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    Default Liches, Always Evil

    I've always wondered why, exactly, every single Lich out there has to be evil. Intrinsically evil to the point where WotC (inventors of the LG Succubus Paladin) decided to create a good Lich, they had to create it as an entirely separate class of monster. What is so bad about them? Yes, they are undead, rotting (though a simple spell fixes that), twisted abominations that mock life, but how is that wrong? Do they actually hurt anyone by being undead? Or is this just one more in a long line of dumb alignment decisions?
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    They are a conduit of negative energy, which is inherently evil (A bunch of Bull****, IMO), and have to perform an unspeakably evil act to become liches. Think Horcruxes cranked up to 35.

    That's the reason Archliches are a separate breed.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    The point is that creating undead is an evil act (by DnD standards). If you ask "why is that" the only answer I can give is this:
    It is an evil act.
    Really, when it comes down to it, that's the only explanation for what is 'good' and what is 'evil.' We (almost) all accept that things do fall under those categories, and use them, but even if you have an outside source which dictates that things are good and evil, you still don't have an explanation for why they are inherently moral one way or another, just that they are.

    So, creating undead and the like is basically like murdering someone. Now granted, you can have neutral and even good undead, but they likely didn't choose their state. Even assuming that a lich became good or neutral, they would have had to repent because they had to willingly commit this horribly immoral act.

    That's why liches are always evil. Because they're doing something horribly evil to become what they are.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    I'm still trying to understand how turning yourself into an Undead hurts anyone else, though. If you accept that Negative Energy is automatically evil, then, yes, so are all undead animated by it. But if you are willing to lock your soul in your body and live a distant mockery of life, why is that any more evil that overeating?
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    I'm still trying to understand how turning yourself into an Undead hurts anyone else, though. If you accept that Negative Energy is automatically evil, then, yes, so are all undead animated by it. But if you are willing to lock your soul in your body and live a distant mockery of life, why is that any more evil that overeating?
    IIRC, the actions requred to become a lich are supposed to involve evil things like murdering children.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Wrong AK, negative energy is not inherently evil. I should write an essay on pos/neg energy, everyone misunderstands what they stand for. Negative energy is death and destruction, and positive is life and creation. If anything they are chaos and law respectively. But no, they aren't.

    A lich is evil because in order to become one, he must perform an unspeakably evil act. Go read the description in the MM again on phylactery creation.

    As for undead being evil: they are a perversion of life. A sin against being.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Going solely by RAW, we don't know. We just know that it is.

    Inventing our own fluff for a moment, perhaps the ritual to become a lich involves some evil act, like making a deal with dark powers or sacrificing and innocent's life so you can extract the iron from their fresh blood to strengthen your phylactery. *shrug*

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    1) Undead carry diseases which cause people to become sick and die.
    2) You are living in an unnatural, disfigured, and unholy life. You become twisted in form, only a minor resmblance of what you once were (unnatural); you shed away most of your body (disfigured); your soul becomes bound to the earth, bypassing whatever afterlife you deserve to go (unholy).
    3) You are a symbol of fear and dread; causing people to become discomforted by your sight.

    On that basis, the act of becoming a lich is evil (as is continuing to exist as one; probably).
    All I have to say.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    I'm still trying to understand how turning yourself into an Undead hurts anyone else, though. If you accept that Negative Energy is automatically evil, then, yes, so are all undead animated by it. But if you are willing to lock your soul in your body and live a distant mockery of life, why is that any more evil that overeating?
    Because the rituals required to become a lich are evil. Killing babies, eating puppies, etc. That kind of stuff I guess. It never really goes into detail about what you need to do, but says that it is unspeakably evil. Link
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    @ holywhippet
    No, it just says it is an irrevocably evil act, it gives no specifics. Presumably simply becoming a lich is evil, requiring no sacrifices or the like beyond giving up your mortal body.

    @ Iames and hylian chozo
    Who says that there needs to be an act beyond turning yourself into a lich to be evil? If an Animate Dead spell is evil, and all it does it turn corpses into skeletons (even if they were willingly donated, or any other factors) then why would turning your living body into a skeleton be less evil?

    @ Admiral Kelly
    1) A living body is more effective at carrying diseases than a cleaned skeleton.
    2) Changing and warping the body is not innately evil (at least in DnD terms), otherwise using transmutation would be evil, as would becoming a psion uncarnate (and neither are).
    3) Just because someone is hideous and scary doesn't make them evil.
    Last edited by AmberVael; 2008-04-04 at 11:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    If the process of making a phylactery involves an unspeakably evil act like murdering children, then yes, most Liches are evil. But if the act of making a Phylactary itself is evil, then we're back to where we started, with why is that act evil? However, I disagree with Admiral_Kelly's points. Undead are not necessarily diseased, especial with Gentle Repose readily available for an epic-level spellcaster. As to "Unnatural, disfigured, and unholy", how is any of that evil? The only one who suffers is the person who became a Lich. Everyone else can go about their lives and ignore him, he is the only one who must accept the consequences of his actions. If it doesn't hurt anyone else, how is it evil? As for "Symbol of fear and dread", how is he any scarier than the CG Lion Totem Barbarian with 40 Str? I would probably be pretty nervous in the presence of both.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    To me, basing it on D&D's very black and white version of good and evil, a lich can never be good, because existing as one is evil. However, it can be neutral, because comitting an evil act for survival is a fairly neutral thing. If the lich does good things, it can be neutral, but not good. I would still have it detect as evil though, because the negative energy is inherently evil in that it is damaging to the life force of other living things.

    Again, not RAW, perhaps not RAI, and perhaps against the fluff too, but this is how I interpret it.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    I've always wondered why, exactly, every single Lich out there has to be evil. Intrinsically evil to the point where WotC (inventors of the LG Succubus Paladin) decided to create a good Lich, they had to create it as an entirely separate class of monster. What is so bad about them? Yes, they are undead, rotting (though a simple spell fixes that), twisted abominations that mock life, but how is that wrong? Do they actually hurt anyone by being undead? Or is this just one more in a long line of dumb alignment decisions?
    The short answer? No.

    Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, though, they're rotting, fetid evil.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Irrevocably evil means you cannot make amends for it. So you are evil for all eternity.

    Now, Animate Dead is evil because it uses negative energy to do evil things, namely, pervert the life of some hapless soul. Keep in mind that animating somebody's skeleton means they can't be resurrected any more, because it severs the ties between soul and body and yadda yadda.

    Good job on debunking those points, but the basis for them is right. Undead are a perversion of life, and that's why they are evil. (S)He could just have done a (much) better job at relaying that.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by dman11235 View Post
    Good job on debunking those points, but the basis for them is right. Undead are a perversion of life, and that's why they are evil.
    But why is it evil to be a perversion of life when the only person who's life is being perverted is your own? If it doesn't affect anyone else, then why does the multiverse give a ***?
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    @ Admiral Kelly
    1) A living body is more effective at carrying diseases than a cleaned skeleton.
    Funny thing about bones. They rot and it is not a simple matter of cleaning them. Overtime, they will collect such things, making you a deadly carrier (or so I believe; perhaps this matter should be further looked into).
    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    2) Changing and warping the body is not innately evil (at least in DnD terms), otherwise using transmutation would be evil, as would becoming a psion uncarnate (and neither are).
    Bodily mutilation is an evil act and shedding all of your flesh away is probably the highest degree of such. You are doing yourself great harm by removing the senses of smell, taste, most definitely feeling to; and the ability to enjoy life. Such damage to ones self can only be evil. And this does not say anything about binding your soul to the earth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    3) Just because someone is hideous and scary doesn't make them evil.
    Making yourself so unsightly is. People with birth defects did not choose to alter themselves; Liches do.
    Last edited by Admiral_Kelly; 2008-04-04 at 11:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    So if I pick up a knife now and slash my face to shreds, making horrible scars and then adding all kinds of weird face paint on top of that, that is an EVIL thing to do?
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Funny thing about bones. They rot and it is not a simple matter of cleaning them. Overtime, they will collect such things, making you a deadly carrier (or so I believe; perhaps this matter should be further looked into).
    Such things, however, can be bypassed with magic or preparation. And anyone else's body will do the same, given time. Under the proper circumstances, it won't be any more evil than someone else dying and rotting.

    Bodily mutilation is an evil act and shedding all of your flesh away is probably the highest degree of such. You are doing yourself great harm by removing the senses of smell, taste, most definitely feeling to; and the ability to enjoy life. Such damage to ones self can only be evil. And this does not say anything about binding your soul to the earth.
    That is a matter of opinion- but again, with dnd rules...
    A Psion Uncarnate willingly sheds all their flesh and has no change of alignment (becoming incorporeal). And also notice that a ghost can be any alignment. Your arguments do not hold against the rules being presented here.

    Making yourself so unsightly is. People with birth defects did not choose to alter themselves; Liches do.
    And someone gaining the Frightful Presence ability of a dragon ALSO chose to become that scary, and yet they suffer no consequences.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Funny thing about bones. They rot and it is not a simple matter of cleaning them. Overtime, they will collect such things, making you a deadly carrier (or so I believe; perhaps this matter should be further looked into).
    Gentle Repose. You can get a constant-effect item of it fairly cheap.
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Bodily mutilation is an evil act and shedding all of your flesh away is probably the highest degree of such. You are doing yourself great harm by removing the senses of smell, taste, most definitely feeling to; and the ability to enjoy life. Such damage to ones self can only be evil.
    It's their body to do with as they will. Do you think tattoos and piercings are evil, too?
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    And this does not say anything about binding your soul to the earth.
    Again, if they want to bind their soul to the earth, why does that matter? A good person who does so is choosing to avoid the glory of the heavens in favor of existence here. I don't get why that's anyone else's problem. If they want to exist for a while longer, why is that an evil act? It doesn't hurt anyone else, since all they are doing is delaying death, they aren't even permanently affecting the natural order.
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Making yourself so unsightly is. People with birth defects did not choose to alter themselves; Liches do.
    I refer you to my earlier statement about tattoos and body piercings.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Now, Animate Dead is evil because it uses negative energy to do evil things, namely, pervert the life of some hapless soul. Keep in mind that animating somebody's skeleton means they can't be resurrected any more, because it severs the ties between soul and body and yadda yadda.
    Not true.

    You can use animate dead on their corpse, and they can still be resurrected with the True Resurrection spell from a bloody fingernail clipping. And the zombie you created is in no way affected by this process.

    There's a reason why I houserule all [EVIL] descriptors away and allow good liches. It's because those rules are dumb.

    If you kill children to raise as zombies, that's evil. If you raise corpses from a graveyard, well, it's probably illegal, but I don't think it qualifies as evil, per se. It's all about what you do with the spell.
    Last edited by GammaPaladin; 2008-04-04 at 11:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    So if I pick up a knife now and slash my face to shreds, making horrible scars and then adding all kinds of weird face paint on top of that, that is an EVIL thing to do?
    No, we call that a bit off in the head.

    About liches, I always wondered: What if some good wizard had to become a lich to save something? Maybe there is a lich killing his country so he becomes a lich to fight back and save people's lives.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    I reject the premise that a valid point I make can be overcome by a little magic. By that logic, murder can be justified under certain conditions because of the resurrection spell.

    Further, I also reject the premise that 'If it does not harm anyone else, it is not evil.' Harming yourself, in any way, IS evil. It is not a matter of 'My body, I do what I like.' it is a matter of 'You have to take care of yourself for your own benefit.' Becoming a lich is the polar opposite of that.

    Souls and the afterlife. How is forestalling your judgment by the gods who reward/punish the dead based on their merits in life a good thing? If you are an evil person, you are avoiding your punishment. if you are a good person, you are rejecting eternal happiness.

    Admittedly, the above paragraph depends on the cosmology which varies according to the DM. So, in a sense, that point varies.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by dman11235 View Post
    Wrong AK, negative energy is not inherently evil. I should write an essay on pos/neg energy, everyone misunderstands what they stand for. Negative energy is death and destruction, and positive is life and creation. If anything they are chaos and law respectively. But no, they aren't.
    Chaos is not death. Law is not life, or creation. My word. Chaos has more claim to creation than law.

    OP, I think you're right, but D&D operates on the "Voldemort is a perversion of life" ideal, which does have merit. I think becoming a lich, at the least, means you're mal-adjusted, playing god, etc. Because you're taking control of when you die(in this case, never) and cheating nature, living past your due date, essentially. I would think druids would have more problems with you than clerics, however.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Liches are evil for the same reason that werewolves and zombies are evil: they're creepy and scary. No it doesn't make sense, but whaddya want, this is D&D? If you want it to make sense you have to do one of two things:

    1. Decide why exaclty liches are evil. This is my preferred option, because I like liches and undead generally being evil. So I've decided that undead are evil because their condition actually causes their minds to erode and turns them into hateful creatures. Yes, by doing this I am going beyond RAW but that's the point of using my imagination.

    2. Decide that liches aren't by default evil. It's not an unreasonable decision and who's to tell a DM 'no, you're running your game wrong; all liches are evil'.

    It's that simple,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    I reject the premise that a valid point I make can be overcome by a little magic. By that logic, murder can be justified under certain conditions because of the resurrection spell.
    Not so, because the use of gentle repose magic and the like is an act of prevention and not an attempt at reconciling things after the fact. I would compare it more to taking an anger management course than anything- you know you have a potential problem, so you take care of it using certain methods so it won't actually ever BE a problem.

    Further, I also reject the premise that 'If it does not harm anyone else, it is not evil.' Harming yourself, in any way, IS evil. It is not a matter of 'My body, I do what I like.' it is a matter of 'You have to take care of yourself for your own benefit.' Becoming a lich is the polar opposite of that.
    This still does not address other acquired templates that have the same (or even more radical) affects on your body though.
    And even if you argue that mutilating your body in real life is evil, even if you are correct, this isn't the thought process that the WotC people used.
    Another example for you: Grafting. You can add on new parts, warp old parts, and generally become any kind of creepy abomination that you want with grafting. Gaining grafts or the ability TO graft people, or even the PrC that focuses on grafting- none of it requires or makes you evil by use.
    I do not argue real morality here, only the thought of those who created the Lich template. Bodily mutilation was not one of their reasons in making the lich evil.
    Furthermore, willingly becoming undead itself isn't (despite my earlier thoughts) a strictly evil act. See the Necropolitan template from Libris Mortis, which has no effect on alignment at all.

    Souls and the afterlife. How is forestalling your judgment by the gods who reward/punish the dead based on their merits in life a good thing? If you are an evil person, you are avoiding your punishment. if you are a good person, you are rejecting eternal happiness.
    I dunno. But again, Necropolitan template makes you undead and not evil. There are some ways you can become elemental and not evil. Then there is the strange little Alienist PrC which makes you abducted by lurking aliens from mars when your time is up and never seen again, but that doesn't make you evil either.
    So I don't think that was WotC's reasoning either.

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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    I reject the premise that a valid point I make can be overcome by a little magic. By that logic, murder can be justified under certain conditions because of the resurrection spell.
    But it can also be overcome by basic hygiene, or by never leaving your house.
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Further, I also reject the premise that 'If it does not harm anyone else, it is not evil.' Harming yourself, in any way, IS evil. It is not a matter of 'My body, I do what I like.' it is a matter of 'You have to take care of yourself for your own benefit.' Becoming a lich is the polar opposite of that.
    Why? I think this is a breakdown between us that can't be crossed, but I fail to understand how the gods can decide a decision someone made that only affected themselves was wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Souls and the afterlife. How is forestalling your judgment by the gods who reward/punish the dead based on their merits in life a good thing? If you are an evil person, you are avoiding your punishment. if you are a good person, you are rejecting eternal happiness.
    Why is avoiding death from disease or old age any more evil than avoiding death from a goblin's sword? They both have the same effect in the end, you put off going before the gods for a while, so why is the fact that the Lich is better at it evil?
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    It depends on what judgements one makes about things like "is using negative energy evil" (the rulebooks are inconsistent on this). What is the ritual used to become a lich? And, is unnaturally extending ones lifespan evil.


    Lichs will always be something unnatural, but is simply being unnatural enough to be evil? And, if that's all it takes to be evil, does being evil even matter?

    That's another implication of arbitrary alignment. Being "evil" may not actually mean anything.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    I've always wondered why, exactly, every single Lich out there has to be evil. Intrinsically evil to the point where WotC (inventors of the LG Succubus Paladin) decided to create a good Lich, they had to create it as an entirely separate class of monster. What is so bad about them? Yes, they are undead, rotting (though a simple spell fixes that), twisted abominations that mock life, but how is that wrong? Do they actually hurt anyone by being undead? Or is this just one more in a long line of dumb alignment decisions?
    Liches are created by killing two innocent people. One half your age, one double it. That's an evil act. Liches make sense. Zombies don't.

    Zombies should really be(and are, in my games) just sort of constructs made out of dead bodies. They tend to kill people because the people who don't mind if the get complaints from the community at large, at least because of the smell, tend to be evil. Under this model, zombies that drop out of your control for whatever means, just stop dead and stop working, or continue doing whatever they were just doing forever, depending on how capricious I am feeling.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyMolo View Post
    Liches are created by killing two innocent people. One half your age, one double it. That's an evil act. Liches make sense. Zombies don't.
    Where is this from? Because that could end the discussion.
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    Default Re: Liches, Always evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral_Kelly View Post
    Further, I also reject the premise that 'If it does not harm anyone else, it is not evil.' Harming yourself, in any way, IS evil. It is not a matter of 'My body, I do what I like.' it is a matter of 'You have to take care of yourself for your own benefit.'
    Whaa? Eating too many carbs and working in a coal mine are evil acts?
    Souls and the afterlife. How is forestalling your judgment by the gods who reward/punish the dead based on their merits in life a good thing? If you are an evil person, you are avoiding your punishment. if you are a good person, you are rejecting eternal happiness.

    Admittedly, the above paragraph depends on the cosmology which varies according to the DM. So, in a sense, that point varies.
    Better tell those village healers and apothecaries that they're forestalling judgmement of people's souls.

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