Why are undead always evil?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Grimcleaver wrote:

Thanks. You bring up an interesting point. It's said that people in Cheliax concider devils not to be monsters--but people--who believe in a system of governance that all right minded people should accept. So fair to say these aren't tongue lagging, blood covered, Exorcist-style devils. They deal fairly, hold a conversation, ask for sugar and lemon in their tea. So is summoning one Evil?

Why?

Ask the Hafling slaves, or the many people that survived when their inncent and unaware family's where slaughtered as House Thrune userpted power and raided. :)

Also the fact that even if Devils are culturally considered people - which they are, "people", so there's nothing actually "off" about that - that does not actually make it a non-evil act to bring them to the material plane for a number of reason:

1) they slowly corrupt and utilize their position of influence to warp others to evil (devils almost always have a subtle manipulation/corruptions scheme going on, even if it's indirect);

2) they are literally evil incarnate (evil given physcial form, specifically lawful evil);

3) as immortal, sentient creatures, regardless of how they seem to behave for their extremely brief stay in the material, back in Hell they did all sorts of horribad things that are truly awful and nearly unmentionable... otherwise they'd either still be lemures or destroyed to make way for new devils (and will return to said ways as soon as they have the opportunity - which is what their presence slowly promotes within society);

... and they tend to produce tieflings which is pretty unpleasant for all involved (including the tiefling). :/

Effectively it's evil because they're, and they're evil because they're the congealed essence of lawful and evil mortal souls after they've been scoured of anything else (and turned into lemures). In other words, it's got some amount of sense to it.

Also, and perhaps just as importantly, it's evil because you're literally calling upon the power of lawful evil - Hell - instead of just calling upon the power of neutral negative energy.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:
Thanks. You bring up an interesting point. It's said that people in Cheliax concider devils not to be monsters--but people--who believe in a system of governance that all right minded people should accept.

That's not quite accurate. Chelaxians are an arrogant people that consider themselves natural masters, especially of those beings that talk and speak and aren't human. (they even have a special Intimidation trait for it) If you've actually met the Paracountess in the Intro series, she echoes the Chelaxian claim of Hubris to imagine that the devils they summon are their servants.

Silver Crusade

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Extreme Nitpick: The soulbound dolls aren't actually an Always Evil occurence, and their first in-setting appearance was wholly benign(with one exception that went horribly, horribly wrong). Basically their alignment is dependant upon both the donor of the soul shard that grows into their soul and the doll itself when it begins its life.

Honestly, the soulbound doll process is probably what good and neutral folks would be open to if they were trying to have robot babies. So to speak.

IIRC, the dolls that filled everyone with RIGHTEOUS RAGE recently are a different animal entirely, and the specific practices involved in their creation were totally rolling around in evil.


LazarX wrote:
Grimcleaver wrote:
Thanks. You bring up an interesting point. It's said that people in Cheliax concider devils not to be monsters--but people--who believe in a system of governance that all right minded people should accept.
That's not quite accurate. Chelaxians are an arrogant people that consider themselves natural masters, especially of those beings that talk and speak and aren't human. (they even have a special Intimidation trait for it) If you've actually met the Paracountess in the Intro series, she echoes the Chelaxian claim of Hubris to imagine that the devils they summon are their servants.

Accurate or not, it's quoted directly from the books.


The thing is Cheliax, which is supposed to embody Hell in it's earthly manifestation is actually not nearly as bad as some kingdoms out there that aren't based on the infernal heirarchy of Asmodeus. There's law, there's order, the punishments are really strict and there's little by way of compassion for the downtrodden but from all accounts it's far from "truly awful and nearly unmentionable". It's just really callous and lawful...at least as presented. And since they willingly model themselves after the heirarchy of Hell and worship it's archetect it's unlikely they're just getting it wrong. The society as a whole really just feels LN.

You'd think if having devils around leads to them corrupting everyone to evil--and the Chelish are all of an open mind to accept that corruption as the path to creating the ideal society--you'd think the devil's have them cutting each other's faces off by now. But they're not. Cheliax has reached an equilibrium point where everyone on both sides of Hell seems pretty happy with it, and it's fairly mellow for the most part.

Then there's the issue that having been composed of congealed evil, regardless of sentience, they have no real choice as far as alignment. They are what they're made of (or they're not, but then we get into the realm of summoning good devils and whether that's evil or not, which opens another can of worms--like if they run a normal gamut of allignments, then they aren't evil anymore, but rather are as diverse as people are)

As far as the Negative Energy Plane being Neutral, let's look at a god that perfectly emulates its values: Rovagug. Eat everything until nothing but peace and quiet remains. He's Chaotic Evil. This is because wanting to wipe out all life and consume all matter in a fog of entropy is pretty evil. So really, old setting chestnuts aside I'd be pretty comfortable calling the Negative Energy Plane what it is, chaotic evil.

Basically in my Pathfinder games I take the same approach to undead that I take to Cheliax. They're supposed to be evil. They get underplayed either in the statblocks, flavor text or both--so I amp up the evil until it feels right, then the game plays fine. No sense of uncertainty about what devils or zombies are--because they play like a horror movie.

Silver Crusade

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Negative energy seems the odd man out. This seems to tie back to the old philosophical chestnut of defining evil as 'lack of good.'

In Planescape, the Neg was also known for having para-elemental planes of Salt, Ash, Dust and Vacuum, representing its effects on Water, Fire, Earth and Air respectively. The absence, or corruption of those elements.

The major problem though is that the Positive, doesn't really intrinsically represent anything better. Steam, Mineral, Radiance and Lightning don't really convey better forms of their elements, just more juiced up versions. Air really doesn't become more 'airlike' by being lightning, it definately becomes less airlike by being vacuum.

So essentially the inner axis sseems to be based off of a more juiced up + sign floating in the air, and the negative sign is apparently a hungry maw of corruption.

Also, saying that most mortal life represents a clear analogue to the negative powered undead isn't really true. As far as I'm aware there's not something out there that kills undead by suffusing them with positive energy, thus creating more positive energy suffusing things.

There's no Positive vampire out there preying on necropolitans, pumping blood into them until they hunger to sanguinate the dead.

Its skewed, and I partially wonder if its due to the Gygaxian leanings where the badguys get all the good stuff and the heroes kind of don't. But thats just me babbling, the issue is the Negative.

If the Negative plane simply represents the other side of Shiva, that is represents the destruction to the creation elements of the positive then it should be neutral and entities powered by negative energy should merely be treated as neutral actors. If its intrinsically malign, even the 'mindless' entities powered by it are likely evil as the very elemental representation of dissolution and corruption is powering them, and perhaps directing them.

Dark Archive

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tbok1992 wrote:
Also, does anybody else think that a necromancy-using society (Whether they be good, neutral or evil) would use chalk as a building material? Because, it is essentially the skeletons of billions and billions of plankton merged and fused together by eons of time, thus it'd probably be really potent when used with Necromantic magic.

Neat thought. I've occasionally pondered if the black blood of the earth (no, just oil, not *that* Black Blood of the Earth), which is the liquified remains of very, very ancient dead critters, could be tapped for some sort of power by necromancers, ancient, primal *dinosaur* power...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ashiel wrote:
I'm one of the most vocal opponents of the "always evil" sort of thing. I'm a big proponent of mindless undead being Neutral (because it makes sense and makes a mockery of good and evil if otherwise).

Saying that casting undead as evil by default is "nonsense" and "makes a mockery of good and evil" is not a self-demonstrable statement. You need to explain why this is the case. If it's because you think it makes the forces of Good weaker than Evil, I would counter that that is the cornerstone of Heroic Fantasy, it's why Good NEEDS heros to step up to the plate. Good being the underdog side is the standard of heroic fiction, not just fantasy. Otherwise, what would be so good about being good? Not only that I think it models the real world and history fairly accurately.

"Good Triumphs over Evil."

"Evil usually wins unless Good is very careful"

Kirk and McCoy "The Omega Glory"


Spook205 wrote:
Negative energy seems the odd man out. This seems to tie back to the old philosophical chestnut of defining evil as 'lack of good.'

Both positive and negative energy are really neutral as they represent the natural cycles.

However when you put these energies into the hands of sentient beings, they are naturally aligned with the powers of good and evil because one fosters life, growth and healing while the other causes death, corruption and decay.

You could compare negative energy with inanimate objects like the rack or iron maiden which naturally have no alignment, but as implements of torture are preferentially used by evil.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I tell ya what, that rack will really work the kinks out of your spine!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Grimcleaver wrote:
Thanks. You bring up an interesting point. It's said that people in Cheliax concider devils not to be monsters--but people--who believe in a system of governance that all right minded people should accept.
That's not quite accurate. Chelaxians are an arrogant people that consider themselves natural masters, especially of those beings that talk and speak and aren't human. (they even have a special Intimidation trait for it) If you've actually met the Paracountess in the Intro series, she echoes the Chelaxian claim of Hubris to imagine that the devils they summon are their servants.
Accurate or not, it's quoted directly from the books.

Mine is a quote from Paizo material, and I daresay that it's far more represented than your example as I've not seen any statement of "Devils are People". Chelaxians don't even tend to view the other common races as being "fully" people. That's the meaning of the Intimidation trait that's specific to the culture, a Chelaxian can get a bonus to Intimidate on anything that's humanoid, but not purely human. And Cheliaxia, despite it's representation is not a place where you see devils openly walking the street to do mid-day shopping.

And that is the party line. "The power of Hell serves us, not the other way around." Of course how much the party line actually speaks to the true state of affairs is debated quite fiercely.


Grimcleaver wrote:
Cheliax doesn't seem lawful evil.

Read the Adevnture Path fiction from Council of Thieves by Dave Gross. I am positive you'll change your mind.

Sovereign Court

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Set wrote:
tbok1992 wrote:
Also, does anybody else think that a necromancy-using society (Whether they be good, neutral or evil) would use chalk as a building material? Because, it is essentially the skeletons of billions and billions of plankton merged and fused together by eons of time, thus it'd probably be really potent when used with Necromantic magic.

Neat thought. I've occasionally pondered if the black blood of the earth (no, just oil, not *that* Black Blood of the Earth), which is the liquified remains of very, very ancient dead critters, could be tapped for some sort of power by necromancers, ancient, primal *dinosaur* power...

GRRRRRRRRROOOOOOWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!


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Your choices are certainly fine in your home games! Horror movies away!

That said, for the sake of conversation...

Grimcleaver wrote:
As far as the Negative Energy Plane being Neutral, let's look at a god that perfectly emulates its values: Rovagug. Eat everything until nothing but peace and quiet remains. He's Chaotic Evil. This is because wanting to wipe out all life and consume all matter in a fog of entropy is pretty evil. So really, old setting chestnuts aside I'd be pretty comfortable calling the Negative Energy Plane what it is, chaotic evil.

This... doesn't work out very well. Let's look at flames: they burn, create heat and more flames, and ultimately are destructive to everything they touch leaving nothing but empty, wasted ashes that are effectively worthless.

That sounds like chaotic evil to me.

But flame itself is neutral (and the elemental plane of fire is neutral) because there are useful and beneficial properties to it as well.

Because the positive energy plane exists, the negative must exist as well - the two are necessary in balance in a broad sort of way (at least in theory, in practice, I've not actually seen that come up). The various negative-energy based spells are not evil, and most are very useful, some for taking foes down non-lethally as well.

Further, in a broader sense, having sentient creatures required to always be evil with no choice seems "iffy" to me - even those made of souls who chose evil (as I allow redeemed fiends) - which is even the basis of Sarenrae's religion.

Mindless creatures have no choice - they are what they are. If powered by pure, literal evil (in the case of lemures), okay, that's what they are.

If powered by neutral, unthinking energy (in the case of skeletons and zombies), it makes no sense to me that they'd be evil (though denying someone their eternal paradise is evil).

Shadow Lodge

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The big problem with "the Negative Energy plane is obviously evil", aside from what Tac has already presented, is the inconsistent application of the [Evil] descriptor to Negative Energy spells. Or, perhaps more accurately, the complete lack of an [Evil] descriptors on all Negative Energy spells not directly dealing with Undead. A cursory glance through the various Negative Energy spells that aren't involved in the creation of undead shows a distinct lack of [Evil] tags.

Enervation? No [Evil].
Energy Drain? As Enervation, so No [Evil].
Blood Crow Strike? [Fire], as half the damage is Fire and the other Negative (that bizarrely is explicitly stated not to heal undead, but whatever), but no [Evil].
Inflict line? No [Evil].
Heck, Slay Living? Outright death-dealing magic? [Death], but no [Evil].

The only associations Negative Energy has with Evil, in the rules as given, are the restrictions on spont-casting and channeling for Good and Evil Clerics - which are logical in the light of "Good clerics will be trained to heal reflexively, Evil clerics will be trained to harm", but even in their cases both can memorize and cast the opposing spell without a moment's hesitation or complaint, and even swap one memorized for its opposite via spont-casting if they feel the need - and the creation of Undead.

Heck, there's Negative Energy Elementals. I didn't know these guys existed. And they're TN.

As written, so long as you stay away from creating Undead, the casting of Negative Energy spells, using and manipulating Negative Energy, is not evil in and of itself. D&D/PF has always been pretty clear, even within the murky waters that the alignment system sometimes becomes, that using evil means or evil materials to complete a task - even one with good intentions, methods otherwise, or results - is either heavily leaning toward or outright an evil act. But none of these spells are listed as such. One would think that if Negative Energy was, indeed, evil, any use of it would also be so. And yet a Good character can fling all these other spells around without a single consequence, so long as what they're doing with their Enervation or Inflict Critical Wounds is something that wouldn't get them in trouble if they were doing it instead with a Fireball or a pointy object.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As far as I'm concerned the Negative Energy Plane itself is completely irrelevant to the question of the Evil nature of Undead. (If I ever create a world again or run one of the established ones, I'd most likely eliminate the Energy Planes entirely as rubbish concept.) The Negative Plane can be the most neutral place in existence and Undead could STILL be Evil for reasons that have nothing to do with it.

Undead are generally evil because the horrific aspects of their existence will generally drive all but the most strong-willed to evil alignment... and that IS the classic literary nature of this trope which compared to this hobby is practically older than Dirt.

Silver Crusade

I tend to take Pathfinder or DnD's definitions on what's good or evil with a grain of salt. I really see it as more up to the DM, but that getsu s into In-My-Campaign stuff.

Enervate didn't have the evil descriptor back in 3e I don't think, but 3e also had the little fact that dying from energy drain resulted in you rising as a wraith. And well..creating malicious energy draining undead as a side effect of your quick take-down spell...

I think thats why later editions pushed away from creating unintentional wraithpocalypses by rewriting those rules.

I do admit I tend to argue more for the Evil-undead thing here, but its mostly me playing devil's advocate. I kind of lack a dog in the fight.

I get around it by simple expedient of just saying that the undead in question are afffected by positive channeling or holy smites as appropriate. As opposed to writing erratta. RAW is something I only really concern myself with in competitive games and DnD shouldn't be one.

Like I said a few pages ago, I generally find the idea of in-world labeling much more useful then out of world mechanicals. If everyone in the world thinks undead are bad news, and castign enervates are bad, and you have a guy who is like 'But I am smarter then those common fools!' you can either have a mage who feels like he's a set-upon philosopher, or alternately a Simon Magus when he finds out the common folk's views are entirely justified.

I have a country that pegged Enervate as black necromancy and made it illegal. Oddly enough, even people from other countries who aren't tied by those laws still treat them as if they were universal because the rationale behind them 'makes sense' as opposed to just having a spell with the evil descriptor.

That reminds me, does Deathwatch still have the [Evil]?


Enervate has no evil descriptor.

Negative Levels have nothing evil about them.

You can even get raised from them with the proper magic in PF.

In 3.0/3.5 you became a wight instead of a wraith (I've heard the wraith thing before, but I really don't know where it comes from).

Silver Crusade

Ah right, wights!

I think the confusion arises from people, like me, not getting their energy-draining undead straight.

And not arguing the lack of descriptor. I just don't think the lack of, or presence of should stop GMs from making rulings in their own campaigns.

To use a videogame example, Fallout 3 has some pretty wonky karma (algnment) decisions, if I was DMing a fallout game, I wouldn't see myself as bound by them.


Sure, yeah, home rules are the schiz.

I just mean that PF is inconsistent in the way it applies things. In some cases, Golarion is Core, and in others it's definitely not (such as Golarion clerics requiring a specified deity).

I have no problem, again, if "in Golarion" mindless undead are evil (for X reason), and thus creating them would be evil, for example. But in Core rules, it makes substantially less sense.

And don't worry about the wraith/wight thing - it's a common misconception. :)

Silver Crusade

Was Fallout's morality system more busted than Fable? That takes effort. :O

Concerning the undead state supposedly wearing at one's character: Anyone else see a lot of nonevil undead perceiving their existence as a more dream-like state? Whether those dreams are good or bad, or going back and forth...


Tacticslion wrote:
Negative Levels have nothing evil about them.

Negative levels or level drain are really just a way to represent in game terms the power of the undead to feed on the souls of their victims, draining people of their very essence.

The Enervate spell is the necromancer's equivalent of the same power.
Its supposed to be evil because the soul is sacrosanct.

Shadow Lodge

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And yet it's not.

And yes, I mean that both in the sense that Enervate and Negative Energy aren't evil, and there's nothing saying souls are sacrosanct in PF. No more so than a living whole person anyway.


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I tend to think of negative energy as not evil, but just a really dangerous force.

Kind of like radiation. Radiation is perfectly natural and isn't evil, but it's generally not a good thing to be around or bathed in.


Mikaze wrote:
Concerning the undead state supposedly wearing at one's character: Anyone else see a lot of nonevil undead perceiving their existence as a more dream-like state? Whether those dreams are good or bad, or going back and forth...

That's actually a really, really cool visual. I'm planning on incorporating this somewhat in a campaign setting I'm thinking about.

Silver Crusade

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MMCJawa wrote:

I tend to think of negative energy as not evil, but just a really dangerous force.

Kind of like radiation. Radiation is perfectly natural and isn't evil, but it's generally not a good thing to be around or bathed in.

Hmmmmm.

!

gets bitten by a negative energy-infused spider

Silver Crusade

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Tacticslion wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Concerning the undead state supposedly wearing at one's character: Anyone else see a lot of nonevil undead perceiving their existence as a more dream-like state? Whether those dreams are good or bad, or going back and forth...
That's actually a really, really cool visual. I'm planning on incorporating this somewhat in a campaign setting I'm thinking about.

Thanks! It's honestly how ghosts feel like they should be portrayed to me. :)

It was the approach it took to characterize the major benign undead group in my homebrew at least. Made them a bit somber in tone(with some wild exceptions), but also generally peaceful and not-eternal-constant-anguish-mode too.

An SCP Foundation example of someone that probably started off like that and only went south after one of the living screwed things up.


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LazarX wrote:
Mine is a quote from Paizo material, and I daresay that it's far more represented than your example as I've not seen any statement of "Devils are People".

I worked hard digging this up, so I hope you appreciate it: (one of those five books open, I know it's here somewhere things...like when James Jacobs totally stumped me with the Starstone falling ending the Aboleth civilization by accident, which I totally swear I've read all the time!)

Pathfinder Chronicles: Gods and Magic pg. 6 under Asmodeus: Priests, Temples and the Church; "Priests see devils as people rather than monsters, greater or lesser players in the immense infernal bureucracy that all right-minded individuals should join."

So it might not be reperesentative of everything the developers have to say on the matter, but it is accurate and straight from the books for what that's worth.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

Cool! She was created by a White Necromancer, no doubt! ;)

Dark Archive

Spook205 wrote:
I think thats why later editions pushed away from creating unintentional wraithpocalypses by rewriting those rules.

Along with Efreeti granting wishes, the Create Spawn rules are one of the top things I'd get rid of in the Monster Manual.

Thematically, if a wraith or a specter is described as the spirit of someone who died a very specific death, or a particularly vile sort of person, if a Paladin dies from their touch, it makes little sense that his mental attributes and alignment would change so radically. Someone with an Int score of 5 gets a huge upgrade from being killed by a wraith, while the elven wizard with an Int score of 20 becomes, by his lofty standards, a bit of a dullard (as well as 'forgetting' how to be a wizard, and even all of the skills and languages he used to know...). Either the wraith / specter / etc. *is* the corrupted spirit of the person slain, in which case it should be a template, and have an alignment *tendency* (since the Paladin's spirit should get ripped free and then *immediately* turn chaotic evil for no reason at all) or it should be stated that the process of killing someone in this way opens up a portal to wherever shadows/wraiths/etc. normally dwell and lets another one through the gate, and that new undead has absolutely zero relation to the person who just died, other than having crawled through them like a meat-tunnel to get to our world, and maybe 'got a little bit on them' (flashes of memory, etc.) on the way through.

The notion that the soul of an orc gains an average of six intelligence points by being killed by a wraith just makes no darn sense. (Why do wraiths even *need* an Int 14 anyway? Meh, monsters. Silly.)

And the notion that the paladin's soul turns evil (and perhaps a bit smarter) after being wraith-touched kind of begs the question of what happens after that wraith is put down. Obviously he's not a paladin anymore, since he's been evil, which causes fallage, even if it wasn't his choice to become evil. Does his soul go to an evil place, because he 'died evil?' Does Pharasma cut him some slack and send him to the plane of his original LG alignment, despite perhaps having been evil for centuries as an undead? (Seems unlikely, Pharasma is Neutral, not Lawful and not Good, by any means. Why would she *care* if a former Paladin goes to Hell? Mercy and redemption aren't her bailiwicks. Soul is lawful evil, soul goes to Asmodeus, even if it worshipped Iomedae in life.)

Create Spawn is also a world-ending bit of recursive craziness, as games mechanics go, in addition to being a thematic muddle. :)

Quote:
I get around it by simple expedient of just saying that the undead in question are afffected by positive channeling or holy smites as appropriate.

What's intriguing about this, is that some undead, especially the incorporeal sorts, are said to crave life-energy, which they devour and drain from living things.

Positive energy empowers and nurtures and 'feeds' the life-energy within living things. Negative energy tears it away.

Logically, negative energy would tear away the scraps of life-energy that a shadow, wraith or specter has stolen from living creatures, starving it and perhaps even discorporating it. Undead would fear and loathe negative energy channelers, who can rip the stolen lives right out of their 'bellies,' and annhilate the life-energy that they crave and / or need to sustain their own existences.

Also, logically, positive energy would be an all-you-can-eat buffet for the undead, fanning the flames of the dregs of stolen life-energy that they hoard within themselves, and healing them as effectively as it heals the living, attracting them like bubbas to a barbecue.

Thematically, negative energy should *never* heal or empower or create life (not even 'ugly' life, like bacteria). It should only ever hunger and take and subtract from the world, including from undead, taking away what positive-energy-flavored life-force they have stolen from living creatures and causing them to dissipate into nothing, starving them to 'death.'

In that vein, spells that subtract or drain or devour energy would be perfectly suitable to use 'negative energy,' including spells like cone of cold (draining heat) or darkness (devouring light) or silence (absorbing sound) or dispel magic (chowing down on magical energy), instead of spells that make people scared, or have the word 'blood' or 'bone' in them, like necromancy isn't even a school of effect at all, but kind of a mish-mash of 'spells that make me think of Halloween.'

But that would be a pretty radical change. Right now positive energy is blue team healing and negative energy is red team healing. No real difference.

Quote:
That reminds me, does Deathwatch still have the [Evil]?

Nope, that got fixed. Using a spell that allows you to save the most amount of lives (by getting to the ones closest to dying to heal them first) no longer counts as evil. :)


Mikaze wrote:


Was Fallout's morality system more busted than Fable? That takes effort. :O

No, not that bad. I made "Saint of the Wasteland" and became a Paladin of the Brotherhood of Steel by basically doing what I would do in that situation. The "right thing" is usually apparent. Now Fallout: New Vegas has a bit more... humor to it :) But I still ended up too good and a Paladin of the Brotherhood of Steel. Go figure. I am getting the wierd urge to armor up, pick up the old minigun and hunt Supermutants and Caesars' Legion...


Tacticslion wrote:
Grimcleaver wrote:
Cheliax doesn't seem lawful evil.
Read the Adevnture Path fiction from Council of Thieves by Dave Gross. I am positive you'll change your mind.

I think they should be more evil than they come across in the gazeteers--mostly to make them more of a faction in the world as opposed to the Empire of Iuz, but I think also because the developers really prefer their shades of gray to black and white, where everyone has a defensible point of view (even if that ends up watering down some of Cheliax's evil.

If there's other sources that up the evil rating of Cheliax to make it feel more genuinely hellish then I'm totally for it.

I guess my point wasn't so much to discuss Cheliax and devils so much as to say that a lot of the points people are making about undead (they don't have a choice over their alignment, they don't act evil, there can be good ones which screws up the whole deal, not all necromancers are evil, having been human they should retain their alignment/personality/abilities) are all arguments you can make about devils in Cheliax and they work out about the same way.

What it all comes down to really is do you want a really black and white game where your evil things (undead, devils, whatever) are really evil or something where no matter what you are you're basically a human living out human dramas in all the subtle nuance that entails. Either way you're gonna' want to change some rules, but either one can be fun.


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James Jacobs wrote:

So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

This - much like an entity that may or may not relate to a creature you mention in your post from a certain AP - makes me very happy.

Go, James Jacobs! Go Paizo!

Grimcleaver wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Grimcleaver wrote:
Cheliax doesn't seem lawful evil.
Read the Adevnture Path fiction from Council of Thieves by Dave Gross. I am positive you'll change your mind.

I think they should be more evil than they come across in the gazeteers--mostly to make them more of a faction in the world as opposed to the Empire of Iuz, but I think also because the developers really prefer their shades of gray to black and white, where everyone has a defensible point of view (even if that ends up watering down some of Cheliax's evil.

If there's other sources that up the evil rating of Cheliax to make it feel more genuinely hellish then I'm totally for it.

I guess my point wasn't so much to discuss Cheliax and devils so much as to say that a lot of the points people are making about undead (they don't have a choice over their alignment, they don't act evil, there can be good ones which screws up the whole deal, not all necromancers are evil, having been human they should retain their alignment/personality/abilities) are all arguments you can make about devils in Cheliax and they work out about the same way.

What it all comes down to really is do you want a really black and white game where your evil things (undead, devils, whatever) are really evil or something where no matter what you are you're basically a human living out human dramas in all the subtle nuance that entails. Either way you're gonna' want to change some rules, but either one can be fun.

I... think you missed what I was saying a little bit.

Chelliax is an awful place.:
Chelliax is evil because their laws are substantially disproportionate to the crimes they punish. They have public executions of forgers - not "high profile" forgers, not "extremely consistent" forgers, just anyone who ever actually forges anything for any reason is publicly executed if they get caught. Now, that doesn't sound so bad (if terribly harsh), but it gets substantially worse in that they're executed in a ritualistic way that guarantees their soul goes directly to Hell forever, regardless of their purpose, alignment, or religion (by way of an agreement with Pharasma, from what I understand of Asmodean lore).

Once there it is either tormented as a slave under cruel masters, tortured until it recants whatever alignment it used to have and becomes lawful evil and then is tortured some more until it becomes a lemure, and then used for various evil purposes that include creating more powerful devils or canon fodder in infernal armies.

This is punishment far, far in excess of the crime.

Forgers are not the only creatures to have this treatment apply to them, but it's an easy example.

Slaves are not people. Halflings, as a result, are considered not people. Though considered bad taste, an owner can freely murder their slaves.

Bribery is legal to escape punishments - the only question is "how much" for a given crime. There are a few exceptions (some things cannot be bribed, such as the aforementioned forgery), and other things depend on the station of the officer or judges, the station of the accused, and other elements.

Much like a certain party of the previous century's biggest war, there are incentives to "turn in" suspected individuals.

Everyone is forced to go to Asmodeus' services.

Thrune authorized the systematic invasion of a city by intentionally murderous and spiteful undead and freely allowed shadow creatures to roam the streets for the sole purpose of creating fear and making life difficult on the populous/more reliant upon the government.

In the self-same city, there is an area where criminals are relegated. Criminals whose only crime was not being a noble and being disliked by one. That area is considered "outside of the city" and thus no laws, Chellish or otherwise, protect the lives of those that are within. Sometimes nobles go... "hunting". Those too poor to live elsewhere sometimes head into the city, because, despite all that, it's theoretically better than living in the wilderness. Many starve to death.

In the midst of all this, noble galas of such fabulous wealth and wanton waste occur that events "that can only be described as" orgies result from the sheer amount of excesses of rare wine, food, drugs, spices, and tobaccos consumed. This happens about once per month.

Chelliax may look decent from the outside, but it's only a facade, granted a deep one. The "normal" people are okay, if kept in a general state of fear and unease, and so they don't rebel. In the meanwhile, they are slowly corrupted by a system carefully designed to encourage such and forced to worship in temples of an evil god.

In any event, devils are people. That's not a thing.

The difference between a devil and, say, an undead is that we have a reason that a devil has an innate alignment. It's made of evil soul-stuff.

Undead, on the other hand, aren't made of evil soul-stuff.

To compare, let's look at drinks.

Undead are "drinks flavored with carbonation".

Evil creatures are "drinks with alcohol in them."

Devils are made out of alcohol. Thus they're alcoholic. It's what they're made out of.

Undead, for some reason, are all portrayed as alcoholic fizzy-drinks, when there are really an extremely wide variety of fizzy-drinks possible, many of which aren't alcoholic.

Note: I'm aware of the limitations of this example. It's not supposed to stand up to every conceivable comparison - the only point is that undead being powered by negative energy is like a drink "charged" with carbonation, whereas evil-subtype creatures being made out of evil is like an alcoholic drink made out of alcohol - it has the alignment because that's what it's made out of.

Anyway, it's a pretty different barometer altogether and doesn't really apply to undead. Something can be non-evil and generally hated by society for all sorts of reasons: owlbears for instance.

Also, if you're interested, I made a really long post about free will and inherent alignments that I don't feel like retyping but could be useful here. I really need to get that together in a more generic setting at some point. :)

EDIT: Hey, I found an earlier one. Read this first, probably. :)

Silver Crusade

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James Jacobs wrote:

So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

:D

is so excited

and I just can't hide it

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:

So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

Finally I'm not the only person to mention a non-ghost, non-evil undead somewhere in Golarion's cosmos! :D

But absolutely on the it's not a normal or frequent thing, and it needs to have reason and history as to why they're in their current state and not evil either as a result of that process or evil beforehand to seek out such a state willingly.


Wow. Just wow. I just got back from reading Tacticslion's philosophical blockbuster on the nature of good and evil. If you all haven't read it. Do. It's a doozy. Not sure I agree entirely with the premise of evil as ultimate selfishness (at least as pertains to the axis of alignment) but the amount of well thought out rational argumentation that goes into it is really impressive. Thanks man, that was quite a read.


Grimcleaver wrote:
Wow. Just wow. I just got back from reading Tacticslion's philosophical blockbuster on the nature of good and evil. If you all haven't read it. Do. It's a doozy. Not sure I agree entirely with the premise of evil as ultimate selfishness (at least as pertains to the axis of alignment) but the amount of well thought out rational argumentation that goes into it is really impressive. Thanks man, that was quite a read.

Hahah! Well, I'm glad you liked it!

Fair warning, guys, many of you know how I roll, it's huge.

The point about selfishness isn't... you know I was going to go into Wall of Text-casting, but nah. This isn't the place for that conversation. But if you want, I can debate it with you (for fun!) or simply talk about it with you while holding a different perspective elsewhere. :)

(I totally favorited my own post, just so I could find it easily, because I kind of link to it repeatedly. It took me an hour to find it last night - granted, I was doing other things, but still. :D)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Marc Radle wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

So, just to get folks buzzing...

There's a non-evil undead in the upcoming adventure, "The Dragon's Demand."

She's got a really interesting and unique backstory that explains why and how she became undead... and no, she's not a ghost.

So, it CAN happen.

It's just not often, and when it does it needs to be a significant part of the story and the author needs to bring his/her A-game writing to the encounter when it happens.

Cool! She was created by a White Necromancer, no doubt! ;)

Nope!

No such thing as a "white necromancer" in Golarion. At least, not as far as I know.

Different creation method.


What are "ancestral spirits" classed as? I've seen them mentioned in a few places, like one of the giant-entries (taiga giants?) where they impart some special abilities.

Are they natural spirits of the dead as opposed to unnatural undead spirits like ghosts and spectres?


Tacticslion wrote:


The point about selfishness isn't... you know I was going to go into Wall of Text-casting, but nah. This isn't the place for that conversation. But if you want, I can debate it with you (for fun!) or simply talk about it with you while holding a different perspective elsewhere. :)

Y'know man, we're both on here enough, I'm sure it'll come up again. It's been fun though!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Grimcleaver wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Mine is a quote from Paizo material, and I daresay that it's far more represented than your example as I've not seen any statement of "Devils are People".

I worked hard digging this up, so I hope you appreciate it: (one of those five books open, I know it's here somewhere things...like when James Jacobs totally stumped me with the Starstone falling ending the Aboleth civilization by accident, which I totally swear I've read all the time!)

Pathfinder Chronicles: Gods and Magic pg. 6 under Asmodeus: Priests, Temples and the Church; "Priests see devils as people rather than monsters, greater or lesser players in the immense infernal bureucracy that all right-minded individuals should join."

So it might not be reperesentative of everything the developers have to say on the matter, but it is accurate and straight from the books for what that's worth.

Keep in mind that Gods and Magic is an out of print 3.5 pre-Pathfinder publication,so that's a bit of a reach as far as being a definitive word on the matter as opposed to more recent Pathfinder publication such as the "In Service To Lore" series which features a direct quote from the ParaCountess herself.

I put material actually published for Pathfinder ahead of reliability of the pre-Pathfinder 3.5 material which also has such famous artistic bloopers such as "Paladins of Asmodeus".


Grimcleaver wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:


The point about selfishness isn't... you know I was going to go into Wall of Text-casting, but nah. This isn't the place for that conversation. But if you want, I can debate it with you (for fun!) or simply talk about it with you while holding a different perspective elsewhere. :)
Y'know man, we're both on here enough, I'm sure it'll come up again. It's been fun though!

Sounds fun! :)

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