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Undead and Alignment in PFO


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If I were to join or help found a legion of undead users, I wonder if that would necessarily (by the RAW of the game) make my organization and it's members "evil".

By RAW of the pathfinder tabletop rpg, undead raising spells carry the evil descriptor meaning that, if not making the spellcaster evil by casting the spell once or twice, your alignment will definitely slip south with repeated uses.

I wonder if a similar mechanic will be employed in PFO or not.

Maybe necromancy can be a foul means toward a good end. Maybe it can't? I'm wondering if the developers have discussed this at all.

Goblin Squad Member

The RAW specifies that a cleric is restricted from using spells opposed to his alignment. So a good cleric cannot cast Create Undead occasionally unless he becomes neutral/evil first.

As for necromancy being evil, it's an old debate. My personal standing is that all necromancy spells don't have the evil descriptor and evil spells are not all from the necromancy school (Desecrate is Evocation, Dispel Good is Abjuration, etc.).

So a necromancy-focused caster could very well be good, but forget about that army of zombies.

Goblin Squad Member

CaptnB wrote:

The RAW specifies that a cleric is restricted from using spells opposed to his alignment. So a good cleric cannot cast Create Undead occasionally unless he becomes neutral/evil first.

As for necromancy being evil, it's an old debate. My personal standing is that all necromancy spells don't have the evil descriptor and evil spells are not all from the necromancy school (Desecrate is Evocation, Dispel Good is Abjuration, etc.).

So a necromancy-focused caster could very well be good, but forget about that army of zombies.

But that's still subject to interpretation.

Raising an entire graveyard of a villages loved ones is evil, sure maybe.

But if you're battling an army of demons, would raising them be evil?

Demons are hated by everybody, gods and mortals alike. Even evil gods.

It's all subjective. That army slaughtering your village has got to be stopped somehow.

Goblin Squad Member

Xein wrote:


It's all subjective. That army slaughtering your village has got to be stopped somehow.

Not in PFO

Goblin Squad Member

Mbando wrote:
Xein wrote:


It's all subjective. That army slaughtering your village has got to be stopped somehow.

Not in PFO

Why place such a restriction on what would make great RP.

I like the idea of a white necromancer.

Goblin Squad Member

Xein wrote:
Mbando wrote:
Xein wrote:


It's all subjective. That army slaughtering your village has got to be stopped somehow.

Not in PFO

Why place such a restriction on what would make great RP.

I like the idea of a white necromancer.

Because we have already had this discussion and the devs have stated that in PFO Evil is evil, Good is good. It isn't up for debate, it just is.

Now, as mentioned above you can specialize in Necromantic Spells and only cast the ones that don't have the "Evil" descriptor. But if you get cast happy with spells that have it you alignment will change to reflect your actions.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Casting a spell with the Evil descriptor is a Evil act. Period.

Justifying your Evil acts as being necessary for the greater Good is also an Evil act.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Xein, in PFO alignment is a matter of metaphysics, not ethics.

Goblin Squad Member

While I do fully agree with the interpretation, I do have to also aknowledge, it could have hugely negative impact on how alignment winds up working within the game.

Namely considering as far as powergamer players are concerned, if it does not harm me or players I am allied with, it isn't worth caring about. As a result, this could lead to many non-evil groups with the evil alignment, and a large portion of good players, who will consider an evil detection as entirely meaningless.

The fact of the matter is a definition of evil being something that does not necessarily mean there is any reason to be even moderately nervous around such a person, will only serve to make evil only have meaning to NPCs.

Now there are solutions and workarounds for such a system.

To me the biggest solution is simple... Ryan has pretty much said "Evil will gain power, at the cost of harming those around them, even their own allies, resulting in a high probability of in-fighting etc... This to me seems to give clearence and a route for creating undead, in a way that does harm others, thus earning it an evil title. Maybe the undead will corrupt the land, create an unholy aura. Maybe the undead could lose control and attack neighboring villages while not in use, or maybe the act of creating undead could only apply to humanoids (IE PCs, or player settlement NPCs) and doing so could have a slightly harsher than normal death penalty (In addition of course there needs to be some sort of failsafe to prevent mule farming etc...)

I honestly don't know an exact solution, but IMO the general concept I beleive has to be done that way,

Goblin Squad Member

Okay so gotta be evil to raise an army. I'm cool with that I guess.

But what about paladins. Can I not be in groups or guilds with them.

I'm sure I can it would just seem weird.

I suppose we could use bluff checks to make them look over there at the fine rustic architecture.

Goblin Squad Member

Xein wrote:

Okay so gotta be evil to raise an army. I'm cool with that I guess.

But what about paladins. Can I not be in groups or guilds with them.

I'm sure I can it would just seem weird.

I suppose we could use bluff checks to make them look over there at the fine rustic architecture.

As far as groups I'm not sure. Guilds (Chartered Co.)? No. Organizations of the official nature (meaning not just grouping) are in part governed by alignment. Google the Pathfinder Alignment grid and look over it. You can only be 1 step away in alignment from someone to be "guilded" with them. Diagonals on the chart represent 2 steps.

Goblin Squad Member

Wow that's kinda awesome. Thanks V'rel.

Wish I got a damn Thornkeep pdf. :(

Goblin Squad Member

@V'rel

Ryan has stated that this is not yet set in stone, we may see corner-corner being one step.

I would like to see settlements being able to choose which corners they want to allow, so they can be 'Neutral with respect to Evil', 'Neutral with respect to Lawful', etc.

I think having true neutrality would be a detriment to the game dynamics, I wouldn't want to see lawful/good and chaotic/evil mixing in a true neutral town, it would also give true neutral an unfair economical advantage. But I don't want to see something like Lawful Neutral, unable to trade with Neutral good.


They won't let you create a legion of undead unless you are evil, because that's how it works on Golarion.

It's a shame too, since it's only working to reinforce that stupid stereotype of all necromancers always being evil.

DeciusBrutus wrote:

Casting a spell with the Evil descriptor is a Evil act. Period.

Justifying your Evil acts as being necessary for the greater Good is also an Evil act.

So if the only thing that can defeat a monster is a strike from an undead being* and you raise an undead to defeat the monster and save a village, you're still an evil villain who should be hanged instead of being praised as the hero that you are? If that's the kind of moral stance PFO is going to take on the matter, then I'd rather be Evil and beat the stupidity out of the "holier-than-thou" idiots that call themselves Good. Then again, I could always be True Neutral and play a Druidic type of character, who won't bother with flawed morals and will just go with the flow of nature and the rivers.

* = I actually got an idea for a villain who's magic shield had taken form as it uttered "no living being can bring me to death's door".
Thus, only an undead or a death thing (like a half-rotted arm) can kill this villain, who might either be a spellcaster, or perhaps a fiend.

Goblin Squad Member

Icyshadow wrote:


So if the only thing that can defeat a monster is a strike from an undead being* and you raise an undead to defeat the monster and save a village, you're still an evil villain who should be hanged instead of being praised as the hero that you are? If that's the kind of moral stance PFO is going to take on the matter, then I'd rather be Evil and beat the stupidity out of the "holier-than-thou" idiots that call themselves Good. Then again, I could always be True Neutral and play a Druidic type of character, who won't bother with flawed morals and will just go with the flow of nature and the rivers.

* = I actually got an idea for a villain who's magic shield had taken form as it uttered "no living being can bring me to death's door".
Thus, only an undead or a death thing (like a half-rotted arm) can kill this villain, who might either be a spellcaster, or perhaps a fiend.

That is why a large part of D&D and pathfinder rules, don't put weaknesses on the same alignment as the monster.

CE monsters often have DR/good or sometimes DR/law. You will never find an evil creature with DR/evil in P&P, it also would make just as much sense for that hypothetical spell you listed, to have a good descriptor.

Your concept is great for a homebrew game that opts for houserules, but it does not quite fall within the general setting of the pathfinder universe.


That's not the point. I was criticizing the approach the default setting took, not showcasing my houserule ideas...

Goblin Squad Member

Icyshadow wrote:

They won't let you create a legion of undead unless you are evil, because that's how it works on Golarion.

It's a shame too, since it's only working to reinforce that stupid stereotype of all necromancers always being evil.

DeciusBrutus wrote:

Casting a spell with the Evil descriptor is a Evil act. Period.

Justifying your Evil acts as being necessary for the greater Good is also an Evil act.

So if the only thing that can defeat a monster is a strike from an undead being* and you raise an undead to defeat the monster and save a village, you're still an evil villain who should be hanged instead of being praised as the hero that you are? If that's the kind of moral stance PFO is going to take on the matter, then I'd rather be Evil and beat the stupidity out of the "holier-than-thou" idiots that call themselves Good. Then again, I could always be True Neutral and play a Druidic type of character, who won't bother with flawed morals and will just go with the flow of nature and the rivers.

You're talking about alignment in terms of ethics. That's possible in a TT game with a DM, who along with the players can make culturally grounded interpretations of actions. That would be a complete goatrope in PFO, and so GW are treating alignment as a matter of metaphsyics: it's about the nature of the PF universe.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Icyshadow wrote:

They won't let you create a legion of undead unless you are evil, because that's how it works on Golarion.

It's a shame too, since it's only working to reinforce that stupid stereotype of all necromancers always being evil.

DeciusBrutus wrote:

Casting a spell with the Evil descriptor is a Evil act. Period.

Justifying your Evil acts as being necessary for the greater Good is also an Evil act.

So if the only thing that can defeat a monster is a strike from an undead being* and you raise an undead to defeat the monster and save a village, you're still an evil villain who should be hanged instead of being praised as the hero that you are? If that's the kind of moral stance PFO is going to take on the matter, then I'd rather be Evil and beat the stupidity out of the "holier-than-thou" idiots that call themselves Good. Then again, I could always be True Neutral and play a Druidic type of character, who won't bother with flawed morals and will just go with the flow of nature and the rivers.

* = I actually got an idea for a villain who's magic shield had taken form as it uttered "no living being can bring me to death's door".
Thus, only an undead or a death thing (like a half-rotted arm) can kill this villain, who might either be a spellcaster, or perhaps a fiend.

The Good way to defeat that type of shield is with a construct. The heroic and narrative way to do it would be for someone to die as they made a final attack. The munchkin way would be to summon elementals.

Now, in the more general sense where you can't try to avoid taking evil acts, you need to understand the concept of sin eaters before the moral discussion proceeds. Doing evil because it is necessary does not lessen the evil; the purpose of the sin eater is to concentrate the damnation onto the people who can handle it best. Expect to end up in the chaotic neutral or true neutral afterlife.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well here is the theory-crafting (IMO) behind the kind of dynamic in Pathfinder and similar Ethos which is actualy a pretty good (IMO) classical Ethos.

Exposure to certain types of supernatural power (e.g. Necromancy) have a corrupting effect on your character. Even though you might access that power out of a desire to do good and might objectively accomplish a good act with it, repeated exposure will corrupt you an turn you Evil.

It's the same sort of dynamic that's at play in Lord of the Rings for example. The power of the One Ring is Evil, it corrupts whoever wields it. Some might resist it longer then others but ultimately it will corrupt anyone who tries to wield it. Many might take the ring and try to use it out of a desire to do good and might actualy objectively do some good for a time, but before long they would become Evil and start doing Evil despite whatever thier initial desire motivation might be. If you look at Gandalf, Galadriel, Aragon, Boromir.... All are objectively Good characters, all have some temptation to wield the ring is order to do good with it (Boromir gives into his at one point) but the ring would twist thier desires into Evil by it's power. The Wise among them knows this and refuse wielding the Ring. In fact, one of the reasons why Frodo makes a good choice for bearing the Ring, aside from his remarkable resiliance to it is precisely because he is NOT powerfull in the traditional sense.

Same sort of dynamic at play here. YMMV.

Goblin Squad Member

That makes sense; start by claiming on thing is for the greater good. Then another... and another. Pretty soon you’re on the road to Evil incarnate on a road paved with good intensions.

Also I tend to believe in the corrupting effect of evil energies in pathfinder. Also the same should be said for holy energies. So to say if you do end up summoning a bunch of undead to save a village you may be able to recover with the atonement spell or other holy powers.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You guys keep talking about having an evil alignment like it's a bad thing!

You walk your path, and I'll walk my path to evil incarnate and start a forest fire around your path.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Having an Evil alignment is a bad thing... Er, at least an Evil thing.

Alignment changes are one of the prices to be paid for performing aligned acts.

Goblin Squad Member

Blaeringr wrote:

You guys keep talking about having an evil alignment like it's a bad thing!

You walk your path, and I'll walk my path to evil incarnate and start a forest fire around your path.

LoL....Well maybe we could get your picture posted next to "Evil Incarnate" in the PFO dictionary....of course that means we'd actualy need a picture of you ;)

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Blaeringr wrote:

You guys keep talking about having an evil alignment like it's a bad thing!

You walk your path, and I'll walk my path to evil incarnate and start a forest fire around your path.

And I'll walk the Good path and burn you at the stake, heretic!

Or the Druidic path and beat you to death for setting my patch of forest on fire!

;)


Chuck Wright wrote:

And I'll walk the Good path burn you at the stake, heretic!

>:(

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Liath Samathran wrote:
Chuck Wright wrote:

And I'll walk the Good path burn you at the stake, heretic!

>:(

What? Paladins don't smite evil? This IS a game of absolutes.


My path is my own. I'm free to use spells people call "Evil" or "Good" as I see fit.

Good spells for Evil purposes, Evil spells for Good purposes. She'll probably end up True Neutral anyway.


Chuck Wright wrote:
Liath Samathran wrote:
Chuck Wright wrote:

And I'll walk the Good path burn you at the stake, heretic!

>:(
What? Paladins don't smite evil? This IS a game of absolutes.

Smiting, yes, when it must be done.

Burning alive as a prolonged, torturous means of execution, not so much. If death must be dealt, do it quickly and cleanly.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

I didn't say I was going to burn him ALIVE!

Goblin Squad Member

Valkenr wrote:

@V'rel

Ryan has stated that this is not yet set in stone, we may see corner-corner being one step.

I would like to see settlements being able to choose which corners they want to allow, so they can be 'Neutral with respect to Evil', 'Neutral with respect to Lawful', etc.

I think having true neutrality would be a detriment to the game dynamics, I wouldn't want to see lawful/good and chaotic/evil mixing in a true neutral town, it would also give true neutral an unfair economical advantage. But I don't want to see something like Lawful Neutral, unable to trade with Neutral good.

The two step diagonal was the last I had heard. If they do decrease it to one step, cool.

Goblin Squad Member

Chrysanthe Spiros wrote:

My path is my own. I'm free to use spells people call "Evil" or "Good" as I see fit.

Good spells for Evil purposes, Evil spells for Good purposes. She'll probably end up True Neutral anyway.

That might fly with your regular DM, but the Goblinworks crew has already made it clear that absolutes will be absolute. It is, after all, impossible to program a computer to understand people's long rambling justifications.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Blaeringr wrote:
Chrysanthe Spiros wrote:

My path is my own. I'm free to use spells people call "Evil" or "Good" as I see fit.

Good spells for Evil purposes, Evil spells for Good purposes. She'll probably end up True Neutral anyway.

That might fly with your regular DM, but the Goblinworks crew has already made it clear that absolutes will be absolute. It is, after all, impossible to program a computer to understand people's long rambling justifications.

In fact it would be a good role-playing opportunity. You have to deal with certain pressures because society sees you as evil, not because you are.

Of course, mechanically you are, but I digress.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

There's a difference between being Evil and being a bad person. You can be a Evil without being a bad person, and you can be a bad person without being Evil.

Goblin Squad Member

Back to raising undead army to combat demons, why not raise a regular army?

I don't really see undead as being the ultimate army. I think they'd be more expensive because of the black onyxes and spells required for them. They are also usually mindless. Demons, however have numbers (as far as I can tell), magic of their own, strength, intelligence, and lower planes knows what else.

Humans/whatever may not have the livability of the undead, but I don't think it's a good idea to pass on their intelligence. Also, fighting a demon army, you would probably have more common interests with others whereas you have undead fighting, some people would question your motives, and by golly the people whose body you used for necromancy are probably going to be mad.
--

Ultimately, I'm for what purposes you use them for. If you are using the undead to combat the forces of evil, that sounds like a (Chaotic) Neutral act.

Goblin Squad Member

V'rel Vusoryn wrote:
Valkenr wrote:

@V'rel

Ryan has stated that this is not yet set in stone, we may see corner-corner being one step.

I would like to see settlements being able to choose which corners they want to allow, so they can be 'Neutral with respect to Evil', 'Neutral with respect to Lawful', etc.

I think having true neutrality would be a detriment to the game dynamics, I wouldn't want to see lawful/good and chaotic/evil mixing in a true neutral town, it would also give true neutral an unfair economical advantage. But I don't want to see something like Lawful Neutral, unable to trade with Neutral good.

The two step diagonal was the last I had heard. If they do decrease it to one step, cool.

I share Valkenr's concern. If diagonals are made 1 step, then there is a large advantage for a CC to be true neutral, and metagamer CCs (and others) will set their alignment at true neutral so they can be all-inclusive.

If diagonals are 2 steps:

Each of the four corner alignments have access to characters of only 3 alignments.
Each of the four side alignments have access to characters of 4 alignments.
True neutral has access to characters of 5 alignments.

If diagonals are 1 step:

Each of the four corner alignments have access to characters of 4 alignments.
Each of the four side alignments have access to characters of 6 alignments.
True neutral has access to characters of all 9 alignments.

I suggest that diagonals remain 2 steps, but a step to true neutral is always 1 step, such that:

Each of the four corner alignments have access to characters of 4 alignments.
Each of the four side alignments have access to characters of 4 alignments.
True neutral has access to characters of 5 alignments.

I have exactly zero experience with the DnD/Pathfinder alignment grid, but the research I have done indicated that countless hours have been spent arguing over it since its inception.

I do not want to start an argument, but it seems like a character in one of the four perhaps 'radical' corners would be fine with a true neutral person. They might even see such a person as a good target for proselytizing. Also, with my suggestion a true neutral Chartered Company would not have persons of radically opposed ideals (for example Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil) working together toward shared goals.

Example
Yes, I'm sure we could come up with dozen reasons they might work towards a shared goal but for different reasons, but at the general level it would work more as you might expect. A true neutral chartered company wouldn't have any of those 'crazies' from the corners. Even though they might have Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral characters butting heads on issues of taxation, you could expect to find those same characters finding some common ground on matters of good vs evil.

Most importantly, this would 'balance' a CC's and person's decision on what alignment to be. There isn't a huge mechanical advantage for choosing one alignment over any other, but it would still determine the type of characters you are likely to be working with. I think this is the effect that most people expect alignment to play.

NOTE: This still leaves an advantage for a person to pick true neutral, as they could join any chartered company. The decision on the types of characters they will likely deal with then comes when they choose to join a CC, which has the restrictions as outlined above. I don't mind if metagamers all choose it for the individual flexibility.

Goblin Squad Member

Ultimately I don't think this is going to be a topic where you can cover it with a nice, neat, symmetrical equation due to how the grid is laid out and the fact that Paizo/GW has stated that Good and Evil are absolutes.

I honestly would like to see the absence of the ability to make a Neutral town or CC for gameplay purposes based on the stance in the above paragraph. Frankly speaking Settlements for the majority all have some set of laws that govern them. So do most organizations. I wouldn't be put off if all such entities were based on a Lawful(G/N/E) alignment. OR, if other alignments were allowed as a base, then they would have less options to implement laws and guidelines than a Lawful entity. That way the non-Lawful groups keep that "loose group of like mindeds" feel.

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