Non-evil necromancers


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Scarab Sages

Cuàn wrote:
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.

I agree, and this is such an awesome thought, that I must now pitch it to my GM.


Of course it isn't the same as asking a child to fight the orcs. First off, the child can't win. Second, that would traumatize the kid. Now using tireless soldiers who are already dead, what's the harm in that, aside from an atavistic "dead things are bad" viewpoint.

Contributor

Making the druidic non-evil zombies is all possible by the book. Note that yellow musk creepers create yellow musk zombies. Note also that druids have the ability to control plants and even to Awaken them if they feel like it. Then note that in the River Kingdoms sourcebook, there's a crazy druid who breeds a variety of musk creeper with different colored blossoms.

So, just breed a variety of yellow musk creeper that can animate fresh corpses rather than killing living creatures and then animating them. Not much difference when you come right down to it. Then go around with lots of Command Plant.

Hell, use Summon Nature's Ally to summon yellow musk zombies. They are plants so should reasonably be non-evil. Yes, their method of procreation is awful, but no more so than a Venus flytrap or a pitcher plant or that fungus that hijacks ants.

Heck, go old school. Remember 1st ed where the myconids made zombies by sprinkling corpes with mushroom powder? Let the druids do the same thing.


Fenrisnorth wrote:

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.

I don't see the issue here. According to page 41 of the core rulebook Neutral clerics can cast spells with an evil descriptor so your character concept is fine. The evil descriptor does prevent good clerics and clerics of good deities from using the spell (probably why the descriptor was added).

As for people whining, refer them to the excellent source book Hollowfaust - City of Necromancers by Sword and Sorcery which details a city-state of neutral necromancers. Neutral necromancers are unusual, maybe a little unnerving, but an excellent concept.


The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.

Do they also have a "cast X [good] spells and your alignment changes" policy? Or a "donate X to Y and your alignment changes" policy?

Alignment shifts work both ways. Just balance out creating undead with good acts.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.

Well, if you do it for the lulz, yes. If you do it out of necessity, not so much - hopefully.

As a standalone act, killing is evil. After all, if nothing else is involved, it is a textbook case of harming another for... what? Your ego? Money? Success? Yet adventurers kill, even good ones. The difference is that good ones do it when it's necessary. Now, perhaps it's harder to excuse animating dead than it is to excuse killing - but desperate times do call for desperate measures. Sometimes, one has to summon the ranks of the dead to war, lest the living join them.

If only animated dead weren't so crappy :) .


It all depends on what they were in life. If they got the bulk of their CR from physical beef then undead usually makes em better.


Pathfinder wrote:
Undead are evil.

I think that Angel, Blade, some of the Daywalkers, the little girl from Let Me In, and others would have something to say about this. (In fact, they're here right now making me say this. I'm not sure they're right but they're very convincing.)

When fluff starts to screw with mechanics, it's time to let go of the fluff. Time to let go of the whole positive/negative energy concept and embrace the concept that power is neutral. Or at the very least that some power can be neutral.

That being said, what you do with power definitely informs your alignment. You may be a non-evil necromancer but you are definitely going down a dark road. Restitution must be made to stave off the evil.

That a GM would disallow this amazing roleplay opportunity baffles and saddens me. What if GMs simply didn't let you do stuff that would threaten your alignment as a Paladin/Monk/Barbarian? Or what if they didn't allow you redemption if you cross the line?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mindless undead were made evil so that paladins could smite them, so that anti-evil spells would be effective against them. That's all there is to it.

When the change was first made, the developers of that time were quite clear in why they were doing it.

Personally, I like that my paladin can smite zombies now. It makes sense.

Sovereign Court

I find it disappointing because having zombies and skeletons as companions in a party are comedy gold. When you're roleplaying, ridiculous funny moments should always trump earnestness.

Sovereign Court

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Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.

So just be evil. Why is everyone so afraid of being evil?


Pan wrote:
Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.
So just be evil. Why is everyone so afraid of being evil?

A lot of DMs restrict or prohibit evil PCs in some or all of their campaigns.

If a DM has a policy that changes alignment towards evil, but for some strange reason doesn't allow alignment to change towards good, then casting Y [evil] spells results in the PC becoming evil and an NPC.


Pan wrote:
Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.
So just be evil. Why is everyone so afraid of being evil?

This.

I dont necessarily have a problem with a character summoning a horde of zombies to stop a horde of orcs. I just dont think it works when he tries to play it off as not being an abhorrent subversion of the natural order.

Shadow Lodge

redcelt32 wrote:
Perhaps an oracle with the Juju mystery (from Serpent Skull AP)?

+1 Really, check it out. There's a revelation that removes the [Evil] descriptor from Animate dead, makes mindless undead you raise Neutral, and Intelligent undead you raise your alignment.

Grand Lodge

Something odd I found about other systems, particularly superhero systems, was that there was often more heroic individuals, with typically evil powers (blood magic, necromancy, mind control powers, etc.), than there were evil people with the same powers.

While every last one of their moves (except mind control....for some reason) would get them classified as evil in Pathfinder or D&D, they were still superheroes, often times much nicer people, and better heroes (less property damage, more willing to stay behind to clean up their mess, less casualties, etc.), than the local Iron Man, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, or Captain America clones.

Silver Crusade

Juju rocks. As far as the mechanical options currently available, it's probably the best way to pull off the "white necromancer" concept.

NG bonespeaker calling forth the spirits of heroes who died before their time and have unfinished business to take care of up in this piece yo.


Ravingdork wrote:

Mindless undead were made evil so that paladins could smite them, so that anti-evil spells would be effective against them. That's all there is to it.

When the change was first made, the developers of that time were quite clear in why they were doing it.

Personally, I like that my paladin can smite zombies now. It makes sense.

That's an easy fix: Smite works on anything. It's fueled by your zealous fervor, not happy sunshine. It would benefit mechanics and roleplay at the same time. You thought the mayor was in league with the villain and smote him? Whoops. Better ask the prison chaplain to take your confession before you get bitter and start thinking the whole world is evil and you're the only good guy left.

Maybe having to be lawful good would actually mean something beyond being the party's evilometer.

Also, anti-evil spells should respond to intent, not alignment. If the alignment of an animated corpse is informed by it's creator, so should its intent. If the creepy looking rogue who followed you home actually means you harm, a protection spell will keep him at bay. Otherwise, you have some new and unpleasant company. At least until his intent shifts, at which point he goes flying.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Hudax wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Mindless undead were made evil so that paladins could smite them, so that anti-evil spells would be effective against them. That's all there is to it.

When the change was first made, the developers of that time were quite clear in why they were doing it.

Personally, I like that my paladin can smite zombies now. It makes sense.

That's an easy fix: Smite works on anything. It's fueled by your zealous fervor, not happy sunshine. It would benefit mechanics and roleplay at the same time. You thought the mayor was in league with the villain and smote him? Whoops. Better ask the prison chaplain to take your confession before you get bitter and start thinking the whole world is evil and you're the only good guy left.

Maybe having to be lawful good would actually mean something beyond being the party's evilometer.

Also, anti-evil spells should respond to intent, not alignment. If the alignment of an animated corpse is informed by it's creator, so should its intent. If the creepy looking rogue who followed you home actually means you harm, a protection spell will keep him at bay. Otherwise, you have some new and unpleasant company. At least until his intent shifts, at which point he goes flying.

Just wanted to point out that detect [alignment] spells DO register intent. A good man who has temporarily lost his mind and intends to commit murder will register as evil from the paladin.


I just want to point out that a neutral nature god grants animate dead (all neutral gods for that matter). There are a lot of implications there.

Making Animate Dead an evil spell makes it impossible to use Pathfinder to play a game set in Sigil, where neutral people really do animate the dead to do neutral warehouse work for them without anyone batting an eye at it.


Ravingdork wrote:


Just wanted to point out that detect [alignment] spells DO register intent. A good man who has temporarily lost his mind and intends to commit murder will register as evil from the paladin.

Might want to reread the spell. Intent isn't on the list of things that show up. Aligned creature, Aligned Undead , Aligned Outsider, Cleric or paladin of an aligned deity, and Aligned magic item or spell. Thats it.

Lets say we have 2 good, decent, upstanding guys, Red and Blue. Red's 12 year old is raped by an orc and he looses his mind and is intending to kill the orc in a rather brutal face to hammer meeting. Blue on the other hand looses his mind for no reason and decides to kill his neighbor. Are either of them evil? Which one and why?

Loosing your mind doesn't change your alignment in D&D (see insanity). Nor does your intent to perform an action. The only thing that sets off the Paladin's Evil Alarm is creatures, objects, and spells with the Evil flag. That's what the spell says.

Sovereign Court

WPharolin wrote:

I just want to point out that a neutral nature god grants animate dead (all neutral gods for that matter). There are a lot of implications there.

Making Animate Dead an evil spell makes it impossible to use Pathfinder to play a game set in Sigil, where neutral people really do animate the dead to do neutral warehouse work for them without anyone batting an eye at it.

Well I think you can adjust it to suit your game. There is nothing in the rule book that mandates you play it as written. Just ask a GM if you really want to animate dead and be a good guy to make an exception. Or tell him you'll be evil because you plan to raise undead to do your bidding but you're really a nice guy and shouldn't cause group conflict. These options seem much more reasonable then asking Paizo to re-write their rules flavor.


Pan wrote:


Well I think you can adjust it to suit your game. There is nothing in the rule book that mandates you play it as written. Just ask a GM if you really want to animate dead and be a good guy to make an exception. Or tell him you'll be evil because you plan to raise undead to do your bidding but you're really a nice guy and shouldn't cause group conflict. These options seem much more reasonable then asking Paizo to re-write their rules flavor.

Sure we can change it. We can play the game without dice too. The rules put everyone on the same page and prevent arguing. If you play with a group of friends this probably won't be a problem. But sometimes people play online or in a pick up game at a local hobby shop with peolpe they don't know. The rules need to be internally consistent and right now they simply aren't.

Lets say you have a recipe. You like the idea of the recipe but the final product is too sweet and its lacking a little something. Animate Dead is like this recipe. The fact that the GM can use a little less sugar and add a bit of spice does not make the recipe any better.

Sovereign Court

WPharolin wrote:
Pan wrote:


Well I think you can adjust it to suit your game. There is nothing in the rule book that mandates you play it as written. Just ask a GM if you really want to animate dead and be a good guy to make an exception. Or tell him you'll be evil because you plan to raise undead to do your bidding but you're really a nice guy and shouldn't cause group conflict. These options seem much more reasonable then asking Paizo to re-write their rules flavor.

Sure we can change it. We can play the game without dice too. The rules put everyone on the same page and prevent arguing. If you play with a group of friends this probably won't be a problem. But sometimes people play online or in a pick up game at a local hobby shop with peolpe they don't know. The rules need to be internally consistent and right now they simply aren't.

Lets say you have a recipe. You like the idea of the recipe but the final product is too sweet and its lacking a little something. Animate Dead is like this recipe. The fact that the GM can use a little less sugar and add a bit of spice does not make the recipe any better.

Actually it sounds like you don't like coconut and want the official recipe to be made you the way you like it instead. Now you just screwed coconut lovers; I hope you're happy?

On a serious note; I like the rule argument. The recipe one not so much...


WPharolin wrote:
Making Animate Dead an evil spell makes it impossible to use Pathfinder to play a game set in Sigil, where neutral people really do animate the dead to do neutral warehouse work for them without anyone batting an eye at it.

Nothing in Pathfinder prevents neutral characters from casting spells with an evil descriptor.

Whether anyone bats an eye or not is a matter of the story for the area it's done in. In Sigil, no one would bat an eye.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cuàn wrote:
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.

Maybe that's how you see it. On the other hand, I'd see the creation of undead that are inherently life hating evil such as Zombies as something that can't be considered anything other than evil. Animate Undead is an Evil spell because its use is to create inherently evil beings.


Pan wrote:


Actually it sounds like you don't like coconut and want the official recipe to be made you the way you like it instead. Now you just screwed coconut lovers; I hope you're happy?

I would like to see internal constancy in the game at all times for the reason of verisimilitude. If that means stomping on the fun of people who like things contradictory and illogical, then yes I hope you never eat another coconut again.

If Animate Dead is evil because of negative energy then negative energy is evil and so are all of the inflict spells. If animate dead is evil because of the skeletons destructive nature than forest fires are evil. If animate dead is evil because skeletons are evil then...no that's just stupid on every level. Mindless creatures, just like objects, can't be evil no matter what anyone says. Books aren't evil, skeletons aren't evil, and sand isn't evil. It a complete violation of the concept of good and evil to attribute it to non-volitional creatures. Skeletons aren't evil for killing and neither are hippos. We hate getting killed by them but they aren't evil.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
WPharolin wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


Just wanted to point out that detect [alignment] spells DO register intent. A good man who has temporarily lost his mind and intends to commit murder will register as evil from the paladin.
Might want to reread the spell. Intent isn't on the list of things that show up. Aligned creature, Aligned Undead , Aligned Outsider, Cleric or paladin of an aligned deity, and Aligned magic item or spell. That's it.

From Detect Evil:

"Animals, traps, poisons, and other potential perils are not evil, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."

It's the 8th paragraph right under the lingering aura table. You learn something new everyday, eh?


Ravingdork wrote:


From Detect Evil:

"Animals, traps, poisons, and other potential perils are not evil, and as such this spell does not detect them. Creatures with actively evil intents count as evil creatures for the purpose of this spell."

It's the 8th paragraph right under the lingering aura table. You learn something new everyday, eh?

Wow. I apologize then. However, what constitutes an evil act? Oh sure murder is evil, but is it ALWAYS evil (see my examples above). Is stealing evil? How about if you steal food to eat because its the only way you can survive? You were absolutely correct. Unfortunately, pathfinder doesn't have a good enough, or well enough defined alignment system for it to have much meaning. I do retract my statement though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Can the paladin smite a Good creature that is detecting as Evil then?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Can the paladin smite a Good creature that is detecting as Evil then?

Can they try using Smite? Sure. It won't work, because Detecting as Evil by itself is not enough to qualify you as a Smite target. Now a DM has the option of letting the Paladin thinking that the Smite is working and requiring a Wisdom check for the Paladin to figure out that something isn't quite as it appears.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Can the paladin smite a Good creature that is detecting as Evil then?

Nope. Smite Evil has no such provision like the one found in detect evil.

I do find it quite humurous that since all the other alignment spells, being based off of detect evil, act similarly.

An evil tyrant who truly strives to improve his kingdom in order to impress the woman he would have as queen would detect as good.

An otherwise lawful man who is starving would detect as chaotic once he makes up his mind that he must steal to survive.

Dark Archive

Fenrisnorth wrote:
The problem is that many GMs have a "cast X [evil] spells and your alignment changes" policy.

Context-independent purely mechanistic interpretations of alignment are the easiest to work around. If the entire concept of morality or ethics boils down to 'cast X spells, turn X alignment,' then your 'fix' is built right into the mechanics being used.

Cast animate dead, gain '3 points of evil' (since it's a 3rd level spell for your cleric). Cast protection from evil once, and summon a celestial wolf with summon monster II, and you've accumulated 3 points of good.

If you are worried about keeping track, just keep a few summon monster spells prepared, and at the end of every day, cast any that remain calling up celestial creatures, as that makes them into [good] spells, so that you always have some 'good points' in the bank, so to speak.

I kinda loathe the idea that in-game morality is so cheap and meaningless as to be 'cast X, turn X,' but if that's the game your GM wants to play, to make alignment context-irrelevant and mechanistic and reductionistic, then game it.

.

Negative energy, and the negative material/energy plane is not, and never has been, even *mildly* evil-aligned. Like fire (and the elemental plane thereof) it *is* very dangerous, but it isn't actively malevolent (unlike, say, an Efreeti).

Mindless things (including skeletons and zombies), in twenty-five years of D&D before 3.5 couldn't make an ethical or moral choice, and were fundementally incapable of malice (or benevolence) of character, and therefore, always neutral.

In this game setting, the *sun* is a giant gate to the positive energy plane, and all life contains positive energy, meaning that all life is animated and empowered *by energy from another dimension.* All sentient creatures have souls, that go wandering off to other planes when they die, and, indeed, it's considered *unnatural when they stay in their home dimension!*

The only way a *living* creature can stay alive is to kill and devour other living things, making every positive-energy empowered creature one that feeds and profits by the murder of other creatures and the 'desecration' of their bodies. (Not that bodies are 'sacred,' so, technically, they can't be 'desecrated' any worse by being eaten, or animated, than by being buried in the dirt or set on fire, both acts that, if I did to a flag, would be considered 'desecration.')

Meanwhile, a lich, or a ghost, or a zombie, can exist forever without taking a life, murdering or devouring other living creatures to get at the tasty positive energy inside of them, to sustain its own existence.

The source of almost all death and murder and 'desecration of bodies' on the prime material plane is *positive energy,* as all living things must destroy and devour other living things to keep themselves alive, requiring an endless cycle of death, dismemberment and desecration to maintain their bodies, unnaturally fueled by energy from another dimension, that requires them to keep on killing to survive another day.

You don't even have to squint to see that the predominant source of evil corpse-devouring and corpse-desecrating actions on the material plane is the nature of positive energy.

But hey, if one wants to add the [evil] tag to all undead, that's *awesome,* because it means that a paladin's soul, the second it leaves it's mortally-wounded body, is now a discorporate spirit, and, therefore, *immediately turns evil.* Meanwhile, under the 'meat is sacred' rule, his *corpse* remains good. Fun!

"Wait! Corpses are sacred! I use Tim's body to repel the vampire! It's sacred, right? The vampire should recoil! In fact, if we put a ring of corpses around us, we should be safe..." "What do you mean that the word 'sacred' doesn't have anything to do with the game-term 'sacred?'"


Set wrote:
Cast animate dead, gain '3 points of evil' (since it's a 3rd level spell for your cleric). Cast protection from evil once, and summon a celestial wolf with summon monster II, and you've accumulated 3 points of good.

Except most GMs with that policy will typically only let it work one way (Cast Animate Dead, get the evil points, and then you're stuck with them and no amount of 'good' spells will let you get rid of them). Best analogue I've seen in terms of rules from other games is Dark Side Points from the various Star Wars games, only usually not actually tracked since the main point from the GM's perspective seems to be to whack any player with the Big Stick who wants to use these spells.

I could get into the reasons, but that would be a VERY long, VERY ranty post and this thread's treading into flamewar territory as it is.


Fenrisnorth wrote:
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...

You don't rip anyone from anywhere. Raise Dead only works if the soul agrees to return to the body.


Fenrisnorth wrote:


@ string

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

@necro

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

Backwards compability is a very valid reason. It was one of the stated goals of the game.

Why? These ecromantic energies are evil, in the same way slaughtering innocents is evil. Why is it evil to slaughter innocents? Because the rulebook says so. Why is it evil to animate dead? Because the book says so.

In my own games I usually don't use alignments, but I see no issue why skeletons are evil when most other undead creatures are. Just fluff it more if you don't want to house rule them neutral.

In pathfinder, skeletons are evil, and the reason has been posted several times. You want non-evil undead, and you're free to house rule it, but there's no use to go on and on about it when it is that way. It's like any other arbitrary design, like orcs being evil, goblins green with big ears and elves being taller than humans.


And why are you stuck on creating undead? Command and Control Undead spells both work just as well when the undead do show up... and I've never seen a campaign where there was any significant lack of undead. Let the others waste their power and resources creating the damned things (pun intended) and then nick their efforts. ;)

People get hung up on the reasons of why a widget is a widget. Work with the rules or mutually agree to change them.

Also remember that "good" and "evil" are palpable things in Pathfinder. They aren't simply nebulous concepts of morality and societal mores.

If you want some in-game reason why it's evil how about this: Orcus, the Demon Lord of the Undead, belly laughs when an undead is created because it strengthens his hold on the Prime Material Plane every time it's done. ;)


Fenrisnorth wrote:
A golem is just as much a "mockery" of life as a skeleton, indeed, one could make one from bone without being evil.

hell creating golems should be considered evil since you are enslaving a elemental to animate them


isn't this thread necromancy...
Seriously if you don't like it house rule it and move on...


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Spacelard wrote:

isn't this thread necromancy...

Seriously if you don't like it house rule it and move on...

No, this is Animate Dead Horse.


Casting a few [evil] spells will not necesarily move your alignment to evil. Sure it's an evil act, which would certainly cause all kinds of problems for paladins and good clerics, but for a Neutrally aligned Necromancer? Not so much. If he does a few good deeds to balance it.

Read the chapter on White, Grey or Black Necromancy from the excellent old 2E Complete Necromancer's Guide (CNG).

CNG introduces Power Checks similar to those from Ravenloft which are to be rolled every time a caster casts a spell of black necromancy. But actually i like that criminal or black necromancy spells might corrupt a character. It's all part of the trope of the Necromancer, even the non-evil one, that you walk on a fine edge.

That book also has an excellent example of a Neutral (so non-evil) Necromancer NPC in Kazerabet, who also featured in several Al'Qadim boxed sets. She's a Philosopher Necromancer who once ruled over a city of undead in the jungle as a queen and now studies Necromancy on the Isle of the Necromancer Kings while being attended by Juju zombies.


@string

If the reason they gave was consistent with the setting, i'd say ok, but it isn't. It would be like saying "fire elementals are evil, just because" there is no reason why the energy is evil. All they had to do was say undead are powered by infernal energy, and BAM consistency with setting. But they didn't, they said negative energy, so it makes no sense.

@pale

Because I don't want the hungry little bastards slipping free and killing innocent people when spells wear off. And yes, evil IS a definite thing, but where is it coming from in this equation? Not from necromancy, and not from negative energy.

@thanael

Because the only way to get a game in my area is to play PFS, and they have draconian "no evil actions" policies.

In any case, it looks like I'll be using the Juju oracle class, make me some neutral zombies, and maybe some lawful good vampires and liches. No one told me their undead are also raised at max hp, damn!


Fenrisnorth wrote:
Because the only way to get a game in my area is to play PFS, and they have draconian "no evil actions" policies.

That really sucks. Really.

'Hope the Juju mystery works out.


stringburka wrote:
In pathfinder, skeletons are evil, and the reason has been posted several times.

What we have heard is a non-nonsensical excuse that attempts to pardon this failed design. "Skeletons are destructive and kill things and thus are evil" which makes fire, earthquakes, hippos, and adventurers, evil. The claim that skeletons are evil is a violation of the concept of evil (and of moral choice) and a contradiction of the games definitions for each evil alignment type, which necessitate that evil creatures, and in fact all aligned creature, be capable of volitional thought processes. As long as these alignment definitions (vague as they may be) stay the way they are, it doesn't really matter what the official rules say about mindless undead. They're wrong.

EDIT: Clarification and spelling.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

WPharolin wrote:
stringburka wrote:
In pathfinder, skeletons are evil, and the reason has been posted several times.
stuff

Or, alternately, one might say "hey, the way it works in this game is 'animating Aunt Edna's skeleton is kinda skeevy' and we'll call it evil." Since, after all (a) it's a game and (b) any DM can overrule the rules any way they like.

However, the rules of Pathfinder are that Animate Dead is evil. Like it, dislike it, be indiffererent - it's no matter ... them thar's how it works.

You are, of course, always free to start your own gaming company based on the free for everyone 3.5e SRD and to make whatever rules you like. I'm sure nobody will stop you :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Note that skeletons and zombies are evil because of the foul magic used to create them, not the negative energy that powers them.


When did necromancy become "foul magic"?

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Fenrisnorth wrote:
When did necromancy become "foul magic"?

Necromancy isn't foul magic. Animating the bones of someone's loved one (or, even worse, their rotting corpse) is foul magic.

Contributor

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Note that skeletons and zombies are evil because of the foul magic used to create them, not the negative energy that powers them.

The exact same "foul magic" is used by an oracle with the juju mystery. The only difference is that by using juju and the "spirit vessels" power, you get a wendo spirit from the Mwangi cosmology to run your skeleton or zombie or other undead whereas if you don't have that mystery, you get the nebulously defined "negative energy" to run your undead which is somehow neutral except when it's stuffed in a skeleton or zombie, at which point it becomes evil.

The social acceptability and resulting skeeviness of animating Aunt Edna's bones is unrelated to whether the animation is done by a regular necromancer or a juju oracle, unless of course the perceived skeeviness is a result of her becoming an evil animated skeleton, whereas having her bones be possessed by a neutral wendo spirit may be fine and good.

Of course, then there comes the logical conundrum of what happens if a juju oracle pens a scroll of Animate Dead? Does it become an evil scroll or is the evil only in it being used by someone without the "spirit vessels" sub-mystery?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Fenrisnorth wrote:
When did necromancy become "foul magic"?

It never did. However...

Skeleton, Bestiary pg 250 wrote:
Skeletons are the animated bones of the dead, brought to unlife through foul magic.
Zombie, Bestiary pg 288 wrote:
Zombies are the animated corpses of dead creatures, forced into foul unlife via necromantic magic like animate dead.

I think an interesting argument can be made that the necromancer himself makes the moral choice that causes them to be Evil.

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