Non-evil necromancers


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To the people at Paizo...

Can we get some way to play a necromancer, a real necromancer, without being evil? The [evil] descriptor on Animate Dead is silly beyond belief, as there is nothing inherintly evil with bringing the dead to life (see raise dead), and there is nothing inherintly wrong with the Negative Energy Plane (which doesn't even have the evil planar trait.) I mean seriously, the descriptor popped up from 3.0 to 3.5 for no readily apparent reason, and zombies and skeletons changed from true neutral to neutral evil, also for no apparent reason.

The only thing I have ever heard as a rules explanation for this is "undead are evil because animate dead is [evil]," and "Animate dead is [evil] because undead are evil." There's nothing stopping people from playing evil characters, so it doesn't seem to be a balancing issue. Can't you either make it so that the undead are evil because their necromancer was evil, not the other way around? Or what about a Feat or PRC like the Malconvoker from the complete scoundrel, who ignores the [evil] descriptor? I'm getting fed up with people telling me I'm playing an evil character when I raise a dead person to go into a burning orphanage and rescue the children inside.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

You may be trolling but I am home sick so I will play. Most people from most cultures would disagree with you and agree that animating someones corpse is an evil act. There are plenty of religious and cultural implications never mind the fact that it is basically stealing. Most people would not want their rotting corpse walking around not to mention the trama that could cause to loved ones, etc.

Now can you use animated dead to do good. Sure. But that does not make the process less evil. You could also blow up an Inn killing everyone inside in order to kill a serial killer but that does not make blowing up an Inn any less of an evil act.

You have confused means and ends.

It is my understanding that Paizo has decided to make a judgment call on undead and animate dead and place them in the evil catagory. This is the same kind of judgment call that they have made in many areas such as allowing slavery and drugs in Golarion. Heroic adventure requires "Heros". Can there be "anti-heros"? Sure, but they are evil.

Go ahead and play the anti-hero. They can be fun. But don't expect them to be "good" or loved by the people. They won't be.


Actually, he does have something of a point: Evil in D&D (and thus, Pathfinder) isn't a matter of socio-cultural perceptions. It is a literal supernatural force.

By tagging those spells with the Evil descriptor, technically what that means is that, by using those spells, you will inevitably end up a soulless, puppy-kicking bastard who is only out for himself and actively enjoys causing suffering in others.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
The [evil] descriptor on Animate Dead is silly beyond belief, as there is nothing inherintly evil with bringing the dead to life (see raise dead), and there is nothing inherintly wrong with the Negative Energy Plane (which doesn't even have the evil planar trait.)

This is one reason (out of many) that I've removed alignment from games I run.

Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.), so I doubt that position will change anytime soon. I wouldn't sweat it; perform enough good deeds and your alignment should stay neutral at the least.


While I have, in fact, played a non-Evil Necromancer, I have to concur - in a game in which there are Alignments, Evil is not a "matter of perception" - it's a palpable thing. Paladins detect it, for crying out loud.

Could you play a character who is extraordinarily Lawful Neutral, who enters into contracts with the Unjustly Slain and brings their corpses out of the grave so that they can get revenge on their killer? Sure.

Could you use Speak With Dead and various other spells to be a fantastic sort of detective, finding out who did these horrible things to an entire village? Could you then offer the spirits of the deceased a bargain, whereby you use their bodies as muscle to route out the killers? Again, sure.

But in a game where something is given the "Evil" descriptor, the use of this thing - no matter what your good intentions (or lawful intentions) - will eventually corrupt you and make you just as bad as the spells themselves.

Think of it like the Dark Side of the Force - once you start down that path, forever will it dominate your destiny.


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Oddly enough, I was just catching up on OotS, and came across this.
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0700.html


My point is this, what makes the animate dead spell more [evil] than fireball, or disintigrate? And don't get me started on dominate and magic jar, now those spells reek of evil.

Scarab Sages

Perhaps an oracle with the Juju mystery (from Serpent Skull AP)?

Contributor

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Necromancer wrote:


Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.)

That's an interesting one there. As originally described in TGB, the sceaduinar aren't evil, however the core PFRPG sceaduinar writeup has them as evil (fwiw, yes I made a fuss about it). ;)

I'm also incredibly sympathetic to the folks questioning about that [evil] tag and the alignment shifts in nonintelligent undead between 3e and 3.5 (and the carryover into PF). But you have to work within the system so to speak, and Paizo has come up with an in-game rationale when there really wasn't one in 3.5. I might have gone a different way myself or in my home games, but it's not the end of the world. :)

I like the idea of non-evil necromancers, and there are certainly ways to do it even when the overt use of negative energy as an animating force within the Material Plane is construed as an evil act by virtue of it disrupting the proper balance of creation. I could think of some other ways to add to that rationale and still come down with sympathy to non-malevolent necromancers and even the sceaduinar (blame the jyoti, those soul cultivating bastards!).


I've already got the character, a True Neutral cleric with Undead domain and undead mastery, who becomes a necromancer wizard with Theurgy, and PRCs into mystic theurge.

The problem is people whining that he has to be evil, and thus not be in games.


Todd Stewart wrote:
Necromancer wrote:


Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.)

That's an interesting one there. As originally described in TGB, the sceaduinar aren't evil, however the core PFRPG sceaduinar writeup has them as evil (fwiw, yes I made a fuss about it). ;)

I'm also incredibly sympathetic to the folks questioning about that [evil] tag and the alignment shifts in nonintelligent undead between 3e and 3.5 (and the carryover into PF). But you have to work within the system so to speak, and Paizo has come up with an in-game rationale when there really wasn't one in 3.5. I might have gone a different way myself or in my home games, but it's not the end of the world. :)

I like the idea of non-evil necromancers, and there are certainly ways to do it even when the overt use of negative energy as an animating force within the Material Plane is construed as an evil act by virtue of it disrupting the proper balance of creation. I could think of some other ways to add to that rationale and still come down with sympathy to non-malevolent necromancers and even the sceaduinar (blame the jyoti, those soul cultivating bastards!).

Wait, what's the ingame reason, I can't find it. Also, magical healing and positive energy, and raise dead imbalances creation also, so shouldn't they be evil too?

Dark Archive

In Encyclopedia Arcane: Necromancy they described animating the undead as evil because it brings more negative energy into the world. Negative energy is a force of universal entropy and destruction and so by creating more of it a person is actually moving the universe closer to destruction, however slightly.

Also, raising the dead and animating the dead are completely different things. One is restoring a dead person to life while the other is creating a corpse puppet animated by negative energy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The whole thing is fairly illogical.

A) If using a person's body without their permission is evil, then Dominate Person should be an evil spell. And Magic Jar should certainly be an evil spell by that logic.

B) If using negative energy is evil, then all the inflict spells should be evil, as should basically all necromancy spells for that matter. Taking it a step further, all positive energy spells should then be good.

C) If upsetting the natural order and bringing the dead to life is evil, Raise Dead should likewise be on the list. This one is a little weaker because it's a cleric only spell, so theoretically you're just getting a god to do it for you, somehow making it "right" with the universe.

Mindless undead should go back to being neutral, or there should at least be a sidebar or something giving the option. They are not returned souls - they are simply animated by negative energy. And if negative energy is inherently evil, we've got a whole other list of problems to work out.

I would have no problem with some alternative way to make evil mindless undead. And I certainly think the Create Undead spells are more unambiguously evil, since you're making evil creatures. Although, again, I'd love to see non-evil undead as options, like dutiful mummies and such. There have been plenty of good fluff ideas for cultures or individuals who felt compelled by duty to remain beyond the end of life. And we certainly don't have to get as complicated as adding the Deathless type to the game, as Eberron and BoED did way back when.

Then again, I'd like to see healing spells go back to being necromancy, and get a necromancer who can actually use them.


Why mindless undead were given an alignment other than neutral.


But that doesn't give any logical reason WHY. It boil down to "it's evil just because" their own setting contradicts him! Negative energy is not evil, nor is poitive energy good.


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Fenrisnorth wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Necromancer wrote:


Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.)

That's an interesting one there. As originally described in TGB, the sceaduinar aren't evil, however the core PFRPG sceaduinar writeup has them as evil (fwiw, yes I made a fuss about it). ;)

I'm also incredibly sympathetic to the folks questioning about that [evil] tag and the alignment shifts in nonintelligent undead between 3e and 3.5 (and the carryover into PF). But you have to work within the system so to speak, and Paizo has come up with an in-game rationale when there really wasn't one in 3.5. I might have gone a different way myself or in my home games, but it's not the end of the world. :)

I like the idea of non-evil necromancers, and there are certainly ways to do it even when the overt use of negative energy as an animating force within the Material Plane is construed as an evil act by virtue of it disrupting the proper balance of creation. I could think of some other ways to add to that rationale and still come down with sympathy to non-malevolent necromancers and even the sceaduinar (blame the jyoti, those soul cultivating bastards!).

Wait, what's the ingame reason, I can't find it. Also, magical healing and positive energy, and raise dead imbalances creation also, so shouldn't they be evil too?

Can you see the difference between raising someone from the dead and desecrating someone's corpse by turning it into a foul and hideous mockery of life? I'm not sure what you want from Paizo. The assumptions you are questioning are part of the main line tradition of heroic fantasy role-playing and are unlikely to change "officially," but obviously you can make your home game whatever you want it to be. Maybe your problem is finding a like-minded GM and group.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Funny how Paladin's Smite Evil led to a drastic increase of Evil critters in the game :)


Todd Stewart wrote:
Necromancer wrote:


Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.)

That's an interesting one there. As originally described in TGB, the sceaduinar aren't evil, however the core PFRPG sceaduinar writeup has them as evil (fwiw, yes I made a fuss about it). ;)

I'm also incredibly sympathetic to the folks questioning about that [evil] tag and the alignment shifts in nonintelligent undead between 3e and 3.5 (and the carryover into PF). But you have to work within the system so to speak, and Paizo has come up with an in-game rationale when there really wasn't one in 3.5. I might have gone a different way myself or in my home games, but it's not the end of the world. :)

I like the idea of non-evil necromancers, and there are certainly ways to do it even when the overt use of negative energy as an animating force within the Material Plane is construed as an evil act by virtue of it disrupting the proper balance of creation. I could think of some other ways to add to that rationale and still come down with sympathy to non-malevolent necromancers and even the sceaduinar (blame the jyoti, those soul cultivating bastards!).

This gave me the mental image of a sceaduinar plucking a hogtied jyoti's feathers whilst singing Alouette, gentille Alouette... New planar encounter!


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jocundthejolly wrote:
Fenrisnorth wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Necromancer wrote:


Everything associated with the Negative Energy Plane is generally marked evil (Sceaduinar, Dhampir, etc.)

That's an interesting one there. As originally described in TGB, the sceaduinar aren't evil, however the core PFRPG sceaduinar writeup has them as evil (fwiw, yes I made a fuss about it). ;)

I'm also incredibly sympathetic to the folks questioning about that [evil] tag and the alignment shifts in nonintelligent undead between 3e and 3.5 (and the carryover into PF). But you have to work within the system so to speak, and Paizo has come up with an in-game rationale when there really wasn't one in 3.5. I might have gone a different way myself or in my home games, but it's not the end of the world. :)

I like the idea of non-evil necromancers, and there are certainly ways to do it even when the overt use of negative energy as an animating force within the Material Plane is construed as an evil act by virtue of it disrupting the proper balance of creation. I could think of some other ways to add to that rationale and still come down with sympathy to non-malevolent necromancers and even the sceaduinar (blame the jyoti, those soul cultivating bastards!).

Wait, what's the ingame reason, I can't find it. Also, magical healing and positive energy, and raise dead imbalances creation also, so shouldn't they be evil too?
Can you see the difference between raising someone from the dead and desecrating someone's corpse by turning it into a foul and hideous mockery of life? I'm not sure what you want from Paizo. The assumptions you are questioning are part of the main line tradition of heroic fantasy role-playing and are unlikely to change "officially," but obviously you can make your home game whatever you want it to be. Maybe your problem is finding a like-minded GM and group.

I can use loaded language too. Can you not see the diference between using a non-aligned energy of the multi-verse to animate calcium and carbon that have been cast off, and betwwen using magic to rip someone back from their eternal reward in heaven and thrust them back into their corpse in a hideous mockery of the natural order of life and death?


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Or, in compromise, how about a holy version of animate dead that uses positive energy? Or neutral versions that use elemental energy?


Fenrisnorth wrote:
But that doesn't give any logical reason WHY. It boil down to "it's evil just because" their own setting contradicts him! Negative energy is not evil, nor is poitive energy good.

Same thread, further down the page.


Tthanks Necro, that actually helps my point. The man agrees with me, and they had to do it for compatability with 3.5. This back me up that it is internally inconsistent with the setting. As to "evil necromantic energies"... if necromancy is evil, why aren't all necromancy spells evil?


Fenrisnorth wrote:
As to "evil necromantic energies"... if necromancy is evil, why aren't all necromancy spells evil?
James Jacobs wrote:
I fought to give skeletons and zombies an Intelligence of 3 OR to make them true neutral, but for many reasons (most of which rhyme with "compatibility with 3.5") that wasn't really an option. So I added the bit of flavor text to both that talks about how while they're mindless, their necromantic energy causes them to be evil.

I don't think he meant that necromantic energy itself was evil, but rather using it to instill life was evil. What I take from this is that using "anti-life" energy (negative energy) to create new life somehow violates a universal concept of creation and therefore is considered universally evil.

In the end it's just semantics and wordplay to hold a theme together; the theme in this case being "classic D&D high-fantasy with a black & white good vs. evil magic system".


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:
Tthanks Necro, that actually helps my point. The man agrees with me, and they had to do it for compatability with 3.5. This back me up that it is internally inconsistent with the setting. As to "evil necromantic energies"... if necromancy is evil, why aren't all necromancy spells evil?

By the moral standard of most cultures, the use of the dead in almost any form is considered evil. In particular animating thier corpses = bad. This is a moral issue, not one of metaphysics. If you used flowers and unicorn smiles to animate the dead, it would still be evil in most cultures.

Create a world (with cultures of it's own) in which this is not an evil act and you can re-skin animate dead however you want (even removing the negative energy clause) and then change the descriptor. But in a world that uses the vast majority of midevil cultures as it's base, no matter what, animate dead is evil. Zombies bad, tree pretty.


The problem is, that in Pathfinder:

Negative Energy Plane-not evil
Negative Energy-not evil
Cause light wounds-not evil
Ennervation-not evil
Energy drain-not evil
Necromancy- not evil

Then:

Animate dead-evil.

If necromancy isn't evil, and negative energy isn't evil, then what is making it evil?

In mideaval culture prohibitions against necrpmancy had to do with the souls of the dead. Not animating the husks. Animate dead, no soul involved. The biblical prohibition against the necromancy had to do with "speak with dead" and chinese, northern european, and egyptian culture all interred "grave guardians" to protect the tomb/cairns, it is abrahamic religion that abhors speaking with the dead.


You can play a non-evil necromancer. Saving the city is a good action, casting animate dead is evil. Do both and you end up neutral. :D


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:

The problem is, that in Pathfinder:

Negative Energy Plane-not evil
Negative Energy-not evil
Cause light wounds-not evil
Ennervation-not evil
Energy drain-not evil
Necromancy- not evil

Then:

Animate dead-evil.

If necromancy isn't evil, and negative energy isn't evil, then what is making it evil?

In mideaval culture prohibitions against necrpmancy had to do with the souls of the dead. Not animating the husks. Animate dead, no soul involved. The biblical prohibition against the necromancy had to do with "speak with dead" and chinese, northern european, and egyptian culture all interred "grave guardians" to protect the tomb/cairns, it is abrahamic religion that abhors speaking with the dead.

It is about more then just the souls of the dead, it is desecrating the corpse. You are disturbing a body's final resting place. In a world that is full of magic, spirits and an afterlife, that is bound to disrupt the spirits of the dead and the living. That is the lore the game is built around. Like I said, zombies bad, tree pretty.

Edit, I just want to demonstrate the absurdity of your argument. Non evil things (negative engergy and necromancy) can be used to do evil things. For instance

Baby - Not evil
Industrial Blender - Not evil
therefore
Putting a Baby in an industrial Blender is not evil. Thats you're logic.


Fenrisnorth wrote:


If necromancy isn't evil, and negative energy isn't evil, then what is making it evil?

Necromantic energy in general isn't evil, but the specific energies animating skeletons and zombies cause them to do evil actions.


Fenrisnorth wrote:

The problem is, that in Pathfinder:

Negative Energy Plane-not evil
Negative Energy-not evil
Cause light wounds-not evil
Ennervation-not evil
Energy drain-not evil
Necromancy- not evil

Then:

Animate dead-evil.

If necromancy isn't evil, and negative energy isn't evil, then what is making it evil?

3.5 compatibility from the looks of it.


@kolo
But that's not where the soul has its final rest. It has nothing to do with final rest. People still get to heaven if they've been disintigrated. It's meat, no more no less. Squick is not evil, its squick. But even if it was, what if the person had reincarnated alreadt, via the spell. Then why is it evil? And who's to say what is desecration? To jews, cremation is desecration, to other cultures eating the dead is a sign of respect, desecration is a cultural mores, not an absolute spiritual thing.

@ string

So it has been said, but WHY? There's no consistent reason.

@necro

EXACTLY! And that shouldn't be a valid reason!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:

@kolo

But that's not where the soul has its final rest. It has nothing to do with final rest. People still get to heaven if they've been disintigrated. It's meat, no more no less. Squick is not evil, its squick. But even if it was, what if the person had reincarnated alreadt, via the spell. Then why is it evil? And who's to say what is desecration? To jews, cremation is desecration, to other cultures eating the dead is a sign of respect, desecration is a cultural mores, not an absolute spiritual thing.

It is evil because you are making a mockery of life. You are attempting to play god, which is always a non-no. And because in many cases should someone wish it, you are blocking some forms of bringing people back to life.

If you want to create a culture where animate dead is 'recycling' go for it. And in that context the spell would not be evil. But if you cant understand why for most people digging up and using the dead for your own purposes (whether they involve necromantic energy or not) you need to find yourself some help.

Liberty's Edge

Fenrisnorth wrote:

@kolo

But that's not where the soul has its final rest. It has nothing to do with final rest. People still get to heaven if they've been disintigrated. It's meat, no more no less. Squick is not evil, its squick. But even if it was, what if the person had reincarnated alreadt, via the spell. Then why is it evil? And who's to say what is desecration? To jews, cremation is desecration, to other cultures eating the dead is a sign of respect, desecration is a cultural mores, not an absolute spiritual thing.

@ string

So it has been said, but WHY? There's no consistent reason.

@necro

EXACTLY! And that shouldn't be a valid reason!

I think it's important that we don't get to wrapped up in real world religion and their various views on life, death and the afterlife.

We need to stay within the game as much as possible, in my opinion.

Unless you play in Pathfinder Society games, you can certainly play around with these things in your game. Deciding that animate dead, create dead etc are not evil is certainly valid if that fits your game. Like it or not though, the core rules say that they are evil.

I am one of those firmly in the camp that says there is room in the game for true white necromancy and white necromancers ...


First off, be civil. Secondly, we as a culture harvest dead bodies and "recycle" their organs. Thirdly, by your argument raise dead and ressurection should be evil (playing god, wish can replicate those, clerics needn't follow a god to get powers, and adepts and witches can all bring people back to life with a deity's help.) Life is NOT by definition [good] so making a mockery of it should not be [evil]. A golem is just as much a "mockery" of life as a skeleton, indeed, one could make one from bone without being evil. As for blocking ressurection, you have already stated that upsetting the natural order is wrong, so this is preventing that imbalance.

People are squeamish about death, it's scary, that makes the dead taboo, hell, zombies freak me the heck out. But those are social proscriptions, not supernatural ones. There is nothing more inherently wrong about animating a skeleton than than chopping down a tree and casting creation on it to make a boat, or turning it into a wood golem.

Would it have offended you less if I had asked for a golemancer class that could make constructs which are identical to undead but not made out of yucky stuff? Following the same mechanics but without an illogical alignment descriptor?


What I wouldn't give for a pathfinder version of sanctify spell... that would end this BS here and now


Fenrisnorth wrote:

To the people at Paizo...

Can we get some way to play a necromancer, a real necromancer, without being evil?

Technically, a "necromancer" by that word, is someone who speaks to the dead. A real necromancer needn't reanimate a single corpse - more than likely, s/he will speak to souls or already existing undead. Just saying ;) .

Now, if you want to be a reanimator, I think most DMs won't have too much of a problem with a neutral wizard occasionally animating undead, especially if you clean up after yourself afterwards. See, the last one is a biggie - if you leave a trail of undead wherever you go, you are responsible for what they do, and what they do tends to be killing various living creatures and generally making a mess. It's like dumping radioactive waste in the countryside, just because you couldn't be bothered. If you do have some sense of and only use undead when necessary, I think most DMs will let you stay neutral. Now, there is the matter of most cultures not taking it kindly when strangers start defiling the earthly remains of their honored ancestors, but that is another story. Remember, you don't have to be evil to find an angry mob with torches and pitchforks on your lawn...

Now, most good characters won't much like to do it, but neutrals tend to have more leeway in that regard.


Yeah, wild undead, not so good, but animating that fire giant the party just killed? Schwing!

I actually have a character concept ( and concept art) somewhere of an elementalist who binds elementals into skeletons... bad arse.


Alright, Hypothetical Situation.

A Dwarven king dies and rests in his tomb with his legendary axe. A group of a dozen dwarfs elect themselves to be the sole guardian of that axe and the remains of their once was great king. Nearing the end of their mortal lives, they advise their cleric that in death, they still wish to serve their purpose.

They all slip into death one at a time, and the cleric fulfills their wishes - animating them into skeleton soldiers to forever protect this relic.

Because the dwarfs chose this fate, is that evil? It hardly is, at this point, those dwarven skeletons are not acting ANY different than a golem would.

IMO, it's situational.


We have a Dread Necromancer in our current game. She isn't evil in any paticular way, and tries to help people all of the time. She also will put her life first of it is someone else or her, if it comes to survival.

This same character decided that she would not animate the dead of sentiant creatures, no human, elf, goblin or orc skeletons. Considers it revolting. However this same person would hesitate in the slighted to animate that bull, deer, or bear into the undead. Her opinion is that, "Man, and others, enslave, and murder cows, sheep, deer, horses all the time. Isn't using a creatures bones less of a crime than killing it.

There is also a Cleric NPC around from an order that does not see skeletons and zombies as evil, believing their their souls have passed onto the next realm, but they have intelligent undead and seek to destroy them to release their souls to the next realm.

Are either of those people evil?
I don't think so... are their acts evil? That's a different in point-of-view.


InfoStorm wrote:

We have a Dread Necromancer in our current game. She isn't evil in any paticular way, and tries to help people all of the time. She also will put her life first of it is someone else or her, if it comes to survival.

This same character decided that she would not animate the dead of sentiant creatures, no human, elf, goblin or orc skeletons. Considers it revolting. However this same person would hesitate in the slighted to animate that bull, deer, or bear into the undead. Her opinion is that, "Man, and others, enslave, and murder cows, sheep, deer, horses all the time. Isn't using a creatures bones less of a crime than killing it.

There is also a Cleric NPC around from an order that does not see skeletons and zombies as evil, believing their their souls have passed onto the next realm, but they have intelligent undead and seek to destroy them to release their souls to the next realm.

Are either of those people evil?
I don't think so... are their acts evil? That's a different in point-of-view.

That's actually quite a good argument. In a shamanistic culture, using the bones of an animal would be considered useful and not being wasteful. I could see this being a "loophole"

Kudos to your player :)


I would agree, but this isn't a conversation about cultural views of evil regarding necromancy, it's a conversation about why there is no logical reason in game that is a metaphysically evil spell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:

To the people at Paizo...

Can we get some way to play a necromancer, a real necromancer, without being evil?

Yes... Instead of being someone who's trying to justify filling the world with shambling undead, use your study of necromancy to combat those who DO.

Animate Dead is just a spell or family of spells. If that's the only cornerstone that you can imagine building a necromancer on, your view of Necromancy is extremely limited.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
I would agree, but this isn't a conversation about cultural views of evil regarding necromancy, it's a conversation about why there is no logical reason in game that is a metaphysically evil spell.

We're just coming up with examples to substantiate why it SHOULDN'T be considered an outright evil spell ;)


Way to contribute to the discussion. The topic is not "there are no other necromancy spells than animate dead"

What you just said is the equivalent of telling a conjurer not to summon, an invoker not to use fire or lightning, or a transmuter not to change things. Sure it CAN be done, but those are iconic class traits.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:

Way to contribute to the discussion. The topic is not "there are no other necromancy spells than animate dead"

What you just said is the equivalent of telling a conjurer not to summon, an invoker not to use fire or lightning, or a transmuter not to change things. Sure it CAN be done, but those are iconic class traits.

I dont agree, I think the horde of undead being lead by the necromancer is one of many tropes for the concept. For instance in their necromancy specialist class, supergenius games offers many routes to take besides the master of undead. In fact one of paths the class can take is decidedly ANTI-undead.the death mage


@seraph

True, I apologize, I was so focused on logical reasons it shouldn't be evil given the rules in the great beyond and the core books, I didn't realize what you were doing


If I'm taking stuff from minor third party companies, I might as well just find some 3.5 stuff I could use to remove the offending descriptor. Admittedly I'm not near my books, but animate dead seems like one of the less cruel and harmful spells in the necromancy school.

It's what you do, not how you do it. If I'm an adventurer who uses undead to battle evil, I shouldn't be forced to be evil myself.


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Yar!

Fenrisnorth wrote:
It's what you do, not how you do it.

I cannot disagree with this statement more. Although I do agree that Animate Dead should not have the evil descriptor (as Seraph403 has pointed out, there are potential situations where using that spell is at the worst Neutral), this statement I cannot agree with. It is BOTH what you do, and how you do it. In fact, how you do it is PARAMOUNT to weather the act is good or evil.

"The ends justify the means" is an evil mindset. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, after all. It's the good people who will do something a potentially harder way, because it is the right thing to do.

a terrible, gruesome, evil example:
I want to convince someone to do good to his fellow man, and donate money to the local orphanage. I will do it by fear tactics, breaking his legs, and raping his family in front of him, then telling him that I will force feed him pieces of his family to him and his loved ones should he not comply. I then proceed to use shock therapy to condition him to not say curse words, or look at people in a negative way, or whatever. From then on, the man is so terrified that he does do good to his fellow man, and donates everything he has to the local orphanage. Anytime dark thoughts enter his mind regarding another person, the shock therapy kicks in and makes him sick to his stomach, thus, we have a convert to the forces of good!

This theoretical person just convinced another person to do good to his fellow man and to donate money to the local orphanage. He did it in a brutally terrible and evil way. "It's what you do, not how you do it." is, in my opinion, furthest from the truth.

Sorry about that spoiler's content.

So in my opinion, although many (indeed, most) applications of the spell Animate Dead are for darker ends, I do not feel that it should be inherently Evil, as I can see times (such as the dwarven example above) where the intent and execution of the magic is for a noble cause.

~P


Lol Pirate. Not quite what I meant, but I now have an idea for an insane deluded anti-paladin who thinks he's still good!

I more meant, it's important THAT you stave off the orc invasion, not whether you do it with sword, fireballs, or zombies.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
I more meant, it's important THAT you stave off the orc invasion, not whether you do it with sword, fireballs, or zombies.

Thats the key though. It is important whether you do it with a sword, fireballs or zombies.

You could use your argument to justify, say, using a poorly armed child army to defeat the orcs.

I mean, the means are irrelevant, right? As long as the Orcs are stopped?


Personally I think it's pretty silly that Animate Dead is evil by standard. One who believes the soul moves on could easily justify animating any non-intelligent Undead since it leaves the soul, the essence of being, alone and just reuses the body. It's like a flesh or a bone golem if you ask me. But if using the negative energy is what makes it evil, shouldn't there be other ways to animate zombies and skeleton, using another type of energy? Animating them like you do a golem.

I myself have been brooding on a way to create zombies that would be suitable for druids, where the body is actually infested with grubs and the druid controls the grubs and not the body itself. This way the use of negative energy is avoided. It would be limited to zombies though and I guess the duration would also have a limit.

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