I hate to see some of the rage on here. The reason I seek the wisdom of you guys, even the ones I disagree with, is because we all miss stuff in the rules. I've assumed I knew a rule and had it challenged on me and when I read it I was surprised to see I was wrong. When I ask something like if an idea of mine would be PFS legal I really mean is there a rule I have overlooked or maybe misunderstood. I recommend we all keep an open mind with other people's takes on the rules and ask for credible references to better understand the rules.
There's no hard and fast mechanic by which you can measure alignment—unlike hit points or skill ranks or Armor Class, alignment is solely a label the GM controls.
In the end, the ultimate authority on alignment is with the GM and while I might argue on here (mainly so when you convince me the bruises remind me of the correct rule) I try to keep arguments with a GM to a minimum. And you guys have helped me understand alignment based spells better, I did not know James Jacobs said anything on evil spells.
Page 4 of Champions of Balance
I will be investing more in these rules in the future. These rules help clear up the short section on alignment in the core rulebook.
Jokon Yew wrote:
Thanks Jokon! This is exactly what I was looking for in what the rules say as well as what I was more thinking the rules leaned towards.
In these cases where it causes a problem it is not a game breaking problem. James Jacobs even said the rule is more flavor than mechanical. If you need a way to not break the game in your mind for BigNorseWolf's example I would say use magic device is getting the spell power from another domain of spellcasting (divine power is different from arcane power).
Oframay I have not seen in the rules how good actions or evil actions act in the way you describe. The fact that an action can change a character's alignment from any alignment to another gives me the impression that the alignment tool is as I think it is only with a GM weight rather than a predetermined weight on actions. I'm sorry I need to be convinced that a rule is a rule when I haven't seen that rule. Luckily I am pretty easily convinced since all I need is a quote of the rule or send me to the forum where a developer says this is how it is. No "well the developer said this and you should believe me," though, not to be offensive but we are all internet dwellers and are words are only as good as we can prove them.
David Bowles wrote:
I fail to see how animating a giant centipede or something like that is any kind of alignment infraction, but whatever.
David, the only way I can see it affecting your alignment, and this has no rules backing it up, would be that the evil powers behind the spell effect you as you cast the spell. But in this case I wouldn't see how that type of alignment ding would not be counter acted by stopping evil in some form or fashion.
I agree that the best intentions do not make a good act and that even good actions with the wrong intention can be evil. But I am far from convinced that this is always true, nor that saving a orphan with infernal healing is ALWAYS evil. But I feel we keep mistaking what the other is saying.
An evil spell does not count as an action in my book. A spell is more the weapon a caster uses to perform an action. If you count a spell as an action I don't see how you can say fireballing orphans is evil. Even if the intention is good, say to kill a demon hiding as one of them, the action is still evil.
I am by no means saying intentions define the alignment of an action nor am I saying the ends defines the means. I think what makes an action good or evil is far more complicated.
Also I don't accept references to other forums that arguing a similar topic with no settlement. Sorry BigNorseWolf, you ignored me before I could tell you that in your PMs to me.
I think BigNorseWolf is trying to say that to be good you must have a good intention and good action while evil can be a good intention and evil action or evil intention and good action or even evil intention and evil action.
> The counter is that good and evil don't work in exact opposites. Good requires both good intent AND good actions. Evil is fine with either. Sound hard? Its good. Its supposed to be.
The only way I can see alignment based spells working with modifying your alignment is that the spell alters your alignment for drawing on the (good/evil) power source and then your action with the spell might alter your alignment. But this is really the only way I see alignment spells working the way the developers have ruled.
Thanks for the info on oracles, I didn't know about Voice of the Grave. That will help me out with my build.
BigNorseWolf, give us references when you say you can't have a good intent and a non evil action while casting an evil spell. I can't find that in the rules and if there is no rule saying you can't and there is no FAQ saying you can't then you are just imposing a rule on yourself and the rest of us don't have to impose it on ourselves.
Alexander where in the spell does it say what happens to the soul when you cast the spell?
By putting our own take of a spell we can make any spell seem good or evil. That's why you need to stick with RAW and rulings made my the developers. Speculation on what happens during the spell is worthless to this conversation without some text backing it up.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Well it's a ruling from James Jacob that says his intent. I personally think if animate dead actually tortured the dead's soul or whatever it is that makes James feel it is evil. I also don't like that alignment descriptions effect caster and target while all other descriptions don't. I don't think you will find it in RAW, but with a developer's intention we know what they were trying to do with the alignment description. And it might be that they would change their mind on certain casting that might result in effects they didn't expect.
However that being said I still think you can animate dead and cancel it out with your actions related to the dead and honestly if a GM is the type to go against the PFS rules on GMing and just turn my character evil that is a GM I would not like to play with.
The way I see spells and actions as different is that fireball is neither a good or evil spell, aim that at a child and it is an evil act.
I keep hearing that alignment rules in pathfinder are simple, but I have yet to see rules pasted in clearing this up for me. I don't mean to be a dick but we are on the internet and if you say something I want to see you are right, not simply accept your word without a reference to rules. If you tell me someone from paizo has said it works a certain way then I want to know who at paizo, because until then I'll wait till Dragoncon and hope to see John Compton again and see what he thinks. By RAW I can't find a single rule that says a spell's type will change your alignment, not saying it doesn't exist I just can't find it.
I don't think the problem with paladins is anything to do with rules, it is mainly the general stigma that they need a stick up their butt. I prefer to play my paladins like Sturm from Dragonlance. Paladins can be fun so long as they don't go overboard, but that danger can be there with any class.
Again I feel the need to reiterate the rule I am looking at and basing my thinking off of. Please show me another rule that may change my mind, but right now seeing this rule I can't see how animate dead is an evil action. I admit it is an evil spell based on the evil descriptor, but I don't see how it is an evil action. This, of coarse, is me making a difference between spells and actions. Spells being the magic you are casting and an action being targetting the spell at something with a desired effect.
You bring up a good point about Geb, it is an evil place. I've also never prepped it, but I've played the scenario (highly recommend it too). It might have been the way it was run for me, but I saw more of the fear coming from the fact that people were being enslaved by the undead. But I could very easily be wrong, this may inspire me to purchase the scenario and give it a good reading. Sometimes the scenarios give the GMs more story fluf than the players discover.
I am sorry I never heard you tell me you have seen a necromancer that asks the dead before animating them, you simply told me that you've seen good necromancers. I've played D&D for 15 years and never once seen a necromancer ask the bodies he was going to animate if they would allow him to before doing so. I would love for you to introduce me to some of these players that player necromancers that ask before casting since they might help me with build tips. And your cautionary sign was evil spells are evil actions.
The only good bit of warning that I see in this is that not everyone will agree with me, to which I completely agree with you. But playing at several cons and with a bunch of good characters tells me that most good characters are not going to disown me and that NPCs are going to act based on situations, if I march an undead army into their village yes pitchforks will come out, if one undead is covered and not flaunted around town I doubt the temple will call the village to arms to destroy me for asking them to help the undead I have brought to them. As far as "Raising the dead is evil", that is the big sticking point here. The spell is evil in nature, but that does not tell me if the dead consent to being animated and are brought back to be put to rest their prefered method and allow their family, if they desire, to say goodbye via speak with dead not via groans is an evil action. And as for anger you are the only one that I've seen saying they are hitting their head against their desk. This conversation doesn't bother me one bit, it is what I expected from my character concept, that some would agree, some would disagree, and hopefully some will reconsider the relationship of what makes an evil action.
I think you misunderstood that, I did not mean to imply you are not thinking simply that you are passing by the alignment rules with a predisposition and not appreciating how vague the rules are. And you give the impression that you are scanning when you are merely highlighting the word evil in infernal healing rather than saying how the action of healing someone can be done in an evil way. As for backing it up, if my pasting in quotes from the rules don't count as backing up I can't back up anything against you. The one backing up reference you finally produced has nothing to do with my particular argument. I agree the spell is evil in nature, detects as evil, and good gods (especially since there are no good gods with domains of death) would 9 times out of 10 not allow animate dead. But then you get that random necromancer that isn't using the dead for evil acts, not forcing the dead to become undead and that is what we are trying to talking about here.
Never once have I said the spell was not evil, you seem to be mixing people up. I full admit the spell is evil, infused with evil energy. What I propose is that you can use evil spells for good actions.
As far as Geb being the exception you are just wrong. You did mention it and acted as though that is the only city that has that attitude towards the undead. If you reread my post you see I also mention that the Osirion nation has a different view of undead than what you are painting. Suddenly it is not just a random village but a nation that is recognized throughout Golarion. None the less without statistics this is a moot point, you can claim one way and I can claim the other with no actual facts to back it up.
As I remember BigNorseWolf you called me smug before saying this flat view of morality was one dimensional. It was also, I assume, that you called me smug for wanting to inspire people to think on what is good and evil, weather or not you agree with me does not matter to me. It is if you are willing to spend the time and consider what is actually good or evil and not simply scan text for key words. I never said you stopped thinking, simply that when it comes to alignment you do not accept how the rules and players actions interact only how the descriptions say evil even though it does not match the pathfinder definition of evil.
I never said how people are raised makes good or evil. I even put the rules of what the game defines as good and evil. The point I made about people of Geb not being afraid of undead is simply that you over generalized the population and that there are a large number of people that do not have a problem with undead, nothing to do with good or evil.
Lets try to tone back how we would run home games since this isn't a home game area and home game rulings are irrelevant to this conversation. I can run a home game where good is evil and evil is good or even create a hard set alignment system which pathfinder lacks, and probably for a good reason.
I think I can see why BigNorseWolf is very evil is evil no other way. If you simply read it as is evil is evil and stop thinking about actual actions used. To me this is boring and dull to look at and makes my characters too one dimensional, good characters all act like paladins and evil characters all act like antagonists.
This is out of the PRD on here describing the differences between good and evil and based on this I can see infernal healing being used to protect the innocent. If I am a wizard who has access to demon's blood and see someone innocent in need of healing I don't see how it is evil to use the tools I have on hand to save the innocent. Even if it is not the only means of healing someone, it does not seem to be "dripping" with evil only coming from an evil source. I would say the action itself has to be tested by the above rule, not simply stamp it as evil since there is evil written in the spell description. That is lazy GMing in my book.
Now if we want to consider the life experiences of your typical golarion peasant, you bette tell me which nation they are from. Osirions don't have a problem with undead.
Directly from the PFS Player guide.Andorans see the undead as slaves needing to be destroyed to be set free. Some have no issue with the undead and some do. And as you know there is an entire city of undead Geb where peasants don't run from the undead. PFS has created a very diverse world in which over generalizing gets you no where since it can go either way.
I'm talking about what players do in the faction, not just dogma and physically. Though the physical distance from anything shouldn't be a factor in determining if something is evil. It's cool to set fire to the orphanage so long as you do it from orbit.
My only counter to that is the cheliax faction not being evil. If you can enslave people and not go evil how can you not question what is good and what is evil?
My one concern about this is that you are creating unintelligent undead. They are not capable of remembering their former life, and you are causing damage to their soul (animated dead cannot be raised, they need a resurrection spell).
Are they not capable of remembering their former lives? If I cast speak with dead on them are not able to communicate with me? Does the spell damage the soul in the process of animating the body? These are things I have not seen in RAW, only in speculation of people.
I've seen discussions concerning the idea of forcing the dead to work for you against their will is evil and I can agree with that, violating a sentient creature's free will is evil. But what if I cast speak with dead, tell them their situation and propose a deal with them? If they don't accept then I don't animate, if they do I animate them.
In one of the first steps adventures you are introduced to undead and that person still remembered her former life. There's even a great scenario You Only Die Twice that turns you into undead in an undead nation called Geb. And hauntings normally involve dead remembering at bare minimum moments before their death. And as you said resurrection will bring them back which also has a longer window to bring the person back, years for resurrection vs days with raise dead.
Thanks I'm Hiding In Your Closet. My big worry though is that people are overlooking the consent part of the spell and most times the dead are forced into acting for others, but what if you have consent prior to casting the spell? And if I get consent of the dead and try to bring them peace is that worse than ignoring what they want and forcing my cultural dead ceremonies, be it burial, fire, or whatever? In the 13 years I've been playing D&D I've never seen a necromancer type character try to get the dead's approval before animating them. I want to say that if a person agrees to be raised and has an input on what their body does, varying based on what they want, and has an ultimate decision on what happens to them in the end then the dead are being given a gift and not being desecrated.
You've really written something to think about and honestly I would love to play an adventure where you pick between paladins and soldiers threatened by losing their jobs vs a necromancer/wizard trying to make a village's people's lives easier/better. I've always enjoyed stories that make you question what is right and what is wrong.
Most good characters are going to disown you. Non PCs are going to torch and pitchfork you in most areas. Raising the dead is evil. PFS rules mean you can keep your NG alignment, but not everyone is going to agree with you.
So most good aligned pathfinders refuse all connections to anything evil related? Most of my characters are good aligned and have always accepted infernal healing. Most of the players I have played with will accept a charge from a wand of infernal healing. If I get a person in need's consent to help them with a spell that is evil with no desire for a reward and do so it is evil and wrong?
So I should have a sack that I throw bodies in? Paladins prefer bodies crammed in sacks/crates possibly against the spirit's wishes over a willing spirit walking back on its own? This is better than getting the bodies to walk back and say their final goodbyes to their family?
So I guess anything evil only begets evil? So tieflings are all evil and shouldn't be trusted because even though they are good they are actually evil.
It is snide and smug to try new things and challenge people to consider their ideas of good and evil? I guess you are not a fan of philosophers? Or morally gray situations.
I hate to reanimate this thread, but (as I start casting) I am building a character that this thread impacts heavily. I am trying to build a neutral good necromancer who talks with the dead before reanimating, gains consent by offering help in avenging their death, a means of getting their body back to their loved ones, getting it to a temple to be resurrected, ect. If they don't concent the necromancer will not animate them but will do what he can to put their soul to rest. This is using the Shaman class and my aim is to find a way to use evil spells in good ways.
Would LG characters disown a necromancer who tried to help the dead find rest or recover victims' bodies in ways that are available to him? Would paladin's hate a shaman that reanimated beings but did not command them and simply walked them back to temples to help them? Can evil be used to do good? I really like the idea of making a philosophical mind blowing character that makes the players reevaluate their ideas after playing with him.