Does casting a spell with the [Evil] descriptor turn you Evil?


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Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I am not a fan vague rules that leave it up to the GM, especially for Organized play, say for the Pathfinder Society, Vague rules like this makes a situation where every game you play you can run into a different way a GM plays it.

1 GM could not let them memorize them at all, another could have them make you evil right away , another could make them slowly change your alignment if you cast it many times through the scenario, while another could make it not do anything.

I prefer rules set in stone so there can be no misinterpretation. Especially for organized play.

If though a DM outside of organized play wants to house rule a change, more power to him/her.

Liberty's Edge

KaeYoss wrote:
Studpuffin wrote:


Then lets not let clerics choose their spells at all. We'll let the deities just decide it all. :p

Seriously, don't they have to answer to the cosmos?

Exactly. And that's why good gods cannot grant evil spells. They're Good. The universe doesn't let them get away with evil spells.

That's where it bugs me though. A good wizard still can. No matter how powerful he is, no matter how god-like he becomes (even if he becomes a god) he can still cast spells outside of his alignment. He cannot grant them though. Or is it that the wording says he won't grant them?

(Insert next question: why no protection against neutral spells?)

Shadow Lodge

KaeYoss wrote:

Exactly. And that's why good gods cannot grant evil spells. They're Good. The universe doesn't let them get away with evil spells.

They could up until 3rd Ed. I see no good reason not to allow it. Personally, I like the idea that a (fallen) Cleric can masquerade as the (former) priest of their deity, without telltail signs of no longer having favor, or that a good priest can be tempted to summon a demon or raise undead, and not have immediate lose of status.


Lathiira wrote:
My personal answer: a spell is a tool. Tools aren't evil-the person using the tool might be.

^^^^This. Although to be fair someone who uses others corpses as a tool is more than likely not a great person. Summons shouldn't really affect you though *shrug*.


Gene wrote:
Studpuffin wrote:
Then lets not let clerics choose their spells at all. We'll let the deities just decide it all. :p
I actually miss that from older editions of the game. I liked when clerics had spheres of magic to pick from.

I hear this too. Cleric is sort of the red headed stepchild of D&D.

I don't think anyone knows what to do with it really. They could just let wizards heal and remove the class TBH.


KaeYoss wrote:

Depends on the spell.

I do say that casting an [Alignment] spell will give you [Alignment] points. The evil/good etc rubs off on you. The amount of evil points (I'll just use evil from now on, but I mean all alignments) depends on the spell.

Say casting protection from evil gives you one good point. Your average nice guy has a couple of thousand good points, it takes several thousands to turn an evil person neutral and a neutral person good.

Not that I'd keep track of points, it's just to give you the perspective.

At the same time, you get alignment points for your intentions. Casting protection from evil as an evil wizard so you can take over the murderers' guild to more effectively murder people for profit will give you a couple of good points for using magic targeting evil creatures - and hundreds of evil points for doing evil.

Protection spells are nearly insignificant. Summoning magic is a bit worse, because you're willing to use evil creatures - which is not only worse than protection stuff in general, but they'll also probably influence you, openly or subtly.

Then there's the big stuff. Creating undead is definetly evil, since it is a grave insult against life, nature, the natural way, and all that.

But in one thing we're clear: Intent and execution will weigh in much more heavily than [alignment]

I'm more in favor of an approach based on the campaign if we take this route. For example, the city of Hollowfaust in the Scarred Lands regularly use undead for soldiers and defense of their city. Within certain strict rules, it's permissible. Citizens even volunteer their bodies for this treatment upon their demise. In the case I've outlined, I'd say animating the dead isn't evil; the undead are all unintelligent IIRC and the citizens willingly agree to this.

But overall, I agree that intent and execution matter more. I also don't care to sit down and track my alignment based on the spells I've cast. Might as well come up with a new alignment system at that point!

Liberty's Edge

Well, let's see.

You know the spell is evil.

You know that it involves your character exerting his will into the material plane, forcing Something That Should Not Be into existence.

You also know that as you cast this spell, corrupting energy flows through you, tainting your soul.

You know this, and you do it anyway.

Yeah, I'd say that it at leat points you towards evil, and continued use of said spells will eventually make you evil.


Studpuffin wrote:
concerro wrote:


Cleric's dont really get to choose what spells they can cast. They are granted their spells by their gods. The god could even refuse them cure spells if it chose to.

Then lets not let clerics choose their spells at all. We'll let the deities just decide it all. :p

Seriously, don't they have to answer to the cosmos? Even if the spells are drawn from a different source in FLUFF, why don't we integrate the rules for them? Is there a crunch reason why anyone should be able to cast a spell different than their alignment?

I think I worded that badly. When I said clerics cant choose, what I mean is they ask for certain spells from their deity and the deity gets to say yes or no.

Here is my crunch analysis: Clerics have all off their class spells known to them, so one of the restrictions is alignment, and it makes for good fluff also. Most arcane casters don't know all the spells from the class list. They have to study for them or buy scrolls. The upside of this is they can cast whatever then can get their hands on. If all the casting classes used the exact method people would complain because they would be to much alike.

Yes there is a reason someone would want to cast a spell different than their alignment. If I am a good-aligned caster, we will say arcane, and the party is in for the fight of its life I may have to throw my morals aside to save the party. Now if it becomes an everyday thing for me to cast evil spells then I may need to rethink my character's alignment. Being good, does not mean I will always do good things, and one bad action does not make you a bad person, of course there are exceptions to this belief, but generally it holds up pretty well. That is my view on the alignments in D&D.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Quote:
Yeah, I'd say that it at leat points you towards evil, and continued use of said spells will eventually make you evil.

And if the tables are turned? Will casting good spells eventually make you good? If I'm an evil wizard who wants to go to heaven, can I change my alignment by casting protection from evil every day?

Liberty's Edge

No, Hydro, because the only reason you are casting that spell is because you want to go to heaven.

You are attempting to infuse your soul with positive energy for selfish reasons. Congratulations, you are still evil and you just wasted your time.

Furthermore, you just casted Protection From Evil on yourself. Now everyone else is protected. From you.


Honestly, the protection from spells shouldn't budge your alignment at all. Due to the nature of Chaotic Evil, there's all kinds of reasons an evil wizard could cast protection from evil; it's just common sense. And unless it's cast on other people for their benefit, a good wizard casting protection from evil on himself is far from altruistic; he's just looking out for Number One.

Mechanically, the mere accretion of [Good] or [Evil] tags in one's spell-casting history shouldn't be enough to change alignment; it would depend on the specific spells cast and for what purpose.

Liberty's Edge

Joana wrote:

Honestly, the protection from spells shouldn't budge your alignment at all. Due to the nature of Chaotic Evil, there's all kinds of reasons an evil wizard could cast protection from evil; it's just common sense. And unless it's cast on other people for their benefit, a good wizard casting protection from evil on himself is far from altruistic; he's just looking out for Number One.

Mechanically, the mere accretion of [Good] or [Evil] tags in one's spell-casting history shouldn't be enough to change alignment; it would depend on the specific spells cast and for what purpose.

Hm. That is an interesting point about the Protection From (X) spells.

I have to agree with your approach on the spells and alignment as well. The type of spells and the context in which it was cast is very important in determining a shift in alignment.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Quote:

No, Hydro, because the only reason you are casting that spell is because you want to go to heaven.

You are attempting to infuse your soul with positive energy for selfish reasons.

That's not evil, it's good.

All other factors asside, attempting to change your alignment good-wise is a Good act because you are depriving the lower planes of one more soul or minion. Just because something is in your own best interests too doesn't mean it's evil.

Quote:
And unless it's cast on other people for their benefit, a good wizard casting protection from evil on himself is far from altruistic; he's just looking out for Number One.

And you can cast Protection from Good for altruistic reasons as well.

However, it's been suggested that casting [Evil] spells has a corrupting effect (strong enough to eventually change your alignment, according to some) REGARDLESS of what the spell is used for. I believe how Sabre put it was "corrupting energy flows through you, tainting your soul."

If that is the case, then casting [Good] spells should have a faint cleansing effect as well.


meatrace wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
My personal answer: a spell is a tool. Tools aren't evil-the person using the tool might be.
^^^^This. Although to be fair someone who uses others corpses as a tool is more than likely not a great person. Summons shouldn't really affect you though *shrug*.

Summoning demons and other fiends probably should affect you.

Likewise, summoning archetypal outsiders of any alignment (Law, Chaos, Good, Evil) would have as much effect within that alignment axis as summoning fiends would - it's wrong to say "Oh, that outsider is Lawful, so it won't shift your alignment like a demon would have" (no matter how much or how little you observe alignment influences from evil descriptors, the same amount of influence should result from other alignment descriptors).


DM_Blake wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
My personal answer: a spell is a tool. Tools aren't evil-the person using the tool might be.
^^^^This. Although to be fair someone who uses others corpses as a tool is more than likely not a great person. Summons shouldn't really affect you though *shrug*.

Summoning demons and other fiends probably should affect you.

Likewise, summoning archetypal outsiders of any alignment (Law, Chaos, Good, Evil) would have as much effect within that alignment axis as summoning fiends would - it's wrong to say "Oh, that outsider is Lawful, so it won't shift your alignment like a demon would have" (no matter how much or how little you observe alignment influences from evil descriptors, the same amount of influence should result from other alignment descriptors).

I guess this just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm trying to apply too much real world logic to D&D, which is something I admit I do often. Maybe if there were some decent neutral options on the Summon Monster list I'd be OK with it. I still don't understand why using celestial monkey to commit murder is ANY LESS EVIL than using a fiendish dog or some such. I think the descriptors should be taken off summoning spells, and I don't buy this "you're tainted by the energies" bs.

As an aside, there's a debate that rages amongst my friends as to the logic of outsider's DR. Celestial beings have DR/Evil. How dumb is that? Oh gee I'm really tough except against MY ENEMIES!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
meatrace wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Lathiira wrote:
My personal answer: a spell is a tool. Tools aren't evil-the person using the tool might be.
^^^^This. Although to be fair someone who uses others corpses as a tool is more than likely not a great person. Summons shouldn't really affect you though *shrug*.

Summoning demons and other fiends probably should affect you.

Likewise, summoning archetypal outsiders of any alignment (Law, Chaos, Good, Evil) would have as much effect within that alignment axis as summoning fiends would - it's wrong to say "Oh, that outsider is Lawful, so it won't shift your alignment like a demon would have" (no matter how much or how little you observe alignment influences from evil descriptors, the same amount of influence should result from other alignment descriptors).

I guess this just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe I'm trying to apply too much real world logic to D&D, which is something I admit I do often. Maybe if there were some decent neutral options on the Summon Monster list I'd be OK with it. I still don't understand why using celestial monkey to commit murder is ANY LESS EVIL than using a fiendish dog or some such. I think the descriptors should be taken off summoning spells, and I don't buy this "you're tainted by the energies" bs.

As an aside, there's a debate that rages amongst my friends as to the logic of outsider's DR. Celestial beings have DR/Evil. How dumb is that? Oh gee I'm really tough except against MY ENEMIES!

It's because they are made of pure Goodness, so Evil is their polar opposite so they're more vulnerable to it. It's their kryptonite. Which would make more sense: if a Water Elemental had DR/Water or DR/Fire?

And as KaeYos pointed out. Casting a spell gives you a couple of "alignment points"; comitting murder with the spell (or anything else) gives you a couple of hundred. Statistically, it's insignificant. It helps a teeny tiny bit, but your actions overweigh it. It would only push you over the edge if you were close anyway.


Paul Watson wrote:

It's because they are made of pure Goodness, so Evil is their polar opposite so they're more vulnerable to it. It's their kryptonite. Which would make more sense: if a Water Elemental had DR/Water or DR/Fire?

And as KaeYos pointed out. Casting a spell gives you a couple of "alignment points"; comitting murder with the spell (or anything else) gives you a couple of hundred. Statistically, it's insignificant. It helps a teeny tiny bit, but your actions overweigh it. It would only...

To both your points: I understand the whole kryptonite argument, I'm just saying that if I was going to fight demons I'd want protections AGAINST them. I'd go out of my way to get DR/Good since I'm relatively sure that the demonic hordes aren't wielding Holy Avengers.

Also, I meant "murder" in the sense that the crux of this game is sneaking into tombs and violently murdering its inhabitants on the off chance we can loot some ancient relic to hawk back in town. Those bugbears you killed? They just wanted to invite you to a picnic for all you know. That mind flayer? Insurance salesman. We are all thieving, murdering bastards. In that light, summoning a Fiendish Hawk to swoop in and rescue the swaddled baby about to fall off the roof of the burning building doesn't seem like a big intrusion. But if that sends me to the lower planes then so be it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
meatrace wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:

It's because they are made of pure Goodness, so Evil is their polar opposite so they're more vulnerable to it. It's their kryptonite. Which would make more sense: if a Water Elemental had DR/Water or DR/Fire?

And as KaeYos pointed out. Casting a spell gives you a couple of "alignment points"; comitting murder with the spell (or anything else) gives you a couple of hundred. Statistically, it's insignificant. It helps a teeny tiny bit, but your actions overweigh it. It would only...

To both your points: I understand the whole kryptonite argument, I'm just saying that if I was going to fight demons I'd want protections AGAINST them. I'd go out of my way to get DR/Good since I'm relatively sure that the demonic hordes aren't wielding Holy Avengers.

Also, I meant "murder" in the sense that the crux of this game is sneaking into tombs and violently murdering its inhabitants on the off chance we can loot some ancient relic to hawk back in town. Those bugbears you killed? They just wanted to invite you to a picnic for all you know. That mind flayer? Insurance salesman. We are all thieving, murdering bastards. In that light, summoning a Fiendish Hawk to swoop in and rescue the swaddled baby about to fall off the roof of the burning building doesn't seem like a big intrusion. But if that sends me to the lower planes then so be it.

Why summon a Fiendish Hawk when you could go with a Celestial Owl? You choose evil over good. That's a good indication that you're heading down that route without the spell. To me, they're an indication of what you're already doing, not a compulsion effect on y our alignment.

And I'm not arguing it would be BETTER for the Celestials to be immune to evil, but it is LOGICAL that they are not. Would you like your Demons and Devils to be exceptionally resistant to the forces of Good, too? From a gamist and internal campaign setting view, it makes more sense the way it is. Of course, protection from evil is a spell all good celestials can cast. I'm sure there are others out there that grant DR against the forces of Evil.


Paul Watson wrote:
Why summon a Fiendish Hawk when you could go with a Celestial Owl? You choose evil over good. That's a good indication that you're heading down that route without the spell. To me, they're an indication of what you're already doing, not a compulsion effect on y our alignment.

This is kind of what I'm arguing against though. I don't buy that using a spell is good or evil, only what the spell is used for is either good or evil. I know how the game rules work, and by the rules it's considered an "evil" act, it just seems that that's the only argument I'm getting here. It seems people opinions about what is ultimately a DM ruling are dictated by the text. I was willing to concede that creating undead is by its nature evil, descriptor or no(due to it desecrating someone's corpse) but someone even debunked that with a dynamite example of raising zombies to protect a city. Alignment should be a reflection of how you play your character and a DM can never say "you cast protection from good too many times, now you have to act evil" because it's my gosh darn character.

So ultimately, and I think anyone who has read my posts in certain other threads will know this of me, I feel the alignment system is too often used and thought of to restrict one's actions rather than as a reflection of player intent and roleplaying. It's archaic and, yeah I'll say it, something 4e wisely chopped to shreds.

-Meatrace out

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Quote:
It seems people opinions about what is ultimately a DM ruling are dictated by the text.

Huh?

Well, okay, I suppose it is "ultimately a DM ruling" insofar as ALL rules of the game are ultimately DM rulings. Sure.

I don't see how that statement makes sense as a criticism or a complaint, however (which is what your tone implies).

Sidetrack, but can you explain how 4e "chops alignments to shreads", again? I really don't know, I've never read a 4th edition rulebook, but from what I can gather all they did was rename "Neutral" to "Unaligned" (without changing what that means in the slightest). People keep telling me it's different but I can never get a straight answer as to how.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hydro wrote:
Quote:
It seems people opinions about what is ultimately a DM ruling are dictated by the text.

Huh?

Well, okay, I suppose it is "ultimately a DM ruling" insofar as ALL rules of the game are ultimately DM rulings. Sure.

I don't see how that statement makes sense as a criticism or a complaint, however (which is what your tone implies).

Sidetrack, but can you explain how 4e "chops alignments to shreads", again? I really don't know, I've never read a 4th edition rulebook, but from what I can gather all they did was rename "Neutral" to "Unaligned" (without changing what that means in the slightest). People keep telling me it's different but I can never get a straight answer as to how.

Because it interacts with (pretty much) nothing in the game. So it's just a little tag on your character sheet you can ignore at will. They also merged CG and NG into just Good, LE and NE into just Evil, and removed CN and LN entirely making the 9 point grid a 5 point line. Some people think that's better.

I'm also confused how summoning the literal embodiements of evil is somehow not an evil act. If doing business with the Mob is bad because it indirectly funds their other projects, even if what you're doing is perfectly innocuous, then the same logic applies to summoning fiends. No matter how much good you do with them, it's still a little bit evil because you're supporting their other projects. If you have to rationalise it, each time a creature is summoned, it gains a little power (soul?) in exchange. Thus, when you summon fiends, you directly strengthen Team Evil. Do that a lot and it's going to start having an effect. As for the Protections from X, you're directly calling on the opposing force to defend you. you're literally coating yourself in pure evil. Why shouldn't that have an effect on you?

Same for the using undead to man the walls. You're still desecrating a corpse no matter what you do with it. Even if you save thousands with the spell, you've still got to take account of that fact in the total tally. You'd weigh in the good you did, but a little bit of it gets countered.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Quote:
Because it interacts with (pretty much) nothing in the game. So it's just a little tag on your character sheet you can ignore at will.

Really? There aren't spells or rules which affect Good/Evil characters differently?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hydro wrote:
Quote:
Because it interacts with (pretty much) nothing in the game. So it's just a little tag on your character sheet you can ignore at will.
Really? There aren't spells or rules which affect Good/Evil characters differently?

Not to my knowledge, but I've only played 4E a couple of times. And that was only the basic. They might have appeared in a supplement.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Basically, a one-size-fits-all rule will not work. Some spells are Evil. Casting them repeatedly is not healthy for a Good character. But the intent and application of the spell means far more than that. Using a Fireball to fry babies is Evil. Using Deathwatch to know how healthy your companions are is not. (I hope we've removed the Evil tag on that spell in PF.) Edit: Double checked my Beta pdf, and confirmed, yay!


Anyone remember the "Cleric Quintet"?

Cadderly, our good aligned Cleric, had a nicely ticked out demon summoning chamber...


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I always saw alignment in D&D more of how the universe perceived you. It doesn't actually affect your actions (with the exception of curses that do so). Clerics are restricted to their god's alignment because their gods don't mess with the energy of their opposed alignments. I see gods as purists with only gods with a N descriptor seeing things more practically on that alignment, but ultimately a good god is opposed to evil at its very core.

It's not that casting an evil spell is always going to be evil, but it's going to be the same moral gray that we see in real life. Some people believe that the ends justify the means and some are completely opposed to that idea and a lot of people live in the middle where some ends justify some means, but not universally.

Ultimately, like in real life, I think we need to play it by ear. Morality isn't physics -- we don't have a good way to simulate it and any game system that tries to produce hard and fast rules for it is going to have issues. So why not leave it an effect of story telling elements and only limit it in the ways that have already been defined -- clerics and their gods.

Shadow Lodge

Hydro wrote:
Quote:
Yeah, I'd say that it at leat points you towards evil, and continued use of said spells will eventually make you evil.
And if the tables are turned? Will casting good spells eventually make you good? If I'm an evil wizard who wants to go to heaven, can I change my alignment by casting protection from evil every day?

I posted this yesterday, but it was eaten. . .

And this is not my personal opinion, (I take a more open-minded and realistic view), but in the D&D world, killing evil, particularly [Evil], is a good act. Casting a [Good] spell is also a good act, (as you are infussing the world with a little tiny bit more good energy and whatever). The majority of times you cast Protection from Evil, it is to fight Evil, (a good act).

Liberty's Edge

concerro wrote:

I think I worded that badly. When I said clerics cant choose, what I mean is they ask for certain spells from their deity and the deity gets to say yes or no.

Here is my crunch analysis: Clerics have all off their class spells known to them, so one of the restrictions is alignment, and it makes for good fluff also. Most arcane casters don't know all the spells from the class list. They have to study for them or buy scrolls. The upside of this is they can cast whatever then can get their hands on. If all the casting classes used the exact method people would complain because they would be to much alike.

But why? Why is it any different. A wizard can learn every single spell on their spell-list if they have the time and the gold to do so. There is not a restriction on the spells they can cast at all. What is the point of even letting arcane casters have alignment oriented spells if it has no effect on them whatsoever? It makes little sense to me that alignment doesn't affect them on the grand cosmic scale the same way it does a cleric. Clerics are religious, not alignment-mages for that matter.

Quote:
Yes there is a reason someone would want to cast a spell different than their alignment. If I am a good-aligned caster, we will say arcane, and the party is in for the fight of its life I may have to throw my morals aside to save the party. Now if it becomes an everyday thing for me to cast evil spells then I may need to rethink my character's alignment. Being good, does not mean I will always do good things, and one bad action does not make you a bad person, of course there are exceptions to this belief, but generally it holds up pretty well. That is my view on the alignments in D&D.

Now this is where I think the problem arises. I must throw my morals aside in order cast these spells. Why then doesn't my alignment change when I cast these spells? Well if it doesn't then I don't think you should gain access to any other alignment's spells.


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One presumption is that arcane magic doesn't have alignment. At least not really. Arcane magic is neutral -- it is simply a tool. Divine magic is always aligned with the deity in question because the power comes directly from them.

When a wizard sculpts the arcane energies around him or her then the moral result always has to do with what they're doing and how they're doing it, not with the energies involved.

Liberty's Edge

Hydro wrote:
Quote:

No, Hydro, because the only reason you are casting that spell is because you want to go to heaven.

You are attempting to infuse your soul with positive energy for selfish reasons.

That's not evil, it's good.

All other factors asside, attempting to change your alignment good-wise is a Good act because you are depriving the lower planes of one more soul or minion. Just because something is in your own best interests too doesn't mean it's evil.

Quote:
And unless it's cast on other people for their benefit, a good wizard casting protection from evil on himself is far from altruistic; he's just looking out for Number One.

And you can cast Protection from Good for altruistic reasons as well.

However, it's been suggested that casting [Evil] spells has a corrupting effect (strong enough to eventually change your alignment, according to some) REGARDLESS of what the spell is used for. I believe how Sabre put it was "corrupting energy flows through you, tainting your soul."

If that is the case, then casting [Good] spells should have a faint cleansing effect as well.

Hydro, if you seperate the action outside of the context in which it occured, then yes, changing your alignment by infusing yourself with positive energy is a good act.

However, in your example the evil wizard had no real change of heart, no repentance, no desire to be good. He just wanted to go to Heaven. Therefore the motivation behind his actions was a selfish attempt to manipulate the energies of the cosmos for his own benifit so that he could avoid any divine punishment for his actions.

That would be at least a chaotic act, if not an evil one. Especially since he was using positive (good) energies to do it, corrupting the very purity of the cosmos.

Liberty's Edge

SuperSheep wrote:

One presumption is that arcane magic doesn't have alignment. At least not really. Arcane magic is neutral -- it is simply a tool. Divine magic is always aligned with the deity in question because the power comes directly from them.

When a wizard sculpts the arcane energies around him or her then the moral result always has to do with what they're doing and how they're doing it, not with the energies involved.

But the spells DO have alignment, something like protection from chaos is a lawful spell. They're not without alignment because the spells themselves have alignment. Spells like fireball don't, but protection from chaos does. Why then should a spell that is lawful work for a chaotic sorc?


Studpuffin wrote:
concerro wrote:

I think I worded that badly. When I said clerics cant choose, what I mean is they ask for certain spells from their deity and the deity gets to say yes or no.

Here is my crunch analysis: Clerics have all off their class spells known to them, so one of the restrictions is alignment, and it makes for good fluff also. Most arcane casters don't know all the spells from the class list. They have to study for them or buy scrolls. The upside of this is they can cast whatever then can get their hands on. If all the casting classes used the exact method people would complain because they would be to much alike.

But why? Why is it any different. A wizard can learn every single spell on their spell-list if they have the time and the gold to do so. There is not a restriction on the spells they can cast at all. What is the point of even letting arcane casters have alignment oriented spells if it has no effect on them whatsoever? It makes little sense to me that alignment doesn't affect them on the grand cosmic scale the same way it does a cleric. Clerics are religious, not alignment-mages for that matter.

Quote:
Yes there is a reason someone would want to cast a spell different than their alignment. If I am a good-aligned caster, we will say arcane, and the party is in for the fight of its life I may have to throw my morals aside to save the party. Now if it becomes an everyday thing for me to cast evil spells then I may need to rethink my character's alignment. Being good, does not mean I will always do good things, and one bad action does not make you a bad person, of course there are exceptions to this belief, but generally it holds up pretty well. That is my view on the alignments in D&D.
Now this is where I think the problem arises. I must throw my morals aside in order cast these spells. Why then doesn't my alignment change when I cast these spells? Well if it doesn't then I don't think you should gain access to any other...

The cosmos has no determination who can cast spells because there is no cosmos in the sense that you are thinking about it in D&D. Either you get it(the power to cast spells) from a divine source(not a cosmos) or you find out how to do it yourself.

You are right clerics are not alignment mages, but deities work along alignment, and they dont support opposite alignments. As an example a chaotic good deity would not grant a lawful spell. Even if the cleric has no deity his faith his alignment will prevent his from casting a spell that is opposite to what he believes is be the way to do things.

Gold is actually a restriction. If someone gives me access to every car in existence, saying another person can get all cars if they work long and hard enough does not put us on even terms. If that is true then myself and Bill Gates are on even terms.

The wizards are affected by evil spells, and their alignment will change eventually, but there is no reason(mechanically) to stop them from casting such spells. They have no one to answer to but themselves, which means that other than the DM saying you are now evil, they dont have anything to worry about.

As for the casting morals aside, the best person might do something they dont agree with if the situation is bad enough.

Disclaimer: I did not proof read this.


My take,
If you cast Evil spells all the time and do nothing to balance out your "evil-doing" then eventually it would change your Alignment. However you need to look at the whole not "one-offs".

A CN character killing a captured enemy isn't going to change his alignment immediately. If before this incident he helped save a village by fighting off the invading Goblins he has "balanced" things with a "good act".

Would you change his alignment to CG because he saved the village?

We tend to "see" the evil acts fairly clearly, but often overlook all the good ones.

Changing an alignment is a serious matter and one that needs careful consideration.


Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Studpuffin wrote:
SuperSheep wrote:

One presumption is that arcane magic doesn't have alignment. At least not really. Arcane magic is neutral -- it is simply a tool. Divine magic is always aligned with the deity in question because the power comes directly from them.

When a wizard sculpts the arcane energies around him or her then the moral result always has to do with what they're doing and how they're doing it, not with the energies involved.

But the spells DO have alignment, something like protection from chaos is a lawful spell. They're not without alignment because the spells themselves have alignment. Spells like fireball don't, but protection from chaos does. Why then should a spell that is lawful work for a chaotic sorc?

The spells do have alignment, but perhaps only on the divine side. I can't find any alignment specific spells that aren't also divine. Perhaps the Wizard is getting the same effect a different way, but that doesn't mean the wizard is creating evil energies or good energies. Perhaps they're just channeling good or evil energy or something that interacts with good or evil energy.

Liberty's Edge

concerro wrote:

The cosmos has no determination who can cast spells because there is no cosmos in the sense that you are thinking about it in D&D. Either you get it(the power to cast spells) from a divine source(not a cosmos) or you find out how to do it yourself.

You are right clerics are not alignment mages, but deities work along alignment, and they dont support opposite alignments. As an example a chaotic good deity would not grant a lawful spell. Even if the cleric has no deity his faith his alignment will prevent his from casting a spell that is opposite to what he believes is be the way to do things.

But why? You did not actually answer my question.

Quote:
Gold is actually a restriction. If someone gives me access to every car in existence, saying another person can get all cars if they work long and hard enough does not put us on even terms. If that is true then myself and Bill Gates are on even terms.

Huh, I geuss I'll just take your word that he didn't have to work a day in his life. :p That aside, gold isn't a very good restriction method. If I have all the spells i'll ever want to cast, isn't that just as good as having access to all spells? Gold isn't limiting in that regard.

Quote:
The wizards are affected by evil spells, and their alignment will change eventually, but there is no reason(mechanically) to stop them from casting such spells. They have no one to answer to but themselves, which means that other than the DM saying you are now evil, they dont have anything to worry about.

The deities are beholden to alignment... but a 1st level wizard is not? Something sounds pretty wrong about that.

Quote:

As for the casting morals aside, the best person might do something they dont agree with if the situation is bad enough.

I agree that the compromising of morals will shift your alignment, I don't understand why you should have the ability to cast spells against your alignment. I don't see why anyone should have the ability. For example: Should a Bard be able to cast lawful spells?

Liberty's Edge

SuperSheep wrote:


The spells do have alignment, but perhaps only on the divine side. I can't find any alignment specific spells that aren't also divine. Perhaps the Wizard is getting the same effect a different way, but that doesn't mean the wizard is creating evil energies or good energies. Perhaps they're just channeling good or evil energy or something that interacts with good or evil energy.

But it goes against their alignment. Its an aspect of all characters that is being ignored by their spell selection process. If there are evil energies coursing through you, you should change alignment of course. That said, why do you get to cast a spell diametrically opposed to your moral or ethical position at all? Clerics obviously cannot because of their deities, but why do wizards, sorcs, bards not have this restriction?

Shadow Lodge

I don't think bards can cast lawful spells (in the sense that they don't have any lawful spells on there list). I could be wrong.

There is no reason that a cleric (or divine caster) shouldn't be able to cast opposite alignment spells. No logic to it besides game mechanics and to make a little difference between sources. Saying that the deities don't allow it universally is a copp out answer though, as 1.) Not all clerics have anything to do with deities
2.) There are entire settings without deities,
3.)every setting except FR (*) has methods for any cleric to gain spells without a specific deity, or some similar option such as mystics in DL, and
4.) Deities do not account manage their clerics spells. Rather they grant them in full each time.

It is fair to say that wizards who do not get all their spels automatically knowns is about balanced with cleric who do, but have a lot less spells knowable. In other words, there are a lot more wizard spells than there are cleric spells (on the spell list), and with each suppliment, at least in the past, arcane gets at least 2 - 3 times the number of new spells that clerics get.
* it can be argued that in FR specifically, that the deities are a deceptive lie for the source of any divine magic, or even magic at all. During the time of troubles, (2nd ed), all but one deities was stripped of their divinity. But clerics could still cast and prepair their spells, just like a wizard. All magic became extremely wild and most followers did not know the deities were gone. So the divine magic did not come from the deities, but rather the cleric's personal faith, experience, wisdom, empathy, or whatever. A similar thing happened in 3.5's war of the spider queen, when most lolth clerics lost their power.

I personally feel that it robs divine characters of a good method of rp in morality issues. Like a good preist knowing that they could dip into evil and have a chance of actually saving a village from an encrouching army by raising some zombies, but is the price worth it? (This is just a house rule I allow, and have yet to see it game breaking).

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

SabreRabbit wrote:

Hydro, if you seperate the action outside of the context in which it occured, then yes, changing your alignment by infusing yourself with positive energy is a good act.

However, in your example the evil wizard had no real change of heart, no repentance, no desire to be good ...

He most certianly desires to be good. That's why he's doing it.

As for repentance/change of heart, what about the good wizard casting [evil] spells? You didn't imply that a real change of heart was necessary here.

Here, let me try to put the examples on even footing.

A good-aligned wizard's evil lover dies (he fails to redeem her) and he is wracked with self-destructive guilt. His outlook and behavior do not change, but he begins casting [evil] spells regularly because he wants to become evil and go to hell.

Does his alignment change? Why or why not?

An evil-aligned wizard's Neutral Good lover dies and he realizes he really, really wants to go to heaven. His outlook and behavior do not change, but he begins casting [good] spells regularly because he wants to go to heaven.

Does his alignment change? Why or why not?

Shadow Lodge

A question needs to be answered. Why are you casting the spell? If it is for a purely selfish reason(like you want a skeletal butler), it is going to affect your AL. But if your trying to make a small diversion while storming the evil necromancer/cleric's castle so you can rescue a princess or something, I don't see how that could be an evil act. Thats just my opinion though.


Hydro wrote:
Here, let me try to put the examples on even footing.

Albeit a silly one...

Hydro wrote:

A good-aligned wizard's evil lover dies (he fails to redeem her) and he is wracked with self-destructive guilt. His outlook and behavior do not change, but he begins casting [evil] spells regularly because he wants to become evil and go to hell.

Does his alignment change? Why or why not?

His outlook and behavior do not change? So, he still helps little old ladies cross the street, donates to the orpanage, undertakes harrowing quests to save mankind and drive evil from the world. But, now he does it by casting evil-aligned spells?

OK, sure, his good deeds push his alignment towards good, and his evil deeds push his alignment toward evil. They cancel each other out and end up in the middle: neutral.

Now, before you say it, we already know he does sufficient good deeds to be good (your premise states he is good, and it shouldn't just be a word on his character sheet, so the assumption is that he behaves good). But we were not clear on how many evil spells he casts.

Just a few is probably not enough reason to slip his alignment; he remains good.

A fair amount is probably just enough to slip his alignment to neutral, assuming they balance fairly well against the good he does.

A helluva lot is probably enough reason to slip all the way to evil (assuming they clearly outweigh the smaller amount of good he does).

Who defines the difference between "just a few", "a fair amount", and "a helluva lot"?

Well, ultimately, the DM - just as James Jacobs said.

Hydro wrote:

An evil-aligned wizard's Neutral Good lover dies and he realizes he really, really wants to go to heaven. His outlook and behavior do not change, but he begins casting [good] spells regularly because he wants to go to heaven.

Does his alignment change? Why or why not?

Ditto - except he's tripping the old lady in the street and stealing babies from the orpanage to make baby fondue, baby con carne, and baby-a-roni, the San Francisco treat. And he undertakes harrowing quests to gratify his evil thirst for power and to drive goood from the world. But, now he does it by casting good-aligned spells.

All the rest of that stuff I said still applies, with the evil/good descriptors inverted.

Liberty's Edge

Heh. DM_Blake, I could not have said it better myself.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

At least you're consistant, then. :)

I wouldn't rule either of those that extremely (I don't think that a single vice, even a consistant one, is enough to change alignment); but I'm not here to say that's wrong, either.

My point was just that this ruling can leave you with an "evil" character who is good in all but name (this is the part most DMs are okay with), as well as a "good" character who is evil in all but name (this is the part most DMs balk at).

For what it's worth, I think many DMs in this case would say that the taint on your soul (or cleansing) leads to a change in behavior, ala darkside techniques in Star Wars. However, at that point the alignment system really is controling how you can play your character, which is a little too heavy for some groups.

Liberty's Edge

Hydro wrote:

At least you're consistant, then. :)

I wouldn't rule either of those that extremely (I don't think that a single vice, even a consistant one, is enough to change alignment); but I'm not here to say that's wrong, either.

My point was just that this ruling can leave you with an "evil" character who is good in all but name (this is the part most DMs are okay with), as well as a "good" character who is evil in all but name (this is the part most DMs balk at).

For what it's worth, I think many DMs in this case would say that the taint on your soul (or cleansing) leads to a change in behavior, ala darkside techniques in Star Wars. However, at that point the alignment system really is controling how you can play your character, which is a little too heavy for some groups.

Well, Hydro, I think that actions, all actions, should have some sort of consequence, both within the game world and on the character itself.

When a character chooses to mess with the forces of the cosmos, sometimes those forces will mess back. I let all my players know this in advance.


Studpuffin wrote:
What is the point of even letting arcane casters have alignment oriented spells if it has no effect on them whatsoever?

Because even if the spell's alignment doesn't affect the wizard, it might interact with other spells. For example, a wizard might be able to cast Summon Monster III to bring forth a Fiendish Crocodile without much concern for himself, but the spell still leaves a lingering Evil aura for 1d6 minutes after the spell's duration is over.


Beckett wrote:
They could up until 3rd Ed. I see no good reason not to allow it. Personally, I like the idea that a (fallen) Cleric can masquerade as the (former) priest of their deity, without telltail signs of no longer having favor, or that a good priest can be tempted to summon a demon or raise undead, and not have immediate lose of status.

You should take a look at the Eberron setting. Clerics there are far more gray in nature - they don't have any alignment restrictions, and the existence of gods is definitely not a sure thing (unlike, say, Forgotten Realms where the gods occasionally come down to visit).


Lathiira wrote:
For example, the city of Hollowfaust in the Scarred Lands regularly use undead for soldiers and defense of their city. Within certain strict rules, it's permissible. Citizens even volunteer their bodies for this treatment upon their demise. In the case I've outlined, I'd say animating the dead isn't evil; the undead are all unintelligent IIRC and the citizens willingly agree to this.

This reminds me of the Jakandor setting for 2e. The whole thing was set on an island about the size of Britain (IIRC), with two main factions. One was a society dominated by priests and wizards, which fell victim to a plague a few centuries ago. To make up for the loss of labor, they reanimate the dead as a matter of course, and use zombies as essentially free labor. They do not consider this reprehensible in the slightest, they just see it as a way for the body to keep serving society after death.

The other society is sort of a Viking/Native American hybrid, who are big on being close to nature and stuff (there were numerous fighter kits based on totem animals), and who consider the dead to be sacred. This, of course, leads to quite a bit of conflict.

The whole thing was a pretty interesting experiment. The setting was released as a three-book series. The first, Jakandor: Island of War, described the setting from the point of view of the barbarians. The second, Jakandor: Isle of Destiny did the same from the PoV of the wizards. The third, Jakandor: Land of Legend, was more neutral, had some "secret" information in it, and a lot of adventure seeds. Neither faction was described as particularly good or evil, but rather the whole thing was more of a law (wizards) vs chaos (barbarians) thing, although the books never came out and said that.

Shadow Lodge

Staffan Johansson wrote:
Beckett wrote:
They could up until 3rd Ed. I see no good reason not to allow it. Personally, I like the idea that a (fallen) Cleric can masquerade as the (former) priest of their deity, without telltail signs of no longer having favor, or that a good priest can be tempted to summon a demon or raise undead, and not have immediate lose of status.
You should take a look at the Eberron setting. Clerics there are far more gray in nature - they don't have any alignment restrictions, and the existence of gods is definitely not a sure thing (unlike, say, Forgotten Realms where the gods occasionally come down to visit).

That is an aspect of eberron I like. I like moral delimas and I think rules restrictions like good clerics can't cast evil spells prevents that. I think star wars (revised) fails after a certain point. In a star wars game I ran, a jedi used a darkside point (he was out of force points). So for the next few sessions, whenever he used a force skill, I would say things like "are you sure? You know how strong the dark side makes you. If you know you will succeed. . . " sometimes I would even roll the dice for the dark side point and let the player know what they could have had.

I think and wish D&D/PF went more with that style of alignment. Especially in relation to corruption and taint. It is still up to the DM, but it is a lot more organic to individual groups, allows for cultural moral views to differ more, and is just generally more fun.

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