Heavenly Fire vs. Good Undead


Rules Questions


You are a celestial sorcerer.

Oh no, a zombie has appeared!

You zap it with your heavenly fire!

The zombie is good.

What happens?

Is the healing positive energy and thus harms the undead? Is it untyped (which would make it unique as the only untyped magical healing in the game as far as I know)?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There are no good zombies, or good undead in general in the Pathfinder RPG.


How about zapping a good dhampir, then?


Zaister wrote:
There are no good zombies, or good undead in general in the Pathfinder RPG.

Theoretically it is possible to have a good lich, but very unlikely. :)

Zombies can't be good though, as they are mindless creatures animated by evil energies.

In any case, nothing in that ability description states that it's a positive energy effect and in fact it works differently compared to other abilities that utilize positive energy.

I would rule that undead, regardless of their alignment, are inherently evil creations and as such are harmed by heavenly fire.

That would be my interpretation.

In the case of a good Dhampir, I think that heavenly fire should work as healing.


Umbral Reaver wrote:

You are a celestial sorcerer.

Oh no, a zombie has appeared!

You zap it with your heavenly fire!

The zombie is good.

What happens?

Is the healing positive energy and thus harms the undead? Is it untyped (which would make it unique as the only untyped magical healing in the game as far as I know)?

There are no suggestion in description of Heavenly Fire that undead are treated any different, so per RAW it would heal good undead and harm evil undead. I don't know if that's really the intention though, and think it would be a valid interpretation that undead are always damaged by the ability, no matter their alignment.

Silver Crusade

It would heal good undead and not do anything at all to neutral undead, protestations of "NO GOOD UNDEAD EVER" be damned.

Where cure and channelling are grabbing hold of positive energy that plays by its set of rules, heavenly fire is dependant only on "good/evil".

What better way to show that such a being is truly good than to have it not only survive celestial fire made of pure good goodness, but also to be invigorated by it? Thematically, that's awesome.

(playing a celestial sorcerer using that ability on my dhampir paladin half-brother soon)


Zaister wrote:
There are no good zombies, or good undead in general in the Pathfinder RPG.

I disagree with the "no good undead" comment.

If some DM wants some undead that aren't evil, go for it.

Why not have fun with the worshipers of some good god whom were slaughtered in their temple by an evil cult raise up for justice.


InfoStorm wrote:


I disagree with the "no good undead" comment.
If some DM wants some undead that aren't evil, go for it.

Why not have fun with the worshipers of some good god whom were slaughtered in their temple by an evil cult raise up for justice.

James Jacobs commented once that they went for 'all undead are evil' approach when they designed pathfinder.

Good undead are an interesting concept, which can lead to a lot of depth, but currently pathfinder does not support non evil undead in it's presentation.

It's really not that big of an issue anyway as you can just ignore that little bit of information and play the game as you like it.


HansiIsMyGod wrote:
Good undead are an interesting concept, which can lead to a lot of depth, but currently pathfinder does not support non evil undead in it's presentation.

Not true. The ghost template does not change a creature's alignment, nor does it require the base creature to be evil. So there is at least one example of Pathfinder supporting the use of potentially good undead.

Silver Crusade

Good ol' ghosts. :)

Another interesting bit of canon to note:

In Classic Horrors Revisited, there's a sidebar explaining why mindless undead in Golarion are always evil without any exceptions unlike intelligent undead and fiends, which have rare exceptions for their typical alignments.

That leaves the gate wide open for GMs and players alike to have good undead work in their games while still fitting seamlessly into canon. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
There are no good zombies, or good undead in general in the Pathfinder RPG.

Carrion Crown ep.1, CG Ghost :)

Liberty's Edge

Zaister wrote:
There are no good zombies, or good undead in general in the Pathfinder RPG.

Alignment, Size, and Type:
While a monster's size and type remain constant (unless changed by the application of templates or other unusual modifiers), alignment is far more fluid. The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign. Only in the case of relatively unintelligent monsters (creatures with an Intelligence of 2 or lower are almost never anything other than neutral) and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind) is the listed alignment relatively unchangeable.

Summary: Alignment listed for a given creature is the norm and can vary based upon the need of the campaign. It should be rare for unintelligent monsters (Int 1 or 2) to be other than neutral. It should be rare for outsiders to vary; their alignment is inherent and their being and tough to change.

Pathfinder isn't Golarion. Paizo may present a particular the undead of Golarian in a particular light. GMs creating content for their games in Golarion might want to stick to that idea if consistency is important to them. GMs playing in other worlds are left to their own creative devices. The undead creature type says nothing about alignment; if PF undead were all evil, this is where it would be.

Disclaimer: I personally don't do the Good Undead thing.


Steven Erikson's Tales of the Malazan Empire novels have some outstanding examples of non-evil undead.

CJ


Now is when I point out that there are at least two different non-evil liches in Golarion. :P

You may now commence arguing if they started off as exceptions to the rule, or changed their alignment subsequent to becoming liches.

Generally speaking there are some minor differences between generic PFRPG handling on the topic and some instances on Golarion (or instances where the editors may yet retcon a freelancer boo hiss if the topic is revisited). For instance the lich thing (one lairing in the negative energy plane and just wanting to be left alone, and another rumored to be lairing in the conflicted warzone that is Aroden's former deific domain). Another example are the sceaduinar as presented in Bestiary 2 (NE in PFRPG) and in The Great Beyond (explicitely non-evil, just xenophobic and essentially made of fantasy antimatter - don't poke them, nothing positive comes of it).

Mind you, the situation may always be clarified in each circumstance that arises as behooves the Paizo guys. :)

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