So if creating mindless undead through necromancy is still evil in 2e...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

...Please include reason for it in the core rulebook so I don't have to justify it to players through random forum comments or D&D era books :'D Because seriously, I get into a lot of semantics conversation about why its evil since mindless undead don't actually affect soul of the dead person as zombies and such are soulless.


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I hope they do provide a reason, but also keep undead evil. Something has to be evil...


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I imagine the reason for mindless undead being evil is that their default behavior is a variation of "Attack and kill anything within reach"

For example: Zombies "When left unattended, zombies tend to mill about in search of living creatures to slaughter and devour."

Skeletons meanwhile are described as "While most skeletons are mindless automatons, they still possess an evil cunning imparted to them by their animating force—a cunning that allows them to wield weapons and wear armor."

Point is, mindless undead aren't golems who just hang out when lacking a directing force. They're bad things.


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"Creating undead, mindless or otherwise, requires channeling toxic spiritual energies-- literal Evil-- that corrupt the caster's soul and leave them spiritually less capable of feeling compassion."

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, but other books in 1e state that negative energy isn't inherently evil. And mindless creatures usually don't have alignments.

I think JJ answered to this question somewhere, but yeah it would be nice to show the answer in book instead of hunting for it in the forums


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Resurrection. Resurrection being made impossible is enough reason that necromancy is evil. Once someone's been reanimated as undead, Raise Dead is flat-out impossible on them. Even True Resurrection fails unless you destroy the undead creature inhabiting their body.

Even if someone willingly volunteered for their body to be made into an undead creature (which is definitely the only way necromancy could possibly be not-evil,) you don't know if some higher power might want for them to be resurrected at some point. If they've ever been reanimated, at the very minimum that's going to require Resurrection instead of Raise Dead, and if their body is still animated then it could require a Wish to summon the corpse so it can be destroyed before being resurrected.

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CorvusMask wrote:

Yeah, but other books in 1e state that negative energy isn't inherently evil. And mindless creatures usually don't have alignments.

I think JJ answered to this question somewhere, but yeah it would be nice to show the answer in book instead of hunting for it in the forums

Negative Energy isn’t, but the process of creating undead forces it to be anathema to itself, a corruption of entropy that forces things to exist, create, unliving.

RumpinRufus brings up another good point.


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CorvusMask wrote:

Yeah, but other books in 1e state that negative energy isn't inherently evil. And mindless creatures usually don't have alignments.

I think JJ answered to this question somewhere, but yeah it would be nice to show the answer in book instead of hunting for it in the forums

I mean Pathfinder operates under the same strictures: Negative Energy is Neutral, Mindless/animal intelligence creatures do have alignments, it's just almost always True Neutral.

Except Undead. Because reasons. What are those reasons? Who knows...

Maybe Pathfinder thinks Negative Energy is Evil (even though it's obviously not), given that the Negative Energy Outsider (Sceaduinar) is Evil while the Positive Energy Outsiders (Turuls, Jyotis) are Neutral.


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I like the ambiguity of undeath as a moral grey area in a sci-fi game like starfinder, but in a high fantasy world where there is a clear natural order, someone dies, the soul goes to a specific plane of existence, and the physical body is taken back by the material plane/nature, I think it makes sense for undeath to be anti-nature, if not evil.


I agree it should be made more clear. Personally I would (and do in my home brew games) say that making a zombie works the same as making a golem except you enslave the soul of the creature you animate instead of an earth elemental.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The last thing I want to see is explicit carve-outs to make specific spells evil-only strictly for flavor purposes. I don't want animate dead to be saddled with some contrived reason for why it's always evil, when other spells that are even more morally questionable get a free pass. I don't want silly loopholes like the one Horror Adventures introduced. And I certainly don't want to be stuck with rigid alignment rules that fall apart in any campaign that doesn't adhere to an allegorical good vs evil structure.

Leaving the status of alignment descriptor spells vague in PF1 core was a good thing that allowed tables to address the issue the way they wanted to. There will never be anything stopping you from running the evil necromancer, or declaring that you want your player characters to avoid certain themes; don't throw a completely unnecessary wrench into the mechanical rules of the game to force it.

Planpanther wrote:
but also keep undead evil. Something has to be evil...

I've never understood this outlook. Even if non-evil varieties of undead were created, that would do nothing to devalue all the evil undead options that already exist. It's just an extremely limiting outlook, especially with all the examples of benign or even benevolent undead to be found in mythology and even more modern fiction. No one is forcing you to use them if you don't like their flavor, but the system as a whole is poorer from their absence.

RumpinRufus wrote:
Resurrection being made impossible is enough reason for me that necromancy is evil.

So killing someone in the first place is non-evil, but preventing them from being resurrected afterwards is? And if so, does this mean that cremation is also evil? Nope, don't buy it.


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Negative Energy should be a morally and ethically neutral force without alignment.

Necromancy as a general school should have applications that are not Evil.

If the only things Create Undead makes are barely controlled and irredeemable murder junkies or forces a soul into ghosthood, then I'm fine with the spell being Evil.


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Well, most if not all Healing now belongs to the Necromancy school, so...


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The Eternal Keeper wrote:
Well, most if not all Healing now belongs to the Necromancy school, so...

We seem to be talking specifically about undead here. I don't think there's anyone here who wants to tag the entire school as evil.


I think the best way to do it is to tie Evil alignment to intent, not actions, then introduce the concept of an Evil echo, which has nothing to do with free will, but rather is a side effect of pulling from an evil power's domain. Just make the ruler of the negative plane (even if it is a disembodied power source of inscrutable psychology) Evil, so pulling power from the negative plane causes the ruler's evil to echo into the prime material. Detect Evil doesn't have to be perfect; allow it to not discriminate between actual Evil and an Evil echo and it limits its effectiveness admirably anyway. (Detect, smite paladins could very well smite someone who is not evil, but is in the middle of an echo.) LN worshipers of Asmodeus could conceivably have similar issues.


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totoro wrote:
I think the best way to do it is to tie Evil alignment to intent, not actions, then introduce the concept of an Evil echo, which has nothing to do with free will, but rather is a side effect of pulling from an evil power's domain. Just make the ruler of the negative plane (even if it is a disembodied power source of inscrutable psychology) Evil, so pulling power from the negative plane causes the ruler's evil to echo into the prime material. Detect Evil doesn't have to be perfect; allow it to not discriminate between actual Evil and an Evil echo and it limits its effectiveness admirably anyway. (Detect, smite paladins could very well smite someone who is not evil, but is in the middle of an echo.) LN worshipers of Asmodeus could conceivably have similar issues.

This is a bit weird, and also kind of breaks the whole opposition between the Positive and Negative Energy Plane. Unless the Positive Energy Plane has a Good Ruler and a Good Echo to compensate.

The whole idea of the two planes is that they're Neutral, but opposed. None of them are inherently Good or Evil, and both are required for universal balance.

It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.


TheFinish wrote:
totoro wrote:
I think the best way to do it is to tie Evil alignment to intent, not actions, then introduce the concept of an Evil echo, which has nothing to do with free will, but rather is a side effect of pulling from an evil power's domain. Just make the ruler of the negative plane (even if it is a disembodied power source of inscrutable psychology) Evil, so pulling power from the negative plane causes the ruler's evil to echo into the prime material. Detect Evil doesn't have to be perfect; allow it to not discriminate between actual Evil and an Evil echo and it limits its effectiveness admirably anyway. (Detect, smite paladins could very well smite someone who is not evil, but is in the middle of an echo.) LN worshipers of Asmodeus could conceivably have similar issues.

This is a bit weird, and also kind of breaks the whole opposition between the Positive and Negative Energy Plane. Unless the Positive Energy Plane has a Good Ruler and a Good Echo to compensate.

The whole idea of the two planes is that they're Neutral, but opposed. None of them are inherently Good or Evil, and both are required for universal balance.

It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

True, but you have identified the problem. If the Negative Energy Plane is not Evil, then it doesn't really make sense for all Undead to be Evil. What is the magic ingredient that turns them Evil?

I would make the Positive Energy Plane Good, but I could also see introducing an Evil Shadowfell or some such that is required to taint the negative energy and make all Undead Evil. I just think it should make sense in some objective manner.


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Dasrak wrote:

And I certainly don't want to be stuck with rigid alignment rules that fall apart in any campaign that doesn't adhere to an allegorical good vs evil structure.

How about rigid alignment rules that serve as a starting point for subverting and doing interesting things with an entirely literal good vs. evil structure ?

I'm not particularly on board with undead being always Evil, if nothing else because there are memorable ghosts in Pathfinder products who are far from evil. Negative energy being inherently anti-life, fine, but Good applications for that should be trivial (like zapping the nasty parasites infecting the hapless rescue-object villagers du jour with it.) On the other hand, if the moral basis of the universe decrees it as Evil anyway, that's just another way into a campaign about people who heroically disagree with the moral basis of the universe.


TheFinish wrote:


It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

Citation?


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Planpanther wrote:
TheFinish wrote:


It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

Citation?

I think it was implied in the transition from D&D 2e to 3e, when the alignment of skeletons went from neutral (because they were mindless automatons) to evil (because they were inherently evil).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Example Implications wrote:
For instance: So you get your instincts from vital essence. That could explain why constructs that lack life essence, even very intelligent ones, are often limited by programming or instructions, and it also explains why messing with your vital essence, say replacing the source with negative energy never meant to create or sustain your life, can give you all these different instincts like vampiric bloodthirst or ghoul hunger, even if you were righteous in life, and...but I could go on for ages about these sorts of things, you get the idea!

Source.


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Planpanther wrote:
TheFinish wrote:


It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

Citation?

The outsider that is born from the Cristalized Essence of the Negative Energy Plane is Neutral Evil.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/sceaduinar/

Meanwhile, these guys, born from the Positive Energy Plane, are Neutral.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/turul/

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/jyoti/

The Negative Energy Plane is Neutral. Negative Energy is Neutral. Therefore it stands to reason that something made out of Negative Energy would be Neutral. But nope. It's Evil. Why? Who knows.

Same for mindless undead. Let us put aside that the descriptions of them (especially Skeletons) doesn't sound mindless at all. But they are mindless nonetheless.

They are corpses, animated by Neutral energy. By all accounts they should be True Neutral, much like Golems, who are animated by Neutral energy (Elementals). But they're Evil. Why? No reason given.

All you can really infer from this is that the Negative Energy Plane is actually Evil, not Neutral. Otherwise, cosmologically, this makes no bloody sense (not that PF Cosmology has a lick of sense anyway).


I really hope it's going to be easy to apply the subjective morality ruleset to PF 2e, just so I can avoid this nonsense.


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Mindless only means that they lack an intelligence score and are immune to mind affecting magic. It is one of those moments where a game term doesn't line up exactly with a real world definition. They simply can't be trained out of their normal state, which at the moment is full of malice and hate for the living.

If skeletons and zombies wind up being simple bone robots that sit on their shelves politely when they aren't being used or continue to perform their last order until they wear out, then I don't think creating them should be an evil act. It would be like making any other tool, but with a creepy motif and possibly criminal to get. Religions and governments would possibly have strictures and punishments about them, but simply making bones walk around and do things wouldn't be an evil thing all by itself.

Ideally though, I think there should be ample room in Necromancy to do both things. Create Undead being the fast route to having a bunch of minions, but having the motivating force inside the creatures be one of the insinuated evil spirits fueled and bolstered by Negative Energy. The creation of constructs from corpses being the slower, more reliable way to make stable minions that are not ravening body counts waiting to happen.

Both of them would use Neg Energy as fuel and be disrupted by Pos Energy, but Undead remain the blasphemous creatures who spread horror and destruction while necromantic constructs are just seriously creepy tools and not particularly hazardous when uncontrolled.


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Judging the alignment of an action based on the action itself rather than its effects will always lead to weird situations.

For example, imagine a mid-level Good wizard is sitting around in a village of entirely Good citizens when they are attacked by a horde of entirely Evil monsters intent on exterminating the town's entire population. The wizard helps the villagers drive off the monsters, but in the process the citizens take heavy casualties and the wizard uses all of their spells except for animate dead. It is soon discovered that there is a second horde of monsters on the way which will surely overwhelm and slaughter the village.

Now, the wizard can either allow themselves and the rest of the townsfolk to die, or they can animate the corpses of the Evil monsters who just tried to destroy the town and use the resulting zombies to fight off the next attack. Afterwards, they can destroy the zombies to prevent them from causing any harm. It seems absurd that saving the village with animate dead should be an evil act, yet under the current system it is.


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TheFinish wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
TheFinish wrote:


It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

Citation?

The outsider that is born from the Cristalized Essence of the Negative Energy Plane is Neutral Evil.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/sceaduinar/

Meanwhile, these guys, born from the Positive Energy Plane, are Neutral.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/turul/

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/jyoti/

The Negative Energy Plane is Neutral. Negative Energy is Neutral. Therefore it stands to reason that something made out of Negative Energy would be Neutral. But nope. It's Evil. Why? Who knows.

Same for mindless undead. Let us put aside that the descriptions of them (especially Skeletons) doesn't sound mindless at all. But they are mindless nonetheless.

They are corpses, animated by Neutral energy. By all accounts they should be True Neutral, much like Golems, who are animated by Neutral energy (Elementals). But they're Evil. Why? No reason given.

All you can really infer from this is that the Negative Energy Plane is actually Evil, not Neutral. Otherwise, cosmologically, this makes no bloody sense (not that PF Cosmology has a lick of sense anyway).

No. The process of a animating dead is evil, not the negative energy used. This has been mentioned before.


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Planpanther wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
Planpanther wrote:
TheFinish wrote:


It's just that PF seems to think the Negative Energy Plane is Evil, for some absurd reason.

Citation?

The outsider that is born from the Cristalized Essence of the Negative Energy Plane is Neutral Evil.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/sceaduinar/

Meanwhile, these guys, born from the Positive Energy Plane, are Neutral.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/turul/

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/jyoti/

The Negative Energy Plane is Neutral. Negative Energy is Neutral. Therefore it stands to reason that something made out of Negative Energy would be Neutral. But nope. It's Evil. Why? Who knows.

Same for mindless undead. Let us put aside that the descriptions of them (especially Skeletons) doesn't sound mindless at all. But they are mindless nonetheless.

They are corpses, animated by Neutral energy. By all accounts they should be True Neutral, much like Golems, who are animated by Neutral energy (Elementals). But they're Evil. Why? No reason given.

All you can really infer from this is that the Negative Energy Plane is actually Evil, not Neutral. Otherwise, cosmologically, this makes no bloody sense (not that PF Cosmology has a lick of sense anyway).

No. The process of a animating dead is evil, not the negative energy used. This has been mentioned before.

Why? That's my question. It's been mentioned, but never with an actual reason. I'm putting Neutral Energy in a corpse to make it do my bidding. Why is that Evil? Furthermore, why is that Evil, but enslaving an elemental inside a body of rock to serve me is not. Elementals are creatures with actual intelligence. Why is animate dead an [Evil] spell, but not geas/quest? Or dominate person? Or baleful polymorph?

All I'm doing when I cast create undead is putting fuel in the tank, then telling the car what to do. I am hurting literally zero creatures, assuming the deceased/their family was ok with me taking the corpse. There is literally nothing Evil in the process itself, so why does it get labelled as Evil?

Also, you asked me for a citation as to why I claimed PF thinks the Neg Energy plane is Evil, and I gave it: an outsider made of pure Negative Energy is Evil. Why? Negative Energy is Neutral.

Stone Dog wrote:

Mindless only means that they lack an intelligence score and are immune to mind affecting magic. It is one of those moments where a game term doesn't line up exactly with a real world definition. They simply can't be trained out of their normal state, which at the moment is full of malice and hate for the living.

If skeletons and zombies wind up being simple bone robots that sit on their shelves politely when they aren't being used or continue to perform their last order until they wear out, then I don't think creating them should be an evil act. It would be like making any other tool, but with a creepy motif and possibly criminal to get. Religions and governments would possibly have strictures and punishments about them, but simply making bones walk around and do things wouldn't be an evil thing all by itself.

Ideally though, I think there should be ample room in Necromancy to do both things. Create Undead being the fast route to having a bunch of minions, but having the motivating force inside the creatures be one of the insinuated evil spirits fueled and bolstered by Negative Energy. The creation of constructs from corpses being the slower, more reliable way to make stable minions that are not ravening body counts waiting to happen.

Both of them would use Neg Energy as fuel and be disrupted by Pos Energy, but Undead remain the blasphemous creatures who spread horror and destruction while necromantic constructs are just seriously creepy tools and not particularly hazardous when uncontrolled.

Actually, mindless just means they lack an Intelligence score and don't acquire skills or feats. The immunity to mind-affecting is because they're undead. Liches, for example, are not mindless but they're still immune.

And again, why is a creature that is a corpse animated by a completely neutral energy force full of malice and hate? I could see skeletons/zombies wanting to destroy things because Negative Energy is entropy, but it wouldn't make them Evil. No more than an avalanche, a forest fire or a tsunami are evil.


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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
Now, the wizard can either allow themselves and the rest of the townsfolk to die, or they can animate the corpses of the Evil monsters who just tried to destroy the town and use the resulting zombies to fight off the next attack. Afterwards, they can destroy the zombies to prevent them from causing any harm. It seems absurd that saving the village with animate dead should be an evil act, yet under the current system it is.

Those are two separate acts. Saving the village is good, creating bloodthirsty corpse monsters is evil. The desperation of saving the village and destroying the undead afterwards are mitigating circumstances, so good people would feel bad about the measures they had to take, but could easily keep their alignment due to the overall circumstance.

A paladin under the new edition might even be able to get away with mere penance since the situation was so very dire that they had to turn to the only tool they had on hand!

TheFinish wrote:
And again, why is a creature that is a corpse animated by a completely neutral energy force full of malice and hate? I could see skeletons/zombies wanting to destroy things because Negative Energy is entropy, but it wouldn't make them Evil. No more than an avalanche, a forest fire or a tsunami are evil.

If they stay evil it would probably be because there is something else inside of them that has more motivation than a simple natural disaster. Negative Energy is probably just the fuel, not the driver. EDIT In this case, the caster is not the driver either. The caster is nominally in control, but something else is waiting to take over.


As far as I'm concerned, creating mindless undead is a form of desecrating a corpse. Bodies should be laid to rest in the way considered proper by the deceased's religion, not forced to stagger about and obey commands from a wizard. Desecrating a corpse is an evil act, regardless of that corpse's actions in life. It has been considered a grave misdeed in every culture in human history, so why wouldn't that hold true in a fantasy world? Yes, I can see a very few specific instances in which it may be considered tolerable to raise a zombie or skeleton (using them to fight off a greater threat, using them to train people to fight undead), but even then it would be considered an act of desperation or absolute necessity, not a normal every day occurrence.


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As someone who has had to deal with actual human corpses, it astounds me that anyone would view manipulating corpses would be anything but evil. I can’t imagine wanting a corpse to walk around and do things to anything but twisted, it’s gross, really at best. And disrespectful for the formally living at least.


Planpanther wrote:
I hope they do provide a reason, but also keep undead evil. Something has to be evil...

Evil is Good!:-)


Pharasma thinks otherwise.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, creating mindless undead is a form of desecrating a corpse. Bodies should be laid to rest in the way considered proper by the deceased's religion, not forced to stagger about and obey commands from a wizard. Desecrating a corpse is an evil act, regardless of that corpse's actions in life. It has been considered a grave misdeed in every culture in human history, so why wouldn't that hold true in a fantasy world? Yes, I can see a very few specific instances in which it may be considered tolerable to raise a zombie or skeleton (using them to fight off a greater threat, using them to train people to fight undead), but even then it would be considered an act of desperation or absolute necessity, not a normal every day occurrence.

And what if the culture is pro-undead?


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I'll put another series of thoughts out there on the subject, but I really don't have much of a concern with the topic in general. skeletons as creepy bone robots are just as good as skeletons as seething malice engines and honestly, I'd like for Pathfinder to have space to support both.

I'm mainly talking about it for the fun of the process, not to convince anybody.

There is an argument that says "why aren't these spells evil?" I think that if they don't have the Evil descriptor, then they are only good or evil depending on what is done with them. If a fireball scorches a basket of babies to death, then it is the murder of innocents that is the evil act, not the casting of the fireball.

The problem comes when a spell actually has the Evil descriptor. Which means that the casting of the spell has no use that isn't Evil.

It is true a person could very easily command an existing undead to perform an act that supports a Good cause. I note that Command Undead is not a spell that is tagged Evil. However, Animate Dead and Create Undead are both tagged so.

Here is something that I'm fairly certain is an important point that needs to be made. The existence of Goodly aligned undead is irrelevant to the discussion of these spells. It is irrelevant because no matter how many goodly aligned undead there are out there, these spells don't make them.

Animate Dead, Create Undead and Greater Create Undead have one purpose and one purpose only. To bring into the world an evil creature that seeks to destroy life. Once the undead are walking around under the control of the creator, anything good that the creator does with them is a separate act and if any good caster makes undead out of desperation? Destroying the undead once the task is done is likely the only viable in character thing to do.

I would like to see something like "Animate Servitor" which makes a skeleton or Zombie that is well and truly subjugated, or animated with a different sort of animating spirit. Normal, monstrous undead could be easier to animate in greater numbers (the Dark Side is quicker, more seductive), but the Servitors are "tamed" and don't go rogue when uncontrolled.

Similarly a spell like "Create Guardian Undead" could make a non-Evil undead out of a willing subject, allowing for cultures who consider such a sacrifice to be an honorable fate, creepy to other cultures, but not playing with fire.

Perhaps an undead with the Servitor or Guardian templates could have more hit dice so a caster can't control as many of them, but might have some other trait making them less suitable for being minions of Darkness.

Not that the Phrasmins would care about the distinction. All your careful investments in servitors and guardians would be vulnerable targets to them, but then again in the right culture, maybe you could sue for destruction of property!


Well im in the field of, "They said so, so it is more than enough" no need for reason as far as im concerned.

But if people need a reason...

The fact a guy is casting a spell to tear apart anothers soul just so he can gain evil servants that would kill him or any other living thing close if they could is also something to think about.

And nope, why you are raising them doesnt matter, the same way burning the orphanage to save to world dont turn it good suddenly.


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Agreed with OP. It enriches canon & setting when this is fleshed out better. ("fleshed out" hehehehe... fine, whatever)

Grand Lodge

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If undead don't have to be evil I also demand room temperature fire elementals and civilized bugbears and every other postmodern whim of fancy I come up with.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Everyone who is explaining here how undead alignments work is missing my point that I think it needs to be said in core rulebook, not a forum post or really obscure source <_<


Stone Dog wrote:

I'll put another series of thoughts out there on the subject, but I really don't have much of a concern with the topic in general. skeletons as creepy bone robots are just as good as skeletons as seething malice engines and honestly, I'd like for Pathfinder to have space to support both.

I figured the former is a construct, the later is undead. There are bone-golems and flesh-golems to be the construct counterparts of skeletons and zombies (although much more powerful).


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MidsouthGuy wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, creating mindless undead is a form of desecrating a corpse. Bodies should be laid to rest in the way considered proper by the deceased's religion, not forced to stagger about and obey commands from a wizard. Desecrating a corpse is an evil act, regardless of that corpse's actions in life. It has been considered a grave misdeed in every culture in human history, so why wouldn't that hold true in a fantasy world? Yes, I can see a very few specific instances in which it may be considered tolerable to raise a zombie or skeleton (using them to fight off a greater threat, using them to train people to fight undead), but even then it would be considered an act of desperation or absolute necessity, not a normal every day occurrence.

This is precisely why angry mobs used to try to kill scientists who were studying corpses in the advancement of medical science. Some of the founding fathers of the US actually had to prevent an angry mob from doing just that. True story.

Of course, the scientists improved the lives of us all by doing what they did by doing evil science (because it desecrated corpses) instead of good science, which would have involved praying for guidance instead of doing science.

I think there is plenty of moral leeway for someone to decide a corpse is a resource that can be used in the pursuit of science.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:
And nope, why you are raising them doesnt matter, the same way burning the orphanage to save to world dont turn it good suddenly.

I don't like the fallacious logic here. It's unfortunately really common, though.

In no modern legal system in the world is a person automatically considered a criminal if they kill someone, or even if they burn down an orphanage. That's because killing someone is not necessarily determinative of the harm you will probably inflict on others in society at some future time. Let's just define evil, for the sake of argument, as someone who wants to inflict harm on others (I know we need a better definition in the game, but it will suffice to prove the salient point). If you accidentally run someone over, you are not criminally punished because the act of accidentally running someone over is neither good nor evil. If you commit the exact same act, but a fact finder determines you did it because you wanted to kill the person you ran over, every modern legal system would convict you of a felony or the jurisdictional equivalent. The difference between no intent and intent is the difference between no criminal liability and life in prison (or the death penalty).

In short, an ACT is neither good nor evil. It is only when an act is done with an INTENT that alignment becomes applicable.

Furthermore, and here is where I go from logic to opinion, whether the ends justify the means or intentionally killing an innocent being is utterly unacceptable should be left in the hands of the player taking the action. Every alignment can withstand having those who believe the ends justify the means and who refuse to do certain things (like kill innocents). Plus, it makes the game better when you can have disagreements within a single alignment. Just because everyone is LG doesn't mean they all love each other or always do the right thing in the eyes of one another. I hate that LG kumbaya crap. It simply means it is their intention to fight for the greater Good (and Law).


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CorvusMask wrote:
Everyone who is explaining here how undead alignments work is missing my point that I think it needs to be said in core rulebook, not a forum post or really obscure source <_<

Rather than missing, I think it's more that we're demonstrating it. It does need to be stated up-front to avoid the debates.

We get them in my group a decent amount.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Everyone who is explaining here how undead alignments work is missing my point that I think it needs to be said in core rulebook, not a forum post or really obscure source <_<

Rather than missing, I think it's more that we're demonstrating it. It does need to be stated up-front to avoid the debates.

We get them in my group a decent amount.

It *doesn't* happen in my group, which is why I am so evangelical in this forum and why I want alignment to be better in PF2.


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totoro wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
Everyone who is explaining here how undead alignments work is missing my point that I think it needs to be said in core rulebook, not a forum post or really obscure source <_<

Rather than missing, I think it's more that we're demonstrating it. It does need to be stated up-front to avoid the debates.

We get them in my group a decent amount.

It *doesn't* happen in my group, which is why I am so evangelical in this forum and why I want alignment to be better in PF2.

Sounds like it won’t have much impact on you. Why evangelise?

EDIT: it occurs to me that may read as sarcastic or snippy. It wasn’t intended that way, it was a genuine question. If alignment doesn’t cause issues/debates at your table, why are you so keen to see it changed?


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Necromancer Paladin wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, creating mindless undead is a form of desecrating a corpse. Bodies should be laid to rest in the way considered proper by the deceased's religion, not forced to stagger about and obey commands from a wizard. Desecrating a corpse is an evil act, regardless of that corpse's actions in life. It has been considered a grave misdeed in every culture in human history, so why wouldn't that hold true in a fantasy world? Yes, I can see a very few specific instances in which it may be considered tolerable to raise a zombie or skeleton (using them to fight off a greater threat, using them to train people to fight undead), but even then it would be considered an act of desperation or absolute necessity, not a normal every day occurrence.
And what if the culture is pro-undead?

Then the culture is evil. Evil is not a subjective thing in Pathfinder and other games with an alignment system, it is an objective individually existent force based on cosmic nature. Certain actions are Evil because the Multiverse itself reacts negatively to them.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:


Then the culture is evil. Evil is not a subjective thing in Pathfinder and other games with an alignment system, it is an objective individually existent force based on cosmic nature. Certain actions are Evil because the Multiverse itself reacts negatively to them.

Yes. And yet you were giving a cultural reason (thus subjective) for something to be considered objectively evil, which is ridiculous in my eyes.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:


Then the culture is evil. Evil is not a subjective thing in Pathfinder and other games with an alignment system, it is an objective individually existent force based on cosmic nature. Certain actions are Evil because the Multiverse itself reacts negatively to them.

But again, the matter at hand is the simple animation of a lump of matter. Creating a skeleton doesn't impact the soul of the deceased in the afterlife at all. It is imparting motive force and programming, like animating a chair or a tree. Snuffing out someone's life force with Finger of Death isn't considered an evil spell, and that's way more of a transgression on a target's body and spirit.

So other than being spoopy, what is inherently evil about creating non-intelligent undead, when even a /death spell/ isn't considered evil?


Fuzzypaws wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:


Then the culture is evil. Evil is not a subjective thing in Pathfinder and other games with an alignment system, it is an objective individually existent force based on cosmic nature. Certain actions are Evil because the Multiverse itself reacts negatively to them.
So other than being spoopy, what is inherently evil about creating non-intelligent undead, when even a /death spell/ isn't considered evil?

By forcing a corpse to be animate and obey your commands, you are denying it the respect a formerly living person deserves and desecrating its corpse. That is the definingly Evil act, the desecration of the body. Would you want to see the body of your deceased loved ones used for some magic-user's amusement? If the answer to that isn't no, you need more help than I'm qualified to give you.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:


By forcing a corpse to be animate and obey your commands, you are denying it the respect a formerly living person deserves and desecrating its corpse.

Alternatively you could be disrespecting the formerly living person by ignoring their wishes.

Quote:
That is the definingly Evil act, the desecration of the body.

So desecration of the body is an evil act now? Better make anyone who uses the trophy subsystem from Ultimate Wilderness evil.

Quote:
Would you want to see the body of your deceased loved ones used for some magic-user's amusement?

Why are you assuming it's for "some magic-user's amusement"? Skeletal undead don't even look like the person so you wouldn't even recognize them to begin with.

Quote:
If the answer to that isn't no, you need more help than I'm qualified to give you.

I know multiple individuals (including a few family members) who wouldn't care about being reanimated as undead. They have the view of "Well if I'm dead I don't really care what happens to my body, so anyone can do whatever".


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
MidsouthGuy wrote:


Then the culture is evil. Evil is not a subjective thing in Pathfinder and other games with an alignment system, it is an objective individually existent force based on cosmic nature. Certain actions are Evil because the Multiverse itself reacts negatively to them.

But again, the matter at hand is the simple animation of a lump of matter. Creating a skeleton doesn't impact the soul of the deceased in the afterlife at all. It is imparting motive force and programming, like animating a chair or a tree. Snuffing out someone's life force with Finger of Death isn't considered an evil spell, and that's way more of a transgression on a target's body and spirit.

So other than being spoopy, what is inherently evil about creating non-intelligent undead, when even a /death spell/ isn't considered evil?

Alignment is a model and an imperfect one at that (given the ongoing debates that still wrack moral philosophy after a few millenia, it would be weird if D&D had managed to codify evil/good remotely accurately in a handful of sentences).

Any simplified model is always going to break down. People often get worked up over alignment’s consequences but they’re no more or less plausible than the results spat out by the game’s model of economics.

Expecting alignment to actually answer moral questions of any depth accurately is as much a fool’s errand as trying to model a modern manufacturing process using PF’s crafting rules.

People need to make peace with the fact that no system will model morality very well. The internet debates always revolve around “does the alignment system make sense when we consider these real-world ethical situations?” The real question should be “Is the game better or worse with a primitive system of modelling morality included?”

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