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Thread: Undead=Evil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Ghosts are already a special case. They can't be deliberately created through magic
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    Nitpick: There is actually one way. In dnd 3.5 there is a feat called Master of Necromacy. When you kill something with a [death] spell, it rises as a ghost your next turn for CL rounds under your control.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Part of why arbitrary is bad in this case would be Fell Animate Vs. Animate Dead.

    Animate Dead is [Evil].

    Fell Animate does not make spells cast with it [Evil].

    Fell Animate requires you to actively kill a creature with a spell that the metamagic effect is riding upon.

    Animate Dead can use creatures that died of old age or that were acquired from statue>corpse synthesis or any other way.
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    I do believe there are exceptions to this. I cannot remember where, nor quote a book or some such, but somewhere I remember reading about how it was a relativity common occurrence for good half-elf wizards to becomes liches. Despite being outcasts in a pure human or pure elf society, they would assign themselves as the protector of their respective town out of loyalty and become a lich so that they could continue to protect the town from evil forever. They would then remain in hiding, but would protect the town with their magic from afar.

    If I'm correct and not just delusional, than that would be an example of undead not necessarily being evil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    If the Skeletons and Mummies in the Dungeon are Lawful beings guarding the tomb of their ancient ruler, you're kind of a **** for just smashing them apart to satisfy your own greed.
    well, even is they are evil beings guarding the tomb of their ancient ruler, you're still kind of a **** for just smashing them apart to satisfy your own greed.

    As long as they stay in the tomb guarding it you have no business to desecrate and rob it either way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Adventurer's tend to be mercenaries, sellswords, assassins, tomb raiders, thieves and murderers.
    Same in our games. Adventurers is an invective for never-do-well who think themselves too high for honest work at best or a band of thugs at worst.
    Last edited by SoC175; 2012-10-11 at 03:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoC175 View Post
    well, even is they are evil beings guarding the tomb of their ancient ruler, you're still kind of a **** for just smashing them apart to satisfy your own greed.

    As long as they stay in the tomb guarding it you have no business to desecrate and rob it either way.
    Robbery is Law/Chaos, not Good/Evil.
    That's why Robin Hood is Chaotic Good.
    Last edited by BootStrapTommy; 2012-10-11 at 03:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    I do believe there are exceptions to this. I cannot remember where, nor quote a book or some such, but somewhere I remember reading about how it was a relativity common occurrence for good half-elf wizards to becomes liches. Despite being outcasts in a pure human or pure elf society, they would assign themselves as the protector of their respective town out of loyalty and become a lich so that they could continue to protect the town from evil forever. They would then remain in hiding, but would protect the town with their magic from afar.

    If I'm correct and not just delusional, than that would be an example of undead not necessarily being evil.
    Yup. They are called baelnorns. They come from Faerun.

    there is also a lich varient in libris mortis called the good lich. It cannot be turned and gains turn undead.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    AH! Baelnorns! That is what the guy was in neverwinter nights. The balor tricked him into sacrificing children to gain that power into lichdom but ends up the ritual did not require any sacrifices (The balor gave the elf what he wanted to know - how to perform the ritual, he just neglected to say the part about the young souls was optional.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Yup. They are called baelnorns. They come from Faerun.

    there is also a lich varient in libris mortis called the good lich. It cannot be turned and gains turn undead.
    Thanks, chap.

    So baelnorms and good liches.

    Good undead. They are rare exception, but they exist.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    Thanks, chap.

    So baelnorms and good liches.

    Good undead. They are rare exception, but they exist.
    Do Deathless count? If so, add another three or four stat-blocks to the pile.

    Plus I'm pretty sure they explicitly call out that Ghosts aren't always Evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BootStrapTommy View Post
    Robbery is Law/Chaos, not Good/Evil.
    That's why Robin Hood is Chaotic Good.
    BoVD says otherwise- stealing is (at least typically) Evil.

    Now it might be much less Evil than the Good acts the character is committing.

    Or there might be factors that make it "not really stealing" (it's taxes, imposed unjustly to line the pockets of the nobles rather than to pay for the community's needs- and Robin gives it back to the people who have been taxed).

    But it's not Neutral by default- it needs such factors to make it Neutral.
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    I suppose the main focus would come down to a morality decision with how things are evil or not evil. PC's/Adventurers are basically just killer hobos who run around and gather the most loot they can while dispatching what is their way, but then again that may not be evil because most of the time it's not just on a whim and they are doing it for a cause or job. With this in place though you could also say that some clerics or even paladins could be evil. not the lawful evil paladins I mean even lawful good. One scenario that was fun to pull on the morality code is to have a theif that maybe had been a contact for the Paladin captured for thievery by the same Paladin's order and is supposed to be executed for it.
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    BoVD says otherwise- stealing is (at least typically) Evil.
    BOVD says a lot of things.

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    Bovd and Boed have been like, GLOBALLY declared as some of the -worst- supplements ever made for D&D, from its alignment system/etc, to its OVERPOWERED feats and spells that were broken in all ways - look at vow of poverty, nymph's kiss, etc in particular, and look at seething eyebane or whatever from bovd (oh, yes, i would like as a 1st level spell to deal a ton of damage AND BLIND YOU PERMANENTLY by having your eyeballs EXPLODE FROM YOUR FACE.)

    I am not saying they were all bad, there was some things like the Corpse Creature/etc templates in bovd (intelligent undead), the alchemy/knight/ancestral weapon prc in bovd was very nice as well, but they were horribly written and unbalanced as a whole, so using them (especially considering they are supplements, NOT CORE), as an alignment guideline is silly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Nitpick: There is actually one way. In dnd 3.5 there is a feat called Master of Necromacy. When you kill something with a [death] spell, it rises as a ghost your next turn for CL rounds under your control.
    I haven't heard of this before. Where can I find it?
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    BoVD says otherwise- stealing is (at least typically) Evil.

    Now it might be much less Evil than the Good acts the character is committing.

    Or there might be factors that make it "not really stealing" (it's taxes, imposed unjustly to line the pockets of the nobles rather than to pay for the community's needs- and Robin gives it back to the people who have been taxed).

    But it's not Neutral by default- it needs such factors to make it Neutral.
    Theft, like any other form of indirect harm, is morally neutral in and of itself; but, like killing (something else that's neutral in and of itself), it becomes either good or evil based on motivation and obvious consequence.

    Picking up a coin pouch you find in an alley and keeping the contents is neither good nor evil.

    If you happened to find it right next to an apparently-homeless, unconcious person (be he drunk, or knocked out with the would-be robber fleeing out the other end of the alley) then keeping it is probably evil. The guy on the ground is most likely the actual owner and stealing his coin will almost undoubtably cause him further harm.

    If, on the other hand, you find it whilst tailing a well-to-do merchant that's known for gouging his customers and arranging "accidents" taking his money means relieving him of resources that would likely have gone toward further evil, or at least unsavory, acts. Making it neutral at worst, and possibly good to steal this particular pouch.

    Of course, either of the above can be returned to neutral by motivation. Keeping the beggar's purse so that he can't buy booze with it with the intention of buying him food and helping him get help, makes it a pragmatic theft. It doesn't become evil until you decide to keep it when it turns out that he's just down on his luck and would use the money responsibly anyway.

    Stealing the ne'er-do-well merchants coin returns to neutral if you don't know about any of his dark deeds but figured he's rich enough he won't miss it. No harm = no evil, in this context.

    Theft is inherently chaotic. But it's not inherently evil.


    @ mentions of baelnorns: Intelligent undead never were inherently evil. Their creation is, but the creatures themselves are only as evil as they choose to be. They almost invariably have a harder time choosing not to be evil because of the abilities and, frequently, the drive to destroy life that come with their new state of being, or because that new state of being required they already be evil to aquire it.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-12 at 01:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoC175 View Post
    As long as they stay in the tomb guarding it you have no business to desecrate and rob it either way.
    This is assuming you consider the sanctity of the dead to be a valid concept, rather than dismissing such sentimentality as an excuse for denying material resources to living people who can still appreciate them. Whether or not such a belief is valid in IRL, it becomes both more and less valid in the D&D environment. Ghosts exist and the Afterlife can be visited, so violating a tomb can measurably and verifyibly produce effects, but it can also measurably and verifiably produce no effects, depending on whatever factors are responsible for determining whether an effect occurs. Maybe disturbing a person's corpse sympathetically causes discomfort to their soul in whatever afterlife it's chilling out in (or increases their discomfort, if they're being tormented in a Lower Plane or blasted to still-sentient shreds of flesh in Limbo). Then again, maybe it affects them no more than someone moving into a house you lived in 20 years ago affects you - you don't necessarily know, and even if someone tells you, it's entirely possible you won't care. Get a cleric to cast Communion and ask the gods which it is; then you know whether or not tomb-robbing is actually a crime, and if the answer is "no" you may pillage the graves of the less-knowledgeable ancients with a clear conscience, helping actual living people at no real expense to anyone. Likewise with ghosts; if someone did have a ghost, and you destroyed the ghost in such a way that it can't return, you can now loot their corpse and be reasonably certain they no longer exist in a sentient form which might object.
    Last edited by willpell; 2012-10-12 at 01:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Turn undead; how does it work?

    If good and evil are objective variable cosmic forces then it follows that spells can be good and evil and that the results may contaminated by this. By this formula undead might be 7 parts negative, two parts positive to one part evil (evil because they contain the cosmic residue of the evil used in their creation and not because they are broadly negative beings).

    The basic concept is that good and evil repel each other and attract like. It follows that any creature with "evil" as an essential part of its make up and life processes will be repelled by a strong source of "good".

    In this model it also follows that if an undead creature was created without the use of evil then turn undead will do precisely jack.

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    I think that turn undead functions by expelling/removing the Negative energy by injecting Positive energy into the undead. The two opposing energies cancel each other and remove each other which gets rid of the energy animating the undead. On the converse Evil clerics infuse their negative energy into the undead and overwrite their natural negative energy.
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    The model I am working on assumes that Pos/neg can be modeled on an matter antimatter reaction. In this model injecting a large amount of positive energy into a negative energy being would cause one almighty bang. (which does in fact give me some ideas).

    With a different set of assumptions however your concept appears perfectly valid and workable. However it would mean that undead are drawn to strong sources of positive energy like moths to a candle (again ideas run abound).
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    that could be, I think it was in AD&D that infra-vision abounded and Undead saw enemies based on body heat. Not to sure if I'm remembering correctly but Elves also had that as opposed to a dark vision
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    they were horribly written and unbalanced as a whole, so using them (especially considering they are supplements, NOT CORE), as an alignment guideline is silly.
    Living Greyhawk actually told DMs to use BoVD as an alignment guideline (for evil aligned acts).
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Firstly if the GM says that undead are evil *in his game* there isn't much you can do about it.

    But in my opinion, you need true sapience to be evil. Unintelligent undead are Neutral. Yes, I know that the Create Undead spell has the Evil descriptor. But neither the Negative Plane nor Negative Energy is evil. I don't think the spell should have the Evil descriptor. I see unintelligent undead as not much more then really conveniently shaped animated objects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Bovd and Boed have been like, GLOBALLY declared as some of the -worst- supplements ever made for D&D, from its alignment system/etc, to its OVERPOWERED feats and spells that were broken in all ways - look at vow of poverty, nymph's kiss, etc in particular
    I'm sorry, but VoP overpowered? Based on what? Nymphs kiss and touch of golden ice maybe, but everything else in the feat section ranges from not too good to pathetic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qwertystop View Post
    I'm sorry, but VoP overpowered? Based on what? Nymphs kiss and touch of golden ice maybe, but everything else in the feat section ranges from not too good to pathetic.
    I've never been up to the challenge but I've loved to see a PF version of VoP. One that didn't actually suck. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tetsubo 57 View Post
    Firstly if the GM says that undead are evil *in his game* there isn't much you can do about it.

    But in my opinion, you need true sapience to be evil. Unintelligent undead are Neutral.
    3.0 followed this- but 3.5 dropped it. That said, in the 3.5 Draconomicon book skeletal dragons and zombie dragons are neutral, unlike dragon zombies and dragon skeletons from MM, which are NE.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsumeken View Post
    I think that turn undead functions by expelling/removing the Negative energy by injecting Positive energy into the undead. The two opposing energies cancel each other and remove each other which gets rid of the energy animating the undead. On the converse Evil clerics infuse their negative energy into the undead and overwrite their natural negative energy.
    I like this concept, although it makes me wonder why you can't control the living by overwriting their natural positive energy with a Turn Undead. Not that this is a hard question to answer, I just thought it cute to consider a moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Living Greyhawk actually told DMs to use BoVD as an alignment guideline (for evil aligned acts).
    While Greyhawk has its charms, it is probably second only to Dragonlance for the lack of subtlety in its alignment subtext. Those who like shining, infallible, righteously murderous templar-paladins and cackling, ridiculously self-sabotaging evil megalomaniacs certainly gravitate toward such a setting, and those players are likely to find the BOXD/BOVD portrayal useful enough (which is exactly why those books were written as they were, or at all most likely). But relatively few of them are going to be found on a thread like this.

    Wizards doesn't tend to bother writing books to cater to the more cerebral players such as most of us, not only because we're less likely to prefer D&D above its competition in the first place, but because if we want a supplement that delves into some of the more abstruse implications instead of just accepting every genre convention at face value, we can pretty much write it ourselves (and are essentially doing just that with threads like this one). What's harder for us to do is edit it into a form organized enough to be highly useful, but one can hardly blame the company for not wanting to tackle that kind of workload.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blightedmarsh View Post
    Set aside morality for a second.

    You have two sides, one wears black hats the other white. They hate each other and do awful things to each other simply because they are in conflict.
    While I personally disagree that there is not a correspondence between morality and alignment (it may not be an exact correspondence, but I still consider it a strong one), I like this way of putting the point. It also makes me think, with some amusement, that Law and Chaos are those two guys from a Star Trek episode which are white on one side and black on the other and are trying to kill each other because they're colored on the "wrong" sides.

    (It's very aggravating that the plane of Acheron is Lawful-aligned, because it seems like exactly where this sort of endless, idiotic battle should take place. While the 'I'm right and you're wrong, so shut up' mentality is pretty much Lawful and thus Acheron's status as a Law plane is quite thoroughly valid, it still seems as though a Neutral version of the plane of never-ending battle would be just the place for a bunch of Skarn and Rilkan Incarnates or something to duke it out for all of eternity.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hoverfrog View Post
    This then becomes a really subjective view of alignment. A vampire who sees humanity as cattle is no more evil that a human who sees cows as cattle unless you happen to be a human or a cow.
    The problem with that reasoning (not meaning yours, as this is a pretty common attitude that gets voiced in conversations like this) is that there's really no sensible reason why a vampire should see humans as cattle. Vampires used to be humans, they presumably at least partially remember what it was like; vampires can talk to humans, humans can talk to vampires, the two can debate philosophy for ten solid years if necessary, and even if we assume centuries-old vampires experience an extreme form of time dilation, I find it dubious at best to believe that this alone suffices for an otherwise reasonable vampire to dismiss humans as no more than animals. (That vampires as portrayed in D&D are not even close to "reasonable" is a separate issue.) With something like mind flayers, or a genuine Cthulhoid entity, or even the gods, you can justify the "they're just dumb animal, ignore their meaningless noises and get on with your meal" attitude; such beings are functioning on an entirely different level. Vampires, though, are still speaking Common, and so are humans, so I can't really find it in myself to believe that they have any sensible non-Evil basis for a cultural attitude that dismisses humans as food and nothing more.

    Objectively if we measure good and evil as the weal or woe of an action then slavery results in greater harm that good for the majority, as does the killing of humans to keep the vampire alive. They are objectively evil acts.
    Now this part, on the other hand, I would say is debatable. Ignoring for the moment the +8 level adjustment on the vampire template, if we assume that vampires continue leveling at about the same speed as humans throughout their substantially longer lifespans, and that they can go into epic levels or even triple digits given enough time, which they are...what they become capable of accomplishing gets into the realm of literally godlike power, and I can see a very sensible argument that says a civic-minded vampire with 47 Wizard levels can accomplish more good than all the people he eats, combined, could hope to achieve in their entire lives. He could very justifiably claim, on the basis of his public works, to be the foundation of his entire society, and as much worthy of protection as any of our world's holy books or institutions of law or bodies of science or anything like that. For him to get inevitably slapped with the evil-stick, even in the event that he is an immortal Gahndi-Lincoln-ChuckNorris-etc., who makes life better for millions of people for 8 hours every day and then eats a dozen or so of them for the next 8 hours before going to bed...well, hopefully my point can be vaguely glimpsed in this cloud of words I've exhaled here. (Sorry, it's late enough in the by-my-standards-evening that my command of sentence structure is beginning to gain the Incorporeal subtype.)

  27. - Top - End - #207
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    That's probably a reason why I see the alignment system as a general guideline more than anything hard and fast. In my RL game my (14yo) son plays an evil cleric. He's obsessed with the idea of alignment but terrible at actually being evil. He'll help the old man who's been infected with ghoul fever rather than killing him or waiting for him to die and raise up so he can control the resulting ghoul.

    Of course nothing says that an evil character cannot help others, form friendships, be nice to people and pay for his own beer but being nice to people just doesn't seem evil. I've tried the Robin Hood analogy to explain alignment to him but really alignment sometimes seems less that useful.

    Robin Hood analogy of alignment
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    Deep in Sherwood forest live the band of assassins, brigands and murderers ruled over by the master assassin, Robin Hood. Robin regularly attacks peaceful merchants, nobles and travellers, robs them and kills them where they stand if they show any signs of resistance. The Sheriff of Nottingham has sent his best men after this fiend, declared the fact that he is an outlaw across the land, offered rewards for his capture, everything he can think of short of burning villages and torturing people for information. These he would never do for the Sheriff is a good and noble soul.

    Once or twice the Sheriff and his paladin knight, Guy of Gisborne, have come close to capturing the brigand or caught one of his henchmen but always he breaks into the castle, murders the guards and escapes. The sheriff insists on a proper trial and that usually gives time for a rescue.

    Somehow the castle has a leak as well. Gisborne suspects the fair Maid Marion of being responsible but has no proof. He is right, Marion is wicked and cruel, an assassin herself, a poisoner and vicious killer who sells secrets to Robin and her men.

    The worst thing is the peasants. Robin bribes them with food and gold, claiming to be good and just and returning only a portion of the taxes stolen from Nottingham and forcing the sheriff to put up these same taxes. This money would go to better roads, better law enforcement, education and medicine for the poor, and to attract new business into the area to reduce the tax burden on everyone. If only they could find and kill Robin and his band of murderous men.


    It is supposed to show how alignment is easy to fool. You can take any action you like, more or less, and justify it for any alignment. The classic example is killing a prisoner. Lawful good might call it a lawful execution, regretful but necessary. Chaotic evil might kill him because he wanted to hear him squeal like a pig. I'm sure you can think of other reasoning that fits each alignment.
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  28. - Top - End - #208
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by hoverfrog View Post
    That's probably a reason why I see the alignment system as a general guideline more than anything hard and fast. In my RL game my (14yo) son plays an evil cleric. He's obsessed with the idea of alignment but terrible at actually being evil. He'll help the old man who's been infected with ghoul fever rather than killing him or waiting for him to die and raise up so he can control the resulting ghoul.

    Of course nothing says that an evil character cannot help others, form friendships, be nice to people and pay for his own beer but being nice to people just doesn't seem evil.
    Savage Species had it as "Evil characters can be kind and respectful- to those they consider their peers or loved ones- while mistreating those they consider beneath them"

    You can't be Evil and not be willing to mistreat somebody- but it's up to you what you categorise as "acceptable targets".

    BoVD, surprisingly for it's "lack of subtlety" was happy to suggest that you could have Evil characters "motivated by love and compassion" (as well as rage and hatred) who "do good deeds" (but also use evil methods). Anti-heroes, in short- Elric of Melnibone was the cited example.
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  29. - Top - End - #209
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane_Smith View Post
    Bovd and Boed have been like, GLOBALLY declared as some of the -worst- supplements ever made for D&D, from its alignment system/etc, to its OVERPOWERED feats and spells that were broken in all ways - look at vow of poverty, nymph's kiss, etc in particular, and look at seething eyebane or whatever from bovd (oh, yes, i would like as a 1st level spell to deal a ton of damage AND BLIND YOU PERMANENTLY by having your eyeballs EXPLODE FROM YOUR FACE.)
    Out of curiosity, what's the prevailing opinion on the 4e Book of Vile Darkness? Because, when I read it, I thought it was a lot better because they went less over the top with it, the character options actually felt evil (Due to most of their powers involving screwing over your allies), a lot of the DM stuff brought back some of that old-school lethality to 4e, and the quotes from various famous D&D villains did show they at least had a sense of humor.

  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Default Re: Undead=Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Qwertystop View Post
    I'm sorry, but VoP overpowered? Based on what? Nymphs kiss and touch of golden ice maybe, but everything else in the feat section ranges from not too good to pathetic.
    i wouldn't even say that touch of golden ice or nymphs kiss were overpowered. Touch of golden ice is a nice feat yes but the save dc is a pathetic DC 15 and stays way for your entire career. As for nymphs kiss, I'll just quote the poster necroticplague from another thread:
    Its not exactly AMAZING, but its not too bad either. Its a couple small boosts, but nothing game changing. The skill bonus is small, but good over the long run, the save bonuses aren't worth a feat (seriously, a continuous item of resistance offers the same benefit for 2000 or 4000 gold), and the +2 to cha based skiills is mostly forgetable, since builds that focus on the cha skills other than umd typically pump tham u so high the +2 is a microscopic bonus, so its main benefit of that part is umd. In turn, you must make regular appointments with the fey, and since its exalted, you have to keep an extremely tight restrictin on your actions (its way to easy to get into a lose-lose alignment situation with exalted).
    Last edited by 123456789blaaa; 2012-10-12 at 02:11 PM.
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