Interesting history, look it up)

    (EDIT: On a side note, this could also be why settings are frozen in time technology-wise, as the gods fear mortals gaining power over science/intelligence/etc which would slowly make mortals not care about the gods. No need to prey to the goddess of the sea for a safe voyage if you can use a weather machine to make it calm sailing the entire trip!)

    Oh, and obviously, healing magic from clerics = conjuration (Drawing from the god itself) and arcane healing magic = necromancy (life/death control). Keep this stuff in mind, would be fun to pop into a campaign for one of your necro players. Finding a stash of ancient necromancy stuff that draws the gods ire and all.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2012-10-07 at 11:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    I started working on my own stuff, then found the Tome of Necromancy basically summed up about as much as I was going to and then some, so I stopped working on developing my own opinion on the matter save for where I differed from the work.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    If one where to reject and renounce the gods, alignment, divinely revealed morality and all other outsiders then necromancy would be a vital tool in the arsenal.

    It grants a society control of its moralities control over their own afterlife. Broken free from the tyranny of the alignment system men are free to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, free to decide their own destinies. The long term goal could be first the liberation of the mundane from outside influence and then the storming of the golden gates and the cleansing of the deepest pits; casting all outsiders to the shadows of the beyond.

    I envisage a society where a part of the soul is bound to an artifact (be it a building, monument, weapon, jewel or warforged golem armor). This binds the rest of the spirit to this world, forcing the person into a cycle of reincarnation centered on their artifact/phalactry. During each life the soul is rebound to the artifact (or to another) making the object more powerful. Perhaps in the long run the object awakens and the (or an) individual is completely bound within. I imagine that for large objects like ships, fortresses or cities many people can be bound in and of them.

    "This place ...this place is sacred. Everyone who loved it, everyone who lived it, who died for it, who shed blood sweat and tears for it has left a part of themselves here. It is our ancestors legacy to us, our legacy to the future. Tread carefully stranger, for you are treading on our souls."

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    And THAT is what the gods fear. Imagine a society who did not just forsake them, but grew just as powerful and immortal as any divine being, and hunted the selfish/tyrants of outsiders. Makes necromancy a lot more interesting then "LOL NECROMANCY IS EVIL PERIOD" bland stereotype, now its suddenly the key to freeing mortal races from the chains of divine mandate and heavily regulated and feared by religious fanatics around the world, and has a sense of depth to it and its history. Juicy fluff is yummy. Non-evil necromancy/healing would even make an interesting type of Lich - distancing itself from civilization when they easily have the magic to blend in, to act as a librarian of the hidden facts of healing/necromancy and preserve it? Pc's would be in for an odd surprise after a nasty battle to find themselves fully healed in a lich's lab and being offered tea and biscuits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    If one where to reject and renounce the gods, alignment, divinely revealed morality and all other outsiders then necromancy would be a vital tool in the arsenal.

    It grants a society control of its moralities control over their own afterlife. Broken free from the tyranny of the alignment system men are free to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, free to decide their own destinies. The long term goal could be first the liberation of the mundane from outside influence and then the storming of the golden gates and the cleansing of the deepest pits; casting all outsiders to the shadows of the beyond.

    I envisage a society where a part of the soul is bound to an artifact (be it a building, monument, weapon, jewel or warforged golem armor). This binds the rest of the spirit to this world, forcing the person into a cycle of reincarnation centered on their artifact/phalactry. During each life the soul is rebound to the artifact (or to another) making the object more powerful. Perhaps in the long run the object awakens and the (or an) individual is completely bound within. I imagine that for large objects like ships, fortresses or cities many people can be bound in and of them.

    "This place ...this place is sacred. Everyone who loved it, everyone who lived it, who died for it, who shed blood sweat and tears for it has left a part of themselves here. It is our ancestors legacy to us, our legacy to the future. Tread carefully stranger, for you are treading on our souls."
    This is certainly an interesting alternative to the default setup. I'd give that setting a go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    And THAT is what the gods fear. Imagine a society who did not just forsake them, but grew just as powerful and immortal as any divine being, and hunted the selfish/tyrants of outsiders. Makes necromancy a lot more interesting then "LOL NECROMANCY IS EVIL PERIOD" bland stereotype, now its suddenly the key to freeing mortal races from the chains of divine mandate and heavily regulated and feared by religious fanatics around the world, and has a sense of depth to it and its history. Juicy fluff is yummy. Non-evil necromancy/healing would even make an interesting type of Lich - distancing itself from civilization when they easily have the magic to blend in, to act as a librarian of the hidden facts of healing/necromancy and preserve it? Pc's would be in for an odd surprise after a nasty battle to find themselves fully healed in a lich's lab and being offered tea and biscuits.
    Necromancy isn't evil, the creation of undead is. Unfortunately for most necromancers, the creation of undead is generally percieved as the most iconic use of necromancy.

    Also, a very important point that I already mentioned, but will reiterate because of its paramount importance; the gods don't decide what's good, evil, lawful, or chaotic. Those alignments represent cosmic forces that are completely independent from any sentient being. The gods sprang from the raw stuff of these forces. Good and Evil made their gods, those gods didn't decide squat and can't change the rules even if they want to. Blighted marsh's society would very much see the "elevation" to lichdom as morally correct, and their necromancers would be in the right as far as their fellows are concerned. The cosmic force of good still won't recognize their actions. The resultant liches probably won't be evil either though. Naturally, if you don't use the default alignment system this all goes right out the window.

    The division between alignment and morality seems to be a difficult concept for many to grasp. It may help to think of it in terms of red team/blue team rather than good team/evil team.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-08 at 02:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    The cosmic force of good still won't recognize their actions. The resultant liches probably won't be evil either though.
    Doesn't mater if its good or evil in this case. On the alignment system such a societal would fall off of the axis, sit in the middle or oscillate widely from one side to the other. Trying to be a Neizchien ubermenchen society does that. Why should they define or limit themselves to the cosmic accursed alignment system? This would make them a very tempting target for both the red and blue teams (as well as the purple, orange and maroon teams)

    I rather think that the cosmic forces of good, evil and/or blancmange would go to great length to eradicate such a society whatever its alignment is or is not. Its just good business to stamp out threat.

    Free your mind, free your soul!

    I have got this scenario in my head of a group of adventurers exploring an ancient haunted ruin for their gods, to release the souls bound there. Turns out the city was a necropolis, its people slaughtered at the gods orders and the souls are very happy where they are thank you very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Doesn't mater if its good or evil in this case. On the alignment system such a societal would fall off of the axis, sit in the middle or oscillate widely from one side to the other. Trying to be a Neizchien ubermenchen society does that. Why should they define or limit themselves to the cosmic accursed alignment system? This would make them a very tempting target for both the red and blue teams (as well as the purple, orange and maroon teams)

    I rather think that the cosmic forces of good, evil and/or blancmange would go to great length to eradicate such a society whatever its alignment is or is not. Its just good business to stamp out threat.

    Free your mind, free your soul!

    I have got this scenario in my head of a group of adventurers exploring an ancient haunted ruin for their gods, to release the souls bound there. Turns out the city was a necropolis, its people slaughtered at the gods orders and the souls are very happy where they are thank you very much.
    I like it. I'm also seeing it as a haven for binders?

    In any case it's a wonderful setting to highlight the division between morality and alignment. Now that I understand your meaning better, I'd definitely play in that setting. I love it when a game makes use of these complexities instead of glossing over them.

    Btw, I'm guessing purple and orange are law and chaos, but who the devil is the maroon team?
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-08 at 03:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    I like it. I'm also seeing it as a haven for binders?

    In any case it's a wonderful setting to highlight the division between morality and alignment. Now that I understand your meaning better, I'd definitely play in that setting. I love it when a game makes use of these complexities instead of glossing over them.
    Binders? sorry but that dosen't ring any bells. It is people whose souls are natural bound to the material plain? In which case that would be the whole point. Or is it people who bind things, it which case why do they need a haven?

    Blighted marsh's society would very much see the "elevation" to lichdom as morally correct
    The idea is to create an artificial cycle of reincarnation. The occasional liche would either be be an unfortunate side effect or an enormous personal sacrifice for the greater benefit (not good, taboo word in this society)

    Btw, I'm guessing purple and orange are law and chaos, but who the devil is the maroon team?
    Joke... there is no maroon. (or perhaps we are the maroon; resistance is futile)

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    Binders are a base class in Tome of Magic. The default fluff has them persecuted by faiths on all sides because it gives access to a form of magic that requires neither faith nor great understanding of arcane theory, thus allowing people to gain power from a source other than the gods, that the gods have no control over, with fairly minimal effort.

    While the gods themselves haven't officially weighed in on the matter, several of the various churches seek the abolishion of all binding practices and an organization was formed by three churches, that would otherwise be at each others' throats, to suppress it.

    The irony of this being that clerics and wizards are still far more powerful than any binder of the same level, meaning that the practice probably doesn't really concern the gods overmuch to begin with.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Effectively the world did the same thing as my theory of "gods vs. necros" and did a collective cosmos witch hunt against binders, as they bound the spirits of creatures that (many of which) the gods removed from existence, or the fragments of dead gods to themselves just because the church/etc said "LOL THEY EBIL" and thus it was so. There was even one spirit that is the soul of a powerful paladin who became a general of hell, then betrayed both sides and was neither accepted by hell or heaven. So, evil and good gods alike have cause to hunt binders who let him hitch a ride in there bodies.
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2012-10-08 at 04:32 AM.

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    Two possible takes on this.

    1) The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Binders would be given refuge simply because the gods/infernals' hunt them. Those who contain the fragments of dead gods may also carry with them the secrets of how to kill a god.

    2) They are a form of native outsider. The will be ostracized or eliminated.

    Remember that new/underdog dose not necessarily equal nice. Being beyond or outside good and evil leaves one without a magnetic north on ones moral compass and you might very well end up in some strange territory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    The world may be objective but society and social moored are subjective.

    The Gods may say that X,Y and Z (representing necromancy, murder and cheese making) are evil but how do we know this?
    We know that necromancy, murder and cheese making are evils of a specific religion because that religion says so. However.
    We know that necromancy and cheesemaking are unaligned in themselves, and that murder is evil, because necromancy and cheesemaking do not have any immediate effects, whereas murder makes you radioactive, and that radiation is detected as evil by Detect Evil and its ilk. it has nothin to do with gods.

    There is a difference between what we know IC and what we know OOC. A wizard can't exactly read the evil tag on a spell descriptor now can he?
    Actually, yes, he can. Detect good and detect evil show you the residue from goodness and evilness respectively. Doesn't magic resonate stronger on that scale than a mortal does? Having such a spell active and casting deathwatch would confuse a wizard, but he would know that for whatever reason it registers as evil. Or worst case scenario, he would have to watch someone else cast it and make a spot check, arcana check and religion check.

    And then their is how you define evil itself. Is it about intent, action or outcome?
    Personally, I say all three but that's neither here not there.
    In universe, evil is defined by being recognized as evil. Just like we can recognize light when we see it, sound when we hear it. Magic can grant you the ability to perceive the presence an lack of evil. Across all cultures, all magic systems, all universes. There is an objective, scientifically verifiable definition of Evil. It's like gravity, or unicorns. You don't have to believe for it to exist.


    Let's see if I can illustrate my take.
    Action:

    I raze a skeleton RAW: evil act
    Necromancy is an evil act RAW: neutral/unaligned act
    Therefore I have committed an evil act Evil+Neutral=evil

    Intent:

    I raze a skeleton to save another life RAW: evil act
    Lifesaving is a good intent RAW: good act
    I have committed a good act. good+evil=mostly good, though the save counts once, and you're responsible for whatever the skeleton does from now on;
    Alternately, good+evil=evil, as murder is a lesser crime than rape; saving a life is not equal to defiling the body into impurity


    Outcome:

    I raze a skeleton to save another life RAW: evil act
    It goes on a rampage and slaughters people RAW: evil act
    Slaughter is evil an evil outcome
    I have committed an evil act. Yup!
    Quote Originally Posted by vegetalss4 View Post
    The explanation I always have used whenever I have felt the desire to explain why DnD Undead always are evil (from an in-universe perspective) is this:

    In DnD, Evil is an objective measurable fact, like gravity or heat, a force and a type of energy in addition to a point of morality. So the reason why Undead are evil, is that they are created and animated using, in part, Evil.
    So they are Evil in the same way that a flame is hot, and they will remain so no matter how tight a leash you keep on them and how many good deeds you force them to do - just like the flame will keep being hot no matter what you do with or to it (as long as it isn't destroyed by the process).

    This is also why casting the Animate Undead spell is an evil act, but casting Inflict Major Wounds, or Dominate Person isn't- because you are channeling the literal force of Evil to do the first but not the other two. (Which even can explain why you can become evil by doing so repeatable, the act change you to be more like itself.)
    Yes, except you're crossing lines. Animating the dead is not evil because of negative energy; it is evil for other reasons and happens to use negative energy. Guns use zinc, and vitamins use zinc. If guns are evil, vitamins are not evil for having the same component, after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwertystop View Post
    Problem with your explanation: All of the Inflict X Wounds spells channel the same negative energy used in Animate Undead.

    Second problem: If I remember correctly, the Plane of Negative Energy doesn't have an alignment trait, unlike the aligned afterlife planes (aka the Outer Planes).
    Undeath is not evil because of negative energy. Undeath is evil, and happens to involve negative energy. This is an obfuscation more than anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    If one where to reject and renounce the gods, alignment, divinely revealed morality and all other outsiders then necromancy would be a vital tool in the arsenal.

    It grants a society control of its moralities control over their own afterlife. Broken free from the tyranny of the alignment system men are free to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, free to decide their own destinies. The long term goal could be first the liberation of the mundane from outside influence and then the storming of the golden gates and the cleansing of the deepest pits; casting all outsiders to the shadows of the beyond.

    I envisage a society where a part of the soul is bound to an artifact (be it a building, monument, weapon, jewel or warforged golem armor). This binds the rest of the spirit to this world, forcing the person into a cycle of reincarnation centered on their artifact/phalactry. During each life the soul is rebound to the artifact (or to another) making the object more powerful. Perhaps in the long run the object awakens and the (or an) individual is completely bound within. I imagine that for large objects like ships, fortresses or cities many people can be bound in and of them.

    "This place ...this place is sacred. Everyone who loved it, everyone who lived it, who died for it, who shed blood sweat and tears for it has left a part of themselves here. It is our ancestors legacy to us, our legacy to the future. Tread carefully stranger, for you are treading on our souls."
    This sounds like it has more to do with incarnum than with anything involving necromancy as it exists in the game. Pretty neat concept though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Necromancy isn't evil, the creation of undead is. Unfortunately for most necromancers, the creation of undead is generally percieved as the most iconic use of necromancy.

    Also, a very important point that I already mentioned, but will reiterate because of its paramount importance; the gods don't decide what's good, evil, lawful, or chaotic. Those alignments represent cosmic forces that are completely independent from any sentient being. The gods sprang from the raw stuff of these forces. Good and Evil made their gods, those gods didn't decide squat and can't change the rules even if they want to. Blighted marsh's society would very much see the "elevation" to lichdom as morally correct, and their necromancers would be in the right as far as their fellows are concerned. The cosmic force of good still won't recognize their actions. The resultant liches probably won't be evil either though. Naturally, if you don't use the default alignment system this all goes right out the window.

    The division between alignment and morality seems to be a difficult concept for many to grasp. It may help to think of it in terms of red team/blue team rather than good team/evil team.
    It's the terms used. Good and evil are inherently moral terms. Using them as something only tertiary to morality is weird. Especially since they go or way but not the other; all Good things are good, but not all good things are Good. it's counter intuitive when viewed as anything but universal resonance.

    I feel the need to say; I don't rightly care one way or the other. Games were undead are not evil are fine. I just want to disavow the notion that it doesn't make sense. It does make sense. It's just not always in line with most people's sensibilities. Modern folks find concepts like the sanctity of the body weird.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Two possible takes on this.

    1) The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Binders would be given refuge simply because the gods/infernals' hunt them. Those who contain the fragments of dead gods may also carry with them the secrets of how to kill a god.

    2) They are a form of native outsider. The will be ostracized or eliminated.

    Remember that new/underdog dose not necessarily equal nice. Being beyond or outside good and evil leaves one without a magnetic north on ones moral compass and you might very well end up in some strange territory.
    Binders are not a race, and IIRC they don't become native outsiders at 20.

    The vestiges, those beings that give them power, are morally and ethically neutral, or would be if they actually could be stat'ed out. They technically don't exist within the comsology proper, and can only interact with reality through the binding ritual and their host. This lack of proper existence is why the gods can't effect them.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    whereas murder makes you radioactive
    Nice one. I'll have to remember that line. But in all seriousness the alternate interpretation is the "omniscient" gods hang some kind of mark of Cane around the murders neck that the detect evil pings off of. Tags which could be easily applied to heretics such as necromancers or indeed cheese mongers.

    Binders are not a race, and IIRC they don't become native outsiders at 20.

    The vestiges, those beings that give them power, are morally and ethically neutral, or would be if they actually could be stat'ed out. They technically don't exist within the comsology proper, and can only interact with reality through the binding ritual and their host. This lack of proper existence is why the gods can't effect them.
    K, So binders would be haled as profits and harbingers of the time when all outsiders are reduced to vestiges.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-08 at 05:41 AM.

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    Raising the dead is only an evil act to our society, that does not make it actually an evil act. Its like the bosmer in the elder scrolls series: they eat the flesh of there dead elders so they can live on with them and carry on. Does that make them evil? To the empire? Maybe. To the bosmer culture? No. To the cosmos? It does not give the tiniest amount of ****s, not even one. Its completely objective, so saying "undead is evil" has no solid grounds besides a spell descriptor that was placed by the makers of a game who set out to make necromancy just another "villian spell set" - the game is flawed in many cases, ESPECIALLY alignment, and its up to us as players and dm's to fix it and mend it, not just blindly follow greyhawks/cores "FLAVOR" that says hur dur undead are innately evil - as thats fluff and not 100% subject to whatever setting we play (Besides greyhawk).

    Think of it this way. A fighter kills a bandit in self defense and takes his sword and maybe some healing potions to patch up the damage the bandit inflicted. A necromancer kills a bandit in self defense and raises his now empty/soulless corpse as a tool to protect him from future bandits. A cleric helps a group of players plunder a tomb to a ancient and forgotten god and loot the belongings of long dead ancestors. A ranger uses poison on a orc war parties food stock to prevent them from being able to raid a nearby farming community, thus preventing pillaging/murder/rape. A rogue uses blackmail to keep a corrupt noble from passing a law that would allow him to imprison anyone he wishes at any time for torture or worse under "suspicion" of crimes. A warlock had his soul sold by his parents while still in the womb for infernal powers, rebelled against his fate over time and led a rebellion against a tyrannical nation with the power of hellfire, leading thousands to freedom and peace. A druid's clan deep in the wastelands is suffering from famine, and its a time of war, she kills her enemies and holds feasts for her clan to feast on there corpses to save them from hunger.


    Cosmos Effects of Actions (Unbias of any cultural influence)

    Using Negative Energy: Neutral.
    Why: Its just an energy like heat or cold, everything in the world sheds some of it, its part of the material plane. Death is not evil.

    Using Positive Energy: Neutral.
    Why: Healing can be used to keep someone alive for torture/etc and prolong there suffering. Life is not good.

    Raising a Corpse: Neutral.
    Why: Animating a suit of armor or table is not evil. Raising a corpse, like forging a sword, should have the actions the wielder performs with it tested. Are blacksmiths considered evil for taking ore out of the earth, melting it down, and giving it to a soldier who may one day use it to kill a innocent man? No. Is the blacksmith a hero for making a sword that a paladin uses to save the world? No. A corpse is an object, a soulless object that feels nothing and is nothing but an empty shell that feels hunger pains due to the negative energy within it. If a sword suddenly sprouted legs, arms, and who's only desire was to kill as it was created to do, would it be evil? No, so why should an undead creature who necromancers have specifically made over the eons to protect them from other living people or monsters be any different? It's like some breeds of dog - they were DESIGNED for aggressiveness for there job, it doesn't make them "evil".

    Using a Poison: Neutral.
    Why: Poison is only considered "dishonorable" because like guns, peasants or untrained peons can kill a trained master of swordsmanship or magical demigod wizard with a vial of liquid brewed from some backwoods mushroom. It is not evil - its no more evil then cutting a mans arm or leg off in the heat of battle. If you have to fight, the very act of fighting and combat brings suffering, so saying "poison causes suffering and thus is evil", is pointless and outright ignorant. So its only considered evil out of stigma of "fair play" by the guys who wasted there lives beating dummies with a sharp stick. Is a druid or ranger evil for using a natural element in there territory to defend themselves or as a tool of the trade they have easy access to? Hell no. There is a saying that fits perfectly for this - guns don't kill people, people kill people. The action performed with it should be judged evil/good, not the item itself.

    Murder: Neutral.
    Why: Is an animal considered evil or performing an act of evil if it kills another animal to gain mates, food, or territory? Nope. Is an animal considered evil if it kills a human in self defense? Nope. Is a king who orders his army to conquer new lands to expand his territory to feed his ever-growing population evil? Maybe, but not inherently, according to how he handles it. Like anything else, murder is a tool, and how its performed and used should determine its evil/good; someone who kills anyone just for money can even have good reasons, say if that money goes to an orphanage, but someone who just kills for fun is truly evil, and somewhat twisted.

    Now, things that are truly evil? Senseless crimes that benefit nobody but the attacker/offender. Even good can come from cruel acts like torture, blackmail, lying, stealing, murder, etc IF IT HAS a "ends justify the means" - it has to have some reasoning for the action. The reason should determine the good/evil axis of the action, NOT the action itself.


    So yeah, I hate when people just say 'X is evil, period", it makes no sense, and I would not want to be in any setting where alignment is so concrete and black/white, as it is rather bland and boring.

    And remember folks, evil means an intent to cause suffering, pain, misery, torture, unhappiness, etc for personal pleasure or selfish gain. A zombie does not gain any pleasure from killing or even eating another human - that is just the bane of life/decay within it, and negative energy is just a natural element of the world/cycle of life and death, so none of its actions or its source of unlife is evil in the truest sense. Now, the necromancer telling the zombie to kill a human for fun or money to buy his next +1 ring of protection... now THAT IS an evil act, on the necromancers part, not the zombies - its just a item like a sword at that point.
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2012-10-08 at 06:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Nice one. I'll have to remember that line. But in all seriousness the alternate interpretation is the "omniscient" gods hang some kind of mark of Cane around the murders neck that the detect evil pings off of. Tags which could be easily applied to heretics such as necromancers or indeed cheese mongers.
    You could interpret it that way, but it doesn't really jive with the existing lore.
    K, So binders would be hailed as prophets and harbingers of the time when all outsiders are reduced to vestiges.
    Nice. Though not all vestiges started out as outsiders. Leraje for example was an elf, and Andromalius was, I think, human.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Sorry for the massive rant, I get a bit to heated about "x is evil" alignment debates after a past issue of getting +evil alignment because I used poison to kill a owlbear (despite killing it swiftly and the poison being resisted anyway, and for the sake of protecting a farmer and his daughter). Silly dms are silly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    For me (and only me, my DM is like yours ) undead can be evil, but not always. The undead themselves can be split two ways:

    1) Non intelligent undead: They have a neutral mindset, much like mindless creatures and most animals, but the fact that they are literally powered by the forces of decay, destruction and enervation pushes them slightly towards the evil.
    So they are only just barely evil because of negative energy. If that weren't the case, they would not be any more evil than constructs
    The rules are contradictory there, though. Being powered by negative energy does not make you evil, nor is negative energy evil, nor is a mindless creature allowed to have any alignment. So that "evil" in the alignment tag? It's illegal.

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    I like the idea of the forces of good and evil being opposed by cultural and political differences, but not opposite.

    So good uses positive energy and evil uses negative. These are opposed and cancel each other out. There is nothing inherently evil or good about them, they are merely tools.

    The forces of good favor actions certain actions, they also approve of actions that favor themselves. In this they are no different than the forces of evil. Alignment is connected to morality by opposition and cultural convention only. Necromancy is evil because the forces of evil have a proprietary interest over it

    Both sides wish to control the mortal world for their own ends, they both desire souls. All sides in their interminable war shamelessly commit and expect their followers to commit horrific acts against the other; they take pride in this and umbrage to those who object.

    Its no wonder that my Necrotheists want to do away with them all.
    Last edited by Blightedmarsh; 2012-10-08 at 06:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Raising the dead is only an evil act to our society, that does not make it actually an evil act. Its like the bosmer in the elder scrolls series: they eat the flesh of there dead elders so they can live on with them and carry on. Does that make them evil? To the empire? Maybe. To the bosmer culture? No. To the cosmos? It does not give the tiniest amount of ****s, not even one. Its completely objective, so saying "undead is evil" has no solid grounds besides a spell descriptor that was placed by the makers of a game who set out to make necromancy just another "villian spell set" - the game is flawed in many cases, ESPECIALLY alignment, and its up to us as players and dm's to fix it and mend it, not just blindly follow greyhawks/cores "FLAVOR" that says hur dur undead are innately evil - as thats fluff and not 100% subject to whatever setting we play (Besides greyhawk).

    Think of it this way. A fighter kills a bandit in self defense and takes his sword and maybe some healing potions to patch up the damage the bandit inflicted. A necromancer kills a bandit in self defense and raises his now empty/soulless corpse as a tool to protect him from future bandits. A cleric helps a group of players plunder a tomb to a ancient and forgotten god and loot the belongings of long dead ancestors. A ranger uses poison on a orc war parties food stock to prevent them from being able to raid a nearby farming community, thus preventing pillaging/murder/rape. A rogue uses blackmail to keep a corrupt noble from passing a law that would allow him to imprison anyone he wishes at any time for torture or worse under "suspicion" of crimes. A warlock had his soul sold by his parents while still in the womb for infernal powers, rebelled against his fate over time and led a rebellion against a tyrannical nation with the power of hellfire, leading thousands to freedom and peace. A druid's clan deep in the wastelands is suffering from famine, and its a time of war, she kills her enemies and holds feasts for her clan to feast on there corpses to save them from hunger.
    I won't poke at the above right now, maybe later, except to ask if you read my post in which I gave a pretty solid explanation for why animating the dead is evil.


    Cosmos Effects of Actions (Unbias of any cultural influence)

    Using Negative Energy: Neutral.
    Why: Its just an energy like heat or cold, everything in the world sheds some of it, its part of the material plane. Death is not evil.
    This is already true under the default alignment system.

    Using Positive Energy: Neutral.
    Why: Healing can be used to keep someone alive for torture/etc and prolong there suffering. Life is not good.
    Ditto.

    Animating a Corpse: Neutral.
    Why: Animating a suit of armor or table is not evil. Raising a corpse, like forging a sword, should have the actions the wielder performs with it tested. Are blacksmiths considered evil for taking ore out of the earth, melting it down, and giving it to a soldier who may one day use it to kill a innocent man? No. Is the blacksmith a hero for making a sword that a paladin uses to save the world? No. A corpse is an object, a soulless object that feels nothing and is nothing but an empty shell that feels hunger pains due to the negative energy within it. If a sword suddenly sprouted legs, arms, and who's only desire was to kill as it was created to do, would it be evil? No.
    FIFY. Raising and animating aren't quite the same.
    More importantly though, there's a massive flaw in the comparison of a sword and, for example, a zombie. The sword won't wander off and attack random people when the wielder dies. It won't attack on its own at all if it's not under the direction of a sentient being capable of making moral and possibly aligned decisions. To kill for no reason whatsoever is evil. The animate sword doesn't need to eat. It doesn't gain anything at all from killing, unless its intelligent. Then maybe it gets pleasure from killing. It's a hell of a tough sell to say that killing for pleasure isn't evil.

    Using a Poison: Neutral.
    Why: Poison is only considered "dishonorable" because like guns, peasants or untrained peons can kill a trained master of swordsmanship or magical demigod wizard with a vial of liquid brewed from some backwoods mushroom. It is not evil - its no more evil then cutting a mans arm or leg off in the heat of battle. If you have to fight, the very act of fighting and combat brings suffering, so saying "poison causes suffering and thus is evil", is pointless and outright ignorant. So its only considered evil out of stigma of "fair play" by the guys who wasted there lives beating dummies with a sharp stick. Is a druid or ranger evil for using a natural element in there territory to defend themselves or as a tool of the trade they have easy access to? Hell no. There is a saying that fits perfectly for this - guns don't kill people, people kill people. The action performed with it should be judged evil/good, not the item itself.
    I've already done a full post for this one. I'll link it.

    Murder: Neutral.
    Why: Is an animal considered evil or performing an act of evil if it kills another animal to gain mates, food, or territory? Nope. Is an animal considered evil if it kills a human in self defense? Nope. Is a king who orders his army to conquer new lands to expand his territory to feed his ever-growing population evil? Maybe, but not inherently, according to how he handles it. Like anything else, murder is a tool, and how its performed and used should determine its evil/good; someone who kills anyone just for money can even have good reasons, say if that money goes to an orphanage, but someone who just kills for fun is truly evil, and somewhat twisted.
    You're misusing the term here. Most of what you've described isn't murder. It's just killing, and isn't evil under the default system to begin with. The king is responsible for actions taken in his name with his consent/under his orders. If his soldiers are murdering people, raping, and pilliaging, then he bears the weight of those deeds if he is aware of them and condones them. That's one of those special corner cases though. Most creatures are only responsible for their own actions and the immediate, and obvious, consequences there of.

    The ends justify the means is an excuse, not a proper justification. If you decapitate an innocent child to save the kingdom, that's an evil act even if it did serve the greater good, unless the child understood why you had to do it and gave consent. Even then there had to be zero chance of saving the kingdom in any other way.

    Now, things that are truly evil? Senseless crimes that benefit nobody but the attacker/offender. Even good can come from cruel acts like torture, blackmail, lying, stealing, murder, etc IF IT HAS a "ends justify the means" - it has to have some reasoning for the action. The reason should determine the good/evil axis of the action, NOT the action itself.
    Good ends don't justify evil means, but most actions aren't inherently good or evil unless they involve certain magicks. The remaining handful are actions that cannot help but violate the tenets of good.
    So yeah, I hate when people just say 'X is evil, period", it makes no sense, and I would not want to be in any setting where alignment is so concrete and black/white, as it is rather bland and boring.
    98% of all actions aren't inherently aligned with good or evil. You're either misreading the RAW too strictly or haven't actually read it all that carefully to begin with.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-08 at 06:38 AM.
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    In Eberron the nation of Karrnath used undead during the Last War both for terror and because they had significant problems with population, famine and disease. Necessity made them turn to the use of undead troops. It is easy to see how propaganda could be used to calm the outrage of local populations. After all their sons and brothers aren't being killed at the front, it's just a bunch of animated bones instead.

    Other nations of course reacted negatively to the Karrns use of undead and the holy land of Thrane increased their attacks on the nation to destroy the "unholy enemy". That just shows that once you take that step of using undead then people will react to it.

    In my RL campaign set in Karrnath after the end of the war the depopulated nation still uses mindless undead for manual labour. People are used to them and consider them tools. It is an honour to serve Karrnath in life and a great honour to serve it after death.
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    To kill for no reason whatsoever is evil. The animate sword doesn't need to eat. It doesn't gain anything at all from killing, unless its intelligent. Then maybe it gets pleasure from killing. It's a hell of a tough sell to say that killing for pleasure isn't evil.
    Killing for no reason is NOT evil - for it to be evil it would have to have a reason (pleasure, indulgence, sport, lust, etc). Its a mindless act by a mindless husk powered by the energy of decay and destruction - killing to cause more death, death energy simply wanting to reproduce itself in a sense. Intelligent undead can be evil, such as vampires, who enjoy torturing there food, drinking the blood and murdering them, but a zombie, even if left with no master, is not - it will perform its last order given, or wander about randomly killing any life - even bugs it comes across due to its negative energy directing it to kill and create more negative energy. Death = its fuel/food in a sense, it wants to cause death to make the negative energy within it stronger and the plane its tied to.

    It doesn't do it for pleasure or lols or any selfish goal, nor is it spiteful, hateful, or cruel about it. It kills as quickly as possible, and will never torture someone for 'fun', etc. Its just a form of energy instinctively trying to gain sustenance threw its "host".

    A good example; imagine if you could reanimate a corpse with the power of fire. The fire would not burn the corpse. Lets say you lost control of it. What does fire do? It consumes and destroys everything in its path. Is it evil for following its nature? I wouldn't think so - so if death is not evil, then a zombie cannot be evil by default - its just performing its elemental nature.
    Last edited by Jane_Smith; 2012-10-08 at 06:46 AM.

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    Like fire. Innately hazardous but utterly amoral. Now causing a fire purely for destruction, that has moral implications on the arsonist, not the fire.

    Reminds me of the mock trials the Greeks would stage after sacrifices, they end up "executing" the sacrificial knife, hence "I blame the knife".

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    Like fire. Innately hazardous but utterly amoral. Now causing a fire purely for destruction, that has moral implications on the arsonist, not the fire.
    I added a sentence to my last post that added fire as a example "reanimation" source just before you posted that. XD

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    Great minds...

    I would say that all magic, regardless of type is potentially dangerous and that a caster is responsible for the consequences that they cause, whether they indented them or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanBuren View Post
    I tend to attribute it to the particular use of the energy being wrong. That is, there's nothing inherently wrong about channeling negative energy, but the fact that you're brute-forcing it to animate instead of decay, and forcing it to poorly mimic the function of positive energy. Why, if the body had any capacity to recognize pain, I imagine the experience would be excruciatingly painful.
    So it's not Evil because of using the energy, it's Evil because of abusing it? That actually makes a lot of sense!
    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Undeath is not evil because of negative energy. Undeath is evil, and happens to involve negative energy. This is an obfuscation more than anything.
    I know that. In fact, that was what the statement of mine that you quoted was intended to show the person you quoted immediately prior.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamieth View Post
    ...though Talla does her best to sound objective and impartial, it doesn't cover stuff like "ask a 9-year-old to tank for the party."

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    IFFY. Raising and animating aren't quite the same.
    More importantly though, there's a massive flaw in the comparison of a sword and, for example, a zombie. The sword won't wander off and attack random people when the wielder dies. It won't attack on its own at all if it's not under the direction of a sentient being capable of making moral and possibly aligned decisions. To kill for no reason whatsoever is evil. The animate sword doesn't need to eat. It doesn't gain anything at all from killing, unless its intelligent. Then maybe it gets pleasure from killing. It's a hell of a tough sell to say that killing for pleasure isn't evil.
    Slightly off topic but I think I could sell you the concept of a non evil killing obsessed sentient sword.
    1) A sword is a weapon
    2) Weapons exist to kill, that is their only purpose.
    3) An intelligent sword is driven to kill -to cut- because that is its singular purpose.

    Whats it all about? Why am I here? An awakened sword doesn't have to ask these things. It knows exactly why it was created and it should be doing at any given time. A day without bloodshed is a day wasted...cut or rust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Slightly off topic but I think I could sell you the concept of a non evil killing obsessed sentient sword.
    1) A sword is a weapon
    2) Weapons exist to kill, that is their only purpose.
    3) An intelligent sword is driven to kill -to cut- because that is its singular purpose.

    Whats it all about? Why am I here? An awakened sword doesn't have to ask these things. It knows exactly why it was created and it should be doing at any given time. A day without bloodshed is a day wasted...cut or rust.
    That's just perspective, which doesn't matter because evil and good are objective things :|

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Mage View Post
    One thing to keep in mind is that even True Resurrection isn't capable of bringing someone who has been turned into an undead if the undead isn't destroyed. That implies that undead animation somehow messes with the person's soul, so it's not only the person's "shell".
    Yep, if there is no connection between the soul of the dead-guy and his body that you are making undead then True Res should work fine.

    But True Res can't make a new body while the old one is animated. (In response to someone else. There's no rules contradiction, if you cast true res ON THE UNDEAD noting that it's a touch range spell then it can return the undead to life, but doing so destroys the undead. But you can't bring the guy back by creating a new body while his old one is undead, but you can do so if you destroy the undead.)

    It follows that there is a connection between the undead you animate and the soul of the dead-guy. If there were not then why would destroying the undead and disintigrating the body change whether or not spells work on the dead-guy's soul.

    The nature of this connection may be debatable, but the existence isn't. Any argument about undead that assumes it ONLY involves an object and negative energy misses the point that it ALSO clearly involves a soul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Killing for no reason is NOT evil - for it to be evil it would have to have a reason (pleasure, indulgence, sport, lust, etc). Its a mindless act by a mindless husk powered by the energy of decay and destruction - killing to cause more death, death energy simply wanting to reproduce itself in a sense. Intelligent undead can be evil, such as vampires, who enjoy torturing there food, drinking the blood and murdering them, but a zombie, even if left with no master, is not - it will perform its last order given, or wander about randomly killing any life - even bugs it comes across due to its negative energy directing it to kill and create more negative energy. Death = its fuel/food in a sense, it wants to cause death to make the negative energy within it stronger and the plane its tied to.

    It doesn't do it for pleasure or lols or any selfish goal, nor is it spiteful, hateful, or cruel about it. It kills as quickly as possible, and will never torture someone for 'fun', etc. Its just a form of energy instinctively trying to gain sustenance threw its "host".

    A good example; imagine if you could reanimate a corpse with the power of fire. The fire would not burn the corpse. Lets say you lost control of it. What does fire do? It consumes and destroys everything in its path. Is it evil for following its nature? I wouldn't think so - so if death is not evil, then a zombie cannot be evil by default - its just performing its elemental nature.
    That's just it though, while you may not see killing without reason as morally wrong, it -is- evil. It violates Good's tenets about respect for life and violence without discretion, in a rather direct fashion. You're not seperating alignment and morality properly here. If you decide to use subjective alignment, then good and evil become synonymous with morally right or wrong. They also carry far less weight in a cosmic sense, which may or may not be desirable depending on individual preference. If you apply HoH's behavioral alignment system to the subjective alignment variant, good and evil become largely meaningless except in the cases of creatures with the alignment subtypes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Yep, if there is no connection between the soul of the dead-guy and his body that you are making undead then True Res should work fine.

    But True Res can't make a new body while the old one is animated. (In response to someone else. There's no rules contradiction, if you cast true res ON THE UNDEAD noting that it's a touch range spell then it can return the undead to life, but doing so destroys the undead. But you can't bring the guy back by creating a new body while his old one is undead, but you can do so if you destroy the undead.)

    It follows that there is a connection between the undead you animate and the soul of the dead-guy. If there were not then why would destroying the undead and disintigrating the body change whether or not spells work on the dead-guy's soul.

    The nature of this connection may be debatable, but the existence isn't. Any argument about undead that assumes it ONLY involves an object and negative energy misses the point that it ALSO clearly involves a soul.
    Upon re-reading true res' just now, I'm actually not seeing where it says you can't revive someone whose remains have been animated. It just says you can't reanimate a dead undead.

    Where is the rule that says true res' doesn't get around the corpse being animate?
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    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
    A quick outline on building a homebrew campaign

    Avatar by Tiffanie Lirle

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